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Is the lake of fire and brimstone a "literal" hell? (10/10/2004)
From: Keith Lockwood

Christians would agree the Bible teaches that a person must have faith in order to enjoy life in the ages to come serving God and reigning with Christ. Christians would also agree that the Bible teaches that those who do not have faith will not enjoy life in the ages to come serving God and reigning with Christ, but, not all would agree that the Bible teaches a "literal" hell. I am aware of at least four different beliefs of what the Bible teaches the lake of fire and brimstone will be for unbelievers.

There are those who believe the Bible teaches that the lake of fire and brimstone is a "literal" hell, in which those in it are alive and being tormented for eternity. Then, there are those who believe the Bible teaches that those who are cast into the lake of fire and brimstone are annihilated, and that the lake will eventually burn up into nothing. Then still, there are those who believe the Bible teaches that those cast into the lake of fire and brimstone will be there until their debt of sin is paid, at which time God will give them another chance to repent. Finally, there are those who trust the Bible's description of the lake of fire and brimstone; i.e. the second death. The Bible equates death with sleep or an unconscious state. At the end of the ages, death will be abolished, all will be made alive in Christ, and God will be All in All (1 Cor. 15:22-28).

Please consider one last thing. The Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelations. At the end of the Book Revelations we see the small number of faithful who are resurrected to live and reign with Christ during His thousand year reign and the new heavens and new earth. The rest of the dead will be judged and cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death. Is this the end? No! In Col. 1:25 Paul states that it was given to him to complete the word of God. That is why earlier in this letter to the Colossians, Paul boldly states that God will reconcile to Himself all things through Jesus, whether things in heaven or things on earth, by making peace through His blood shed on the cross (Col. 1:20). The lake of fire and brimstone is not the end of unbelievers. They will be made alive in Christ and reconciled to God at the end of the ages, and God will be All in All. 

 

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