Greater Things > Books > A New Testament: A Mighty Change for a New World

by Sterling D. Allan

> Alphabetics > "Fire"

Words Around "FIRE" in English, OT Hebrew, and NT Greek

bullet "Fire" in Hebrew

One of the best foreshadowings of the baptism of fire in the Old Testament is in the Hebrew word for "fire" itself. Astonishingly, there is but this one Hebrew word for every English occurrences of "fire" in the King James Old Testament. Spelled ASh (#784), it is not many words after Ornan (ARNN #771). A, aleph, often refers to "God," and Sh, shin, infers "bringing forth, or birth." So the distilled definition for the word ASh, "fire," might be rendered, "The birth of God in us" -- or receiving his image in our countenance, for with the mighty change, Christ comes and makes his abode with us, or in our heart, through the Holy Ghost. Another definition for ASh (#786, different vowel points (d.v.p.)) is, "I am." The next definition for ASh (#787, d.v.p.) is equally profound and relevant: "Foundations." ["Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation." (Hel. 5:12.) Indeed, the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost is fundamental to establishing that foundation. (3 Ne. 11:35,39.)] Another definition for ASh (#785, d.v.p.), also having the meaning of "flame," cites Daniel 7:11 in which the beast which has made war with the saints and prevailed for a short season (Dan. 7:21,25) "is slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame." "Wherefore, [the Lord] will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire." (1 Ne. 22:17.) Following his alphabetic scheme, Gesenius lists three words prior to #784 ASh ("fire"), which have a meaning reminiscent of covenant [everlasting covenant]: AShR (unused root): "To bind;" AShRAL (840) "whom God has bound;" AShRYAL (844,5): "vow of God." The word prior to these, ARThChShShThA (783) means: "strong, powerful" -- the only virtuous and lasting attainment of which comes through Christ. "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory." (1 Ne. 14:14.)

bullet "Fire" in the New Testament Greek Lexicon

There is a grouping of words in Greek which mean "fire," the main derivative being word 4442.  In its vicinity are a few words of particular relevance to the doctrine of Christ and the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.

Words 4432 - 4434 mean "poor and helpless."  That definition, in the context of fire and the gospel brings to mind the following scriptures:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor" (Luke 4:18.)

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3.)

"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." (Isaiah 55:1.)

 Another definition of note, prior to word 4442, "fire," is the word pule (4439) and pulon (4440), which mean "a door, gate."  Certainly "gate" and "fire" are closely related in the context of the gospel, as the baptism of fire is part of entering the gate.  (II Nephi 31:17,18.)

The word after "gate" (4438,4440) and before "fire" (4442) means "to ask, inquire" (4441).  Asking or beseeching the Lord is of course a fundamental part of the process of receiving the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.

Regarding Tongues

Two other words that mean fire in Greek are phlogizo (5394) "to inflame, set on fire;" and phlox (5395), "a bright burning fire or flame."

The words before and after this seem a commentary on the tongues associated with the baptism of fire.  In some charismatic teachings, speaking in tongues is considered a necessary manifestation to show that one has received the baptism of the Holy Ghost.   If there are no tongues, there has not been the receipt of the Holy Ghost.   What sometimes happens in practice, though, is much to-do and fakery.  Rather than the tongues being something which glorifies God and benefits the congregation, they serve as more of a babbling confusion, edifying no one.  Thanks to the Book of Mormon, we know that this speaking with the tongue of angels is not merely speaking in another language, but entails praising God, including in ones own language.  With this in mind, I will quote here the word definitions before and after these two Greek words for "fire."  You can their commentary and apply it as is fitting.

5392 phimoo To muzzle. (I) To muzzle, as an ox. (II) Figuratively to stop the mouth in order to silence. (III) Used by Christ in commanding an evil spirit not to speak through the demoniac; the raging sea to be still.
Ant. lego (3004), to speak.

5393 Phlegon Meaning flame.

5394 phlogizo To inflame, set on fire (James 3:6, of the tongue representing discord).
Syn. (4448), to be on fire, hot, burn up; (2545), to set fire to, burn; 2618), to burn up completely; (1572), to inflame, deeply burn; (1714), to burn up; (2328), to heat; (2204), to be feverish, hot, ...earnest...

5395 phlox A bright burning fire or flame. The description of the Son of Man.

5396 phluareo To overflow with talk, chatter, prattle. To blabber, chatter, talk in an idle, trifling manner against someone; talking idly or falsely.
Syn (945), to stutter, talk tediously.

5397 phluaros A tattle, an idle or trifling talker, one who boils over with impertinent talk.

See also "A New Heart and Tongues" (click here to go back if you came from here)

bullet "Fire" in the English Dictionary
(Webster's II '59)

In the English, fire includes the meanings:

fire: I.(1)(a) The principle of combustion as manifested in light, and in heating, destroying, and altering effects; (6)(a) Consuming love; (9) Severe trial; afflictions; II.(5)(a) To drive out as if by fire; Intransitive: (7) To undergo a change by the action of fire, as in the making of pottery.

This brings to mind the scripture:

"But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand." (Isa. 64:8.)

The word after the forms of fire... is firk: "(3) To beat; strike; chasitse."

The next major word is 

firm: "(1) Fixed; (2) Established [See link to "ordinance" in {}]; not easily moved, shaken, excited, or disturbed; unchanging in purpose; steady; constant" [the Rock of Christ].

Then is firmament: "(2) Fixed foundation; established basis." [e.g. rock of Jesus Christ.]

Finally, there is first: "(1) Preceding all others; foremost."

"Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen [D&C 113:10: "Return to the Lord from whence they have fallen"], and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (Revelation 2:5).

"For verily thus saith the Lord, that inasmuch as there are those among you who deny my name [D&C 112:26; 76:31,32; 2 Ne. 31:14], others shall be planted in their stead." (D&C 114:2; 64:39,40; Ezk. 17:22-24; 21:25-27.)



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