The most distinct emblem of the Holy Spirit is
John the Baptist prophecies that the Messiah “will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” (Mt. 3:11). Jesus says the Holy Spirit is being sent to teach us everything essential – and that He Himself will send Him. His people are mandated to remain in Jerusalem until they receive this power (Lk. 1:49) – for Jesus knows effectual ministry can only be accomplished through men and women who are truly Spirit led (Acts 1:4). Just ten days after His ascension the Holy Spirit arrives. He appears on the Day of Pentecost as tongues of fire over the heads of every person present, regardless of age, social status, ethnicity, or gender (2:3-4). The spiritual maturity level of each person there was not relevant, for the Lord gives His Spirit in order to mature each one of us.
This sign of Fire is new and unusual, beginning a dispensation that continues to be new and unusual. Those present are not previously told in what form the Spirit will come – yet they all accept it. Only by embracing the Spirit as God sends Him is He able to work in each of them. Through intense and focused prayer, they all place themselves in a position to receive what God promises. It is by their unquestioning acceptance of the Fire sent that God allows each person to fulfill His Great Commission – to go into all the world and teach the Gospel (Mt. 28:19). The Lord is clear that a specific sign will accompany those who evangelize: “they shall speak with new tongues” (Mk. 16:17).
God knows everyone in the Upper Room and sends His Spirit personally to each one present. The tongues of fire are individualistic: He does not manifest Himself as one huge fire over everyone. Because the Holy Spirit is given to affect the way we think, He appears over our heads – over our minds – our brains. This is where the Holy Spirit seeks to enter and effect positive changes – in every person’s conscience, worldview, and way of thinking. Whenever people allow Him, He will abide and guide.
Isaiah states that God must burn away the dross to create a vessel for the finer (1:5). This is done to eliminate all that is unnecessary in order to make manifest what is pure.
He sends His Fire:
~ to bless us – not to burn us
~ to purge us – not to punish us
~ to help us – not to hinder us
~ to teach us – not to trouble us
~ to instruct us – not to intimidate us
Only God can send the Holy Spirit – and only He can withdraw Him. The dispensation known as The Church Age commences on the Day of Pentecost – and concluded at the Rapture. God does not allow His Spirit to be present on earth, as He is now, during the Tribulation. No Believer has the right to assume he or she can backslide and live an intense ungody and immoral life and expect the precious Holy Spirit to work in them. God never pearl-casts and will not allow what is holy to be given to the dogs (Mt. 7:6). The Fire of God is far too sacred to be abused. This is why the only unpardonable sin is disrespecting the Holy Spirit (Mt. 12:31).
It is prayer that brings the Holy Spirit the day the Church is inaugurated – and it is still prayer today that brings the Baptism of the Holy Spirit into individual lives. Jesus reaffirms we will receive what the 120 people present on Pentecost are earnestly seeking – “The Promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4). The Holy Spirit is not given to those who are merely curious – but to those who are truly committed.