- “… 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.”
“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.”
“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 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 (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.
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 offered prayers to Bridget, patroness of fire, hearth, and fertility. Belenus, or, “shining one,” from Celtic mythology, was associated with fire.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
Babes on their, fourth day were passed through fire.
The Pawnees had a sacrifice of human beings in the fire at the vernal equinox.
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.
The Inca worshipped a fire god similar to that of the Aztecs.
Maui descended to the underworld, where he learned to make fire by rubbing two sticks together.
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.
Fire worship was generally practiced among the ancient Slavic peoples. In their mythology, Svarog, meaning “bright and clear”, was the spirit of fire.
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, 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 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 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 was a common part of Hindu, Saddhu, and Fakir performances to show spiritual attainment.
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;”
“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.
List of Eternal Flames in Europe and US
• Paris, France, under the archway at the Arc de Triomphe, which has burned continuously since 1921, in memory of all who died in World War I
• Moscow, Russia, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Alexander Garden to honor the dead of the Great Patriotic War
• Saint Petersburg, Russia, has two eternal flames. The first is at the Field of Mars in memory of those who died during the Bolshevik Revolution. The second is at Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery in memory of those who perished in World War II during the Siege of Leningrad
• Budapest, Hungary, in Kossuth Square commemorating the revolutionaries of the 1956 uprising against control by the Soviet Union
• Amsterdam, Holland, at the Hollandsche Schouwburg, in memorial of the Dutch Jewish people who are killed in WW2
• Sofia, Bulgaria, at the Monument to the Unknown Soldier
• The Hague, Netherlands, at the Peace Palace
• Liverpool, England, at the Anfield stadium, in memorial to those who died in the Hillsborough disaster
• Madonna del Ghisallo, Italy, near Lake Como, for all cyclists who have died
• Rome, Italy, on the Altare della Patria, for the Unknown Soldier
• Riga, Latvia, at Brothers’ Cemetery
• Warsaw, Poland, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
• Berlin, Germany, at the Theodor-Heuss-Platz
• Munich, Germany, on the Square Of The Victims Of The National Socialism
• Kaunas, Lithuania, at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier, in the Square of Unity
• Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, lit after World War II
• Yerevan, Armenia, in the center of the Armenian Genocide Memorial
• Oslo, Norway, inaugurated on June 9th 2001 at The Pier of Honour, Port of Oslo by Sri Chinmoy and installed permanently at the Aker Brygge complex in 2002.
• Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, at the Fossar de les Moreres (adjacent to the Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar), honouring the Catalans buried there, who died defending Barcelona on the siege of 1714. The torch with the eternal flame was inaugurated in 2001.
• John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, lit by Jacqueline Kennedy on November 25, 1963 during the assassinated president’s state funeral
• Honolulu, Hawaii, USA to honor victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks
• Gettysburg Battlefield, Pennsylvania, in memory of the dead of the American Civil War, first lit by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1938
• Decatur, Georgia at the square downtown, for the Korean War, World War II, and the Vietnam War
• Atlanta, Georgia at the King Center, for assassinated civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
• Washington, D.C., at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, first lit in 1993 by President Bill Clinton and noted Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel
• New York City, New York, at Ground Zero, lit by Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the first anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks upon the financial district of the city. It is currently temporarily located at Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan under The Sphere, which is a sculpture that had been recovered from the World Trade Center site. The eternal flame will be relocated to the World Trade Center location when the memorial there is completed.
• Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to honor the crew and passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 93 on 9/11 in their efforts to thwart the hijacking
• Chicago, Illinois to honor those who perished in World War II
• Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma, atop the Prayer Tower, which represents the baptism of the Holy Spirit
• Newport News Victory Arch in Virginia, commemorating American servicemen and women
• Memphis, Tennessee at the grave of Elvis Presley at his home “Graceland”
• University of California, Santa Barbara houses an eternal flame on its campus.
• Bowman, South Carolina, lit in 1987 in honor and memory of the community’s residents who died in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War
• Washington Square (Philadelphia), site of the city’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
• Lynchburg, Virginia, gravesite of Jerry Falwell at Liberty University