God Has not Changed, but We have - The Warrior's Journey®

God Has not Changed, but We have

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”  (Acts 2:1-4) 

Many wonderful prophecies and OT longings were fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. The outpouring of the Spirit upon the 70 elders foreshadowed this glorious day (Numbers 11:16-29). God took a portion of His Spirit from Moses and put it upon the elders who prophesied – just as the believers at Pentecost all prophesied of the wonderful works of God when the Spirit came upon them (Acts 2:7-11). The sound of a violent rushing wind was echoed in Ezekiel’s experience when the “Wind of God” came to breathe upon the dead bodies in the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37:9-10). Isaiah spoke of the time when “the Spirit will be poured out upon us from on high” (Isaiah 32:15). Then, of course, there was the prophecy of Joel 2:28-30, which promised that God would pour out His Spirit upon all people. 

Perhaps the greatest sign that occurred on Pentecost was the manifestation of fire. The meaning of this fire is unmistakable. It alludes to that time when the glory of God filled the Tabernacle, seen as a pillar of fire that hovered above it (Exodus 40:34-38). This same manifestation of glory occurred at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 8:10-11) and with “Ezekiel’s temple” (Ezekiel 43:1-5).   

Then, finally, there is the fiery glory of God that hovered above the entire group of believers and appeared over each believer as a “tongue of fire.”  This demonstrated that both the church collectively and each believer individually constitute God’s dwelling place on earth (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18). 

Why the image of “tongues of fire”? This image is from the OT as well. Isaiah 5:24 speaks of a tongue of fire consuming or “eating up” stubble and dry grass. Note how the fire that fell from heaven on Elijah’s sacrifice, “licked up” the water from the trench around the altar (1 Kings 18:30-38). God used this image to let us know that God is still the unapproachable “consuming fire” of the OT (Deuteronomy 4:24; 9:3; Hebrews 12:29). God has not changed. He is just as holy and righteous as He was in the OT.  It is our status that has changed. No longer are we banished from God’s fiery presence. But Jesus Christ has so thoroughly cleansed our sins and so adorned us with His righteousness that God’s consuming fire can rest comfortably within us.   


  • If God’s holy presence can be at rest in us, why should we be terrified of God? 
  • Doesn’t the Holy Spirit’s indwelling demonstrate that our sins are gone? 
  • As God’s blood-washed and God-born children – and as the temples of His Holy Spirit on earth, we should approach God’s throne of grace with all confidence. 

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