“FIRE!!! FIRE!!! FIRE come down from Heaven!!” (Please, no!)
The idea that Christians must be fire baptized as part of our salvation has spread rapidly around the globe. The odd thing is that neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever once stated that we need to be baptized with fire. They taught that we need to be baptized with the Holy Ghost. People have assumed that means to be baptized with fire. If you go to one of the many televangelist conferences or one of the seemingly excitable denominations of Christianity, you will find many people asking for the Holy Spirit’s fire. I remember attending Benny Hinn’s “Fire Conferences” and hearing it. If you go to many websites, fire is a major theme for them. Why has this suddenly become so popular?
God “raining down fire”/immersing people in fire is associated with judgment & wrath – not blessings.
– “23 The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. 27 And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord: 28 And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.” – Gen 19:23-28
– “10 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a sign.” – Num 26:10
– “9 Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down. 10 And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.
11 Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly.12 And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.
13 And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight. 14 Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight.
15 And the angel of the Lord said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king.” – 2 Kings 1:9-15
– “17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.” – Rev 9:17-18
– “3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” – Rev 11:3-5
Every time God sent fire down to people, they died!!
Let’s see some Scriptures that may lead people to believe fire baptism is for Christians.
The most obvious one is from the Day of Pentecost:
“And when the day of Pentecost was 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 all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” – Acts 2:1-4
Now, let’s look at this. This was the first time the Holy Spirit was sent to followers of Christ so they could be empowered. They “heard” a sound – a loud sound of a rushing, mighty wind. Do we see any other time in the Bible where this sound is made when people receive the Holy Spirit? Are we hearing it today when people pray for the Holy Spirit? They “saw” cloven tongues “like” as of fire that “sat” upon each person. Do we see any other time in the Bible when tongue-like substances “sit” on people’s heads when they receive the Holy Spirit? Does it seem like there’s real fire burning on their heads? Do we have any indication that anyone got warmer on the outside or felt all warm & tingly on the inside? If I place something like a hat to sit on your head, am I “baptizing” you with the hat?
The answer to all of these questions is “no.” To be baptized is to be fully immersed in something. If something rests on your head, it is not baptizing you. The Holy Spirit is not a tongue nor is He a ball of fire. This is a one-time miracle that occurred in the Bible and is not meant to be used as the measuring tool for what we do next nor meant to dictate us praying for God to send fire.
There are a couple others which can be stretched to attempt to make something fit, but the next two passages are taken from the preaching of John the Baptist concerning Jesus:
“1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with UNQUENCHABLE fire.” – Matt 3:1-12
“7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? 11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. 12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? 13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. 14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages. 15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire UNQUENCHABLE. 18 And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.” – Luke 3:7-18
Before we look at these passages, let’s get a visual of the winnowing/threshing process for wheat that John the Baptist says will [spiritually] take place. By viewing the extensive process for separation, we see that people will not “slide” into Heaven. They are either “wheat” and collected or chaff and discarded.
Threshing & winnowing with an animal – (notice how the worker purposely rides over the grains and shows the “treading” process mentioned in the Bible)
** Threshing & winnowing by hand – She explains what she learned while showing the actual work that goes into this. Great lesson!!
Let’s look at the passages in Matthew 3 and Luke 3 again. John the Baptist is baptizing people that are repentant and refuses to baptize Pharisees and Sadducees who do not show they are repentant. They are counting on their lineage to get them into Heaven, and John the Baptist says God can make rocks children of Abraham. He then goes on to say the time of judgment is near. We know he’s talking about a just, righteous judgment because the people (sinners) in Luke 3 ask John the Baptist what they should do so they may avoid such a horrible fate.
1) Everyone that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown in fire – will die and be thrown into hell.- “18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” – Matt 7:18-19
2) He says Jesus will baptize with the Holy Ghost…AND with fire.
3) He says Jesus will separate the wheat from the chaff/tares/weeds, and that the chaff/unsaved will burn with unquenchable fire.- “29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” – Matt 13:29-30
There are a few different thoughts as to what this second mention of fire might mean. The first would say that the fire is for purifying as in Mal 3:3 for the refiner’s fire, but that really doesn’t fit with the rest of the verses. Another could be symbolic for Believers to receive the Holy Ghost and a symbolic blessing and God’s presence, but that seems like an out of place area to talk about a reward since he’s preaching on repentance. The third is most probable, and that is to say that Jesus will reward those who are His and destroy those who do not repent. We have three references to fire. The first and the third clearly reference hell, so logically, the second mention connected to Christ also references hell. John the Baptist is warning people to turn from their sins to the One Who is soon coming. At the end of the second reference to fire is a colon ( : ), which means the thought is not complete as we read that he goes on to prophesy about how Jesus will thoroughly examine everyone to determine who is His and who is not.
We understand that Jesus will judge and that everyone must appear before Him and will bow and confess Him as Lord. Those who are saved will be baptized with the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. Jesus will separate those who are saved from those who are not. Those who are unsaved will experience the second baptism spoken of in these two passages – thrown into fire that will never cease.
“9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” – Rev 20:12-15
Those who refuse to come to Christ will experience a full and permanent immersion into the lake of fire. Jesus Christ baptizes His people with the Holy Spirit, and He baptizes His enemies with fire. This is both the grace & mercy of God and the holiness & wrath of God. Believers are not appointed unto wrath. Let us be thankful for all God has done for us and not pursue experiences or the latest sensationalist movement that tells us we are lacking something for our salvation. The Lord Jesus Christ has provided all we need.
“9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” – 1 Thess 5:9-10
Threshing Wheat by Hand (I really like this video) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cz_5w4qc9YA
Baptized with the Holy Spirit and with Fire – http://www.jesuswalk.com/lessons/3_15-18.htm
Is There Such a Thing as a Baptism of Fire Besides the Baptism of the Holy Spirit? – http://www.letusreason.org/Biblexp98.htm
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost and Fire ARE THEY SAME??? by Lordson Roch