On Clouds & Fire, On Jesus & the Holy Spirit

On Clouds & Fire, On Jesus & the Holy Spirit

When last we saw Moses, the LORD had established a new ritual of consecrating the firstborn, both children and animals.[1] This consecration was to be a reminder of how the LORD had delivered his people from the Egyptians whose firstborn were killed as a result of their refusal to obey him by letting his people go worship him.[2] Subsequently and consequently, all of Israel’s living firstborn would ever belong to the LORD.[3] This morning we follow the nation of Israel as it embarks upon the Exodus, the mass departure of the people of Israel from Egypt after which the book of Exodus is named, as God led and began to return them to the land he had promised their ancestor, Abraham.[4]

As we pick up with the seventeenth verse of Exodus 13, we’re presented with a synopsis of what is to come. As stated in verse 17 into 18, “17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.” These verses provide an overview and explanation concerning the circuitous route upon which the LORD chose to lead his people. As the crow flies, the fastest way home would have been by way of land currently occupied by the Philistines. But this would likely have resulted in battle that may have tempted Israel to “change their minds and return to Egypt.” Consequently, God led them by way of the desert road toward the Red Sea. The end of verse 18 notes that despite avoiding the land of the Philistines, “The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.” Their readiness indicates that they understood that they were a people without a land—and that the land God had promised them was already occupied.

Now because we’re familiar with this story, we know that the non-direct way that the LORD ended up leading his people will result in their being hemmed in between the Red Sea and the Egyptians. As one commentator suggests, “Before the Lord calls Israel to trust that he will fight through them…, he will show them once again how he will fight for them.”[5] As God had fought for Israel when it was enslaved to the Egyptians and procured its deliverance, so would he fight for them as he returned them home.

In wrapping up Israel’s time in Egypt, verse 19 notes, “Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, ‘God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.’” If you’ll recall, over 400 years earlier it was by way of Joseph that Israel first arrived in Egypt when, at the age of seventeen, his brothers had sold him into slavery.[6] Genesis 50 records the words of an elderly Joseph who, before dying, made the Israelites swear the oath noted here.[7] Notice the confidence in the LORD expressed in Joseph’s words. Despite having lived out the majority of his life in a foreign land, time and time again, he had experienced God’s faithfulness. Therefore, before he died, he encouraged his brothers to remember the LORD’s faithfulness as he reassured him that God would surely come to their aid. Having thus reassured them, he made one final request of them: that they return his bones home once they left Egypt. The importance of this act is noted not only here and in Genesis 50 but also by the author of Hebrews who states, “By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.”[8] Though Joseph had spent the majority of his life among the Egyptians, his heart was ever in the land that had been home for him during the first seventeen years of his life.

The narrative then returns to the beginning of the Exodus out of Egypt. Having indicated why the LORD led the Israelites on the circuitous path home, these closing verses establish the pattern of how the LORD would lead them. As stated beginning with verse 20, “20 After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” Right at the outset we see the LORD leading his people by cloud and by fire. By day, he guided them by a pillar of cloud; by night in a pillar of fire. Day and night, God was with his people; day and night, God guided his people.

This pattern of God’s presence being associated with clouds and fire is found not only in the Old Testament—one of the first incidents is when God appeared to Moses in the burning bush[9]—but also in the New. Turning first to clouds, at Jesus’ Transfiguration when Moses and Elijah appeared with him, all three Gospels note that when God the Father acknowledged Jesus as his chosen Son with whom he is well-pleased—and therefore as the One to whom Peter, John, and James should listen—he did so from within a cloud that appeared to them and covered them.[10] Hearkening back to this momentous event Peter later testified saying,

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.[11]

Nor did John ever forget this as he later declared, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”[12] Peter, John, and James were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ transfiguration. They saw him speaking with Moses and Elijah. They were covered with the cloud of God’s presence and heard the heavenly Father identify his Son, express his love for his Son, and command that they listen to his chosen Son.

The connection between clouds and God, between clouds and Jesus, is further emphasized in Scripture’s teaching that when the risen and ascended Jesus returns to judge the world, he will do so by way of clouds. Jesus spoke of this when he was falsely charged and brought before the Sanhedrin, the highest court in Jerusalem. When the high priest pressed him saying, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God,”[13] Jesus answered, “You have said so…. But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”[14] He was referring to his future ascension and return. As to his ascension, it’s spine-tingling to consider that when Jesus declared these words, his crucifixion was yet before him. So, too, was his resurrection from death. Yet Jesus spoke with certainty not only of his resurrection from death but also of his subsequent ascension to heaven when he was seated to rule at the Father’s right hand. And he spoke with equal certainly about his final return “on the clouds of heaven.”

It’s not surprising to see that the disciples whom he taught similarly spoke of his final return. Matthew is representative of what the other Gospel writers teach concerning the end times:[15]

29 Immediately after the distress of those days “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”[16] 30 Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[17] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

So we see that nations will mourn but God’s elect will be gathered and delivered from evil when Christ returns on the clouds of heaven to judge the world. Luke notes that whereas “People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken,” not so for the family of Christ who, “[w]hen these things begin to take place” should “stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”[18] Again, for those who have denied and rejected Jesus as the Christ and Savior, eternal Son whom our heavenly Father sent to save the world, his return will be fearsome; but for those who have believed him, his return will mark their final deliverance.

These teachings by Jesus and the Gospel writers are consistent with what the apostle John, in presenting the revelation given him by the risen Jesus Christ, likewise declares: “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. ‘Look, he is coming with the clouds,’[19] and ‘every eye will see him, even those who pierced him’; and all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of him.’[20] So shall it be! Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’”[21] Again, whether one mourns or rejoices on the day Christ’s returns is dependent upon whether one now believes and receives him or disbelieves and rejects him.

Paul, too, wrote his beloved church at Thessalonica: “13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”[22] Paul then elaborates,

15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.[23]

Paul provides encouragement to God’s elect who will meet Jesus in the clouds on the day when he returns, never to be parted from him. Those who know Christ as their Savior have a solid and steadfast hope with which to encourage one other.

In turning to images of fire, the association with judgment upon those who reject Jesus as the Christ continues. Although it isn’t pleasant to consider, in the case of fire Scripture is clear that there is an “eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” God’s enemies. And because those who neglect God also neglect those who belong to him, those who don’t care for “the least of these brothers and sisters” of Jesus will similarly be forced to depart from God as they are cursed and cast into that same eternal fire.[24] The fires of hell will also be the fate of those who cause little ones to stumble and who don’t turn away from other sins.[25] As the author of Hebrews also teaches, “26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”[26] To deliberately keep on sinning signifies that we are God’s enemies for if we choose to live in a sinful manner, then we are demonstrating that we don’t care about God or about the teaching he’s left us in his Holy Word.

And as Christ’s return is associated with clouds, so is it associated with fire. The apostle Peter in speaking of the judgment of the ungodly states, “By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly…. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”[27] The day of the Lord is the day when Christ returns to judge the world and complete his work of redeeming those who are his.

Paul, too connects fire with judgment and Christ’s return, as he tells the Thessalonian church,

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.[28]

Whether by cloud or by fire, we see that God who is a consuming fire,[29] will deliver from evil and destruction all who believe in him. On the one hand, Christ will be glorified in those who are his; on the other, he will punish with everlasting destruction all who have refused to believe in and receive him.

Yet for those who have hearkened to God’s Holy Spirit and seek to be conformed to the teaching he’s left us in his Holy Scriptures, this God who is a consuming fire, who made and redeemed us by dying for our sins and rising from death, sends his Holy Spirit to sanctify us—to set us apart for his purposes and make us holy even as he is holy. John the Baptist who prepared the way for the Lord Jesus spoke of this when he declared to those who were wondering if he might be God’s promised Messiah, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”[30] As we’ve noted before, Luke who recorded these words of promise and warning from John considered them to be good news. As he goes on to state, “And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.”[31] They’re words of exhortation and good news because they present us an opportunity to turn away and be delivered from our sins and into Christ’s eternal kingdom! Which will we choose? Unquenchable fire or the fire of the Holy Spirit?

John’s promise of baptism by the Holy Spirit and fire was fulfilled when Jesus—having died, risen from death, and ascended to heaven—sent his Holy Spirit on the harvest day of Pentecost. As recorded in the opening verses of the second chapter of Acts, “1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 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.” The tongues of fire were the sign of the Holy Spirit being sent to those who believed in Jesus. As the Father sent Jesus who was believed and received by his disciples, once Christ ascended to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit to those who believed in him that they might be united with him and the Father—and with all who similarly believe Jesus is the eternal Christ. Such a union in Christ is what carries his followers from earthly to heavenly life.

This is what Jesus promised in the passage from John 14 read earlier in the service. Beginning with verse 15, Jesus promised, “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.” The mark of being a follower of Jesus is to do what he asks out of the love we have for him, a teaching first presented in the Old Testament.[32] And to all who thus love and follow him, he sends “another advocate.” As Jesus is our advocate, as Jesus pleads on our behalf and is ever on our side, so, too is the Holy Spirit he sends. As one commentator puts it, “The Spirit will always stand by Christ’s people.”[33] Jesus promised to send this advocate to help us and to be with us forever. Before he ascended to heaven he reiterated this promise when, having given his disciples the Great Commission,[34] he concluded by declaring, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”[35] The Holy Spirit—this other advocate, this Spirit of truth who brings people to the truth of who Jesus is—is the way in which Jesus is now with us to the very end of the age. Again, he is the One who unites us with Christ and our Father in heaven and with all who have similarly believed in Jesus. As one scholar observes, “He will indwell Jesus’ followers forever, functioning as Jesus’ emissary in his physical absence.”[36]

In verse 17 Jesus contrasts those who believe him, the redeemed who will receive the Holy Spirit, with the world, or sinful humanity, saying, “The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” People refuse to take notice of the Spirit to their detriment for he is the means of our being adopted into God’s eternal family. This is why Jesus states in verse 18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Again, his Spirit is the means of his coming to us. Although “[b]efore long, the world will not see me anymore,” verse 19, Jesus reassures his disciples “but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” As noted by one scholar, “The life of the Christian always depends on the life of Christ.”[37] On that wonderful day when his followers receive the Holy Spirit, they “will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you,” verse 20. The union between Jesus and those who love him is as intimate as the union that exists between Jesus and his Father. Think about that! We are one with him as he is one with the Father. All of this is possible by means of the Holy Spirit he so generously lavishes upon us! This section closes with Jesus reiterating, verse 21, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Dear brothers and sisters, you and I don’t need to rely upon a pillar of cloud by day or a pillar of fire by night in order to follow God. No, we who believe and receive Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ who is God’s eternal Son sent by the Father to save and deliver us from evil, are given his Holy Spirit to rely upon:

By his Holy Spirit, God continues to convince us of the truth of who Jesus Christ is;

By his Holy Spirit, God helps us understand the truth of the Old and New Testament Scriptures he has left and preserved for us in order that we might know and love and follow him;

By his Holy Spirit, God is ever with us and for us;

By his Holy Spirit, he convicts us of our sin that we might repent, receive his forgiveness and grace, and return to him;

By his Holy Spirit, he enhances our joy in good times and enables us to persevere in the bad;

By his Holy Spirit, he unites us with our Father in heaven and with our dear brother Jesus Christ who died to take away our sins and gave us his righteousness and eternal life;

By his Holy Spirit, he unites us with all who similarly have believed in and received Jesus as their Savior and Lord.

Therefore by this very Spirit, let us show our love for Jesus and listen to him—and keep his commands—and share the truth of who he is with all who don’t yet believe in him—knowing that he loves us with an eternal love that will never let us go, not in this life nor in the life to come!

Let us pray.

Benediction: I’m going to close with one final image of clouds, a cloud of witnesses, found in the book of Hebrews 12:1–3: 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

[1] See sermon preached on November 21, 2021, Thank God for His Firstborn! On Exodus 13:1–16. Exodus 13:1–2, 11–12: 1 The Lord said to Moses, “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal…. 11 After the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites and gives it to you, as he promised on oath to you and your ancestors, 12 you are to give over to the Lord the first offspring of every womb. All the firstborn males of your livestock belong to the Lord.”

[2] See Exodus 11.

[3] Exodus 13:14–16: 14 “In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed the firstborn of both people and animals in Egypt. This is why I sacrifice to the Lord the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons.’ 16 And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.”

[4] Genesis 12:1–3: 1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

[5] Crossway ESV Study Bible note on Exodus 13:17. Emphases original. As to the Amalekites through whom God will fight, it notes Exodus 17:8–16; as to fighting for them, it notes Exodus 14:13–14: 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

[6] Genesis 37:2, 26–28: 2 This is the account of Jacob’s family line. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them…. 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed. 28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

[7] Genesis 50:24 (Joseph is speaking to his brothers): I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 25 God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.

[8] Hebrews 11:22.

[9] Exodus 3:1–2: 1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.

[10] Matthew 17:5: While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”; Mark 9:7: Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”; Luke 9:34–35: 34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”

[11] 2 Peter 1:16–18.

[12] John 1:14.

[13] Matthew 26:63.

[14] Matthew 26:64. See also, Mark 14:60–62: 60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

[15] See also Mark 13:24–27: 24 “But in those days, following that distress, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.; Luke 21:25–28: Luke 21:25–28: 25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

[16] Quoting Isaiah 13:10: The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened; Isaiah 34:4: All the stars in the sky will be dissolved and the heavens rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree.

[17] Daniel 7:13–14: 13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

[18] Luke 21:26, 28, respectively.

[19] Daniel 7:13.

[20] Zechariah 12:10.

[21] Revelation 1:5b–8.

[22] 1 Thessalonians 4:13–14.

[23] 1 Thessalonians 4:15–18.

[24] Matthew 25:40–43: 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

[25] Matthew 18:6–9: If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.; Mark 9:42–49: 42 If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where “the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.” 49 Everyone will be salted with fire.

[26] Hebrews 10:26–27.

[27] 2 Peter 3:7, 10.

[28] 2 Thessalonians 1:6–10.

[29] Hebrews 12:28–29: 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

[30] Luke 3:16–17. Verse 15 states, “The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.” See parallel in Matthew 3:10–12: 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

[31] Luke 3:18. Emphasis added.

[32] See Deuteronomy 5:10 which speaks of “the LORD your God” “showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” (emphasis added); Deuteronomy 6:5–8:Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.; Deuteronomy 7:9: Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.; Deuteronomy 10:12–12: 12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?; Deuteronomy 11:13, 22: 13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul—…. 22 If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him—

[33] Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on John 14:16.

[34] Matthew 28:16–20: 16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

[35] Matthew 28:20.

[36] Crossway ESV Study Bible note on John 14:16–17.

[37] Zondervan NIV Bible Study note on John 14:19.