What Is The Baptism of Fire?
John the Immerser, who served as the forerunner of the Messiah, said in Matthew 3:11, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." What is the baptism of fire?
Some mistakenly think the baptism of fire is somehow connected to the "tongues of fire" the apostles received, mentioned in Acts 2:1-4.
Let us consider the context of this passage for the answer. Matthew 3:12 states, "His winnowing fan is in His hand, and 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." It is certainly clear, from the context in Matthew 3 and Luke 3:16,17, that John was referring to two classes of people in which some were promised to be immersed in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4,5; 2:1-4 indicates this promise was exclusively for the apostles who were once John's disciples) and in which some of the other class of people were going to be immersed in fire (if they did not render obedience to the gospel of Christ, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). The context shows that the fire represented here is the symbol of conscious eternal punishment that the wicked will suffer because they will be thrown into the eternal lake of fire on the day of judgment like the Bible describes (Matthew 3:11,12; Revelation 21:8; 20:14,15).
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