The Lake of Fire.
Jesus once told his disciples that an everlasting fire had been prepared for the devil and his angels, and issued dire warning that the cursed souls of men would be joining them there.
Matthew 25:41. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
So what is the lake of fire? Many presume that it’s hell, and Jesus did indeed speak of the unquenchable fires of hell. But it’s the ”first” death which delivers the lost souls to the prison of hell, and at the end of the ages there awaits a ”second” and final death. Because hell itself will be cast into the lake of fire, they cannot quite be one and the same.
Revelation 20:14-15. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
I would suggest the lake of fire is prepared, like Jesus said, but is not yet ignited. Way back in deep-time, when Lucifer first rebelled against God, and death entered the original cosmos, it triggered the entropy, an unstoppable chain of events which would ultimately ignite the fire.
From the moment God said, ”let there be light” (Genesis 1:3)the heavens and the earth were destined for a fiery destruction.(2Peter3:12).
From the beginning of time, the Bible takes us on a journey from the original creation to it’s final destruction at the very end of the ages. Entwined within the pages of this incredible journey however, is the gospel of grace, God’s master-plan of redemption, a Saviour which must be sought after and found.
Life conquered Death at the cross of Christ, and when time as we know it comes to an end, death and hell, and he who once held the power of death, are now and for ever consumed by the lake of fire. This is the second death, which has the power to destroy every last enemy of Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:26. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
The gods who once were ordained to fall like one of the princes and to die like a man, (Psalm 82:7) are now finally judged. For it is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgement. (Hebrews 9:27).
No longer in a host body, Jesus likened the unredeemed or unclean spirits of man, to worms in an unquenchable fire.
Revelation 20:15. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Mark 9:44. Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
A Question of Timing.
It can seem a little confusing however, because when Peter recorded the future cosmic conflagration, it would almost appear that the earth and the heavens will be incinerated on the actual day of the Lord’s 2nd coming. But this cannot be, for otherwise there would be no earth for Christ to reign upon.
2 Peter 3:10. But the DAY of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; IN THE WHICH the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
For this reason, many believe the ”burning” refers to a spiritual cleansing, rather than literal fire. The problem is, the passage in question makes it pretty clear to be the literal destruction of the cosmos.
2 Peter 3:12. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
So what does it all mean? And how should we interpret it? The clue is in the term ”the day of the Lord,” because as noted earlier, whilst it can refer to a particular day, ”the day of the Lord” generally refers to an extended period of time. And Peter has picked up on this, and sets the record straight.
2 Peter 3;8. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
”The day of the Lord” refers not only to the return of the King of kings, but also to His entire one thousand year reign up to and including the final battle of Gog and Magog, when fire comes down from heaven. It’s at this time when the profane creation flees from the presence of God.
Revelation 20:9. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
Revelation 20:11. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
So whilst the day certainly comes as a thief in the night, it’s also the day IN THE WHICH the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and……. the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
The . same principle can be seen concerning the punishing of the ‘high ones,’ for whilst it comes to pass in ”that day,” it will also extend for the entire 1000 years.
Isaiah 24:21. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high…….
Revelation 20:7. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison.
If taken literally, the Bible describes a fiery and total destruction of this present heavens and earth. It records the everlasting destruction of every enemy of Christ, including death and hell. But nowhere does it record the destruction of the bottomless pit. Why? Because the bottomless pit, the deep, and the universe are all one and the same. Hence the heavens, or the bottomless pit itself, will ignite to become the lake of fire.
The entire physical creation is governed by the ”law of entropy,” which means it’s subject to death. It is war-torn, and battle-scarred, and hence must be declared profane, and all things profane will ultimately be destroyed in everlasting fire.
But in the words of Peter, and John;
2 Peter 3:13.Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Revelation 21:1. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
God the Judge, or God the Father?
Just as the angels are immortal and indestructible, so too are the spirits of men. Unless born again, such spirits cannot return to the Father, and enter the kingdom of God. But they have to go somewhere, and because there’s nowhere else for them to go, they will finally join Satan and the rebel forces of angels.
Is this God’s desire? that man should perish in such manner? Absolutely not. But one day he will stop winking. Jesus kept the commandments of God, on man’s behalf, and suffered death on man’s behalf. God now has one commandment, and one alone for mankind. Repent and believe the gospel.
Acts 17:30. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
I’ve heard many times that only one road leads to God, but that’s not strictly true. Regardless of culture, race, or religion, ALL roads must lead to God, for every man has an appointment with death.
Hebrews 9:27. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Therefore, like it or not every man has an appointment with God, but will either meet him as God, the Judge of all men, or as God the Father, who judges NO man.
John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 14:6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 5:22. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.
1 Corinthians 2:9. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.