The phrase "furnace of fire," occurs in these passages in the old Testament:
Deut. 4:20: "But the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace,even out of Egypt." 1 Kings 8:51: "For they be thy people, and thine inheritance which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron." Jer. 11:4: "Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace." Isa. 31:9: "Saith the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem." Isa. 48:10. "Behold I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." Ezek. 22:1821: "Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver. Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it, so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you."
The Savior had this usage in his mind, and conveyed the same thought, namely, the approaching woes on his country and race in the only places where we find the same language in the New Testament.
Matt.13:41,42: "The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire;
there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Verse 50: "And shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
It is nowhere said that God has a furnace in eternity, in which to burn souls. His furnace was in Jerusalem, Isa.31:9. At the end of that age, (aion) Jesus said: "The Son of Man shall send forth his angels (messengers), and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
This was all fulfilled when Jerusalem was destroyed.
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