What Is The Fire Of God? – An in-depth Bible Study – Yeshuah Boyton

What Is The Fire Of God? – An in-depth Bible Study


A glowing and burning cross on a black background

Having heard and used this term in Church many times before I’d like to find out with you what the fire of God is by taking you through a Bible study on this topic.

As a general rule, the term “fire of God” in itself is not found in the Bible only as of the “fire of the Lord”. The metaphor of fire is used for either God’s being or his work. A few accounts state God is a consuming fire and reveal his power and work through various manifestations of fire.

It is a spiritual holy fire that purifies, convicts, or comes as judgment and that can not be quenched by natural water.

Let’s look into scripture together and unpack this.

What does the Bible say about the Holy Fire of God?

First of all, I want to clarify that in my study of scripture I didn’t find the term “fire of God” in itself and this particular wording. I did find three scriptures though that mentioned “the fire of the Lord.”

One of them is describing God’s display of power through the prophet Elijah when consuming the offering (1 Kings 18:38). The other two are in Numbers 11:1-3 describing God’s judgment when the fire of the Lord consumed some of the complaining Israelites.

So, is it wrong to use or say “Fire of God”? No, not at all! I believe in this context “God” and “Lord” are interchangeable. I just wanted to point that out.

While writing this I’m realizing that both situations describe the fire of the Lord in the context of “consuming”. This is very interesting. Just like natural fire also God’s holy fire wants to consume what it can.

It either consumes holy sacrifice (coming as a blessing) or sin (coming as judgment or purification). But more on that further below.

There are a lot of accounts of fire being a metaphor for God’s being or action. One of the most prominent ones might be the burning bush or the pillar of fire at night.

When I mention fire being used as a metaphor I am by no means belittling the power of God. In some instances it was even more than just a mere metaphor, God revealed Himself through a manifestation of a physical fire. It is both, as we will see.

If you want to know how you can get this fire of God into your own life, I put together a helpful guide for you that can help you in the process.

God is a consuming fire.

For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Deuteronomy 4:24 NKJV

In the Old Testament as well as the New Testament God describes himself literally as “a consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24, Hebrews 12:29).

When you look at John’s description of how he saw Jesus, this becomes a really powerful reality (Revelations 1:12-16, Revelations 2:18).

(…) And having turned I saw (…) One like the Son of Man (…) His eyes like a flame of fire (…)”

Revelation 1:12-16 NKJV

In several instances, Him being “like” or “as” fire is meant as a metaphor: “the Lord your God is He who goes over before you as a consuming fire.” (Deuteronomy 9:3 NKJV) and “The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel.” (Exodus 24:17 NKJV) The emphasis here is added by me.

God’s word is fire.

Another attribute of God that is connected to God’s fire is His word.

Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord,
“And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

Jeremiah 23:29 NKJV

Again, it is “like” a fire. Which indicates a metaphor or a spiritual reality. Meaning, the Bible doesn’t burn up in your hands or turn into a fire every time you declare it is the word of God.

It simply means that it has a spiritual, convicting, godly fear releasing, and empowering nature.

Moses is reminding his people in Deuteronomy of this reality when he tells them that God spoke out of the fire on the mountain when God gave them the ten commandments. (Deuteronomy 4:33, 9:10)

Did any people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live?

Deuteronomy 4:33 NKJV

When God talks to us, directly or through His Word, we get filled with a burning for the things of God. Our spirit is being fed with God’s good word and we feel rejuvenated inside.

The best biblical example of this is the two disciples traveling on the road to Emmaus. After meeting the resurrected but not yet ascended Jesus they recognize that their hearts burned when Jesus, God himself, talked to them.

And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”

Luke 24:32 NKJV

God’s fire is a display of power.

A tree in the meadow is burning up from fire from heaven.

Staying in the context of the last scriptures we see that it also was a display of power.

It says in Exodus 19:18 (NKJV) that Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire.” It even says that “the whole mountain trembled greatly.”

I mean, wow! Can you imagine seeing a mountain you stand in front of going up in flames and smoke, and all you feel, see, and hear is the mountain shaking. That’s powerful. It even states a few verses before that God’s people were afraid and trembled.

They were so afraid that they sent Moses up to God to talk with Him instead of talking with Him themselves. They heard God’s voice that came out of the fire and thought they would be consumed by it. (Deuteronomy 5:23-27)

This shows how important it is to have a vibrant relationship with God.

Moses did and later even Joshua did. They were never scared of God (in a bad way), but would actually seek Him despite the great display of power through smoke and fire.

Another very famous display of God’s power through “fire” is the pillar of fire. It would guide the Israelites at night, give them warmth and protection.

“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.”

Exodus 13:21 NKJV

Lastly, as already mentioned is God’s display of power through His servant Elijah when he challenged Baal’s prophets. Elijah prepared a sacrifice and had them pour water on the wood which in the end was fully consumed by the fire of the Lord. (1 Kings 18:38)

“Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.”

1 Kings 18:38 NKJV

If you want to learn more about Elijah and how God moved through him and how it relates to you today, I put together a great article about Elijah for you here.

God’s fire as a baptism

A woman walks through a burning forest fire

The Bible shows us in Matthew 3:11 and in Luke 3:16 that Jesus didn’t just come to baptizes us in the Holy Spirit but also with fire.

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Matthew 3:11 NKJV

This fire here doesn’t mean a fire of judgment like in the two verses before and after (Matthew 3:10+12). This baptism of fire here means more being overcome with a holy zeal for God birthed out of the Holy Spirit within you, being passionate and fervent about the things of God.

We can see this throughout the book of Acts after the Apostles and the church are all filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3). They not only prayed in new tongues, but they suddenly had a new zeal to preach the gospel and walk in signs, wonders, and miracles.

God’s angels are a flaming fire.

Another manifestation of God’s fire is through his angels.

The Bible shows us that God equips His angels as servants and ministers with fire.

Who makes His angels spirits,
His ministers a flame of fire.

Psalm 104:4 NKJV

And of the angels He says:

Who makes His angels spirits
And His ministers a flame of fire.

Hebrews 1:7 NKJV

Again, this is not a fire that could be put out through natural water. It is a spiritual fire that is upon spiritual beings. We can see this in Exodus 3:2 where the angel of the Lord appears to Moses in a flame of fire out of the burning bush.

And you might remember that the bush, even though seemingly burning, wouldn’t turn to ashes.

“And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.”

Exodus 3:2 NKJV

God’s fire as a baptism, display of power, or even upon his angels is a spiritual holy fire that cannot be quenched.

God’s fire can be a judgment.

In some instances, God’s fire is coming upon sinful people as a judgment. Sodom and Gomorrah are the best examples for this:

“Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.”

Genesis 19:24-25 NKJV

Their sin was too heavy against the Lord, so He struck the cities and everything in them with His fire. All except Lot and his daughters survived.

God’s fire is not a thing to be taken lightly. It is a holy fire that can burn and consume to bring zeal and blessing or to bring judgment – depending on which side of God’s aisle you stand on.

This is not just an Old Testament thing. We can read of this in Revelations 20:9 that God will do a similar thing again after the millennium when Satan will gather his people for the very last battle.

Also, Revelation 21:8 shows us that God’s judging fire will burn all sinners in “the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

God’s fire reveals our substance.

Just as God’s fire comes as a judgment to consume sin it will come upon God’s people and on their sin. But if they humble themselves and repent and turn from their wicked way this fire will work as purification.

God’s fire will reveal our substance, what we built our life and faith on.

It might be stuff in the flesh with spiritual works that are like wood, hay, or straw, that will burn up. Or they might be spiritual work of the Spirit like gold, silver, or precious stones.

God’s fire will reveal and test with what spiritual work each one has labored in his life (1 Peter 1:7).

“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 NKJV

God’s fire has a counterfit.

Believe it or not, but Satan has a counterfeit even for God’s fire.

We know from the book of Leviticus that God’s fire on the altar is never supposed to go out. But one day Aaron’s sons, the guys responsible for keeping the fire alive, offered strange and unauthorized fire to the Lord.

They made counterfeit fire. God didn’t like that and struck them down with His real fire.

“Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.”

Leviticus 10:1-2 NKJV

Moses’s answer in the following verse is very interesting: “This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.’ ” (Leviticus 10:3 NKJV)

It is the same way in our lives even today. God wants us to regard him as holy!

We might think we are walking in the fire/zeal of the Lord, but in reality, it’s is not of God at all. I guess now in the second covenant through Jesus we call this walking in the flesh, but it might even be demonic.

However, when God’s real fire hits us, it will convict us of our fleshly sin and hopefully lead us to repentance and into deliverance. God forbid we would die right on the spot because of our sin!

Why do we need the fire of God?

An arm from above reaches down and rescues someone in a fire

When we talk about “being on fire for God” or “having the fire of God” we commonly mean being passionate, motivated, and zealous for God, right?

In a way that’s true. When we are filled by Holy Spirit, we get passionate and zealous to follow and share Christ. We can see this happening with the disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:32 and with the Apostles in the book of Acts (Acts 4:31).

They were touched by God’s holy contagious fire and wanted others to experience the same awesome God that they had experienced before.

Just the same way we need the fire of the Lord to not fall into a monotone, religious, and dry behavior but be able to impact others for Christ.

We do need the fire of God for ourselves. How can we claim that we walk in the light if that light isn’t even burning in our own life?

And if you’re honest with yourself, whenever you feel spiritually dry you know that fire inside isn’t as strong as it could be.

We need God’s fire to be convicted and purified, to walk and do things in the Spirit and not in the flesh. When we walk in God’s fire it automatically will bring fruit for God (John 15), and we’re building our faith house with gold, silver, and precious stone (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). I wrote a short article about that a little while ago too.

Then we also need the fire of God to set other people on fire for God. We need it to touch their lives with the true saving power of Christ, His healing, and His delivering touch.

You can’t expect that stuff to happen when your fire is just as small as a candle.

Set yourself on fire through prayer, fasting, and the Word of God, and then invite others to watch you burn!

To go more in-depth on how you can get the fire of God I put together a guide that I believe could be of great help to you!

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Yeshuah Boyton

Yeshuah is a teacher and a licensed minister who loves to blog about Jesus. Because he was miraculously healed from cancer he empowers people by sharing about God's healing, deliverance, miracles, and spiritual warfare on this website, on Youtube, and in his newsletter. Like what I share? Say Thank-You, become a supporter, and/or partner with us in prayer. In any way, I do appreciate you for hanging out!

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