What is Brimstone in the Bible? Brimstone’s Meaning

In the Bible there are a few different references to fire and brimstone. We know what fire is, but what is the significance of brimstone. Why was it used as a punishment? We see throughout many different Biblical references that brimstone was a punishment from God. Such passages show that brimstone is sulfur, and it is used to signify God’s judgment, His purifying, and His authority over nature. 

The Literal Meaning of Brimstone

Brimstone in the Bible literally just meant sulfur. Sulfur is a chemical that can be used to treat illness. It restore health, however in larger quantities it is detrimental to organisms. It is an inflammable mineral substance.

The words sulfur and brimstone are used interchangeably in the Bible. There are some passages that say sulfur. Other translations say brimstone, but it’s all the same.

Although that is the literal meaning, there are a few more insights into brimstone. Brimstone is used in the Bible to show some characteristics of God. God’s judgment, his purifying, and His authority are all demonstrated through brimstone.

Brimstone as a Symbol of God’s Judgment

God’s judgment through brimstone is revealed multiple times throughout scripture. The two most prominent times are the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and the prophecy of the end times. 

The Story of Sodom and Gomorrah

In the Old Testament book of Genesis, there were a couple ancient nations that were full of unrighteousness. As a consequence God rained down fire and sulfur on the area. 

Genesis 19:24 says, “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;” 

The destruction of these cities would have kill thousands of people, but the sulfur would have made the land uninhabitable for ages. God was not just cursing the people in the land. He was destroying all of the inhabitants of the land, and making is unlivable. 

This reveals God’s wrath on unrighteousness. It wasn’t enough for God to destroy the people, but the unrighteousness even needed to be purged from the land they lived. 

The story depicts brimstone as a symbol of God’s judgment. There is another example of God pouring out his judgment in the form of sulfur in the Bible. 

The End Times

End time prophecy is full of references to fire and brimstone. In the end times, God will separate the people who follow Him from the people who follow their own desires. As a result of this, the people who do not follow God will be thrown into a lake burning with fire and sulfur. 

The New Testament book of Revelation tells us this. It says in Revelation 19:20, “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”

The book of Revelation is a collection of revelations that John had while in exile. They describe the end times and the eternal punishment of the unrighteous. According to His vision, people who follow unrighteousness will experience the same fate as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. We don’t know if this is a figurative use of the word brimstone or if it’s a literal description of what will happen. The message is clear, however, terrible suffering will come to people who run from God. 

Besides, the end times are another example of fire and brimstone being used as a symbol of God’s judgment on the unrighteous. 

Brimstone as a Symbol of Purifying 

God did not just use brimstone as an agent of judgment, but a way of bringing new life. Likewise in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the city, the land, and the people were wiped away. Today, the effects of the sulfur on the land are gone. There is new life in that area.

Brimstone was used to purify something for new life. Sulfur is uncomfortable, and in large quantities dangerous to our lives. Jesus told us that we must die to this life to gain eternal life. Sulfur might be looked at as the purifying agent that takes away insecurities in our lives. 

Going through trials might be seen as sulfur, but God uses the trials and tribulations to purify and improve us. Brimstone might be looked at as those trials. Therefore, God has already told us that we might stand in the fire. He does promise we won’t die, because He is with us. 

Furthermore in the early times, Abraham’s uncle, Lot was saved from the destruction of these towns, because He was close to Abraham. The grace of God and love of God in this story are mirrored through the Gospel. Everyone is destined for the lake of fire, but because of Jesus, we experience the freeing power of God.

Brimstone can be looked at as a purifying agent of God. There is one more thing that brimstone might show us through the Bible. 

Brimstone as a Symbol of God Authority of Nature 

Furthermore, brimstone can be viewed as a symbol of God’s authority over nature in scripture Deuteronomy 29:23 says, “the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger and wrath—”

God has the authority over nature to control the sulfur. Additionally, He controlled the rain of fire. Ultimately, brimstone might be looked at as good news, because it reminds us that God is in control. The only thing we have to fear is God, because He controls everything else. 

Brimstone is an interesting topic in the Bible, and it showcases God’s judgment, desire to purify, and His authority over nature. 

More Passages About Brimstone in the Bible

Luke 17:29

But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed [them] all.

Job 18:15

It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because [it is] none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.

Psalms 11:6

Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: [this shall be] the portion of their cup.

Brimstone within Prophecy

Isaiah 30:33

For Tophet [is] ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made [it] deep [and] large: the pile thereof [is] fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.

Isaiah 34:9

And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.

Ezekiel 38:22

And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that [are] with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.

Revelation 9:17

And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses [were] as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.

Revelation 9:18

By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.

Revelation 14:10

The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

Revelation 20:10

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Revelation 21:8

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

1 thought on “What is Brimstone in the Bible? Brimstone’s Meaning”

  1. Pingback: The Spiritual, Biblical Meaning of the Name Avery

Comments are closed.