Refining Fire

By
Lee Y. Martin, Ph.D., © 2006

 

 

 

RUBENS, Pieter Pauwel  The Last Judgement  1617 Oil on canvas,  Alte Pinakothek, Munich
 

Malachi’s book was primarily a denunciation regarding the local priests’ woeful discharge of their duties after returning from captivity. They were not careful to consider their chosen status as a priest an honor. They esteemed lightly God’s choice of them as His personal servants. Esau lost the birthright to bringing forth God’s Savior of the world because he lightly esteemed it a privilege. We know the extent of his estimation of the lineage right to produce the Creator/King since we know he sold it for a mess of pottage [Genesis 25:31-33].

Even today, we see believers take lightly their right to come before an awesome God. They come to worship disheveled in dress, even seductively dressed, and treat the Bible irreverently as if it were just another book. New Christians do not know any better, but we see this same behavior among older ones who ought to be role models teaching the beauty of being holy like God [Hebrews 5:12].

Will God overlook casual and cavalier practices? I frankly do not know. I do know that protocol dress for priests in the Old Testament was that they should wear beautiful robes in order to look their very best when they approached a holy God. Having a better covenant with better promises, should we do less? This is not suggesting that dress has to be expensive – just proper, neat, and clean. Nevertheless, love covers a multitude of sins, willful or otherwise. One thing is certain, however. Whosoever will may come for cleansing at any time and for any reason. Praise God! But watch out for the cardinal sin of pride because it will keep a person from repenting.

Isaiah 5:20-24
20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!
22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:
23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!
24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

Because judgment will be an awesome experience, I must speak what the Holy Spirit shows me regardless of whose feet I step on or whom I offend, for like those persons above, woe is me if I do otherwise. If the dream or vision is hallowed, the interpretation is certain and unequivocal. Therefore, I wait until the Holy Spirit shows me the Scriptures that authenticate the vision. Sometimes the interpretation comes immediately. Other times it has been months and even years. I do not try to figure out what something means. It just comes up in my spirit, the Scriptures are there, and I just know …what will come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure [Daniel 2:45].

The Spirit shows me in this vision that many sincere believers are in great danger because they have ill-advisedly mixed the purity of God’s Word with popular programs, programs devised by men who have used a community based consensus method and/or culture valued activities to promote evangelism. This compromise is doomed for failure because worldly techniques produce worldliness – the seed is in itself. This means of securing converts to Christianity may result in admission to see without conversion to be. Why? Because consensus is the hallmark of tolerance which is the first step to compromise. Unity in diversity, although a noble epigram, is not God’s way. Rather unity from conformity is God’s plan – conformity to Jesus Christ His Son. Holiness and purity will never maintain unity at the expense of truth, and regrettably, compromise is watering down the truth.

 
Refining Fire
Having laid a foundation, the first step in determining the interpretation of this vision is to look at the setting in which it happened. Not all visions and dreams are setting dependent, but this one is because Jeannette was praying about the recent fires along the Oklahoma/Texas border when she had it.
 

Other instances where visions were situation dependent are when Jeannette was praying about the 911 disaster. The day of the tragedy she had one when praying while watching the towers fall, and the next day when we were praying together about the tragedy she had another. They are interpreted on this website as The Dragon and The Kiss.

Very often when praying in the Spirit, the Holy Ghost is induced to speak through strange images as He paints pictures in a person’s mind. Other times He manifests with prophecy spoken in an understandable language through a person who may or may not have been praying in the Spirit. Any vision or dream image is a mystery that must be unraveled with the Word of God and Holy Ghost help just like prophetic utterances are often cryptic messages that must be interpreted and judged.

1 Corinthians 14:2
2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

Why are dreams, visions, and prophecies couched in mysteries? I suggest it is because God is not going to publish His pure pearls before profane people who profess contempt for their price. This is the reason He spoke in parables. People who hear, understand, and act on them are the ones who heed them and are blessed. Not to heed is tantamount to not understanding the worth of the message contained therein. Uninterested people not only lose blessings but they cannot go forward in spiritual development.

When Jeannette asked the Lord if the Oklahoma/Texas fires could be construed as refining fires, the vision happened. Its emblems indicate that she received an affirmative answer. How do I know this? When praying about the interpretation, I asked the Spirit if this vision was related to Malachi’s prophecy about Jesus coming as a refiner’s fire and …fullers’ soap [Malachi 3:2]. I was impressed to read the entire book and undeniably, the Malachian passage quoted in the opening of this interpretation fits the visionary’s image and can be construed as explaining why Jesus appeared in fire. He is coming as a refiner to purge the new ‘sons of Levi’ of this last generation.

  Refining Percious Metal Throughout Scripture, we read about metals being purified in fires or hot liquids. Without indulging in a lot of details regarding the refining process of metals, basically, gold is purified in the fire of a furnace while silver is purified in a fining kettle containing hot liquid. Both processes are for the purpose of getting rid of the dross in a substance, a worthless waste product that if not removed, reduces its value. The more dross, the less metal per ounce, and the less metal, the less costly it is. In other words, refinement is getting rid of impurities and enhancing the worth of a substance.
  Job’s trial was written down in a book for our admonition because oftentimes we do not know why we are in a furnace of affliction. We find the answer in the Book of Job. We learn that Job erred giving satan a bona fide claim to harass him. Job got into fear [Job 3:25,26] which gave the devil place to come in [Ephesians 4:27] and try to destroy him. Fear opens the door to satan and faith opens the door to God. Refining People
 

Both are activated by words and the watcher angels are watching every word we say. Whatever comes out our mouth authorizes either the holy angels or the evil angels to operate on our behalf or against us. He that keepeth his mouth, keepeth his life; but he that openth wide his lips shall have destruction [Proverbs 13:3].

God is faithful, however, and will not permit us to be tested above what we are able to withstand; but He will with the temptation provide a way of escape [1 Corinthians 10:13]. God does not send tests [James 1:13,14], but He allows them to reveal to us the error of our ways. He also wants us to know how strong our faith is. He knows but we don’t. Because He wants us to be totally pure without spot or wrinkle, He sometimes allows the fires to get extremely hot. The stronger our faith gets, the less fire that’s needed because there is not enough dross to interfere with our faith working and fulfilling God’s plan for our lives. Notice that Job’s faith held fast and because it did, God rewarded him with twice as much as he had before the trial. Even though Job thought God caused all his suffering, he did not charge God foolishly. He confidently said, …He knoweth the way that I take, and after I am tried (tested), I shall come forth as gold [Job 23:10]. Are you as steadfast as Job in your faith trials even when you do not know why? I challenge you to go for the gold like Job did.

 

Malachi 3:3
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Everyone knows that the sons of Levi were the ones God chose to be His priests in the Old Testament and mediate for Him with the people. God does not change [Malachi 3:6], and even today, He chooses from among all peoples of the world [John 15:16] certain ones to represent Him on earth as His ecclesia. The word ‘church’ is the English translation of ecclesia and means ‘to call out.’ Hence, the church is a body of ‘called-out ones.’ Jesus borrowed this term from the Romans. The senate of Caesar was known as his ecclesia, chosen, handpicked men who were called unto himself to represent him and spread his ideas throughout the empire. The word embodied a host of special concepts appertaining to the government of the Kingdom of God and was etymologically prepared by God for Jesus’ use to convey God’s conceptual ideas regarding governmental protocol. The conceptual ideas cloaking the word ecclesia were already planted in the minds of people due to Roman rule when Jesus began His church. The ecclesia beautifully personified what citizenship in God’s Kingdom meant. No wonder people gravitated to the Kingdom Jesus was setting up. Every seat in the ecclesia was a position of honor bringing with it many perks and amenities that other people in the empire did not have access to.

The privileges associated with being a member of Jesus’ church are no less gratuitous than those of the Senate of Rome. They’re even better! In addition, they are available to every member of Jesus’ ecclesia. Wow, what a thought! Think about what that means. All bills paid and needs met. Food, clothing, and shelter provided for by the government of the Kingdom of God. Health care is provided because in the Kingdom of God the crucifixion of the Head of State healed all sicknesses and diseases for all time when He bore the stripes of wrath [Isaiah 53:5]. There are too many perks to mention in this short space. Is it any wonder that Paul said …my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory [Philippians 4:19]?

The senate of Rome was the equivalent of today’s governmental body known as the Cabinet to the President of the United States. Whoever is president appoints whomever he wants to be the heads of the various cabinet departments and they meet with the president regularly even daily in order to find out what the president’s goals and ambitions are for the country. Do you meet daily with your immediate supervisor, the Holy Ghost? If you don’t, how can you know what His plans are for the day?

You might wonder if I can document all this about the ecclesia in the Word of God. I can. Do you remember when Jesus told Peter he had made the correct affirmation when he said that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God? Upon that statement, Jesus said He would build His church. These are His exact words:

Matthew 16:18
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build MY church ; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Notice that Jesus said, I will build MY church upon this confession of Peter. In using the pronoun ‘my,’ Jesus was distinguishing His ecclesia from Caesar’s. But the correspondence is there. The people knew what Caesar’s ecclesia involved and the honor bestowed upon its members. Therefore, our Lord wants us to consider the implications of being a member of His ecclesia. Every person who makes the same confession Peter did becomes a member of Jesus’ ecclesia. Whoever is willing to let Jesus be Lord and to live according to the precepts and principles of the Kingdom of God is qualified [Colossians 1:12] and hence chosen by Jesus to be an ambassador in His ecclesia.

Will everyone be an effective ambassador and project proper protocol? I doubt it. Not because they cannot, but because they will not. Not all believers have put off the old man with his sin nature. The refining fires are designed to help believers stop sinning more quickly so that the new man can come forth in glory. Jesus said that many are called but few are chosen [Matthew 22:14]. God knows our hearts and who will carry out orders and represent Him honorably. They are the ones called out of darkness into Jesus’ marvelous kingdom of light.

Wouldn’t you like to become a citizen of the Kingdom and run roughshod over the devil and his minions? What a prospect! You can if you want to. There is a page on this website explaining How To Become A Christian, so do not put it off if you haven’t made Jesus Lord. Time is of essence because as this vision indicates, Jesus is already sitting as the refiner of His ecclesia and He is turning up the fire making sure that all His ambassadors enter the visible Kingdom without spot, wrinkle, or blemish [Ephesians 5:26,27].

The purpose of the refining is to find out who is willing to do His will. At His first coming when He came to suffer and die for the sins of the world, it was a time of sifting and separation. The people who accepted Jesus’ Words and believed on Him were accepted and placed in a state of grace in His cabinet. They had the connection to heaven in the person of the Holy Spirit, and if they listened and obeyed His voice, they would be shown what to do. If they did it, they would be in the right place at the right time to avoid satan’s attempts to destroy them. The blessings and privileges of the Kingdom are directly proportional to the time spent in communication with the King. Then, as now, many in the cabinet do not check in daily with the King and so are not able to overcome the wiles of the devil. As a result, many prospects for Kingdom citizenship do not endure and persecutions and afflictions prove they are dross in the fining pot.

The refining process has gone on for some two thousand years and the fires are still burning. Just remember, however, there are only two options. Every individual who has ever lived has gone through the fire or will do so sooner or later, and it will be evident whether he or she was dross or precious metal; for there is nothing hidden that shall not be brought to light [Mark 4:22].

 

When one considers what is happening in the Middle East, it is hard not to realize that we are on the threshold of Jesus’ second advent. Hence, our Father God keeps sending messages like this one warning believers to stay prepared for departure as all ambassadors of a Kingdom are told to do. When things get hot between two kingdoms and relations get unbearably strained, the ambassador to that foreign nation is recalled back home. That is precisely what Jesus will do with us, His ambassadors.

If you are up on current events, you will note that Germany and France have recently recalled their ambassadors to Iran. The United States has not had an ambassador to Iran for some time. Tensions with Iran and the West are accelerating at an alarming rate. We know that Iran has openly avowed Israel’s annihilation and America’s demise, and they are firmly allied with Russia in the buildup of their nuclear capabilities. The curtain is about to go up on the final drama of history – the Day of the Lord. The Tribulational script as recorded by Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 could start at any time. Chapter 38 opens by telling us who has been scripted to play the drama. The first nation mentioned to ally with Gog of Russia is Persia, which is present day Iran. Interestingly, Putin (Gog?) of Russia becomes the head of the economic G8 this year as he chairs his term of the rotating office. What might lurk in the back of his head for world change? The recent recall of ambassadors from Iran poses a distinct possibility of war because ambassadors are removed to get them out of harm’s way.
Old Map of Iran

Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and consecrated yourself to learning the protocols of effective ambassadorship? If you have not, you could wind up with little or no gold in gloryland. Am I saying it is possible to not show forth any glory in heaven? Hear the following words penned by the Spirit through Paul and you be the judge:

2 Timothy 2:20-22
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Do you not sense that the above Scripture is establishing a connection between not shining forth much glory or even none at all in God’s great household in heaven? Note that vessels of dishonor, wood and earth, have little reflectivity. Verse 21 explains that Paul is talking about people who have or have not purged themselves of dross. Thankfully, in verse 22 he tells us how to become a vessel of honor shining with all the luster of refined gold.

We are not of this world for we are of the household of God and our citizenship is in heaven. Jesus’ true ambassadors will heed this vision’s call to repentance and cleansing. Therefore, allow the fires of refinement to purge out the dross now and retreat to Biblical holiness. Be a vessel of honor in God’s house. Furthermore, ambassadors always have a contingency suitcase ready for swift departure. Analogously, we must be ready and refined when we hear the trumpet call to withdraw to the Kingdom in heaven.

Believers have been given several appellations in Scripture. They are called sons of God, citizens of the Kingdom, called-out ones, ambassadors, saints, kings, and priests. It is the last title of priest that concerns this vision.

1 Peter 2:9
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

The above Scripture clearly shows that believers are 1) chosen, i.e., called-out, 2) royal, i.e., kings, and 3) priests, i.e., bridges between the world and God. Given that we are privileged to be in direct communication with the King of the Kingdom of Heaven, a privilege only allowed the High Priest under the Old Covenant, we ought to take advantage of it and talk often with our High Priest [Hebrews 3:1]. We are a kingdom of priests, and this vision’s refining fire is meant for all of us believer-priests, not just the leaders of the church.

Notice that Malachi states in chapter three, verse two that Jesus sits as a refiner watching over the caldron of liquid to see that it stays at just the right temperature. In olden days, that is what a refiner had to do. He had to stay with the process to make sure the fire stayed at the exact requirement whether it be in the ovens where the gold was refined, or in the fining pots for silver. As our Advocate in the heavenly courtroom [1 John 2:1], Jesus has been doing that ever since He sat down at the Father’s right hand. He said that He would not allow more fire to be put on us than we could stand, so if a person winds up as dross, whose fault is it? Certainly not God’s. It has to be the person’s rebellion that causes him or her to become a castaway.

The Word never fails and God never changes. So if one person makes it through the fiery furnace, then anyone else can too because God is no respecter of persons and rewards anyone who diligently seeks Him [Hebrews 11:6]. Herein lies the sifting. Are you willing to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first [Matthew 6:33]? Jesus said that if you did, all the other things He mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount as rights and privileges of the Kingdom are available now, right here in the devil’s world. All you need is faith – simple, strong, unwavering faith. Jesus said that all things are possible to him that believeth and Jesus does not lie.

The difference between a refiner’s fire and fuller’s soap is the intensity of the purification process. Some people need nothing but a little refinement whereas others need a whole lot of fire to burn out the grossness of their souls. Everyone stands on equal footing in a state of condemnation before the new birth. After regeneration, however, some people need more soap. Lye or alkaline salts such as potash were applied to clothes at a watering hole in the old days and then the fuller would beat the clothes with a stick or jump up and down on them. Such a picture symbolizes that the cleansing process can become severe and occasionally unpleasant.

Both purification processes were idiomatic to indicate that people had to be willing to undergo cleansing before they could enter the holy Kingdom of God. Some people drop out when the going gets rough. My advice to anyone, however, is to go for the gold because you will be eternally glad you suffered persecution with Jesus. Paul indicated that if we are children and joint-heirs with Christ, don’t think it strange if we suffer with him. He implied that our glory is somehow tied to the amount of suffering we undergo. He said, …if so be that we suffer with him, …we may be also glorified together [Romans 8:17] with Him.

The Scriptures infer that suffering with Jesus is integrally tied to development of our faith. Persevering in believing God no matter what is sometimes difficult. Contending for the faith once delivered to us through the Scriptures means we do not under any circumstances let it slip. Keep your eyes on Jesus and off the things of the world. Consider Him and His promise of greater glory as you persevere. If you will learn to control your mind and thinking, you can endure anything.

Perseverance is the underlying key to endurance. A determination not to quit even though circumstances tell you there is no way for your miracle to happen. Remember the nagging woman demanding her rights as a citizen of her country? Do likewise and demand your rights. Jesus implied you shall be rewarded as she was. Believing God and the many promises of deliverance in the Scriptures will surely deliver you from trying circumstances. You must believe God however, over and against what your senses tell you. You must wait patiently for God’s promises to materialize. They will because God does not lie. This is the great faith that overcomes the impossible but it does not come overnight. Those who persevere while standing out over the aching void with nothing under them but the Word of God are the ones who will come forth as gold. Again, I say, go for the gold. Do not settle for less because your eternal rewards are tied to your faith development.

Moreover, you will have shown your faithfulness in obedience to the Master’s orders as you go by the book, the Bible. There will be no subordination in the Kingdom of God when it manifests. Hence, how readily we obey God’s Word now in the secreted Kingdom hidden in our hearts proves how readily we can be trusted to heed the Chief of Staff’s orders in His actual Kingdom where there will be no compromise with truth, no regarding the persons of men [Matthew 22:16], and no iniquity in the taking of gifts [2 Chronicles 19:7]. Today, however,…judgment is turned away backward and justice standeth afar off: truth is fallen in the streets and equity cannot enter [Isaiah 59:14].

Come, O great Stone Mountain!
Come in response to your lore.
Hearts are steady; souls make ready,
Take your place at the helm as before!

 

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013 1:23 PM