This week in our review of Isaiah Decoded we’ll continue with our look at Chapter 1 – The Ladder to Heaven. Another concept that we see in Isaiah’s Gospel is a pattern of descending before ascending, which Dr. Gileadi sees in his seven-part structure. The type of descending here is not going into wickedness but is a temporary condition of suffering as God tests our loyalty to Him under distress. In the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, this concept is called the Baptism of Fire.
A Test of Faith
Integral to God’s plan of transformation/re-creation is a test of our faith to prove our resolve or commitment to follow Him. Once we have proven loyal under distress our transformation/re-creation is complete. We see this pattern occur at the very beginning of creation when Adam and Eve were warned that if they partook of the tree of knowledge to be like God they would suffer in morality and die. But that God would provide a Redeemer to save them from eternal death – Genesis 3:15.
The second example that we see this suffering for loyalty is with Abraham who God commanded that he sacrifice his son as Abraham’s test. This sacrifice was a similitude of the Father’s sacrifice of His son Yeshua for the redemption of mankind. Having passed his test, Abraham’s covenant with God became unconditional and everlasting.
Another example that we see this descent and then ascent is with Job. As a result of Job being faithful to God through his trials, Job is re-created and ascended to a higher spiritual level – Job 23:10.
10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Descent before the Ascent
Dr. Gileadi explains this pattern of descent before an ascent. “This [seven-part structure] shows that to ascend to higher spiritual levels a person or nation of God’s people must descend through trials, prove loyal to God …, and comply with his law and word while resisting the temptation to be disloyal or rebel.” – https://www.isaiahexplained.com/resources/isaiahs-layered-literary-structures/
Increasing Degrees of Testing
Another concept that Dr. Gileadi makes is that as we ascend to be like Messiah our tests become more severe. “According to this pattern, the higher a person or nation ascends spiritually, the greater the preceding descent through trials that test their loyalty. In each case, a higher law and word of God must be observed in order to ascend further. Every ascent is characterized by God’s re-creating the candidate nearer to his own image and likeness.”
Typically, the pattern that we see in the scriptures of increasing degrees of trials include being ostracized by others whether other believers or non-believers for living the Gospel. Next, we see being imprisoned and finally a test next to death.
Theses tests of loyalty to God must be connected to God’s truth. Suffering for the ideologies of a false Jesus won’t qualify a person to ascend. We see this concept set out at Matt 7: 22,23.
“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
The Baptism of Fire
One of the doctrinal errors that Christianity has made with the concept of the Baptism of Fire is linking it with the Baptism of the Spirit as a manifestation of the Spirit. Careful reading of the scriptures and proper punctuation where these concepts are spoken together indicated that the concept of fire is a separate action. We see the Apostle Peter link the tests of loyalty with fire.
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 1 Peter 4:12
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: - 1 Peter 1:7
So what we see in the scriptures are three types of baptism – water, spirit and fire – with each representing something apart from the other.
Immersion in water – Cleansing / Status change
Immersion in the Spirit – Receiving/Living God’s Truth
Immersion in fire – Tests of Loyalty / Status change
Conditional to Unconditional
Another concept that we see with the Baptism of Fire is that once we pass theses tests of loyalty our covenants become unconditional and everlasting. Dr. Gileadi,
“In the pattern of ancient Near Eastern covenants between emperors and their vassal kings, covenants become unconditional when a vassal proves exceedingly loyal to an emperor.” - https://www.isaiahexplained.com/resources/overviews-of-the-prophecy-of-isaiah/
We see Abraham’s covenant become everlasting after he is willing to offer his son as a sacrifice. We also see the covenant God made with David also everlasting. Dr. Gileadi,
“God makes such an unconditional covenant with King David and his heirs (Jeremiah 33:19–26), and it becomes the model for all future kings.God’s calling David his “servant,” “son,” and “firstborn,” and God’s acting as David’s “lord” and “father” (Psalms 2:6–7; 89:3, 20, 26–27, 49), express the unconditional nature of God’s covenant after David proves loyal. David proves his loyalty to God by trusting implicitly in him to give him the victory when the Philistines challenge Israel (1 Samuel 17:26–47; 23:1–5); by not speaking a word against God’s “anointed” (King Saul), even when Saul seeks his life and God gives David power over him (1 Samuel 24:1–22; 26:1–25); and by valiantly defending God’s people Israel against the Philistines and against all their enemies (2 Samuel 3:18).” - https://www.isaiahexplained.com/resources/overviews-of-the-prophecy-of-isaiah/