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Question for Christians… Fire or Water?

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posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 05:55 PM
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When I came to believe in Jesus and received the Holy Spirit, I experienced what was described in the verse...



John 7:38
“whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him”


...which is great and accurately describes what I experienced. Incidentally that was how I described my experience to myself because it literally felt like a fountain of water welling up from inside of me and this was before I was even aware of the above verse.

Just recently, it dawned on me that the Holy Spirit is also described as being like a fire! Which at first seems like a total contradiction. And to add to the confusion, there is the following verse…




Matthew 3:11
"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit AND FIRE"


From what I can gather so far, some Christians believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of fire, are two separate baptisms, while others believe that Christians are automatically baptized with fire at the same time, that they're baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Either the Holy Spirit comes sometimes as a fire or sometimes as water, or the Baptism of fire, is referring to something else entirely different and possibly something separate from the Holy Spirit itself but if so, then what?

I have some ideas but I still haven’t come to any definitive conclusions on this yet. I have asked a few of my Christian friends but have yet to find a consistent answer.

If any biblical scholars, out there, can shed some light on this, that would be great.


- JC




posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 06:14 PM
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The Holy Spirit is a very unique thing. Nothing else in the universe is comparable to the Spirit. As for the feeling or essence of the Spirit, let me say this. We do not understand the nature of our own spirits, much less be able to understand the nature of the Spirit of God. However let me make an attempt on fire and water.

When the Holy Spirit fell upon those in the upper room, it did so as "tongues of fire". Likewise we have the verse you have mentioned, that out of their bellies hall flow forth fountains of living water. And then the statement that it feels like, fire, shut up in the bones.

Although this may see contradictory at first lets take a look. Water: water is pure, soothing, and gives life. So does the Spirit, it is peaceful, it is life.
Fire: Fire is power, intense, unquenchable. These are also the attributes of the Spirit.

In my opinion the Spirit of God is fluid, it uses whatever role it needs according to the situation. I believe it is both, fire and water.

Gentle and soothing, when called to be so.

Powerful and all consuming when needed.



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 07:36 PM
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Matthew 3:11
"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit AND FIRE"


Who is Jesus talking about? Who is "he"?
Muslims believe this is a direct reference to Prophet Muhammad.



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 08:27 PM
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ummmm.... Jesus didn't say that, Matthew 3:11 is John the Baptist speaking. The "I" is John, the "he" is Jesus Christ. Read the next 6 verses and it's quite clear that John is speaking of Jesus. And certainly not Muhammad.



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 09:00 PM
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reply to post by Jermicide
 


First of all thanks for your reply and I see you are new here, so welcome to ATS.




Originally posted by Jermicide
When the Holy Spirit fell upon those in the upper room, it did so as "tongues of fire". Likewise we have the verse you have mentioned, that out of their bellies hall flow forth fountains of living water. And then the statement that it feels like, fire, shut up in the bones.





Acts 2:1-3
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.


In the above verse the Holy Spirit is being described as having the appearance of fire. The only other place in the Bible I am aware that describes God or Gods spirit as appearing like a fire, is where he speaks to Moses through the burning bush. Unfortunately the disciples don’t say whether the Holy Spirit felt like fire or water, on the day of Pentecost.




Originally posted by Jermicide
Although this may see contradictory at first lets take a look. Water: water is pure, soothing, and gives life. So does the Spirit, it is peaceful, it is life.
Fire: Fire is power, intense, unquenchable. These are also the attributes of the Spirit.


I have been considering the possibility that water when heated up may feel a lot like fire from within, which could account for the possible contradiction but I keep getting drawn back to the verse Matthew 3:11 “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit AND FIRE”. I mean why say “and Fire” it’s almost as if the Fire is something extra along with or possibly separate from the Holy Spirit.




Originally posted by Jermicide
In my opinion the Spirit of God is fluid, it uses whatever role it needs according to the situation. I believe it is both, fire and water.

Gentle and soothing, when called to be so.

Powerful and all consuming when needed.


I think you could be right in that God will baptize people in the Holy Spirit in a certain way, depending on the person receiving it, in that some may require a powerful consuming fire, while others will receive a gentle soothing water, which is what I experienced.


Thanks again for your thoughts…


- JC



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 09:02 PM
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reply to post by Sahabi
 




Originally posted by Sahabi
Who is Jesus talking about? Who is "he"?
Muslims believe this is a direct reference to Prophet Muhammad.


In the verse Matthew 3:11 it is not Jesus who is talking but John the Baptist and the “he”, he is referring to, is Jesus.

John the Baptist is saying that he i.e. Jesus, is the one who will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.

Why do Muslims believe that the “he” in the above verse, refers to the Prophet Muhammad.


- JC



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 09:35 PM
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reply to post by Jermicide
 


Sorry, I totally misphrased that!!!

I meant to say, "Is he talking about Jesus? Who is "he"?
Muslims believe this is a direct reference to Prophet Muhammad."


Glad you pointed that out. Thanks.

I know the idea is controversial to Christians. If you look up the literal word in the ancient manuscripts where we today see "Holy Ghost", we will note these are misleading translations. Where the Greek "Parakletos," "Periklyto", "Paraclete", and "Pneuma" are used, the translators fit in what best fit the ideological model. Comforter, Advocate, Counselor, Helper, Admirable One, Breath are the accurate meanings.

Sorry I came in this thread.



posted on Nov, 24 2010 @ 09:39 PM
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reply to post by Joecroft
 


I'll answer any of your Christian/Muslim questions if you request a specific explanation. Just ask. But I'm trying really hard to stay away from religious debates. I'll give info if it is asked of me.



posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 12:51 AM
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reply to post by Joecroft
 
John the Baptist was thinking of Jesus as being messianic which to the people of this time would also mean apocalyptic, so the imagery would be referring to the choice between being purified in this life, and being destroyed after not repenting, at the end of the Age, when the Messiah cleanses the earth of evil.
So, I do not think the fire being referred to by John the Baptist had anything to do with the experience of Christians with the Holy Spirit.

edit on 25-11-2010 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 12:10 PM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 





Originally posted by jmdewey60
John the Baptist was thinking of Jesus as being messianic which to the people of this time would also mean apocalyptic, so the imagery would be referring to the choice between being purified in this life, and being destroyed after not repenting, at the end of the Age, when the Messiah cleanses the earth of evil.


Yes that is a very good point and is what a few my Christian friends had suggested, although I have yet to find an overall consensus that it is true.

First of all I think you could be right but my only nagging doubt is that firstly the verse Matthew 3:11, uses the word “baptized”, which in my mind is something I think of exclusively for believers in Jesus and secondly the verse uses the grammatical conjunction, “and”.

My point is, that if you believe in Jesus and are baptized in the Holy Spirit, then you can’t also be facing the end time judgment, in the form of fire. Perhaps figuratively speaking, John the Baptist uses the word “and” to separate two different contexts for believers and unbelievers, but if that is so, then why use the word baptism for both contexts?

Just my thoughts…


- JC



posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 01:38 PM
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I tend to think Fire means persecution.

Matthew 20:22
But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.

Those who belong to Christ are tested for their faith, in the Fire of persecution. This is part of the same baptism that Jesus was baptized with, faithful until death. The shedding of one's blood for having faith in Christ is the same cup that he drank of.

Holy Spirit and Fire = Spirit of Truth and Persecution



posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 01:43 PM
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reply to post by Joecroft
 
The actual context of it was whatever was going on at the time this was written and I'm sure it had a purpose beyond being a historical document, which I do not think was the main purpose.
John was well known, according to the Gospels, and respected and Jesus built him up too, as the greatest of all the prophets. So John would have to be quoted as being prophetic in the apocalyptic sense in order to be thorough in describing a proper Messiah, and it could be that when the Apostle John wrote this, people were wondering if there was another person coming along that they should be looking for. This John would quote the earlier John to show that one person fulfilled all prophecy and to stop looking for a Messiah because we already have the one and only.


edit on 25-11-2010 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 04:33 PM
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My experience of the Spirit was and is electrifying, so for me, Spirit is fire but as fire and water are, like angels, power, I think each is relevant.



posted on Nov, 25 2010 @ 09:32 PM
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We recognize one another by our fruit.

There is only one baptism even though two words (fire and spirit) are mentioned. John the Baptist also testified, that the Holy Spirit is given by God without limit. However, what is different is the level of an anointment each person receives as their reward. King David was anointed three times. Elisha asked for and received a double portion.

Part of my experience was being touched on my lips, not once but twice. Definately felt electrical. Isaiah and Daniel mentioned their lips being touched but it was Isaiah who said an angel took tongs and got a live coal off the altar and touched his lips with it. The fire cleanses, so that "your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."

Since my initial baptism, I know equate the Holy Spirit with Living Water that wells to eternal life - that is, it is a perpetual gift of God and the main reason Jesus came so we could have this life and have it to the full; my cup runneth over.

There is also the Gospel of Thomas. A lot of christians won't even give the gospel the time of day. I believe it to be the words of Jesus and that is is like an "exegesis" on the Son of Man. In it, he refers to the living water as a "bubbling spring" that he tends. Of the fire, he said he guards it til it blazes.

I've also found, that people describe the presence of the Holy Spirit to that of bees. There's an apocryphal old testament text titled "Joseph & Asenth" that has most scholars just stumped. As soon as I read it I realized immediately that Aseneth was experiencing the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Repenting, rubbing ashes on oneself, then bees showed up and started buzzing her head. John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit from the womb and one of his foods he lived off of was wild honey.

Also there is the prophetess/judge Deborah from the OT. Her name means bee and is also where the words "word of God" come from. A quick word study on "Word of the LORD" and "Word of God" would show people how long the Son of God has been around - since the beginning.



edit on 25-11-2010 by Myrtales Instinct because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 26 2010 @ 04:54 PM
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reply to post by Joecroft
 

Hi Joe
Im no scholar by any means but perhaps I can help.Theologically speaking, Only God reserves the right for Judgment.Typically when scripture speaks of gods judgment it usually does so by means of fire.ex Luke 17:29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
Scripturally speaking, John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.
Since God (theologically speaking) reserves the right to judge, and John 5:22 (scripturally speaking) clearly states that the son has this power, the only conclusion one can get is that the Son possesses the same power as the Father ,thus being the same nature of God, thus being GOD. John the Baptist uses the word fire to convey the divinity of Jesus who reserves the right to judge.

Forgot what we were talking about..lol oh yeah, Water! yes Water Baptism.

theres more, "to baptize" literally means to 'plunge" or to 'immerse" the 'plunge' into the water symbolizes the catechumen's burial into Christs death,from which he rises up by resurrection with him as 'a new creature'
92cor 5"17,Gal6:15, Rom 6:3-4, Cor2:12 ect) Titus 3:5 calls baptiism 'the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit, which Christians believe to be Jesus/ God, the third person of the Trinity.

edit on 26-11-2010 by oliveoil because: more stuff to add


so basically what John is saying is that that he alone baptizes with water but Jesus will make you new. as only God can do.
edit on 26-11-2010 by oliveoil because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 26 2010 @ 07:52 PM
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reply to post by oliveoil
 


Hey oliveoil



Originally posted by oliveoil
I’m no scholar by any means but perhaps I can help.


I have seen a few of your posts around ATS and can honestly say you know the Bible pretty well.





Originally posted by oliveoil
Scripturally speaking, John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.
Since God (theologically speaking) reserves the right to judge, and John 5:22 (scripturally speaking) clearly states that the son has this power, the only conclusion one can get is that the Son possesses the same power as the Father ,thus being the same nature of God, thus being GOD. John the Baptist uses the word fire to convey the divinity of Jesus who reserves the right to judge.


I hope this isn’t the Trinity debate… round 2 lol

I guess you already know what I believe from our previous discussions but seriously, even though I don’t accept the Trinity, by definition, I don’t really have a problem with people who believe in the Trinity.

This is because I can see that both non-Trinitarians and Trinitarians, both believe that God speaks through Jesus; this is universally true, of both groups, so I don’t have a problem with it at all. And of course God sees directly into the things of our hearts and not so much our heads.

Anyway… back on topic…



Originally posted by oliveoil
John the Baptist uses the word fire to convey the divinity of Jesus who reserves the right to judge.


So do you believe that the verse Matthew 3:11 where John the Baptist uses the phrase “and fire”, is referring to judgment of non-believers?

And if so what are your thoughts on the verses like Jeremiah 20:9 and other Christian posters on this thread, who are saying that they have actually experienced the Holy Spirit, as being/feeling like a fire?


- JC



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 07:03 AM
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Baptism by water refers to the rebirth of a person who has accepted Jesus Christ as their savior and Lord. God uses what we know of this physical world to help us understand the spirit world. Just as we were all born from the water of our mother in pregnancy, so must we be reborn in spirit by accepting Jesus Christ as our savior. Baptism is simply symbolic of a rebirth of becoming a child of God. The baptism by fire refers to being in the presence of God. Again God is uses this physical world to help us understand the spirit world. Fire is used to forge metal and to separate the impurities from it. The power of fire consumes and destroys everything in its path with heat. God is described as fire because his power and glory radiates like fire and consumes all that is not pure and corruptible. All humans that have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will be destroyed at second coming of Jesus Christ by his power and glory that radiates like fire. The children of God will be changed to spirit at the appearance of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Since our sins are washed away by the blood of Christ, the fire will not consume since we are pure of heart and spotless to our heavenly Father. This world will be destroyed by fire and the children of God will go to the place Jesus said he would prepare for us for a 1000 years. Then we will return to a new heaven and earth and the devil will be destroyed. We will live forever with God the Father and God the Son on earth as is was intended from the beginning before the great deception of satan and the fall of man. God bless you all and remember your heavenly Father loves you



posted on Nov, 27 2010 @ 03:53 PM
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reply to post by Joecroft
 

Hey Joe, I don't know if everyone would agree that I know my bible, But thanks for the kind words.



So do you believe that the verse Matthew 3:11 where John the Baptist uses the phrase “and fire”, is referring to judgment of non-believers?
You must remember that the people John the Baptist was baptizing had no clue who he (John the Baptist) was.These people mind you, were hungry for a savior that John clearly states was not he., the term "and fire" used in Matt 3:11, I believe was used as a metaphor to convey the divinity of Jesus. Weather they were unbelievers or not was irrelevant.Fact was, was they were devout Jews and believers in God and the OT. In my most liberal view of this passage. (stepping out on a limb here) I have always felt that Fire consumes.Perhaps there is a two fold meaning here but seriously doubt it. The scriptural context is clearly stating that Jesus is greater than John, I dont think John was referring to the burning feeling one gets when consumed by the holy spirit.


And if so what are your thoughts on the verses like Jeremiah 20:9 and other Christian posters on this thread, who are saying that they have actually experienced the Holy Spirit, as being/feeling like a fire?

I can't say what other posters feel when the Holy spirit is within them However, I can comment on Jeremiah 20:9. I believe that this is a metaphor. Gods flame is eternal, As his word.



posted on Nov, 29 2010 @ 06:24 PM
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This post is just to help summarize the thoughts and opinions expressed so far.

The word “Fire” used in the verse Matthew 3:11 means either but not necessarily exclusive to, the following possibilities.

(1) Believers in Christ are tested/persecuted in their faith, and this is what word “Fire” is representative of.

(2) “Fire” refers to the end time Judgment of unbelievers.

(3) The “Fire” represents another aspect/nature of the Holy Spirit, other than that of water.

(4) The Holy Spirit is both Fire and water together.

(5) John the Baptist had already received the Holy Spirit and was aware of its fiery appearance, prier to the day of Pentecost. For this reason he describes the Holy Spirit baptism, as a “Fire”.

The last point 5, was my own idea, after trying to think of another possible point, that at least made some kind of sense.


Thanks to all the posters for your thoughts, on this tricky to pin down topic.


- JC



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