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God Who Is A Consuming Fire

By Lionel Leslie, June 21, 1997 Printer Friendly Version

Take heed to yourself lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your GOD which He made with you; and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which the LORD your GOD has forbidden you. For the LORD your GOD is a consuming fire, a jealous GOD.  
Deuteronomy chapter 4, verses 23 and 24 give us one of the most prominent commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai. It is reiterated time and again to Israel so that they should have no excuse when they enter the Promised Land, and turn to the worship of the pagans -- For the LORD your GOD is a consuming fire -- and blame the GOD of Israel for Jacob’s trouble that inevitably would befall them if they disregard this dire warning of a holy and righteous GOD, and commit themselves to idolatry. Furthermore, our LORD is a jealous GOD.  By this He means that even though His redeemed people will likely fall into temptation, He will show His mercy towards them if they will return once again to Him with all their heart and soul; but His anger shall be turned from His people in the latter days, and His vengeance will fall upon their enemies because of the promises He made to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The next reference being made to the LORD being a consuming fire is mentioned further on in Deuteronomy, Chapter 9, as the children of Israel are being prepared to enter the Promised Land, and the LORD is confirming to them that the LORD your GOD is He, Who goes over before you, as a consuming fire.   He wants them to know that it is He alone who will destroy their enemies, and drive them out of the land, because of the wickedness of these nations; not because they are righteous, It is not because of your righteousness He says, or the righteousness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of those nations that the LORD your GOD drives them out before you; and that He may fulfill the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The third and last mention directly of the LORD being a consuming fire is that in Hebrews, Chapter 12, verse 29; but the context is clarified in verse 25 as such: See that you do not refuse Him Who speaks, for if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him, Who speaks from heaven. Here a distinction is made between GOD’s ancient chosen people, the ones who Heard His voice from the midst of the darkness while the mountain was burning with fire. (Deuteronomy 5, verse 23); Whose voice then shook the earth, but now He has promised saying, ‘Yet once more I shall shake not only the earth, but also heaven’ (Hebrews 12, verse 26).  What is being spoken of in these two Scriptures is the differentiation of old and new Covenants; the former written on stone, and the latter upon the hearts; the first Covenant, and the second Covenant; in part separate, yet in fact, indivisible.  The Mediator of the Law given to Moses on Mount Sinai, is the same LORD Who is forever mediating for us from the heavenly places, high above the mountains of this earth; Him, we must hear!

Few of my brethren today believe that the GOD of Israel spoke personally to our forefathers, for they accept what their Rabbi tells them without question; for the Rabbis teach that death will come to those who would meet the LORD face to face, and to hear His voice is madness.  Yet the Bible informs us clearly that the patriarchs, Moses and the Prophets, met and all spoke with GOD many times, and lived to record these facts.  Not only this, but the children of Israel themselves, the heads of their tribes and the elders being the recorded witnesses, confirm this categorically in the Tanach.  Deuteronomy 5, verse 24: Surely the LORD our GOD has shown us His glory, and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire.  We have seen this day that GOD speaks with man, yet he still lives. 

I implore you, my Jewish brethren, to prefer the Word of the GOD of our fathers, rather than to accept without question, anyone’s interpretation.  Read and study the Tanakh for yourselves.  Even though the children of Israel had clearly witnessed the presence of the LORD and heard His commandments,they still feared they would perish, so they asked Moses to be their mediator and Tell us all that the LORD our GOD says to you, and we will hear and do it.  However, rarely did they listen to Moses; but rather continued to argue and grumble and blame the LORD for all their troubles during the forty years in the wilderness.

Moses was a true mediator of the Word of GOD.  The LORD commanded him to write what he heard.  This was not an interpretation, but the true words of the LORD; directly from His mouth to Moses.  Yet Israel rarely listened then, and hardly listens now.  How true are the words of the LORD?  So it was when Moses had completed writing the words of this Law in a Book, when they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites who brought the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD saying, Take this Book of the Law and put it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD your GOD, that it may be there as a witness against you; for I know your rebellion and your stiff-neck.  If today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the LORD, then how much more after my death?  And furthermore, he said prophetically, For I know that after my death, you will become utterly corrupt and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 31: 24 to 29.

Is there any wonder our people have suffered so much since that time, even up to this day?  Why?  We may question GOD and man, but the answer has already been given, clearly stated for us in the Tanakh, in order that the LORD’s promises to the patriarchs might be fulfilled in Israel; notwithstanding their disobedience and unwillingness to listen to Moses, He said, I will raise up for them a Prophet, like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth; He shall speak to them all that I command Him, and it shall be that whoever will not hear My words which He speaks in My Name, I will require it of him. Who can this be but Messiah, YESHUA, JESUS?  And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29, verse 13.

I pray that these words of the LORD will be a blessing to you, and a healing in Israel. Shalom.

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