Does Fire in Hebrews Refer to Hell? -- By: Charles C. Bing

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 167:667 (Jul 2010)
Article: Does Fire in Hebrews Refer to Hell?
Author: Charles C. Bing

Does Fire in Hebrews Refer to Hell?

Charles C. Bing

Charles C. Bing is Founder and President, GraceLife Ministries, Burleson, Texas.

Interpretations of the warning passages in Hebrews (2:1-4; 3:7-4:13; 6:1-8; 10:26-39; 12:25-29) usually assume that the judgment being threatened is eternal damnation, and that the fire mentioned in three verses (6:8; 10:27; 12:29) is hellfire.1 One exception is the view that the judgment threatened is the danger brought by the physical destruction of Jerusalem.2 Another exception views the judgment as God’s temporal discipline, which can even result in death.3 Still another argues that it is some kind of

loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ.4 But these alternative interpretations are outnumbered by the preponderance of voices favoring hellfire in Hebrews. Is the majority interpretation based on assumption, theological bias, or biblical evidence?

Interpretations favoring eternal judgment are no doubt influenced by the strong language used in the warnings. One aspect of that language is the fire imagery used in three of the warnings:

“For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned” (6:7-8).5

“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries” (10:26-27).

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire” (You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
Click here to subscribe

visitor : : uid: ()