“GOD IS AN ALL-CONSUMING FIRE”
The glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it. To the children of Israel, the sight of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring consuming fire; (Ex. 24:17).
God’s holiness is why Moses referred to Him as a “consuming fire.” His holiness is part of His nature that separates Him from sinful man. God’s wrath is against those who oppose Him, and it is depicted as fire that utterly consumes and destroys anything unholy in His path.
“FIRE from the SKY”
When God sends fire from heaven, it’s “unquenchable and uncontrollable.” Unquenchable describes a feeling so strong that it cannot be satisfied.
“No man can control or contain this fire.”
The Bible gives an account of a duel between the Prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal (1st Kings 18). Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to prepare a bull as an offering for their God, and he would do the same for his God. But, they could not light a fire on their altar; they were to call upon their God to send down fire as a sign that their God was really God. The God who answered with fire from the sky would be considered the “True God”; (v. 22-25).
After spending hours of frantic prophesying, shouting, and slashing themselves to no avail, the prophets of Baal didn’t get a response from their God (Baal); (v. 29). Elijah then prepared his altar. He used twelve stones, dug a trench around the altar, placed the wood on the altar, laid the pieces of the bull upon it, and lastly, the people dose the altar with twelve large jars of water. The water soaked the sacrifice and the wood and filled the trench; (v. 30-35). Once the altar was prepared, Elijah prayed. The fire of the LORD fell from heaven and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dirt! The fire licked up all of the water in the trench!
“What fire on earth can burn up rocks and dirt and lick up a pool of water in a matter of seconds?”
In the New Testament, Jesus talked about hell more than any other subject. He mentioned hell 167 times; he spoke of heaven and hell as real places. Hell is described as a place of torment and eternal burning fire; (Matt. 25:41). Its fire is never quenched; (Matt. 3:12; Mark 9:44-49). It’s also described as a lake of burning sulfur; (Rev. 20:10).
FIRE AND BRIMSTONE
Brimstone (burning stone) is another name for sulfur. Some people find “fire and brimstone messages” preached within today’s churches quite disturbing. Often it’s because they have a misunderstanding about the very nature of God. It’s easier to grasp God as loving, kind, and merciful. However, He is also holy and righteous. His righteousness makes it impossible for Him to tolerate sin. Therefore, he hates every manner of sin; (Prov. 6:16-19).
Unfortunately, humanity is corrupted by sin, and sin is always directed against God. His anger burns against the wicked and those who are disobedient; (Isa. 5:25; Hosea 8:5; Zech. 10:3). He has decreed that the just punishment for sin must also be eternal; (Matt. 25:46).
ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE, AND HE SHALL…
The realities of eternal damnation and eternal punishment are both frightening and disturbing. Because God is just and righteous, He cannot allow our sins to go unpunished. To excuse our sin would require God to be less than just, and to enable sin-tainted humans into His perfect heaven, would render heaven less than ideal.
The Bible is clear that there are two possible destinations for every human soul following physical death: heaven or hell; (Matt. 25:34, 41, 46; Luke 16:22-23). Only the righteous will inherit eternal life, and the only way to be declared righteous before God is through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; (John 3:16-18; Rom. 10:9). After death, the soul of those who are declared righteous will go directly to the presence of God; (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Phil. 1:23).
God created hell for satan and the wicked angels who rebelled against Him and for unbelievers; (Matt. 25:41; Rom. 6:23). Because of Adam’s disobedience, sin entered the world, and the entire human race is born with a sinful nature; (Rom. 5:12). However, people don’t go to hell because of Adams’ disobedience but because of their own free will in choosing to sin; (James 1:13-16). The will of the unsaved is to reject salvation through Jesus Christ and remain in sin. God will politely honor that decision and its consequences for eternity.
THE DECISION IS YOURS!
In life, we have to make choices, and just as there are choices to be made in living, we also have to make a choice when it comes to death. We can choose to live life as the world lives, living by our own free will, or we can choose to live for God, by His will for our lives.
God, in His mercy, made the most amazing sacrifice when He chose to offer His only Son, Jesus Christ, as a substitute for the sins of mankind. We are no longer bound by our sins; the blood of Jesus purchased our freedom from sins death penalty. If we choose to trust Jesus’ payment as the acceptable sacrifice, we have chosen heaven as our eternal resting place. But, if we refuse Jesus as our substitute for our debt payment, we must pay the price ourselves. Eternal damnation is the consequence for rejecting the sinless Savior.
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord; (Rom. 6:23).
Those who have accepted Christ will be with God after death. Those who have rejected Him will be separated. Sin separates us from God; if left unresolved, the results will be eternal separation. But, through Jesus Christ, hell is avoidable. It’s your decision…
Now is the Time of Salvation!
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”; (Rom. 10:9).
If you haven’t received the free gift of salvation, Jesus is extending this invitation to you. Salvation is a gift received by faith to whosoever will believe; (Rom. 6:23b; John 3:16; Eph. 2:8-9). Believe in the Lord Jesus as your Savior, rely on His sacrifice alone as the payment for your sins, and you will be saved. Jesus Christ is the only acceptable sacrifice.
For salvation, click here
*If you’ve confessed Jesus as your Lord, “Welcome to the family of God!” Now, it’s up to you to learn more about being of the Christian faith. Get yourself a Bible; find a church home that teaches from the Scriptures in the Bible, develop a personal relationship with God through prayer, and grow in your walk with Christ.
Blessings to you!
(Reference: The Holy Bible / Photo does not belong to Jeanie Martin Ministries)