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When we look into God's Word, we can see that God predicted that certain signs and wonders would mark the end of the age.
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 the great and notable day of the Lord come.
(Acts 2:19-20)
God is talking about two major demonstrations of power: Wonders in the heavens and signs on the Earth. God didn't tell us what all of the wonders and signs would be, for there will be many amazing manifestations of God's power. But He did give us two examples. He said that in the heavens, the sun would be turned to darkness and the moon to blood.

And on the Earth, there would be blood, fire, and vapor of smoke. In studying this verse, I found that most commentaries say this verse refers to war, destruction, murder, burning buildings, and cities on fire.

But God said, "I will show." God wants to put on a show! Burning cities is not God's idea of putting on a show. People being murdered and killed is not God's idea of putting on a show. When God puts on a show, it's not to destroy man but to show man that He is God.

He is talking about putting on a show of Holy Spirit signs and wonders. Miraculous signs and wonders are always supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit. So if these signs don't refer to war and destruction, what exactly do they refer to?

The Blood
When God speaks about blood, He's not talking about man's blood, but a higher kind of blood—the supernatural blood of Jesus (Matt. 26:28). By blood, God is talking about the plan of redemption—what has been bought and paid for through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. When a life is changed, born again, or healed by the power of the shed blood of Jesus, that's a sign.

The Smoke
Then what is the smoke? Smoke refers to that same pillar of smoke that rested over the tent of the testimony in the Old Testament (Num. 9:15).

The vapor of smoke doesn't refer to buildings burning, but rather to supernatural smoke—the glory of God—the manifested presence of God. Often in the Old Testament the glory cloud of God appeared like a smoke or a cloud (Isa. 4:5; Isa. 6:4; Ex. 13:21-22; Ex. 40:34).

The Fire
So we understand what the blood and the vapor of smoke refer to. But what about the fire? What kind of fire is God talking about?

It is the same supernatural fire that fell on the Day of Pentecost when there appeared unto believers "...Cloven tongues like as of fire...And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost...(Acts 2:3-4). The fire refers to the fire of God—the Holy Spirit.

John the Baptist also referred to the fire of God. Notice that the fire accompanies the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable.
(Luke 3:16-17)
Actually, John the Baptist was looking into the future when he said this. He was seeing the day of the New Covenant when Jesus would baptize believers with the Holy Spirit and fire. John was referring to what would happen on the Day of Pentecost.

The Fire of God Burns Off the Chaff
So the blood of Jesus redeems us, and the glory of God brings in the miraculous, but what is the fire for? John the Baptist said in Luke 3:16-17, "...He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable."

In the Old Testament, a fan was an instrument like a pitchfork that was used to throw the wheat into the air. The wind separated and blew the chaff away so the wheat could fall back to the ground pure. They would then put the wheat in the barn and burn the chaff.

John the Baptist was saying that the day was coming when the anointing or fire of God would separate the wheat from the chaff so our lives could be pure before God. The fire of God refines us. It burns off all the chaff and gets us ready for the glory.

In the natural, farmers burn the chaff and keep the wheat. That's what God wants to do in our lives—burn off the chaff, the "excess baggage," so we can get over into the glory.

By the chaff or excess baggage, we don't mean outward sins like smoking, drinking, or immorality, although people have been delivered from these bondages by the manifested presence of God. But there is more chaff that needs to be burned off the Body of Christ than just sin.

God wants to burn off anything that holds us back from doing His will—whether it's oppression, depression, sickness, or disease. In the Bible, God calls those "weights." Weights slow us down in our spiritual walk so it's hard to make any progress.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us...."
(Heb. 12:1)
The fire of God burns off any weights, including anything that would hold us back in our spiritual race. So the blood of Jesus brings us into the family of God, but we have to go through the fire to be prepared for His glory.

We can preach and teach on the glory, and the glory of God will manifest. But we are not going to enter into the fullness of the glory of God until He gets us ready for it by the fire of God.

I have heard people say when their lives are full of tests, trials, and tribulations that they are experiencing a baptism of fire. No, the fire of God doesn't give us tests, trials, and tribulations; it burns them off of us. The fire is not a judgment to weigh us down; it is the power of the Holy Ghost to set us free.

The Fire of God Changes People
The fire of God changes us so God can use us to His glory. Peter is a good example of someone who was changed by the fire of God. He was the best disciple Jesus had: the best trained, the most mature, and the most dependable, yet Peter denied Jesus three times.

Why? He was too timid to witness. He needed some chaff burned off. When the Holy Spirit and fire came into that Upper Room, it changed Peter's life. After that he went into the streets and boldly preached the Gospel.

On the Day of Pentecost when the fire of God fell and believers spoke in tongues, the devout Jews stood up and said, "What does this mean?" (Acts 2:12).

Peter said, "I'll tell you what this means: These people are not drunk, but this is the outpouring that you have been looking for. You just didn't recognize it."

Then he preached about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and 3,000 people were born again in his first altar call (Acts 2:41). The fire of God transformed Peter from a spiritual weakling to a powerful preacher.

The Fire Changes the Course of a Life
Moses was another person who was dramatically changed by the fire of God. In fact, the whole course of his life was changed when he came into contact with God's fire.

When Moses was in Egypt, it came into his heart to be a deliverer of his people. But he tried to do it in his own strength and killed a man. Moses ran for his life and spent 40 years in the desert. He was on the backside of the desert when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a burning bush.
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of Fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, The bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
(Ex. 3:1-2)
When Moses came into contact with the fire of God, it changed the course of his life. God equipped him with signs, wonders, and miracles and said, "You tried to be a deliverer of your people before, but now I am sending you to be a ruler and deliverer of My people."

God sent Moses back to Egypt a changed man. After his encounter with the fire of God, Moses, who was now powerfully anointed by God, brought approximately three million Jews out of bondage into freedom. It was the fire of God that changed Moses from a shepherd on the backside of the desert to a deliverer of a nation.

Source: Blood, Fire, and Vapor of Smoke by Mark Brazee
Excerpt permission granted by MBM Publications

Author Biography

Mark Brazee
Web site: Mark Brazee Ministries - DOMATA School of Missions
 
For more than 30 years, Pastors Mark and Janet Brazee have traveled throughout the world sharing the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Together they've shared the powerful truths of faith and healing in more than 50 nations.
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