Let's take our text from Romans 10:12-17: "There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich in mercy unto all that call upon Him in faith. For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord before the great and dreadful Day of the Lord shall be saved.
But how shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? How shall they preach, except they be sent? as it's written, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"
But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For Isaiah said, "Lord, who has believed our report?" So then faith comes by hearing, and UNDERSTANDING by the Word of God".
That's right, the baptism of the Holy Ghost comes through a clear understanding of the revealed Word of God for your day. And the evidence of the new birth is that your life is manifesting that part of the Word.
In Matthew 16:13-19, Jesus asked His disciples whom men thought He was. They answered, "Some think You're John the Baptist with His head back on, Elijah, Jeremiah or some other prophet back from the grave." Then Jesus asked Peter, "Whom do you think I am?" And we have Peter's famous "rock confession".
Without hesitation Peter replied, "You're the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus said, "Bless you, Simon son of Jona: for man hasn't revealed this to you, but My Father in heaven has revealed this to you, as He's shown Me who you are: you're Peter, and upon this rock (of Spiritual revelation I'll build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against Spiritual revelation of the Word. And I'll give unto you the keys (plural) of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." It's faith or revelation of God's Word that unlocks the kingdom.
On the day of Pentecost when the Church was inaugurated, Peter had the keys that unlocked the kingdom of heaven, which is the new birth or baptism with the Holy Spirit.
These were "faith" keys, not "unknown tongues" keys. The one and only faith delivered unto the apostolic saints was later divided into seven portions when an infusion of Jewish fables and Gentile paganism leavened the revelation and God dealt with His elect by seven distinct measures of faith or seven baptisms with the Holy Ghost, one for each of Seven Church Ages that followed Pentecost. So although the Key was essentially one It was in fact seven.
After the end of the Seventh or Laodicean Age, God anointed Brother Branham to fulfil Joel 2:25, Malachi 4:5-6 and Matthew 17:11, restoring the faith, so the seven portions became One.
After the Laodicean Age closed in 1963, Christ opened the Seven Seals and revealed them through Brother Branham, who was the angel to the Laodicean Church Age. According to Revelation 10:7 and Acts 3:21-23, "In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God: all things God's spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began should be finished. And that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people".
Strong words! But those who refuse God's Word for their day reject the Holy Spirit, and can never be forgiven in this world or in the world to come. Brother Branham was the last Word prophet to we Gentiles. He introduced the fullness of the Word which is Christ's parousia, or second Coming.
During the Seven Church Ages, Christ was a Mediator for the errors or ignorance of the saints who had only a PART of the Word so long as the Bible was sealed with Seven Seals. That's why they entered the Presence through a door marked DEATH. God's Word is Spirit and It is Life, but they had only PART-Word, and as you know, once we add to or take from that Word. It's no longer Life, but death.
In this Age, we have Christ, the Fullness of the Word. Throughout the Book of Revelation, John represents the end-time Bride. After revealing His attributes to us in chapter one, Jesus says, "I'm He Who lives and was dead; and see, I'm alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys (plural) of hell and of death" (Revelation 1:18).
Through Brother Branham, the end-time Bride also receive keys. Not seven, but two. A double portion. The key of faith in the fullness of the Word unlocks "hell" or the grave for the resurrection of the Church Age saints. According to Hebrews 11:39-40, they can't be glorified or made perfect without the saints in this Age. We'll not see death in the flesh but change in the atoms. A second key of faith baptizes us into our part of the Body.
"Faith" is His will for us in our day. "As many as received Jesus, to them He gave authority to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, (as with our first or Adamic birth) but of the will of God" (John 1:12-13).
Our second birth is by the will of God. His "will" is His Word and we receive It by faith or understanding. You'll understand better if I paraphrase I John 1:7. "Unless our lives manifest "the PRESENT truth, we can't have Spiritual fellowship with Christians, and cannot come under the blood (or be born-again)".
Did you catch that thought? We must be walking in the Light as He is in It. It's not sufficient to be treading the pathways where He once was. We must be walking in the Light of the Word He promised to fulfil in our day.
We're not born-again by mirrors or cunning sleight of hand, but by hearing the Spoken Word for our day. Holy Spirit is "what" God is. God is one Spirit. He's the "Holy" Spirit. As a Being He can only be in one place at one time. Contrary to denominational teaching He's not omnipresent. If He were, Cain couldn't have departed from His Presence; Satan would be full of the Spirit, and be our brother; sin could never have entered the world, and there'd have been no need for repentance. But being omnipotent, and omniscient, knowing all things, is the same as if He were everywhere.
Now let's read Acts 2:1-13, and find out what happened the first time anyone was born-again, and when Peter turned the faith key that opened the Kingdom of heaven to the Jews.
"When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all unanimous and in one place. Suddenly a sound from heaven like a rushing mighty wind filled the house where they were sitting. The Shekinah appeared, and tongues of fire separated from It, and sat upon each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Devout Jews out of every nation under heaven had come to Jerusalem for the Feasts of Unleavened Bread and Pentecost. And they came together as a multitude to see what had caused the noise, and were confounded, because every man understood in his own language what they said. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying to each other, "Aren't all these Galileans? How is it we each hear in our mother tongue?"
Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes from other religions; Cretans and Arabians—all hear them speak in our own tongues the mighty works of God".
And they were all amazed, and bewildered, saying one to another, "What can this mean?"
Others made light of it, saying, "These men are full of new wine."
As we read this chapter we find 3,000 souls from across the Empire and further afield, were born again when Peter preached to them in one language. The miracle wasn't "speaking with other tongues" but "hearing in one's own mother tongue".
Nowhere in the Bible did anyone ever receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost and speak in a tongue that was not understood. And if that's how God did it then, that's the way He's doing it today.
In explaining these matters to the throng, Peter went through the prophets and the Psalms identifying Jesus in prophecy. Let's read Acts 2:36-41, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made that same Jesus, Whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
When they heard this, the penny dropped, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do to be saved?"
Then Peter said, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission (notice, not forgiveness, but remission) of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, "Save yourselves from this untoward generation." Then they that gladly received his Word by faith were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."
Peter turned the key, and 3,000 Israelites entered the Kingdom, because they heard and understood the Word.
When Philip preached to the Samaritans, they received the Word and they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, but were not born-again. So although it is a necessary step of faith, water baptism is not the new birth as a Brother in New Zealand.
These people had the revelation, but Jesus had promised Peter that he should unlock the Kingdom to the Samaritans too. "Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent Peter and John who prayed that they might receive the Holy Ghost. Then laid hands on them, (in identification with their faith), and they received the Holy Ghost" (Acts 8:14).
Next Peter preached Christ in the Gentile household of Cornelius, saying, "God raised up Jesus the third day, and showed Him openly; Not to everyone but to witnesses foreknown by God, even to us, who ate and drank with Him after His resurrection. And he commanded us to preach to the people, and testify that He is ordained to Judge the living and dead. All the prophets witness, that through His Name whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins".
While Peter spoke, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the Word. And the Jewish believers who came with Peter were astonished because the gift of the Holy Ghost was also poured out on the Gentiles. For these Jews understood in Hebrew what the Gentiles spoke in Italian and Greek, magnifying God.
"Can any man forbid water baptism, to these who've received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 10:40-48).
There was no laying-on-of-hands as there was with the Samaritans, for laying-on-of-hands is a Jewish custom whereby they identified with their sacrifice. We lay our hands on our Sacrifice by faith.
Jesus kept His Word. No Jew could be reborn until Peter unlocked the Kingdom to them. Likewise, no Samaritan or Gentile could be baptized into the Body until Peter first turned the key.
The origin of the expression "to speak in tongues," that is, a foreign language, lies in the fact that to Israelites, the tongue is the chief means to proclaim God's praise, and nothing human was thought to be active in an inspired man, except the tongue, put in motion by the Holy Spirit.
Hence the miracle was not the speaking—which many might NOT understand, but the hearing or understanding of what was uttered in a tongue unknown to the hearer.
In Acts 15, some converted Pharisees were teaching the necessity of keeping the Law of Moses and being circumcised. Peter told them that the baptism of the Holy Ghost is by grace in hearing—not by virtue of circumcision, tongues, or other works.
Acts 15:5-11, "But certain Pharisees who believed, said, "That it was necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the Law of Moses".
The apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And after much disputing, Peter said, "Men and brethren, you know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles should hear the Word by my mouth, and believe". (He's referring to Jesus' promise of Matthew 16:19 as we discussed).
"And God who knows the hearts bore witness by giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did to us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. So why tempt God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they".
Galatians 3:2-8, "Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the works of the flesh? (Like speaking with other tongues?)
Have you suffered so many things for the Gospel in vain? Are you now going to throw it all away? Does the Holy Spirit minister to you and work miracles among you, by your obedience to the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Even as Abraham believed God, and his faith was accounted to him for righteousness, the true children of Abraham are those who live by faith. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached this good news to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all nations be blessed".
That is good news! All Gentiles who are IN Christ are Abraham's seed by the baptism with the Holy Ghost, and heirs of the promise made 500 years before the Law was delivered by Moses. But how do we receive that seed? Not by tongues but by the hearing of faith. And the evidence is the Life of Christ on display in us.
The sacrifices under the Law can't purge or wash our conscience of sin. Hearing of faith washes our heart, and once we're cleansed by faith, we can approach God's throne sinless, without condemnation, our bodies washed in water (Hebrews 10:2, 22; Ephesians 5:26).
"Water baptism was typed by Noah's Flood. But as earth's washing didn't save it, water baptism doesn't save us now. We're saved by the answer of a good conscience (or faith) toward God: the baptism of the Holy Ghost, through Christ's resurrection" (I Peter 3:21).
We're going to run through a few more Scriptures to show that the baptism of the Holy Ghost comes through understanding or faith in God's Word. There's no way one can receive the new birth outside a clear understanding of the Word for their day.
James 1:18, "Of His own will begat he us with the Word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his new creation."
I Peter 1:22-23, "Seeing you've purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which lives and abides forever."
Yes sir, our souls are washed by obedience to the revealed Word of God, or faith. We are born-again by the spoken Word which is the original seed of God. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is by hearing.
I John 4:6, "We are of God: he that knows God hears us; he that is not of God does not hear us. This is how we distinguish the Spirit of Truth, and the spirit of error in other persons who claim to be Christians." What Brother Branham called, "The Word test".
I John 5:1, "Whosoever believes by faith that Jesus is the Messiah is born of God: and everyone who loves Him that begat (God) loves Him also that is begotten of Him. (Jesus Christ, and all saints)."
We're not born by speaking with other tongues. Read chapter five which identifies some distinguishing attributes of the born-again.
I John 5:18, "We know that whosoever is born of God does not sin; (how can one be a born-again sinner! or a drunk sober man? Sin is unbelief in the revealed Word of God. The opposite of faith); but he that's begotten of God keeps himself protected behind the Word, and that wicked one touches him not."
Jesus described the infallible, Absolute evidence of the baptism with the Holy Ghost in John 16:13, "When the Spirit of truth comes into you, He will guide you into all truth (predestinated for your day): He won't speak of Himself; but what He hears by inspiration; and He'll reveal things to come (to pass in your dispensation)." It is receiving the Word for the Age, not speaking with tongues or anything else we can do.
In Matthew 24:24, Jesus said the elect cannot be deceived on the faith. In John 10:1-5, He said those who are His sheep will receive His Word by faith and will not follow a stranger. To each Age the admonition is "He that has an ear, let him hear . . . not he that has a tongue". bb980520.htm
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