What is a Baptism by FIRE?

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What is a baptism by FIRE? Some Christians believe that we should desire this based upon Bible verses that show God purifying and cleansing his children.

What did John the Baptist teach?

Now let us examine the New Testament text that speaks of a baptism by FIRE. The words were spoken by John the Baptist in regard to the ministry of Jesus Christ.

11 I baptize you with water . . . but the one who will come after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Matthew 3:11).

John was speaking to those in Jerusalem, Judea and the surrounding area who came to hear his preaching (Matthew 3:5). Although some sincerely came, repented and confessed their sins, others came to hear John for selfish reasons.

When John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him to be baptized, he said to them, 'You snakes — who told you that you could escape from the punishment God is about to send?' (Matthew 3)

Let us now take a look at the tenth verse of the same chapter.

10. But already the axe is striking at the roots of the trees; therefore, every tree that is not producing good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3)

John was teaching about the fate of the unrepentant, which is the lake of fire or second death (Revelation 20:14)

Let's continue with John the Baptist's scolding and warning to the self-righteous religious teachers:

He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire; 12. Whose winnowing shovel is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and will gather His wheat into the granary; but the chaff He will burn up with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3)
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We are told that Jesus will collect HIS wheat and put it into the granary. But a flaming baptism awaits those are chaff! But who does the wheat and the chaff represent? We begin to find our answer in Matthew 13, where Jesus is giving a parable about a man who discovered his enemy had secretly planted weeds among his good wheat seeds. When the man's servants asked him what should be done he responded with the following.

30 'Let the wheat and the weeds both grow together until harvest. Then I will tell the harvest workers to pull up the weeds first, tie them in bundles and burn them, and then to gather in the wheat and put it in my barn.'

We do not have to guess at what all this symbolizes as Jesus himself explained it to his disciples.

38 the field is the world; the good seed is the people who belong to the Kingdom; the weeds are the people who belong to the Evil One; 39 and the enemy who sowed the weeds is the Devil . . . 40 Just as the weeds are gathered up and burned in the fire, so the same thing will happen at the end of the age: (Matthew 13)

So now we know that the "wheat" or "good seed" are true converted Christians who will inherit God's Kingdom. The "weeds" are unrepentant sinners.

Some professing believers who want a baptism by fire believe 'the floor' of John's statement 'Whose winnowing shovel is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor' are individual Christians who have their sins burned away or purged. According to this belief Jesus, uses his 'fan' or 'winnowing shovel' to stoke up flames meant to purge a believer's "chaff" or "dross" - their sins - out of their lives and leaving only "the wheat" or good part. This interpretation, however, is simply not correct.

Notice that the "fan" in the hand of Jesus is used to remove from his floor CHAFF. The wheat that is left over he gathers up for his granary. What John the Baptist preached in Matthew 3 and the parable Jesus gave in Matthew 13 OVERLAP in regard to how God will ultimately judge humans.

The "wheat" of both Matthew 3:12 and Jesus' parable in Matthew 13 represent true Christians. The "chaff" or "weeds" are the wicked who, for a period of time, are allowed to exist alongside the righteous. When the time of God's judgment comes he will separate the "wheat" from the "chaff" or "weeds." The "wheat' or righteous will be allowed entrance into the Kingdom. And what of the "chaff?" They do receive a "baptism of fire," but it is a fire that will BURN THEM UP or destroy them forever - the lake of fire.

14. And death and the grave were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15. And if anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20)

1 The Lord Almighty says, 'The day is coming when all proud and evil people will burn like straw (chaff). On that day they will burn up, and there will be nothing left of them. (Malachi 4)

In conclusion, you do NOT want to receive a baptism of fire!

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