BAPTISM OF FIRE AND GLORY
According to the Jewish calendar, Pentecost is exactly 50 days from the resurrection which is the Sunday after Passover and represents the waving of the sheaf of first fruit fulfilled by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
We know from history and the Bible that over 2000 years ago, in the city of Jerusalem, the first set of disciples, the 12 apostles minus Judas, the 70 who had also been under the ministry of Jesus manifesting the borrowed anointing and some others, including Mary, the mother of Jesus and His brothers and sisters, were in the upper room in the city of Jerusalem under the strict instruction of the Lord Jesus. Before He was taken up, the Lord Jesus did two vital things: first, He taught them for forty days (Acts1: 3-4) things concerning the kingdom of God. Jesus opened the scriptures to them in the same manner He did for the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32), speaking of things that were written concerning Him, from Moses through the prophets!
The Lord Jesus continued the teaching of the kingdom for forty days, speaking of the purpose and the glory of God that would result from His resurrection, appearing to them at different times. Secondly, the Lord Jesus gave them a commission and said, ‘Do not depart from the city of Jerusalem until you have been endued with power from on high’ Faithfully, on the day of Pentecost in the morning, as they gathered together as they used to from the first day of the commission, the scripture reveals to us in
Acts 1:14 KJV: These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
This is what they were doing from the time of the resurrection of the Lord to that day; and on the day of Pentecost, scripture reveals to us that;
Acts 2:2-3 KJV: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. (2) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. (3) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
This experience is known in Christian circles as the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
There were two other notable events that occurred after the day of Pentecost.
A few years later, Peter was supernaturally led by the Holy Spirit to the house of a Gentile, a Roman centurion called, Cornelius, a good example of Gentiles who have not the law but do by nature the things contained in the law (Romans 2:13-15). God saw his heart and sent an angel to them:
Acts 10:3-4 KJV: He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. (4) And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, what is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
God honoured his faith and the honesty of his heart, not necessarily his prayers because he was a Gentile and wasn’t praying correctly. God knew that Cornelius’ knowledge was not complete or correct. This comes as a memorial and God said,
Acts 10:5-6 KJV: And now send men to Joppa, and call for [one] Simon, whose surname is Peter: (6) He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the seaside: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
God also spoke to Peter to go to Cornelius’ house (Acts 10:9-20) and the same Holy Ghost that came down on the day of Pentecost fell upon the Gentiles. They became born again and filled with the Holy Ghost simultaneously, as they believed and they began to speak in tongues!
Acts 10:46-48 KJV: For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, (47) Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? (48) And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
They were baptized in water. Water baptism is NOT what gets you born again! It is physical ceremony that commemorates the change in your heart when you get born again.
The third record is in the book of Acts 19. Apostle Paul went to a city called Ephesus and found certain disciples, who were not born again yet, but had heard about the teachings of John the Baptist and repentance from the dead works:
Acts 19:2-7 KJV: He (Paul) said unto them, have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. (3) And he said unto them, unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. (4) Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him, which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. (5) When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (6) And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. (7) And all the men were about twelve.
It is of great prophetic significance to note that there was no fire in Cornelius’ house nor in Ephesus. The fire was manifest only on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:3) to commemorate the beginning of the event, the beginning of the Church of Christ.
Consequently, the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit does not include fire; only tongues. What was consistent in all of the events described earlier was speaking in tongues. The physical evidence of the infilling of the power of the Holy Spirit, or, what we call the baptism of the Holy Spirit, is speaking in tongues.
What then is the baptism of fire?
At the onset of the Lord Jesus’ ministry before He started, the Lord came to Jordan where John was baptizing. At the time He came to Jordan to be baptized, the Lord’s true identity as the Messiah had not yet been revealed;
Luke 3:16 KJV: John answered, saying unto [them] all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
The event I described earlier from the day of Pentecost, through the house of Cornelius and to the city of Ephesus and what we have experienced in the last 2000 years that has been restored in a greater measure since the last century, beginning in Kansas in 1901, and later on in Asuza Street in 1906, and down through the years, of which we are a part, is called the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues! It is a wonderful experience, but there is another baptism waiting for us, which is the baptism of fire!