CHAPTER 8: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING BAPTISED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.
And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove.
Dove: a deed done joining together, life to reveal.
We have noted that it is God the Father, as the Sovereign Gardener, who cuts a person free from the false vine to graft that person into His Son Yeshua, the True Vine.
Also, we have noted that water baptism is the natural that leads us into the spiritual reality of being cut free from satan, circumcised in heart and grafted into Christ.
In this act, God the Father removes us from the flow of the sap in the false vine, that is, the law of sin and death. He does this with the sole intention of placing us into the flow of the Holy Spirit, who is the Sap of the True Vine, the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
We see here that Paul specifically refers to the Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of Life in Christ”; therefore, as the sap communicates the very life and nature of the vine to the natural branch, so too the Spirit communicates the Life and Nature of Christ to us, as grafted-in branches.
John 3: 6-8 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
God the Father grafts us in, but it is the Holy Spirit who is responsible for our “birth” into life in Christ. The meaning of the word “born” in the Greek is: to procreate (prop. of the father, but by extens. of the mother); to regenerate: bear, beget, be born, bring forth, conceive, be delivered.
It is in this context that we can begin to understand what it means to be “baptised by the Holy Spirit”.
1Corinthians 12: 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
The “one body” speaks of the Body of Christ, the Church, the True Vine and all His grafted-in branches. When Paul says; “and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” he is referring to the Holy Spirit as the Life-Giving Sap of the True Vine.
A Greek scholar, by the name of Kenneth Wuest, has looked in detail at the words “baptised” and “baptism” to ascertain their meaning in the time when the NT was written. What follows is the definition for the words baptised and baptism, which he arrived at:
“The introduction, or placing, of a person or thing into a new environment, or into union with something else, so as to alter the condition, or its relationship to its previous environment or condition.”
You can see in this definition a direct link with the whole idea of birth. When a child is born it is introduced into a new environment. Prior to birth the child was in union with its mother. After birth the child is introduced to life in the world. Birth alters the relationship of the child with its mother and this change becomes increasingly noticeable as time goes on.
In the case of being born again, it is the Holy Spirit who introduces us into the new environment called `Life in Christ’. The Holy Spirit introduces us, or brings us, or baptises us, into life in union with Christ. By doing so the Holy Spirit changes our relationship to our previous environment, ie. the law of sin and death, which is the law of the world. Yeshua states this truth for us in John 15: 19 & 26
19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
26 "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.
In the same way that the sap in a natural vine bears testimony to the life that is in the vine, so the Holy Spirit bears testimony to the Life of Christ the True Vine.
When does this baptism, or introduction, by the Holy Spirit, into the person and work of the Life of Christ take place?
There has been no end of answers given to this question by various theologians. All I know is what the Bible says:
Acts 2: 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Clearly, repentance and water baptism (which is the summation of being cut to the heart, being cut free, being circumcised in heart and being grafted into Christ) immediately precedes the Holy Spirit coming and introducing us to the very Life of Christ Jesus.
This is consistent with the pattern found in the OT, in Leviticus 8, where we saw Aaron and his sons washed by Moses before the holy garments of the priesthood were placed upon them and before they were introduced into the life of Holy service, through the sprinkling of the blood and the oil. The oil represents the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the blood represents the ministry of Christ. These two are one in the same because the Holy Spirit ministers the very Life of Christ.
Also, this is consistent with the pattern of Jesus being baptised into His Great High Priesthhood, under the order of Melkizedek.
Matthew 3: 16-17 And Jesus, when He was baptised, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Our lack of understanding of these things has led to widespread confusion amongst believers, and would-be believers. It is only as we recognise that Yeshua’s baptism was in fact His consecration as Priest of the Most High God, that we can even begin to plumb the depths of what water baptism, and being baptised by the Holy Spirit mean to us as disciples of Jesus.
When Aaron was consecrated as High Priest he, together with his sons, had to be washed, or baptised. Then each one was dressed in linen shirt and linen trousers. There were no other garments to be worn by Aaron’s sons. However, in addition to these garments Aaron was also clothed with a special robe that was blue in colour. This robe was to be a physical representation of the Holy Spirit resting upon the High Priest in his ministry within the Tabernacle and later in the Temple. Only if Aaron’s sons were consecrated to serve as High Priest would they ever wear this blue robe, which was referred to as one of the `holy garments’ peculiar to the office of High Priest.
Exodus 29: 29 And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons' after him, to be anointed therein, and to be consecrated in them.
Now we begin to see the significance of the fact that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus immediately after His baptism, by John, into the office of High Priest. This coming of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus was the spiritual equivalent of the blue robe that Aaron wore, and each High Priest after him.
The other important difference between the consecration of Aaron as High Priest and the consecration of his sons as priests is in relation to the way in which they were anointed.
Exodus 29:7 Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his (Aarons) head, and anoint him.
21 And thou shalt take of the blood that is upon the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon the garments of his sons with him: and he shall be hallowed, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons' garments with him.
There is an important difference between “pour” and “sprinkle”. Aaron had the anointing oil, which represents the Holy Spirit, poured over his head and later he had the anointing oil, mixed with the blood of sacrifice sprinkled over his whole body. On the other hand, Aaron’s sons were only sprinkled with the anointing oil and the blood of sacrifice.
Also, if we hark back for a moment to the blue robe which Aaron wore, which represented the anointing of the Holy Spirit resting upon him as High Priest, we see that this garment had to be placed over Aaron’s head because of the way in which it was designed, in the same way in which the oil was poured over Aaron’s head.
Exodus 39:22-23 He (Moses) made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of blue. And there was an opening in the middle of the robe, like the opening in a coat of mail, with a woven binding all around the opening, so that it would not tear.
What does this mean for us?
The answer lies in the name of our High Priest. Yeshua was known as the Christ and the name Christ in the Greek means: anointed, i.e. the Messiah; to smear or rub with oil, to consecrate to an office or religious service: anoint.
There is only One High Priest, there is only One who has the fullness of the anointing and His name is Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest, who ministers in the bodily Temple of each saint.
However, as we have seen in previous chapters, God has made the way for us to be grafted into Christ, the True Vine. Having been grafted in we then become partakers of the Spirit of Christ, or the Spirit of Anointing, which is the very life and nature of Yeshua Himself.
As we have already mentioned, water baptism is the natural, or physical, expression of our being spiritually cut free from the false vine and being grafted into Christ, the True Vine. Yeshua was not baptised just into the office of High Priest, He was baptised into the office of Great High Priest. Aaron was a High Priest and as such he alone could take the blood of the sacrificial lamb into the Holy of Holies once a year to atone for the sins of the people. Yeshua is our Great High Priest because He fulfils the role of both High Priest and Sacrificial Lamb, presenting His own blood before God the Father as an eternal compensation for sin.
For too long we have been chasing after a gospel that gives us a baptism by the Holy Spirit and an anointing which has no foundation. The Foundation upon which the Holy Spirit is able to introduce us into the life of Christ, lies in our being cut to the heart, cut free, circumcised and grafted into Christ, by God the Father.
Until a branch is grafted in there is no experience of the sap from the new vine flowing into the branch. Nor is there any experience of the life of the vine becoming the life of the branch. The Life of Christ is the Life of the Anointing or the Anointed One. We have no anointing of our own, we are not called and consecrated as High Priests we are called and consecrated as Priests. We do not wear the blue robe of the High Priest, which represented the anointing, but we do share the life of the Anointed One, Christ our Great High Priest.
We have a very serious problem in Christendom when it comes to a Scriptural understanding of being “anointed” especially in the context provided by the True Vine and the grafted in branches.
In the OT, we must remember, the Holy Spirit had not come in all His fullness. Therefore, we see men anointed by God to fulfil the role of priests, kings and prophets.
Exodus 29:5-75 “Then you shall take the garments, put the tunic on Aaron, and the robe of the ephod, the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the intricately woven band of the ephod. "You shall put the turban on his head, and put the holy crown on the turban. "And you shall take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him.
Exodus 30:30 30 “And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister to Me as priests.
1 Samuel 10: & 6 Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance.… And the spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.
1 Samuel 16: 13 & 14 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So, Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah. But the spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.
I Kings 19:16 16 “Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.
In these cases, the anointed individual was chosen by God and separated for His service.
However, when we turn to the NT the whole application of the word “anointed” changes drastically, as you can see from the following Scriptures:
Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD."
Acts 4: 27-28 "For truly against Your Holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together "to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.
Acts 10: 36-38 “The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ; He is Lord of all; "that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
2 Corinthians 1: 21-22 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Hebrews 1: 8-9 But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore, God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions."
1John 2: 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
1 John 2: 27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
In four of these seven NT examples, the reference to being “anointed” refers to Yeshua. In the other three examples the “anointed” ones are: the believers in Corinth; and those whom John refers to as “my little children” who are obviously believers whom John had a part in fathering in the Gospel. Clearly, in the context of these three references the condition of being “anointed” or the “anointing” is linked directly to the person of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, in the NT the condition of being “anointed” applies only to Yeshua or to those who have been grafted into Yeshua and are maintaining a living common union with the True Vine and thus share in the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. In this way, and in this way alone, are all believers to be “anointed” and thus “kings and priests”.
Revelation 1:4-6 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Unfortunately, a practice has arisen in Christendom whereby certain individuals are looked upon as especially “the Lord’s anointed”. Thus, such people are placed on a pedestal and viewed as being unique, something akin to the OT priest, king or prophet and furthermore these people are afforded special protection, it would seem, by virtue of some of the following Scriptures:
1Samuel 24: 6-7 And he said to his men, "The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord's anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD."
So, David restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way.
1Samuel 26: 9 And David said to Abishai, "Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless?"
Psalm 105: 13-15 When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people, He permitted no one to do them wrong; Yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes, Saying, "Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm."
These first two instances refer to Saul when he was King of Israel and God had chosen him and set him apart to lead Israel. Under those circumstances David was quite correct in referring to Saul as the “Lord’s anointed”. However, in the third instance the “anointed ones” are the entire nation of Israel. So, this doesn’t refer to some specially chosen individual but to a nation.
In Saul’s case, when he was anointed to be King we know the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. We also know that the Spirit of the Lord left him when he disobeyed, and God declared that He no longer considered Saul as King over Israel.
In the case of the nation of Israel, we know that God set them apart to be His people and in that regard, they were “anointed” but the Spirit of God was never generally poured out upon this nation of people.
So, to apply these verses to any individual born again believer under the New Covenant is to “draw a very long bow”.
The only thing that we can conclude from Scripture is that under the New Covenant every born-again believer is the “Lord’s Anointed”. We all share the same “anointing”, we share Christ by means of the Holy Spirit who is the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.
In light of this we need to review our vocabulary when it comes to the subject of “anointing” or being the “Lord’s anointed”. Christ has not established a “pecking order” in His Body based on how “anointed” an individual is. Every member of His Body shares in the One Life and has a vital part to play.
1Corinthians 12: 11-27 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?
But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honourable, on these we bestow greater honour; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honour to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.