Some teach that there is no immersion of the Holy Spirit or Second Blessing. However, we can see clearly in Acts 8 (The Samaritan Revival) the distinction between the salvation experience and the Holy Spirit coming upon believers.
When they [Peter and John] came down, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for still He had come on none of them. They were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 8:15-16)
No Sinner's Prayer in Acts
Immersion in water, a very common Jewish practice at the time, was the sinners' prayer of the book of Acts (Acts 2:21; 8:12, 36, Acts 10:47-48) and there was no such thing as "baptism classes." It was the immediate, first expression of your new faith. When you went into the water, you were saying, "I believe in Yeshua, that He is the Messiah and died as a sacrifice for my sins" (see Acts 8:15-16)
But then the apostles came down to lay hands on the Samaritans and see them also immersed in the Holy Spirit, because, "the Holy Spirit," although He was in them, "had not yet come on any of them."
The purpose of the two distinct experiences is clear. The first is for personal salvation; forgiveness of sins. We see this in Romans 6, one of my favorite verses.
"Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4).
Immersion in water was the perfect picture of dying to the old way and being raised to newness of life. The water symbolized a grave. What an awesome picture of death and resurrection! Can you imagine on the day of Shavuot, thousands of Jewish people all over Jerusalem going into the more than 100 mikvot (immersion tanks) in the Old City, only to rise up out of the water, free and forgiven?
Why Do We Need More?
So why do we need the second blessing? The first blessing, salvation, is for you. But the second is to empower you to reach others. God would come upon these new believers with His Spirit so they could preach with conviction and do signs, wonders and miracles. The best picture of this is Simon Peter. This fellow cut off a guy's ear and, just 50 days earlier, denied he knew Yeshua. When they met in Galilee, he was dejected. But after the Holy Spirit comes on him in power, he stands on the temple steps and proclaims Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, saying, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem (Acts 2:14b).
His message was so powerful that his hearers were cut to the heart, and 3,000 Jewish men, plus women and children, came to faith in Yeshua. (Acts 2). And then, he sees a crippled beggar. He prays for him and the paralyzed vagabond jumps up, praising God. That is the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
Have you received Yeshua? He is ready to forgive you and receive you and give you newness of life.
Have you received the Holy Spirit's empowerment? If not, ask God for it. It is his great joy, to "give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:13).
Ron Cantor is the lead pastor of Tiferet Yeshua congregation in Tel Aviv, a Hebrew speaking outreach to Israelis. He is also the author of Identity Theft, Leave me Alone—I'm Jewish and his newest book coming out this spring, The Jerusalem Secret, a novel about the first Jewish believers. Ron blogs at messiahsmandate.org.
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