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Fire symbolizes testing and judgment

Question is raised as per the following verses: Please do enlighten me

Matthew 3:11 - “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Luke 3:16 - John responded to them all, saying, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but He is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the straps of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15

13 each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.

15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

1 Peter 1:7

So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is)

Ephesians 5:1-2

1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

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  • Hi Ashish, welcome to BH-Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. Please be sure to take the site tour and read our code of conduct. Thanks! Aug 15, 2021 at 19:00
  • Where is the reference to "Baptism by fire"?
    – Dottard
    Aug 15, 2021 at 21:19
  • Yes Dottard - the reference for Baptism by fire is Matthew 3:11 & Luke 3:16 Aug 16, 2021 at 17:55

1 Answer 1

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BDAG makes a very similar comment as that which begins the OP - fire when not literal is used as a symbol of testing and final judgement, and a few other things.

  1. Literal uses of "Fire"
  • Matt 17:15 - “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.
  • Luke 22:55 - When those present had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them.
  • Acts 28:5 - But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.
  • 1 Peter 1:7 - These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
  1. Figurative uses of "Fire"
  • James 5:3 - Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.
  • Rev 3:18 - I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
  • Rom 12:20 - On the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
  • James 3:6 - The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
  1. "Fire" used as a symbol of the trials and tests of the Christian life
  • Matt 3:11 - I baptize you with water for repentance, but after me will come One more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. See also Luke 3:16
  • 1 Peter 1:7 - These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
  1. "Fire" used as a symbol of testing in the great final judgement
  • 1 Cor 3:13-15 - 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. If what he has built survives, he will receive a reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as if through the flames.
  • Mal 3:2, 3 - But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire, like a launderer’s soap. And He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will present offerings to the LORD in righteousness.
  1. "Fire" used as a symbol of final destruction of the wicked
  • 2 Thess 1:7-9 - ... This will take place when the Lord Jesus is revealed from h heaven with His mighty angels in blazing fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the penalty of eternal destruction ...
  • Heb 10:27 - but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
  • Matt 13:49, 50 - So will it be at the end of the age: The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous, and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  • Rev 18:8 - Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.
  • Luke 17:29 - But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
  • Jude 7 - In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
  • 2 Peter 3:7 - By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
  • Matt 3:10 - The axe lies ready at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
  • Mal 4:1 - “For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace, when all the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble; the day is coming when I will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of Hosts. “Not a root or branch will be left to them.”
  1. "Fire is used as a symbol of God's Holiness
  • Acts 2:3 - They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
  • Heb 12:29 - for our “God is a consuming fire.”
  • Rev 1:14 - The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.
  • Rev 4:5 - Before the throne burned seven torches of fire.
  • Eze 1:13 - In the midst of the living creatures was the appearance of glowing coals of fire, or of torches. Fire moved back and forth between the living creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it.
  • Ex 3:2-5 - There the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from within a bush. Moses saw the bush ablaze with fire, but it was not consumed. So Moses thought, “I must go over and see this marvelous sight. Why is the bush not burning up?” When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from within the bush, “Moses, Moses!” “Here I am,” he answered. “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” See also Acts 7:30
  1. In the OT only, "Fire" is used as a symbol of purifying and cleansing
  • Isa 11:4 - when the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains from the heart of Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire. See also Mal 3:2-4.

I could find no direct Biblical reference to "Fire of baptism", or "baptism of fire', etc.

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  • +1 You're right. I deleted my answer :)
    – user35953
    Aug 15, 2021 at 21:35

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