Let us now explore further what baptism with the Holy Spirit means.
It is very instructive for us to note that baptism in Scripture is always associated with death and resurrection.
We have already noted that John Baptist chose the Jordan river to be the base of his ministry. People had to go out to him there. There they were seen repenting of their sins.
The Jordan was associated with death in the Old Testament as well, notably when Elijah and Elisha crossed over it. There Elijah died in type or figure, although in fact God took him up to heaven in a fiery chariot and he was never seen again. He was the man of “death” but Elisha was the man of resurrection and he moved into a new dimension of life and ministry through a double portion of the Spirit upon him. This is all recorded for us in 2 Kings 2.
There is another key event in the life of the people of God which is a pre-figurement of baptism. After God had miraculously delivered the His people from Egypt following the Passover meal, they came to a crisis at the Red Sea. It was in front of them and the chasing Egyptian army were behind them. They were trapped. However, the Lord did a miracle and a way through the Sea appeared allowing all the people to pass over in their march through to the land God had given them. In that act Moses was clearly seen to be the leader God had raised up to take the people through to their possessions in the new land.
Paul uses this experience as a picture of baptism.
“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, (a picture of the Spirit), all passed through the sea (a picture of death and resurrection), all were baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, (immersed into Christ) all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. (Christ their life).” 1 Corinthians 10:1-4.
Even further back in the history of the people of God is the record of God sending a world-wide flood as His judgement upon the wickedness of man (kind). We read what Peter wrote:
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
By whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,
Who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
There is also an antitype which now saves us – baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
Who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers, having been made subject to Him.” 1 Peter 3:18-22.
These pictures, or types as they have come to be called, wonderfully show us so much of the meaning of Christ’s great ministry to deal with men and women by baptism with the Holy Spirit.