There are a lot of misunderstandings today when it comes to what John is saying in Matthew 3:11, “I baptize you with water for 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.”
What is that fire baptism he’s talking about?
The sad truth is that many people believe today that we need to receive the Holy Spirit, and besides the baptism of the Holy Spirit, there is an extra baptism – a baptism of fire.
But, this fire baptism he’s talking about is not a baptism any one of us would like to have, because this fire baptism is not a baptism for believers. It’s a baptism for those who have not accepted Christ, and we’re going to look at that.
First thing – if we go to the book of Acts and look at the early church, do we see any examples of people who got baptized first with the Holy Spirit and second with an extra baptism – a baptism of fire?
No, we don’t see that!
We don’t read any places in the New Testament where there was a fire baptism!
Some people would say, “Yea, but what about Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit came upon them?”
We read here in Acts 2:2-4, “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance.”
But, if we look at this text (first verse 4), they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. It’s not written that they were filled with the Holy Spirit and with fire…. No, everyone in the book of Acts was filled with the Holy Spirit and nothing more. There was NO fire baptism!
In the verse before, we read, “cloven tongues LIKE AS OF FIRE.” It was LIKE fire. It was not fire!
Like Jesus, when He received the Holy Spirit, we can read (in John 1:32) that the Holy Spirit came over Him “LIKE A DOVE.” The Holy Spirit came LIKE A DOVE. It was not a dove that flew down and sat on Jesus! But the way they describe how the Holy Spirit came, it was almost like a dove flying down.
And this was the same here. The way they describe how the Holy Spirit came upon them was LIKE AS OF fire. It was not fire. It was just LIKE as of fire.
When we get baptized with the Holy Spirit it can also feel like fire but it is not the fire baptism we read about in Matt 3. It is the Holy Spirit but it can feel LIKE fire.
So it is very clear, if you go through the book of Acts, there is NO ADDITIONAL FIRE BAPTISM ANYPLACE!
And it becomes even more clear if we just read Matthew 3:11 in context. We often read 3:11 which says, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” But, if we read the verse before, we also read about the fire! And, if we read the verse after, we also read about the fire.
Let’s read all three verses – the one before, the one here, and the one after – and it will be clear what this FIRE is that he’s talking about!
“The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire . ‘I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire . His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor, gathering His wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire .'” (Matthew 3:10-12)
So here we read, “FIRE… FIRE… FIRE…” First – who is going to be thrown into the fire? – Those who do not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into FIRE!
Jesus came to baptize with the Holy Spirit and FIRE. With His hand He’s going to clean the threshing floor, gathering His own into His barn, and burning up the chaff in unquenchable FIRE!
The FIRE is JUDGMENT DAY!
The first time Jesus came, He came as our Savior to baptize us with the Holy Spirit.
The next time He comes back, He comes as the Judge, to baptize people into FIRE – to immerse people into the unquenchable FIRE – to immerse those who don’t bear good fruit into unquenchable FIRE! This is JUDGMENT!
We don’t want that baptism! None of us want that baptism! We all want the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and those who don’t receive the Holy Spirit will later receive this other baptism…. FIRE!
So when you hear churches or people teaching, “Hey you need the fire baptism! Come up!”
DON’T GO UP! RUN AWAY INSTEAD!
And if people have “fire tunnels” and say “Come let’s lay hands on you! You can receive fire!”
DON’T GO THERE! RUN AWAY INSTEAD!
Why? Because, it can be that nothing happens, but it can also be that you get a wrong spirit! And this is something we have seen!
We have a video here I will link to, if you want to go in and see more about the wrong spirits we see in the church:
So I just wanted to share this… Let’s not be deceived! Let’s look at what the Scripture is saying and let’s understand that we all need the Holy Spirit, but when we have the Holy Spirit, we have HIM… HIM! And we don’t need anything more than HIM!
The problem here with Matthew 3:11 is that we often read texts out of context. If people, instead of just quoting that one verse there, read the context with, “fire, fire and fire,” it will be so clear!
Try to read the Amplified Bible here:
11 “As for me, I baptize you [a]with water because of [your] repentance [that is, because you are willing to change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret your sin and live a changed life], but He (the Messiah) who is coming after me is mightier [more powerful, more noble] than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to remove [even as His slave]; He will baptize you [who truly repent] with the Holy Spirit and [you who remain unrepentant] with [b]fire (judgment).(A)
I did a teaching some time ago called COPY PASTE CHRISTIANITY where I come with more examples of how we read texts out of context and get the Word to say something it’s not saying! You can look at that text here:
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We want Christianity to go back to the New Testament and the life we read about in the Book of Acts. We need to go out and preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons and be led by the Holy Spirit as we read there. It’s time we start obeying Jesus’ words and make disciples of all nations.