In Part 8, I will be discussing and revealing the true meaning of the lake of fire.
The lake of fire in scripture is definitely an enigma. Unlike hell, the lake of fire and brimstone is actually a part of scripture and this too can be explained. The phrase “lake of fire” appears only 5 times in the whole bible and they are all in the book of Revelations. If you have studied God’s Word for any length of time, you already know that the book of Revelations is probably the most complex and misunderstood book in the bible. Let’s look at all 5 verses that use the phrase “lake of fire”.
Revelation 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.
Revelation 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.
Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the LAKE OF FIRE. This is the second death.
Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the LAKE OF FIRE.
Revelation 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.
Before we go any further, we must understand something that is very important if we are ever going to be able to understand these scriptures. In order to unlock these mysteries, we must first remember that the whole book of Revelations was signified or “symbolized” and we must use spiritual eyes to unlock these biblical truths.
Revelation 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:
Strong’s Concordance for the Greek word sēmainō (G4591) translated signified in the above verse is defined as TO GIVE A SIGN, to signify, or indicate.
Some would have you believe that the bible in general is to be taken literally. They say that because someone else told them that and they just believed them without doing any studying on their own. These are the same people that will tell you that Jesus spoke in parables to make the meaning clearer. Jesus spoke in parables to hide the spiritual meaning of His Words. The bible has scriptural truth that should be applied and read literally however, there are countless other truths that are figurative and have a spiritual meaning. Those who cannot understand these things are spiritually blind and incapable of comprehending such things.
The lake of fire isn’t a literal lake of burning flames in which condemned souls are tortured for eternity. Christians of course will disagree with this because they believe that this is literal. But wait a minute; I thought hell was the place that condemned souls went to be tortured for eternity not the lake of fire? Christians will tell me that this is true that the lake of fire is just another description of hell. If that is so, then tell me how it makes any sense for hell to be cast into hell in Revelations 20:14? The lake of fire is a symbol for something spiritual and only a spiritual mind (the mind of Christ) can decipher these things. Remember the parable of plucking out eyes in reference to geenna fire that we just discussed? The lake of fire isn’t literal.
Now let’s look at all the characteristics of the “lake of fire”.
1) This is a list of everything that is “cast into the lake of fire” from the 5 verses quoted above from Revelations;
- the beast and the false prophet, (grouped together because they are grouped like this in the scripture)
- the devil,
- death and hell (hades), and (grouped together because they are grouped like this in the scripture)
- those whose names aren’t written in the book of life.
- the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars.
2) In 3 out of the 5 verses, the lake of fire is included with brimstone.
3) 2 inanimate things are cast into the lake of fire- death and hell.
Okay, now I’m not going to spend time identifying who some of the characters are because that isn’t the point of this study. That will be the topic for another study later. The purpose of this part of the study is to identify what the lake of fire represents in scripture.
Let’s look at the word fire as it is used in these 5 verses in Revelations. The Greek word pyr is translated as “fire” 74 times in the King James Version. It is used literally and figuratively. This is important because if we misinterpret scripture because we don’t understand when fire is spoken of literally or figuratively, we will not understand the appropriate meaning.
Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with FIRE:
In this scripture above, John the Baptist is comparing two things: physical baptism with spiritual baptism. He (John the Baptist) is the physical and Jesus Christ is the spiritual. Notice that John the Baptist baptizes with water and Jesus Christ baptizes with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Do we really think that the fire stated here is a literal burning fire? This scripture is referring to believers since it is believers who get baptized. Unbelievers do not get baptized. So if this is for believers, why would Jesus Christ use literal fire to baptize believers? This fire is spiritual fire not literal fire and it applies to everyone. Matthew 3:11 is actually a parable not that it shouldn’t be interpreted literally, it also has a spiritual meaning. In the days of Noah, the flood was a symbol of water baptism of the world. Only a few were saved (8 total) during that time. There will come a time when Christ will baptize the world in spiritual fire save another few (God’s Elect).
Other examples of fire being used as a symbol or figuratively;
Romans 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of FIRE on his head. [Heaping literal coals of fire on anyone’s head would hurt them; this is clearly a figurative statement.]
Jamess 3:6 And the tongue is a FIRE, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. [Surely we know that the tongue isn’t a literal fire but the evil (gossiping, cursing, lying, etc.) that comes out of it surely is fiery and can spread out of control like a forest fire.]
Revelations 1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of FIRE; [I think we get the point and realize how absurd it would be to think that Christ has eyes of literal fireballs. This verse says “as a flame of fire” not “were a flame of fire”.]
1 Peter 1:7 That the TRIAL OF YOUR FAITH, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be TRIED WITH FIRE, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: [A true believers faith cannot literally be tried with real fire. The faith of the saints is being compared to gold being tried through fire. The fire represents whatever is trying your faith (Trust in Christ). All true believers (the Elect/the Few) are those that overcome all of the trials and tribulations of life. 2 Timothy 3:12 says Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. This is something that really isn’t taught in the church today. How many of you are familiar with these scriptures? 1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the FIERY TRIAL WHICH IS TO TRY YOU, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are PARTAKERS OF CHRIST’S SUFFERINGS; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
Here is the absolute best verse of all the verses including the word fire;
Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming FIRE. [God isn’t a literal fire but a spiritual fire.]
So what is the purpose of this spiritual lake of fire? I will show you from the scriptures;
1 Corinthians 3:13 EVERY MAN’S WORK shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the FIRE SHALL TRY EVERY MAN’S WORK of what sort it is. [Paul is clearly talking to believers but this verse says “every man’s work” so this is not talking about believers only but everyone. We can be sure that this is referring to all men because Paul tells us that the “day” shall declare it. That particular day is the Day of Judgment –God’s purging fiery judgment on all mankind. On this day, every man’s work good or bad will be exposed.
1 Corinthians 3:14-15 If ANY MAN’S WORK ABIDE which he hath built thereupon, HE SHALL RECEIVE A REWARD. If ANY MAN’S WORK SHALL BE BURNED, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as BY FIRE. [This is an important verse to understand because this verse is typically never discussed in church. If any man’s work shall be burned he shall suffer loss but he himself shall be saved. Did you get that last part? After God does all the casting into the lake of fire (which is His fire consuming Spirit) He will purge out all of the evil works (suffer loss) but the person will be saved. Let’s go back to 1 Corinthians 3:11-12,
For other FOUNDATION CAN NO MAN LAY THAN THAT IS LAID, which is JESUS CHRIST. Now if ANY MAN BUILD UPON THIS FOUNDATION gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Notice that Paul tells us that we build upon this foundation. This foundation is Christ and we build on it with all of our faith, beliefs, doctrines, and actions. Notice that Paul makes a comparison between gold, silver, and precious stones to wood, hay, and stubble. If I put the first 3 real substances (gold, silver, precious stones) in a real literal fire, the gold, silver, and precious stones will become refined because that is the practical purpose of fire. Now if I do that same for the last 3 real substances (wood, hay, and stubble) in a real fire, they will burn up because these materials are combustible. What is the spiritual message that Paul is trying to teach us? All of these substances represent the things that we build upon our foundation. The gold, silver, and precious stones represent the spiritual and godly attributes that we have obtained through our walk with Christ if we indeed are following Christ and allowing him to transform our lives. These things will be remain and a reward will be received. The wood, hay, and stubble represent our carnal nature, evil thoughts, and lustful desires. These things will be figuratively burned out and some will suffer loss during this process. What does it mean to suffer loss? Hasn’t Christ already provided us with some words of advice about this matter?
Mark 8:36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and LOSES his own soul?
The phrase “suffer loss” as it is used in 1 Corinthians 3:15 is translated from the Greek word zēmioō and it means to affect with damage. The word “loses” as it is used by Christ in Mark 8:36 comes from the same Greek word zēmioō. There’s more;
Matthew 16:24-25 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, and take up his cross, and follow me. For WHOSOEVER WILL SAVE HIS LIFE SHALL LOSE IT: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
The word lose in Matthew 16:25 is translated from a different Greek word and it is “apollymi”. This word is also translated as the word perish and destroy. So what does all of this mean? Remember that in 1 Corinthians 3:15, we are told that people that have their work burned will suffer loss but they will be saved. This tells us that people are not permanently destroyed or perished but there are many people that are stubborn, mean to others, have uncontrollable sins of the flesh, addictions, and all types of work that make up our carnality. When people live for the carnal man, this is the person that you become. When you deny yourself, you give up or LOSE these things but for those who do not give them up for Christ in this life, they will suffer loss because they will not want to give them up willingly. It is NOT easy denying ones self. It is difficult to die to the pulls and lusts of the flesh. This is what suffering loss means and this process will not be the same for everyone because the works of each individual person will be different. What I can promise you is that this “suffering loss” has nothing to do with being literally tortured with real fire in the evil pagan hell of Christianity.
So we can be sure that the lake of fire isn’t a literal fire with all of these examples of scripture telling us about the spiritual purpose of fire. Physical fire can only effect physical things. If a person lusts with their eyes, there eyes have nothing to do with the lust. The eye is the physical member of the body that we use to lust. The lust comes from sin that lies in the heart of a person. There is no possible way for literal physical fire to have any effect on the sins of the heart. Only God can use spiritual fire to purge us of having sinning hearts.
Malachi 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? FOR HE IS LIKE A REFINER’S FIRE, AND LIKE FULLERS’ SOAP: This is a divine action from God and it is likened to the refining capabilities of fire.
This is what Christians fail to realize. Just because hell isn’t real doesn’t mean that people will not be held accountable for their actions. These scriptures clearly show us that we will be judged by the works that we build upon our foundation. I am fully aware that modern Christians need to believe in hell because it makes sense for them. It makes them think that people will not go unpunished for doing evil. They forget that everyone is evil and they become self-righteous thinking that they no longer need to be held accountable for their sins because they say religious things like, “I’m covered by the blood” which I guess makes it okay for them to still have wicked hearts while condemning others. Reminds me of a group of people that Christ had to deal with during the days he walked the earth. The problem here is that man takes responsibility for God’s work. God created life the way it is and God is ultimately responsible for His creation.
The lake of fire represents the process of God making things right with His creation of humanity. The creation of man is not some experiment that has gone horribly wrong by God. This kind of thinking belittles and undermines the sovereignty of God when His ways are lowered down to the level of a man. Contrary to what Christians think, God is in control of everything. The lake of fire is about judgment but this is a righteous judgment and not a grand display of evil where the souls of the wicked are tormented literally in a literal lake of hell fire. The teaching of hell is the most evil doctrine ever concocted by the devil and sadly, Christians hold steadfast to this doctrine of devils.
When we really look at God’s Word, it is hard to ignore the truth; Isaiah 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy JUDGMENTS are in the earth, the INHABITANTS OF THE WORLD will learn righteousness. There will come a time (not in this life) when all the inhabitants (meaning everyone that has ever lived) will learn righteous. Now isn’t the time for this to happen and don’t think for one second that things aren’t working in God’s perfect timing.
For those of you still doubting that this lake of fire isn’t meant to be a spiritually purifying lake of fire need to explain the addition of the word “brimstone” in 3 of the 5 scriptures in Revelation. Has anyone ever taken the time to really think about the inclusion of this added element? In 2 verses, brimstone isn’t included but in the other 3 verses brimstone is included. Are there two different lakes of fire? We should know from the four gospel accounts of Jesus that the inclusion or exclusion of events doesn’t add to or take away from the event. Scripture doesn’t separate these descriptions of the lake of fire as being distinctive of two separate lakes of fire. We can be sure that there is only one lake of fire due to the fact that there is only one God and the lake of fire represents God’s judgment; so we can surmise that there is only one lake of fire. So then, what exactly is this added element called brimstone?
The word “brimstone” is in the King James Version 14 times; 7 in the Old Testament (Hebrew) and 7 in the New Testament (Greek). Brimstone is an archaic word for sulfur. Let’s see some examples of how this word is used in scripture in addition to the two we’ve already looked at in the book of Revelations;
Genesis 19:24 Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah BRIMSTONE and fire from the Lord out of heaven;
Psalm 11:6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and BRIMSTONE, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.
Luke 17:29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and BRIMSTONE from heaven, and destroyed them all.
Revelation 9:18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the BRIMSTONE, which issued out of their mouths.
There are other scriptures that include the word brimstone but the interesting thing to note is that almost all the biblical use of the word is connected with the word fire. It is also interesting that this word appears to be in close relationship to God’s judgement of the wicked. What you probably haven’t considered is why brimstone (sulfur) is even included in the first place? Why does God use brimstone in connection with fire? Well if you were paying attention, you already know that this fire is a spiritual fire and there is no logical explanation to jump back in the realm of the literal. This brimstone (sulfur) also is spiritual and we need to find out what it represents.
The word brimstone is translated from the Greek word “theion” and it is defined in biblical use as divine incense, because burning brimstone was regarded as having power to purify, and to ward off disease. Now does this definition of brimstone sound like it is meant to go along with the evil torture and torment of the lake of fire that burns for ever and ever and ever as believed by the whole Christian church? Let’s be logical here. The lake of fire obviously has a purpose. Some believe that the lake of fire is hell (even though hell is cast in it) and a very small few know that this lake of fire is indeed spiritual with a purifying purpose. Now I know people hate to be wrong and so many people will reject the truth because it goes against everything they’ve been taught. What people fail to realize is that the bible has been translated and taught in a way to scare people in to wanting or seeking salvation on their own will. We are not capable nor will we ever be capable of saving ourselves hence the well-known scripture that tells us that salvation is a gift from God through faith and not worldly religious works.
How about I take this a little bit further; the Greek word “theion” is related to another Greek word “theios” which is used 3 times in scripture twice as divine and once as “Godhead”. Let’s look at the scriptures;
Acts 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the GODHEAD is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. [Note: the word Godhead is a poor translation of the Greek word “theion” and this is another example of the King James translators inserting words to fit their interpretation. There isn’t any scriptural justification for this word to be translated to any word other than the word divine as it is translated this way in the other two scriptures.]
2 Peter 1:3 According as his DIVINE power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the DIVINE nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Is the light turning on yet? Do you not see from the very Words of God what is being revealed to you? If you deny these truths then the Spirit of Christ is not in you. It should be perfectly clear that the lake of fire and brimstone isn’t a literal lake of boiling hot lava created for the sole purpose of torturing people for eternity. You can go on believing this doctrine of devils if you choose but you are in fact telling yourself who your real spiritual father really is.
So let’s take another look at all the things that are cast into the lake of fire which is now revealed to have a spiritual, purifying, and divine purpose;
The beast and the false prophet- in the Christian church, it is commonly believed that this beast and false prophet represent the “Antichrist” and his beast kingdom. This theory is unscriptural and the beast and false prophet are both symbols and are not real people. If the beast and false prophet represent real people, wouldn’t they be covered in Revelation 20:15 (whosoever was not found written in the book of life) or Revelation 21:8 (the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars)?
Revelation 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.
The devil is cast into the lake of fire, but the world of the Christian church teachers that hell is the devils home as if he will be the ruler of hell. This is nothing but a horror story with the devil as the villain. If you’ve read my paper titled, “Satan: God’s Perfect Instrument of Evil” then you will understand that Satan was created by God for a very important and divine purpose. In order to be created in the image of God, the knowledge of evil is necessary hence the purpose of Satan. This isn’t taught in the Christian church. The devil will not be literally tormented in the lake of fire day and night for ever and ever as the King James bible suggests. If you remember from Part 5: Torment: Literal or Spiritual? the word translated as tormented in Revelation 20:10 comes from the Greek word “basanizō” which is also translated as pain, toss, vex, and toil. This truth alone should tell you that the meaning of this verse has been distorted with the word tormented as many with demented minds think this is referring to literal physical torment. The devil or Satan is a spiritual creature and there is nothing that physical fire can do to harm a spiritual creature.
Exodus 3:2 And THE ANGEL OF THE LORD APPEARED UNTO HIM IN A FLAME OF FIRE out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. The angels of God are also spiritual creatures and as you can see, physical fire doesn’t harm them. This is additional proof that the lake of fire doesn’t represent a literal lake of fire as the Christian church believes. What God decides to do with the devil in the lake of fire also will have a divine purpose. I do not believe that God destroys any life He creates and the devil will no longer be “the adversary” when God ushers in the new order of things to be.
If we are following along with the understanding of the spiritual, we know that the lake of fire represents God’s divine process of purification. For those that continue to use their carnal brains contending that this is literal, explain how death and hell (the grave) can be literally picked up and cast into the lake of fire?
Luke 9:27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not TASTE OF DEATH, till they see the kingdom of God. Christ says that some will not taste of death. Does he literally mean that they won’t literally taste death with their tongues? What if they want a little ketchup and mustard with their side order of death? This is foolishness and the thinking of carnal minded Christians is equally foolish.
We are told that the process of death and hell being cast in the lake of fire IS the second death. What constitutes death? In literal physical death for humanity, life ceases. The second death is symbolic in this scripture because death and hell are not real people nor are they physical beings that can physically die.
Revelation 6:8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: AND HIS NAME THAT SAT ON HIM WAS DEATH, AND HELL FOLLOWED WITH HIM. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. Can you not see that this is symbolic language or do you think that death and hell are literally riding around on horses?
When a car stops working, we liken the cars battery to being dead. Does this mean that the car was alive at first? Of course not. In symbolic death, something ends or ceases. The purpose of the lake of fire is to purify but it will also purge or put an end to all things that aren’t pure. God will be destroying both death and hell (the grave) and in addition to this, the very nature of sinning humanity.
1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is DEATH. This verse proves that the second death is not a literal physical death otherwise, death would not be destroyed. Death is likened as an enemy and death remains and enemy until all are given life. If any person remains dead, then death still has power which would contradict this verse.
1 Corinthians 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on INCORRUPTION, and this mortal shall have put on IMMORTALITY, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY.
1 Corinthians 15:55 O DEATH, where is thy sting? O GRAVE [Hell – hadēs], where is thy victory?
Death will be no more and Hell (the grave – hadēs) will be done away with seeing that all humanity will be made incorruptible (immortal).
Revelation 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.
These last two verses in Revelation are dealing with the purification of sinning humanity. What is the purpose of purifying in the first place? To make “pure”, right? What has to happen in order for a man to be made pure? To be tortured for all eternity? Of course not. I sure hope this is as easy for you as it is for me to understand… We will be purified of sin. The scriptures even go so far as to make a list but surely not a comprehensive list; Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving [this includes everyone who doesn’t believe God will save all mankind], 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. [All these things will be burned and purified right out of the sinner and notice that they shall have their (PART – not whole or eternity in the lake of fire). Remember 1 Corinthians 3:15 if any man’s work [behaviors, thoughts, beliefs] shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: BUT HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED; yet so as by fire (the lake of fire).]
This whole process is the second death and the true spiritual meaning of the lake of fire.
In Part 9, I will be explaining the true spiritual meaning of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.
Click the link to go to Part 9: The Parable of the rich man and Lazarus Explained