The Dispensation of The Holy Spirit from The Ascension of The Lord Jesus to His Coming Descension
by AIMEE SEMPLE McPHERSON
This pamphlet, written and published by Aimee Semple Mcpherson in the 1920's, offers clear evidence that early Pentecostal leaders embraced the idea of the Restoration of the church. Along with every generation of the church that pursued restoration, she thought that the revelation and experience of the 'full Gospel' (including the Pentecostal experience) was the final component of a restored New Testament church. Along with other Pentecostal pioneers she was correct in adopting the idea of church restoration throughout church history, but wrong in assuming that the Pentecostal experience was the final step of restoration before Christ's return. There was still much more to come!
On the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), Peter in explaining the working of the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit seen upon those filled with the Spirit, quotes from the prophet Joel saying: “It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” It was as a direct result of this outpouring of God’s Spirit, that the message contained in this booklet was given in vision and prophecy under the inspiration and power of the Holy Spirit.
Ten years ago the Lord found me, a thoughtless little country girl of seventeen. He not only convicted me of sin, saved and baptized me with the Holy Spirit according to Acts 2:4, but He also called me to leave Father and Mother, houses and lands, high school, and future dreams of earthly popularity, and bade me go into all the world and preach the message of salvation, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the soon coming of the Lord.
Thus it was that before the age of eighteen I found myself preaching the Gospel, weak in myself, but strong in Him. Never having attended any earthly Bible school, I clung to the promise that I was to take no thought for what I should say, but that He would teach me in the needed hour, also that out of my innermost being should flow rivers of living water, knowing that “This He spake of the Spirit,” who had come to dwell within me.
Time and space will not here permit me to relate the numerous times and ways the Lord took this poor, ignorant tongue of mine and spoke through me words I had never learned; without any thought on my part, they came rolling out. Vital, forceful, eloquent words poured through my lips not from my head but from my innermost being. While speaking thus with closed eyes and uplifted hands, the tears would stream down my face, and many precious souls flock to the altar seeking salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and to Jesus belongeth the Glory, for He did it all. Hallelujah.
While in London, England, waiting for the boat in which to embark for China, I was asked by a wealthy man if I would speak to a congregation of people for him that night. Inquiring of the Lord I felt it was His will and told the man that I would go. That evening a beautiful limousine with liveried attendants called for me and I entered with weak and self-conscious steps, crying: “O Lord, do help me to do Thy will tonight.”
On the way I wondered whether the meeting would be held in a cottage or in a mission hall, and as I gazed with wonder upon the beautiful streets and buildings, the car stopped in front of the most imposing and spacious edifice of all. Thinking that perhaps a small room in this immense building was used for a mission hall, I was hurried up the steps and into the side door of the place.
It seemed that I was led through the door and on to the platform before I had time to realize that this whole building, one big city block square, was packed with people and I was to speak to them at once. I remember vaguely my attendant whispering into my ear that we were late, and then I heard the voice of a man on the platform saying: "Now our sister will speak to us and bring the message.” Before I realized it, I was standing dazed and confused before the largest audience I had ever spoken to. The gallery, the balcony, the pit and the rostrum were all filled; there was no seat for me to sit in, and to add to my confusion just then the footlights flashed into brilliancy all around me, and there I stood, a slip of a girl with my Bible in my trembling hands. I had never prepared a sermon in my life, would not know how to go about it, and not a thought came to me; I just lifted my heart to God and silently prayed:
“O God, if you ever helped me in my life help me now!”
Just then something happened: — the power of God went surging through my body, waves of glory and praise swept through my soul, until I forgot the throng of eager faces that had a moment before seemed to swim before me, forgot the footlights, and the learned men with their long-tailed coats, forgot that I was only a child of eighteen, and that many there with their grey hair knew more in a moment than I in the natural could know in a lifetime, and “I was in the Spirit.”
All this takes a long time to write, but it happened in a moment, for those who put their trust in God shall never be put to shame. My mouth opened, the Lord took control of my tongue, my lips and vocal organs, and began to speak through me, not in tongues but in English. The Spirit spoke in prophecy, and as He spoke through me I did not know what the next word was to be; certainly the water did flow, not from my head but from the innermost depths of my being, without my having ought to do with it.
As I spoke thus for one hour and a quarter, there did not seem to be a stir in all the vast audience, and as I spoke, I saw a vision of a great circle, composed of ten smaller circles as shown on page four. This big circle seemed so big that its top reached the sky; it was the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, from its opening on the day of Pentecost, to its closing at the coming of the Lord Jesus. The vision was so indelibly stamped upon my mind that I had my husband draw it from my description that all may see it as simple and plain as the Lord showed it to me. Before starting to speak, I opened my Bible with closed eyes, trusting God for my text, and my finger was guided to a certain verse; when I opened my eyes and read it this was the verse the Lord had given me;
“That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.” Joel 1:4.
Just so when I came to the bottom of the circle, and the dark ages were pictured in their horror, my hand automatically turned the page over to the second chapter and placed my finger upon the following verse:
“I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, and the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.” Joel 2:25.
I have in these pages written the message as it was given the best I can remember it, so as you read forget the poor earthen vessel, forget the present writer, and give the glory to the Lord for it is He, and not I, who is worthy of praise forever.
I am yours, the least of all saints,
Sister Aimee Semple McPherson.