THE LAKE OF FIRE
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The Lake of Fire is the final home of everyone who refuses to obey the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes teachers of the Bible claim that this is a temporary residence while people repent. Even Satan, they say, will repent and have a place in the new world of righteousness.
I have not found such to be the case. I understand that in the Hebrew language, and possibly the Greek, such words as “eternal” do not have the same force that they do in English. I am not basing my conclusions entirely on the non-technical nature of the Hebrew language. I am basing it on more than sixty-years experience of life, and of the same period of time of Bible study.
It is mainly what I have learned from my continual experience as a disciple of the Lord Jesus. God will exhaust every means of persuasion before He decides that an individual is not going to bow the knee to Jesus. Certainly Satan is not going to bow the knee and call Jesus “Lord.” Also, those in the Lake of Fire with Satan are not going to call Jesus “Lord,” no matter how intense and prolonged the suffering is.
If they were not willing to surrender after God punishes them severely in the present world, the torment of the Lake of Fire will cause them to curse God and His Christ, not repent.
The protesters then will claim, God is too loving to permit people to suffer forever in a Lake of Fire. The truth is, it is God’s love that prevents people who will not serve Christ from entering the new world of righteousness. Such individuals cause heartbreak, pain, confusion, destruction wherever they go. Sometimes rebellious people can be corrected. If there is a possibility of correcting one person, God’s love will move Heaven and earth, so to speak, to bring that individual to repentance.
But for God to release people, after they have lived in the Lake of Fire with Satan, and permit them to enter the new world of righteousness, would be to bring God’s curse on the new earth. None of us wants that to happen!
When Christ next comes to earth, Satan will be bound and thrown into the Bottomless Pit. He will be there for the thousand-years of the Kingdom Age, during which time the people living on the earth will be governed by Christ and His saints.
When the thousand year period (whether a literal or figurative thousand years) has been completed, Satan will be released from the Bottomless Pit. Immediately he will go forth to deceive the nations living on the earth. Apparently the thousand years spent in incarceration did not change him.
It is astonishing also that the people who had been under the rule of Christ and His saints were ready to follow him. This portrays clearly that Satan is not going to change. It reveals also that human nature remains the same, even under the rule of the rod of iron of Christ and His saints.
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (Revelation 20:7-9)
Does this sound to you like Satan finally is going to repent and submit to the rule of Jesus Christ? I don’t think so. The same is true of those who, after all of God’s dealings with them, refuse to obey the Lord Jesus.
Let’s take a look at the Lake of Fire, which is the second death:
“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
The eight types of people who are characterized in the above manner will not obey the Lord Jesus. They will do what it is their nature to do. Only obedience to the Lord Jesus can change their nature. They cannot correct themselves, for these are manifestations of the evil that dwells in them, particularly in their flesh, according to the Apostle Paul.
- The cowardly.
- The unbelieving.
- The vile.
- The murderers.
- The sexually immoral.
- Those who practice magic arts.
- The idolaters.
- All liars.
The eight behaviors listed above are the image of Satan. God has given the Lake of Fire authority over these behaviors. God can forgive us for practicing any of these. But they must not continue to be true of us. They never shall be permitted to enter the new world of righteousness.
Notice the verse that precedes Revelation 21:8:
He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:7)
These eight behaviors are those which are under the authority of the Lake of Fire. Each of them must be totally overcome if we are to inherit the new world of righteousness, which consists of everything that is worthy made new in Christ. No one can continue in any of these eight and have fellowship with God—not by grace, mercy, or any other device. They simply are not permitted in the Kingdom of God.
I may be mistaken but I think each of these characteristics proceeds from our self will, from our desire to conduct our own life apart from looking to the Lord Jesus for all we think, say, and do.
The cowardly. To us, cowardice does not seem like such a terrible sin, like murder for example. But our thoughts are not always God’s thoughts. Remember that the Israelites provoked God by their cowardice until He sent them back into the wilderness to wander for an additional thirty-eight years.
Pressing forward to the first resurrection, the resurrection of the blessed and holy Royal Priesthood, requires courage. Satan will do everything in his power to frighten us. But God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.
I personally make it a practice every morning and evening to ask God to remove from me all fear and dread. I am attacked with these quite often. God has been saying to me lately that He will go before me and subdue the enemy. Then the path is made safe and I can continue on my way without harm.
Fear causes us to be double-minded so that God cannot answer our prayers. We must make the effort to cast off fear and confusion and keep our will strong and sharp. Sometimes, if we are in a state of passivity to the point we cannot make a decision, it may help us to get back on the path by making a decision, after we pray, and then sticking to it ever though we have disquieting thoughts about it.
Joshua was fearful. We know this because the Lord exhorted him to be strong and of a good courage. At the same time the Lord commanded Joshua to adhere strictly to the Law of Moses.
So it is with us. We can be confident and decisive if we will keep practicing the Presence of Christ and obeying Him at all times.
There will be no cowardly, fearful individuals in the new world of righteousness. If you are afflicted by fearfulness, ask the Lord Jesus to replace your cowardice with His courage. You are going to need it in the days to come.
The unbelieving. There are people, like doubting Thomas, who just cannot believe the good things of God. They have a hard heart. For some reason they cling to their pessimistic life style and refuse to believe that God has anything pleasant for them.
You may know people like that. “I won’t believe it until I see it,” they exclaim. And after they “see it” they still won’t believe. They think they are being tricked.
We cannot afford to permit this attitude to continue in our life. We absolutely must come immediately to the Lord Jesus and ask Him to remove the unbelief from us. We may not believe He actually will do it, but He told us He will do what we ask in His name. “Lord, help me overcome my unbelief,” the man cried. And Jesus healed his deaf and dumb boy.
This man wanted to believe. If we are bound with unbelief, we are going to want to overcome our unbelief if Jesus is to heal us. Unbelief is a spirit that binds some people. It can be removed through prayer. Perhaps we can believe that much!
We may not consider fear or unbelief to be major sins. But you may notice that they are the first two behaviors listed. We cannot live in and enjoy the new world of righteousness, if we are fearful and unbelieving. We would be afraid to obey Christ, not believing that He is good and desires to help us.
Fear and unbelief are spiritual monsters. They have the power to keep us our of the Kingdom of God.
The vile. I have lived in the United States all my life. I never would have thought that I would see the crimes being committed that are becoming increasingly common. Children are murdering their parents and teachers. People are murdering other people and eating parts of their bodies.
Men who move in with divorced mothers scald the babies with boiling water. Husbands blind their wives with knives or by throwing acid in their faces. Wives pay killers to murder their husbands so they can marry someone else, or so they can collect the husband’s life insurance. Thieves shoot older people in their wheel chairs and then cut off the finger that has a wedding ring.
Such actions are clear manifestations of Satan. Our society is not prepared to believe that Satan is involved, and the social scientists will ponder the causes; but they are not aware of what is causing little children to have to be handcuffed by the police because of the havoc they are causing. This is the work of unclean spirits. To not deal with these spirits, and only attempt to modify the behavior by psychologic means, may not be as effective as one could wish.
If I am hearing the Spirit correctly, such incidents are going to increase in the United States, as we move further and further away from God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Man cannot conquer evil spirits. It requires God to do that, and we in our country are leaving God behind in our quest for personal fulfillment.
The murderers. I think there are many forms of murder. Anything we say or do that harms someone else is a form of murder.
Perhaps the most common form of murder in our churches is gossip. Gossip is so common in the churches that we don’t always hear the pastor mention it. But the first chapter of the Book of Romans lists gossip along with homosexual activity as being worthy of death. We murder people with our tongue.
Literal physical murder is becoming fairly common in the United States. Sometimes the motive is money. Sometimes it is to get someone out of the way who is hindering our desires. Sometimes murder proceeds from sheer rage, as hatred rises up in us because of something an individual has done what we imagine was a purposeful act against us.
In the case of abortion, the murder of the unborn, unless I am mistaken the motive often is to get rid of an inconvenience. Since we have the ability to not indulge in sexual intercourse, to do so, and to conceive a child, and then kill the developing child because it is an inconvenience, is nothing short of murder. The individual will be guilty of murder before the Judgment Seat of Christ.
I have counseled our congregation to not permit themselves to become angry at someone else, to the best of their ability. The problem is, the spiritual environment is becoming infested with evil spirits of all sorts. Prominent among these is the spirit of murder.
Two friends will have a minor disagreement. As they argue back and forth, the minor disagreement becomes a major quarrel. The demons watch this carefully, hoping that one of the two will fly into a rage and injure or murder the other. We can prevent this from happening to us by not getting into an argument with anyone.
In the case of marriage, the one who walks away from an argument is the priest of the home. The peacemakers are blessed by the Lord.
Murder was the first crime, wasn’t it, as Cain killed his brother.
The sexually immoral. The United States, as well as much of the rest of the world, is experiencing an inflaming of the normal sexual urge. Numerous teachers have thrown away their careers by having affairs with their students. Famous politicians and leaders in other pursuits have done the same. After all their work to become successful in their chosen profession, they have thrown it all away for the pleasures of sex.
How many families have been destroyed because the husband or wife yielded to sexual passion. It seems to me that the inflamed sexual urge will become so intense that many Christians will not be able to overcome it.
The rise of the militant homosexuals in our nation is astounding, given that they are relatively few in number. It seems that people in authority are afraid to resist homosexual activism for fear they will lose their positions.
Homosexual behavior is being help up as a progressive move of society. It is anything but that. It is entirely regressive, as the Bible points out. Since the purpose of sexual intercourse is to perpetuate the race, and is of God, homosexual activity becomes nothing more than nasty behavior. And we are supposed to be proud of that?
All the works of gender confusion are of Satan. His purpose, in addition to his hatred of God and all that God honors, is to prevent the birth of children. As our Lord said, many who are last shall be first. I believe this means that many who are last in time will be first in the Kingdom of God.
You may have noticed the precocious children in our day who excel in intelligence, or in some art form. There are some you did not notice because they were murdered before they came to term.
There are many thrones of the Kingdom still available for those who meet God’s requirements concerning the Royal Priesthood. Mighty men and women of faith are destined to be born in our day. For this reason, Satan is emphasizing homosexual behavior and abortion in the hope of killing these future rulers and priests of God. It reminds us of Herod killing the children because of his fear that Jesus would take his throne.
We can say what we want to about human rights. But homosexual behavior and abortion are sin in the sight of God. Unless the individual afflicted with such behavior is able to be delivered from these spiritual chains. his or her destiny will be residence in the Lake of Fire with Satan, his angels, and the most wicked of the personages of history.
Those who practice magic arts. Any time we attempt to modify our physical environment by spiritual means, other than by calling on the Lord Jesus, we are practicing a magic art.
During the past several years, many Christian people have dabbled in magic arts without realizing it. “Speaking the creative word,” was one such practice. “Name it and claim it” was another. All such mental practices lead the person away from the simplicity of following the Lord Jesus.
Of course, astrology, reading tea leaves, phrenology, any attempt to predict the future apart from the Spirit of God comes under the heading of “magic arts.”
There are efforts to connect physical ailments with our attitudes and practices. For example, “Unforgiveness and bitterness cause arthritis.” I do not view these efforts as magic arts. However, they are not wise. When we are afflicted, the only proper procedure is to call on Jesus for healing and help.
I do not mean by this that there is no place for doctors and other health specialists. When I have a physical problem, I ask the Lord if I should go to the doctor or if He is going to heal me. If Jesus says “Go to the doctor,” then I do so. Then on the way to the doctor I pray that Christ will put the correct procedures into the hearts of the doctors and nurses.
Correct nutrition and exercise have their place. But in all cases, we should be looking to the Lord for guidance and help.
But to pronounce “I am healed,” when we still are afflicted and the Lord has not told us we are healed, is nothing more than a metaphysical practice or presumption. It is not realistic; but many Pentecostal people do these sorts of things.
We are never to enter any kind of spiritual practice in which we are not looking continually to the Lord Jesus. whether it is to get money, healing, a better job, a wife, or anything else. God is not at all pleased with this effort to circumvent His will in our life.
The idolaters. If you want to know if you are worshiping an idol, search your heart and mind to see if there is any relationship, thing, or situation that you would not willingly give to the Lord if He asked for him, or her, or it.
Many Americans worship money. Their entire life revolves around amassing money. It is an idol.
Many Americans worship their children. If God were to take one of their children they would be at a loss to know how to continue living.
Many Americans worship their wife or husband. It is never right adore an individual except the Lord. Our love for our wife or husband should go through the Lord first. We will have a stronger relationship if we do this.
Many Americans worship sexual activity. They will betray those who trust them, or even break the law, in order to satisfy their lusts. Their “sex life” is of supreme importance.
We are wise if we place all of our treasures in Heaven. We Christians use the expression, “Put it on the altar.” Then we lose all fear. In the days of chaos that are ahead of us, we will not be afraid of our death or the death of our loved ones.
One of the things I have learned in my short life is not to grasp anything. If you are holding onto anything, it will cause a bondage. You always will be afraid of losing it. Place it in Heaven. The Lord has promised to keep it safe for you. This includes people, as difficult as this may be for you. Ask God to help you to put that person on the altar. He will answer your prayer.
All liars. I think we all were born liars. Perhaps I am judging other people by myself. It requires a lot of hot fires before we are able to tell the truth and only the truth.
God does not lie. We are being made in His image.
What is truth? The Lord Jesus Christ is Truth. We may learn many facts about this or that. We may recount an experience to the best of our knowledge. But truth goes deeper than that.
Truth is an accumulation of knowledge, isn’t it. But wisdom tells us what to do with our knowledge. Jesus knows many things about us that we would like to know. But Jesus knows that some of this knowledge concerning us would be harmful to us.
Sometimes people pride themselves about being candid, about telling people things that distress them. This is nothing to be proud of. Love would always have us tell people that which will encourage and build them up.
The lie that makes us a resident of the Lake of Fire is that which we tell in order to arrange circumstances that will benefit us, even though it may harm someone else. Such lies are the domain of Satan, whom Jesus termed the “father of lies.”
To arrive at the place where we always say that which benefits others requires that we hear from the Lord Jesus. He is Truth itself. He knows the reason for all things. When we keep telling the truth as we know it, without priding ourselves on being candid, without hurting people unnecessarily, Jesus will help us to say the right things at the right time.
But as I said, many of us are born liars, and it takes a lot of suffering to get the lie burned out of us.
All liars shall find their home with Satan. He is the father of lies.
It is possible to gain victory over sin until the Lake of Fire no longer has authority over us:
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. (Revelation 2:11)
The verse above seems to give the idea that we could be exposed to the Lake of Fire and not be harmed by it. This may be akin to dwelling with the consuming fire, that Isaiah speaks of.
The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?” (Isaiah 33:14)
Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
Residence in the Lake of Fire is a destiny so horrible as to be far beyond our ability to describe. It is the home and final resting place of every person who will not serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
Perhaps the worst part of being confined in the Lake of Fire is that we become a part of Satan himself; just as those who are with Jesus Christ for a period of time become part of Jesus Himself.
Imagine never again seeing a baby smile or hear a child laugh. Never again having someone say, “I love you.” Never again having something pleasant to look forward to. Never again feeling the Presence of God and Christ.
Imagine having only Satan, self-seeking people, and demons for company. The worst villains of history will be there to torment you, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Satan will laugh at you if you complain about anything.
It apparently is a lake of burning sulfur. Have you ever smelled burning sulfur? And how will the fire affect us? Will we always feel like we are being burned alive?
The Lake of Fire is terrifying indeed! If we refuse to receive Christ when He is presented to us, and insist on living a wicked, self-seeking life, we are in a clear danger of being thrown into the Lake of Fire.
God will do everything in His power to keep us from such a dreadful fate. But we do have the power to frustrate God’s good intentions toward us.
The preachers of today seem to me to be downplaying the wrath of God. Such an expression as “unconditional love” gives us a false impression of God, I believe. Think of Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt. Then compare that with the idea of unconditional love. It just doesn’t fit, does it?
I do not want to end up in the Lake of Fire, and I don’t want you to end up there either. So let us do as much good as we can; obey Christ in all that He commands us, and we will rejoice together for eternity in the new world of righteousness.
(“The Lake of Fire”, 3982-1)