THE FIRE OF GOD

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

THE FIRE OF GOD from: It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

It is apparent there is more involved in the second death than merely the wicked being cast into the Lake of Fire at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The wording of the Book of Revelation suggests that the second death has authority over the believer until he, through Christ, gains victory over the works that God condemns. The second death has authority over all sinful behavior!

Our God is a consuming Fire. His fire comes upon us now and separates us from our sins. If we are not willing to be separated from our sins, we run the risk of having the Lake of Fire claim us for its own. The second death, the Lake of Fire, has Divine authority over fearfulness, unbelief, abominations, murder, fornication, sorcery, idolatry, and lying. Until we are free from these the second death has authority over us.

THE FIRE OF GOD 

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (Revelation 2:1)

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power [authority], but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

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

Revelation 2:11 (above) does not correspond to the way we usually think. This verse has to do with the Christian believers. Yet we seldom or never think of the believers as being in danger of the Lake of Fire. Obviously our thinking is incorrect.

Revelation 2:11 and 20:6 are worded peculiarly in terms of our customary viewpoint. We think of the second death as the casting of individuals into the Lake of Fire, there to be tormented forever. This is true and scriptural and cannot be changed.

But if this were all there is to the meaning, Revelation 2:11 should read:

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; he that overcometh shall not be cast into the lake of fire."

We can understand "shall not be cast into the lake of fire." We do not understand "shall not be hurt of [not be harmed by] the second death."

Another problem here is, the implication is strong that those believers who do not overcome the world, Satan, and their lusts and self-will shall be hurt by the second death. Numerous believers (probably the majority) are not leading a life of victory in Christ. Are they all doomed to be hurt by the Lake of Fire?

Think about the following verse: 

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power [authority], but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

If our current understanding is correct, Revelation 20:6 should read: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection. He shall not be cast into the lake of fire, but he shall be a priest of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."

We can understand "shall not be cast into the lake of fire." But what is the meaning of "on such the second death hath no power [authority]"?

The problem is with the wording. We think of the second death as being the casting of an individual into the Lake of Fire. What we find is, "shall not be injured by the second death"; and, "over these the second death has no authority."

The phrasing does not fit our concept.

It is apparent that there is more involved in the second death than merely the wicked being cast into the Lake of Fire at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The wording suggests that the second death has authority over the believer until he, through Christ, gains victory over the works that God condemns.

It is as though the second death has authority over all sin and rebellion. As long as there is sin and rebellion in us the second death claims that part of us for itself. This doctrine fits perfectly Revelation 2:11 and Revelation 20:6. Death is separation. Physical death is the separation of the spirit and soul from the body. It is the writer’s point of view that the first death is not physical death but is the separation from God that all unsaved people experience, the death we live in until we receive Jesus.

Physical death sometimes is referred to as "sleep" and is not to be feared. 

And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. (Mark 5:39)

Spiritual death is the separation of the spirit, soul, and body from God. We believe that the second death is similar to the spiritual death into which we were born, except that the second death is permanent and accompanied by torment.

The Lake of Fire is the place of abode of those who are spiritually dead—cut off from the Presence of their Maker.

What behaviors produce spiritual death? Over what works does the Lake of Fire have authority? 

But the fearful [cowardly], and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers [fornicators], and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part [their part is in] in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone [sulfur]: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

We may add here that the "everlasting fire" has been prepared for the devil and his angels, not for people (Matthew 25:41). But people shall be found there if they do not, through Christ, separate themselves from such deeds.

Notice that it is not those who have experienced fear, or who have expressed unbelief, or who have committed murder. If that were true, all of us would be condemned because we have practiced these sins in time past. Rather it is those who have not been willing to be delivered. They have become part of the nature of Satan.

It is not that they merely have experienced fear, or unbelief. It is that they have continued in these behaviors until they are cowardly, unbelieving, lying personalities.

We know that fearfulness, unbelief, abominations, murder, fornication, sorcery, idolatry, and lying have no part in the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). These works of unrighteousness produce spiritual death—the second death. 

For if ye live in the appetites of the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

All through the Scriptures, Old Testament and New, we find that sin is associated with death and righteousness is associated with life. God invites us to choose righteousness and live.

The second death, spiritual death, separation from God, exerts authority over us if fearfulness or unbelief or abominations or any of the other condemned practices abides in us. Spiritual death can hurt us and kill us until we achieve victory over these through the victory that is in Christ.

Notice the following peculiar (to our way of thinking) expression: 

And I will kill her children with death; . . . (Revelation 2:23)

Jesus is speaking here of spiritual death, the second death. As long as the works of darkness are dwelling in us we can be injured and killed by the second death.

Many of us who are Christians have problems with fearfulness, with unbelief, with abominations, with murder, with fornication, with various forms of sorcery and superstition, with idolatry (including covetousness), and with lying (including gossiping, which is a form of bearing false witness). How will God deal with us? God will deal with us by fire.

Our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).

Hebrews 12:29 was addressed to Jewish Christians who had made a strong start in Christ but who now were neglecting their salvation. It is our God, the Christians’ God, who is a consuming Fire.

What is it that God consumes?

Fearfulness, unbelief, abominations, murder, fornication, sorcery, idolatry, and lying—all forms of these. They are the works that the fire of God consumes.

It is because of the works of darkness dwelling in us that we suffer. Our tribulations and sufferings in this world are God’s fire on the works of our flesh. The purpose of the coming of the Divine fire upon us is to cause us to cease our sinning and self-seeking. 

. . . for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. (I Peter 4:1,2)

Our God is a consuming Fire. His fire comes upon us now and separates us from our sins. If we are not willing to be separated from our sins we run the risk of having the Lake of Fire claim us for its own. The second death, the Lake of Fire, has Divine authority over fearfulness, unbelief, abominations, murder, fornication, sorcery, idolatry, and lying. Until we are free from these the second death has authority over us.

Either the fire of God will set us free now, as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were set free by fire (Daniel 3:25), or else we will experience God’s fire for eternity. God’s fire is unquenchable and it will burn sinful bodies, souls, and spirits forever: 

And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases [dead bodies] of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. (Isaiah 66:24)

We Christians understand that God forgives the repentant believer through Christ. What is not as clear is how God will deal with the Christian in whom is dwelling the works of darkness over which the second death has authority.

We know that no matter how fervently we trust in Christ, God cannot and will not have fellowship with the works of darkness. Until we overcome them through Christ the second death has authority over us.

Please read the following passage carefully in the light of what we have just stated: 

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion [sharing] hath light with darkness? And what concord [harmony] hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 6:14-7:1)

Since the above was addressed to Christians, it is evident that mere belief in Christ does not bring us into the Presence of God to the extent we desire. God cannot rest in us when there is uncleanness in us. Light cannot have fellowship with darkness. It is only as we, through the Holy Spirit, cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, that God is able to receive us.

The purpose of the Christian redemption is to change us so we are fit to dwell in Paradise—fit for the Presence of God. When we are changed in Christ we shall walk in Kingdom righteousness and life wherever we are. God desires to dwell in us and to walk in us so we may bring the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Spirit of God into every situation in which God places us. 

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them [paths to God; the ways to Zion]. Who passing through the valley of Baca [weeping] make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. (Psalms 84:5-7)

The purpose of the Christian redemption is not to bring us into the fire of God’s Presence as we are. That would be the cruelest thing God could do to us. We would be in absolute torment as His fire burned the darkness in us.

Rather, the purpose of the Christian redemption is to make us righteous and holy so we can abide in the Presence of the Consuming Fire forever.

To bring into Paradise an individual in whom the works of the second death are dwelling would create chaos. Such a person would bring confusion into Paradise and would himself be exceedingly miserable. God in His goodness places people where they belong, where they are fit to dwell.

We humans on earth gravitate toward those individuals who are walking on the same plane of holiness as ourselves (except that God may call us to minister to those of less growth than ourselves). So it is true in the spiritual world. We shall be placed with those of like spiritual maturity.

In no case will any individual in whom is dwelling the works over which the second death has authority remain in the Presence of God and the Lamb. He will not enjoy the close fellowship with God that he desires until there has been a cleansing of spirit, soul, and body.

We do enjoy fellowship with God through the covering of the blood of Christ. That fellowship continues as long as we are walking "in the light," that is, we are following the Holy Spirit in the work of making us righteous and holy. As we gain righteousness and holiness of word and deed our sharing with God becomes increasingly full and rewarding.

The prodigal son did not bring his fornication and drunkenness back to his father’s house. He returned as a chastened, repentant individual—a son who was ready to perform the role of a son.

Let us think for a moment about dwelling in the fire of God. Is this what we desire above all else? Do we look forward, after our physical death, to going to the very Center of the Divine Fire—there to abide forever? Is this our concept of "going to Heaven"? Is this what we really want? If so, we are one of those who long after God during our days on the earth. We are consumed with the desire to press as close to God as we can.

What are the conditions for dwelling with the consuming Fire—the Fire who consumes the works of darkness; the Fire who ravishes the righteous with joy and is a burning, fiery torment to the ungodly? 

The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (Isaiah 33:14)

The day in which we are living will be a period of many changes. The pressures of demonic spirits and fallen angels will fill the earth. Soon it will become exceedingly difficult to resist sin.

Because of a misunderstanding of the work of the new covenant, many of God’s people continue to sin. They will be afraid and helpless when they see and experience the demonic nightmare that will be unleashed in the earth during the age of moral horrors. At first they will attempt to fight against the corruption of the world using fleshly weapons but they soon will be overcome. The only effective weapons are those that are spiritual.

Numerous believers are not prepared to stand in the fires of Divine judgment. The hypocrites—those whose hearts are not turned solidly toward Christ—will be terrified and shaken when they discover how little they actually know of the living God.

The issue of the Christian salvation is our coming to know God—our being able to live in the Divine Fire.

Who can live with the consuming Fire of Israel? Only those whom He has cleansed, not only from the guilt of sin but also from the practice of sin. Darkness cannot dwell with light. Filth cannot abide in the Holy Place of God. Lies cannot dwell with Truth. We cannot have fellowship with God and walk in darkness.

The second death, spiritual death, maintains its jurisdiction over all sin and rebellion against God’s eternal Law.

The true saint longs for God. He wants to be brought into the Bosom of God where the Lord Jesus abides. In order to do so, all that he is must be revealed before the fiery scrutiny of the Lord.

Who can live with God? He who walks righteously, who speaks uprightly, who despises the gain derived from oppressing people, who cannot be bribed, who will not compromise his integrity, who neither listens to wickedness nor gazes on it with fascination and interest. He flees from lawlessness and uncleanness.

The righteous will dwell in love, joy, and peace with their God, their Father.

The wicked will find themselves in a barren wasteland, separated from all that is of love and peace.

The confusion of our day is the representing of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as the means whereby the wicked can dwell with God. Such never has been the case. Such never shall be the case.

Multitudes are in the valley of decision. The Day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. We must choose. We must decide what is truth and what is not.

Those who accept the way of cross-carrying obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ will be given the truth of God. Those who refuse God’s way of patience and lowliness will be deceived. They will be assured they are correct because God will send them strong delusion that they may believe a lie (II Thessalonians 2:11).

The climax of the ages is upon us. Each individual must make his or her choice now. The time will come when the filthy must remain filthy and the righteous must remain righteous, by edict of God. The way of the Lord must be made straight.

We are in an hour of great apostasy. It is time for a reformation of Christian thinking and behavior. Let us not be among those who are swept up in the deceptions and workings of Antichrist but those who carefully guard the Word of Christ’s patience.

Antichrist is here already. The darkness is here now!

Christ will give victory to each person who seeks Him today. The time soon will come when it will be very difficult to serve the Lord. We are "running with the footmen" now. Soon we will be "contending with horses." Will we be able to keep up?

The greatest revival of all time is here. Let us take full advantage of God’s Presence and salvation while it is day. The night when no man can work is not far off.