This week we are going to look at an enormous topic, “fire”, and see if the Lord won’t step in here and help us to “glean” some truths relevant for the day in which we find ourselves. A cursory look at all the fire scriptures throughout the Bible shows a 2 sided picture, a double-edged sword, so-to-speak. In Gen. 19:24 “The Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.” I have heard some scientists compare this to a volcanic eruption that spewed out fire rain, but this scripture says it came “out of heaven”. If the Bible says it is one way than that is the way we should believe it. It appears that one part of the on-going revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ is to appear in “fire”. He chose to appear in a burning bush to Moses. Later when Moses received the law we are told “And Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire, and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace and the whole mount quaked greatly.” (Exodus. 19:18)
We also see that the Lord led the Hebrew children through the wilderness by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. The very same fire that could destroy was being used to guide them through the Wilderness. However, at the Mount when the fire of the Lord came out it was terrifying to the Hebrews. “And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire.” (Exo. 24:17)
King David had quite a revelation of the Lord and shares it with us in Psalm 29:7, “The voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire.” And in Psalm 104:4 we learn a great truth. “Who maketh his angels spirits, his ministers a flaming fire”. So now we are getting a glimpse into this revelation of God revealed through fire. His ministers will be like a “flaming fire”.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were in a burning fire furnace but the very fire that consumed the guards protected the Hebrew children. It appears the Lord Jesus Christ showed up just in time and joined them in the fire. “Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, rose up in haste, and spoke, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:25) Can you imagine this scene? The Almighty not only has absolute power over the wind and the waves but fire as well. He is Lord of all. Did the Lord love Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego more than us. No! He will protect His Bride in the days ahead and when we walk through the fire it will not consume us and the waters will not overflow us.
The prophet Jeremiah says “Is not my word like fire…” (Jer. 23:29) The prophets of old knew that God’s Word was like a fire shut up inside of their bones; however, they did not have the full revelation of the promise that was to come – the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Jesus told his disciples in Luke 12:49 “I am come to send fire on the earth, and what will I, if it be already kindled.” Before Jesus was even crucified the fire that would kindle the earth had already begun. Our God is a consuming fire but the fire could not be released until He was glorified.
John told his followers that One was coming that would baptize with the Holy Ghost and fire. Then we learn that on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit of our Lord Jesus was poured out “there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:3) and they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them the utterance. David had foreseen prophetically that those who God would empower with His Spirit would be as “flames of fire”. Fire is contagious – it kindles whatever it touches. Fire is active and never passive. The fire that was kindled 2,000 years ago is burning today ever brighter as the Lord’s coming draws nigh.
When John the Baptist said the Lord would baptize with the Holy Ghost and fire I believe 2 separate things are mentioned here. There is a fire of judgment coming that will destroy not only the earth but the heavens also; but this fire will not harm the Bride of Christ in any way –it will only destroy the wicked. John the Baptist lost his head before seeing this portion of his prophesy fulfilled. “I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.” (Acts 2:19) He is coming again, my friends, and when we see Him His eyes will be like a flame of fire.
I spoke with my son, Clay, this week about this subject. I named him Clay because I wanted him to be malleable in the hands of our Lord, the Master Potter. There is no doubt to anyone who knows my son that this mantle rests upon his life. Despite being born legally blind he is a skilled musician for the glory of God, and also excels in web design. He designed the Jesus Wept website for me. When we were talking he reminded me that at one stage clay is soft and pliable, but the furnace stage makes it firm and hard. Now we know that in the beginning stages the Potter works with clay with just the right amount of water to keep it pliable. He shapes and reshapes it and when He is pleased with its form, then there is a final stage in making a vessel of excellence. The last stage is the furnace where the clay is not destroyed but made into something beautiful and polished. So there is a reason for our “fiery trials” that God uses to refine us.
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 1:7)
Remember the parable of the virgins? You may have your lamp full of oil, and the wick trimmed, but it will take a flame to light the wick and illuminate the lamp. Our heavenly Bridegroom is coming soon and He will strike the match and take those who are ready home with Him.