When Does a Person Receive the Holy Spirit?
At Baptism or at the Resurrection?
Common to greater Christendom is “false dilemma”—the fallacy of exhaustive hypotheses; the fallacy of false choices or false alternatives—reasoning as found in the paired questions, “If you were to die tonight, where would you spend eternity? In heaven or in hell?” … If the person is not truly born of spirit, the person would be in neither, but would be in the grave awaiting judgment in the great White Throne Judgment; so of the two alternatives offered, neither might be true.
When Sadducees challenged [tested] Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel, they presented Jesus with seven choices: “‘In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her’” (Matt 22:28 all citations will be from the ESV). Jesus’ answer pertains: “‘You [Sadducees] are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven’” (vv. 29–30).
In speaking of baptism, Peter wrote, “Baptism, which corresponds to this [the Flood], now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him” (1 Pet 3:21–22 emphasis added).
Baptism is a public appeal [petition] to God for a good conscience. It is not automatic that God will answer this petition for a good conscience in the positive by drawing the person from this world (John 6:44) and delivering the person to Christ Jesus to be called, justified, and glorified … God will not be manipulated by human persons. The person that He draws from this world, He foreknows and predestines to be glorified as fruit borne out of season—the season for the harvest of firstfruits is the seven endtime years of tribulation. The season for the harvest of the main crop of humanity is in the great White Throne Judgment.
The Elect, for the sake of whom God will cut short the Affliction, the first 1260 days of the seven endtime years (Matt 24:22), are those disciples Paul addresses when he wrote, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified” (Rom 8:28–30 emphasis added).
The imprecision of who does the calling, justifying, and glorifying comes in translation from translators believing that the Father and Christ Jesus are one entity, not two entities that function as one entity as a man and his wife are two that function as one flesh (Gen 2:24) … the Father and Christ are two deities that are both God, with <God> being a category of spiritually living entities that includes glorified human sons of God that have been raised from death by the Father (John 5:21) and that will receive a second “receiving” of life from the glorified Christ Jesus (same verse) when judgments are revealed.
If the Father raises the dead—what Jesus says in John’s Gospel: “‘For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will” (John 5:21)—to whom will the Son give life unless He gives life to those whom the Father has raised from death? And this is the question that undercuts the false dilemma of when is a person born of spirit, at baptism or at the resurrection. For a human son of God will be twice glorified spiritually as Jesus was twice glorified by the Father—once when the spirit of God [pneuma Theou] entered into [eis] the man Jesus when He was raised from the water by John the Baptist (Mark 1:10), and a second time when the Father raised Jesus’ dead body from the Garden Tomb. And the first glorification comes with being born of spirit, the inner self [psuche — soul] being made spiritually alive through the indwelling of Christ Jesus, the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christ — from Rom 8:9] “penetrating” the spirit of the person [to pneuma tou ’anthropou — from 1 Cor 2:11].
For the Elect—those human persons foreknown by the Father and predestined to be glorified when it isn’t the season for fruit—the Father raising the inner selves of these human persons can come at any time, with the now living [once raised from death] inner person being neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, but as angels are: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:27–28). Again, baptism is an appeal for a good conscience, and for the Elect, this appeal comes by the Father drawing the person from this world and delivering the person to Christ Jesus.
But after the 1st-Century, many more people are (have been) baptized than the Father foreknew. Hence, baptism long ago lost its significance except as a public appeal for a good conscious. However, baptism has significance following the Second Passover liberation of a second Israel from spiritual enslavement by Sin and Death [enslavement by the Adversary, the spiritual king of spiritual Babylon]; for all who have been “baptized” will be filled with and empowered by the spirit of God—but not born of spirit through the indwelling of Christ Jesus. These Christians will be filled with spirit while the Adversary remains the prince of this world, and most of these Christians will fall away [rebel against God] in the great Apostasy of 2 Thessalonian 2:3, making these Christians analogous to the nation of Israel that left Egypt under Moses.
Halfway through the seven endtime years, dominion over the single kingdom of this world will be taken from the Adversary and given to the Son of Man [this will be on the doubled day 1260] (see Dan 7:9–14; Rev 11:15–18; 12:7–12). And when dominion over the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man, the spirit of God will be poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28). Jesus will baptize the world in spirit (Matt 3:11), and the remaining third part of humankind will be filled with spirit as Christians were at the beginning of the Affliction … at the beginning of the Endurance in Jesus, all of humanity still alive (roughly 2.4 billion persons) will be filled with spirit and will comprise the greater part of the harvest of firstfruits. Of this third part, all who endure [in faith] to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13; 10:22).
Like greater Christendom in the Affliction that will be filled with the spirit of God but not born of spirit through the indwelling of Christ Jesus, the third part of humanity [from Zech 13:9] will be filled with the spirit of God but not born of spirit. Neither faithful Christians [the spiritual equivalent of faithful Abel] nor the faithful of the third part of humanity [equivalent to Seth] will be born of spirit until glorified at Christ Jesus’ return [the Second Advent].
As Matthew’s Jesus told Sadducees that they didn’t know Scripture, the Churches of God don’t know either Scripture or the power of God. They don’t understand the reality of the Elect. For unless God the Father draws a foreknown person from this world and delivers this person to Christ Jesus, thereby raising the person from the dead while the person remains physically living, no person can come to Christ. Hence, the spiritual Body of Christ can die—and did die—spiritually by the Father simply not drawing anyone from this world for a period of time. The Father can then resurrect the Body of Christ by resuming drawing foreknown person from this world, with the world not realizing that the Body died or that the Body was resurrected. Thus, the Second Passover liberation of Israel (foreshadowed by the Passover liberation of Israel in the days of Moses) isn’t the Father’s resurrection of the Body of Christ, but the liberation from indwelling Sin and indwelling Death of the Corpse of Christ that will be given spiritual life at the Second Advent.
If this Corpse of Christ [greater Christendom] had actually been born of spirit when filled with spirit at the Second Passover liberation of Israel, rebelling Christians—analogous to Israel in Numbers chapter 14—would also be analogous to Satan, the devil; for sons of God are like angels in that they already have life in the heavenly realm. They still need Jesus to give them glorified bodies; for it is Jesus that gives to them both spiritual birth (by command of the Father) and glorified bodies, with Paul identifying Jesus as a life-giving spirit [pneuma] (1 Cor 15:45), and with Jesus in John’s Gospel declaring that all judgment has been given to Him (John 5:22).
What Paul understood but did not well express is that only those in whom the spirit of Christ resides have indwelling spiritual life, and the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). Without the mind of Christ, no human person can understand Scripture or know the power of God. Said in other words, without the Christian having been born of spirit through the Father raising the person’s inner self [soul] from death via drawing the Christian from this world and delivering the Christian to Christ to call, justify, and glory through the indwelling of the spirit of Christ, the Christian cannot understand spiritual matters; cannot comprehend the duality of Scripture, in particular the harvest of firstfruits at the beginning of the Thousand Years and the General Harvest of humanity at the end of the Thousand Years, with the Elect being in the reality of the First Unleavened (the Christian era preceding the seven endtime years) a type of what the five virgins excluded from the Wedding Supper represent in the Millennium … because the five excluded “virgins” are without sin or indwelling death, they will physically live into the Millennium and through the Millennium, with them to appear before the Christ in the great White Throne Judgment.