Fire And Brimstone

Fire and Brimstone, only mentioned in Revelation in the New Testament, though it is frequently found in the Old, is always used as an emblem of earthly calamities. Job 18:15: "Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation." Ps. 11:6: "upon the wicked he shall reign snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: and this shall be the portion of their cup." Isa. 34:9-10: "and the streams thereof (Idumea) shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up forever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever."

The revelator says the beast and false prophet were cast alive into the lake, (Rev. 19:20), and that they were tormented day and night, showing that the calamities referred to are in this world. The "Lake" belongs with the "pale horse," "the beast" and other imagery in this remarkable compo sition; undoubtedly it has reference to the destruction soon to befall the Jewish nation, of which Revelation seems to be a prophecy.

The distinguished author Chas. Kingsley, writes: ("Letters") "Fire and Worms, whether physical or spiritual, must in all logical fairness be supposed to do what fire and worms do, viz: destroy decayed and dead matter, and set free its elements to enter into new organisms; that as they are beneficent and purifying agents in this life, they must be supposed such in the future life, and that the conception of fire as an engine of torture, is an unnatural use of that agent and not to be attributed to God without blasphemy, unless you suppose that the suffering (like all which he inflicts) is intended to teach man something which he cannot learn elsewhere.

"Finally, you may call upon them to rejoice that there is a fire of God the Father whose name is love, burning forever unquenchable to destroy out of every man's heart, and out of the hearts of all nations, and off the physical and moral world, all which offends and makes a lie. That into that fire the Lord will surely cast all shams, lies, hypocrisies, tyrannies, pedantries, false doctrines, yea and the men who love them too well to give them up, that the smoke of their basanismos (i.e.) the torture which makes men confess the truth, for that is the real meaning of it; (basanismos meaning the touchstone by which gold was tested) may ascend perpetually for a warning and a beacon to all nations, as the smoke of the torment of French aristocracies, and Bourbon dynasties, is ascending up to Heaven, and has been since 1793."

It may be added that, if endless fire were taught, something more durable than "chaff" would be named as fuel.

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