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Luke 23: 30, "Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us, and to the hills, Cover us." In Luke 21: 22, he says, "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled." The great day of wrath, in the text, is answered by the days of vengeance, which fell upon the Jewish nation. It is not at all strange that either Christ or John should use such highly figurative language in the above descriptions; for, as we have seen, it was the style of the Eastern nations, in describing the revolutions in civil or ecclesiastical governments, to use bold and metaphorical expressions. Peter has made use of similar language in his second epistle, chap. 3: 7-13, which we have noticed in another place. David also tells us, "The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved he uttered his voice, the earth melted." Whatever else David might have meant by the melting of the earth, he could not have alluded to its literal destruction, for he represents it as already past. In Ps. 97: 5, he says, "The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord." In Joel 1: 19, 20, it is said, "O Lord, to thee will I cry for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field. The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness." See, also, Deut. 32: 22-25, "For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn to the lowest hell (sheol), and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains." That the above language is figurative, and equally as strong as any in the New Testament. will not be disputed.
There is also another class of texts, which may be supposed to imply the literal destruction of heaven and earth; some of which we will briefly notice. In Isa. 51: 6, it is said, "Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shal. not be abolished." Ps. 102: 25-27, "Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shall thou change them, and
they shall be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end."
It is agreed, by good critics, that according to the Hebrew idiom, when the respective qualities of two objects are compared, the writer uses a direct affirmation in regard to the one, and an abso lute negation in regard to the other. According to this idiom, the Prophet and the Psalmist both expressed in strong terms the abiding nature of God's goodness and salvation, by declaring that they should remain, though the heavens and the earth should pass away. Paul, in Heb. 1: 10, 12, quotes the language of David, and preserves the same style of expression. And let it here be remembered that the language of the New Testament is strongly tinctured with the idiom and style of the Old Testament, or Hebrew writings. The same rule of interpretation in this respect, applies both to the Old and to the New Testament. Matt. 24: 35, says, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." Here we see the same style, which establishes the certainty of his word, and only signifies that heaven and earth would sooner pass away than his word prove false. In Matt. 5: 18, it is said, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Here it is implied that heaven and earth cannot pass away. The phrase, "till heaven and earth pass away," is evidently a proverbial expression for anything that appears impossible; for Luke says, chap. 16: 17, "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass than one tittle of the law to fail." That heaven and earth should pass away, or perish, seems impossible; equally impossible is it that the smallest part of the law should fail of being fulfilled. Thus, we have seen from the language of scripture, there is no evidence of the destruction of the material world or universe.
ON THE WORD FIRE, AND PHRASES EVERLASTING, ETERNAL, AND UNQUENCHABLE FIRE.
The passages where the word FIRE, and the phrases EVERLASTING, ETERNAL, and UNQUENCHABLE FIRE, occur.
Deut. 32: 22-25. For a fire is kindled in mine anger; and shall burn unto the lowest hell (sheol), and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them. They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust. The sword without and terror within shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also, with the man of gray hairs.
Numb. 21 28, 29. For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon it hath consumed Ar of Moab, and the lords of the high places of Arnon. Woe to thee, Moab! thou art undone, O people of Chemosh he hath given his sons that escaped, and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon, king of the Amorites.
Jer. 48 45. They that fled stood under the shadow of Heshbon because of the force but a fire shall come forth out of Heshbon, and a flame from the midst of Sihon, and shall devour the corner of Moab, and the crown of the head of the tumultuous ones.
Ps. 66 10-12. For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us as silver is tried. Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidest affliction upon our loins. Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.
Ps. 83 13-15. O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. As the fire burneth the wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; so persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.
Ps. 97: 8-5. A fire goeth before him (God), and burneth up his enemies round about His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw.
and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
Isa. 9: 19, 20. Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts is the land dark ened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire; no man shall spare his brother. And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm.
Isa. 47 14. Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.
Isa. 66: 15, 16. For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh and the slain of the Lord shall be many.
Jer. 4 4. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
Jer. 21: 12. O house of David, thus saith the Lord: Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, lest my fury go out like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
Lam. 2: 3, 4. He hath cut off in his fierce anger all the horn of Israel : he hath drawn back his right hand from before the enemy, and he burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devoureth round about. He hath bent his bow like an enemy: he stood with his right hand as an adversary, and slew all that were pleasant to the eye in the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion he poured out his fury like fire.
Ezek. 21: 31, 32. And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee; I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, and skilful to destroy. Thou shalt be for fuel to the fire; thy blood shall be in the midst of the land; thou shalt be no more remembered: for I the Lord have spoken it.
Ezek. 22 18-22. 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. And 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. Yea, I will gather you and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof. As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the Lord have poured out my fury upon you.
Mal. 3: 2, 3. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
Matt. 3 10. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees therefore every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Matt. 7 19. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.
Luke 3: 9. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree, therefore, which bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
John 15: 6. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
Matt. 3 11. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.
Luke 3: 16. John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.
Mark 9: 43-49. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than, having two hands, to go into hell (Gehenna), into the fire that never shall be quenched; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. . . And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell-fire (Gehenna puros); where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.
Acts 2: 3, 4. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
1 Cor. 3: 13-15. Every man's work shall be made manifest for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire: and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
2 Thess. 1: 7-9. And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
Heb. 17. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
James 3: 5, 6. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell (Gehenna).
2 Pet. 3: 7. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Verse 12. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.
Rev. 9: 17. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breast-plates of fire, and of jacinth and brimstone; and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions: and out of their mouths issued fire, and smoke, and brimstone.
Rev. 20 9. And they went up on the breadth of the earth and com