Our God is a consuming Fire

Our God is a consuming Fire

The Baptism of Fire

Our God is a consuming Fire

F du Toit 2018

The danger is that should Christians not go through the baptism of fire, that they then end up in a place where they are deceived. They think they are right, but they are wrong. Religious habits and rituals comfort them and they are convinced that they are right with God.

Content

  1. The Fire on the altar Hebrews 12:29
  2. The Fire in the Temple
  3. Strange Fire Leviticus 10:1-11
  4. The burning Bush Exodus 3:2
  5. The Fire on Mount Carmel 1 Kings 18
  6. Sodom and Gomorrah Genesis 19:24-29
  7. Shadrach Meshach and Abednego. Daniel 3: 17 -18 Isaiah 43:2
  8. The coal of Fire on Isaiah lips Isaiah 6: 5 -7
  9. The flames of fire on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:3-4
  10. Hel, the lake of Fire Revelation 20:15, Malachi 3:2
  11. God’s Words of fire Jeremiah 23:29
  12. You will be baptised with the Spirit and with fire Matthew 3:11-12

§ The Fire of God

Hebrews 12:29 “… Our God is a consuming Fire”

Although these words are spoken in the book of Hebrews they are filled with a deep truth that existed even before the foundation of the earth.

What is it that God want to reveal about Himself when He warns His people through Moses that He is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24)?

Throughout history and the words recorded in the Bible a fundamental truth is given to those would listen to the Spirit of the Lord.

Jesus Christ reveals Himself as being the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), and that no human will be able to go to the Father except by (through) Him.

The Fire of God represents this Truth. He is the Truth.

The following study will take us through several events and designs that will underline this spiritual knowledge.

§ The Fire in the Temple

The first entrance to the altar in the temple or tabernacle was called “The Way”. What happened on the altar in the Old Testament was a shadow of what the Christ would come to do in The New Testament.

The altar was a place of judgment. Humans would come and offer a sacrifice of an animal that would suffer the judgement on sin in return for the human to be released from the judgement. The judgement on sin is death (Romans 6:23a)

The sin of the human was thus covered by the blood of the animal. This was called the remission of sin. It was a temporarily situation because it could not remove the sin of the human (Hebrews 10:4-6).

The final sacrifice was Christ’s own body on the cross. There He became sin as the Father places the iniquities of the world on Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). In Christ it

became possible for humans to be given the righteousness of Christ. That meant that it was possible for humans to approach God the Father without any further sacrifices.

What happened on the altar that resulted in the death of animals? What happened on the cross that made it possible for Christ to be resurrected from the dead?

Starting with the sacrifices of animals:

The altar is a place of judgement. Should there be found any sin in the person standing at the altar, that sin will result in death for the human in order to turn away the wrath of God. The Truth will destroy the lies. All that is given as human efforts to pay for the sin of the human would not be sufficient as it is tainted by sin, and will therefore be exposed as a lie and consequently be destroyed by the Truth, that is the fire of God.

The sacrifice of Christ would face the same spiritual principals. He was made the sin of the human race, and suffered the death on the cross. However when the fire of the Truth searched His being it found no sin. He was perfect in every way (Hebrew 4:15). Because of Him being without sin Himself the Fire could not destroy Him in Death. There was then no legal right to keep Him in Hell. Jesus Christ went there and announced His victory over death and captivity (Ephesians 4:8). Christ destroyed

death’s hold on all those who would receive salvation through Him. All those who are IN CHRIST would be given the same portion as The Christ, becoming co Heirs with Him (Rom 8:17 and Galatians 3:29).

Those who are IN CHRIST are in the midst of Him and surrounded by His holy Fire (Zechariah 2:5). Those who are IN CHRIT are one with His Spirit and emerged in the Truth. The Truth has set us free from the law of death and made it possible to enter into a new dimension of LIFE (John 14:6).

To the degree that born again Christian walks in this Truth, they will know God.

§ Strange Fire

Leviticus 10:1-11

Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, and put incense on it, and offered strange and unholy fire before the Lord, as He had not commanded them. And there came forth fire from before the Lord and killed them, and they died before the Lord.

In Exodus 30:34-38 God had instructed what incense was to be burned before Him and that no other incense should ever be used. In Leviticus 10:3 Moses explains to Aaron that the death of his two sons were because they did not obey this instruction given and therefore did not acknowledge God’s holiness. No human may alter the fire that is given as an offering to the Lord. Any attempt to change the Fire, would be a human attempting to change the TRUTH. Even an attempt to change only a small aspect of the Truth of mixing it with a lie, would result in God’s Fire destroying the human, as the Fire will destroy the lies and judgement on sin would be death.

He coals of fire on the altar for incense came from the altar for sacrifices. The fire burning the incense speaks about the holiness of God and His absolute Truth. In Him there is no lies. In the same way there is no light in darkness, and no darkness in

His Light. The Fire opposes the yin-yang principle. The Fire of God is absolute and Pure. Therefore, it asks of us to also be pure. The bride of Christ is without any Spot of blemish.

Today generations have been separated from God because of their spiritual death. Satan attempts to keep humans in this place of judgement and death by deceiving human. If humans think they are right, but they are wrong, they will fake this relationship with God and live in religion. Only when the Spirit of Truth comes and the human heart cries out for the Truth to set them free will humans see their true condition and call out for salvation. The Grace of God reaches out to those who call on His Name.

§ The burning Bush

Exodus 3:2

“The Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush…”

Moses was desperate to find his identity. Having grown up in the faro’s house he found out that he was a Jew. In an attempt to amend the unfair treatment of his people he killed a man and knowing that he would himself be killed fled the country. He was isolated from his own people, the Jews, and had rejected the culture he grew up with. Moses was desperate to find the truth – why did he not die like several other Jewish babies? What was the purpose of his life? Who is the God of the Jews?

Then The Lord of the Jews appeared to Moses as a fire in a bush. The Lord of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob reveals Himself to Moses and calls him to lead the Hebrew people out of Egypt. Moses receives Truth. He will never be the same again. He is a changed man. His identity is restored as he received a purpose in life. Not only is his

own identity restored, he also knows who the God of the Hebrews is. He knows who his God is, he knows His name. Moses sets out on a journey to live out the Truth that was given him. Acting out this Truth today is called obedience, and his obedience was accounted to him as faith.

§ The Fire on Mount Carmel 1 Kings 18

The Israelites were ruled by Ahab and Jezebel. They both served the Baals and Asherah. The Baals were one of three entities worshiped: Baal-Peor, Baal-Berith or Baal-zebub. The Asherah was also known as Semiramis or the queen of heaven.

Baal-Peor was the name given to the entity worshiped elsewhere in the world as Molech, Thor and Zeus. The well-known picture of these gods with the lightning bolt in their hands comes to mind.

Elijah was challenging Baal-Peor on Mount Carmel. He asked the Baal priests to invoke their god to strike the altar with lightning (fire) and if he did that, that would be the evidence that the god who answered by fire is the true god to be worshiped in Israel. After most of the day had gone by and Baal Peor did not answer by fire, Elijah started to build an altar and even drenched it in water. After calling on the name of the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, He answered by striking the altar with lightning. The people feared for their own lives and bowed down in worship.

Once again, the Fire of God brought Truth to the people and declared His Holiness as the only true God. He alone should be worshipped in all of Israel.

§ Sodom and Gomorrah Genesis 19:24-29

The sin of these two cities cried to the heavens. God had decided to bring an end to it by sending fire from heaven. In short it meant that what was wrong was considered to be right in the eyes of the inheritance of these two cities. Twisting the

truth. The Fire of God would test their so called “truth”. History brings the evidence: the cities were both destroyed in one night. Nothing was left, not even what had grown in the soil in those cities.

Molech, aka Baal-Peor was worshiped in those two cities. Baal-Peor means “The Lord of the Hole”: referring to the act of homosexuality as the act of worship for Baal- Peor. Children were sacrificed to gain favour and prosperity. To follow these act of worship instead of worshipping The God who brought Noah through the great flood caused the judgement of God to fall on the two cities. Abraham learnt that God is Holy and He alone must be worshipped.

Abraham himself knew very well that only the Truth will withstand the test of God’s Fire from his own experience. According to the book of Jasher, as refer to in Joshua 10:13, 2 Samuel 1:18 and 2 Timothy 3:8, Abraham also was thrown in a furnace after Nimrod was offended by Abraham claiming that idols are dead and cannot rule over humans. Abraham and the father of Lot were both thrown in a furnace, Lot’s father died but Abraham lived.

§ Shadrach Meshach and Abednego Daniel 3: 17 -18, Isaiah 43:2

Three young men stood up for what they believed in, in an country where the king himself thought he was god. These three men honoured the king but they did not worship him. Again it is a case of the truth conquering the lie. When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego announce that they will only serve the living God and not bow down before the statue of the king their faith would literally be tested by fire in order to show If it is true. The fire would destroy all that is not truthful. When the tree men walked around in the fire that had killed the men who threw them in the furnace, it was a miracle. Immediately the king acknowledged his mistake and announced that the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego was the only true God.

When the prophets announce that those who are with God would not be destroyed by waters neither fire they are announcing a position IN CHRIST for those who believe the Truth that was reveal to them. Walking in the Truth, although it might be tested, will always be superior to the lies presented by the kingdom of darkness.

Believers today should learn from this, and not be afraid to be tested. Those times of testing purifies our faith and becomes a testimony of who God is.

§ The coal of Fire on Isaiah lips

Isaiah 6: 5 -7

“Then said I, woe is me! For I am undone and ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!

Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having a lie coal in his hand which he had taken with thongs from off the altar,

And with it he touched my mouth and said, behold this has touched your lips, your iniquity and guilt are taken away, and your sin is completely atoned for and

forgiven.”

This is a most remarkable text found in the Old Testament. On the one side you have a man that admits that he has unclean lips. Unclean because of iniquity and sin and guilt and on the other side the Lord reacts to this man by bringing a coal of fire to touch the lips of this man. Then the Lord declares that: “, your iniquity and guilt are taken away, and your sin is completely atoned for and forgiven.”

The people in the Old Testament are given a ritual where a sacrifice of an animal would die in their place on the altar, shedding its blood. The blood of the animal would then cause God to grant the person remission of his sin. That meant that the person would be treated as if he had no sin, but the sin was not removed, it was just covered temporarily from the judgement that it deserved.

When the prophet of God, Isaiah, receives atonement it could only happen after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ Jesus. How is this possible? The answer lies in the description given by Isaiah to what happened just prior this this event were the coal was brought to his mouth. Isaiah describes how he was in the presence of God in the heavens. He is not on earth at the time when he describes this event. He was outside the timeline for the human race. He was standing in the presence of the Great I AM, The Alpha and the Omega. It pleased the Lord to bring the coal of fire taken from the altar to Isaiah’s lips. Why? Isaiah could have gone to an altar and made a sacrifice for his sin. The coal of fire represented Truth, it would destroy all lies, sin iniquity and guilt. What was left in the mouth (coming from the inner-man) of the prophet was the Truth. I am certain it would be Truth regarding every aspect of Isaiah’s life and even more so, it would have been the Truth regarding the Kingdom of God.

In short; Isaiah would know that he is who God said he is and that he could do what God said he could do, and that God is who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do.

The Truth brought Isaiah Kingdom identity. This would make it possible for Him to say and do the things the Lord instructed him to do without doubt and questioning why he should be doing those things. This took away his fear for man and gave him a level of obedience towards the Lord that pleased the Lord. You never read about Isaiah refusing to obey the commands of the Lord. He had revelation and understanding regarding kingdom matters that brought faith and obedience into his life making it possible to speak as a prophet of the living God.

§ The flames of fire on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:3-4

What would the flames above the men and woman, who spoke in different tongues or languages, mean? The answer lies in what they were saying.

Act. 2: 11 “… we all hear them speaking in our own native tongues and telling of the mighty works of God!

Acts 2:32 “This Jesus God raised up, and of that all we are witnesses.”

Acts 2:36 “Therefore let the whole house of Israel recognise beyond all doubt and knowledge assuredly that God has made Him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Act. 2: 37-38 “Now when they heard this they were stung to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, brethren, what shall we do? And Peter answered them, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sin, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

The flames over the heads of those who waited on the Holy Spirit represents the Truth that was spoken through the disciples on that day. The Truth was reaching deep into their inner-man leading them to ask the question: “ what shall we do?”

Peter’s answer to that question caused three thousand souls to be saved in one day! What a glorious day! The Truth will indeed set us free (Jon 8:32)

§ Hel, the lake of Fire Revelation 20:15, Malachi 3:2

The final judgement on the earth will be with fire. The question many believer ask is: “ what will prevent sin from coming back into the new earth that God promises to

give those who inherit eternal life?” This leads to a second question: “Will sin, death, lies and all that is associated with it be destroyed?” The answer is Yes!

If we can understand the concept of a fire that can purify or destroy what it comes in with then we can understand that God is a consuming fire and that no lie will ever be part of Him, and that He is absolute Truth.

The final judgement of fire is a design put in place by God to destroy all that is not absolute Truth. No lie, sin or any form of darkness will be able to come through the Fire or Light without itself being destroyed.

Those who ae IN Christ will not go through the Fire of Hell because Christ Himself has overcome sin and death and holds the keys of death and Hades(hell) (Revelations 1:18).

§   God’s Words of fire Jeremiah 23:29

“Is not My word like fire (that consumes all that cannot endure the test)? Says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks in pieces the rock (of most stubborn resistance)?”

The word want us to believe that in everything that is good, there is evil, and in everything that is evil, there is some good. This is called the yen-yang principal. This way of thinking aims to destroy absolute Truth and is a direct attack on the

Holiness of God. Ultimately the yin-yang principal will lead the human race to justify all their sins. If only they would realise that they who are not “In Christ” will be given the test of Fire. Nothing that is false will pass the test.

The Purpose of fire 1 Peter 1:7a

“so that your faith may be tested, your faith which is infinitely more precious than perishable gold which is tested and purifies by fire…”

§  You will be baptised with the Spirit and with fire Matthew 3:11-12

“…He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not fit to take off. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

I believe that the following aspects of the Christian faith should be explained and taught to believers with much more urgency that what is happening today:

Repentance Baptism of believers

Baptism of the Holy Spirit and The Baptism of Fire

Once you and I understand that the baptism of fire speaks of God’s Holiness we would realise that when we draw near to God (James 4:7) it will include a test of fire. This is an ongoing process in the Christian walk – deeper and deeper, closer and closer, staying thirsty for more of Him (Ps 42).

The more we allow Truth into our frame of thinking, our traditions, our culture, our ways of doing church, the more we will be set free from what is man-made, self- righteous acts or religious efforts to be accepted by God. God’s fire will destroy all the lies in our lives and only as we allow this to happen will we live holy lives before the Lord. He said: “be holy for I Am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

The danger is that should Christians not go through the baptism of fire, that they then end up in a place where they are deceived. They think they are right, but they are wrong. Religious habits and rituals comfort them and they are convinced that they are right with God.

Today you will find people who boast in their post-modern thinking. These people claim that to live in doubt is being more honest and truthful! Prof. Juliun Muller wrote a book in Afrikaans called “Om te mag twyfel”. This counters everything the Gospel represents. To doubt means you may say that an absolute truth is in some way not the truth for you. That implies that Truth contains partially what is false.

That is nothing less than what is believed in eastern religions as the Yin-Yang philosophy! With doubt come disbelief and a pride filled heart that believes they can question anything that is sacred, not with the intention to gain revelation, but rather with the intention to prove it is unimportant or that some sacred event never happened e.g. the resurrection of Christ. Doubt opens the door to lies and rejects the Truth of God. Doubt rejects absolute Truth. He who rejects absolute Truth, rejects the fire of God. More even, they reject God Himself!

A very practical experience of going through the Fire of God may be what is described in the book of James 5:16, “Confess to one another therefore you sin…”

The truth is that it is much easier to confess your wrong doings when you are alone, than to a person sitting there listening to you. Just as fire brings light and exposes all that enters it, in that same way confessing your sin brings it into the light. The person listening to you cannot forgive you that sin, but he hears it and testifies that you confessed it as sin to God. God only can forgive us our sin. The moment the sin is in the open, and not in secret anymore, it has no more power over you the bring shame and guilt.

My dear friend, may you find a person you can trust with those sins that still seem to have a hold on you. You can be set free from guilt and shame. You need Truth.

One of Walt Disney’s movies called the “Descendants” has at its core the Yin-Yang philosophy. The descendants are the next generation of wicked villains. In the story the next generation of the so called good people, want to give the wicked villains a chance to proof that there is some good in them. After “Descendants 2” the story ends where everybody is convinced that there is some good in the villains and some dark side to those who are good. Holiness is discarded as something that is impossible, and that to show your dark side is just being more honest. If that is the frame of thinking coming into the Christian community no one will believe that they could live holy before the Lord. What Christ did on the cross is reduced to a brave act that causes us to be thankful and nothing more!

May the Holy Spirit bring Truth to our deepest being in order to know and understand that holiness is not a moment you feel good when you did something right! Holiness is a place IN Christ! Holiness is a position not a title!

O’ may the Fire of God bring Truth. I cannot convince you dear reader that you need the baptism of Fire, only the Holy Spirit can do that, and thankfully He does so in a very gentle way.

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