Truth of Symbolic Fire in The Holy Bible Revealed A thru Z
Fundamental Christians proclaim The Holy Bible is literally true. Preachers frequently threaten hell is literal fire forever, preaching that not believing The Holy Bible is literally true means not being a true Christian, and, consequently, at the Final Judgment, being condemned by God, WHO IS LOVE, to be tormented [slow-roasted] in literal fire in hell FOREVER! This is spiritual abuse/terrorism/insanity, since, in fact, The Holy Bible is one of the most highly metaphorical/symbolic books in the world!!!
Examples: mountains singing/skipping like rams; hills singing/skipping like lambs; trees and floods clapping their hands (Ps. 98:8; 114:4-6; Isa. 55:12). Jesus’ followers: salt of the earth/light of the world (Mt. 5:13-14). Legalists: swallow a camel (Mt. 23:24). Pharisees: whitewashed tombs (Mt. 23:27-29). Hypocrites: serpents/vipers (Mt. 23:33). Disciples: wise as serpents/harmless as doves (Mt. 10:16). False prophets: wolves (Mt. 7:15). Speech: seasoned with salt (Col. 4:6), etc. Jesus: hen/bread/wine/blood/word/light/lamb/water/door/shepherd/way/truth/life/vine/alpha/omega/sun (Mt. 23:37; 26:26-28; John 1:1-14, 29; 4:10-14; 10:7-14; 14:6; 15:1; Rev. 1:11-16).
In regard to fire in the Bible, the following verses A-Z should convince any person, even those threatened with ECT to believe Biblical literalism, that the fire symbolizes purification as surely as the sky is blue and grass is blue. The Bible and the sacred writings of all major religions [and various minor ones] teach universal salvation with crystal clarity when fire, in relation to God and judgment, is wisely understood to purify, not torture people at all, much less forever!
A-ll in Gehenna [Hell, King James Version–KJV] “salted with fire” [Jesus’ mixed metaphor for “purified,” Good News Bible] (Mk. 9:49).
B-uilding Christ’s church, that will destroy [ram down the gates] Hades/Hell [“gates of Hell not prevail,” KJV] (Mt. 16:18).
C-hrist baptizes with the Holy Spirit and with fire [Christians sing, “Fill me with fire…” (Mt. 3:11).
D-evouring fire and brimstone/burning sulfur are like tongue and breath of God (Isa. 30:27, 33).
E-very believer’s works/deeds will be tested/refined by fire (I Cor. 3:10-14; II Cor. 5:10).
F-aith is tried/tested by various painful but corrective-fiery trials of life (I Peter 1:7; 4:12).
G-od is a consuming fire [consuming sin, purifying/perfecting sinners] (Dt. 4:24; Heb. 12:29).
H-oly Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost like/as tongues of fire (Acts 2:1-3).
I-sraelites, enslaved in iron furnace, God, by night in pillar of fire, led to freedom (Dt. 4:20; Ex. 13:21).
J-esus sending fire on earth burning chaff/sin with unquenchable fire (Mt. 3:12; Lk. 12:49).
K-now that God was in the burning bush, speaking to Moses, making the ground holy (Ex. 3:1-5).
L-ove: God is love and fire [purifying/perfecting all in perfect love] (Heb. 12:29; I John 4:8, 16-18).
M-essiah/Christ’s refining fire will purify, as gold/silver, the Jewish people (Mal. 3:1-3).
N-ote: **fire and brimstone/burning sulfur symbolize disinfection/healing from sin (Rev. 20:10-15).
0-xymoron: eternal torture in literal hell fire and God’s infinite mercy [KJV] (Ps. 136:1-26).
P-ersons: angels/messengers/ministers of God are flames of fire (Heb. 1:7).
Q-uality of life on earth transformed by burning up sinful works/chaff (II Peter 3:10).
R-iver/stream of fire flows from God’s fiery throne and fiery presence of God (Dan. 7:9-10).
S-heol: God is even present in *hell due to being omnipresent love/fire in universe (Ps.139:7-8).
T-ime in burning sulfur, ***day and night, proof not forever (Jude 6-13; Rev. 20:10; 21:25; 22:5).
U-nquenchable fire burns out as all fires do (Jer. 17:27; Ez. 20:45-48; Mk. 9:43-48).
V-erily, the seven lamps/torches/flames are the seven spirits of God (Rev. 4:5).
W-ord of God is like/as fire and burns in human hearts (Jer. 23:29; Luke 24:32).
X-[Chi in Greek]: first two letters of “Christ” whose eyes are as a flame of fire (Rev. 1:14).
Y-es, believers saved [behavior refined] thru fire at Judgment Seat of Christ (I Cor. 3:15).
Z-echariah, prophesied the Lord will be a [protective] wall of fire around Jerusalem (2:5).
*King James Version; **modern medicinal analogy: a fiery lake of penicillin to cure sin infection;
***heaven: no night/hell: no day; “forever,” a mistranslation of the Greek aeons/ages for time, not eternity
Since Christian Fundamentalists contend the Bible is literally true, this, of course, especially applies to the doctrine of hell fire. Based on the Biblical evidence [A—Z above], nothing could be further from the truth!” There are two Greek words that are essential to correctly interpreting Jesus’ parables. They are “exegesis” and “eisegesis,” the former meaning to read out of what is actually in the text, while the latter means to read into the text what is not there. In the parable of the Rich Man there is often more eisegesis than exegesis that results in the erroneous claim Jesus taught eternal conscious torment in literal hell fire.
It has been wisely stated the best commentary on The Holy Bible is the Bible itself. Thus, let us look at what Jesus taught about Hades in the Gospel of Matthew. Our Lord declared that He would build His church, and the gates of Hades/Hell would not prevail against it (16:18). This teaching of Jesus is in the form of a war metaphor in which any city of significant size had a wall built around it with large gates to close and barricade when an enemy army attacked. Such a city might need to be besieged for months, years, even a decade or longer in order to weaken it enough to bring in a battering ram, ram down the gates, and capture the city. In this parable the church is like a mighty army, and Hades/Hell is the walled city. Since the church shall destroy Hades/Hell, no one can be in Hades/Hell forever, as evidenced by all freely/humbly bowing to and sincerely confessing Jesus Christ is Lord to glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-11).
Also, at the end of the age, death and Hades are going to be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone [KJV]–burning sulfur [New International Version–NIV] (Rev. 20:10-15). This symbolism is in the form of a medicinal analogy, since sulfur was the wonder drug in the ancient world that penicillin is today, so a modern medicinal analogy would be a fiery lake of penicillin to cure all infected with sin. Therefore, people do not need to live in fear for their own salvation and the salvation of others, but they can rejoice in their own, loved ones’, and neighbors’ salvation, since Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves!