This study is intended to bring a little clarity to the topic of Baptism of Fire. There is a lot of talk nowadays about fire. It is a popular motive in pop songs to mean desire or sexual passion. We know that the Holy Spirit manifested as flames of fire on the heads of the Apostles. Hell is place of fire. So what are we supposed to make of fire tunnels, or calls for the fire of God to fall on people? What is going on when people feel burning or other unusual sensations in a meeting? Before we try to discern based on individual experiences, do we even know what the Bible says about this topic?
Baptism vs Judgement
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
- How many baptisms do we hear about in this passage? What are they?
- In this passage, who is John criticising and why?
- What does he liken these people to? And what will fire do to them?
- The second reference to fire refers to wheat and chaff: How does that image differ from the trees image and from the wheat and the weeds parable elsewhere?
Another baptism for Jesus
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.”
- What was Jesus referring to here?
- If fire was only for judgement, what does that mean for James and John? Will we see them upstairs?
- What are the hallmarks of a baptism (refer to Romans 6:11 if needed)
“I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! 51 Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
- What is Christ longing for and why?
- What is he distressed about and why?
To qualify as a doctrine, we need to see a concept in the Old Testament, the New Testament, the life of Jesus and in the teachings of the Apostles.
I have shown you cases from NT, Jesus and James and Peter, where we see a picture of fire emerging that has two distinct functions. One is destruction and the other is purification.
- Do you see baptism and destruction almost side by side in the OT too?
- Can you think of OT references to the fire of God purifying, cleansing or judging.
- Is the OT fire of God always destructive?
- How does the fire of Pentecost map to one manifestation of fire in the OT?
In a video that triggered this study, a woman claimed that she got a demon, because she was not satisfied with the Holy Spirit alone and so she rushed from conference to conference, and then someone laid hands on her and called the fire of God and she picked up an evil spirit. This testimony was then released with a general warning against people that pray for the fire of God to come etc.
If she is right this means that
- You can get an evil spirit through someone laying hands on you?
- it is dangerous to want more, because without realising it you may have wrong motives and let in an evil spirit
- This idea does not match up with the fourty years of experience summed up in this diagram, which shows entry points for the demonic. Should it be added? And if so can you provide any OT or NT examples for an evil spirit coming in through the laying on of hands?
- Generally, with regard to laying on of hands: what are the OT and the NT examples? Are some good, some bad? Did Jesus ever warn us against laying of hands?
“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. (ESV)
- What is a temple?
- Who are the Sons of Levi today?
- What is the outcome of the refiner’s fire and the fuller’s soap?
Malachi 4:1-2 (ESV Strong’s) 1 “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.
- Is the outcome of the coming of fire the same for everyone?
- What is the Sun made of? What is the outcome of the rising of the Sun of Righteousness?