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Bible verses about Lake of Fire
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 3:19  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The last part of God's curse on Adam involves the brevity of physical life. To this point, death had been mentioned only as a threatened punishment for sin (Genesis 2:17), so it must be assumed that, as long as Adam and Eve remained sinless, they would not die. Paul writes in Romans 5:12, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned."

God designed His wording of Adam's punishment to link mankind with the earth: He was created out of it, and when he died, he would return to it. His sin had removed him from the environs of the heavenly and forced him to dwell, labor, and die in the earthly. Yet even this has a silver lining:

And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. (I Corinthians 15:45-49)

The benefit of a physical body is that it can die! This may sound strange, but it is exactly this fact that makes man able to become immortal sons of God! Men can die and be resurrected, following the pattern set by Christ, receiving eternal life and the rewards of His Kingdom. It is our righteous living in the flesh through the grace of God that qualifies us for this glorious potential.

On the flip side, our physical nature also makes it possible for God to rid the universe of anyone unwilling to submit to Him. Unlike angels, men can be completely consumed in the Lake of Fire—totally destroyed for all eternity and unable to defile the holiness of God's Kingdom. Though God desires "all [to] come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9) and "all men to be saved" (I Timothy 2:4), He has this option should it be needed. Revelation 19:20 shows that it will indeed.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The First Prophecy (Part Three)


 

Deuteronomy 30:15-20  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God—by His calling, granting us repentance, giving us His Spirit, helping us understand the gospel of the Kingdom of God, and the revelation of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice—has brought us to a place that is spiritually identical to that of the Israelites after the Old Covenant was confirmed. Thus, this passage cries out to us with great forcefulness.

The world, and even some who claim membership in the church of God, tell us that salvation is secure once we have been justified by God's grace. They say that salvation from that point on is unconditional. If salvation is unconditional from justification on, why does God admonish us to choose between life and death? Why does He command us to choose to keep His law so that we may live and inherit the land? Why does God threaten us, His children, with the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15)? Are His threats hollow? Are they lies because there really is no Lake of Fire?

If salvation is unconditional after we receive God's Holy Spirit, then the death of an entire generation (except for Joshua and Caleb), lost because of faithlessness, is nothing but a misleading waste. God, then, expended over a million lives for no good reason. But I Corinthians 10:11 says, "Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come."

John W. Ritenbaugh
After Pentecost, Then What?


 

Jeremiah 19:12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In this passage, God tells the prophet Jeremiah what to proclaim to the Jews after he performs the sign of the broken flask, which is the subject of the chapter. Jeremiah is to take a clay flask to the Potsherd Gate, or the east gate, which opened out into the Valley of Hinnom, the very place that Jesus later used as an illustration of the judgment of the Lake of Fire, Gehenna. He is also to gather some of the elders and priests of Judah and proclaim God's message of judgment upon them and the city of Jerusalem.

Then, he is to break the flask before them, saying, "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Even so I will break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter's vessel, which cannot be made whole again; and they shall bury them in Tophet till there is no place to bury'" (Jeremiah 19:11). Clearly, this is a sign of utter destruction of a sinful people and nation, and the details of what God promises to bring upon them are gruesome and horrifying to an extreme.

What was Tophet? According to the McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, the word itself means "spittle," of all things, or "filth," signifying something abominable, but it could also mean "place of burning," hinting at the abomination that occurred there. Tophet itself was a small hill within the Valley of Hinnom that had once been part of a grove that Solomon had had planted, where his singers had given concerts to the people of Jerusalem.

Perhaps Solomon had chosen that spot, not just for its fertility and closeness to Siloam, but also to help Israel forget that the Canaanites before them had made their children pass through the fire to Molech—in other words, it was a place of vile child sacrifice (see Psalm 106:38; Jeremiah 7:31). However, it was not long before the Israelites and Jews again "filled this place with the blood of the innocents" (Jeremiah 19:4). During his reign not long before Jeremiah's prophecy, King Josiah had defiled Tophet as part of his purge of idolatry (II Kings 23:10). He did so by overthrowing the altars and then using the place as the city dump, and the filthier the trash the better. But just as soon as Josiah died, the Jews returned to Tophet.

In Jesus' day, it was once again the city's garbage dump, where a fire was always burning to consume anything thrown on the pile (Mark 9:43-48). And of course, the worm did not die there, meaning that there were always new maggots going through their life-cycles, feeding on the trash. It was also a place where, down through the centuries, many have been buried. Thus, the Valley of Hinnom is a fitting picture of the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:29).

So what did God do to Judah because of their heinous sin?

I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hands of those who seek their lives; their corpses I will give as meat for the birds of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth. . . . And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of his friend in the siege and in the desperation with which their enemies and those who seek their lives shall drive them to despair. (Jeremiah 19:7, 9)

Sounds like justice.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh


 

Malachi 4:1  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The ultimate fate of the wicked will be total annihilation. Body, mind, and spirit will be utterly destroyed. They will cease to exist.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Basic Doctrines: The Fate of the Wicked


 

Matthew 6:31-34  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Our focus should be toward the end result. He gives this encouragement and admonishment to motivate us to understand and live all of life in relation to where it ends. Will life end in the Kingdom of God or in the Lake of Fire? That is a choice that each person makes. Even in the everyday, mundane things, eating and drinking, going to work, getting along with others, and so on, God wants His people to relate those daily experiences to their goal, the Kingdom of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Guard the Truth!


 

Matthew 10:27-28  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

It is not unreasonable that we should fear God. Jesus Christ Himself says that we are to fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. Why? He is the only One who can revoke the judgment of Gehenna fire. The wages of sin is death in Gehenna fire. If we want to escape this punishment, we can see that it is closely connected to whether or not we actually fear God.

Why? What does the fear of God have to do with escaping a judgment that would otherwise take us into the Lake of Fire?

This series of verses in Matthew 10 contains some encouragement, indicating that, if one really fears God, then there is no need to be fearful of others. Proverbs 29:25 plainly tells us, "The fear of man is a snare." This is an attitude in which we do not want to be entrapped. It is obvious, in the context of Matthew 10:27, that He is talking about fear in the sense of "dread." We are not to fear men because the worst that they can do does not even begin to match the worst that God can do! The basis for this is what God is: omnipotent and omniscient, and in Him are the issues of life and death!

The Christian life is our calling; this is our only chance for salvation. We have been personally chosen by God. The elect are an insignificant number, and we are even more insignificant personally. Yet, He has given us this calling. The world population is somewhere in the vicinity of six billion people, and out of this huge number are a miniscule few who are truly converted and have been given the Spirit of God. This is not something that we want to pass up! The fear of God is crucial to our salvation!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fear of God


 

Matthew 21:18-19  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The various commentaries provide a wealth of additional information to help us better understand this event, as the Bible leaves out a great deal that its authors expected their contemporary readers to know. With many years and thousands of miles of geography between us and the area of Jerusalem in AD 31, it behooves us to seek out expert help in this matter. With these added pieces of information, we can understand that Jesus' cursing of the fig tree was reasonable and an example for us.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible explains that the tree that Jesus cursed was a peculiar fig tree among the many that could be found in the vicinity of the Mount of Olives. There were so many fig trees in that area that it was known as Bethpage—"House of Figs." This particular tree was unique because of the abundance of leaves—an indication of abundant fruit—but it had none. It was all show.

Adam Clarke's commentary on Mark 11:13 points out that the phrase "the time of figs was not yet" would be better translated to emphasize that the time for gathering figs had not yet come. Clarke cites a similar phrase in Psalm 1:3 as support. He also indicates that the climate in the area of Jerusalem was such that figs could be found throughout the year, especially in March and April, making it not unreasonable to expect to find fruit then. However, figs are not usually harvested until after Passover—all the more reason to expect to find some on this tree.

Clarke further contends that this fig tree was supposed to represent the state of the Jewish people—"that they professed the true religion and considered themselves the special people of God—but were only hypocrites having nothing of religion but the profession—an abundance of leaves but no fruit." Thus, he continues, "Jesus' cursing of the fig tree was intended as a warning of what was to come in the absence of repentance; the total destruction and final ruin of the Jewish state at the hands of the Romans."

Clarke concludes that Jesus did not curse the fig tree out of resentment for disappointing Him by not having any fruit, but to emphasize to His disciples just how devastating God's wrath would be on the Jews, "who had now nearly filled up the measure of their iniquity." Further, it is an object lesson to everyone that God expects us to bear the fruit of righteousness, showing us the consequences of failing in that task.

Matthew Henry echoes this last lesson in his comment on Mark 11:13:

Christ was willing to make an example of it, not to the trees, but to the men, of that generation, and therefore cursed it with that curse which is the reverse of the first blessing, Be fruitful; he said unto it, Never let any man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever!

These relevant facts inform us it was not a case that Jesus was annoyed and cursed the fig tree out of anger or disappointment as many have supposed. In fact, it was not an unreasonable act at all. No, the cursing of the fig tree turns out to be an act of God performed as a witness—like all the object lessons Jesus performed throughout His ministry. It was a stern warning to all who would fail to bear the fruit of righteousness, including—perhaps especially—us today!

The apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 10:11, "Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come." Jesus was following this principle in giving us an illustration of His words in Matthew 7:19, "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire" (see also John 15:6). The cursing of the fig tree is a pointed exhortation from our Savior not to be found fruitless at His appearing because the dreaded Lake of Fire awaits those who taste of "the heavenly gift" of God and failing to grow, fall away (see Hebrews 6:4-6; Revelation 20:15; 21:8).

Basil, a fourth-century theologian, wrote in part, "A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. . . ." The deeds—the fruit—that God wants to see are the expressions of His Spirit working in us as we interact with others (Galatians 5:22-23). As Christ Himself instructs us, "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples" (John 15:8).

This is what the Christian life is all about: growing and producing fruit that glorifies God. Thanks to that fig tree on the way to Jerusalem, we have a vivid example to keep us on the straight and narrow path to the Kingdom of God.

Dan Elmore
The Cursed Tree


 

Mark 9:43  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Here Jesus plainly states that the unrighteous will be punished by being put into "hell," which He describes as a fire that will not be quenched (see also Jeremiah 17:27). In this scripture, the word "hell" is translated from the Greek Gehenna. This word means "Valley of Hinnom," a valley on the south side of Jerusalem where refuse was continually burned. Jesus used this area as a type of the place where the wicked will receive their final punishment.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Basic Doctrines: The Fate of the Wicked


 

Luke 9:62  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This "looking back" is not merely reflecting to evaluate the progress made since one decided to leave the world. Instead, it is like Lot's wife, who looked back with a degree of longing to return to what she had left. Her life was literally on the line, and rather than being fully engaged in surviving, she placed a higher priority on life's lesser matters than on the greater one of preserving her life through God's gift of protection.

She looked back, revealing her heart still to be in Sodom, a type of the world. Her action indicates regret for having left. Success in God's way requires following an awesome vision of future glory with devoted conviction. Abraham is a primary example: He looked for a city built by God, apparently leaving his homeland without ever looking back (Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16).

Once we commit to Christianity, God's calling becomes our vocation, which requires our concentrated attention going forward. A vocation is a person's regular occupation. What happens when a Christian looks back with a measure of longing is similar to someone talking on a cell phone while driving his car. He frequently drifts all over the road, swerving this way and that because, at best, his attention is split between conflicting priorities. He is setting himself up for trouble, and all too frequently, an accident occurs. A Christian cannot make a beeline for the Kingdom with his attention diverted elsewhere. We are not to be anything but altogether followers of the Son of God. The stakes are that high, for the fulfillment of His promise is so great.

Dramatic, sudden death, as happened to Lot's wife, will not likely happen to us if we gaze yearningly behind us. For this reason, a person who has begun to fall away will most likely take the second step backwards with hardly a pause. Hebrews 10:39 says, "But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul." Almost invariably, longing for the old life is followed by gradually and increasingly believing that God's requirements are too exacting and difficult.

In Jesus' parable in Luke 19:11-27, did not the man given one mina complain something similar to this when asked what he had gained with it? "Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow" (verses 20-21).

We must be prepared to put God first in all things. There will be times when this will be exceedingly difficult, especially if the surrender of a thing involves the sacrifice of someone or something deeply loved or desired. It can happen, but such occasions are quite rare.

It has been said that he who is unwilling to sacrifice everything for the cause of God is really willing to sacrifice nothing. Drawing back happens despite God's promise that every trial is measured to the exact specifications needed by the individual Christian. In I Corinthians 10:13, God promises to provide relief from every problem: "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." The word-picture in Hebrews 10:39 portrays a person shrinking back from following through on the demands of faith. He is looking for an easy way out of some distasteful thing he does not wish to face. This eventually happens to us all.

A major appeal of the world's way is that it seems to be broader and easier. As Jesus says in Matthew 7:13, the easier, broader way it probably is - for a while. That deceptively effortless way draws the person ever-further from salvation, and he grows steadily weaker as he loses contact with God. The one who apostatizes thus permits himself to be drawn back.

The third step is taken when a person actually turns away. John 6:65-66 records such an occasion in Jesus' ministry: "And He said, 'Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.' From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more." In this poignant scene, Jesus watched people who may have been friends leave His entourage because they could not comprehend His teaching. He undoubtedly had spoken of things of an order far higher than they were accustomed to hearing, but rather than patiently facing it, as the apostles did, they simply gave up, proving themselves unfit for the Kingdom of God. Their loyalty could not stand the strain of what may have been merely a temporary misunderstanding. They had been followers, but apparently, they were seeking for something else.

By this stage, it is still not too late for a person to grab hold of himself and move forward, but the world's appeal has become almost overpowering. Spiritual decline has reached the tipping point, and he is in serious peril.

The fourth and final step backward is illustrated by Isaiah in the Old Testament: "But the word of the LORD was to them, 'Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.' That they might go and fall backward, and be broken and snared and caught" (Isaiah 28:13).

In examining the context carefully, we see that the people being described have reached the critical point where God's Word is falling on deaf ears. It is to them just jumbled noise. In New Testament terms, they had backslid beyond the reach of repentance and forgiveness. Here, the apostate reaches the point of no return; he has earned the Lake of Fire.

John W. Ritenbaugh
God's Power: Our Shield Against Apostasy


 

Luke 12:4-5  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

While Revelation 21:8 says that the fearful have their part in the lake of fire, it is a paradox that a Christian must have fear. It just has to be the right kind of fear, as Christ teaches here. While the wrong kind of fear can lead to eternal death, the right kind of fear leads to eternal life: "Fear of the LORD is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death" (Proverbs 14:27, New Living Translation, NLT).

The benefits of the right kind of fear are not limited to the distant future and the promise of eternal life, but it also has great benefits for the here and now for us and even our children after us, as the following scriptures indicate:

» For the reverence and fear of God are basic to all wisdom. Knowing God results in every other kind of understanding. (Proverbs 9:10, The Living Bible)

» The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. (Psalm 25:14, Revised Standard Version)

» And Moses said to the people, "Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin." (Exodus 20:20)

» Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. (Psalm 34:9)

» He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. (Psalm 145:19)

» By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life. (Proverbs 22:4)

» For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him. . . . As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:11, 13)

» In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge. (Proverbs 14:26)

» They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. (Jeremiah 32:38-40)

Pat Higgins
The Sin of Fear (Part Two)


 

Luke 13:23-28  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Many will seek to enter the Kingdom of God but be barred from it because of flagrant sin. Jesus will refuse to answer the knock of unruly sinners who have rejected salvation, though they weep and grind their teeth when they find out they cannot enter God's Kingdom. When the third resurrection arrives, all humanity will have had the opportunity to be saved; everyone's ultimate destiny will have been eternally set. It will be too late for anyone who, after coming to the knowledge of the truth, sins willfully and thereby rejects eternal life. Those who reject God and His way of life must then reap the consequences of that decision - the second death following the third resurrection to judgment.

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: The Third Resurrection


 

Luke 16:19-31  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, the latter, a heartless person, speaks to Lazarus while being "tormented in this flame." This alludes to the wicked being cremated when God burns up the earth, turning it into the final Gehenna, called elsewhere "the Lake of Fire." The rich man is raised out of his grave at the end of God's plan for humanity on earth. Because the dead know nothing, he does not realize the passage of time, but he certainly realizes that he has failed to receive salvation. He sees "a great gulf fixed" between him and those who are with Abraham in the Kingdom of God. At this point, it is impossible for anyone to change his fate.

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: The Third Resurrection


 

Luke 16:19-31  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In Luke 16:19-31 appears the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, which Jesus spoke to those who would not repent. Jesus uses it to help them understand His earlier words: "Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out" (Luke 13:27-28). In the parable, the rich man—representing all workers of iniquity, all sinners—illustrates what is to befall the unrepentant.

The wicked will be raised to physical life in their resurrection, and then, immediately knowing that they are doomed, they will be cast into the Lake of Fire designed by God to consume them. The Lake of Fire will burn them up completely and finally. Jesus pictures the rich man crying out for help because of his mental and physical anguish at this time, but he is not burning eternally in hell fire. He is soon consumed while Lazarus the beggar dwells safely in immortality.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part One)


 

Luke 16:19-31  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31), Jesus illustrates death—total unconsciousness—as being followed by a resurrection from the dead and a restoration to consciousness. Secondly, Jesus describes the second death, eternal death, in the Lake of Fire that will totally destroy the wicked. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), not endless torment.

Jesus shows that the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear the voice of God and come forth—those who have lived righteously to the resurrection of life, and those who have lived wickedly (including the rich man) to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29). We need to understand how vital it is to hear and submit to God's voice now.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part Two)


 

Luke 16:22-23  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus does not say the rich man is taken immediately to an eternally burning hell. He says the rich man dies and is buried. People are buried in a grave and covered with earth. Hades (verse 23) is the Greek word for "grave." The King James Version generically translates hades into "hell," as it also does the Greek words tartarus (the present condition of darkness and restraint of the fallen angels or demons) and gehenna (a place at the bottom of a high ledge at the south end of Jerusalem where garbage and dead bodies were dumped and burned). Other Bible translations correctly distinguish the different meaning in these words. The rich man went to the same kind of place Jesus did when He died—"hell" (KJV) or "Hades" (NKJV)—but the Father did not leave Him there (Acts 2:31-32).

Daniel 12:2 speaks of those who will be resurrected to eternal life (the just) and of those who will be resurrected to damnation or judgment (the unjust). In the parable, Jesus speaks of two different, separate resurrections (John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15; Revelation 20:4-5, 11-12). Jesus pictures the rich man as wicked and lost, but even he will open his eyes and rise from his grave after the Millennium. Having passed up his opportunity for immortality by choosing this world's temporary, material riches and pleasures rather than eternal, spiritual riches, he is without hope, doomed to perish in the Lake of Fire.

The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man shows the resurrection from the dead, not an instantaneous going to heaven or hell. It is a resurrection from death, not from life. It depicts mortals who die and are dead, not immortals who never lose consciousness and live forever under punishment in a fiery hell. Jesus describes bringing back to life one who was dead, who had no conscious realization of the lapse of centuries and millennia since his death.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part One)


 

Luke 16:23-25  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The flame he sees and feels upon his resurrection is the ultimate fate of the wicked: being burned up'destroyed'in Gehenna fire, the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14-15). The Lake of Fire represents the second death from which there is no return to life. This death is final and permanent; it is the absence of life for all eternity. It is eternal punishment, not eternal punishing.

When the rich man opens his eyes in the resurrection, he sees the flame of fire that is about to destroy him permanently, and it paralyzes him with terror, making his mouth go dry. He complains that the flame is tormenting him. In these verses, the Greek word translated "tormented," odunomai, means "to cause pain; to pain, distress; pain of body, but also pain of mind, grief, distress." This rich man, resurrected to physical life, sees this Lake of Fire and realizes the terrible doom he is about to face. Sobbing, he suffers mental anguish and despair and begs for a little water from the tip of Lazarus' finger to cool his tongue. Nevertheless, he must reap what he sowed'death!

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part Two)


 

Luke 16:26  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Abraham and Lazarus were separated from the rich man suffering for his sins. The latter had received his reward in the material things he had sought, craved, and acquired during his mortal lifetime. The gulf Abraham mentions that prevents the wicked from escaping death in the Lake of Fire—and that also keeps the righteous from being burned—is immortality. Those who are immortal will never die because they are composed of spirit like God (Revelation 20:6). Only the saved possess immortality as the gift of God (Romans 2:7).

Conversely, human beings who have not been resurrected or changed to spirit are still physical and subject to corruption and death. They can be consumed by fire because they are composed of flesh and blood. The wicked will reap anguish and wrath, the fiery indignation that will devour the adversary (Hebrews 10:27). For such people, there will be a time of anguish before they die when the fire consumes their bodies. The parable ends with Abraham's words ringing in the rich man's mind and flames of judgment engulfing his body.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part Two)


 

Luke 16:27-31  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The rich man's last thought flashes to concern for the fate of his five brothers. He utters a final cry to Abraham, begging him to send Lazarus to plead with his brothers to heed his warning testimony. Abraham replies that they had the writings of Moses and the prophets. The rich man, however, thinks his brothers would listen to one from the dead, indicating that he realizes that Lazarus had been resurrected. Abraham replies that, if they would not follow the Scriptures, they would certainly not be persuaded even by one raised from the dead. These final verses show that Jesus' purpose in giving the parable was to reveal the truth of the resurrection.

Other scriptures tell us what happens where this parable leaves off. Matthew 13:30 speaks symbolically of the wicked being gathered into bundles to be burned. Matthew 3:12 records John's warning to the Pharisees that they would be burned up as chaff if they did not repent. They are to be burned in a fire so hot that no amount of water could put it out because the flames would turn the water to steam. When God punishes the wicked, the fire will be unquenchable. This does not mean, however, that it will not burn itself out when it has no more combustible materials to burn. An unquenchable fire cannot be put out, but it can burn itself out when it has consumed everything. Malachi 4:1, 3 also speaks of this fire, reporting the end of the wicked: They will be ashes and smoke (see Psalm 37:20).

In this, Jesus is preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, revealing salvation, the resurrection to eternal life as the gift of God, and inheritance of the Kingdom of God on this earth. Jesus teaches that if we refuse to hear Moses and the prophets—if we refuse to believe the inspired, written Word of God—we have no hope of salvation. All Scripture, the whole Bible containing both the Old and New Testaments, is profitable for doctrine and instruction in receiving the gift of salvation (II Timothy 3:16-17).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Part Two)


 

Romans 2:2  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This instruction refutes the doctrine of eternal security. He writes this letter to converted Romans, those who had already accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. As God does in Genesis 3, the apostle threatens these Christians with God's utter abhorrence of sin and His unwavering promise to judge it.

Paul later illustrates this process of judgment to the Hebrews:

For the earth [Christians] which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessings from God; but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned [in the Lake of Fire]. (Hebrews 6:7-8; see verses 4-6; Matthew 13:47-50; 25:31-46)

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Do We Have 'Eternal Security'?


 

Hebrews 9:27  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Hebrews 9:27 says that all men are appointed to die once. Considering this, some have asked: How can one die a second death? How many times can one die?

First, baptism is symbolic of death (Romans 6:2-11) and so is "dying daily," as Paul describes the sacrifices of the Christian life (I Corinthians 15:31). Paul mentions this latter death in the context of the resurrection chapter to emphasize our need to crucify the old self daily and renew or resurrect the inner man as symbols of actual death and resurrection (see II Corinthians 4:16-17). In this sense, we die every day of our lives.

When speaking of great embarrassments, many have used the phrase, "I died a thousand deaths." That is just what God expects of us if we are to reach maturity of thought and conduct! Each of these deaths is just as difficult and excruciating as the one before, and thus Paul describes them as crucifixions (Galatians 5:24). These play a major role in overcoming, and it is never easy.

Apart from symbolism, the general rule is that we each die physically at least once and then await the resurrection to eternal life. But some few humans have already died twice! Lazarus, Dorcas, Eutychus, those who came out of their graves when Christ died and others were physically resurrected and physically died again.

It is conceivable that some few might even die three times! If those who were resurrected physically were converted and accepted for the Kingdom, they will be resurrected when Christ returns - changed "in the twinkling of an eye" into immortal spirit beings (I Corinthians 15:52). If they were not called and converted - not yet having had an opportunity for salvation - they will come up in the second resurrection to be alive a third time. At the end of that life they will then be either changed to spirit or die in the Lake of Fire, a third death.

Why, then, does Revelation 20:14 call the Lake of Fire "the second death"? The emphasis is on the fact that it is a permanent death. Once a person experiences the second death, no hope remains for another resurrection. However, for a few it could represent a third physical death.

The point is that all of us are appointed to die at least once! Even those "blessed and holy" individuals who are alive and changed at Christ's return will go through a kind of death. As Paul writes, "For this corruptible [body] must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (I Corinthians 15:53).

Staff
The Third Resurrection: What Is Its Value?


 

1 Peter 2:7-10  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Does this mean that some people are appointed to stumbling? If this were all we had, we could make a strong case that God has predestined some to be eternally lost in the Lake of Fire. It means that those who now stumble have simply been passed over at this time. God has appointed them to fill a different part in His scheme of things, and they will not have the same opportunity we now enjoy until the time He has set for them.

Does not Revelation 20:5-6, 11-13 reveal a second resurrection? Does not II Peter 3:9 say God is "not willing that any should perish," and I Corinthians 15:23, that each will be resurrected "in his own order"? A myriad of scriptures reveals this is not the only day of salvation. Portions of Ezekiel 37, Zechariah 14, Matthew 11-12, Isaiah 2, Micah 4, and Romans 11 all reveal a coming resurrection of the dead when those resurrected will be offered salvation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Seven


 

2 Peter 3:9  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God does not want anyone to perish but desires all to come to repentance. However, to those who refuse His mercy and trample the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ as if it were vile (Hebrews 10:26-31), He is a God of justice and righteous judgment. These, who leave Him with no alternative but to put them to death for eternity, will know what He earnestly desired them to achieve.

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: The Third Resurrection


 

1 John 3:15  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This verse succinctly states why it is so important not to hold the spirit of murder within us. Anger or resentment may flash into our minds, and we have not yet sinned. But if we hold it and allow it to burn, it could very well destroy us!

Hatred also is the spirit of murder. But beware! Human nature can lead us into thinking that hatred has no serious, immediate consequences because the Lake of Fire seems so far off. The spirit of murder must be nipped in the bud before it leads to murder or the Lake of Fire. Notice Matthew 5:23-24, the verses immediately after Jesus' statement on the spirit of murder:

Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Do not attempt to make any offering to God while in the spirit of enmity! Jesus' words clearly imply that God will not accept our worship while we hate another person! Can we honestly say we are worshipping God in spirit and truth when we hate a brother? How can a heart burdened by grudges offer God complete adoration? Within God's court there are no unsolved crimes, nor does He lack the power to see our inner motives.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sixth Commandment (Part One) (1997)


 

Revelation 20:4-6  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The first part of verse 5 inserts a parenthetical statement that refers to a second resurrection, described in verses 11-15. After the Millennium, God will raise up to physical life all those who have never had an opportunity for salvation. Christ will judge all those who lived throughout human history yet have not been called. Ezekiel 37:1-14 prophesies of God resurrecting all Israel. At the same time (see Matthew 12:41-42), He will raise all the Gentiles and extend to them the same offer He does to Israel (Romans 2:7-11; I Timothy 2:4). If they satisfy God's judgment, He will at some point grant them eternal life and give them spiritual bodies (I Corinthians 15:44-49).

After all have had their opportunity, God will perform still a third resurrection. Those who will not repent of their rebellion against the Almighty will be raised to physical life and cast into the Lake of Fire, which provides a merciful, permanent death (see Matthew 25:41).

Martin G. Collins
Holy Days: Last Great Day


 

Revelation 20:7-10  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

After the thousand years of imprisonment, Satan will be released for a short while. During his parole, he will again unite some of the nations and take them to war against God's people. But this rebellion will be summarily ended when God sends fire out of heaven to destroy them. Because he is spirit and cannot die, the Devil will then be sentenced to eternal torment in the Lake of Fire. Finally, God and man will be rid of their chief enemy, and peace will flourish for all eternity!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Basic Doctrines: Satan's Origin and Destiny


 

Revelation 20:7-10  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God will release Satan for a short time when the thousand years end. The people, familiar with Christ and His kings and priests, will have lived in unprecedented peace, happiness, and prosperity. They will have learned and lived God's way from birth. Surely, Satan could have no influence on them!

Almost instantly, however, he will raise an army of people "as the sand of the sea" out of "the four corners of the earth"! His arguments will persuade them that they should and can destroy Christ and his throne in Jerusalem. God, however, will annihilate them all in a blinding flash of fire from heaven and cast the Devil into the Lake of Fire, never to be freed again!

Staff
Holy Days: Feast of Tabernacles


 

Revelation 20:10  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This verse seems to describe the Lake of Fire as a place where God torments people forever. This raises a few questions: 1) If the Beast and False Prophet are mortal men, why are they still alive after the Millennium when Satan is cast into the Lake of Fire? 2) If they are mortals, how can they "be tormented day and night forever and ever" in an inferno that would soon consume them? 3) What kind of God would devise such a "cruel and unusual" punishment?

Before we answer these questions, we must briefly consider whether man has an immortal soul. Our understanding of the Scriptures compels us to maintain that he does not for several reasons:

» Job recognized that man has a spirit (Job 32:8), which Paul shows in I Corinthians 2:11 endows humanity with intellect. This spirit in man comes from God (Zechariah 12:1) and returns to Him when we die (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Acts 7:59). It records our experiences, character, and personality, which God stores until the resurrection of the dead. However, the Bible never describes this spirit as immortal or eternal; in fact, I Corinthians 2:6-16 explains that man needs yet another Spirit, God's, to be complete and discern godly things.

» The Bible flatly asserts that all people die: "It is appointed for men to die once" (Hebrews 9:27). Ezekiel says clearly that souls die: "The soul who sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4, 20; see Romans 6:23). Jesus warns in Matthew 10:28 that God can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.

» In death, life and consciousness are gone. "The dead know nothing," says Solomon in Ecclesiastes 9:5, and he later adds, "There is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going" (verse 10). In Psalm 146:4, the psalmist writes about a man's death, "His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish" (see Genesis 3:19).

» Scripture also confutes the idea that people go to heaven or hell after death. Peter says to the crowd on the day of Pentecost, "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. . . . For David did not ascend into the heavens" (Acts 2:29, 34). Our Savior confirms this in John 3:13: "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven." The biblical usage of Sheol and Hades simply means "the grave."

» Men cannot have immortality unless God gives it to them. Paul writes, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). In I Corinthians 15:53 he tells the saints, "This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." At the first resurrection God will give "eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality" (Romans 2:7). If we already had immortality, why should we put it on or seek it?

» Only God has immortality. He is, Paul writes to Timothy, ". . . the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality" (I Timothy 6:15-16). John says of the Word, "In Him was life" (John 1:4), meaning as Creator of all things (verse 3), He had life inherent. Jesus affirms this in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Men must go through Him to receive eternal life.

With such overwhelming proof, the doctrine of the immortality of the soul proves false. Man is not immortal, nor does he possess any "spark of God" unless God has given it to him through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11). A Christian's hope of life after death rests in the resurrection of the dead (I Corinthians 15:12-23). Conversely, the wicked only await eternal death as recompense for their evil lives, not eternal life in torment.

To understand Revelation 20:10 correctly, we must put it into its proper chronological context. Once we know when it occurs, much of the confusion about this verse clears up.

Though only twelve verses separate Revelation 19:20 from 20:10, one thousand years pass between their respective events. The Beast and the False Prophet are cast into the Lake of Fire when Christ returns (Revelation 19:11-21). Soon thereafter, an angel imprisons Satan in the bottomless pit for the thousand years of the Millennium (Revelation 20:1-3). When the thousand years pass, Satan is released, and he gathers Gog and Magog to fight against the saints (verses 7-9). After God defeats this futile attempt, He casts Satan, a spirit being, into the Lake of Fire to be tormented forever and ever (verse 10).

Obviously, the flames of the Lake of Fire totally consume mortal men like the Beast and False Prophet. In no way could they survive a thousand years of burning! The laws of nature simply will not allow it.

The translators of the King James and New King James versions render the final clause of the first sentence as "where the beast and the false prophet are." The present-tense verb "are" is not in the Greek; it is an understood verb. In English grammar, such silent verbs take the same tense as the verb in the main clause of the sentence. The translators ignored this rule, however. The primary verb of the sentence, "was cast" (an aorist verb usually translated as simple past tense), demands that the silent verb should be "were cast" (past tense) to agree with the plural subject, "the beast and the false prophet."

Deceived by the false doctrine of the immortal soul, the translators had to deny nature and break the rules to make this verse fit their understanding! On the other hand, we can confidently assert that our teaching agrees with Scripture, nature, and grammar!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Eternal Torment?


 

Revelation 20:10  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Before the explosion of modern translations, the final sentence of Revelation 20:10 roused no one's skepticism. But the newer versions bring out the fact that the verb here (basanisthesontai) is plural and is correctly rendered "they will be tormented." Who are "they"? Does this indeed include the Beast and False Prophet? Does God torment the wicked eternally? There are two ways to explain these questions:

1) The Bible denies any idea of men having an innate immortality. These wicked leaders of men in the last days will die and burn to ashes soon after being thrust into the Lake of Fire, their souls and bodies destroyed by Him who is able to do this in Gehenna fire (Matthew 10:28). This fact would exclude any human from being described as "tormented day and night forever and ever."

The only group left is the fallen angels—Satan and his demons. Jesus says in Luke 20:36, "Nor can [a resurrected saint] die anymore, for they are equal to the angels." Created spirit beings, angels, cannot die! Earlier, Satan was bound in the bottomless pit, but after his subsequent rebellion, God decides that eternal torment in the Lake of Fire is a just punishment for one so evil. If men choose not to repent, God can mercifully snuff out their existence. Fallen angels, however, must live eternally with the consequences of their sins.

But, one may counter, "the devil" in Revelation 20:10 is singular, and "they will be tormented" is plural. How is this reconciled? In this case, "the devil" is used in a figure of speech called metonymy. Technically, it is "the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated." More simply, one part of a thing represents the whole. Thus, "the devil" represents in himself all of the group we call demons, devils, fallen angels, angels that sinned, etc.

A parallel verse in Matthew 25:41 says that sinners will be cast into "the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels." This shows that the Lake of Fire's primary purpose is for the eternal torment of demons, but it will also be used as the means of execution for the wicked among humans. While men will be completely annihilated, the unkillable demons will simply suffer.

2) If we understand "they will be tormented" to include the Beast and the False Prophet, we must explain the phrase "forever and ever" (eis tous aionas ton aionon). Literally, this means "to the ages of the ages," and would seem to imply perpetuity. However, we must be careful with the word aion. Its range of meaning runs from "a space or period of time" to "a lifetime" to "an age" to "eternity." As in all such cases, the context must give the sense.

Having rejected the immortality of the soul, we have no recourse but to understand aion here in the sense of "as long as conditions exist" or "as long as they live." Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words concurs:

AION . . . signifies a period of indefinite duration, or time viewed in relation to what takes place in the period. . . . The phrases containing this word should not be rendered literally, but consistently with its sense of indefinite duration. (p. 43)

Thus, the Beast and False Prophet will be tormented forever until they die, probably within a few minutes or a few hours. The demons, however, not able to die, will suffer torment without end, receiving a cruel fate that is just payment for their deceptions and murders throughout history.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Eternal Torment?


 

Revelation 20:10  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

What effect does fire have upon a spirit? It does not say exactly here, but does this mean that God, who created these spirit beings, also knows a way to destroy them utterly? Perhaps.

In the Bible, fire is pictured as the final curse. It is used in the sense of being the symbol of complete purging, so that when something passes through fire, it is then clean. It is interesting to think about the possible ramifications of this verse.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 3)


 

Revelation 20:11-15  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The incorrigibly wicked are the last of mankind to be resurrected from their graves - from "the sea" (where they may have perished), from death (without burial), or from hades (a grave in the ground). God Himself will sentence these unruly, miserable human beings - hopefully few - and whoever is not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: The Third Resurrection


 

Revelation 20:13-15  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This third resurrection will comprise those who are unwilling to live by God's laws and refuse to repent. These incorrigible people will be cast into the Lake of Fire and completely burned up. They can never be resurrected again, having rejected God's wonderful offer of salvation and eternal life.

Staff
Basic Doctrines: Eternal Judgment


 

Revelation 21:8  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The Bible describes the "hellfire" into which the wicked will be cast as a lake of burning fire and brimstone. Some have pictured this Lake of Fire to be like an active volcano spewing out molten rock. Into such a fiery liquid the incorrigible will be thrown. After having died once and been resurrected to judgment (Hebrews 9:27), they will die the "second death" by being burned up in the Lake of Fire.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Basic Doctrines: The Fate of the Wicked


 

Revelation 21:8  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Because we live in times that are increasingly uncertain and perilous, fear is a reality all will face at some time. A sobering consideration is that fear appears in a list in Revelation 21:8 describing those who will be cast into the Lake of Fire: "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (emphasis ours throughout).

As bad as murderers, the sexually immoral, and sorcerers are, note that God puts first, at the head of the line, the cowardly and unbelieving. The Bible in Basic English renders these first few words as, "But those who are full of fear and without faith. . . ." Why are fear and lack of faith such preeminent sins in God's eyes?

Before answering that question, let us first establish that fear and a lack of faith are sins. Notice Nehemiah 6:10-14:

Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, "Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you." And I said, "Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!" Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. For this reason he was hired, that I should be afraid and act that way and sin, so that they might have cause for an evil report, that they might reproach me. My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat, according to these their works, and the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who would have made me afraid.

Nehemiah labels fear as sin. Romans 14:23 says the same of unbelief: "But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin." A lack of faith is also sin.

So, why are they at the beginning of the list in Revelation 21:8? And, of the two, why is fear first? The New Living Translation provides an answer to that question by rendering the verse's opening words as, "But cowards who turn away from me. . . ." In fear, cowards run from the battle, showing disloyalty to their sovereign. In the spiritual realm, they put their self-interest above everything, including God. Fear violates the first commandment by not giving God the preeminence it demands. It is not surprising, then, that the first sin listed is the one that so directly violates that first great commandment (Matthew 22:36-38).

In his commentary on Revelation 21:8, James Burton Coffman notes, "But it is not of natural fear and timidity that John speaks; it is that cowardice which in the last resort chooses self and safety before Christ." He nails the core problem of fear—at the end, it can cause us to reject God in favor of self.

Pat Higgins
The Sin of Fear (Part One)


 

 




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