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 Vol. 8, No. 5 

May 2006

Since You Asked

~ Page 20 ~

Image Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.

Two Baptisms in Acts Two

By Louis Rushmore

Image ...what bible says about, apostles baptism, i hope there did not get the baptism, which we are giveing today, that is, hear the gospel, believe, repent, confess, baptism in water that there must come into Christ, in acts 2; 41 it say there added to them, that this verses saying there added with apostles, OR added with Christ, explain me about this verses. i hope you understand me question. YOur brother in Christ, Living to please God, D. Pradabadathan

There are two baptism recorded in Acts Chapter Two: (1) the baptism of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, and (2) the baptism for the forgiveness of sins. The element of the first is the Holy Spirit, whereas the element of the second is water. The result of the first was to empower the apostles according to our Lord's promises to them in John 14-16; the result of the second was forgiveness of sins. The first was temporary in duration and ended with the apostles (and the effect ceased with the end of miracles, 1 Corinthians 13:8-13; Ephesians 4:11-14); the second continues throughout the New Testament age (until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ).

The baptism of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles (Acts 1:26) is recorded in Acts 2:1-4. The miraculous affect of the baptism of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles caused quite a stir in Jerusalem that day, and provided an opportunity for the apostles to preach the Gospel to large numbers of people. In the climax of the apostle Peter's sermon, he called upon his audience to be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Baptism was not a new idea with which the Jews were unfamiliar. Jews practiced ritual cleansing or baptism; John the Baptist baptized penitent souls in the Jordan River (Matthew 3:1-6); Jesus preached about baptism as well (Mark 16:16).

The baptism mentioned in Acts 2:41 pertains to the baptism for the remission of sins of Acts 2:38; it was not the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which the Bible never cites as pertaining to the remission of sins. The "them" of Acts 2:41 is comparable to the "church" (King James Version) or "them" (American Standard Version) of Acts 2:47. Acts Two is the first occurrence in Scripture of the church mentioned as existing (the fulfillment of many prophetic passages, including of our Lord in Matthew 16:18-19). Those who responded to the apostle Peter's call to be baptized (Acts 2:38) by being baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:41, 47) were added to the body of the saved or the church (Ephesians 5:23).

Present Kingdom
Versus Future Kingdom

By Louis Rushmore

...if the church is the Kingdom how is one to read 2 Thess 1:5? Here the brethren are "striving" to obtain a place in the future Kingdom. Thanks, Bis

All are not agreed that 2 Thessalonians 1:5 refers to a future rather than a present kingdom or the church: "Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer." The verse may refer to or include a reference to a future kingdom. However, there are a number of New Testament verses that unmistakably refer to a future kingdom. Verses that portray the kingdom as an anticipated inheritance are easily understood to refer to a future kingdom.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 emphasis added)

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (1 Corinthians 15:50 emphasis added)

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 emphasis added)

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:3-5 emphasis added)

Though unmistakably there is a future kingdom, as unmistakably there is a present kingdom as well. The writer of Hebrews plus the apostles Paul and John wrote to first century Christians respecting their inclusion already in the Lord's kingdom.

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (Hebrews 12:28 emphasis added)

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [past tense, i.e., already occurred] us into the kingdom of his dear Son (Colossians 1:13 emphasis added)

And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. (Colossians 4:11)

That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called [past tense, i.e., already occurred] you unto his kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:12 emphasis added)

I John, who also am [present tense, already occurring] your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 1:9 emphasis added)

The distinction between the present kingdom or the church (Jesus used the terms church and kingdom interchangeably, Matthew 16:18-19) and the future kingdom is that the future kingdom is "heavenly" or "everlasting." "And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (2 Timothy 4:18 emphasis added). "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:11 emphasis added). The present kingdom, which is spiritual rather than physical (John 18:36), is on earth. However, upon the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, our Lord will present the kingdom to the Father as though it were a present (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). From hence, it will be a heavenly kingdom (i.e., not on earth).Image

Amillennialism Versus Millennialism

By Louis Rushmore

I just read that as part of the counter reformation, a Jesuit priest Alcasar devised a theory which is now known as amillennialism / preterism. Opposite to this is by another Jesuit, Ribera, premillennialism. Apparently this was done to take the focus off the papacy as the antichrist which Luther etc started to identify as and shift the focus of the Bible reading Christians elsewhere so that people either believed that everything is past (prophecy) before the Pope, OR there will be a future non Christian anti Christ who is NOT part of the established religion. Won't you fall into this teaching by the Catholics if you believe in amillennialism? Thanks, Bis

Millennialism, whether one opts for it or rejects it, has to do with biblical interpretation of Revelation 20. "MILLENNIUM This term signifies a period of a thousand years, and in its religious use is applied to the prophetic era mentioned in Rev 20:1-7" (McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia). Essentially, there are three approaches to biblical interpretation of this passage, and common sense mandates that these three contradictory perceptions cannot all be correct.

Three common millennial views are held: postmillennialism, amillennialism, and premillennialism. Postmillennialism. This interpretation maintains that present gospel agencies will root out evils until Christ will have a spiritual reign over the earth, which will continue for 1,000 years. ... Amillennialism. Advocates of this view maintain that no Millennium is to be looked for except that which, it is claimed, is in progress now in this gospel age. ... Premillennialism. This interpretation teaches that the age will end in judgment at the second coming of Christ, who will restore the kingdom to Israel and reign for at least 1,000 years. (New Unger's)

Postmillennialism has grown unpopular owing to the discernible fact that society is not becoming more righteous, leading up to a near state of utopia ushering in the return of Jesus Christ and the commencement of a thousand year reign on earth. If anything, common perception tells us that with each new generation unrighteousness is becoming more widespread.

The doctrine of Premillennialism has many flaws, any one of which is sufficient to disembowel it. Commenting on John 5:28-29, one commentator easily shows how premillennialism cannot be true.

The words of our Lord in these verses preclude the possibility of two literal resurrections with an interval of a thousand years between them. The hour is coming in which all who are in the graves (not just the righteous) shall come forth to judgment and the words, "unto the resurrection of life" for the good, and "the resurrection of judgment" for the evil conclusively show a general resurrection and a general judgment embracing all men thus demonstrating the falsity of the doctrine of premillennialism to which some today adhere. (Woods)

Throughout the centuries, various sincere and honest persons have espoused respectively postmillennialism, premillennialism and amillennialism. The Methodist commentator, Adam Clarke, commenting on 1 Corinthians 15:23, observed:

Some think that by them that are Christ's at his coming, "we are to understand Christ's coming to reign on earth a thousand years with his saints, previously to the general judgment;" but I must confess I find nothing in the sacred writings distinctly enough marked to support this opinion of the millennium, or thousand years' reign; nor can I conceive any important end that can be answered by this procedure.

With Clarke we concur wholeheartedly. The prefix "a" attached to "millennialist" simply means "not millennialist" (i.e., amillennialists do not look for a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth).

Where postmillennialists  and premillennialists on one hand differ from amillennialists on the other hand has all to do with one's perception of the nature of the kingdom of Christ, and when the kingdom of Christ will come into existence or came into existence. Postmillennialists and premillennialists suppose that the kingdom of Christ is a literal, physical and earthly kingdom. Amillennialists understand Jesus Christ to teach clearly that his kingdom is not literal, physical and earthly, but spiritual. "Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence" (John 18:36). Subsequently, though Jesus was taken to Governor Pilate and accused of treason against the Roman Empire, Pilate said, "I find in him no fault at all" (John 18:38). Pilate understood, correctly, that Jesus did not come to establish a physical kingdom, and that the kingdom over which Jesus purported to be king was no threat to the Roman Empire.

Consequently, the following New Testament teachings about the kingdom harmonize with themselves, as well with Old Testament prophecies about the kingdom of God and New Testament prophecies about a "heavenly kingdom" (2 Timothy 4:18) or an "everlasting kingdom" (2 Peter 1:11).

The kingdom is spiritual, not literal, physical and earthly. The kingdom exists now and will be transported to heaven at the end of time.

Works Cited and Consulted

Clarke, Adam. Adam Clarke's Commentary on the New Testament. CD-ROM. Austin: Wordsearch, 2004.

Cooke, Ronald. "The Unmitigated Twaddle of Jesuit-Romanist Preterism." European Institute of Protestant Studies. 3 Aug. 2001. 25 Apr. 2006. < http://www.ianpaisley.org/article.asp?ArtKey=twaddle>.

McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2000.

New Unger's Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Chicago: Moody P., 1988.

Woods, Guy N. A Commentary on the Gospel According to John. Gospel Advocate Commentaries. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1989. CD-ROM. Austin: Wordsearch, 2005.

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