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The End of All Things
The Lake of Fire
That GOD Built
With our continuation into the Lake of Fire That God Built, I believe it would be beneficial to examine our reasons for believing what death, hell, and the lake of fire are. Bible scholar, E.W. Bullinger had this to say about it. He wrote in his Introductory to How to Enjoy the Bible:
"When we come to ask ourselves, and say, 'Where did I learn this?' 'How did I get this?' 'Who taught this to me?' it is astonishing to find out how much we have imbibed from man, and from tradition; and not directly from the Word of God.
"All that we have learned from our youth up must be tested and proved by the Word of God. Where we find it is from man and tradition, we must learn it over again, from God. And where it will not stand the test of His Word we must be not only be content, but be thankful to give it up and receive Divine revelation in the place of man's imagination."
There is a plethora of imaginations that have overtaken the churches around the world, and they are assumed to be grounded in firm scripture, but they are not. The subject of hell and the lake of fire is the quintessential example of doctrine built upon by a wide range of imaginations.
One of the imaginations of the lake of fire is said to be a literal lake that burns with the intensity of molten brimstone (sulfur), which would be slightly less than 444.6°C or 832.28°F, the temperature at which sulfur changes from a liquid to a gas. This speculation comes from Revelations 21:8: "But the fearful and unbelieving... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone." A lake of molten brimstone means that its temperature must be at or below the boiling point, which is 832.28°F. Above that point, it would be a vapor, not a lake. It is not uncommon for some preachers, teachers, and writers to discard reason by increasing the temperature of their imaginary lake by thousands of degrees, and I suppose this is an attempt to scare the hell out them, as if hell could be sacred out of anyone. Just another strange way to "save" people.
Regardless of what they believe the temperature will be, there have been various calculations as to how many lost souls will be cast into this lake of fire that man built, and one of them, a nineteenth century mathematician, has provided some groundwork for us. Using his figures, we conclude that up to the year 2000 the total number of the damned would have been at least 29,422,641,251,519,917,000 souls (that is 29 + quintillion). Yet the area of the valley of Hinnom, or Gehenna, is only 4,350 square miles, and the damned would have to be stacked like cordwood to fit in the confines of the valley. However, that might not work either; for how high would they be stacked to contain everyone?
One statement made by Dr. Tim Healey, F. R. C. R.; M. I. Nuc. E. is an interesting concept: "I have assumed that not more than two layers of damned persons can be accommodated, since otherwise those in the middle layers would escape the full rigors of Hell." (http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/hell.htm). This paper appeared in The Journal of Irreproducible Results, Vol 25, No.4:17-18 Copyright © 1979 by The Journal of Irreproducible Results, Inc.
It is amazing how much time and effort has been spent over the centuries by brilliant minds to unlock the mysteries of God, and all the while, using faulty data as the foundation, which is contrary to every rule of research. One would think to have applied E.W. Bullinger's recommendation of questioning their beliefs prior to embarking upon such fruitless adventures. But they evidently did not take the time to do so, for it is clear that if they ask themselves, "Where did I learn this? How did I get this? Who taught me this?" they would have possibly seen just how much their beliefs came from man's faulty tradition, and not from what the scriptures plainly say.
Let us, therefore, see what the anointed writer's of the Bible had to say about this fire into which incalculable billions will be cast. In doing so, we will take the advice of Sherlock Holmes and Martin Luther (rf. #193.06, Part 12); namely, with the master detective having only heard a few specifics about a case, and when Dr. Watson asked why he had not yet given much thought to it, Holmes responded, "No data yet. It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment." And Martin Luther said to his interrogator who accused him of believing he knew more than the church authorities: "Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason - I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other - my conscience is captive to the Word of God."
When people fail to take note of the overwhelming evidence, and refuse the basic facts of the scriptures, they will be biased and incapable of seeing any possibilities beyond what they have learned from men and tradition. But by the grace of God and a pure heart to know the truth, we will gather some data about this fire as the Spirit of our Lord quickens and establishes it deep within.
Fire is either synonymous or in direct relationship to several things in the scriptures, such as light and glory. There can be no light without fire, and light, of course, speaks of glory. In essence, glory is a manifestation of God. Fire brings light, warmth, and sometimes pain, depending on the person and the manifestation of the fire. The light of fire reveals things, manifests them, exposes them, judges them, and also shows the way for one to walk.
In the scriptures the primary usage for fire relates to God in some way or the other. For example, below is a list that has to do with fire and God, or those like Him. I generally do not compile a list of scriptures in our studies; but today I want to show you some evidence, some clear-cut data, some solid proof of what fire really is in Bible.
Evidence of fire:
1. And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire. Revelation 10:1
2. And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night. Exodus 13:21
3. And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day. Isaiah 10:17
4.And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. Exodus 24:17
5. For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her. Zechariah 2:5
6. Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire. Isaiah 10:16
7. And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. Acts 7:30
8. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. Hebrews 1:7
9. John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Luke 3:16
10. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. Acts 2:2-3.
11. For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:29
12. I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? Luke 12:49.
13. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire. Revelation 1:14
14. And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire. Revelation 10:1.
15. The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. Revelation 14:10
16. Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them. Jeremiah 5:14
17. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Jeremiah 23:29
18. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay. Jeremiah 20:9
19. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. Revelation 19:12
20. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Revelation 20:14
21 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15.
We now have twenty-one (21) pieces of solid evidence, not one or two obscure scriptures, but twenty-one scriptures that clearly tell us what fire is, or something of its nature, and there is no way it can be natural fire that burns wood and coal. In a court of law only one or two pieces of evidence, sometimes circumstantial evidence, are sufficient to either convict or acquit a person, but we have presented twenty-one, and there are more than what this list contains.
If church leaders were prosecuting attorneys, and they presented a case with their lack of or fabricated evidence, the judge would throw it out before in first hour expired. The case would never go to jury, and those prosecutors would certainly not hold their jobs for very long. But the persecuting preachers continue their traditional ruse and keep getting re-elected year after year while boldly stoking their imaginary lake of fire without any real evidence at all.
To sum it up, our evidence tells us that: 1) God's word is fire, 2) God's angels (His messengers) are fire, 3) God's ministers are flames of fire, and 4) God is fire. This is the Lake of Fire into which death and hell and everyone who is not found written in the book of life is cast.
I have said this many times before, as well as having written it in various studies over the past 25 years; but I believe it bears repeating, namely:
When a son of God is manifested, the flaming light of God's glory radiates from his presence. This is because he is a blazing firebrand. He is a minister of fire, dealing out his inmost nature, his power, his authority, and his compassion. He is the glory of God in manifestation. He is not only the ferocious Lion but the gentle Lamb as well. And when two or three of like fashion are gathered in manifestation, the illuminating light and fierce heat of God's love and anger intensifies. But this is not the end of the matter! When the Body of Christ is assembled in glory, when all of His members are brought together in one spirit and in the express image of God their Father, the holy fire of God builds. It is no longer a single candle or two shining, burning, and devouring sin, but their numbers are incalculable. And when the untold millions of God's sons are revealed to the world, and each one of them is drawn together in one Spirit, one mind, and in one accord as a flaming fire, what do you suppose we will have? A LAKE OF FIRE, of course! The world will be aflame with the fire of God's glory, His righteous indignation, the revelation of who He is, and His endless love.
Can it not be seen that if there were five or six flames drawn together, God would have five or six droplets of fire; fifty to a hundred, perhaps a bowl; a thousand or two a good sized pool; but the multitude thousands that cover the earth as the waters cover the seas -- A LAKE OF FIRE! And whosoever is not found written in the book of life will find their place in the midst of the flaming Body of Christ -- The Lake of Fire That GOD Built.
The overcomers will be conformed to the image and likeness of Christ Jesus, and they will be unveiled for all the world to see. With the entire earth covered with the glory of God, unregenerated men and women will have no place to go for escape. They will most assuredly be cast into the Lake of those who are like God, who is a consuming fire!
Is it becoming somewhat clear, and hopefully crystal clear, what the Lake of Fire truly entails; primarily, that it is not a horrendous sulfuric expanse of molten lava; but rather, it is the very essence and presence of God the Redeemer on every level? I pray that this can be seen! And if it can, we can then gain some understanding on what hell might be that is cast into it.
Hell, as it is used in the Bible, is the place of the dead, but the meaning of the word does not always denote death or torment, as it is usually taught. For instance, a common term for burying potatoes in the side of a hill to preserve them through the winter is, "helling the potatoes." Banking the potatoes is the common term used in the United States. In Ireland when roofers are putting shingles on the roof, or thatching it, the process is called "helling of the roof." It does not mean that the roof or house is being burned, and neither are they being tortured. It is simply being thatched. When a young man is ready to take his girlfriend into a secluded place of privacy we might hear him say, "Tonight, I'll be taking my sweetheart into hell." And upon returning from that imperceptible realm he would say with a smile upon his face, "I've been to hell and back with my sweet lass." And doubtless to say, he would not be implying that he had taken her into a place of torment.
The word hell in the Bible speaks of a realm that cannot be seen nor perceived from this side of the veil. By definition, it is not necessarily a place of torment, but torment can be a very real part of any unseen realm. For it is common for the secluded, hidden realm of the carnal mind to be in torment. The darkened souls of most of humanity are in torment to one degree or another; but it is not so with everyone when it comes to its true meaning. For instance, some are totally void of Christ; but they are perfectly content in their dark place. The Pharisees seemed to be a good example of this point. They appeared to be very happy where they were, and we see the same with those of today.
The Church of Rome as well as the Greek Orthodox Church corrupted the meaning of hell, which originated with several pagan religions, and has traditionally been carried right down to our day. Those two "Christian" churches were also responsible for eternal being made the same as to the ages of the ages, and these tools were used to instill fear, and to bring people under their control.
By reading from the ancient texts, and noting the doctrines of the early Church, it is clear that the writers of the scriptures never had such notions when they were first penned. This can be easily verified by just seeing how the terms hell and eternal are used throughout the Bible. Usage is the best method of determining the meaning of words, not tradition or myths, even if they are universally accepted as truth, or if they seem to be the most effective way to get and keep converts. However, if it is through fear that converts are made, as Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "...he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone." When fear is what holds them, and they do stay, they are more likely to become lifeless slaves to their church than becoming living expressions of God.
When we understand the meaning of the word hell, we can see that it is a proper word to be used in the scriptures; for rather than it being the traditional boiling lake of flaming sulfur, we can see that it signifies the unseen or hidden condition of death. We can then dispel the notion that it has anything to do with being a place of torture. There can certainly be torment therein, but not torture (rf. Part 13, #192.06 of this series). The proper understanding continued in the beliefs of the early saints, that is, until the false meaning was attached to it by the Church of Rome, the Greek Orthodox Church, and the theologians of the Dark Ages. Hell no longer meant to cover, conceal, or hide after spurious men and papal theology gave it a new meaning.
Notwithstanding, there are hells that are more than just imperceptible realms where the dead abide. There are hells that gender great wickedness, evil, and cruel torment among the living as well. There is no hell that could be more vile than the hell in the cities and byways of all the nations of the world. There is a hell that drags the living and the dead alike into it and torments them with awful crushing blows of depression, fear, rejection, and loneliness. There is a hell so evil and vile that it tears jewels of God from the heavens, as with my brother, Tim, last July, and torments them for years before their lives are taken without mercy, leaving devastated families in sorrow and bewildered unbelief that such could possibly befall them. And not only every one of those horrid hells, but every other form and facet of hell, and all their dead is cast into the Lake of Fire That God Built!
Many do not understand a thing about this Lake of Godfire, and this, I believe, is because they have not known the Builder of it. By relying on their traditional beliefs, they assume that He is a God of total vengeance, or on the other hand, He is a God of total mercy. He is neither of these gods exclusively, but He is both vengeful and merciful. God is just and holy in all of His judgments on this side of the veil and the other. Everyone will be salted with fire by the judgment of our just and holy God. In the presence of all the Holy Flames of Fire, conviction of sin will certainly be tormenting; but godly sorrow will come and bring repentance unto salvation. The Fire of God will consume every particle of sin and rebellion as every soul is transformed by the renewing of the mind. This unquenchable fire will endure through the age for everyone who is cast into that lake. The age, or eon, will not end until the life of Christ is forever known and all death is destroyed. This eon will, no doubt, last a long time for some, while with others, it will be a very quick work, and whether long lasting or quick, the process has a beginning and an end. It will not be forever!
Both wrath and mercy, the Lion and the Lamb, is the nature of this Lake of God which will bring total reconciliation to each person, restoring them to who they were in Christ before the foundation of the world.
It is beyond comprehension how people who are made in the image of God can believe He has no mercy after a person dies. I am reminded of something Brother Eby wrote in his booklet on "Hell." In essence, he said such a concept has God turning His back in contempt on people's beloved mothers and fathers, their lovely sisters and brothers, their precious daughters and sons, and their good friends and neighbors after they die, after sending them to "hell" to suffer the most terrible pain and hideous torture for all eternity. I know that the heart of man is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things; but still, it is beyond the scope of my imagination to understand how God-loving people can believe that He has more compassion to heart-beating people than otherwise. He commands us to forgive seventy times seven, even as He will on this side of the river; but on the other side, there is none for the sinners. How can the eternal God, who is Love, change? How can He have more love for sinners while they have bodies than He will have for them without bodies? What could possibly have happened to cause God, along with His saints, to turn from love, forgiveness, and compassion for the lost, to a feeling that they are getting the wages they deserve, and they should suffer the torments of the damned for all eternity? In conclusion, He went on to say:
"What, I ask, has happened to God and the saints to cause them to love and seek the lost as long as their frail, mortal bodies endure, but to turn from that love for the precious unclothed spirit of the very same man or woman? Can we believe that God, having created all things for His pleasure, having so loved His creation that He freely gave heaven's most precious gift, after a few paltry years, the brief span of a man's mortal existence, throws up His hands in futility and disgust, saying that He has done all He can and men would not respond, so He must cease all effort, seat Himself upon His golden throne, and consign His creation to everlasting hell? Yet this is exactly what we are told today. But how foolish! God is not that fickle, and God does not give up that easily. In fact, God does not give up! He started the whole program of creation and redemption and, blessed be His wonderful name! He will not cease His work until He is Victor - 'All in All' throughout all the vastness of infinity for evermore!"
So now, dear ones, we can rejoice that there is a body to be manifested that is made up of Holy Flames of Godfire, and all death and every hell, and everything in them will be cast into the destroying, consuming, saving, transforming Lake of Fire that GOD Built!
Elwin R. Roach
1. 9. (Grandville Sharp Rule Holy Spirit, even fire.)
2. 10. (sat: from Grk. hedraios firm, steadfast, immovable, Thayer's)
3. 12. And it had been kindled. His presence and words were as flames of fire in a cold, dark world.
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