An Apologetics Index research resource
The Way of Cain - Page 29
New teachings in the Christian Church- Where are They Leading Us?
Index To This Article Previous Page Next Page ...Just an Aside, On the subject of Fire...
I have noticed in the course of my own Bible reading that while God often uses analogies, He does not use inaccurate analogies, so one thing I find truly strange about this movement is the way some very negative things are being given a positive connotation. For instance, God is often called on to ''send wind, rain, and fire for the harvest.'' A friend who grew up on a farm pointed out that wind, rain, and fire are exactly the things one prays will not come during a real harvest, each one causes catastrophic loss. Fire used to symbolize Hell and the devil's fate, but now it is popular to pray for fire, sing praises about fire, and name ministries after fire- John Kilpatrick's is even ''Feast of Fire Ministries.'' Feast of fire ? Do we really want to feast on fire? The Toronto church's television show begins with raging flames super-imposed over the crowd of worshippers. Fire is pictured on most of the prophecy internet sites. ''Revival'' is symbolized by flames. Fire is the symbolic emblem of this whole movement. In the Bible, the word fire is used with a somewhat positive connotation only a very few times, like on the day of Pentecost, when ''tongues as of fire'' appeared over the apostles' heads (but the word does not call these fire, it says ''as of'' fire). The overwhelming use of fire in the Bible is to symbolize God's wrath and judgment:
Upon the wicked He will rain snares; fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. Ps 11:6 ...on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all... Lk 17:29 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Mt 7:19 ...they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire... Mt 13:40 Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels... Mt 25:41 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire... Rev 20:10 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Heb 10:26
John The Baptist spoke of Jesus baptizing with ''the Holy Spirit and fire'' and many seem to have the idea he was speaking of two good things that go together, but when you read the passage completely, it seems instead he was referring to two distinct groups of people. John was speaking to those who came to receive his baptism of repentence (or just to see what was going on) - some would go on to become believers in Christ and others would go on to become His crucifiers. One group -the wheat- is to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, and the other -the chaff- with fire:
John answered and said to them all, ''As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. And His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.'' Lk 3:16-17
Even if John meant a kind of fire that went along with the Holy Spirit, wouldn't it likely refer to the persecution and martyrdom that awaited the believers? (It is held by tradition that every one of the Apostles were martyred.) Is it appropriate to pray for that? The coming judgment of the earth will be by fire:
But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 2 Pet 3:7
Of that day, the Bible tells us:
For behold, the Lord will come in fire and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For the Lord will execute judgment by fire and by his sword on all flesh, and those slain by the Lord will be many. Isa 66:15-16
So, is it really appropriate to be praying for God to ''send His fire''? Isn't this begging God to send judgment? At the least, doesn't it show that we aren't very familiar with His word or His ways? Is this preoccupation with fire perhaps a sign -a clue- that we ought to be catching onto? God's word speaks of a people whose worship does have to do with fire, and the outcome is not to be desired:
Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with firebrands, walk in the light of your fire and among the brands you have set ablaze. This you will have from My hand; and you will lie down in torment. Isa 50:11
I feel there comes a point when you have to stop rationalizing for the myriad discrepencies between this movement and the word of God. You finally have to start asking yourself if maybe all these discrepencies are clues you should be taking note of. God doesn't talk Himself in circles.Index To This Article Previous Page Next Page
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