Over the next few years a fire is coming upon the body of Christ that will eventually touch every believer on earth. There will be no escape from it, but neither should we want one. It is the fulfillment of one of the great biblical prophecies, and will eventually bring light and warmth to the entire earth.
Two years ago as I prayed to understand what the Lord was going to do as we entered a new millennium, a scripture began coming to me daily. At times it came over and over, almost like a ringing in the ears of my heart. It is one of the great promises in Scripture that is given especially for “the last days” in Acts 2:17-18:
‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;
Even upon My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit And they shall prophesy.”
As Joseph told Pharaoh in Genesis 41:32, “Now as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter is determined by God, and God will quickly bring it about.” This same prophecy is repeated twice in Scripture in Joel 2 and in Acts 2. God determined this matter, and He is about to quickly bring it to pass. As these verses make clear, at the end the Holy Spirit will be poured out in an unprecedented measure, and the result will be dreams, visions, and prophecy. These will come upon old and young, male and female—everyone.
Both the Lord Jesus and Paul remarked that the events of the last days would come upon the world like birth pangs upon a woman. Birth pangs may begin suddenly, but as the birth gets closer, the contractions become stronger and more frequent. This is how the Holy Spirit has been poured out over the last century. Beginning with the outpouring at Topeka, Kansas, then Azusa Street, it quickly swept around the world. Even so, this first great spiritual contraction only touched a small percentage of the body of Christ. A
About fifty years after this first spiritual contraction there was another one. The Holy Spirit again moved over the earth, with great signs and wonders during the fifties. Multitudes were saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit, but still this entire movement only touched a small percentage of the whole body of Christ.
Then, just a little more than two decades after that great move of God, the Charismatic Renewal began. This one was not known for its depth, but its breadth was unprecedented. It touched possibly every single denomination on earth with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, bringing a much larger percentage of Christians worldwide into “the fullness of the Spirit” than the first two movements combined.
Even so, it still only touched about 10 percent of the present, confessing Christians in the world. The Charismatic Renewal also sparked smaller movements that together have resulted in what some have estimated to be as high as 90 percent of the new growth of Christianity. Still, something much greater is coming.
Resistance Is Futile
The Greek words translated “all mankind” in Acts 2:17 in the New American Standard Version, and “all flesh” in the King James Version, could have been translated the “whole body.” We know that the Lord is not going to pour out His Spirit on “all mankind,” or “all flesh,” as the next verse states that this outpouring of the Holy Spirit is upon the Lord’s bondslaves, which are His own people. The Lord is about to pour out His Spirit on His whole body until every true believer on earth is baptized, empowered, and begins to hear from the Lord prophetically through dreams, visions, and prophecy.
I have been telling Christian leaders from every denomination and persuasion that it does not matter whether they believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit or not, they are going to get it! It does not matter whether or not they believe the Lord is still speaking prophetically, because as Acts 2 declares, the result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days will be dreams, visions, and prophecies. Whether they believe these are for today or not, they are about to experience them!
To borrow a term from the Borg on Star Trek, “Resistance is futile—you will be assimilated!” The evil Borg in this series was the greatest threat to the universe—and a subtle prophecy of Satan’s counterfeit to bring ultimate oppression and conformity that produces human robots. That is precisely the opposite of the greatest blessing in the universe that will occur with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit; this outpouring will actually bring the greatest release of creativity and uniqueness of expression the world has ever seen.
All Christians will be seeing visions, dreaming dreams, and prophesying. No longer will a few trained professionals be considered the custodians of the Word of God, but He will be expressing Himself through everyone. This will not bring chaos or spiritual anarchy, but rather the greatest unity among people demonstrated on earth since the fall. The Holy Spirit brings uniqueness and creativity, but also harmony on a level that no form of human or demonic oppression can ever duplicate.
The Holy Spirit and Fire
When John the Baptist prophesied about the soon to be revealed Messiah, he said, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11).
Being baptized by the Holy Spirit is one of the most wonderful, glorious, and burning, experiences that we can have on this earth. As we are told in Hebrews 12:29, “for our God is a consuming fire.” The fire of God brings warmth, light, power, and judgment.
The Lord is our loving and compassionate Father. He loves us, and there are many things that He does for no other purpose than to express His affection. Even so, He is also a consuming fire who will consume the wood, hay, and straw in our lives, while purifying the gold, silver, and precious stones (See 1 Cor. 3:11-15).
The Holy Spirit is about to be poured out in an unprecedented way, but so is the fire. The Holy Spirit and fire are coming to the whole church. The wood, hay, and straw that we have used to build with will be burned up. The gold, silver, and precious stones will also be proven and purified. This is being done so that the church can then preach the last message, the gospel of the kingdom with a fire that will sweep the entire earth. This fire will consume those who will not be cleansed in His church. As we are told in I Peter 4:17:
For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel?
The Lord will not righteously judge the earth while His church is guilty of the same sins for which the world is going to be judged. Therefore, a purification of His church is coming first so that none will be able to point to her and say that they are only doing what they see the church doing. She will be a pure and spotless witness to the righteousness of God. The fire of God is going to burn up the wood, hay, and chaff in His church, and purify the gold, silver, and precious stones.
As the Lord warned the Church at Laodicea, one of the worst conditions a Christian could ever fall into is lukewarmness. While giving His great discourse concerning the last days, He warned, “And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).
To be either cold or lukewarm must be the result of an ultimate deception. How can anyone know our glorious God and Savior and not be on fire for Him? How can anyone who has the God who created the universe living inside not be passionate for His kingdom? The only way is to live in the tragic delusion that allows the cares and temptations of this present world to eclipse our love for God.
Graciously, those who have let their love grow lukewarm or cold are going to be given another chance. The fire of God is coming, as the Lord told Jeremiah “…I am making My words in your mouth fire and this people wood, and it will consume them” (Jeremiah 5:14). The Holy Spirit first descended upon the church like tongues of fire as a witness to the way His Word would come forth from those baptized by Him. Those who truly have the Holy Spirit will also have the true fire.
We see in the book of Acts when the Holy Spirit came upon believers the result was that they would speak His word with boldness. “…the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1).
As Paul exhorts in II Timothy 1:7_8, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…” When the Spirit is poured out upon the entire body of Christ, the result will be an unprecedented preaching of His gospel with boldness—by all of His people.
The Lord is going to make His messengers flames of fire (see Psalm 104:4). Dreams, visions, and prophecies will be the fuel that keeps the flames burning. Even so, the churches that do not prepare for this fire will be consumed by it.
How Do We Prepare?
Fire is useful, wonderful, powerful, and dangerous. It is likely that our first ancestors who learned to use fire also carried many scars from it. Only eternity will tell how many forests perished as man learned to handle fire. Later whole cities perished at times, and many others were at least partially destroyed. Fire in the fireplace can provide warmth, light, and a wonderful place for people to gather around. If the fire gets out of the fireplace it can burn the house down. The same is true with the fire of God. There have been far too many churches, and even whole movements and denominations, needlessly damaged or destroyed by the careless handling of the fire of God.
We may think that if this is the fire of God, then certainly He can control it. Certainly He could, but as He declared in Psalm 115:16, “The heavens are the heavens of the LORD; but the earth He has given to the sons of men.” The Lord delegated authority over the earth to man, and on earth He will only work in partnership with man. We can misuse His gifts, His blessings, and even His power. Both the Scriptures and history are filled with examples of this. What is coming upon the church will be the greatest blessing or the greatest danger yet.
Fire is coming to the house of God. Congregations that have fireplaces prepared are about to receive fire that will provide light, warmth, and many people. Congregations that do not have fireplaces prepared will receive the fire also, but it will burn their houses down.
This is part of the judgment that is coming to His household. God has descended from heaven to seek unity with man, how much more should we be looking to heaven to seek unity with Him?
As the Lord said in John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions…”). Of course, there are many mansions that claim to be His house yet He did not build them. The one’s that He built are prepared for what is coming. The fire that is coming will burn down every house that He did not build. These will bring their own judgment by refusing to let the fire of the Holy Spirit, including the dreams, visions, and prophecy take their proper place in the house.
Because the Holy Spirit is going to be poured out on all of God’s people, those who do not provide the rightful place for these expressions of the Holy Spirit in their congregations will soon be trying to put the fire out in every room of the house. The more they try to stamp it out, the more it will spread. Many will continue to blame this fire on the devil, but it is the Holy Spirit who will test the quality of every man’s work. All that is built by man’s selfish initiative will be destroyed.
That which was built by the Lord’s initiative will remain, though it too will be tested and purified by what is coming. The only way that any congregation is going to survive the coming outpouring of the Holy Spirit is to build fireplaces in every room of their house, which is to make room for the Holy Spirit in every aspect of their church life. How do we do this? Here I can only begin with the initial answer to this question, but it is a crucial first step.
Know Your Part
As I Corinthians 13:9 states, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.” I have been devoted to seeing the prophetic ministry restored to the church for almost thirty years. I know that I still only see a small part of this picture, and therefore only have part of the answer. I was told that no one, including all the denominations and movements that have been built with an emphasis on the Holy Spirit, (including ours), have yet built a proper fireplace for the fire of the Holy Spirit that is coming. We have all learned some things, or been given a part of the plan, but no one will have the complete plan if they are not willing to put their little part together with the others. At this time very few have a complete understanding of their little part.
The body of Christ simply cannot be ready for what is drawing near without coming together and having the humility that is demonstrated by being teachable. Those who think they now have all that is needed will disappear as the next move of the Spirit gains momentum. God will resist the proud. One of the greatest demonstrations of pride is for men to think that they already have the whole council of God. They will quickly be exposed by what is coming, and the fire will consume their works.
The Coming Emphasis
Just as the Lord started the fire on the altar but commanded the priests to keep it going, He will start the fire, but we must learn to keep it going. In the coming times we are about to see the understanding of dreams, visions, and prophecy become a major focus of the entire body of Christ. This is going to raise the spiritual temperature of the whole body from that which has been generally cold or lukewarm to a blazing fire.
Few things can create passion as much as when the Lord speaks to us personally. Even so, these prophetic revelations are not being given to us for our entertainment, or to have better meetings. They are going to be of critical importance for the times ahead. Those who do not know the Lord’s voice much better than they do now will not make it through what is coming. As the Lord said concerning His sheep in John 10:4, “When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
As this scripture implies, we will follow the Lord to the degree that we know His voice. In the times ahead we will suffer increasingly for anything we do that comes from our own initiative. We must abide in the Lord, and learn to obey His voice if we are going to survive, much less accomplish our mandate for the end of this age in preparation for the one to come.
Of all the treasure that one could possess on this earth there is nothing more precious than the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God among us. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts us of sin and testifies of Jesus. The Holy Spirit leads us to truth, gives us discernment, is the Helper who helps us, and the Comforter who comforts us. It is through the Holy Spirit that all the gifts work, and the fruit grows. It is through the Holy Spirit that all the works of God are done on the earth.
It was the Holy Spirit who moved upon the formless void to bring forth the creation, and now moves upon fallen, corrupted men to bring forth the new creation. Possibly our most compelling question should be: How can we be a proper host for the Holy Spirit? Before the end, every true believer in Jesus Christ will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. As Acts 2 and Joel 2 both declare, the result of this great outpouring of the Holy Spirit is going to be an unprecedented release of dreams, visions, and prophecy. We must prepare for this.
These will be built upon practical issues of submission and authority, relationships between prophetic ministries, and church leadership, etc.
The prophetic ministry will not be restored to the church until it is a part of the everyday life of the local church. Our mandate is to see this happen across the spectrum of the body of Christ. For this to occur, bridges of trust must be built between the leadership of the church and the emerging prophetic, requiring both to be trustworthy in relating to each other’s ministries.
There is a deep desire in every person to hear from God. If we deny them what is real they will become increasingly subject to the false. This is why psychics are now a multi-billion dollar industry.
However, the Lord has given His church something much greater than the psychics can ever duplicate. The prophetic ministry that is about to be released throughout the body of Christ will put psychics out of business. As the confusion and turmoil of the times increases, the world is going to beat a path to the church seeking to hear from God. Those who are ready for it will reap an unparalleled harvest. In the days ahead the church will have the only light and warmth in increasing darkness. Let us not waste any more time, we must prepare for it!
PLEASE NOTE: The above article “Fire in the Fireplace,” by Rick Joyner is reprinted by permission. Rick Joyner is the founder of MorningStar Ministries. For more information, such as MorningStar’s Churches and Ministries, Resources, Schools and Events, visit their website at www.morninstarministries.org