Monday, August 20, 2012

Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost

Last week's discussion leads to this week's. For the next few days we turn to the matter of "baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost" as a doctrine. The discussion last week will help to set up the framework for understanding this topic. When I mentioned this before on this blog it was in response to a specific question, and did not attempt to lay the matter out.

The most interesting passage referring to this is in 3 Ne. 9. The Nephite destruction has happened, there is darkness covering the land, and Christ speaks to the survivors. He tells them many things, but this is the important statement: "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.) This statement from the Lord clarifies that it is possible for the event to occur and those who receive it do not know what it is.

The Lamanite conversion incident referred to by the Lord is not explained. Christ's words begin in verse 2 of Chapter 9, and deal entirely with the events of that generation leading up to the destruction of the land. Among those who would have been living at the time of the destruction would have been the Lamanites who underwent a conversion to the Gospel through the missionary efforts of Lehi and Nephi. These two were put into prison for preaching (Hel. 5: 21), kept without food for many days (Hel. 5: 22), and when they came to kill them Nephi and Lehi were encircled about by fire (Hel. 5: 23). There was a great earthquake, similar to 3 Nephi when Christ's voice was heard. There was a great darkness in the prison, similar to 3 Nephi when Christ's voice was heard. (Hel. 5: 27-28.) These events involving Lehi and Nephi are a type of the events in 3 Nephi when Christ was speaking.

With Lehi and Nephi still in the prision, the Lamanites in the prison experienced the following:

-A voice speaks to them telling them to repent. (Hel. 5: 29; compare with 3 Ne. 11: 3.)
-The voice is not thunderous, but nevertheless pierced them to their core. (Hel. 5: 30; compare with 3 Ne. 11: 3.)
-The voice repeats again a second time. (Hel. 5: 32; compare with 3 Ne. 11: 4.)
-The voice repeats again a third time. (Hel. 5: 33; compare with 3 Ne. 11: 5-7.)
-The communication includes such marvelous information man is unable to communicate it. (Hel. 5: 33; compare with 3 Ne. 17: 16-17.)
-The Lamanite observers saw Lehi and Nephi in a pillar of fire with angels ministering to them. (Hel. 5: 36-37; compare with 3 Ne. 17: 23-25.)

These Lamanites asked how they could be delivered from the darkness and come into the redeeming light as Lehi and Nephi (Hel. 5: 40) and were told they must repent to be delivered (Hel. 5: 41). All of them cried out to the Lord, and were delivered from darkness (Hel. 5: 42-43). They then were filled with joy and found themselves likewise encircled with that same fire in which Lehi and Nephi previously stood (Hel. 5: 43-45.)

After last weeks' posts, the following statement should now alert you to something: "And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words." (Hel. 5: 45.) Once again, it is the "Holy Spirit" which causes the effect. The effect upon them is called the "Holy Ghost" by Christ (See 3 Ne. 9: 20).

The reason these recipients "did not know" it was "the Holy Ghost" now within them was because they did not know the vocabulary, nor understand the process. But there was an experience, and the result was conversion and a new life thereafter. (Hel. 5: 46-50.)

This is one instance of the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.

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