Our Creator is An All Consuming Fire
What is the Ancient Hebrew Concept of Fire?
In his introduction of, His Name is One, Jeff A. Benner states, “In order to fully comprehend the original writers understanding of the texts he created, we must first immerse ourselves in his culture and language, training our minds to read the texts through his eyes and mind.”
Ancient Hebrew was originally written in pictographic script. Each picture letter conveyed a very literal, concrete meaning.
Understanding the difference between concrete and abstract thinking is helpful in understanding of the ancient Hebrew Scriptures. Referring to YHVH, (He Is, Was and Will Be) as an All Consuming Fire, for instance, reveals that He is Awesome, Good, Purifying and Life-giving.
Ancient Hebrew has No Concept of Eternal Burning Torment
Today’s abstract ideas of Eternal and Fire does not match up to the original Hebrew. The Hebrew word Olam was translated Eternal but originally it meant, “to the distant horizon and beyond.” Beyond the horizon means, what is unseen, like the future and God’s Spirit.
The Hebrew word Sheol simply means the Grave or the Pit, (Not a bottomless Abyss or Eternal Hellfire).
These Ancient Hebrew Scriptures were the same Scriptures Jesus/Yehoshua heard and read. Every 1st Century author of the New Testament referred only to the Torah, Prophets and Writings as God’s Word.
The noble-minded Berean’s, Acts 17:11, searched the Ancient Hebrew Scriptures daily. They tested what Paul and Peter were teaching about the Messiah to see if it was true.
Their first century writings had not yet been compiled into a book called the New Testament. When the 27 letters were Canonized it was because they matched Torah.
The original Hebrew Scriptures remain our gauge for testing false teachings; “the word of YHVH (He Exists) endures for ever. And this is the word which is preached to you.” 1 Peter 1:25; Psalm 119:89; Isaiah 40:8.
When Did the Concept of Eternal Fire Evolve?
Greek translations of the Torah and Prophets began in Alexandria circa 300-200 B.C.
Plato, 428-347 B.C., a famous Greek philosopher had long since been teaching his abstract, Ancient, Greek Mythology. The eternal burning punishment of the soul was not a new idea. Thousands of years earlier this was already a common belief among Ancient Babylonian’s and Ancient Egyptians.
The Greek Septuagint’s equivalent word for “Sheol,” (grave) was “Hades.” By then Plato’s abstract thinking had become so widely accepted that Hades, the mythical god of the underworld, became synonymous with the place of the dead.
Jesus/Yehoshua actually came to lead the legalistic religious leaders back to Torah. By the 1st Century religious leaders had led the people astray, adding heavy burdens, their own teachings, to God’s Word.
It is a misconception that Yehoshua started a new religion. He spoke only Torah, explaining its mysteries in parables and fulfilling all that was prophesied, explaining that All of it was testifying about Him. He clarified Torah from the man-made teachings, “you have heard it said…but I say…” He was Torah in the flesh, if He would have added to Torah He would have been as false as the religious teachers He came to rebuke.
2nd-4th Century Church leaders were the ones who took away the Torah and Prophets, adding their own New religion. The Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate influenced the world with the word Infernum, the eternal inferno most of us grew up believing.
The 7th Century, Eastern religion of Islam adapted a physical and spiritual flesh burning torment, replacing flesh anew for merciless torment. https://owlcation.com/humanities/Islam-and-Hell-Does-Islam-Believe-In-Hell
By the 8th Century a German equivalent, Holle, (See Norse and Tuetonic Mythology) became transliterated into Old English as Hel the word we all know today as Hell.
With all the man-made mythology and doctrines exposed and hopefully stripped away, from the original Hebrew word Sheol, I hope we can begin with a clean slate as we take a look at the Biblical teachings about Fire.
The Original Concept of Fire
Using physical examples to describe the unknown, what is fire and what does it do? YHVH is described as the All Consuming Fire, the Creator, Life Giver… As the oxygen from our breath revives a fire, His breath revives us.
Fire Only Burns Combustible Things.
“Surely wickedness burns like a fire.” Isaiah 9:18
“But the wicked (those who do bad) shall perish… they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.” Psalm 37:20
It will be as if the evil had never been. Obadiah 1:16
“All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.” Mal 4:1
“rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together, and those who forsake the YHVH shall be consumed.” Isa. 1:28, 30–31
Wickedness, arrogance, evil/corrupt/crooked/adverse/rebellion, it will all be burned away like fire, consumed into smoke that dissipates, perishes, in other words, everything bad will cease to exist.
Like Physical Fire, Spiritual Fire Purifies
In 755 B.C. the prophet Isaiah writes about his vision in the presence of God; With “it” he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” What was this thing that had the power to take away Isaiah’s sin? It was a spiritual “burning coal,” Isaiah 6:6. We see the same symbolism of “burning coals” on the physical alter in 1445 b.c., Numbers 16:46.
John the Baptist announced that he was baptizing with Water but One was coming who would baptize with fire, Matthew 3:11. Y’shua did not literally submerge anyone in physical fire, His Spirit is referred to as fire.
“I have come to ignite a fire on the earth and how I wish it were already kindled,” Luke 12:49
Spiritual Fire, Light, Life, Truth
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:20.
Obviously those burning coals have a spiritual meaning. It is our kindness that convicts our enemy of their wrong behavior not our retaliation.
The Ancient Hebrew imagery of Fire was Life sustaining, giving warmth in cold, light in darkness, cooking food, burning away waste, garbage and unwanted, useless, combustible material. Fire was used for molding metal, refining, purifying gold and silver. Job 33:30
The Lake of Fire is Called the Second Death
Like the other Metaphors about Fire, we are told the Lake of Fire is the Second Death. The eternal flesh burning fire is added, man-made, mythology. Revelation chapters, 19, 20 and 21. 
Ancient Hebrew, like most languages, is full of idioms, parables, metaphors, word puns and rhymes that do not translate. The physical examples revealing spiritual Truth are often lost or misunderstood.
The Second Death Occurs on Judgement Day
Our physical, flesh and blood, bodies are actually born into the first death. We will have already experienced the first Physical death when we all appear before God’s Spiritual presence on Judgement Day.
“But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? He will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.” Malachi 3:2
The prophet Jeremiah proclaims that God’s Word is fire, Jeremiah 23:29. The Apostle Peter says water cleansed the earth in Noah’s day and the final cleansing of the un-godly will be fire, 2 Peter 3:11-13; 2 Peter 3:6-8.
On the day of His coming, Judgment day, when the Messiah will reveal His Spirit, John 5:22. Everything physical will perish, leaving behind a glorious revealing, something purified, radiant and beautiful. Revelation 19:19-21; Isaiah 30:33; Romans 8:18.
Everyone goes through the fire, for some it will be a glorious revealing, but others will suffer loss being saved as one who has gone through fire, 1 Corinthians 3:15.
Everything corrupt must go through the Fire. Everyone is salted with Fire; purified by trials and testing. Mark 9:49
Anything we have placed above the One Who Created all things is combustible; like wood, chaff, stubble, hay and thorns perish in the fire.
Lasting/Spiritual attributes will not be harmed in the fire; Hebrew word like; Tsdekah, Hesed, Chanah. These Hebrew words are difficult to translate adequately into English but they mean; Mercy, Favor or grace, Compassion, Justice, acts of loving kindness and righteousness or doing right/good. These are described as the precious stones, non-combustible in YHVH’s presence.
Asbestos is a Greek Word Meaning, Non-combustible
Way back before 500 B.C. there were stories of wealthy Persians who amazed their guests by throwing dirty napkins and cloths made of asbestos into the fire to clean them.
“his workmanship will be evident, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will prove the quality of each man’s work.” 1 Corinthians 3:13
Our acts of Loving Kindness will come through the fire shining radiantly, like gold, silver or a cloth made of asbestos, after the fire has removed the dross and every impurity. Revelation 2:11
Judgement Day is said to be a Glorious Day!
We can trust Him in the testing of our faith and we count these “fiery trials” with joy because we know they are perfecting us to spiritual maturity and wholeness. James 1:3
The Second Death is A Repeat Death
The Greek word for second is Deuteros, where we get the name Deuteronomy in the fifth book of Moses. Deuteronomy means a repeat or copy of the law/Torah. This repeat death, “which is the lake of fire,” is prepared for the Beast, the False Prophet, Satan and all those who are his, including everyone whose names were not found in the Book of Life, Revelation 20:10; Revelation 20:15; Matthew 25:41.
The day Adam and Eve rebelled, God protected them by making sure they could not eat from the Tree of Life and live in their fallen state forever, Genesis 3:22. He gave Adam and Eve a promise in Genesis 3:15, and the prophesied Seed of the woman did conquer the serpent/death.
So what about the nations, the majority of peoples? There is a wide gate that leads to destruction, (the lake of fire, the second death). The Hebrew word Abad means to perish or utterly destroy. Abaddon is the Destroyer who destroys everything bad.
For some reason the majority do not humbly listen, learn or obey The Way of Life during this first death, Matthew 7:13.
Blessed and Holy/Set Apart are those in the 1st Resurrection. The will reign with Messiah a thousand years, Revelation 20:5, 6. Who knows if a thousand years is like a day spiritually, 2 Peter 3:8; Psalm 90:4? This is also the same time period that Satan will be bound, Revelation 20:2.
God’s Word Is Good News
After the Repeat, or Second, Death, there will be No more Death!
As the prophet Isaiah prophesied,
“Woe to you, destroyer, you who have not been destroyed! Woe to you, betrayer, you who have not been betrayed! When you stop destroying, you will be destroyed; when you stop betraying, you will be betrayed,” Isaiah 33:1.
Knowing the Truth about Judgement Day gives us hopeful expectation as we await YHVH’s perfect, just and glorious revealing.
“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy, both soul and body in Gehenna, (a place where everything bad is perishes in the fire),” Matthew 10:28.