The Case Of Cornelius

I am well aware of the fact that many (perhaps the majority) of our people and preachers hold the position that there are two cases of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit recorded in the New Testament...That of the Apostles on Pentecost and the household of Cornelius recorded in Acts chapters ten and eleven.

I do not however, subscribe to the position that what occurred at the household of Cornelius was Holy Spirit Baptism. I have already shown in this series of Lessons that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was a promise to the Apostles and to them only, and that Jesus said it was something "whom the world could not receive" (John 14: 17) The "world" in this passage meant mankind in general. Thus it was "Mankind in general" Versus the Apostles in particular. Furthermore, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles was to occur shortly after Jesus gave them the Great Commission "Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence." (Acts 1: 5) In other words at the beginning of the gospel dispensation. Peter called it "the beginning" (Acts 11: 15)

What occurred at the household of Cornelius was eight or ten years after Pentecost, and there had been numerous miraculous manifestations of the Holy Spirit during that period between Pentecost and Cornelius, but they all occurred through the laying on of the Apostles hands. The falling of the Holy Spirit on the Cornelius household was a "like" gift to the Baptism of the Apostles in that it was poured out directly from Heaven "like" it was on Pentecost. (Acts 11: 17) This was the sense in which it was a "like gift", but it did not enable the Cornelius household to do anything that the Baptism of the Spirit on the Apostles enabled them to do. Had it been the Baptism of the Holy Spirit it would have "guided them into all truth, and shown them (revealed) things to come" (John 16: 13),and they would have known ALL that the Apostles knew, so there would have been no reason for them to send for an inspired Apostle to "tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house s hall be saved". (Acts 11: 14)

The tenth chapter of Acts is Luke's record of what happened at the household of Cornelius. Luke however, in this chapter, makes no claim to stating the events in the EXACT order or sequence as they happened.

In the eleventh chapter Luke records Peter's account of these same occurrences, and Peter relates them in the EXACT order in which they occurred. Acts 11: 4 Says, "But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by ORDER unto them.." The New American Standard Bible renders this verse as, "But Peter began speaking and proceeded to explain to them in ORDERLY SEQUENCE.." In verse 15 Peter says, "And as I BEGAN to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning." Thus the Holy Spirit fell on them before Peter preached the word to them, that is BEFORE they were saved. At the very beginning of Peter's sermon. "As I BEGAN to speak" Peter said the angel told Cornelius to send men to Joppa and "call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; Who shall tell the WORDS, whereby thou and all thy house shall BE SAVED". (Acts 11: 13-14) These Gentiles had NOT heard the words that would save them at the time the Holy Spirit fell on them, and were therefore unsaved at that time. This is the only record of such an occurrence anywhere in the New Testament. It had never happened before, and it never happened again. It was not to save the Cornelius household, and it was not to "guide them into all truth" as the Baptis m of the Holy Spirit did for the Apostles (John 16: 13) and it was NOT the Baptism of the Holy Spirit "whom the world cannot receive" (John 14:16-17) and the only manifestation of this "gift of the Holy Spirit" on these Gentiles was that the Jewish brethren "heard them speak in tongues, and magnify God" (Acts 10: 46) And remember that this happened BEFORE they were saved, and there is no indication anywhere in the New Testament that they were ever able to do so again. There is every indication that it was a "one time only" occurrence because its sole purpose was to convince the Jewish brethren that "God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." Acts 10: 34-35) and it did accomplish that purpose for, "they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles was poured out the Holy Spirit". (Acts 10: 45) None of this occurred w hile Peter was preaching his sermon, but before he preached that sermon--"As I BEGAN to speak". Further proof that the purpose of the Holy Spirit falling on these unsaved Gentiles was to affirm God's plan to save both Jew and Gentile alike under the gospel dispensation is the fact that Peter said, "Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?" (Acts 11: 17) So, the purpose of this miraculous manifestation of the Spirit on the Gentiles was not to save them, nor to give them the power the Apostles received when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, but simply to affirm God's acceptance of them. It was a "like gift" in the sense that it was poured out directly from heaven, "like" the Baptism of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. Later on in the Jerusalem meeting Peter said, "Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the G entiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness,giving them the Holy Spirit, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." (Acts 15: 7-9) Thus God witnessed to the fact that there was no difference between the Jew and the Gentile, by the direct outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which as I have already stated was a "one time" occurrence. for that purpose, and that purpose only--not to save them. In order to be saved they had to "hear the word of the gospel and believe." Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16: 16) Hence Peter, at the conclusion of his sermon to these Gentiles "commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord". (Acts 10: 48)

Go to lesson 12
Indwelling Of The Holy Spirit