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The Refiner’s Fire

At the end of all things, the LORD’s fire will come to refine His church, His remnant. The fire will do two things: it will purify the vessels of honor and destroy those dishonorable vessels as the chaff before the LORD. This fire, if we submit to it will refine us all the way back to the original image. There is an important figure who plays a central function in the fire that the church must receive. Without this burning one, this keeper of the furnace, we will in the end miss the one opportunity we will have for this.

Elijah is foretold to come and prepare the way of the LORD as a refiner’s fire, coming to sanctify the sons of Levi, the priesthood [Mal 3:1-3]. The prophet David attests that “His ministers [are] a flame of fire,” [Psa 104:4]. Malachi is one of many prophets who have foretold, through divine inspiration, of the fire at the end of the age to purify. To the majority of the church, the end times will bring about the end of the world where everything will be destroyed by fire. It is impious to think of a literal destruction, as the Early Church did not believe so. There are so many misconceptions of the end times that are commonly believed amongst the body of believers; they do not consider that many of their beliefs are simply impossible to physically take place. This is what the Apostle Peter says concerning the end.

2Pe 3:7  But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

2Pe 3:8  But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

2Pe 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

2Pe 3:10  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

2Pe 3:11  Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness

2Pe 3:12  looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat

The Apostle Peter is in agreement of with Malachi, prophesying of the fire that comes before the great and terrible Day. It is clear that the Apostle Peter is not speaking of a literal fire that will come to destroy the heavens and the earth, for example, the expression of “heavens.” What heavens? The Sky? Is there more than one sky? There is only one sky that encompasses the earth. Is the Apostle Peter addressing the second or third heaven that the Apostle Paul spoke of [2Co 12:1-2]? What sort of sin is occurring in those heavens that would provoke the fire of Yah to consume it? This does not make sense in those modes of interpretation. However, consider heaven as being a mindset, a virtuous mind, as the Lord said that “The kingdom of God is within you” [Luk 17:21] and these virtues that create heaven within us, must be refined in the fire of Yah. A new heaven is a new mindset. Methodious attests to this refiner’s fire that comes upon the saints at the end.

But it is not satisfactory to say that the universe will be utterly destroyed, and sea and air and sky will be no longer. For the whole world will be deluged with fire from heaven and burnt for the purpose of purification and renewal; it will not, however, come to complete ruin and corruption. For if it were better for the world not to be than to be, why did God, in making the world, take the worse course? But God did not work in vain or do that which was worst. God therefore ordered the creation with a view to its existence and continuance, as also the Book of Wisdom confirms, saying, “For God created all things that they might have their being; and the generations of the world were healthful, and there is no poison of destruction in them.” (Wis. 1:14) And Paul clearly testifies this, saying, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that subjected the same in hope: because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Rom_8:19-21) For the creation was made subject to vanity, he says, and he expects that it will be set free from such servitude, as he intends to call this world by the name of creation. For it is not what is unseen but what is seen that is subject to corruption.

For it is not what is unseen but what is seen that is subject to corruption.

The creation, then, after being restored to a better and more seemly state, remains, rejoicing and exulting over the children of God at the resurrection; for whose sake it now groans and travails, waiting itself also for our redemption from the corruption of the body, that, when we have risen and shaken off the mortality of the flesh, according to that which is written, “Shake off the dust, and arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem,” (Isa_52:2) and have been set free from sin, it also shall be freed from corruption and be subject no longer to vanity, but to righteousness. Isaiah says, too, “For as the new heaven and the new earth which I make, remaineth before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name be;” (Isa_66:22) and again, “Thus saith the Lord that created the heaven, it is He who prepared the earth and created it, He determined it; He created it not in vain, but formed it to be inhabited.” (Isa_45:18) For in reality God did not establish the universe in vain, or to no purpose but destruction, as those weak-minded men say, but to exist, and be inhabited, and continue. Wherefore the earth and the heaven must exist again after the conflagration and shaking of all things. [1]

Yahushua said himself that Elijah will come and restore all things.

Yahushua said himself that Elijah will come and restore all things. Christ is undoubtedly aware of the prophesy of Malachi, the coming of Elijah, and the refiners fire; however, it is a fire that will restore all things, not destroy. I will end with last church father, who explains that the coming judgment and wrath is not meant for destruction, but on the contrary, it is meant for healing. If we yield to ourselves to this refiner’s fire, we will be partakers of this final healing and washing that all creation has been earnestly expecting.

To understand now, that in the same way in which physicians apply remedies to the sick, in order that by careful treatment they may recover their health, God so deals towards those who have lapsed and fallen into sin, is proved by this, that the cup of God’s fury is ordered, through the agency of the prophet Jeremiah, (Cf. Jer 25:15-16) to be offered to all nations, that they may drink it, and be in a state of madness, and vomit it forth. In doing which, He threatens them, saying, That if any one refuse to drink, he shall not be cleansed. (Cf. Jer 25:28-29) By which certainly it is understood that the fury of God’s vengeance is profitable for the purgation of souls. That the punishment, also, which is said to be applied by fire, is understood to be applied with the object of healing, is taught by Isaiah, who speaks thus of Israel: “The Lord will wash away the filth of the sons or daughters of Zion, and shall purge away the blood from the midst of them by the spirit of judgment, and the spirit of burning.” (Isa 4:4) Of the Chaldeans he thus speaks: “Thou hast the coals of fire; sit upon them: they will be to thee a help.” And in other passages he says, “The Lord will sanctify in a burning fire” (Isa 10:17, cf. Isa 66:16) and in the prophecies of Malachi he says, “The Lord sitting will blow, and purify, and will pour forth the cleansed sons of Judah.” (Cf. Mal 3:3) [2]

The Lord will sanctify in a burning fire” and in the prophecies of Malachi he says, “The Lord sitting will blow, and purify, and will pour forth the cleansed sons of Judah.”

1. Methodious-The Resurrection Pt. 1, Vol. 6
2. Origen-First Principles Ch. IX, Vol. 4

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