Acts 2:3 – “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.”
It was not a natural fire. If it were, they all would have died there in that upper room. It was a supernatural, spiritual, heavenly, and holy fire. It was fire from God. “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24). We have seen in the Scriptures that God is love (1 John 4:8,16). At the same time, God is likened to fire in the Scriptures; it is another nature or characteristic of God. God is fire! The above verse also talks about His jealousy in connection with fire. Just as a husband or wife is possessive of their spouse, God is possessive of and committed to His people. He wants us to love Him and no other god.
Fire is one of the manifestations of the Lord’s glory. He reveals himself as fire. It also shows the intense holiness of God and His power at work. Fire also represents God’s wrath and judgment, which are not for His children, but for the enemy. It shows God’s judgment. “The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire” (Revelation 1:14). Here Jesus appeared to John showing Himself as the judge ready for the final judgment and His eyes were like blazing fire, from which nothing in the world could be hidden. In the Old Testament God manifested through the burning bush or as consuming fire, but His fire never came upon and rested on human flesh. Pentecost was the first instance where the fire of God came upon human flesh and rested upon it supernaturally, without consuming it.
The effect of God’s fire coming upon us is that we become passionate for God. It brings the enthusiasm and zeal to serve God. The fire of God refines us and imparts His holy nature onto us. “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame” (Song of Songs 8:6). Here love is likened to blazing fire. The first love, the love one has for God when they are saved, is something unique. That is why Jesus says to the churches in Revelation that they had lost their first love. Paul says the love of God constrains us, it is the motivation for us. Love of Christ is the driving force for the ministry of the Lord.
Let us go through the history of fire in the Bible.
It is in connection with the covenant with Abraham that fire is first mentioned in the Bible. “When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces” (Genesis 15:17). Usually, for a covenant to be made, both parties should be of equal standing at least in some aspects. They would agree on certain terms and conditions, and might promise to take care of each other. But here, the parties involved were the Almighty God and a mere mortal man. Therefore, God put Abraham to sleep, and He Himself came down as fire to make a covenant with Abraham and his descendants. God Himself established the covenant. God has made a covenant with us, His children. We are a covenant people. When the enemy attacks you, remember that your covenant is not with mere humans, but with the Almighty God, the consuming fire. He will show up on your behalf. You are protected by the army of the Lord of Hosts.
“Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together,” (Genesis 22:6). Abraham took the natural fire with him as he went to sacrifice Isaac. Here Isaac represents Jesus, as God sacrificed His only begotten son Jesus for us. Sacrifice needs fire. The next important instance where fire is mentioned in the Bible is the encounter of Moses with the burning bush. “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up” (Exodus 3:2). Here the bush did not get destroyed in the fire. Similarly, when the fire of God comes upon us, we will not be burnt out or consumed in that fire. Instead it will make us ablaze for God. We will never perish. That is the fire of Pentecost.
“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people” (Exodus 13:21-22). Normally, fire releases heat and light. During the day, God went ahead of them, guiding them through the wilderness. At night, the pillar of cloud changed into the pillar of fire giving light to 3 million people for 40 years. This is just a shadow of what is to come. In future, in the New Jerusalem, there will be no other artificial light. The Lamb of God will be the lamp giving light there. The journey of the Israelites through the wilderness symbolizes our spiritual journey today. Jesus says ‘I am the light of the world’. He will never change. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He guided the Israelites in the wilderness, He is guiding us today. When our spiritual eyes are open we would see how God is guiding us.
Then we see the fire of the Lord coming upon Mount Sinai. “Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace,and the whole mountain trembled violently” (Exodus 19:18). The whole mountain was shaking before its creator when He came down to make a covenant with His people. “When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights” (Exodus 24:15-18).
The glory of the Lord comes upon the tabernacle too. “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels” (Exodus 40:34-38). The whole group of Israelites as well as the nations around them saw the glory of God manifesting among His people during 40 years of their journey through the wilderness. God was with them in a visible and tangible way, day and night. Today, we are the tabernacle, temple of the Living God. Jesus promised us that ‘I am with you always, to the very end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20). He is unchanging and consistent. If He has promised you something, He will fulfill it.
“Moses and Aaron then went into the tent of meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown” (Leviticus 9:23-24). When the glory comes, we would fall face down. “Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord” (Leviticus 10:1-2). Never bring unauthorized fire into your ministry, into your life. There is a fire attested by God, authorized from heaven; that is the fire of the Holy Spirit. He will release His holy fire in His time, wait for that.
“He is to put the incense on the fire before the Lord, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the tablets of the covenant law, so that he will not die” (Leviticus 16:13). Incense on fire shows your prayer. “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people” (Revelation 5:8). When you pray, you put incense into the fire that pleases God.
“Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.” Then all the people said, “What you say is good.” ” (1 Kings 18:24). Only the true living God can release fire from heaven. He is the one who answers by fire. When He releases His fire, He releases His power and His presence.
“As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind” (2 Kings 2:11). The supernatural, spiritual things of heaven are above the natural laws that we are familiar with.
“When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.” ” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3). The fire of God always comes down from heaven. When the glory of God manifests, it nullifies the natural things; God then takes over and reveals His power and presence. The people knelt down with their faces to the ground and worshipped Him. The glory of God brings spontaneity in worship. All murmurings, questions, and complaints disappeared; they basked in the glory of the Lord and worshipped Him.
Let us pray that the Lord will lead us in His glory, more and more in the coming days. Let there be glory manifestations in our prayer as well as personal lives.
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About the Author
Ps. Damien Antony
Born and brought up in a Christian family, Ps. Damien Antony possessed an unquenching quest for truth right from his boyhood days and eventually his relentless search led him to the Bible. He is a Revival Preacher, Bible Teacher, Leadership Trainer, Author and a Life Coach. He moves under the anointing for Prophetic, Healing, Deliverance, Inner Healing and Financial Breakthrough. God has also blessed him with an Apostolic Mandate to take the Universal Body of Christ to the next level of revelation and anointing.
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