At the Bridge of Khazad-dum the Company comes face-to-face with a power-terror, a demon of might: a Balrog! Once a Maia corrupted by Melkor, this foe is any in the Fellowship save Gandalf. Gandalf, as a member of the Istari, is of the Maiar too. But he has the Secret Fire on his side. Join us as we continue to read through The Lord of the Rings.
The Secret Fire at the Bridge of Khazad-dum
Therefore Ilúvatar gave to their vision Being, and set it amid the Void, and the Secret Fire was sent to burn at the heart of the World; and it was called Eä.
As the Balrog reached the bridge Gandalf stood in the middle of the span. He was leaning on his staff, small in comparison to this monster of shadow and flame. What defense could he possibly muster against such a force? The enemy halted and faced him. It raised its whip and the thongs cracked. But Gandalf stood firm.
You cannot pass,’ he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. ‘I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn.
The Secret Fire is Upon Him
On page 59 of Tolkien and the Silmarillion, author Clyde S. Kilby recounts a discussion he had with J.R.R. Tolkien:
Professor Tolkien talked to me at some length about the use of the word ‘holy’ in The Silmarillion. Very specifically he told me that the ‘Secret Fire sent to burn at the heart of the World’ in the beginning was the Holy Spirit.
The Secret Fire is the Holy Spirit. All along on the Secret Fire Podcast (wherever did we get that name!) we have appealed to Dr. Peter Kreeft and his Prophet, Priest, and King motif found in the Holy Bible, and reflected in the characters of Gandalf, Frodo, and Aragorn respectively. If Gandalf – who is a servant of the Secret Fire – fulfills the prophet role, then he is also a signpost that points readers to Christ Jesus:
Luke 4:16-21 (NASB)
And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
What stood out to you in The Bridge of Khazad-dum Pt. 2? Let us know in the comments below.
On The Secret Fire Podcast we travel chapter-by-chapter and book-by-book through J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth viewing it through Christian lenses. We invite you to join us each week as we continue the adventure on the Arkenstone server in Lord Of The Rings Online.
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