The Last Consumer
Descended from the Latin tongue, the word “consumer” by the 15th century had come to have a negative inference for “one who squanders or wastes” (Online Etymology Dictionary).
By the 1700s the more modern definition–one who buys and/or uses goods, articles and services (as opposed to one who produces and/or sells them)–had caught on.
In that regard we–the human species–are all consumers: from the child with nothing but the clothes on their back who consumes the free air they breathe to the sheikh whose Lamborghini consumes the expensive, high-octane gasoline.
There are other applications of the word “consumer.” A political despot may be the consumer of a nation…bringing its people and resources under his authoritarian control, making them subject to his own use and whim. A raging wildfire may be anthropomorphized as a consumer of forests and homes.
Is God a Consumer? Does The Godhead consume our adoration, worship, sacrifices, presents and obedience? In a way, yes…and in another way, no.
“And he [Gideon] said unto Him [the Messenger of the LORD], “If now I have found grace in Thy Sight, then shew me a sign that Thou talkest with me. Depart not hence, I pray Thee, until I come unto Thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before Thee. And He said, ‘I will tarry until thou come again.’ “And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah [23 liters] of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto Him under the oak, and presented it. “And the Angel of God said unto him, ‘Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth.’ And he did so. “Then the Angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in His Hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the Angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.”
This “consumption” by fire (both man-made and Divine) of offerings and presents given to God pervades the Old Testament. There were even times when, in response to human pride and presumption, men themselves were consumed by the Fire of God (Leviticus 10:1-7).
The idea of God Himself as a “Consuming Fire” is mentioned no less than five times in both the Old and New Testaments (Deuteronomy 4:24; 9:3; Isaiah 33:14; Lamentations 2:3; Hebrews 12:29). The Apostle Peter states that all matter in the universe will one day be consumed by the Fire of God (2nd Peter 3:10).
There is, however, another kind of consumption mentioned in the Bible in which God is depicted not as a Consuming Fire, but as the Preserving, Purifying Fire.
A Fire that preserves rather than consume? We know that certain metals can be purged of foreign elements and contaminants, but human flesh cannot withstand fire without being consumed, can it?
“When he brought me there, behold, there was a man whose appearance was like bronze, with a linen cord and a measuring reed in his hand. And he was standing in the gateway.” – Ezekiel 40:3
This description of “men” with skin that looks like highly-polished, shimmering bronze under high heat is presented more than once in the Bible.
“I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body [clothing] was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude. And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves.” Daniel 10:5-7
Jesus’ last historical appearance to the Apostle John parallels the previous passages:
“Then I turned to see the Voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands One like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around His Chest. The hairs of His Head were white, like white wool, like snow. His Eyes were like a flame of fire, His Feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and His Voice was like the roar of many waters.” – The Apostle John, Revelation 1:12-15
This idea of transmutation, by which a lesser-valued substance (such as lead) is transformed into a high-valued substance (such as gold) did not start in Persian alchemy and paganism, but with the Israeli exiles spread throughout the Middle East and verified in their Holy Writings handed down to us in the Bible. In the Bible we see the original idea, in which the substance being “glorified” is not lead, but human flesh (Daniel 12:2, 3, 13; Philippians 3:20, 21).
Notice in Daniel’s testimony that people are described as “stars…” suns alive and aglow with the intense, blinding Glory of God!
Once again, as in The Two Trees, we are pointed to the symbolism of the Burning Bush from which God appeared to Moses: a fragile plant enveloped in the Fire of God…but not consumed!
Once the universe is brought again under Christ’s Dominion, Christ shall surrender Himself (and those of us who belong to Him) to The All-Father; and then shall the Godfather consume all Existence within Himself, preserving the Family of humans He sacrificed all to save…
…and the Godhead shall be ALL…and in all (1st Corinthians 15:20-28)!!!
(LISTEN to this blog-post on any of TEN podcast platforms!)