16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: (Luke 3:16)
John the Baptist had indeed been given the Holy Ghost as a gift, but he was the last prophet of the Church that administered only the law of carnal commandments. The masses under that law were not offered the Gift of the Holy Ghost, since it was only administered by the Melchizedek Priesthood (or “the Higher Priesthood”). Under the Law of Moses, only the lesser priesthood, or the Aaronic Priesthood, was offered. But it was only offered to the chosen lineage. But those who were baptized unto repentance of John could not just go to Jesus and his ministers and ask for the laying on of hands for the baptism of the Spirit, or to receive the Holy Ghost. Why? Wasn’t it the same baptism? The baptism of John was good enough for Jesus!
Baptism is the Gate to the Kingdom. Well this is how it was. Except from being a baptism for the remission of sin, baptism was also the by God authorized gate to the path leading to the Kingdom. This becomes clear when one understand these three verses together;
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)
Re-baptism of Johns proselytes. When Jesus was baptized by John, the Church of Jesus Christ was not yet organized. Jesus was still giving a chance to the Hebrew Church to receive their Messiah. At some point it was clear the Hebrew Church was in total apostasy. The Church of Jesus Christ had to be organized, and the saving ordinances, baptism of water, and baptism of the Holy Ghost, would only be found through that Church. Everyone who had received their baptism through the Hebrew Church had to be re-baptized into the New Church.
1 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,
2 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.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
4 Then 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.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7 And all the men were about twelve.
8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. (Acts 19:1-9)
Authority absolutely vital! It is important to notice how important it was to find baptizers, and someone who could give the baptism of the Holy Ghost, who had authority. Why should the Holy Ghost obey a religious hot-dogger who huff and puff to conjure up an atmosphere or charisma? Such things are truly the workings of men!
The true holder of the power of God will see to his duty by baptizing the repentant soul, and thereafter lay his hands upon him/her, and give baptism of the Holy Ghost. From that moment both rejoices in Christ, and the Holy Ghost will show his power, the way that seems him fit.
And one should not be surprised if the comforter …comforts, and gives peace and rest.
Baptism is a saving ordinance. Without baptism – no kingdom of Heaven. If you desire baptism, don’t just ask any Tom, Dick or Harry! Chances are that they do not have the rights to administer it. It is your responsibility to find a man with that authority.
Search in the Light of Christ. Many will claim to have it. Many will lie! It is your eternal welfare at stake. Let this take the time it takes. You have not found this person until you will receive a peaceful and lasting confirmation in your soul.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. (James 1:5-7)