2. THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
It is common knowledge that the baptism of the Holy Spirit did not begin with the apostles in the New Testament. We see many cases across the Bible where God releases His Spirit upon His people as He pleases. This is also evident with the baptism of Christ when the Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove (Matthew 3:16; Luke 3:22; John 1:32).
However, what makes the baptism of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles unique is that it is the very first time that God releases His Spirit upon all flesh as prophesied by the prophet Joel.
This is one of the most important days in Christian and Biblical history not because of what the day represented or signified in Jewish history but what happened on that particular day. The name Pentecost is actually coined from the Greek word pentecoste which means fiftieth. This word was used to signify the day after seven full weeks following the first harvest of grain (Lev. 23:16). It was a harvest festival in early Judaism that was celebrated seven weeks after the beginning of the harvest and as time went by the early Christians began to celebrate the visit of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost day, as it coincided with the festival of weeks as well as being fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection.
It is on the day of Pentecost that we see the prophecy of Joel being fulfilled. When the apostles were gathered in the upper room to pray, the Holy Spirit came upon them as tongues of fire and they began to speak in new tongues (Acts 2:1-4). In fact when the Jewish people wondered what was happening to the apostles, Peter, while addressing them referred to the fulfillment of this prophecy which was promised by God through prophet Joel (Acts 2: 16-21).
What makes the fulfillment of this prophecy even more significant is the reality of the baptism of the Holy Spirit upon anyone who believed in Christ and God’s saving power regardless of whether they were of Jewish origin or not (Acts 4:31; 8:17; 10:44-48). This was a confirmation that God’s promise was finally being fulfilled in that He was pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh just as Joel prophesied.
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost Today
From the time of the apostles as it has been evidently recorded in the book of Acts those who believed in the gospel of Christ and accepted Him as Lord and Saviour were baptized by the Holy Spirit. How this baptism takes place has always varied with time but one evident thing is that all who believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
From the book of Acts we see the evidence of these variations. There are those who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit after they were baptized by water as was explained by Christ in John 3:5 (Acts 2:38, 41; 8:14-17) There are also those who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit just by the mere act of their faith in the Gospel of Christ even before the water baptism and later received the water baptism (Acts 10:44-48).
What happened in the days of the apostles is what happens today. Many Christians receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit during revival or faith meetings the moment they believe in Christ and accept Him as Lord and savior. Others however even though born again receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit later; either during water baptism, prayer meetings or in their personal prayer moments when they ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit. However, one thing we must always understand is that the Holy Spirit cannot dwell in a place where He’s not welcome. So He cannot come into your life unless you make Him feel welcome to dwell in your life.