|Luke 3:2-17 |
2 Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. [Christendom teaches that the Bible is the word of God. There were no Bibles in this time. Scriptures were on scrolls: handwritten, expensive, rare, and kept in synagogues. Scriptures did not come to John the Baptist in the wilderness, but the voice of the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus, who is the Word of God, did come to John; and Jesus still speaks today, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Heb 13:8. Click to see the 125 verses that state: "the word of the Lord came, speaking" and "the word of God came, speaking."]
3 And he came into all the country around the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission [release from the bondage] of sins;1 [For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: "In repentance and rest you are saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength, Isa 30:15. Repentance: turn from your evil ways. Rest: Be still and know that I am God. Psa 46:10. Saved: to see Christ bring your salvation. — Wait on the Lord in quietness, rest from all your worldly non-essential activities, and have confidence that the Lord will remove the sin that he shows you, as you repent; thus you will be saved. There is no other way.]
4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. [The evil heart of all men must be prepared for the Lord to dwell within, for in the evil heart is found evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, false witness, deceit, lack of restraint, envy, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. Mark 7:21-23, Mat 15:18-19. Until a man's heart has been cleansed and purified, the Lord and his Father do not come with their kingdom to dwell and guide a man through life. Jesus is "holy, innocent, undefiled, and separate from sinners." Heb 7:26. From the Word of the Lord within: "See myself — thus no sin has a place in me."]
7 Then he said to the multitude that came out to be baptized by him, "O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? [Everyone is a viper, until their selfish, Satanic spirit has been slain by the Lord through the aid of the Spirit that puts to death the selfish, lustful, covetous, angry, deeds of the body.]
8 Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, and do not say within yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones. [John is saying that before you can successfully seek the Kingdom of God, you must show a changed lifestyle, as evidenced by your deeds; then God will teach you what else to deny and how to live a godly life until you become pure and redeemed from all sin.]
9 For the axe is already laid at the root of the trees, so that every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."3 [The tree is a metaphor for a man; fruit is the metaphor for the fruit of God's Spirit: love, peace, gentleness, patience, self-control, patience, faith, and kindness. Until a man has been cleansed, purified, and restored to God's image, he is a tree that produces bad fruit: lust, anger, envy, sexual immorality, drunkenness, revelry, foolishness, lying, theft, dishonesty, etc. Trees that do not produce good fruit are cut down and thrown into the fire.]
10 And the people asked him, "What shall we do then?"
11 And he answered and said to them, "He who has two coats, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise." [Share from your excess with anyone who lacks the necessities of life.]
12 Then the tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, "Master, what shall we do?"
13 And he said to them, "Do not collect any more than you are required to." [Do not defraud anyone; be honest in your dealings; do not take advantage of anyone.]
14 And the soldiers likewise asked him, saying, "And what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Don't take money from anyone by force, nor accuse anyone falsely; and be content with your wages."4 [Do not oppress anyone; don't lie; don't want more; don't complain.]
15 Now as the people were waiting expectantly, and all men reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not,
16 John answered, saying to them all, "I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to unfasten. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire; [This baptism of fire is the baptism of death, to then be resurrected with Christ as a new creature with a new heart, mind, and spirit. From the Word of the Lord within: "You are raised to a new life, not just an imitation; He is one with us and ever-present."]
17 Whose winnowing fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor and gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable."5 [The Lord separates the wheat from the chaff, the precious from the vile. The wheat is the words of life that he has spoken to you, which words are grafted into your heart to form Christ within; the chaff is your selfish, sinful nature of its lusts, affections, and pride, which after separation is then burnt to oblivion by the devouring fire and everlasting burnings of Jesus, the pure word of life, which is fire. From the Word of the Lord within: "God treads down and throws away all that is unholy; there is a dying." This baptism of death is the final step before translation into the kingdom of God, to be there while on earth and then forever.]
5 I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to unfasten. He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire; whose winnowing fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor and gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. The Lord separates the wheat from the chaff, the precious from the vile. The wheat is the words of life that he has spoken to you, which words are grafted into your heart to form Christ within; the chaff is your selfish, sinful nature of its lusts, affections, and pride, which after separation is then burnt to oblivion by the devouring fire and everlasting burnings of Jesus, the pure word of life, which is fire. The 120 disciples of Jesus were baptized with tongues of fire in Jerusalem during Pentecost. Acts 2:3. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the baptism of fire, the baptism of death:
From the Word of the Lord within: "God treads down and throws away all that is unholy; there is a dying. One actually dies to enter the camp. You are raised to a new life, not just an imitation; He is one with us and ever-present."
Thus Jesus creates a cleansed, purified individual, then capable of union with God, to share in God's divine nature. Until man obtains the purifying, miraculous grace of God to cleanse his heart, he cannot be company with or pleasing to God. This baptism occurs after a man has crucified his selfish, sinful nature on the inward cross of self-denial. This baptism by fire, the baptism of death to the selfish nature of man, is the one baptism needed: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, Eph 4:5. Because we hate our life, we have no fear of losing our life; for when we lose our life, we save our life, the new life, the eternal life of God.
Gentle reader, do not think this baptism of death is strange for: 1) the Lord told us several times we must lose our life to save our life; 2) the baptism of death and susbsequent burial is stated in the scriptures, and 3) we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual service and worship, Rom 12:1.
This is end of your fleshly self, as Christ comes and slays this residual spirit of Satan within you by the brightness of his coming, by the words of his mouth, by his crushing the head of Satan under your feet. The final judgment. The true baptism of the Holy Spirit: into the death of Christ. The sharing of his death. Jesus is then resurrected in you to be your true Lord, 2 Cor4:14,Col2:11-12,3:1, Eph 2:6; who orders all your words and deeds, which deeds are works to show the love and power of God to the world.
The journey of faith to the baptism of death, (which is the one true baptism), is not a short journey , nor is it accomplished by asking or praying for it; it only occurs after you have: waited on the Lord, heard his many spoken-to-you reproofs, consistently obeyed his many commands that you hear him speak to you, died daily on the inward cross of self-denial, suffered many trials and tribulations, and endured with patience and persistence to the end.
This baptism by fire is performed by Jesus, who comes to those who have crucified their lusts and affections on the inward cross of self-denial; the appearance of Jesus to perform the baptism of fire is the second coming of the Lord and the Day of the Lord for those crucified.
The second coming and the day of the Lord are one in the same personal experience, which occurs for all men in every generation. For those who are crucified to spiritually die on the inward cross of self-denial, the second coming occurs as the Lord appears after the baptism of fire has burned all the remaining sin in them. Their body dies in this baptism of fire and death, but the believer is raised (resurrected) with Christ and translated into the kingdom of God. Though raised with Christ to live in the heavens, they still walk the earth as a new creature together, in union with the Lord.
The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, he who despises the gain of oppression, who keeps his hands from taking bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil;
He will dwell on high; his place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; bread will be given him; his waters will be sure.
Your eyes will see the king in his beauty; they will behold the land that is very far off. Isa 33:14-17
William Dewsbury, another kingdom-dwelling, early Quaker, also left a testimony of the terror in the Day of the Lord and his baptism by fire:
I was slain and baptized, and lay as a little child under his heavenly chastisements; as soon as ever my soul was brought to this, in my humiliation. Oh! then, the dreadful judgment was taken away, and the book of life was opened unto me, and the Lord spoke comfortably to me, 'I have loved you with an everlasting love;" and I was made a Christian through a day of vengeance, and of burning as an oven; and the haughtiness and pride of man in me was brought low.
The following is from kingdom-dwelling, early-Quaker Stephen Crisp's The Necessity of a Holy Life, which gives us further first-hand knowledge of the baptism of fire:
"There is no coming to obtain this baptism, but by sinking down into what will slay you, what will kill you. But there is such a shifting to save one's life, there are so many twistings and twinings of people to save their lives, that at last they lose them. But no one can ever find life that is eternal, but those who are willing to be given up to the dead, and submit to this baptism — that is, by the Holy Ghost and by fire. Only such come to life; they come to the resurrection. For you never knew any that died this death but that they rose again; it is as impossible for death to hold any one down that is buried in this baptism,* as it was impossible to hold Christ down, when he was in the grave. The same power that brought again our Lord Christ from the dead, the same power it is that quickens us, while we remain in these mortal bodies, after we have sustained this death and crucifixion."
[* Your resurrection is very quick, and your burial is not in this physical world.]
Like the resurrection of Lazarus, after you undergo the baptism of death, the Lord calls you by name to "come forth."
From the Word of the Lord within:
From George Fox's Journal:
You must have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. 1 Pet 4:12-13
If you will reign with him, you must suffer with him. 2 Tim 2:12
if you will live with him, you must die with him. 2 Tim 2:11 (there must be a "dying daily.")
And if you die with him, you must be buried with him, Rom 6:4
and being buried with him in the true baptism, you also rise with him. Col 2:12, Eph 2:6