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The Consuming Fire

guibox

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
1,255
In analyzing the ultimate demise of the wicked, we are told throughout the scriptures that the wicked will 'be consumed' and 'consume away into smoke', 'be destroyed', be 'devoured', suffer 'the second death', be as 'the tares in the fire', 'chaff', be 'burnt up', be 'as if they had not been', suffer 'extinction', be 'ashes under the soles of the feet', 'perish' and 'left neither root nor branch'.

As Greek scholar R.F Weymouth says about this type of language:

"My mind fails to conceive a grosser misrepresentation of language than when five or six of the strongest words which the Greek tongue possesses, signifying to destroy or destruction, are explained to mean `maintaining an everlasting but wretched existence.' To translate black as white is nothing to this." (The New Testament in Modern Speech)
I would like to take a look specifically at the terms 'consume' and 'devour'

The Hebrew used for these terms is ''akal' which means 'to be consumed, to be eaten, devoured'. There is also the word kalah' which means, 'to be completed, finished, consumed'. The Greek equivalent is 'kataphago' which means 'to eat down, devour'


We are told in the bible that the wicked will be 'consumed' and 'into smoke consume away'. We are also told that the fires at the end of time will 'devour the wicked'. The supporters of eternal torment will tell us that the wicked will be tormented consciously for all eternity.

This Greek word is used in Revelation 20:9 when the wicked surround the city of God and the fires come down.

"And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city, and fire came down from God out of heaven and 'kataphago'them."
Some will say that this is different than being cast into the lake of fire. They are destroyed, then thrown in. This is wrong for two reasons:

1) You cannot take the events in Revelation 20 chronologically. We must be careful to do this with apocalyptic literature.

2) For this to occur, we would have to have 2 RESURRECTIONS of the wicked. One for them to be gathered and attack the city to be 'burnt up' and 'devoured', and then another to be cast into the lake of fire (for they are apparently consciously tormented in hell according to tradition). There is no support for three resurrections. Only two. One of the just, and one of the unjust.

We must conclude that the fire that comes down from heaven is also part of the lake of fire (the fire from heaven could create a lake).

In complete contradiction to this concept of eternal torment, we see that the terms used to denote the fires that burn the wicked are the exact opposite. Notice Exodus 3:2 with Moses at the burning bush.

"And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush, and he looked and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not ''akal'"
We see that constantly, eternally burning is the exact opposite of being 'consumed'! And yet, we'd have the traditionalist tell us the exact opposite will happen to the wicked, that they will continue to burn like the burning bush did.

Yet, we see the eternal fate of the wicked (not the temporary existence on this earth) as described as such.

"But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs. they shall kalah', into smoke they shall kalah' away"
This is not speaking of temporary existence in this life for two reasons:

1) That would mean that ALL of God's enemies throughout history would only have to have died by fire
2) David is comparing all of this to the ultimate prosperity of the righteous that will only occur at the end of time (vs 9-11, 18)

Notice on the great Day of the Lord when all is set right, what this ''akal' fire does in Malachi 4:1:

"For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven. And all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall be stubble and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch"
This is also supported in the NT of the ultimate fate of the wicked in 2 Peter 2:6:

"if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly" ESV
This Day of the Lord is also spoken of in 2 Peter 3:7,10:

But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Some would say that this is speaking of the second coming of Christ as the 'thief in the night'. However, this cannot be for the heavens and earths are not 'dissolved' as the ESV says, 'or burnt up' by the coming of Christ. This is speaking of the final eschaetological Day of the Lord when He comes into His kingdom.

We see that the 'fire that consumes' doesn't burn eternally, nor does anything that is thrown in. Fire is about consuming, destroying and burning completely up, not about maintaining a perpetual existence of suffering.
 
S

St Francis

Guest
I don't get the point of this thread. If this last sentence, "...Fire is about consuming, destroying and burning completely up, not about maintaining a perpetual existence of suffering" is supposed to mean that hell is not eternal, then you are wrong (not to mention the fact there is already another thread on that subject). The reason is simple: Heaven and hell is eternal union with God and eternal seperation from God, respectively.

Your spirit is immortal - you will never die. Whether you spend your eternity in union with God (Heaven) or whther you spend your eternity seperated from God (Hell) is entirely your decision. But either way you go, it will last forever.
 

guibox

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Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
1,255
St Francis said:
I don't get the point of this thread. If this last sentence, "...Fire is about consuming, destroying and burning completely up, not about maintaining a perpetual existence of suffering" is supposed to mean that hell is not eternal, then you are wrong (not to mention the fact there is already another thread on that subject). The reason is simple: Heaven and hell is eternal union with God and eternal seperation from God, respectively.

Your spirit is immortal - you will never die. Whether you spend your eternity in union with God (Heaven) or whther you spend your eternity seperated from God (Hell) is entirely your decision. But either way you go, it will last forever.
Francis, read my post again. I'm not talking about the duration of hell, but the nature. The duration has already been discussed in the context of the proper biblical intepretation of metaphorical passages.

My point above, is that consuming/devouring fire and eternal torment are not compatible. I am using the bible to discuss this. Don't just ignore everything I've covered for assumptions. The bible is clear that we are not inherently immortal, it is something we seek and are granted as a gift from God when we believe

Romans 2:7
Romans 6:8-9,22-23
John 3:16-17
Romans 5:10-12,18

and the wicked do not have immortality in the least. So how do you reconcile the explanations above with eternal torment?

Analyze the facts of my post from a biblical perspective instead of repeating your mantra of 'immortality for the wicked'.

These clear truths must be used to interpret the more allegorical/metaphorical and ambiguous sections of the bible, not the other way around.
 

guibox

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Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
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St Francis said:
guibox said:
....I am using the bible to discuss this....
Misusing it is more like it
It seems obvious from your posts that it is much easier to make assumptive accusations that have no basis in fact, logic or scripture than to address the biblical evidence at hand. Francis, either address the facts here with biblical evidence or step outside and watch from the sidelines.

Very simple.
 
S

St Francis

Guest
guibox said:
St Francis said:
guibox said:
....I am using the bible to discuss this....
Misusing it is more like it
It seems obvious from your posts that it is much easier to make assumptive accusations that have no basis in fact, logic or scripture than to address the biblical evidence at hand. Francis, either address the facts here with biblical evidence or step outside and watch from the sidelines.

Very simple.
I did address the facts. You are misinterpreting the scriptures. That is a fact. Very simple.

I see no need to re-fight a battle that has been done to death in another thread in which your perspective is the loser.
 

guibox

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Joined
Nov 30, 2004
Messages
1,255
Please show me how I've misused the bible. Explain from the clear word.
As for your other comment...you didn't even try and explain half of what I've presented or overcome the myriad of scriptural contradictions and obstacles eternal torment has created.

As I said..it is easier to hide behind tradition and completely ignore the scriptures for what they say.

That's okay, Francis. Someday, scripture will win out over traditon in your life. God will find a way.

Until then...butt out of the thread if you have nothing to add to the original post, please.
 

dadof10

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guibox said:
The bible is clear that we are not inherently immortal, it is something we seek and are granted as a gift from God when we believe

Romans 2:7
Romans 6:8-9,22-23
John 3:16-17
Romans 5:10-12,18

and the wicked do not have immortality in the least. So how do you reconcile the explanations above with eternal torment?
I thought you used the YLT? Why are you suddenly switching to the more modern versions, now? Could it be because the word "immortal" more suits your theology?

The word in Rom 2:7 is "aphtharsia" which is translated in Young's as "Incorruptibility"

"to those, indeed, who in continuance of a good work, do seek glory, and honour, and incorruptibility--life age-during;" (YLT)

It is, however translated as "immortal" in the KJV and the RSV, among others.

"To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:" (KJV)":

"to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;" (RSV)

Vine's has this definition:

"<B-3,Noun,861,aphtharsia>
"incorruption," a, negative, with A, No. 2, is used (a) of the resurrection body, 1 Cor. 15:42,50,53,54; (b) of a condition associated with glory and honor and life, including perhaps a moral significance, Rom. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:10; this is wrongly translated "immortality" in the AV; (c) of love to Christ, that which is sincere and undiminishing, Eph. 6:24 (translated "uncorruptness").

That "we are not inherently immortal" is NOT what Paul was getting at in Romans because he didn't use the proper word for immortality, "athanasia". Compare 1Cor. 15:

51 lo, I tell you a secret; we indeed shall not all sleep, and we all shall be changed;
52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, in the last trumpet, for it shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible [aphtharsia], and we--we shall be changed:
53 for it behoveth this corruptible to put on incorruption [aphtharsia], and this mortal to put on immortality [athanasia];
54 and when this corruptible may have put on incorruption [aphtharsia], and this mortal may have put on immortality [athanasia], then shall be brought to pass the word that hath been written, `The Death was swallowed up--to victory; (YLT)

All Paul is saying in Rom. 2:7 is that those who do good are SEEKING glory, honor, and incorruptibility, not ONLY in the afterlife, but here on earth also.
 

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