Again, this week in Isaiah Decoded we’ll continue with our review of chapter 5 – Zion/Jerusalem, God’s Covenant People. Starting on page 150, Dr. Gileadi takes the concept of the descent before the ascent or a trial of faith and places it into an Endtime context. In the New Testament, this concept of the descent before the ascent is known as the Baptism of Fire. This week we’ll review this Endtime Baptism of Fire and consider it in the larger context of being Born of God.
As we saw previously, being Born Again is the process of being transformed into a new creation of the Spirit, which is necessary to be Zion/Jerusalem God’s covenant people. This process included: being Born of the Water, of the Blood, of the Spirit, and of God. We already covered the first three stages of being Born Again. Our fourth stage to be Born Again is to be Born of God and includes three parts – the Baptism of Fire, the Baptism of the Spirit and to be bound or sealed with Heaven.
Born of God
Our go-to scripture for being Born of God is found in the third chapter of first John.
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed [Spirit] remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” – 1 John 3:9
The important elements that we see in being Born of God is that a believer cannot sin and that God’s Spirit remains in that person. Essentially, they have been transformed into a new creation of the Spirit and have overcome Personal Sin. However, God doesn’t raise a believer to this level of righteousness until they have passed a test of loyalty – a trial of faith – to see if they are truly committed to God.
The Baptism of Fire and Isaiah’s Descent before the Ascent
Some students of Isaiah may wonder how the concept of descent before the ascent manifests itself in the New Testament. A careful study of the Baptism of Fire in the New Testament connects the Baptism of Fire with a trial of faith.
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” – 1 Peter 4:12,13
Typically, the type of trials that we will see on the Zion/Jerusalem level is persecution whether from friends, family, or church leaders as truth-seekers abandon former faith systems and embrace God’s way and law.
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” – Matt 5:10-12
The Endtime Baptism of Fire
Beginning on page 150, Dr. Gileadi explains that there are three Endtime tests that will try a believer to see if they are committed to living His law, which Dr. Gileadi summarizes on page 151 with Figure 62.
Figure 62 Three Tests of Loyalty to God
The King of Assyria/Babylon--
A Political Dictatorship
Materialism and Sensual Gratification
Ostracism by Ecclesiastical Authorities
Though believers will be subjected to these three tests to some degree, tests one and three qualify under the Messiah’s statement of persecution that we found in Matthew 5. Let’s consider the statements that Dr. Gileadi makes regarding these two tests – these Baptisms of Fire.
False Brethren— Ostracism by Ecclesiastical Authorities
“And false brethren abuse their ecclesiastical authority and in God’s name ostracize people who don’t adopt their current religious point of view.” – P. 152
“Another trial God’s people face is the tendency by some to control others’ spiritual lives. Driven by an ungodly loathing of those more zealous for God than themselves, certain “brethren”—religious leaders—misuse their authority by acting “holier than thou.” Contrary to counsel Jesus gave, they pull out the wheat with the tares, excommunicating and blacklisting those whom they cannot bear. These suffer the misfortune of being social outcasts, of being treated as heretics and apostates. They must deal with the paradox of so-called men of God— “shepherds” of the people—making a pretense of mediating God’s covenant while, in fact, persecuting them in his name. (Isaiah 56:3, 10–12; 61:7; 66:5.) Ezekiel, too, describes false brethren as “shepherds” who, instead of feeding the flock, scatter and drive it away. They feed themselves from the fattest. They don’t care for the sick to bind them up nor rescue those astray. The sheep wander wherever they can, becoming a prey to “wild beasts”—forces foreign and hostile to God.” – P. 154, 155
Personally, I experienced this type of persecution when the Stake President came to my place of employment and harassed and humiliated me - being concerned with the loss of my job. It was only after I complained to the President of the Seventy that the Stake President desisted.
The King of Assyria/Babylon— A Political Dictatorship
“The king of Assyria/Babylon represents a political dictatorship that pressures people, under pain of death, to submit to its control.” – P. 151
“In Isaiah’s endtime scenario, the archtyrant rises to prominence as a political power as a result of a decline in spirituality among God’s people. The king of Assyria/Babylon not only pretends to be divine, he wields unprecedented political power. He has the military capacity to realize his self-serving ambition, to wreak havoc and disaster wherever he strikes. As evil as he is, his seemingly invincible strength will sweep many people off their feet, convincing them to submit to his control. The temptation to “go over to the winning side” will sway masses of people as it swayed the Germans and other nationals during World War II. Isaiah further characterizes him as a “rod,” “staff,” and “scourge,” reflecting his ability to enforce his rule (see Figure 63). – P. 152, 153
"Isaiah deals with two distinct groups of God’s people who live at the end of the world: those at home and those abroad. p.157 In Isaiah’s endtime scenario, the archtyrant attacks both those at home and those abroad. p.158 The general state of wickedness of God’s people at the end of the world causes God’s righteous people also to come under attack … p.159 Because he seeks to displace God, he considers the best way to do so is to annihilate God’s people or at least to enslave them. He tries to destroy them because they keep God’s memory alive in the world … p.159 After conquering the nations of the world, the archtyrant’s huge army surrounds God’s people “at home,” giving them an ultimatum: either they surrender to the Assyrians or the army wipes them out." p.160
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Once a believer has passed their trial of faith – the Baptism of Fire, then God’s Spirit remains in them – 1 John 3:9. They overcome personal sin and are changed or transformed from their carnal natures into a state of righteousness. The become a new creation of God’s Spirit!
Sealed by the Spirit
It is at this point, that those who are Zion/Jerusalem have their covenants with God changed from being conditional and temporary to being unconditional and everlasting.
They become bound with Heaven as long as they endure to the end.
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” – Ephesians 1:13
Manifestation of the Spirit
Many believers who has reached this level of righteousness will have a tangible manifestation of the Spirit. Something similar to the Spirit descending on the Messiah after His baptism or on the Apostles at the Day of Pentecost, or many will prophesy,