Friday, October 30, 2015

Things Are Heating Up!

“As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:37) means more than most people think.  Beside the fact that people will be behaving the same way, completely obtuse to anything above indulging their flesh, they will be like the proverbial frog which does not jump out of the boiling water before it is cooked because it doesn’t boil straightway; it rises in temperature at a rate not discerned by the frog.  And we, walking in the spirit, and as flames of fire, are an agency of God: we are being used to escalate or heat up their judgment by our words and lifestyle; they are sitting like those frogs, unaware that they are already being cooked by us.  Most don’t consider the story of Noah closely enough to remember that God flooded the earth not only by rain (sent down from heaven) but by breaking up the deeps (sent from the bottom of the seas; sent up from the earth—sent up from us!).  “All the fountains of the great deep were broken up and burst forth, and the windows and floodgates of the heavens were opened” (Genesis 7: 11).  The ancient world got it from both ends; the modern world is too (only with fire).

But how greatly and sorely was Christ urged to go to the cross so that the Holy Spirit and fire could come!  Right before He talked about how impelled He was to accomplish the task of dying for mankind on the cross, He said: “I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and how I wish that it were already kindled!” (Luke 12: 49).  Indeed, “EVERYONE shall be salted with fire” (Mark 9: 49).  His winnowing fan (shovel, fork) is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear out and clean His threshing floor and gather and store His wheat in His barn, but the chaff He will burn up with fire that cannot be put out” (Matthew 3: 12).  But only those who have already allowed this process to occur, having judged themselves so as to not be judged when God comes to examine His work, are ready for His day.  Only those who have been sanctified, those fully immersed or baptized into the water of the Holy Spirit, can handle the fire of the Holy Spirit.  Indeed,

"Set me like a seal upon your heart, like a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy is as hard and cruel as Sheol (the place of the dead). ITS FLASHES ARE FLASHES OF FIRE, A MOST VEHEMENT FLAME [THE VERY FLAME OF THE LORD]!  MANY WATERS CANNOT QUENCH LOVE, NEITHER CAN FLOODS DROWN IT” (Song of Songs 8:6-7).

Our God, who is a consuming fire, and vehemently jealous, can only be endured by those protected by baptism.  The fire beneath the flood (both judgments combined) is a compound judgment: a judgment unto condemnation for any residue or lingering sin not put to death, not repented of, and a condemnation unto victory to the whole of those who are dead, but resurrected (a flame beneath a flood, a fire with nothing more to consume; this is the picture of a Christian walking in the Spirit, walking in resurrection life).  Flesh was condemned to a watery grave at the flood; spirit is the fire which cannot be quenched by floods.

But for the wicked and unrepentant it is like this:

“Just as the darnel (weeds resembling wheat) is gathered and burned with fire, so it will be at the close of the age” (Matthew 13: 40).  “Those who are fencing me in raise their heads; may the mischief of their own lips and the very things they desire for me come upon them. Let burning coals fall upon them; let them be cast into the fire, into floods of water or deep water pits, from which they shall not rise.  Let not a man of slanderous tongue be established in the earth; let evil hunt the violent man to overthrow him [let calamity follow his evildoings]” (Psalm 140: 9-11).  “He has bent His bow like an enemy; He has stood with His right hand [Jesus Christ] set like a foe and has slain all the delights and pride of the eye [carnality]; on and in the tent of the Daughter of Zion He has poured out His wrath like fire [He loves us with a jealous love, and that love has the effect of being angry at our outer man to condemnation while being happy at our inner man to victory at the same time with the very flame of who He is by His intrinsic nature]” (Lamentations 2: 4).

For the righteous and repentant, rather, it is like this:

Because the…commandment was urgent and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame and sparks from the fire killed those men who handled Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  And these three men…fell down bound into the burning fiery furnace.  Then Nebuchadnezzar [saw] four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they [were] not hurt! And the form of the fourth is like a son of the gods!  And the satraps, the deputies, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered around together and saw these men—that the fire had no power upon their bodies, nor was the hair of their head singed; neither were their garments scorched or changed in color or condition, nor had even the smell of smoke clung to them.  (Daniel 3: 22-27).

Just like the flood came from both heaven and earth, so shall the fire be.  It will be thrown down from above (“And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun; and it was given to it to scorch men with fire”—Revelations 16: 8) and erupt from beneath (those ministers of His walking in Holy Ghost and Fire upon the earth); God and His ministers both will be fire, and will be walking about like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and the “fourth” one within, and upon this furnace-of-affliction earth.  We, along with our God, will be judging mankind by simply being who we are.  Our God is a consuming fire; so made in His image, we are too.  Finally,

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish (pass away) with a thunderous crash, and the [material] elements [of the universe] will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.  Since all these things are thus in the process of being dissolved, what kind of person ought [each of] you to be [in the meanwhile] in consecrated and holy behavior and devout and godly qualities, while you wait and earnestly long for (expect and hasten) the coming of the day of God by reason of which the flaming heavens will be dissolved, and the [material] elements [of the universe] will flare and melt with fire?  (2 Peter 3: 10-12).