As I researched some of the great revivals of past from the early church through the 1800's, there were many great men and women of God who walked in such great power of the Holy Spirit, operating in signs, wonders and miracles. Many were excommunicated from organized religion, some were jailed, many were exiled or killed. People were not afraid to give up their lives for what they believed in. They not only had something to live for but something to die for! We are praying for revival to come but it will take a new revolution to bring a reformation which will usher in a revival which will cover the earth with the glory of God!
John the Baptist speaks in Luke 3:16, "John answered, saying to all, "I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."
Baptism of the Holy Spirit and with fire!! Where is God's fire today? On the day of Pentecost, those gathered in the Upper Room had cloven tongues of fire setting upon them, Acts 2:3, "Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them." Acts 4:33 states that once they were baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire . . . "And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all." Acts 5:12-16 continues, "And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon's Porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed."
My personal belief is as the Holy Spirit moved and those gathered in the Upper Room were filled that the fire of God also in-filled them and cleansed them working as a consuming fire which burnt away things that were not of God, taking them through a purifying or purification. In Hebrews 12:29 we see "For our God is a consuming fire." I also believe that this is something that is missing in the Body of Christ today. Not the Fire of God but the Body not submitting itself to the Fire of God. In order for the Fire of God to be present, there must be fuel. fire cannot burn without fuel!
Further study took me into Genesis 15 when Abram made a covenant with God and God had Abram lay out the sacrifice. "Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two." (Gen. 15:9-10). Continuing in verse 17 it states, "And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces." There had to be fuel for the fire . . . a sacrifice for the burning torch to pass through. Where there is sacrifice, there is fire.
Another reference is 1 Kings 18:21-40. This, of course, is the story of the Prophet Elijah facing off with the Prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel.
21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people answered him not a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, "I alone am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 23 Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. 24 Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, He is God." So all the people answered and said, "It is well spoken." 25 Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it." 26 So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, "O Baal, hear us!" But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. 27 And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened." 28 So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. 29 And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention. 30 Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. 31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Israel shall be your name." 32 Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, "Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood." 34 Then he said, "Do it a second time," and they did it a second time; and he said, "Do it a third time," and they did it a third time. 35 So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water. 36 And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, "LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. 37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again." 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!" 40 And Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!" So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.
I liken the Prophets of Baal to many churches today. They're dressed (prepared), called on their god, cried out to their god, leapt and danced on their altar, prophesied, AND STILL, NO FIRE! According to 2 Timothy 3:5, "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof . . ." "They" say that God no longer heals, "they" say, there are no more apostles and prophets, "they" say signs, wonders and miracles were for the early church. My God says He is the same, yesterday, today and forever!! (Hebrews 13:8).
Now, Elijah had the people dig a big ditch around the alter and fill it with water. Twelve barrels of water were poured into the ditch and, when he called out to God, He answered with Fire! God not only devoured the bullock, God devoured the wood, stones, and licked the water up out of the ditch. The sacrifice was not the bullock, it was not the wood or even the stones. The sacrifice was the water. It was the one thing that was scarce. There had been a drought for 3 years! Water was scarce. For them to even be able to find twelve barrels of water was amazing. These were no small barrels!
I would like to explain just one thing here. Elijah used twelve stones and twelve barrels of water. The number 12 represents government, Kingdom government. Elijah was establishing the Government of God, a Kingdom principle. There had to be fuel for the fire! Now, once this Kingdom principle was put into place and the fire of God fell, those that were not of God (the Prophets of Baal) were killed! It was only after the fire of God fell and the Prophets of Baal were killed that the rain fell from Heaven! Are you praying for the rain from Heaven, the former and the latter rain? If we want rain, the glory of God along with the power of God, there first must be sacrifice. Everything that is not like God must die! (Just for clarification I am, of course talking here about our fleshly desires and ideas, our agendas, our purpose, ungodly characteristics or anything that we put before God). (See below).
Romans 12:1-2 states: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Another version of the Bible says to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God which is your reasonable "worship". It is only reasonable that we submit ourselves wholly to God and His agenda, not our agenda. Too many people today are busy building their own kingdom rather than the Kingdom of God. We are busy with our purpose rather than God's purpose. In I Corinthians 15:31 the Apostle Paul says, "I must die daily", I Corinthians 1:29 says that no flesh will glory in His presence. One of my favorite scriptures is Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Is it possible for us to get to the point where we can actually say that we have been crucified and that Christ is actually living His life through us? In II Corinthians 4:10 & 11 Paul states, "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh." So what is this death that we are always delivered up to? It is the dying to our flesh or our desires, our agendas, our purpose. It is laying aside what we want in order to present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice, giving Him full use of our bodies to complete His purpose in the earth. We must be conformed into the image or likeness of Christ. Jesus walked in compassion toward the sick and oppressed. This is a major area the Church must come into alignment with God's Word as we fall short of walking in love toward those we deem unlovable. We must take on the character of Christ and walk in His compassion.
I know there are many famous and popular Bible scholars and teachers who say that when Jesus hung on the cross and was crucified we were there with Him and that when He arose, we arose and when we are baptized in water, we are buried with Christ and raised with Him so there is no more dying to take place. I must say, that I do agree to a certain extent. Water baptism is a representation of our dying and raising with Christ but, the dying comes in Romans 12:2 where we are to be renewed in our minds or our soul - the mind, will and emotions. Our spirit is reborn when we receive salvation, we are a new creature in Christ but, again, our minds are not saved. Our minds must be renewed through the Word of God and it is through the renewing of the mind that the flesh is killed. I know, I went through years of dying and I know there is much dying yet to take place.
In Deuteronomy 5:24-26, when Moses came down off the mountain of God and his face shown with the glory of God, "Surely the LORD our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives. 25 Now therefore, why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of the LORD our God anymore, then we shall die. 26 For who is there of all flesh who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?"
"So David came to Ornan, and Ornan looked and saw David. And he went out from the threshing floor, and bowed before David with his face to the ground. 22 Then David said to Ornan, "Grant me the place of this threshing floor, that I may build an altar on it to the LORD. You shall grant it to me at the full price, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people." 23 But Ornan said to David, "Take it to yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. Look, I also give you the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing implements for wood, and the wheat for the grain offering; I give it all." 24 Then King David said to Ornan, "No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing."