says of God that “...burning coals went forth at his feet.”
God warns by Zephaniah, “...the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy...” and “...all the earth shall be devoured with the
fire of my jealousy.” (1:18 and 3:8)
Zechariah 2:5 states, “...I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of
fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.” In 13:9 we see God again as a Refiner: “...I will bring the third part through the
fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried...”.
As the OT closes out, the prophet Malachi says of God, “...he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ sope.” (3:2) The prophet says more
in 4:1, “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day
that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
As the NT begins, John the Baptist says of Jesus, “...he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire...but he will burn up the chaff with
unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11-12)
We have dealt with this elsewhere, but we have this in 5:22 - “...but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” This
should read, as the CCR says, “gehenna,” so it is not “hellfire” but just the natural fire of the city dump where criminals’ bodies were
burned, not given a decent burial.
Jesus speaks of fire in 7:19, “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” We don’t need to think this
is hellfire, as it could well be the crucible of God, in which He melts the base metals and extracts at least the silver, as we saw in Ezekiel 22.
Jesus tells the fate of the tares in 13:40-42 - “...the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world [CCR
“age”]...they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire:
there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Refinig again, and Hell is not mentioned. Those cast in are not happy, for to be refined is not
pleasant, not at all, but in time will they not come out as silver? See versea 49 and 50 to see that Jesus was speaking of people.
As with so many things, we have dealt with Matthew 18:8 and 9 in other chapters, but “everlasting fire” is in the Greek, “fire aionion” or we
could say, “fire-until-it-goes-out.” Yet, the debate over the proper use of “aionion” just goes on and on. In the next verse, we are given
“hell fire,” but the CCR helpfully gives us “gehenna.” I think both fires are the same, the city dump fires which burned most all the time,
until they went out due to rain or otherwise – the place is now a park, so the debate between “for an age” and “for ever” may be solved
Reaching 25:41, we again find “everlasting fire,” but we must wonder if God is simply playing Refiner again.
In Mark’s Gospel we run again into Jesus’ talk about “if thy hand offend thee,” but the CCR again clues us in: it’s gehenna, gehenna,
gehenna. (Mark 9:43-48) Then, Jesus adds, “...every one shall be salted with fire.” (verse 49) Remember what John the Baptist said - that
Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Matthew 3:11)
Luke also mentions the baptism “...with the Holy Ghost and with fire...” in 2:16, and adds in verse 17, “...the chaff he will burn with fire
unquenchable.” Are these the same Fire, or are they not?
Keeping the above in mind, we can look at Luke 9:54-56 in a new light. Jesus’ disciples must have been steeped in the idea God’s Fire as an agent
of retribution, but Jesus rebuked that notion, stating that He came to save, not to destroy. Yet He also spoke of salting with fire and baptizing
with fire, so it should start to become clear that God’s Fire is His agent to save men. As He said in 12:49, “I am come to send fire on the
In the Gospel of John, is another verse interpretable as refining: “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 15:6)
In Acts of the Apostles, we see again a close associatin between Fire and the Holly Spirit – see Acts 2:3. Truly, it was a baptism of fire.
In Acts 2:19, Peter quotes Joel the prophet about the last days, in which there would be “...blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke.”
In view of the cloven tongues of fire seen at Pentecost (Acts 2:3), we can see heaping coals of fire on peoples’ heads (Romans 12:20) in a whole new
light, as a sort of baptism with fire.
Now for First Corinthians 3:12-15, with its hints of refining: “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.” As ever, notice God accomplishing His works by way of Fire.
Second Thessalonians 1:8-9 gives us this: “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord
Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power...” This must be a
reference to the Lake of Fire, which we have discussed elsewhere. It results in the Second Death, which I suppose could be equated with
“everlasting destruction” except that the Greek word is, again, “aionion,” so “temporary” or “age-long” must be considered as well as
“for ever” and “everlasting.”
Paul’s letter to the Hebrews quotes the Psalms in 1:7 - “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of
fire.” The invisible world of Spirits must be a place of fire.
Speaking of the Mountain of God, Hebrews 12:18 tells us, “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor
unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest...” Here is another link between God and Fire. Those who claim to have found the real Mount Sinai in
Arabia, tell us that the peak is blakened to this day. The chapter concludes with “For our God is a consuming fire.”
Fire is mentioned in First Peter 1:7 - “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with
fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing
of Jesus Christ...”.
In Second Peter 3:7, we see once again the theme of baptisms of water and fire: “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water,
perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and
perdition of ungodly men.” Do you see that it is by Fire that this will come to pass: “But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled
with the glory of the LORD.” (Numbers 14:21) Peter adds in verse 12: “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the
heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” There is no need to fear this, for looking at the
Bible’s message, it looks certain that we, like Shadrach, Mes