Author Topic: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?  (Read 677 times)

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Offline juliogb

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Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« on: October 09, 2018, 02:11:05 PM »
I was talking to a calvinist guy and he told me the correct interpretation of baptism with fire, in Matthew 3 11, is that this baptism is actually hellfire.

10 The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “As for me, I baptize you [g]with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you [h]with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”


Is there any orthodox source about this matter? Is there truth in the claim or it is just calvinist schadenfreude?

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2018, 04:49:34 PM »
Fwiw St. Gregory said:

Quote
"I have need to be baptized by You;" add to this "and for You;" for he knew that he would be baptized by Martyrdom, or, like Peter, that he would be cleansed not only as to his feet. (John 13:9) "And You come to me?" This also was prophetic; for he knew that after Herod would come the madness of Pilate, and so that when he had gone before Christ would follow him. But what says Jesus? "Allow it to be so now," for this is the time of His Incarnation; for He knew that yet a little while and He should baptize the Baptist. And what is the "Fan"? The Purification. And what is the "Fire"? The consuming of the chaff, and the heat of the Spirit. And what the "Axe"? The excision of the soul which is incurable even after the dung. (Luke 13:8) And what the Sword? The cutting of the Word, which separates the worse from the better, (Heb. 4:12) and makes a division between the faithful and the unbeliever; (Matt. 10:35) and stirs up the son and the daughter and the bride against the father and the mother and the mother in law, (Mic. 7:6) the young and fresh against the old and shadowy. And what is the Latchet of the shoe, which thou John who baptizest Jesus may not loose? (John 1:27) thou who art of the desert, and hast no food, the new Elias, (Luke 7:26) the more than Prophet, inasmuch as you saw Him of Whom you prophesied, thou Mediator of the Old and New Testaments. What is this? Perhaps the Message of the Advent, and the Incarnation, of which not the least point may be loosed, I say not by those who are yet carnal and babes in Christ, but not even by those who are like John in spirit.

-- St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 39.15

And later in the same Oration adds:

Quote
But perhaps we are not convincing you? Then we will weep for you. Let these men then if they will, follow our way, which is Christ's way; but if they will not, let them go their own. Perhaps in it they will be baptized with Fire, in that last Baptism which is more painful and longer, which devours wood like grass, and consumes the stubble of every evil. (1 Cor. 3:12-19)

Which is clarified elsewhere, when he notes that the fire need not be of a destructive kind:

Quote
For I know a cleansing fire which Christ came to send upon the earth, (Luke 12:49) and He Himself is anagogically called a Fire. This Fire takes away whatsoever is material and of evil habit; and this He desires to kindle with all speed, for He longs for speed in doing us good, since He gives us even coals of fire to help us. I know also a fire which is not cleansing, but avenging; either that fire of Sodom (Gen. 19:24) which He pours down on all sinners, mingled with brimstone and storms, or that which is prepared for the Devil and his Angels (Matt. 25:41) or that which proceeds from the face of the Lord, and shall burn up his enemies round about; and one even more fearful still than these, the unquenchable fire which is ranged with the worm that dies not but is eternal for the wicked. For all these belong to the destroying power; though some may prefer even in this place to take a more merciful view of this fire, worthily of Him That chastises.

-- St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 40.36

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2018, 05:03:52 PM »
I wonder if we might also connect it to the tongues of fire at Pentecost. Jesus comes to "set you on fire" for God. Something tells me St. Symeon the New Theologian said something to that effect, but I don't know what specifically.

Admittedly, my Pentecostal background might be influencing me, here.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2018, 08:06:57 PM »
I wonder if we might also connect it to the tongues of fire at Pentecost. Jesus comes to "set you on fire" for God. Something tells me St. Symeon the New Theologian said something to that effect, but I don't know what specifically.

Admittedly, my Pentecostal background might be influencing me, here.
I think you are correct. The fire is the holy spirit. Its also the extreme opposite to those not ready for its reception.

Offline Luke

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2018, 08:10:48 PM »
I do not think it is hellfire.  It may be a metaphor referring to the refining process that believers to through in this life.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 08:11:15 PM by Luke »

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2018, 08:41:28 PM »
Makes sense, yeah.

Mark 9:49 might also imply. Everyone will be salted with fire, not just the damned.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Justin Kolodziej

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2018, 09:52:48 PM »
I have a quote from St. John Chrysostom where the fire in 3:11 and 3:12 are not the same according to him:
Quote
6. Do you see how great is the wisdom of the Baptist? How, when He Himself is preaching, He says everything to alarm, and fill them with anxiety; but when He is sending men to Him, whatever was mild and apt to recover them: not bringing forward the axe, nor the tree that is cut down and burnt, and cast into the fire, nor the wrath to come, but remission of sins, and removing of punishment, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, and adoption, and brotherhood, and a partaking of the inheritance, and an abundant supply of the Holy Ghost. For all these things he obscurely denoted, when he said, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost;" at once, by the very figure of speech, declaring the abundance of the grace (for he said not, "He will give you the Holy Ghost," but "He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost"); and by the specification of fire on the other hand indicating the vehement and uncontrollable quality of His grace.

Imagine only what sort of men it was meet for the hearers to become, when they considered that they were at once to be like the prophets, and like those great ones. For it was on this account, you see, that he made mention at all of fire; that he might lead them to reflect on the memory of those men. Because, of all the visions that appeared unto them, I had almost said, the more part appeared in fire; thus God discoursed with Moses in the bush, thus with all the people in the mount Sinai, thus with Ezekiel on the cherubim. Ezekiel 1:27
Homily 11 on Matthew #6

The part that's hellfire according to him is that which burns up the chaff aka unworthy Christians in #7:
Quote
Thus having said, "He shall baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire," and having thence promised great blessings; lest you, released wholly from the former things, grow supine, he has added the fan, and the judgment thereby declared. Thus, "think not at all," says he, "that your baptism suffices, if you become ordinary persons hereafter:" for we need both virtue, and plenty of that known self-restraint. Therefore as by the axe he urges them unto grace, and unto the font, so after grace he terrifies them by the fan, and the unquenchable fire. And of the one sort, those yet unbaptized, he makes no distinction, but says in general, "Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down," Matthew 3:10 punishing all the unbelievers. Whereas after baptism He works out a kind of division, because many of them that believed would exhibit a life unworthy of their faith.
Quote from: Michael, Pope of Rome
We should fortify ourselves with the truths of the Faith. Our main focus should be to become saints. Unfortunately some spend much of their time in either trying to sort things out or what is worse, trying to convince the world that they are right. If we all aim at sanctifying ourselves, God will intervene and He will straighten things out. We cannot do it without Him.

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2018, 05:21:34 PM »
Yes, surely it links with the tongues of fire that appeared at Pentecost. There must be some link with judgement, presumably as a metaphor, as when God sends fire, it was usually, in the Old Testament (which Jesus's hearers would have had in their minds), to judge and purge sin. But as believers desire, and as we desire when first turning to Christ, God purges away our sin and begins the process of sanctification. Charles Wesley wrote:

Refining fire, go through my heart,
Illuminate my soul,
Scatter thy life through every part,
And sanctify the whole.

And:

O thou who camest from above,
The pure, celestial fire to impart,
Kindle a flame of sacred love
On the mean altar of my heart.

As others wrote in earlier posts above, this seems, to me, to be the meaning of the metaphor. Rather than referring to hell, it save us from hell!
"But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." Galatians 5.15

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2018, 07:56:36 PM »
Don’t listen to Calvinists when it comes to the Holy Spirit or anything fire-related.
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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Y dduw bo'r diolch.

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2018, 08:35:14 PM »
Don’t listen to Calvinists when it comes to the Holy Spirit or anything fire-related.
Distrorted view.  +1

Offline Justin Kolodziej

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2018, 10:18:26 PM »
Don’t listen to Calvinists when it comes to the Holy Spirit or anything fire-related.
What about BBQ? Can a Calvinist be a great BBQ pit-master or no?
Quote from: Michael, Pope of Rome
We should fortify ourselves with the truths of the Faith. Our main focus should be to become saints. Unfortunately some spend much of their time in either trying to sort things out or what is worse, trying to convince the world that they are right. If we all aim at sanctifying ourselves, God will intervene and He will straighten things out. We cannot do it without Him.

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2018, 10:47:48 PM »
Don’t listen to Calvinists when it comes to the Holy Spirit or anything fire-related.
What about BBQ? Can a Calvinist be a great BBQ pit-master or no?
Only if they're Southern.  :D
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no clue, so there's that.

Offline hecma925

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2018, 11:21:44 PM »
Don’t listen to Calvinists when it comes to the Holy Spirit or anything fire-related.
What about BBQ? Can a Calvinist be a great BBQ pit-master or no?
Only if they're Southern.  :D

Even that's not a guarantee.
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2018, 10:48:52 AM »
Don’t listen to Calvinists when it comes to the Holy Spirit or anything fire-related.
What about BBQ? Can a Calvinist be a great BBQ pit-master or no?
Only if they're Southern.  :D

Even that's not a guarantee.

Absolutely. I have been served far too much overcooked barbecue in my day. And that's without the additional irksomeness of someone who believed it had been foreordained for charring.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2018, 10:49:41 AM by Agabus »
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Take a breath, read Ecclesiastes 1:9.

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2018, 11:25:58 AM »
On fire, St. Augustine says:

Quote from: Exposition on Psalm 12
The words of the Lord are pure words Psalm 11:6. This is in the person of the Prophet himself, The words of the Lord are pure words. He says pure, without the alloy of pretence. For many preach the truth impurely; Philippians 1:16 for they sell it for the bribe of the advantages of this life. Of such the Apostle says, that they declared Christ not purely. Silver tried by the fire for the earth. These words of the Lord by means of tribulations approved to sinners. Purified seven times: by the fear of God, by godliness, by knowledge, by might, by counsel, by understanding, by wisdom. Isaiah 11:2 For seven steps also of beatitude there are, which the Lord goes over, according to Matthew, in the same sermon which He spoke on the Mount, Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed the meek, blessed they that mourn, blessed they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, blessed the merciful, blessed the pure in heart, blessed the peacemakers. Matthew 5:3-9 Of which seven sentences, it may be observed how all that long sermon was spoken. For the eighth where it is said, Blessed are they which suffer persecution for righteousness' sake, Matthew 5:10 denotes the fire itself, whereby the silver is proved seven times. And at the termination of this sermon it is said, For He taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes. Matthew 7:29 Which refers to that which is said in this Psalm, I deal confidently in Him.
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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2018, 02:04:52 PM »
Don’t listen to Calvinists when it comes to the Holy Spirit or anything fire-related.
What about BBQ? Can a Calvinist be a great BBQ pit-master or no?
Only if they're Southern.  :D

Even that's not a guarantee.

Absolutely. I have been served far too much overcooked barbecue in my day. And that's without the additional irksomeness of someone who believed it had been foreordained for charring.

"That's a nice bark!"

"The bark shouldn't be 4 inches deep in this pork butt."
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

Once Christ has filled the Cross, it can never be empty again.

"But God doesn't need your cookies!  Arrive on time!"

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2018, 05:14:13 PM »
Don’t listen to Calvinists when it comes to the Holy Spirit or anything fire-related.
What about BBQ? Can a Calvinist be a great BBQ pit-master or no?
Only if they're Southern.  :D

Even that's not a guarantee.

Absolutely. I have been served far too much overcooked barbecue in my day. And that's without the additional irksomeness of someone who believed it had been foreordained for charring.

"That's a nice bark!"

"The bark shouldn't be 4 inches deep in this pork butt."
Pork butt is one of my favs.  Sausage and souvlaki.  Cant beat it.

Offline hecma925

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2018, 05:22:42 PM »
Don’t listen to Calvinists when it comes to the Holy Spirit or anything fire-related.
What about BBQ? Can a Calvinist be a great BBQ pit-master or no?
Only if they're Southern.  :D

Even that's not a guarantee.

Absolutely. I have been served far too much overcooked barbecue in my day. And that's without the additional irksomeness of someone who believed it had been foreordained for charring.

"That's a nice bark!"

"The bark shouldn't be 4 inches deep in this pork butt."
Pork butt is one of my favs.  Sausage and souvlaki.  Cant beat it.

Agreed.  Pork is good Christian food.
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

Once Christ has filled the Cross, it can never be empty again.

"But God doesn't need your cookies!  Arrive on time!"

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Re: Is the baptism in fire mentioned in Matthew 3:11, hellfire?
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2018, 05:30:39 PM »
Don’t listen to Calvinists when it comes to the Holy Spirit or anything fire-related.
What about BBQ? Can a Calvinist be a great BBQ pit-master or no?
Only if they're Southern.  :D

Even that's not a guarantee.

Absolutely. I have been served far too much overcooked barbecue in my day. And that's without the additional irksomeness of someone who believed it had been foreordained for charring.

"That's a nice bark!"

"The bark shouldn't be 4 inches deep in this pork butt."
Pork butt is one of my favs.  Sausage and souvlaki.  Cant beat it.

Agreed.  Pork is good Christian food.
Im thinking of getting a smoker. I heard great things.
My wife wants a little pig. I told here if Christmas rolles around. The kids aren't going to be to happy.