The Beginning of The End of All Things
The Lake of Fire That God Built
There is a place reserved for the dragon in this Lake of Fire, which is along side the beast (the beast of mans carnal nature) and the false prophet (the false religious spirit in the church that has the people looking at anything and everything other than Jesus Christ). The destroyer of life will be destroyed. Life will swallow death. The Second Death will be victorious over the first death.
We stand assured that this religious system that looks like a lamb, but speaks as a dragon, will also be burned with the fire of Gods design (Revelation 17:16-17). It will not be merely bound and held at bay as in the days of the bottomless pit, and then to rise again and play on the carnal mind, but will be destroyed once and for all. Such wondrous things can hardly be imagined, but it will be so! For we are not only convinced by the scriptures, and grounded in sound doctrine, but inspired from on high of these age abiding truths!
Moreover, all these things will be made known when the books of every soul are opened. They will be opened and read, not by the whole world, but by the individuals themselves, and then dealt with by the flaming presence of the Lambs wrath, which, of course, is the punitive judgment of God.
Each book is an archive of each persons every deed. It is a book of the makeup of every individuals person! The covers of these books will not remain closed forever, but their seals will be broken and the books opened by the flaming sword of God. Every page and word will be swept over by that fire. The writer of Hebrews also spoke of the sword:
"For the word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature (dead or alive, visible or invisible) that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do" (Heb. 4:12-13).
The light of Christ shines into every soul and opens every hidden thing, revealing it for what it is. The inner condition of the soul is uncovered. Every deep secret and intent of the heart is manifested in such a measure and expressed to such a degree that no other record or evidence is needed to testify concerning the persons state of being. As it is written, "God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" Ecclesiastes 12:14, for, "God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ" Romans 2:16.
Of course, that doesnt mean that this will happen only in the future in the midst of the lake of fire, and certainly not before a fearful, great white throne in the clouds or somewhere in outer space! Not by any stretch of the imagination! These are also spiritual realities that speak of the dealings of God in judgment presently with the sons of God, right here and now as well as in the coming age. These dealings bring the elect unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ!
This refining judgment proceeds from His throne and is always undergirded by love, grace, power, and salvation; first unto the sons, and then to every other man, each in his own order. The carnality of humanity must and will be dealt with. Gods creation will not remain tarnished forever. He wont allow it. To think otherwise is to believe He is either uncaring or impotent, or both. Since God is love He is very caring, and being that He is the omnipotent God, He certainly is not impotent.
Although He will indisputably save all, He will never deliver any man until the carnal corruption in his heart has been drawn into open manifestation. If He should deliver them without them knowing what they were delivered from would serve no purpose. There would be no sense of acknowledgment that they were lacking. They would be unaware that their imperfections were impeding their perfection, and they would, therefore, continue in death. Once all these things are revealed and brought to mind, however, they can then be dealt with by Gods stern, yet tender hand. The inner nature of the soul will, of course, erupt in defense and defiance when the light of fire shines upon it; but it will not prevail. And we thank God for exposing the deceit that was harbored in darkness. For in doing so, the flames of wrath will eventually bring godly sorrow that works repentance unto salvation. The person will be swayed also by the tender mercies of the Lord who judges in unconditional love and infinite goodness. There will be a yielding to His mighty hand, and He will be victorious in every mans earth. God will never terminate His judgments until every man is conformed into the image of Gods glorious Son! If He should withdraw and fail to do so, His purpose of sending His Son, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, would fall short of its mark. His words that were breathed into the corridors of heaven, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do," would have fallen on deaf ears, and His atoning blood that stained earths dust would have been of no great value. It would mean that Jesus cannot, or will not, save to the utmost. It would mean He is unfit for the task set before Him if He is not willing or able to finish His ultimate mission of saving all for whom He died.
Some believe that since Jesus said at Calvary, "It is finished," His mission ended that day, and it is left up us to realize it and start walking in perfection. But please, although He finished what He was sent to do in the earth, this was not the totality of His calling and purpose. It was the Beginning of the End of it. His mission did not end in death while suspended between heaven and earth. His sacrifice declared ultimate salvation for every inhabitant in every realm, and His work did not end there. And never believe that all we have to is to realize it and sit back on our laurels and claim perfection. By no means is such the truth; for He will continue being the Word of God who was sent to save the world, and He will not relent until judgment works in every soul and every soul knows salvation, whether on this side of grave or the other. And after His judgment, people will rejoice and be glad: "...For when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness" Isaiah 26:9.
Jesus certainly finished one part of His mission while nailed to the cross; but to say that He had finished all He was sent to do would be a grave mistake. To make such a statement, we would have to disregard untold numbers of scriptures that speak otherwise, and we could not possibly see the great plan of God for humanity, nor could we understand our own processing that conforms us into His image of perfection. And all of this, of course, is done in, by, and through Him. Moreover, since He always does that which pleases His Father, and it is His Fathers good pleasure for ALL to be saved He will not cease from His mission until it is finished! To be reminded: "Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which he hath purposed in Himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him" Ephesians 1:9-10. And here the mystery of His will stated again: "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" 1 Timothy 2:4. And once the will of His good pleasure comes to fulness, and the end of all things are known, with all men having been saved, I am sure heaven and earth will once again hear His resounding words "It is finished!"
However, we should know, before this herald is heard, death and hell and all their inhabitants must be dealt with, and that dealing, as we know, is judgment in the Lake of Fire.
Death And Hell Were Cast Into The Lake Of Fire
"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death..." Revelation 20:14.
What do we suppose death and hell are? Some will say that it is obvious; but their thinking may be biased due to incorrect information. One common belief is that to be dead is to be a corpse, and hell is said to be a blazing lake of fire that will burn forever. If this were true, explain this to me: How can hell be cast into itself (the lake of fire)? If the two words are synonymous, the verse could have been written: "And hell was cast into hell," which we know cannot be. For instance, if we were on a camping trip, I could take a piece of wood and ask, what is this stick I hold in my hand? The answer would be, that piece of wood is a stick. The two words are synonymous. I could then cast the piece of wood into the campfire. Since the stick and the campfire are two different things, the stick can be cast into the fire. But it doesnt take a genius to know that I cant cast the piece of wood into itself, the stick. And so it is with hell and the Lake of Fire. If they are both the same, hell could not be cast into the lake of fire, plain and simple. Notwithstanding, since they are different from one another, hell can be cast into the real Lake of Fire. We will look into this later.
To grasp a little of what death entails, let us consider the death of our Lord upon the cross. If Jesus was completely dead, it would mean that the very image and substance of God would have died. But how could that be? Can God die? The fact is, it is impossible for God to die, that is, if we are viewing death only as being in an unconscious, unresponsive, comatose state of being. From that precept it is utterly impossible for He who is Life and compasses eternity to die. There is no way for He who ever liveth and who is Life everlasting to become totally unconscious, unresponsive, and utterly comatose.
However, His adamic body could die, as the record makes clear. But what about the person of Jesus, could He die? I believe so, but not as corruptible things die. Namely, He could die to His place in the world where air is breathed, water is drank, power is to be had, and grand things can be done. He died to the world wherein He could be tempted to rise up as a lion and be king. While dying to those lofty temptations, Jesus was alive to His Father, His will, and everything having to do with Him. Although the body of Jesus laid dead for three days and nights in the grave, He was very much alive and busy ministering to all those who had died from Adam to Noah. His work did not end on the cross. It was really the great beginning, and for three days and nights, He was busy leading captivity captive and establishing the Last Man and the New Covenant.
Death is more than a body without a heartbeat. One form of death is to descend from one state of being to another state of being, or to step down from one realm to another. Divesting oneself is death. Paul speaks of this in his letter to the Phillipians, saying that Jesus: "...emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Phil 2:7-8 NASB).
There is no question that Jesus descended into death when He was sent by His Father from heavens glory and took His form in the earth. For He said, "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was" (John 17:5). Although He was glory personified in the earth, and He took with Him that glory everywhere He went, His prayer indicated that He knew the glory He once had was greater than what He possessed after His descent.
Jesus died when He descended. He stepped down from the glory He had and was buried in His mothers womb. He also stepped down from the glory He had in the earth. He divested Himself from His glorious Kingdom of unlimited power and became weak and humiliated. He emptied Himself, and gave up the Ghost and was buried in the earths womb.
The Seed of Life was planted in two wombs, that of Marys earth and that of Gods earth. In death He entered those dark chambers; but from each womb came forth a Son of God. Namely, "...that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" Luke 1:35. "And declared the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" Romans 1:4.
That is what the obedient Son did while in the form of the first Adam. He became one with us in death. He became our companion, our associate. In so doing, He tasted death for every man. Of course, He did not take on death in order to spare us from death, for we were already dead; but He took on death to deliver us out of it. He could not spare us from something that we were already in; but he could deliver us from it.
A. P. Adams wrote about this in his December 15, 1885 monthly article, "Why Did Christ Die?":
"He bore our sins, but in what capacity? As an associate, or as a substitute? So far as the simple statement is concerned it might be either; but from other scripture, as we have seen, we know that Christ was not our substitute, but our companion and Elder Brother, the Sharer of our woes. I say we know this from scripture, we also know it from fact. Let the reader carefully consider this question-- In what death was Christ our substitute? We have seen that there are several kinds of death, physical death, spiritual death and the second death; now a substitute is one who does something for another which the other does not do; for example, in the time of war if a man was drafted he sometimes hired some other man to go to war in his stead and this man was called a substitute; the substitute went to war while the drafted man did not go. Now then, if Christ died as our substitute he must have died some death that we do not die. What death was it? Man is already dead spiritually; he must die physically....
"Christ died no such death as our substitute or otherwise....He tasted death for every man, but it could not have been as a substitute for every man, for the simple reason that man must himself die; we can very readily see how Christ died for man as his associate, made in all points like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest, we can readily see how he was the first to pass through the whole process of God's way of life through death, as our Forerunner, and the Captain of our salvation, in order to deliver man, not from a death to which they were exposed, but out of a death in which they were already involved." End quote.
Surely man himself must die physically. "Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return," is that which every man must himself bear, with the exception of the those Paul referred to in 1 Corinthians 15:51. The idea then of His death being substitutional is simply and purely a church tradition and human prejudice, "making the Word of God of none effect." Mark 7:13.
Joanne Anstine shared a quote by Charles Pridgeon who commented on such prejudice:
"The spirit of prejudice stands in the way of all new views of truth. Prejudice has been defined as a judgment or opinion formed without due examination of the facts or reasons that are essential to a just and impartial determination. It is prejudice that blinds the eye, stops the ear, misunderstands, and misinterprets everything that comes its way. Its state of mind is not founded on facts but on some feeling of dislike or something of self-interest. There are those who will not accept any truth unless it is ministered in a certain conventional manner or supported by certain great names. Prejudice stands in the way of even a conservative and constructive advance. May Gods Holy Spirit alone be our teacher."
When the Holy Spirit is our teacher, there will be no prejudices whatsoever; for He is faithful and will lead us into all truth. Among those truths is understanding the various forms of death, and coming to know that there will be an end to all death as each facet of death is subjected to the Lake of Fire that God Built. With the holy flames of God, and His word flaring up in mens lives, godly sorrow will boil in their souls, working repentance unto salvation following. Their spirits will become candles of the Lord as they themselves are enlightened by His Spirit. Darkness will flee away, and there shall be no more death, as Revelation 21:4 so clearly states.
Tradition says that "hell" is a death that cannot die. Such statements are contrary to plain truth and foreign to scripture. Since the scriptures are clear that there will be no more death, tell me, please, how can there be any sort of death still existing that cannot die? It is simply not possible. So let us not believe the lies of the cunning dragon, even if he does look like a lamb.
The dragon is a lying beast, and when he speaks he always speaks lies, and very often his words produce fear. One of those lies is that of a horrifying, foreboding, hellfire and brimstone made for the dead sinners who will live forever. These lies have caused people to go insane and even kill their infant children with hopes of sparing them from such an horrible fate. What a difference it would have made if they had heard the truth and been persuaded otherwise. They would have been the believers of the truth, rather than the lie.
Unfortunately, people do not always become believers, and I use the term loosely, due to the persuasion of the Spirit of love and peace, nor even by the persuasion of sound doctrine thats grounded by untwisted scriptures. They often believe because they fear a fiendish god that might burn them in hell forever.
One of this nations great leaders understood the difference between persuasion and scaring people into submission. He said:
"I would rather try to persuade a man to go along, because once I have persuaded him he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone." (Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. general and 34th president,1890-1969).
Joanne Anstine also shared that quote and remarked:
"This quote reminds me of how people are told about Christ. If one uses persuasion (friendly persuasion), then the person, often, will listen, heed, and come...and stick. However, when fear is used, then there is, often, no lasting commitment (unless, of course, that fear is constantly fed)."
It would do us good to keep in mind that "...God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" 2 Timothy 1:7.
This should be a good benchmark to determine if a teaching is of the Lamb or the dragon. The word of the Lamb will give us peace and a sound mine, while the word of the dragon will produce fear. If we are hearing from the throne, the teachings of the Lake of Fire will give us peace and not fear. When we read or are told about the book of Revelation, we should be blessed, made happy, and find peaceful rest. In doing so, we can be assured that we are hearing by the Spirit of our Lord; but if our minds are troubled by the book, and our souls are filled with anguish, dread, and fear, it is conclusive that it is the lying dragon who is speaking. It is certainly not the Spirit of Peace which gives us peace and a sound mind.
You can know that a lake of fire that produces fear is built by men, and they use it as a means to hold people captive. You can also know that the Lake of Fire that produces peace is built by God. It is into this Lake that all the dead, and death itself, is cast. It is the Lake of Fire that burns with Brimstone (Grk. Theion; from theios godlike...divinity). It is the second death, and it will consume the first death. Hopefully, we can now see why John wrote: "Blessed (or happy, Thayers) is he that readeth, and they that hear the words (Grk. logos) of this prophecy" Revelation 1:3. (Logos is a word brought forth that carries with it the thought and intent of the speaker.)
When those who are enlightened hear this word, that is, the expression of our Lords thoughts, they will certainly be made happy about the ones who are in the first resurrection. But, not only that, they will be happy about the ones in the second resurrection; for they will know that their part in Gods Great Lake of Fire will deliver them from death. It is a blessing to know that each person will be dealt with by the flaming presence of the Lambs wrath. Jesus will finish what He was sent to do. He will finish saving, not just a few, but the whole world! Every vestige and realm of death will be subjected to the fire of God.
When we hear the voice of the Lamb of God, we will see that Jesus left His glory, humbled Himself, and entered into our death. This was to deliver us out of it. In order to do so, He had to overcome death, and He did. He was raised up, delivered out of earths womb, and ascended on high. And this was not to torment humanity throughout eternity, but to give peace and assurance to all men that they too will know His glory and live. We are so thrilled, happy, and at peace that there is a Lake of Fire that God Built!
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