The Seldom Taught Third Baptism—Fire
Before we begin I will caution you, as I always do, to be as a Berean and do not believe anything that I or any other man try to teach you unless and until scripture and the Holy Spirit have confirmed it as truth.
Matt 3:11-12 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.
Luke 3:16-17 John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
You may understand the Baptism in water for the remission of sin and to circumcise the hard natural heart to receive the things of God. The baptism in the Holy Spirit to make you of one Spirit with God and with Jesus but what is this baptism of fire and why is it no one seems to be talking about it? Is it necessary? Is it truly a “baptism”? It does not sound like fun, fire is destructive, what is it? What is its purpose?
Since John included it in the same verses as water and Spirit baptisms and both Matthew and Luke mentioned it must be important, so let us look to scripture to see what it is, if it is necessary, what its purpose is and if and why it is important.
First we look at the use of fire in scripture
In studying scripture we find 3 types of fire in scripture. You should always go to the scriptures used and read the surrounding scriptures for context.
Number 1 The fire of Divine Judgment
Gen 19:23-25 The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens.
Lev 10:1-3 Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. 2 So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.
Num 11:1-3 Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp. 2 Then the people cried out to Moses, and when Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched. 3 So he called the name of the place Taberah, because the fire of the Lord had burned among them
Num 16:35 And a fire came out from the Lord and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering incense.
2 Kings 1:10-12 So Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. 11 Then he sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty men. And he answered and said to him: “Man of God, thus has the king said, ‘Come down quickly!'” 12 So Elijah answered and said to them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
2 Thess 1:7-10 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
Rev 20:14-15 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Rev 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
I have shown old and new testament use of fire, both words translated as fire here speak of a real fire, burning, it shows it is a method that God uses to eliminate (destroy, forever) those that deny Him. It is important to understand this, This method of destruction sometimes used by God, is what is called the second death, destruction, it is final, eternal and there is no chance of repentance. We can see that by what we see in the book of Revelation
Notice that in 2 Thes 1:9 it states “eternal destruction” which is correct, it is eternal, and it is destruction, destroyed forever, not as some teach, eternal damnation, it is that but it is death not eternal suffering. Remember Jesus defeated death for those that would follow Him. Also remember that the curse received because of Adam’s disobedience is eternal death, destruction. Because when the judgment is over, there will only be the righteous left on the earth and when the New heaven and earth appear the righteous will instantly be transformed into a Spiritual people and there will be no more flesh, no more humans-ever.
We can see from this that this cannot be the baptism of fire because the result here is total, final complete death And a dead person would not gain any eternal benefit from it.
Number 2 – Fire as a symbol of God’s Presence and Power
Ex 3:2-4 2 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” 4 So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
Ex 13:21-22 and the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. 22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.
Acts 2:2-4 2 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Notice God used something never seen before to get the attention of Moses when He wanted to speak to him, He appeared in a burning bush..
Then later as Moses was doing as instructed, God’s presence was made known by the fire above them at night.
You can see if you read the whole story of the Exodus from Egypt that their enemies became afraid as they understood that the presence of God was with and protecting them.
Then we look at the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given to empower all the followers of Christ, just as He had told them would happen if they waited. Note the similarity to God’s deliverance from Egypt in the passover story. They were all in one place (Goshen), they waited as instructed after following His instructions, they were all in one accord and then In His timing they saw God move as He promised by killing all the first born (the most important ones) in the land except those under His protection in Goshen.
There are several very important things that happened on the day of pentecost that you must understand.
First, they waited as instructed. Second, they were ALL of one accord. Third the presence of God was announced by a mighty wind, which is also used in scripture to show the presence of God. Third “Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.” . There is a specific reason for this that you must understand.
1 Cor 6:17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
1 Cor 12:13-14 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
Eph 2:18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
Phil 1:27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,
It is imperative that we understand that the only way to be of one Spirit is to have the Spirit of God inside of us. All that actually are one with God and His son Jesus must be baptized (filled with)with the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:3 is the proof that this is possible, is necessary and can only be accomplished when all are in agreement, seeking the same Holy Spirit. Notice that there were flames lighting on each and every one there, confirming that each and every one of them now possess the Spirit (presence within) of God.
This though is not the fire of which the baptism of fire speaks, this is the fire that shows the presence if the Lord.
Number 3 – Here it is the Baptism of Fire
This must be it, there are 3 and the other 2 are not. Lets see what we find in scripture.
Since this is a new testament requirement we must find the answers there. So lets stop and see which word translated as fire is used in these scriptures.
But we can learn from the old testament records how God handles this situation. God is the same always, so lets check this
Matt 3:11 1 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.
Luke 3:16-17 “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
The word used in scripture here that is translated in most bibles as fire is
NT:4442 pur (poor); a primary word; “fire” (literally or figuratively, specifically, lightning):
This word should be correctly translated as “lightening” or “as fire”.
If we use the correct translation of the word we can see what the baptism of fire really is. Fire or specifically lightning is a destroyer, it destroys things. We know that is the opposite of what Jesus does for us, so there must be another meaning. If we use the correct analogy here we know that whatever lightning strikes it destroys, it specifically destroys what it hits. Stay with me here, please. We know that within every man are things that cannot remain in the presence of God, which is within us now as disciples of Christ filled with the Holy Spirit and of one Spirit with God.
Now we will pause and take a little side trip.
James 1:2-8 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls.
Luke 6:22-23 Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
See how these scriptures fit? This must be the baptism of fire. We are tried by adversity to prove our faith is real. In other words we are tried by what, at the time, seems like it is to destroy us, but it is not real fire, it is like the fire that proves (purifies) gold. It is a process that reveals the dross. At the end of the process the pure gold is left and the impurities are removed. And since we are much more valuable to God than gold, it is a process of using whatever He deems necessary to remove our impurities so we can become all He wants us to be. Tested, proven and fully acceptable to God, meeting His requirements to be His ambassador and to enter His eternity.
How do we properly respond to this baptism of fire?
First we must recognize when this is what we are experiencing, a purifying fire and not a satanic attack.
We must not defend ourselves or compromise. WE MUST TRUST GOD.
We must put ourselves in God’s hands knowing He will deliver us His way. His way can be by purifying us or even by our death, but in death we would be guaranteed entry to eternity if we are fully trusting in Him and obeying Him. Death is a form of deliverance in this case.
Here is a good example of how to do this. We can learn from the old testament records how God handles this situation. God is the same always, so lets check this
These young men had already proven themselves but went on with God and He used them to prove He is God as well. We never know what blessings He may have for us when we fully trust Him. How many people ended up believing God because of their experience? We may not know what the end result will be but we do know if we are obedient to the Holy Spirit, we are in God’s loving hands.
Be sure to go and read all of this account in Daniel 3.
Dan 3:22-25 Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
Dan 3:26-27 ” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. 27 And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them
If you stopped and read this story you know that the fire was made extra hot, so hot that it killed those that came close to it. But these three did not even have the hint of smoke on them, no singed hair, no burned clothes, they came out of the fire as they went in. Because they believed and meant these words they uttered before being put into the fire.
Dan 3:16-18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
Remember that if you truly belong to Christ you are filled with His Holy Spirit, meaning God is there with you as He was with the three ,in the fire. If you are not filled with the Holy Spirit you are not of one Spirit with Him and are not truly a disciple of Christ.
Some things to remember when going through the “fire”.
If you are truly born again you WILL go through the fire.
Do not defend yourself, rely on God.
Determine to obey God no matter the consequences.
God is with you.
The purpose of the fire is to prove and purify you.
God will deliver you—His way
To those of you who falsely accuse me of being legalistic.
Yes I teach there are requirements for those who profess to be of Christ, as does scripture. Yes to those that have not fully submitted to Lord Jesus, this seems to be legalistic. But it IS NOT, only by fully submitting to Christ, being baptized in water and the Holy Spirit of God, and doing the will of God as He leads us as Jesus taught us to do, will we have the peace that passes all understanding and understand that following all of the requirements are necessary. If we are truly following the Holy Spirit, then we are walking fully in the love of God, fully encompassed by the protecting hand of God. Then and only then will these requirements be a source of joy instead of feeling like legalism.
I will close with this scripture that we must keep in mind as we walk the path to eternal life.
Matt 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
God bless you as you follow His son Jesus, the Lord of this age and the only way to eternity.