The Final Judgment and Its Fire
(Fire and Brimstone Series - Part 2)
Since the final judgment is understood to be by fire, we need to look at fire very carefully and correctly understand how it is used.
This is part two of a seven-part study on the true meaning of The Lake of Fire and Brimstone. Go back to part one
Jesus' Death In Our Place.
Strong's Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, says about fire: (Greek = "pur" #4442) pur; a primary word; "fire" (literally OR figuratively. Pur is used (besides its ordinary natural significance):
(1) of the holiness of God, which consumes all that is inconsistent therewith, Heb. 10:27; 12:29; cf. Rev. 1:14; 2:18; 10:1; 15:2; 19:12;
(1a) similarly of the holy angels as His ministers, Heb. 1:7;
(1b) in Rev. 3:18 it is symbolic of that which tries the faith of saints, producing what will glorify the Lord;
(2) of the divine judgment, testing the deeds of believers, at the judgment seat of Christ 1 Cor. 3:13 and 15;
(3) of the fire of divine judgment upon the rejecters of Christ, Matt. 3:11 (where a distinction is to be made between the baptism of the holy Spirit at Pentecost and the "fire" of divine retribution; Acts 2:3 could not refer to baptism); Luke 3:16.
The word "pur" is used in a figurative or symbolic sense hundreds of times out of its more than 500 occurrences in the Bible. Here are some examples:
"Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord ..." (Jer. 23:29)
"From above hath He sent fire into my bones ..." (Lam 1:13)
"But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:" (Mal 3:2)
"John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire;" (Luke 3:16)
"Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." (Rom. 12:20)
"And of the angels He says, Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire." (Heb. 1:7)
"And the tongue is a fire ..." (Jam 3:6)
"His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were as a flame of fire;" (Rev. 1:14)
What does literal, physical fire do? Fire can change anything combustible by combining its molecules with oxygen - that is what fire is. Fire changes the quality of precious stones, gold and silver, which are non-combustible, by burning any impurities that are contaminating them. We should not be surprised at how fire is used to describe God's process of removing character imperfections, of refining the saints.
That is one of the primary uses God has for fire. Unfortunately, He has been accused of using fire in some pretty horrendous ways. Would a God of love who tells us to love our enemies turn around and, in the final judgment - the last act in the drama of dealing with sin and sinners - burn His own enemies with literal fire, causing them excruciating pain in the process? Hasn't even the thought of such injustice caused many people to turn away from God?
This study has not yet explained in detail how fire will be used in the final judgment but continue on reading this series. Part three -
Trial by Fire
will show, from scripture, that every man will undergo such a trial.