Mark 9:42-50 Seasoned With Fire And Salt.
Mark has just noted how Jesus declared babes or infants as ideal examples of citizens in the kingdom of God, and to refuse them is to refuse him and the Father, and the means of blessing to them (vv. 38-41). Now Jesus declares that any who cause one of these little ones to stumble in this regard, would be better off if a milestone were tied around their neck, and they were thrown into the sea (v. 42). One’s eternal destiny should be our highest priority (v. 43), because hell is a place where torments, including the physical, will not end (v. 44), and as a fire which cannot be quenched (vv. 45-48 Cf. Is. 66:24). To this end he quotes from the prophet Isaiah three times – that at the mouth of two or three witnesses the word is established, and matters of life and death are confirmed (Dt. 17:6; 19:15; II Cor. 13:1). This is in fact a biblical principle of interpreting scripture, and in this case Jesus confirms the matter in no uncertain terms. Jesus confirms this judgement with respect to the work of our hands, the walk of our lives, and that which we look upon.
There will be a time of “seasoning” with fire and salt, when a judgment will take place which will last forever (v. 49). All the sacrifices offered under the old covenant were to be seasoned with salt, such that the LORD’s people were not to allow the salt of the covenant of their God to be lacking (Lev. 2:13; Ezek. 43:24), with the covenant itself called “a covenant of salt” (Nu. 18:19). Salt refers to the certainty of the covenantal word, a confirmation as it were (II Chr. 13:5). In this light, Paul viewed our speech as a sacrifice we are called upon to season with salt. Fire is also described as a seasoning – also speaking to a sacrifice made ready for consumption. The KJV translates halizo as ‘salted’ with fire and salt, but the context clearly makes the NKJV a closer rendering, even so Matthew 5:13. Salt in this case preserves the covenant, and shows those who are thus preserved in it. “Salt is a preservative. Jesus is telling His disciples to use humility and service to preserve the peace of the church, rather than dividing it through a desire to be great (v. 34)” (NGSB 1581).