What is the Fire of Judgement7 min read

Fire of Judgement

What is the Fire of Judgement7 min read

The fire of judgement is a daunting subject, for the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God, Deuteronomy 4:24. It is a symbol of God’s holiness and righteousness. Should we then fear the fire of God? The short answer is yes, if you are on the wrong side.

Recurring Theme

Throughout the bible fire is a recurring theme and used around 500 times. It is a favourite way God describes Himself.

The dual nature of fire reminds us of God’s divine judgement, as well as the refining power of the Holy Spirit. We either permit the fire of God to refine and purify us in our spiritual walk, or we face the consuming fire of judgement. The last mention of fire in the bible is the lake of fire and brimstone, Revelation 21:8.

Because fire is both a comfort and a destructive force, we will cover it in two articles.

First Mention

We first see fire in the bible when a cherubim and a flaming sword turning every which way guarded the way to the tree of life. Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden because of their disobedience to God, Genesis 3:24.

How many times in his long life of 930 years, did Adam return to view this from a distance? His heart must have broken having caused sin to enter the human race through his disobedience. That is quite apart from what he had lost himself.

However, God banned them from the garden through His mercy and love. Had Adam and Eve eaten of the tree of life they could have lived for ever in their sinful state.

Eternal Fire

The fire of God has a purpose that was formed in eternity and God’s word will accomplish that for which it was spoken Isaiah 55,11. All prophecy will be fulfilled. Man will either go to eternal fellowship with the great I Am Who I Am, Exodus 3:14, the Creator of the universe, or go to eternal judgement. There is nothing in between, as many would like to believe.

God’s holiness and justice demands that the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23. God is not a God to be mocked, Galatians 6:7, nor treated with contempt, nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside.

He would that none should perish, 2 Peter 3:9, but no sinner can enter into His presence. There must be the fire of judgment, because God is a righteous and holy Judge.

Fear of Fire

Fire can be a comfort, but also causes fear, for no one in their natural mind deliberately walks into a wall of fire. The Israelites were terrified when the Lord descended upon Mt Sinai in fire. The smoke ascending as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently, Exodus 19:18.

When the bystanders saw the people destroyed by God’s fire they were not in doubt of God’s awesome power. Again, and again the fire of God demonstrated that principle in the Old Testament. Yet, where fire is seen in the New Testament it is also the fire of judgement.

Fire Separates

Fire is a separation both naturally and spiritually. In the natural, firefighters do a burn off. The need to create a barrier between a fire out of control and the area they are trying to protect.

Fire is a separation both naturally and spiritually. In the natural, firefighters do a burn off to create a barrier between a fire out of control and the area they are trying to protect. The same principle applies in the spiritual.

The prophet Elijah was swept into heaven in a chariot of fire and horses of fire in a whirlwind, separating Elijah from his protege, Elisha, 2 Kings 1:11. For the unrepentant sinner there will be eternal separation from God in the lake of fire, Revelation 20:15.

Fire as a Weapon

A great enemy army of horses and chariots surrounded the city Elisha and his servant were in. Naturally, the servant was terrified while Elisha remained unbelievably calm. Elisha told his servant not to be afraid as there were far more for them than against them.

The prophet prayed and when the servant’s eyes were opened he saw the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire, 2 Kings 6:15-17. It all depends on which side you are on, whether fire is a friend or an enemy.

Fire and Sacrifice

Fire and death is always associated with sacrifice. Cain bought only the fruit of the ground as a sacrifice, while Abel bought a lamb to be sacrificed, Genesis 4:3,4. God had no regard for Cain’s sacrifice.

The Outer Court of Moses Tabernacle was not a pretty place to be. There was a continually burning fire that consumed the sacrifice the people offered. Copious amounts of blood was shed, and there was the constant smell of burning meat.

At the dedication of Solomon’s temple there were 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep sacrificed. Fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering. The priests could not enter into the house because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house, 2 Chronicles 7:2. All this made them proclaim, Truly God is good. Truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Fire of Calvary

All this symbolized the fiery agony of Calvary where the Son of God was sacrificed that we might have eternal life. It was the place where God’s righteous judgement was poured out on every sin mankind has or will perpetrate.

Yet, the place of Calvary was the site of the greatest victory, for death could not hold the Saviour of the world. Satan and his cohorts were soundly defeated. That which Satan devises for evil, God uses for good, Genesis 50:20.

End Time Fire and Judgement

The Antichrist will cause fire to come down from heaven in order to deceive people into worshipping him, Revelation 13:13. This will be during the time of the Great Tribulation, where God’s wrath will be poured out.

Satan will then be bound, but at the end of the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth, fire will come down from heaven to destroy the armies of Gog and Magog, Revelation 20:9. Satan and all his cohorts and those who reject God’s Messiah Jesus Christ, will end up in the unquenchable lake of fire and brimstone, Revelation 20:30, Matthew 3:10.

All this proves that God, the Great I Am Who I Am, Exodus 3:14, is a holy God and not to be mocked or ignored. The fire of God will not be denied for it is unlimited and eternal. Saints of God will go to eternal life, but unrepentant sinners will be sent to the fire of eternal separation, Jude 7.

Final Fire of Judgement

Jesus is described as having eyes of fire, while His feet shine like burnished bronze glowing in a furnace, Revelation 1:14,15. Jesus will return as the great Judge with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 2 Thessalonians 1:6.

Then comes the final fire of judgement. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar. The elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its elements will be burned up, 2 Peter 3:10. There will be a new heaven and a new earth.

We can’t even begin to image what it will be like to arrive in eternity where sin no longer exists. Truly, the things God has planned for those who love Him is beyond our understanding, 1 Corinthians 2:9. Fire is a purifier, a consumer and a reminder of God’s awesome holiness and power.

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Wendy Stenberg-Tendys is a freelance writer who enjoys researching a topic and sharing words of encouragement, particularly from the Word of God.

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