Also see definition of "Fire" in Word Study
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NAVE: Fire
EBD: Fire
Fining pot | Finish | Finisher | Fir | Fir Tree | Fire | Fire Baptism | Fire, Lake Of | Fire, Strange | Fire, Unquenchable | Firebrand


Fire [EBD]

(1.) For sacred purposes. The sacrifices were consumed by fire (Gen. 8:20). The ever-burning fire on the altar was first kindled from heaven (Lev. 6:9, 13; 9:24), and afterwards rekindled at the dedication of Solomon's temple (2 Chr. 7:1, 3). The expressions "fire from heaven" and "fire of the Lord" generally denote lightning, but sometimes also the fire of the altar was so called (Ex. 29:18; Lev. 1:9; 2:3; 3:5, 9).

Fire for a sacred purpose obtained otherwise than from the altar was called "strange fire" (Lev. 10:1, 2; Num. 3:4).

The victims slain for sin offerings were afterwards consumed by fire outside the camp (Lev. 4:12, 21; 6:30; 16:27; Heb. 13:11).

(2.) For domestic purposes, such as baking, cooking, warmth, etc. (Jer. 36:22; Mark 14:54; John 18:18). But on Sabbath no fire for any domestic purpose was to be kindled (Ex. 35:3; Num. 15:32-36).

(3.) Punishment of death by fire was inflicted on such as were guilty of certain forms of unchastity and incest (Lev. 20:14; 21:9). The burning of captives in war was not unknown among the Jews (2 Sam. 12:31; Jer. 29:22). The bodies of infamous persons who were executed were also sometimes burned (Josh. 7:25; 2 Kings 23:16).

(4.) In war, fire was used in the destruction of cities, as Jericho (Josh. 6:24), Ai (8:19), Hazor (11:11), Laish (Judg. 18:27), etc. The war-chariots of the Canaanites were burnt (Josh. 11:6, 9, 13). The Israelites burned the images (2 Kings 10:26; R.V., "pillars") of the house of Baal. These objects of worship seem to have been of the nature of obelisks, and were sometimes evidently made of wood.

Torches were sometimes carried by the soldiers in battle (Judg. 7:16).

(5.) Figuratively, fire is a symbol of Jehovah's presence and the instrument of his power (Ex. 14:19; Num. 11:1, 3; Judg. 13:20; 1 Kings 18:38; 2 Kings 1:10, 12; 2:11; Isa. 6:4; Ezek. 1:4; Rev. 1:14, etc.).

God's word is also likened unto fire (Jer. 23:29). It is referred to as an emblem of severe trials or misfortunes (Zech. 12:6; Luke 12:49; 1 Cor. 3:13, 15; 1 Pet. 1:7), and of eternal punishment (Matt. 5:22; Mark 9:44; Rev. 14:10; 21:8).

The influence of the Holy Ghost is likened unto fire (Matt. 3:11). His descent was denoted by the appearance of tongues as of fire (Acts 2:3).

Fire [NAVE]

Used as a signal in war, Jer. 6:1.
Furnaces of, Dan. 3:6.
Children caused to pass through, 2 Kin. 16:3; 17:17.
Miracles coected with: Miraculously descends upon, and consumes, Abraham's sacrifice, Gen. 15:17; David's, 1 Chr. 21:26; Elijah's, 1 Kin. 18:38; Solomon's, at dedication of the temple, 2 Chr. 7:1.
Display of, in the plagues of Egypt, Ex. 9:24; at Elijah's translation, 2 Kin. 2:11.
Consumes the conspirators with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Num. 16:35; the captains and their fifties, 2 Kin. 1:9-12.
Torture by, Lev. 21:9; Jer. 29:22; Ezek. 23:25, 47; Dan. 3.
Pillar of fire, Ex. 13:21, 22; 14:19, 24; 40:38; Num. 9:15-23.
See: Cloud, Pillar of.
Of cleansing, Isa. 6:6, 7; spiritual power, Psa. 104:4; Jer. 20:9; Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16; judgments, Deut. 4:24; 32:22; Isa. 33:14; Jer. 23:29; Amos 1:4, 7, 10, 12, 14; 2:2; Mal. 3:2; Luke 12:49; Rev. 20:9; of the destruction of the wicked, Matt. 13:42, 50; 25:41; Mark 9:48; Rev. 9:2; 21:8.
Everlasting Fire, Isa. 33:14; Matt. 18:8; 25:41; Mark 9:48.
A Symbol: Of God's presence, Gen. 15:17; in the burning bush, Ex. 3:2; on Sinai, Ex. 19:18.
tongues of, on the apostles, Acts 2:3.
See: Arson.


is represented as the symbol of Jehovah?s presence and the instrument of his power, in the way either of approval or of destruction. (Exodus 3:2; 14:19) etc. There could not be a better symbol for Jehovah than this of fire, it being immaterial, mysterious, but visible, warming, cheering, comforting, but also terrible and consuming. Parallel with this application of fire and with its symbolical meaning are to be noted the similar use for sacrificial purposes and the respect paid to it, or to the heavenly bodies as symbols of deity, which prevailed among so many nations of antiquity, and of which the traces are not even now extinct; e.g. the Sabean and Magian systems of worship. (Isaiah 27:9) Fire for sacred purposes obtained elsewhere than from the altar was called "strange fire," and for the use of such Nadab and Abihu were punished with death by fire from God. (Leviticus 10:1,2; Numbers 3:4; 26:61)


FIRE - fir ('esh; pur): These are the common words for fire, occurring very frequently. 'Ur, "light" (Isa 24:15 the King James Version; compare the Revised Version (British and American); 31:9, and see FIRES), nur (Aramaic) (Dan 3:22 ff) are found a few times, also 'eshshah (Jer 6:29), and be`erah (Ex 22:6), once each. Acts 28:2,3 has pura, "pyre," and Mk 14:54; Lk 22:56, phos, "light," the Revised Version (British and American) "in the light (of the fire)." "To set on fire," yatsath (2 Sam 14:31), lahat (Dt 32:22, etc.), phlogizo (Jas 3:6).

Fire was regarded by primitive peoples as supernatural in origin and specially Divine. Molech, the fire-god, and other deities were worshipped by certain Canaanitish and other tribes with human sacrifices (Dt 12:31; 2 Ki 17:31; Ps. 106:37), and, although this was specially forbidden to the Israelites (Lev 18:21; Dt 12:31; 18:10), they too often lapsed into the practice (2 Ki 16:3; 21:6; Jer 7:31; Ezek 20:26,31).


1. Literal Usage:

Fire in the Old Testament is specially associated with the Divine presence, e.g. in the making of the Covenant with Abraham (Gen 15:17), in the burning bush. (Ex 3:2-4), in the pillar of fire (Ex 13:21), on Sinai (Ex 19:18), in the flame on the altar (Jdg 13:20). Yahweh was "the God that answereth by fire" (1 Ki 18:24,38). In the Law, therefore, sacrifices and offerings (including incense) were to be made by fire (Ex 12:8,9,10; Lev 1). Fire from Yahweh signified the acceptance of certain special and separate sacrifices (Jdg 6:21; 1 Ki 18:38; 1 Ch 21:26). In Lev 9:24 the sacrificial fire "came forth from before Yahweh." The altar-fire was to be kept continually burning (Lev 6:12,13); offering by "strange fire" (other than the sacred altar-fire) was punished by "fire from before Yahweh" (Lev 10:1,2). Fire came from heaven also at the consecration of Solomon's Temple (2 Ch 7:1).

According to 2 Macc 1:19-22, at the time of the Captivity priests hid the sacred fire in a well, and Nehemiah found it again, in a miraculous way, for the second Temple. Later, Maccabeus is said to have restored the fire by "striking stones and taking fire out of them" (10:3).

Fire was a frequent instrument of the Divine primitive wrath (Gen 19:24; Ex 9:23 (lightning); Nu 11:1; 16:35, etc.; Ps 104:4, the American Standard Revised Version "Who maketh .... flames of fire his ministers"). Fire shall yet dissolve the world (2 Pet 3:12). It was frequently used by the Israelites as a means of destruction of idolatrous objects and the cities of their enemies (Dt 7:5,25; 12:3; 13:16; Josh 6:24; Jgs, frequently); sometimes also of punishment (Lev 20:14; 21:9; Josh 7:25; 2 Macc 7:5).

The domestic use of fire was, as among other peoples, for heating, cooking, lighting, etc., but according to the Law no fire could be kindled on the Sabbath day (Ex 35:3). It was employed also for melting (Ex 32:24), and refining (Nu 31:23; 3:2,3, etc.). For the sacrificial fire wood was used as fuel (Gen 22:3,1; Lev 6:12); for ordinary purposes, also charcoal (Prov 25:22; Isa 6:6, the Revised Version, margin "or hot stone"; Hab 3:5, the Revised Version (British and American) "fiery bolts," margin "or burning coals"; Jn 21:9, "a fire of coals" the Revised Version, margin "Gr, a fire of charcoal"; Rom 12:20); branches (Nu 15:32; 1 Ki 17:12); thorns (Ps 58:9; 118:12; Eccl 7:6; Isa 33:12); grass and other herbage (Mt 6:30; Lk 12:28).

2. Figurative Use:

Fire was an emblem (1) of Yahweh in His glory (Dan 7:9); (2) in His holiness (Isa 6:4); (3) in His jealousy for His sole worship (Dt 4:24; Heb 12:29; Ps 79:5; perhaps also Isa 33:14); (4) of His protection of His people (2 Ki 6:17; Zec 2:5); (5) of His righteous judgment and purification (Zec 13:9; Mal 3:2,3; 1 Cor 3:13,15); (6) of His wrath against sin and punishment of the wicked (Dt 9:3; Ps 18:8; 89:46; Isa 5:24; 30:33, "a Topheth is prepared of old"; Mt 3:10-12; 5:22, the Revised Version (British and American) "the hell of fire," margin "Greek, Gehenna of fire"; see Isa 30:33; Jer 7:31; Mt 13:40,42; 25:41, "eternal fire"; Mk 9:45-49; see Isa 66:24; 2 Thess 1:7; Heb 10:27; Jude 1:7); (7) of the word of God in its power (Jer 5:14; 23:29); (8) of Divine truth (Ps 39:3; Jer 20:9; Lk 12:49); (9) of that which guides men (Isa 50:10,11); (10) of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3); (11) of the glorified Christ (Rev 1:14); (12) of kindness in its melting power (Rom 12:20); (13) of trial and suffering (Ps 66:12; Isa 43:2; 1 Pet 17; 4:12); (14) of evil (Prov 6:27; 16:27; Isa 9:18; 65:5); lust or desire (Hos 7:6; Sirach 23:16; 1 Cor 7:9); greed (Prov 30:16); (15) of the tongue in its evil aspects (Jas 3:5,6); (16) of heaven in its purity and glory (Rev 15:2; see also 21:22,23).

W. L. Walker

Also see definition of "Fire" in Word Study

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