Category Archives: Christian Axiology

Prayer of Petition VS Dedication: When prayer becomes Non-prayer

Below, is a quick contrast between a prayer of “dedication,” that Jesus prayed in the garden, and a prayer of “petition” (John 15:7, Luke 18:1).

These are two different categories. They do have some overlap, depending if you are looking at the only real level of causality, or from the human relative level, and ethics. There is also some overlap between the direct meaning and indirect or presupposition behind it; however, we will keep it at this relative and direct perspective for simplicity, because it is this level that Jesus mostly spoke about.

When Jesus prayed in the garden, it was a dedication prayer, like Hannah dedicating her son, or when we dedicate our tithes and offerings to God. We will focus on the two necessary qualifications from these types of prayers, which is important for our present topic.

 

Dedication:

One, the person dedicating knows specifically what the plan or will of God they are dedicating to. The point is about a “specific” plan, “revealed from God,” not revealed from human speculation. Second, the person is directly giving up something of theirs to aid God’s specific plans and goals.

As for the first qualification Hannah knew God’s plan about having an ongoing ministry to God with ministers.  There was no mystery about what God might or might not do about having a church and ministry. God instituted it and commanded it. It was His goal and plan. There are no vague notions about it. Hannah dedicating her son to the service of God, was Hannah dedicating to a clear and specific plan of God she understood. The same with tithing.  You know exactly what God’s plan is when it comes to tithing. There is no mystery here. God’s plan is to support His ministry and ministers. You are dedicating your money to His plan, a plan you know about in precision and clarity. The same with Jesus in the Garden. Jesus knew the specific plan of God about His death for the salvation of the elect. There was no mystery here. There were no nebulous notions of what God might or might not do. Jesus says in effect, “I am not here for Myself, to ask for something, I am here to dedicate Myself to Your plan Father, however, in Me giving Myself to aid Your plan, if there is a way for Me not to suffer so horrifically, then grant this to Me, however, I am here to aid Your specific goal Father, so I will do it no matter the cost.

In all these examples the plan of God is known from infallible divine revelation, and not personal superstitions from observations. Thus, one important point about a prayer of dedication is knowing about a specific plan of God as revealed truth (as infallible divine revelation), and giving something you have to aid this plan.

The second point is about who is giving to who. God owns all things, however, even Jesus when talking about the relative level said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar,” and not “Give Caesar’s things to God, because God ultimately owns it.” The bible does not teach pantheism. God is not what He creates, although He directly and absolutely controls every aspect of it, so that He is even the author of sin and evil. Thus, when God gives “you” something, because God is separate from the things He creates, God gave it to “you,” and “not Himself.” It is yours, not God’s, in this sense.  God gave money to Caesar, not to Himself, and thus, it is Caesar’s. The same with our money. When we tithe and give extra offerings, we are giving to God in this sense. God has said what His plan is about the ministry and ministers, and we obey Him by giving a portion of our money to aid God’s plan.

 

Petition:

A prayer of petition has the two same foundational points from above, but the object has changed. First, it is our specific plan, not God’s. Second, God is giving to us, and not us to God.

For the first point, the direct focus is our plan. We have a specific plan, and we are asking God to help, give it and establish it. Think about healing. When King Hezekiah was praying to be healed, was he praying for the idea of healing for all people, all animals and all theoretically possible aliens in the broadest sense possible? No. He was praying for healing for himself. (I know this sounds obvious, but people still miss these sort of things). As with the prayer for dedication, the plan is a specific one, and not a mystery, not might this or might not that.

I recall one time I was praying for help against a temptation to God, however, I was not clear in how I wanted God to help me. I suddenly felt the Spirit of God rebuke and say to me, “What do you want?” I then said, “I want my friend (Chris) to call me in the next 5 minutes, and read a Psalm to me and pray for me.” Exactly 5 minutes later my friend Chris called, and said he called because he suddenly felt the holy Spirit move him to call me, and read me a Psalm; and so he did.

God is often kind to us in our lazy prayers; however, this kindness of God does not remove the accountability from us that we are to specifically make our request known to God and receive them in faith.

As for the second part is obvious. God is the one giving to us. We are not referring to mysterious hidden providences of God; rather, we are referring to what Jesus said in the sermon on the mount.  Jesus said God is a good Father, in that what we ask for, God gives us this exact thing and not something different. God gives to us, and gives what we ask for. God hears our plan and our will, “Lord, heal me of this sickness,” and God aids our plan, by giving us a healing. Just like we see Jesus doing over, and over, and over, and over again in the Gospels. These people were stocking him, overcrowding Him, even interrupting Him (the person lowered through the roof), and He would stop what He was doing, and blessed their plan by giving them the healing they were asking for.

By staying on this level, we learn an important lesson: one type of prayer will negate the other. You are doing one or the other. You are in the direct sense, either giving to God, or God is giving to you. You are either knowing God’s exact plan (as divine revelation) and aiding it, or God is hearing your exact plan and aiding it.

Many when they pray, are in fact not praying, because they act like they are praying a petition, but then they refer to, “Lord, your will be done,” which is a dedication type prayer. When praying about the same these prayers cancel each other, therefore it is as if they prayed nothing. If this is the majority of your prayers, then you are not praying. If you are not praying, you are not a Christian. If you are not a Christian you will endure eternal suffering.

Since this is exactly the WOF doctrine, the WOF is right, and the others are wrong. Unless you are making a prayer of dedication, it is often wrong to pray “if it is your will,” as if you do not already know his will. In a prayer of petition, it can be an indication of unbelief and rebellion.

When you came to Christ, how come you did not pray, “God, I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and he came to this earth to die for sinners. If it is your will, save me, but if not, let me burn in hell”? Now when you sin, how come you do not pray, “God, I have sinned. If it is your will, forgive me, but if it is not, then revoke my salvation and damn me to hell.” How come? Because you know Jesus already suffered for your sins and paid for your forgiveness. God tells you this in his word. You knew God’s will before you asked, and you received by faith. Well, Jesus paid for a whole lot of other things, and God also tells you about them in his word.[1] 

This point we have been highlighting is a point that is different from the category error of mixing up ontology and ethics. If you do not know a specific divinely revealed truth, then an appeal in prayer to “ if the will of God,” is almost always nonsense. One could refer to the will of God in the broadest sense possible, such as “all things for God’s glory,” but the person who says this, could by the “will of God,” blaspheme the Spirit in the next breath and be sent to hell for the “glory of God.” Thus, a dedication prayer, is not meant to be said in this broadest sense possible, unless you are fine with giving your life to God, for God to cause you to blaspheme the Spirit, so that your burning body in hell is for His glory. No, you need something more specific.

Both types of prayer have in mind a specific plan, and is seeking to aid that plan. Because both are specific, to pray one type is not to pray the other type. To pray, “Lord heal me,” is seeking your specific plan, not God’s plan, in this direct sense. In this sense, you are indeed asking for “your will to be done” not God’s will. You are asking for God to give to you, and not you giving to God. Just like those who lowered the paralyzed man through the roof, and interrupted Jesus, they were asking for their will to be done[2]; they were not looking for God’s will to be done, in the direct sense by giving to a specific revealed plan of God.

I apologize for having to say such obvious things, but some have so abused the “will of God,” and so abused God’s sovereignty that I must go over this.

If you are NOT thinking about a specific decree and plan of God from Scripture (like tithing for support of the ministry), or a specific prophecy God has given you about your own ministry, then there is little context and little to no intelligibility to pray a dedication prayer. You are just mumbling at this point. You are praying like a mumbling pagan.

To ask for healing, and then say, “but your will be done,” is nonsense. In essence it is saying, this prayer is about “me knowing” my specific plan for healing and knowing “You giving” me that healing: however, it is also about “me giving” to You my circumstance and my “my not knowing” your specific plan to heal or not heal me?” LOL!

Again, this type of prayer has now become non-prayer. You are not saying anything. You are praying things that cancel each other out. If you pray like this, you are not praying, and if you do not pray you are not a Christian.

What is odd is that many cessationist and traditionalist (and sadly even Pentecostals) often refer to the “will of God,” as if they are praying a dedication prayer, when they are asking for something in a petition prayer. Thus, they are not praying. Getting past this point, we see another problem. If they are not receiving divinely given prophecies/visions/dreams concerning specifics for their ministries, then what “specific” plan from Scripture are they using to dedicate themselves to, by giving something to “God’s revealed plan”?  Take healing for example. What Scripture says God will not give healing when asked in true faith? Where? Remember a rebuttal only works if you can show a scripture that only means no healing with faith, and not a mere possibility.

These persons now have a real problem. They need a specific plan of God to dedicate themselves to, so as to feel really humble about themselves.

Sadly, the only thing left for such persons to acquire a “specific” plan of God, is to humanly divine it from the movements of circumstance, similar to how Satanists humanly divine the future with movements of a Ouija board. Their circumstances move this way, their bodies and hands move this way, thus, it is God’s specifically revealed plan not to heal me. Starting with an epistemology of human empiricism/observation (not scripture) they superstitiously conjure up a specific plan of God to their liking, such as, “its not God’s plan to heal me of this sickness.” Thus, many so-called Christians have more in common with demonic cults than with Christianity.  They are one step away from entering into the fellowship of demons, if they are not already there.

Be true Christians. Pray dedication prayers when applicable, and pray petition prayers when applicable and do not blur them into the same thing. Be Children of the light.

 

Dedication: Lord I give this to you.
Petition: Lord give this to me.

 

Dedication: Lord your will be done.
Petition: My will be done.

Dedication: I know Your plan, so I want to give this to You, to aid Your plan.
Petition: I know my plan, here is something I need You to give me, to help my plan.

 

———-END NOTES———-

[1] Vincent Cheung. Prayer and the Word of Faith.  From the ebook, Sermonettes Vol.8, 2015, pg.45.

[2] See Vincent Cheung. Healing: the Will of Man.

First Principles of a Worldview or First Spirits?

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

LSB Colossians 2:8

Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon: (elementary principles),

4747 στοιχεῖον [stoicheion /stoy·khi·on/] n n. From a presumed derivative of the base of 4748; TDNT 7:670; TDNTA 1087; GK 5122; Seven occurrences; AV translates as “element” four times, “rudiment” twice, and “principle” once.

1 any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise, an element, first principal. 1a the letters of the alphabet as the elements of speech, not however the written characters, but the spoken sounds. 1b the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe. 1c the heavenly bodies, either as parts of the heavens or (as others think) because in them the elements of man, life and destiny were supposed to reside.
1d the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles of any art, science, or discipline. 1d1 i.e. of mathematics, Euclid’s geometry.[1]

In the verse, the word “philosophy” is actually used, not “spirits or angels.” In addition to philosophy being used by Paul, which is about philosophy, the context is about “traditions of men,” that are conclusions from “elementary principles.” In Philosophy 101 you learn that ethics (or in this case religious ethics as “traditions”) are a conclusion from the rudimentary principles of metaphysics(reality) and epistemology(knowledge). To talk about ethics, as Paul does here, coming from elementary foundational principles of a human system, is as philosophy as it gets.  In fact you can start any Intro to Philosophy book or college class with this statement, “Philosophy is the study of the fundamental principles, or ultimate questions about life.” The first two biggest questions are almost always about “starting point for knowledge,” and then the “starting point for reality.” With these two big fundamental principles laid down, then one can easily proceed to ultimate question about ethics.

The whole structure of this premise and those immediately around, is strong philosophy, or ultimate question language. Thus, “stoicheion,” due to context should mean what it normally means and not some other meaning, like “elementary spirits.” It means ultimate or rudimentary/first principles of a worldview. Think about the philosophy word, “epistemology.” It means, “first or starting principle of knowledge.”

Thus, the last part of the Strong’s Lexicon (1D) is best definition of this word, that fits the context of Paul’s premise. Paul is therefore, referring to the first and foundational principles of a humanly made worldview, and then the “traditions” men conclude from the first principles of their humanly devised worldview.

Paul is contrasting “human” versus “Christian” first principles, and then human conclusions from their humans first principles versus Christian ethics from its first principles.

Men have their own speculative statements of first principles of knowledge and reality, and from this they superstitiously conclude human traditions as their ethics. Their traditions are false, because their first principles of their worldview about reality and knowledge are false; and therefore, their traditions/conclusions are false.

Christians on the other hand, have Christ, who is hidden all the treasures of knowledge. The Scripture reveals the starting principles about knowledge(epistemology) and reality(metaphysics) to us, and from foundation, God reveals His commands(ethics) to us. Christians ethics are founded on reality and truth, whereas, non-christians ethics are founded on a delusion of reality and skepticism as knowledge.

[1] Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Look Jesus! there are Crumbs: YOU SAID IT, NOT ME

“But she came and bowed down before him and said, “Lord, help me!”

“It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs,” he said.

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, your faith is great! Let what you want be done for you.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.”
(Matthew 15-25-28 NET)

.
Jesus, the greatest teacher who ever lived, Jesus the greatest prophet who ever lived, Jesus the greatest man who knew God’s Will perfectly and set His face like a flint to accomplish it at all cost,–said to this outsider woman, “woman, not God’s Will be done (His plan to only minister to the Jews before the atonement), but your Will Be Done.”

JESUS: “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.

WOMAN: “Jesus, these are Your words not mine. You said with Your words, there are dogs in the house beneath the table. Even if you did not intend it, you have me under your table. Even if you did not intend it, there are always crumbs that fall down from the table. You SAID IT, not me! If You are to be faithful to Your word, then you ought to let me have the crumbs, because I am there under that table with those crumbs, and I want them. YOU SAID IT, not me!!”

This woman, even if she is commandeering Jesus’ analogy to go farther than Jesus intended it, she does something that most people lack, which is engaging God’s word with importance. In FAITH she treats the Lord’s word with SERIOUSNESS! God just spoke. God cannot lie. She is banking on the fact that Jesus must be faithful to His words, even if Jesus did not intend them to the length she is asking for. Most would have been too offended at being called a “dog,” to treat Jesus’ word with reverence and importance.

Despite the errors the health and wealth guys have, they are not mistaken on taking the divine promises, from God’s word, and treat them with importance. Those who often criticize these faith teachers, are often to offended at Jesus’ words calling them dogs and unbelieving perverts (Matt.17:17), to take His promises on health and wealth seriously. You cannot please God without faith, says the preacher in Hebrews 11. These despite their faults, have faith in God’s promises. To have faith in God’s promise, even for health and wealth, is at the same time to treat God with reverence and seriousness. Those, who do not, dishonor Him and treat His word as a little and light thing.

Jesus, after seeing this woman use His analogy against Him, rather than rebuking her, praises her. Think about that. How often did Jesus do that? Jesus gets out maneuvered and out argued by a woman taking His analogy farther than He intended, and He praises her “FAITH” for doing so. Unlike many around Him, at least she was engaging His word with great importance and seriousness.

Jesus says to her, “Woman, God’s will/pan is to only minister to the Jews first, but not His Will be done; rather, your will be done on earth.”

Your theology must include this Jesus, or you are not a Christian. Your faith must treat God’s every promise with this level of importance, or you are not a Christian. However, when Jesus comes, will he find faith, will He find people treating His word with this level of importance with healing and casting out demons as this women did?

‐——————–

Endnote.

Vincent Cheung points out in the essay, Faith Override (sermonettes vol. 9), that faith is the first doctrine. Similar to how the Mosaic Covenant cannot override God’s promise to Abraham, the same is with faith. God made a Covenant or contract with man about faith. It is the first primordial doctrine.

In fact, this is Satan’s first temptation to Adam, “did God say?” Thus, every other doctrine and Covenant that comes later will not override it; rather the opposite, God’s first doctrine of faith, if a man engages it, will override doctrines that come later, because they only add to this first doctrine, and not replace it.

Thus, behind Jesus saying not God’s will be done, in regard to His plan to only minister to the Jews before the atonement, is God’s standing doctrine of faith. God’s will is to honor the will of man, when man engages God’s doctrine of faith in His word. When the woman engaged Jesus’ word with absolute importance, it triggered this first doctrine of faith.

Thus, behind Jesus saying, “woman your will be done,” is God’s will being done by His faithfulness to always honor faith, His first doctrine established with man.

God Owns it All, the Saints Receive it All

God Owns it All, the Saints Receive it All.

Recall an earlier quote from Vincent, from “On Good and Evil,”

The Bible says that, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). It also says that, “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone” (James 1:13), but that, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). This means that God’s nature is inherently good, and it is the objective standard of goodness on which all judgment on these issues must be based.[0]

I would like to point out from this an inference about how God’s children image Him.

There are a few reasons why God cannot be tempted. I will skip the issue that sin is not applicable to God. One reason why God cannot be tempted by evil, is because God already owns it all. How can God be tempted to steal something when He already owns it? The temptation of stealing happens because you perceive a lack in something, and you are tempted you to gain this lack in a manner that breaks God’s law, to lie and/or harms someone to get it. How can God be tempted to lie to get something, when He already owns it, and has no lack in anything? God has infinite power and value. If He does not already have it, if that is possible, then He can just create it. That is, by God’s nature itself, temptation for more than one reason, cannot be applied to God.

Remember Paul’s comments in Corinthians 1-3. He says there is a “wisdom” for the “mature” believer. He defines this maturity as the power, by the Holy Spirit, to know and receive all the goodies God has freely given us in Jesus Christ. This includes all of them, both spiritual and material goodies and favor. Paul goes on to say that, “all things are yours.” Then in context of this mature wisdom in knowing and receiving all God’s goodies, we are told we “think spiritually” and even have the “Mind of Christ.”

Jesus also, talked about degrees of faith. When commenting on the Roman soldier, Jesus said He had not seen such great faith in all of Israel. There is such things as weak and strong faith. With both examples, strong wisdom and strong faith was not related to suffering for Jesus, but the opposite. It was a “knowing and believing” that causes you to receive God’s freely given benefits.

Another example. “

Against hope Abraham believed in hope with the result that he became the father of many nations according to the pronouncement, “so will your descendants be.” Without being weak in faith, he considered his own body as dead (because he was about 100 years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver in unbelief about the promise of God but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,” (Romans 4:18-20 NET)

When Christians are strong in wisdom and maturity like this, they truly become Godlike, relative to our example above. God is not tempted because He already owns it all. Likewise, mature Christians, strong in faith and wisdom, receive all they ask from God. Thus, God owns it all, and Christians receive it all.

How can a Christian be tempted to steal, cheat their neighbors, and lie when whatever they are being tempted with they have the faith and maturity to receive it? Whether spiritual things like a hopeful mind, a joyous mind and a sound mind, the Christian can grow and receive this in faith. What about healing, finances, a spouse and help from everyday troubles? How can these tempt them in fear and lack to do something evil and sinful, when they can just easily receive it in faith?

There is more to having strength to resist temptation, but this is one aspect many foolishly overlook to their own damnation.

This is something that mature Christians do that truly makes them Godlike, and true image bearers of Christ. When they live this type of mature wisdom and faith, they think God’s thoughts after Him, and walk in His pathways. Leave the milk and elementary things like forgiveness of sins and move on to maturity.[1] Receive not only the doorway (forgiveness) but march to into house of God and sit at His table prepared for you. Receive the bread and wine, where God promises to “be your God, and you His people,” and promises to “never stop from doing good to you.” He defines Himself as a Good Father, in that whatever you ask for, you receive it, and not something different.


[0] Vincent Cheung. On Good and Evil. 2002. Pg. 6-7 (www.vincentcheung.com)

[1] (Not moving on in the sense of casting it aside, but having truly believed it as a foundation, you build on it.)

Expansionism: Applied Eschatology

 

This doctrine is reserved the Section on “Ethics,” however, I will briefly define it here for context.

I am using the term as Vincent Cheung as defined it, since his term properly encompass what I also believe the Scripture teaches on this subject. He was the first to use it, and it is a clear definition, thus I will use his.
I will let him define it here:

Expansionism is the Bible’s explicit doctrine on the subject of spiritual gifts, powers, and miracles. This is the only biblical perspective. I am unaware of any official recognition of the doctrine, so I have selected the term for it. The word is sometimes used in a political sense, but I mean it in a spiritual sense. It is applied to every aspect of the advance of the gospel, but in this context we will focus on the supernatural powers and miracles that God works in association with his people. This is the biblical doctrine that supernatural powers and miracles are to increase in God’s people beyond what Jesus Christ himself exercised. They are to multiply exponentially in quantity and frequency, in intensity and magnitude, in the diversity of representation, and in the scope of jurisdiction. There should be an accumulated momentum, so that compared to Jesus and the apostles, and compared to each previous generation, the church should demonstrate more miracles, greater miracles, miracles performed by more kinds of people, and miracles performed in more areas of the world…

Jesus would perform a miracle, and then he would say that the one who has faith can perform the same miracle, and even a greater miracle — a greater miracle than the one he did. It was as if he wanted to erase every doubt and condemn every excuse. He emphasized this doctrine again and again, and he formulated it in explicit terms. He referred to his miracles (John 14:11), and then he said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (14:12). This leaves no room for cessationism, but it is much more than continuationism. It is expansionism.

The Bible contains statements that promise us the ability to perform specific kinds of miracles by faith. For example, James 5:15 is a promise for miracles of healing. In fact, it is a command to perform miracles of healing as much as it is a promise. However, even before we learn about these promises, or even without them, John 14:12 guarantees the continuation and expansion of the miracles that Jesus performed. Even without Matthew 17:20, Matthew 21:21, Mark 11:23, and every other passage like these, the one who has faith possesses an irrefutable and permanent basis to perform the same kinds of miracles, such as to command a sickness to leave someone, or to command the restoration of a damaged or missing organ. John 14:12 encompasses all the miracles of Christ, so that miracles of prophecy, miracles of nature, and all other miracles, are also included and promised to those who have faith. That said, we indeed have Matthew 17:20, Matthew 21:21, Mark 11:23, and many other passages that dictate the doctrine of expansionism. It is inescapable….

… Before Christ ascended to the throne of God, he declared that the Holy Spirit would come upon the disciples, and they would receive the same power that he exercised in his ministry (Acts 1:8). Keep in mind that he had already promised that anyone could perform the same and even greater miracles by faith, and the disciples had already been performing miracles by faith, healing the sick and casting out demons in his name. Jesus did not want this to merely continue. He wanted more, much more. This would add still another dimension of spiritual power to their lives — faith upon faith, power upon power. Jesus was not satisfied until his followers had attained an excessive and ridiculous level of charismatic endowments. He refused to accept a mere continuation of his ministry, but he demanded an expansion, an escalation. He wanted the power they demonstrate to be outright absurd. He told them not to leave the city until the Spirit arrived. Then they were to expand, and carry this power “to the ends of the earth.”

When we come to the events after the ascension of Christ, we need to move quickly, because too many things happened for us to consider them in detail. The disciples were no longer just talking about it, but they were doing it. Expansion in every aspect was happening — the quantity of the miracles, the quality of the miracles, the diversity of believers, and the immensity of territories. There was an explosion of supernatural power, and miracles splattered all over the place.

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit arrived in a spectacular fashion upon the group of believers. Only ten percent of them were apostles (Acts 1:15), but all of them were directly infused with the same power to receive revelations and to perform miracles that infused Jesus Christ (Luke 4:14, 24:49, Acts 1:8, 2:4). Since the first day, the overwhelming majority of those who had prophetic gifts and miraculous powers were not apostles. Peter explained that it was exactly what was supposed to happen. He referred to the prophet Joel: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy” (Acts 2:17-18). The anointing of the Spirit had spread beyond a few kings and prophets, to Christ and his disciples, and now it would expand in power and scope to all kinds of people, penetrate all levels of society, invade all areas of the world, for all times in the future….[1]

Let me give a quick summary of this.

Expansionism is thus, the combination of the (1) discipleship “faith” Jesus mentions in “…whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these,” John 14:12 (NIV).[2] This basic discipleship faith is meant for all disciples of Christ. First it says, “whoever believes in Me,” and the context is paralleled with loving each other—or is loving our Christian brothers only for the 12 original apostles?  (2) The combination of “baptism of the Spirit” that Jesus commanded, and Peter through the Joel prophecy, says it for all whom God calls to Himself in salvation.  (3) The combination of the “gifts of the Spirit” as mentioned briefly in Corinthians 12-14.

There is even more, such as what some call the mode of the “anointing presence of God,”(etc.) but we will just keep it to 3 for simplicity.

These 3 combinations are not meant as static; rather, they are meant as an ever increasing[3] expansion in and through the Church to bring the Kingdom of God on earth. That is, the millennium started when Jesus sat on His throne, at the right hand of the Power. He commands the ever increasing expansion of His kingdom on earth by commanding all to repent (baptism of faith), to be empowered (baptism of the Spirit). By these two baptisms, the chosen elect are to be filled with intellectual, ethical and missional power to expand His kingdom on earth, like the Israelites expanded into the Promise Land. This expansion will continue until the fullness of the gentiles are complete and the Jews experience an accelerated repentance in Jesus Christ.

This is what postmillennialism is missing; it has the structure without the content. It has the building but no people. It has a body but no soul. Since for about 1500 years the church has labeled expansionism as a heresy, then no classical doctrine of eschatology is able to be salvaged by combining it with expansionism and still calling it by its classical name, since the classical name contradicts expansionism.

Because expansionism is the correct application of eschatology, then one can simply term expansionism, as Biblical Eschatology and it would be sufficient.  However, for this book I will term the whole meaning of eschatology as “Right-Hand-of-the-Power-ology.” Or for short, Throneism, or Powerism. I would rather use these words, because the doctrine of expansionism, is a consequent of the antecedent, of Jesus as He sits at the right hand of the Power, and from this position, commanding and giving us His power to expand. Depending on, if one defines Jesus sitting at God’s right hand as much as a definition as what the church does, by expanding in power, faith, and miracles, then expansionism can be used as a complete term for biblical Eschatology. 

Also, from this doctrine of expansionism, we can throw the entire various definitions of cessationism into the garbage as blasphemy and rebellions against God. When all definitions fall horrifically short, it does not matter the version of it. Thus, when I rebuke cessationism, I am lumping all of them together, (ranging from those who say “all miracles and gifts have stopped,” to those who say “the gifts have mostly stopped, some miracles still might happen when we ask”), as heretics and deserving of judgment.  It does not matter if one arrow was 50 miles from the bullseye and the other 56 miles, and another was 59 miles. All are completely and ridiculous failures. At least with modern day Pentecostals and Charismatics their arrow was only 30 feet from the bullseye. Still, to miss the target that far off is embarrassing, yet, there is a significant difference of 30 feet compared to 50 miles. The cessationist were not even trying to aim for the Scripture.

Endnotes———————

[1] Vincent Cheung. “Expansionism: A Gospel Manifesto.”

From the ebook, Fulcrum. 2017. Ch. 1. Pg.5-11.
I quoted this at large, because I wanted to make sure there was plenty of context for Vincent to define this doctrine in his own words, thus, if I were to teach something different or disagree there is ample context to demonstrate.

[2] Compare this to John 3:16.

“…whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 (NIV)

“…whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.”
John 14:12 (NIV)

[3] Some might recognize the Smith Wigglesworth book title, Ever Increasing Faith.  Thus, it is not as if Vincent was 100% original in this, but that his definition is a fuller definition, in addition to being concise and clear

“God’s Plan is to answer Your Plan”

I saw this quote today,

“do not pray for God to bless your plan; rather, pray for God’s plan.”

If this was the case, then there would have been no enlarged tent for Jabez(What does this have to do with “gospel centered? “God blessed Him anyway.), no healing King Hezekiah, no son for Hannah or Elizabeth, no healing for the Gentile woman, no rain from Elijah and etc. , etc..
How many people did Jesus not approach, but they went to Him, with their plan for God to heal them? Hundreds? Thousands? The scripture records that Jesus healed “all” who came to Him. That is, there was a 100% chance God blessed their plans, when faith was involved. Jesus says to pray and never give up in regards to God blessing your plan.
God’s plan for you is simple. God’s plan is that you—in your everyday life business and difficulties—pray for your plans, through the promises, and get them by faith.
If you don’t do this, you are disobeying and deviating from God’s plan for you. Jesus says, you “prove” you are His true disciples if you pray and get anything (including your plans) you wish by faith. (John 15)
This is true humility. True humility starts with epistemology, which is God’s revelation. It commands us to submit our wants to Jesus and get them in faith (John 14-16). Not doing this is pride and arrogance.  Humility is submitting our plan (to get healed for example) to God in faith in His promise, and God giving us our plan. Not doing this is pride and arrogance.

Sola Scripture or Sola Circumstances?

The word of God portrays Christians as wielders of miracle healing power. They can heal the sick in the name of Jesus when no one else can. If they even sneeze “JESUS!” a cripple nearby gets up. This is the one thing that even unbelievers knew about Christians before they learned about our doctrines. But now…not so much. There are indeed churches that teach the word of God on healing, but they have been so diluted by false churches, the anti-healing cults, that Christians are no longer known for healing the sick. In fact, they are known for being sick, and for surrendering to being sick, because it is “the will of God.” They talk about a “God,” but instead of interpreting circumstances by some divine verbal revelation, they regard whatever circumstances they face as the will of this “God”; therefore, their “God” is Circumstances. That is what they worship. It is paganism…
Vincent Cheung.
“A Matter of Public Health.” From the ebook, Contract. 2020. pg 77
———————————————-
This is a good example when the phrase “will of God” is turned in to pagan worship and into a satanic doctrine.
Let us test this out with sickness. If the phrase, “will of God,” makes you think more about your circumstances, and then from this you decide what you ought to do, rather than directing your mind to God’s verbal public revelation and to an actual command/promise for you to put your faith in,
(such as “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven” James 5:15),
then you are, pragmatically no different than a pagan going to demons on a Ouija board looking for “directions” in your “circumstances.”
This is the essential difference for a Christian with the category of knowledge. God’s revealed truth is the only knowledge of the world, for the Christian. It is the only starting place for knowledge, nothing else. Not human circumstances, not human observations, not science, not you divining human circumstances with a demonic doctrine of “god’s will,” and not David Hume’s empiricism. All of these use a human starting point for knowledge, rather than God’s Word. All of these live by sight rather than by faith.
At the end of the day, the Christian will chose the Scripture alone as their epistemology rather than circumstances, by this we know who belongs to God and those who belong to the world.  By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of the anti-Christ. Those who shout loudest, “sola Scriptura,” are often the ones who out do the Catholics for having more epistemologies than Hindu gods.
With the category of “what I ought to do in this circumstance,” the knowledge given to Christians is found in God’s “commandments and promises”(which are essentially commandments). As with sickness there are clear commands and promises in what to do. There is no amount of creeds, degrees, tradition and human approval that can save you from the accountability and responsibility to obey God’s command to be healed. There is no excuse you can give to evade obeying God. Appealing to a nebulous “will of God,” in your circumstance does not remove your accountability and responsibility from obeying God’s commands. Nothing does.
When God gives precepts in the form of promises, they demonstrate a God who is rich in kindness and love. To be commanded to repent and be saved by our faith in Jesus is such a loving and wonderful kindness from God. The same with healing and with all the wonderful promises of God to help us.
Yet, the great kindness and love of God in giving promises for help does not negate our accountability and responsibility in obeying them.

Samson: When “God” is the Hero of your Faith, then “You” become a Hero of Faith

Samson is one of the most slandered heroes in the Scripture. Even as a boy, I always looked up to Samson. Not only his strength, but his faith. Even as a child I saw the New Testament defining Samson as a hero of faith, along with David, Moses, Abraham and others as a person, whom the world was not worthy to have known. Samson is truly someone I can look up to and emulate, just as much as David and other heroes of faith.

However, growing up, I almost exclusively heard Samson used only to say, “don’t be like Samson, who went after a prostitute.” Well, obviously! But why do mere mortals only refer to Samson this way, when the Scripture and the Preacher only define him as a man to emulate as a hero of faith? Jesus says what men often priorities, God finds an abomination. What God prioritizes, men often put at the bottom of the list, if at all.

The first true positive teaching on Samson I ever read was by Vincent Cheung.[1] Some of my thoughts are based on this essay. See footnote for source material.

The gospel of John has this thesis statement, “I have written these things that by believing in His name, you will have eternal life.” After feeding the 5 thousand, the crowds ask Jesus what are the “works” of God that they need to do. Jesus answers them by saying the “work” the Father has commanded you to do is to believe in the Son, whom He as sent. This is in essence, the first and greatest commandment in application. Favoring God above all others and obedience starts at the epistemology level. Its starts with knowledge. Once man abandons himself as a starting point, and humbly receives God’s revelation, everything else flows from this, including the second greatest commandment. This is to say, the most important act of obedience is faith in what God as revealed. Indeed the gospel of grace is itself a commandment to all men, for Paul says in Acts 17 to the Greeks, that God has “commanded” all to repent. The gospel as wonderful as it is, is still a commandment. Christian ethics is God’s commands and precepts. Thus, obeying God by believing in Him to accept the good things Christ has purchased by His blood, is the height of Christian morals and ethics.

I say all this to point out how some very foolish people think Samson is a moral failure. They could not be more wrong. Because Samson’s faith was so strong, he is therefore, a super strong example of moral power, and ethical superiority. The point is not if one specific Christian has sinned, for we all stumble, even after being born from above. As John says, if we say we have not sinned, we are lairs.

Faith, is more than just receiving Jesus’ good news of forgiveness and sonship, it also includes believing God at every point of contact with reality, where the Scripture gives a truth claim. Whether it is simply believing a categorical claim about reality in general, or a promise that God will help in this specific way, all of it is faith. Since we struggle, and the world is often against us as Christians, our faith is often focused on our relation with our Father, and specific promises that deal with our situations.

Often our faith in what God has revealed is tested in our immediate context and struggle. Whether it is about believing God’s claim of creating the worlds in 6 days, God’s definition of male or female, or healing of a terminal sickness, our faith is tested in what we are facing. Therefore, to define a strong “faith” is more than looking at the bear basic gospel message, and if there is faith or unbelief. Paul and New Testament writers, often referred to their audience in confidence that they are part of God’s elect, but also rebuked them for their immaturity; they must feed them milk rather than solid food. Thus, they have faith, but it is immature and defective. They have gospel believing faith, but they are still categorized as immature. Their faith needs grow, because in the immediate context of their testing, they are failing.

Samson is a hero of faith, because in his immediate context of struggle and testing, he shown forth as a brilliant superstar of faith. His faith was not a flashlight in the dark, it was a sun breaking over the horizon. Oh, that Christians would be like Samson.

I have often used Samson as a test, when trying to evaluate other Christians. I want to see how they value faith, and if they value it like the Scripture and Jesus Christ does. I have often, been disappointed and angered. One missionary, with brutal honesty, told me he did not like that Samson was mentioned in Hebrews 11 as someone for us to emulate. At least he was honest that he did not like the bible. For people like him, the bible is not moral enough. Jesus is not moral enough for them.

I will not go over the story and major points of Samson, for that see the above essay by Vincent. I want to focus only on faith.

Samson after killing the thousand people with the bone, said this prayer,

Samson was now very thirsty, and he cried out to the Lord, “You have accomplished this great victory by the strength of your servant. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of these pagans?”

First point. Samson spoken to God in a disrespectful way. This will be important later.

Second point, Samson acknowledged it was God who gave him the strength for this victory. Thus, even at the beginning of Samson’s victory over the Philistines, he was not doing it in unbelief. Samson from the start, was crediting God with his own strength and power. Samson was not stealing from God by saying he did it, not God. Samson must have heard the word his parents spoke to him that God gave them. He believed it. He believed God would strengthen him and would give him victory over the Philistines.

What lead up to Samson killing the thousand Philistines? His own countrymen, maybe people he even grew up with (his peers) freely handed him over to the Philistines. Remember Gideon? With only 300, he defeated an army. Here now are 3000 men from Judah! If they would, repent and believe, God could free them in an hour, no, in a minute.

The big idea is the context for Samson’s faith being tested. Imagine, being surrounded by 3000 Christians (some who you went to Sunday school with). You are surrounded by unbelief from those who say they believe. But it gets worse, they actively preach and encourage you to not believe God’s promise. The ones meant to help, persecute you. The ones meant to build you up, are demons who inspire unbelief. This is Samson’s test and context. Many fold in this situation. The 3000 Judah cowards show this. No friends and even your own church peers’ pressure you to not trust in God’s promise. Some might have just enough strength, to not renounce God’s promise as they are martyred, and by this, end their ability to help the church. However, would you have enough faith in God’s promise, to not only affirm but in faith acquire the promise to kill 1000 men with a bone, and advance the Kingdom of God? What would you have done? I will not answer that for you.

After Samson’s sin with Delilah (which is more about female companionship rather than just sex), has his eyes poked out and is a slave in the hands of his enemies.

Most in this context and testing avert to David Hume’s empiricism and make truth claims about reality with their observations, rather than, faith in God’s promise. Most use their observation about their circumstance and feelings to say, “It’s God’s will for me to be here, and so, either God has abandoned me, or God wants me to be die here for my punishment (and thus ending my ability to be a judge according to His promise).” All of these sayings are from spiritual losers, and spiritual perverts.

The sin and wickedness of this is manifold, but the foundation sin is rejecting God’s promise as a truth claim about reality and negating it with one’s observations. God’s promise for your forgiveness, or your healing, or help in trouble is a truth claim about reality, and so, to use your human observation to negate this truth claim, is to proclaim a human starting point is more foundation for truth rather than God’s revelation. Sadly, most who claim Christian give this testimony more than anything else. They have their reward.

Samson’s last prayer when like this,

“My Lord Yahweh, remember me!
Please give me strength this one time, O God, so that I can repay with one act of revenge to the Philistines for my eyes.

Samson not only acknowledges God as his strength, but did so in a respectful way. This was the greater of his moral mistakes. Delilah, was in fact the lesser of the two moral problems. The first commandment is always the greatest. Disrespect for God is always greater compared to sins committed against the second commandment. Samson thus, made the most important ethical repentance and change that faced him. However, this not the point I wish to focus on.

Look at His faith! Even with everything Samson could observe and calculate from his human observations, which said God was done with him, Samson did not approach God on this human foundation. Rather, Samson approached God on His promise.

Not our observation, but God’s promise defines reality as it truly is. By approaching God on the foundation of His promise, you are acknowledging God’s sovereignty over reality. This exalts Him and honors Him. You are acknowledging His sovereign word defines reality, and not what you can gather from inductive empiricism.

Samson’s faith rested on the fact that “GOD” defined Samson as a judge to the Philistine, not Samson. The sovereign Yahweh, said Samson was a judge, because Yahweh wanted it so. As Paul says in Romans 9, before they are born, before they had done “good or evil choices,” God chose to love one and hate another. Yahweh in love, before Samson sinned or did good, chose him to be judge; the only sovereign God chose him to be a hero of faith. It was about God’s choice. And God is still here. He is still sitting on His throne. His callings and gifts are irrevocable. His mercy endures forever.

So what, if Samson is a slave to the Philistines, by his own bad choices? What does this have to do with negating God’s callings and God’s loving choice to make Samson a judge? Nothing!

Some can see this in the gospel but fail to apply this correctly to all of God’s promises about reality. In Romans 5:9 Paul says on the foundation of Jesus blood, you are declared righteous by the Father. Thus, there is nothing “you” can do about it, because there was no “you” for how this justification happened. The ethical application, which is faith, is worked in you by God. This is true for all of God’s promises.

God is the only real cause for anything and all reality. There is no such thing as secondary causes, because “relative” to God, there is no other cause. There is no dualism in Christian ontology. Thus, every act of faith is caused by God in us. And every act of unbelief is equally worked directly by God in us, even if Satan is working it in the man, because God is the one directly controlling Satan’s mind and the man’s mind.

God’s sovereignty is arbitrarily in the sense of what God wants. It is not arbitrary in the sense of being fickle or constantly up and down. God has perfect control over His Mind. He only does what He wills.

God cannot lie and He is immutable, thus, God will not lie to us. However, this has nothing to do with God arbitrarily wanting to hate Esau and love Jacob before they had done any good or bad. This is why Paul says in the same chapter that human beings are like a lump of clay, and God arbitrarily grabs a handful of clay from the lump and then forms it into a pee pot and then another to be a beautify vase. It is God’s choice.

There is confusion over God’s sovereignty being arbitrary. Its arbitrary, in that God does what He wants, but not in the sense it is fickle, or that it goes up and down.
He is immutable. God cannot lie.

He gave promises in the Bible based on the demand of faith, and they are all yes in Jesus Christ.
Therefore, a Saint looking at a promise in the Bible, is all the confirmation they need that it is God’s will for them.

It is like a child playing with LEGOS. Would I be wrong for taking some blue colored LEGOS and some brown ones, and then treat the blue LEGOS as the bad LEGOS and the brown ones as good? Of course not. Therefore, men have no argument against God, for no matter what they say against His sovereignty they would condemn themselves in the same breath. I am the only sovereign over the LEGOS I am building. If I sovereignly decide, any LEGO man with “x” shade of brown on their body will be a strong judge, then it is so.

God created and put Samson with the brown LEGOS, with “x” brown shade for his upper body; He wrote on his t-shirt, “A judge to the Philistines.” This was based on what God wanted. It is final. It is irrevocable. It is reality.

Samson honored God by believing Him, even when everyone and everything said no. Samson said yes. Samson said, “God gets to define reality, not men.” “God is the true sovereign God. If God said I will be a judge, then it is so. If God’s choice was based on His own sovereign arbitrary choice, and had nothing to do with me, then even my own choices do not negate God’s choice to use me.”

And so, even in a besetting sin, God will give victory. Samson looked beyond human observation and saw that in God’s eyes, Samson was placed by God with the brown LEGOS, and God made him strong. God’s choice was arbitrary, but not fickle. And God still rules; thus, Samson was still with the brown LEGOS. This is God’s world. The world runs on His definitions and choices, not mans.

Peter in Acts 2 and Jesus in John 15 uses the doctrine of predestination as a way to encourage faith for baptism of the Spirit, and faith to ask for anything and receive this from God. They used God’s sovereignty to encourage and elevate faith. Someone who uses predestination to diminish the baptism of the Spirit (and speaking in tongues) and faith to ask for whatever you want and have God give it to you, is an anti-Christ and a liar. They have no idea what they are talking about. They have no clue what is God; they do not know what His sovereignty means. God’s sovereignty is too good, too spiritual and too intellectual for them to understand.

Hebrews 12 mentions besetting sins for Christians (which is so sensitive for many), and the encouragement is to look to Jesus who is the “author” and “perfecter” of our faith. On the ultimate level God does it, and He wants you to know it, and keep looking to the fact Jesus will sovereignty control your faith to victory. Vincent really helped me years ago, to dismantle the false use of God’s sovereignty the Reformed teach, in his essay, “Predestination and Miracles.” The bible uses God’s absolute control over our faith as an encouragement for power and victory, and not “if God wills,” and just let life roll over us.

This is how it is with all of God’s promises that are “yes and amen” in Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV, “No matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.” Thus, If you are looking at a promise today that is a help for your situation, then that alone shows it is God’s will for you.

If you read a promise on healing it is your definition as much as God made plants being organic part of their definition. God’s promises for healing is having “z” shade of LEGO brown legs. God’s word tells you, that God has created you with “z” legs. It is your reality. Faith is simply agreeing with God’s sovereign right, authority, and power to create you this way in Christ. God is the only sovereign God.

Samson said Yes to God’s promise to use him as a judge. God honored Samson’s acknowledgment of His promise, by granting him the most powerful display of strength he had ever used.

In our lives, in the context of our struggles, Samson is a hero to be emulated in our faith. He serves as a shinning sun, that pushed aside every human starting point for knowledge, and only stood on God’s sovereign promise/definition of reality.

Considering God’s promise to always give a “yes” to our faith in His many promises in Christ, what excuse do we have? Jesus said we have been predestined to bear fruit for God, and this fruit includes asking and receiving whatever we ask for.

As a personal note. I remember back in high school, when my band (Kairo Music) was asked to play for a Church of God boys of Tennessee retreat. There were only about 20 boys, and most were from broken homes. Not your typical event a young Christian rock band plays at, for there is little return on such an event in the eyes of the world. However, God moved us to go and so we did. We were very busy that week, and could not prepare in way of playing and praying, as we often try to do. We were in the cafeteria, praying right before the event, and we all were filled with unbelief about the event. At that moment, my twin (Joshua) began to prophecy, “I want to bless these boys. Your effort to prepare, or not prepare has nothing to do with My own desire to bless them. I want to bless them, and so I will.” The Spirit of God came down that night and many boys were saved and baptized in the Spirit. Years later, the person in charge of this event stumbled upon on me. He then told me that for years they only had 20-30 boys show up, but something changed that night we played, when the Spirit fell. He said now hundreds of boys are now showing up and are hearing the gospel preached to them.

The truth of the matter is that it should not take God to give us a public rebuke to remind us that God’s promises are “yes” in Christ. His promises are based in His sovereign pleasure to bless all of His elect Children. If God says, “if you have faith to be forgiven or healed, then you will get,” then God has just told has us that HE WANTS TO BLESS US. He just defined us in this reality, as those who are healed by faith. It is God’s sovereign, arbitrary good pleasure to define us this way. It has nothing to do with us, and our performance.

Because God’s promises for healing, for example is a “yes” (James 5:15) just as much as forgiveness of sins by faith (James 5:15), then it is an accurate and precise definition of reality. In essence, when the Holy Spirit sovereignly opens your mind to see and believe God’s promise, you see that God as placed you with the brown LEGOS. It is God telling you, “I have defined clouds to float, and the sun to shine. However, I have defined you this way. You had nothing to do with why I put you here. I wanted to. I am still here. I am still on the throne. And so, you are still with the brown LEGOS. Your definition is this: if you ask for forgiveness, then you get it. If you ask in faith for healing, then you get it.”

This is God’s world, and His arbitrary choices. And He has defined you this way. It is who you are. It does not matter, where you are now. It does not matter if you have 3000 friends who cannot strain out one ounce of faith for God. It does not matter if you are being disciplined by God for bad choices. God’s arbitrary choices are immutable and irrevocable. You are still a child of God, and you are STRONG in Christ. You have the armor of God! You are predestined for baptism of the Spirit with power, you are predestined to get answers to your prayers. You are who God has made you; You are defined as God has defined you through Jesus Christ. There is no fear in a God who loved you so much that He saved you when a sinner, and who cannot lie. He promises to use His absolute and direct sovereign control over all reality to author a faith of victory for you. He will cause you to mature.

This positive doctrine of our faith by the predestination and sovereignty of God is seeing Jesus as the “author and perfecter,” of our faith, and therefore, He is the the “hero of our faith.” He will not fail in His love to cause us to bear fruit and remain in Him. He is our great hero who works in us faith to acquire these things. It is certain. God is the hero of our faith, in that we delight knowing God will sovereignly control and prefect our faith for victory over the world and acquiring the promises. Oh, what a hero is His to us!

When God becomes hero of your faith, then you become a hero of faith, whom the world was not worthy to have known.

Endnotes______________

[1] Vincent Cheung. Samson and His Faith. 2003.

Baptism Of Power: Applied Eschatology

[This is a first draft canalized section, from the Eschatology section, from my systematic theology book. ]

When Jesus on His throne becomes central when thinking about eschatology, rather than man-centeredness, the application is power; this power comes from baptism in the Spirit. It also comes from an indominable faith that moves mountains, and approaches the throne of grace to receive the very thing one asks for. One becomes focused expanding the Kingdom of God, in power, truth and love.

The New Testament teaches in more than on place saying something to the effect, “by believing God’s love and forgiveness for you, you are empowered to love and forgive one another,” (i.e. Colossians 3:9-13). Thus, who would contend with us saying, “if you want to be mature in loving others, you need to be focused on God’s love for you,”? You need to be radically Jesus-centered focus, if you want to be mature in your own love and mercy given to your fellow brethren. The same is in eschatology. If you want Power to advance the Kingdom, if you want Power to help those who are suffering, then you must be radically focused on where Power comes from, Jesus on His throne. If you want Heaven’s power, then being focused on men and government is a contradiction.  The reason why so many focus on man and governments in eschatology, is because the LOVE being focused on man. Man-centeredness is their idol and god. They have their reward. Human power is all they will have.

As for us, we keep our minds where our life and power is at, the right of God with Jesus.

Jesus began to do and to teach, 2 until the day he was taken up, after he had given orders through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen…

4 He commanded them, “Do not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for what was promised by the Father, which you heard about from me. 5 For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now”…

they began asking him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 But he said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest part of the earth.”
(Acts 1:1-8 LEB)

“And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all,”
(Acts 4:33 LEB)

2:1 And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in the same place. 2 And suddenly a sound like a violent rushing wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues like fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them ability to speak out.

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them, “Judean men, and all those who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and pay attention to my words! 15 For these men are not drunk, as you assume, because it is the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel..

30 Therefore, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, 31 by having foreseen this, he spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he abandoned in Hades nor did his flesh experience decay. 32 This Jesus God raised up, of which we all are witnesses. 33 Therefore, having been exalted to the right hand of God and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, he has poured out this that you see and hear.

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all those who are far away, as many as the Lord our God calls to himself.”

9:17 So Ananias departed and entered into the house, and placing his hands on him, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight and got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking food, he regained his strength. And he was with the disciples in Damascus several days.

10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who were listening to the message. 45 And those believers from the circumcision who had accompanied Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46 for they heard them speaking in tongues and glorifying God. Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can withhold the water for these people to be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit as we also did!” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for several days…

11:16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 Therefore if God gave them the same gift as also to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?” 18 And when they heard these things, they became silent and praised God, saying, “Then God has granted the repentance leading to life to the Gentiles also!”

19:1 And it happened that while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the inland regions and came to Ephesus and found some disciples. 2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “But we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit!” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into the baptism of John.” 4 And Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the one who was to come after him—that is, in Jesus.” 5 And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy.

____

If Jesus sitting on the throne is the foundation and focus for eschatology, and His commands for power still stand, then applied eschatology for Christians is baptism in the Spirit, faith and miracles.

As has been discussed in the previous section on salvation and the gospel, baptism of the Spirit is a (logical speaking) necessary consequence of the gospel. We will briefly go over this.

“Always remember that Jesus Christ,
a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead.
This is the Good News (GOSPEL) I preach,”
2 Timothy 2:8 (NLT).

As has been stated before, some traditions and heretical teachings have a tendency to limit what the term “gospel” means, as taught by the Scripture.  Imputed righteousness and being declared righteous by the Father is a super awesome doctrine, but there is more that the bible defines that belongs to “good news,” than a few narrow doctrines. As usually men are habitually and systematically man-centered, so that instead of yielding to a purely biblical definition of that the gospel means, they yield to tradition and men.  We know who they serve.

Paul teaches in this passage that the gospel includes that Jesus was raised from the dead “as a descendant of King David.” This refers to the promise God made to “King” David about a descendant that will come from him. There are two aspects of this promised person. One, he will be the saving Messiah. The second, is that He will be a “King” on a throne, ruling in power and authority.

This descendant of King David, according to Paul, is connected to the fact that Jesus was raised. This point of this is simple, for there are only two aspects to it. When you and I are resurrected, it is not necessarily connected to us sitting at God’s right hand as King and Judge over all things; however, this is precisely what it means for Jesus. Jesus is raised as the promised King, from King David, who sits on a throne of power. That is, Jesus’ resurrection by the Father from the grave, cannot be disconnected from the fact that His rising is a rising to sit on a throne. The doctrine of Jesus rising form the grave is the same thing as His rising to sit on the throne as King. One cannot separate Jesus’ resurrection from His sitting on the throne as a King. The doctrine cannot be separated like that. Jesus raised from the grave is not to some nebulous place in the clouds. We are told and know where He was raised to. He was raised to the right hand of the Power. This doctrine for Paul, is “the gospel he preached.”

Also note, this is Paul to Timothy. Furthermore, this is the gospel Paul preached to the gentiles; thus, is not a specific doctrine for Jews or something like that.

Peter, in the first recorded apostolic gospel sermon, harps on this aspect of Jesus being King David’s descendants, who was raised to the position of throne power and authority. It took up much of Peter’s gospel sermon.  Again, one cannot say, “this was for the Jewish audience,” when Paul as the apostle to the gentiles, to Timothy, says this is the gospel he also preached.

Peter sums up Jesus’ rising as the seated King from David as,

“both messiah and King.”

Thus, this promised descendant from David, according to Peter includes both the “saving Messiah” and “King” aspect to it. The resurrection is part of the gospel, most would admit, but the resurrection cannot be separated from that fact that it is a resurrection as a King to a throne. This power the Father “worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 above all rule and authority and power and lordship and every name named, not only in this age but also in the coming one, 22 and he subjected all things under his feet,” Ephesians 1:20-22. Again, Peter does not separate the saving and Throne aspect of Jesus Christ as the risen descendant of David. It was the gospel Paul preached and it was also the gospel Peter preached. The promise included both, and thus cannot be separated by theologians without blaspheme.

Peter then makes connection to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. His argument is this. Jesus as the descendant King from King David, was raised to the right hand of God, and in His position of power, has poured power out His power to us, through the baptism of the Spirit. That is, what has this newly seated King done with His position of Power? What will He decree? What will this seated descendant King of David do with all this authority and power? Peter’s answer is this: He gives us His power and authority so that we can overcome the world and spread His kingdom to every corner.

“So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”  So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith,” Galatians 3:5-8 NIV

The promise to bless, from God to the man Abraham, thus includes the Spirit and miracles. Since even the Old Testament speaks of the saints having God’s Spirit to empower them to have faith and follow God, “the Spirit,” spoken by Paul to the Galatians is most likely referring to the baptism of the Spirit.  Paul further says, this blessing promised is “the gospel.” Thus, the gospel according to what the Scripture preaches, included the Spirit and miraculous power. Why is this “gospel” not systematically taught in pulpits today. Because many are preachers for Satan rather than obedient servants of God.

But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus,”” Acts 17:6-7 NIV

Paul preached on throne aspect of Jesus enough, that the opponents had no issue summarizing, even if they slandered by taking the meaning in the wrong way, Paul’s gospel as a King on a throne who rules over all people.

Jesus in His last words in the Scripture says, “I, Jesus. …I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” This whole apologetic revelation to John is predicated by Jesus on the metaphysics that He is the King promised from the line of David, who is even now on His throne.

In the gospel, it teaches and proclaims a metaphysics of Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Power. This teaching on metaphysics—from Jesus’ point of view or from the view of God as the only real cause in reality—includes how Jesus is using this power to not only give an inner ethical power, but also a missional kingdom advancing power, by the baptism of the Spirit. If the resurrection cannot be separated from metaphysics of Jesus sitting on the throne (Eph 1:19-23), and the throne doctrine cannot be separated from Jesus having all power and authority (Acts 2), and this power of Jesus cannot be separated from Jesus pouring out the baptism of Spirit according to the promise of the Father (Acts 2), and the doctrine of resurrection is part of the definition of the gospel (1 Corin.15), then the gospel includes Jesus on His throne ruling in power and pouring out the baptism of the Spirit.

Ethics, which is an application of this reality, is Jesus’ command for His followers to get answers to their prayers and be filled with His power. Our application of this is to obey it. Our responsibility and accountability is to obey our Master. Thus, our seeking to have answered prayers and filled with power is an application of the gospel, when considered in the category of ethics.  Thus, to make this clear, from a doctrine of epistemology and metaphysics Jesus’ resurrection to the throne and pouring out His power in the Spirit and causing His elect to have the faith to receive it, is the gospel, and not merely an effect.  However, viewed from ethics, which is God’s command and our response to this in obedience, can be view as an effect of the gospel.

Thus, the doctrine of eschatology is a narrowed doctrine of the last aspect the gospel. The gospel includes all the foundational doctrines such as the promises of God to Abraham (Gal.3.), about the sovereign deity of Jesus (John 1:1-4), His humbling, His obedience under the law, His substitutionary atonement for us, and His resurrection to the right hand of God, pouring out faith and baptism of the Spirit. Eschatology is merely a focus on the last metaphysics of the gospel. Remember, the doctrine of salvation is merely a subcategory of God’s absolute control over reality. God has controlled reality in all aspects of creation, the fall, the promises, the sending of His Son, His atonement, and now the Son’s enthronement with all authority and power given to Him. Eschatology is a focus on God’s control over reality in the present reality of His Son at His right hand.

When dealing with what man ought to do, we are asking about ethics. Christian ethics is about God’s commandments.

Luke records Jesus last command to the disciples as waiting in Jerusalem until they are baptized in the power of the Holy Spirit. They are already clean, and born again because Jesus says so. They are clean or born again because they believe in Him.

In the very beginning of John chapter 1 with the doctrine of the “LOGOS” John records, “In him was life, and the life was the light of humanity. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it,” (John 1:4-5 LEB). We are talking about an intellectual light, for the world did not “know” or that is intellectually perceive who He was. Their minds were dark in spiritual stupidity. Paul records it this way,

“This therefore I say and testify in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the Gentiles walk: in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart, 19 who, becoming callous, gave themselves over to licentiousness, for the pursuit of all uncleanness in greediness,”
(Ephesians 4:17-19 LEB).

Although light can refer to ethical good, here John and Paul is using it for an intellectual understanding and belief. In fact Paul says in 1 Corinthians, that the Spirit alone knows God, and by us having the Spirit, we know God, and know Him in the same way God does, by His Spirit. Then He says, “We have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order that we may know the things freely given to us by God, things which we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them, because they are spiritually discerned,” (1 Corin. 2:12-14 LEB).

The “things of the Spirit” is intellectually understanding and accepting knowledge about our standing in God and all the goodies given to us. The “things of the Spirit,” which the natural man cannot understand is about an intellectual understanding and assenting to the truth revealed in the gospel. In fact the famous dialog with Jesus and Nicodemus Jesus says only by being born again can you see/perceive the kingdom of God. “Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless someone is born from above, he is not able to see the kingdom of God.”… Jesus answered, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless someone is born of water and spirit, he is not able to enter into the kingdom of God.  What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘It is necessary for you to be born from above,” (John 3:3-6 LEB). The word for “see” here can mean to perceive and understand, and in context of chapter 1, where John makes the context of Jesus being the intellectual light, then John means for us to take it this way. Jesus says it is “necessary.” In context of light, being intellectual perception, then it is obvious why it is  “necessary” to be born from above, because how can one believe in the gospel if they do not understand it? Spiritual life, is intellectual life. Being born again, must therefore, happen before repentance, because you cannot repent without understanding and accepting the truth. This is only done after being born from above. In fact, Jesus makes this connection to intellectual assenting to the truth as part of the Spirit’s work. “The Spirit is the one who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.  But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “Because of this I said to you that no one can come to me unless it has been granted to him by the Father,” (John 6:63-65 LEB). Jesus appeals to the overall sovereignty of God to work the work of a person being born again and having the intellectual light to understand and believe what Jesus is preaching; however, the immediate focus is on the Spirit that causes a person to see and believe what is being said.

Near the end Jesus says to the disciples, “the Spirit of truth, whom the world is not able to receive, because it does not see him or know him. You know him, because he resides with you and will be in you, (John 14:17 LEB). Jesus affirms the Spirit is already in them. The Spirit that gives intellectual light to understand and believe the truth. They are born from above. John in 1 John restates this saying, “You are from God … They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world and the world listens to them.  We are from God. The one who knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit, (1 John 4:4-6 LEB). John says we are of God (i.e. born from above) and the proof is the intellectual ability to listen what God says, understand it, and believe it. Reprobates do the opposite.

Jesus also says in John 6:27-29 that the work and command of God is to believe in the One who He sent, which is of course is Jesus. Thus, there is some overlap of an ethical light. The Spirit births in a man, the light to understand reality, by causing him to believe in the truth of God. The Spirit gives a man the courage to accept the wonderful reality of all the good things God as freely given him in Christ. However, the act of believing in Jesus’ salvation is the “work” and “commandment” of God (Acts 17:30). Thus, believing is both an intellectual light and ethical light. Thus, being born from above is both a birth of intelligence and ethics in man. Before they were intellectually and ethically dark. They are a new reality of intellectual and moral power.

Despite Jesus in chapter 14 saying the Spirit already resides in them, says the Father will send the Spirit, in Jesus’ Name. “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name—that one will teach you all things, and will remind you of everything that I said to you,” (John 14:26 LEB). John, also gives commentary about this other giving of the Spirit. “Now he said this concerning the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive. For the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus had not yet been glorified,” (John 7:39 LEB).

What is this? The Holy Spirit already birthed the disciples in intellectual and ethical power? Jesus says in John17, in His high priest prayer, that the disciples already believe He was sent by the Father, except Judas. Thus, they already possess the power to believe Jesus. What else is needed? Missional power is what is also needed.

And he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything that is written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and would rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending out what was promised by my Father upon you, but you stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high,” (Luke 24:44–49 LEB).

Jesus already opened their mind to understand the Scriptures, they are already born from above with intellectual and believing light. They were baptized for repentance of sins. What more is there? Jesus says to wait until you are clothed with power. Many people are lazy and do not see the big picture or do not care about what God loves and cares about. Jesus is zealous to advance His Kingdom and then hand it to His Father. His command about missional power is a command to accomplish this zeal and love. Christians expose their true or false professions, by jumping on board with Jesus’ command and zeal or disobeying it.

Luke, who is the same author of the book of Acts, writes a few verses later in Acts chapter 1, gives more defining to the term “clothed with power.”

He commanded them, “Do not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for what was promised by the Father, which you heard about from me. 5 For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now”…

they began asking him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 But he said to them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest part of the earth,”
(Acts 1:1-8 LEB)

Luke teaches that clothed with power and “receiving the power of the Spirit,” is being baptized in the Spirit. Jesus in John 14 says, “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name.” Jesus further defines this at the end of Luke, “I am sending out what was promised by my Father upon you.” Peter teaches us in the Pentecost sermon, that this refers to the baptism of the Spirit. Peter says, when the Father seated Him at His right hand and faithfully gave Jesus the promise of the Spirit, then Jesus from the position of the Thone authority sees to it that He gives it to His disciples.  “Therefore, having been exalted to the right hand of God and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, he has poured out this that you see and hear.”

The important part here is how Jesus defines the baptism of the Spirit. Jesus refers to the baptism of the Spirit as missional power to advance the Kingdom. “ You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest part of the earth.” Baptism of repentance and baptism for missional power are different categories. They are two baptisms. It is possible to receive both at the same time, but there is no direct teaching from Scripture that says it only or even mostly happens this way; nor do individual examples logically deduce such a doctrine.

Peter, under the Holy Spirit says this refers to baptism of the Spirit as a fulfillment of the Promise of Joel, which puts salvation for sin and them empowerment as part of the same promise. Peter says, “Repent and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (baptize in the Spirit for missional power). For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all those who are far away, as many as the Lord our God calls to himself.”[1]

The two big takeaways here is that the Scripture interpreting itself, says Joe’s prophecy is for salvation and baptism of the Spirit for empowerment, and that they belong together for this age. How long is this age? Peter defines it by Jesus on the throne, and this is the other big takeaway, to “as many as God calls to Himself.” Thus, the age for Joel’s prophecy is in play as long as Jesus sits on the throne at God’s right hand, and God is still “calling people to Himself.” As long as Jesus is still at God’s right hand, and God is calling people to Himself, then Peter’s command to repent, and then be Baptist with power, still stands. It was not some crazy on TBN, this was the Holy Spirit speaking through Peter. Peter puts baptism of repentance and baptism of the Spirit together with “as many as God calls to Himself.” There is no logical law of logic or principle that can divide this. A person can do this, but since there is no logical way to do it, they can only do it by delusion and blaspheme.

Peter says to repent and be baptized for forgiveness. Thus, they must be born from above to do this, since only in spiritual intellectual life can one see and believe in the Kingdom. Next Peter says, and then you will be given the gift of the Spirit, which Jesus terms as “baptized in the Spirit,” for missional power. There is the baptism for intellectual and ethical life, and then Peter says, Jesus will give the baptism of the Spirit. These are two distinct and separate categories. To mix them up is both stupid and wicked. Jesus commands that we obey Him and receive both baptisms. Peter in the first apostolic sermon, commands all to be baptized for forgiveness, and then God will further baptize for power. The context is the audience asking about the baptism of the Spirit, which they are watching unfold in front of their eyes. Peter command is for there to be intellectual and ethical birth and baptism, and then the baptism of power will come.

Peter argues that this is promised in Joel, and his for all who call on God for salvation. Thus, it is not about apostles, or the age of the apostles, since both Joel and Peter put this baptism of power with the call for salvation together. Thus, after quoting Joel putting them together, and making Jesus on the throne as the foundation, Peter says, “promise is for you and for your children, and for all those who are far away, as many as the Lord our God calls to himself.” Remember Jesus commanding the disciples to be baptized in the Spirit to have missional power to be witness to Jerusalem and surrounding area and to the ends of the earth? Peter, under the power of the Spirit, says this promise (of missional power) is for all those far way, as many as the Lord God calls to Himself.” “Calling to Himself,” is salvation. Thus, this is not intended for the apostles, but for all who God will call to Himself. All who God will call to Himself, God gives them the promise of Joel, through Jesus Christ in authority dispensing it from His throne. Thus, this is an order and command to only believe in Jesus for salvation, but to believe in Jesus to give missional power (and out of love to Him) advance our Savior’s kingdom.

Thus, Jesus is the main actor here, not Peter, nor “any age of man.” Jesus is still on the throne. The Father has not taken back His gift of the Spirit to the Son. Jesus is still faithful to give repentance and the Spirit for all those who call out in faith, which was promised in Joel. The promise of Joel for salvation and missional power, is in play as long as the absolute sovereign God “calls people to Himself.” This is radically God focused, not apostle focused. The reigning Jesus defines this age, not man.

Jesus gives intellectual and ethical power for faith and salvation, and then gives the baptism of the Spirit for missional power to advance the kingdom.

10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who were listening to the message. 45 And those believers from the circumcision who had accompanied Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46 for they heard them speaking in tongues and glorifying God. Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can withhold the water for these people to be baptized, who have received the Holy Spirit as we also did!” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay for several days…

11:16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 Therefore if God gave them the same gift as also to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?” 18 And when they heard these things, they became silent and praised God, saying, “Then God has granted the  repentance leading to life to the Gentiles also!”

Verse 10:48 says that Peter ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus. That is, they did water baptism, confessing they believed in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and of a new life. However, in 11:17 refers to the “gift” of receive the Spirit as “baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Thus, before we get into specifics, the simple plain reading shows two distinct baptisms: one of repentance and the sign of water baptism, and then baptism of the Spirit for missional power. I say mission power, because Luke in chapter, through Jesus Christ defines this second baptism in this way, and thus, we will do the same.

This bears repeating. You cannot have biblical interpretation principles and only apply them to your opponent, and not apply them to yourself. Jesus and Luke’s first mention of the gift of the Spirit is defined as a second “baptism of the Spirit” specifically focused on “missional power,” not forgiveness or something else.

Peter says God gave them the “gift of the Holy Spirit.”  However, Peter affirms God already “baptized” them. They have already been baptized. But Peter still orders them to be baptized with water later. Thus, Peter affirms two baptisms. Why? Because the first baptism is the category of intellectual and ethical life. The second baptism is for missional power. Because the first baptism of new life is an intellectual and ethical power, it thus gives the ethical power to obey Jesus command to receive power for missions. Being born again, gives ethical life to respond to Peter’s order to not only repent but receive the baptism of the Spirit for power. The reason many do not receive the baptism of the Spirit is because the are still born from below. They do not have the intelligence and power of character to accept and receive the gift of missional power. God did not sovereignly “call them to Himself.”

However, as seen in Acts 19, Paul found “some who believed” that had not yet received the baptism of missional power. Therefore, it is possible to have the first baptism without the other. However, Luke records that Paul is quick to give them not only better explained baptism of repentance but also baptism of the Spirit. In fact, it is because they are already born from above, that they proved it by so quickly receiving the further teaching Paul gave them. They had the intellectual and ethical power to perceive and accept the further teaching Paul gave. They still did not have the missional power, thus, Paul fixed this with laying hands on them. Because they were truly born again, they not only obeyed by receiving the further teaching on repentance from Jesus, but also had the power to obey Jesus and receive His gift of the Spirit.

Some morons complain, “well if you make baptism of the Spirit a separate baptism like Peter and Jesus and Paul did, then you will make those who have not experienced the baptism of the Spirit to be second class citizens.” Well, of course the Scripture would make them second class, but not for the specific reason you might think. They would be second class in the same since the man in Corinthians made himself a second-class Christian by sleeping with his step-mother. The man was willfully disobedient, and unrepentant. Paul, handed him over to Satan, so that in the destruction of the flesh, he will be saved. In his excommunication, he really was a second-class Christian, even in the literal sense. However, we know the story. The man repented. He was then brought back as a true bother in Christ.

This is the same issue with baptism of the Spirit. When Paul found the believers who were not baptized in the Spirit, he did not excommunicate them or say anything harsh. He loved them by preaching a fuller gospel message to them. They did not hesitate to obey and receive what Jesus commanded. What would happened if they said, “we do not believe Jesus has ordered us to receive the baptism of the Spirit for missional power; the command is only for you apostles”? What if they kept refusing and started to teach there is no baptism of the Spirit for missional power after one has confessed repentance in baptism of water? Would Paul still have called them believers after that, or called them false teachers? I will not answer that for you. No, being ignorant of the baptism of the Spirit, or being hindered to receive it because false teachers, does not make one a second-class Christian (it would leave you less powerful to advance Jesus’ Kingdom); however, unbelief and refusal to even try to obey Jesus would make you one, if not much worse. Excommunication should be given to all who disobey this order and hinder others in their false doctrine; all believing Christians ought to hand these over to Satan, and perhaps God might sovereignly grant them repentance while their flesh is destroyed.

19:1 And it happened that while Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the inland regions and came to Ephesus and found some disciples. 2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “But we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit!” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into the baptism of John.” 4 And Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the one who was to come after him—that is, in Jesus.” 5 And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began to speak in tongues and to prophesy.

Luke records that these people, although limited in their understanding of the gospel, are “disciples.” Paul in fact presupposed they are believers saying, “when you believed?” Thus, they are referred to as disciples and believers by Paul and Luke, despite only having known John’s teaching and baptism of repentance. After teaching, Paul led them to be water baptized again in the name of “Jesus.” After this Luke records, “the Holy Spirit came upon them,” which Luke first mentions in chapter 1 as “baptized with the Spirit.” They are already saved. They are already born from above with the intellectual and ethical power to be “believers” and followers. With faith in Jesus’ gospel and being baptized in water to show their faith in Him, they then received the baptism of the Spirit, for missional power. The Kingdom advances. This is exactly what Peter preached in Acts 2. Repent and be baptized in water, and then you will receive the baptism of the Spirit for power. Thus, Paul shows there are two baptisms along with Peter.

Also, it is worth noting that “speaking in tongues” is mentioned regularly, when people are “baptized in the Spirit.” At the very least, the doctrine from this alone, without bringing in others, is that speaking in tongues is a regular power that the Spirit works in those He is baptizing with His power.[2]

From this alone we realize that Jesus advances the Kingdom not only by intellectual and ethical power, but also miraculous power. Speaking in other tongues is a regular sign when receiving Zeus’ thunder bolt. When there is speaking in tongues, the Kingdom advances. In fact, the speaking in tongues is what brought all the questions, that lead Peter to preach the sermon in which three thousand souls were conveyed form darkness to light. The Lion advances.

[1] () added by author.

[2] I believe the argument can be strongly made that it is almost always manifested when there is baptism of the Spirit (if no always), but this is only a basic systematic theology book. Consider the principle of first mentions. Speaking tongues is mentioned in the first teaching on the subject, and then regularly mentioned after to continue to reinforce this.