Five Liberating Truths—Symbolic Fire in Religions
SALTED WITH FIRE
The Good News of God’s
Eternal Love/Amazing Grace/Infinite Mercy/Perfect Justice
TRUTH #1: THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE OF FEAR.
Jesus said the truth shall set you free (John 8:32). There is
no fear, which is torment, in love; perfect love casts out fear. The one
who fears has not been perfected in God’s perfect love (I John 4:18).
The ultimate fear is eternal conscious torment in literal hell fire!
Biblical fire symbolizes purification. Therefore, the word “fire” is
used metaphorically. A metaphor, like a parable, is the use of a
word meaning one thing to symbolize something else. Examples:
Moses and the burning bush: fire did not burn the bush but purified
it making the ground holy (Ex. 3:1-5). Enslaved Jews in iron furnace
(Dt. 4:20) God by night in a pillar of fire led to freedom (Ex. 13:21).
Messiah will use refining fire to purify the Jewish people (Mal. 3:3).
God's angels are spirits; servants/ministers flames of fire (Heb. 1:7).
Pentecost: The Holy Spirit sat, as flames of fire, on all the apostles.
(Acts 2:1-3). Life’s fiery trials refine character (I Pet. 4:12). God’s
tongue, breath, and word are fire/sulfur (Isa. 30:27-33; Jer. 23:29)
Messiah/Christ will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (Mt. 3:11).
Interpreting fire literally is spiritual abuse, because it makes no
sense and frightens people, especially children, with the insanely
false doctrine of eternal torture in literal hell fire for failure to obey
legalistic religious rules. This is child abuse! In its most extreme
form, such abuse is spiritual terrorism causing spiritual insanity.
The second liberating truth explains symbolic fire in relation to believers.
TRUTH #2: BELIEVERS WILL BE REFINED BY FIRE.
At the judgment of believers, their works will be tested by fire,
but they shall be saved through the fire (I Cor. 3:10-15). Sal-
vation is a gift [which is free]. “For by grace you have been saved
through faith, the gift of God, not according to works (Eph. 2:8-9).
A mistake, of grave consequences, is Christians’ failure to realize
salvation is by grace while judgment is according to works/deeds.
Judgment, even for forgiven believers, is based on deeds—good or
bad (II Cor. 5:10). No one can fool God—all reap as sown [karma]
(Gal. 6:7-8). God forgives sin but does not grant a “crop” failure! 3
This judgment can best be understood by out-of-body near-death
experiences. People report having a life review in which they see and
feel the impact their lives have had on other people. Jesus said to do
to others as you want them to do to you. In the life review it is done
to you as you have done to others—feeling like you are the others.
This fiery judgment should be understood as God’s tough love—per-
fect justice for all! Jesus lovingly consoled, “Fear not...” Biblical fear
means reverence for God due to awe of God. Some teach you can
only believe you are saved by getting “The [euphoric] Feeling.” Sal-
vation is knowing you are saved regardless of feelings (I John 5:13).
The third liberating truth explains symbolic fire/sulfur, and salt for unbelievers.
TRUTH #3: UNBELIEVERS WILL BE SALTED WITH FIRE.
Jesus, definitively declared the purpose
of Gehenna/hell, “For every one shall be
shall be salted with fire. . .”(Mark 9:49). The best translation
of this symbolic language—a mixed metaphor—is in The Good News
Bible: Today’s English Version, “Everyone will be purified by fire..."
—totally loving, not fearful words!
Tragically, of hundreds of Christians asked: laity, pastors, priests,
seminary and college professors of religion, almost no one had
heard of being “salted with fire.” Commentators may use illogical
excuses to explain it away! Spiritually, this symbolism is like inter-
national travel signs—no words are needed, just the visual image.
This booklet’s title is to honor Jesus by proving he did not teach
the insanity of eternal torture. Even those in Sheol [hell, KJV] are not
deprived of God’s presence (Ps. 139:7-8): eternal love, amazing grace,
infinite mercy, and perfect justice. God loves all people—saints and
unrepentant sinners—equally! God loves unbelievers in hell as much
as believers in heaven! God, who has infinite wisdom, knows how
to destroy sin without destroying sinners. God, as a consuming fire,
shall consume all sin, thus, purifying sinners (Deut. 4:24; Heb. 12:29).
Jesus said church destroys Hades/hell (Mt. 16:18), “gates of hell...not
prevail” [image: church as battering-ram]. Proof of hell’s destruction:
ALL bowing and confessing faith...to the glory of God (Phil. 2:9-11).
The Revelation expresses this truth of purification by fire for unbe-
lievers in another way—the lake of fire and brimstone [KJV].
The definition of brimstone is “an archaic [outdated] word for sulfur.”
This symbolism should be translated, “the lake of burning sulfur.”
In fact, The New International Version translated the lake of fire and
sulfur as “burning sulfur,” since sulfur readily burns (Rev. 20:10).
But the NIV mistranslated the time in the burning sulfur, “The aeons
of the aeons” as “forever and ever.” This grammatical construction,
of the plural form of the Greek “aeons,” is the superlative in Hebrew
[“The holy of holies,” most holy; “The king of kings/lord of lords,”
greatest king/lord; “song of songs,” finest song] using Greek words.
This should read, “the greatest/finest/final aeon(s)/age(s), not forever.
Sulfur was widely known in Biblical times as a multipurpose medi-
cation. And a sulfur paste would cure body sores. It was also burned
to disinfect homes after a person had died of an infectious disease and
to disinfest homes of lice, mice, and other vermin. Sulfur was used
to preserve produce. It was burned in religious rituals to symbolize
prayers of purification. Every way sulfur was used, in the ancient
world, was beneficial.
A chemist, with a Ph.D. in biochemistry, said, theoretically, a sulfur
compound could be made which would cure any bodily infection.
Could not God, who is omniscient, make a spiritual “product” [“the
lake of burning sulfur"] to cure any sin infection? A modern medici-
nal analogy: “a fiery lake of penicillin,” to cure all infected with sin.
Sulfur symbolizes divine [same Greek word as for sulfur] disinfection/
healing of sin. Hades/hell, death, and unrepentant sinners will be cast
into the lake of burning sulfur. This is not the cosmic torture chamber
but recycling center/reform school or pigsty: e.g., The Prodigal Son, a
Jew, was feeding pigs until coming to his senses (Luke 15:11-32). The
Law of Moses forbade eating pork, so Jews would not raise swine. A
Jew slopping hogs [for a Gentile] symbolizes the worst of sinful living!
Thus, all those in hell will, eventually, come to their senses and repent.
Christ shall draw all to himself (John 12:32), and God will become all
in all [KJV]—everything to every one [RSV] (I Cor. 15:28). God’s love
is inescapable, like the love of the Prodigal Son’s father. Therefore,
God’s saving grace shall, ultimately, prove to be irresistible! 9
All die in Adam—All live in Christ (I Cor. 15:22; Rom. 5:10-21). With
this Good News, people can stop living in fear of hell for oneself and/or
“unsaved” loved ones. They will help others, since no one can hurt any-
one without feeling the pain [per life review]. This teaches empathy—
feeling others’ feelings—God’s 100% effective behavioral modification.
All were created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), but in many, God’s
image has been badly marred and scarred by sin. In some, God’s image
has been almost obliterated. But when sin, the spiritually combustible
material, has been burned up, God’s image will once again shine forth
brightly—ALL purified, reconciled, and restored to God!
The fourth liberating truth proclaims the glory of God’s patient...unfailing love
(I Cor. 13:4-8).
TRUTH #4: ALL WILL WORSHIP GOD IN UNIVERSAL PEACE.
You can even overcome spiritual terrorism and spiritual insanity
and find peace with God! Almost all evangelistic booklets and tracts
are based on the absurdity of people being forever separated from God.
It is possible for sin to separate one from fellowship with God (Isaiah
59:2). It is impossible to be out of God’s presence, due to God being
omnipresent in the universe—even in Sheol/hell [KJV] (Psalm 139:7-8).
All will worship God eternally in universal peace (Rev. 5:13)! This is
The Good News of Christian Universalism (CU)—The Gospel Jesus
taught and the early church preached for well over 500 years!!!
These Biblical truths are conceptualized in the acrostic: C-H-U-R-C-H.
C – hurch, a fellowship where God is worshiped, The Gospel—Good
News—preached, and Holy Communion celebrated (Acts 2:41-47).
H – eaven is assured as a gift of God’s grace/mercy (Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5).
U – “U” are welcome, unconditionally, as children of God (James 2:1-18).
R – enew your mind with positive spiritual input (Rom. 12:2; Phil. 4:6-9).
C – hrist is exalted as the Savior of the whole world (John 4:42; I John 2:2).
H - ope for the world is to share the Gospel truth of CU that will result in
universal peace. Pope Francis, in May of 2013, validated CU for the
Catholic [Latin for “universal”] Church. CU is the hope of the Eastern
Orthodox, Anglican, and mainline [and some Evangelical] Protestant
Churches. Fulfill the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20) by being am-
bassadors of peace, not hell-fear mongers, for Christ (II Cor. 5:17-20)!
The fifth liberating truth explains symbolic fire in religions worldwide.
TRUTH #5: FIRE IN RELIGIONS SYMBOLIZES PURIFICATION.
All major religions, and various minor ones, teach universal salvation
when fire is metaphorically understood to purify. The Holy Koran uses
fire symbolically. The Sufis, who understand metaphorical fire, are
Islamic Universalists. But there are literalists in Islam as there are in
all religions. The word “Islam” means submission to Allah [the Arabic
word for God]. Muslims are those who submit to Allah/God.
The Torah uses fire metaphorically. There is no better example of this
in Judaism than God being “a consuming fire.” Such symbolic use of
fire is also true in the Eastern Religions: Baha’i, Buddhism, Hinduism,
Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, etc., and native religions worldwide.
In the ancient Sanskrit, “agni” is the word for fire. In Hinduism, Agni
was the god of fire, but Agni has evolved into an attribute of Brahman,
the one God. Hindus no longer worship the god of fire, but the ritual
of fire is a sacred part of Hinduism. It is celebrated at various events:
births, weddings, and funerals as well as religious holidays in Hinduism,
Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. The Saffron Flag, a red-yellow color,
is a symbol of fire in the Eastern Religions. And the Festival of Lights
is an annual celebration of the eventual victory of good over evil!
Zoroastrians worship before an altar of fire symbolizing the purity and
presence of God. Native Americans keep sacred fires burning. In the
medicine wheel the sacred fire is depicted in the hub—the center of life!
Almost all people pray. Essentially, all prayers of goodwill are the
same, differing only in how they start and end. Pope Francis has said
all people, including atheists, can meet on common ground of doing
good deeds, making a peaceful world. Even if people do not pray,
they can express the sentiments of the following prayer by putting
the words into action. All persons can be ambassadors of peace, reli-
gious or not, as expressed in this prayer of Saint Francis (1182-1226),
whom Pope Francis is honoring by his chosen papal name:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
If this booklet has been helpful to you please share it. Quantities can be
ordered by contacting the author via his website listed on the back cover.
The author of this booklet, Boyd C. Purcell, Ph.D., also wrote these
books, Spiritual Terrorism: Spiritual Abuse from the Womb to the Tomb.
and, Christianity Without Insanity: For Optimal Mental/Emotional/
Physical Health, 5-star rated and available on Amazon.
Copyrighted: may not be copied without written permission.
Resources: ChristianUniversalist.org and Tentmaker.org. Website:
ChristianityWithoutInsanity.com. Sharers of this booklet may put
contact information in the space below [10-18-2018, 3rd ed.].
For those who would like to use this evangelism booklet, it is available in print form to individuals, churches, campus ministries, foreign missions, institutional chaplaincies, and other organizations, for only 25 cents per copy in units of 10, 25, 50, 100, 250, and 500 [larger quantities can be ordered], plus postage and handling. For a class on positive evangelism, it would be helpful to use, “Christianity Without Insanity: For Optimal Mental/Emotional/Physical Health,” as the textbook. It has a chapter, “Ambassadors of Peace for Christ,” specifically on evangelism that is the opposite of the turn-or-burn-in-hell-forever approach of all Christian booklets and tracts I have seen on the market today. Negative evangelism is creating a horrible image of God, causing millions to turn off to Christianity, and giving Christians a bad name as hell-fear mongers and purveyors of cheap grace. Using this all-loving conception of God would prevent spiritual child abuse.
Pope Francis has said there is no literal burning hell. On May 22, 2013, he validated Christian Universalism for the Catholic Church, which has a billion members, by stating that Christ redeemed all people, so all will be saved. The Eastern Orthodox Church, which has half a billion members, believes the fire of hell is for purification. All Anglican and mainline Protestant denominations, encompassing half a billion members, are open to the truth of CU. One third of all Evangelical college and seminary students have rejected the falsehood of eternal torment. Perhaps fewer than fifty million conservatives, who identify themselves as “Bible-believing” Christians, still believe, defend, and evangelize using this God-demeaning Christ-dishonoring intellectually-nonsensical oxymoronic doctrine of eternal torture in hell. Believers in CU are also Bible-believing Christians.
Please note that there is space on the bottom half of the back cover to stamp or sticker, if desired, user’s contact info. This would enable readers to reach out for more information, help, and a place to attend church or other spiritual gatherings. Booklets could be handed out individually, used in adult and youth Sunday school classes, home Bible studies, hospital/hospice/campus/military/prison chaplaincies, left in public places, etc. There is also a Spanish e-version [available now] and will be in print if there is a demand for it. There will be a German edition.