Revelation's Ancient Discoveries

Revelation's Lake of Fire

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: RAD

Program Code: RAD170016A

00:01 What does the future hold?
00:02 Where can we find certainty in a world of uncertainty?
00:05 The book of Revelation provides hopeful answers
00:08 for today, tomorrow, and forever.
00:11 Join Mark Finley, author and world renowned speaker
00:15 on a journey into the future with,
00:17 Revelation's Ancient Discoveries.
00:24 Welcome back to another episode in,
00:26 Revelation's Ancient Discoveries.
00:28 One of the topics that baffles more people than any other
00:32 is the topic of hell.
00:34 How can a loving God burn people in hell
00:36 for millions and millions and trillions of years?
00:39 In fact, Robert Ingersoll, famed renowned atheist,
00:44 said that one of the reasons he was an atheist
00:46 is because he could never conceive of a God
00:49 who would burn people in hell.
00:51 And if that was the God the Bible presented,
00:54 then he certainly could never believe in that God
00:57 or never believe in the Bible.
00:58 The book of Revelation really clears up this subject of hell.
01:02 It may seem a little confusing, but as we open the Scripture
01:05 today and as we study the book of Revelation,
01:09 you will see clearly God's plan for the future.
01:13 Let's pray.
01:14 Father in heaven, thank You so much for Your goodness,
01:18 thank You for Your grace.
01:19 Thank You that You are a much better God
01:22 than You're often portrayed to be.
01:25 Thank You for the picture of the loving God
01:27 that the book of Revelation reveals.
01:29 Help us to understand it clearly in this presentation.
01:33 In Christ's name, amen.
01:36 My topic is, Revelation's Lake of Fire.
01:41 Have you ever visited hell?
01:44 You say, "What are you talking about?"
01:46 Thousands of people visit hell every single year.
01:51 Now they don't stay very long because it's so hot
01:54 and it's such a desolate place.
01:57 What am I talking about?
01:59 There is a place called, Hell.
02:01 It's on the Cayman Islands.
02:02 Now the Cayman Islands are incredibly beautiful.
02:04 Sandy beaches, magnificent turquoise water, sunny skies.
02:10 But on the west end of the Caymans
02:12 there is a place called, Hell.
02:15 It's a limestone foundation that has interacted with the
02:19 sea and the algae.
02:20 And as you go to that location it really looks like
02:24 what some people have imagined hell.
02:27 How did it get its name?
02:29 Well, we're not 100% sure.
02:31 But many people, as they visited that place, said,
02:34 "My, this is what hell must look like."
02:38 There's actually a billboard that welcomes you to Hell.
02:43 And Hell has a Post Office there.
02:45 And there is a little shop where you can buy curios.
02:50 And there is somebody dressed, can you believe it,
02:54 like Satan that is there.
02:56 And you can send a postcard from Hell to your loved ones.
03:01 You know, we kind of smile about this location
03:05 and joke about it a little bit, but the subject of hell is
03:08 really a serious subject.
03:09 It troubles a lot of people.
03:16 What is hell?
03:17 Are there people burning in hell now?
03:19 Or what is this lake of fire that the Bible talks about?
03:24 Are there people there in that lake of fire
03:26 screaming and crying out because they're being so tormented
03:31 and in such pain?
03:33 What does the Bible actually teach about the subject of hell?
03:37 Many people misunderstand this subject,
03:39 and so they picture God as a wrathful tyrant,
03:43 picture God as a vindictive judge.
03:46 Let's review what we've been studying
03:49 in the book of Revelation.
03:51 Revelation 20:9 says this, speaking about the
03:55 end of the thousand years, speaking about the
03:57 end of the millennial period.
03:59 Talking about Satan and he marshals
04:02 the legions of the lost.
04:04 And they go up to the city, and the Scripture says...
04:14 Now as they do this, the Bible says fire came down
04:17 from God out of heaven and devoured them.
04:19 Well what are the sequence of events that have led up
04:24 until this particular point?
04:27 You remember that the Bible teaches that
04:29 Christ will come again.
04:31 Every eye will see Him.
04:33 Every ear will hear it.
04:35 The coming of Jesus is the most glorious event
04:39 in human history.
04:40 Once Christ comes, that will lead to a sequence of events.
04:45 The earth will be destroyed by the
04:47 brightness of Christ's coming.
04:49 This earth will be desolate.
04:52 As this sequence of events takes place at the end
04:56 of the thousand years, during the thousand years
04:58 the one that is here is the devil and his angels,
05:00 but at the end of the thousand years
05:03 the holy city will descend.
05:15 Now this picture is a very important one to understand
05:18 to understand hell.
05:19 We're at the end of the thousand years.
05:21 The holy city descends out of heaven.
05:24 Satan and the legions of the lost and all the
05:27 wicked of the ages rush up and try to take that city.
05:31 As they do, the Bible is very clear, it says...
05:41 So here's the first thing to notice.
05:43 The fires of hell are not some hot spot burning in
05:48 the center of the earth.
05:50 The fires of hell come down from God out of heaven.
05:53 The second thing to notice is that they are devoured.
05:57 They're consumed, they're burned up.
06:00 They don't burn forever and ever and ever.
06:02 But there is a third thing to notice
06:05 about these fires as well.
06:08 And that is that the fires of hell totally destroy
06:13 in something called, not the first death,
06:16 but the second death.
06:17 Let's look at it in Scripture.
06:26 How many resurrections are there?
06:27 There are two.
06:28 Remember John 5, the Bible says, verses 28-29...
06:33 "Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection."
06:37 It says, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming
06:41 which all that are in the graves will hear His voice;
06:45 those that have done good, to the resurrection of life,
06:48 those that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation."
06:51 So two resurrections: the resurrection of life,
06:53 the resurrection of damnation.
06:55 The first resurrection when Christ comes
06:57 is the resurrection of life.
06:59 "...over such the second death has no power."
07:02 So notice that expression, "the second death."
07:06 What is the second death?
07:09 All of us die a physical death, if Christ does not come,
07:13 as the result of the sinful nature of this world
07:18 and the sinful nature of humanity.
07:20 So we all die the first death.
07:23 If we die that first death but we're believers,
07:26 we're committed to Christ, we then will not
07:29 experience the second death.
07:32 So if you are born twice, you die once.
07:35 We are born physically, but then through Christ
07:39 we are born again.
07:40 We only die once.
07:41 If you are born once, you die twice.
07:45 If we are only born physically in this life
07:47 but not born again in Jesus, we die the physical death
07:51 but then we of course die the second death.
07:53 And the second death is an eternal death.
07:55 Now the Bible does not say that we die, and then if
08:01 we are unsaved we live in hell forever and ever
08:05 for millions and trillions and trillions of years.
08:07 We'll speak about "forever" later.
08:08 But it talks about this second death.
08:10 And death is the absence of life.
08:26 So death is the absence of life.
08:28 When we experience the second death,
08:31 or the wicked experience the second death,
08:33 they are consumed and gone forever.
08:37 The Bible is very clear.
08:39 The devil and evil angels and the unsaved
08:42 rush up to that city, fire comes down from God out of heaven
08:45 and devours them.
08:47 Now mark this point well.
08:49 Where are the devil and the evil angels and the wicked destroyed?
08:54 On this earth.
08:56 That's what the Bible says.
08:58 The holy city comes down, they rush up to take it,
09:01 they are consumed on this earth.
09:04 So if what some people believed really were true,
09:08 if that really were true, then hell would be burning
09:12 on the earth.
09:14 Do you believe that God knows everything,
09:17 that He's omniscient?
09:19 Is He?
09:20 Then in His mind He would always have
09:23 those being burned present.
09:26 Do you believe God is omnipresent?
09:28 That means God is everywhere.
09:30 If you believe that, then you would believe
09:33 that if this wicked are burning on the earth
09:36 that God would in some way be present there.
09:40 Do you think sometimes we are going to be flying over
09:43 a part of the new earth after God has created it
09:46 and we kind of smell smoke and we hear screams,
09:49 and we say to God, "What's that, God, what's that?"
09:52 "Oh, that's a place I didn't want to tell you anything about.
09:54 That's hell, and it's kind of burning here."
09:56 You know, that is inconceivable.
09:58 It's inconceivable to the human mind
10:00 that a loving God would torment people
10:03 for millions and millions and millions of years in hell.
10:07 It's incompatible with God's love,
10:10 and certainly incompatible with God's justice.
10:13 It certainly is incompatible to the rational mind
10:17 that there would be a part of earth renewed,
10:20 because then the earth certainly couldn't be made new.
10:23 It would be old with hell on it and sin still existing.
10:27 God's plan is to fully devour, fully consume,
10:31 do away with sin forever.
10:32 Because the Bible says, Revelation 21:1...
10:43 Out of the ashes of this old world, God creates a new world.
10:49 Out of the ashes of this old world,
10:51 God makes this world over again.
10:54 The Bible says, Revelation 21:4...
11:04 Every tear from our eyes are going to be wiped away.
11:08 All of the crying is going to be gone.
11:11 So no crying out in agony from hell.
11:14 No tears of sorrow about ones we think are burning there.
11:20 Rather, God explains to us why He could
11:23 never bring them into heaven.
11:24 He explains to us very clearly why they are lost
11:28 because of their own choices.
11:29 He explains that He's done everything He could
11:32 to save them.
11:34 They are devoured, consumed, and gone
11:36 by the fiery presence of God.
11:39 And then God wipes away any painful memories from our mind.
11:46 Now notice this. The former things are what?
11:48 Passed away.
11:50 So everything that has to do with
11:52 sorrow and sin and suffering,
11:55 everything that has to do with evil and wickedness is gone.
12:00 It's passed away forever and ever and ever.
12:21 Certainly not.
12:23 And God wouldn't want to torment His worst enemy
12:26 for trillions of years either.
12:29 God is a God of justice, a God of love, and a God of mercy.
12:33 Now many evangelical Christians are coming to this conclusion.
12:38 John Stott was one of the foremost English evangelicals.
12:43 Preached in All Souls church in London for many, many years.
12:48 And John Stott, highly respected theologian,
12:52 evangelical theologian, came to the conclusion
12:56 from his study of the Bible, from his reason,
12:59 that a God of love would not torment sinners in hell
13:03 for millions of years.
13:05 And Stott wrote about the total annihilation of the wicked.
13:09 That they were gone, consumed, burned up.
13:12 Edward Fudge was a lawyer.
13:15 And he studied Scripture.
13:18 He also was a theologian.
13:21 Went to Florida Bible College and Abilene Christian.
13:26 And as this Bible scholar,
13:31 as this Bible scholar with the mind of an attorney
13:35 began to research the subject of hell,
13:38 he wrote the book, The Fire That Consumes:
13:41 A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine
13:45 of Final Punishment.
13:46 It probably is one of the most complete treaties
13:50 on the destruction of the wicked ever published.
13:54 It has extensive exhaustive research.
13:58 Looking at all the text in the Bible, looking at history,
14:02 looking at the background of the doctrine.
14:04 And Fudge came up with the clear conclusion
14:08 that hell is not some hot spot in the center of the earth,
14:12 but that hell has to do with the fires of God
14:17 that completely consume and annihilate the wicked.
14:31 It is unclear that in the Bible, so totally unclear
14:38 that God would ever, ever burn people for trillions of years.
14:41 But that leads us to questions about hell.
14:44 For example, it leads us to this particular question.
15:03 Well, let's look at what Scripture says.
15:15 So in other words, the day is not here.
15:17 Hell is not some hot spot in the center of the earth.
15:26 The Scripture says...
15:28 "And the day which is coming..." Future.
15:33 So the Bible teaches that they'll be burned up.
15:37 They'll be consumed.
15:38 It says the day is coming, not that the day is here.
15:44 2 Peter 3:7 adds...
15:52 Now catch this.
15:56 If they are reserved for fire, they are not burning now.
16:01 Hell is not burning now.
16:02 Until when?
16:10 So put these two text together.
16:11 Malachi 4:1, the day is coming that they'll be burned up.
16:15 Future.
16:16 2 Peter 3:7, those in perdition, the wicked, the lost,
16:22 will be reserved until the day of judgment.
16:27 The day of judgment, the day of final destruction of the wicked.
16:31 The Bible is very clear when it speaks about
16:34 how long hell lasts.
16:36 When somebody says, "Doesn't the Bible use
16:38 the expression, 'everlasting fire,'
16:41 'eternal fire', 'forever and ever'?"
16:44 I'm very glad you asked that.
16:46 As I lecture all over the world, I get those questions.
16:49 And if you read the Bible superficially,
16:52 you may come to the conclusion that hell
16:54 is a hot spot in the center of the earth,
16:56 people are burned forever.
16:57 But when you look at the context of each passage,
17:00 the depth of each passage, when you shed yourself
17:03 from tradition, and look at the Bible as it reads,
17:07 it becomes very, very clear.
17:09 Hebrews 12:29 says...
17:16 So wherever sin is found, God is a consuming fire.
17:20 Let's suppose that I have a clay pot.
17:24 And I take that clay pot and I put it out in the sun,
17:27 and that clay pot is soft, what's going to happen?
17:30 It's going to harden in the sun and it's going to be preserved
17:34 as a hardened clay pot.
17:36 What if I have a candle, a wax candle,
17:40 and I put that in the sun, what's going to happen?
17:42 It's going to melt.
17:44 So you have the same sun but a different reaction
17:47 with the pot and the candle.
17:50 You have the same God of love but a different reaction
17:54 with the saved and the lost.
17:55 When Christ comes, the saved are caught up
17:59 to meet Him in the sky.
18:01 They do not have combustible material in their body.
18:04 But as far as the wicked, the unsaved,
18:07 when they're resurrected at the end of the thousand years,
18:10 the fiery presence of God consumes them
18:15 because they have sin in their body, and sin is combustible.
18:18 That's why Malachi 4:3 goes on and says...
18:30 My mind can understand how God has tried to save people
18:34 down through the ages.
18:36 My mind can understand how a loving God has reached out
18:40 to men and women.
18:42 But that if they've rejected His love, turned their back
18:44 on His mercy, and spurned His grace,
18:47 that He cannot save them, that there's no way
18:49 He can bring them to heaven because they would
18:51 start the rebellion all over again.
18:53 But He does what a loving God must do.
18:57 In justice, He destroys sin.
18:59 He's given them the chance to live once.
19:02 They're consumed to ashes and they are gone.
19:05 Gone forever.
19:13 But rather, consumed and gone forever.
19:21 You know, the book of Isaiah calls this, God's strange act.
19:26 The book of Isaiah talks about the pain, the suffering,
19:30 in the heart of God when the wicked are destroyed.
19:34 And I can almost imagine God turning away with
19:37 tears in His eyes.
19:38 Because the same God that must destroy
19:42 the wicked has said this,
19:45 John 3:16, Jesus points out...
20:04 God does not want you, my friend, to perish.
20:08 God wants you to live forever.
20:10 He wants to give you life with a quality
20:13 that goes on and on and on.
20:26 The hallmark of heaven is unselfishness.
20:30 The hallmark of heaven is love.
20:33 And if God would bring selfish people into heaven,
20:37 why they'd probably start digging up the streets of gold
20:40 again, wouldn't they?
20:41 They would probably climb over the walls of heaven
20:44 and try to rob the New Jerusalem.
20:48 They would be creating anger and bitterness in heaven again.
20:52 So God cannot bring to heaven those who've rejected His love.
20:58 Because unselfish love cannot live with selfish hate.
21:04 As the result of that, God has given them
21:07 a chance to live once.
21:09 He's reached out in love to them.
21:11 He's convicted them by His Holy Spirit.
21:14 He's transformed their lives by tapping on their shoulders
21:19 and trying to lead them to Him.
21:21 He's done everything He can to bring transformation
21:24 to their lives.
21:26 He's touched them, He's moved on their hearts,
21:29 but they've rebelled, they've hardened their hearts.
21:32 And as the result of that, the only thing that a loving God
21:35 can do without jeopardizing the entire universe
21:39 and infecting it with the cancer of sin is to consume them
21:45 so they're gone forever.
21:46 They've lived once, and now they're gone.
21:49 Gone, gone forever.
21:50 But God wants you to live, my friend.
21:52 He wants you to have everlasting life.
21:55 The Bible is clear.
21:56 Psalm 37:20, it says...
22:13 So the Bible points out that they'll be destroyed,
22:16 that they'll perish, that they'll vanish away,
22:20 that they'll be consumed, that they indeed will be like ashes.
22:34 Somebody says, "I see these text about consumed,
22:39 vanishing, perishing, destroyed.
22:42 But I'm a little confused about, 'everlasting destruction',
22:45 'eternal fire'."
22:47 Let me give you some examples how the word,
22:49 "eternal," is used in the Bible.
22:51 It's used of Christ's act on the cross.
23:07 When did Christ obtain redemption for us?
23:11 On the cross.
23:13 Is eternal redemption Christ staying on the cross
23:18 forever and ever?
23:19 Not at all.
23:21 The effects of Calvary echo and re-echo down the ages.
23:26 They are eternal.
23:28 It's not that His act on the cross is eternal,
23:31 that He stays there with the nails through His hands forever.
23:34 It is rather that the effect of the cross is eternal.
23:39 In Hebrews 6:2 the Bible says...
23:52 What's eternal judgment?
23:53 Does God judge us throughout all eternity?
23:56 Is that what eternal judgment is?
23:59 Not at all.
24:08 So when the Bible talks about an eternal or everlasting fire,
24:12 it's not that the fire lasts forever.
24:15 When He talks about everlasting destruction,
24:17 it's not that the act of destruction lasts forever.
24:21 When He talks about everlasting punishment,
24:23 it's not that the punishment lasts forever.
24:25 It's that its effects lasts forever.
24:28 They never need to be repeated.
24:29 A good example of this is Job, there in verse 7.
24:34 Job, of course... Rather, Jude and verse 7.
24:37 Jude only has, of course, one chapter.
25:00 Did you notice that expression?
25:02 How were Sodom and Gomorrah burned?
25:06 What were they burned with?
25:08 They were burned with fire that came down God out of heaven.
25:11 Just as the wicked will be burned with fire
25:13 that comes down from God out of heaven.
25:15 But they were burned, according to the Bible,
25:18 with an eternal fire.
25:21 Are Sodom and Gomorrah, those two twin cities,
25:24 are they still burning?
25:26 You know, once I was lecturing on Sodom and Gomorrah,
25:28 and I said, "Does anybody know who Sodom and Gomorrah are?"
25:31 Somebody raised their hand and said,
25:33 "Oh yeah, they're two twin sisters."
25:35 I said, "Well not quite. They were two twin cities."
25:39 And they were wicked cities
25:40 living there in Old Testament times.
25:43 And they were consumed in the days of
25:46 Scripture; Lot, Abraham.
25:49 They were consumed with an eternal fire.
25:51 Are they still burning? No they're not.
25:53 In fact, their remains or ruins are along
25:55 or underneath the Dead Sea.
25:58 So what is an eternal fire?
26:00 It's one that its effects are forever.
26:08 Not that it's ever, ever continually burning.
26:11 In Matthew 25:45-46 Jesus says...
26:34 Somebody said, "There it is, Pastor Mark.
26:37 Everlasting punishment.
26:39 That's what's going to happen to them."
26:41 But notice what it does not say.
26:44 It does not say, "everlasting punishing."
26:53 Everlasting punishing would be a continual state of punishment
26:57 moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day,
27:00 down through the ages.
27:02 But everlasting punishment is one punishment
27:05 that lasts forever.
27:07 They're burned up, they're consumed.
27:08 The act never need be done again.
27:11 In Philippians 3:18-19 the Bible makes it very plain what happens
27:17 to the enemies of the cross of Christ,
27:19 what happens to people that turn their back on Jesus.
27:28 That's whose final result is destruction.
27:31 Now it doesn't say that their end, their final result,
27:34 is this state of being burned
27:37 for millions and trillions of years.
27:39 Their end is destruction.
27:41 This word, "destruction," in fact...
27:46 Of course the New Testament was written in Greek.
27:57 So they are destroyed.
27:59 They're gone forever.
28:00 My mind can understand how a loving God
28:03 would have to destroy sin.
28:06 And those that cling to sin, those that hold on to sin,
28:10 must be destroyed with that sin.
28:14 But my mind could never understand how that loving God
28:18 would torment people forever and ever and ever.
28:23 That would be incompatible with both
28:26 God's love and God's justice.
28:30 The Bible says in Matthew 7:13...
28:37 Again, the very strong word, "destruction."
28:41 One that is totally destroyed, one that is totally annihilated.
28:47 What is the fate of the wicked?
28:50 You can read it again and again and again in the Bible.
28:56 Death is the absence of life.
29:05 Not live on forever.
29:09 Consumed, gone.
29:20 Not in a state pf pain, suffering, agony for eternity.
29:35 The Bible is very plain.
29:37 The Bible is very clear on the state of the wicked.
29:42 A loving God cries and weeps.
29:48 I think I hear God crying.
29:53 If you listen, you may hear Him crying too.
29:57 Satan rebels against God in heaven,
30:00 and God must cast Satan and the evil angels out of heaven.
30:04 I think I hear God crying.
30:07 He creates Adam and Eve on planet earth.
30:10 And Eve partakes of the tree of knowledge of good and evil,
30:13 and Adam partakes of it.
30:15 And they must leave the garden, and sin and sickness and
30:17 suffering come into the human race.
30:19 I think I hear God crying.
30:22 He raises up Israel.
30:23 They turn away and worship around the golden calf.
30:27 And I think I hear God crying.
30:30 God sends His Son.
30:33 And many reject Him.
30:35 And God weeps as Jesus hangs on the cross.
30:38 And God sends His Holy Spirit down through the ages
30:42 to men and women.
30:43 He sends angels to bring light and truth.
30:46 And there's a battle between good and evil,
30:48 and Christ and Satan.
30:51 In the last days of earth's history God invites
30:53 men and women to come to Him and worship Him.
30:55 But many turn away.
30:58 And in the final analysis, the wicked are ultimately
31:02 completely destroyed.
31:05 And I think there must be a tear in God's eye.
31:08 But He can do nothing else but eradicate the world of sin.
31:21 Those that have clung to evil and sided with Satan
31:25 will be destroyed.
31:27 Because the Bible says in Matthew 10:28...
31:35 What is the soul? It's the life of the individual.
31:43 So hell is so hot it burns up, consumes, both soul and body.
31:51 One person said to me one time,
31:52 "Pastor, you don't believe in hell, do you?"
31:54 I said, "Well, I actually believe in a hell that's
31:57 hotter than the hell you believe in."
31:59 They said, "What do you mean?"
32:00 I said, "Well, the hell you believe in just torments people.
32:03 The hell that the Bible teaches and that I believe in
32:05 is so hot it consumes them, it burns them up."
32:07 As Jesus said, it destroys.
32:10 Destroys totally, absolutely, completely.
32:13 Soul and body in hell.
32:16 They are consumed, they're annihilated, they're burned up.
32:22 If a fire is unquenchable,
32:24 doesn't that mean it goes on forever?
32:34 Now don't misunderstand this.
32:37 Jesus is not saying, cut off your arm
32:40 if you've stolen something.
32:42 He is rather saying, if you compare your arm to eternity,
32:47 eternity is much better.
32:49 So cut out of your life the thing that you have been doing
32:54 that would cause you to lose eternity.
32:56 It's a symbolic expression.
32:59 When you come to the next phrase it's a symbolic expression.
33:02 Just like you're not going to cut off your hand, it says...
33:15 In other words, what's it talking about when it says,
33:17 the worm doesn't die?
33:19 It's a contrast picture.
33:21 The person does die.
33:23 The person is consumed.
33:25 The person is burned up.
33:27 But it's a contrast picture that gives you.
33:30 At the end of the thousand years the fire comes down,
33:34 the people are destroyed totally.
33:37 And it says there, the fire that is not quenched.
33:42 What is an unquenchable fire?
33:47 Have you ever seen a headline in the newspaper
33:50 that says, "The fire trucks came.
33:54 The fire was blazing.
33:56 It was an unquenchable fire.
33:58 Too hot for the fire trucks to put out."
34:01 It burned up everything it had to burn up.
34:06 Jeremiah 17:27
34:11 That's in the gates of Jerusalem.
34:18 When Jerusalem was destroyed, what kind of fire burned it up?
34:23 What does the Bible say?
34:25 Do you see it there in the text?
34:27 What kind of fire?
34:28 That's it. It was an unquenchable fire.
34:31 Well is Jerusalem still burning right now
34:34 from that unquenchable fire where it was burned
34:37 back in the days of Scripture?
34:40 Certainly not.
34:41 An unquenchable fire is one that no human hands can put out.
34:45 No fire engines can put it out.
34:47 No water buckets can put it out.
34:49 It's an unquenchable fire.
34:51 It burns itself out when it consumes everything
34:55 there is to be burned.
34:58 So the unquenchable fire at the end is
35:01 one that consumes totally.
35:03 And out of the ashes of this old world
35:08 God makes a new world.
35:10 Jerusalem, the city of Christ, is not burning now.
35:16 The unquenchable fire that was burning when it was destroyed
35:22 in Old Testament periods, that unquenchable fire
35:25 has long been gone and a new city has been built.
35:28 Jesus, out of the ashes of the old world,
35:31 will develop a complete restoration.
35:35 This world will be restored into its Edenic splendor.
35:40 Nothing to bring pain, nothing to bring sorrow,
35:44 nothing to bring disappointment, nothing to bring tears,
35:49 nothing to bring heartache.
35:51 This world will be restored in its Edenic splendor.
35:55 Now somebody says...
35:59 "Pastor Mark, that is one that really, really troubles me.
36:04 That's one that really, really bothers me.
36:07 I don't see how... I can see these other text.
36:10 But I can't understand this one about forever and ever."
36:14 When you're studying the Bible there's a couple of things to
36:17 keep really in mind.
36:18 One is that the Scripture can't be broken.
36:21 So the Bible is not going to contradict itself.
36:23 The Bible is not going to say the wicked perish,
36:26 the wicked are consumed, the wicked are turned to ashes,
36:29 fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours them,
36:33 the Bible is not going to give you all these text,
36:35 more than a hundred text, on the annihilation of the wicked
36:38 and then throw in one text and say, "Oh I'm going to
36:41 throw out these hundred text and accept this one text."
36:44 Not at all.
36:46 So we need to look at this expression, "forever and ever,"
36:48 and try to discover what it means.
36:50 Revelation 14:10 says...
37:05 When does this event take place?
37:08 When is this really the description of?
37:16 At the end of the thousand years the wicked are destroyed.
37:20 The smoke rises up until the end of that age.
37:27 In fact, in the Greek language, the language of the
37:30 New Testament, the expression, "forever and ever," is,
37:33 "aionas ton aionon," which simply means,
37:35 until the end of the age.
37:37 So at the end of the earth age God recreates a new heaven
37:44 and a new earth; Revelation 21.
37:48 And in that new heaven and new earth
37:51 all of the suffering and heartache are gone.
37:54 So when you read Revelation 20 where it says
37:59 the smoke rises up forever and ever,
38:00 and Revelation 19, it's introducing the idea
38:04 that this world, the age of this world, will be over
38:08 and sin and wickedness will be over,
38:11 and God will create a new world.
38:12 The expression, "forever," doesn't mean endless
38:17 existence necessarily.
38:25 Let me give you a couple of examples of that.
38:33 It's talking about a slave.
38:43 "Awl;" that's a sharp instrument.
38:47 So when the slave would serve the master forever,
38:51 how long would that be?
38:53 Would it be through eternity? No.
38:54 As long as he lived. Until the end of his earth age.
38:59 You find that again in the book of Samuel, 1 Samuel 1:22.
39:05 It talks about Samuel being taken by his mother
39:08 to the temple.
39:15 Samuel in the temple forever?
39:18 Is he still there now?
39:19 But notice what the next phrase says.
39:28 So one phrase talks about forever.
39:32 The next phrase talks about as long as he lives.
39:37 So this expression, "forever," when it talks about the wicked,
39:42 the wicked are in the flames until the end of the age.
39:46 They're in the flames until they're totally consumed.
39:49 They're in the flames in the context of the statement
39:54 in Exodus 21 about the slave, that he would
39:57 serve his master forever.
39:58 In the context of 1 Samuel where Samuel would
40:02 be up before the Lord, the length there
40:04 by his mother forever; as long as he lives.
40:08 So the wicked are consumed with sin as long as they're able
40:13 to live in those flames.
40:16 They're totally consumed, they're burned up to ashes.
40:19 To the end of that age.
40:21 Now somebody often asks, what about the parable
40:25 of the rich man and Lazarus?
40:28 And I want to spend some time on this particular parable
40:31 because it's one of the most confusing parables
40:34 that many people will see in the Bible.
40:37 First, you either have to say this story of the rich man
40:42 and Lazarus is a literal story or it is a parable.
40:49 If it's a parable, it's designed to teach us lessons.
40:53 In Luke 15, you have three parables.
40:58 You have first the parable of the lost boy.
41:01 Or the lost sheep.
41:03 Then you have the parable of the lost coin.
41:05 Then you have the parable of the lost boy.
41:08 So you have three parables in Luke 15.
41:10 Then in Luke 16, you begin a series of parables
41:14 that are called, the certain man parables.
41:18 And you have two parables in Luke chapter 16.
41:22 The parable of the rich man and Lazarus
41:25 is the fifth parable in a row.
41:28 So that helps us to understand that indeed it's a parable.
41:33 Now let's relive that parable.
41:36 And Jesus begins to tell a story.
41:39 And He tells it something like this,
41:41 and I will modernize it in my own words.
41:44 He says, "Once upon a time there was a rich man.
41:49 And there was a very, very poor beggar.
41:53 And the beggar's name was Lazarus.
41:56 And he would just get crumbs from the rich man's table.
42:00 And they both died.
42:03 The rich man went to..."
42:06 And all the Jews were there, they were...
42:08 The Pharisees were there, they were elbowing themselves.
42:11 They're smiling, "We know where the rich man went.
42:13 He went up to heaven.
42:14 And we know where that poor man went.
42:16 He went down to torment.
42:18 We know that.
42:19 We know that because riches are a sign of God's favor.
42:22 Look how great we are."
42:24 And Jesus then reverses it.
42:27 He says, "Once upon a time there was a rich man
42:31 and a poor beggar.
42:34 And the rich man ended up in torment.
42:36 And the poor beggar ended up in eternity."
42:39 Wow! Jesus reverses it.
42:43 Now the story was a very popular one in the days of Jesus.
42:50 Because, you see, in the days of Jesus
42:52 the Jews had this story, this understanding,
42:56 they had this illustration that when a person died
43:00 he went down through this long tunnel.
43:02 And at the end of the tunnel, if he was righteous
43:05 he went to Abraham's bosom.
43:06 If he wasn't, he went to a place of torment.
43:09 And all the rich, all the aristocratic Jews,
43:13 they would go through that tunnel and they would go to
43:15 Abraham's bosom.
43:17 And all the poor, they would go to the place of torment.
43:21 This was a popular story. So what did Jesus do?
43:23 He took a popular story to illustrate some truths.
43:27 Now let's suppose this story is literal,
43:29 as some people want to think it is.
43:31 If it is, and you go to Abraham's bosom,
43:34 Abraham must have a very, very large bosom.
43:40 But there's something else about it.
43:42 If this story is true...
43:50 Because Lazarus is talking down there to that rich man.
43:55 And so, I mean, do you really believe that
43:58 people in hell and people in heaven can have conversations?
44:03 Do you actually believe that people in heaven
44:05 can see people in hell?
44:07 I mean, that would be really...
44:09 If you take this as literal, if you think there's problems
44:11 in taking it as a parable, there's much greater problems
44:14 in taking it as literal.
44:16 Because that means that souls, so-called souls...
44:20 We've already pointed out in this series that
44:22 death is but a sleep until the resurrection.
44:23 But if you take this as literal, it actually means that
44:26 souls down there in so-called hell, contrary to the Bible,
44:31 they have eyes, they have fingers,
44:34 that you can see them, that you can talk to them.
44:37 Because the description is, "Oh, come and
44:40 put some water on my tongue, because I'm
44:42 burning in this hot place."
44:43 So that really becomes nonsensical at all.
44:47 Souls would have to have fingers and eyes and tongues.
44:50 And if they do, why do you have a resurrection
44:52 at the end of a body?
44:54 It doesn't make sense.
44:55 So what are we talking about here?
44:58 We're not talking about conversations
45:00 between heaven and hell.
45:01 We're not talking about people in heaven seeing people in hell.
45:04 That would destroy heaven.
45:05 I mean, if you could look down there and see people
45:08 you interacted with in life, if you could look down there
45:10 and see people that were your relatives, your family,
45:14 your friends, a husband not saved, a wife not saved,
45:16 I mean, heaven would be terribly tormented.
45:20 You would be tormented in heaven because you would see those
45:22 people crying out in agony and screaming.
45:26 Jesus' way and His explanation of this parable
45:30 is much, much clearer.
45:32 See, Jesus used a popular story to share three eternal truths.
45:39 Eternal truth number one:
45:41 riches are not a sign of divine favor.
45:45 And poverty is not a sign of divine condemnation.
45:51 When you look at this story, Jesus is saying
45:56 that there are many who are poor who are faithful to God,
46:00 many who are poor that are committed to God.
46:02 And if you get riches by ill gain,
46:05 riches by selfishness and greed,
46:07 that is not a blessing of God at all.
46:11 The second lesson in this story.
46:13 You remember Lazarus and this rich man are
46:18 having this discussion.
46:19 And as they are, the rich man says, "Send somebody,
46:23 send somebody down here, down to earth,
46:30 to tell my brother so he won't come to this place."
46:34 And what does the Scripture say?
46:36 There's a great gulf fixed.
46:39 What's the second great lesson?
46:40 The second great lesson is there's no second chance.
46:43 The second great lesson is, make your decision for eternity
46:47 when you're in this life.
46:49 First lesson, riches are not a sign of God's favor necessarily.
46:53 They could be.
46:55 But if they're gotten with ill gain, they're not.
46:57 Poverty is not a sign of God's displeasure.
46:59 Many people are in circumstances.
47:02 Second lesson is this.
47:04 There's a great gulf fixed.
47:06 Make your decision now for all eternity.
47:09 Third lesson, was there ever a man named Lazarus?
47:16 Was there ever a real man named Lazarus?
47:19 Did Jesus raise a real man named Lazarus from the dead?
47:26 Did He?
47:27 And if He did, what about that man?
47:34 Did everybody accept him?
47:36 They didn't.
47:37 What did they do?
47:39 They tried to do what?
47:41 Kill him.
47:42 So what is the third lesson?
47:44 The third lesson is this.
47:48 Miracles are not a sign of God's divine favor necessarily.
47:54 If you reject the clear teachings of the Word of God,
47:58 if you reject the clear teachings of Scripture,
48:02 if you do that, miracles themselves are not a sign
48:08 that God is at work.
48:09 Can God work miracles? Yes.
48:11 Does God work miracles? Yes.
48:13 But merely because a miracle is worked
48:16 does not mean in any way, shape, or form that it's of God.
48:21 Because can the devil work miracles?
48:22 Can the devil make people sick and then heal them?
48:24 That's what Revelation says.
48:26 So three great lessons.
48:27 First, riches are not necessarily a sign
48:30 of God's favor, poverty is not a sign of His displeasure.
48:33 Secondly, there's a great gulf fixed
48:36 between this life and eternity.
48:39 Make your decision for Christ now.
48:41 Thirdly, don't place your faith in miracles
48:44 because the devil can counterfeit them.
48:47 The parable of the rich man and Lazarus
48:49 is not a literal description of hell.
48:51 God is using, Jesus is using a story, a story to illustrate
48:57 divine truths in a parabolic sequence.
48:59 And every detail of the parables is not necessarily
49:03 to be applied exactly.
49:05 People talking between heaven and hell: preposterous.
49:09 People in heaven seeing people in hell: preposterous.
49:12 The Bible says in Matthew 13:50...
49:20 In other words, they would be there suffering for a time
49:25 until they're totally consumed and burned up.
49:28 You remember when Jesus hung on Calvary's cross.
49:33 He bore all of the pain, all of the suffering.
49:37 He bore, in a sense, hell for us.
49:41 Because what is hell?
49:43 What's going on when there's weeping and gnashing of teeth?
49:46 What is that all about?
49:48 It is about this sense that the wicked sense that they
49:53 are going to be separated from God forever.
49:56 They sense that they could have lived, but they're gone forever.
49:59 They sense that they could have been one with Christ
50:02 and lived with Him for all eternity,
50:04 but they are lost, lost, lost forever.
50:08 And they have that conscious awareness.
50:11 You see, Christ on the cross said...
50:17 In other words, sin is so bad, sin is so horrible,
50:21 sin is so terrible, that it even tore the Son of God's heart
50:26 from the Father.
50:28 All Jesus could see was that sin and its condemnation.
50:34 But He bore hell for us.
50:36 Hebrews chapter 2 says He tasted death for every man.
50:39 Galatians 3:13 says Christ hung on the tree.
50:43 "Cursed is everyone that hangs upon the tree."
50:46 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "He who knew no sin
50:49 became sin for us."
50:51 He bore the pain, the suffering of hell
50:53 so you would not have to go through hell.
50:57 Ezekiel 18:23 says...
51:09 Jesus says to you, "I have no pleasure
51:11 in consuming the wicked.
51:13 Turn, turn, turn from your ways and live."
51:20 Jesus says, "I'm reaching out to you."
51:22 Jesus says, "I want to save you.
51:24 I love you more than you ever can recognize.
51:27 I bore all the pain, the suffering,
51:29 the condemnation of hell for you."
51:32 Jesus says, "Come, come. Come just as you are."
51:38 Come right now.
51:40 You need not be lost.
51:43 You need not be consumed in the last fires.
51:47 You need not perish, you need not be destroyed.
51:51 Jesus says, "Come."
51:53 Make your decision right now as Tim sings.
52:07 Come just as you are,
52:13 hear the Spirit call.
52:20 Come just as you are,
52:26 come and see, come receive;
52:32 come and live forever.
52:39 Come just as you are,
52:45 hear the Spirit call.
52:52 Come just as you are,
52:58 come and see, come receive;
53:04 come and live forever.
53:10 Life everlasting
53:16 and strength for today.
53:23 Taste the living water
53:29 and never thirst again.
53:34 Oh, won't you come and see,
53:39 come receive;
53:42 come and live forever.
53:47 You'll find life everlasting,
53:54 and you'll find strength for today.
54:01 Just taste this living water
54:08 and you'll never thirst again.
54:15 Jesus says come just as you are.
54:23 Don't you hear the Spirit call?
54:29 Come just as you are.
54:36 Come and see Christ my King.
54:42 Come and live forever more.
54:53 Come just as you are.
54:56 There is no other way to come.
55:00 The journey begins where you are.
55:04 In your home, watching this broadcast with friends,
55:11 the journey begins right where you are.
55:15 And Christ is reaching out to you at this moment.
55:19 In John 6:37, He says, "Him that cometh to Me
55:26 I will in no wise cast out."
55:30 We can come to Him with all of our sinfulness,
55:34 we can come with all of our weakness,
55:37 we can come with all of our folly,
55:41 we can come with all of our humanity,
55:45 and simply lay all of that at Jesus' feet
55:48 and say, "Jesus, take me.
55:51 Save me, for I cannot save myself.
55:55 Deliver me from my sinful habits because I cannot deliver myself.
56:01 Redeem me from this world because I cannot redeem myself."
56:07 Come, come just as you are.
56:12 Receive His grace.
56:14 He will pardon you.
56:16 You need not be lost.
56:18 You can be saved, saved forever.
56:22 You see, in the final analysis
56:24 there are only one of two choices.
56:26 We live forever with Christ in this amazing new world
56:32 where every talent is developed, where our minds are expanded.
56:39 Or we enter into that grave to be resurrected
56:43 in the second resurrection, to be consumed and gone forever.
56:48 Jesus wants you to live.
56:51 He wants you to live a meaningful life now.
56:55 And He wants you to live with Him for all eternity.
56:58 So come just as you are as we pray.
57:02 Father in heaven, we bow our heads just this moment
57:05 wherever we are.
57:06 We sense Your Spirit tugging at our hearts.
57:09 We hear Your voice speaking to our inmost being,
57:12 and we come.
57:14 We come, we come just as we are
57:17 to receive the gift of eternal life
57:19 through Jesus Christ our Lord.
57:21 Amen.
57:23 Thank you for joining us for,
57:25 Revelation's Ancient Discoveries.


Revised 2018-04-18