RECONCILIATION BY FIRE
RECONCILIATION BY FIRE From: Kingdom Concepts Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
There is a baptism with the Holy Spirit. There also is a baptism with fire. The saint is to be baptized both with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The baptism with fire is, as the context suggests, the cutting down of every tree that does not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness and the casting of the barren tree into the fires of Divine judgment. It is the fanning of God’s threshing floor in order to separate the wheat from the chaff, and the burning of the chaff with fire that cannot be extinguished. It is the purifying fire of judgment that reconciles the saint to God.
RECONCILIATION BY FIRE
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. 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: 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. (Matthew 3:0-12)
There is a baptism with the Holy Spirit. There also is a baptism with fire. The saint is to be baptized both with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
The baptism with fire is, as the context suggests, the cutting down of every tree that does not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness and the casting of it into the fires of Divine judgment. It is the fanning of God’s threshing floor in order to separate the wheat from the chaff, and the burning of the chaff with fire that cannot be extinguished.
It is this fire that reconciles the saint to God.
In Deuteronomy 16:16 we find the following commandment:
Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: (Deuteronomy 16:16)
The feast of Unleavened Bread.
The feast of Weeks.
The feast of Tabernacles.
There are not only two works of grace in the Christian salvation, there are three.
The first work of grace is typified by the feast of Unleavened Bread. It includes protection through the Passover blood, repentance in water baptism, and the born-again experience.
The second work of grace is typified by the feast of Weeks, or feast of Pentecost as it is more commonly known. The second work is the filling of the Christian with the Holy Spirit. Some groups refer to the filling with the Holy Spirit as sanctification. Other congregations speak of the same filling as the baptism with the Holy Spirit and it often is accompanied by speaking in tongues.
The third work of grace is typified by the feast of Tabernacles. The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the entering of the Father and the Son into the believer (John 14:23). It is the filling with "all the fulness of God" mentioned by Paul in Ephesians 3:19.
The feast of Tabernacles, was the third annual gathering of "all thy males before the Lord thy God." It was itself divided into three parts.
The feast of Trumpets.
The Day of Atonement.
The feast of Tabernacles proper.
All seven feasts are set forth in the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus.
The believer is saved, baptized with the Holy Spirit, and then is to press forward to the spiritual fulfillment of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles.
As soon as we are filled with the Holy Spirit we are to begin to move forward into resurrection life. Speaking in tongues is not a sign we have "arrived" spiritually. Speaking in tongues is the means God has given to us to learn to flow in eternal resurrection life. Speaking in tongues enables us to enter the "rest" of living in the Spirit of God (Hebrews 4:1).
The feast of Trumpets is celebrated after the feast of Pentecost. Tongues is the beginning of the "trumpet of the Lord" in our Christian life. It is our awakening to life lived in the Spirit of God.
The awakening of resurrection life in us, which is the result of our baptism with the Holy Spirit, is associated with the coming of the King, Christ, to us. The King’s coming is announced by the blowing of trumpets. It is the beginning of spiritual warfare. We enter the conflict that will culminate in God settling down to rest in us.
The goal of all the works of redemption is God in Christ settling down to rest in us. We are being constructed the eternal Temple of God.
Christ is the incarnation of God, the appearing of the invisible God in bodily form. Because Christ is being formed in us and will abide in us in His fullness for eternity, we also are becoming an integral part of the appearing of the invisible God in bodily form. It is our body that is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (I Corinthians 6:19)
The goal of redemption is not to go to Heaven when we die, although the saints do go to Heaven when they die. The goal of redemption is, rather, the construction of the eternal dwelling place of the Father in Christ in us. The Father will become All in all: first in Christ, then in us, finally in the entire universe.
It is our point of view that God and Jesus will come through the Holy Spirit, prior to the return of Jesus to the earth, and dwell in us in a much greater measure than we have experienced thus far. However, it appears that the fullness of indwelling that is the Lord’s goal for us cannot be realized until our present body has been glorified. The saint who has attained the inner resurrection of life will proceed to the resurrection and glorification of the body and be filled with all the fullness of God. He then will be a living stone of the holy city, the new Jerusalem.
The third great gathering of Israel was the convocation of Tabernacles. Included in the convocation of Tabernacles were the feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and finally the feast of Tabernacles itself. The dwelling of God in Christ in us is the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles—the climax of the feasts of the Lord.
The fervent disciple who is experiencing "Trumpets," to whom the King, Christ, has come in order to establish total dominion over his personality, may find he has a strong desire for more of God. The Spirit is encouraging him to press vigorously toward a fuller apprehension of the rest of God, that is, a fuller realization of Christ abiding in him.
Now we come to the subject of this paper, which is reconciliation by fire. In between "Trumpets" and "Tabernacles" is the "Day of Atonement." The spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement in our lives is the baptism with fire of which John the Baptist spoke.
The term atonement has several shades of meaning. The definition that seems to best sum up the various shades of meaning is reconciliation. Therefore we will refer to the Day of Atonement as the Day of Reconciliation.
Why is it necessary for the Spirit-filled Christian to be reconciled to God? It is necessary because we are being made the eternal habitation of God. We who are filled with the Spirit are filled also with sin and self-will. The wisdom of God has placed the Day of Reconciliation as the final step before our being filled "with all the fulness of God" (Ephesians 3:19).
The Day of Reconciliation indeed is a reconciliation by fire. It is Divine judgment on us. It is a "slaying" of us so we can walk with God. It is a wounding, a tearing down so the Lord can heal us and construct that which He desires in us. After we are baptized with the Holy Spirit we must be baptized with the fire of Divine judgment—the fire that eventually will reconcile us to the Consuming Fire.
There is no other pathway to the rest of God. It is "eternal judgment," a fire that cannot be extinguished until every particle that cannot exist in the Divine Fire has been burned out of us.
The fourth chapter of First Peter provides a study of the baptism with fire, which is the spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical Day of Reconciliation (of Atonement).
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (I Peter 4:12)
Every true member of the Body of Christ will experience this chastening of the Lord. The "believer" who does not experience the chastening hand of God is an illegitimate child. He may have been brought in by the devices of a church but his Father is not God.
Notice how Peter interprets the fiery testings of the saint:
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: . . . . (I Peter 4:17)
There is a suffering "according to the will of God." The purpose of such fiery suffering is to reconcile the saint to God. It is Divine judgment on all that the saint is, does, thinks, imagines, speaks.
The baptism with fire cleanses sin from us. It prunes out of our personality all that is useless and dead. It truly is the Day of Reconciliation, leading to the tabernacling of God in Christ in us.
The blood of the Lamb removes the spots from the wedding garment of the Bride of the Lamb. The hot iron of fiery testings removes the wrinkles.
Turning to Second Thessalonians we find the same concept:
So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: (II Thessalonians 1:4)
How does Paul explain the fiery trials, the baptism with fire, through which the church of the Thessalonians was passing?
Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (II Thessalonians 1:5)
"Which [persecutions and tribulations that ye endure] is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God."
"That ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God."
If we are willing to endure our necessary sufferings in the present hour we will be able to rest with all the saints when the Lord Jesus Christ is revealed from Heaven (II Thessalonians 1:7).
Our God is the Consuming Fire. He calls us and then seeks to "slay" us.
And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him [Moses], and sought to kill him. (Exodus 4:24)
Why would the Lord seek to "slay" Moses after having called him to go and deliver Israel from Egypt?
It was because Moses’ son had not been circumcised. God seeks out the part of our nature that has not been "circumcised," that has not been brought into covenant with God. Then we are compelled, as was Jacob, to struggle for our life.
God is not merely a philosopher or a kindly teacher who guides us into a happy life. God is a fiercely possessive Spirit who makes a covenant with us by blood, by the sword of His Word, by fire.
Christian people are sure they know all about the Lord until He baptizes them with the reconciling fire. Then the believers are offended because God is not being "nice" to them. He is wounding; He is tearing down their works of fleshly self-love; He is demanding truth in the inward parts.
Blessed indeed is the individual with whom God is dealing in this manner. The results will be the "peaceable fruit of righteousness." Blessed indeed are those who are mourning because the Lord Jesus is judging the darkness in their personalities.
But woe to those who are making merry in Zion in the present hour! Such merrymakers have no idea whatever of the fearful judgment that awaits them when God turns His attention toward their condition. The coming of Christ will be a terrible surprise to the churches of today unless they repent. For those who do not repent, the terror of the Lord will be their portion as soon as they die. They are sitting in the seat of the scornful now but weeping and gnashing of teeth is soon to come.
In the fourteenth and sixteenth chapters of the Gospel of John, Christ speaks to us of revealing Himself to us but not to the world. It is our opinion that He is referring to the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles and that Christ will enter the members of His Church to a great extent before He appears in the clouds of glory for all the world to see.
His coming to the Church in celebration of the feast of Tabernacles will cause a "casting out of the moneychangers"—which always takes place when Jesus enters "His Father’s house." Jesus’ coming to us in this present hour will produce a baptism with fire.
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: (Malachi 3:1,2)
When we seek the Presence of Christ in our life we are asking to live in the consuming Fire of God’s holy Presence.
There is an aspect of the Kingdom of God that needs to be made clear to God’s people. The sinner is justified by the blood of the cross—this we understand. What is not as clear is that the purpose of the atoning power of the blood is to bring the sinner’s prayer before the Throne of God so he may obtain mercy and Divine grace in his time of need. The mercy and Divine grace are needed if the disciple is to be able to follow the Holy Spirit in the rigorous work of sanctification.
Being justified initially by the blood is one matter. Walking with God in the program of sanctification is another matter. In order to walk with God, to dwell with God, we must walk in righteousness and holiness. If we choose to walk with God in holiness and obedience the blood of the cross will continue to cleanse us from all sin.
But if we are not seeking the Lord and obeying Him we then are candidates for fiery judgment.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. (II Corinthians 6:17)
It is a false teaching that leads people to believe once they make a profession of Christ they have been fully reconciled to God. It is by coming out from the world and being separate, and touching not the works of Satan, that we make ourselves eligible to be received by the Lord.
No individual who is leading an unholy life ever will see the Lord or have fellowship with the Lord. It is the pure in heart who see God.
Many "Christian" people of today are sinners. They are hypocrites because they attend church and act as though they are living in God’s blessing and favor.
Will they be "raptured" to meet the Lord in the air anyway because of their profession of faith?
Sinning believers will never be caught up in a "rapture."
If you know of anyone who is in such deception, believing he or she can lead a careless Christian life and participate in the first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection of God’s kings and priests, it might be well to warn him or her. The Spirit seems to be testifying that the time is short.
The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (Isaiah 33:14)
Zion refers to the heavenly Jerusalem, the "church of the firstborn" of which every Christian saint is a member (Hebrews 12:22-24).
In the Day of Christ the sinning members of the Church will be terrified. The Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, is walking among the lampstands (churches) today. He is observing each believer.
Christ’ eyes are furnaces of fire. He is examining every motive, every action, every word. If we would "ever be with the Lord" we must pass the test of fire.
The question has been raised: "Who shall dwell with the devouring fire?"
What is the answer, the only answer?
He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; (Isaiah 33:15)
The above verse sets forth the requirements for fellowship with Christ. Not one of these requirements can be waived.
The grace of God is not a substitute for righteous behavior. The grace of God in Christ is the means by which we are enabled to obtain help from the Throne of God—Divine help that empowers us to walk righteously, to speak uprightly, to despise the gain of oppression, to shake our hands from holding of bribes, to stop our ears from hearing of blood, to shut our eyes from beholding evil.
It may be true there is no greater error in Christian teaching than that which suggests the grace of God in Christ is an alternate route to fellowship with God; that we can have fellowship with God on the basis of a profession of faith in Christ rather than on the basis of righteous, holy, and obedient behavior.
The teaching that "grace" is an alternative to godly character has produced multitudes of spiritual "babies" who understand little or nothing of what it means to walk with God.
The wresting of Paul’s doctrine has produced the following condition:
And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. (Isaiah 4:1)
So it is today. The churches (seven women) desire to bear the name of Christ, to be recognized as belonging to Him. But they choose to eat their own bread, their own kind of spiritual food; and they will wear their own apparel, that is, they will behave as they please without regard for Christ’s standard of conduct.
The Lord’s people are "spotted" with the lusts of the world. They are lovers of money and material gain, which is an abomination to the Lord. Their garments are wrinkled with self-will and self-seeking. They are as children: they pout and complain if their circumstances are not merry.
The sufferings of the cross are shunned by them. They desire "prophets" who will speak smooth, acceptable things to them. It is a deplorable condition.
Does the Lord Jesus Christ have a solution to this problem? The Scripture indicates that He does:
And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion [the end-time remnant], and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: (Isaiah 4:3)
How will the Lord Jesus purify His Church?
When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. (Isaiah 4:4)
The prophecy has gone forth. It shall come to pass. In the last days the Lord Jesus will purify and set apart for Himself a holy Church. The unblemished Church will be selected from all groups of Christians. Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches today!
The purified, sanctified Church will be the Body of Christ, the eternal Temple of God. It will be filled with all the Fullness of the Father and all the Fullness of the Son, and anointed with the Fullness of the Spirit of God.
This is the Witness, the Servant of the Lord of whom Isaiah speaks. The Servant of the Lord is Christ—Head and Body.
The Lord has come to His Temple today. Perhaps you have been called to be a living stone in the eternal Temple of God.
If so, God will reconcile you to Himself by fire. When your "warfare has been accomplished" He will settle down to rest in you for eternity.
Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hosea 6:1-3)