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Does Islam cause terrorism?  Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Moral Equivalency Applied Islamic History 0409.htm

Is the Bible God’s Word?  Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Is the Bible the Word of God.htm

Why does God Allow Evil?  Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Why Does God Allow Evil 0908.htm

Is Christian teaching from ancient paganism? /Bookhtml/Paganism influence issue article Journal 013003.htm

Should God’s existence be proven? /Apologeticshtml/Should the Bible and God Be Proven Fideism vs WCG.htm

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What Are the Baptisms of Fire and of the Holy Spirit?


What is the baptism of fire?  What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?  First, Let’s first briefly review what baptism using water means, since that kind of baptism is the most basic meaning for this word.  When the Greek word translated baptism is translated into English, not just transliterated, it means "immerse," such as of a ship sinking in the ocean.  If we are to follow in Jesus' footsteps as a general principle (I John 2:6), then we should be baptized as Jesus was.  He got up out of the water of the Jordan after John the Baptist baptized Him (Matt. 3:16):  "After Jesus was baptized, he came directly out of the water."  Also, the comparison between Jesus' burial after His crucifixion and our burial in baptism doesn't work so well if we think sprinkling or pouring is enough for the symbolic water burial (Col. 2:12; Romans 6:3-5). 

So then, what is the baptism of fire?  Consider the context of Matt. 3:10-12, which helps to explain what is the meaning of the baptism by fire.  In the immediate context (verses 7-9), John the Baptist was strongly denouncing the Pharisees and Sadducees for their sins.  Then he said, “And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees:  every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming [i.e., Jesus] after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Notice that since the verses before and after verse 11 equate the symbol of fire with punishment, it’s very unreasonable to conclude that “fire” in verse 11 doesn’t refer to punishment also.  In this case, it refers to the ultimate destruction of non-immortal souls in the lake of fire pictured by the book of Revelation (20:11-15; cf. Malachi 4:1, 3).  Therefore, we shouldn’t assume that the baptism of fire is a positive reference to baptism by the Holy Spirit when that kind of baptism also is mentioned in the same verse (i.e., verse 11).

If we know what the baptism of fire is, then what is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?  Notice the resurrected Jesus’ explanation in Acts 1:5:  “For John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”  In context, he was obviously referring to the powerful descent of the Holy Spirit on the first Christians that’s described as occurring on the Day of Pentecost in the next chapter.  Peter interpreted these words the same way in Acts 11:15-17:  “And as I began to speak [to the gentiles, including Cornelius], the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as it did upon us at the beginning [i.e., on Pentecost, in Acts 2].  And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’  If God therefore gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”  Here Peter plainly equates baptism by the Holy Spirit with receiving the Holy Spirit, not with fire.  One is baptized by the Holy Spirit after one is baptized by water and then receives the laying on of hands from an elder to receive the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 8:12, 14-19; 19:16).  So the baptism of the Holy Spirit is very good, and to be sought, but the baptism of fire is very bad, and should be avoided.  In conclusion, the baptism of fire is a spiritual punishment that costs one salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit is what gives someone salvation. 

Eric V. Snow

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Why does God Allow Evil? Click here: /Apologeticshtml/Why Does God Allow Evil 0908.htm

May Christians work on Saturdays? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Protestant Rhetoric vs Sabbath Refuted.htm

Should Christians obey the Old Testament law? /doctrinalhtml/Does the New Covenant Abolish the OT Law.htm

Do you have an immortal soul? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Here and Hereafter.htm

Does the ministry have authority? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Is There an Ordained Ministry vs Edwards.html

Is the United States the Beast? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Are We the Beast vs Collins.htm

Should you give 10% of your income to your church? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Does the Argument from Silence Abolish the Old Testament Law of Tithing 0205 Mokarow rebuttal.htm

Is Jesus God? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Is Jesus God.htm

Will there be a third resurrection? Click here: /doctrinalhtml/Will There Be a Third Resurrection.htm



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