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Receiving the Witness

I John 2:1 - My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

John wrote, in this scripture above, that we have an "advocate" with the Father - Jesus Christ the Righteous. Looking into the original Greek for "Advocate" we find that it is the same word used in John 14 when Jesus spoke of the "Comforter" that would come. 

  • "Comforter" and "Advocate": (Greek παράκλητος, paraklētos, pronounced par-ak'-lay-tos): "An intercessor, consoler: - advocate, comforter" (Strong's #G3875)

 

There are a total of 5 occurrences in the KJV

  • Four of them were translated "comforter" [John 14:16, John 15:26 (2), John 16:7]

  • Once it was translated "advocate" [I John 2:1].

 

Only John the apostle used this term for Jesus Christ, yet he only used the one word paraklētos. Jesus Christ is the Comforter, Advocate, or Paraclete that was recorded to be spoken of by Jesus in John 14.

The Comforter is defined as one who consoles, guides, and intercedes. 

John 14:12-26 - Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

 

In this passage, Jesus is speaking prophetically that whoever trusts in Him will do the works that He did and greater. Why? Because Jesus would go unto His Father. Then He goes on to say that He will give us another Comforter, known as the Spirit of Truth and also as the Holy Ghost. Jesus said that the Comforter abides with you, referring to Himself in the present moment, and shall be in you, referring to the future indwelling Holy Spirit, which we know now as the Holy Ghost that was poured out on the day of Pentecost.

 

Did you notice what verse 18 says: “I will come to you.” This statement is now linked to His previous statement that the Father would give them another Comforter and that the Holy Spirit is sent in the Father's name, signifying that it would be Jesus. These scriptures reveal that Jesus sent Himself, as the Holy Spirit, to abide with us, to be in us, forever.

 

Notice what it says in verse 20 and 21? "At that day ye shall know…" What day is He referring to? The day He sends the Comforter. The day He pours out His Spirit you will know that Jesus and the Father are one God is now in you. The baptism in His Spirit brings us into oneness with the Almighty, by His Spirit. The condition being that Jesus will only manifest Himself to those who love Him. He qualifies that by saying that those who love Him are the ones that have His commandments and keep them.

 

The manifestation or revealing of Jesus to an individual is now intertwined with the receiving of the Comforter. To have his commandments is to know them. To keep His commandments is to do them and walk in them. Once you know His will, you determine to do it His way and no other. He is ever watching over His own word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). So when we do it His way, then He ensures that His promises come to pass.

 

In the same way that Jesus only said what the Father said and only did what He saw the Father do, the Holy Ghost will do the same in us and through us. The indwelling Spirit will teach us all things and remind us of whatever Jesus said. He will relay what Jesus says and have us do whatever He does. That's easy because the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Jesus. 

 

John 15:26 - But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

 

There seems to be a contradiction here. Did you catch it? In John 14:26, Jesus said the Father sends the Holy Spirit. Now Jesus says, "I will send." If you take the notion that God is 3 distinct persons, then yes, that would be a contradiction, and you would question who is doing the sending. But if you remember Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:" the answer is quite simple? Jesus was God, manifested in the flesh. Not another god, 2nd and distinct from God. Whether He says “I send” or “the Father sends”, He is referring to Himself. The disciples didn't have that revelation, yet, but when they received Him, by the Spirit, then they understood.

 

If Jesus were to come right out and say to the Pharisees and the people that He is God they would have stoned Him dead right there. Reading through John, Jesus is continually alluding to that truth, which is one of the reasons the Pharisees are so agitated with Him because they understood what He was really saying. However, they could not control or deny the power that manifested and witnessed of the truth of His words. In the Jews perspective, no mere mortal man could have done what He did, unless he were God. Later, we read in John 10:30 that He says it, "I and the Father are one."

 

John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 

God was the Word. It says later in this very same chapter (verse 14) "And the Word became flesh...". In other words, the infinite, invisible God, who is Spirit, manifested (revealed) Himself in the flesh (body) of the man Jesus Christ. God enrobed Himself with flesh. This is the mystery of godliness and without revelation from Jesus cannot be comprehended.  So the actual body of Christ, conceived of the Holy Spirit in Mary, was the human vessel that God used to manifest (reveal) Himself to humanity. 

 

Now let’s find out what happens when Jesus does go away (unto the Father).

 

John 16:7-15 – Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

 

It’s very important to point out here that unless Jesus (being in the flesh) were to go away, the Comforter would not come or be sent to indwell the people of God. It’s a conditional statement. He needed to leave, so that He would release His Spirit to be within us, just as He spoke in the previous chapters of John. The Spirit would guide us into all truth. Up to that point they could not bear any more truth without His Spirit.

 

Notice the exact same anointing that Jesus had, so does the Holy Spirit, His Spirit; the anointing of reproving concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. Whenever Jesus said or did something it was because that is what He saw and heard of the Father. Jesus was using these words to describe that it was the Father, in Him (His body) that said and did these things because the man was completely yielded to the Spirit of God within Him. Remember, Jesus had the Spirit without measure (John 3:34). In other words, in the man Jesus Christ dwelt all the fullness of God in a human body (Colossians 2:9).

 

Jesus the Comforter is also known as the Spirit of Truth in John and the Spirit of Prophecy in Revelation.

 

Revelation 19:10 – And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

 

Now some say, being a witness means that you give testimony of Jesus and all that He has done for you in your life. In a sense, that is true. But here, scripture clearly defines the witness to be the Spirit of prophecy and that the Spirit of prophecy was not only in John the apostle, but upon John the Baptist for they both witnessed concerning Him. That is why they are witnesses. Not because they testified of Him, but because they did so by Spirit of prophecy, the Holy Spirit. If that is so, then we who have received the pouring out of the Spirit (of truth), which is the Spirit of prophecy, which is the Comforter that Jesus spoke of in John, are also witnesses.

 

John 15:26,27 - But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

 

With this understanding, Acts 1:8 becomes all the more revealing because the Greek word for testimony comes from the word used for witness…

 

Acts 1:8 - But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

 

We become witnesses, only after, we receive His anointing, His power, and that only comes by receiving His Spirit. Then, and only then, is when we become witnesses of Jesus Christ, having been born again, which is also known as being born of the water and the Spirit (John 3:3,6). We are witnesses only by the Spirit, for without Him we cannot witness concerning Him. Jesus did not take a witness from any man, including John the Baptist.

 

John 5:30-41 – I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. I receive not honour from men.

 

The Father witnessed, testified, vouched for the Son by the works which He accomplished, because it was the Father in the Son that did them. It was of no concern for Jesus to take a witness from man, even from his cousin John the Baptist. Jesus emphatically states, "I receive not the testimony from man." He says it not once, but twice (see v. 34,41). "I receive not honour from men." Even though John witnessed to the truth, Jesus would only take the witness of the Father. He only sought the witness that came of the Father.

 

Who cares if another man said He was the Son of God. Man will argue with man about that for eons, but you can’t argue with the works which He accomplished. The witness was the works that He was given to complete. You can’t argue about anything when you have seen and experienced the awesome power of God. How was He able to do these works that witness concerning Him that Father sent Him? The witness (being the Spirit) descended upon Jesus as a dove when He was baptized by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. Not to repent of sins (for He had none), but to set an example that it was necessary to fulfill all justness (righteousness). Neither baptism in water, nor baptism in the Spirit were necessary for Jesus for He had no sin and the Father already indwelt Him. But Jesus partook in those two acts to be an example to us of the necessity for us to follow suit to be saved, for witnessing and for further ministry.

 

John 1:33b,34 – ...Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

 

Matthew 3:15-17 – And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

 

Mark 1:10,11 – And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

 

Luke 3: 21,22 – Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

 

Here you see the same account told from 4 perspectives. The witness is referred to here as the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God. The Spirit was the witness to John the Baptist  that Jesus was the Son of God. The voice heard was God witnessing to the multitude that Jesus was His Son (the term that God used for the manifestation of Himself in the flesh).

 

Before this point, we only know of the accounts of Jesus' birth and of Him sitting midst the teachers in the priestal precinct listening and asking questions, having them be astounded at His comprehension and answers, being about the business of His Father (Luke 2:41-50). Notice what happens after the record of His baptism. He is now described as being full of the Spirit, led of the Spirit, and in the power of the Spirit (Mark 3:21,22; 4:1,14).

 

The anointing of God was stimulated, in a sense, and Jesus began actively fulfilling His primary purpose. The Spirit of God and the power of God cannot be separated for the Spirit is the kingdom of God manifest through the son of man. In whomever He is in, the kingdom of God always manifests in power. Jesus had been witnessed that He is the Son of God and, at the same time, empowered to lead a Spirit-filled and led life to fulfill His calling. He is our example. It was necessary for Him to be baptized, not only in water, but in Spirit to be an example to us of our requirements before we go out and fulfill His ministry and calling.

 

Now, publicly anointed by God, He is able to say,

 

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord." (Luke 4:18,19)

 

Jesus, in a sense, received the witness and actively began to pursue fulfilling his calling and destiny. Hidden within the spirit of the man Jesus Christ was the Spirit of God, without measure from birth.

 

So what happens when we receive the witness?

 

Romans 8:9-11 – But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

 

There are not three different spirits referred to in this passage. They are all different titles of the same one Spirit. Paul is not using this passage to differentiate from the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, Christ in you, or the Spirit. On the contrary, he is using this passage to explain to them that the Spirit of God indwells them. This Spirit of God is also known as the Spirit of Christ, because he says "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ". So Paul is affirming that the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ is the same Spirit. Then Paul says it a different way by saying, "Christ in you".Paul again is not separating and differentiating, but affirming that this is how Christ is in you, by the indwelling "Spirit of God" or the indwelling "Spirit of Christ". He concludes this passage by just referring to the indwelling Christ as "His Spirit".

 

Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do naught." I think it safe to say that without Jesus, the Spirit within, you can do nothing as well. He is the witness.

 

If you search the scriptures, you will see that the heart of man has been evil from its youth (Genesis 8:21) and it has been the focus of God's attention when dealing with man. He sees the heart (I Samuel 16:7) and disregards the outward appearance of man. In answer to David’s prayer, He promises to create in us a pure heart, and renew a steadfast (faithful) spirit within us (Psalm 51:10). This is what He prophesied to do in Ezekiel, in regards to making a new covenant:

 

Ezekiel 36:24-27 – For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them…

 

First He promises to choose from among all the nations a place to prepare for us, that is our own. He promises to cleanse us from all that defiles us and gives us a new heart and a new spirit within. He replaces our stony, hardened heart and gives us a heart of flesh. But He does even more than that. He gives us His own Spirit within.

 

Why?...

 

So that we would walk in His statues, guarding His judgments, fulfilling His word. It is only by the Spirit that we can walk in the newness of life, fulfilling the law of the Spirit of Life in Jesus Christ. This new law liberates us from the previous law of sin and death and allows us to walk after the Spirit.

 

When did God start fulfilling this promise?

 

For the Jews:

Acts 2:1-4 – And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 

For the Gentiles:

Acts 10:45,46 – And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.

 

Jesus alone has ultimate sovereignty over this baptism. He baptizes and blows His Spirit in whomever where He wills, and although you hear Him, you do not know when He comes, or where He goes, and thus are those born of the Spirit (John 3:8).

 

If we can’t control the pouring out of His Spirit, then what are we supposed to do? Just wait, twiddle our thumbs, whistle or sing praise songs? We need to communicate to the Almighty our earnest desire for Him and His promise. Verily I say unto you, that communication can only come from our hearts. 

 

True repentance comes from a spiritual conviction in one's own heart of one’s own sin and the necessity to be saved, delivered, and healed. For different people, the initial manifestation of repentance expresses itself outwardly in different ways. Some cry. Some remain silent. Some shake, some quake, and tremble in an honest upright fear of God. However, these expressions are not really what God is looking for. It’s about what our Father sees inwardly, within our hearts... what we are willing to do in order to change. Remember He is all heart knowing (I Chronicles 28:9b, Psalms 44:21, Jeremiah 17:10). What is he looking for?

 

Psalms 51:16,17 – For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

 

It comes to a point where we realize we can do nothing to please Him and have nothing to offer Him to appease Him. The Lord God says to us in Jeremiah 29-12-14a - "Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD:" This is a description of simply being broken and crushed before Almighty God & asking Him to mercy us and forgive us our sins against Him.  The condition of this promise continues in Joel.

 

Joel 2:12,13a,23,28,29 – Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God:

 

Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

 

Here, we see the call to repent (more than just being sorry, but regretting our wrong doings and willing to change one’s own way toward Him), turning to Him with all our hearts. Fasting, weeping and chopping are outward manifestations of a crushed and broken spirit (heart). But even in this sorrowful state of conviction, there is a hope... an anticipation of the pour... the downpour of rain. The rain signifying the pouring out of His Spirit.

Then He says, "Afterward"!

 

After this repentance and obedience, born out of a new found trust in Him, He will pour out His Spirit on all flesh. With that pouring out of His Spirit comes many manifestations of the Spirit, including prophecy, dreams, and visions. But only after this: 

 

II Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

 

We see in these scriptures that:

 

  • One: Obedience to His Word is necessary according to these 2 passages in scripture. Doing it His way as He says, because He is watching over His word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12).

  • Two: Repentance is essential.

  • Three: It NEVER hurts to ask Him for His promise. Pray and petition Him to fulfill His promise in and to you.

 

Luke 11:13b – …how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

 

What do we see the disciples and the women doing in the upper loft while waiting for the promise?

 

Acts 1:14 – These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. 

 

Not fully realizing what was about to take place, I’m sure that they had repentant hearts. They were in obedience because they were waiting in Jerusalem as He commanded them to do before He ascended, in Luke 24:49 and they were asking (prayer and supplication).

 

Now we see in Acts, that the receiving of the Spirit is a prophetic fulfillment of prophecy through Joel.

 

Acts 2:17, 18, 37, 38 – And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:…  

 

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 

Notice here what Peter says in answer to "What shall we do?"

  1. Repent - (reference to the blood)

  2. Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to the forgiveness of sins (Obedience) – (reference to the water)

  3. Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost – (reference to the indwelling Spirit)

Paul said,

II Thessalonians 2:13,14 – But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We are selected to salvation through the Spirit sanctifying us and the belief of the truth as expressed in our obedience.

John 1:12-13 – But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

Now we see that those who receive the witness, the Spirit, have the authority to become the children of God (Romans 8:16,17), because they are born of God. We now walk as the children of God.

The glory was seen by John the Baptist at His baptism. The glory was also seen by three of His disciples at "the mount of transfiguration". Both times it was said, "This is my beloved Son, of whom I well pleased." First, He is seen in the glory of the Spirit on Him and later in the glory of His glorified body. This is a picture of the sanctifying and culminating work of Jesus by the Spirit in the believer's life. 

 

Romans 2:29 – But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

 

A true Jew is not concerned with the thoughts or attentions of man, but only of the witness and fruits of God in His life. A true Jew is one who is circumcised of the heart, in spirit, not in word or in flesh. Circumcision of the flesh benefits naught, for God is concerned with the heart of His people. Look at what the apostles, the elders and the Church had to say about the witness.

 

Acts 15:7-11 – And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. 

 

In reviewing this particular case of the Gentiles, Jesus decided not to wait for Peter to finish his preaching of the gospel of the kingdom. He bathed the Gentiles in His Spirit to affirm that He alone baptizes in His Spirit and He alone saves by His Spirit. God witnesses that He has established a covenant with you by pouring out His Spirit in you, just as He did at Pentecost, and Paul and Peter in the epistles are in agreement on this. The witness does not change. The witness is the Spirit. It is God's stamp of approval on you, making a covenant with you.

Continuing in Acts 15, we see that Paul begins to speak concerning the witness. He does not disagree or argue with Peter, but he emphatically declares the signs and omens that God did through them among the nations (done none other than by the Spirit). There is no disagreement with the apostles on this issue.

Paul, writing in his letters to the churches later on does not change his mind. On the contrary, he agrees and confirms in his writings, as you see above, with what Peter said here in Acts. See what Paul says in Romans, 

Romans 15:15,16,18,19 - Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind (re-remind you), because of the grace that is given to me of God, That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 

The end result of both Peter's and Paul's preaching was that those who trusted and obeyed, received the Spirit. They consistently saw Jesus confirming the word which they spoke by baptizing the believer in the Spirit (Mark 16:20). How did they know a person received the Spirit? They always knew because that person spoke with another tongue, not a language they previously knew.

After Paul speaks, then James speaks and he doesn’t disagree with them either, but says that what God did with the Gentiles was a fulfillment of prophecy. 

"In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this." (Acts 15:16,17 from Amos 9:11,12).

This work was prophesied through Joel in different words, but it is describing the same work of God that we read from Ezekiel.

In the beginning, God walked with Adam and they abided together, Adam in the light and glory of God. Then when Adam sinned, he was banished from not only the garden, but from walking in that type of relationship with Almighty God (spiritual death). All the while after, God has wanted to reestablish that covenant relationship with man. We see, through the years thereafter, His presence residing in the ark... His presence residing in the tabernacle (which is where the ark was) in the holy of holies... for a time, this was how He walked with His people. But there came a point where God He said He will no longer dwell in tabernacles built by man.

So He made His own tabernacle...

In the hearts of His people...

His holy nation, His royal priesthood.

The baptism of the Spirit rebuilds the tabernacle of David (not Moses) that fell. 

Three witnesses in one chapter answering the question: Peter, Paul, and James. They all agree. The matter is settled with all the apostles, the elders, and the Church in agreement. The receiving of the Spirit is the witness.

Colossians 1:26-27 – Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

The great mystery throughout all generations is that God has been planning this restoration from the very beginning... to tabernacle within His people again. Jesus Christ is in you, if you have received His Spirit.

I John 3:24 – And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

The Spirit of God will dwell in us to the eons as long as we keep his commandments. As long as we continue to walk according to the law of the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ… as long as we no longer walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, then we abide in Him and He in us and we know that we abide in Him because His Spirit indwelling us assures us of that.

Romans 8:14-17,22,23 – For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Here we see clearly that the Spirit of God is the same Spirit of Christ, which is finally referred to as Christ -- Jesus Himself. Different references to the same one God. Different descriptive names referring to the only one true God. When we receive the Spirit, we receive the Spirit of sonship, which gives us the authority to become children of God. Until that work is complete, at the redemption of the body, the Spirit witnesses to us that we are children of God.

When we are glorified -the completed work of the Spirit in every believer’s life- our body is redeemed to the glorified, incorruptible body promised us. Then the promise is completely fulfilled. There's no more need to hope. Before, we needed that witness to keep us going, but after this, there will not be a need of the witness of it. Hope will be fulfilled. It will have been brought to pass at this point. We will be made in the perfect image of Jesus -considered brothers- children of God!

© copyright 2011 Jesus M. Ruiz

Receiving the Witness - Jesus M. Ruiz
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