THE NEXT STEP AFTER PENTECOST

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THE NEXT STEP AFTER PENTECOSTCopyright Š 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

We might refer to the twentieth century as the "Pentecostal" century. Toward the end of the nineteenth century people began praying for the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit seemed to be giving assurance that the answer was on the way.

The answer came at Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California. Brother Seymour was the principal figure at that time. He had prayed for hours a day for God to pour out His Spirit as in the Book of Acts.

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:2-4)

Speaking in tongues and other gifts of the Spirit of God were in evidence at the Azusa Street mission. It was not long before the baptism with the Spirit and speaking in tongues spread around the world. While I was ministering in Iceland, the pastor, Einar Gislason, told me that Pentecost came to Iceland about 1930.

At about 1950, David DuPlessis brought the Pentecostal message to many mainline Christian churches. At some point the term "Pentecostal" changed to "Charismatic." There now are numerous churches throughout the world that term themselves "Charismatic."

The baptism with the Holy Spirit accompanied by speaking in tongues was part of the restoration of the original apostolic doctrine and experiences. This restoration began with the Protestant Reformation and has continued since then. Step by step the Bible doctrines have been restored to the Christian churches.

The baptism with the Spirit with speaking in tongues has been firmly established, along with justification by faith rather than by penances; water baptism by immersion; the reality of the born-again experience; and personal holiness. Sanctification as an instantaneous work has been advanced by some, especially by the Nazarene movement.

However the Nazarene experience, which may be the baptism not accompanied by speaking in tongues, may not always result in sanctification "root and branch." The desire for victory over the sinful nature may be more fully realized in the spiritual fulfillment of the sixth of the Levitical celebrations, rather than in the fourth—Pentecost.

Which brings us to a parallel concept, that of the seven feasts of the Lord. Of these seven (Leviticus 23), Pentecost is number four. Since there has been a consistent relationship between the first four of the feasts and Divine interventions experienced by Christian people (Christ was crucified on the Passover and rose from the dead on the feast of Firstfruits, for example), it would be reasonable to assume that there are to be three more significant Divine interventions before the worldwide return of Jesus to set up His Kingdom on the earth.

The final three celebrations are: the Blowing of Trumpets; the Day of Atonement; and the feast of Tabernacles.

The Blowing of Trumpets is fulfilled spiritually when Christ comes in the Spirit to the individual Christians and announces that the time has come when the Father is ready to put all His enemies under His feet. I do not say that Christ speaks these words to the Christian; instead, the experience takes place in various ways to devout Christian people.

The Day of Atonement is fulfilled spiritually as the Holy Spirit points out to us the various elements of worldliness, compulsions to sin, and self-will instead of God's will as the basis for our decisions. We then are to confess specifically these elements, denounce them as evil, renounce them by turning away from them, and then press further into Christ.

The spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement has begun. It lasts throughout our lifetime until we are totally free from the sinful nature. It is an eternal judgment on Satan. It shall continue from now until the conclusion of the final resurrection of the dead.

The Day of Atonement makes possible the reconciliation of God to man and man to God, not just by forgiveness but by deliverance. When it has been completed, all of the people who have been born since the creation of mankind, and who since then have been living in the spirit world, will be assigned their proper place in the Kingdom of God, some to blessedness and some to punishment.

Then a new earth will take the place of the former earth, which had been destroyed. Down through the new sky will descend Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem. This is the city of the Royal Priesthood that will govern the "sheep" who have been saved from the nations. God's priests will bring the Presence of God to saved mankind forever.

The final Jewish celebration, the feast of Tabernacles speaks of the coming of the Father and the Son to take their place, along with the Holy Spirit, in the personality of those who faithfully have obeyed the Words of the Lord Jesus. The residence of the fullness of the Godhead in the believers marks the conclusion of the program of redemption.

And to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)

I hope I have presented a satisfactory background as we proceed now to discuss the next step after the Pentecostal experience of the baptism with the Spirit accompanied by speaking in tongues.

If you are a fervent Christian and never have spoken in tongues, I suggest you ask the Father in Jesus' name for this gifts. I have found it to be a marvelous help in my prayer life; and I believe you will also.

If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— (John 14:15,16)

Notice "if you love me, you will obey what I command." The current teaching of lawless grace, which assures us that if we will make a profession of belief in Christ it does not really matter how we behave, has prevented numerous Christians from experiencing the Presence of the Spirit of God.

They are not obeying the commands of Christ and His Apostles about how we are to behave ourselves. Therefore they are not eligible to receive the Counselor, the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:17)

The Holy Spirit is the anointing for priestly service. The world does not and cannot have the indwelling of the Counselor. Being baptized with the Holy Spirit makes us members of the Body of Christ—the Body of the Anointed One who has come from God to deliver us.

God gives His Spirit to those who obey Him, the Apostle Paul said.

I am coming to believe, and I think others have commented on this lately, that most Americans who attend Christian churches are not genuine Christians. They may be correct in their doctrinal statements, but the Holy Spirit is not in them. They have not actually been born again. They are not members of the Body of the Anointed One.

You may wonder how anyone can tell who is anointed and who isn't. Well, I can tell! After have been a fervent Christian for 65 years, I can tell if someone is a genuine Christian (anointed person) or not. If the Holy Spirit is living in a person, you can kind of see it and feel it. The current President of the United States says he is a Christian. For myself, I so not see or feel the Holy Spirit in the man. Perhaps he hasn't as yet started to diligently follow the Lord.

I do not like saying this one has the Spirit and that one does not. But after you have been serving the Lord for a long while, it is pretty easy to tell who has the Spirit of God and who doesn't. In fact, when I hear someone say "Hallelujah" I can pretty near tell if he or she has been born again of the Spirit. If the individual does not have God's Spirit, and they say "Hallelujah," it sounds flatter than an old pancake.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:18)

Right here there can be a problem. A reader hastily going through John 14 might conclude that Jesus was repeating what He had just said about the Holy Spirit, that when the Spirit comes, that is Jesus coming.

I do not believe this to be the case. The Holy Spirit is not Jesus and Jesus is not the Holy Spirit. While they are One, as all of the Godhead is One, the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus simply are not the same person.

One day, if we keep on serving the Lord, we too will be one in that great Oneness that is the Godhead. But that does not mean we will be the same person as the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. It is true that we will be one in them and with them. But we still will have our unique identity as a separate person in the creation.

This is the coming of Jesus, the King, in fulfillment of the Jewish feast of the Blowing of Trumpets. It also is mentioned in the Psalms 24, where we are exhorted to open the ancient doors of our personality and permit the King of Glory to enter. Also in Revelation, where the Lord says to the Christians in Laodicea, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock."

In the day in which we are living it is imperative that we spend enough time listening to Jesus that we can receive Him when He knocks. It is easy in the United States to become so involved with material problems that we miss the day of our visitation.

We have to take some time each day to rest, listen, and reflect on what we believe Christ is saying to us. If for some reason at the present time we do not have a moment to rest and listen to Jesus, may I suggest that we ask God in Jesus' name for such a moment. It is critically important that we learn to listen to the Lord each day.

We now are entering the last three of the major Jewish celebrations. Right now is a singularly momentous time in the Kingdom of God. Make sure that you do not miss your part.

Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. (John 14:19)

This is not the worldwide coming of Jesus, because in that day every eye shall see Him. Rather this is a personal coming of the Lord to His fervent disciples.

Part of our seeing Him has to do with our living by His Life. We are to think as He is thinking. We are to speak as He is speaking. We are to act as He is acting. We are to live by Him as He lives by the Father. The more we practice His Presence, the more clearly we can see Him.

We are to live by every Word of God directed to us as an individual.

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:20)

"That day" is the day of the Lord. In that day, the Lord alone shall be exalted.

Chapter 12 of the Book of Isaiah was chanted during the celebration of the seventh feast, the feast of Tabernacles.

In that day you will say: "I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me." (Isaiah 12:1)

"I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish celebration of the feast of Tabernacles. When we enter this experience in Christ, we realize that God has entered us. We are in God and God is in us. Since the Holy Spirit already is in us, we now are filled with all the fullness of God.

"Filled with God, yes, filled with God. Pardoned and cleansed, and filled with God.

Filled with God, yes, filled with God. Pardoned and cleansed, and filled with God."

That is a little chorus that someone wrote. You can make up your own tune to it. I enjoy singing it.

"Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." (John 14:21)

Again we find that the key to experiencing the final three feasts is to obey the commands of Christ. To think that our nation is filled with Dispensational theology that informs us we just have to believe the things about Christ. Whether or not we obey Christ and His Apostles is incidental to our salvation. In fact, a footnote in my Bible says to the effect: "Salvation is a sovereign work. We do not have to endure to the end to be saved."

Can you imagine that? Contradicting the very Words of the Son of God! So great is the arrogance in America at this time. We certainly can look forward to a season of Divine judgment on our nation.

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" (John 14:22)

Judas gathered from what He was saying that Jesus was not speaking of His worldwide coming but a showing of Himself to His disciples.

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23)

The above describes the spiritual fulfillment of the "Tabernacles" experience. This is not the "Pentecostal" experience. It is the next step after Pentecost.

Notice that once more we have the condition, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching." Can you see from this the great damage that has been done by the lawless-grace teaching? It hinders people from moving forward with God.

He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. (John 14:24)

Again, "He who does not love me will not obey my teaching." Can we conclude that all those who teach and all who obey the lawless-grace teaching do not love Christ? It sure sounds like it, doesn't it?

Christ was living in the rest of God, the eternal Sabbath, so His Words are not His own but belong to the Father.

This is the way we are to live. We are to press forward past the "Pentecostal" experience of the baptism with the Spirit and speaking in tongues, and open up our heart so that the King of Glory may enter. Then the Spirit of God will lead us through the program of confessing and turning away from our sins, until finally we are filled with all the fullness of God.

You will know you have entered the "Tabernacles" experience when the following is your testimony:

In that day you will say: "I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me."

"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."

"With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation."

In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted."

"Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world."

"Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you." (Isaiah 6:1-6)