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25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?
26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.
27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
26 And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the LORD.
31 For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you.
Originally posted by Icarus Rising
I have seen this reference over and over as I read the KJV of the OT. It usually involves children being made to 'pass through the fire' and is not a practice condoned by the Lord. It is a practice usually engaged in by those who worship 'groves and idols', but there is no concrete explanation, so far, of just what it entails or what its purpose or effect is.
26 I let them become defiled through their gifts—the sacrifice of every firstborn [a] —that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the LORD.'
31 They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire—something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.
4 For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. 5 They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind. 6 So beware, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.
7 " 'In this place I will ruin [a] the plans of Judah and Jerusalem. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, at the hands of those who seek their lives, and I will give their carcasses as food to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth. 8 I will devastate this city and make it an object of scorn; all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff because of all its wounds. 9 I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and daughters, and they will eat one another's flesh during the stress of the siege imposed on them by the enemies who seek their lives.'
all that openeth the womb
23:37b and have also caused their sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass for them through the fire, to devour them.
23:39a For when they had slain their children to their idols
31But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
So what is this fire baptism?
A prophecy of the eschatological separation of the righteous from the unrighteous, and judgment by the Messiah at the end of the age. This fits contemporary expectations of the Messiah, as well as the words "cleanse thoroughly" and "unquenchable fire" contained in the passage. Jesus' parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Matthew 13:30, 41-42) includes this kind of analogy of separation and final judgment.
So John is prophesying of Jesus that he will (1) flood his followers with the Holy Spirit, and (2) judge the unrighteous at the End of the Age.
When Christ returns, he will come in judgment. The first time he came in mercy, but when he returns at the End of the Age it will be with final, terrible judgment. What should disciples learn from this? First, we need to get off the fence and determine whose side we're on. We need to learn a healthy fear of God.