of fire must that be which is to burn up the earth at the end
of the world, when it is written of that very time, "THERE
SHALL NOT BE A COAL TO WARM AT, NOR FIRE TO SIT BEFORE?"
See `Isa. 47:14`.
<ANSWER>--The Scriptures in many places refer to the time
of destruction in the end of the present order of things under
various symbols or illustrations such as "fire," "earthquake,"
"whirlwind," etc. The literal earth or planet on which
we dwell is not referred to in connection with these statements,
but the present social order, with all of its selfishness and
evil, is to be destroyed in a destructive time of trouble "such
as was not since there was a nation." The earth itself
will never pass away, for the Bible declares the Lord formed
it to be inhabited and will eventually "make the place
of His feet (His footstool--the earth) glorious." The expression
of the Prophet, "there shall not be a coal to warm at,
nor fire to sit before," we understand to signify that
during the time of trouble and distress that shall come upon
the nations in the last days, there will be no place or source
of comfort and consolation for the class of false prophets or
prognosticators of the preceding verse.
of so many great fires these days, I wonder if the Bible shows
that the earth will be destroyed by actual fire?
<ANSWER>--An improper conception of the Scriptures has
led to many ludicrous conclusions concerning the destruction
of the earth by fire. A man in western Pennsylvania became so
thoroughly imbued with the thought that the world will be burned
up by the Lord in the last days, that he vigorously protested
against the great consumption of coal, gas and oil now being
mined and removed from below the earth's surface, declaring,
"that the Lord will not have enough fuel with which to
burn up the world when the time comes to do so, if this thing
keeps up." Others have had the thought that even the literal
heavens will be consumed in that dreadful conflagration. If
the heaven is to be destroyed, where would even the Lord find
a habitation? The Apostle's words in `2 Pet. 3` are cited as
authority by those who hold the theory of a literal destruction
of heaven and earth. But let us observe that the Apostle is
using figurative language. He mentions three worlds and three
heavens, clearly meaning dispensation or ages each relating
to a different social order and a spiritual rule. One of these
ended with a great flood and the present is to pass away with
a "great time of trouble" (`Dan. 12:1`). The prophet
(`Zep. 3:8,9`) points out that after the present order of things
passes away "then the Lord will turn to the people a pure
message that they may all call upon the Lord," thus showing
that the people remain. The Lord "made the earth to be
inhabited" (`Isa. 45:18`). "The earth abideth forever"
(`Eccl. 1:4`). It shall yet be a fit habitation for man. (`Psa.