When reading this chapter we have to cast our minds back to 1 Kings Ch.8 which is the parallel passage regarding the Temple dedication. Amazingly the writer of the passage in 1 Kings doesn’t mention the fire from heaven part of the proceedings. It’s not as though it was a common occurrence in the life of Israel.
We know God took Israel out of captivity in Egypt and led them through the wilderness by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire at night signifying his presence with his people. Again on Mt. Sinai God’s presence was manifested in cloud and fire. Here in this passage we see a repeat of Moses and Aaron in Leviticus Ch.9 v 22-24 offering the sin offering and David in 1 Chronicles Ch.21 v 26 presenting burnt offerings and peace offerings. In all these 3 situations the fire from heaven that consumed the sacrifices signalled acceptance of the sacrifice to God through obedience to God’s Word and in the case of Solomon here as an answer to his prayer. The fire consumed the sacrifice and the cloud, the glory of the Lord filled the temple.
So we may ask ourselves today what are the implications of “fire from heaven” in our lives. As we move on through scripture the coming of Jesus is THE great turning point which everything has been leading up to. In John Ch.1 v 32 we read “And John bore witness: I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptise with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptises with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
God has appeared to his Son as a dove, we believe in the trinity so we accept God came to earth, not in fire and cloud but as a sinless man. Jesus’ ministry was preparing the way for the ultimate once and for all sacrifice acceptable to God. In Luke Ch.9 v 28-36 in Jesus’ transfiguration the disciples saw his glory and the cloud overshadowed them – “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him” The presence of the father speaking about and affirming his son. Later in v 54 we see James and John being rebuked by Jesus for wanting to bring down fire from heaven on a Samaritan village. Jesus ministry was to bring the free offer of the Gospel not immediate judgement, John 3 v 17.
Fire in the Old Testament often indicates as we have seen the presence of God, his holiness and purity. In the New Testament in Acts Ch.2 v 1-4 we see fire from heaven at Pentecost – tongues as of fire resting on them – the Spirit of God filling each believer. This is what fire from heaven means for believers today. The infilling of each one of us with the Holy Spirit, giving us hearts of fire for Jesus accepting his sacrifice, the sacrifice that was acceptable to God. The presence of God within us continues to refine us closer to his holiness. Just ask and receive the great gift of Jesus’ sacrifice and the promise of his Holy Spirit. Thank you Jesus, fill us with your fire.
Posted by: Andy Moyle
On: 16th Apr, 2020 at 5:59 am