What does our Ancient Text mean when it declares that YHVH Elohim is a consuming fire? Is this picture of Him intended to fill us with terror and dread? Does this mean it’s not possible for us to safely approach Him? Can the Hebrew pictographs give us a deeper understanding of this mystery? Will anything here direct us to Messiah? Let’s find out.
Moses was the great leader YHVH appointed to bring the nation of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. After victories over Sihon the king of the Amorites and Og the king of Bashan, YHVH directed Moses to expound upon the law given to him at Mount Sinai.
In Deuteronomy Chapter 4 verses 10 through 12, Moses relayed these words to the people:
Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children. And ye came near and stood under the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
The word fire is Esh and we find that YHVH Elohim speaks out of the midst of the Esh.
Moses adds this in verses 23 and 24:
Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee. For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
The consuming fire in this verse is the Akal Esh. In this context, it appears that the same YHVH Elohim that spoke out of the fire will not allow His people to return to idol worship but will instead judge them for this sinful behavior with destruction by fire. This warning seems simple enough, but is there more to this that we aren’t seeing?
Let’s investigate the mystery found in the Hebrew pictographs to find the hidden truth in this statement.
Akal is translated consuming and is spelled Aleph Kaf Lamed.
Aleph is the picture of the ox and means the strong leader, the first, or God the Father.
Kaf is the picture of the palm of the hand and means to cover or uncover, to open, or to allow.
Lamed is the picture of the shepherd ’s staff and means to control, to have authority, or can mean the tongue.
The first thing we learn from the pictographs is that God the Father is going to exercise His control and authority over us by either allowing or not allowing something. What is he going to allow or not allow? It has something to do with the Esh or the fire. Now we need to look at the pictographs of Esh and add them to what we just learned from Akal.
Esh or fire is spelled Aleph Sheen and is translated fire, flames, or burning.
Aleph again is the picture of the ox and means the strong leader, the first, or God the Father.
Sheen is the picture of teeth and means to press, to consume, or to destroy.
In the pictographs of Esh, we find a clear picture of God the Father consuming or destroying.
When we add this to Akal this emerges. When we read that our YHVH Elohim is a consuming fire, we are to understand that God the Father is going to exercise His control over us by personally applying Esh and either consuming and destroying us or not consuming and destroying us. How can this be? Are we in danger of destruction or not?
In Leviticus Chapter 1 verse 2, an act of disobedience by the priests Nadab and Abihu before YHVH in the tabernacle is written for us:
And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
In Isaiah Chapter 33 verse 14 the prophet records this for us:
The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with the everlasting burnings?
Isaiah warns that those involved in sin, especially those involved in idolatry as Moses warned, have every reason to expect to be allowed to experience the personal judgment of YHVH Elohim by Esh or fire, just as we discovered in the pictographs.
They have good reason to be afraid. But what about those who are obedient to YHVH and are trusting in His righteousness?
In the Book of Job Chapter 23 verse 10 a very different picture emerges:
But He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Here Job reminds us that while fire destroys it also burns away impurities and brings forth purity. Our YHVH Elohim, as a consuming fire, is molding and shaping His people into what He wants them to be. We shall emerge as pure gold.
In Exodus Chapter 13 verses 21 and 22 another encouraging picture of this Esh or fire emerges:
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night. He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
The fire of YHVH Elohim certainly will consume those who refuse to follow and obey His commands, but His fire will also be allowed to lead His faithful followers in darkness as well as burn away the dross and purify their lives.
Where is Messiah in all of this?
In Leviticus Chapter 16 verse 2 the LORD said unto Moses:
Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark, that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.
The cloud in which YHVH would appear above the mercy seat was the cloud of fire or Esh. Not even the high priest could enter without the blood of a sacrifice and without invitation. Failure to do so was certain death by fire.
The writer of Hebrews tells us in Chapter 10 verse 19 how each of us can enter the Holy place without fear of destruction.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.
It is by the blood of Jesus, the Christ, Yeshua Ha-Mashiach that we can enter the Holy place. We have full assurance that we are allowed there because we are under the authority and control of the Heavenly Father who has intended all along that we should be guided and purified by the fire we will experience there and not consumed by it.
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