What kind of fire must that be which is to burn up the earth at the end of the world, when it is written of that very time, “THERE SHALL NOT BE A COAL TO WARM AT, NOR FIRE TO SIT BEFORE?” See `Isa. 47:14`.
<ANSWER>–The Scriptures in many places refer to the time of destruction in the end of the present order of things under various symbols or illustrations such as “fire,” “earthquake,” “whirlwind,” etc. The literal earth or planet on which we dwell is not referred to in connection with these statements, but the present social order, with all of its selfishness and evil, is to be destroyed in a destructive time of trouble “such as was not since there was a nation.” The earth itself will never pass away, for the Bible declares the Lord formed it to be inhabited and will eventually “make the place of His feet (His footstool–the earth) glorious.” The expression of the Prophet, “there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before,” we understand to signify that during the time of trouble and distress that shall come upon the nations in the last days, there will be no place or source of comfort and consolation for the class of false prophets or prognosticators of the preceding verse.
We hear of so many great fires these days, I wonder if the Bible shows that the earth will be destroyed by actual fire?
<ANSWER>–An improper conception of the Scriptures has led to many ludicrous conclusions concerning the destruction of the earth by fire. A man in western Pennsylvania became so thoroughly imbued with the thought that the world will be burned up by the Lord in the last days, that he vigorously protested against the great consumption of coal, gas and oil now being mined and removed from below the earth’s surface, declaring, “that the Lord will not have enough fuel with which to burn up the world when the time comes to do so, if this thing keeps up.” Others have had the thought that even the literal heavens will be consumed in that dreadful conflagration. If the heaven is to be destroyed, where would even the Lord find a habitation? The Apostle’s words in `2 Pet. 3` are cited as authority by those who hold the theory of a literal destruction of heaven and earth. But let us observe that the Apostle is using figurative language. He mentions three worlds and three heavens, clearly meaning dispensation or ages each relating to a different social order and a spiritual rule. One of these ended with a great flood and the present is to pass away with a “great time of trouble” (`Dan. 12:1`). The prophet (`Zep. 3:8,9`) points out that after the present order of things passes away “then the Lord will turn to the people a pure message that they may all call upon the Lord,” thus showing that the people remain. The Lord “made the earth to be inhabited” (`Isa. 45:18`). “The earth abideth forever” (`Eccl. 1:4`). It shall yet be a fit habitation for man. (`Psa. 67:6`.)