The fiftieth day and the fire Symbols
We read in the Acts book that our fathers the apostles as were gathered in one spirit…
Then there appeared to them divided
tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of
them. And they were all filled with the Holy
Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance… (Ac 2:3, 4).
And today we want to meditate together in the
subject of the fire and its symbols in the Holy Bible
and how it relates to the Holy Spirit…
The fire symbolized God and sometimes the
Divine Justice. And the fire coming down
symbolized God's acceptance of the sacrifice.
And we see that in the story of Elijah and the
prophets of Baal, and how that God accepted him and
his sacrifice in that "the fire of the LORD fell and
consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood… Now
when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces;
and they said, "The LORD, He is God!..." (1 K 18: 38,
And in the law of prophet Moses the burnt
sacrifice was the first sacrifice because it was all for
God, all for the fire, it was that "The burnt offering
shall be on the hearth upon the altar all night until
morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept
burning on it" "And the fire on the altar shall be kept
burning on it; it shall not be put out." (Lv 6:9, 12).
The burnt sacrifice was not for anyone to eat. But
it was all for the fire as a sign of satisfying the Divine
It was said in (He 12:29) "our God is a
And the Lord Christ said about the work of the
Holy Spirit "I came to send fire on the earth, and how
I wish it were already kindled!" (Lk 12:49).
The fire then symbolizes God and consequently
His Holy Spirit.
Each of us has become a temple for the Holy
Spirit and the Holy Spirit dwells in him (1 Co 3:16).
And here I would like to ask an important question:
Did the temple ever was without fire?!
No, fire was always there in it continuously, in
candles, in firepans, in burnts, in lamps, and the fire
is still there in God's temples continuously in the New
Candles at the icons, before saints pictures,
indicates that these saints were a light for the
world according to the Lord Christ's commandment
(Mt 5:14). And their lives melted as the candle melts
to light for people… And those two matters are
important: that the person's life is lightening and
lights for others and that he sacrificing himself…
And candles on the altar symbolize angels and
their presence in the church during the holy sacrifice.
And the candles in the church symbolize Heaven. It is
as if we are in Heaven while the holy sacrifice is
And candles during the reading of the bile
symbolizes the spiritual light that the bible offers in
the holy teachings as the psalm says " Your word is a
lamp to my feet And a light to my path" (Ps
And the fire exists permanently in the
church, in the firepan (in the incense burner)
whether in the morning offering or in the evening
offering or in the incense burning in the Holy Liturgy.
The church is never out of incense…
And the fire in the incense burner in lighting the
coal symbolizes the union of the Divinity with the
Humanity. And that is inside the firepan which
symbolizes virgin Mary’s belly. And thus we call it (ti
shery in noub) meaning the golden firepan.
And the fact that the incense piece keeps burning
until it is finished is to offer a good smell to others, is
a symbol that the person should sacrifice his life for
others and that his life should be of a good smell in
the society in which he lives. And that's how Christ
was continuously a good smell…
And on the fiftieth day, as we remember the
tongues of fire we remember the saying of the bible
"Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame
of fire" (Ps 104:4).
So it is required from the church that its
servants be flames of fire…
So the church servants, like angels, should be
flame of fire…
And when the bible talks to us about that prophet
Elijah ascended to heaven in the storm in a "chariot
of fire" (2 K 2:11), that does not mean that a chariot
of physical fire carried his physical body, otherwise he
would have been burnt. But this chariot of fire was
angels. Elijah was carried by angels to Heaven.
And the same description can be found after a
while in the same book (2 K 6) when the enemy's
army was surrounding the city, and Gehazi got afraid
but prophet Elisha said to him: "Do not fear, for those
who are with us are more than those who are with
them." and the servant saw "and behold, the
mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all
around Elisha" (2 K 2:17). And the fire chariots were
And we learn the same thing from the Seraphim
story with prophet Isaiah and the word (Seraphim)
linguistically mean the ones fired up.
Seraphim were standing praising God saying " Holy,
holy, holy is the LORD of hosts" and when Isaiah heard
them he said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I
am a man of unclean lips" (Is 6:5).
And when one of the Seraphim heard him he did
not bear that this person says that he is undone so he
flew to him quickly having in his hand a live coal which
he had taken with the tongs from the altar touched his
mouth with it and said to him: " Behold, this has
touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your
sin purged" (Is 6:7).
This Seraph did not put in his mind that he was
standing in a praising atmosphere praising God. And did
not put in his mind that nobody asked him to go and
save that man. But he did not bear to hear someone
saying "Woe is me, for I am undone" so he flew quickly
and took a live coal from the altar and touched his
mouth with it… to purify those lips…
What is this live coal that purified the lips of Isaiah
and took away his iniquity?
Anyway, we, on the fiftieth day, when we meditate
the issue of the tongues of fire, we remember the
Lord's saying to his disciples:
"It is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your
Father who speaks in you".
Then, this is the job of each servant in the church:
not to speak himself, but to let God's Spirit speaks in
him. And how would God's Spirit speak in him? It
speaks as tongues of fire, i.e. fiery words…
Then, the word that the spiritual servant says is a
fiery word that keeps ringing in the ears of the listener,
his mind and in his heart, and be with him on the way,
with him at home and in everywhere. It does not leave
him, because it is a word like it is made of fire that
lights him from inside; lights his heart and soul…
What does it mean that the word lights him?
This is the nature of the fire. If it touches
anything, it makes it fire as it is.
If the fire touches wood, it makes the wood fire, if it
touches paper, it become fire and if touches cotton it
also becomes fire. Even any building that catches fire
becomes also fire…
And this is the method of the spiritual servants. If
they speak to anyone or deal with him, they lit him with the fire. The fire that is in them turns him to fire as well.
So, in the fiftieth day, the disciples were burnt with
the Holy Fire, the fire of holy zeal for God's Kingdom.
And they turned into fire flames that were spread
around the world. And then the whole world was set on
This is the wonderful spiritual service that comes
Someone like St. Paul the apostle, as he was "a
captive in chains", meaning officially arrested, as he
was speaking to Felix the governor. As he reasoned
about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to
come, "Felix was afraid" (Ac 24:25). Because the
words of St. Paul were made of fire so the governor
could not bear that.
Also, as St. Paul was speaking to King Agrippa,
he told him: King Agrippa, do you believe the
prophets? I know that you do believe." Then
Agrippa said to Paul, "You almost persuade me to
become a Christian." (Ac 26:27, 28). The words of
St. Paul the apostle were not just ordinary words
but what was important was the fire that was in it
that lit others with fire…
That's what we can say about the nature of the
servant. Supposedly he should be fiery, meaning
that he should have taken a touch of the Fiery Holy
Even in the Old Testament: before us there
is an example which is David the lad before
the giant Goliath.
He heard that giant defying God's people, and
the army was standing in fear, and so the king was
afraid. But God's Spirit moved David so he said
"who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should
defy the armies of the living God?". And David went
to fight that giant saying: "You come to me with a
sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come
to you in the name of the LORD of hosts" (1 S 17:
And David managed to win because his heart
was lit with the fire of the Holy Spirit because he
was already anointed by the Spirit (1 S 16).
And in the New Testament we read in the
bible be "fervent in spirit" (Ro 12:11).
Meaning do not have a lazy still spirits, but ones
full of heat even heat differentiate the live body
from the dead one. The dead body does not have
heat as opposed to the live one.
The apostles had this spiritual heat with which
they said in their preaching "we cannot but speak"
(Ac 4:20). And said also in daring "We ought to
obey God rather than men" (Ac 5:29).
And this same talking reminds us of prophet
Jeremiah who upon transmitting God's message,
people laughed at him. So he got silent but he could
not remain silent and God's word was in his heart
And the heat the fathers took in the fiftieth day,
was not only heat in service and in the fiery word
which they say.
It was also a heat in everything. As it was in
service, it was in prayer, in the spiritual life, a heat
in repentance and in all what their hands reached.
And this is something we saw across ages,
which made Christianity capable of bearing the
cruelty of the Roman Empire until the Roman
Empire became Christian…
An example of that is the heat that was
there in the Fourth Century.
Whether it was a deep heat in defending faith
against the Arians and some heretics or a deep heat
on the side of the spiritual life in asceticism and in
monastic life in the church that was fiery in all those
who loved God from all their hearts and came out of
the world looking for life with God alone. And
similar ones who stayed in the world to defend faith
with power and heat.
And here we find the impact of the human who
came into the church in a fiery spirit, so the church
becomes all fiery, and the service fiery… While
another person may have no impact whatsoever on
The fiery spirit is the one we want in servants
whether they were ordinary ones or servants in
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