Revelations from the Word

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He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"I baptise [baptizo] you with water, to bring you to repentance: but the one who is coming after me is more powerful than I, and I am not worthy to carry his shoes. He will baptise [baptizo] with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He has His winnowing fork in His hand; He will clean His threshing floor, and He will pile up the corn in the barn, but He will burn the straw in unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:11-12).

The Greek verb baptizo means total immersion in a liquid in order to be impregnated by it. By baptising us in His Spirit, Jesus wants us to be impregnated so that we walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), and by baptising us in fire, He wants to reveal Himself fully to us (John 14:21). The first disciples of Jesus received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:3-4). God revealed Himself to Moses through the burning bush (Exodus 3:2,14) and Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples on the road to Emmaus through the Scriptures, "Our hearts did they not burn within us, when He spoke to us on the way and explained the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:32). In the same way Jesus opened the eyes of the disciples from Emmaus, first of all He has to open our minds and our hearts so that we understand the Word of God, "The Lord opened Lydia's heart so that she was attentive to what Paul was saying" (Acts 16:14). The written Word of God, like the spoken Word of God, will act like a fire in our hearts by the action of the Holy Spirit.

We can maintain the presence of the Holy Spirit through hymns, songs, praises (Ephesians 5:18-21), and the presence of the fire by meditating on the Scriptures (Psalm 1:1-2). God reveals Himself to us by means of His Word, which acts then like a fire, which burns up our straw which cannot be mixed with the good grain (Jeremiah 23:28-29). When Jesus reveals Himself to us with His eyes like a flame of fire, He goes to the very depths of our hearts (Revelation 2:18,23). The purpose of the fire is to purify, to get rid of everything that prevents intimate knowledge of God. God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24), Who of us will be able to remain near a consuming fire? (Isaiah 33:14) – he who walks uprightly and speaks in a righteous manner, he is the one who is justified by God and who is sanctified (Isaiah 33:15).

Our works will be tested by fire on the Day of the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:13), but there is another fire which is inextinguishable and which is reserved for the End Times, for the Day of Judgement. To all those who have not known the baptism of the Holy Spirit and of fire, those who have not been born of God, Jesus will say, "Depart from me, you accursed; go into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41). The earth has been judged a first time by water in the time of Noah (Genesis 6:5-8), it will be judged a second time by fire on the Day of the Lord (2 Peter 3:7).