PERPETUAL BURNING - The Warrior's Journey®


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About 140 miles north of Sydney, New South Wales’ largest city, is the village of Wingen. Only a few hundred people make Wingen their home. Besides sheep herding, its only businesses include an antique shop and a pub. Folks wouldn’t have much reason to visit this this little hamlet, were it not for its one attraction – Burning Mountain. Burning Mountain is another name for Mount Wingen, a peak which reaches 1,710 feet above sea level. The earliest European explorers mistook this smoking mountain for a volcano. But in 1829 a visiting geologist, Reverend C. P. N. Wilton, discovered that the smoke bellowing from this sandstone mountain was from an underground coal fire.

Now, underground coal fires are not that rare. In fact, there are about 1,000 of them smoldering away world-wide. Americans are probably most familiar with the underground coal fire that slowly destroyed the town of Centralia, Pennsylvania. That fire started back in 1962 when a resident was burning trash near an open seam of coal. Despite many efforts to quench that fire, it blazes to this day – and is expected to continue for the next 250 years!

But even after the Centralia coal fire has burned itself out, it will still have paled in comparison to the Burning Mountain fire. Mount Wingen’s underground fire has been burning for the last 6,000 years! And scientists anticipate that it may burn another 6,000 years.

When I read this it, reminded me of another fire that burned for centuries. This was the fire which burned upon the bronze altar of offering in the Tabernacle of Moses and later upon the great altar of Solomon’s Temple.

This was the fire which consumed hundreds of thousands of burnt offerings over the centuries. Its flames represented the wrath of God against our sins. And, appropriately, it was a fire not kindled by man but by God Himself. This fire when it fell from God upon the first sacrifice laid upon the altar. This happened first when Aaron and his sons began their priestly duties in Leviticus 9:23-24. Fire fell from God and consumed their offering. And God commanded them to never allow this fire to go out (Leviticus 6:12-13). It was to burn perpetually.

On at least three other occasions fire fell from God upon the altar. The second time is recorded in 1 Chronicles 21:26-27, when David’s offering on the future site of the temple turned away the avenging angel. The third occasion of the fire falling upon the sacrifice upon the altar is recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:1 at the conclusion of Solomon’s dedicatory prayer. And a fourth time occurred when Elijah built an altar to God on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18:36-38. The fire which fell not only consumed the sacrifice. It also burned up the stones the altar was built with and “licked up” the water which Elijah had poured upon it.

Think about it. For the 800 years or so that sacrifices were offered upon the sacred altar of burnt offering (in the Tabernacle and Temple), this fire of God never went out. For 800 years it reduced every sacrifice to ashes – yet it still burned on. The message God was trying to drill into the minds and hearts of His people was this. God’s wrath is both eternal and unquenchable (Matthew 3:12; Mark 9:43). No sacrifice of man could ever satisfy its consuming flames.

There was, of course, one great exception to this rule. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), fully absorbed and quenched the fire of Almighty God’s wrath. As God commanded the Passover Lamb to be roasted with fire (Exodus 12:9), so Christ was to bear the eternal flames of God’s wrath. And this sacrifice was all for humanity. “He is the satisfaction, the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not ours only, but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

That’s right. Though countless sacrifices were unable to quench the wrath of God and satisfy God’s holy justice, Jesus Christ accomplished all of this. This is why there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). This is why those who believe in Jesus do not come into judgment, but have passed from death unto eternal life (John 3:18; 5:24). This is why we are not destined for the coming wrath of Judgment Day (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9). Christ has already absorbed that wrath to the fullest and has quenched it.

No believer in Jesus needs ever dread God’s judgment and wrath. No believer in Jesus needs ever fear that they live under God’s frown. Christ has born God’s eternal wrath for us, so that He can now lavish His eternal love upon us (Romans 5:5; 8:33-39; John 3:1).

But Christ’s great sacrifice only benefits those who cling to Jesus in faith. Just as the sons of Israel had to apply the blood of the Passover Lamb to their doorframes so that the destroying angel would pass over them (Exodus 12:22-23), so by faith we must apply Christ’s blood to our hearts. How do we do this? We simply receive and embrace Jesus (John 1:12-13), as you would embrace a life ring tossed to you, as you would embrace the strong hand reaching to pull you from the waters, as Peter embraced Jesus when he began to sink into the deep (Matthew 14:28-33), pleading, “Save me, O Christ, I am Yours.”

For those who want nothing to do with Jesus, who despise His love, and scorn His sacrifice for them on the cross there is a terrible fire smoldering. It is the wrath of God against all those who reject His only Sacrifice for sin, the Lord Jesus (John 3:36; Hebrews 10:26-27). And as everlasting as the fire of Burning Mountain may seem, it pales by comparison to the eternal fire which awaits all those who reject Jesus Christ. We must believe in and embrace Jesus Christ. “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven, that’s been given to humanity, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).


PRAYER:  Dear Lord Jesus, here and now I acknowledge my sin and I plead ‘guilty’ before the Court of Heaven. But Lord, I believe You died on the cross for me – bearing my sins and God’s wrath against them. In simple faith I embrace You and trust in Your atoning sacrifice to put away my sin, satisfy God’s judgment, and extinguish the eternal and unquenchable fire of His wrath. I am Yours, O Christ, save me. Amen.


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