“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone” (James 1:13 NKJV).
Moses said the terrifying thunder, lightning, and fire of Mt. Sinai was to test the Israelites.
“And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear; for God has come to test you, that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin’” (Ex. 20:20 NKJV).
Moses said, speaking of God, “who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end” (Deut. 8:16 NKJV).
The Hebrew word here used for “test” is nasah. Strong’s Concordance says about it,
“A primitive root: to test; by implication to attempt; - advernture, assay, prove, tempt, try.”
Notice it can mean “tempt” but does not in these verses since God does not tempt us.
Being tested is not just an Old Testament concept but carries over into the New Testament.
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation: for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12
The Greek word translated “temptation” here is peirasmos which can mean trial or tried. The word translated “approved” is dokimos and can be translated “tried.”
Christians are supposed to test their disciples before approving them. Paul said about Titus,
“We have sent with them our brother, whom we have often tested and found diligent in many things, but now even more diligent because of his great confidence in you” (2 Cor. 8:22 NASB).
The church in the West usually does not make disciples anymore much less test them.
Paul, said about deacons that they must be “tested.”
“But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless”
(1 Tim 3:10 NKJV).
So biblically both deacons and elders are to be tested and meet certain qualifications. We might ask ourselves the question—although no one ever does—why does it not say pastors must be tested and meet certain qualifications? I have written about this before so I will not belabor the point here. “Pastor” is a totally made-up man-invented position. Biblically it is simply used as a metaphor for elders. Did you know you cannot make an official position out of a metaphor? It is actually impossible. Neither do most so-called “pastors”! If someone has (metaphorically speaking) a “pastor’s heart,” that means they actually want to spend time with the flock. Most so-called pastors I have met do not want to spend any time with the flock like Jesus and Paul did. They only want to preach to them.
Years ago I wrote my first book (now out of print) about going through seven steps on our journey to maturity. It was based on Ezekiel’s temple. I have to admit I had a very immature revelation of those seven steps when I wrote the book. The fifth step in Ezekiel’s temple is the altar of sacrifice in the center of the temple complex.
Since I wrote that book, the Lord has been leading me on a prophetic journey through Ezekiel’s temple complex. Recently, while in a time of prayer and fasting, the Lord revealed to me that I had completed that step in my personal life. Prophetically going through that altar of fire is very much a time of testing like the Israelites’ time at the mountain of fire. During that time He would not allow me to work. It lasted for 12 years! All of our savings got burned up in that altar of fire and time of testing. All of my spiritual goals and dreams also got burned up during that time even as Abraham’s dreams of children were almost burned up when he was about to sacrifice his son Isaac on his altar.
Now I am having to live out these steps emphatically for the purpose of future teaching, so my time of being tested by that spiritual fire and altar may be more extreme than yours. God deals with each of us differently. I now know about that step experientially instead of just theoretically. Although I did not know I was going into that altar at the time, I can tell you neither I nor my wife wanted to embark on that faith journey with no paychecks. Neither did anyone help us financially during that time. God alone sustained us. The only thing I got from the church in all of that 12 years was the verse “If you don’t work, then you don’t eat.” We never asked anyone for anything during that time, nor did we ever express our needs to anyone. It was certainly a test of obedience as God said about the Israelites,
“You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not” (Deut. 8:2 NKJV).
At one time during this time we were staying at a time-share mountain house we had (we lost that going through the altar too), and everything seemed to be prophetic of Mt. Sinai. On the real Mt. Sinai the Israelites heard the trumpet, thunder, and saw lightning and the mountain on fire. For us there was fog on the mountains all around us, and the mountains looked like they were on fire. The wind blew fiercely causing the motion detector lights to keep flashing like lightning. The fire alarm went off in the house, and I had a very difficult time turning it off. The alarm in my car went off as well.
The strangest thing that happened that weekend was when my son and I went into town and on the way back into the wilderness, we picked up an old man hitchhiking. He reminded me of Moses. He had a long white beard and was carrying a huge black book that looked like a very old Bible. He kept his head buried in that book the whole time he was with us. He didn’t talk much; but when we started to come into the mountains, he suddenly blurted out, “I saw the mountain on fire.” I pointed to the mountains and said, “Do you mean these mountains?” He simply said, “No. You can’t see that mountain from here.” Then he stuck his nose back in the huge book again.
I told him I would take him wherever he was going, but he insisted I let him off at a little country store before the road that went to our cabin. He said that his friends would take him home. I had been in the little store several times and knew it was run by a man who lived at the house there. I knew he could not shut down the store to take this guy home. So I wondered who these friends of his were. At the time I considered our cabin to be like our own little promise land in the wilderness. The Moses-like man acted like he had to get out of our car before we got to our promised land.
I had asked him before where he lived; and he only said, “Seven miles to the west.” Later when I looked at a map, I saw that seven miles to the west was deep into the George Washington National Forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia; and there was no houses in there. Nor were there any roads that went seven miles west into it. I told him I lived off the next road; and he said to me, “Do you mean the one with the Green roof?” I said “Yes,” but I wondered how he would know that since you could not even see the cabin from the road.
Later, when we went back to the place where I picked up the Moses-like man, I found it was on Mt. Sinai Rd. in front of Mt. Sinai Church. I am convinced he was really Moses that God sent down for a prophetic visit for us, or he was an angel pretending to be Moses. Either way, God was confirming I was at the mountain of prophetic fire during my time of testing at the altar of fire.
John the Baptist said,
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matt. 3:11 NKJV).
In the future the church will only have leaders who have been tested by the baptism of fire. They will be the only ones who will be able to withstand the heat that is coming to the church. Today, anyone can just proclaim himself a pastor without so much as the qualifications for a deacon and begin to receive tithes from the sheep. That will not continue when the Lord begins to purify his church. Incidently, the word “purify” is from the Greek word for “fire,” pur.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is certainly not the “full” gospel. There are more steps after that, and the next one after it is the baptism of fire.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love” (1 Peter 1:6-8 NKJV).