What Is The Lake Of Fire In Hell Like – Spiritual Reading.
Is the lake of fire a place of conscious torment, or is it a place of annihilation, i.e A place of non-existence or is it a place of non conscious existence?
There is one other question that remains to be answered, and that is, is the lake of fire a place of conscious torment, or is it a place of annihilation, i.e., a place of non-existence, or is it a place of non-conscious existence? There are those who believe in a literal hell, but they do not believe that those who are consigned to it will consciously suffer there for any great length of time.
They hold either that those who are sent to hell are annihilated, or else that they exist there in a non-conscious state. Of course, this would be an everlasting hell, and everlasting punishment, but is it the hell that is taught in the Bible? Is the lake of fire a place of continued conscious torment, or is it a place of non-conscious existence? In answer to this question let me call your attention to the fact that the punishment of the wicked is spoken of in the Bible most frequently as “Death” and “Destruction.” What do these words mean in biblical usage?
Let us look first at the biblical usage of the word “Death.” Many tell us, time and time again, that death means non-existence, or at least non-conscious existence, and therefore that is what it must mean in the passages where it is spoken of [as the future punishment of the impenitent. But does “death” as used in the Bible mean either non-conscious existence, or annihilation?
Look first at 1 Tim. 5:6; here we read, “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” Death here certainly does not mean either non-existence, or non-conscious existence. The woman that lives in pleasure still exists, and she certainly exists consciously, but she is “dead.” Death means wrong existence rather than non-existence. It is just the opposite of life, and life in the New Testament usage does not mean mere existence, it means right existence.
God-like existence, holy existence. It means the ennoblement and glorification and deification of existence; and death means just the opposite, it means wrong existence, debased existence, the ruin, the shame, and the ignominy and the despair of existence. In a similar way we are told in Eph. 2:1, that men until they are quickened, or made alive, by the power of God are “Dead in trespasses and sins.” It is perfectly clear then that death does not mean either non-existence, or non-conscious existence.
But even more decisive than this is the fact that God Himself has defined death very accurately and very fully in Rev. 21:8: “But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.”
Here we are told in so many words that the “death” which is [the final outcome of persistent sin and unbelief is a portion in the place of torment, the lake of fire. That this lake of fire is a place of conscious suffering is made clear in the preceding chapter, Rev. 20:10, where we are told that “the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” The beast and false prophet had already been there a thousand years when the devil was cast into the lake of fire, and they were tormented consciously, without rest.
Now let us look at what “Destruction” means in the New Testament. We are told by a certain school of religious thought that “destruction” means destruction. Yes, “destruction” means destruction, but what does destruction mean? They say it means annihilation, or ceasing to be, but the Greek word so translated never means that in the Bible, nor even out of the Bible.
In the best Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament extant, Thayer’s translation of Grimm’s great work, we are told that when a thing is said to “perish” (and the verb from which the noun commonly translated “destruction” and “perdition” is derived, is the one translated “to perish”) it is not meant that it ceases to be, but that it is “so ruined that it no longer subserves the use for which it was designed.”
Furthermore, here again God has been careful to define His terms. He Himself has given us in the Bible a definition of “destruction.” We read in Rev. 17:8, 11: “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition; and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder . . . and the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.”
Here we are told that the beast goes into “perdition.” The word here translated “perdition” is precisely the same word that is elsewhere translated “destruction” and should be so translated here; or else in the other instances it should be translated, as here, “perdition.” Now if we can find what the beast goes into, then we shall know exactly what “destruction” means, for we are told that he goeth “into destruction.”
In the 19th chapter of Revelation, the 20th verse, we are told exactly where the beast goes: “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
Now looking forward to the next chapter, the 10th verse, which I have already quoted, we read: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the false prophet, and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Putting these passages together we see that the beast goeth into “destruction,” and the destruction into which he goes is a place in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, where for a thousand years he is in conscious torment, and where after the thousand years are over he is still there and is still tormented. So then “destruction” is clearly defined in the New Testament in the same way in which “death” is defined, as the condition of beings in a place of conscious torment.
Again in Rev. 14:10, 11, we read regarding those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark in their foreheads or in their hands: “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; and the smoke of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
The Bible makes it clear as language can make it that the lake of fire to which “whoever is not written in the Lamb’s book of life” is consigned, is a place of continued, conscious torment. There is no escaping the clear teaching of the Word of God unless we throw our Bibles away and discredit the teaching of the Apostles and the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself.
Sherman said, “War is hell.” Of course, in the way in which Sherman meant it, this is true. It is far more true of war to-day than it was in the worst and most inexcusable phases of our Civil War—Libby and Andersonville, for example, on the part of the South, and the march through Georgia on the part of the North. But even war to-day as carried on by Germany in all its appalling frightfulness, is not hell.
Hell is incomparably more awful than the war now raging in Europe, and this awful hell of which we have been studying to-night is the destiny of some of you here in this room, unless you soon repent and accept the Lord Jesus Christ. Other appalling facts about hell we will take up next Sunday night, but we have already seen enough to make any true Christian determine to work with all his might to save others from this awful hell. And we have seen enough to make every honest and sensible person here to-night determine to escape this awful hell at any cost.
Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey.
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