"Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep, with a divine wind sweeping over the waters." NJB Genesis1,2
"Deep is calling on deep by the roar of your cataracts, all your waves and breakers have rolled over me." NJB Psalm42,7
"24 May Yahweh bless and keep you. 25 May Yahweh let his face shine on you and be gracious to you. 26 May Yahweh show you his face and bring you peace. 27 This is how they [the priests and we are all priests 1Peter2,5 and 9] must call down my name on the Israelites, and then I shall bless them." NJB Numbers6,24-27
"To the place chosen by Yahweh your God as a home for his Name, to that place you must bring all the things that I am laying down for you." Deuteronomy12,11 NJB
"Or, do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own." 1Corinthians6,19
"And all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved." Acts2,21
"for of all the names in the world given to men, this [name of Jesus] is the only one by which we can be saved." KJ Acts4,12
"Men and brethren , what shall we do?"Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts2,37b-38
Something amazing happened on the first post resurrection Pentecost in Jerusalem.
The Holy Name of the Lord God of Israel, Yahweh, unutterable to pious Jews prior to this event, became "Jesus" (Acts2,21 and Acts4,12): became Yeshua (NJB n. m Acts2,21), born in Bethlehem, crucified by Pilate, rose on the third day, ascended to heaven after forty days, and sent the fire of the Holy Ghost down on the feast of weeks, or Pentecost, fifty days after Passover.
His Holy Name, and his teachings, and baptisms in his Name, and healings in His Name filled the city of Jerusalem on Pentecost and thereafter. The Apostles were so successful and bold in using his Name, the revealed and personal name of God, that they were forbidden by the powerful Sanhedrin, the Temple commitee, to teach or do anything in that Name (Acts5,28).
They kept using it, name above all names, better to obey God than man.
In both the Christian and Hebrew scriptures the Name of God is always equated with the actual personal presence of God.
We know God is Spirit (John4,24). He can be invisible and still actually present. All the more present when his name is invoked, say at baptism, and glorified, say in worship. God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm22,3). As also in his famous promise, "where two or three are gathered in my name there am I in their midst." (Matthew18,20)
We find the Hebrew biblical precedent to our sense of the Christian presence of God at Numbers 6,24-27. Here we learn that the priests of Aaron were charged with calling down the Name of God on the Israelites, that is, to bless them, to call down His presence on them (Norris 41).
At Pentecost, this age old priestly prayer of Aaron, was literally and fully fulfilled. The presence of God outgrew the physical temple, and expanded beyond the temple walls and being on or around folks (remember Moses sunburned glory after communing on high with God, Exodus34,29). Now this presence came in glory, from on high, as tongues of fire over them, down to earth, and then into them.
This was the new thing, his Spirit poured out on all flesh, that both the prophet Joel (2,28) and Jesus promised (John14,16 and 18 and John 16,7; 1John2,1). The people at Pentecost were baptized in the Holy Ghost. That is, God got into their hearts, and they spoke in new languages, and received gifts and revelations and new understandings about all sorts of matters including scripture and ministry and God's heart to save all nations, tribes and peoples.
Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures our Spiritual God was depicted as living in the temple, in his "house" ("Bethel" in Hebrew) so long as idolatry didn't drive him out (Ezekiel chapters 9-11). These same scriptures define His Temple as "the place chosen by Yahweh your God as a home for his Name." Deuteronomy12,11, Norris 69)
A temple is "a home for his name."
Remember Jacob wrestling with our Spiritual God, then asking Him for his name (Genesis32,22ff). Jacob didn't get it them but we finally did. Even so, Jacob named the place "Bethel", house of God, because he knew that right there on earth he was wrestling with a divine being.
So defining the temple as a home for his Name is the same as saying his actual and personal presence lived there.
We also know that our Christian scriptures define our individual physical bodies, if we have been baptized in the Spirit, as temples of the Holy Ghost (1Corinthians6,19). We hold the very treasure of all the universe, the risen Jesus himself, in our earthen body. Hard to believe for some, but it's a promise for all, there for the asking, for the faithing.
So the Apostle Paul could say after he was water baptized and Spirit baptized, and had left behind the old law: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me." Galatians2,20
(We won't go into baptism as the Christian corrolary to circumcision under the Mosaic law, which is itself not a perfect one in that it took no personal faith to be circumcized as a baby, but it does to be baptized, but we recall here: 11 "in Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ. 12 Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God [the Holy Ghost power), who raised him from the dead." Colossians2,11-12)
Paul could say with total confidence that Christ lives in him, precisely because he had been both water baptized in in Jesus' Name (Acts9,18; 1Corinthians1,13), and circumcized in heart, Romans2,29, filled with the Holy Ghost and so had become a temple himself.
He knew all this.
So, Paul knows the risen Jesus actually lives in him, in his body, in his temple.
So, just because we Christians left the old law and don't have a physical Temple for a physically sacrificial cult is no reason to shun any of the new gospel commandments, such as the Apostle Peter's command on Pentecost,, at Acts2,38, that "every one" get baptized in Jesus' Name for the remission of sins and for the infilling of the Spirit.
What we can all see here is that just as the priests of Aaron were required to call down God's Name on the Israelites in Numbers 6,27, so God commanded Peter to command water baptism in Jesus' Name, a crucial blessing that, if done and received with actual personal and professed faith, supernaturally remits one's sins and clears one's soul of all prior chaos and tumult. Furthermore, this act of personal faith and obedience to God's word opens one's heart to Spiritual circumcision, to Holy Ghost baptism.
The Deep Cry For Water Baptism
Water baptism in Jesus' name is a sinful man's or woman's way of crying from the depths of his or her soul for the order and new creation that only the Lord Jesus himself can give and restore. It roots us deeply in the salvation of Christ and helps us understand the fullness of his word and gospel and his reigning Lordship over our lives.
God already ordered chaos once already when he first ordered creation at Genesis 1,2. He created light and order out of the watery depths of chaos, by His word and His own Spirit. Acts2,38 promises that when we seek and receive water baptism with a personal faith we come out of the chaos world of sin, washed clean, capable of living an ongoing life of faith whereby we will one day also receive the Holy Spirit, resident in us, and the fullness of salvation, unto power and ministry.
Water baptism, per Acts2,38 is the ordinary gateway to being a new creature, a gateway to anyone's body becoming a temple of the Holy Ghost, a place for His Name to reside.
If We Claim To Be Temples
If we really claim to be temples of the Holy Ghost, and don't take this lightly, as just pretty words, and claim to be baptized in the Holy Ghost, and don't take this lightly, or for granted, wouldn't our best biblical practice be to baptize everyone in the very name of God, the name of that defined the Temple in the Hebrew Scriptures, the revealed Name of Jesus?
Like Cornelius, even though he already had his baptism in the Spirit.
Like the apostle Paul.
Like the 3,000 souls on the day of Pentecost.
Like the folks in Ephesus per Acts 19,4-6 who only knew of John's preparation baptism of repentance, preparation for faith in Jesus and the water and Holy Ghost baptisms that were part and parcel of faith in Jesus.
As soon as the folks in Ephesus understood the importance of water baptism in Jesus' Name and Holy Ghost baptism, from the teaching and testimony of Paul, it appears they got water baptized right away. They were Christians, they had professed, they were a long way from the Jerusalem day of pentecost, but perhaps something in their minds and the depths of their souls knew that there must be more in the way of salvation, just as Jesus had promised.
So, in faith they called on the name of Jesus in water baptism, got water baptized, and then Spirit baptized when Paul laid hands on them.
The New Jerusalem Bible n. m at Acts2,21, Doubleday 1985
David S. Norris, PhD: "I Am: A Oneness Pentecostal Theology" WAP Academic, 2009
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...