The Lake Of Fire            


    Why FIRE?  Why do people have to be judged by FIRE?  And, not just sinners
    either...ALL people will be judged by FIRE!!  The FIRE will try everyone's works.
    Why all this fascination with fire? Could it be because our God is a consuming
    fire?

    If we are to believe what Jesus said about drawing all to Himself, then we have to understand
    that the lake of fire is not a permanent condition. Right? In my understanding, the lake of fire is
    the destruction of everything that is against God.

    It is where God's last enemy bites the dust and that enemy is death. It is where the most
    stubborn will surrenders. It is where the liar learns to tell the truth. It is where the whore
    monger and the whore learns that they don't have to have the attention of the opposite sex
    flocking around them to make them feel like somebody.  And, where Sister Super Spiritual learns
    that it is ok not to pray louder and longer than everybody else.  ( people who try so hard to
    "advertise" their spirituality make me think of religious whores.Then, again, they may be trying to convince
    God that they are spiritual so He won't burn them in Hell )

    It is where we are forced to die to the flesh when we wouldn't before.....  where everyone bows
    their knee to the real King. It is where the self sufficient cries out for help. It is where genuine
    repentance takes place. We will all be tried by the fire of God. If we learn to judge ourselves and
    die to our flesh as we go through our life with the Lord, the second death, or the lake of fire, will
    not hurt us.



    It is the ultimate state of being between a rock and a hard place. It is where we hollar "calf
    rope"....where we give up.

    Lake Strongs # 3041 Limne
    Fire Strongs  # 4442 Pur


    Re 19:20  
    And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he
    deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both
    were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

    Re 20:10  
    And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the
    false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

    Re 20:14  
    And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

    Re 20:15  
    And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    Re 21:8  
    But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers,
    and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone:
    which is the second death.

    So many ways to view this concept.....
    Fall on the Rock and it won't fall on you...
    Judge yourself and you won't be judged...
    Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved....

    There are probably as many differing ideas on the lake of fire as there are Baptists. There are a
    few things we should keep in mind as we attempt to figure out just what it is.

    1. The book of Revelation is signified. Sign-i-fied. Written in signs and symbols.

    Rev 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things
    which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

    2.  God is against burning people alive.

    Jer 32:35 And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to
    cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them
    not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

    Stephen Jones says the case history of burning people with fire is only after they were
    executed so they would not have an honorable burial.

    Jos 7:25 And Joshua said, Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day. And all
    Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with
    stones.

    3.  God had limits in the law, on punishing lawbreakers.

    De 25:3  " He may beat him forty times {but} no more, so that he does not beat him with many more
    stripes than these and your brother is not degraded in your eyes. NAS

    4.  Everything is going to be restored.

    Acts 3:20-21 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the
    heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things,

    Ephesians 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all
    things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

    Colossians 1:16-20  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth,
    visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things
    were created by him, and for him:   And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.   And he
    is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in  all
    things he might have the preeminence.   For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness
    dwell;  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto
    himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

    Revelation 5:13  5:13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth,
    and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory,
    and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

    5.  Takes place in the presence of the Lamb and the Holy angels

    Revelation 14:10 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:

    6.   Jesus said  He will draw all men to Himself. That means no one will stay in the lake of
    fire.

    John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.



    Some people equate Gehenna with the Lake of Fire. If this is indeed the case, Matthew 23:39
    shows without doubt that this punishment is not endless. Quite the contrary, it lasts long
    enough for those unbelieving Pharisees to start "blessing" the true messiah, the Lord, Jesus
    Christ.

    God is not mean and cruel. He is love. I pray that you open your heart and mind and check out
    this radical message to see if it could be true. Don't do like I did the first time I heard it. I just
    readily dismissed it BECAUSE I had never heard of it. That's pretty smug and arrogant isn't it?
    Not to mention extremely closed-minded.  Come on, admit it...there's not much peace in taking
    someone else's word for everything is there? Go for the peace...You got a brain, use it!

    Why do we dismiss it so easily? Do we think the one's who taught us about eternal torment have
    all the answers? We have to learn to stand on our own sooner or later. God said if we lack
    wisdom to ask Him and He would give it. He told us in the Bible to check out what we are told to
    see if it is the truth.

    One may say, "well, that's not what the Bible says."  Maybe not the English Bible, but did Jesus
    speak English? Of course not. What was the language of the BIble days? Doesn't it stand to
    reason that that is probably the one we should start with? Of course it does.


    Stephen Jones of God's Kingdom Ministries, uses the Law to show God's principles in blessings
    and judgments. Here are a couple of his articles, printed with his permission, for your
    benefit/blessing.


                                          Mercy In The Lake Of Fire

    When Solomon dedicated the temple, his inspired prayer recognized that God would judge
    sin, and yet the judgment would end when the people repented. For example, 1 Kings 8:33,
    34 says,

    " (33) When Thy people Israel are defeated before an enemy, because they have sinned against Thee, if they
    turn to Thee again and confess Thy name and pray and make supplication to Thee in this house, (34) then hear
    Thou in heaven and forgive the sin of Thy people Israel, and bring them back to the land which Thou didst give to
    their fathers."

    This idea is taken directly from the law of tribulation in Lev. 26:40-42, where God said He would judge His people
    and even bring them into a foreign land if necessary. He said that He would bring them back to their land only
    after they "confess their iniquity . . . and also in their acting with hostility against Me"--that is, against Jesus Christ,
    the Yahweh of the Old Testament and Lawgiver.

    In other words, God brings judgment in order to bring correction. But His judgment does not end until people
    actually repent and confess their iniquity and hostility toward Jesus Christ. In the case of Israel (above), it is plain
    that the so-called Zionists have forced themselves into Palestine without confessing their iniquity and their hostility
    against Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is not the fulfillment of the law of tribulation, nor even of Solomon's prayer.

    The purpose of judgment is to bring correction, which is manifested by repentance. David repented, and so God
    showed him mercy. All through the book of Judges, whenever Israel repented, God ended their captivities to other
    nations. In no instance did God end the judgment prior to their repentance.

    If we take it back to Adam himself, we see that God judged him with the death penalty for his sin. But we also see
    the mercy factor in this, because he was not executed immediately. The death penalty in his case was lengthened
    by time and is what we call mortality. Mortality was a sufficient penalty for Adam's sin to fulfill the penalty
    expressed in Gen. 2:17, "in the day that you eat from it, you shall surely die." It was God's prerogative to define a
    "day," and He did so by making it a thousand years (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8). So Adam died at the age of 930,
    which was just 70 years short of a thousand. This was God's mercy upon Adam.

    The law demanding the death penalty is expressed in seemingly rigid terms (Deut. 17:6, 12), but this gives
    instructions to the judges (priests), telling them that they have no power to set aside the death penalty. In fact, the
    judge has no power to reduce a restitution payment either. If there is to be any mercy applied to the sinner, it
    must be done by the victim, not the judge--unless, of course, the judge is the victim. If a judge sentences the
    sinner to pay $100,000 restitution, the case is closed, but the victim can either collect it in its entirety, reduce it, or
    forgive it in full. That is his prerogative, if he sees repentance and wants to extend mercy.

    Paul says in Phil. 2:10, 11,

    " (10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the
    earth, (11) and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

    This is a loose quotation of Isaiah 45:23, where the full passage reads,

    " (22) Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. (23) I have sworn
    by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee
    will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. (24) They will say of Me, 'Only in the Lord are righteousness and
    strength. . ."

    God first swore by Himself (His own name) in Num. 14:21, "but indeed, AS I LIVE, all the earth will be filled with the
    glory of the Lord." This was God's unconditional vow. Most Christians today question His ability to fulfill that vow.
    They question His ability to bring the whole earth to repentance, where "every knee will bow, every tongue will
    swear allegiance." But Paul did not question it.

    I believe that this will take place at the Great White Throne judgment, when all are raised to be judged according
    to their works. On that day there will be no more unbelievers. In 1 Cor. 12:3, Paul says that "no one can say
    'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit." And so, when they all confess that He is Lord at the Great White Throne,
    it will be by the Holy Spirit. They will repent and be converted, and they will receive mercy even in judgment.

    Some insist that death is the deadline for conversion, based upon a misreading of Heb. 9:27, "as it is appointed
    for men to die once and after this comes judgment." I fully concur that the Great White Throne judgment comes
    after men die. But nowhere does it say that death makes men incapable of conversion--of if they want to be
    converted, they are not allowed to repent. The divine deadline has been inserted by the traditions of men, not by
    God.

    Paul says clearly that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. This will be done to
    the glory of God. There is no glory in forcing every man to his knees against his will. There is no glory in torturing
    men into confessing that Jesus was right after all. The fact is this: the GLORY of the Lord is in the fact that all men
    will confess Him to be Lord only because they will recognize clearly that "only in the Lord are righteousness and
    strength," as Isaiah 45:24 says (quoted above). When God receives such glory in all men, then and only then will
    His glory cover the whole earth to fulfill His vow to Moses in Num. 14:21.


    But as I have shown already, repentance is the key that brings mercy. Mercy does not necessarily cancel out
    judgment, as we saw in the example of King David. But it certainly plays a role. And God, the merciful Judge, has
    the full right to redefine death or to lengthen it by Time. John was shown this when he wrote in Rev. 20:14 that
    "death and hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire."

    The first death, imposed upon Adam, is called mortality. The second death, revealed by Paul in many writings, is
    when we put to death the old man, crucify the flesh, and "die daily." It is repentance itself, and the law is satisfied
    because its purpose has been served to correct the sinner.

    Thus, we see that at the Great White Throne, God will dispose of mortality, which gives way to this second type of
    death. How? By the fact that every knee will bow and all will repent sincerely to the glory of God. Because of this
    universal repentance, no one will be annihilated, nor will anyone be tortured in a never-ending fire.

    The "fire" is the symbol of law (Deut. 33:2) and the word of God (Jer. 23:29). This "fire" proceeds from the throne
    (a symbol of law, containing the Ten Commandments), as Daniel 7:9, 10 tells us. This "river of fire" forms a "lake
    of fire" in Rev. 20:14. It is the judgment of the law, but it is not without mercy.

    While it is certain that the majority of humanity will be judged by the law, it will be done according to the level of
    their responsibility. Some knew God's will, and others did not (Luke 12:47, 48). In that final Age of Judgment, the
    former unbelievers will learn righteousness and obedience (Isaiah 26:9) until they are fully released into the
    glorious liberty of the sons of God at the Creation Jubilee, when all judgment ceases and God is all in all (1 Cor.
    15:28).



                                                     The Law of First Fruits


    Each of the three main feast days in Israel was a time when the first fruits were to be offered to God. Exodus 23:
    16 reads,

    "(14) Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast to Me. (15) You shall observe the Feast of
    Unleavened Bread [Passover]; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I
    commanded you at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And
    none shall appear before Me empty-handed. (16) Also you shall observe the Feast of the
    Harvest [Pentecost] of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the
    Feast of the Ingathering [Tabernacles] at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your
    labors from the field."

    The three first fruits offerings were barley, wheat, and the fruits of the land. During Tabernacles at the end of the
    year, the wine was poured out as a drink offering to represent all of the fruit given to God.

    The law of first fruits follows the same basic principle as that of the tithe, in that it was to be given to God for His
    labor in the field. As I explained in my article on The Law of the Tithe, God wants a return on His labor. He created
    dirt, air, the sun, the rain, etc., and so for His labor, He wants a return. For man's labor, he is allowed to keep 90%
    of the crop. This is also why Ex. 23:16 above calls it "the fruit of your labors from the field."

    In the case of first fruits, God was to be given a token amount to represent His labor in the field, and then the
    farmers could return home and harvest their crops, keeping 90% of it for themselves. Since a tithe is the biblical
    tax system, it is based upon one's labor--God's labor and man's labor. This is also why tithes were not owed on
    every form of labor. Tithe was owed only where God had labored in the creation process. God is due a tithe upon
    crops, herds, fishing, lumbering, power plants, and any other enterprise where God has done some direct labor to
    contribute to the income. (See Lev. 27:30.)

    The modern Church idea that tithe is owed for every form of income is simply a means of increasing revenue,
    based upon man's traditions, rather than God's law. If an employee takes home wages and desires to give an
    offering from it, whether 10% or not, it is called a "voluntary offering," not a tithe.

    The basis of the first fruits offering is also the fact that God labored at creation and is thus a partner to all
    enterprises that utilize nature to generate income or "increase." The primary difference is that the first fruits of the
    feast days are more prophetic and speak specifically of the resurrections. Resurrection is a "harvest" from the
    ground.

    The first fruits of the barley were to be given to God on the day after the Sabbath after Passover--called "Easter
    Sunday" today. Seven weeks later the wheat was ripe, and the first fruits of the wheat were therefore associated
    with the feast of Pentecost. These were the two grain offerings, the first being unleavened, and the second being
    leavened. They prophesy of the two resurrections mentioned in Revelation 20. The first resurrection is restricted
    to the overcomers who will rule with Christ (Rev. 20:5). The second resurrection, which includes everyone else
    (Rev. 20:12), includes both unbelievers and the rest of the believers, as Jesus said in John 5:28, 29.

    The first fruits offering is obviously not the entire harvest, but only a beginning point. Paul tells us in Romans 11:
    16 (Emphatic Diaglott) that "if the first fruit be holy, so also the mass" (or lump, the rest of it). The first fruit
    sanctified the whole field that was to be harvested. Prophetically speaking, when the first fruits of the barley are
    offered to God at the time of the first resurrection, it will involve the manifestation of the sons of God. Those who
    inherit aionian life, or Life in The Age--that is, in the Tabernacles Age--will find their flesh (chaff) blown away by
    the wind of the Spirit. Barley needs only winnowing to remove its chaff. These manifested sons, then, will minister
    to the rest of the Church and to humanity during the Tabernacles Age to come, producing many more barley-type
    persons.

    At the second resurrection (God's wheat harvest), all the dead will be raised, "both of the just and unjust," as Paul
    says in Acts 24:15. The believers from ages past will then be "saved yet so as through fire" (1 Cor. 3:15), some
    being given few lashes, others many (Luke 12:47, 47) before being given immortality. Their judgment will be of
    short duration. Even as wheat needs to be threshed to removed the chaff from the germ, so also will this body of
    believers need some threshing.

    But the unjust, who were not justified by faith in Christ prior to that time, will be judged according to their works by
    the "fiery law" (Deut. 33:2) in the so-called "lake of fire." These are comparable to the grapes, which need a more
    severe treatment in order to obtain the new wine for God's table. Hence the biblical metaphor is used where God
    puts all things under His feet (1 Cor. 15:25). In those days, the grapes were trodden under foot in order to remove
    the juice from the pulp.

    Yet the final result is that God sets His great Communion Table, having both unleavened and leavened bread, as
    well as wine for His Table. Time is the main factor here, for barley ripens first, wheat next, and finally the grapes
    ripen toward the end of the growing season.

    The first fruits themselves prophesy of a greater harvest yet to come. The barley first fruits prophesy of more
    barley to come; the first fruits of the wheat prophesy of a greater harvest of wheat; and the seven drink offerings
    of wine on the seven days of Tabernacles prophesy of the greater harvest of wine and all the fruits of the land for
    which God has labored since the beginning.

    It may be said that the overcomers are the first fruit of the Church, even as the Church is the first fruit of creation.
    James 1:18 says (Emph. Diag.),

    "Having willed it, He begot us by the word of truth, in order that we might be, as it were a first fruit of His creatures"
    (i.e., creation).

    James understood that the purpose of first fruits was not to be the only thing harvested, but rather that these
    were only the beginning of a much greater harvest. Thus, when we speak of the manifestation of the Sons of God,
    we are not talking about the entire harvest, but the first fruit of that harvest.



    In Exodus 22:29, 30 we read,

    " (29) You shall not delay the offering from your harvest and your vintage. The first-born of your sons you shall
    give to Me. (30) You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days;
    on the eighth day you shall give it to Me."

    This was why Jesus, the first-born of Mary, was brought to the temple on the eighth day from his birth (Luke 2:21-
    23). He was presented to God as the first of the first-fruits. It is obvious that He was not the only one that God
    would claim, for we all have opportunity to become the sons of God (John 1:12). Jesus was a first fruit of the
    Overcomers and the manifested sons of God.

    The law of first fruits, then, indicate a greater harvest yet to come. This understanding is of primary importance, if
    we every hope to understand the purposes of God in the resurrections from the dead (i.e., the harvests from the
    ground). First fruits are certainly first to be presented to God, but the field is the world. All creation awaits its turn
    to be harvested.


    The "Law Of Firstfruits" parts 2,3, and 4, can be read on Stephen's site.  http://www.gods-kingdom-ministries.
    org/WebLog/WebLog.cfm. This page may seem to be a Stephen Jones ad but he does do a thorough job
    explaining God's judgments in a way that makes sense. The lake of fire and what we think of it, ultimately,
    determines what we think of God, doesn't it?

    This is an excerpt from Dr. Stephen Jones' book "Creation's Jubilee". He shows from the law God
    gave His people that the idea of torturing people endlessly is not from God.   The following excerpt is
    from chapter 5.


    It is Jesus’ responsibility—indeed, His calling—to rule His Kingdom on earth during the final Ages of
    the Ages, until the purpose of His reign has been fulfilled. Jesus will NOT reign forever as the Son. He
    will reign only as long as it takes to subject the whole earth under His feet. It will take BOTH of the
    coming ages to do this. His purpose is to conquer the whole earth by the power of His Love, for He
    said in John 12:32,

    32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." 33 But He was saying this to
    indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.

    In other words, Jesus said, “If I am crucified, I will draw ALL MEN to Myself.” Was Jesus “lifted up” on
    the cross? Of course He was. Then He will indeed draw ALL MEN unto Himself. He died for the
    salvation of the whole world, not just a few, and His blood has never lost its power.

    When all men have accepted Christ as Savior and King, even as believers in past ages have done,
    then He will present a perfected and completed Kingdom to His Father.

    Verses 27, 28:  Paul here quotes from Psalm 8:6, as he does so often to prove the point. All things (ta
    panta, “the All”) will be put in subjection to Christ, with the single exception of the Father Himself,
    who will not, of course, be put under the headship of the Son. And when the all is indeed subjected to
    the Son, then Christ will present the entire perfected creation to the Father as a present and be
    subject to the Father also. This is truly a glorious destiny for the earth. This is the Creation’s Jubilee.

    The Witness of Hebrews
    Hebrews 2:6-9 continues this same teaching:

    6 But one [David] has testified somewhere [Psalm 8], saying, "What is man, that Thou rememberest
    him? Or the son of man, that Thou art concerned about him? 7 "Thou hast made him for a little while
    lower than the angels; Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, And hast appointed him over the
    works of Thy hands; 8Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. "For in subjecting all things
    to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now [at present] we do not yet see all things
    subjected to him. 9 But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels,
    namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of
    God He might taste death for everyone.

    Here the author defines “all” as “everyone.” Not all are in subjection to Christ at the present time, but
    the day is coming when all men everywhere WILL be subject to Him. Meanwhile, the Scripture says, we
    see that Jesus tasted death for EVERYONE. “He left nothing that is NOT subject to Him.

    Paul refers to Psalm 8 again in Philippians 3:20 and 21.

    20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus
    Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory,
    by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

    Many Christians today have never really thought about whether Jesus really has this power or not.
    They assume that He is essentially powerless to save any but the firstfruits, a tiny portion of the
    harvest, because Jesus will not go against the will of man. But Jesus Himself said in John 12:32 that if
    He would die upon the cross, He would “draw” all men to Himself. The word “draw” is the Greek word,
    helkuo, which means “to drag.” As used in the New Testament, it always indicates that the one doing
    the dragging is imposing his will upon the ones being dragged.

    John 6:44 says no man can come to the Father except the Father DRAG him. John 12:32 says that
    Jesus will DRAG all men to Himself. John 21:6 speaks of dragging the net to bring the fish to shore.
    James 2:6 speaks of the civil magistrates, who, in persecuting the Christians, would DRAG them to
    court.

    It is apparent, then, that the day will come when God’s will is going to be imposed upon all men. He
    will drag all them to Himself by means of judgment, that is, the lake of fire. He has both the power and
    the will to do this.

    In Philippians 2:10,11, Paul says:

    10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and
    under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of
    God the Father.

    John saw the fulfillment of this in a vision recorded in Revelation 5:13.

    13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea,
    and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing
    and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."

    John well knew that the purpose of Christ’s rulership in His Kingdom was to draw all men to Himself.
    He wrote in 1 John 2:2,

    2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole
    world.

    Of this verse, Clement of Alexandria gives us a commentary on its meaning and scope in his
    Commentary on 1 John:

    “And not only for our sins, that is, for those of the faithful, is the Lord the Propitiator does he say, but
    also for the whole world. He, indeed, saves all; but some He saves converting them by punishments;
    others, however, who follow voluntarily He saves with dignity of honour; so that every knee should
    bow to Him, of things in heaven, of things on earth, and things under the earth—that is, angels and
    men.”

    What a marvelous thing that Jesus would die not only for our sins (that is, for us as Christians), but
    also for the sins of the entire world!  Surely the blood has not lost its power since then. Paul told
    Timothy (1 Tim. 4:10,11) to preach this as well.

    10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the
    Savior of all men, especially of believers.

    11 Prescribe and teach these things.

    Believers are especially singled out, because their salvation comes first. Theirs will be a greater
    honor, because they will inherit Life in the Kingdom. But yet, God is the Savior of ALL MEN. No doubt
    Timothy and others like him did indeed teach this in Asia Minor, for the early Church leaders in the
    next centuries were faithful to teach these things, as their writings prove.

    And today we are likewise exhorted to teach these things. Why? Because it is important to understand
    that God is truly righteous in His judgments. The usual teaching of endless torment makes God unjust.
    By what standard?  By God’s standard, as revealed in His law. That is the only righteous standard in
    the earth. And for this reason we must know of the restoration of all things.


    For just a second, turn loose of your ideas of eternal punishment. THINK ABOUT IT!  I
    know it goes against everything in our minds but do it anyway. It's OK with God, in fact,
    He said to make sure what we have been taught is correct. How many of us have really
    done that?

    My idea of "making sure" was taking the Bible and finding the passages that seemed to
    teach what I already believed to be true.  "Yep, there it is." That was about the extent of
    my search....why should it not be, I was not aware of anything else?

    The time has come that the church is being made aware of "something else" besides what
    we were taught. OK, have you turned loose yet? Now, doesn't the idea of eternal
    punishment throw up a red flag in your common sense? It always did mine I just didn't
    know I was allowed to consider anything else. Stephen Jones says this in chapter 4 of
    "Creation's Jubilee":

    After the 7th thousand-year period (Sabbath millennium), God will kindle the lake of fire to purify the
    wicked. The believers will simply receive “few stripes” or “many stripes,” up to 40, according to Bible
    law (Deut. 25:1-3). God prohibits beatings of more than 40 stripes. Why?

    1 If there is a dispute between men and they go to court, and the judges decide their case, and they
    justify the righteous and condemn the wicked, 2 then it shall be if the wicked man deserves to be
    beaten, the judge shall then make him lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of
    stripes according to his guilt. 3 "He may beat him forty times but no more, lest he beat him with many
    more stripes than these, and your brother be degraded in your eyes.

    Did God say "degraded"? He would be concerned about someone being degraded?  
    Why? Because He knows the value of human life. Why? He created it!   

    You really think God, who would not allow a law breaker to be beaten with more than 40
    stripes, would allow people to be burned in hell forever? You may say, I have no choice,
    that's what the Bible says. I must tell you, it is NOT what the Bible says and you DO HAVE
    A CHOICE. If you can read and you have a Bible and a concordance, you have a choice.

    If it doesn't bother you to think that most of humanity will spend eternity in hell, then
    perhaps, you should do what I did. Just tell God about it. He already knows it anyway...
    that's what real confession is, just simply, agreeing with what God already knows to be
    the truth. That's how we can get rid of it....confess it!  


    Here's how you do it:

    Lord, I know it must be wrong but I just don't care that most people in the world are going
    to hell.  I say that's what I believe but I don't do anything to prevent it. That has to mean
    that I don't love them. I know in my head this is wrong but I don't feel it in my heart. Please
    forgive me for not loving people like you want me to. Change me, Help me to think the
    way You want me to think.  Amen.

    If you don't want your life to change drastically, don't pray that prayer.

    But, I'll give you a "heads up". We will all come to this place sooner or later and it is better
    to judge ourselves than to be judged.  But, should we stiffen our neck, at least we know
    that the rich man found compassion in Hades. The Pharisees found repentance in
    Gehenna. The prodigal son found some wisdom in the pig pen.  

    If you hear God's voice, don't harden your heart.  Let Him change you. Call on Him.














    Wayne Sloan has written an article on the lake of fire that brings out some good points. Here is the article.



                                                 The Purpose of the Lake of Fire
                                                      Or The Disciplinary Punishment of the Wicked




    There is a thought that continues to arise as a "rebuttal" of Universalist teaching. It is thrown into the fight as
    though there was no answer to this rebuttal, leaving us no choice but to see the hopeless fallacy of Universalism.
    It is important for us to understand something here, as believers in Universalsist thought, in consideration of this
    objection.

    The following is a quote from Arthur Pink in his rebuttal of Universalism, concerning the punishment of the wicked:


    4. THE THEORY THAT THE PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED IS DISCIPLINARY AND REMEDIAL.

    21. ... if the fires of hell are to do for men what the blood of the Cross failed to effect, then why was the Divine
    Sacrifice needed at all—all might have been saved by the disciplinary sufferings of hell, and so God could have
    spared His Son. Again; if God compassionates His enemies and cherishes nothing but gracious designs of infinite
    pity toward those who have despised and rejected His Son, we may well ask, then why does He take such dreadful
    measures with them? If loving discipline be all that they need, cannot Divine wisdom devise some gentler measure
    than consigning them to the "torment" of the Lake of Fire for "the ages of the ages?"


    You can find the article this excerpt was taken from in its entirety here.

    If you have ever spent much time debating Universalism with "unbelievers", you are very familiar with this
    objection. Basically it is asking the same question in one of two forms: “If Jesus died to save everybody, why is
    there a lake of fire?” Or; “If everybody is going to be reconciled in the fire, why did Jesus have to die on the
    cross?”

    Many of us who realize the truth of Ultimate Reconciliation stumble over this question when we are confronted with
    it. We may have even pondered this question ourselves.

    Quick question for you..."What did the Blood of Jesus procure for you?"
    Was it salvation? Yes. How about forgiveness of our sins? Yes.

    However, if forgiveness of sins was all that the Father was after, He already has what He wanted.

    Allow me to quote David Sprenger on Luke 23:34:

    Lk23:34 Jesus said, "Father forgive them; they know not what they do.”
    [Ed., This incredible request by Jesus, together with His suffering and death on the cross for the sins of the world,
    becomes the ultimate picture and the eternal symbol of the heart and intention of God toward lost humanity.
    Furthermore, this declaration of God's ultimate redemptive purposes was made, eternally speaking, from the
    beginning of time, by "the lamb slain from the foundation of the world"! (Rev 13:8)]


    When Jesus said, “It is finished.” and gave up the ghost, all of humanity was forgiven. From Adam, to the last
    person born at the ends of the ages, sin was forgiven in all its forms. We will only stop to consider a few scriptures
    here in the interest of keeping this short. But this is well documented in scripture.

    David Sprenger again:

    Jn 1:29 The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who
    takes away the sin of the world!" [Ed., "the sin" is in the singular, indicating the complete removal of the "sin
    principle", or sin itself with all of its consequences, not just the individual acts of sin.]

    Heb 9:26 But now once at the consummation (end of the age) He has been manifested to put away sin by the
    sacrifice of Himself.

    I John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole
    world.

    Heb 1:3 who being the brightness of His glory, and the very image of His substance, and upholding all things by
    the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

    Notice He sat down on His throne. All the preparatory work has been done. Every obstacle to His Ascension of the
    Throne has now been removed, and all opposing forces have been put down. So now, there is nothing left for Him
    to do, but to rule and reign. And now, He ever liveth to make intercession for us. By the shedding of His very own
    lifeblood, He purged our sins and He is now seated in rulership authority above all creation.


    Forgiveness of sins is already an established fact. And so also is the reconciliation of the world. The world stands
    reconciled before God the Father because of the awesome power of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

    II Cor 5:18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled (past tense) us to Himself through Christ, and gave
    us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their
    trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

    Again:

    Col 1:19-22 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile
    all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on
    earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,
    yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and
    blameless and beyond reproach.

    As side note, let’s take a look at the word “forgive“. When Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem, He spoke
    Aramaic. That was the common universal language of the day, much like English is today. The definition we now
    have of “forgive” has been given to us by the Harvard School of Law, so I am told. It means to “let go”. When a
    trespass is committed, the wronged party just “lets go” of it. In other words, the trespass is still there, but the
    wronged party just “foregoes” exacting retribution. In doing so, they are said to forgive those who have
    trespassed against them. But, in Aramaic, to forgive takes on a whole new dimension of meaning. When Jesus
    spoke the word, forgive meant “to restore love by removing the cause of it’s loss.” It entailed the removal of the
    trespass as well as also restoring the lost or damaged relationship to its original state. If you stop to really think
    about that, it puts “forgiveness” in a whole different dimension than merely letting go of the need for retribution.

    In this light, forgiveness is very much akin to reconciliation.

    We are forgiven, (which is a much bigger word than we have been taught,) and we have been reconciled, but
    there is something else that is in the heart of the Father. The restoration of a lost relationship is a three-step
    process. 1) In the heart of the wronged party, there has to be forgiveness toward the guilty party.  2) Then, there
    has to be reconciliation. And this is by necessity a two-way reconciliation. Both of these steps are accomplished,
    and are established facts. The Father no longer finds any charge to lay against us. Neither is there any longer
    any impediment to our relationship with Him. But He will never be satisfied with that. He wants more. And He will
    stop at nothing to get it.

    There is a further step in the process that is also important. It completes the show of extravagance that the Father
    has lavished upon creation because of the Blood of the Lamb.  It isn't established fact yet. And, in the past, the
    Church hasn't spent a whole lot of time expounding on it.  And this is why the argument presented here in Pink's
    Rebuttal sounds so valid, when in fact it is a confusion of apples and oranges. If this third step was ever
    mentioned, it was often relegated to those who wanted to be "super-spiritual"; the spiritual elite that walk among
    us, so to speak. However, this third step in the process is the Sovereignly foreordained destiny of all creation.
    That is this: to be like Him. To be found in His likeness. To be made conformable to His image. This goes beyond
    being just forgiven, or reconciled.


    Rom 6:5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His
    resurrection.



    Rom 8:29 -32 For whom He foreknew, He also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that He
    might be the firstborn among many brethren: and whom He foreordained, them He also called: and whom He
    called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What then shall we say to these
    things? If God is for us, who is against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how
    shall He not also with Him freely give us all things?



    In fact, this defines the very scope and purpose of what is revealed to us as the Lake of Fire. This is the answer
    to Brother Pink’s question in his rebuttal to Universalism. People are not going to be saved, but transformed into
    His image in the Lake of Fire. By that I mean that it is the fire that purifies and refines His image in you as you walk
    with Him. For the overwhelming majority of people, the “foreordained conformation to the image of His Son” will
    take place in the Lake of Fire. The world has been forgiven. The world has been reconciled. As for now, it has
    been given the choice of whether to go through the fire on this side of the veil of death, or on the other. But make
    no mistake; all of creation will go through the Lake of Fire. There is no escape. But it is not an act of Divine
    Retribution, or of Him “getting even” with humanity for all the sins they have committed. It is an act of His mercy. It
    is an exhibition of His Love for all creation. It is an example of the extremes He will go to redeem His lost creation.

    Let me address a few misconceptions about the Lake of Fire.

    1) The Lake of Fire is commonly described as a place of darkness.
    How can you have a fire and not have light? Take darkness out of the picture here, please. You can go to the
    deepest, darkest part of a cave, where no light exists; where the native creatures have no eyes; where you can’t
    see your hand in front of your eyes, and there light a match. What happens to the darkness? It disappears. The
    cave around you is flooded with light. The Lake of Fire is not a place of darkness.

    2) The Lake of Fire is described as a place of separation from God.
    For that to be true, we have to do away with Rev. 14:10b where it says: “…and he shall be tormented with fire and
    brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb…”
    You can’t be separated from Someone, and still be tormented in His presence. It just doesn’t happen that way.

    So far in the Lake of Fire, we have light, and the presence of the Lamb. Almost sounds like the kind of place I
    want to be. Let’s continue…

    3) The Lake of Fire is commonly thought of as occupying Eternity, or that one will be there for eternity. The Lake
    of Fire has to be relegated to time and it can’t have much in common with eternity if there is going to be the
    continuous passage of night and day there. Compare Rev. 14:11, “…and they have no rest day or night…” Either
    we believe the scriptures, or we make excuses for the fact that we don't.

    Suddenly, when you scrutinize the factual details surrounding the Lake of Fire, we begin to see a different picture
    than what we have been taught all our lives to see. It is a place of Great Light. It is a place where those who go
    there will be immersed in, bathed in and surrounded by and cleansed in His Glorious Presence. And as I am about
    to show you, that cleansing will be for the purpose of forming His image in the one being cleansed.

    So, let’s take the time to strip away all the stuff that doesn’t belong, and take a closer look at this fire and
    brimstone. Doing so will dispel the fear, take away the superstition, and hopefully reveal a dimension of the love of
    God that isn’t clearly visible anywhere else. Nowhere have I seen the love of the Father so clearly than when I
    began to see the Lake of Fire for what it really is.

    From the founder of the Pittsburg Bible Institute:


    “The Lake of Fire and Brimstone signifies a fire burning with brimstone; the word 'brimstone' or sulphur defines
    the character of the fire. The Greek word THEION translated 'brimstone' is exactly the same word THEION which
    means 'divine.' (emphasis mine) 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
    of the word is entirely left out, and nothing but eternal torment is associated with it.”

    Charles Pridgeon; Is Hell Eternal, or Will God’s Plan Fail; pgs 116 & 117.

    Here, Brother Pridgeon makes a vital point: brimstone is for purification, not punishment. This thought went
    unquestioned until the Dark Ages. His purpose was understood to purify and consecrate, not separate and
    punish. This Lake of Divine Fire will purify, refine, restore and consecrate til there is nothing left that is contrary to
    Him.

    An interesting note here, going along with the train of thought is that the Greek word for fire is pur, and is where
    we get such words as pure, purify and purgatory. Fire in this sense is for purification, not destruction.

    A good friend, David Johnson, from Ontario Canada once told me:


    “My friend: The Lake of Fire burns with the Divine One! All aspects of His purposes, and the ultimate goal to which
    He draws His creation, is bathed in the Kitharas (clean, pure) Fire of His presence. The City, is the City of Fire.
    Main Street, is the Katharos Street, in the City of Fire: the Street of Fire! The followers of the Lamb in His
    whithersoever, are clothed in fire garments of katharos fire....their consciences are katharos consciences; their
    call unto the Father is one of a katharos heart, with bodies washed in the pure Katharos River flowing from under
    the thresholds of the Throne of God. They call ceaselessly unto God; and to the other members of the fellowship
    of the mystery out of a katharos heart, and serve Him with a katharos conscience, purified in fire. Blessed are the
    katharos in heart for they shall see God!

    What a terrible day it is when one's eyes catch a microscopic glimpse of the Transcendent One. His body like
    beryl; His face like lightning; His eyes like torches of fire; His feet like polished brass burning in a furnace. His
    voice like the sound of an army! And standing ministering before Him are countless myriads who have been
    transformed by the River of fire that flows from His countenance; and live in the present continuous unfolding of
    His glory! Yes, the Lake of Fire is our God; and flowing in and out of the Limne (lake, pond) of Theos, (God) is the
    River of Theos, feeding the Tree of Life (My emphasis) that can only be experienced by going through the flaming
    swords of the Lord, flashing in every direction!”


    In Isaiah 30:33, the breath of the Lord is likened to a “streaming torrent of brimstone”. Yes, brimstone! His breath
    is like brimstone. That would be the same breath that He breathed into Adam’s nostrils and caused him to become
    a living soul. It is also the same breath that blew into the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost and left little cloven
    tongues of fire over people’s heads.


    Job 37:10 By the breath of God ice is given; And the breadth of the waters is straitened.


    Notice the beauty here. This streaming torrent of brimstone, the breath of God, causes frost. It “straitens” water.
    This brimstone that is the breath of God, which actually effuses from His presence can be harsh and destructive if
    needed, or soft and gentle, even protective when He chooses. Consider the Overcomers. The promise is given
    that they “would not be hurt at all” of the Lake of Fire. Despite popular assumptions to the contrary, that is not the
    same thing as “escaping” the Lake of Fire. They will be there, just not hurt by it.

    The Lake of Fire is far removed from the awful image that was left to us by our forefathers from the Dark Ages. It
    isn’t something that should frighten so badly that it makes little children have nightmares. And we shouldn’t refrain
    our discussion of it while in the presence of children.

    Imagine if you will, (it may be a new thought) that the very presence of the Holy Spirit you feel sometimes making
    you want to shout, or maybe giving you goose-bumps, is the very same “stuff” that will torment the unsaved in the
    afterlife. His breath is likened unto a “streaming torrent of brimstone”, and His breath also causes frost and
    straitens the breadth of water. Soft and gentle, or harsh and destructive. Same breath, same Wondrous God.


    Dan 7:9 I beheld till thrones were placed, and One that was Ancient of Days did sit: His raiment was white as
    snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool; His throne was fiery flames, and the wheels thereof burning fire.
    A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him: thousands of thousands ministered unto Him, and ten
    thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.


    Here we have the Ancient of Days, a description of God the Father Himself, the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, in
    all His glory and majesty, and the key descriptive word used to describe the scene is fire. Not rainbows or
    earthquakes, or even the singing of angelic beings. The key descriptive word is fire. That little detail is too
    significant to overlook.

    Notice that in verse 10, the fire issued from Him and came out from before Him who is the Ancient of Days. He is
    the source of that fire. He is the fire. The fire is Him. And that is why, if you have noticed, that I always capitalize
    Lake of Fire. I am absolutely convinced that the nature, the essence, the substance of His being is this purifying,
    cleansing Fire. And when you speak of the Lake of Fire, you are speaking of the bone of His bone, and the flesh
    of His flesh. The two are inseparable and indistinguishable, one from another.

    A stream of Fire issues from Him. I learned in grade school geography that streams and rivers run into lakes. The
    Lake of Fire is one and the same as the Stream of Fire that issues from Him. The Lake of Fire is one and the
    same as the source of that Fire to begin with.

    “I will refine them as silver is refined, and try them as gold is tried.” Zech. 13:9

    Gold is tried. Silver is refined. The not so obvious difference being that gold is tested to determine the quality of it
    ‘s makeup. Silver needs to have impurities removed, and therefore purified, by a process involving heat.

    The Jamieson, Faussett & Brown Commentary, says that during the process of purification of metals:


    “The purifier sits before the crucible, fixing his eye on the metal, and taking care that the fire be not too hot, and
    keeping the metal in, only until he knows the dross to be completely removed, by his seeing his own image
    reflected in the glowing mass.”


    Silver has several interesting properties. The most commonly recognized is it’s reflective property. A vat of pure
    molten silver will perfectly reflect your image back at you if you were to look into the vat. That property was taken
    to it’s best advantage in the development of the mirror. When you look into a mirror, silver is what is reflecting
    your image back at you.

    But this is speaking of a process of applying heat to a crucible of silver, causing the silver to melt. If the heat is
    sufficient, and held there long enough, impurities will come to the surface, where they can be easily drawn off.
    And this is a description of an ongoing process that is taking place in our lives whereby His image is being
    produced in us by the removal of the things that cloud that image. When He sees Himself, He knows He can turn
    the heat off.

    On the other hand, we see that gold is tried. What does it mean for gold to be tried? Let’s say that on your last
    camping trip, you found a yellow nugget you think might be gold. How would you find out for sure just what it was?
    You would take your precious yellow nugget to an assayer’s office. One of the things he would do is drizzle some
    acid on your yellow nugget. If your precious yellow nugget is gold, the acid will run off like water. If it is anything
    else, the acid will fizz and smoke, and your yellow nugget will be damaged by the reaction.

    Keep that in mind and consider: “He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.” We know that the
    second death is to be cast into the Lake of Fire. The overcomer has already been in the vat and the impurities
    have been removed by the Holy Fire of God. There are no impurities to react to the Master Assayer’s acid test.

    We have been apprehended of Him to bear His image in this world. If we would just stop with all the struggle
    against Him, as though we were afraid He might take something from us: If we would stop shrinking back in fear
    when He tries to lead us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake, we would have this Holy Fire of God,
    coursing through us like a streaming torrent. We would be cleansed. We would reflect His image to a world
    steeped in darkness. We just need to discover that we can trust Him to not have the heat too high, or leave us in
    too long.

    What about if I pass into the next life and the work of purification isn’t finished yet? The Lake of Fire will continue
    the work on the other side of the veil. And that thought is nothing to be afraid of. I see no hint or sign in the
    scriptures that the fact that I know Him now is a guarantee that I won’t find myself in the Lake of Fire later. And
    that isn’t a threat, it’s one of the most glorious promises of scripture!

    Jesus’ death on the Cross, His willful shedding of His very own lifeblood purchased the forgiveness of your sin. It
    reconciled the fallen creation back to Himself. It also opened a way that all of creation might one day reflect His
    image with perfect likeness.

    And that is what the Blood of Jesus procured for you and me. It was much more than a mere Sunday School
    Salvation. And that is why the Blood of Jesus is necessary for salvation. And that is why the Lake of Fire is
    necessary for the Universal Salvation of all mankind.

    18 December 2005
    Wayne Sloanm


















kkkkkkk

"between a rock and a hard place...
Think "spiritual" fire.  Any of
your
firey trials, as a believer,
sent you to the ER?
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