Refining Fire

Lee Y. Martin, Ph.D., © 2006



Wrath: warning of judgment is at the door.
Malachi 4:1-2
4:1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

I have explained at some length that our vision is a warning that judgment is at the door, for the heavenly Judge came dressed in His fiery canonical robe with gavel in hand to call the earth to order. The above Scripture is a witness to my words, and is the addendum to the opening Malachian passage of this vision. Judgment must begin at the house of God and indeed the Judge thrust His gavel down in the heartland of ‘Missionary Ridge’ from which a huge percentage of orthodox preachers and teachers have dispersed and broadcast the gospel of the Kingdom to the world.

We have seen that chapter three of the book of Malachi speaks of a refiner who delicately refines His precious metals to get out the dross and increase their worth and glory. In crescendo manner, chapter four turns up the heat as it were and exterminates all the dross left in the foregoing purging. The final refinement thoroughly burns the ground so that there is absolutely nothing left, not even the roots that could cause more stubble to come forth as dross [4:1].

The first refinement corresponds to the period prior to the tribulation and consummates in the rapture of the true priests of God, whereas the second fiery episode of chapter four is analogous to the Lord’s coming at the end of the tribulation to snuff out the blazing fires that burn like an oven, both literal and symbolic, that will have been liquidating sin from off the earth for at least seven years. Notice how Malachi contrasts two groups of people. The wicked and proud shall burn like stubble [4:1] while the people who fear God and honor His messengers will be spared judgment and be healed [4:2]. We know that not everyone receives God’s messengers because verses 13 through 18 of chapter three imply there were some people who did not receive Malachi with his message of warning. Their end was and still is today to be cursed if they hearken not to God’s messengers.

Malachi 2:2
2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.

The name Malachi means messenger, and he truly fulfilled his destiny connoted by his name because He brought God’s final prophetic message to Israel. That message consummated all the foregoing prophets’ messages that God was displeased with their behavior, and if changes were not made, they would have to reap the consequences of being cursed, by being overcome by their adversaries. God listed fourteen indictments against them in the first two chapters, which was no small matter. Moreover, the last word in Malachi’s book, which is the last one in the Old Testament, is ‘cursed.’ That pretty well sums up Israel’s history. Since the United States has been God’s chosen vessel to do His will in these latter years, could we wind up with the same epithet as ‘cursed’ because we too have played the fool in not heeding God’s warning messages? Jesus as Judge in this vision portrays an ominous foreboding of what is ahead.  

Ezekiel 21:2,5
2 Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel,
5 … I the LORD have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more.

History documents the accuracy of the foregoing Scripture against Israel’s backslidding. Are we in for the same judgment? Note that chapter one of Malachi was addressed to the general populous of Israel, people who correspond to believer priests today, and chapter two spoke to the Temple priests who typified our Christian leaders. Even though the Babylonian captivity had only ended some 18 or 20 years before the charges, many of the returnees were dull of hearing. And to make matters worse, the quarrelsome priests retorted caustically to the indictments ten times, as if Malachi were God, showing that the leaders were just as backslidden as the people in Moses day and didn’t want to hear the truth. This made God angry.

A similar scenario exists today. There is a readiness to question orthodoxy including the doctrines about who Jesus is and what He did. Professors at most seminaries hesitate to take the Bible literally, and the irony of it all is that as doctors of theology move away from strict adherence to the Scriptures as truth, doctors of physics are moving toward the Bible as the ultimate seat of reality! To be sure, there is a great gap still, but science is just now catching up with many of Jesus’ sayings and proving what He said was right. When He said believers were seated with Him at the Father’s right hand, He was not allegorizing. Particle physics research shows that indeed material entities can be in two places at the same time!

The Sun of Righteousness who comes with healing in His wings is none other than the messenger of the covenant of chapter three. He is called ‘the sun’ because suns are furnaces of fire, balls of brilliant bright light like the Judge in our vision who appeared enwrapped in flames. The sun is a cleanser. Its ultraviolet rays kill deadly bacteria and so preserves us from much disease. Furthermore, the sun exposes sin because it enlightens the environment. Wickedness lurks in darkness and operates best in secret chambers. Thus, the sun of righteousness personified the refiner and purifier of God’s people so that they could make an offering in righteousness [Malachi 3:3]. In this vision, the Sun of Righteousness is exposing the United State’s great sin in moving away from her roots planted in Biblical jurisprudence, i.e., the Ten Commandments.

The last chapter of the book of Malachi is the last one in the Old Testament. Therefore, it is fitting that it speaks to the time when the Kingdom of God will be established. It is a woeful picture of how the King will cleanse the earth with a fire bath to get rid of every vestige of sin and contamination. The only ones spared will be those who listen to the messengers of God and act accordingly.

Malachi sealed the sum of all the prophets. He rebuked the remnant, and announced future purging followed by blessing. The book is a documentary detailing the corruption of the priests and the sins of the people. Is anything new under the sun? Like Eli, the priests were not walking in the ways of God and not teaching the people what God required of them. They utterly disregarded God’s commandments: they offered polluted sacrifices – animals with blemishes and polluted bread [1:7,13]; they engaging in mixed marriages with their heathen neighbors [2:11]; there was gross immorality and degradation [3:5]; they robbed the Temple treasury [3:7-9]; they falsely accused God of delivering the wicked [3:15]; and on and on. Is this not reminiscent of user-friendly churches today that disregard God’s Word in preference to catering to people?

I have tried to show you as the Spirit showed me that the misbehavior of the priests and those whom they were leading is somewhat similar to what is happening in the church today. The keynote indictment is that they had backslidden and did not even know it. Thus, they were in danger of fiery judgment. Most of the time people who are backslidden know it but refuse to turn around. Pride keeps a person from acknowledging he or she is wrong, and hence, becomes the greatest obstacle to repentance.

In Malachi’s situation, however, after bringing them the message regarding their state, some repented while others did not. Those that did not will eventually reap the curse of the great white throne judgment. Jumping out of the refining pot, they jumped right into the caldron of torment where there will be everlasting weeping and gnashing of teeth [Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28]. Thankfully, for those who repent, there is interspersed within the prophecy of Malachi gracious assurances that God forgives those who think upon His name and change their ways. He not only forgives, but He will make them precious jewels in His Kingdom having their ultimate accomplishment written in His book of remembrance [3:16] – “I went for the gold and got it!”

The Way of Cain

The United States of America has dangerously sought the office of High Priest in much the same way Korah and the Reubenites did. Many of our leaders have thought that we no longer need the protective covering of the Ten Commandments and have intruded into the office of High Sovereignty. Is this the way of Cain? These deluded thinkers have decided we can be our own authority figure and spiritual guide. In effect, they are saying we have come of age and with worldly wisdom and a little more time we can reach the outer limits of space/time and may even penetrate parallel universes. Without a doubt, the Hubble Telescope has exponentially enlarged the New Age’s Tower of Babel.

Notwithstanding the mental gymnastics of possibilities and impossibilities, the wisdom of men has thrust us into the hands of uncertainty. Quantum mechanics has shown that the world does not become more organized and expert with knowledge, rather it becomes less certain. Scientists tell us that increasing the accuracy of measurement of one observable event increases the uncertainty with which other quantities may be known. This is known as Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty. The certain uncertainty principle of quantum theory (pun intended) has left us in a quandary about the future. How can a particle of matter effect another one billions and even trillions of light years away? Yet it does. Even weirder, how can a person be in two places at the same time? Yet, it’s possible.

We are in a sea of facts without a compass. We‘re finding out that the more we know about less and less in the subatomic world, we will soon know all there is to know about nothing. Truly, God is destroying the wisdom of the wise and bringing to nothing the understanding of the prudent [1 Corinthians 1:19].

1 Corinthians 1:27-29
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

If we loose ourselves from the moorings that have steadied us from the virulent storms of uncertainty, we may forever become vagabonds in an abyss of black holes from which nothing escapes. Little do our political leaders realize that we need now more than ever an anchor for the soul.

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. Therefore, our Father God is sending messages warning believers to get ready and stay prepared for retreat to heaven for Armageddon is upon us. If we are so close to the return of the Lord for His ecclesia, then we must be in the Laodicean church period because it is the last one documented in Jesus’ Revelation of endtime things.

If you will read about this church in chapter three of Revelation, you will find that our Lord had nothing good to say about this church. His indictment, like Malachi’s, points to the reason God will judge His people. They are backslidden, far from the river, and do not see the heat coming [Jeremiah 17:8]. Nevertheless, He forewarns. Note the indictment below in verse 17 and His advise in verse 18:

Revelation 3:17-18
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

How does Jesus counsel the last ecclesia to repent of its backslidden condition? By allowing the fires of refinement to purge out the dross. The church does not even know it is backslidden. That’s the rub and the implication of Jesus’ warning above. The wise and penitent will jump into the fining pots now in order to escape the purging fires later. Let the liquid hot fire of the water of the Word purify you [Ephesians 5:26]. I suggest you quit listening to every piper that pipes on television and radio. Let Jesus talk to you Himself through His Word and tell you what He requires of His ambassadors.

For starters, God requires us: …to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God [Micah 6:8]. You say, but I am already doing those things. Then turn up the fire and press in closer because I doubt if you have arrived at perfection. I know I haven’t. I want to be as purified as I can be when the trumpet call to withdraw is sounded. Search the Scriptures diligently to see if you are walking in them and not in some synthetic program another has devised. You do not need but one book to get refined with and that is the Bible. Other books confuse issues. A great percentage of them are self-help books that promote the arm of flesh. We have a built-in automatic guidance system in the person of the Holy Spirit. He has been given so we can accurately measure the ambient pressure of the world. If you will look only to Him and not anyone else, He will guide you through this maze of confused rhetoric and program propaganda.

The Holy Spirit will aid you in recognizing error. In this time of apostasy when tolerance is spiritually correct, it is even more necessary that we daily seek the Father’s will in the Bible. Many of our shepherd priests have yielded to the pressures of headquarters or of the flock that want a lenient gospel. The difference between clean and unclean is blurred and most of the flock of Jesus does not discern which watering troughs are poisoned. Because of the pressure of being spiritually correct, much of the leadership of Christianity has denied the authority of the Scriptures and will perish in the gainsaying of Korah. Many have refused to acknowledge the truth of God’s Word concerning its inerrancy, the deity of Jesus, His bodily resurrection, homosexuality as sin, an embryo as a person, and the operation of spiritual gifts today.

Because the United States was raised up to become God’s catalyst to get the gospel of the Kingdom of God spread around the world, Jesus commented in the vision that she was a holy nation set apart for His will. As we have seen, ‘set apart’ means ‘to be sanctified’ and that comes from a root word denoting ‘to be holy’ or ‘to be pure.’ Holiness or purity is firstly a work of God. … Put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness [Ephesians 4:24].

God created us holy when our spirits were born again. Similarly, the United States was created holy when she was born and built her Constitution on Biblical precepts. She then put on the ‘new man’ so to speak as she nurtured her children in public school using the Bible as a text. Now, however, the Bible has been outlawed in the classrooms of America. What a travesty! No wonder she has lost her shine in the estimation of many peoples. She has put off the ‘new man’ and adorned herself in the ‘old rags’ of ancient New Age propaganda.

Ecclesiastes 1:10
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

Notice, however, that Paul says we should put on the new man indicating that after the new birth we have something to do with our staying holy or clean. The United States has gone the way of Cain and will perish in the gainsaying of Korah if she does not quickly clean up her act. She has lost the way of holiness by mixing truth with error such as teaching that all religious faiths worship the same God and perceives not that God will abandon her for not acknowledging His laws as universally sovereign (the way of Cain) and His right to choose who will represent Him (the gainsaying of Korah) [Jude 11].

By allowing unsanctified judges lead her out of the way of holiness, the United States has justified her being judged. This vision has been sent to prophesy against America like Ezekiel had to do against Israel. The Ten Commandments in Jesus’ left hand is the basis of her condemnation and the gavel in His right hand is the symbol of His authority to judge her. Striking in the heartland of America illustrates that the root of judgement is couched in Christian leadership’s compromising God’s Word with worldly tenets, which perverts the Word of God.

There is one hope however. Until the hammer blow falls, America can, if enough people perceive what is happening, stay her judgment through repentance and refinement. Vote into office men and women who will swim against the tide of misfortune. I hope that there is enough time. Given the world situation and the militant Islamic fundamentalist bent on annihilating Israel and destroying America, we had better fan the fires of refinement in our own personal lives and be prepared for departure.

Refining fire is what this vision is all about. We must get into the fining pot of the Word of God and let it burn away the chaff of sin in our lives and the nation. Finding out what constitutes sin and how to please God is the way of refinement and can put a dead end to the way of Cain. It is impossible to exhaust all the references in the Bible about the horrific consequences of not keeping oneself pure. Because we live in a contaminated world, it takes continuous effort to stay holy. Nevertheless, God is faithful…He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ [Philippians 1:6]. This promise is personal, not national. All you need to do is to stay open to the Spirit’s leading and closed to worldliness.

As we have noted, when things get hot between nations and relations get unbearably strained, the ambassadors to those nations are recalled back home. This is normally done before war breaks out. That is precisely what Jesus will do with His true ambassadors because they will have heeded His call to repentance and cleansing. Remember we are not of this world for our citizenship is in heaven. Therefore, we must allow the fires of discomfort to purge out the dross immediately and retreat to Biblical holiness. We MUST be ready when the call to withdraw to the Kingdom in Heaven is trumpeted. When the call is made, the ‘nick of time’ is over, and there will be no getting ready then.






Go For The Gold

Lee Martin *†*

Go for the gold, go for the gold,
As our wise heavenly Counselor advised.
Take off the old, put on the new,
Wait no longer for it’s time to arise.

Share your wealth, stay in good health
Lest shame take the shine off your gold.
Check the piper, hear the sound
Don’t you dare let your gold be sold.

There’s plenty for all in the heavenly mall,
The Savior’s not decreased by your call,
Look not to the world, but faith unfurl
And prepare for our heavenly recall.

Ask not can He furnish a table for me,
To provide a bountiful spread.
He’s a God of too much, a God without limit,
So doubt not, go for the gold instead.

*†*A prophetic utterance given to me spontaneously by the Holy Spirit as I asked Him how I should close this Interpretation.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013 1:34 PM