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 FIRE

"And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out."

Leviticus 6:12-13

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:1

 

LESSON 1:

It's a Text about fire!

"And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out." Leviticus 6:12-13

The alter under consideration is the brass altar at the front gate of the Jewish Tabernacle.

There were offered countless thousands of little lambs and goats and bulls and occasionally even doves, their blood shed as a symbol or picture or "type" of the coming Lord Jesus Christ. The One Whose Blood indeed washes away sin!

Today let's notice that word "fire."

In Hebrew it's spelled "esh." Of its 370 Bible appearances, none deviate from its basic meaning of "fire, burning, fiery, flaming or hot."

The very first occurrence of "fire," specifically "esh," in Scripture is found in Genesis 15:17. "And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces." That word "burning" is a translation of our word. The verse is taken from the life of Abraham. It is in the Text that describes God making the great Covenant with Abraham in which God promises, vows really, to make Abraham's posterity a great nation! "And the Lord brought Abraham forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And Abraham believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." Genesis 15:5-6

To ratify that Covenant animals were sacrificed, blood was shed. "And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not." Genesis 15:9-10

Then, later, during the night, God Himself appeared on the scene! Apparently walking in the midst of the slain animals, God manifested Himself as Fire!

Again, "When the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces." Genesis 15:17

The Fire represents the very Presence of God!

Furthermore, in this same Text, God promises one more thing to Abraham. "In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites." Genesis 15:18-21

Fire represents the Presence of God!

Fire is associated with the Promises of God!

Those two facts alone being so, I want the Fire of God in my life!

How about you?

On the altar of my heart, I long for that Fire to be burning, never to go out!

This is what we'll be studying the next few days, Lord willing.

The "Fire" of God!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

God is very concerned about this fire, this particular fire!

"The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out." Leviticus 6:13

A flame not to be extinguished!

It's the consuming fire that constantly blazes in the largest piece of Furniture in the Jewish Tabernacle! The largest according to the statistics we are given in Scripture anyway, the Brazen Altar.

There the Cross of Calvary is prefigured again and again, thousands of times a day, millions of time throughout Israel's history!

But, what is the source of this fire?

From whence did it come?

As one would suspect, the Bible is clear on the subject. "And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces." Leviticus 9:24 reports that the fire appeared miraculously, "from before the Lord!"

This is the very Fire of God!

It is special!

So much so that the Lord would not accept any other fire in this holy place!

Two sons of Aaron, the first High Priest of Israel, somehow chose to enter the Tabernacle one day, using a different fire, to worship God!

Here's how Moses recorded the event: "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD." Leviticus 10:1-2 uses a word for "strange" that is spelled "zur." It not only means "foreign or another," but also has tinges of "loathsome, despised, immoral, or alienated."

God just will not accept "strange" fire!

To worship God one must come to Him "in spirit and truth." The right Spirit, the Holy Spirit Who is often Scripturally symbolized by fire! And the only Truth, found in the warm fiery Pages of God's Word!

The whole idea of these studies at the change of this year, 2007 becoming 2008, is to challenge our hearts to be more fervent, more "fire-filled" in the days and weeks ahead! The Lord willing, if days and weeks lie ahead for any of us.

When Paul commanded us Christians to be "fervent" in spirit, in Romans 12:11, he used an interesting word! "Fervent" in Greek is represented by the little word "zeo," as a participle here, a verbal adjective. And "zeo" means "to boil," to be "hot!" It's obviously associated with "fire!"

Child of God reading here today, don't let your fire go out!

Stoke it, stir it, rekindle it, whatever it needs!

Be "on fire" for Jesus!

And if one needs more "fire," the only place to get Such a wonderful Thing is directly from the Presence of God!

Via His Word!

And via His Holy Spirit!

Amen!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

There is reason to believe that Nadab and Abihu were drunk when they offered that "strange" fire! Intoxicated! This conclusion is based on the Biblical context anyway. "And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations." Leviticus 10:8-9 speaks from the same paragraph as did the "strange" fire incident mentioned above in today's Lesson.

These men died when they tried to worship God under the influence of something other than the Spirit of God!

That noun for "wine" is spelled "yayin" in Hebrew and does mean an intoxicating drink! It's root verb clearly indicates that which "effervesces." Bubbles as it ferments!

Another place in Scripture warns against strong drink and immediately points us toward the Holy Spirit also! "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." Paul wrote this, under divine Inspiration, in Ephesians 5:18.

I suspect we are dealing with a critically important issue today!

Life threatening for some!

 

 

LESSON 3:

The "altar" in Scripture is nearly always a place of fire.

For example, Leviticus 6:12 begins: "And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out ...."

The Hebrew word for altar is "mizbeach." It, found 402 times in the Old Testament, always is rendered as "altar" in the King James Bible, every time!

In the Jewish Tabernacle two altars existed. A larger one made of brass and a smaller one made of gold. The particular altar in view here is the big one, the brazen altar.

It is here particularly that the fire is never to be extinguished!

Let's talk about this particular piece of holy Furniture a minute. It's size is significant. It was five cubits long and five cubits wide and three cubits high! A cubit is about a foot and a half. Look at those numbers! Five, five and three! They represent Grace, then Grace again, that's the two fives! Then the Triune Godhead is symbolized by the three!

When God comes to man, to this earth, always blood, atoning blood, must be shed! Otherwise there can be no forgiveness of sin!  Nor would fellowship be possible! And God did come to earth two thousand years ago in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ! What Grace! What truine Beauty! And "in" that Person, "on" our Saviour, rested the Fire of God, the precious Presence of the Divine Holy Spirit! "God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him," Him being Jesus says John 3:34.

If my life is going to be a place of living sacrifice unto God, then I too must be overshadowed by such Fire!

Furthermore, this altar is constructed of wood overlaid with brass! That pictures Jesus in His humanity, being virgin born, like that wood "grown up from the ground!" Isaiah said this of Jesus, "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." Isaiah 53:2

But the wood was capped with brass, a "type" of Judgment in the Bible! Jesus on the Cross bore God's very wrath for us sinners! Again Isaiah preaches, "We did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted." Also, "The LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

Jesus took our judgment for us on that Cross!

Through the Spirit, too!

That Fire symbolizes the Holy Spirit!

"How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Hebrews 9:14

The actual Hebrew noun for "altar," as we saw earlier "mizbeach," means the place of "slaughter!" It's a place of bloodshed and fiery consumption!

"Fire" on the altar!

In a direct way that "Fire," at least in our lives today, can be a picture of God in three senses. God the Father is said to be fire in Hebrews 12:29. "For our God is a consuming fire." The Son is also associated with Fire! Here's John's initial glimpse of Jesus at Patmos in Revelation 1:14-15. "His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters." See it, the fire! Also the Holy Spirit as fire is depicted in Acts 2:3. "And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them." This is indeed the Holy Spirit Himself!

Oh! We need the Fire of God upon us in this sense too, the precious inerrant Word of God! Fervently burning in our souls! The Bible in Jeremiah 20:9 reports autobiographically of the Prophet, "His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones."

Lord, today, fill us with that Fire!

Let this new year be one of Holy Spirit control in our lives!

And may that Fire never go out!

When Paul wrote, "Quench not the Spirit" in 1st Thessalonians 5:19, he used a verb, "sbennumi," which means "to extinguish" a fire!

Lord, help us not to be "cold." And not to be "lukewarm!" But to be fiery "hot" in these first days of a new year, which also may be the last days of this dispensation! After all, Jesus could come today!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

The word for today is "burning."

"Burning" as used in Leviticus 6:12, "And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out."

An ever burning fire!

At first glance "burning" is just another common verb, nothing very unusual about it at all.

But upon closer study we learn that a specific and relatively rare Hebrew word is used here. "Yaqad" is the verb and I can only find it 9 times in the whole Bible!

Grammatically "yaqad" often means "to kindle" something. To set it aflame!

In Deuteronomy 32:22 God's anger is compared to a burning fire, one that will "burn" to the lowest hell! "For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains." The verbal unit "shall burn" translates "yaqad."

This is indeed an intense burning, reaching to the lowest hell!

Then in Isaiah 65:5 the Prophet, quoting Almighty God, speaks of a fire that "burneth" all day." Again using "yaqad."

This too is intense!

And by Jeremiah 17:4 the fire of God is said to "burn" for ever! " Speaking to backslidden Israel, God says, "I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever."

Also intense, for ever!

Even back in Leviticus 6:9, concerning the Burnt Offering, "all night unto the morning" is mentioned as a time frame! "Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it." The "yaqad" phrase is underlined.

No worshippers came at 3:00 AM, not likely!

But the fire must still burn, very intense!

Then add to these examples our Text this week, Leviticus 6:12-13. "And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out."

Still, extremely intense!

If this fire is to picture the fervent moving of the Holy Spirit in my heart and in my life ... no wonder such a verb is used for "burning!"

Such an intense context each time it appears.

I read recently that the sun, our nearest star, consumes 700,000,000 tons of hydrogen a second!

That's intense burning!

Likewise the indwelling, filling, empowering, illuminating, nourishing Presence of the Holy Spirit of God, "burning" deeply in my heart and soul and spirit also should be intense! Fervent, never ceasing!

By the way, the sun does not waste that energy either! It converts those millions of tons of hydrogen into other forms of power!

Beneficial forms!

Am I writing to someone today who longs to be ever more and more filled with the Holy Spirit?

Saturated with His very Presence!

If so, we need to know, to know by experience, that "fire" of God! That intense "burning" of His Spirit within our innermost selves!

A "burning" that has vast depth and height and breadth!

A "burning" that has sun-up to sun-down endurance!

A "burning" that will last for ever!

A "burning" that continues all night unto morning!

A "burning" that is inextinguishable! That shall never go out!

God, grant it we pray!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Notice this John the Baptist "connection" between the Holy Spirit and fire. "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." Luke 3:17

Amen!

 

 

LESSON 5:

The languages are different, Hebrew and Greek.

The portions of Scripture are too, Old Testament and New Testament.

Even the backgrounds vary, one being Jewish and the other centering on the Church.

But the words mean the very same thing!

Here's what I mean.

"And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out." Leviticus 6:12

Then, "Quench not the Spirit." 1st Thessalonians 5:19

The first command is specifically addressed to the Priests of Israel. The second, to all the saints of God!

The Leviticus Passage uses "kabah" for "put out." Do not let this holy fire, the one burning on the brazen altar, ever be eradicated. "Kabah" is defined as the act of "extinguishing" or "eliminating" something.

And in a parallel sense, maybe even a synonymous sense, "quench," the Greek verb Paul uses, also means "to suppress, to put out, or to extinguish!" It's spelled "sbennumi."

So important was this Old Testament injunction that plans were laid to transport this burning fire, right along with the brass altar and all the other pieces of the Tabernacle, whenever the Lord led the Jews forward to another location! Literally, it was never to go out! Numbers 4:14 hints at the procedure God prescribed.

And so important is the New Testament command that it, "Quench not the Spirit," is nestled among some other critically important verses. For example: "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things. Abstain from all appearance of evil." All these are from 1st Thessalonians chapter five.

Of course the question remains, "Exactly how does one quench the Spirit of God?"

The answer is probably manifold.

But, most likely, the proper responses to that question are found in the very context where it occurs.

Not to rejoice ... quenches the Holy Spirit!

Not to pray ... does too!

Not being thankful ... that too!

And to dislike godly preaching ... a sure Spirit quencher!

To lack discernment, thereby being careless and worldly and lukewarm ... quenches the Spirit also!

And surely not separating from evil, from all its appearances ... cools or suppresses the Spirit's fervency as well!

It's true, we do not now live in the Old Testament era.

Nor do we worship by a brass altar, offering little lambs to the Lord!

But we are associated with the Spirit of God!

Ideally we are filled with His Presence and Power!

And His very Being is often compared to a gently flickering flame, one which we are to never reject or hinder or extinguish or quench!

Christian friends, let's keep the fire burning!

Let's live for Jesus!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

The fire was never allowed to cease burning!

It was primarily fueled by the sacrifices themselves, little lambs and doves and occasionally goats. Some big animals too, oxen included!

From morning to night blood was shed. Thousands of times a day, at least!

But, according to Leviticus 6:12, something else was needed to keep that fire burning too! Something unexpected. "And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings."

The "wood!"

Apparently when an animal burned on the altar, or certain parts of that animal, it was consumed rather quickly. The sacrifices alone would not have kept the fire burning incessantly.

Therefore God called for wood, wood on the altar!

We are not specifically told what kind of tree was to yield that wood, maybe that depended on Israel's given location from time to time.

I have been thinking about this wood, this tree, for a day or two now.

What does it perhaps represent?

Remember, we are studying the brass altar and the fire that constantly burned upon it. It pictures, as clearly as anything in the whole Tabernacle, the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. His dying for you and me, the innocent for the guilty! His Blood being offered on our behalf, to save us from Hell!

Is there any Bible reference to wood or trees that might link this altar to the life and death of our precious Saviour?

How about this one?

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." Galatians 3:13 is referring to the Cross on which Jesus died!

Then, "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree." Or, "And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree." Then again, "And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre." All these Verses are found in the Book of Acts, the New Testament Book of history.

That wood pictures the Cross!

There can be no Holy Ghost Fire in my life, on the altar of my heart, apart from the fact of the Cross of Calvary! Apart from the Blood Jesus willingly shed! Apart from the Atonement Jesus made!

There just must be wood on the altar, wood that fuels the Fire!

Also quickly notice that someone had to gather that wood! We are given no specifics here either. "And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning ...." Each day thought must be invested in collecting the wood.

I know another great New Testament hero who gathered wood one day, wood to provide fire. After the shipwreck, Paul the prisoner was cold. A fire was needed there on the island of Melita. "And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand." Acts 28:3 shows us a principle.

When one gathers wood for the fire, Holy Spirit fire in his or her life, get ready! The devil will fight you! That old "snake," Satan will oppose the fires of God every time! Anywhere a Christians seeks Holy Spirit Fire, expect opposition!

But God can, and will, give the victory!

Today, as you live in the conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit's Presence and Power, remember the "wood" too!

Think about the Cross where Jesus died!

Gather those thoughts reverently!

After all, apart from that old rugged Cross, no Holy Spirit could have ever come to fill us with His blessed Person!

John 7:39, interpreting a sermon Jesus preached, tells us: "For the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified." No Death and Resurrection and Ascension ... no descending, convicting, saving, indwelling, filling, empowering Holy Spirit!

Thank God for the "wood!"

Keep the Fire burning today, dear friend!

If so, your heart will be flooded with "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance," and a whole lot more! That's a Bible promise, Galatians 5:22-23.

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7:

The "ever burning" fire, most clearly mentioned in Leviticus 6:12-13, is situated in the "teaching" section of Moses' third Book. There the five offerings, five sacrifices, that Israel used in their worship of God are enumerated and detailed.

But of those five, only two are specifically mentioned in our "fire" Text. "And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out." Those two Offerings have been capitalized for easier identification.

But why are the meat offerings, the sin offerings and the trespass offerings not mentioned? In fact, they are found in the nearby context, but not in our specific two-verse Bible Text. Not in regard to the fire that "shall not be put out," that "shall ever be burning" upon the altar.

There is a reason, assuredly so, why the Holy Spirit exclusively chose the Burnt Offering and the Peace Offering, listing them in relation to the supernatural divine fire.

The Burnt Offering is so interesting!

Basically it shows God's desire for total dedication from His subjects. This offering was completely given to God! None of these animals, whether oxen or sheep or doves, was to be eaten by anyone but God! God's fire consuming them, there at the brazen altar, was a picture of God's acceptance of the offering.

Of the Burnt Offerings, unlike the Meat Offerings or the Peace Offerings, the Priests got nothing! Not a single meal! Again I say so, it was totally God's!

Here three different categories, three levels of giving, were possible. One could bring an ox, a "bullock." If not able to do this, cost being the issue, a lamb would suffice. But if extremely poor, the worshipper could bring a little dove!

However, the more one gave to God, the more generous he had been, the more he was allowed to participate in the Offering! God blesses whole-heartedness! God loves zealous dedication! Remember Jesus' trait, "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up," John 2:17 quoting Psalm 69:9.

If a man bought an ox, he was allowed to kill the animal himself! The he could even sprinkle the blood around the altar and cut the animal into pieces too! He had to stop short of laying the pieces on the altar, that being the priests' duty.

But if a man only brought a lamb, he could still slay the little animal but that was all! The priests did the rest!

And if the man only brought a little dove, the cheapest gift of all, he was not even allowed to kill the innocent little thing, the priest doing it all!

The more you give ... the more you participate!

Also the more expensive the gift, the better it portrayed the character of the Lord Jesus Christ, Whom it pictured anyway!

The ox is by far a greater picture of Jesus than merely the lamb. And as lovely as that little dove is, the lamb is a fuller type of Jesus. That's for sure!

Here now, the more one gives ... the more of Jesus one appreciates!

Such are a few of the principles of the Burnt Offering!

And it is associated, specifically and nearly exclusively, with the brass altar and the FIRE that burned thereon, burned incessantly!

If I want to enjoy Holy Spirit "Fire" in my life, I must be willing to live in such a way that harmonizes with the "Burnt Offering!"

Total dedication!

"All on the Altar" we sang years ago!

"I surrender all!"

"Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to Thee!"

Or to make things more Pauline, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1

Are you withholding something from God?

Have you given Him your feet, but not your eyes?

If so, you know nothing of Holy Spirit zeal and fire and earnestness!

The more you give ... the more you will sense His warmth and power and love!

This is not giving or working to be saved. That's a Gift! By Grace through Faith! By Jesus' shed Blood!

This is giving to express our love and adoration to the Lord Jesus Christ!

Yes, no doubt, the whole Burnt Offering belongs near that Fire that never goes out! Both back then in Old Testament days, and now just before Jesus comes again!

Paul could even say, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." That's whole dedication! And, "In Him we live, and move, and have our being." Wow, that's powerful!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8:

The Peace Offering, unique among all Israel's acts of worship, is named in Leviticus 6:12-13. "And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out."

The "fat" of the Peace Offering is particularly mentioned.

What's the relationship between this Old Testament ritual, beautiful as it is, and the God-sent Fire we've been studying, fire "that shall never go out?"

First we must examine the Peace Offering as it is taught in Leviticus chapters three and seven. A variety of animals could be sacrificed, from a big "bullock" or ox ... to a little lamb ... right down even to a goat. Basically speaking, with this Offering only, God gets something. So does the Priest ... and then the worshipper himself!

Yes, the "fat" belongs to God! It is to be burned on the altar, consumed by the Fire! But the meat of the breast and right shoulder belongs to the Priest, to eat! God so ordained it this way, providing for His servants! Then the remainder of the animal could be eaten by the confessing sinner himself, by the worshipper at the Tabernacle that day!

Particularly in the Peace Offering ... God is satisfied, so is the Priest and also the worshipper, the repentant sinner!

Thus we have all three parties here, once alienated from each other, now in close communion and fellowship!

That's the "heart" of the Peace Offering's implication here, fellowship and harmony and love and oneness of spirit with Almighty God!

Here's the point.

If the ever burning "Fire" of the Holy Spirit's Presence and Power and Fruit is to be consistently glowing in my heart and soul ... I must maintain constant fellowship with God!

Consciously aware of His Existence and Love and Salvation and Peace and Indwelling Presence!

Just as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have eternally coexisted and been in perfect communion, so in a lesser way and with occasional failures due to my flesh, I can live in nearly constant delight and fervent love with God!

Folks "on fire" for God will be people who live the spirit of the Peace Offering! In harmony with their Lord!

Somehow I believe that today those of you who know what's being discussed here, who know by experience, have an ever growing warmth burning in your heart right now!

The Spirit of God bearing witness to these words!

Like a fire, the Holy Spirit purifies us and melts us and thaws us and comforts us and delights us too!

Dear friend in Christ, let that fire ever be burning in your heart!

Don't allow the wild winds of the world to put it out!

Yes, even the Holy Spirit can be grieved or quenched according to the great Apostle Paul!

And if that happens, the embers will quickly grow cold!

Yes, in Revelation 3:15 the Lord did tell the Laodiceans that He would rather they be hot or cold, rather than lukewarm! But, obviously, His first choice was HOT!

Hot, like fire!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9:

Today several little things about our Text, Leviticus 6:12-13, need to be discussed. The "drawing power" of this whole Pericope is found in that little Fire that could "never go out!"

"And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out." Leviticus 6:12-13

While we know that the brass altar, the one highlighted in our Text, hosted offerings all day long, two of those were enumerated in some detail. "Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even." Then Exodus 29 continues, "This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee."

Yet it's that morning worship that our Text Verses so clearly emphasize! "Burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering upon it ...." It just seems that the Fire, the never-to-be-quenched Fire, must be carefully tended, regularly! Twice daily really. But certainly every morning! If one's relation with God is to be cultivated and maintained and nourished and cherished it will necessarily take time! Much time! Early-in-the-morning time!

"And Abraham gat up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the LORD." Genesis 19:27

"And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house." Genesis 28:22

"Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him." Exodus 34:4

"And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD." Joshua 6:12

"O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is." Psalm 63:1

Be "early" tending to your walk with God!

Then notice again that the Priest was to lay the wood for the offering "in order" upon the grate of the altar! I am impressed by those words, "in order." Read it for yourself: "And lay the burnt offering in order upon it ...." Anything done for God must be pursued "decently and in order" according to the Apostle Paul! "Let all things be done decently and in order." 1st Corinthians 14:40

Each day should contain, for the real Christian, certain activities or disciplines that aid in attaining a better walk with God! A "stirring" of the fires of the Holy Spirit's Presence! In order, too! Bible Study and prayer and witnessing as the Lord leads! Loving one's family too! Weekly faithful Church attendance, giving of one's income, worship and praise as well!

In order!

Even Bible Study, when standing alone, should be "in order!" Book by Book! Chapter by Chapter! Verse by Verse!

Then, lastly, that precious fire was "never" to "go out!" It was that important! Picturing the Holy Spirit in our lives, as it so clearly does, we assuredly are never to grieve or quench Him either! Always dote over His Presence and His Person and His Power!

Welcome Him!

Commune with him!

Love Him, The One Who will always teach you to love Jesus!!

Never let your conscious awareness of His Indwelling of you and His Filling of you wane!

God gave such details to the Jews, specifics about living for Him day by day! Even to their bathroom habits and other points of daily hygiene! Also including what to do if they found a bird on her nest, "If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: but thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days." Deuteronomy 22:6-7

Every area of godly human living!

Including which fires could be "put out," and which could not be "put out!" For example, "Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day." Exodus 35:3

But, "The fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out." Leviticus 6:12, our Text!

That detail, as far as it concerns the Holy Spirit, certainly continues into the New Testament!

"Quench not the Spirit." So cautions 1st Thessalonians 5:19. In other words, do not let His Fire ever go out!

Stir up the warmth of His Presence always!

Amen!

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10:

We have, for several days now, been studying the possible relationship between the "fire" always burning on the brazen altar of Israel ... and the "fire" that is always to be burning in the hearts of us Christians!

We've been comparing that fire, indicative of the Presence and Power and Holiness and Approval of God, to our fire, indicative of the Ministry of the Holy Ghost in our lives!

This is called "parallelism" by some teachers.

It's "typology" too, the Bible study of emblems and pictures and "shadows," as Paul called them in Colossians 2:17.

The Old Testament Fire ... the New Testament Fire, both indicate the Glory and Grace and Beauty of our great God!

The Old Testament Fire ... "And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out." Leviticus 6:12-13

The New Testament Fire ... "Quench not the Spirit." 1st Thessalonians 5:19

Both are commands!

Now today, in our penultimate Lesson, next-to-last in other words, we shall further study that New Testament verb, "quench," as in "Quench not the Spirit."

The root verb is spelled "sbennumi." Here, due to its imperative present active form, it's "sbennute." Accent the first syllable, sben'-noo-mee.

It's etymology is interesting! "Etymology" means "the study of" (spelled "logy" in Latin) that which is "true" ("etymos," again Latin of course). Learn to trace the accurate history of a word, a Bible word especially, as it develops through the years, often many years!

Our verb today, "sbennumi," is most often used of fire and burning objects. It's basic meaning, as the King James Bible so beautifully expresses it, is "to quench."

But occasionally in ancient history it has been found to be used of liquids. Then it means "to be dried up!" See the comparison? Should the Holy Spirit be likened to Water, do not let Him be "dried up" in your life! Keep things in your heart conducive to His precious Moisturizing Presence! Dehydrated Saints, spiritually speaking, are not normal!

A few times "sbennumi" has been found to mean "to still, to restrain!" Especially of emotions or moods! When the Holy Spirit gets "excited" in your heart, which He often does as He glorifies Jesus, what do you do? Encourage Him? Or try to slow Him down?

The word several times in ancient history was used of the wind, then meaning "to abate or to calm!" When the winds of the Holy Spirit begin to blow, "rushing mighty Winds" in Acts 2:2, do you spiritually "open the windows" or pray for "tranquility?"

Several Greek sophists, so-called "wise" men, used "sbennumi" as "fading" or "disappearing" in several contexts. Then "Quench not the Spirit," would have meant do not let Him go away! Do not allow His Influence to fade! Beg His Presence! Pray for His Favor!

Once I found it meaning "the influence of personality!" This surely applies to the Third Person of the Godhead! He is a Person indeed! His Personality can be summed up in nine glorious words too: "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance." Galatians 5:22-23

In the New Testament, still using our same verb, the fiery darts of the devil can be "quenched" by the shield of faith! That's a good quenching! When the Holy Spirit is quenched, that's not good at all! It's a sin, a dangerous one!

Here's something else that cannot be quenched, the fires of Hell! "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." Mark 9:48 is probably quoting Isaiah 66:24, "For their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."

Here's a time when something was quenched. The fires in the lamps of the five foolish virgins in Matthew 25:8. "And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out." As marked, the expression "are gone out" literally is "sbennumi."

And in Hebrews 11, God's great "Faith" chapter, some saints ... "Quenched the violence of fire ...." Daniel's three friends presumably are meant. They just would not burn!

Then in Matthew 12:18-21 the first Gospel, again quoting Isaiah, says of Jesus' kindness and gentleness, "Behold my servant (Jesus), Whom I have chosen; my Beloved, in Whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit upon Him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust." Amen! Jesus, when He finds a weak nearly-extinguished soul, ready to die, will not squelch its last indications of former fire! No! He will re-ignite it! Fan the flames! Stock the embers! Add some Fuel!

Glory to God!

Some things are to be quenched!

Other things cannot be quenched!

But One Thing is never to be quenched, the precious Fire of the Holy Spirit of God!

The words to an old hymn come to mind today, "Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me! Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me!"

Folks, live in the constant, to use Paul's words again, "communion" of the Holy Spirit of God!

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. " 2nd Corinthians 13:14

The warming, beneficial, fruit-bearing, precious Holy Spirit of God!

Never let That Fire go out!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell           

 

 

LESSON 11, CONCLUSION:

We today reach the end of a journey.

That is, our journey through Leviticus 6:12-13. "And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out."

It is believed that the Jews kept God's Command here. That this Fire never did go out ... until Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian army attacked Jerusalem! They overran the City and destroyed the Temple, even taking some of its Furniture back to their home Country.

At this time, history says and logic agrees, the Fire probably "went out!" After nine centuries or so of burning fervently!

But God did not extinguish It!

Man did!

Specifically, the Babylonians or Chaldeans, their army no doubt.

But really, it was the Jews, their unconfessed and accumulated sins that brought upon Jerusalem and its Temple such havoc!

The Fire ... no longer burning!

And what extinguished it?

Heavy winds?

Violent storms?

Torrential rains?

Lack of ritual worship?

Some individual priest, not being on duty?

No, no, no ... to all of these!

Sin!

That's what ... sin!

Sin, rebellion, apostasy, transgression, iniquity!

I once heard a Preacher call sin "the most expensive thing in the world!"

He had it right!

And, skipping now to the New Testament counterpart of this ever-burning Fire, what could ever dampen or extinguish the Flames of the dear Holy Spirit of God?

What indeed?

Surely, very little, if anything!

After all, the Spirit is God!

He is therefore omnipotent!

But still, something can "quench" His Fire in our hearts!

It is possible to "hurt" His Feelings! He is alive you know! He is a Person, a Divine Person, the Third Person of the Unified Godhead! He can indeed be "grieved," according to Ephesians 4:30.

Well, the answer is the same, Old Testament and New, only SIN can retard that Fire!

Only sin, and unconfessed sin at that, can have such disastrous consequences!

Friends, stay in touch with Almighty God!

Constant unbroken communion!

Oh yes, this Fire may at times burn more brightly than before, or flicker more dimly ... but, if a man walks with God, the Fire will never go out!

All the way Home!

Listen to the two on their way to Emmaus, the day Jesus was raised from the dead. These words were spoken after Jesus had revealed Himself to them, the post-resurrection Jesus, in His glorified Body! "And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" Luke 24:32 is describing the Fire!

Glory to God!

The Fire was indeed still burning!

Jesus stoked it that day!

The Word of God intensified it too, preached in an expository format!

It burns in the heart of every Spirit-filled saint of God!

Paul picked up on this grand theme when writing young Preacher Timothy.

"Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands." 2nd Timothy 1:6

That verb "stir up" translates the Greek word "anazopureo." It means "keep the fire alive!"

The Fire "from above!"

That says it all!

Christian friend, stay "stirred up" when it comes to the Warmth and Passion and Flaming Presence of the dear Holy Spirit of God!

At the Judgment Seat of Christ, you will be so glad you did!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

KEEP THE FIRE BURNING!

 

 

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