Copyright © 2002 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Our God is a consuming fire. This means whatever is not of His Divine Nature cannot exist in His Presence. All that is not of God’s Nature is not holy, for the very meaning of holiness is that which can withstand the Divine burning.

When the Lord Jesus Christ has prepared His perfect work in us we can dwell in the Consuming Fire who is God.

Table of Contents

Divine Fire Is Divine Fire
All Must Pass Through the Fire
Salvation by the Fire of Divine Judgment
The Salvation Reserved for the Last Days



“For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4:24)
Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (Revelation 20:14)
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death [lake of fire].”’ (Revelation 2:11)

The wording of Revelation 2:11 is special. We would expect the verse to say, He who overcomes will never be in danger of the second death. Or, he who overcomes will not be cast into the Lake of Fire. When we tell someone that an object or experience will not hurt him, we are implying that he will be subjected to it but there is no reason to worry. For example:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. (Isaiah 43:2)

God is saying (above) that His servants, His witnesses, will go through many tribulations but they will not be destroyed by them.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery oven but they were not hurt by it.

The wording of Revelation 2:11 gives the impression that the overcomer will be subjected in some manner to the second death but it will not hurt him.

Another verse along the same line is as follows:

Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power [authority], but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

Again, we would expect to read, “such will never be in danger of the second death.” Instead we find “over such the second death has no authority.”

Whenever our doctrine does not fall simply and clearly into a verse of Scripture it is our doctrine that must be changed, or at least modified, until it is precisely in line with the Scripture.

Divine Fire Is Divine Fire

God Himself is a Fire!

He shall cross over to his stronghold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the banner,” says the LORD, whose fire is in Zion and whose furnace is in Jerusalem. (Isaiah 31:9)
The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” (Isaiah 33:14)
For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29)

Notice the context of Hebrews 12:29. It reveals that the entire created realm must be exposed to the fiery judgment of the Lord.

The context states:

Refusing Him who speaks (12:25).

Shaking the heaven and the earth until that which is not of Christ is removed (12:26,27).

Serving God with reverence and godly fear (12:28).

Burning sulfur is mentioned several times in the Scriptures as being the portion of wicked people.

Then the LORD rained brimstone [burning sulfur] and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. (Genesis 19:24)
Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone [burning sulfur] and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup. (Psalms 11:6)
For Tophet was established of old, Yes, for the king it is prepared. He has made it deep and large; Its pyre is fire with much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone [burning sulfur], Kindles it. (Isaiah 30:33)

The preceding verse is significant. It portrays the “breath of the Lord” as being “like a stream of burning sulfur.”

We may not enjoy thinking of the effect of the breath of God as being similar to that of burning sulfur, but the Scripture is the Scripture!

The wicked of the last days will be tormented and slain by fire, smoke, and sulfur.

By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone [burning sulfur] which came out of their mouths. (Revelation 9:18)

Whoever worships the beast, the world system, will be tormented forever with burning sulfur.

“he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone [burning sulfur] in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. (Revelation 14:10)
Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone [burning sulfur]. (Revelation 19:20)
The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone [burning sulfur] where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)
“But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone [burning sulfur], which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

Perhaps the Lake of Fire is in the interior of the earth. One can notice in the country of Iceland the sulfurous fumes that issue from the earth in certain places.

We are called to live in the Divine fire.

The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” (Isaiah 33:14)

Our God is a Fire. The Divine fire always is a torment to the sinners and hypocrites in Zion, to all the fleshly endeavors of mankind, and to all the wicked.

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Matthew 3:11)

All Must Pass Through the Fire

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. (I Corinthians 3:11-13)

“Each one’s work … will be revealed by fire.” Each one’s work!

The only sure foundation is the Lord Jesus Christ. Every person on earth is invited to build his life on the one foundation.

What we build is character—Christ-filled character in ourselves and Christ-filled character in others. Nothing else can be built that is of any eternal worth. The only structure we can bring with us after we leave this temporary probational period on earth is our character, our personality.

We can follow the Holy Spirit as He forms Christ in us. Or we can give ourselves to the appetites and passions of our body and soul.

If we sow to the Holy Spirit we will reap the gold, silver, and precious stones of the character of Christ. If we sow to our flesh and soul we will reap the wood, hay, and straw of the adamic personality.

The Divine fire of God will test every person’s work. If the individual has sown to the Spirit of God, taking up his cross and following Christ, the gold and silver will be made more pure. The precious stones will be cleansed of all contamination and will sparkle with increased beauty.

If the individual has sown to his human personality, walking in his own desires, his work will be destroyed by the Divine fire.

The point is, every person’s work will be tested by fire. This is very important to understand because of the current overemphasis on “grace.”

Let us proceed with the passage.

If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (I Corinthians 3:14,15)

If a believer has faithfully followed the Lord and the Lord has given him a fruitful ministry, He will receive a reward in the Day of the Lord.

If the ministry of the believer has been self-motivated, he has not followed the Lord but his own spiritual ambitions, he has been treacherous toward his family, has sought his own glory, has practiced immorality, has coveted money, all he has accomplished shall be burned up in the fire of God.

Paul goes on to say, “he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

The current Christian mythology teaches that to be saved is to live forever in a mansion in heaven. The idea of being saved as by fire is that although the individual may not be crowned as a king over the nations he still will live forever in Paradise in his mansion. He may not receive a seven-story mansion but what he does get will be fantastically better than anything experienced during life on earth. So why worry about the quality of one’s service!

The truth is, to be saved as by fire, in the terms of I Corinthians 3:14,15, is the same as the salvation offered to the incestuous believer of the church in Corinth.

deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (I Corinthians 5:5)

Not that he would go to Heaven when he died, but that his spirit would be saved in the Day of the Lord.

The goal of our salvation is not to bring us to a mansion in Heaven but into the Kingdom of God. There is a vast difference between having an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God and being saved as by fire.

Think of the difference between the salvation of Abraham and the salvation of Lot. Really think about it. Abraham is revered as the father of all who believe. God is the God of Abraham. Christ is the Seed of Abraham.

Lot lost his wife, his possessions, and with his daughters brought forth Moab and Ammon, the despised of the Lord.

What will it mean to have the fire of God burn away our accomplishments, for it is our accomplishments and the accomplishments of those to whom we minister, that are either gold, silver, and precious stones or wood, hay, and straw. Nothing else can be brought into the spirit realm after death.

To be saved as by fire may mean a staggering loss that will affect us throughout eternity. We shall watch while the faithful are loaded with Divine glory until they shine as the stars of the firmament while we are left as a naked spirit, within the borders of the Kingdom but without glory, honor, or even the respect of those around us.

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:2,3)

How would you like to enter the Kingdom of God in a state of shame and everlasting contempt? This is what it means to be saved as by fire.

The fire that strips away all of our accomplishments, that hurts us, may be the same fire that burns in the Lake of Fire. The overcomer cannot be hurt by the Divine fire. He walks in the midst of it, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and all that is consumed are his bonds.

The same burning sulfur that consumed Sodom and Gomorrah also hurt Lot. It hurt Lot by destroying his flocks, his home, his sons-in-law, and his wife. The same burning sulfur that came down from the heaven drove Lot and his two daughters up to a cave to live as paupers—the man who previously had possessed too many animals to live near his uncle, Abraham.

Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents.
Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. (Genesis 13:5,6)

The sulfurous fire that destroyed Sodom was not an ordinary fire. It was an eternal fire from God.

as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 1:7)

Salvation by the Fire of Divine Judgment

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
“His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11,12)
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; (I Peter 4:12)

As we have stated, the Divine fire will test every person’s work of what kind it is. Was it prepared in Christ or was it a human or sinful effort? All of us must be brought through the fire of God. We must become “fireproof” if we would enjoy the Presence of the Father throughout eternity; if we would be with the Lord Jesus where He is.

The fiery trial mentioned by the Apostle Peter is the Divine judgment that must fall continually on us and all our works.

The subject of the fourth chapter of First Peter is salvation by the fire of Divine judgment. The stage is set by the opening passage:

Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. (I Peter 4:1,2)

The suffering we Christians experience is often a judgment on the sins in our flesh. The fiery sufferings burn away our sins so that we live in God’s will rather than in the lusts of our flesh (“lasciviousness [immorality], lusts, excess of wine, revellings [orgies], banquetings [drinking parties], and abominable idolatries”—I Peter 4:3).

Since we are in the last days the Judgment Seat of Christ already is in session.

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? (I Peter 4:17)

When the believers are judged because of their sins, they are chastened by the Lord so they will not be condemned with the world.

But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. (I Corinthians 11:32)

The process of salvation is the process of removing the worldliness, lust, and self-will from our personality and filling us with the Life of Christ. God accomplishes this deliverance by bringing us through the fires of Divine judgment.

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; (I Peter 4:12)

The same fiery trial purified the Son of God. Even He learned obedience to the Father by means of the things He suffered, and being made perfect He became the Captain of our salvation.

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)

If the Lamb of God was made perfect through sufferings, what will be true of us who are altogether sinful and desperately wicked?

We are saved from sin by Divine judgment. The program is difficult because of our lack of faith and patience.

Now “If the righteous one is scarcely [with difficulty] saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (I Peter 4:18)

Many believers drop out of the race because they are unwilling to suffer with patience while the Lord deals with their worldliness, lusts, and self-will.

He who endures to the end of his life the process of salvation will be saved.

We must walk by faith in God. If we draw back from the Divine dealings we are faced with destruction.

But we are not of those who draw back to perdition [destruction], but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:39)

The Salvation Reserved for the Last Days

People are born into the world with two strikes against them, so to speak. When we are born we are already guilty and cut off from the Life of God because of Adam’s sin. We have dwelling in us a body of sin that we have inherited from our ancestors. Also, during our life we acquire many forms of sin and rebellion.

We are guilty, we are under Divine condemnation, and also are bound with strong urges to sin and rebel against God’s will.

God, in His love, has sent the Lord Jesus to us. By means of the shed blood of the cross of Calvary our sins are forgiven when we turn to Jesus. But there remains in our personality the strong urges to sin.

The ceremony of the Day of Atonement (Leviticus, Chapter 16), with its slain goat and living goat, portrays the forgiveness of the person who looks to the Lord for salvation, and also the removal of the power of sin from his or her personality.

The Christian salvation includes both the forgiveness and the removal of sin.

The forgiveness of sin has been experienced by multitudes of believers throughout the centuries of the Christian Era. The beginning of the removal of the power of sin, the Day of Redemption, has been reserved for the period just prior to the return of the Lord. The Day of Redemption, of Atonement, of Reconciliation, has begun now and will extend through the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

Several passages of Scripture point to the future day of redemption, of salvation.

And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11)
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)
so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)
who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)

To those who look for Him, Christ shall appear the second time without sin unto salvation. The cross of Calvary removed the guilt of our sin. Now the Lord is appearing to His people as the One who takes away the power, the presence of sin.

The purification of the Lord’s people by Divine fire, by the fire of judgment, was announced by the Prophets.

When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, (Isaiah 4:4)

Above, the blood refers to bloodshed and blood-guiltiness. The Lord has promised to purge the filth and blood-guiltiness from the daughters of Zion by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. The spirit of judgment and burning are the baptism with fire announced by John the Baptist:

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
“His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11,12)

The Lord Jesus will purge His threshing floor by baptizing His people with the fire of Divine judgment. This process has begun among those who are living close to the Lord.

Again, in the Book of Zechariah.

I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’” (Zechariah 13:9)

The “silver” and “gold” of God’s people will be purified by fire.

The way of the Lord will be prepared by means of a purifying of the royal priesthood.

“Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.
“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s soap.
He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:1-3)

John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah and prepared the way for the first coming of the Lord Jesus. John preached the baptism of repentance.

In the last days the spirit of Elijah and Elisha, two witnesses of God, shall abide on the warlike remnant of the Church. God’s witnesses shall torment those who live on the earth. The double portion of God’s Spirit in His saints will prepare the way for the second coming of the Lord.

The Lord’s churches are filled with worldliness, lust, and self-will. The believers must be baptized with the Divine fire of judgment so their sin will be washed away; not the guilt of sin, for that already has been removed. It is the presence of sin itself that must be exposed to the consuming Fire.

The Kingdom of God is as a great net that has been let down into the sea of mankind. As the time draws near for the return of the Judge (He stands at the very door in our day), the behavior that offends God will be judged in those who are closest to the Lord. Every individual who will permit the Holy Spirit to do so will be purified by fire. But the believers who reject the convicting power of the Spirit, choosing instead to listen to the modern “prophets” of the rapture, of prosperity, who tell the Lord’s flock they do not have to suffer tribulation in order to enter the Kingdom of God, will face the fiery wrath of Christ when He descends with many thousands of His saints to execute judgment on the sinners in the churches.

Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men [“Christian” sinners] also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,
“to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (Jude 1:14,15)

The sinners in Zion will be terrified when they are faced with the fiery judgment that will come at the hand of Christ and His servants.

The Christian churches are woefully unprepared for the future!

Notice in the following passage the purging of the Kingdom in the last days:

“The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, (Matthew 13:41)

First the things that offend, and then those who are lawless. If we permit the Lord to do so He will remove from our personality all that is offensive to Him. But if we do not, then we ourselves will be removed. Who knows whether Christ in His mercy will, in this case, grant that we may be saved by fire as was Lot?

All sin and sinners in the Kingdom will be cast into the fire.

“and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:42)

The Kingdom of God will be purged in the last days.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, (Matthew 13:47)


“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death [lake of fire].”’ (Revelation 2:11)
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power [authority], but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

“Shall not be hurt by the second death.”
“Over such the second death has no power.”

Now our passages can be understood. The second death is the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. The fire is the Divine Fire, the fire that destroys all worldliness, all the works of the flesh, all self-will and rebellion.

The works of every individual shall be subjected to the Divine Fire. Every individual who has followed the Lord Jesus in stern, cross-carrying obedience will shine as the sun in the Kingdom of his Father. He shall be rewarded by the Lord for his faithfulness in bringing forth the fruit of Christ in his own life and in the lives of others.

But the person who has rejected Christ, or who has been a neglectful, lukewarm “Christian,” will lose all he or she has accomplished. He will enter eternity as a naked spirit, terrified because of his closeness to the burning sulfur, without reward or inheritance. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth when those who have been lazy and careless with the things of God see the unimaginably marvelous rewards that will be handed to the faithful, while they themselves are clothed in rags.

And then the fate of the thoroughly wicked! The panic of seeing the gates of the Kingdom closed and to be on the outside! To realize one is lost forever to the Presence of God! To never again know love, joy, peace. To never again hear the happy laughter of children. To never again be allowed to visit with the loved ones who chose to follow Christ.

To be led away to the vast sea of burning sulfur, there to be confined with Satan and his angels, the Antichrist, the false prophet, the hideous demons. To never again hear music—only the maniacal laughter and screaming of the wicked. Such a fate is as incomprehensible in its horror as the Kingdom of God is in its wondrous loveliness.

Some have taught that after a period of time Satan and the wicked will have been purified by the fire and will come back into the family of God. There is no passage of Scripture that suggests this. When an angel sins it becomes sin itself. When a human being chooses to sin and will not accept redemption, he or she also becomes sin itself. There is no other aspect of personality remaining. All has become sin and all is doomed to remain in the fiery burnings for eternity.

God opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing.

Let the holy remain holy and the filthy remain filthy. Make straight the way of the Lord.

The promise is in writing to the person who chooses to avail himself of the grace of Christ in order to put away all worldliness, the sins of the flesh, and self-will and disobedience: You will not be hurt by the second death. The second death no longer has authority over you.

(“Divine Fire”, 3397-1)

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