Why haven't you written about the Comforter?




I noticed your article on the Azusa street revival...very interesting. However, I looked in the topical index and I see no articles on the Holy Spirit as spoken of by Jesus in the book of John (the comforter, leader and guider into all truth), nor any reflections on the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts.

I do not whole heartedly agree with a bit of your doctrines; however I do admire your heart and desire for the truth. Your informatory sermons and historical references are very enlightening. I don't want you to think that I overlooked the sermons that you had listed about those topics: the questions I have for you were not answered in your sermons. There is the operation of the Holy Spirit; then there is the indwelling - with the evidences that seem to be explained away. The doing a way of the prophetic and tongues spoken of in the Corinthian books refer to the return of Jesus; when he returns, there will be no need for the Comforter that Jesus said would come when He left. Obviously, although you have the spirit of God, you haven't been baptized IN the Holy Spirit.

It is very common for people to decide that a topic has not been addressed, not because the information doesn't exist, but for the sole reason that they disagree with what was written.

Jesus' promise of the Comforter was given to the apostles in the book of John. "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning" (John 15:26-27). Notice the promise is that the Spirit would testify of Jesus and they (the apostles) would bear witness of Jesus. This is not a general promise to all Christians for we cannot give first hand witness to the events that happened while Jesus was on the earth. This was the duty of the apostles, as John stated, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life-- the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full" (I John 1:1-4).

Jesus also promised, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you" (John 16:12-15). This was a promise of inspiration so that the words spoken of by Christ could be accurately recorded and the things needed to be said which were too soon to be received could be given. Such promise began to be fulfilled when the Spirit came upon the apostles. "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4). Thus the apostle Paul could claim, "But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:11-12).

Paul spoke of the role the Spirit played in revealing the will of God: "But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (I Corinthians 2:9-13). Such words the apostles recorded for us as John told us in I John 1:1-4. They are now our sacred writings or Scriptures. "And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (II Peter 1:19-21).

The error that you are making is assuming that what was specifically promised to the apostles was promised to all believers. Instead we find that the inspired apostle Paul explaining that every Christian did not receive gifts from the Spirit, even back in the days when the gifts were freely given. "And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way" (I Corinthians 12:28-31). The answer to each of Paul's rhetorical questions is "No." Everyone did not receive gifts from the Spirit (and this can be demonstrated from the book of Acts). In fact, your classification of Christians into the have and have nots: "Obviously, although you have the spirit of God, you haven't been baptized IN the Holy Spirit" is contrary to the very point Paul was making in I Corinthians 12:4-31. Even in the days of miraculous gifts, the having one, several, or no gifts did not make a person a better or lesser Christian. Such a statement contains no love for brethren.

Paul then moves on in I Corinthians 13 that while love will remain, the gifts of the Spirit were a temporary measure anyway. "Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (I Corinthians 13:8-13). Your claim that Paul is discussing a yet future event, the return of Christ, is without merit. Paul stated "when that which is perfect has come." It is in the neuter case, meaning that it is referring to a thing or an object. In order to apply to Christ it would have been worded as "when he who is perfect has come." The argument also fails because when Christ returns, this world comes to an end (II Peter 3:10). Paul stated that faith, hope, and love would remain. However, when Jesus returns the promises will be fulfilled -- there will be no more hope, no earnest expectations, for all will be gained. When Jesus returns faith will be lost in sight. Love is the greatest because even in eternity it will remain. Thus, when Paul talks about the end of the miraculous gifts, he is referring to a point in time prior to the return of Christ.

It is unfortunate that you did not attempt to prove your point (denial does not constitute proof). But I will list out the information listed on the topics you claim are overlooked.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding the Holy Spirit
Questions and Answers regarding Indwelling
Questions and Answers regarding Miraculous Gifts
Questions and Answers regarding Speaking in Tongues
Cornelius Was Given the Spirit
Articles on the Holy Spirit
Articles on Inspiration
Articles on Miracles
Articles on Prophecy
Sermons on the Direct Operation of the Holy Spirit
Sermons on the Holy Spirit
Sermons on Miracles
Sermons on Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movements
Sermons on Prophecy
Sermons on Speaking in Tongues

I appreciate your response.  The issue that I have is that although you have plenty of topics revolving around the subject of tongues as the evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, your responses suggest that this gift was only given to the apostles of that day, that this mark is being presented (by me) that some Christians are better than others because they have received the gift (which I have not implied).

You suggest that only the apostles received the promise. My contention is first, how many apostles were there? 12 or 120?  If we do not agree on foundational information how can we discuss?  If Paul during his travels came upon people who had not received the promise, would it not have seemed strange to offer the promise designed only for apostles to someone who had not been baptized in the Holy Ghost since they had believed?  How many were present at the Pentecost experience of Acts1:8? If something is a gift, just because one doesn’t receive it doesn’t change the fact of its presentation. The comment referring to desiring the best gift, it would seem to me, would be to desire the gift that one doesn’t operate in presently since the rhetorical question is designed (still) to stir people up in the things of God.  If this was just for the apostles, why did the entire Corinthian church operate in the gifts?  There has been lost the gifts in mass, but in the last days, which we are obviously in, there is to be an outpouring.  The Bible tells us to watch the fig tree (Israel) and the trees surrounding it.  The actions surrounding Israel, indicate that things in the earth are changing.

The error you seem to have made is that I am in error.  What we have deduced is that from your position of authority, which I do not deny, is that you are comfortable in your area of revelation.  I do believe that your ministry is doing a great work.  I am not critiquing your ministry, however, I was doing some research on Azusa street and your site came up.  Azusa was a God thing, that just like all God things, oftimes the spin offs (if you will) make the Holy Spirit look shady.  

If in the last days The Lord says he will pour out his spirit upon all flesh and dreams will be dreamt and visions seen, if the apostles who are all dead (the apostles who were with Jesus — I assume that you don’t believe that the office of the apostle is filled in this day) how will the outpouring take place?  Who will dream what the Spirit shows? My contention is that there is more revelation in the word of God than most folks give credit to.  I believe that it is the Holy Spirit, when we pray in an unknown tongue--the perfect will of God, and when we pray in an unknown tongue-to edify oneself (which is also why Paul said to the church that he prayed in tongues more than you all suggesting that more than the apostles received the gift) that gives the life and revelation of the Word.

As you suspect, the time of the Apostles ended during the first century. The word "apostle" literally means "ambassador or one sent as a delegate." The duty of the apostles was to serve as eye-witnesses to the life of Jesus (Acts 2:32). Since Jesus has been gone for close to two thousand years, there are no apostles today. The article "Apostleship" discusses this at length, so I won't repeat it here.

In regards to the gifts of the Spirit, you originally asked about the promises concerning the Comforter in the book of John. I answered concerning those promises alone, which were given to the apostles. I did not say the gifts were limited to the apostles. They were passed on to Christians by the laying on of the apostles hands. "Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:14-17). The ability to pass on some of the gifts was a mark of an apostles, serving as evidence that Paul was an apostle. "Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands" (II Timothy 1:6).

There are only two recorded cases where people received gifts from the Spirit directly: the apostles in Acts 2 and Cornelius and his household in Acts 10. The statements concerning these events tell us that even in the first century this direct baptism in the Spirit was very rare. The article "Cornelius Received the Holy Spirit" discusses this at length.

Paul's statement concerning "desiring the best gifts" is not up for opinions as to what he meant. The statement was a lead-in to I Corinthians 13. The best gifts are those which are useful to the cause of the Lord. What the early church needed most was to know God's will since the Bible was still being recorded. "Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. ... He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification" (I Corinthians 14:1, 4-5). The greatest gift though is love because while the other gifts would come to an end, love would remain (I Corinthians 13:8).

While modern-day Israel might be an interesting nation, it has nothing to do with God's prophecies concerning the end of the world. Modern Israel was created by men at the end of World War II in hopes of "helping" God's promises to come true. The sermon "Is the Modern Nation of Israel Important?" discusses the flaws behind this belief.

Regarding Azusa Street, I strongly deny your contention that something related to the Holy Spirit sometimes looks shady. God is perfect and His works are perfect. Mankind has never been able to alter His Will, nor can they make God look "shady." "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all" (I John 1:5). What you are doing is fishing for some excuse to ignore the obvious. The events at Azusa Street were not of God. The deeds seen in relationship to it demonstrate this, as God said they would. "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:15-20).

Regarding prayer in an unknown tongue, you again misunderstand the teaching in the Bible. "Tongues" is the older word for "languages." An unknown tongue is simply a language in which you are not familiar. It is not a language of prayer. See "Praying in an Unknown Tongue" and "What is an unknown tongue?" for more details.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Speaking in Tongues
Sermons on Speaking in Tongues