The Fire Of God’s Judgment
by Norman P. Spotts, D.D.
“For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 4:24; also, Hebrews 12:29).
God uses His fire either to purify and cleanse the believer (blessing) or to bring devastating judgment upon the world of sinners. We need to focus here on God’s consuming fire of judgment.
It all began in Genesis. Adam and Eve were barred from the tree of life by “a flaming sword which turned every way” (3:24). Next, “the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire” (19:24). In Egypt,“there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous” (Exodus 9:24). Nadab and Abihu offered “strange fire before the LORD . . .and there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them” (Leviticus 10:1,2). In Korah’s uprising, “a fire from the LORD consumed” them (Numbers 10:35). Elijah prayed fire down from heaven in I Kings 1:10,12. Malachi predicted a future day of burning (4:1).
In the New Testament Jesus spoke very graphically about going into “hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched!” (Mark 9:43). He also told of a rich man who died and was “tormented in this flame” (Luke 16:24). One day Jesus will have to say to those who reject him, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).
The apostle Paul wrote that Jesus would come “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God” (II Thessalonians 1:8). Jude mentioned, “others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire” (v.23). John wrote, “and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).
From Genesis to Revelation the Bible cries out, the hard but necessary word, “FIRE!” “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation” (Hebrews 2:3). NPS