The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is portrayed as fire in several places in Scripture. The pillar of fire that went with the Israelites and covered the tabernacle likely was not merely a sign of God’s Presence, but an actual manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Exodus 13:21 tells us, “The LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them in the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light.” How well appearing as fire to give light fits with the Holy Spirit’s role of guiding our steps and revealing the hidden things of God to us!
We also see that He is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). As that consuming fire, He searches our hearts and cleanses out of us that which is impure. And He is portrayed in Revelation 4:5 as the “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”
Fire represents to us energy and power. Shortly before ascending into heaven, Jesus “commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, ‘Which,’ said he, ‘You have heard about from me. For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now'” (Acts 1:4, 5). Why were they not to go out and testify of Jesus immediately? They had not yet been filled with the Holy Spirit, of Whom Jesus said, “You shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). That power was given to them on the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit manifested Himself as cloven tongues of fire resting on each of the disciples (Acts 2:3).
John the Baptist baptized with water unto repentance, but he foretold that Jesus would baptize believers with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11). When we receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit, as the first disciples did at Pentecost, we have the fire of His Presence burning within us, helping us effectively advance the Kingdom of Jesus in the earth, as we follow His leading.
Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.