? about Genesis 19:24


Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;

Literal? I’ve always assumed it was…And i know fire and brimstone is also mentioned in Revelation…but that is NOT literal. All tho i do not make everything in Revelation symbolic/metaphorical. A lot of is is literal. I am a futurist, not a preterist so i don’t spiritulize everything. But what I’m asking is…why use fire and brimstone in a metaphorical way in Revelation, but a literal way in Genesis?

:arrow_right: :question:


Good question. Here’s how I see it:

Fire is a powerful physical element. Fire has ideas associated with it: heat, light, destruction, pain – even emotional pain, purification etc. Thus we use it in different ways.

The Genesis account of Sodom, I would take as literal destruction by burning, but the book of Rev is largely symbolic, therefore I’d take the use of the word “fire” in a symbolic way. That’s not to strip the word of it’s power, but to say that whatever it is that the word represents will have the qualities we associate with fire. It may be something we have no concept of and no way of comprehending, except by saying “It’s like fire.”



*"But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:

The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;’ - Hebrews 9:7-9*

This is speaking of the Temple in which the High Priest made atonement in the Holy of Holies for himself and the the people. Everything in the Old Testament is a figure of things to come, things in the heavenlies:

*"For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." - Hebrews 9:24-26 *

Likewise, in regards to Sodom of Gommorrah, I believe that the fire and brimestone is the figure of the true. That God is a consuming fire of holiness and justice. That that fire will destroy the works of the devil and the flesh.


Yeah, for me I’m just going to add on to what’s already been said in that God uses the natural to reveal spiritual truth. The power is not in the natural stories but in spiritual. I “used” to be a futurist but not so much anymore.

As precious as life is on this earth, it’s really not the final destination for anyone or anything. This is merely the playing field where God’s plan is unfolding according to the influence of time. When it “appears” God destroys “people”, for me, he’s merely removing them from the playing field. But everything is for the purpose of magnifying his name and nature. Not because he is egocentrical, but because he is love and in “our” eyes, we think because someone died that they were judged for some evil thing they did are whathaveyou but it may be that God’s plan no longer includes or calls for them to be a part of it.

Sodom and Gomorah had become a blemish on the face of Israel, so . . .as any parent would, God washed Israel’s face by removing the blemish. The old covenant (testament) consisted of men literally acting out God’s laws. The New Testament/covenant consists of those same laws changing venues from outward to inward. Now, the laws that they had to follow have already been fulfilled so we don’t have to follow them, we merely live “in” them because they’re now written inwardly in each of us.

As to the fire and brimstone in Revelation, the “symbolism” was the same, but the form in which it manifested on earth was different. In the old testament, it was literally fire and brimstone that was released. After the cross, it was stll fire and brimstone that was poured out on Israel, for the same purposes, for cleansing and purging, to remove the blemish of the old covenant . . .but the form in which it manifested was different in that it was the Roman armies during the uprooting of the entire religious system in A.D. 79 that God utilized as the spiritual weapon of choice. The outcome was still the same. Israel had been purged of the blemish.

But the theater on the natural level changed drastacally in that instead of a literal Jewish nation being God’s chosen people, now it’s a spiritual Jewish nation . . .a spiritual New Jerusalem . . . and only those with spiritual eyes can see it and spiritual ears can hear it. On the surface, it’s all mystic symbols and patterns . . .underneath the surface, it’s a message of resurrection life, truth and freedom. The message is no longer approached by way of works, but now, it’s approached by way of grace “through” faith. Two of the most powerful attributes of Christ, but neither can be seen by the naked eye/mind.


For example real shepherds are spoken of in the Bible along with metaphorical shepherds, real fire along with metaphorical fire, real fishermen along with becoming a fisher of men, etc. The use of metaphors is a common means of communicating, and the context helps us understand when a passage is meant to be taken literally or metaphorically. The Genesis account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is in a literal context and there is archeological evidence of 5 cities that were destroyed by fire as evidenced in the ruins. The following is an interesting site. aish.com/ci/sam/48931527.html.

In John’s Revelation it would be only natural for God to take what is earthly, brimstone and fire, to reveal to John spiritual truths. Should we thus interpret John’s Revelation historically (preterist or rise and fall of nations), metaphorically, or futuristically, or a combination of all of them? Well, that’s debatable. I tend to lean towards it being like a diamond with different facets, multiple possible interpretations. Rome was destroyed and the Church prevailed, which “soon” came to pass. And such has happened in cultures ever since; cultures that oppose the Gospel are relatively soon overwhelmed by the kingdom of God. And it can certainly be interpreted metaphorically as the ongoing struggle of good and evil within ourselves, our families, our cultures and nations, looking for the kingdom of God to come, heaven to come to earth. And it obviously lends itself towards being understood futuristically, pointing to the ultimate triumph of God over all! And I could be, likely am, missing other aspects, facets of this diamond!

We, well, “I” run into difficulties when I try to make it specific, trying to interpret every aspect of the multiple metaphors revealed, limit it to only one facet. Thus of all the books of the New Covenant, John’s Revelation is the one that I least appeal to to establish doctrine because it is so full of metaphors and can be so widely interpreted.