Israel’s coming baptism of fire

When John the Baptist preached in Judaea unto the people of Israel, unto those who would listen to him, he prophesied that in the future one mightier than him would come and he shall baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

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: 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.

Matthew 3:11-12

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

Luke 3:16-17

The one mightier than him that John spoke of is the Son of man, Jesus Christ (ref. John 1:33-34).

John was a voice in the wilderness, prophesied by Isaiah (ref. Isaiah 40:3, Matthew 3:3, Luke 3:4, John 1:23).

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Isaiah 40:3

His purpose was to prepare the way for the First Coming of the Son of man, Jesus Christ. The individuals who listened to John eventually followed the Son of man during the ministry of the Son of man (ref. John 3:30).

It should be noticed that the books of Matthew and Luke speak of baptism by the Holy Ghost and by fire (ref. Matthew 3:11-12, Luke 3:16-17), whereas the books of Mark and John speak only of baptism by the Holy Ghost (ref. Mark 1:8, John 1:33). Since all four accounts were inspired by God (ref. 2 Timothy 3:16), it means baptism by the Holy Ghost is the same as baptism by fire. In other words, there are not three kinds of baptisms: water; the Holy Ghost; and fire. Rather, there is baptism by water, and baptism by the Holy Ghost and fire.

John baptized Israel, or at least those individuals who would listen to him, with water and unto repentance. His baptism was symbolic. It must be said, John’s rite of baptism did not cause the Holy Spirit to indwell a person.

When John baptized the Son of man Jesus Christ, both John (ref. John 1:32) and Jesus (ref. Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10) saw the Holy Spirit descend from heaven like a dove upon Jesus, and both heard a voice from heaven.

And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

John 1:32-34

But notice that both the Son of man Jesus Christ and John the Baptist were already holy at that time. Mary was filled with the Holy Spirit when she was pregnant (ref. Luke 1:35). So too was Elisabeth (ref. Luke 1:15), the mother of John the Baptist.

After John, the apostles of Jesus Christ also went on to baptize with water many individuals, the early Christians.

However, while he was here on earth in person, the Son of man Jesus Christ did not baptize anyone with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

Only after the crucifixion and resurrection, specifically on the day of Pentecost, did Jesus Christ, as in God the Trinity, send the Holy Spirit to his apostles.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

John 16:7

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 14:26

Now, some insist, Pentecost was the moment Jesus Christ baptized Israel with the Holy Ghost and with fire. For there appeared cloven tongues like as of fire and it sat upon each of the apostles.

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:1-4

Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit at the time, even seemed to declare that this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel (ref. Joel 2:28-32).

… this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days my Spirit; and they shall prophesy… And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 2:16-21

But what Peter meant was that the apostles receiving the Holy Spirit at that time of Pentecost was a foretaste or a preview of what would come to pass in the last days.

Both in Joel 2:28-32 and Zechariah 12:10, the Bible prophesies that God will pour out his Spirit upon Israel: upon the house of David, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Zechariah 12:10

At Pentecost, only the apostles received the Holy Spirit (ref. Acts 2:1-4). Subsequently, other early Christians such as Barnabas also received the Holy Spirit (ref. Acts 11:24). But notice, the Holy Spirit was not given to the entire house of David, nor to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. This is something that will happen at the time of the end, and only after God completes “his marvellous work” (ref. Isaiah 29:14).

Now, at the time of the events of the book of Acts, for Israel it was as if it were the last days. With the benefit of hindsight, today, we know that a few decades later, Israel would cease to be a nation, Judaea would be renamed Palestine by the Roman Empire, and before all that there would even be a false Christ, Simon bar Kokhba, someone who both despised the Galileans, meaning Christians, and rebelled against the Romans. So, the Jews who were in Israel at that time had to hearken to the apostles of Jesus Christ to be saved.

This is why Peter spoke the way he did.

Israel was only reconstituted as a nation in 1948, per the will of God. It was the British Empire, which was properly and largely Christian in 1917, that prised the land that was once Judaea out of the hands of Islam, thereby fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 49.

But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

Isaiah 49:14-15

Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

Isaiah 49:22

Now, some Christians especially those who subscribe to replacement theology – the idea that the Christian church, Catholic or Protestant, has somehow replaced Israel – might think I am wrong about Israel being baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

These Christians who are anti-Jew, or antisemitic, often cite passages of the Bible that are critical of Jews. They miss the point, however, that the same passages speak of the specific generation of Israel at the time of the Son of man. That generation of Jews was indeed “wicked and adulterous” (ref. Matthew 16:4), especially the Pharisees and Sadducees, a “generation of vipers” as John the Baptist put it (ref. Matthew 3:7). They miss also the fact that that generation of Jews, some of whom cried unto Pilate “Crucify him, crucify him” (ref. Luke 23:21), was punished in 66-73 AD by God, who is the LORD of hosts.

The truth is, God has not cast away his people.

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid…

Romans 11:1

The Bible explains, in due time, God will graft the Jews back in.

Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee… And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

Romans 11:18-23

As it was in the days of Elijah, when Elijah thought he alone stood against all the prophets of Baal, God has reserved a remnant of Israel according to the election of grace (ref. Romans 11:5).

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

Joel 2:32

Remember, we are all saved by grace and through faith, lest any man should boast (ref. Ephesians 2:8-9).

For Christians today, the Bible is the Holy Spirit. Those who read a correct translation of the Bible, or those who hearken to a good preacher, someone who understands the word of God, in effect, receive grace.

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? … So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Romans 10:12-17

This remnant of Israel that God will graft back in is sometimes described as “the elect” of Israel.

For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou has not known me. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me

Isaiah 45:4-5

And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

Matthew 24:22

Sure, blindness in part has happened to Israel, as Romans 11 says. But notice the word “until”.

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospels, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.

Romans 11:25-28

That “until” means logically at some point, Israel will no longer be blind.

For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. Wherefore the Lord saith, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people…

Isaiah 29:10-14

This unblinding of Israel will happen precisely when God pours out his Holy Spirit unto the house of David and unto the inhabitants of Jerusalem (ref. Zechariah 12:10, Joel 2:28-29).

This explains why after the day of the LORD, all Israel, everyone who is alive in the promised land, will be holy.

And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem

Isaiah 4:3

To put it another way, no one will have to teach anyone in the kingdom of God about the LORD, for all who are there shall know him.

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law into their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive them their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Jeremiah 31:33-34

As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

Isaiah 59:21

The reason Israel must be redeemed and made holy is because in the distant future, after the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, when Jesus Christ and all Christians leave this world and go to heaven (ref. 1 Corinthians 15:24), Zion where God the Father will dwell is to become a light for all nations.

Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

Zechariah 8:22-23

The redemption of Israel also explains why the Son of man Jesus Christ is described as “the Redeemer”.

And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 59:20

Remember, Christians are already grafted in: Christians have been redeemed by the crucifixion and by the blood of Christ.

The Son of man Jesus Christ came to earth the first time for the resurrection (ref. John 12:27), and for Christianity – to give non-Jews the opportunity to become fellow citizens of the future commonwealth of Israel (ref. Ephesians 2:12-13).

The Son of man will come again, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, to redeem Israel (ref. Luke 21:27-28) and establish the kingdom of God (ref. Psalms 118:22-23).

And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Luke 21:27-28

The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

Psalms 118:22-23

Now, to the matter of fire. John the Baptist prophesied that Jesus shall baptize Israel with the Holy Ghost and with fire.

In the last days, before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, there will be a lot of fire.

For our God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12:29

His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

Revelation 19:12-13

Fire is the signature weapon of God.

The two witnesses will burn their enemies with supernatural fire coming out of their mouths (ref. Revelation 11:5). The armies of the kings of the east will use fiery weapons of war such as thermobarics and pyrophorics, and even outdated flamethrowers (ref. Joel 2:3, Revelation 9:18). The ultimate weapon of war, the nuclear bomb, which the LORD describes as a weapon of his indignation (ref. Isaiah 13:5), is also in essence a fiery weapon. Even Israel, when Judah is to counterattack the beast with the help of the archangel Michael, will be “like an hearth of fire among wood” and “like a torch of fire in a sheaf” (ref. Zechariah 12:6-8).

It is not for nothing that in these last days all the enemies of God should be killed by fire. Death by fire foreshadows their punishment. At the time of the second death, all who are damned will be cast into the lake of fire (ref. Revelation 20:14-15).

Now, there are some among the people of Israel who say they are Jews but are not. Rather, they are of the synagogue of Satan.

… I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Revelation 2:9

The building of Israel’s Supreme Court, for instance, was donated by the Rothschild family. It is replete with occult symbolism, including a pyramid with the all-seeing eye not unlike the one on the US one-dollar bill.

The secret society of Freemasonry also exists in Israel.

And then there are the likes of Kabbalists, which is a form of occult mysticism.

All these sorts cannot be allowed to carry on.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Exodus 20:3

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Exodus 20:5-6

This explains why, Israel must go through, as it were, a baptism of fire – a war and time of tribulation such like Israel has never seen.

Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire. And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision.

Isaiah 29:6-7

For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

Luke 21:22-24

To put it another way, Israel is to be refined through fire.

And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third part shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

Zechariah 13:8-9

Remember, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who remained loyal to the LORD and did not bow down to the image of Nebuchadnezzar, survived the fiery furnace of Nebuchadnezzar, because one like the Son of God was with them and he saved them through the fire (ref. Daniel 3:12-30).

Here is the prophecy of John the Baptist once more.

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: 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.

Matthew 3:11-12

So, God will gather the wheat at the time of the harvest, but the chaff he will burn with fire.

When Israel’s baptism of fire is over, Israel will be a holy people.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.

Isaiah 10:20-21

Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.

Zephaniah 3:14-15