I cite Luke Timothy Johnson in Sacra Pagina for his insight into the symbolism of fire. It is both regarding judgment because of its purifying and consuming effects and because it is clearly in the Scripture a sign of the Holy Spirit. Luke uses the same language as th prophet Elijah calling down fire to consume the sacrifices and the false prophets in II Kings. The “to set” of the translation is a very weakened option for the Greek, “to throw down”.

It strikes me that this is the connection with the Jeremiah selection. The young Judean King Zedekiah was obviously in the control of the princess of the land and the false court prophets, men and women who were there to flatter the king, speak on his behalf, and assuage any sense of impending doom.

There is an American heretical Christianity that does just that: they tickle our ears with prosperity religion, create an us vs. them mentality, and create an environment of apocalyptic doom way off in the future. Jeremiah would understand our culture very well; we don’t. In our complacency, the last thing we want is the fire, under either of its symbolic range of meanings.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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