And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same (Abraham, vs 2)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Baptism by Fire and the Holy Ghost

The purpose of this post is to show the difference between the baptism by fire and the holy ghost and the gift of the holy ghost by laying on of hands. Some believe they are the same when they are not. Lets look at some quotes or scriptures.
The baptism of water, without the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost attending it, is of no use; they are necessarily and inseparably connected. (Joseph Smith, here
2 Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times it availeth him nothing, for you cannot enter in at the strait gate by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works
3 For it is because of your dead works that I have caused this last covenant and this church to be built up unto me, even as in days of old. (D&C 22:2-3)
 The Gift of the Holy Ghost:
1. States the person’s full name.
2. States that the ordinance is performed by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
3. Confirms the person a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
4. Bestows the gift of the Holy Ghost by saying, “Receive the Holy Ghost.”
5. Gives a priesthood blessing as the Spirit directs.
6. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ. (here)
What does it mean to  “Receive the Holy Ghost.”? Is it an admonition to go get it? Is this another outward ordinance of a witness of what one has or will do?

Baptism by Fire and the holy ghost

There is a great article that discusses this. I will pull out a long quote of the parts that are relevant.
Nephi speaks of the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost in three verses—2 Nephi 31:13, 14, and 17. As context helps convey intended meaning, it is important to consider the whole text of these verses. 
Verse 13 reads: 
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel. 
Verse 14 reads: 
But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me. 
Verse 17 reads:  
Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost. 
The words, “then” and “after” in these verses indicate that baptism of fire follows genuine repentance (i.e., change of heart and spirit) and water baptism. Verse 17 teaches that forgiveness of sins accompanies the baptism of fire. Verses 13 and 14 state that having received the baptism of fire, one can “speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises to the Holy One of Israel.” Verse 14 warns of the serious responsibility that comes with the baptism of fire—we would be better off not to know, than to deny Christ after this experience. Peter testified also that “the latter end is worse with them than the beginning” when once-enlightened people turn from the Lord. He said it was like a dog turning to his own vomit again, “and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Peter 2:20–22) 
What else is taught in the scriptures about the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost? Must all receive it? Is it an event or a process? Is it to happen only once in a lifetime, or is it repeatable? What are the indicators that it has happened, or is happening to us?
It is instructive to review scriptural accounts of those who have experienced the baptism of fire, and to learn from prophetic commentary about that experience. Alma provides insight as he discusses his conversion. After three days of terrible spiritual suffering, he “awoke” and said: 
I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit. And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and his daughters; And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. (Mosiah 27:24–26) 
Note the terms Alma uses to refer to this experience—”born of the Spirit,” “born again,” “born of God,” “changed.” At least two other scriptural terms could be added, i.e., “converted” (Luke 22:32), and “quickened in the inner man” (Moses 6:65–66). Note, too, Alma’s testimony that all must receive this spiritual baptism in order to be saved. Additional insights were given by Alma many years later, as he taught his son Helaman. Alma said he “could remember [his] pains no more,” that “[he] was harrowed up by the memory of [his] sins no more” (Alma 36:19). He added that he felt joy “as exceeding as was [his] pain,” and was filled with “marvelous light” (Alma 36:20). 
The same feelings and blessings spoken of by Alma were experienced by those who heard and responded to King Benjamin’s great sermon. They were also “filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ” (Mosiah 4:3). They testified that the “Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent . . . has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2), and that “we . . . through . . . the manifestations of his Spirit, have great views of that which is to come; and were it expedient, we could prophesy of all things” (Mosiah 5:3). These same components are found in several other scriptural accounts of the baptism of fire (see Enos 1:1–8; Hel. 5:41–49; 3 Nephi 9:20; Acts 2:1–4; 9:1–18). (here)
So what exactly is the baptism by fire and if it is different than the gift of the holy ghost how so? Lets look at some scriptural examples.
64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam criedunto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.
65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus hewas born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.
66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and withthe Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever; (Moses 6:64-66)
Here he received baptism by fire adn the holy ghost immediately following baptism. It was declared unto him from a voice of heaven. Remind you of the story of Enos? Read it and see what he did.
"And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not." (3 Ne. 9: 20.)
I don't believe they did not know it because they didn't realize it but I believe they knew it not because they did not understand what it was that happened at that time. Eventually they learned what it was they had experienced.

"No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery, than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things." (JS-H 1: 73.) 
 "my mind now being enlightened, I began to have the scriptures laid open to my understanding, and the true meaning of their more mysterious passages revealed to me in a manner which I never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of." (Compare JS-H 1: 74.)
2 Nephi 31:14 But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.
 The scriptures have shown how baptism by fire brings about the following:

1) Forgiveness of sins, guilt swept away.
2) Prophecy
3) A new tongue
4) True meaning of Scriptures open up
5) The holy ghost has place in you, and it can now "tarry with you" and STAY. That is why if you should deny him at this point it is better that you had not known him. 
6) You have not even entered the gate until this event. Many are progressing to receive it still when they should have received it. Seek the Lord and he will guide you.
7) No more disposition to do evil
8) Look upon sin with abhorrence
23 A man may receive the Holy Ghost, and it may descend upon him and not tarry with him. (D&C 130:23)
When one has been bapitzed with fire and the holy ghost, fully converted they have RECEIVED the Holy Ghost, and it will tarry with YOU always as long as you don't DENY Him. You cannot say you have had this experience just because you feel the presence of the Holy Ghost as it may descend upon you and not tarry with you.

So call upon God to receive this for yourselves. Many try to say this is a process, while it may take some time to receive it, it is wrong to think of it that way. It IS an EVENT/EXPERIENCE. Seek after it, receive it, too many are like "its a life long process" so they are satisfied just going through life but it should be received now! Ask, Knock the lord will bestow it just like Enos received his, calling upon God in Mighty Prayer.

Other Examples: (That seem to be also BFHG experiences its possible they were not)

Baptism of Fire—Heber C. Kimball

Under the ordinances of baptism and the laying on of hands, I received the Holy Ghost, as the disciples did in ancient days, which was like a consuming fire.  I felt as though I sat at the feet of Jesus, and was clothed in my right mind, although the people called me crazy.

 I continued in this way for many months, and it seemed as though my body would consume away; at the same time the scriptures were unfolded to my mind in such a wonderful manner that it appeared to me, at times, as if I had formerly been familiar with them.
[Pp. 38–39 in Whitney, Orson F. 1888. Life of Heber C. Kimball. Salt Lake City, UT: The Kimball Family.]

Baptism of Fire—Thankful Pratt

My dear wife had now lived to accomplish her destiny; and when the child was dressed, and she had looked upon it and embraced it, she ceased to live in the flesh.  Her death happened about three hours after the birth of this child of promise.  A few days previous to her death she had a vision in open day while sitting in her room.  She was overwhelmed or immersed in a pillar of fire, which seemed to fill the whole room, as if it would consume it and all things therein; and the Spirit whispered to her mind, saying: “Thou art baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost.”  It also intimated to her that she should have the privilege of departing from this world of sorrow and pain, and of going to the Paradise of rest as soon as she had fulfilled the prophecy in relation to the promised son.  This vision was repeated on the next day at the same hour, viz.:—twelve o’clock.  She was overwhelmed with a joy and peace indescribable, and seemed changed in her whole nature from that time forth.  She longed to be gone, and anticipated the time as a hireling counts the days of his servitude, or the prisoner the term of his imprisonment.

[Pp. 181–82 in Pratt, Parley P. 1874. The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt. 1st ed. New York: Russell Brothers.]

Baptism of Fire—Lorenzo Snow

I was baptized by Elder John Boynton, then one of the Twelve Apostles, June, 1836, in Kirtland, Ohio.  Previous to accepting the ordinance of baptism, in my investigations of the principles taught by the Latter-day Saints, which I proved, by comparison, to be the same as those mentioned in the New Testament taught by Christ and His Apostles, I was thoroughly convinced that obedience to those principles would impart miraculous powers, manifestations and revelations.  With sanguine expectations of this result, I received the baptism and ordinance of laying on of hands by one who professed to have divine authority; and, having thus yielded obedience to these ordinances, I was in constant expectation of the fulfillment of the promise of the reception of the Holy Ghost.

The manifestation did not immediately follow my baptism, as I had expected, but, although the time was deferred, when I did receive it, its realization was more perfect, tangible and miraculous than even my strongest hopes had led me to anticipate.

Some two or three weeks after I was baptized, one day while engaged in my studies, I began to reflect upon the fact that I had not obtained a knowledge of the truth of the work—that I had not realized the fulfillment of the promise ‘he that doeth my will shall know of the doctrine,’ and I began to feel very uneasy.  I laid aside my books, left the house, and wandered around through the fields under the oppressive influence of a gloomy, disconsolate spirit, while an indescribable cloud of darkness seemed to envelop me.  I had been accustomed, at the close of the day, to retire for secret prayer, to a grove a short distance from my lodgings, but at this time I felt no inclination to do so.  The spirit of prayer had departed and the heavens seemed like brass over my head.  At length, realizing that the usual time had come for secret prayer, I concluded I would not forego my evening service, and, as a matter of formality, knelt as I was in the habit of doing, and in my accustomed retired place, but not feeling as I was wont to feel.

I had no sooner opened by lips in an effort to pray, than I heard a sound, just above my head, like the rustling of silken robes, and immediately the Spirit of God descended upon me, completely enveloping my whole person, filling me, from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, and O, the joy and happiness I felt!  No language can describe the almost instantaneous transition from a dense cloud of mental and spiritual darkness into a refulgence of light and knowledge, as it was at that time imparted to my understanding.  I then received a perfect knowledge that God lives, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and of the restoration of the holy Priesthood, and the fulness of the Gospel.  It was a complete baptism—a tangible immersion in the heavenly principle or element, the Holy Ghost; and even more real and physical in its effects upon every part of my system than the immersion by water; dispelling forever, so long as reason and memory last, all possibility of doubt or fear in relation to the fact handed down to us historically, that the ‘Babe of Bethlehem’ is truly the Son of God; also the fact that He is now being revealed to the children of men, and communicating knowledge, the same as in the Apostolic times.  I was perfectly satisfied, as well I might be, for my expectations were more than realized, I think I may safely say in an infinite degree.

I cannot tell how long I remained in the full flow of the blissful enjoyment and divine enlightenment, but it was several minutes before the celestial element which filled and surrounded me began gradually to withdraw.  On arising from my kneeling posture, with my heart swelling with gratitude to God, beyond the power of expression, I felt—I knew that He had conferred on me what only an omnipotent being can confer—that which is of greater value than all the wealth and honors worlds can bestow.  That night, as I retired to rest, the same wonderful manifestations were repeated, and continued to be for several successive nights.  The sweet remembrance of those glorious experiences, from that time to the present, bring them fresh before me, imparting an inspiring influence which pervades my whole being, and I trust will to the close of my earthly existence.

[Pp. 7–9 in Smith, Eliza R. Snow. 1884. Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News Company.] Also published in the Teachings of Lorenzo Snow manual.

Baptism of Fire—Eliza R. Snow

On the 5th of April, 1835, I was baptized by a “Mormon” Elder, and in the evening of that day, I realized the baptism of the Spirit as sensibly as I did that of the water in the stream. I had retired to bed, and I was reflecting on the wonderful events transpiring around me, I felt an indescribable, tangible sensation, if I may so call it, commencing at my head and enveloping my person and passing off at my feet, producing inexpressible happiness. Immediately following, I saw a beautiful candle with an unusual long, bright blaze directly over my feet. I sought to know the interpretation, and received the following, “The lamp of intelligence shall be lighted over your path,” I was satisfied.

[P. 6 in Snow, Eliza R. 1957. Eliza R. Snow—An Immortal: Selected Writings of Eliza R. Snow. Salt Lake City, UT: Nicholas G. Morgan, Sr., Foundation. Click here for more of the context, and additional information.]

Baptism of Fire—Robert M. Hogge

One evening, as we were nearing the end of the Book of Mormon, Don and I prayed together as usual, then each of us knelt and prayed silently. That night I prayed more earnestly than I had ever prayed before to know if the Book of Mormon was true.

Suddenly an indescribable feeling came over me, a cleansing sensation, as if my spirit were being washed, purged, and purified. The sensation was so powerful that I opened my eyes and looked up, almost expecting to see heavenly personages. But my eyes blurred, and tears flowed down my cheeks.

Embarrassed, I turned to see if Don was still praying. I was startled to see that tears were also running down his cheeks.

“What’s the matter with you?” I asked.

“The same thing that’s the matter with you.”

That night, in a boarding house in Uravan, I discovered that the Church is true, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that the Lord answers prayers. That experience changed me. It softened me, causing me to seek and be receptive to manifestations of the Spirit. I felt any disposition to do evil wash away.
In a very real sense, I was born again.

[P. 25 in Hogge, Robert M. 1992. “A Friend in Christ.” Ensign, October, pp. 25–26. Click here for the complete article.]

1 comment:

  1. Nice. I too have experienced the baptism of fire. It is a real thing, an event. For me it was very powerful. Those that say it's a process have not experienced it.