For this post, I have chosen to return to one of my favorite themes – the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. While I have, in the past, cited a number of examples from the scriptures and have provided a forum for testimonies of this sacred spiritual rebirth, I have not presented all the examples of this event from the scriptures. This post is a feeble attempt to identify additional scriptural evidence as to the consistent example of the second baptism as an event rather than a undescernable process. What better place to start than with the first man – Adam…
The baptism of Adam is not found in the Old Testament. To gain an understanding of the performance of the ordinance for Adam, one must go to the Pearl of Great Price.
After Adam and Eve were put out into the lone and dreary world, the Lord gave them commandments. They dutifully fulfilled the dictates of the Lord, they bore children, they offered the first of their flocks as a sacrifice.
6 And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
7 And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
8 Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.
9 And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will.
10 And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.
The first man was called upon to repent. He was told to pray in the name of the Son of God. I have found two aspects of this scripture reference that are interesting but not necessarily pertinent to the topic at hand. First, the Holy Ghost, in bearing record, spoke as if they were Christ. I don’t think I have come across a similar representation. Second, I like the idea that Adam blessed God and was then filled. How often do we ‘turn the tables’ and bless our Father?
Adam received the Holy Ghost and bore record that all mankind may be redeemed through the sacrifice of the Son of God. The experience of Adam and the Holy Ghost is expanded in the later description of the preaching of Enoch.
When Enoch received his call to preach unto the people, he bore record of the word of God; he was commanded to teach the people to repent and be cleansed. Here is the quote from Moses, chapter 6:
57 Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.
58 Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying:
59 That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;
We are to be born again of water and of the Spirit through the ordinance of baptism. The final piece is that we must be cleansed by the blood of Christ – this is how we are to be sanctified. This passage is consistent with the definition of the gospel found in 3 Nephi, chapter 27:
19 And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.
20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.
21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do;
In some marvelous and miraculous fashion, the reception of the Holy Ghost purges all the shame from our being. It cleanses us spiritually. I find it interesting that this scripture reference in Moses suggests that we must be sanctified in order to ‘enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.’ I find this consistent with the guidance given in 2 Nephi 32 regarding the baptism of fire being a prerequisite to speaking the words of angels.
2 Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?
3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.
This is reinforced in the next verses again from Moses, chapter 6:
60 For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified;
61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.
Once we have been sanctified, we have the opportunity to have the Comforter, the truth of all things to abide with us. We can have the mysteries of the kingdom brought to us. Was Adam unique in the receipt of these great gifts? Does he alone receive the record of heaven? Did he alone receive all power? I would suggest we each ponder these questions. I think, many times, we sell ourselves short by not comprehending what the Lord would give us if we humbled ourselves and asked.
We then read that Adam fulfilled this commandment:
64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.
65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.
66 And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;
67 And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.
68 Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.
Adam was carried into the water by the Spirit of the Lord to receive the first baptism. He then had the Spirit of God come upon him and was born of the Spirit – the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. One could suggest, based on the content of verse 67, that Adam was then a recipient of the priesthood after the order of the Son of God. This baptism of water and spirit was also a prerequisite to being called a son of God.
We may all become sons and daughters of God by following this example. One must be baptized by water, receive the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost and be sanctified.
After the people of King Benjamin received a remission of their sins by the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, the desired to enter into the covenant with the Lord and received the same blessing as Adam from Mosiah, chapter 5:
5 And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days, that we may not bring upon ourselves a never-ending torment, as has been spoken by the angel, that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God.
6 And now, these are the words which king Benjamin desired of them; and therefore he said unto them: Ye have spoken the words that I desired; and the covenant which ye have made is a righteous covenant.
7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.
We all have the right and the opportunity to become sanctified, to be presented with ‘great views of that which is to come,’ to prophesy as did Adam, to see the whole history of the world as was presented to Adam, to Enoch, to Lehi, and Nephi. It is through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit that we are able to become the sons and daughters of God.
The first man, Adam, provides an example to each of us that we must be born of water and of the spirit, we must be sanctified before we can gain entrance to his kingdom.
17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive. (2 Nephi 31)
The gospel as presented to Adam is consistent to the gospel presented to us in the Book of Mormon. It is the definition of the gate that we must enter to be on the strait and narrow path to eternal life. Adam provides that example and adds to the testament of the purpose of the gospel, to bring us back into the presence of the Father. That this path requires baptism, first by water, then by spirit.
One can choose to believe that this blessing of the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost is the imperceptible change which is the result of a life of service and sacrifice. Or, one could choose to seek that gift today and enjoy the fruits of the spirit throughout the rest of one’s life. Which one is would be the most fulfilling? Adam has given us an example of what we can receive if we prepare ourselves and seek this baptism of fire today. There are sufficient examples in the scriptures to warrant a test. Would God honor us with this necessary blessing if we humble ourselves, as did the people of King Benjamin, and ask for it?
What think ye?