THE FIRE OF THE LORD
BY: KENNETH GREATOREX
God is spirit and love. God is also light, and in Him is no darkness. Do you know that our God is a consuming fire? (Hebrews 12:29) “For our God is a consuming fire.” Consuming is from the Greek, KATANALISKO Strong’s #2654, meaning “to consume utterly, wholly.” This statement of fact concerning God is little understand. It is not acceptable to our perception of God unless toward the wicked. We rejoice in the words of 1 John 4:8 “…for God is love.” F.M. Lehman’s song, “The Love of God,” describes our inability to describe His love. Can we accept that our God of love is also one of fire?
When thinking of FIRE in the Bible, we tend to associate it with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, or other destructive situations. Some glory in “hell fire, and eternal damnation” teaching. These limited and negative views hinder our understanding of God, and of His purposes and portraying nothing of His LOVING KINDNESS .
Fire is destructive when out of control. The biggest fire we relate to is the sun. It gives us both LIGHT and HEAT, and this amazingly, is a true description of fire. Fire is used for heating, cooking, lighting and other purposes. The electricity you may use has to be generated. If you use electricity, if it is not generated by water (hydro – Greek for water), then nuclear fuel, or some other source is used to produce fire to make steam. Fire is a blessing when it is controlled!
In the Old Testament God appeared in the burning bush (Exodus 3:2) revealing Himself in and as fire. He was there as a “burning torch” when making covenant with Abram (Genesis 15:17). God manifested as the “pillar of fire” for the Children of Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21). He was there as fire on Mount Sinai and, “fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering” in Leviticus 9:24. In Revelation 4:5, “seven lamps of fire burning – are the seven Spirits of God.” Fire is a symbol of deity in the middle east, thus Elijah’s battle with the prophets of Baal was to prove by fire who was the true Deity.
Fire is used in the process of purification of metals. God uses FIRE in our circumstances to purify us. It is time we stop blaming the Devil for everything, and to start acknowledging God who is over all. 1 Peter 4:12 reads, “Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” Job 23:10 says, “But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” Testing is the trying or proving, to bring to PURITY. In 1 Peter 1:7 we read: “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire.”
When John the Baptist spoke of the One coming after him, he said, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire – and gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Luke 3:16-17) The prophet Malachi had this to say about fire. “For He is like a refiner’s fire – He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, He will purge them as gold and silver,” WHY? “That they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:3-4.
“Our God is a consuming Fire!” He will deal with us in so many ways that our heads will spin. We may call it the devil, our spouse, our boss, the government, others in the church, false brethren, sickness, lack of money, and any thing else we can blame. His purpose is to reduce us, our egos, to ashes until there is no false pride left. Fire will burn something down until only the basic elements remain in ash form. You need not understand what is happening, but you do need to submit to the hand of God!
When fire burns, it causes a change in form. A type of metamorphosis. Wood become ashes. The smoke from the fire contains particles of the wood that ascend upward as smoke. When gold is heated by fire, the impurities surface. Iron that is heated becomes pliable and subject to molding. When God applies the heat to us, we squeal and whine, not realizing, or caring, that it is for our benefit.
Every man’s work will eventually be tested by tested by fire. The wood, hay and stubble will burn. Perhaps we need to be more careful in what we are DOING FOR THE LORD. There is an old saying, “Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” True to a point, BUT only if what is done is BIRTHED OF THE SPIRIT. How much, or perhaps little, is birthed of the Spirit in all of our activities today?
In Revelation 19:20, 20:14-15 and 21:8 we read of the lake of fire and brimstone. In 1997 I wrote the following. “Recently I researched the meaning of the word brimstone. We read of the “lake of fire and brimstone” in the Book of Revelation. Brimstone comes from the Greek word THEION #2303 meaning: “fire from heaven.” Strong’s Concordance refers to #2304 and then to #2316 THEOS, meaning, God or divinity. E.W. Bullinger defined brimstone as: “FIRE FROM HEAVEN, (places touched by lightening were called THEIA), as lightening leaves a sulfurous smell, and sulfur was used in heathen purification, it got the name of THEION. Brimstone (from brienne or brin, i.e. burn and stone, from heathen uses in their religions, God made it an instrument of His vengeance in the heathen.” There are a number of O.T. and N.T. references to brimstone”
Notice, certain kinds of people and death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. Hell from Greek HADES, or Hebrew SHEOL, both mean the grave, or place of the dead. The Bible calls it “the second death.” This is the ending of death and hell. 1 Corinthians 15:26 reads, “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” The “last” means, the FINAL enemy of man. “Destroyed” is from the Greek KATARGEO #2673, and means, abolished, made of no effect, vanished, made void, to render entirely idle or inoperative. Check it out for yourself. Remember, that fire changes things and that ”our God is a consuming fire.”
Shortly before my father, George Greatorex, went to his reward, he had a list of things to speak about to me. One thing he said was, “Keep the fire burning.” You cannot “keep the fire burning,” if you do not have any fire in you. We need both the Holy Spirit and the fire. It is imperative that the all consuming fire of God work in us to consume, and then to energize us.
Psalm 20:3 reads in part: “…and accept your burnt sacrifice.” Or, “turn to ashes.” E.W. Bullinger wrote, “This was the Hebrew idiom for God’s acceptance of offerings by fire: i.e., He accepted them by causing fire to fall from heaven and consume the sacrifice. No fire, having its origin in this world ever consumed the sacrifices which God accepted.
The sacrifices of the heathen were wholly independent of and apart from God. He neither commanded them, nor accepted them. It is even so with worship now that is not the fruit of the Holy Spirit (who is symbolized by burning fire). For the flesh to offer worship is the offering of “strange fire.” Methinks that there is much of it going on.
The fire which kindled the incense on the Golden Altar of worship within the Holy Place was the same fire which had consumed the sacrifice on the Brazen Altar. This tells us that there can be no incense of prayer ascending to heaven that is not based on and does not proceed from the blood of atonement.
That this fire from heaven was the essential part of God’s acceptance of the offering – Whenever God accepted an offering away from the one place that He had appointed the fire fell especially on that occasion only. In Genesis 4:4, when “the Lord had respect unto Able and to his offering,” because it was what He had ordered. But unto Cain and his offering God “had not respect,” because it was not what He had appointed. “The way of Cain (Jude 11) is therefore human inventions in Divine worship! Thus it is the Lord who dictates the particulars as to how He will be approached. And if He does not accept the sacrifice by turning it to ashes, in vain would they worship Him.” End of quote.
In the midst of our FIERY we need to acknowledge that Our Father right in ALL of His dealings with us. In fact, even as the Hebrew children in the furnace of very hot fire, we acknowledge HIM and our hearts BOW IN WORSHIP.
FIRE OF THE LORD, THE [Kenneth Greatorex] 1