Baptism By Fire
Baptism by fire is mentioned in two verses, Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16. These vaerses are quoting the Apostle John who says of Jesus, "he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." It is not clear exactly what John meant by "with fire" as this is not clarified elsewhere in Scripture. However, fire represents both cleansing and punishment in Scripture. However, Jesus is not going to punish believers. The baptism with the Holy Spirit could be represented with fire to refer to the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit, or it could be a separate work. Some Christians have said that they have felt the Holy Spirit come upon them and it has felt like a burning fire. I had this experience when I was miraclulously healed of back pain. I had excruciating back pain on a youth retreat and told my youth pastor who called over everyone (about forty youth). They all laid hands on me and the youth pastor anointed me with oil while they all prayed for me to be healed. I immediately felt a strange and wonderful strong heat radiating throughout my spine and all over my body, and the back pain, which was excruciating, immediately left. I continued to lay on the ground in the presence of the Holy Spirit and I never felt that pain again. It felt like my body was full of fire, it felt hot and tingly but did not hurt, it felt strange, but wonderful!
I believe "baptism by fire" refers to the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit. This can happen during a conversion or it can happen as a seperate work. I believe it is the same with the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues, they can happen upon conversion or be a seperate subsequent work.
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