Rev Dr Edgar Mayer – Living Grace Church, Toowoomba – Date: 1 October 2017

For more sermons and other writings, please check the following homepage: www.livinggracetoowoomba.org

 

Promises to Persevere

 

This morning, I preach a second sermon on last Sunday’s Bible passage. The apostle Paul wrote the following in a letter to the church community in Corinth:

 

2 Corinthians 1:20-22: For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

 

The apostle Paul could not have struck a more upbeat note – 2 Corinthians 1:20: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ…” He testified that God remains committed to his promises – all of them (and he made many according to the “richness of his grace”) – (and we will not take anything away from this great affirmation). This is great news, but a modern hearing of this upbeat note (and much contemporary preaching, cf. “prosperity gospel”) easily makes the wrong assumption. Living in Australia and Toowoomba where we enjoy a grand new shopping centre (Grand Central), a new airport and build a new bypass for two billion dollars, we expect the Yesof countless promises from God – surely – to keep giving us thegood life”, as defined by our culture (the Western world), a life full of comfort and affluence. This morning, we sit in a nice church building and there may be cake for morning tea. This is how we like it, and is this not also what God promised?

Knowing anything about the apostle Paul (and we have shared a few of his autobiographical statements last Sunday), the Bible verse is not promising comfort and affluence in a modern church experience. Even in the few verses that follow, as quoted above, there are already three statements – three hints – that correct (or at least question and cast doubt on) any expectation of a carefree life on earth. Can you identify them? Have a look. What in these verses contradict God granting us thegood life”, as defined by our culture, even though he is sayingYesto all of his many promises?

 

 

1.       Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.

 

2.       …and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

 

3.       And so, through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

 

 

Immediately after confirming the “Yes” to God’s promises, (1) the apostle Paul talks about God making usstand firmin Christ. Why? No one has tostand firmin a carefree life. No one has to make an effort and dig in when the Christian life comes easy. However, this is precisely it. Speaking theAmenof faith in response to God’s many promises is not always easy. God promises much and then he must make usstand firm” – firing up persistence and resilience in us – overcoming unbelief – because the Christian life can be tough.

In the same letter, Paul talked about responding to the promises of God by redoubling our efforts to remain close to him – pure, without sin contaminating body and spirit – so as not to miss out. Persistence and thoroughness are the key to inherit the promises.

 

2 Corinthians 7:1: Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

 

Last Sunday, I already quoted a few Bible passages where the apostle Paul shared his own struggles and how God made himstand firmwith great persistence and resilience.

 

2 Corinthians 11:23-30: I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10: … because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he [Jesus] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

2 Corinthians 1:3-11:  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

 

2 Corinthians 6:3-10: We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

 

God required great resilience, persistence and endurance from the apostle Paul but he experienced how God made himstand firmin Jesus Christ (trusting and believing him) – how much he was comforted by the “Father of compassion and God of all comfort” – and how great power from God was working through him. He may have had nothing – no material possessions, no home or money – but he was really possessing everything because the promises of God were his. Perseverance – given and granted by God – would take hold and inherit them.

(2) The second hint in our opening Bible passage points to the future.

 

…and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

 

When God fills us with his Spirit – when he makes the Holy Spirit dwell in us – then the experience of the Spirit functions as a deposit – a down payment – for what is to come. We already experience so much by the Spirit which assures us of the future and guarantees the future fulfillment of all of God’s promises.

I quote again the whole verse:

 

He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

 

When Jesus grants us the Holy Spirit – when he makes him dwell in us with great intensity – he accomplishes three basic outcomes: (1) He anoints us for power in his service. (2) He seals us for protection – safeguarding his ownership of us – which makes us withstand sin. (3) He makes us experience the Holy Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come”, thereby assuring us of the outcome of our faith. [Cf. This is how Jesus experienced it himself in Luke 3-4. The teaching is in my book “Surprised by the Holy Spirit”.]

All of these functions are future-focused. We have a job to do for which we need Holy Spirit power and protection but he assures us of a good ending. The Holy Spirit, our experience of him now, guarantees that there is more to come.

 

From David Guzik commentary: Anointed us… sealed us… a deposit: Paul refers to three aspects of the Holy Spirit’s work within us.

1.       Has anointed us: The only other place where the New Testament speaks about anointing is in 1 John 2:20; 1 John 2:27 (refs 2). Every use speaks of an anointing which is common to all believers, not a special anointing for a few Christian superstars. The idea behind anointed is that we are prepared and empowered for service. The fact that we are anointed means that we share something with the prophets, priests, and kings of the Old Testament, who were also anointed ones.

 

2.       Sealed us: In the ancient world, a seal was used to identify and to protect. If something was sealed, everyone knew who it belonged to (the seal had an insignia), and the seal prevented anyone else from tampering with the item. The Holy Spirit is upon us to identify us and to protect us.

 

3.       A deposit: The word deposit is the word for a down payment. We have been given the Holy Spirit as a down payment for the fullness of what God will do. The Holy Spirit is just a pledge of greater things to come. As Christians, God has purchased us on the lay-away plan, and has given us an impressive down payment. He won’t walk away from the final payment, because He has so much invested already!

 

The guarantee of the future – living for the future – was at the very heart of Paul’s faith and, as I said last Sunday, is the key to understand him and his writings in the Bible. What he had now was only a foretaste and nothing could compare with what God had prepared for him and us in the future – the life to come – where an eternal glory (surpassing and outweighing all that had been before) would make us experience and enjoy the ultimate fulfillment of all of God’s promises because of Jesus and his gift of salvation (won on the cross).

 

2 Corinthians 4:7-18: But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

 

2 Corinthians 5:1-5 [ESV]: For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

 

Paul was satisfied in his relationship with God because of the Holy Spirit.

 

2 Corinthians 7:4: …I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds. For even when we arrived in Macedonia our bodies had no rest, but we were oppressed at every turn—conflicts and disputes without, fears and dread within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus…

 

Romans 14:17: For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

 

2 Corinthians 4:7-18: But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

 

(3) The third hint that the Yesto all of God promises does not translate into a carefree life now is found in our immediate response and what it does to God – “And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” SayingAmenmeans affirming the promises of God – saying “So it will be” – and this expression of trust can only bring glory to God when the promises are not already being fulfilled. The more circumstances seem to contradict God’s promises, the more we glorify God by believing him anyhow.

 

I may also draw your attention to the central role of Jesus in everything in this Bible passage: (1) The promises of God find their “Yes” in him and what he has done for us. (2) Through him and his help and support, we respond to God’s promises with a trusting “Amen”. (3) God makes us stand firm in him.

 

I read to you again the Scripture passage and then we consider again some practical applications in the testimony of Harold Baker, grandfather of Rolland Baker, who was a missionary in China.

 

2 Corinthians 1:20-22: For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ [which means that he makes us withstand persecution and suffering]. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

 

Romans 14:8: If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

 

Hebrews 12:28-29: Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.

 

Romans 8:31-39: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

 

God’s promises are certain. All of them areYesin Christ and they are guaranteed by the Holy Spirit who makes us experience a deposit – a foretaste – of what is to come. Therefore, we believe and speak anAmento all of God’s promises (which brings glory to him especially when we are doing it tough). We commit to great perseverance and resilience as God makes usstand firmin Christ. Perseverance and experiencing a foretaste of the future by the Holy Spirit are what makes us.

And Harold Baker had a life of proving the value and grace of perseverance:

 

This first big job began when I was a slim little youngster merely ten years old. I was then old enough to hold the reins and drive our team of horses. Since my father did not have the time, and there was no one else to do this work, he started me to plowing the worst field on the farm, a field that was due to be cultivated that year. In some parts of this field loose stones were more in evidence than the soil.

Having harnessed the team for me, my father early in the morning started me a-plowin’. Although I could not lift the plow and at best could only partly drag it into position, it was a wonder how skillfully I taught that team of horses to do what I could not do. I could take hold of the plow handles that came up to my shoulders and guide the plow to cut a proper furrow. That was one thing I could do. Having taken hold of the plow handles I could hold on. Holding to the plow, I could follow that team of horses from early morning till set of sun. More than that, after the neighbors had quit I still plowed on. I found that last hour after the others had stopped was the best hour of the day.

A question. How many furrows must be plowed around a field to make enough? How many miles will you have to walk to plow all of the field? The answer is that there must be enough furrows to turn the last spot of soil. Nobody knows how many miles of walk is in the plowing of a ten-acre field. There is many an all-day walk; and an all-day walk is a long walk for a ten-year-old boy.

Who would have thought that all-day-long walks behind a plow was the beginning of a well-nigh twenty thousand miles of long walks over the rough mountains of China, bringing the sheep home? That ten-acre, stony job had many features that made it a sort of blue print of my future life, as I will now indicate.

When the team of horses was walking rapidly turning a nice furrow, very frequently the plow would unexpectedly strike an immovable hidden rock. This would usually throw me and the plow out of the furrow, and would drag me a distance by the time “Woh” could bring the horses to a stop. But I held on to the plow. So far as I can recall, in all of its frantic jumps and wild capers that plow never shook me loose. The horses and I would finally manage to get the plow back into the furrow, patch up the muss the best we could, and plow on.

In much the same way as this plowing the Lord set me at life’s plowing. In spite of striking many a hidden rock and many a long furrow, I am still clinging to the plow handles and plowing on. I think the last hour, the sun-set hour, will be the best. Perhaps I can still be gripping the plow handles and plow some more after all of the neighbors have already turned in. That would make the last hour of the day still better, since I could lay down my work at dusk and return home with the great satisfaction of having worked as long as possible and turned the last furrow my strength and time would allow.

When working alone in those early days, I not only expected every day to be a full day by working early and late, but I also expected to follow the plow every mile of the way and persevere until the last furrow of the field was successfully turned. A job ninety-nine percent done, in my opinion, was a job not done.

There might be many a bump, I might be slung around and dragged along, the sun might be hot, and I might get tired; but the job I had begun must be finished and thoroughly done.

In our neighbourhood, we had just one kind of dog that had this hang-on-never-let-go disposition. He was called a “bull-dog.” If he ever got hold and set his teeth you could not compel him to loose his hold. You might scold and slap him, switch him and kick him, use a club and mercilessly beat him all over the body and over the head; but he would only bat his eyes and still hold on. The only way to get him loose was to choke him until his last breath was gone. He persevered to the end.

Now my having been endued by some of this same disposition by the same Lord, how can I take credit for hanging on when this never-let-go-spirit dominates? I have the advantage of being guided as to where I should grab hold to help and not to hurt. Thus, it is that no place remains for personal self-praise. “What have you,” the Bible asks, “that you did not receive? If, then, you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?” I Corinthians 4:7.

I wish now to indicate some more special things in which my plowing that ten-acre stony field when I was a tiny ten-year old youngster was a blue-print for all my future.

1. Undertaking the Impossible. It was considered impossible for a child that age to do that work. How many times I have been led into, or pushed into, undertaking the seemingly impossible; and ending with success, is hard to tell.

2. Bumps and rough places. The plow striking hidden rocks, throwing me about or dragging me along; there have been a plenty of times.

3. I have hung to the plow. When I once took hold I kept a hold. The Lord alone knows how many times I have had success by perseverance, by doggedly (bull-doggedly) hanging on in spite of everything.

4. I have numberless times had by greatest victories the last hour of the day, after the neighbors had all turned in. Had I kept a diary, I believe it might show hundreds of times when others would have stopped and I myself might have given up in despair, had I not decided to make one more try after all of the neighbors had turned in to rest.

5. Finish the job. Plow the last furrow in the field, was my motto. One hundred percent is perfection. No aim lower is right. We are told to love God with all of our heart, all of our strength. I have never been satisfied with second class or any class that fails to be the best possible. These are the times the Lord has specially led, as I hope to show. [1]

 

This kind of tenancy is even more remarkable when you consider that he had also a life-long struggle with depression and melancholy.

 

What I have written concerning hardships has no purpose to meet man’s approval or disapproval. Such things are a matter of indifference to me. I have felt led to write as I have, giving as accurate an account as I could of my personal experiences and the Lord’s leadings. The way He has overruled my weakness and clothed my natural with His supernatural should be for His glory.

As I have been reviewing my past and looking over the road I have come, my conclusion is that had I suffered less hardship there would have been less result. Had I suffered more, there doubtless would have been better results. Nevertheless, I experience no great regrets. As I think it all over, so far as I can see now, were I to live my past all over again, I do not feel that I could do otherwise than I did under the circumstances, with my spiritual limitations. My whole life has been one of conscious weakness and natural uselessness, as I have said, attended with depression and often real melancholy. And so I do not see how I or the Lord could have done much better when hindered by such handicaps.

I frequently receive letters from friends, saying that my reward in heaven will be high. Although I appreciate such remarks intended to encourage me, my reaction is this: Did my friends know me as I know myself with all my weaknesses and shortcomings, they would feel, as I do, that I shall be fortunate to get into heaven without any other reward whatever. The Lord has the situation analyzed correctly when he says to me, “You also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, “We are unworthy servants: we have done only what was our duty.” (Lk. 17:10). [2]

 

I give now just one more early example of how Harold Baker hung on to the plow in his service to God.

 

We were no longer a mission. We were a real church. We could now join hands and truly from the heart sing, “Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.” We were a church with Jesus in our midst working with us through the Holy Spirit, whether or not we knew all of the Bible terms or how to analyze our experiences.

I took a liking to a man who came once to our men’s Bible class and promised to come again but did not. I kept calling for him for months. I remember that I thought I must have called for him at his home about fifty or sixty times. If he happened to be the one who came to the door, he would promise to come on Sunday. If he knew it was I, he would have his wife tell me he was not at home. I would vow many a time that I would never call again. Then some weeks later when I was passing his house I would feel impressed to call “just once more but never again.” When the meetings had begun I made another of those “never-again-calls.” That time the man came to the Sunday morning Bible class. He was much impressed. “What a nice, big group of men studying the bible and interested in the Lord,” the man considered. “Better do something about this and seek God myself. He came to the meeting that night, early. I met him on the corner, coming down the side isle. I asked him to accept Christ.

He did at once. I suppose I baptized him the next night, for it always has been my belief that people should be baptized immediately, as in the Bible days, without any requirements except faith in Jesus Christ and a declared purpose to serve him.

Anyway, here was an instance of sticking to the plow with unrelenting perseverance met by determined resistance. It was the Lord wanting that man, Who gave me the special liking for him and the persistence which got that wandering sheep.

As soon as I had baptized him, and while his clothes were hardly dry, as it were, that man started after the lost sheep on his own street.

That street was a long street of similar project, small, one-family houses.

This long-sought-for man went to every one of the not less than fifty houses on his street testifying for Christ and urging people to come to church and God. He talked to every man in the garage where he worked.

No doubt there were those who supposed this man so changed had lost his mind. He had, and had found the mind of Christ. All the time I remained in that church and for years after that I remained in that church and for years after that man’s zeal for souls never flagged. [3]

 

In time, the foundational lesson of hanging on to the plow was reinforced in another foundational experience, his infilling with the Holy Spirit.

 

Above all and most important of all every missionary should have the baptism of the Holy Spirit and gifts of the Spirit, so that no matter where his or her body may be on this desolate earth the soul and thoughts and life may be much in heaven.

Like Paul, I would that “ye all spake with tongues,” for “he that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself” (I Cor. 14:4, 5). What a blessing, what a gift from heaven to the lone missionary! No wonder lonesome Paul could say, “I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all”, for he could “pray with the spirit” (tongues) and “sing with the spirit” (tongues) and thus “edify himself.” Cor. 14:15.

I covet for every lone missionary this Paul-like experience of God through this “gift of the Holy Spirit”, for I know from experience what Paul was writing about. I myself have been edified and strengthened in those years when I was a lone missionary in regions beyond, by daily praying and singing in other tongues, as you will see in later chapters of my story. [4]

 

When on that trip for the new missionaries [he was already doing mission work in Tibet], I was given a very small tract on salvation by faith. That was a revelation to me, for I had supposed that we were to depend on obedience. On the sixty-day down-trip I had read the New Testament through carefully. In doing so I saw that I lacked much in perfect obedience and the holiness the Bible taught, nor did I see natural hope of perfection. That tract led me into a satisfactory experience of the Lord, such as I had not known before.

On that trip, I also made my first contact with people who had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and had spoken with other tongues. My association with these people convinced me that they had much of what I had a smaller amount. On the return trip by reading a book given me at that time showing that speaking with other tongues was scriptural and for today and showing that speaking with other tongues had accompanied all big religious revivals since the days of the apostles, I was convinced of the reality of this experience. [5]

 

Now to return again to earlier things. We had no sooner arrived home from Tibet than I found myself on the bottom, as already stated. From then on it was to be my lot the rest of my life at intervals to return to the bottom and start all over. These repeated experiences that were to be mine are described in colloquial as “the end of the rope,” “hitting the bottom,” “come to the end of things,” “up against a stone wall,” “at wit’s end,” “the jumping off place.” My life experience has been somewhat like a piece of iron raised to white heat, then pounded and plunged into cold water, the process to be repeated over and over.

By the time I returned from Tibet I had learned something about the Lord’s return, divine healing, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, salvation by faith, and other Bible truths. However, I did not at that time have a very clear understanding. In my personal contacts, I had come to see that the nominal Christians whom I had met appeared to know about Christ through reading or hearing, a head knowledge, without having personally met him. They did not seem to have felt the touch of the hand that in my youthful days had touched me while sitting in that buggy in the barn. I saw that I and all whom I had met needed more of that power and life that could come from God alone. I longed for a closer walk with Him and a better knowledge of the Bible. [6]

 

While in the spiritual wilderness I read the best books I could get on the Holy Spirit, books by F. B. Myers, Andrew Muray, McConkey, Lawson, Torry, and others. Every passage of scripture about the Holy Spirit I studied over and over. I had definitely decided that speaking with other tongues was for today.

Since I had talked with no one about this experience who could explain it to me, I knew little about it. I did not want to go to the “tongues people” to ask about it. I would just pray by myself. The real question was whether or not everyone who received the fullness of the Spirit would speak with other tongues or only some people would thus speak. The authors of the books I read, not having spoken with other tongues themselves, actually were not authority. After reading all of those books I was as confused as at the start. I decided that I probably was one of the “some” who did not speak in tongues but could just take the baptism “by faith.” Just believe that you have it and you have it, whether or not you feel or experience anything, was the theory. [7]

 

Just at this critical time I got a short one-page letter from a Chinese missionary friend. For some years he had sent me an occasional short letter without saying anything about the Holy Spirit. He thought I was poor soil, I suppose. However, at the foot of the page of the letter this time was a P. S. which read: “Now that you are free and endeavoring to follow the Bible, why do you not seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit as on the day of Pentecost. You will never regret it. I never did.” That after-thought P. S. was of the Lord; it changed the whole course of my life — by a very close margin.

When I picked up my Bible and read once more about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a new thought flashed through my mind. It was this: water baptism is by complete bodily immersion in water. Spirit baptism therefore must be complete immersion in the Spirit; then the tongue and mind will be immersed in the Holy Spirit. I knew I had never been submerged in the Holy Spirit. Hence, I did not have the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

When out for a walk Josephine and I had seen a Pentecostal meeting advertised. I now suggested to Josephine that we go there and ask the saints to pray for us, and we would seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit regardless of consequences.

A thought came to me this way for the first time: these Pentecostal people are “specialists” on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They are specialists in speaking with other tongues. They are authorities on this particular question. They have the experience. They are the ones who know. If I have a toothache, I would expect to go to a dentist. If I broke a leg, I should go to a surgeon. If I did not know how to get my tongue under the Holy Spirit, I should go to the “tongues people” — specialists, yes, indeed, God’s specialists, as I came to know.

We started to seek the “specialists” by going to the meeting where we had seen the sign, “Trinity Pentecostal meetings.” In the after-meeting in the basement we told the little group that we were missionaries from China and candidates for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We asked them to pray for us.

Two nights later the elders in that place were praying for the sick, while I was sitting on the front seat “dead as a stick,” unable to pray at all and thinking what a dead, useless thing I was, when I began to feel a tingling in my fingers that seemed just like the tingle from the current of an electric battery. That gradually went up my arms. It then got inside of me and tingled all over. There was a stir in my heart that started me into quietly praising the Lord Jesus. He was becoming a reality. That power on my body quietly and gently prostrated me to the floor. Jesus was very real. The love of God flooded my whole being, while entirely independent of my own volition I was caused to yell almost at the top of my voice, “Jesus is God, Jesus is God.” This was continued for considerable time. The floods of liquid love flowed on and on, causing me to weep for joy.

Later I became quiet, enwrapped in the love of God. Was Jesus there? Or was it an angel, or was it a company of angels? There were heavenly visitors. That is certain. I seemed to be surrounded by a love-cloud ten feet in diameter. I never had supposed that any human being this side of heaven could experience such an inflow of superhuman love. It was heaven come down, heaven all around and in me. This condition must have lasted two hours.

After all others had left, a group of the Spirit-filled saints gathered around me, sitting in a circle. They prayed and then sang a hymn. When they sang I seemed to see a fine golden thread reach from each heart of a singer directly into my heart as a center. Furthermore, I could clearly distinguish the spiritual love impulse from each separate heart. Thus was revealed to me the mystery of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in the heart of every true believer. Of course those singers were not aware of what I saw and experienced; yet they surely had me surrounded and tied and in their midst by cords of love.

The next morning, wanting to seek a quiet place outside of the city, I got on a street car and rode to the end of the line. As I walked on further I met a funeral procession. I coveted that dead man’s experience, if he were a Christian. How fortunate he was. The Holy Spirit had made heaven so real that I could think of nothing so desirable as to die. I would have liked to have changed places with the dead man.

As I walked along, the Holy Spirit came upon me so mightily that I could hardly go on. Seeing some trees in the distance to one side, I went over there and lay down under one of the trees. I was there so immersed in the Holy Spirit that I was almost lost to my surroundings, though I could still hear the birds singing in the trees. I lay there on my back with my hands folded across my chest like a dead person all day until late evening. I seemed to spend the whole day at the foot of the cross. Although I had no vision, it appeared like Jesus was just before me hanging on the cross.

All day long I was kept there thinking of myself as a sort of corpse lying there on my back in that position as one dead, trying to consider myself dead to everything but Jesus, who hung there before me. Tears kept streaming down either cheek the whole day long, while my thoughts seldom wandered away from Jesus there before me on the cross. To him, as best I could, I over and over dedicated my all; my body, my spirit, my work, my financial affairs, my everything I could think of.

I then and there gave my body over into Jesus’ keeping. Since then He has saved me from imminent danger and death more than once. I have never since then gone to a doctor for medicine or help. As I write this in my eighty-third year I have more abundant health than I had at the period when I made that full dedication.

At the end of that day with Jesus on the cross, when I arose to return home, I wondered how many people had such an experience with Jesus. I thought what a wonderful gospel I now had to preach were I to be allowed again to preach and be enabled to do so. I had a story to tell. I have never been able to tell it as I then knew it.

Of course, the China Inland Mission could not understand my thus receiving from the Lord the very thing they themselves needed most. I told them about my experience and gave them a brief summary of the Scriptures dealing with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I said that since I understood that they did not accept this teaching and that I would not be free to teach it in China, my continuing with them would not be satisfactory to either party. Accordingly, I tendered my resignation from the mission. I was told that I would not be asked to resign; but I would not be sent to the mission field. Accordingly, I would save them embarrassment, I said, by simply resigning.

We returned to our home at Warren, O, bag and baggage almost penniless; but we had with us our son James and his red blankets for “keeps” until he was twenty-one. We were once more free forever from man’s domineering church organizations, free to start all over again with Jesus alone as manager.

This was the time I have already told about when we were at the bottom of the barrel and Josephine started her candy business with twenty-five cents as capital. That, as I have related, was followed by the successful washing machine and vacuum cleaner business.

At the time of that wonderful experience of the Holy Spirit in Toronto I did not speak with other tongues. Nevertheless, since at that time we had decided to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit speaking with tongues, as you might expect, I was determined to persevere until I did speak thus.

All of those controversial questions about speaking with other tongues — who could or would, did or didn’t, all or some, when and why, then or now, for and against — I disposed of with one clean sweep. I personally would speak with other tongues or I would never return to China.

Why could I not speak with other tongues? Why should I not speak with other tongues? All of the apostles did. The writers of the New Testament did. Paul did; he found it so beneficial that he wished everyone else might speak with other tongues. He personally thanked God that he spoke with other tongues more than they all. He sang with tongues, for one who “speaks with tongues edifies himself.” Of course I could speak with tongues, for aside from all other considerations, there is a straight out “gift of various kinds of tongues” (I Cor. 12:10) to be had for the asking if we “earnestly desire.” I “desired” that gift. I must get it and go. Until I got it I could not go. I had to wait almost three years to get it. It was then that God was ready to give it.

That three years delay put me in a hard place so far as Christian work was concerned. I could not ever think of pasturing a denominational church, for such lacked the power of the Holy Spirit and would not understand its teaching. I did not feel altogether at home among the little group of Pentecostal people I knew, for they spoke with other tongues, which I did not. That being true, they had the Holy Spirit, while I did not, they ignorantly supposed and dogmatically declared. The deadest, most dried-up, most unspiritual man in the group was the most cock-sure that I did not have a bit of the Holy Spirit, while he gloried in having the fullness (??).

I observed that since that anointing of the Holy Spirit in Toronto whenever the Spirit was in our midst in a special power that I was as sensitive to his movements as were they who had spoken with other tongues. That I knew, whether others did or not.

Nevertheless, I was a sort of object of pity, a nice lamb not in the fold or out of it. Some of the people thought they knew just why I had such a hard time getting “the sign;” it was because I was too proud; I needed to humble myself; or I was not hungry enough. I should be hungry — starve myself, I suppose. Or it might be that I did not praise the Lord enough or, perchance, shout loud enough or open my mouth wide enough. Maybe I had all of those hindrances and many more.

Therefore, since I was taking a new course in training I certainly should obey my experienced teachers. Accordingly, when they told me to praise the Lord I got my dry lips to say, “praise the Lord.” If I was told to hold up my hands, I held them high in the air. If told to open my mouth and the Lord would fill it, opened it as widely as I dare without too much embarrassment (did not get it filled with anything but air, however).

There were several other recipes. I tried them all plus some of my own get-up. After going around and around the same circle till I had worn a beaten path, I came up against the hard, high wall and stopped. I was indeed at wits’ end. I knew how to sell vacuum cleaners, and I knew how to sell washing machines, but I assuredly did not know how to get that experience of speaking with other tongues. Neither did anyone else know how to help me get it. Evidently there is a lot some people do not know about the Holy Spirit.

After so long a time, having come to my end in seeking the Lord and a deeper work of the Holy Spirit, in my mind, if not in words, I made a sort of business proposition to the Lord something like this: “Lord, I have been for almost three years seeking you but could not find you as I hoped. I’ve stopped hunting. Now you hunt me. I will be found ‘diligent in business’ and faithfully working away at my Sunday School and little church and other Christian activities. You know, Lord, that I am a candidate for the fullness of the baptism of the Holy Spirit just like Peter and James and John had, for I have put in my application these hundreds of times. Now, Lord, you hunt me. You know where I will be at any particular day or hour. I will be glad to have you bring that gift anytime, anywhere, day or night.” With this clear understanding, I went about my business and God went about His, apparently very satisfactory, for considerable time. However, I never entirely forgot what I had coming, nor did the Lord forget what He was to give at His own convenience.

This situation continued for some time. In the meantime, I was becoming less and less interested in business while more and more interested in the work of the Lord. I got my business going well with a good salesman and office-girl mostly in charge. I was tired of talking money. I could now let others do that, I thought, and make what money they and we would need. We did not want a bigger or a better house to live in. Our sixty-five-dollar Model-T Ford would take us or a washing machine anywhere. We had no desire to buy a new car. I could not think of any Christian or Christian enterprise that I wanted to make money to support.

So it was that at this juncture Josephine and I decided to rent a little house out near the school house where we had been having Sunday School and church, as already related, so that we could conveniently work there better for the Lord. At the same time, we could sell or not sell washing machines just as we liked or might need to. All was now set up once more in right order to go ahead indefinitely just as had been the case in that first church in Buffalo and had been the case in Batang, Tibet. We now had our own income, our own undenominational church work. We were free to sail on, sail on.

However, it turned out that the time I had planned all this was the very time the Lord had planned to bring me that “gift” we had agreed upon. Just as I had said, the Lord knew where I was and soon found me, and as I had said He would find me — busy.

I was hurrying along a quiet, suburban street in Warren, O, on my way to conduct a Bible class in a hotel. Josephine had gone ahead. As I was walking rapidly to overtake her my lips suddenly began to quiver, much as they had in boyhood days when I was cold. “What’s that? I’m not cold; anyway, that is only a childish performance.” Ten more steps and my lips were violently blowing as though struck by a gale. I hurried on. Now my tongue went out of control and began to clatter. What was all this? Oh, I know now. The Lord has brought that promised “gift” along. He was going to find me receptive, for I had decided that when he brought it I would not know how to handle it. Accordingly, I was going to allow Him to give it any way he pleased — put it on my head or in my hands or in my feet or in my mouth or in my pocket. Anyway, anywhere, regardless of appearances I wanted it and I wanted it all and I wanted no one to fuss and muss things up by laying hands upon me and meddling with God’s affairs. The Lord knew that I wanted it and approved of it. That was why He waited to bring the gift to me in the evening out there in the quiet where there was no one around to meddle with things.

When all of that quivering and clattering and rattling began around my mouth I caught the idea. The Lord was going to use my mouth to speak words it had never spoken before and was now getting it ready. Since this was to be a whole-body performance, for our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, I would gladly yield by whole body to the Holy Spirit to move and shake and mold and make as He saw best.

Thus, it was that my legs were affected. I was making no forward progress. I never would overtake Josephine at the rate I was going nor would I get to that Bible class on time. I couldn’t walk straight. I had a terrible wobble. There came a couple of women. I would control that “wobble” until they got by, I thought. However, a suspicious wobble was evidently apparent, for after the women had gone by they returned and very kindly asked what was wrong and where I wished to go. “We will help you,” they kindly said. They thought I was drunk. I was drunk. I was drunk with Jesus’ new wine the same as made spectators suppose the one hundred and twenty were drunk.

I manage to assume a sober appearance and say, “you will not be able to understand this; but I have been seeking the Holy Spirit for a long time, until as I was walking along right back there the Holy Spirit suddenly came upon me. That is what this is.” “Oh,” the women said, and went on, and so did I. In a very similar way I was again thought to be drunk and offered assistance. Aside from these instances I was alone with God in that quiet street, now dark.

The Holy Spirit gently pressed me down to bow and worship Jesus. I was gently prostrated on the street. I went through a spell of deep lonesomeness as though I were to be a lone pilgrim. I have since that time traveled much on that lonesome road.

After an hour or more I managed with difficulty to reach the little Pentecostal church, where a meeting was in progress. With an effort, by taking hold of the steps-railing, I managed to get myself inside the church hall and down into the basement. Since I could scarcely stand, I looked for a place to lie down. That long table might do, but I might roll off. There was an easy bamboo chair pulled up before the little gas fire. I sat down in that; it seemed just right. No, that was not it. The spirit gently pushed me out of that chair right down on the cold concrete floor. I was dressed in my black Sunday-to-go-meeting suit!

I was there on the concrete floor till two o’clock in the morning. There was a conflict going on. Whereas in past experiences I had to praise the Lord and keep my mind on Him in order to keep under the anointing, it was not so this time. I did not have to do anything. Was it not the understanding that I had quit “doing” and was just to be on the receiving side? I was just a sort of spectator watching how the Lord would get the “gift” delivered. I did not need to ask for it any more, or pray for it, or praise — just wait while the Lord and the devil fought back and forth over my prostrate body. I knew without a doubt that that was the night. I did not feel I had any part in the fight. Other people praising and praying or singing did not seem to do a particle of good. Whether people came or went was a matter of indifference. I would stay right there on my back on that concrete floor until the Lord got that gift across that He had right there in his hand. The Lord had started with me alone. If need be I would stay with Him alone, for this was the time.

Those two powers had a long fight. The devil was getting weary. No use staying longer. If I would not go and the Lord would not go, the devil would go, he decided at long last. That was what we hoped for.

A sister near me on the floor suddenly burst out in Holy Spirit inspired laughter, that wonderful laughter that only the Spirit-filled know. That laughter spread all over me like a beautiful warm blanket. I laughed, too, from away down inside, from down there whence Jesus said living waters would flow. Along with that happy victorious heavenly laughter there came that flow of peaceful waters upon which were floating words of some beautiful language I had never heard. Then from some happy park of paradise, from the beautiful isle of somewhere, a beautiful melody entered my heart and floated out over my lips in peaceful strains in words these feeble lips had never lisped.

From within, the living waters flowed on and on. At last without breaking the flow I went home for the night. That “gift” was a lasting one. That gift or heavenly language and other languages, I suppose, and those Holy Spirit inspired songs in other tongues have never ceased from that day to this — forty years of it. The last years have been the most blessed and wonderful of all. Jesus hath “ascended on high and given gifts unto men.” Seek and ye shall find.

The second day after I spoke with other tongues Josephine also had that experience. She had hoped to receive in such a way that she would be sure that man had no part in it. The Lord gave her the desire of her heart by baptizing her with the Holy Spirit when she was alone in our home. The Lord saw to it that she was rolled around on the floor and put through sufficient manifestations to satisfy her that what she did was not from her own volition nor did any man have anything to do with it. It was God. That was one thing certain. Josephine had wondered why the Holy Spirit should not come like a wind as it did on the day of Pentecost. Now when she received, she felt the Holy Spirit come blowing upon her like a warm quiet breeze.

Since the Holy Spirit came upon me when I was alone on the street and came to Josephine when alone in our house, it was self-evident that the Lord did not baptize us into any sect or clan. What was to result from thus receiving the Holy Spirit?

… Thus, it was that two months after receiving the fullness of the baptism of the Holy Spirit we were again on our way to China.[8]

 

Three years Harold Baker persisted in seeking the gift of tongues – to no avail. And, finally, he decided that this was no good because it distracted him from his job – serving where God called him to serve – and he told God that it was his turn to chase him (hunt him) because he was busy hanging on to the handles of the plow. And even when the time came for him to receive the gift, there was a conflict going on with him lying on the concrete floor until 2 am in the morning. Only, this was not his battle but God’s.

If I was to venture a guess, God let Harold wait and let him be absolutely passive in the receiving of the gift, because he was to understand that, despite his gift of persevering doggedly in one task after another, our life in God was a gift – a grace – not gained by one’s own willpower.

Later in his missionary work, there was the great breakthrough of orphan children being taken up in experiences of heaven and hell but even then, perseverance was required to get the news out and turn the experience into worldwide fruit.

 

This message from America to those who were “nothing” was acceptable. Jesus knew it. He gathered up these outcasts, off-scouring of China, and took them to where He is in heaven, to make them messengers to God’s people all around the world.

The curtain that hides us from the invisible was drawn aside. These one-time nobodies from the gutter, singly and in groups, time after time, “in the body or out of the body,” they knew not which, were taken to Paradise. Together they wandered about talking to one another (we heard them), going with angelic guides through heaven’s glorious parks and visiting jewelled mansions.

They talked with Bible saints of old. They played by crystal streams with boy companions who had previously died and preceded them to heaven. They saw and talked with Jesus. They worshipped at His throne.

Many times they were taken to hell and saw demons dragging victims down. They talked with the lost in hell. They saw the demon world and the demons about us and described this in more completeness than we have ever read in Christian literature.

Even the best of Christian leaders seem to have but little idea of the demon world compared to what these children saw face to face.

These teachable and leadable children also visited the first heaven, the realm of “the principalities and powers of the air,” the realm of the fallen angels against which “we wrestle.” They saw the thrones and heard the wranglings of these agents of the devil who wield such controlling power over rulers and kingdoms of the world. They saw the Devil himself, “that old dragon,” and they saw the anti-Christ and much of his end and work.

Angels were about them and in their midst, sometimes dancing with the children. At times angels turned the whole place into such heaven that those who could not see them could feel their presence. These children, some of whom had never heard of future mysteries, had revelations of the end of all things. They saw the last war of the ages. They saw the Lord return with angelic hosts, destroy the wicked and cast the devil into the pit and shut him in.

Graves of the righteous dead burst open and the glorious resurrection was seen.

After all this the children were told to preach to all men that the end of all things is at hand. Under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, children less than ten years of age could preach to the lost. Little did they or anyone else know that these things given them from heaven were to go clear around the world to men and women of many tribes, races and tongues.

Strange, but some of the youngest and least informed and most ignorant received as deep and wonderful revelations as the older and better-informed ones. China’s lowest of the low were taken to high heaven’s highest and sent back to tell the story, the story of redeeming grace — Jesus’ love for all the lowest of men.

This unusual, mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit was not primarily for the benefit of the Adullam children. By grace in God’s plan these revelations were given to the children for them to give me to give to God’s children everywhere. Although at the time of this outpouring the Holy Spirit came upon me in mighty power and at that time I entered into a better and deeper experience of the Lord, yet during nearly all of the time of this outpouring I was so hindered by hoarseness that I could scarcely speak above a whisper. Consequently, I could not speak enough to lead any meetings or lead in prayer and song. The Lord and the children had full charge of all meetings, day and night. I was mostly a spectator, a listener, and a reporter. I was to sit and receive in order to arise and give.

I wondered why this outpouring with such remarkable revelations came to these Adullam children rather than to others. My conclusion was that there were three apparent reasons for the revelations coming to Adullam. One reason, I thought, was because these children were responsive. They were yielded to any movements of the Holy Spirit without any preconceived ideas as to His method of working. Adults could not be so pliable mentally and physically as were the children. Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is revealed to babes, babes such as these.

In the second place, it was to Adullam this visitation came, partly, I think, because by coming to us I would not hinder attendant physical manifestations such as are a part of mighty outpourings of the Spirit. The children acted out their visions by many remarkable and unusual physical manifestations. The Lord long ago taught me to keep my hands off the Lord’s hands. I was to interfere with only what was clearly from the devil.

These manifestations attending the contacts between God and man are naturally more than man’s methods. I am convinced that at times of outpourings of the Holy Spirit many ignorant yet well-meaning saints are so afraid of manifestations being “in the flesh,” as they say, that they themselves act in fleshly nonsense. There is much in this effort to bring the Lord’s affairs in line with man’s idea of decorum that amounts to man’s trying to direct God rather than to follow Him.

I know so little about what may take place when the mighty power of God comes down that I am thankful that He taught me to keep my fleshly hands off when He lays His divine hands on flesh. I suppose that almost all missionaries and preachers, had they been in my place, would have interfered with the extraordinary manifestations among the Adullam children to such an extent that there would have been no “Visions Beyond the Veil” book to write, for there would have been nothing unusual to write about.

Thus, it was that in coming to Adullam Jesus came to a group that was pliable and mouldable; it was at the same time a place where His activities would be unmolested.

In the third place, I am quite certain that these revelations came to and through Adullam partly because I would gladly accept such and publish them abroad as Jesus desired. Although at the time of this gracious visitation from heaven I had no idea how it was to be done, I sincerely wished that others might know about this visitation that had meant so much to me. To write a book was far from my thought. I did expect, however, to report this outpouring to our own constituency through our bulletin, The Adullam News, which we sent out from time to time. When it came time to send out the next edition of
The Adullam News and I was going to write a chapter about that visitation from God, I had no unction to write. Every bit of write-spirit left me. Later when I tried again to write that chapter my mind was “murky.” It was easier to sleep than to write. All of my writing-fire had been watered out. This sort of thing went on for several days. Do you know why? I can answer in one word — the devil. Every time I had tried to write about those marvellous revelations from God a company of devils about me put me under a cloud.

What could I do? Persist and resist and trust Jesus and the powers of God to triumphantly make the powers of the devil fly away. That’s the secret. Never let up. Hang on to the plow handle.

The angels must have come down. Victorious in their battle with those hindering devils, they now kindled the fire and fanned it. Light from heaven must have shone about me. My pen could not move fast enough as it seemed almost to write automatically that first chapter about the outpouring of the Spirit on Adullam.

Two months later when I attempted to write another chapter about that wonderful visitation the devil must have found out about it and sent another gang of his devils to hinder me. I had no difficulty in writing the other articles for our booklet. Not so this chapter about the revelations.

My first try to write was no good. Try number two. No good. After many vain efforts, as before, the angels prevailed and I wrote chapter two under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It was a year or more by the time I had written the last chapter of the story. Every chapter was written only after a fight with the devil for about two weeks. Had eyes been open to see what was going on in the world of spirits, they would no doubt have seen angels and devils in conflict around me. Readers of “Visions Beyond the Veil” will understand this. As it was, the devil fought every effort to write the account of those revelations and yielded ground only inch by inch when forced to do so. Why? Because these revelations were to be written and sent out far and wide to God’s people. How? I had no idea.

After all copies of our booklet were gone readers kept writing for more copies that gave an account of that heavenly visitation. So it was that I assembled the chapters on that subject and sent the book that I called “Visions Beyond the Veil” to our regular constituency — our friends.

Although in my opinion I knew nothing about writing, printing, and distributing books for the public, almost before I knew it other editions of this first book were going into circulation.

It has now been over thirty years since that first edition was published. More copies have gone into circulation the last two years than in any such previous period. An eleventh edition in English has just been printed. These revelations, like those in the Bible, will never grow old.

This book has been published in periodicals as a series, in English and in other languages. Without any initiative on my part, and in some cases without my knowledge, “Visions Beyond the Veil” has been translated and published in six or seven foreign languages. A fourth edition has recently been published in the Finnish language.

I have now done the best I can to give some idea of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Adullam. I feel that this account comes farther from making clear these realities than anything I have tried to describe. There were two main outpourings, the second of which was after we had moved to the Agricultural Experiment Station. At the times of these mighty visitations everything else stopped for two weeks or more while we were living in the realms of the other world.

In two weeks in this school of the Holy Spirit, through the Adullam children I learned more about the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan than I could have learned in six years in a theological seminary.

Two of our smallest boys were used by the Lord to teach me much. For months, when all of the other children had left the prayer room and gone to bed, these two small boys would still remain in the room lost in the Spirit. I sat by these boys for hours listening to them when they lay in a trance talking to each other about what they were in vision seeing in the invisible worlds. All of my books fail to make known all that I learned from our Adullam children as used by the Lord when under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. [9]

 

There was such breakthrough but still the battle remained. Suffering persistent writer’s block, other people may have given up and concluded that God just did not want them to share these heavenly experiences but the truth was that frequently a great battle needs to be fought and won – hanging on to the plow until the very end – to enjoy a great victory.

I add another story:

 

Having told about the sprained knee and the sprained ankle, it is now in order to go on down to the sore feet.

Everywhere we were in China we saw many men with awful sores on their legs and many others with big scars that covered their legs from knee to ankle. The tribal people were no exception. Their sores result from an infection in an ordinary sore or break in the skin, and heal very slowly, sometimes making serious trouble for a year or two before final healing. There is a watery discharge that seems to prevent healing.

A great many of the Ka Dos were suffering from these afflictions or bore the scars of previous attacks. It now became my turn. While living among the Ka Dos and becoming like them in many other respects I was now to suffer with them this common affliction. When I was finishing an itinerary, the places sandal straps touched began to develop sores. After I arrived home, to my surprise, these apparently unimportant sores did not heal. Every one developed into one of those non-healing king — five sores on each foot.

Two weeks after my arrival at home I must start on another campaign that would include conventions, Bible studies, and much walking to various churches. When the time came that I should leave, every one of my ten sores was giving me trouble. One foot was swollen to twice its normal size. Regardless of what work awaited, it is my opinion that very few people would have even considered trying to walk a short distance with such afflicted feet.

My own personal principle, long practiced regardless of consequences, was to be faithful to every obligation and fulfill every duty so long as I could walk and talk and move. Personal comforts or discomforts were not to be considered. It was hang to the plow in spite of bumps and plow to the end of the row or die in the attempt.

In accord with this principle, I had the orphanage boys help me cut holes in my socks so they would not press on the sores and then strap the sandals so that no straps would touch a sore.

With these ten sores to go along with me I started on my journey.

That first day my stage was to be twenty miles. I made my stage. The farther I walked the swelling went down and the better the sores became, I slept peacefully in the hope whose ten sores had decided to behave and give me no more trouble. It was a deluding hope. The next day those sores started their meanness all over. That is the way these sores behave — better and worse, better and worse, seemingly forever.

If I could keep my feet up high they pained me little. The more I lowered them the worse they hurt. Often when talking to the people I sat on a bench or on my bundle of bedding, and put my feet up on something to ease the pain. During one Bible study period, my feet were so painful that I could not wear socks or sandals. I went barefoot. It was embarrassing at first, while teaching the men to have to sit there with bare, sore-covered feet stuck up on a bench. However, all this was commonplace to the men, who were thoroughly sympathetic. While I was teaching the men, the Lord was teaching me some things my people suffer.

After a month of this local Bible study I must move on to the next place. I again started those sore feet traveling. I now quote from an account of the next meeting:

Little pain when walking. On Sunday morning, I arrived at the convention just as the people were assembling for the service. I began preaching a few minutes after arriving. Immediately the pain in my feet returned. It felt like coals of fire sending pains up both legs to the knees. As I got help from the Lord the Holy Spirit made the pain so secondary that I was able to preach with much freedom.

The last Sunday of this Bible study period was a time of real blessing. The Holy Spirit was present in quiet power so that I had little pain. When I was finishing my talk preparatory to the Lord’s Supper, several were under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. More and more those present began to weep as they thought of Jesus and His death. After telling the people quietly to think of Jesus’ crucifixion, I stopped talking. Many of the Christians wept outright, while the low-voiced praying increased in volume. As all continued to pray, one young man received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The blessing I received in this service overshadowed all discomforts.

In the afternoon I went to another village. At that place, I sat down while talking in order to relieve the pain in my feet. Those present nearly all confessed their sins and shortcomings and expressed a desire for a closer walk with Jesus. At another place, I sat on a table while talking to the church full of people. At one village where we had local Bible study, while others helped with teaching part of the time, I lay on my side on a board and did considerable writing. Thus, I nursed these sore feet and gave them much consideration, but I still kept them from getting full control.

On Sunday in one of our best churches the church was filled. My feet were on a rage. I put some of my bedding on a crude bench and my painful feet on something else. My interpreter stood by me with one foot on another bench. When digging in his field on the mountain side a stone had rolled against his leg, causing an infection of one of these everlasting sores. All the front of his leg was one burning sore. On this hindrance, however, we had the help of the Lord. The people listened well, for the Holy Spirit was present.

After my talk, when as usual I asked the congregation to stand and unitedly pray for the Holy Spirit, the pain in my feet was so bad that I thought I could not stand. As the people prayed and some were receiving anointing of the Holy Spirit, I could sense a resisting spirit, a lack of freedom, a binding demon power.

The fight-spirit took hold of me; “You raging feet, do as you please. Ache all you want to. I ignore you and I defy every devil.” I jumped up on those painful feet and rushed over to the first person on the front seat, who was praying but could not get free. I laid hands on him in the name of Jesus, rebuking every devil that hindered. The man was free. He jumped. He danced. Under the unction of the Hold Spirit I laid hands on one after another, rebuking devils and invoking the Holy Spirit. As I did this the Holy Spirit came upon each one upon whom I had laid my hands until almost everyone in the congregation was free. We had a real down-pour from heaven. My feet were none the worse. My spirit felt a lot better. In this battle between the forces of the devil and those of God the ultimate is God. Believe it and see it.

At long last I ended this campaign and itinerary with my feet almost healed. Although I did not talk or write with my feet, they had been a hindrance to prayer and work. A poison from the sores so permeated my whole body that any scratch or break in the skin would at once result in a sore. However, such sores on my face or hands would soon heal. I have only one little sore scar left as a reminder.

The record reads, “Back at last; not home at last. I got here last night, recalling the old home-comings which were exciting. This was a lonesome home-coming. I wound the little alarm clock to make it tick and sound alive.[10]

 

Sore feet may have raged with pain but Harold Baker would keep walking and keep preaching, and he pushed through to victory – people encountering Jesus through the Holy Spirit and personal healing. No one would have blamed him if he had stayed at home and nursed his wounds.

Even in old age, Harold Baker persevered and knew no retirement.

 

It is impossible to get really close to a people and in a real sense become one of them without speaking their language. How in the world could a man in his seventy-sixth year expect to learn a new language? Yet, since it was definitely settled at last that I was to minister to the Hakka people, something must be done about the language problem if possible.

Learning a new language is a big job for a young man. Mission boards want new missionaries less than thirty years of age because of the language problem. The new missionaries are supposed to work hard at the language study every day and nearly all day for the first year, and nearly all of the time the second year is to be followed by continued language study. It is said that to learn to speak an oriental language requires as much hard work as to secure a college education. That seems to me to be true. Learning to read Latin and Greek is play as compared with learning to fluently speak one of these oriental languages.

Nevertheless, I felt led to undertake what in the past I would never have considered the remotest possibility. Were I to work for the salvation of the Hakka I must do everything that could be done that by all means I might save some. After all, perhaps at my age I could still pronounce some Hakka words or sentences distinctly enough to be understood. To my real surprise I found that it was so. That being true, even a few words or even sentences mixed in with interpretation of my Mandarin Chinese would be so much clear gain. So it was that I hired a Hakka man to teach me his language. I went to work. Work? Yes, Work, as hard a job of that kind as I had ever undertaken.

Studying Hakka language had its special difficulties, for the people have no written language. Furthermore, unlike the mainland Mandarin or the principle Formosa Taiwanese language, the Hakka has no language study-helps of any value, making the Hakka study like pioneer work in a new field. This language has seven tones. That is, each word has its own particular tone, high or low, and must be pronounced in its own tone or accent. Otherwise, two words that would be pronounced just the same except with a slight variation in tone have two different meanings.

Although my Hakka teacher naturally from childhood pronounced every word and tone exactly right, he himself did not know in which of the seven tones he pronounced a word. And so it was my job to decide to which of the seven tones any particular word belonged. This job took a vast amount of time that could have been saved had I the usual language helps. With proper helps I could have learned to speak this Hakka language in half the time.

Whereas children learn a language through the ear, adults learn through the eye. In my case I must write every word by using the English alphabet, see the word and then memorize it. In that way, I memorized over six thousand Hakka words with proper tones. As the best way to learn grammatical constructions is to memorize sentences of every kind of structure, I memorized nearly three thousand sentences. Such memorizing requires incessant reviewing and repetition over and over until words and sentences become such a part of you and your thoughts that you can speak the new language just as automatically as you speak English. You do not have to think how you should say in English what you want to say. You just say it as you think it in Hakka.

To make a success of being able to preach readily in Hakka language three things were absolutely essential: In the first place, I had to have a clear memory. So far as I could tell, my memory which was naturally good, had not yet begun to fail. This was of the Lord entirely. In the second place, I had to have my mind anointed by the Holy Spirit in order to have zeal for my task. In the third place, I had to have an unremittent determination to get a working knowledge of that language or die in the attempt. This determination never left me, once I had started the undertaking. This was due largely to the good I hoped to do and to that persevering disposition I have told you about. It was an inherited something that would never let me stop till I had turned the last furrow in the field, once having taken hold of the plow. This sort of bull-dog never-let-go makeup was also an inheritance from the Lord, not a self-production. Thus, I hope that Jesus can get all of the glory for my getting enough of the Hakka language to easily preach anything I want to preach or to open the Bible anywhere and tell in Hakka just what it says. Praise God! What a wonderful Manager and Guide, my All in All!

Although my Hakka language is limited and far from perfect, it answers my needs for the gospel work the Lord has assigned me. It makes me feel that the Hakkas are my preferred people, a vital part of my makeup. When I go with anyone into a Hakka house the question at once is asked as to whether I speak the Hakka language. The self-evident reaction to being told that I do, or upon hearing me speak it, is such that I can always feel that I am considered more as a Hakka than one who does not speak their language. One family speaks one common language…

I have baptized nearly a hundred Hakkas. Considering the difficulty in getting the Hakkas to definitely decide to follow Jesus, this is encouraging. We would like to see a big turning to the Lord and mighty working of the Holy Spirit like we experienced and saw on the main land in Ka Do Land. But this is not Ka Do Land, and no such working of the Holy Spirit has taken place anywhere on this island.

Because of opposition in the homes and the call of the world some of those baptized “went out from us because they were not of us.” The young people who come from heathen homes find it unusually hard to become Christians on account of opposition in these homes to any departure from idol and ancestor worship. Still we have had some very encouraging results among young people. On the whole, it is apparent that as large or even larger percent of the Hakkas we have baptized have continued loyal to Jesus as those among whom we have worked any other place.

Several persons saw Jesus. One night when the parents were kneeling by the bed praying, and the four-year-old son was lying on the bed he suddenly shouted out, “I see Jesus.”

One morning this little son said that he did not want any breakfast, for he was going to fast and pray. Of course, he could not pray much, but could praise Jesus. After an hour, he came out of the bedroom. “I saw an angel,” he announced. Jesus and the angels are with us Christians. [11]

 

Who would sign up at the age of seventy-six for three years of immensely difficult language studies with the aim of becoming a missionary in yet another brand-new mission field? How long did he expect to live or stay healthy? (Is this snapping anyone out of retirement mode?) He ended up baptizing nearly one hundred new Christians (and note that the mass outpourings that he experienced in China were not repeated in every season and place), and kept experiencing a foretaste what is to come by the Holy Spirit that made all the perseverance worthwhile. God made him stand, and he did take no credit for it.

 

Now my having been endued by some of this same disposition by the same Lord, how can I take credit for hanging on when this never-let-go-spirit dominates? I have the advantage of being guided as to where I should grab hold to help and not to hurt. Thus, it is that no place remains for personal self-praise. “What have you,” the Bible asks, “that you did not receive? If, then, you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?” I Corinthians 4:7.

 

God made you promises and they are allYesin Christ. They may not make you immediately comfortable and affluent, but this is not what it is about. There is a life to come, and it is coming. Godput his Spirit in our hearts… guaranteeing what is to come.” Therefore, sayAmento God’s promises – trust in them – believe him – and persevere. God makes youstand firmin Christ. So stand. Amen.



[1] H. A. Baker, Under His Wings, Iris 2008, n.d.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] H. A. Baker, Under His Wings, Iris 2008, n.d.