COUNTDOWN TO PENTECOST
Did you know there is over five hundred references to fire in the bible?
Fire: (Esh) burning, fiery, fire, flaming, hot.
Acts 2:1-4 NKJV 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.
Matthew3:7-17 NKJV But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as ourfather.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 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.b 12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He[ saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
· Three times in this scripture is a reference to fire.
· One is the baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fire
The other two have to do with fire that will burn up a tree that does not bear good fruit and also the chaff that is separated from the wheat during the process of threshing. It also will be burned with unquenchable fire.
John has a scriptural reference for his strong preaching. But where can we see it?
John says that God is going to thoroughly cleanse the ground where the wheat has been threshed out. Now after the threshing the cleansing cannot happen without fire.
Fire has the power to purify. If you want to purify water, you boil it.
If you want to purify gold or silver, it is purified though the process of fire.
The impurities will rise to the surface when fire is present.
Even the fire of revival brings impurities to light.
Malachi 3:1-4 AMP “Behold, I am going to send My [messenger, and he will prepare and clear the way before Me. And the Lord [the Messiah], whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; the [Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s soap [which removes impurities and uncleanness]. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi [the priests], and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord [grain] offerings in righteousness. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in ancient years.
When John preaches He is preaching from this text in Malachi.
In this context Jesus comes to be baptized by John as a joint act of obedience between the one baptizing John and Jesus.
After Jesus is baptized the heavens are open and the spirit like a dove rested on Jesus. God also speaks from heaven with a voice that all hear.“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
So what are some of the things we can learn from this story?
1. Fire can be manifested to either burn up what is not pleasing, not good or not fruitful. We see this in the reference to the tree and to what is not wheat.
2. Fire can be manifested as acceptance or rejection. When the Holy Spirit baptizes with fire, God is pleased and He is accepting what is being offered or presented to him.
3. So when Jesus is baptized we see the Holy Spirit coming down upon Jesus and accepting Him. God’s voice is heard declaring His pleasure and love for Jesus and His offering of obedience.
So what is fire?, What does it do? Why on the day of Pentecost do we see that fire manifested so it rests not just on the group, but also on each person?
The first mention of fire is when God like a burning torch passed between what Abram offered to God in obedience to His voice.
Genesis 15:17-17DR 17And it came to pass when the sun had gone down, and it was dark, that behold, there was a smoking furnace, and a flame of firewhich passed between those pieces.
18On the same day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates;
After the fire passed, God spoke and made a covenant with him promising Abraham’s seed the land from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates. (Genesis 15:17-21) All the land of those nations was promised after the fire had accepted and passed in between the pieces.
The second mention of the word fire in the bible is when God rained fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah in judgment. (Genesis 19:24) So the execution of judgment is a part of what the fire does.
Deuteronomy 9:3 NKJV 3 Therefore understand today that the Lord your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and destroy them quickly, as the Lord has said to you.
Three times the scriptures say that God is a consuming fire,
Fire: (Esh) burning, fiery, fire, flaming, hot.
When God fulfilled His promise to deliver Israel from Egypt, He sent Moses but not until He had an encounter with the fire.
Now let’s see what else we can gleam and learn about fire.
Exodus 3: 1-4 NETNow Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to the mountain of God, to Horeb. 2 The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from within a bush. He looked—and the bush was ablaze with fire, but it was not being consumed! 3 So Moses thought, “I will turn aside to see this amazing sight. Why does the bush not burn up?” 4 When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to look, God called to him from within the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.
Moses has an encounter with the fire; we see the flames of fire on a bush that is not consumed. The fire is upon the bush. After Moses turns aside to see, God’s voice is heard as He speaks to Moses.
God reveals to Moses three things through the encounter with the fire.
· God’s Name
· God’s Plan
· God’s Power
Can you see these things on the day of Pentecost too? Can you see how on the Day of Pentecost the fire sat on each person like a bush that wasn’t consumed?
The fire of the Lord was upon those believers in the Upper Room. God was putting His name on them, Giving His plan to save, and His power to free the people.
When God wanted to bring divine alignment to Israel who was disobedient, He called a man named Gideon; He too had an encounter with the fire.
God had sent a prophet who told them the reason for their problems was their disobedience.
Gideon is threshing wheat in a winepress to hide it from Midian who would come at harvest time.
God reveals himself to Gideon as Yahweh Gibbor. And told Gideon that He was a force of power and would defeat the Midianites as one man.
Gibbor: strong, mighty, warrior, valiant, champion
· Midian actually means to bring contention or strife.
Midian is also a descendant of Abraham through his wife Keturah. This is the land where Moses fled when he ran from Egypt and pharaoh and married the daughter of Jethro known as the priest of Midian. (Exodus 3:1) In Exodus 18 we see Jethro converting connecting to the God of Moses after seeing all the good God had done for Israel.
To confirm this encounter Gideon wanted a sign so the angel gave him instructions on what offering to bring. It was a young goat and unleavened bread. The goat was to be put in a basket and the broth in a pot.
Judges 6:20-21LB 20 The Angel said to him, “Place the meat and the bread upon that rock over there, and pour the broth over it.”
When Gideon had followed these instructions, 21 the Angel touched the meat and bread with his staff, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed them! And suddenly the Angel was gone!
Judges 6:24NLT And Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means "the LORD is peace").
The fire is used again as acceptance do the same three things that it did when Moses saw the fire in the burning bush.
God reveals to Gideon three things through the encounter with the fire.
· God’s Name
· God’s Plan
· God’s Power
Can you see how you and I can need an encounter with God’s fire?
Can you see how the day of Pentecost was a day that the fire would give attention to God’s Name, God’s Plan & God’s Power?
Nehemiah 9:19-20 NET 19 “Due to your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert. The pillar of cloud did not stop guiding them in the path by day, nor did the pillar of fire stop illuminating for them by night the path on which they should travel. 20 You imparted your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths; you provided water for their thirst.
· A cloud of fire led Israel in the wilderness by night
· The fire illuminates and gives direction for the path to be travelled.
Numbers 9:21-22 LB20-21 sometimes the fire-cloud stayed only during the night and moved on the next morning. But day or night, when it moved, the people broke camp and followed. 22 If the Cloud stayed above the Tabernacle two days, a month, or a year, that is how long the people of Israel stayed; but as soon as it moved, they moved.
· We need the fire to light the path for our journey here on the earth.
Hebrews 1:7 7 And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits
And His ministers a flame of fire
The 120 who were present on the day of Pentecost went out and began to be flames of fire. We will continue from here next week. As we countdown to Pentecost on May 20th