WIND AND FIRE
Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Religious practice has always caused us to look at these verses only as a historical event. And usually it always begins a study on “tongues.” But our Lord warned all religionists to be very careful as to what they might think to be the use of the Scriptures. Here are his words: John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. Therefore we must look for Him, the Person of the Word (John 1:1,2,14), in every verse of our Bibles!
Therefore we must not just study these verses for mere historical accuracy, nor even just for religious doctrine. But we must seek to see the blessed face of our great Savior! For He is the Wind And Fire!
The Wind of God’s Breath
In fact, that word wind in verse two is the exact same word, breath in Acts 17:25. And these two words speak also of “spirit.” For these two words come from the same Greek word that gives us the English word, “Spirit,” as in Holy “Spirit!” And the same Son of God who brought forth life in the physical creation, does so again here in the spiritual creation!
Listen at these two verses: Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
The Apostle Paul speaks of both creations in 2 Corinthians 4:6, where we read: For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Also consider Ephesians 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
All the ‘worlds’ were created by the Person of the Word – the Eternal Son of God! Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. He alone breathes into them the spirit of life! He alone sustains all that life! Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Peace Be Unto You.
Twice in that John 20:19-23 passage we find the Lord using the words, Peace be unto you. And it is of the utmost importance to discern just what he introduced unto them immediately after each of these phrases. Here are the verses revealing their first usage: John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
There can be no mistake as to the instruction he was setting forth unto them! He was saying, “Receive ye me!” Focus on my physical body! First, I am alive forevermore! Secondly, notice the sacrificial marks. I am the completed sacrifice! The days of bringing bulls and goats blood to the temple are over!
Dear reader, this MUST be understood and accomplished in the life of every seeker of God if they are ever to have the Holy Spirit! Jesus Christ is THE way! He is THE truth! He is THE life! And not one single soul has ever come to the Father except by Him alone! (John 14:6).
And not one single soul has ever, or shall ever receive the Holy Spirit except by Him! John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; John 16:7 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.
For our second, Peace be unto you, we read these verses: John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
This time our Lord is not meaning, “Receive ye me!” He is here saying “Receive ye the Holy Ghost!” In the first phrase he was saying, “I’m coming unto you.” But here he is saying, “I’m sending you out from me to deal with the application of my accomplished redemption! You are to go forth, but only under the power of the Holy Ghost, to preach Christ and him crucified for the remission of sin!” But it is as we have already stated, one cannot receive the Holy Spirit without first receiving Christ!
And none can forgive sin but God alone! It has never been in the power of the church, or any individual therein to forgive sin! Therefore it is absolutely essential that one first know Christ, be called forth by Him, and then be filled with the Holy Spirit in order for heaven to make effectual his kingdom work in the preaching of the gospel! 1 Corinthians 3:5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
There is, of course, one more Peace be unto you, down in the 26th verse of this John 20 passage. And it really re-emphasizes the first one! For Thomas being absent at the time of the first one has Christ appear and offer the exact same thing to him as he did to the others at the first appearance. He again offers his living body as proof of his resurrection and encourages Thomas to be not faithless, but believing!
And then with this God-appointed opportunity we in our day are afforded by Christ a recorded word of blessing. For he tells Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. But we must do away with our ‘picture and statue Jesus,’ seeking for the Holy Spirit to reveal him to us by faith alone!
The Fire of God
There can be no doubt concerning God as fire! Here it is stated in plain language! Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire. Also read Daniel 3:25, Acts 7:30, Revelation 1:14, 2:18, and 19:12.
He is the one who baptizes with fire! Matt. 3:11 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:
His fiery afflictions are afforded to the believers for the purifying of their faith! 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
And these fires will reveal every man’s religious activities as to what sort they are! 1 Corinthians 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. (Notice that he says, what sort! Not what size!)
But just what is the understanding we are to have in this truth? Just how does the knowledge that our God is a consuming fire offer us any edification? Let us look to the prophet Ezekiel for some aid to this need.
Ezekiel 1:4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Here we can read of Ezekiel’s preview of these Pentecost happenings!
– He saw both wind and fire just as the disciples did.
They were both in bondage! He was bound up in Babylon. They were enclosed in a room with the door locked! (John 20:19).
To both it is stated that the heaven’s were opened! (Ezek. 1:1; Acts 2:2).
But Ezekiel’s fire was infolding itself, never coming to sit upon his person as God’s fire at Pentecost did! For the blood of bulls and goats afforded no opportunity for such familiarity with the Holy One! For even though Moses’ face shone with the reflection of God’s presence, he was never allowed to see God’s face! But at Pentecost that blood of the Lamb of God had satisfied the Father, (Isa. 53:11), had torn the temple curtain, (Matt. 27:51), revealing the Holy place, and had provided a new and living way for believers to come boldly into His Holy Presence!
Hebrews 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,…
For it is only the glory that excelleth which provides us a look into the face of God! 2 Corinthians 3:9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, (that is, the Old Testament and its sacrifices), much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. (that is, Christ’s completed sacrifice!) 10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
And Ezekiel does give us an understanding of the meaning of the fire of God! In Ezekiel 1:4 (quoted above), there was mentioned that the brightness of the fire was as the color of amber. Then also consider these verses: Ezekiel 1:27 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. 28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.
And what did Ezekiel reveal as to the color of the amber fire? Very clearly he states, This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. It was the recovery and the returning of the glory of God which man lost in the fall of the first Adam! For all have sinned! And sin is defined as the coming short of the glory of God! (Romans 3:23).
But that glory was returned to all who believe on the Son of God for their spiritual life! John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. As in 2 Corinthians 4:6 (quoted above), the light of the knowledge of the glory of God is seen in the face of Jesus Christ! And the spiritual view of his glory sparks spiritual life and spiritual growth in every believer! John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
And the final look at his glory in his personal appearance back into this realm is that which shall bring them eternal glorification! 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
One other thing is to be considered as a difference between Ezekiel’s fire and that of Pentecost’s is that the latter was said to be in cloven tongues and Ezekiel’s was not! That word cloven is the exact same Greek word translated parted in Acts 2:45. And the word tongue in Acts 2:8 is the exact same word, language in Acts 2:6. So the mission of the Holy Spirit was to get the gospel out to every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (Rev. 5:9).
But again, the blood of bulls and goats would not sustain world wide evangelism! The church could not be commanded to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature until after the Lamb of God stood as Sovereign Lion and stated, “All authority is given me in heaven and in earth!” (Matt 28:18). So God, as fire to Ezekiel, was seen as glorious, but did not reveal himself in parted, or cloven tongues, or languages. Nor did it sit upon Ezekiel, but only infolded itself!
Pastor Gene Breed, June 15, 2012