I was studying today Matthew 5:22(KJV).
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
I understand that Dante's Divine Comedy had a substantial influence on our idea of what Hell is, and though I wonder if many any longer believe it to be the place of flames described by Dante, it's still the idea that (I suspect, if we're all honest), most Christians have pop into their heads before they start talking about it.
Therefore, asserting my personal belief that Hell isn't a place of flames, what are the Biblical beliefs or support for the Lord's use of "fire" in this verse?
As you consider this, note that my point of view is that the Lord is proposing (whether literally or figuratively) greater dangers for greater errors of judgement.
Angry without a cause -> danger of judgement (a "crime" against an individual. Most likely judgment by your brother, family, friends, neighbors etc.)
Name calling without a cause -> danger of the council (a "crime" against society: slander)
I understand the "hell" part, but what is the Biblical basis for using the descriptor/adjective "fire?" What idea was the Lord trying to convey?