In the beginning I thought I might write only one chapter on this subject, but as I started writing, I found it to be a very extensive subject. I presume that you understand that I do not write about natural fires even if I sometimes will compare the heavenly ones with the natural. In the natural we think of fire as something we should be careful with. We warn our children from playing with matches and when we are close to an open fire or a bonfire, we ask them to keep a good distance.
Fire is not only connected with something negative. Many are still using wood, coal and paraffin to heat their houses and some make food over open fire. To cook on a barbecue is quite common. Most of us will remember a pleasant time with friends around the barbecue or a cozy time at the bonfire. Many think of a blazing fire as something romantic and cozy. When we think of fire in the natural, we think of something very useful and cozy. It can also be very dangerous. We will now look at fire from a divine perspective.
In Exodus we can several places read that the Lord revealed Himself in fire. In the 24th chapter and the 17th verse we read: “The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.” Here the fire was described as His glory as well as a consuming fire. I really believe that the fire represents both aspects. It is a symbol of God’s presence and where His presence is, sin cannot exist. The fire has to come and burn away what doesn’t belong to God. Jesus had not come to take away the sins in the Old Covenant and all sin stood between mankind and God. He had told people to do a lot of sacrifices and perform many cleansing rituals and the priest stood before the Lord on behalf of people. These things were necessary until Jesus came and became the perfect Offspring of our sins. We are in the middle of Easter when this chapter is coming to you and we can really thank Jesus for what he has done for us.
The fire represents the glory of God and is at the same time
a consuming fire.
We read in Leviticus 6:9 that the fire should not be quenched on the altar, but be kept burning. This is in connection with the burnt offering. I believe that the spirit of Jesus moves into us when we receive Him and become a child of God and His spirit is like fire burning on the inside of us. I get a picture of an altar with only ashes on, and without any fire. I believe that represents an apostate believer who has not kept the fire alive and has turned his or her back to the Lord and His presence is gone then. The result is an altar with black ashes, not a nice sight.
Do not quench the fire in you!
Even if there are only a few glows left, we can always blow fresh fire on them and a bigger fire will start burning. Many Christians need fresh fire on their glows in order to make a bonfire. The Word, praying and your relationship with the Lord and other believers are like a wind making a real fire. When one confesses one’s sins and one forgives others, it is like blowing away old ashes and the fire becomes more clear and bigger.
It is quite common to burn the dead within a short time after death in other countries and in other religions. It can look rather grotesque, but I believe that the Lord will burn away everything dead in our lives. What doesn’t live and bear fruits, steal valuable nourishment. Do you have areas in your lives that need a touch from the Fire? I think that most of us have. We need fire in order to burn away everything dry in our lives and to blow life into fire that has become glows.
The Old Covenant is full of stories about the consuming fire. It hit people who had sinned and stood against God. It seems awful to read about people being burned, but I believe that God knew that they wouldn’t repent and they were waiting for an eternal judgment. That goes for everybody turning away from God. God wants to have communion with everybody, but He doesn’t force Himself on anybody. Jesus will not return before everyone has had a real chance to hear the Gospel and to make a choice for Him or against Him. God never prepared hell for people, but for the devil and his angels. (Matt.25:41) Many are unfortunately choosing to depart from God and will come there to the eternal fire. This fire represents the fire that is without God’s presence and is a burning fire. I recently saw a picture of a person seriously burned by flames and I felt so sorry for this person. I do not want anybody to come to the eternal fire and ask God for grace and wisdom to tell others about God’s goodness and about the way to heaven. Heaven is waiting for all who have received Jesus. God doesn’t tolerate sin and He can’t receive anybody who is not washed in the blood of the Lamb. That person would t bring sin into heaven and I do not want to be in a heaven with sin. I really look forward to come to a place without any influence from the devil.
God can really save His children from being burned by fire. We read in the book of Daniel about three men who refused to bow down before king Nebuchadnezzar and his idols. They knew that if they didn’t do that, they will be thrown into an oven with very hot fire. That was exactly what happened and it was so hot that the men throwing them into the fire were killed, but the three men were not burned at all. The king was watching and he saw a fourth man in the fire and He looked like the Son of God. Most likely it was Jesus. This became a strong testimony for the Lord and the king said that there is no other god than the one that these three worshipped.
Daniel had many visions, but I will just mention one in chapter 7, verse 9. He described the Ancient of Days sitting on the throne. His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool, but His throne was a fiery flame and its wheels a burning fire. I will not continue to continue with the rest of the vision, but will only emphasize the flame and the fire. It reminds me of Moses when he met God in the burning bush. We can read about that in Exodus 3. An Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush, but the bush wasn’t consumed. When Moses wanted to come closer, God called to him from the midst of the bush saying: Moses, Moses, Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” You can continue to read about the conversation between Moses and God. God is described as fire both here and in the book of Daniel. In psalm 97:3 er read that a fire goes before Him and burns up His enemies round about. It continues to say that His lightening lights the world; the earth sees it and trembles. This psalm speaks about God’s righteous judgment that will be fulfilled through Messiah.
When we celebrate the Olympic Games every fourth year, it always start by lightening a flame that must burn the entire time of the games. God is eternal and has an eternal fire, always burning. That fire is never quenched and is not limited to a short time.
THANK GOD FOR HIS ETERNAL FIRE!