Breaking Down Strongholds and Building Positive Strongholds of Faith Series: Fire
Preached by Apostle Aje Pelser, Harvester Reformational Church, Cape Town
Another way in which God will execute His judgements is through fire, as the writer says in Hebrews 12:29 – “For our God is a consuming fire. ”
An interesting addition to this truth is that : Hebrews 1:7 “Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.”
The word for ministers is ‘leitourgos ‘ [Strong’s #3011]: From ‘laos’, ‘people’; and ‘ergon’, ‘work’. Hence, working for the people. The word first denoted someone who rendered public service at his own expense, then generally signified a public servant, a minister. In the New Testament it is used of earthly rulers (Romans 13:6) ; the apostle Paul (Romans 15:16) ; Epaphroditus who attended to Paul’s needs (Philippians 2:25) ; angels (Hebrews 1:7) ; and Christ (Hebrews 8:2).
3.4.2 Jesus baptises us with the Holy Spirit and with fire
Jesus baptises us with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Prophet John the Baptist prepared the way for the fire of God through prophesying and speaking into being the destructive process with which Jesus was to baptise. John understood the technology of God’s fire as he had himself experienced God’s fire during his life of separation.
Matthew 3:10,11,12 states: “And even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptise you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. ”
Notice which threshing floor Jesus will clean out first- His own.
He will burn all the chaff away out of His house. Hallellujah!
3.4.3 Fire consumes Satan’s defilement
According to apostle Dr. Noel Woodroffe, Satan’s intention is our defilement. He explains the word “defile” – to make unclean, to pollute, to spoil, to stain, to cause to rot.[ The foundation of his statement is Daniel 1:1-8.] He continues to expose satanic strategy :
“The king of Babylon changed the names of boys and spoke over them a name of spiritual defilement. The name Daniel means ‘God is my Judge’, so his name was changed to Belteshazzar which means ‘the keeper of Bel’s treasure’, ‘the holder of Bel’s secrets, ‘the one who enters into the deep secrets of Bel [One of Babylon’s major gods.]… King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took the choice young men who were cunning in knowledge and understanding… to stand in the king’s palace…The king instituted a systematic process of defiling the flower of Jewish youth.”
( Dr. Woodroffe N., “The Ultimate Warrior, Avoiding Defilement.”, 1994, chapter 1, p 2, chapter 4, p 27.)
Woodroffe expands on that process mentioning a three year period of training so that the men could have the same spirit, vision heart [The defilement of Babylon in them.] so that they might stand and willingly serve the king. This is a counterfeit of what God does with His choice young men, but, where Babylon’s teachings defile, all scripture is given is given for our spiritual edification. Daniel knew what was going on and refused to let himself be defiled. We can assert our renewed will to stay pure and choose not to pollute ourselves. Our new creature has a will mind and emotions as well, and the will is growing in stature and in the likeness of God our Father. Daniel 1:15 illustrates the result of a conscious decision not to be defiled:
“And at the end of ten days their countenance appeared better and fatter in flesh [than the guys who ate all the other foods]!” By the way, this does not give anyone permission to be a vegetarian, on the contrary, if you teach people to abstain from certain foods you teach doctrines of demons. Rather be a good minister of God and teach that all things God made are good if received with thanksgiving!
Daniel’s friends faced the same pressures and not to mention fire. But fire had a different effect on God’s men to what Nebuchadnezzar intended, it consumed all defilement he tried to impose on them. Here follows a detailed study of that episode.
3.4.4 The Twofold purpose of God’s fire
The twofold purpose of God’s fire is to destroy the bonds of wickedness and to purify His elect. God does so by their faith as gold is purified. Gold atoms often react with other metals which undermine the quality of the gold, reducing the number of carats. One obtains a superior quality of gold the more one refines the metal. Refining takes place at the highest of temperatures in a fierce furnace and men must keep their distance or be consumed by the immense heat. Once the gold is poured out into a mould one can scrape the impurities off the surface of the metal as oxidation has taken place on the somewhat cooler surface of the molten gold. The more this process is repeated, the higher the quality and price of the gold.
1Peter 1:7 – “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
The true meanings of the names of Daniel’s friends reveal an element of Christ in the fire:
|The name Mishael means : “Who is like God?”
Mishael was determined to live up to the meaning of his name. Many people have slogans for their lives but forget about it in the fire of trials and tribulations.
|The name Hananiah means : “Yahweh is gracious”
Hananiah walked in God’s grace for his life, no matter what. Grace kicked in as divine ability to withstand temptation. That same grace is available to us today if we believe in the true God, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
|The name Azaria means : “Yahweh is my helper”
God helped him out of the jaws of death and the mouth of hell fire.
To summarize the collective meaning of their names: “Who is like God? He is gracious and He is our helper!” And so it was for Mishael, Hananiah and Azaria. So it can be for us who believe.
God has beautifully illustrated this twofold purpose of His fire in Daniel 3. Nebuchadnezzar wanted Shadrach; Meshach and Abed-Nego, to bow down to the golden image. The king said he would cast them into the furnace and asked them which god would save them. They answered wisely saying;
“O, Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image that you have set up. ” The king made the fire seven times as hot. He commanded certain mighty men of valour who were in his army to bind up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the fire. The three were bound in their coats, trousers, turbans and other garments and were cast into the furnace. Then the king said :
“Look ! I see four men, loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. ” Remember the twofold purpose of God’s fire.
In addition, here are five principles we can learn about God’s fire :
1 – The strongmen that bound God’s people died.
2 – They were loosed – their bonds were burnt off.
3 – They were not burnt – they didn’t burn.
4 – Jesus was revealed in the fire. Praise God!
5 – Nebuchadnezzar called them servants of the Most High God.
God’s fire achieves several things at once according to His great wisdom and power.
We can see that Fire has both a positive and a negative purpose:
it can burn up and consume.
It can destroy
It can also heat, cook, refine, move and empower by generating force and electricity. Having the right perspective on the baptism of fire will have the same effect on your spiritual growth. Welcome His fire in your life!
Photo by Sergi Viladesau