SPECIAL TOPIC: FIRE (BDB 77)

Fire has both positive and negative connotations in Scripture.

A. Positive

1. warms (cf. Isa. 44:15; John 18:18)

2. lights (cf. Isa. 50:11; Matt. 25:1-13)

3. cooks (cf. Exod. 12:8; Isa. 44:15-16; John 21:9)

4. purifies (cf. Num. 31:22-23; Pro. 17:3; Isa. 1:25; 6:6-8; Jer. 6:29; Mal. 3:2-3)

5. holiness (cf. Gen. 15:17; Exod. 3:2; 19:18; Ezek. 1:27; Heb. 12:29)

6. God's leadership (cf. Exod. 13:21; Num. 14:14; 1 Kgs. 18:24)

7. God's empowering (cf. Acts 2:3)

8. Protection (cf. Zech. 2:5)

 

B. Negative

 1. burns (cf. Jos. 6:24; 8:8; 11:11; Matt. 22:7)

 2. destroys (cf. Gen. 19:24; Lev. 10:1-2) 

 3. anger (cf. Num. 21:28; Isa. 10:16; Zech. 12:6)

4. punishment (cf. Gen. 38:24; Lev. 20:14; 21:9; Jos. 7:15)

5. false eschatological sign (cf. Rev. 13:13)

 

C. God's anger against sin is often expressed in fire metaphors

 1. His anger burns (cf. Hos. 8:5; Zeph. 3:8)

 2. He pours out fire (cf. Nah. 1:6)

 3. eternal fire (cf. Jer. 15:14; 17:4; Matt. 25:41; Jude v. 7)

 4. eschatological judgment (cf. Matt. 3:10; 5:22; 13:40; John 15:6; 2 Thess. 1:7; 2 Pet. 3:7-10; Rev. 8:7; 16:8; 20:14-15)

 

D. Fire often appears in theophanies

1.  Gen. 15:17

2.  Exod. 3:2

3.  Exod. 19:18

4.  Ps. 18:7-15; 29:7

5.  Ezek. 1:4,27; 10:2

6.  Heb. 1:7; 12:29

E.  Like so many metaphors in the Bible (i.e., leaven, lion) fire can be a blessing or a curse depending on the context.

 

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