Introduction Chapter 1 My Testimony Chapter 2 What Is The Promise Of The Father? Chapter 3 Is The Promise Of The Father For Today? Chapter 4 Why Do You Need The Promise Of The Father? Chapter 5 What Will Happen When You Receive The Promise Of The Father? Chapter 6 What Are Manifestations Of The Holy Spirit? Chapter 7 How Do You Obtain The Promise Of The Father? Chapter 8 To What End? Chapter 9 Epilogue Glossary Bibliography Appendix A Scriptures Cited By Chapter Appendix B Scriptures Cited In Biblical Order
I would like to thank all of the Pastors I have sat under for the last thirty six years, whose teaching helped to shape my understanding of the promise of the Father. I would especially like to thank Dr. Paul Tinlin and Pastor Greg Johnson whom I have quoted herein. I am deeply indebted to Father Dennis Bennett. Although I only spent an hour or so with him many years ago, it was his anointed teaching on the Holy Spirit that led me to seek and receive the promise of the Father.
I am also indebted to my daughter-in-law, Christi Brown and to my good friend and brother in the Lord, Dr. John Leslie. Their comments, suggestions and encouragement have made this book better than it would otherwise have been. Last but not least, I would like to thank my wife Judy for walking with me in the adventure that living in promise of the Father has been. Without her encouragement and support, I would have never embraced the promise of the Father and this book would never have been published.
In Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4, some of the last words Messiah spoke to His disciples were about the promise of the Father. Messiah believed that this promise was so important that He instructed them not to attempt to be His witnesses until they received it. Contrary to what much of the church currently teaches, I agree with Peter that “…the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself" (Acts 2:39). I believe that the promise of the Father is as necessary today as it was when Peter spoke those words. I also believe that it is something the Father wants all His children to have. But what I think is irrelevant unless it squares with the Scriptures. My purpose in writing this book is to help you explore what scripture says about the promise of the Father. I challenge you to put aside what you have been taught about the promise of the Father and examine the Scriptures with an open mind under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Part of this process may involve putting aside the unscriptural doctrine that the promise of the Father is not for today. Another part may involve not being influenced by Pentecostal tomfoolery that may have turned you against receiving the promise of the Father. Please note that where unfamiliar words are used herein, they have been chosen for good reason. Italicized words are defined in the Glossary located at the end of this book. Unlike English and other languages where many words are merely conventions, Hebrew words often convey the essence of what they refer to. This is especially true with regard to the names of certain people. For instance, the name by which Messiah is known to gentile Christians is a meaningless combination of letters which are accepted by convention to represent what Messiah is called. That name is a transliteration of Messiah’s actual Hebrew name to the Greek name Iesous (pronounced ee-eh-soos), to the Latin name Jesus (pronounced hey-soos), and later to the English name Jesus. Messiah’s actual Hebrew name, the name above all names, the name at which every knee will bow, the only name by which we are saved, is Y’shua (pronounced Yeshuah). Unlike its Anglicized third generation transliteration, the Hebrew name which Gabriel, instructed Mary to give her son is rich in meaning. Some mistakenly teach that Messiah’s name was Y’hoshua or Joshua. Although Y’hoshua and Y’shua are close in appearance and meaning, there is a subtle but important difference between the two. Y’hoshua means “the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation”. Y’shua literally means “salvation”. In Isaiah 12:2-3 and Psalm 118:14-21 for instance, the Hebrew word translated salvation is “y’shua”. When used in the first person, Y’shua means “I save”. Because of this and because I prefer to call Messiah by His actual name, I will herein refer to Him by His Hebrew name, Y’shua. Although the name of the God of Avraham, Yishaq, and Yaakov is not spoken by many I hope may read this book, I will use His Hebrew name, “Yahveh” when referring to Him. I respect the Jewish tradition of substituting the words Adonai or HaShem for Yahveh, and out of respect for that tradition I use those terms when speaking of Yahveh with Jews. But in Isaiah 12:4 and 1Chronicles 16:8, Isaiah and David both use Yahveh’s Hebrew name in regards to giving Him thanks and praise; and Isaiah states that we should call upon His name. Although your translation probably renders this give thanks to or praise “the LORD” in Hebrew it says give thanks to Yahveh. How can we call upon His name if we don’t know it? In Jeremiah 16:19-21, the prophet states that the nations who come from the ends of the earth to the Lord will learn that His name is Yahveh. I am therefore, comfortable using Yahveh’s Hebrew name herein. Those who believe that this name should not be spoken may substitute the words Adonai or HaShem as they would when reading from the Hebrew Scriptures. Let me be clear about this however, those of us who worship the God of Avraham, Yishaq, and Yaakov through MessiahY’shua should take care to use the most holy name of Yahveh in only the most holy of ways.
Some Christian theological conventions are not only devoid of essential meaning contained in their Hebrew counterparts, but are also loaded with unnecessary prejudice. The Terms Old Testament and New Testament for instance can be offensive to Jews because they seem to imply replacement of one by the other, or that the former may now be less or no longer relevant. This reflects an erroneous prejudice held by many Christians known as supersessionism or replacement theology. I will therefore avoid using the terms Old and New Testaments herein. Instead, I will use the word Tanakh, an acronym for Torah (the Instructions), Neviim (the Prophets), and K’tuvim (the Writings) to refer to the Hebrew Scriptures as the Jewish people do. I will use B’rit Hadashah (New Covenant) to refer to the Gospel, Epistles etc. The words B’rit Hadashah are taken from Jeremiah 31:31 which says: Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new (chadash) covenant (b’rit) with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah… Interestingly, the word chadash does not mean “new” in the sense that we use the word. Chadash is the Hebrew word for the “new moon”. When we see the new moon at the beginning of each Hebrew month, it is not a “new” moon but the renewal of the same moon we saw during the previous month. Likewise, the B’rit Hadashah is not a covenant that did not formerly exist, but a renewal of the original covenant with Yahveh’s people. Finally, I would like to note that in my opinion, Christianity was tragically severed from its Jewish roots early in the fourth century A.D, leaving the church at a loss to fully understand many of the teachings of Messiah which were taught against the backdrop of Jewish customs and heritage that gentile Christians are not familiar with. I hope that I can adequately convey to you the marvelous blessings and insight that a better understanding of our Jewish heritage has brought to me, especially in regard to “the promise of the Father”.
Chapter 1 My Testimony
Unlike many of my Evangelical friends, I cannot tell you the day, the date or the hour that I was saved. Having grown up in the Anglican Church, where salvation seemed to be more of process than a moment in time, there was no impetus to note such details. I do, however, recall a moment in time when I accepted Y’shua’s atoning sacrifice on the cross as propitiation for my sins and asked Him to be my Savior. I know that I was about fourteen or fifteen years old at the time, and was serving at the altar as an acolyte. My parish Priest had just preached from the pulpit that one could attend church services regularly, take Holy Communion several times a week, and do everything good Episcopalians do; and go straight to Hell if he or she did not have a personal saving relationship with Y’shua (he did not use Messiah’s Hebrew name but I have inserted it here for reasons stated above). It was that day and that hour that I asked Y’shua to be my personal savior.
I spent the next 12 years or so whittling away at the long list of things in my life that I needed to turn over to Y’shua to make Him Lord of my life. One of my main struggles was being open about my Christianity at work. By this time I had become a sworn Federal law enforcement agent and was hesitant to be open about my faith out of fear that my colleagues would think less of me.
It was the custom in those days that when a seasoned agent had an arrest to make, he would round up all the new agents and take them along for experience sake. On one such occasion, a giant of a man who stood over seven feet tall rounded me and several other new agents up to help him arrest a fugitive who was wanted for murdering several of his own family members with a shotgun.
It had been drummed into us at the Academy that in such situations, a fugitive should be so outmanned and so outgunned that his or her only rational choice was surrender. We had been told that if there was one fugitive, we should take four agents and that if the fugitive had a pistol we should take shotguns. If the fugitive had a shotgun, we should take machine guns, and if the fugitive had a machine gun, we should take a tank. With this in mind, I asked the giant if we were going to check shot guns out of the gun vault. He scoffed that there were six of us and only one fugitive. He added that if that wasn’t good enough odds for me, I could stay behind.
Perhaps, because I had drawn the giant’s disdain, I was assigned to cover the alley behind the three story apartment building that the fugitive was staying in. As I looked up at row upon row of windows above me, everything seemed to go into slow motion and I had one of those moments where you do a month’s worth of thinking in just a few minutes. I saw a vision of my wife widowed and my children fatherless. Instead of a hero’s death, I saw Inspectors sent out from Headquarters to establish that I had foolishly gotten myself killed by ignoring the training they had given me. Then I heard the Lord speak clearly to my heart, “That fugitive could be pointing a shotgun at you out of any of those windows and you would never hear the shot that killed you. You are willing to stand here and die for nothing, but you are afraid to stand up for Me because someone might make fun of you!” I survived that day, but I came away deeply convicted by the Holy Spirit that I needed to be open about what Y’shua had done for me! Though thoroughly convicted, I very much remained a closet Christian.
I don’t recall ever specifically praying that I would find a Christian coworker nor do I recall discussing my dilemma with my wife, but she was led to pray just that, and the Lord answered her prayer. There was an agent named Ken in the office I was assigned to, who was very open about his faith. He refused to tell or listen to off color jokes, and was renowned instead, for weaving elaborate gut wrenching puns. Although most of our co-workers respected Ken for his values as well as his accomplishments, some made fun of his “Christianity” behind his back. This never deterred Ken in his Christian walk.
In answer to my wife’s prayer I was reassigned to the squad Ken was on and tasked with assisting him in a massive effort to locate and apprehend a group of self styled “urban terrorists” who were detonating bombs in businesses and public places. They were also robbing banks to support themselves during their reign of terror. For six months, Ken and I spent hundreds of hours together working on that case. While driving from place to place running down leads, we talked about the Lord and prayed together that He would give us success in this baffling case. One day, every agent assigned to our office was combing the city looking for a car the fugitives were believed to have been seen in. Several hours into this dragnet, Ken pulled our car over in frustration and asked me to pray with him that the Lord would help us find the terrorists. Just as we finished that prayer, one of our colleagues radioed that he had a gut feeling that he should check a parking lot where the fugitives might have been seen a few days earlier. A few minutes later, that agent located the fugitives, who were arrested as they prepared to rob a bank down the street.
In the course of that investigation, the Lord answered many of our prayers in miraculous ways. So much so, that during their trial, the terrorists protested that things could not possibly have unfolded the way we said they did. They steadfastly maintained that the only way we could have caught them and obtained the devastating evidence we had against them was to utilize illegal investigative techniques. Ken and I both had many opportunities to give the glory to the Lord for what He had done in answer to our prayers. This experience was a great milestone in my Christian walk. But a year later, I was still whittling away at that long list of things in my life that I was not yet willing to give over to the Lord. The Lord used what I can only describe as a suicide mission to help me through this struggle.
Although my agency was not responsible for protecting high profile witnesses, I was assigned to a group of agents who were given the responsibility of protecting a witness in an organized crime trial. There had already been two attempts on the witness’ life and once he had been left for dead. Because the witness refused to be placed in the witness protection program, we were assigned to camp outside his residence and accompany him where ever he went. Had there been another attempt on the witness’ life, my associates and I would have just been additional targets.
At the time, I was reading a number of Christian classics, including, The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. I was really feeling challenged to go beyond accepting Y’shua as my savior, and make Him Lord over all of my life. As I stood watch on a midnight shift, waiting to be shot at, I felt the presence of the Lord as I had never felt it before. It seemed like I had been immersed in the glory of His presence for days, even though it was only a few hours. During that incredible experience, I felt like I was finally able to give everything in my life over to the Lord. For several days, I was on cloud nine. I felt like I had finally “made it”, and I was feeling pretty good about myself. A few days later, my euphoria was snuffed out by news that there was a group of people at our church who were teaching about something called the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Here I thought I had finally made it and now I was hearing that someone was claiming to have something from the Lord that I didn’t have.
I couldn’t believe that I had been a Christian for most of my life and had never even heard of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I was tremendously put off by the idea that someone was claiming to have something I didn’t have, but was insatiably curious to learn more about it. So I did what any brave armed and dangerous law enforcement officer would do. I sent my wife to spy it out. Judy started attending a lady’s prayer and praise group that met weekly in the home of one of the women who attended our church. Each time she went, I would interrogate her about what had happened, and she related stories about how ladies had been miraculously healed of various maladies and “slain in the Spirit” when hands were laid on them in prayer. Being slain in the Spirit is what they called peacefully fainting under the power of the Holy Spirit. After several weeks of such reports, I decided that we should attend a Charismatic prayer and praise meeting that met at our church on Wednesday evenings.
Except for myself and my wife who were there as spies, the members of that group were for the most part typically dignified Episcopalians who had been Baptized in the Holy Spirit. Although they were presumably able to move in gifts of the Spirit like speaking in tongues, healing, prophecy etc., none of those things that I was so anxious to experience had ever happened in the meetings I attended. That is until what I like to call “Black Wednesday” rolled around. Although most of the members of the group were too dignified to roll on the floor and bark like dogs, there was one free spirit named Cherie who was on fire for the Lord. Please know that I have never seen a Charismatic or Pentecostal roll on the floor or bark like a dog, but I use this phrase in jest because it is how many anti-Pentecostal Christians characterize Pentecostals.
In those days, it was not unusual for grocery store cashiers to ask if you wanted any cigarettes before they totaled your bill. Cherie was the type of Christian who saw this as an opportunity to witness that the Lord had delivered her from such things. She would then follow up with a short Gospel presentation and an altar call. Cherie also happened to be a Special Census taker for the Federal Government. One day, while doing her Census canvassing, Cherie happened to knock on the door of an apartment inhabited by two young Pentecostal women. Shortly thereafter, a revival meeting broke out right there in the hallway. In the course of that meeting, Cherie invited the young women to our prayer and praise meeting the following Wednesday.
After Cherie introduced her new friends in the Lord, the meeting proceeded in the usual dignified way. Now it just so happened that one of the members of our group was visibly ill with a very bad cold that evening. As I recall, her eyes were almost swollen shut, and she could hardly breathe. As the meeting proceeded, one of the Pentecostal women interrupted, incredulously demanding to know why we had not prayed for the sick lady. That seeming to be a good idea, we gathered around the sick lady and started to pray. Suddenly, the two Pentecostal ladies and Cherie began praying in tongues (unknown heavenly languages). As they prayed louder and louder, the presence of the Holy Spirit filled the room, until it seemed like the roof was going to blow off the building. Then, before our very eyes, the sick lady was visibly healed. By the time the praying was over her symptoms were gone, and doubting Jim had witnessed a whole bunch of things I had been longing to experience.
Ironically, the next day I heard that some of the staid Charismatics were somewhat troubled by the Black Wednesday spectacle and were questioning whether Cherie should have invited the Pentecostals. If anyone was going to be offended you’d have thought it would be ole doubting Jim, but I was still having trouble keeping my feet on the ground. From that day forward, I was no longer put off by the idea of the baptism in the Holy Spirit or the manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit that I had previously only heard about. In fact, after Black Wednesday I desperately wanted to be baptized in the Spirit but was afraid to ask our group to pray with me. First of all, they assumed that I had already been baptized in the Spirit, and I had done nothing to disabuse them of the error. It would be embarrassing to come clean now. Secondly, I was terrified that I might be the first one to pray for the Baptism and not receive it, and that humiliation I could not bear.
Somehow crazy Cherie knew all this. Shortly after we learned that I was being transferred to a large city in the Midwest, Cherie cornered my wife and I at church and told us she knew that I was afraid to ask our group to pray with me for the baptism in the Spirit. She also told us that the Episcopal Diocese in the city we were going to was very anti-charismatic and that it was time to fish or cut bait. Cherie suggested that we go to a Friday night meeting at an Episcopal Church where Father Dennis Bennett had a ministry of explaining the baptism in the Holy Spirit and praying for folks to receive it. Cherrie also gave me a copy of Father Bennett’s book, The Holy Spirit and You.
After reading that book, I was surer than ever that I wanted to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, but I was still terrified that I would pray for this experience in public and be humiliated by not receiving it. As we waited for the opportunity to attend one of Father Bennett’s meetings, I prayed, “Lord, if this is something you want me to have, just give it to me so I don’t have to risk public humiliation!” The Lord answered my prayer – sort of. I had a dream one night in which I was on my knees with my hands lifted up to the Lord. As I prayed, I felt an incredible surge well up from deep within me. I opened my mouth and tried to speak, but nothing came out. A short time later, I had the same exact dream, but this time when I opened my mouth, I began speaking and praising God in a language I did not understand.
When my wife and I went to Father Bennett’s meeting a few days later, I had only experienced these things in my dreams. I was still fearful that I would ask for the baptism in the Holy Spirit but not receive it. It seemed like Father Bennett spoke for hours answering every question I ever had about the baptism in the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. Truth be known, it was probably only about twenty minutes. When he finished his talk, Father Bennett explained that he was going to leave and that there were people from his church who would pray with anyone seeking the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He explained that the reason he was leaving was that he did not want anyone to think that Dennis Bennett had baptized them in the Holy Spirit. He went on to say that only Y’shua baptizes in the Holy Spirit.
Normally, I always sit on the aisle when we are in row seating, but somehow, on this occasion Judy wound up sitting between me and the aisle. When the invitation was given for people to come to the altar if they wanted to be prayed with, Judy hesitated because she wasn’t sure if I was going to go up. Lord knows I had given her more than enough reason to doubt that I would have the courage to do so. I was so ready at this point, that I almost trampled Judy trying to get by her. At the altar, members of the church prayed for both Judy and I. As they laid hands on me and prayed, I felt the same incredible welling up that I had experienced in my dreams and I began praising the Lord in a language I didn’t understand.
As we left the church that evening, I experienced a manifestation of the Holy Spirit which Paul identifies in 1 Corinthians 12:10 as “distinguishing of spirits”. At that time, I didn’t necessarily believe that Satan really existed, and leaned toward believing that Satan was simply a metaphor for evil. But as I walked past a handbill posted on a power pole along the way to our car, my spirit went on alert. Even though I didn’t read the handbill, I knew in my spirit that it represented something incredibly evil. For the first time in my life I sensed the very presence of a demonic spirit. It was as if being baptized in the Holy Spirit had thrust me into the spiritual battle that Paul talks about in Ephesians 6:10-18. Since that time I have been used as the Holy Spirit saw fit in the manifestation of a number of the gifts of the Spirit listed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:7-10. These include the gifts of word of knowledge, word of wisdom, healing, and prophecy. Please understand that the Spirit filled life is not a contest to see how many gifts of the Spirit one can lay hold of. Rather it is the assurance that when the Lord asks you to do the impossible, His Holy Spirit will supernaturally empower you to accomplish it.
That’s my testimony, but what happened to me is irrelevant and unworthy of your consideration if it does not square with Scripture. I believe that Scripture indicates that it is the desire of the Lord that all Christians be clothed with power from on high through the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The words that follow are dedicated to establishing through Scripture, that this “promise of the Father” is for you!