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The Lake of Fire - who causes it?
Query for the Month
Next up-date: October 1st 2008 (God willing).
Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.
Some perpetual questions ....
Is there really an immortal soul?
Do you know the difference
between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world? Click here to find out!
Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends. It's called "Light on the Dark Side of God" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read!
Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.
Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library. No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.
If sin is the destroyer, and we are destroyed by being separated from God the life giver, why is it that the least wicked will perish in the lake of fire sooner than those more wicked? You would think that those most wicked have sinned more and should therefore separate more from God and thus perish sooner . . .
This simple analogy might suggest that the question of whether God is or isn’t a destroyer is more complex than we have previously supposed. If we say that the matter will at that time be completely out of God’s hands and the wicked will be at the mercy of the elements, why should one human perish sooner than another seeing that all are of the same flesh? . . .
If God is so loving, why doesn’t He simply destroy all the wicked in an instant and thus limit their suffering? Is this because He can’t, because they have separated themselves from Him? If so then shouldn’t they die in an instant, or shouldn’t the least wicked outlast the most wicked? This brings us back to the initial question.
In answer to the question, my understanding is that there is no PENALTY imposed by God because of sin. The “state” of sin (which is also called “rebellion”) is what causes the ACTIONS of sin, and this state has been handed down to us since Adam’s leap into it. What God has being doing since then is DELAY the outcome, sin's “wages”, as much as He is allowed to by our individual choices.
I read this in my library:
The Saviour in His miracles revealed the power that is continually at work in man's behalf, to sustain and to heal him. Through the agencies of nature, God is working, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment, to keep us alive, to build up and restore us. When any part of the body sustains injury, a healing process is at once begun; nature's agencies are set at work to restore soundness. But the power working through these agencies is the power of God. All life-giving power is from Him. When one recovers from disease, it is God who restores him.
Sickness, suffering, and death are work of an antagonistic power. Satan is the destroyer; God is the restorer.
Sin is not a positive, but a negative. What I mean by this is that sin is an ABSENCE of righteousness – it does not exist by itself, it is righteousness gone wrong. “Sin, when it is finished, brings forth death” just as righteousness when it is finished brings forth eternal life. James 1:15.
If we start from that basis, that God is a Saviour not a punisher, then we can see more clearly what is going on.
The prophet explains for us what actually happens in the Lake of Fire.
And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against [the new] Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.
With our understanding of the DNA double helix we can better appreciate what he saw in his vision.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms and some viruses. The main role of DNA molecules is the long-term storage of information. DNA is often compared to a set of blueprints or a recipe, since it contains the instructions needed to construct other components of cells, such as proteins and RNA molecules.
I see sin (aka iniquity) as a cancer, and the cells of it (caused by our sinful actions) are inextricably woven into our DNA system. As the power of God (which surrounds Him like an electrical field) comes in contact with the “cancer” cells in the Lake of Fire they are dissolved by His goodness, His healing power.
But when this happens “in the field” as it were, it also destroys the workings of the DNA strands which hold our bodies together. So we dissolve.
Those who have only a small amount of the “cancer” naturally dissolve faster and collapse faster, thereby dying before the others. Satan, who has not only the results of his own sins in him, but also bear the sins of Christians as the scapegoat, will therefore take the longest.
So it is written:
The wicked receive their recompense in the earth. Proverbs 11:31. They “shall be stubble: and the day that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts”. Malachi 4:1. Some are destroyed as in a moment, while others suffer many days. All are punished “according to their deeds”.
The sins of the righteous having been transferred to Satan, he is made to suffer not only for his own rebellion, but for all the sins which he has caused God's people to commit. His punishment is to be far greater than that of those whom he has deceived.
After all have perished who fell by his deceptions, he is still to live and suffer on. In the cleansing flames the wicked are at last destroyed, root and branch – Satan the root, his followers the branches. The full penalty of the law has been visited; the demands of justice have been met; and heaven and earth, beholding, declare the righteousness [the goodness] of Jehovah.
I believe that it is only as we get past the thought of “punishment” being imposed by God, and see “punishment” deriving from sin itself, will we be able to really appreciate what the controversy is all about.
If God can restore us under the controlled conditions of repentance, then we do not die, but are turned into Christians. Then He continues to heal us from any subsequent actions of sin through “forgiveness”, as illustrated in the sanctuary system. That system teaches us that He places the “cancer cells” into Himself (i.e. the first apartment), and will one day cleanse them from Himself onto the scapegoat after showing them to His Father in the second apartment. It requires His Father’s permission.
If we, as Christians, hang on to the guilt of the transgressions by not confessing them, then we will die a physical death, and require a resurrection, again under controlled conditions.
To sum up:
We must all die to (or by) sin (Romans 6:13) for death is its wages.
But God has offered us the CHOICE of when and how we die (spiritually).
Now, under controlled conditions as we become Christians, or later without His protection in the Lake of Fire. He says to His people, “Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin: but yield yourselves to God, AS THOSE THAT ARE ALIVE FROM THE DEAD, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God”. Romans 6:13.
This is very plain. It is not difficult to comprehend. We all know what it is to let sin use us. Just as we have done this, so we should let God work in us. It is for every one to decide who will be his master, and that is all that the individual can do. When we have chosen God, He will lead us and heal us.
But before we can choose to yield to God, we must die to sin, and I think in a way that that is the “second” death for us, for there is no recovery from our old life of sin, it must be crucified.
So we all choose one way or the other, for not to choose to be saved when given the opportunity is to choose to be lost. And we get many opportunities.
Therefore God is not waiting forever.
Here’s a thought by George Storrs, one of the pioneers.
George Storrs 1796-1879
GSSS SERMON IV.
Concluding Remarks page 0105 paragraph 1
God, has set life and death before us. We are called upon to choose life. God invites, commands, expostulates, entreats, and warns; but God cannot compel man to turn from death without destroying man's moral agency, which would be, in fact, to unman man, and make him as incapable of higher happiness as any other mere animal. Man must turn and live, or he will pass on and die, - die because he would not have life; - die because he is unfit for any purpose of life - wholly disqualified for the employment of life.
And the sinner, persisting in the course of sin and death, will as certainly pass the period of being restored, and when [then?] death entire must be the result, as certain as the man with a fatal physical disorder will certainly, by neglecting proper medical aid, pass the period when death cannot be arrested.
And if you would think the man unwise, and acting insanely, that procrastinates, and puts off application to a proper remedy in such a physical disorder, how much more is every careless and dying sinner chargeable with folly and madness, who delays applying to Christ, the great Physician? Every day increases the danger; and every day the moral disease is increasing in malignity - every day is bringing the sinner nearer to that point, where, when once past, there is no recovery - destruction and death must follow.
And another one from a well-known writer:
A T Jones 1850- 1923 Ecclesiastical Empires
PAGAN PHILOSOPHY THE STRENGTH OF THE PAPACY
CHAPTER VIII, page 110 paragraph 1
And the only reason why that man [Adam] did not die that day, even in the very hour when he sinned, is that there, at that moment, Jesus Christ offered himself in behalf of man, and took upon himself the death that would then have fallen upon the man; and thus gave to man another chance, a probation, a breathing-space, that he might choose life.
This is why God could immediately say to the deceiver: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” 18
And so it is written: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” 19
He came that they might first have life; and, without His then offering himself, man never would have had life after he sinned.
And, having come that the man might first have life, this life to the man was and is solely for the purpose that he might use it in securing life more abundantly, even eternal life, the life of God.
Thus it is only by the gift of Christ that any man in this world ever has opportunity to breathe at all. And, the sole object of man's having an opportunity to breathe, is that he may choose life, that he may live and escape the death that is due to sin, and that is certain to fall, when Christ shall step away from between [man and God?], and shall resume His place upon the throne of the universe.
We don’t “die in an instant” when we sin because God is still desperately trying to keep us alive so we may repent and be cleansed of the "cancer". However, we may close our probation by turning away permanently, or end our physical lives here by our actions. This achievement of God's is is called "universal grace" and applies to every living thing in this world from the moment of birth.
Saving grace is added to the individual when we repent and accept His gift of a new life. Living grace is then supplied to allow us to overcome temptation and live without sinning. Or it can be used to cover any action of sin which we (as Christians) repent of and confess.
Those who refuse saving grace will end up in the "Lake of Fire" and experience the "second" death.
Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Next query. To be discussed from October 1st, 2008.
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 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.
Gog and Magog Who are they?
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