Fire

Welcome to Doing Journey Together — Fire

In chapter five of Deuteronomy (D’varim), the last book of the pentateuch (Torah), Moses (Moshe) had again called all Israel to hear again what he had told them, but they were the same ten commandments (mitzvot).  The original place for the record of them is Exodus 20.  They are essentially the same, but following the second record, from verse 22  to verse 27, (Deuteronomy 5) the word fire is mentioned five times.  Exodus 20 mentions thunder, lightning, and smoke.  What does a symbol of fire mean?

Fire is an element that produces light, heat, and smoke.  To make fire takes air, fuel, and heat.  The ten commandments (mitsvot) are brought a second time for emphasis.  They are unchanged.  They are as much of the heart of God as any of his words are.  They are established in heaven.  We can read them all here.

But what does the fire of God mean for us in ground school today?  Navigation has led us into uses of our spiritual instruments, such as fire.

“The Lord spoke these words to all of you assembled there at the foot of the mountain. He spoke with a loud voice from the heart of the fire, surrounded by clouds and deep darkness. This was all he said at that time, and he wrote his words on two stone tablets and gave them to me.

 “But when you heard the voice from the heart of the darkness, while the mountain was blazing with fire, all your tribal leaders and elders came to me. 24 They said, ‘Look, the Lord our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice from the heart of the fire. Today we have seen that God can speak to us humans, and yet we live! 25 But now, why should we risk death again? If the Lord our God speaks to us again, we will certainly die and be consumed by this awesome fire. 26 Can any living thing hear the voice of the living God from the heart of the fire as we did and yet survive? 27 Go yourself and listen to what the Lord our God says. Then come and tell us everything he tells you, and we will listen and obey.’”

Where in ground school is this text taking us?  We can learn the context of God’s giving his ten basic commandments (mitzvot) to his own people.  But we are not like them.  We had to see them to appreciate what benefit we have in Jesus (Yeshua) as our Christ (Messiah).  So let me share something about what the Bible says to us about the symbol of fire.

“This fiery image communicates the holiness of a God whom human beings did not dare to approach but could only gaze on in awe and wonder.” (Deuteronomy 4:24, Isaiah 33:14)  Says Professor Lawrence O. Richards in his Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, Zondervan, 1985, page 280 . . .

“Fire is associated with divine judgment.  It is not surprising that the prophets picked up the image of flames to symbolize divine judgment. (see Isaiah 9:19; 26:11; 66:15; Jeremiah 4:4; 15:14; Ezekiel 15:7; 19:14; Joel 1:19,20; Amos 1:4,7,10,12,14; and Zepheniah 3:8)

“Fire is associated with the purification of God’s people . . . God’s breath is a fire that consumes the wicked (Isaiah 33:11), the divine fire heals and refines God’s own people.(Malachi 3:2-4)”

This is saying to us in ground school, there is a voice in the midst, or heart of the fire.  We are learning about navigating and we need to know how to hear the voice from the midst, or heart of darkness as a blazing fire. Our spiritual instrument panel needs to be reliably dependable.  There is nothing like ‘flying by the seat of our pants’, but that is not what we are learning to do.  It amounts to the difference between authentic faith and hypocritical religion.  Why use a compass?  It references us to where True North is.

There, with the principle cited in Navigation of the compass which is getting down to the basic teachings, and limiting doctrines of denominations, is for the purpose of enabling the Spirit of God to flow into the assembly of believers.  We don’t know the power of God until we all allow Him to operate in our hearts both individually and collectively.  What I mean by the compass is opening the fellowship for the individual choices for as many of the gifts of God as is possible for Him to operate in.

Now the difference between the Old Testament (Covenant) and the New is to demonstrate how our perception of fire has been changed. 

“What was developed in (the fire of) the Old Testament are repeated in the New with several delicate modifications:

1) Fire is a sign of God’s essential glory, linked not only with his appearance (Acts 7:30; Rev 1:14), but also with his works (Acts 2:3), and the essential awsomeness of the Lord. (Hebrews 12:18,29)

2) When the judgment involves believers, it is applied as a test of the quality of their works. (John 15:6; 1 Cor 3:13-15)

3) Fire in the New Testament (Covenant) as in the Old is associated with purification of believers. (1Peter 1:7; Rev 3:18) The experiences through which God cleanses and shapes us are often painful.  But the product of God’s purifying fires is a character of gold. (Job 23:10)

4) The Gospels tell of the baptism with the ‘Holy Spirit and with fire’ (Mt 3:11; Lk 3:16).

On the day of Pentacost, tonguelike flames appeared over those who experienced the Spirit’s baptizing work. (1Cor12:13)  This occasion, the visible flames were outward signs of the Spirit’s activity.  This activity in modern believers can also be thought of in the same symbolic way, for Paul warns us not to ‘put out the Spirit’s fire’ (1Thes 5:19).

5) Hebrews 1:7 calls angels God’s servants and ‘flames of fire’.  This verse, quoting Psalms 104:4, taken as angelic servants, but it is best understood as designed to exalt Christ as a reference to glory of those powerful beings who are still far below Jesus in nature, power, and glory.” (Ibid.)

The next time you enter into a fellowship hall where a worship service is in progress, you might consider that everyone there, all around you, are not the same in their spiritual training.  You can watch them to see what level they are operating in.  But don’t judge.  You might be thankful as I am often just to be sharing their fire.  Some are jumping up and down.  Some may be waving their arms all around.  And some are dancing, and shouting praises.

Are you looking to enter into God’s fire?  I am.  I am just learning to get off the ground in this respect.  It is fine to freely worship God in any way your spirit sees, hears, or knows to do it.  Your heart will begin to glow with a form of anticipation and the gifts of God will begin to manifest.  Healings, prophecies, tongues can all happen to us when we enter by faith in the grace and favor God freely grants to all of us.  This is not something we make happen.  Human efforts only quench the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:8,9)

What have we learned today?  That as new believers, we are given a place among older ones but with equal status in the Body.  That fire symbolizes as Moses could best describe in writing his journal, the awesome nature of God.  Israelites were shocked and frightened to death of God’s loud displays of his power, which was absolute.  Fire was shown to prophets.  Fire became modified when the Holy Spirit was sent from the Father to empower believers.  And fire is demonstrated in believers as they are worshipping and praising the Lord (Adonai), because by faith and an openness of heart, giftings are enabled to manifest miracles both physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially.

Charles

HOLY SPIRIT FIRE YouTube video by Releasingthefire

5 thoughts on “Fire

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