|Acts 2:14-21 |
14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said to them, "You men of Judea, and all you who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to my words.3
15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.
16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel:4
17 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all men; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;
5 For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. But Jesus said: Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven; but [only] he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Mat 7:21-23. So, a casual calling on the name of the Lord does absolutely no good. From the Word of the Lord within: "Call on the Lord with a pure heart. Pray only as you are told." Until you can hear what the Lord desires you to pray, sit and wait in humble silence, hopeful of eventually becoming righteous: able to pray, praise, worship, speak, and act perfectly according to the will of God, which brings pleasure, honor, and glory to God.
Flee youthful lusts; but aim at and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, in the company of others who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Tim 2:22. Note! the pure heart; without a pure heart you are like those described by Jesus as hypocrites: You hypocrites, Isaiah did correctly prophesy of you, saying, 'This people draws near to me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips; but their hearts are far from me.' Isa 29:13, Mat 15:7-8. Saved means to be delivered from all sins and be in a sinless state.
He [Jesus] became the Author and Source of eternal salvation to all those who give heed and obey Him. Heb 5:9. Think about it: the Jews killed the prophets thinking they were doing God a favor; they called on the name of the Lord regularly, but they killed his prophets. Joel 2:32 has the same scripture, and the Pharisees killed Jesus; they called on the name of the Lord every day, many times. Jesus even told us that religious people would kill his true disciples: Yes, the time is coming when whoever kills you will think that he is doing a service to God. John 16:2; and so the Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, and Congregationalists killed 869 Quakers in the 17th Century, including hanging three men and a woman in Boston. The Roman Catholic priests and orders murdered 9,000,000 souls in the inquisitions of the Middle Ages. All of these murderers of those with a different religious opinion regularly went to worship services, prayed, were baptized, took "communion," fasted, and read their Bibles — obviously calling on the name of the Lord many times a day. NO! They were not saved, which is to be delivered from all sins and be in a sinless state.
This verse refers to Joel 2:28-32, and only applies to the remnant who have persisted to the end of carrying their inward cross of self-denial to purity, resulting in the appearance of the Lord in their hearts for final judgment and Jesus bringing salvation. Everyone passes through the fire on that great and terrible day of the Lord. The sun will have been darkened by the bright light of His coming, but then you are immersed in fire; at the last second, before you are totally consumed by the fire, in fear and hope you call on the name of the Lord, and he snatches you from the fire. We are to approach judgment with confidence and boldness — not falling on our face weeping and begging for forgiveness — nor does He want us to draw back in fear. We are to stand in confident, joyful expectation — even as we behold His fearful, awful presence. And as we are surrounded by fire, instead of running, we remain confident He will save us; and so He does save the remnant whom he has been purifying and cleansing, preparing them for his appearance. From the Word of the Lord within: "I will devour those who do not follow, and snatch the righteous from the fire."
This is the Day of the Lord, and even for the righteous who have been waiting, hoping, and expecting salvation, this day begins without joy and peace. The brightness of the light exposes all the remaining evil in you, which is sadness and sorrow; but that sorrow can be controlled if you focus on the light that is showing you your remaining sins, not worrying about what you might lose; and most important, never lose sight that this day will end in great joy, peace, salvation, seeing the Lord, hearing his voice for the first time, and entering the kingdom. It is the day of judgment, and you will recall other sins you had forgotten, plus you will listen to all your evil (non-edifying) ever words spoken, which you must not dwell on, by focusing on how you now are, and will be forever, far more pure. Remain confident that this is all in His control for your supreme benefit. The righteous knowing the terror of the Day of the Lord in themselves is witnessed by, (from his actual experience), kingdom-dwelling, early Quaker Francis Howgill:
"They who have not yet seen this day of the Lords vengeance in themselves, have never seen the day of salvation. The prophet cried out: 'Who may abide the day of His coming, and who shall stand when He appears?' And many have been eye-witnesses of the dreadful day-of the Lord, which has appeared in them, wherein all peace has been hidden from their eyes; and all who ever came to see that day of joy and gladness, first knew the terror and the terrible day of the Lord in themselves. Therefore said the apostle: 'We, knowing the terror of the Lord, persuade men.'"
William Dewsbury, another kingdom-dwelling, early Quaker, also left a testimony of the terror in the Day of the Lord:
I was slain and baptized, and lay as a little child under his heavenly chastisements; as soon as ever my soul was brought to this, in my humiliation. Oh! then, the dreadful judgment was taken away, and the book of life was opened unto me, and the Lord spoke comfortably to me, 'I have loved you with an everlasting love;" and I was made a Christian through a day of vengeance, and of burning as an oven; and the haughtiness and pride of man in me was brought low.
Know you are going to die in the process and rejoice at the culmination of all your efforts to arrive at this moment. The body dies in this baptism of death, but the believer is raised (resurrected) with Christ and translated into the kingdom of God. Though raised with Christ to live in the heavens, they still walk the earth as a new creature together, in union with the Lord.
The following is from kingdom-dwelling, early-Quaker Stephen Crisp's The Necessity of a Holy Life, which gives us further first-hand knowledge of the baptism of fire:
There is no coming to obtain this baptism, but by sinking down into what will slay you, what will kill you. But there is such a shifting to save one's life, there are so many twistings and twinings of people to save their lives, that at last they lose them. But no one can ever find life that is eternal, but those who are willing to be given up to the dead, and submit to this baptism — that is, by the Holy Ghost and by fire. Only such come to life; they come to the resurrection. For you never knew any that died this death but that they rose again; it is as impossible for death to hold any one down that is buried in this baptism,* as it was impossible to hold Christ down, when he was in the grave. The same power that brought again our Lord Christ from the dead, the same power it is that quickens us, while we remain in these mortal bodies, after we have sustained this death and crucifixion, [on the inward cross of self-denial].
[* Your resurrection is very quick, and your burial is not in this physical world.]
Messages from the Word of the Lord within which apply to this day are:
As we are surrounded by the fire of His presence, we will call out in hope — we will say, "Save me Lord Jesus;" with confidence.
All others will be taken completely by surprise at his fearful appearance after their death. He is so pure and holy, they will instantly know they are hopelessly evil. He will cause them to panic and lose all reason — just wild, uncontrollable fear. See Howgill's description of what happens to those still sinning when they die.