Hellfire and Gnashing of Teeth (Continued)

Because hellfire is love for oneself and the world, it is also all the craving of those loves, since craving is love reaching out. Whatever we love we constantly crave, and it is our delight, since we feel delight when we get what we love or crave. There is no other source of our heart’s delight. So hellfire is the craving and pleasure that well up from these two loves as its sources. These evils are contempt for others, enmity and hostility toward people who do not support us, envy, hatred, and vengefulness; and savagery and cruelty as a result. In respect to the Divine, they are denial and a consequent contempt, derision, and blasphemy of the sacred values of the church. After death, when we become spirits, these turn into rage and hatred against such values (see above, Section 562).

Further, since these evils are constantly breathing out the death and destruction of everyone we see as the enemy, of everyone who is the target of this blazing hatred and vengefulness, the delight of our lives is the intent to destroy and kill, or to the extent that we cannot do this, to inflict harm, to wound, and to savage.

These are the meanings of fire in the Word when it deals with evil people and the hells. I should like to cite a few passages in support.

Everyone who is hypocritical and malicious, every mouth that utters folly, because it is aflame with malice as with fire, shall eat briars and brambles and kindle the thickets of the forest, and will rise up with the rising of smoke; and the inhabitants have become the food of fire, a man and his brother do not spare each other. (Isaiah 9:17–18 [9:17–19])

I will make great portents in heaven and on earth—blood and fire and columns of smoke; the sun will turn into darkness. (Joel 2:30, 31)

The earth will become burning pitch, night and day it will not be put out, its smoke will rise up forever. (Isaiah 34:9–10)

Behold, the day is coming that will burn like an oven, and all the proud and all that do wickedness will be stubble, and the coming day will burn them up. (Malachi 4:1)311

Babylon has become the dwelling of demons, those who saw the smoke of her burning cried aloud, the smoke rose up forever and ever. (Revelation 18:2, 18; 19:2 [19:3])

He opened the pit of the abyss and smoke came up out of the pit like the smoke of a huge furnace, and the sun was darkened, and the air, by the smoke from the pit. (Revelation 9:2)

From the mouth of the horses came forth fire and smoke and sulfur; and a third part of the people were killed by the fire and the smoke and the sulfur. (Revelation 11:17–18 [9:17–18])

Whoever worships the beast will drink the wine of the wrath of God mixed with myrrh in the cup of his wrath and will be tortured with fire and sulfur. (Revelation 14:9–10)

The fourth angel poured out his vial on the sun, and it was allowed to burn people by fire with its heat, and so it scorched people with intense heat. (Revelation 16:[8–]9)

They were thrown into a swamp burning with fire and sulfur. (Revelation 19:20; 20:14–15, 21:8)

Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:10; Luke 3:9)

The Human-born One will send his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom everything that gives offense and everyone who does iniquity and consign them to a furnace of fire. (Matthew 13:41–42, 50)

The king will say to those on his left, “Leave me, cursed ones, for the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:4 [25:41])

And they will be sent off into eternal fire, into a Gehenna of fire, where their worm does not die and their fire is not quenched. (Matthew 18:8–9; Mark 9:43–49)

The rich man in hell said to Abraham that he was being tormented in flame. (Luke 16:24)

In these and many other passages fire means the craving of love for oneself and love of the world, and the smoke from the fire means the falsity that comes from this evil.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 570


Section 562: Published 2/10/2019

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