Exodus 3:2, 4
Fire is a common symbol of holiness and in some cases of protection (cf. Zech. 2:5). It represents divine action, with God himself presented as ‘a consuming fire’ (Heb. 12:29; cf. Deut.4:24). Fire is God’s servant (Ps. 104:4; Heb. 1:7), and his word is like fire (Jer. 23:29). In reference to God’s action, fire is most frequently a symbol of destruction associated with the wrath ofGod and his jealousy. As a metaphor of God’s holiness, however, it may also purge or purify. The Babylonian exile is described as purification by fire (Ps. 66:12; Isa. 43:2), and certainly, the Day of the Lord will purify Israel (Zech. 13:9; cf. 1 Cor. 3:13-15).
Fire is a central element of the description of theophany throughout biblical literature.God’s appearance for the covenant with Abraham (Gen. 15:17), the appearance in the burning bush (Exod. 3:2), the leading of Israel with the pillar of fire by night (Exod. 13:21-22), and the appearance in fire on Mount S…