Baptism of fire

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Runningman

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Mar 4, 2020
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I was asking when is the first time an interpretation of John's statements about "baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire" shows up in Christian writers in church history?

Someone was suggesting that interpreting it as a spiritual fire that is part of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was a denominational view, but if it shows up in the early church fathers it would not be true that it is a denominational view but rather it is an interpretation first presented in Christian literature by ??? in date ???

Why does it matter? Because the fact that different people can read it and come to different conclusions is sometimes because they were taught it by their denomination but sometimes it is because they found reason to interpret that way from the scriptures themselves and if the earliest commentaries on the passage in extant precede denominations then it is not true that it is a denominational view. It cannot be dismissed so easily. We have to use a different reason than "it is a denominational view" to dismiss it.
I actually looked for an early commentary on Matthew and found one written by a Catholic named Hilary of Poiters. Below is the citation of the work and a screen shot of the e-book I found it in. By the way, the first 60 pages of it are free on Google books.

By the way, my posting of this isn't my complete agreement with what he is saying. It's just for our discussion.

The Fathers of the Church by St. Hilary of Poiters, Commentary on Matthew, Translated by D.H. Williams and written some time before before his exile in 356 AD.

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Matthew 3:8-12 is not talking about God chastising and correcting His children.

The context is definitely repenting by bearing fruits in keeping with repentance or else be treated like a fruitless tree that's cut down and burned in "unquenchable" fire.

I think if Matthew 3 was about correction then John the Baptist could have just said so. I don't think it's anywhere close to what you're suggesting for several reasons:

1. Jesus does not indiscriminately baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. So when John spoke to his audience the baptism reference must apply to them somehow, but since John is not Jesus he couldn't guarantee they'll receive a Holy Spirit baptism. Semantically, John is saying they'll receive either the Holy Spirit or fire.

2. The unquenchable fire is definitely a reference to hell. The only reference to fire that cannot be quenched is God's wrath or hell. Mark 9:47-48 says the fire of hell is not quenched.

3. I would like to add that wicked people are referred to as chaff frequently in the old testament: Job 21:17-18, Psalm 1:4, Hosea13:2-3

4. Only metals are purified by fire. The heat causes the impurities to separate from the valuable parts. Fire totally destroys wheat or chaff. Furthermore, the fire used to refine people isn't referred to as unquenchable.

5. The "flames as of tongues of fire" in the upper room on Pentecost are no unquenchable fires. Actually, 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says the Spirit can be quenched.

I think Matthew 3 parallels the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13:36-43.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is about salvation for the repentant (wheat). The baptism of fire is about hell for the unrepentant (chaff/dead trees/weeds).
You see, what the baptism of fire {of affliction) does is to separate the sin of the flesh which is figuratively referred here as the chaff from the spirit ( the wheat) to strengthen the spirit in the power of God to remain firm and steadfast in faith. The chaff is burned in an unquenchable fire figuratively speaking so that it is no longer part of us. Jesus said, as quoted by Prigrimshope in one of his posts, that, it is what comes out of us, from the heart that defiles us, such things as mentioned in his posts. This baptism helps to " burn" off these lusts of the flesh , leaving the heart purified and strengthened.

In it, we are seasoned with understanding and knowledge of the Way by the Holy Spirit which we are also baptised with. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit and of Fire go hand in hand. The Fire baptism (of affliction) is a narrow and tough road, therefore, we are immersed in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. It is because we, Christians do not understand and appreciate this fire baptism, that people bemoan every affliction they face. But, what did Paul say,--- Such afflictions are for a moment and they work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. And, they are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Baptism of fire, as I believe, has nothing to do with hell fire but it is a part of the way of the Cross. I stand by the three purposes it serves as mentioned in my previous post.
 

Runningman

Well-known member
Mar 4, 2020
2,870
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You see, what the baptism of fire {of affliction) does is to separate the sin of the flesh which is figuratively referred here as the chaff from the spirit ( the wheat) to strengthen the spirit in the power of God to remain firm and steadfast in faith. The chaff is burned in an unquenchable fire figuratively speaking so that it is no longer part of us. Jesus said, as quoted by Prigrimshope in one of his posts, that, it is what comes out of us, from the heart that defiles us, such things as mentioned in his posts. This baptism helps to " burn" off these lusts of the flesh , leaving the heart purified and strengthened.

In it, we are seasoned with understanding and knowledge of the Way by the Holy Spirit which we are also baptised with. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit and of Fire go hand in hand. The Fire baptism (of affliction) is a narrow and tough road, therefore, we are immersed in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. It is because we, Christians do not understand and appreciate this fire baptism, that people bemoan every affliction they face. But, what did Paul say,--- Such afflictions are for a moment and they work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. And, they are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Baptism of fire, as I believe, has nothing to do with hell fire but it is a part of the way of the Cross. I stand by the three purposes it serves as mentioned in my previous post.
The baptism of fire is for unrepentant people. God doesn't lovingly chastise unrepentant people. Rather, He let's them go to pursue their own wicked ways. So the baptism of fire cannot be for people who are repentant. The Holy Spirit alone is who leads people to have godly sorrow and who convicts the world of sin, judgement, and righteousness.

Romans 1:28-32
28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.


I stand by my original assertion in post #1. Myself and numerous others in the pages have made a Biblical case for why the baptism of fire is a direct reference to hellfire. I hope you will read them.
 
Jul 11, 2020
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The baptism of fire is for unrepentant people. God doesn't lovingly chastise unrepentant people. Rather, He let's them go to pursue their own wicked ways. So the baptism of fire cannot be for people who are repentant. The Holy Spirit alone is who leads people to have godly sorrow and who convicts the world of sin, judgement, and righteousness.

Romans 1:28-32
28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.


I stand by my original assertion in post #1. Myself and numerous others in the pages have made a Biblical case for why the baptism of fire is a direct reference to hellfire. I hope you will read them.
I read them but I strongly disagree. Let us leave it at that. Perhaps, when we come to understand the way to Perfection, we may agree.
 
S

Scribe

Guest
You see, what the baptism of fire {of affliction) does is to separate the sin of the flesh which is figuratively referred here as the chaff from the spirit ( the wheat) to strengthen the spirit in the power of God to remain firm and steadfast in faith. The chaff is burned in an unquenchable fire figuratively speaking so that it is no longer part of us. Jesus said, as quoted by Prigrimshope in one of his posts, that, it is what comes out of us, from the heart that defiles us, such things as mentioned in his posts. This baptism helps to " burn" off these lusts of the flesh , leaving the heart purified and strengthened.

In it, we are seasoned with understanding and knowledge of the Way by the Holy Spirit which we are also baptised with. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit and of Fire go hand in hand. The Fire baptism (of affliction) is a narrow and tough road, therefore, we are immersed in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. It is because we, Christians do not understand and appreciate this fire baptism, that people bemoan every affliction they face. But, what did Paul say,--- Such afflictions are for a moment and they work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. And, they are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Baptism of fire, as I believe, has nothing to do with hell fire but it is a part of the way of the Cross. I stand by the three purposes it serves as mentioned in my previous post.
John is talking about people when he talks about trees cut down that don't bear fruit and chaff that gets burned up.

10And 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.
12Whose 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.

That is people and the unquenchable fires of eternal torment that Jesus preached about on numerous occasions.
 
Jul 11, 2020
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John is talking about people when he talks about trees cut down that don't bear fruit and chaff that gets burned up.

10And 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.
12Whose 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.

That is people and the unquenchable fires of eternal torment that Jesus preached about on numerous occasions.
Off course he was talking about people ---- being baptised with the Holy Ghost and with Fire.

--definitely not the hell fire of eternal torment!
 

Runningman

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Mar 4, 2020
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Just want to put this here for anyone interested, but BibleHub has verse-by-verse parallel commentaries and various study tools. As far as the baptism of fire is concerned people seem to interpret as either purification for saints or hellfire and sometimes both.

But here is the link to numerous commentaries on Matthew 3:11 - https://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/3-11.htm
 
S

Scribe

Guest
Off course he was talking about people ---- being baptised with the Holy Ghost and with Fire.

--definitely not the hell fire of eternal torment!
It's a great topic. Worthy of meditation. The more I read it the more I want to evangelize with the "fire" of the Holy Spirit as though this were my last day, because soon the trees will fall and the chaff will be burned and it will be too late to evangelize then.
 
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It's a great topic. Worthy of meditation. The more I read it the more I want to evangelize with the "fire" of the Holy Spirit as though this were my last day, because soon the trees will fall and the chaff will be burned and it will be too late to evangelize then.
Yea. But we must also evangelise the baptism of Fire (of affliction) as part of the Way. It is part of the process of making us fit for the Lord. I have always liked the scripture that says, it was the Spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted and this happened immediately he was baptised. Likewise, the Spirit "baptizes" us into some ugly circumstances of life for our ultimate good

But most times, we bemoan these afflictions of life for lack of knowledge and in circumstances we are expected to do the right thing, we hear people say, am I Jesus? or that Jesus is God and therefore is sinless. Forgetting that as Christians, we are meant to imbibe the mind of Christ. Christ must be formed in us even if by faith we believe he dwells in us.
 
S

Scribe

Guest
Yea. But we must also evangelise the baptism of Fire (of affliction) as part of the Way. It is part of the process of making us fit for the Lord. I have always liked the scripture that says, it was the Spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted and this happened immediately he was baptised. Likewise, the Spirit "baptizes" us into some ugly circumstances of life for our ultimate good

But most times, we bemoan these afflictions of life for lack of knowledge and in circumstances we are expected to do the right thing, we hear people say, am I Jesus? or that Jesus is God and therefore is sinless. Forgetting that as Christians, we are meant to imbibe the mind of Christ. Christ must be formed in us even if by faith we believe he dwells in us.
I agree that God is at work even in our afflictions, trials and testing, but I don't think John was saying that Jesus is going to baptize us in the Holy Spirit and in the fire of afflictions so that we can be purified. It is true that we will go through much tribulation and so I understand your reasoning. There is a much in the New Testament about trials, tribulation, persecutions, infirmities being used by God to cause us to completely depend on His Strength and so that His Power will be manifest so I understand your line of thought but I doubt that is what John had in mind here.

The main thing is that one can preach about the Power of the Holy Spirit to help us evangelize with the gifts of the Spirit and that is in accordance with the book of Acts. We don't read about preaching to people the promise of the Father that He will send you the outpouring of affliction.