Monthly Archives: April 2008

God’s Word or Man’s Words and Experience: 3 C Fire, burning desire, kindle, hearts afire

3 B Fire

God’s WORD

    “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”—1 John 4:1

    “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”—Jude 3, 4

    “For the kingdom of God is…righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.”—Romans 14:17, 18

    “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”—Isaiah 43:2

This post will discuss some comments made by Flame Ministries International (a Neo-Pentecostal Catholic Organisation), regarding what they call the baptism of fire. To read more about their ministries, and some of their basic beliefs, click on “read more” at the end of this post.

I will quote some of their many unbiblical statements, followed by Bible verses. (Most of the quotes are from flameministries.org/bofire.htm) You will notice that Jesus’ sacrifice for us, though alluded to, is overshadowed by their focus on what they say is a “holy spirit fire” experience; it seems they glory in something besides the cross.

    “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”—Revelation 2:4

    “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”—Galatians 6:14

    “For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.”
    —Luke 6:44

Flame Ministries International

“…Worship is…deep and intimate worship in the Holy of Holies…All other forms of prayer and ministry are important, but secondary to this…When our focus is turned more directly to prolonged praise, we begin to experience God’s presence in greater power…”

God’s WORD

    “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from
    the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;”—Matthew 27:51

    “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,”—Hebrews 10:19

    “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
    —Hebrews 4:16

Flame Ministries International

“May 13th 1993 was a very powerful time of praise and worship at our Revival Meeting in Perth…I saw a vision of what was revealed in prophecy to be a “Baptism of Fire” raining on the members of the Cathedral Praise Meeting in Perth Western Australia…This Fire of God has touched the lives of millions of people regardless of the denominational boundaries.”

God’s WORD

    “…And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.”—2 Kings 1:12

    “…there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them…”—Job 1:16.

    “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them…”
    —2 Corinthians 5:19

    “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”—Matthew 3:12

Flame Ministries International

“The Baptism of Fire is the manifestation of God…[it] comes to bring about a true repentance of the heart towards God…”

God’s WORD

    “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness…not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”
    —Romans 2:4

    “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”—Romans 5:8

    “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”—Romans 6:23

Flame Ministries International

“…it is especially relating to our need for the purifying Grace of God’s Love to burn away the dross and chaff of sin that, in spite of our initial conversion and love of God, clings to us through the habits of our former sin nature…”

“…This fire purifies faith and burns away unbelief rather than bringing pain to the person who is repentant. It does not bring condemnation but acquittal and newness of life…

God’s WORD

    “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness…Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”
    —Revelation 1:5

    “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”—Psalm 103:12

    “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”—John 15:3

    “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”—Romans 8:1

    “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ
    his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”—1 John 1:7

    “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
    —Romans 6:4

    “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
    —1 Corinthians 5:17

    “…but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.”
    —Luke 3:17

Flame Ministries International

“The difference between this particular Baptism and the Baptism
of the Holy Spirit, is the fact that the Baptism of Fire is usually experienced by those who have already received the Baptism of
the Holy Spirit.”

God’s WORD

    “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”—Matthew 22:29

    “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is
    come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”—Acts 1:8

    “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”—1 Corinthians 1:18

    “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but
    in the power of God.”—1 Corinthians 2:5

    “…in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with
    that holy Spirit of promise,”—Ephesians 1:13

    “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:”—John 15:26

Flame Ministries International

“A Catholic priest reported that he saw flickering fire all over his body that did not burn. The fruit of this experience was that his priesthood and zeal for proclaiming the Gospel grew with passion. Other experiences are heat or fire on top of the head…a gentle fiery rain often all over the body…a falling fiery rain can be seen in the room where people are praising God with heartfelt gratitude.”
[This sounds like Philip Neri mentioned in my 3B post on fire.]

God’s WORD

    “…but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.”
    —Luke 3:17

    “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and
    righteousness and truth;”—Ephesians 5:9

    “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy
    and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”
    —James 3:17

Flame Ministries International

“It seems therefore to be a preparation for the coming of the Bridegroom in a conversion experience by removing the spot and wrinkle of sin in our lives and it especially calls for repentance as a prelude to Revival.”

“Jesus is returning for a spotless bride…What has not been accomplished in a time of blessings and gifts will be accomplished in a Baptism of Fire.” This fire is now upon the earth. Are you ready…”

God’s WORD

    “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things…But with the precious blood of Christ,
    as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
    —1 Peter 1:19, 20

    “…even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,”—Ephesians 5:25, 26

    “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should
    be holy and without blemish.”—Ephesians 5:27

    “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,”—1 Thessalonians 5:9

    “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
    —2 Corinthians 4:7

Flame Ministries International

“…everyone reports a new enthusiasm and zeal in their faith…It brings with it a renewed enthusiasm for evangelisation, Scripture,
a greater empowering of the Charismatic Gifts and Ministries and
a deep love for the Church and its mission to the world.”

God’s WORD

    “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”—Matthew 23:15

    And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”—Mark 16:15

    “…the gospel which I preached unto you…”For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”—1 Corinthians 15:1–4

    “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”—John 3:36

    “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”—Ephesians 5:6

    “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”—Revelation 20:15

The next post will be an introduction to a 9 part series of posts on people or books that reference fire and heart in some way. I will start with Babylon and go to the present.

God’s WORD

    “…but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”—Galatians 1:7

    “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

    “And of some have compassion, making a difference:

    “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”—Jude 21–23

3 D Introduction to Burning Heart, Soul on fire, flame

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God’s Word or Man’s Words and Experience: 3 B Fire, burning desire, kindle, hearts afire

Part 3 A Fire, burning desire, kindle, aflame, heart afire

God’s WORD

    “For our rejoicing is this…that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world…”—2 Corinthians 1:12

    “…if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes…all these curses shall come upon thee…The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning…they shall pursue thee until thou perish.”—Deuteronomy 28:15, 22

    “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 everlasting burnings?”
    —Isaiah 33:14

    “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”—Romans 5:8, 9

The “fire” words, phrases and concepts mentioned in Buddha’s Fire sermon and the other pagan fire references mentioned on this post, remind me of some of those I have read in my research that are part of the vocabulary of some “Christian” songs and organizations. In my next posts, 3C and 3D, I will present some places where “fire” phrases are used or referred to in what is thought to be the “Christian” world.

Fire Sermon of Buddha
It is said that a few months after his own “enlightenment,” Buddhu preached the Fire Sermon to 1000 Bikkhus (Buddhist monks) at Gaya (holy demon), India, to teach them how to attain arahantship—to become enlightened.

Realizing the Bikkhus he was preaching to had at one time practiced a sacred fire ritual, worshipping the fire morning and evening, Buddha taught them that the “All” (ayatana)—twelve sense bases, six internal and six external—“are burning and blazing,” and explained how to be liberated from suffering through detachment from the senses and mind

“Monks, the All is aflame. What All is aflame? The eye is aflame. Forms are aflame. Consciousness at the eye is aflame. Contact at the eye is aflame…Aflame with what? Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. Aflame, I tell you, with birth, aging and death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs.”—from “Fire Sermon” —Adittapariyaya Sutta, SN 35.28 Thanissaro, 1993.

According to Buddha, a well-instructed noble disciple sees this burning and thus becomes disenchanted with the sense bases…Disenchantment leads to liberation from suffering.

Dukkha suffering

Dukkha is a central concept in Buddhism, the word roughly corresponding to a number of terms in English including sorrow, suffering (or pain), affliction, anxiety, dissatisfaction, discomfort, anguish, stress, misery, and frustration.

Another Discourse of Buddha
In a different discourse, Buddha, instead of describing the sense bases as being aflame, he describes the five aggregates as burning. (Five “aggregates” categorize all individual experience…there is no “self”…suffering ends by giving up attachment(s) to aggregates.)

Bhikkhus, form is burning, feeling is burning,
perception is burning, volitional formations are
burning, consciousness is burning. Seeing thus,
bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple experiences
revulsion towards form
…Through dispassion [this
mind] is liberated….”—Āditta Sutta (SN 22.61); Bodhi 2000

“Burning” means: the fire of passion; the fire of aversion; the fire of delusion; the manifestations of suffering.

Another discourse of Buddha likened our physical and mental apparatus to hot embers. In the discourse, the well-instructed noble disciple becomes disenchanted with, dispassionate about, and liberated from these burning constituents. (Kukkuḷa Sutta 22.136)

Agnihotra

Agnihotra is a Vedic yajña (ritual or sacrifice) performed by members of orthodox Hindu communities. The term agnihotra means ‘pouring milk (hotra) into the fire (agni)’. Agnihotra includes the worship of the three (or five) sacred fires. A modern version of the Vedic Agnihotra has been promoted by various individuals and groups as a non-sectarian ritual for the healing and purification of the atmosphere and as a primary source of sacred ash.

Modern Agnihotra (Homa) consists of making two offerings (two pinchfuls of uncooked rice grains smeared with a few drops of cow’s pure ghee) to the fire exactly at the time of sunrise and sunset along with the chanting…the first mantra, “Oblation unto the Sun”, the rest of the mantra’s first line: “This belongs to the Sun not to me.”

Peace and the connection with fire
As you read the next few paragraphs, remember that Agni is a god of fire, the acceptor of sacrifices, and one of the most important of the Vedic gods. Agni has three forms: fire, lightning and the sun.

4th International Young Leaders Peace Summit
Big Island, Hawaii, November 15, 2006

Every day begins and ends with a sunrise/sunset fire ceremony (Agnihotra—see next paragraph); each day has events related to the mission and vision of Beyond the Global Divide, there will be time…for sharing teachings and for quiet reflection.

Agnihotra is the process of purifying the atmosphere through specially prepared fire. This healing fire comes from the Vedas…

Homa Therapy: Homa is used here synonymously with Yajnya, the technical term…denoting the process of removing the toxic conditions of the atmosphere through the agency of fire. You heal the atmosphere and the healed atmosphere heals you. This is the central idea in Homa Therapy.

The most basic Homa (Yajnya) is called AGNIHOTRA and is tuned to the biorhythm of sunrise/sunset. Performance of Agnihotra on a regular daily basis establishes the healing energies necessary for a healthy environment.

Prem Rawat on Peace

When a human being truly realizes that there is an absence of truth and happiness in his life, an absence of peace, then a fire comes from within. A real fire to find peace burns for that person from the heart, not from the head. That person starts to search.—excerpt from tprf.org/prem-rawat/Prem-Rawat-on-peace.htm

Baptism of Fire and Theresa of Avila
“Baptism of Fire”…It means therefore to be “Fully immersed into God,” somewhat akin to St. Theresa of Avila’s seventh mansion…
—flameministries.org/bofire.htm

The Miracle of the Heart: Catacomb of S. Sebastiano

“While he (Saint Philip Neri) was with the greatest earnestness asking of the Holy Ghost His gifts, there appeared to him a globe of fire, which entered into his mouth and lodged in his breast; and thereupon he was suddenly surprised with such a fire of love, that, unable to bear it, he threw himself on the ground…

When…he rose up full of unwonted joy, and immediately all his body began to shake with a violent tremour; and putting his hand to his bosom, he felt by the side of his heart, a swelling about as big as a man’s fist, but neither then nor afterwards was it attended with the slightest pain or wound…till his death, his heart would palpitate violently whenever he performed any spiritual action.—described by Bacci, a few days before Pentecost, in 1544

Francis of Assisi
“…Francis understood by his vision that the soul must come to resemble Christ by the ardors of its interior fire, rather than by any physical, exterior means…You reproduced the sacred marks of Your passion in the body of the most blessed Francis, in order that Your love might also set our hearts afire.'”—From 19th century Abbot, Dom Guéranger; “The Time after Pentecost V”, Vol. 14, translation O.D.M.

From The Works of George Fox by George Fox p. 268
For as natural men and women in the night cannot see what is in their houses, without a candle which they light at a natural fire, which gives light to the natural eye: so man’s spirit is lighted by God and Christ’s divine light and fire, by which they see with the heavenly eye what is in their house and inward parts.

Burning in the bosom
Mormonism teaches that if a person prays about the Book of Mormon “with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it (the Book of Mormon; Moroni 10:4) unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” If this is done, according to Doctrine and Covenants, 9:8, “your bosom shall burn within you” to show that it is true.

God’s WORD

    “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”—Jeremiah 17:9

    He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.”—Proverbs 28:26

    “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good.”
    —1 Thessalonians 5:21

    “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

    “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

    “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”—Romans 10:2–4

3 C Fire

God’s Word or Man’s Words and Experience Part 3A Fire, burning desire, kindle, aflame, heart afire

Part 2 inner eye

God’s WORD

    “… but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.”—Romans 16:19

    “And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.”
    —Exodus 24:17

    “And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the LORD.”—Numbers 26:61

    “… that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech.”—2 Kings 23:10

    “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.”—Isaiah 50:11

    “And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire
    in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every
    dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.”
    —Ezekiel 20:47

    “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.”
    —Hebrews 12:28, 29

kindle, on fire, blaze, burning desire, aflame, heart and soul afire
These are some of the “fire” related words I have found in the research I have been doing. They may seem to indicate a person’s zeal for the Lord, but I have found some of these intense “fire” words and phrases to be similar or the same
as those used in the world of darkness.

This post will discuss some ways fire has been worshipped around the world through the ages. The next post will add some more “fire worship” examples
and then discuss “fire” related phrases used in the so called “Christian” world.

First a definition of fire from a metaphysical dictionary. This is NOT a biblical definition, even though the word, “Bible” is used. The definition does match
with the beliefs of many “fire worshippers.”

Fire Definition
Fire is generally used in the Bible as a symbol of destruction of evil and error. 
It stands for cleansing and purification.
In its true essence it is the fire of Spirit, or the divine energy, which never ceases its life-giving, purifying glow; when its cleansing work is completed in man’s mind and body there is no more error to be consumed, and it then manifests in purified man as his eternal life.—Metaphysical Bible Dictionary
, (1931) by Charles Fillmore, Unity, Unity School of Christianity, Unity Village, MO 64065

Fire Worship
Fire-worship (Pyrolatreia) or deification of fire was once nearly universal, and
in almost every mythology there is an account of the way fire was brought to humankind. The term “fire-worshippers” is primarily associated with Zoroastrians who consider fire to be an agent of purity and as a symbol of righteousness and truth…Others thought fire purified, but that fire would
help them gain enlightenment.

America and West Africa
The Native American tribes, like the tribes of West Africa, paid homage to ancestral fire spirits.

Aztecs
The Aztecs worshipped the fire god Xiuheuctli, who also resembled their sun god.

Canaanites, Phœnicians, and Carthaginians
The fire god Moloch, the divinity of various nations, was worshipped with the sacrifice of their firstborn children, which was said to pacify his wrath.

Celts
Celts offered prayers to Bridget, patroness of fire, hearth, and fertility. Belenus, or, “shining one,” from Celtic mythology, was associated with fire.

Egyptians
Ancient Egyptians made ritual offerings to fire gods.

Greeks (ancient), Romans
Fire-worship in Graeco-Roman tradition had to do with either fire of the hearth or fire of the forge. Hestia was the Greek goddess of the hearth, and Vesta was her Roman counterpart.

Hearth worship was maintained in Rome by the Vestal Virgins, who served the goddess Vesta, protector of the home. Vesta was personified as a living flame, and for centuries there was an eternal flame which burned within the Temple
of Vesta on the Roman Forum…

The fire of the forge was associated with the Greek god Hephaestus and the Roman equivalent, Vulcan. A curious custom of Vulcan was the sacrifice of live fish, which were thrown onto fires lit on the banks of the Tiber…

Hindus (Early)
Hindus sacrificed to the fire as one of the first acts of morning devotion. Hymns were addressed to Agni, the Hindu and Vedic god of fire and the acceptor of sacrifices, who has three forms: fire, lightning and the sun. Since the fire is re-lit every day, he is thought of as immortal…Seven rays of light emanate from his body…His attributes are an axe, torch, prayer beads and a flaming spear, and rides a ram or in a chariot harnessed by fiery horses.

In Vedic religion, fire is a central element in the Yajna ceremony, a Hindu ritual of sacrifice performed to please the Devas (deities or gods), or sometimes the Supreme Spirit Brahman. Agni “fire” plays the role as mediator between the worshipper and the other gods. Agni also plays a central role in most Buddhist homa fire-puja rites.

Yajnas are very sacred religious rites…symbolizes sanctity and spirituality. Fire itself is pure and purifies anything that it contacts even if the object is impure…When, like the wood fuel of Yajna fire, we surrender our all to the Almighty Lord, we become God himself…—from Agnihotra or Fire Worship Must be Performed Daily by Yuga Rishi Shriram Sharma Acharya

Yajna is also a form of yoga…Everything that is offered at a yajna is taken from nature…In their daily life they worship the fire with mantras at sunrise and sunset. It is called the heavenly fire, because it reaches out to the heavens and forms a link between heaven and earth.

Women of Vision: Juggling Spirit and Politics (excerpt from 1998 article)
Delhi’s mayor finds strength in daily ritual worship
“…We all arose at 4am…and…performed hatha yoga postures, then participated in yagna, ritual fire worship…I still arise at 4am…I work on writing books for awhile, perform 25 yoga postures, yagna…then breakfast…

A typical Hindu marriage essentially consists of a yajna, because the fire deity Agni is supposed to be the witness of all pious marriages…

Lighting Up The Fire Of Vital Force Through Kundalini Worship
Shiva is the background deity of the Rigveda…Tantric Yoga is the Vedic Yajna internalized, worship of the inner fire of the Kundalini. The worship of Shiva maintains many Vedic forms of fire worship…Shaivites mark themselves with the sacred ash from the fire…—Shriram Sharma

Shiva (the Benign one) is the focal point of Shaivism, that is, the Shiva tradition of worship and theology…His three eyes symbolize sun, moon, and fire, and a single glance from this eye can incinerate the entire universe…

“…He is portrayed as covered in ashes, and a third eye with which he burned Desire. He is shown with a crescent moon in his matted hair, and the Ganges pouring down from his locks. He is garlanded by a snake, and sacred rudra beads, seated upon a tiger skin and holding a trident. The ashes on the body symbolizes him as a Yogi, who has burnt all his evil desires and rubbed himself with the ashes of the ritual fire.

When Shiva’s wife Sati was insulted in her father Daksha’s Yajna she activated her Yoga fire and burnt her own body to ashes.

India
The sacred fire of the Parsis of India, was kept perpetually burning on the altars…

Sati is the practice through which widows are voluntarily or forcibly burned alive on their husband’s funeral pyre. Although banned in 1829, it had to be banned again in 1956, and again in 1987. Since it was taught that women have worth only in relation to men, when the husband died, the woman was considered unholy, impure…The widow was considered pure if she committed Sati.

Sacrificing the widow in her dead husband’s funeral or pyre was not unique only to India. This custom was prevalent among Egyptians, Greek, Goths, and others.

Indo-European
Fire worship occupied a central position in the religious rites of the early Indo-European peoples. The blazing or fiery cross, in use among Khonds of India, was well known in both Ireland and Scotland.

Ireland
Ireland had a perpetual fire maintained by St. Bridget and her nuns in Kildare…Tradition says that Druidesses did the same…

Baal or Bel is associated with the fires. Beltane was the Lucky Fire through which cattle were passed for purification…The Gabha-Bheil, or trial by Beil, subjected the person with bare feet to pass three times through a fire.

Mexico
Babes on their, fourth day were passed through fire.

Pawnees
The Pawnees had a sacrifice of human beings in the fire at the vernal equinox.

Persia/Iran
Persia was once the high seat of fire-worship. The Parsees of India were refugees from Persia at the time of the Mahometan conquest of that country, and retained the old fire religion. The natural flames that issued from the earth, were regarded as divine…The Sheb-Seze was a Fire-feast of Persia.

Peru
The Inca worshipped a fire god similar to that of the Aztecs.

Polynesian Legend
Maui descended to the underworld, where he learned to make fire by rubbing two sticks together.

Scotland
The people lighted the fire by the friction with two pieces of wood, and then ate the consecrated cake…Whoever got the black bit, hidden in the cake, was considered worthy of sacrifice to Baal and was pushed into the fire, though soon rescued, and afterwards had to leap three times through the flames.

Slavic peoples
Fire worship was generally practiced among the ancient Slavic peoples. In their mythology, Svarog, meaning “bright and clear”, was the spirit of fire.

Wales
Wales, long under Irish rule, had similar fire customs; one custom was to leap through the Midsummer fires.

Zoroastrinism in Persia
In ancient Persia, the ceremonial keeping of the flame was the chief characteristic of the Zoroastrian religion; Fire was believed to be the earthly manifestation of the Divine, the heavenly light. The Zorastrian term for “priest” meant “belonging to the fire.”

Atar is the Zoroastrian concept for “burning and unburning fire” and “visible and invisible fire… justice is administered through atar, the blazing atar, through the heat of atar, through the blazing, shining, molten metal. An individual who has passed the fiery test, has attained physical and spiritual strength, wisdom, truth and love with serenity…

Other references to Fire
Immolate means to kill as a sacrificial victim, as by fire…

four basic elements
The four basic elements to many pagans are earth, water, air (wind or spirit) and fire…In Wiccan or Native American rituals, the “quartered circle” and the Medicine Wheel represent a “sacred space” or the sacred earth. The four lines may represent the spirits of the four primary directions or the spirits of the earth, water, wind, and fire.

Fire—classical element
Fire, one of the four classical elements in ancient Greek philosophy and science, was commonly associated with the qualities of energy, assertiveness, and passion.

In alchemy, the chemical element of sulfur was often associated with fire and its alchemical symbol and its symbol was an upward-pointing triangle…

In traditional Chinese philosophy, fire is classified as one of the Five Elements…by which all natural phenomena can be explained. The system of five elements…was employed in many fields of early Chinese thought…Feng shui, astrology, traditional Chinese medicine, music, military strategy and martial arts.

Fire is yang or masculine in character…It is associated with the planet Mars, summer, south, daylight and heat and the color red…It is also believed to govern the heart, tongue, and pulse…

Four elements of success: Earth, Wind, Water, Fire (Laurie Beth Jones site)
Fire’s strengths include being mesmerizing, exciting, passionate, intense, purifying, illuminating, and committed. It has no fear of confrontation. 

Fire’s challenges include the tendency to burn out quickly and the inability to set its own boundaries. It can destroy as well as purify… It has no fear of confrontation.

Sites talking about the Sacred Fire
Fire was sacred to the ancient Celts. The domestic hearth-fire was never allowed to die, except during the fire festival of Beltane, when it was ritually rekindled from the royal fire. Druids used sacred fires for divination…—sacredfire.net

The Sacred Fire Community is an international community that is committed to rekindling our relationship to each other and the world through the universal and sacred spirit of fire…Sacred fire circles are central to our tradition and many hamlets hold regular community fires…Fire is the energy of the heart. It is a transformative energy in the world and within us, which opens us to the Divine…—sacredfirecommunity.org/home.html

Symbolic eternal flames around the world
The Sacred fire of Vesta in ancient Rome, which burned within the Temple of Vesta on the Roman forum

Many churches (especially Catholic and Lutheran), along with Jewish synagogues, feature an eternal flame on or hung above their altars.

The Olympic Flame is a kind of eternal flame which is kept lit throughout the Olympic Games.

The eternal flame that was kept burning in the inner hearth of the Temple of Delphic Apollo at Delphi in Greece

The eternal flame near the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn in Estonia was extinguished after the country gained independence from the USSR.
for List of Eternal Flames in Europe and US click on “read more” at end of this page

Firewalking
Firewalking is the act of walking barefoot over a bed of hot embers or stones. It has a long history in many cultures as a test or proof of faith, and is also used in modern motivational seminars and fund-raising events.

Firewalking is done by:
Eastern Orthodox Christians in parts of Greece, and Bulgaria during some popular religious feasts.

fakirs and similar persons.

!Kung Bushmen of the African Kalahari desert and use fire in their healing ceremonies.

(mainly) Hindu Indians in South Asia and their diaspora in South Africa, Malaysia and Singapore who celebrate the Thimithi festival

people as a rite of purification, healing, initiation and transcendence.

little girls in Bali in a ceremony in which the girls are said to be possessed by beneficent spirits.

Japanese Taoists and Buddhists.

tribes throughout Polynesia.

some management seminars and motivational seminars.

Sword swallowing
Sword swallowing originated about four thousand years ago in India by fakirs and shaman priests who first developed the art around 2000 BC, along with
fire-eating, fire-walking on hot coals, laying on cactus or a bed of nails, snake handling, and other ascetic religious practices, as demonstration of their invulnerability, power, and connection with their gods.

Fire eating
Fire eating was a common part of Hindu, Saddhu, and Fakir performances to show spiritual attainment.

Phoenix Bird
A phoenix is a mythical sacred bird. At the end of its life-cycle,the phoenix builds a nest that ignites, which burns both nest and bird, leaving ashes, from which a new, young phoenix arises…The bird was a symbol of fire and divinity. Egypt, Persia, Greece, Russia and China all have a Firebird myth.

WORD of GOD

    “Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods,
    and worship them;”—Deuteronomy 11:16

    “But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.”—1 Corinthians 10:20

    “But this man [Jesus], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;”
    —Hebrews 10:12

    “By him [Jesus] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.—Hebrews 13:15

In Part 4B, my next post, I will present some more about fire worship from the kingdom of darkness, and compare some of the “fire” phrases heard in the “Christian” world with what is said in the Bible. After the Hislop excerpts, click
on the “keep reading” and you will get several of the resources I used, and a list
of the locations of some more eternal flames.

Excerpts from Two Babylons by Hislop regarding worship of fire

The first excerpt from Two Babylons by Hislop.
“…at the entrance of the temples there was commonly placed a vessel full of holy water.” How did this water get its holiness? This water “was consecrated,” says Athenaeus, “by putting into it a BURNING TORCH taken from the altar.” The burning torch was the express symbol of the god of fire; and by the light of this torch, so indispensable for consecrating “the holy water,” we may easily see whence came one great part of the purifying virtue of “the water of the loud resounding sea,” which was held to be so efficacious in purging away the guilt
and stain of sin…”

The second excerpt from Two Babylons by Hislop
“The “Serpent of Fire” in the plains of Shinar seems to have been the grand object of worship. There is the strongest evidence that apostacy among the
sons of Noah began in fire-worship, and that in connection with the symbol of the serpent.

“We have seen…that fire was worshipped as the enlightener and the purifier…Nimrod is singled out by the voice of antiquity as commencing this fire-worship… In a fragment of Apollodorus it is said that “Ninus taught the Assyrians to worship fire.” The sun, as the great source of light and heat, was worshipped under the name of Baal…As the sun in the heavens was the great object of worship, so fire was worshipped as its earthly representative.

“…there is an exact coincidence between Vulcan, the god of fire of the Romans, and Nimrod, the fire-god of Babylon. In the case of the classic Vulcan, it is only in his character of the fire-god as a physical agent that he is popularly represented. But it was in his spiritual aspects, in cleansing and regenerating the souls of men, that the fire-worship told most effectually on the world. The power, the popularity, and skill of Nimrod, as well as the seductive nature of the system itself, enabled him to spread the delusive doctrine far and wide… as on the point of “setting the whole world on fire,” or (without the poetical metaphor) of involving all mankind in the guilt of fire-worship.

“The extraordinary prevalence of the worship of the fire-god in the early ages of the world, is proved by legends found over all the earth, and by facts in almost every clime. Thus, in Mexico, the natives relate, that in primeval times, just after the first age, the world was burnt up with fire. As their history, like the Egyptian, was written in Hieroglyphics, it is plain that this must be symbolically understood.

“In India, they have a legend to the very same effect…The Brahmins say that, in
a very remote period of the past, one of the gods shone with such insufferable splendour, ‘inflicting distress on the universe by his effulgent beams, brighter than a thousand worlds,’ that, unless another more potent god had interposed and cut off his head, the result would have been most disastrous.

“In the Druidic Triads of the old British Bards, there is distinct reference to the same event. They say that in primeval times a “tempest of fire arose, which split the earth asunder to the great deep,” from which none escaped but “the select company shut up together in the enclosure with the strong door …These stories all point to one and the same period…The Papal purgatory and the fires of St. John’s Eve…are just so many relics of the same ancient superstition.

“The Phenicians,” says Eusebius, “every year sacrificed their beloved and only-begotten children to Kronos or Saturn, and the Rhodians also often did the same.”

“Diodorus Siculus states that the Carthaginians, on one occasion, when besieged by the Sicilians, and sore pressed, in order to rectify, as they supposed, their error in having somewhat departed from the ancient custom of Carthage, in this respect, hastily “chose out two hundred of the noblest of their children, and publicly sacrificed them” to this god.

“There is reason to believe that the same practice obtained in our own land in the times of the Druids. We know that they offered human sacrifices to their bloody gods. We have evidence that they made “their children pass through the fire to Moloch,” and that makes it highly probable that they also offered them in sacrifice; for, from Jeremiah 32:35, compared with Jeremiah 19:5, we find that these two things were parts of one and the same system.

“The god whom the Druids worshipped was Baal, as the blazing Baal-fires show, and the last-cited passage proves that children were offered in sacrifice to Baal. When “the fruit of the body” was thus offered, it was “for the sin of the soul.” And it was a principle of the Mosaic law, a principle no doubt derived from the patriarchal faith, that the priest must partake of whatever was offered as a sin-offering (Num 18:9,10). Hence, the priests of Nimrod or Baal were necessarily required to eat of the human sacrifices; and thus it has come to pass that “Cahna-Bal,” the “Priest of Baal,” is the established word in our own tongue for a devourer of human flesh.

Zoroaster, the Head of the Fire-Worshippers
That Zoroaster was head of the fire-worshippers, the following, among other evidence, may prove…The fire-worship was an essential part of the system of the Persian Magi (Wilson, Parsee Religion). This fire-worship the Persian Magi did not pretend to have invented.

It is evident, however, from the Zoroastrian verse, elsewhere quoted, that fire itself was worshipped as Tammuz, for it is called the “Father that perfected all things.” In one respect this represented fire as the Creative god; but in another, there can be no doubt that it had reference to the “perfecting” of men by “purifying” them. And especially it perfected those whom it consumed. This was the very idea that, from time immemorial until very recently, led so many widows in India to immolate themselves on the funeral piles of their husbands, the woman who thus burned herself being counted blessed, because she became Suttee—i.e., “Pure by burning.”

And this also, no doubt, reconciled the parents who actually sacrificed their children to Moloch, to the cruel sacrifice, the belief being cherished that the fire that consumed them also “perfected” them, and made them meet for eternal happiness. As both the passing through the fire, and the burning in the fire, were essential rites in the worship of Moloch or Nimrod, this is an argument that Nimrod was Tammuz. As the priest and representative of the perfecting or purifying fire, it was he that carried on the work of perfecting or purifying by
fire, and so he was called by its name.

3 B Fire

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