The Fiery Holy Spirit
In Pentecost, the Holy Spirit dwelt on the disciples as tongues of fire, representing purification of the heart and inflaming it with divine love.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of sanctification and might. (Acts 1:8; Zach. 4:6) He is the fiery Spirit of God as St. Paul mentions, “For our God is a consuming fire,” (Heb. 12:29) and as Isaiah inquires saying, “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting fire?” (Is. 33:14)
Our Lord Jesus came, as He said, to bring fire on earth, and, “How I wish it were already kindled!” (Lk. 12:49) He was talking about the Holy Spirit, the fire that He kindled in every earthly heart to sanctify, purify and inflame it with the fire of love, and to give it spiritual rapture so that it becomes a heavenly heart … a divine throne, similar to the fiery Cherubic chariot.
This type of heart is fervent in spirit, (Rom. 12:11) as it is manifested in prayer, contemplation, ministry or, in general, in loving Christ, His Church and His kingdom. This type of heart is also resolute in facing sin, leading to the sanctification of one's feelings and emotions for the sake of God – to live a life of joy, thanksgiving and sanctification.
The Fiery Holy Spirit in the Bible
St. John the Baptist testified about Christ that He is of the fiery Spirit saying, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier that I …He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Mt. 3:11)
We received this fiery Spirit through the Sacrament of Confirmation or Chrismation through the Holy Myron after receiving our new nature in the baptismal font (Sacrament of Baptism), after being dead, buried and rising with Christ. Through repentance and confession, we experience His work in us, being filled with the Spirit. (Eph. 5:18)
The first time to see mention the fiery Spirit in the Bible is in the Book of Genesis. (Gen. 15:9-17) God’s covenant with Abram was established by ordering Abram to bring sacrifices, cut them in two, and pass a smoking and burning torch down the middle between the pieces. This represents God's divine covenant with us – an expression of the love of God. It was established by the blood of the crucified sacrifice, reconciling us with Him, that we may be able to meet with Him who devours fire, to convert our darkness into light and to inflame our heart with His Holy Spirit.
The second time was the meeting between Moses the prophet and God at the burning bush, which was aflame with fire without the bush being consumed. It illustrates the divine incarnation from the Virgin Mary, who carried the fire of the divinity inside her without being consumed because the fiery Holy Spirit prepared her for this unique event. She represents the Church, which is aflame with the fiery Holy Spirit.
As Moses received spiritual leadership by the Holy Spirit, also our Lord Jesus guided His disciples not to depart from Jerusalem until they receive the power of the Holy Spirit when He comes upon them, (Acts 1:8) which is exactly happened to them on the day of Pentecost.
In the past, the pillar of light led the Israelites, converting darkness into light, and protecting them from their enemies. (Ex. 13:21,22) Now, the Holy Spirit dwells in us, converting the darkness of our life with the light of Christ, protecting us, and declaring the glory of God in our lives. (Ex. 40:34-38)
When Moses met with God on Mount Sinai, the mount was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly and there was thunder and lightning so that all people trembled. (Ex 19:16-19) Then Moses received the tablets of the Ten Commandments on the 50th day from the Israelites' exodus from Egypt and celebrated the first Passover Feast.
This is an excellent illustration of the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, which is described as “fire.” “Is not my Word like a fire?” asks the Lord, (Jer. 23:29) “The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire.” (Ps. 29:7) It is true that the Holy Spirit quakes the mountains of sin in our life and converts our hearts to be holy – to receive divine work engraved by the fiery Holy Spirit. “Behold, I will make My words in your mouth fire.” (Jer. 5:14)
We also remember the fire, which came down from heaven, “The fire of the Lord” and consumed the burnt sacrifice of Elijah and the wood, the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. (1 Kg. 18:20-40) This happened after Elijah disappeared and was very close to his own destruction, because of the killing of the priests and the general bad spiritual condition of the people, who strayed far away from the Loving God. But after the acceptance of that sacrifice with the fire of God, He killed the prophets of Baal. The importance of the sacrifice is that it provides an example of the necessity of redemptive blood, as “Without shedding of blood there is no remission.” (Heb. 9:22) At the same time, the fire represents the work of the fiery Holy Spirit in us, who converts our earthly nature, which is made of dust, into a new one for the indwelling of the fiery God. This enables us to eliminate of our enemies. On the other hand, it represents the descending of the Holy Spirit over the sacrifice during the Eucharistic Liturgy, and over the water during Baptism, enabling the believer to overcome his enemies, i.e., Satan, the world, sin, etc.
Once, when David the prophet and his people suffered from certain destruction as a divine punishment for their transgressions, he cried out to God and offered sacrifices and the Lord answered him from heaven by fire on the alter of burnt offering and they were saved from the divine anger. (1 Chr. 21:26) The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of renewal and sanctification, the forgiver of sins and giver of gifts.
When Solomon built the temple of the Lord, he prayed for the dedication and consecration of it, then fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifices and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. (II Chr. 7:1) You are the temple of God, which is sanctified by the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in it. Pray with Solomon that the glory of God fill your life.
This is not all, but also the fiery Holy Spirit protects us in our spiritual warfare against our enemies. If Satan tries to hold you in captivity, only the fiery Spirit of God would protect you, declaring God’s glory in your life. Exactly as the Israelites lost their hope to go back to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon, the Lord emphasized His help and protection to Zachariah the prophet saying, “For I, says the Lord, will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.” (Za. 2:5)
Let us ask that the fiery Spirit of God inflame our hearts with His divine love, converting our life to be an acceptable sacrifice before God, engraving His fiery Word in our hearts, protecting us from Satan as a wall of fire, declaring His glory in us.