The Lake of Fire
The lake of fire is mentioned only in the book of Revelation (Rev. 14:10-11; 19:20;
20:10; 20:13-15 and 21:8). The last passage states, "But the fearful, and unbelieving,
and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators,
and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is
the second death." There should be no question remaining as to the certainty of the lake
of fire; neither should there be any doubt as to the awful consequence of having to be
cast into it.
There are those people who have no love for God nor fear of God, and they manifest by
what they say that their professed serving of God is only a pretense, arising not from
any true love for Him but from fear of punishment. One has to recognise that they are
controlled by their flesh nature; they cannot truely love God and have no desire to do so.
This is burned away in the Lake of Fire leaving the spiritual man to bow and confess
Jesus as Lord to the glory of the Father. It is not eternal but lasts only as long as it
takes to bring them to repentance.
It is not thus with those who truly love God, for they serve not from fear, but from pure
love and devotion. Remove punishment completely from the universe, and they would
still serve God with all their hearts.
Three words have special significance in Rev 21:8, burns, fire, and brimstone. Burning is
a process which changes the form of what is being consumed. It is not annihilated but
changed to another form. For example, if wood is burned the elements are vaporized,
mixed with oxygen from the air and changed to water vapor, carbon dioxide, etc. Burn
means to change. FIRE is the heat and light that you feel and see when something
burns. It takes heat to start a fire, but once the fire is started it produces heat that
keeps the process going. Thus, fire is really HEAT and LIGHT.
The Lake of Fire and Brimstone signifies a fire burning with brimstone; brimstone or
sulfur defines the character of the fire. The Greek word THEION translated 'brimstone'
is exactly the same word THEION which means 'divine.' Sulfur 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. 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.
I realize that the above thoughts define the subject very briefly, but let us summarize the
meanings thus: burn means combustion; to change the form of. FIRE means heat and
light; brimstone means divine. Putting these three together can we not see that the lake
burning with fire and brimstone is, actually, divine heat and light producing a change!
Is such a process eternal? All the laws of nature shout that it is not! "But if you will not
hearken unto Me ... then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the
palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched" (Jer. 17:27). Since God said no
person or thing would "quench" this fire, did that mean that it would burn for ever? Since
it accomplished the work it was sent to do, and since it is not burning today, it went out
by itself after accomplishing its purpose! Unquenchable fire is not eternal fire - it is
simply fire that cannot be put out until it has consumed or changed everything it is
possible for it to change! It then simply goes out, for there is nothing more to burn.
Are the judgments of God permanent? Mat. 12:20 says, "A bruised reed shall He not
break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgment unto victory."
Judgment is not an eternal condition, but it is given to produce that victory. Judgments of
themselves do not save anyone, but they are used by God to consume away the flesh
nature of men. "Our GOD is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29). The basic purpose of this
divine fire of God is to cleanse, purify, purge, temper and change. It is to rid of
impurities, of filth, of undesirable elements.
|New Life Ministries
15 S Catherine LaGrange, Il 60525
A Sonship Church
Ray Janisch, Pierre Ruffin, & Bill Kerr Co-pastors