Elwin R. Roach
Let us mark the fact that THE LAKE OF FIRE not only brings a final end to the first death--IT IS THE SECOND DEATH--as we are told in Revelation 20:14. Just about everyone knows that the Greek word for hell is hades, and the Hebrew equivalent is sheol; but most have a false perception of what either really is. Strong's Exhaustive Concordances describes sheol as hades, the world of the dead, and hades is defined as the unseen, or the place (state) of departed souls. When hell fire is used in the KJV, hades is not the Greek word translated as hell. It is gehenna; that is, gehenna fire which refers to the Valley of Hinnom outside of Jerusalem where the garbage and refuse of the city were dumped and burned with a continual fire until it was consumed by the flames.
Hell is an Old English word and is of Germanic origin which is related to Dutch hel and German Hölle (Hoelle). It is from an *Indo-European root meaning 'to cover or hide.'
*Indo-European: relating to the family of languages spoken over the greater part of Europe and Asia as far as northern India.
Here are some examples of various languages of the infamous word we know as hell:
Gothic, HALja: the grave
Anglo-Saxon: HELAN, to cover, hide, conceal
Anglo-Saxon: HWEALF, an arched (vaulted covering); ahwyl - to cover over, overwhelm
Latin; celo, to cover, hide
And we ask, in these definitions of the word we know as hell, is there even one indication that fire is connected whatsoever? None to be found? How strange...
Frankly, hell/hades/sheol can be any place or realm that is imperceptible, hidden or unseen. This imperceptible realm is simply the abode of the dead. And it is THE LAKE OF FIRE wherein DEATH AND HELL ARE CAST. Revelation 20:16 tells us that "...whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
That which will be going into the lake of fire is everything and everyone that pertains to death. Death itself goes; hell/hades (the abode of the dead) goes; and everyone in death and hell whose names are not written in the Book of Life shall find their place in the Lake of Fire. All death is cast into it. Every obtuse thing will find itself in THE SECOND DEATH, namely, that which is made up of the many members of the body of God's first Son, Christ Jesus.
There is that other lake, of course, the one that has been constructed by the crafty imagination of man, but it is not real. It is a traditional lake of fire and has been used as a most horrendous threat against the people by religious orders for centuries. The ruse has effectively enslaved human beings by the billions. But don't you think it is time for the lake of fire to be seen for what it really is? I do!
The thought of the Lake of Fire should not be a dread, but to the contrary. It is part of God's work for humanity's release from sin and death. It is one of the major and final things that will accomplish what He sent His Word, Jesus, to do. It is humanity's assurance that all will be well. No one will be forever lost! Either believe God, Jesus Christ, and the written word (correctly translated), or believe the lie men have told about my Father.
Notwithstanding, I agree that the lake of fire can be a dreadful, foreboding expectation to the carnal man, but it is a promise of life to the real man. Be assured that Jesus will never forget those for whom He died, which is every soul of all mankind throughout all the ages. He will never subject them to men's traditions of torture in a natural lake that forever burns with molten sulphur. He is certainly making a Lake of Fire; but rather than one of diabolic torture that never ends, it burns spiritually within a person's soul. It either changes or consumes all things contrary to God's life. Jesus remembers them all, and into His flaming embrace they will come as He "lights their fire," if you will.
Let us take a moment and notice some things about the first, the Second, and the Last, especially as to how they pertain to the Lake of Fire:
THE FIRST MAN and THE SECOND MAN
THE FIRST DEATH and THE SECOND DEATH
THE FIRST MAN ADAM and THE LAST ADAM
We know the FIRST MAN was ADAM and the SECOND MAN was JESUS CHRIST. Paul wrote about them in his letter to the saints in Corinth: "And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 1 Corinthians 15:45-47.
It is no great mystery that Jesus is both the Second Man, the Last Adam; but few may know that the Second Death is a very real part of Him as well. With this in mind we will note that by one act of sin, ALL LIFE--including every seed of humanity that was in the loins of the FIRST ADAM--died. It was death of all people of all the world. Every soul was cast into the sea of humanity--THE FIRST DEATH. That death ended life. It was the DEATH to LIFE.
On the reverse side, however, by one act of righteousness, ALL DEATH was and is cast into Christ the LAST ADAM, the SECOND MAN--THIS IS THE SECOND DEATH, and this Second Death is the DEATH to DEATH. It brings an end to death. ALL who died to life in the first Adam shall die to his death in the Last Adam, who IS, in essence--THE LAKE OF FIRE, THE SECOND DEATH. Adam was the first death, while Jesus is the Second Death. Hopefully, this is becoming clear.
In Him and by Him the death of every person shall cease to be. Death will be no more. The ALL who died in the man of sin is the same ALL who will live in the man of righteousness; "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Corinthians 15:22. Does it get any plainer than this? Our three year old great-grandchild might fail to see it; but his thirty year old mother can easily see it.
But still, we will tempt the spirit in every soul. Can we not do simple arithmetic, and understand the principle of balancing weights? Don't we know that an unequal balance is an abomination to God? Is it not easily seen that the ALL in the FIRST ADAM is the SAME ALL in the LAST ADAM? Moreover, if no one in all of humanity had a choice in being born into the death of the first Adam, why do some think that they have a choice in being born into the life of the last Adam? As it was with the first, don't we know it is likewise with the last? Seems to be plain and simple, but maybe not with everyone.
Even so, we will say that since the First Death is dying to God, dying to His righteousness, and dying to His life, then reversing the process is dying to Adam. It is dying to his sin and dying to his death--thus the Second Death.
But how is it done? How does one die to Adam? How can a man die to sin? And what is the process of the death of death? Death to the old man begins by the birth of the New Man. Sin dies in the fire of His Holy Spirit, wherein every soul shall be baptized. THE DEATH of DEATH is simply being FILLED UP WITH LIFE. When the light of life comes in, the darkness of death is swallowed up.
For example, in November of 1949 in Austin, Texas there was a little eight year-old girl, the daughter of Edward and Agnes Mitchell, but her cherished life came to an abrupt end. Every effort failed to save her, and she lay dead in a cold bed of Austin's Seton Hospital. While the heart-torn father and doctors were getting the death certificate in order, and her grieving mother sat with her head heavily bowed and buried deep into her hands, and weeping beside the lifeless body of her child, something profound happened. Upon hearing of the tragedy, our dear friend Charles Roby and his future father-in-law, Brother R.F. Miller, rushed to the hospital. They hurried past the doctors and her father and entered the room of death. Brother Miller went directly to the bedside of the dead little girl and lifted the sheet from her covered head and with a single word, he command her--"LIVE!" Life immediately flooded her little body! She coughed, and sat up--ALIVE--crying out, "MOTHER! MOTHER!" At the quickening cough and voice of her daughter, the mother's head shot up from her tear-drenched hands, and she screamed with inexplicable joy. Deep sobs turned to laughter, and instantly she swept her darling baby girl into her arms, filling them with robust life. What a tremendous change!
Charles, a young man of eighteen at the time, said he wasn't expecting this, and the initial shock of seeing someone raised from the dead scared him spitless (his words), but it was for only an impulsive moment. He was then so caught up into the Spirit of praise he felt that he walked out of the hospital at least a foot off the ground, which lasted for several days. With all the commotion, the hospital staff quickly entered the room that was filled with unbounded joy and excitement, the room which only a few moments earlier had been engulfed and permeated with a foreboding, thick cloud of suffocating presence of death. The nurses and nuns were beside themselves with excitement; while the doctors were visibly disturbed. Not only were they confused and unable to comprehend what had just happened, but they were seemingly resentful that this lowly man of God did something they knew nothing about nor had the power themselves to do. Nevertheless, it caused quite a stir in the whole hospital; and to this day it is a testimony of the Life and Authority that is contained in the Quickening Voice of the Sons of God; and it is still sounding as a trumpet from the heavens of the victory of life over death. Charles said, "What happened that day was like a nuclear explosion which not only consumed and quickened the dead--but the living too!" That fateful day, Brother R.F. Miller BECAME THE SECOND DEATH, THE DEATH TO THAT LITTLE GIRL'S DEATH!
You see, there was only one thing that could have caused her to live. It was LIFE! At the command, her living spirit entered back to the place it had once called home. Without her spirit, she would have never breathed another breath, hugged her daddy's neck, or kissed the warm cheeks of her dear mother. In the natural sense that child experienced the death to death. The Life of the Second Death destroyed the first death that wonderful day in an obscure hospital room of Austin, Texas. This was but a shadow of the Second Death, Christ's Holy Spirit of life, the Lake of Fire that swallows up and destroys the first death. It is an example pointing not only to the future quickening of the dead, but an example for today as well.
In his cold embrace, the first Adam, the first death, consumed and destroyed the first life; while it is the fiery embrace with which the Last Adam, the Second Death, consumes and destroys the first death, all death. All death and hell will be consumed by the Lake of Fire. Isn't it great to know that it is God who is a consuming fire and not the hell created in the minds of men?
By the inworking of the Lake of Fire, He will destroy the grave (the unseen realm) and all death therein, and it is in the same Lake wherein He will destroy sin--not men-- but sin. God does not destroy men in the lake of fire, only sin and death which will leave the universe void of death. Immediately after the Second Death of the Lake of Fire, John heard the voice out of heaven expressly declare that there shall be no more death. Revelation 21:4.
Even with this being so clear, some cannot see it, saying that God will punish the unsaved sinners with everlasting death. This death is described as an eternal separation from God. Such a separation would certainly be classified as a form of death, but we should know that it is not possible for anyone to be separated from God forever. How can you abolish death by bringing men under the bondage of eternal death, from which there is no escape? It cannot be done.
The purpose of Jesus has never been to destroy men or have them separated from Him and His Father forever, not by any means. All that came out of Him will return. Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), and to make an end of sin (Daniel 9:24). Sin, death, and hell are the things destroyed. The root of death, SIN, is destroyed; the abode of the dead, HELL/HADES/SHEOL, is destroyed; and with them the fruit of sin, DEATH ITSELF, is destroyed. And we read in another place, "...The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." In case some may have missed what Paul said so clearly that a third grader could understand, again: "...THE LAST ENEMY that shall be DESTROYED is DEATH." 1 Corinthians 15:26.
It is truly nonsense to preach that HELL is PERPETUAL, UNENDING, EVERLASTING DEATH IN THE LAKE OF FIRE; that there is no escape for all who pass over those foreboding borders. How can anyone maintain the alarming conviction that it is a literal place of no return? This teaching of "perpetual, unending, everlasting death" may rank among the most sensational, spine-tingling fantasies of all time; but it has been in Christendom only since the inception of the Roman Catholic Church. It was introduced by the church/state of Rome in the early fourth century and later endorsed by the Reformers. Other contributing factors were the lack of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts and the abundance of ill-translated Bibles. Most other religions of the world have had their hell, the abode for the evil dead and their fire-god, but it was the Christian churches that have been very influential in popularizing the concept of it being a place of torment that never ends. Truly, men created a God to themselves in their own likeness.
Nevertheless, we still wonder, how could the plain words of Paul have gone unnoticed for such a long time? "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY. O DEATH, WHERE IS THY STING? O GRAVE, WHERE IS THY VICTORY?" 1 Corinthians 15:54-55.
Some may contend that he was referring only to the Christians. He, indeed, was writing to the Christians in Corinth, and we know that only in Christ is the victory of salvation gained; for Paul went on to say in verse 57: "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." In another place it is written, "...Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" Acts 4:12. AMEN!
Truly, it is only by His matchless name that a man is saved, and only those in Christ Jesus can gain this victory--but there is more. It is not limited to just a few. THIS VICTORY IS FOR ALL; where this promising message is clearly trumpeted not only in the various verses we have already covered, it is in many others. We have compiled a list over the past forty years of one hundred and twelve verses that speaks of God's determined will to save all, and it is in Jesus that His will shall be accomplished.
In the light of plain truth, how can responsible people continue embracing the idea of "everlasting death?" What a charade. I believe the traduced church has been dancing to a fatal tune. So stop the music, folks! Pack up your kitbag, and send the band home! Vain imaginations are no truer today than they were two thousand years ago, but the truth stands undaunted. In Christ's great Church, the plan of salvation through fear has not worked, and there is no place found for such prevaricating traditions whether intentional or otherwise.
More than a few are reluctant to teach concerning "The Great White Throne Judgment" and "The Lake of Fire." Some flatly refuse to teach out of the book of Revelation at all. One retired local minister with his doctor's degree in theology told me that the book of Revelation should have never been canonized as a part of the Bible, and said that he did not have time to waste on a man (the apostle John) who had a nightmare, wrote it down, and then had the gall to send it all over the country claiming it was from God. Another said he would never teach from the book of Revelation, because every time a preacher did so, it split the church wide open. And then there are some who do teach from it; but too often their approach of end-time events and judgment come from the tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. It only lends to perpetuate confusion and wild imaginations. With such views and lack of understanding, we can see why so little is understood today when it comes to the judgments of God.
Painful as it may be, aren't we glad He has, and still is in the process of consuming us by His cleansing, transforming fire of the Last Adam that fuses every fiber of our being together with His? We have learned what a good thing fire is in our own lives, whether it is for light, for warmth, for forming or for purging. What then, causes people to believe the Lake of Fire will not be a great day for the rest of the world? Painful, surely, but bringing forth great results to every soul. It is strange how people can see the good of God's fire in their own lives during this age of preparation, but they fail to see it in other's in the age(s) to come.
"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the HOLY GHOST, and WITH FIRE." Matthew 3:11. It is just as accurately translated, "He shall baptize you with the HOLY SPIRIT, even FIRE," indicating the Holy Spirit and Fire are one and the same thing.
Concerning this, we will borrow a portion from J. Preston Eby's book, Just What Do You Mean... THE LAKE OF FIRE. He quotes the scholarly work of Charles Pridgeon on the subject of brimstone:
"The Lake of Fire and Brimstone signifies a fire burning with brimstone; the 'brimstone' or sulphur defines the character of the fire. The Greek word THEION translated 'brimstone' is exactly the same word, THEION, which means 'divine.' Sulphur was sacred to the deity among the ancient Greeks; and was used to fumigate, to purify, and to cleanse and consecrate to the deity; for this purpose they burned it in their incense. In Homer's Iliad (16:228), one is spoken of as purifying a goblet with fire and brimstone. The verb derived from THEION is THEIOO, which means to hallow, to make divine, or to dedicate to a god (See Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon, 1897 Edition). To any Greek, or any trained in the Greek language, a 'lake of fire and brimstone' would mean a 'lake of divine purification.' The idea of judgment need not be excluded. Divine purification and divine consecration are the plain meaning in ancient Greek. In the ordinary explanation, this fundamental meaning to the world is entirely left out, and unfortunately, nothing but eternal torment is associated with it."
Now to note that John the Baptist said that Jesus would baptize, not with water that cleans only on the surface, but with the Holy Spirit of Godfire that cleans clear through. Jesus Himself said that everyone would be salted with fire (Mark 9:49), and in the book of Revelation we see the remainder of humanity, everyone except the overcomers, being cast into the Lake of Godfire.
Those who have the mark of the beast, that is, everyone who does not have the mark, the nature, of the Father in their foreheads, will find themselves in this Holy Lake of Godfire. They shall be tormented in the presence of God, who is fire, they shall be tormented in the presence of the Lamb, who is fire, they shall be tormented in the presence of the holy messengers and ministers of God, who are fire, and they shall be tormented in the presence of the word of God, which is fire. Simply put, the Lake of Fire is GODFIRE. Its entire composition is GOD in one form or another!
A lake by definition is a body of water. The lake of burning brimstone is a body of DIVINE GODFIRE that is made up of many members. He makes His angels spirits and His ministers flames of fire (Psalm 104:4). The Body of Christ is a many-membered body consisting of those who have been baptized into that Body, not water but His Body (of fire). The spirit of each member is a candle of the Lord (Proverbs 20:27), and when they all burn with the flaming brightness of God's Spirit, you have GODFIRE, and when they cover the earth as the waters cover the seas, you have THE LAKE OF BRIMSTONE, THE LAKE OF GODFIRE--THE SECOND DEATH, THE DEATH TO DEATH, THE DEATH TO HELL/HADES/SHEOL/THE GRAVE!
It matters not if it was yesterday, today, tomorrow, or in the ages to come, Jesus will baptize every soul with the Spirit of His Holy Godfire. Every soul shall be thoroughly salted with fire. He will purge the floor of His earth, the earth that "...is the Lord's, the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein!" Psalm 24:1. Oh, children of this age, what a baptism, what a purging! And in the end, each and every soul will joyfully say: "I needed that."
Fire was given to us in the natural so we can grasp in a measure what God is, as well as His ministers, and also to know what His word is. It is the same with practically everything, before we can understand anything about God we must first grasp it in the natural. When we have learned about sowing wheat and barley, we begin to understand the death of Jesus; when the reaping of the firstfruits of barley is no longer a mystery, it finally dawns more readily upon us what the resurrection is about; and once we have loved and lived in the wonderful thing called marriage, we can know more about our union with Christ. That which is natural is first, as Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, and then that which is spiritual and so it is with fire. Like all symbols, it is a useful tool and very necessary for teaching, for getting a message across; but after the reality arrives of what the symbol points to, the symbol is put aside. Once the fire of Christ came, and that age ended (at the siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.) the fire in the temple ceased to burn, as did the flames in the Valley of Hinnom. Those natural flames that were very useful for a time, died, to never be kindled again; for the fire of the Holy Spirit of God came, fulfilling the shadowy symbol in flaming tongues of reality.
This, dear saints of God, we can count on the fire of God breaking and changing us now or later. It will bring each of us to the cross. Like the natural, spiritual fire is painfully hot, and it will work a change, and the change will be unto righteousness. It may take long ages of God's fiery judgment to work on some; but it will work and then come to an end. His great Godfire will only last until it has melted all arrogance into humility, and all that is of self has died in the bloody sweat and all-conquering cross of Jesus Christ. Never believe the fire will not bring every soul to the cross, nor think it will last forever. Once His Godfire is kindled, the passion of His love will never be quenched until its redeeming power finishes what it is sent to do. And for sure, once the unquenchable fire has consumed every thing flammable, and has worked its marvelous work, beauty shall rise from the ashes, and life shall bloom from the earthen tomb of death. They all, every soul, shall hear the voice of the Son of God and live!
It cannot be said too often, the HOLY SPIRIT of God is the HOLY FIRE of God; and whatsoever the HOLY FIRE OF GOD touches, it either burns it up/upward or refines it. His fire either destroys or changes, usually both, by destroying sin and changing the sinner. Whenever the Spirit is activated, fire proceeds from the throne! A sermon ministered in the Spirit is a WORD OF FIRE-- IT IS GODFIRE! A song that is sung in the Spirit is a SONG THAT IS ABLAZE WITH FIRE. An act of love (not carnal) is a PASSION OF FIRE. His ministers are FIREBRANDS IN THE EARTH. There can be nothing said, sung, or done in the Spirit that does not change or destroy something inwardly and outwardly; for the SPIRIT IS FIRE, and everything fire touches is effected one way or the other. It consumes the wood, the hay, and the stubble while refining the precious silver and gold of the Lord in man.
THE LAKE OF FIRE, or let us say "THE LAKE OF GOD WHO IS FIRE," is ablaze with HOLY FIRE. It burns fervently with the Word, it rises in anthem's celestial flames as THE SONG OF THE LORD, and in swells of glory the fire roars, wave after wave of His fiery Word, while His ministers of surmounting flames move across the land by the guiding breath of God's flaming Spirit of determined passion. How can we malign or caricature such a blazing glory? How can we demean such wonders of the Lord? And how can we undermine His ability to save to the uttermost? How can we mock such holy wonders of His doing? Hopefully, all who read these pages will never do so again.
The Pathfinder • PO Box 4004 • Alamogordo NM 88311