Universal Salvation: The Lake Of Fire Part One
The number of explanations for the lake of fire are so numerous, that it is difficult to know which one is correct. Therefore, to understand the lake of fire, one main question that needs to be answered is this: What is the purpose of the lake of fire? If we know the purpose of the lake of fire, then the symbolism that it portrays and the terminology that it uses, will be in line with that purpose.
Revelation 20:14 tells us in no uncertain terms what the lake of fire is: "Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."
Some texts read: "…This is the second death, the lake of fire." And it is here where all the confusion arises.
"If the lake of fire is the second death, does that mean dying a second time?"
The answer is, that it does mean dying a second time, for some. Those who go into the symbolic lake of fire are literally going to die a second time. And the second death, here, is exactly the same as the first death: it is non-existence.
"But why is the second death necessary?"
It is necessary because some people will sin again after their resurrection.
Let me give you a sequence of events, which in articles to come, we will enlarge upon.
Starting with the first resurrection:
- Jesus will return, raising incorruptible those in the first resurrection, prior to the start of His one thousand year reign upon the earth. They will reign with Him for the one thousand year period. These are only few in number.
- After this event has taken place, and also prior to the one thousand year reign of Jesus, Satan is abyssed.
- The start of the one thousand year reign of Jesus. The general resurrection is during this one thousand year period. In this resurrection, all who are in the graves will come out. They have all been redeemed, and they have all been atoned for. They stand, as it were, without sin, reconciled to God. Even Adam and Eve will be there.
But there is one major difference between the ones in the first resurrection and those in the general resurrection. The ones in the first resurrection will be raised incorruptible, but the ones in the general resurrection will not be raised incorruptible. In other words, they can still sin.
All will have paid the penalty for Adam's sin: all had to die. But that penalty was a fixed penalty. It was death; and that penalty, once everyone has died, will have been paid in full. After their resurrection, whatever happens to them will be due entirely to themselves. The biggest problem facing them is that the wages of sin is still death: which means that anyone who sins will have to die a second time. They will not have to die a second time because of Adamic sin; they will have to die a second time because of their own sin. They will all be in the same position as Adam and Eve, in the garden of Eden, except that for one thousand years, Satan and his cohorts will not be there. But one day, he will be there again, with disastrous results.
Revelation 20:7-9 says: 7 "Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them."
They had to die a second time, in the symbolic lake of fire, because they had sinned. The lake of fire is another fixed penalty.
Watch this closely - they do not come any better than this: Do you realise what Satan has done?
I will show you.
Satan has everyone believing that the second death is a fixed penalty, and yet the first death is not. He has everyone believing that, when Jesus returns, the fixed penalty is not enough, because He then goes into the business of extortion, by punishing others yet again for the same crime of sin. He can not do that; it would be illegal. God does not allow people to deal in double standards. It is like saying, "We gave you a fixed penalty, but We have now decided that was not enough. So We are now going to add to your sentence. And if you do not like it, well, tough."
With people handing out sentences like this, who would want them to judge us? This is not the Jesus that I have come to know. Jesus is my Friend, and He most definitely does not have double standards.
Back to Revelation 20:8. Did you see how many Satan managed to deceive?
"…whose number is as the sand of the sea." That is an awful lot of people. It sounds as if Satan seduces most of the population on the earth again. And that is going to leave the earth pretty empty, because they have all had to die a second time. They are all dead in the symbolic lake of fire. And if they are going to remain in the lake of fire, that would be a terrible result for someone who is supposed to be able to save everyone. We would have a Saviour who can not save. The Saviour of the world! We would have to re-name Him "The failure of the world". It would make God a laughing-stock. How to go from Saviour to failure in one easy lesson: the lake of fire!
Virtually, what everyone is saying is that God is going to fail everyone at the last hurdle. Which is absolutely pathetic. God is perfect; there is no failure inside of perfection. It is not possible for God to fail anyone. God is love, and love never fails.
Therefore, if the starting point is that God is perfect, and that there is no failure inside of perfection, all those in the second death will have to be resurrected again, and taken up to perfection.
"How can He do that? Would not Jesus have to die again for them?"
Why would He have to die for them again? He has already died for them once. Surely the value of His sacrifice was that it was necessary only once, for all time - unlike animal sacrifices, which had to be offered every time you sinned.
Can you remember the last article, where we quoted Hebrews 9:11-12? It said this: "11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption."
If you are saying that His sacrifice does not continue after He has redeemed and atoned for everyone once, you are reducing the value of His life's blood to the value of animal sacrifices, which could only be used once. All you have to do is to read what it says: "…but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained (wait for it) eternal redemption." His sacrifice is still valid at the time of the lake of fire, or second death. God has the legal right to resurrect those in the lake of fire, at any time He wants to. Jesus' sacrifice is an ongoing sacrifice; it is perpetual.
Hebrews 10:12 says: "But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God."
Did you see it?
"…He offered one sacrifice for sins forever."
How long was it going to last?
The only conclusion that anyone can come to, is that those in the lake of fire can legally be resurrected at any time God wants - and will be. The difference between their first resurrection and their second resurrection, is that, after their first resurrection, they can sin, but after their second resurrection, they can not: because the lake of fire, or the second death, is the end of sin. Remember that Satan, as the scapegoat, carried all sin into the lake of fire for an entire removal, so that sin could never return again.
God can legally raise all in the lake of fire. But He can not raise them so that they can sin again. Which means, like those in the first resurrection, they will have to be raised incorruptible. And this is where the value of the Holy Spirit as a created being comes into play. God needs a legal precedent to be able to raise people incorruptible. The Holy Spirit is that legal precedent.
To take people out of the lake of fire so that they can not sin, means that they will have to be literally programmed, exactly the same as those in the first resurrection. And once they have all understanding of the truth, it will set them free, never to sin again. Therefore, God had to prove that this method would work.
He did that by programming the Holy Spirit, and at the time of full proven truth, He was set free, and is now perfect at the side of Jesus. This method will set anyone free, allowing perfection.
"Well, if God can give everyone a full understanding at the drop of a hat, why did He not give Adam and Eve a full understanding?"
Because a full understanding of truth was not available: sin had to run its course. God could not programme in what was not available to be programmed in. How do you think that, when people have children in the future, they will not sin? Because they can be programmed not to do so, and still be free. That will not make them robots. All that is happening is instant education. They will still have a mind of their own, except they will not have to go down the same road that we had to go down, to get it.
"If all that is so, tell us what 'tormented forever and ever in the lake of fire' means."
Be sure to read our next article, Universal Salvation! The Lake Of Fire Part Two.
Next article: The Lake of Fire Part Two