Investiture of the Holy Spirit and the warnings from God

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Has the Holy Spirit been factually poured out on all flesh that Live upon the earth, or only upon every race and culture of men that repented and believed in Jesus Christ as Messiah? Does receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior mean that I can never apostatize?

There are some Christian leaders that make rhetorical distinction between the Spirit of God being “poured out” and his “residing within” or “indwelling.”  Their idea is that God has fulfilled his Old Testament prophesy as found in Joel 2:28-31, by “pouring” the Holy Spirit out on all men, good and bad. They say this in the face of God’s word when he has made it clear that only true believers have the Spirit – only those who remain in Christ – having Jesus’ word also remain in them. The basis of their dichotomous teaching is based upon a surface reading that is interpreted out of context, and backed up by a further surface reading of a second scripture verse, which is not directly associated with the first.

A quick evaluation of this debate yields many problems with the above assertion. (1) A contextual reading of the New Testament will demonstrate that to “pour out the Holy Spirit” was treated by Peter as meaning the same as, “the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.”  (2) when the reader evaluates John’s Gospel, Chapters 14 and 16, Jesus is found clearly explaining the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit, and applies the rules for a person to receive the intimate indwelling of investiture with the Holy Spirit[Investiture: (1) the act of establishing and office or ratifying; (2) something that covers of adorns. (3) initiation, induction installation.] It can be said that when a person receives the Holy Spirit in POWER, he has been initiated into the realm of the beloved – of those who abide in Christ, and also abide in his word.  It is the difference between an initiate and an adherent – between a follower and a disciple – between a servant and friend.

To understand what was said by Peter on the day of Pentecost, Acts chapter 2, one must understand what the prophet Joel said concerning the “promise” of the Holy Spirit and what Jesus said concerning those qualified to receive the Holy Spirit – and as well the purpose of the Holy Spirit, as presented in John’s gospel, Chapters 14-16.   After all, the Bible is linear in its approach to understanding.  The book of Revelation stands upon the books of Joel, and Zechariah, as well as other important passages found in the Old Testament.  One cannot fully grasp the meaning of Revelation without the understanding what was issued before, as prophetic Old Testament revelation. Similarly, the New Testament was built upon the Old Testament.  One cannot fully appreciate or understand much of the New Testament without first reading the Old.

Consider the following as an important rule to digest:

“In seeing they don’t see, and in hearing they don’t hear, lest they would see and I would heal them” [paraphrase of Is.6:910; Mt.13:13-15].

A second rule is:

“Let him who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the Churches.” [Rev.2:7]

The word of God contains two messages to those that read it, or hear it.  The first message is on the surface – easy to interpret for those that have very little depth of soul. The second extended and refined message is the intended focus. It can always be corroborated by other verses and be upheld by the Old Testament.

An example would be:

“Destroy this temple, and I will raise it in three days” [Jn2:19]

The surface meaning is Jesus dares others to destroy Herod’s Temple and rebuild it in three days.  The focused or second intended meaning is “Destroy the body of Jesus and in three days he will raise himself from the grave.  In hearing they did not hear!

Another example is:

“But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I give for the life of the world” [Jn.6:50-51].

The surface meaning is: the Hebrews must kill Jesus and then cannibalize him in order to have eternal life.  The second intended meaning is that Jesus was speaking figuratively, and that his physical death would provide spiritual refreshment for those that that view his death as an atoning sacrifice for sin  [see: Jn.6:60-69].

Why does Jesus do this? Why does God the Father allow an on-the-surface erroneous meaning, when he could very well have simply offered the factual truth, boldly?  Why didn’t Jesus simply go out into the public square and proclaim, “Hear ye, hear ye.  I am the promised Messiah of God?”   He does it to vet those who lack root of conviction [Mt.13:19-22], and to test the resilience of those who would come after him. Jesus wants obedient, persistent, and careful disciplined learners. He is not expecting perfection, but consistent adherence to hardship, servant-hood, obedience, and trust.  He has no stomach for the “lukewarm” [Rev.3:16] or the uncommitted [Mt.8:19-22].  He will not, “…give dogs what is sacred” [Mt.7:6].

Sometimes, Christians “get ahead of Christ” and think they understand a passage of scripture and so at times, “open mouth and insert foot.”  Peter is a prime example, when he heard Jesus talk about being killed.  Peter reasoned from a rational perspective that his job was to save his master from harm, and so he said, “May it never happen!”  But, it did happen, and because Peter got ahead of the Lord, Peter’s interpretation was very wrong.

Now, if one simply argues Jesus died for everyone and pours out the Spirit on everyone, the teacher is then expressing a belief in Universal-Unitarianism, which is qualified as a Theosophic religion – having migrated later to Transcendentalism, which is opposed to the primary doctrines of the Early Church fathers [ie. the Nicene Creed, the Athanasius Creed, etc]. This happens, because the argument was not QUALIFIED with the necessary detail.

The Devil understands this an promotes the common errors in the hope that some well-meaning Christian with zeal, yet having no knowledge [  ] gets on a soap box and wows the audience with nonsense.  This is how Churches break into divisions and Christians start shedding most doctrine to avoid conflict.

As a mature Christian knows, Jesus did die for the sins of the whole world, but we also know that – “to as many that receive him, to those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God” [Jn1:12]. In the final analysis, Jesus’ death is only good for those that receive him in repentance – to those that would believe [trust] in his name.

This approach works just as well for the investiture [indwelling, the pouring out…] regarding the Holy Spirit. If one refuses to heed the words of Christ, and not find the other scripture dealing with the gift of the Holy Spirit he may get the wrong idea about what pouring out means and who receives this gift from the Father.

Here is the simplified exegesis:

  • God has poured out his Spirit on all flesh [Ac.2:17] [Joel 2:28]

Let us look at this verse:

The prophet Joel, a contemporary of Hosea, wrote to Judah and warned them concerning their sin and predicted a locust invasion that would ruin their crops.   However his warning took on prophetic and apocalyptic value by inferring an invasion of locust would bring about an invasion of goyim, a large army, which would bring about a final end time invasion to looks to destroy Jerusalem.  Yet God pleads with his people to REPENT, so that he can bless them again.  Looking forward to the final disaster the prophet writes, “And afterward,”  meaning after all these things of invasions and disaster – after a long span of humiliation, God will come – make his presence real and save his people.

Zachariah 10-14, explains the final ordeal and presence of the Lord – having come to literally save his REMNANT from total annihilation.  Therefore, “…Afterward,” after the final assault on Jerusalem, God says, [at that time] I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” WHICH PEOPLE?  “Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams your young men will see visions…even…servants…men…women…” will receive the Spirit.  But who are the the sons and daughters, the old men and old women, and servants?  They are, of course, the Jewish “Remnant,” who comes through the Apocalypse.

The average Hebrew was used to the High Priest, and some prophets and kings having received, or being invested, with the Holy Spirit.  But here, God is promising all the people of God, meaning all the Jews, young and old, men and women, children and adults will have the Holy Spirit poured out upon them.  There is no revelation yet of the gentiles receiving such compensation.

As Matthew Henry [circa 1660] has put it:

“The promise of corn, and wine and oil, would be acceptable to a wasted country; but we must not rest in those things.  These verses have reference to better things, both the kingdom of grace and the kingdom of glory.  How the kingdom of grace shall be introduced by a plentiful effusion of the Spirit…Jews understand it of all flesh in the land of Israel, and Peter himself did not fully understand it as speaking of the Gentiles till he saw it accomplished in the decent of the Holy Ghost upon Cornelius and his friends who were gentiles (Acts x.44, 45)”   

What this means 500 years later:  Peter spoke to the Jews in Acts Chapter 2 – specifically the common priests on Pentecost day – all being Jews – heralding that IF THEY REPENT AND BELIEVE IN CHRIST, God will POUR out His Holy Spirit on them, and their Jewish Families.  All people or all flesh was clearly understood as all the Jews, and not the gentiles.

Professor Richard D. Paterson, previous chairman, Department of Biblical Studies, Liberty College, wrote in his TEBC Commentary on Joel:

“God’s covenant people were primarily in view.  Joel went on to point out that what the Lord intended is that his Spirit be poured out, not only on selected individuals regardless for a particular task, but on all believers, old and male and female alike, regardless of their status.” [Vol 7, TEBC, Joel, pg 256]

Please note, that neither Matthew Henry, no Richard Paterson make any distinction between “pouring out” or “the indwelling” of the Spirit of God.  However, we will now go to what happened in Acts Chapter ten and let the Apostle Peter be the judge.

Moving to Acts chapter 10, we find Peter preaching to

“The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished when the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out, even on the gentiles.” [Ac.10:45]

It is imperative that the reader recognize that Peter immediately grants equality to the terms “Pouring Out” and the experience that the Apostles and other Jews received, because her says:

“…They have received the Holy Spirit just like we have” [Ac.10:47]

How did Peter receive the Holy Spirit? Was it not with tongues of fire, power and his verbally manifested glorification of God?  So Peter say’s that Cornelius received the Spirit of God, by the same manifestations.

Now either Peter never received the Holy Spirit as an indwelling, because his experience was just like the Gentiles – poured out, or his indwelling with power, is identical to that of the Holy Spirit being “poured out.”

Common sense would dictate that the “indwelling of the Holy Spirit” is equal in terminology to his “being poured out” by virtue of good hermeneutics that rely on context and simple reason or rationale.  In other words, if a statement makes sense, as it stands, then it means what it said.  There then exists, no reason to teach people that the Holly Spirit is poured out on some, while he is indwelt by others.  As a matter of syntax, the object of Joel’s and Peter’s words were designed to herald that everyone who believes would receive exactly the same power, by the same manifested Spirit of God, without any difference whatsoever.  To continue to maintain that there is a “pouring out” upon the human race, which is a different experience than that of the “indwelling of believers,” is tantamount to obstructing God determined purpose.  It becomes a Doctrine of Demons.  It will lead to the unsaved having an apologetic that reasons from the words of Christians that they too are saved, because as some Christians have said, the Holy Spirit was poured out on all flesh, to include unbelievers.  We now have Unitarian-Universalist ideology which will eventually become Transcendentalism.  This is exactly what the New Pope

Let the reader note that concerning the gift of the Holy Spirit, both Joel and Peter demanded repentance of heart – something the human race is not currently taking serious, yet some Christians expect us to believe that God would pour out his spirit on mankind, without repentance?  It was Joel and Peter who demanded repentance before reception of the gift of God’s Spirit.

“Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly.  Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the House of the Lord your God.  Alas for that day! For the day of the Lord is near; it will come like a destruction from the Almighty. [Joel 1:14-15 NIV]

 

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the Apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?  And Peter said unto them, ‘Repent ye, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; AND YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.  [Ac.2:37-38 American Standard Version 1901]

F.F. Bruce, Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis, University of Manchester, England states concerning Peter’s quote of Joel; “It is noteworthy that the context of Joel’s prophesy contains a call to repentance in hope of divine forgiveness (Joel 2:12-14) – a call which is echoed by Peter, later on (v.38).”  [NICNT, Book of Acts, Pg 68]

But what about Jesus Christ – did he teach a specific protocol of investiture concerning the Holy Spirit? As a matter of fact he did – in John Chapters 14 and 16.

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth…for he lives in you and will be in you. [Jn.14-17]

Note several important teachings:

  • If we claim to love Jesus we will obey him
  • If we obey him he will give us the Holy Spirit
  • The Holy Spirit will live with us and be in us.

Since Peter was promised the indwelling of the Spirit and he called the pouring out of the Spirit upon Cornelius as being the same as what he (Peter) received, then the pouring out is the same as the indwelling.  However, God does not give the Holy Spirit to the human race (all flesh), unless they repent and believe the good news and become obedient.  {See Jn.14:23–24]

Does God commend upon men the fellowship of the Spirit, and the delights of the coming age and a taste of Heaven, as some reason from Hebrews 6:4-6?   No he does not!  As a matter of fact Jesus said concerning the “flesh of the world” and his Holy Spirit:

“When he [Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world of guilt, in regard to sin, and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.  [Jn.16:8-11]

What Jesus has stated plainly, is that he does NOT have any taste of the goodness of the word of God, NEITHER a taste of the heavenly gift [Holy Spirit], NOR experience of the powers of the coming age. What Jesus does have for all flesh is three rebukes on sin righteousness and judgment.

What Hebrews 6 has to do with the Holy Spirit is concerning Jewish believers who were thinking of falling back again into, “…acts that lead to death…” [Heb.6:1] – an expression that means they were adding to the nature of Christ’s sufficiency by re-enacting the Pascal sacrifice with Lambs and other offerings while confessing Jesus as Messiah.  Paul called these Jews, the Circumcision Group.  To announce a public view that this passage in Hebrews has nothing to do with Christian believers is to take the same view as Lucifer, who said, in the Garden, to Eve, “Has God said this?”

The writer was arguing with the Hebrews, as Paul did with the Galatians 5:2-3 – that Christ would be of no value to them, if they fall back upon useless customs and traditions, from which they would try to appease God

In summary, the writer of Hebrews is saying unequivocally; if a believer in Christ, Jew or gentile, falls back into a position that believes dead works [religious rituals] are necessary to gain absolution from God the Father, then Christ will be of no value, and he will forfeit that which was once his.

“To as many as received him, to those that believed in his name, HE GAVE THE RIGHT TO BECOME, the children of God.” [Jn1:12]

It does not say that they became, but that they have the right to become.

Paul detailed the position of a believer as an adopted Child who need to mature before he received his inheritance.

“If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.  What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child [not completed, immature], he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. [Gal.3:29 – 4:2]

Paul echoed this in Colossians when he said:

“But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free of accusation – IF [note the indefinite article] you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the Gospel.”  [Col.1:22-23]

Forfeiture of a spiritual right is not unknown in God’s word. Esau, Ely, King Saul of the Old Testament stand as direct examples.  Judas, Demas, Hymenaeus, Alexander, Nicolaitans, and the Jezebel of Thyatira are good New Testament examples.

What I am teaching is that some, who call themselves Calvinists, who adhere to a view of once saved – always saved, need not worry about their salvation if they naturally continue in Christ, loving him and desiring what he desires.  However, the human heart is wicked and will take advantage if it keeps some baggage of selfishness.  Whether the person is ignorant of the truth of heir-ship or refuses to accept the words of Paul, his old sin nature may just embark on a whirlwind of sin – thinking in his heart, “I am saved, God would never leave me nor forsake me – I am a child of God!” All the while he is sinning, he does not recognize that he is forsaking and turning his back on his God.  Hence the term: to apostatize – to turn back by virtue of one’s own free will.

This attitude is exactly what the Hebrew Leadership had at the time of Christ – Abraham is our Father they cried – once saved in Abraham – always saved in Abraham!  But John the Baptist rebuked them and said.

“And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’  I tell you that from these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.  The ax is already at the root of the trees.  And every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” [Mt.3:9-10]

Paul reiterates John’s rebuke to the Christian in Romans chapter 11, and defines the position of an adopted child as, one that was grafted in as wild.  He goes on to say – what has been grafted in can be grafted out, since God has already done this to the true branches of Abraham.

“You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.’ Grafted.  But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith.  Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.  For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.” [Rm.19-21] 

This is why the Word of God gives us warnings to prevent our falling away, and why the proverb stands:

“Do not be deceived: God will not be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.” [Gal.6:7]

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