The phrase “Valley of Jehoshaphat” occurs only twice in the Bible, both in the third chapter of the Book of Joel. Jehoshaphat was a good king because he obeyed God’s commandments, walked in His ways, and did not follow the false gods Baal and Asherah. He defeated the enemies of Judah and Israel in a valley–perhaps the valley that Joel refers to as the Valley of Jehoshaphat. (You can read about King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 17-20.)
The name Jehoshaphat means “the LORD judges.” The English Standard Version of the Bible, introduces Joel 3 with the heading “The LORD Judges the Nations.” Consider verses 1 and 2 below:
“For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land.”
Where is the Valley of Jehoshaphat? The Valley of Jehoshaphat is believed to be the Kidron Valley. The Kidron Valley runs between the Mount of Olives and the Temple Mount. I took some photos in Jerusalem last winter in that area (see below). Look for the drop between the Mount of Olives and the Temple Mount. That’s the Kidron Valley.
The Kidron Valley contains a number of tombs, including the tomb or pillar of Absalom. “The valley of the shadow of death” in Psalm 23 is beleived to be the Kidron Valley.
Yeshua was in Jerusalem when he compared religious hypocrites to “white washed tombs, which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23: 27, NASB). The metaphor might have been inspired by the “white washed tombs” in the Kidron Valley.
Recently, I blogged about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is to unite believers–Jew and Gentile–into the body of the Messiah and to empower believers to demonstrate the gospel (through boldness, signs and wonders, etc.)
I Corinthians 12: 8-10 lists nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues(NASB).
Paul mentions additional gifts in Romans 12: 6-8. And having different gifts according to the grace given to us, whether prophecy according to the proportion of his faith, or ministry in his service, or the one who teaches in the teaching, or the one who encourages in encouragement: the one who shares, in sincerity without grudging, the protector or guardian giving aid in diligent eagerness, the one who is merciful in cheerfulness. (The One New Man Bible).
The gifts of the Holy Spirit go hand in hand with the fruit of the Spirit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5: 22, NIV).
A believer that exercises the gifts of the spirit without the fruit of the spirit is guilty of pride–a sense of one-upmanship. It is no coincidence that the Apostle Paul sandwiches I Corinthians 13 (the “love chapter”) between I Corinthians 12 and 14. In Chapter 12, Paul names the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In Chapter 14, he examines the gifts of the Spirit in greater depth and explains how the gifts should operate within cooperate worship. In Chapter 13, he emphasizes that the gifts of the Spirit will not have the desired effect of unifying believers unless the gifts are exercised in love.
Paul defines love as “patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail” (I Corinthians 13: 4-7, GNT).
Chapter 13 is often read at weddings–and appropriately so. But it is important to remember that when put into context, Chapter 13 refers to exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit in love. Otherwise, the gifts of the Spirit are ineffective as Paul explains in I Corinthians 13: 1-3. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [love], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing(KJV).
The gifts and the fruit of the Holy Spirit are just as important today as they were two thousand years ago. Every believer baptized in the Holy Spirit has at least one spiritual gift. Sadly, so much controversy has surrounded the gifts of the Spirit (especially tongues) that many are hesitant to explore–much less exercise–their gifts.
Paul directs the Corinthians (and all believers) to “pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy” (I Corinthians 14: 1, NASB). In that one sentence, all three phrases stand out. “Pursue love.” That’s something we often neglect as believers. “Desire earnestly spiritual gifts.” Maybe you’re waiting for God to “zap” you with a gift that’s out of your comfort zone, but he urges us to desire the gifts. The last phrase is a jaw-dropper. “That you may prophesy.” What? We all can prophesy? (I Corinthians 14: 1-5.) That’s a discussion for another day.
Acts 10 records that Cornelius, a captain in the Roman Army who worshipped God and helped the Jewish poor, had a vision. An angel appeared to him around 3:00 p.m, told him that God was pleased with his prayers and his acts of charity, and instructed him to send some men to Joppa for Simon Peter.
SIMON PETER’S VISION IN JOPPA
While Cornelius’ men were on their way to Joppa, Peter had a vision. In Peter’s vision, heaven opened and something like a sheet was lowered to earth. The sheet was filled with all kinds of animals, including unclean animals such as reptiles. Peter was told to “kill and eat.” Peter argued that he had never eaten unclean animals. But the voice spoke to him again. “Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean”(Acts 10: 15, GNT). This happened three times before the sheet was taken up into heaven. While Peter was trying to interpret the vision, the Holy Spirit told him that three men (Gentiles) were looking for him and he was to go with them.
THE MEANING OF PETER’S VISION
Peter understood that God was not telling him to abandon the food laws listed in Leviticus 11 but that he should not longer consider the Gentiles unclean. Peter went with the men from Joppa to Caesarea to the home of Cornelius. Many people were waiting when Peter arrived. Listen to Peter’s words as he explains his vision to Cornelius and friends. “You yourselves know that a Jew is not allowed by his religion to visit or associate with Gentiles. But God has shown me that I must not consider any person ritually unclean or defiled. And so when you sent for me, I came without any objection. I ask you, then, why did you send for me?” (Acts 10: 28-29, GNT).
PETER SHARES THE GOSPEL WITH THE GENTILES
Cornelius shared his vision of the angel with Peter and asked him to tell him what the Lord commanded.
And opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him” (Acts 10: 34-35, NASB). Then Peter proclaimed the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, adding that everyone who repents and believes in the Messiah receives forgiveness.
THE HOLY SPIRIT FALLS ON THE GENTILES
While Peter was still speaking the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter where astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ(Acts 10: 44-48, NIV).
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him (Acts 3: 1-10 NIV).
THE NINTH HOUR, THE HOUR OF PRAYER
The first thing that arrests my attention when I examine this passage is that Peter and John were going to the temple at the “time [or hour] of prayer.” The NIV version indicates that the hour of prayer was three in the afternoon. The NASB calls it “the ninth hour, the hour of prayer.” The ninth hour of prayer is 3:00 p.m. I find the number nine interesting. Luke, who wrote the Gospel of Luke as well as the Book of Acts, records that Jesus died on the cross at the ninth hour and “the veil of the temple was torn in two” (Luke 23: 44-47, NASB).
Numbers are not “magical” or “lucky,” but some stand out in scripture. For example, the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22 add up to nine. The gifts of the Spirit listed in I Corinthians 12: 4-10 also add up to nine.
CRIPPLED FROM BIRTH
Verse 2 of Acts 23 states that the man was “crippled from birth” and had to be “carried to the temple gate” every day to beg for money. When he asked Peter and John for money, Peter replied, “Silver and gold have I none” (KJV) and instructed him to “walk in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” Not only did the man walk but went into the temple courts and started jumping and praising God! What a testimony! The miracle gave Peter the opportunity share the gospel with the onlookers. According to Acts 3: 11, “And when he [the man who was healed] took hold of Peter and John, all the people, greatly amazed, ran toward them on the portico called Solomon’s” (One New Man Bible). Peter preached the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah and urged the people to repent and return to God (see Acts 3: 11-26). This miracle–followed by Peter’s presentation of the Gospel–brought at least 5000 to a saving knowledge of the Messiah.
DEMONSTRATE THE GOSPEL
Miracles are an effective way (but not the only way) to demonstrate the Gospel. Notice that the miracle in Acts 3 occurred shortly after the Baptism of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Did you know that the Great Commission to take the gospel to the world includes signs and wonders, casting out demons, and laying hands on the sick? And he said, “Go in the world and preach the gospel unto all creation (Mark 16: 15). These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mark 16: 17-18, NASB).
[Regarding the reference to picking up serpents and drinking deadly poison, Jesus is not instructing his disciples to pick up snakes, but instead appears to quoting Psalm 91: 13, which speaks of God’s divine protection. For example, the apostle Paul is unharmed when he picks up sticks to make a fire and finds a viper attached to his arm (Acts 28: 3-6).]
Jesus said to his disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1: 8, NIV). The Holy Spirit is our guide when it comes to evangelism. One plants a seed, another waters it, but God causes it to grow (I Corinthians 3: 6-7).
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? It is not the same thing as the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. While it’s true that the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost when they were Baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2: 1-4), they were filled with the Holy Spirit at other times also.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a one time event in the life of the believer. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is ongoing. When the Baptism of the Holy Spirit took place on Pentecost, the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, but speaking in languages unknown to the speaker is not the only manifestation of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Examine the following verses to see what they say about being “filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple[Acts 3: 1-10],and asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed” (Acts 4: 8-10, NIV).
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly (Acts 4: 31, NIV).
In the verses above, notice that “boldness” is associated with those that are filled with the Holy Spirit. The following verses detail other examples of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
And Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he arose and was baptized; and he took food and was strengthened” (Acts 9: 17-19, NASB).
But Elymas the magician (for thus his name is translated) was opposing them [Barnabas and Saul], seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze upon him, and said, “You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13: 8-10, NASB).
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5: 18-21, KJV).
We often hear the term “Spirit-filled” Christian in conversation, but I don’t see the term in the Bible. “Spirit-filled” Christian implies that someone is filled with the Holy Spirit 24/7. I would love to be filled with the Holy Spirit 24/7, but I fall short of the goal.
Everyone who has sincerely repented and received Jesus as Lord and Savior has the mind of Christ and the indwelling Spirit. So the question is NOT how much of the Holy Spirit do believers have, but how much of us does the Holy Spirit have? I believe that complacence, the love of money, preoccupation with the things of this world, failure to praise and worship God, fear, bitterness, and sin grieves and inhibits the work of the Spirit.
To be in alignment with God’s will and to be filled with His Spirit, each of us must worship, seek, love, and obey Him. As our Lord and Savior, He deserves nothing less than first place in our lives.
*I consulted STRONG’S EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCE OF THE BIBLE for the terms “filled with the Holy Spirit” and “Spirit-filled” while writing this post.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit has been a controversial subject for many years. Some believe that a person is baptized in the Holy Spirit the moment he or she is saved. Others believe that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is an experience separate from salvation. I believe in letting scripture interpret scripture. Without getting caught up in the controversy, I would like to begin by quoting Jesus about the nature of the Holy Spirit. (As a matter of fact, while I thinking about the purpose of the Holy Spirit and wondering what verses to use, I opened the Bible to John 14: 16 and saw the sub-title “Role of the Spirit.”)
The Holy Spirit resides in the followers of Jesus. “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you“ (John 14: 16-17 NASB).
The Holy Spirit reveals the Messiah by opening our minds to God’s Word. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you”(John 14: 26 NASB).
The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, which leads to repentance, and enables us to live righteously in obedience to God’s Word. “But I am telling you the truth: it is better for you that I go away, because if I do not go, the Helper will not come to you. But if I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove to the people of the world that they are wrong about sin and about what is right and about God’s judgment” (John 16: 7-8, GNT).
The Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth and glorifies the Son. “When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own authority, but he will speak of what he hears and will tell you of things to come. He will give me glory, because he will take what I say and tell it to you” (John 16: 13-14, GNT).
In John 20: 21-22 (NIV) when Jesus appeared to His disciples after His Resurrection, He said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
it’s interesting to note that in the Gospel of John, Jesus tells his disciples to wait for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but before that event occurs on Pentecost, He breathes on them and tells them to receive the Holy Spirit.
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Capadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs–we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2: 1-4)
The first mention of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is in Matthew 3: 11. John the Baptist said, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (NIV). (See also Mark 1: 8 and John 1: 33.)
According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus appeared to His disciples after the Resurrection, and said, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24: 46-49). Notice the references to “witnesses” and “power.”
Between His Resurrection and Pentecost, Jesus appeared to his disciples over a forty day time scan. In Acts 1: 4-5 He said, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John Baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (NIV).
Next, Jesus informs his followers that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit will empower them to spread the Gospel. He said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1: 8 NIV). As in Luke 24: 46-49, the key words are “power” (through the Holy Spirit) and “witnesses.” Jesus’ followers need the power of the Holy Spirit to witness effectively.
On the day of Pentecost, Jesus’ witnesses were filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to speak in languages unknown to them so that Jews who had come to Jerusalem from other countries to celebrate Shavuot could hear and understand them. This miracle led 3000 people to repent and accept Yeshua as Lord and Savior in one day.
THE TOWER OF BABEL IN REVERSE
Genesis 11: 1-9 recounts a time when everyone spoke the same language. They settled in Babylon and started building a tower to reach the sky. God stopped the project by mixing up their language so that they couldn’t understand each other then he scattered them.
At Pentecost, Hebrews and proselytes, who were scattered among the nations, came together and understood what the followers of Jesus were saying.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit was never meant to divide believers but to unite them into “one body.” In 1 Corinthians 12: 13 (KJV), the apostle Paul taught that “by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Hebrews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”