The Spirit of truth

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit    (John 3:8).

In these last days, God is leading His people by His Spirit, back into the truth that can unite all believers, in preparation for the return of the Lord. Jesus promised:

“when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).

If you love Me

The Spirit of God is given to those who obey the commandments of Christ, and God (Acts 5:32; Matthew 7:21;  1 Corinthians 7:19;  1 John 5:2; Revelation 12:17; 14:12).

After Jesus instructed His disciples in the washing of feet, and the remembrance of His death, He said to them:

If you love me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth . . . If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come and make our home with him” (John 14:15-17,23).

We must also obey the teachings of the Apostles.

The Apostle John wrote: “We are of God. He who knows God knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6).

In order to receive the Spirit of truth, we must obey the commandments of God, the commandments of Christ, and the teachings of the Apostles.

The Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of God

The Apostle John distinguished the Spirit of Christ from the “gift of the Holy Spirit . . . the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of God.”

John recorded that just before Jesus ascended to heaven, He breathed His Spirit into His disciples, saying “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them: if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:22-23).

Later, in the book of Acts, Jesus told His disciples to wait for “the gift of the Holy Spirit,” to “wait for the Promise of the Father, which . . . you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4-5).

The Spirit of Christ was the Holy Spirit in the prophets (1 Peter 1:10-11). The Spirit of God is the sanctifying Spirit of the New Covenant, which began on the Day of Pentecost. The Spirit of God sanctifies the true Church.

Receiving the Spirit of God, the promised comforter, requires many conditions to be met; but Jesus seems to give no conditions to receiving His Spirit:

If you then, being evil, know how to give good things to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Jesus made this promise before the Spirit of God was poured out. Because He was talking to the people of His time, He was referring to the Spirit of Christ, the “spiritual drink” that the Jewish people drank, in the Old Testament (1 Corinthians 10:4).

Are there really no conditions to receiving the Spirit of Christ?

We know that any Christian can receive a gift of “different kinds of tongues,” or the interpretation of tongues, or prophecy, or healing or any of the spiritual gifts described for us in I Corinthians 12: 7–10.

But not all those who have spiritual gifts, have received the Spirit of Christ. On the judgment day, many will say “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And (Jesus) will declare to them, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Jesus Christ, who was the Spirit of Christ, who was manifest in the flesh, only abides with those who do God’s will. Spiritual gifts are not an evidence of receiving the Spirit of Christ.

We receive the Spirit of truth through one baptism

One baptism is the central truth of unity in doctrine. As the Apostle Paul, by the inspiration of the Spirit, wrote:

“There is . . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).

This one baptism, we know, is according to the example of Jesus, and in the name of Jesus.

In the name of Jesus

In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul explained why the disciples baptized in the name of Jesus (see Acts 2:38; 8:12; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; 22:16; and 1 Corinthians 1:13; 6:11).

Paul told us that after Jesus endured the cross, He was given “the name which is above every name”:

“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth” (Philippians 2:8-10).

Of course, we know the name of Jesus did not change, but rather God made Jesus our Lord, and in doing so, He revealed the name of Jesus as His own name, the name above every name in heaven and earth.

After His resurrection, Jesus also revealed that His name as the name of God, and that He was now our Lord, when He said:

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:18-19).

He told His disciples to baptize in “the name” (singular) of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He told us that the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, shared the same name.

The disciples baptized “in the name of Jesus,” because they understood “the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit” was Jesus, from His own revelation (John 5:43; 17:11) and from the prophecies of the Old Testament (Exodus 23:20-23; Isaiah 9:6; 63:16, and Zechariah 14:9). The invisible God and His image shared the name YHVH “He WILL BE” and even “YHVH of the Armies” in the Old Testament. Today, they share the name of Jesus, and even “Jesus Christ.”

As time went on, the Gentiles no longer understand, that the invisible God and His image always share one name, and they no longer understood that the Holy Spirit of the Old Testament was the Spirit of Christ “who was manifest in the flesh” in the Son (1 Timothy 3:16 NASB). The Gentiles therefore believed the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were three different persons, who must have three different names. They also reasoned that the expression “Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,” must be used to give their baptisms the authority of “three persons.” However, they forgot Jesus’ introductory words, “All authority has been given to Me.

But Jerome, in the fourth century, recognizing that Jesus said “all authority has been given to Me,” and that “the name” was singular, advanced the idea that the name of God must be “the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” 1 This was the creation of the Trinity doctrine.

The Spirit of truth testifies to one baptism

In Acts 19, we find the Holy Spirit’s testimony to one baptism.

Coming to Ephesus, Paul encountered some believers and questions them:

“did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? So they said to him, ‘We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said to them, ‘into what then were you baptized?’ So they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ Then Paul said, ‘John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues (laleo te glossa) and prophesied” (Acts 19:2-6).

Though these Ephesian disciples believed and were following Jesus’ teachings, they could not receive the Spirit of truth, because they had not been baptized into Jesus’ baptism, but only into John’s baptism.

And so it is to the Ephesian believers that Paul wrote: “There is . . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).

So we must ask: Why is this one baptism so significant to God?

drk001117One baptism is not only the symbol of unity; God desires to make us in His own image. This is the desire He expressed in the beginning of creation. Jesus is God’s image. When we are conformed to the image of Christ, we are made into the image God. So we begin our faith, as we would end it, in the imitation of Christ. We start with His baptism.

Jesus showed us the way to the kingdom of heaven through His baptism. Coming up from the water, the Spirit of God descended on Him: “unless one is born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

Jesus’ baptism was restored by the Holy Spirit in 1917, through a message to a simple believer, “You must be baptized with the baptism of Jesus.”

The Holy Spirit poured out through this obedience was in great comfort. The Spirit of truth caused the tongue to emit sound as it enters, just as it did in the book of Acts. Today, this same Spirit is shared by nearly two million believers, the vast majority of whom are in China, but also in 58 countries throughout the world (Ezekiel 47:1–8).

With 100 years of history, the testimony of the Holy Spirit is now remarkable, consistent, and proven. Consistently, over this 100-year period, we find, for example, believers that began neglecting this true baptism have lost the comfort of the Holy Spirit. And this has been well documented in the United States, India, and China. In China alone, more than 50,000 believers, who were forced into state-controlled churches, have regained the comforting power of the Holy Spirit through rebaptism.

These believers know the truth by the Spirit they have received, just as the Apostle John wrote:

“As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in Him” (1 John 2:27 NIV).


Speaking with tongues, or the tongue emitting sound?

If you knew the gift (dorea) of God, and Who it is Who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water (John 4:10).

We must know a little Greek in order to really understand the Bible’s evidence of the “gift of the Holy Spirit,” the Spirit of truth.

Many know that the Greek word for “gift,” as in “gift of the Holy Spirit,” is “dorea,” as in Acts 2:38, 8:20, 10:45, 11:17, and Hebrews 6:4, and that the Greek word for “gift,” as in the gift of “other tongues,” is “charisma,” as in 1 Corinthians 7:7, 12:4, 9, 28, 30, 31;  1 Timothy 4:14, and 1 Peter 4:10. This assures us that the “gift (dorea) of the Holy Spirit” is not a spiritual gift (charisma) of speaking with “other tongues.”

But fewer are familiar with the meaning of the Greek words behind the expressions: speaking with “other tongues” in Acts 2:4 and “speaking with tongues” in Acts 10:46.

In Acts 2:4, we find the expression “speaking with other tongues”:

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues (heteros glossa), as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Here, the Greek words underlying speaking with “other tongues” are “heteros glossa,” meaning “other tongues.” But, in Acts 10:45–46, we find another expression: “speaking with tongues”:

“And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came to Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues (laleo glossa) and magnify God.”

The expression “speaking with tongues” in Acts 10:46 is the composition of two words, “glossa”— tongue—and “laleo”—emit sound, as in thunder, echo, or to utter sound. And this simply means the tongue is “emitting sound.”2

The expression “laleo glossa” is not found elsewhere in Greek literature, nor is it a Greek expression for speaking with “other languages.”

This expression could theoretically be translated “speaking tongues (languages),” but this translation is nonsensical. People are always speaking in “a language.” The literal meaning of this word as “tongue emit sound” is actually the correct meaning.

The combination of Greek words, “laleo glossa,” is not only in the Book of Acts, but also ten times in 1 Corinthians 12–14.

Speaking with other tongues

Illustration of the apostles receiving the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Acts of the Apostles
Illustration of the apostles receiving the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Acts of the Apostles

We find the first experience of “speaking with other tongues” on the first descent of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:4. The disciples waited in an upper room for Jesus’ promise, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues (heteros glossa), as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Spiritual gifts, “charisma” gifts of “different kinds of tongues,” and gifts of prophecy are sometimes received by believers when they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Some believe that spiritual gifts, “charisma” gifts of other human languages were received on the first descent of the Holy Spirit.

But in fact, in Acts 2, we do not even know whether the “other tongues” spoken were human languages, or whether the Spirit simply enabled those devout men present to hear the “other tongues” in their own languages, as all who heard remarked, “how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?”(Acts 2:8).

In 1 Corinthians 12–14, the Apostle Paul describes “charisma” gifts. Paul says that the Spirit distributes to some, a gift of “different kinds of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:10), (heteros glossa), and “languages” of “men or angels” (1 Corinthians 13:1). And these are tongues that can be interpreted (1 Corinthians 14:13, 28). Paul asks, “do all speak with tongues?” (1 Corinthians 12:30)—meaning not all who receive the gift of the Holy Spirit speak with tongues, meaning other languages that can be interpreted.

Paul goes on to say, “tongues (languages) are a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers,” (1 Corinthians 14:22) and this is the case in Acts 2. The unbelievers who hear the disciples speaking in their own native languages believe and are baptized.

The tongue emitting sound: the evidence of the Spirit of truth

Acts 2, 10, and 19 are the three passages in which the Bible evidences the descent of the Holy Spirit with signs. The account in Acts 8 does not discuss any signs.

In Acts 10, we find what some believe is a better description of the “other tongues” spoken in Acts 2, and that is the “tongue emitting sound.”

Here, there is no evidence of a “charisma” gift of “other languages.” The Bible does not record that any other languages were heard or spoken. Because now, there are no unbelievers present, and as the Apostle Paul wrote, “tongues (the gift of ‘other languages’) are a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers” (1 Corinthians 14:22).

There is no need for a sign of “other languages.” Nor is there any manifestation of charisma tongues, followed by prophecy or interpretation, like we find in Acts 19:6. God’s purpose is only to show Peter and the circumcised believers that the Gentile believers have received the same Holy Spirit. They recognized the Holy Spirit when they hear the “tongue emitting sound” (laleo glossa).

Let us read Acts 10:45–46:

“And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came to Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues (laleo glossa) and magnify God.”

To which Peter replied in verse 47:

“Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

Today, we find the same evidence whenever the Holy Spirit enters. In churches that follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the experience of “speaking with tongues”—laleo glossa—begins when the Spirit enters. The Holy Spirit causes the tongue to emit sound whenever the believer prays in the Spirit. There is also a movement in the body as the Spirit brings comfort.

Jesus promised, “‘Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within Him.’ By this He meant the Spirit” (John 7:38-39).  When the Holy Spirit enters, believers are inwardly stirred, from “the belly” or “heart,” (KJV) and the back of the tongue emits sound. The most salient part of the experience is the Holy Spirit entering, and not the sound being made.

A different spirit

Many believers, in almost every denomination, “speak with tongues” by moving their mouths in the development of a prayer language. And this is much different than “the tongue emitting sound.”

Moving one’s mouth in a type of prayer language is an experience that is not unique to the Christian religion.

Beginning in the 1830s, believers of one sect began praying like this. And these believers followed the doctrine of an “angel from heaven,” (Galatians 1:8) as Satan took advantage of the confusion among churches in the search for the truth. Many, like the believers of this church, after praying “in tongues,” by moving the mouth, simply stop because they don’t see the point in it.

There are some who “pray in tongues” only by moving the mouth, and have no comforting movement of the body. They believe they have received a spiritual language, and also testify to living water when they pray.

But, when these same believers receive the Spirit of truth, as evidenced by the tongue emitting sound, they always testify the comfort of God is now greater. Most, who previously prayed “in tongues,” by moving the mouth, simply have the testimony, “this is the real thing.” The power and comfort of the Spirit they receive becomes God’s testimony that they are now following the true gospel.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

“if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” (2 Corinthians 11:4)

And so God still separates the true gospel for us by the Holy Spirit.

The use of spiritual languages in the Church

Before finishing our discussion of “speaking in tongues,” we must clarify some matter of confusion regarding Paul’s instruction in the use of spiritual languages in the church.

As we mentioned earlier, in 1 Corinthians 12–14 Paul is talking about spiritual gifts, and a spiritual gift of “different kinds of tongues,” of different languages (heteros glossa) (1 Corinthians 12:10) (“though I speak with the tongues of men and angels” [1 Corinthians 13:1]).

Paul told us that the church at Corinth was trying to use these gifts of different languages (heteros glossa) to minister to each other. Paul encouraged them to speak with other languages if they could interpret. But some were getting carried away and trying to minister to each other, even when no one could interpret what they were speaking. So Paul instructs them to “keep silent,” unless they are able to interpret. He tells them that they should pray only to themselves and to God (1 Corinthians 14:28, 34). The meaning of “keep silent” is not that they cannot speak at all, but that they should not instruct with these languages in the meeting; see also verse 34. Paul is not forbidding personal prayer to God in tongues in Church meetings.

  1. The Homolies of Saint Jerome, Volume 2, Homily 69; “The name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is one name, but it is the name belonging to the Trinity.”
  2. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Edinburgh, 1896, Fourth Edition, p. 368.