Thursday, July 12, 2012
“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:” (Matthew 3:11 KJV).
Today’s Scripture demonstrates that, contrary to church tradition, “baptism” in the Bible does not always mean water baptism. We want to examine the three “baptisms” found in today’s Scripture. By searching God’s Word, we will discover precious truths that traditional Bible teaching overlooks.
BAPTISM #3: “He shall baptize you with fire.”
Read today’s Scripture with its context (John the Baptist is warning Israel’s unbelieving religious leaders): “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… he [Jesus Christ] that cometh after me is mightier than I… he shall baptize you… with fire: 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” (verses 10-12; cf. Luke 3:16,17).
Like John’s water baptism and Pentecost’s “Holy Ghost baptism,” this “fire baptism” was prophesied in the Old Testament. The LORD had told Israel through the prophet Joel (2:30,31) that after He would pour out His Spirit: “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come [Christ’s Second Coming].” This will be fulfilled during the seven-year Tribulation, culminating with Christ’s Second Coming to establish His kingdom (Matthew 24:29,30a; cf. Mark 13:24-26; Luke 21:25-27).
Why will Jesus Christ baptize Israel with fire? The context of today’s Scripture (verses 10-12) explains this “fire baptism” is God’s wrath: the fire at Christ’s Second Coming will purge out and remove from earth the unbelieving Jews in Israel (Zechariah 13:8,9; cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Consequently, only believing Jews will remain to ultimately enter Christ’s earthly kingdom (only saved Jews can be God’s priests).