Mercy Before Judgment


Luke 12:49 has puzzled me for many years. Jesus said He came to send fire on the earth and how He wished it were already kindled. (NKJV) I’ve thought of different interpretations – the fire that would come at Pentecost, the fire of God’s wrath against the ungodly (tribulation), and fire in a believer’s heart that is manifested by fervent love of God and service to Him. Do you believe it is one of these or is there something else? I would truly appreciate your understanding.


I believe the fire Jesus was talking about in Luke 12:49 is the fire of judgment. He wished it was already kindled because He wanted the world to be cleansed of its impurities and brought back to its perfect original condition.

In Luke 12:50 He said He couldn’t kindle the fire of judgment until after He had died for the sins of the people. God’s mercy had to precede the judgment to allow those who want to be pardoned the means for doing so. He will not judge the righteous with the wicked, but will rescue Godly men from trials while holding the unrighteous for the day of judgment (2 Peter 2:9).

The phrase “rescue Godly men from trials” literally means to deliver them from the time and place of the judgment. It’s another reference to the pre-trib rapture of the church.