By Rex Conklin with Frank Klin
We ended the first part of our study "Baptizing in "The Name" with the following questions:
After the commission to “go…teach all…baptizing them in the name…” by what name did the apostolic church in the book of Acts do this? Did the Father glorify His name again?
Let us now continue to answer those questions and come to an understanding what it means to baptize in the "Name."
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” - (Acts 2:21)
How do we call on the name of the Lord?
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” - (Acts 2:38)
This gift comes from the Father through Jesus’ name. See our study “The Gift: Our Abiding Possession” for this unquestionable truth.
A lame man sees Peter and John about to go into the temple. Peter heals the man in the name of Jesus, “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk…And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.” - (Acts 3:6 & 11)
Now listen as the apostle tells those who witnessed the healing that the God of their fathers has just glorified His name through His Son.
“Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus…” - (Acts 3:12-13)
But ye denied the Holy One and the Just…and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name (the Father) through faith in his name (the Son) hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” - (Acts 3:12-16)
Peter then calls the people to repentance and some do not appreciate the message.
“And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day…” - (Acts 4:1-3)
On the morrow before the council Peter and John were asked a pointed question,
“By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?” - (Acts 4:7)
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel…Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.” - (Acts 4:8 & 10)
There is more power through the name of Christ resurrected. Jesus literally healed the crippled man by His own Spirit working through Peter. Doesn’t this remind you of what happened on the day of Pentecost, the very day when in heaven Jesus received back from His Father the glory that He had before He came to earth? Peter spoke boldly then under the power of the gift of the Holy Spirit and he speaks boldly here as he shares a vitally important truth.
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” - (Acts 4:12)
Though the chief priests and elders knew Peter and John had been with Jesus, could not deny the miracle, and marvelled at their boldness they conferred together as to what should be done to the disciples.
“But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” - (Acts 4:17-20)
“So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all glorified God (the Father) for that which was done.” - (Acts 4:21)
Did you catch that? The Father is glorified again, this time through His people.
Peter and John return to the believers to share all that had happened and when the believers heard it they cried aloud to the Father.
“…Lord (YHWH, the Father), thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is…The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord (YHWH), and against his Christ (anointed One). For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed… And now, Lord (YHWH), behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.” - (Acts 4:24, 26-27, 29-30)
Now see how the Father answers the prayer prayed in the name of His Son. “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” - (Acts 4:31) This was another outpouring of the Spirit as on the Day of Pentecost.
Peter and certain other apostles again get in trouble for speaking the name of the Son of God. The enemies of God know that there is power in the name and they fear.
“Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.” - (Acts 5:28)
Gamaliel, one of the Pharisees, gave his testimony and concluded his remarks by saying, “Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. - (Acts 5:38-39)
His words ring true today.
“And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” - (Acts 5:40-41)
In Acts chapter sixteen we have the account of Paul commanding an evil spirit in the name of Jesus to come out of a woman, “and he came out the same hour.” - (Acts 16:18)
Then we have a curious account.
“Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jew, chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” - (Acts 19:13-16)
Why did this happen? The people were mixing the sacred with the profane. Many repented of their evil deeds. “And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” - (Acts 19:17-20)
Now let’s look at verses in Acts that highlight baptism to see if there is a correlation between the receiving of the Holy Ghost and the Name the believers were baptized in.
Peter is in Caesarea at the home of Cornelius. He reveals that, “God (the Father) is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)” - (Acts 10:34-36).
So the same salvation offered to the children of Israel through the sufferings of the Lamb of God was offered to all who believed, “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost (Spirit of Christ) sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (1 Peter 1:12; 2 Peter 1:21)
Peter continues, “that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God (the Father) anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him…To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”- (Acts 10: Acts 10:36-38, 43-44)
Cornelius, along with his family and friends, received the Holy Ghost just by hearing the words of Peter. They hadn’t even been baptized with water. Christ’s glory that He had before the incarnation was again manifest through His Spirit. Notice that this outpouring of the Spirit came through Jesus, just like John the Baptist proclaimed in the gospel, that the one coming after him would baptize with the Holy Ghost.
“And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.” - (Acts 10:45-48)
In another example the apostle Philip had gone to the city of Samaria and discovered the people had been bewitched by the sorcerer Simon Magus, “To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God…” Here was someone who came in his own name and the people believed a lie. “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” - (Acts 8:10, 12)
This account is the opposite of the story of Cornelius. These believers received water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ before they received the Holy Ghost. This shows that the great commission is not a formula of baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Rather the emphasis is on teaching and believers were to be baptized with water in the name of Jesus, who carried the name of His Father. The gift of the Holy Ghost would come from the Father through Jesus Himself as we learned previously from John the Baptist.
“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” - (Acts 8:14-17)
During Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus he sees Jesus face to face, the very one he had been persecuting. How had Saul known who to persecute? This is Saul’s testimony, “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” - (Acts 26:9)
While Saul was blind physically he sees in vision a man. Jesus Himself speaks about Saul to that same man, Ananias, in a vision, “Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.” - (Acts 9:15-16)
Paul did suffer great things for the sake of Jesus’ name, but was heard to testify, “…I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” - (Acts 21:13)
“And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.” - (Acts 9:17-18)
Here Jesus Himself, through Ananias, filled Saul with the Holy Ghost. It was not until then that Saul was baptized with water. The new apostle then, through the Spirit of Christ, had power to teach all nations whatsoever Jesus commanded him.
“And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. - (Acts 19:1-6)
In our journey through John’s gospel and the book of Acts, how many names did we discover that the gospel was preached in? We found the name of the Father several times and how God glorified His name in His Son. Nowhere did we find the name of the Holy Ghost or Spirit. This is curious because a majority of the Christian world deems the Spirit a third co-equal, co-eternal Being with the Father and Son. When you do a comprehensive study nowhere in Scripture is there a name for the Spirit. In the book of John we learned the Spirit comes from the Father as a part of who He is. He in turn gave the Spirit to His only begotten Son to be a part of who He is. It was also poured out in great measure on the day of His baptism and again on the Day of Pentecost.
Because of this study we would like to take another look at what is termed “The Great Commission” from Matthew. Knowing that originally there was no punctuation or chapter and verse indicators when Scripture was written, coupled with the fact that we found only the name of the Father and Son and no name for the Spirit we propose the following reading of the verse:
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son.” - (Matthew 28:18-19 part A)
“And of the Holy Ghost teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, unto the end of the world. Amen.” - (Matthew 28:19 part B-20)
Why read it like this? By baptizing with water in the name of Jesus, we baptize in the name of the Father. Then it is that Jesus baptizes the believer with the Spirit so that we are able to teach all things whatsoever our Saviour commanded. And these are the things Jesus heard from His Father.
“For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God (the Father) raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” - (Acts 3:22)
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” - (John 14: 26; John 16:13)
In using someone’s name we are recognizing and acknowledging the dignity and authority of the one named. The use of a name also recognizes the character of the one giving it, or all that a "name" implies, of authority, character, rank, majesty, power, excellence, etc. To do something by one’s command and authority is acting on His behalf and promoting His cause.
By what name or power have ye done these things? In the name of Jesus, the Son of God, through the power of His Spirit given to Him by His Father.
“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” for Jesus said, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” - (John 20:31; John 15:7-8)
“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” “But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.” - (1 Peter 4:14; John 15:21)
“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” - (1 Corinthians 8:6)