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3. Baptized with the Holy Spirit and Fire (Luke 3:15-18)
" 15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ. 16 John answered them all, 'I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.' 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them." (Luke 3:15-18)
Every year individuals are propelled from obscurity into the national limelight -- a hit song, an act of kindness or evil that is picked up by the press. Celebrities attract fawning hero-worshippers who can distort the celebrity's sense of who he is. Celebrities sometimes mistake the goodwill of their followers for reality. John the Baptist was an instant celebrity.
John's Submission to the Messiah (Luke 3:15-16)
In a culture that had Messiah on their mind, it was inevitable that people would wonder if the powerful desert prophet John the Baptist were the long-awaited Messiah himself. "Is he the Christ?" the crowds inquired.
The word "Christ" is a transliteration of the Greek word christos , meaning "the Anointed One, the Messiah." The word "messiah" is a transliteration of the Hebrew word māshîaḥ .
"Christ" is not Jesus' last name. It is a title that means "Messiah."
To his credit, nowhere does John the Baptist try to cling to his public following. John's Gospel tells us that the Baptist even pointed his own disciples to Jesus (John 1:35-37), and accepted Jesus' eclipsing role with graciousness.
John the Baptist refers to the Messiah as "One more powerful than I" (3:16b). "More powerful" (NIV) and "mightier" (KJV) translate the comparative form of the Greek adjective ischyros , "strong, mighty, powerful" in physical strength, or mental or spiritual power." 36 This is similar to the expression in John's Gospel,
"He must become greater ( auxanō ); I must become less ( elattoō )." (John 3:30)
Self-exalting ego doesn't motivate John. Being faithful to the "word of God" (3:2) that came to him does.
John illustrates this submission to the Messiah with his statement about sandals: "the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie." (3:16c) Jewish servants were not required to perform the menial duty of unfastening their master's sandals, only non-Jewish slaves. 37 But John says that he isn't even as worthy as a foreign slave to perform this service. He isn't in the same league as the Messiah. But the most striking comparison John makes between his ministry and the Messiah's is in terms of baptism.
Water Baptism (Luke 3:16a)
John had been known as "the Baptist." Baptism set him apart from other prophets in the past, and other reformers in his own day. But even in terms of baptism, John says, the Messiah exceeds him.
Our word "baptize" is a transliteration of the Greek word baptizō , which means "dip, immerse, submerge, baptize." 38 It's important to understand this basic meaning, regardless of our own church's practice of baptism, or how much water our church may use. John was baptizing in the Jordan River, and probably assisted penitents by either dipping them into the water himself (or perhaps by assisting them to dip themselves). Jesus did not annul this form of water baptism but continued it, having his own disciples baptize believers in his name (see Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; John 3:22, 26; 4:1-2; Acts 2:38, 41).
The Early Church understood water baptism much as John the Baptist did, representing God's cleansing and the washing away of our sins (Acts 22:16). It is a baptism of repentance still, since by submitting to Christian baptism, a person either tacitly or explicitly acknowledges his need for cleansing, and therefore his sins that demand forgiveness and cleansing. On the Day of Pentecost, Peter told his convicted hearers,
"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38)
These words tie repentance to baptism just as John the Baptist had done (Luke 3:3).
The point of comparison between John the Baptist and the Messiah is in the medium in which or with which 39 the baptism takes place. John immerses his disciples in water, while the Messiah will immerse his followers in the Holy Spirit.
Spirit Baptism (Luke 3:16d)
The biggest question in this passage is what it means to "baptize in the Holy Spirit." Church doctrines aside, the basic meaning is to immerse or dip a person in the Holy Spirit. To flood a person with the Holy Spirit. Water is just a symbol of cleansing. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is the actual agent of cleansing and empowerment.
To study the meaning a bit further, let's look at two closely-related passages written by Luke, one at the end of Luke, the other early in Acts:
"I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed ( enduō ) with power ( dunamis ) from on high." (Luke 24:49)
"Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water ( hydati ), but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit ( en pneumati hagio ).... But you will receive power ( dunamis ) when the Holy Spirit comes on ( epechomai ) you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:4, 5, 8; see 11:15-16)
Examine some of the words with me as we expand our understanding a bit:
- "Clothe (KJV 'endue') with power." The verb is Greek enduō , "dress, clothe" 40 This may be similar to the analogy of baptism, the idea of covering completely with. The word translated "power" is Greek dunamis , from which we get our word "dynamite." To cover with power. What a thought!
- "Receive power." The verb here is the extremely common Greek word lambanō , "to receive." The emphasis is not on voluntary acceptance here, but upon possessing it. Tag. You're "it." It's your turn. What would you do if you were given a package of high explosives or a grant of limitless hydroelectric power from a dam high in the mountains? Think what you could do with it! You've received power.
- "Come upon." The Greek verb is eperchomai , a compound word that means "come over or upon." It can refer to unpleasant happenings or to an enemy attack. But here it used of the Holy Spirit coming upon the disciples. 41 The word suggests something out of our control that happens to us. Spirit baptism is wholly in God's power and at his time and pleasure.
- "Pour out." The Spirit is "poured out" upon believers (Acts 2:17-18, 2:33, 10:45). Similar to the water baptism analogy, in pouring, the water is in a vessel above the believer and is saturating the believer with the Holy Spirit.
The "baptism of the Holy Spirit" involves being covered with, immersed in, empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the very basis of our life in Christ and our connection to God. Jesus floods us with the Holy Spirit. What a wonderful thought and promise! (You can explore this in greater detail in my essay, "Spirit Baptism, the New Birth, and Speaking in Tongues," found in the Appendix) 42
Fire Baptism (Luke 3:16e-17)
Luke's Gospel connects the baptism of the Holy Spirit with a baptism of fire. John the Baptist says:
"He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (3:16d-17)
The process of preparing grain involved (1) threshing, that is, crushing, beating or thrashing the grain heads in order to loosen the grain kernels from the surrounding stems and husks; and (2) winnowing, using a kind of wooden pitch fork (a winnowing fork) to throw the threshed grain heads into the breeze, so the lighter chaff will blow downwind, and the heavier grain kernels will fall back to the ground, separating the two. The floor would be "cleared" by threshing and then winnowing all the grain heads until the chaff and grain had been completely separated. The grain was then gathered into baskets and stored in the barn, but the remaining stems and husks piled together and set ablaze.
Look with me at a couple of interesting words. The verb translated "clear" (NIV) or "purge" (KJV) is Greek diakathairō , "clean out, cleanse thoroughly." 43 The idea of thoroughness and complete cleaning is contained in this compound verb. The second interesting word translated the "unquenchable" is Greek asbestos , a mineral supposed by the ancients to be inextinguishable when set on fire. 44 John the Baptist isn't talking about just regular fire here that would burn itself out when the chaff is consumed, but a kind of eternal, unquenchable fire.
So what is this fire baptism? There are three possibilities:
- A figure of purification of sin as the Holy Spirit does his cleansing work in us as part of the process of sanctification. Indeed, the Spirit's cleansing in us is sometimes painful, but nothing in the context suggests that this is what John had in mind.
- A symbol of the tongues of fire that appeared over the heads of the 120 disciples in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:3). This, too, is a stretch for John the Baptist. In the Pentecost passage, the fire probably represents the Shekinah glory of God rather than fires of purification.
- A prophecy of the eschatological separation of the righteous from the unrighteous, and judgment by the Messiah at the end of the age. This fits contemporary expectations of the Messiah, as well as the words "cleanse thoroughly" and "unquenchable fire" contained in the passage. Jesus' parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Matthew 13:30, 41-42) includes this kind of analogy of separation and final judgment. Remember Henry Alford's well-known Thanksgiving Hymn, "Come Ye Thankful People, Come," verse 3?
"For the Lord our God shall come, And shall take His harvest home. From His field shall in that day All offenses purge away; Give His angels charge at last In the fire the tares to cast, But the fruitful ears to store In His garner evermore."
So John is prophesying of Jesus that he will (1) flood his followers with the Holy Spirit, and (2) judge the unrighteous at the End of the Age.
When Christ returns, he will come in judgment. The first time he came in mercy, but when he returns at the End of the Age it will be with final, terrible judgment. What should disciples learn from this? First, we need to get off the fence and determine whose side we're on. We need to learn a healthy fear of God. Sometimes people talk about Jesus as if he's their buddy. Jesus is no one's buddy. Peter learned quickly that even those close to him cannot presume upon his will without meriting a sharp rebuke (Matthew 16:23). He is our Friend, but not our buddy. He is always our Master.
Second, we need to consider our friends and loved ones, and pray for their salvation. Jesus will surely come in terrible judgment, and unless people repent of their sins, they will perish and experience eternal punishment. There is the exhilarating promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but the sobering warning of judgment for those who do not welcome the Messiah.
Have You Been Baptized?
This passage urges some personal reflection. Have you acknowledged Jesus' power and authority over you as John the Baptist did? Have you been baptized? Have you repented of your sins and submitted yourself to public Christian baptism? If not, why don't you talk with your pastor about it this week? We are disciples! We are not going to put off until a later time the lessons about which Christ is dealing with us now!
Have you been immersed in the Holy Spirit? If you've repented of your sins and asked Christ to be your Master, then He responds with the gift of the Holy Spirit and the resulting new birth. What's going on in your life? Are you swimming in the Spirit or just sipping occasionally? Are you spiritually dry? Do you long for God with a deep thirst? The Messiah wants you flooded with his Spirit, and anything less isn't enough. Open up your heart to him as we pray together.
Lord, I want to be your disciple. Like John, I acknowledge you as my Messiah and Master. You're more powerful than I, and I am unworthy in myself even to provide you menial service. But you have washed me, and I am clean. Thank you. You have poured out your Holy Spirit and I am learning to drink fully. Immerse me afresh this week in your Spirit. I acknowledge the terrible judgment that you will bring to this world when you come. Help me to be ready. Help my friends and loved ones to be ready, too. O Great Baptizer, in Your name, I pray. Amen.
"He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (Luke 3:16)
Click on the link below to discuss on the forum one or more of the questions that follow -- your choice. https://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1918-3-johns-baptism/
- Isn't John the Baptist's humble statement, "the thongs of whose sandals I am unworthy to untie," a bit overstated? Are we unworthy to serve Christ? If so, why? If not, why not?
- What does John's comparison of water baptism to Spirit baptism tell us about what Spirit baptism means?
- What does it mean to be "Spirit-filled"? How would our lives be different if we were truly filled and flooded with the Holy Spirit?
- We may be afraid of "fire-of-judgment" kind of language, but what should our response be to warnings of terrible judgment?
- How good a change-motivator is the warning of future judgment? What other motivators might people respond to in addition to this? Or better than this?
Abbreviations and References
 Arkeō , BAGD 107.
 Ischuros , BAGD 383.
 Marshall, Luke, p.146. He cites a number of Rabbinical sources for this.
 G.R. Beasley-Murray, "Baptism, Wash," NIDNTT 1:143-150. Beasley-Murray explains, "In secular Greek baptō means (a) dip, (b) dip into a die, and so die, and (c) draw (water). Baptizō is an intensive form of baptō and means (a) dip, and (b) cause to perish (as by drowning a man or sinking a ship" (p. 144).
 The first phrase hydati ("in water") uses the "instrumental dative" case, while the second phrase, en pneumati hagio ("in the Holy Spirit") uses the preposition en ("in") in an instrumental sense.
 Endyō , BAGD 264. The KJV translation "endue" means both "put on, don" as well as "provide, endow," and is often confused with the word "endow," though "endow" comes from a different root that means "gift, dower" ( Merriam-Webster ).
 Eperchomai , BAGD 285.
 Note: Two helpful books that discuss some of these matters in detail are G.R. Beasley-Murray, Baptism in the New Testament (Eerdmans, 1962); and James D.G. Dunn, Baptism in the Holy Spirit (SCM Press Ltd., 1970). The latter book is pretty technical.
 Diakathairō , BAGD 183, Thayer 137. Diakathairō is a compound word formed from dia- "thoroughly" + kathairō, "'to cleanse,' properly from filth, impurity, etc." (Thayer 312).
 Merriam-Webster , p. 66.
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King James Bible Online
King james version (kjv).
“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:” King James Version (KJV)
Matthew 3:11 Context
8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 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. 11 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: 12 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. 13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
Translation Details for Matthew 3:11
Other translations for matthew 3:11, bible commentary for matthew 3:11, wesley's notes for matthew 3:11, people's bible notes for matthew 3:11, discussion for matthew 3.
What is the baptism of the Spirit?
What does it mean that Jesus will “baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire?”
John the Baptist baptized unto the forgiveness of sins, but also proclaimed that Jesus would come with a baptism that would be far more extensive and deep. “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11.
What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
The baptism of the Spirit is an “immersion of the Spirit.” When you are baptized with the Holy Spirit, you will receive strength, power and boldness from God to accomplish your work and overcome sin in your own life.
You know when you have experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The disciple s at Pentecost also knew. They had probably already imagined beforehand what the experience of being baptized with the Holy Spirit would be like. And you, dear reader, who have not yet been baptized with the Spirit, but have a real longing for it, are probably also wondering what it is like. The experience can be expressed in many ways. But many people who have been baptized with the Spirit will be able to relate to what I write here:
Your life is changed at one stroke. God's power often passes through your body like a powerful current and fills you with an infinite joy and happiness. The disciples were so filled with joy that the people thought they were drunk with new wine.
Some people have so much grace that they receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit immediately after they repent, and sometimes even get the gift of tongues. However, this is not necessarily the case for all who repent. Some people must go through a “dry period” before they are baptized with the Spirit. But of course there is no set timetable for when you get this blessed baptism of the Spirit.
It is a common misconception among many Christians that you have not been baptized with the Holy Spirit if you haven’t received the gift of tongues. This gift often comes later, and many only receive it after a revival has broken out, and yet others receive completely different gifts.
Read also: What are spiritual gifts?
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Why do I need the Holy Spirit?
If you feel that your life is dry and heavy, pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Because you really need it if you have a strong desire to overcome envy, anger etc. It is written in the Scriptures that the Spirit is given to those who obey Him. It’s no good waiting to be baptized with the Holy Spirit while relaxing and sinning as when you were unconverted. No, read in the Bible, even if it seems dry, and resist the lust to become angry and irritated, for example. One day you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit! You, who were bound by fear of man , become bold, just as Peter was on the day of Pentecost. A brand new day dawns. The dry Bible verses suddenly become alive for you by the Spirit's revelation, and you can get help from God's Word when you come into difficult situations. Why? Because you have been baptized with the Spirit.
Read more in the article: Why do I need the Holy Spirit?
But it is not the intention that we stop completely at that great experience of being baptized with the Holy Spirit, and never move on. The power we have been given by the baptism of the Spirit, which has made us so happy, is to be used to do the good so that we can be God's coworkers on earth.
Jesus wanted to baptize us with both the Holy Spirit and fire. As we follow the Spirit's workings, we must suffer, and that was what Jesus meant by the fire. It is the suffering that follows when we do the good. Just as when the disciples were instructed to make disciples of all nations. This meant that they had to leave their comfort zone and start to journey, often to places they didn’t want to go to – and that involved tribulation (fire). They were not permitted to remain seated quietly with memories of what they had experienced on the day of Pentecost. No, off to the many tasks that awaited! Exactly the same applies to us who are alive now, and have received the Spirit’s power within us.
And even though we have been baptized with the Holy Spirit, we constantly need a new fullness. Even though you have been filled with the Holy Spirit, you can easily be caught up by the world we live in and can lose something of the fullness of the Holy Spirit. That’s why one of the Scripture’s exhortations is: “Be filled with the Spirit .” Ephesians 5:18. And that’s what will happen when we earnestly pray to be filled anew, and practice what we read in the Bible.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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What does matthew 3:11 mean.
The Doctrine of Christ
"whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock"
What is the Baptism of Fire & The Holy Ghost?
What is the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost that is spoken of in scripture? How does someone obtain it? What blessings are associated with it? Is it an event or a process? Most importantly, how can one prepare to receive this central ordinance in the journey to follow Christ and become His sons & daughters ?
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What is the Baptism of Fire & the Holy Ghost?
Scripture list and study guide about the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost:
John 3:5 — Jesus mentions two baptisms born of water and the Spirit
Alma 7:14 — be baptized and be born again
Joseph Smith King Follet discourse – mentions three baptisms, all three baptisms make one
3 Baptisms: baptism of water, baptism of fire and baptism of the Holy Ghost
Elements of the baptism of fire & the holy ghost.
Hel. 5:40–52 — 300 Lamanites received baptism of fire and baptism of the Holy Ghost
3 Ne. 19:13–14 — The 12 disciples in the Americas receive the baptism of fire and baptism of the Holy Ghost; terms to receive the baptism of fire baptism of the Holy Ghost
Acts 2:1–4 — Day of Pentecost, apostles receive baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost — pillars of fire ( “cloven tongues of fire” ) from heaven encircle each one
3 Ne. 19:20–21 — This even is what gives us the Holy Ghost
Broken heart and contrite spirit is the key to receiving the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost
3 Ne. 9:20 — Jesus requires that we offer up a sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit in order to receive the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost
2 Ne 31:10, 19, 20 — Being willing to keep the commandments of the Father, how to offer broken heart and contrite spirit
Baptism of fire baptism of the Holy Ghost is a priesthood ordinance
D&C 76:51-52 — baptism of fire of and of the Holy Ghost must be performed by laying on of hands by a man ordained and sealed to the first order of the Melchizedek priesthood. Jesus Christ is the only one who can seal a man to that order
Acts 8:12, 14-17 — Both men and women baptized, Philip ordained to power to baptize but may not have had that power sealed since he did not perform the ordinance of baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. Other apostles (Peter & John) came and laid hands on them and then they received the ordinance.
Hel 5:43-44 — the 300 Lamanites received the baptism of fire and Holy Ghost seemingly at the same time. It was likely angels who performed the ordinance.
We Become Sons & Daughters of Christ through the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost
Mosiah 4:2–3 People of King Benjamin cry out, are filled with the Holy Ghost
Mosiah 5:2,5,7 people of king Benjamin no more desire desire to do evil, desire to keep God’s commandments, they were spiritually begotten of Christ
Purpose of baptism of fire baptism of of the Holy Ghost is to be redeemed
2 Ne 2:6-8 redemption comes to those that offer broken heart and contrite spirit
3 Ne 9:20 Christ comes to bring redemption
John 3:5. Jesus says unless a man is born of water and of the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God
2 Ne 31:17,18 The gate we should enter, and know how to enter. N the straight and narrow path.
Natural man dies and we are reborn/sanctified
Mosiah 3:19. We must put off a natural man (die) and become a saint through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
John 3:5. Born of the spirit,reborn spiritual
3 Ne 27:19–20 No unclean thing can enter into the kingdom
Alma 5:54 — Sanctified by the Holy Spirit
D&C 39:18 — Receive the fullness of the gospel and become sanctified
Moses 6:59,65-68 — Born again into the kingdom of heaven, born water and of the spirit, Adam received baptism of fire baptism of the Holy Ghost
Moroni 10:33 — Sanctified in Christ by the grace of God
Through the baptism of fire baptism of the Holy Ghost We become the Seed/Children of God/Christ/Abraham
Mosi 5:7. We are Spiritually begotten of the Lord
3 Nep 9:20,21,17 receive Christ become his children
Ephesians 1:4,5 predestined us unto adoption of children by Christ to himself
Romans 9:6-8 children of the promises are counted as the seed of God.
The baptism of fire baptism of the Holy Ghost is only the beginning
D&C 84:19-24 – Priesthood administers the gospel, keys of kingdom, power of godliness manifest by baptism of fire and baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Moroni 10:32 – By grace of God perfect in Christ, will not deny power of God
Romans 15:16 — The offering up of the Gentiles is acceptable by being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
2 Ne 9:7-12 — The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is an infinite atonement, way provided for our escape from death and hell.
Alma 5:60 — The good shepherd calls us and if we will listen he will lead us into his fold.
Alma 5:39 — if we are not of Christ’s fold then we are of the devil’s fold
Mosiah 4:2 — viewed themselves in their carnal state.
- 3 Nephi 9:20
- Helaman 5:49-50
- Helaman 5:43-44
- 3 Nephi 19:13,14
- 3 Nephi 19:13,20-21
- 2 Nephi 31:10,19-20
- D&C 76:51-52
- Acts 8:12,14-17
- D&C 76:52
- Mosiah 4:2-3
- Mosiah 5:2,5,7
- 2 Nephi 2:6-8
- 2 Nephi 31:17-18
- 2 Nephi 2:9
- Mosiah 3:19
- 3 Nephi 27:19-20
- D&C 39:18
- Moses 6:59,65-68
- Moroni 10:33
- 3 Nephi 9:17,20-21
- Ephesians 1:4,5
- Moroni 10:32
- Romans 9:6-8
- 2 Nephi 31:18
- D&C 84:19-24
- Romans 15:16
- 2 Nephi 9:7-12
- Alma 5:39,60
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What is the Doctrine of Christ?
My Peace I Give Unto You
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Don Stewart :: Does the Holy Spirit Baptize the Believer with Fire?
Does the Holy Spirit Baptize the Believer with Fire?
The Holy Spirit and Us – Question 10
The Bible says that the Holy Spirit baptizes people “with fire.” In referring to the coming appearance of Jesus the Messiah, John the Baptist gave the following words.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire ( Matthew 3:11 NKJV ).
Does this mean the Holy Spirit baptizes the believer with fire for the purpose of purification? Or does it mean He will baptize the unbeliever with the fire of judgment? What exactly is the “baptism with fire?” Who receives it? Is it something good for them or bad?
Option 1: This Promise Refers to Believers
Some see this “baptism of fire” as a promise which refers to believers only. They link it to the baptism with the Holy Spirit which was something which only believers experienced. On the Day of Pentecost, the Bible says that the Holy Spirit baptized the believers with the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised. A few days before this, Jesus repeated the promise that John the Baptist had earlier made.
John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit ( Acts 1:5 NLT ).
He promised these disciples that the Holy Spirit would baptize them in short period of time.
Several days later Jesus’ promise was fulfilled. We read of what happened in the Book of Acts. It says.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them ( Acts 2:1-3 NRSV).
The baptism with the Holy Spirit, along with the accompanying fire, occurred on the Day of Pentecost. Therefore, it is a past historical act.
Were the Tongues of Fire the Fulfillment?
Are the tongues of fire the fulfillment of this prophecy? On the Day of Pentecost the tongues were said to have been “like” fire. There is no reference, however, to the “fire” of the Holy Spirit on this particular day.
Option 2: It Speaks of Judgment on Unbelievers
Another interpretation has this prophecy as referring to unbelievers. It is a reference to judgment for their sin. Indeed, in the Old Testament, fire spoke of purifying the faithful and damnation for the wicked. We read of this in Malachi where it says the following.
But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the LORD in righteousness ( Malachi 3:2 , 3 NRSV).
The fire of judgment will be a work of the Holy Spirit upon those who do not believe. In other words, it is something to be avoided.
Another statement of John the Baptist seems to confirm this. The Bible records John response to a question of his identity.
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. “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” ( Luke 3:16 , 17 NASB ).
Here John speaks of burning the chaff with fire. The fire, in this case, is a reference of judgment on the unbeliever.
The Issue Stated
The issue is this. Does “with fire “furthers describes Holy Spirit baptism, or does it describe a different aspect of baptism altogether?
Option 1: They Refer to the Same Thing
If spirit and fire refer to the same thing, they both may describe judgment or blessing. Many scholars believe that John preached only a message of judgment and both phrases refer to judgment. Therefore the Holy Spirit is understood to be a destroying wind that works together with fire. The wind blows away the chaff.
Others believe that both phrases refer to the blessing experienced by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The fire refers to the tongues of fire that were exhibited.
The problem with this view is that fire in the following verse clearly refers to judgment.
Option 2: There Is a Twofold Baptism
Because of this, many see a twofold baptism–one for the righteous (the Holy Spirit) and the other for the unrighteous (fire). It may be better to see these as one baptism. This baptism is experienced as either a judgment or a blessing. The fire will destroy the wicked but will purify the believer.
In sum, there is baptism of fire of which the Bible speaks of may be a reference to the work of the Holy Spirit in purifying as well as in judging the unbeliever.
Summary – Question 10 Does the Holy Spirit Baptize the Believer with Fire?
John the Baptist, in his prediction of the coming Messiah, said He will “baptize with fire.” There is disagreement as to whether this occurs with believers or unbelievers or perhaps both. Is the baptism of fire something desired or something to be dreaded?
Those who think it occurs with believers see it as referring to a refining process. Indeed, fire is used symbolically in Scripture as that which cleanses us from our sins. Thus, a baptism with fire would be a reference to the believer being cleansed from his or her sins.
On the other hand, there are those who think this prediction has unbelievers in mind. This is supported in the next verse where John uses the analogy of unbelievers being like chaff which will be burned in unquenchable fire. Indeed, Scripture says that unbelievers will eventually spend eternity in a “lake of fire.”
There is the possibility that it may be a reference to both refining and judgment. Fire will be used to purify the believers while it will also be used to punish the unbelievers. Therefore, the baptism of fire may be something which all people experience in one form or another.
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Baptism, Tongues, Filling | The Holy Spirit First Moss Bluff Podcast
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The Holy Spirit is the helper that empowers and partners with me to follow Jesus daily. Synopsis: The Holy Spirit - He is perhaps the most misunderstood and therefore, the most overlooked person of The Trinity. However, He is very active in our lives as we partner with Him to follow Jesus daily. In this series, we will explore The Holy Spirit by asking two questions: Who is He? What does He do?
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Luke 3:16-22 New International Version
16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with [ a ] water. ( A ) But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with [ b ] the Holy Spirit and fire. ( B ) 17 His winnowing fork ( C ) is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” ( D ) 18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.
19 But when John rebuked Herod ( E ) the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, 20 Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison. ( F )
The Baptism and Genealogy of Jesus ( G ) ( H )
21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, ( I ) heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him ( J ) in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, ( K ) whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” ( L )
- Luke 3:16 Or in
- Luke 3:16 : ver 3; S Mk 1:4
- Luke 3:16 : Jn 1:26, 33; Ac 1:5; 2:3; 11:16; 19:4
- Luke 3:17 : Isa 30:24
- Luke 3:17 : Mt 13:30; S 25:41
- Luke 3:19 : ver 1; S Mt 14:1
- Luke 3:20 : S Mt 14:3, 4
- Luke 3:21 : 3:21, 22pp — Mt 3:13-17; Mk 1:9-11
- Luke 3:21 : 3:23-38pp — Mt 1:1-17
- Luke 3:21 : Mt 14:23; Mk 1:35; 6:46; Lk 5:16; 6:12; 9:18, 28; 11:1
- Luke 3:22 : Isa 42:1; Jn 1:32, 33; Ac 10:38
- Luke 3:22 : S Mt 3:17
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NIV Reverse Interlinear Bible: English to Hebrew and English to Greek. Copyright © 2019 by Zondervan.
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