The Evangelical Universalist Forum

judgment by water/fire; baptism with water/fire

Folks, here are some thoughts that I’ve been juggling around lately. Comments and criticisms are welcome.

Luke 3:16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

John’s water baptism was an outward sign of Christ’s baptism; Whereas John’s baptism involved a physical event, Christ’s baptism involves a spiritual event. John’s baptism of water is to Christ’s baptism of fire what circumcision of the flesh is to inward circumcision.

1Pe 3:20 because[fn4] they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.
1Pe 3:21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

The flood of Noah relates to water baptism in the same way that the coming fiery destruction of the creation relates to baptism with the Spirit. It is the baptism with fire that burns up our impurities (chaff, dead trees, dross, etc.), an idea that was prefigured in the purging of the world during the flood of Noah.

2Pe 3:5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God,
2Pe 3:6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.
2Pe 3:7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.


I know it’s been almost a year since you posted this but I’ve also recently being pondering the use of “fire” throughout the bible. I think Talbott talked a little about purifying by fire (molten metal and dross analogy), in “TILoG” and George MacDonald did too, at least in “Princess and the Goblin/The Princess and Curdie” from memory. Has anyone else done any work on this?

I’ve been exhaustively studying this theme for the better part of the last year. I’d be delighted to share some of my ideas with you; I could use some feedback/discussion.

One idea I’ve been thinking about is the notion that the second death in the lake of fire is none but dying with Christ.

Note that Christ referred to His death as a fiery baptism (Luke 12:49-50), and this baptism of fire is the same unquenchable fire that consumes chaff (Matthew 3:10-12).

What do you think?

Excellent, please continue to share your findings :slight_smile:

I just found this which is related:


I do believe that salting with fire and baptizing with fire are one and the same phenomenon. What’s interesting is that both texts (Matt. 3:11 and Mark 9:49) strongly suggest that hellfire is purificatory. No wonder why these verses have been traditionally regarded as obscure and cryptic: They simply don’t jive with the traditionalist doctrine!

Note that salt was used in the OT sacrifices, just as fire was. In bringing to mind the images of salt and fire, Jesus seems to be again alluding to His own death.

What do you say?

Is there a connection between the salt of the covenant and the blood of the covenant? I think that’s a question worth considering.

The salt of the covenant had to do with peace between man and God (salt was a symbol for peace in the ancient Near East), since salt prevented corruption and promoted purity. Does not the blood of Christ also cleanse the soul?

Just thinking out loud here. ( : But perhaps the fire, blood, and salt all symbolize the same thing in this context?

The King James Version reads:

*Mark 9:49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.

The Douay and all translations with the same Greek basis as the King James read similarly.

However, the translations based on earlier Greek manuscripts lack the clause in red: Some of these translations are:

RSV, NRSV, ESV, BBE, NASB, NIV, Philips, Rotherham

Paidion et. al.,

Is it true that the oldest MSS do not include the expression, “salted with fire”?

Perhaps the scribal gloss, “and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt,” is true to the meaning of the expression “salted with fire”. Even without the gloss, the text strongly suggests the OT sacrifices in my mind.

Perhaps also it is true that the phrase “salted with fire” is an allusion to the ancient practice of sowing the fields of conquered enemies with salt, so that nothing could grow on it again (a metaphor for the devastation that holiness brings to sin).

Hi Gabe, I thought I’d bounce this one off you; I suspect that the most important use of fire might dictate it’s meaning. In the sacrifices and the burning of incense, fire serves to transform flesh into a purity of form which is capable of rising to the heavens (smoke). I also suspect that the purity of smoke may have been thought to provide a route for God to descend upon the tabernacle (remember the cloud). Heraclitus identified fire with God (he thought it was the logos), perhaps he was inspired by the warmth in a living body and cold in a dead one. What do you think? Gary.

Very quickly before I drift off,

From here.

But even better is this:

From here.

Cheers! :mrgreen:

Also, not sure if you’ve seen all the info about the lake of fire carrying redemptive symbols of purification or not, but here they are:

Sulfur was used for its purification properties.
Fire was used to refine precious metals (see also 1 Cor. 3:12),
and the word for “torture” is basanizo, which is derivative of basanite used for touchstones, which tested the purity of precious metals.

And Bada-bing-bada-BOOM! There ya go! :mrgreen:

I was always lead to believe that Christ died in my stead. But this idea suggests (as perhaps some scriptures indicate) that we must be crucified. So is it not true that He died in my place?

I have heared about baptism by diving in water but have read somthing else in its concepts ! I couldnt exatcly know what actually its meaning is!

Paul wrote:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 )

When we look at the scriptures which tell us WHY Christ died, we don’t find that He died in our place so that we wouldn’t be punished. Rather we find that He died to deliver us from sin, so that we would begin to eschew wrongdoing and begin to do righteous deeds. Here are the scriptures I found which tell us why Christ died:

*I Peter 2:24 He himself endured our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

II Corinthians 5:15 And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Titus 2:14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

Heb 9:26 …he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.*