Saturday, August 2, 2014

Everyone will be salted with fire

According to Scripture, what will God's 'fire' accomplish?

We can agree that God's fire is at times literal (i.e. pillar of fire) and many times symbolic (i.e. "He is like a refiner's fire") or allegorical (i.e. lake of fire). After studying many passages that spoke of the fire of God I was able to grasp some understanding and would summarize it like this:

God's fire will sweep over all creation in judgment, and whatever is in Jesus will be 'saved'. Everything else will be burned up. Indeed, He will make all things new (Rev. 21:5).

OK, now that I've jumped ahead and given my conclusion, let's go through specific verses that I studied to get to that point. See if you agree.

Let's start by looking at part of a letter Paul sent to believers in Corinth:
"According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
"Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work."
"If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."  (1 Cor. 3:10-15)

Even believers will experience a judgment of 'fire' - and dead works will be burned up. We have good reason to believe the worthless 'works' are gone forever.

There are several popular verses using the word 'fire' that are related to final punishment. Many quote Mark 9 about the worm (consuming dead bodies) and unquenchable fire (which just means a fire that cannot be put out), but why do we not quote the next verse?

"For everyone will be salted with fire."  (Mark 9:49)

The statement starts with the word 'For'. The word 'for' is referring to the previous verses - "its function is to introduce the reason for the preceding clause". What does it mean for everyone to be salted with fire? Since the answer to that question seems unclear, we will look at other ways that God uses fire in His word as illustrations for spiritual truth.


'Just as' verses explain to us plainly how it will be at the final judgment. Just as the tares, dried branches, Sodom and Gomorrah were judged and destroyed by being 'burned up with fire' so will it be in Jesus' great Judgment at the end of the age.

"So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age… and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matt. 13:40) See Matthew 3:12 where it is explained, "He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away [just] as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned."  (John 15:6)

"And just as it happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking… but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed."  (Luke 17:28-30)

"…just as Sodom and Gomorrah…, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality…, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire." (Jude 1:7)

Besides the verses above, what else has been or will be 'burned up'? I found: The harlot/Babylon (Rev. 18:8), the old heavens and earth (2 Pet. 3:10), and Edom (Is. 34). 


To consume (in relation to fire) means "to do away with completely: destroy"

"For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God." (Deut. 4:24, also Deut. 9:3, Heb. 12:29)

"You have conceived chaff, you will give birth to stubble;
My breath will consume you like a fire.

The peoples will be burned to lime,

Like cut thorns which are burned in the fire...

Sinners in Zion are terrified;

Trembling has seized the godless.

"Who among us can live with the consuming fire?

Who among us can live with continual burning?"

(Answer:) He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity… " (Is. 33:11-15)

In Amos he says seven times: "So I will send fire…and it will consume…" Then he warns, "Seek the LORD that you may live or He will break forth like a fire…And it will consume with none to quench it…"  Amos 5:6

"Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp… So the name of that place was called Taberah (burning), because the fire of the LORD burned among them." (Num. 1:1. See also Is. 10:16-18)


"But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men."  (2 Peter 3:7)

"Then the house of Jacob will be a fire
And the house of Joseph a flame;

But the house of Esau will be as stubble.

And they will set them on fire and consume them,

So that there will be no survivor of the house of Esau,"

For the LORD has spoken."  (Obadiah 1:18)

"The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." (Matt. 3:10)

“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned."  (Luke 15:6)

"As wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish before God." (Ps. 68:2)

"Indeed, fire will devour Your enemies." (Is. 26:11)


God's fire will sweep over all creation in judgment, and whatever is in Jesus will be 'saved'. Everything else will be burned up. Remember all the 'just as' verses above, as well.

"…a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries." (Heb. 10:27)

"For the LORD will execute judgment by fire
And by His sword on all flesh,

And those slain by the LORD will be many."  (Is. 66:16)

"Fire also came forth from the LORD and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering incense." (Num. 16:46, also 26:10, Deut. 5:25)

"For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze," says the LORD of hosts, "so that it will leave them neither root nor branch."  (Mal. 4:1. Also see Is. 5:24)

"You will make them as a fiery oven in the time of your anger; The LORD will swallow them up in His wrath, And fire will devour them."  (Ps. 21:9)

"Fire goes before Him and burns up His adversaries round about." (Ps. 97:3)

"Then He will also say to those on His left, "Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matt. 25:41)


Follow the equation by looking up each verse(s) and see if it proves true:

Eternal fire (Jude 1:7) = Gehenna (Matt. 18:8, Mark 9:43) = unquenchable fire (Mark 9:43) = lake of fire (Rev. 19:20) = second death (Rev. 20:14) = destruction (Matt. 10:28, 1 Cor. 15:26, Rev. 17:11)

Another clue to eternal fire: The example that is given as the punishment of eternal fire in the NT is the complete destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with smoke rising as the sign of that destruction. See Jude 1:7 and Gen. 19:28. In a similar way, the great harlot called Babylon is also burned up (destroyed totally) and her 'smoke rises up forever': See Rev. 18:1-19:3.

"Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."  Rev. 20:14-15


Yes, fear God. Fear Him for the right reasons. "...fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." (Matt. 10:28)

"Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads," declares the Lord GOD."  (Eze. 22:31)

"Who can stand before His indignation?
Who can endure the burning of His anger?

His wrath is poured out like fire…" (Nahum 1:6)

"On the day of the LORD's wrath;
…all the earth will be devoured

In the fire of His jealousy,

For He will make a complete end,

Indeed a terrifying one,

Of all the inhabitants of the earth."  (Zeph. 1:18, also 3:8)


This means no one is able to put out God's fire; it is irresistible. It in no way implies that the things being burned will never stop burning. It is the fire that keeps burning, and consuming. Unstoppable.

"Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am about to kindle a fire in you, and it will consume every green tree in you, as well as every dry tree; the blazing flame will not be quenched and the whole surface from south to north will be burned by it. All flesh will see that I, the LORD, have kindled it, it shall not be quenched. (Eze. 20:47-48)

"Seek the LORD that you may live or He will break forth like a fire…And it will consume with none to quench it…"  Amos 5:6

"They they will go forth and look
On the corpses of the men

Who have transgressed against Me.

For their worm will not die

And their fire will not be quenched;

And they will be an abhorrence to all mankind."  (Is. 66:24)

"Behold, they have become like stubble,
Fire burns them;

They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame…" (Is. 47:14)

"Circumcise yourselves to the LORD...
Or else My wrath will go forth like fire

And burn with none to quench it,

because of the evil of your deeds." (Jer. 4:4)

"His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matt. 3:12)

We are all just a wisp of smoke, a flower that springs up in the field and wilts and dries up. When you burn a dried up weed, it is consumed and is no more. God is the life-force for all. If He withdraws His presence, could that thing or soul exist? "For in Him we all live and move and exist" (Acts 17:28).

Throughout the Bible we see His discipline/punishment as either restorative (Israel) or destructive (the Flood, Sodom, Korah).

So, now consider these things. Does God's judgment fire burn up all that is not in Jesus? If not, where is the biblical evidence? How many verses do you find in support of another view? (Read "The parable about hell - or not" and "In the presence of the Lamb" and "The adversaries" for further study.)

As unpleasant as these truths are, we must contemplate and stand on God's word, not man's. Please seek for yourself to see if these things be true.

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind."  (Is. 65:17)

"But the wicked will perish: Though the LORD's enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke."  (Ps. 37:20)

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I understand this is a difficult subject and there are different views from folks who all value God's inspired word. I value your feedback, corrections and questions. Please leave a comment!