The Fire as an ANOINTING
God has appeared a number of times in His glory by fire in the Old Testament but it was a rare thing. There are teachers today that want to make it common. If one does a topical Bible study they will find a fire baptism or fire falling is not a good thing in Scripture.
Rodney Browne describes, "I was so intoxicated on the wine of the Holy Ghost that I was literally beside myself. The fire of God was coursing through my whole being and it didn't quit ... He did finally lift that intense anointing off me, but it stayed lightly on me, that I was aware of, for two weeks. Because of that encounter with the Lord, my life was radically changed from that day on.”
Latter Rain promoter Bill Hamon has been teaching along these lines for some time. In his book “The Eternal Church” He writes: “Each restorational advancement of the Army of the Lord has established denominational forts that are given responsibility to maintain the purity and power of that truth… New recruits are now being drafted and trained and older soldiers and generals are being put through intensified training for the next advancement of the Church Army. They are being purified by the Baptism of Fire… Are you ready? (p. 374 Christian International Publishers, 1981)
Some are even saying this baptism of fire will separate the wheat from the tares. But it is the tares that are associated with the fire.
Matthew 3:10-11: “Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire .” Fire is God’s judgment V.12 He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
John who is preparing the people to receive the Messiah is juxtaposing believers with unbelievers. John says that Jesus will baptise you with the Holy Spirit (believers) and fire (non- believers). It is NOT the Holy Spirit AND fire or the Holy Spirit that IS the fire. John continues by saying that Jesus will gather His wheat into the barn BUT burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire, (which Jesus later describes as a fire that is never quenched Mk.9:43-).
The Bible says, “There is ...one baptism” (Eph. 4:4-5). The explanation is that it occurs only once, never needed to be repeated. This can only mean Spirit baptism that puts a believer in the body of Christ and the Spirit in the believer (1Cor.12:13), there is NO baptism of fire for any believer. Some may point to Acts 2:3 as justification for the baptism of the Spirit (called as tongues of fire) but this event was unique happened, it occurred only once, it did not take place in either the apostle ministry or to the church ever again. It was never repeated in the New Testament nor taught as a practice for the baptism of the Spirit in the church by the apostles.
Bentley and others justifies all this with the few scriptures of a rushing wind and tongues of fire over their heads on Pentecost. And of the angels, Bentley says, "Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire" Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:7, 14)
Angels of Light
“According to this passage, angels manifest as flames of fire and are ministering spirits sent to serve us. The minute you inherit salvation, angels are released into your life and ministry. In Hebrew the word minister means service, aid or relief” (Angelic host - Evangelist Todd Bentley http://www.freshfire.ca/teaching.asp)
Is the Holy Spirit, who is already with us not enough? Why do we need more, something that is not spoken of in the Bible? Is it because we are not content, or desire a miracle, or supernatural experience as Jesus said a wicked people desire. Maybe it is because so many are not stable in his word and do not understand how the Lord works from within our lives outward to others.
Lets look at Hebrews 1:7: “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels winds, And his ministers a flame a fire: is a quote of Ps.104:4. Who maketh his angels spirits ho (NT:3543) poioon (NT:4109) tous (NT:3543) autou (NT:839) pneumata (NT:4100). "spirits" can be rendered "winds." (In Hebrew, "spirit and wind" are often synonymous).
This can be better translated as angels that are swift as wind, rapidly doing his will, ministering judgment for God. In this passage angels are the spirit creatures God sends according to the needs of their service, in this case, being a “flame of fire” is about judgment. These men are calling on these as angels of fire and they are calling down judgment on the church.
This can be supported by how fire is used. Fire is often associated with judgment. When he comes it will be as “In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:8-10).
Jesus said in Luke 12:49 "I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! In other words, he longs to have the judgment so that a new earth can be produced where righteousness dwells.
There is no fire anointing, or fire baptism for the believer from God.
John 15:6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” Jesus is speaking about branches not connected with him that did not produce fruit. For we are appointed to produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. But this can only take place if one has understanding of the word, which would be different than learning by supernatural experiences.
The fact is, no Christian should be passing on fire to another believer or receiving it, it is exclusive for unbelievers. Fire is a tool of God for judgment:
The Old Testament makes this clear Ps. 21:8-9: “Your hand will find all Your enemies; your right hand will find those who hate You. You shall make them as a fiery oven in the time of Your anger; the LORD shall swallow them up in His wrath, and the FIRE shall devour them.”
Isa. 66:15: “For behold, the LORD will come with FIRE and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire.”
In the tribulation period those who take the mark “shall be tormented with fire” (Revelation 14:10)
Numerous judgments in the Tribulation are sent by God through his angels Revelation 8:5-7 “Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.” This corresponds to Acts 2:19 – Joel 2-3 which takes place before the great and terrible day of the Lord.
However, Bentley says: Now look at verse Acts 2:19 - "I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapour of smoke." I believe that God is releasing a signs and wonders dimension in the church today to validate the visions and dreams of the prophets.” (http://www.upstreamca.org/liv_supernatl.html LIVING IN THE SUPERNATURAL By Todd Bentley)
Is God contradicting his word and now has a different timing and meaning?
The two prophets in Israel use fire against their enemies Revelation 11:5 fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies.”
Even for believers our judgment in heaven goes through the purifying fire of God to see what it was done by. 1 Corinthians 3:13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire”
Even a statement is from Jesus himself- “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Luke 10:18 a flash of lightning out of heaven, (from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament). A vividly a dazzling brilliance (Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament). Does the church not understand that light and fire can be manipulated by these creatures of darkness to disguise themselves and what they do as Paul describes in 1 Cor.11:14.
The Bible describes to us the power that the counterfeits have. Revelation 13:13-14 describes the second beast—“He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs…”
The Pillar of Fire
Exodus 13:21-22: “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.”
Notice that he is seen and is with the people every day to lead them. In Nehemiah 9:12 (19) it clarifies: “Moreover You led them by day with a cloudy pillar, And by night with a pillar of fire, To give them light on the road Which they should travel.”
The Bible gives us the purpose of the pillar of fire that appeared only to Israel and it is clear that this pillar of Fire is the Lord (Ex.33:9).
Bentley says in his video “This might not even be an angel, it might actually be Jesus, The Angel of the Lord. So maybe it wasn’t an angel that came to me maybe it was actually Jesus. But let me tell you the experience.” http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/3399535/
His experience overrides any doctrine that he had almost understood. Because if he know this was Jesus he certainly would not call him “the angel of the Lord” but bow his knee to him as THE LORD.
When we have teachers who do not know the Bible reduce this to an experience for today and include false teaching of it we can should discern what is taking place.
Bentley relates this to the angel that appears in the middle of the Tribulation (not before) Whose “feet like pillars of fire Revelation 10:1. His story of going to heaven via a pillar of fire and having the pillar of fire visit his hotel room later does seem incredulous.
Bentley’s supernatural experience is similar to several sources which certainly bring us to question his story even more.
The pillar of fire is not just found in the pages of the Bible, in fact many people claim to have experienced a pillar of flames or fire. In Mormonism “The Angel Moroni, descended in a brilliant pillar of light and repeatedly instructed Joseph in the next steps of the restoration of the true gospel Smith, claimed to have been led by angel lto the spot where the golden plates on which the Book of Mormon had been written were buried. Some of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon, who handled the plates gave testimony they conversed with the angels of God” (Journal of Discourses:164 1859). This shows one can be deceived even if something spiritual takes place.
Joseph Smith described his encounter in a similar way "A pillar of fire appeared above my head; which presently rested down upon me… A personage appeared in the midst of this pillar of flame, which was spread all around and yet nothing consumed." Another personage soon appeared like the first: he said unto me thy sins are forgiven thee. He testified also unto me that Jesus Christ is the son of God. "I saw many angels in this vision” (The Papers of Joseph Smith: Autobiographical and Historical Writings, Vol. 1, pp. 125-127).
Sound similar? Yet we know Smiths account is not Biblical, why should we think Bentley’s is?
During the year of 1832, Joseph Smith kept a diary. In it, Smith gives a somewhat different account of the First Vision where it was not so pleasant. He writes, "... the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness.... and while in the attitude of calling upon the Lord in the 16th year of my life a pillar of light above the brightness of the sun at noon day come down from above and rested upon me and I was filled with the spirit of God and the Lord opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord...“When Immediately I was seized by upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had some astonishing influence over me so as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. ”he then had great alarm, a pillar of light appears like the brightness of the sun and falls upon him, he is delivered from what held him bound. When the light rested two personages ..stood above me… "I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other one - This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 2:17-19)
In another story "He accordingly went out into the woods and falling upon his knees called for a long time upon the Lord for wisdom and knowledge. While engaged in prayer a light appeared in the heavens, and descended until it rested upon the trees where he was. It appeared like fire. But to his great astonishment, did not burn the trees. An angel then appeared to him and conversed with him upon many things." Is this William Branham? No, its William Smith describing Joseph Smith’s experience in the woods (William Smith On Mormonism, By William Smith, Joseph Smith's brother. p. 5 (1883).
Others have had experiences with a light that they thought was God or his angel.
John Avanzini telling his story in Abba Nigeria of how he was given a revelation of his Biblical economics (1997 on TBN) “Well as the night became very dark I continued to pray and all of a sudden I looked out the window and there was light there was slight out there and it was big it was immediately, it caught my attention, because it was so dark there was no light anywhere. And then all of a sudden I saw that the light was moving towards me very rapidly, I though oh my, and it just hit me, this is a mortar there’s some kind of a uprising in the government or something or some kind of coup and someone shot a mortar at the hotel. But the spirit of God just touched me and said just be at peace and a peacefulness came over me .as the light came towards the room it just came out and stopped right outside the window. And then it just came into the room and stood just about as high as man would stand, and I just, and it was on the right side of the window as I was looking at it I was just caught by it I could not take my eyes off it.
… but that light when you looked away you were drawn back to it again it was different type of light then I ever seen. And it as brilliant and as I looked at it all of a sudden, you know, I thought maybe this just a sign from God. Maybe this will be alight and all of a sudden the voice spoke, it come right out of that light. And he said John I have called you to take biblical economics to my church all over the world. John if you will do what I tell you I will give you revelation and you will have a message and a power in your message that will last the rest of your life and then he said John if you'll do what I tell you the church will speak different than they speak today. When your life is done the church as a whole will be speaking different then what they speak today in what I'll put into your spirit. And as I sat there all of the sudden the spirit of god started teaching me speaking to me church this bible that I have in front of me people look at it and they think seems like you can get another bible this thing the leaves , honestly the acid of my fingers eating the leaves up but the truth of the matter is this is the book I had laying in front of me that day as I was there on my knees Abba Nigeria and the spirit of god began to speak to me showing me biblical economics. He showed me church that was so startling… a word to get money from gods people I have the message of abundance in my word to get money to my people. and it musn't just be used to raise money it must used to teach my people how they can have the money they need to do the things I want them to do (sounds so official and right) and I tell you as I stayed in that thing and he continued to talk to me and he brought revelation upon revelation into my spirit. Church I can take you through here and show you just explosive whole new things were spoken into the body of Christ about finances as god revealed them to me. but then as the night carried on through as I realized we were coming to a close in our conversation he asked me for something John, you asked me for an anointing you asked me for a breakthrough. .He said John from this day on when I tell you to do it when I tell you to do it. When you lay hands on a offering and speak the hundredfold over it I will quickly multiply that offering back to the believer.”
Stories like these are numerous but not humorous, as they bring false teaching into the body of Christ.
Branham’s Pillar of fire- Bentley’s Pillar of fire
Bentley believes the pillar of fire that appeared to him is the same angel that was with Branham (others also believe this). He is the only person I can recall that has applied this since Branham’s ministry end by his death in an unfortunate car crash.
It was told at a baptism of Branham:
“There were about 4,000 people watching the baptism, and when Brother Branham was baptising the 17th person, according to the Word of God (Acts 2:38), a blazing whirling star suddenly appeared out of Heaven, with the sound of a rushing wind audible to all and hovered over the head of Brother Branham. Many ran in fear and others knelt in prayer, and a voice spoke out of the Pillar of Fire, to the prophet and said
As John the Baptist was to forerun the first coming of Christ so your message will forerun the Second Coming of Christ. Brother Branham alone heard the words, which was God's commission to him, others heard the sound but not the words, but they saw the Pillar of Fire.”
This Pillar of Fire had been with Branham since the time of his birth. During his ministry it was claimed to be photographed several times. When praying for the sick he would watch the Pillar of fire move around the building from one person to another, revealing the "thoughts and intents" of the heart, the past, the present and the future.
Branham describes one of his experiences with a light: “then along in the night, at about the eleventh hours, I had quit praying and was sitting up when I noticed a light flickering in the room. Thinking someone was coming with a flashlight, I looked out of the window, but there was no one, and when I looked back, the light was spreading out on the floor, becoming wider. Now I know this seems very strange to you, as it did to me also.
As the light was spreading. . I became excited and started from the chair, but as I looked up, there hung that great star. However, it did not have five points like a star, but looked more like a ball of fire or light shining down upon the floor. Just then I heard someone walking across the floor, which startled me again, as I knew of no one who would be coming there besides myself. Now, coming through the light, I saw the feet of a man coming toward me, as naturally as you would walk to me. He appeared to be a man who, in human weight, would weigh about two hundred pounds, clothed in a white robe. He had a smooth face, no beard, dark hair down to his shoulders, rather dark-complexioned, with a very pleasant countenance, and coming closer, his eyes caught with mine. Seeing how fearful I was, he began to speak, ‘Fear not, I am sent from the presence of Almighty God to tell you that your peculiar life and your misunderstood ways have been to indicate that God has sent you to take a gift of divine healing to the peoples of the world. IF YOU WILL BE SINCERE, AND CAN GET THE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE YOU. NOTHING SHALL STAND BEFORE YOUR PRAYER, NOT EVEN CANCER. He told me many things which I do not have space to record here, He told me how I would be able to detect diseases by vibrations on my hand. He went away, but I have seen him several times since then, …. A few times he has appeared visibly in the presence of others. I do not know who he is. I only know that he is the messenger of God to me. (From "A Man Sent By God" by William Branham).
He was convinced by His experience not testing it in a correct manner to the word of God.
“And-and right in here there was a-a Light on the floor, and I thought, "Well, where's that? Well, that couldn't be coming..." I looked around. And here It was above me, this very same Light, right there above me, hanging right like that. Circling around like a fire, kind of an emerald color, going, "Whoossh, whoossh, whoossh!" like that, Just above It, like that. And I looked at That, and I thought, "What is That?" Now, It scared me.
(William Branham, How the Angel Came to Me, and His Commission (voice of God recordings) Jan.17,1955 , pp. 73-75)
Branham would even cast out Satan by the pillar of fires presence, in the Lords name “I adjure thee by the living God Whose Presence is here now in the form of a Pillar of Fire, leave these people! And come out of them, in the Name of Jesus Christ! (HOW THE ANGEL CAME TO ME, AND HIS COMMISSION).
Branham in his Tabernacle church hung a picture of himself with the pillar of fire behind him on the pulpit. In 1950 Branham had a photo taken that many point to that the "pillar of light" was real. While this and other photos may prove it was real it does not prove it was true for it certainly was not Biblical what was taking place.
When Branham was asked about the light that accompanied him in ministry responded "I believe that It is the same Pillar of Fire that led the children of Israel from Egypt to Palestine. I believe It's the same Angel of Light that come in the-in the jail and come in to Saint Peter and touched him, and went forward and opened the door and put him out into the light” (William Branham, How the Angel Came to Me, and His Commission, p. 88 (voice of God recordings) Jan.17, 1955).
This is what Bentley said as well “A pillar of fire “just like God brought Israel out with a pillar”
Bentley also gave some similar descriptions “it was swirling like a whirlwind. And it was very electric, Seeing that pillar, and it went up like a tornado into heaven.” And why not, after all its supposed to be the same angel.
Bentley’s experiences with angels and pillars of light are numerous and frequent. “Well, I've had angels come as shimmering pillars of light with such brightness about their person that I couldn't make out the details” (ANGELIC HOSTS by Revivalist Todd Bentley)
“I remember one of the first time's I saw in the spirit an open heaven. I was ministering in a Vineyard church in Albany Oregon. We were experiencing a tremendous outpouring open heaven of healings and miracles for several weeks already. …. In one service I saw heaven open, it was like a hole tore open in the air and I saw a glory light like a pillar come out of this portal. Then I saw a 14-20 foot angel in the pulpit by the name of healing revival. At that time God spoke to me that this Angel was like the Angel (John 5: 1-4) that came down at a certain season to stir the waters of the pool of Bethesda.” (Todd Bentley Ministering Under An Open Heaven Sep 23, 2002 http://www.etpv.org/2002/aohe.html
In an ad posted from April 28, 2004: “This April 28th Fresh Fire Ministries will launch it's first Canada Ablaze Signs and Wonders Crusade! We have chosen Toronto to host the first of four Crusades for 2004. Paul Cain prophesied that there was a second wave coming to Toronto and to the entire world! The river of God is going to get deeper! The river in Ezekiel 47 is a river of life. The waters of this river bring life to everything that it touches! That refreshing and renewal continue today. God is reviving his people, and as the river of God flows deeper it becomes a river of healing and harvest.”
We Are Looking For An Army
This is the river that came from Rodney Browne came to Toronto. To Brownsville and now Bentley. Bentley again misapplies Ezek.47 which is about the millennium period, not now.
God may use imperfect men - but these men preach another gospel, prophesy falsely and present to the people another Jesus, how can GOD be using them to further his kingdom! After reading the various differences in his doctrine we should not ignore how serious this all is.
I would hope Bentley would take heed of this fire which we all must be aware of and avoid.
James 3:5-7: “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.”
Boasting by his visions and experiences of the supernatural is his forte and his doctrine is bringing damage not health. It is our faith that is tested by fire. 1 Peter 1:7: “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire.”
Maybe your faith, your whole belief system is being challenged by the experiences and stories of Bentley”
God is able to give us a spiritual experience but he is not sending “fire” as a supernatural experience as many claim. I find it both droll and dangerous that people like Bentley promote a special spiritual relationship with the Lord are never told by Him what is true and accurate to the word. They continue to experience and teach what is false. And they will have an audience willing to listen of those who ears itch for more because of their restless spirit and being untrained in the word and discernment.
Angels we have heard and seen- Are we to be visited by angels to have heavenly experiences?