I love the 3:16’s in the Bible and the one that most people have heard of is in the Book of John, the beloved disciple –
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
Another important 3:16 is found in 1 Corinthians and it reveals that we are the Temple of God because the Holy Spirit dwells in us. But, as the picture above reminds us, fire is a part of being the Temple of God. When John the Baptist prophesied about the coming Messiah, he said –
“John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” – Luke 3:16
Christians often forget ‘the fire’ part of the promise but God does not! Fire cleanses and purifies and God intends to have a bride for His Son that is spotless and pure. John goes on to declare –
“His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” – Luke 3:17
In His letter to the seven churches in Revelation, Jesus counseled the Laodicean church, which had become lukewarm –
“I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; – Revelation 3:18
The Fire of God not only cleanses and purifies but it also stirs up the zeal of God in us. A current Republican presidential candidate likes to accuse his rivals of being “low energy” candidates and God feels the same way about His Church. While I question if this candidate knows anything about the zeal of God, it is certain that God expects it of His servants!
Most are familiar with Isaiah’s prophesy about the coming Messiah –
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6
but few realize how His government will be established!
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.“ – Isaiah 9:7
A second Pentecost is coming – it is called ‘the latter rain’. The prophet Joel prophesied that there would be great outpourings of the Holy Spirit to usher in the Messiah. But, it would come as ‘a former rain’ and as ‘a latter rain’.
“Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.” – Joel 2:23
We know this is speaking of Pentecost because Peter quoted this verse when explaining the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit –
“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:” – Acts 2:16-18
This ‘former rain’ came down ‘moderately’ but the latter rain will be a deluge and will be accompanied by signs in the heavens, eclipse of the sun and blood red moons, bloody unrest and wars in the world.
“And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:” – Acts 2:19,20
The blood red moons and eclipses have occurred and the latter rain is soon to be poured out on God’s servants who fear His name. We must seek Him and ask for the rain to fall as the prophet Zechariah declared –
“Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain;” – Zechariah 10:1
As we enter this year, a Jubilee year, God is looking for those who are loyal to Him and who will obey His word. As Malachi revealed, God is searching for such –
“Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name.” – Malachi 3:16
Remember, the Lord Jesus appeared to over 500 of His disciples and told them to wait in the upper room for the Holy Spirit to come. Only 120 were obedient and they were the ones on whom Pentecost fell. Let’s all be obedient, asking the Lord for the latter rain and for His fire to cleanse and purify us that we might be ready for the time of the latter rain is upon us.