Baptism by Fire, the Adept’s Initiation

By Linda Mihalic

  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.–Acts 2:1-4

“A baptism by fire burns away selfishness.”

  Baptism by Fire is the formal initiation of the third Degree of the Adept, and describes the descent of the Holy Spirit. You must burn away self by ascending your personal will and desire, to balance your emotions at the solar plexus center. The flames of the Holy Spirit dance upon your shoulders, to awaken the glands for spiritual seeing and hearing.
  Baptism by Fire is an initiation of the Seven Degrees of Ascension: A Baptism by Fire stops just short of a Crucifixion, which involves the death, real or symbolic, of a body, a desire, a hope or some cherished idea.
  For example, the Lord required that Abraham take his son Isaac to Mount Moriah and offer him as a sacrifice there. Abraham obeyed, even to raising the knife to slay his child, but was spared. A ram miraculously appeared as an offering instead. God required Abraham’s willingness to obey the law and commands of God as the sacrifice, not the death of Isaac.
  A Baptism by Fire could include being unjustly accused or attacked for an action one has taken, or to be falsely accused and prosecuted. An example is Joan of Arc, who was used as a political pawn by both the French and later the English, who burned her to death as a heretic.
  Galileo’s support for Copernicus’ heliocentric view of the universe was controversial enough to bring him before the Roman Inquisition in 1615. Though found innocent of heresy, in 1632 the Inquisition tried him again, found him guilty of heresy, forced him to recant, and he spent the rest of his life under house arrest.
  Our American Revolution was a Baptism by Fire for our Founding Fathers and all the men and women who fought for freedom and self-rule, since the British would have executed them had they lost. Many lost their lives, families and fortunes during the war.
  Everyone, regardless of whether they practice Christianity, is baptized by fire annually at Pentecost, for the ultimate Baptism by Fire is the descent of the flame of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the spiritual life of the planet is infused with the fiery gift of the radiance of the Presence of God cyclically.

Edna Lister on Baptism by Fire

If you descend in consciousness after a Baptism by Fire, or if you withdraw from contact with the Father through prayer, you must receive the Baptism by Fire again.–Edna Lister, January 19, 1935

Adept Degree initiations deal with healing the desire to attempt to control outer events and always end in a Baptism by Fire.–Edna Lister, May 1, 1952

Baptism by Fire marks the descent of the flames of the Holy Spirit, which is the Father’s answer to your request to ascend. Successfully passing through a Baptism by Fire ensures that God’s Power can move in to use you, to touch and strengthen you to fulfill your half of the covenant. You move from Baptism by Water, which is the soul ascending under an emotional sacrifice to reach for spiritual water, to Baptism by Fire, which is the descent of the Holy Spirit.–Edna Lister, Surrender and Transfiguration, July 12, 1953

The path of the burning sands of the desert, fire initiations, temptations and entering shafts of fire are all methods of purifying self, of cleansing soul tapes and records.–Edna Lister, October 20, 1953

The Adept’s Baptism by Fire initiations deal with healing, balance of your intellectual and emotional life, and conquering your idle thoughts.–Edna Lister, February 13, 1958

To fulfill the law of Baptism by Fire, you must burn away self so that the flame of the Holy Spirit may descend.–Edna Lister, The Pioneering Mystic, May 5, 1959

You must undergo fire initiations to strengthen your soul against the demands of the self. The fires absorb all emotions and mental darkness, to purify them into glory. All fire initiations partake of these qualities.–Edna Lister, June 15, 1959

Baptism by Fire always brings a choice of love or hate, positive or negative.–Edna Lister, Eight Great Powers of Being, June 23, 1959

The Adept’s initiation is Baptism by Fire and the burning sands of the desert that you each cross alone. Here you experience real trials by fire for the soul’s purification.–Edna Lister, How Do I Wait Upon the Lord? June 28, 1960

Under a Baptism by Fire, the adept walks on hot coals. On the Via Christa, you are burned by your idle words or deeds, and you rise or fall on them.–Edna Lister, Heaven, a Place to Fill, April 10, 1962

Under a Baptism by Fire, which descends to burn out the dross of self, you ascend to the Emanations, Wisdom, Love and Energy.–Edna Lister, The Water and the Fire, June 16, 1963

In the face of an initiation by fire declare: I accept! This is good! Let there be Light! Answer instantaneously and spontaneously, even when it appears as black as coal. You may not think negatively or hold a bit of rejection or repudiation. Even under an accusation say, This is good! spontaneously. Never ask why, or you receive no credits.–Edna Lister, January 23, 1965

Initiations by fire require that you take three steps to Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him.–Matthew 5:25: I accept. This is Good. Let there be Light. You cannot pass if you hold even a trace of rejection.–Edna Lister, January 24, 1966

The first set of 33 Degrees takes you through all fire initiations that compose the Via Christa.–Edna Lister, The First Seven Magnitudes, November 8, 1966

A Baptism by Fire accompanies every challenge to heal yourself of self in all its expressions, whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual.–Edna Lister, Undated Papers, 1933-1971

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Stories That Illustrate Baptism by Fire

  A baptism by fire describes the descent of the Holy Spirit, as in these examples:

  The Burning Bush: Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.–Exodus 3:1-6

  Elijah’s Offering Consumed by Divine Fire: And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table. So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken. And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under. And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded. And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water. And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.–1 Kings 18:17-39

  The Fiery Furnace: Enemies of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego set a trap: Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.–Daniel 3:10-30

  Unquenchable Fire: John the Baptist said, I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.–Matthew 3:11-16

  The Flames of Pentecost: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.–Acts 2:1-4

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Stories That Illustrate Baptism by Fire

  The Ascension of Jesus the Christ: Until the day in which he was taken up, after he through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen, to whom he also presented himself alive after his suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And being assembled together with them, he commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, which, he said, you have heard from me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? And he said to them, It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Now when he had spoken these things, while they watched, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw him go into heaven.–Acts 1:2-11

  The Ascension of Enoch: Enoch lived sixty‑five years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty‑five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.–Genesis 5:21-24.

  Elijah’s Ascent in the Fiery Chariot: Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up, and struck the water; and it was divided this way and that, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you? Elisha said, "Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me." So he said, "You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so. Then it happened, as they continued on and talked; that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen! So he saw him no more.–2 Kings 2:8-12

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New Testament on the Baptism by Fire

Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.–Matthew 10:28

Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.–2 Peter 1:5‑9

The Atonement: Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.–Hebrews 10:9

Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.–Ephesians 4:23-32

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.–1 John 2:15-17

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.–1 John 4:18

If thy hand [foot or eye] causes you to sin, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than…to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:–Mark 9:43, 45, 47

For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. {Salt represents incorruption.}–Mark 9:49

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.–John 15:1-6

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.–1 Corinthians 3:11‑15

Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council [Raca is a term of contempt for a person without education or morals]: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire [because it is judgmental cursing].–Matthew 5:22

Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.–1 Peter 3:21

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of baptism: Old French batesme, bapteme (Modern French baptême), from Latin baptismus, from Greek baptismos. The phrase baptism of fire describes a soldier’s first experience of battle (1857) translates French baptême de feu; the phrase originally was ecclesiastical Greek baptisma pyros and meant the grace of the Holy Spirit as imparted through baptism.

Baptism by Fire is the third initiation of the Seven Degrees of Ascension.



Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Related Topics


Burning Sands of the Desert

Burnt Offerings