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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : What is the Baptism of Fire

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Joined: 2010/7/9
Posts: 295
Canton, Michigan


I appreciate the input on this topic and while I do not always post on many debated subjects it does challenge me to dig deeper into the scriptures and prayerfully ponder them. I also appreciate the information that has been submitted and have no argument regarding a Holy Refining Fire in the believer’s life. So there is no denial of this Holy Fire or what was shared in relation to the tongues of fire.

Yet I cannot reconcile Matthew Chapter 3 and the fire it speaks of as a Holy Spirit Fire of Refining but rather see it as a fire of judgement and here is why.

The first 3 verses of Matthew we see John preaching repentance and fulfilling the words of the prophet Isaiah. Now a preacher doesn’t just preach to those who will accept the message but also to those who will reject the message. There are always TWO audiences.

Matthew 3:1-3, 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.

Now here comes the FIRST audience who were Jews (Sinners) that received Johns message and they repented of their sins and were baptized.

Matthew 3:5-6, 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.

Now here comes a SECOND audience who were religious people who thought that by keeping the law of God were made perfect. John admonishes this group and tells them that they need to bring forth the same fruit of repentance as the FIRST group and not to think that they are Holy just because they were decendents of Abraham.

Matthew 3:7-9, 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.

Now John is speaking to BOTH audiences, not just those who received his message because he says to the mixed audience that the axe is going to cut down the trees and every tree that does not bear fruit will be cut down and cast into the fire. I do not see this as a Holy Refining fire as the following verses clearly show.

Matthew 3:10, 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.

John has TWO audiences before him as both Jews who responded and who repented and were baptized and also the Pharisees who were trusting within themselves. John tells those who accepted his message that they will be baptized by Jesus with the Holy Ghost, and he is also telling those who would reject his message and were unwilling to repent and bear fruit that they will be baptized with eternal fire, not Holy refining fire.

Matthew 3:11, 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:

How do we know that there are two baptisms? Because there are TWO audiences. The next verse makes it plain and clear that the FIRST audience is called WHEAT (Sheep) who will be gathered into the barn (This barn signifies those who are saved, preserved, sanctified, those who would be gathered in the Upper Room, and also the Church). The SECOND audience is the CHAFF (Tares) who will be burnt with unquenchable fire. This fire is not a Holy Refining fire that other areas of scriptures speak of and validate.

Matthew 3:12 (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.

When God purges His floor He is separating between two audiences, those who receive the Spirit of the living God and those who reject Him.

Now look at the parallel account of this story in the Gospel Mark 1:2-8, Mark’s account only records ONE audience coming to John it says nothing about the Pharisees at all. In verse 5 Mark only records those Jews who received his message and repented and were baptized.

Mark 1:5, And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

In verse 8 Mark only records to this SINGLE audience that they will be baptized with the Holy Ghost, Fire is not mentioned at all. Why? Because Mark does not mention the SECOND audience at all.

Mark 1:8, I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

Brethren, I trust you understand that not only within the church of God there are indeed TWO audiences, but within the Charismatic/Pentecostal group there are indeed TWO audiences. And yes there are even TWO audiences within those who have repented, confessed Christ, are regenerated, called, continue to seek all that God has for them, and are the workmanship of God.

In my studies and ponderings not just recently but over the years I realize there are fires of REFINING that are HOLY that burn off sin and cleanse us and purifies us from things God and the Holy Spirit wants removed from our lives.

There is also STRANGE fire that is a counterfeit, false fire that mimics the Holy Refining fire, and this strange fire and its fruit will not be accepted by God.

And as what I see and I am at peace with regarding the fire that Matthews account tells is a fire of JUDGEMENT of which, once we pass from this life and are unwilling to repent and accept Christ, there is no chance of redemption.

There is also an account recorded in John on this subject which does not mention fire either but mentions the form of the Holy Spirit resting upon Jesus in the form of a Dove.

So is there some significance that the Baptism of Fire is only mentioned in Matthew (Written to Jews) and not in Mark (Written to Romans) or John (Written to All)? At the end of the day if we want to speak of a Holy Refining fire there are plenty of scriptures to use and not feel compelled to make Matthew 3 say something it simply does not say.

David Fella

 2017/8/26 12:46Profile

Joined: 2009/1/24
Posts: 453


We can always count on Harry Ironside to shed a ray of sunshine and promote love and Unity among brethren

Wayne Kraus

 2017/8/26 16:30Profile

Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1908



In Matthew 3:7-12 we find three times 'fire'

Every tree that doesn't bring good fruit :

a) is cast into the fire

b) will get baptized with fire

c) and will burn up with unquenchable fire

Why should the importance be given to the word fire alone? Put the focus on the word 'Baptize', you will hear equally good context (if not better),
a) I baptize you in Water for Repentance
b) Jesus baptizes you in Holy Spirit
c) Jesus baptizes you in Fire

The word 'AND' used to connect them signifies that they are given one on top of another.

All 3 directed at same people referred as YOU. In all 3 places Baptism is mentioned as a good thing from God.

God's word is Spirit and living word. A living person can be understood differently by different people. For example my colleagues, my church brothers and my wife can have a totally different understanding of my personalities. All of them are right. It is only perspective that makes them different. Same way, God's word can also be understood differently, as it is a living word. No one can argue that only his understanding is right. It is as stupid as my colleagues arguing that their understanding of me is better than my wife!

Similarly it is very dangerous when one use their interpretation of scripture to conclude that there is no purging work of the Spirit! Like D Fella has said here, he has different understanding of this scripture that I do not agree. But he does not use his interpretation to deny the purging work of Fire of the spirit.


 2017/8/26 22:29Profile

Joined: 2008/5/3
Posts: 435


David, yea almost, except:

I'm not sure what Bible you are reading, I'm reading KJV
and I don't find ANY "Holy Refining Fire" or "Holy Fire" in it.

It's a rational concept in American Religion
but not in Christianity. Of course everyone knows
what you mean by abstract thinking, but it is still
a wrong expression and a mental concept that places
the believer on the side of the unbeliever

Using 'fire' in context of pointing to the holiness of God,
to the believer as a refiner is using terms that in 98%
of cases signifies judgment to fallen creation.

So running around in a church service and shouting
fire-fire-fire! is changing sides from grace to wrath.

"STRANGE fire" is a scriptural concept, it is
trying to offer fleshly worship to a Holy God.

And because He is holy there is no way he can
or will accept that.

 2017/8/26 22:50Profile

Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2012
Joplin, Missouri


David: I appreciate your input on the two fires. To be honest, I have always interpreted the fire here as being one and the same with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But I can see the contextual point you are making and it makes me pause and did a little deeper here. You might just be right, especially since Matthew brackets this verse with two others that offer pretty clear commentary on the fire. It seems pretty inconsistent that he would do this and mean something different in each verse. I believe I am in agreement with you. Thank you brother.


 2017/8/27 6:27Profile

Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5829


I just read a bunch of translations of the passage and the attending footnotes; most say the more literal rendering is "baptize you IN the HS and IN fire."

Not sure if that makes a difference.


 2017/8/27 8:14Profile

Joined: 2010/7/9
Posts: 295
Canton, Michigan


Thank you brothers for all your input and thoughts as they do cause and challenge me to ponder my position as well. I believe and trust we all may be found pure, holy, and precious in His site when He appears.

Now to our dear brother a-servant, wish I knew your first name as I am a man who prefers to be on a first name basis.

I appreciate your tenacity, determination, and zeal and yes I do read the same bible as you KJV and I also use other translations in my studies. I was given a bible when I was a sinner, it was a KJV. I read it and while many things were clear it did not really come alive until 10 years later when I was saved.

I can attest that when I was born again, the Word did indeed become alive and I saw it through a new set of eyes and my understanding was further opened.

Now while I know you are going to disagree with this next statement, but it must be said and I tell the truth, God knows. When I was filled with the Holy Spirit there was yet a deeper revelation of Gods word and a sweet sweet UNITY of Gods word and the Holy Spirit within me. The other brothers and sisters here know exactly what I mean.

I want to apologize for some of my posts in the past when it comes to the topic of the Holy Spirit. I think if we were to sit in a room together there would be no question as to our heart for God but more importantly His heart for us.

a-servant, I think you would be surprised that many of the charismatics you find appalling I do as well. Their practices, behavior, antics, rantings, ravings, are not of the Holy Spirit of God.

But while certain men, teachers, who so focus on the false they leave no room for the True. Herein lies the potential behavior to so accuse the false manifestations, signs, wonders, twisting of the scriptures, etc. that one may find themselves walking a very fine line and may tip over into blaspheming and denying the Holy Spirit.

They did it to Jesus and they will do it to His true followers today. The bible is replete with many admonitions and warnings of such.

But let me answer your statement in regards to a refining fire. You well know that God is going to try, test, and prove those who are His. Through affliction, even a furnace of affliction, trials, temptations, etc..

I am going to go a bit overboard here with the scriptures which is not the norm for me. Many times for myself I can be given ONE scripture that proves a point and the Holy Spirit Quickens it and the matter is settled.

This holds true for others I have ministered to as well. Its not to say that I don't study other scriptures to prove what the Holy Spirit has made alive, the study only further proves what was quickened.

But the problem in ministering to a hard heart (not saying you have a hard heart) or a heart full of pride, you can give that person 50 scriptures and they still choose not to believe. But here goes as to the fire that refines and proves those who truly belong to the Lord, this is not exhaustive by the way.

1 Peter 1:3-7 KJV Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, (5) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (6) Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: (7) 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 honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 4:12 KJV Beloved, think it not strange concerning the FIERY TRIAL which is to TRY you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

Job 23:10 KJV But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath TRIED me, I shall come forth as gold.

Psalms 66:10 KJV For thou, O God, hast PROVED us: thou hast TRIED us, as silver is TRIED.

Proverbs 17:3 KJV The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD TRIETH the hearts.

Isaiah 48:10 KJV Behold, I have REFINED thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

Zechariah 13:9 KJV And I will bring the third part THROUGH THE FIRE, and will REFINE them as silver is REFINED, and will TRY them as gold is TRIED: they shall call on my name, and I WILL HEAR THEM: I will say, IT IS MY PEOPLE: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

Malachi 3:2-3 KJV But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for He is like a REFINERS FIRE, and like fullers' soap: (3) And he shall sit as a REFINER AND PURIFIER of silver: and he shall PURIFY the sons of Levi, and PURGE them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 KJV (12) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; (13) Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be REVEALED BY FIRE; and the FIRE SHALL TRY EVERY MAN'S WORK of what sort it is. (14) If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. (15) If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: BUT HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED; YET SO AS BY FIRE.

James 1:12 KJV Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is TRIED, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

All the caps are for emphasis and the verses really don't need any explanation but I believe is a good starting point to further study the topic.

As I have said before, the ministry, patience, tenderness, and care of the saints here on SI are a proof that the Holy Spirit is the REAL Spirit of God that indwells them.

While none of us claim to be perfect and we do make mistakes we are all works of a faithful God in progress.

My cousin who is a spirit filled believer who received the Holy Spirit like myself several years after being born again engages many Christians daily as he lives and works in Indiana.

The amount of self professed and supposed spirit filled believers he meets in his line of work which is construction is rather amazing. He meets men who wear shirts with scriptures, scriptures on their trucks, have bibles in their trucks, go to church, etc.. And these men swear like there is no tomorrow, talk about women, live with women out of wedlock, and lie right to my cousins face and so on.

We talk or text almost daily and he gets so grieved and frustrated and when he calls, he will say, "I just met another hypocrite today"

I share this not for any reason to laugh or condemn but the fact of the matter is the Holy Spirit is getting a bad rap because of people like this.

He told one guy that he hired to do some cement work on a project he is working on who lied to my cousins face over and over again on price for the job, how long it was going to take, etc. that my cousin went to him a firmly and soundly rebuked him, and he told him to not mention Gods name to anyone he meets because by his lying cheating behavior he is bringing a reproach against God.

The point is, people like this are no excuse for us not to seek God and want all that He has desired, died for, rose again, and sent His Holy Spirit to indwell us.

God Bless,
Brother Dave

David Fella

 2017/8/27 13:05Profile

Joined: 2008/5/3
Posts: 435


Great, and it proves my point, none of it is called "Holy Fire"

There is no "Holy Fire" in the Bible apart from contexts of judgment,

for example the context of Malachi is:

Malachi 3:2  But who may abide the day of his coming?
and who shall stand when he appeareth?

Jesus is coming in judgment and will refine and purify the sons of Levi

Part of that judgment is Zechariah 13:8  And it shall come to pass,
that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off
and die; but the third shall be left therein.

Zechariah 13:9  And I will bring the third part through the fire,
and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried:
they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say,
It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

War and extensive EXTERNAL pressure, many deaths, the ones
that survive escape as through the fire.

regarding the Holy Spirit, very interesting, from South Africa:

The Biblical Holy Spirit vs. The False Unholy Spirit of Fire

I know it's a pain to read for people that mix Holy Spirit + Spirit of Fire

but honestly it is like mixing heaven + hell


 2017/8/27 20:28Profile

Joined: 2010/7/9
Posts: 295
Canton, Michigan


Thank you George, I will read the article.

David Fella

 2017/8/27 22:56Profile

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