A fire goes before him, and burns up his enemies round about.
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Augustine of Hippo
5. "There shall go a fire before Him, and burn up His enemies on every side" (ver. 3). We remember having read in the Gospel, He shall say, "Depart into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." I do not think it is said of that fire. Why do I not? Because he speaketh of some fire, which shall go before Him, before He cometh to judgment. For it is said, that the fire goeth before Him, and burneth up His enemies on every side, that is, throughout the whole world. That fire will burn after His advent: this, on the contrary, will go before Him. What fire then is this? ...Behold, we have understood the fire that goeth before Him, that is to be understood of a kind of temporal punishment of the unbelieving and ungodly: let us understand the fire, if possible, of the salvation of the redeemed also; for thus we had proposed. The Lord Himself saith: "I am come to send fire on the earth:" "fire" in the same way as a "sword;" as in another passage He saith, that He was not come t...