THE UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
#05-1120
Brimstone ― Agent of Love
January 20, 2011
a
In the physical sense, the English word brimstone simply refers to sulfur (sulphur). The word is traced
to the Old English word brynstan , which is made up of brin , meaning "to burn," and stan , meaning
"stone." Taken from the ground, sulfur, which has the atomic number 16, appears as a bright yellow
rystalline solid that burns easily; hence, it is called a burning stone .
c
Sulfur is one of the oldest known substances used as a fungicide (kills fungus) and pesticide (kills
pests). It is a component in fertilizer, black gun powder, and matches, and is used in the process of
anufacturing cellophane, rayon, rubber, bleaching paper, and a host of other products.
m
Also, it is an essential element of life, being found in two amino acids, cysteine and methionine, and it is
sed to save lives and fight infections by being formulated into a form of drug called sulfa drugs .
u
As such, in a physical or natural sense, sulfur is not a bad thing, for it has many good uses, especially
hen it comes to life and its preservation. On the other hand, it can also be used to kill.
w
However, when it comes to its spiritual meaning or application, the traditions of men have built up quite
a bias against the word brimstone . Bible dictionaries generally identify brimstone as sulfur (sulphur), an
inflammable mineral substance found in quantities on the shores of the Dead Sea, which is a most
appropriate understanding of the word. However, most go on to define it as denoting destruction or
punishment and expressing the idea of excruciating torment . This is based on the literal destruction
f the ancient cities on the plain, Sodom and Gomorrah, and on a literal and torturous lake of fire.
o
The question is this: Is there a spiritual meaning to brimstone that goes beyond physical destruction of
he flesh? Of course, I reject the excruciating torment part.
t
The first mention of brimstone is found in the account of the Lord judging Sodom and Gomorrah by
totally destroying the cities of the plain by fire and brimstone. There was no torture in this judgment; it
was simply a total destruction of the city and its inhabitants. All who died on the plain will be raised up
the second resurrection to face the Great White Throne Judgment.
in
(24) Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone [gophriyth] and fire from the
LORD out of heaven, (25) and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the
nhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. (Genesis 19:24-25 NASB)
i
The Hebrew word for brimstone is gophriyth , which is related to cypress resin and, by analogy,
inflammable (burning) sulphur, and is derived from the Hebrew word gopher , which is identified with a
type of wood, in particular, cypress wood. If you recall, Noah was commanded to make the ark out of
opher wood (Genesis 6:14).
g
In the New Testament, the first mention of brimstone comes from Jesus as He referred to the ancient
judgment in Lot's day, and the last mention in scripture is associated with the Great White Throne
udgment and the lake of fire.
J
But on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone [theion] from heaven
and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:29 NASB)
It can be stated without much, if any, contradiction that when most people hear the word brimstone ,
they conjure up images of people being tormented (actually, more like tortured) in a fiery place called
hell . If you have followed my writings, you know that I abhor such a thought, for it maligns the loving
nd merciful character of God, and, besides, it is not based on scripture but on pagan religion.
b
The Greek word for brimstone is theion , which conveys the sense of flashing, as in inflammable
ulphur, and is derived from theios , which means " divine, godhead ."
s
Now, putting all these notes together, spiritually speaking, I propose that brimstone denotes something
good, not bad, for it speaks of God's means of cleansing the flesh of man. In the physical sense, it was
used to literally destroy sinful flesh (i.e., death of the body, not torture), but, in the spiritual sense, it
signifies (figuratively speaking) the cleansing of man from his sinful nature and works of the flesh. Its
ltimate purpose is salvation, not destruction or annihilation. Let us consider a few points.
u
First, generally, the first mention of a Hebrew word in the Old Testament sets the meaning for the
Greek word in the New Testament when the same Hebrew verse is repeated or referenced in the New
Testament. As such, in its primal meaning, brimstone refers to gopher wood, which was used to save
Noah and his family who were brought safely through the water; in type, baptized into Christ through
is resurrection (1 Peter 3:20-21). Salvation!
H
Second, in the Greek, brimstone is also connected to that which is divine . Many probably think of it as
onnected to Satan and hell, but this is not so, for there is a divine meaning attached to brimstone.
c
Third, brimstone is like a sulfa drug used to fight off infection and disease in the mortal body. In the
spiritual sense, it signifies the agent by which God cleanses or, if you will, purges unbelievers from the
works or deeds of the flesh (Revelation 20:13). All the wicked or unjust will be judged before the Great
White Throne and will have a part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second
death. As I have written elsewhere, the lake of fire signifies the righteous and holy law of God that
will purge (cleanse) the wicked of their works of the flesh, teach them righteousness, make restitution
for their evil deeds against others, and, ultimately, reconcile and restore them to God. The second
death is the death of their works of sinful flesh, not annihilation of their existence or torture of their body.
e could say that brimstone is the treatment of disease (sinful deeds) and the preserver of life.
W
Fourth, the atomic number for sulfur is 16 , which is the number of love . God is love , and in His love He
mercifully judges, even the unjust, for the purpose of leading all to be saved and come to the
knowledge of the truth through the man Christ Jesus (Anointed, Messiah) who gave Himself a ransom
or all, not just some or a few but ALL (1 Timothy 2:4-6). Thus, at the heart of brimstone is God is love !
f
Fifth, the gematria for the Hebrew word for brimstone is 693, which is a factor of 9 times 77. The
number 9 signifies judgment , and the number 7 signifies divine perfection or perfection of what is in
view . The number 77 could signify either a double witness or a factor of 7 times 10 with the number
10 signifying ordinal completion or perfection of divine order , as well as the fullness of law and
responsibility . As a whole, these numbers all point to God's perfect judgment. Thus, brimstone
signifies God bringing about His divine, perfect order that will ultimately include the unjust. At the
consummation of the ages, the unrighteous will join the ranks of the righteous company of God.
Sixth, the gematria for brimstone in Greek is 144 , which signifies the first resurrection saints. 144 is
also the multiplication of 12 by 12, and the number 12 signifies divine government or the perfection
of divine government ; and is the primary number of New Jerusalem (Revelation 21-22). I recognize
that brimstone is not associated with the first resurrection; but, what about brimstone being associated
with God establishing His divine government on a new earth that has been cleansed from all deeds of
sinful flesh (2 Peter 3:10)? However, to bring all mankind into His Kingdom and immortality, He must
purge the unjust, those outside New Jerusalem, as well. Thus, fire and brimstone are God's way of
stablishing His divine government in the hearts of all mankind, none excluded.
The Upward Call: #05-1120 [528]
Web: kingdomandglory.com
By: Stuart H. Pouliot
"But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and
sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and
rimstone [theion] , which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8 NASB)
e
In conclusion, brimstone could be called the sulfa drug of God that will cleanse and purge all
mankind of sinful deeds, so that by the consummation of the ages, all will be restored to God, so that
the Father will be All in All New (1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Revelation 21:5), proving love never fails!
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! (Romans 11:33 NASB)