“THE LAKE OF FIRE”
Folks, there is an amazing growth of the cults in the Los Angeles area. The Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is full almost every night of the week, according to what newspapers say are reliable sources. The Spanish Adventist Church is apparently growing and filled to capacity, judging from the several times I have driven by there. The Church of Scientology just bought a landmark building in Old Town Pasadena on Colorado Boulevard. We do not even need to talk about the Mormons; the most rapidly growing cult in the world is after this region.
What is tragic is that these cults are leading young people and adults into a Christless eternity in the lake of fire. Moreover, the one thing these groups have in common is a denial of the existence of the lake of fire. The lake of fire is that place of torment to which all unbelievers will go after the Great White Throne judgment of the Lord Jesus Christ. At that judgment, which will take place at the end of the millennial reign of Christ will remove unbelievers from Hades, or Hell, and will cast them into that lake of fire.
So many people laugh and joke about Hell, never realizing that Hell is not really all that bad . . . compared to the lake of fire. They say, “Well, at least all of my friends will be in Hell with me.” The double tragedy is this: They are probably right about their friends being with them. Sadly, they are mistaken when they think that Hell is as bad as their eternity is going to be. It is not.
In light of the invasion of the cults, and in light of the general ignorance that unsaved people have regarding the lake of fire, and regarding the lethargy among God’s people to bring to Christ those who are headed for the lake of fire . . . I want to preach to you a sermon on the lake of fire.
I hope that when we are finished . . . each of you will realize that the conscious eternal torment of the lake of fire is the destiny of every single person who dies without Christ as his personal Savior.
There are four subjects I would like to touch on in doing this.
THE REALITY OF THE LAKE OF FIRE
The Word of God testifies to the reality of the lake of fire. Notice the last sentence of Revelation 19.20: “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.”
John writes of seeing the false prophet and the beast being cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Then in Revelation 20.10, John refers to the devil being cast into the same lake of fire mentioned in 19.20: “And 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.”
Then in Revelation 20.14, he mentions death and Hell being cast into the lake of fire: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”
The Word of God . . . at least that portion penned by John, supports the notion of a real lake of fire.
Jesus Christ also testified to the reality of the lake of fire. Did you know that more information about the lake of fire came from the lips of our Savior than from any other source?
In Matthew 25.41, He refers to everlasting fire: “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
However, it is in Mark chapter 9 that we find the Lord’s strongest remarks about the lake of fire. In verses 43-48, He seems to be trying to convince someone of the reality of Hellfire:
43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
He has convinced me.
Nevertheless, there are always some people who cannot believe anything unless science backs it up. I have faced these kinds of people ever since I got saved. If someone wants scientific evidence of the reality of the lake of fire then listen to this. This is from a thesis prepared by C. T. Schwarze while he was at New York University. He writes: “The word lake must connote a body of matter having liquid form. Therefore, if Scripture is truth, this eternal fire must be in liquid form.” He goes on to point out that, white dwarf stars out in the vast reaches of the universe can properly be described as lakes of fire, since their temperature reaches some 30,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit and they are liquid in form, being stars of such tremendous gravitational force that the hot gases are compressed down to superheated liquids.
Does this mean that science validates the Word of God and the testimony of the Son of God? No. Jesus and the Bible validates the findings of science, because if the two disagreed, science, so-called, would be wrong.
The lake of fire is a real place.
THE PURPOSE OF THE LAKE OF FIRE
One reason for the purpose of the lake of fire is the just and righteous retribution of the damned. Turn with me to Romans chapter one. We do but dimly realize the righteous nature and holiness of our God. This being so, we find it difficult to comprehend the heinous nature of our sins against God. Nevertheless, just because we have difficulty understanding something . . . that does not mean that it is wrong. We must assume, because of His righteous and holy nature that God must be right. This being so, let us read Romans 1.18-32. This is the true nature of mankind that, without Christ’s forgiveness, must be punished:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
The second reason for or the purpose behind God’s creation of the lake of fire is the just glorification of God. Do I understand this? No. However, I do know that all things that transpire in God’s universe somehow bring glory to Him. I read to you Revelation 4.11: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Is the lake of fire a part of God’s creation? We have every reason to believe that it is. Therefore, it must somehow glorify Him.
Somehow, the damned must be punished so that God might be glorified. I do not know why or how, but I do accept it.
THE OCCUPANTS OF THE LAKE OF FIRE.
These occupants fall under two categories . . . the supernatural and the natural enemies of God.
The supernatural enemies of God are those angels, which fell from their first estate because of sin and rebellion against God. Satan being their chief. In Matthew 25.41, we find out, from the mouth of our own Lord Jesus, that this lake of fire was originally created for Satan and his angels. This tells us two things. First, that Satan and his angels have no hope of salvation. Should salvation be offered to these beings, then Jesus’ words would be misleading, and Bible prophecy informing us of their future torment would be wrong. Neither case is possible. Therefore, Satan and his angels will go to the lake of fire.
However, there is another group of beings who will also go to the lake of fire. These are the natural enemies of God. These are you Christ-rejecters. The most famous of these men includes the beast and the false prophet of Revelation 19.20. This will take place at the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the Great White throne judgment of Jesus Christ, still more people will be cast into the lake of fire. This occurs 1000 years later at the end of the millennium.
Let us read about that in Revelation 20.11-15:
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Sobering isn’t it? Everyone who dies without Christ will go to Hell first. Then, after a little over 1000 years in Hell, they will stand before Christ for judgment. After that, they will be cast into the lake of fire.
THE DURATION OF THE LAKE OF FIRE
That is the fourth subject we look at.
Science says that the lake of fire will be eternal. Mr. Schwarze writes: “Astronomers know that these midget stars (which he earlier called lakes of fire) can never cool off.” He then summarizes by writing: “may I summarize to show that the Bible, God’s Word, is scientifically accurate? We find, first, an eternal fire, which cannot burn out. Being of a liquid consistency it is, secondly, a lake of fire. In the third place, it cannot be quenched, for any quenching material, such as water, would immediately have its atoms stripped of electrons and be packed in with the rest . . . Science knows that there are lakes of fire, they just don’t know which one God will use to punish the damned, for all eternity.”
However, this is no surprise, since the Word of God says that it is an eternal lake of fire. Turn to Revelation 20.10: “And 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.” Forever and ever. However, some people do not believe that forever is forever. Turn to Matthew 25.46: “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
Do you believe that heaven is forever? The cults do.
Do you believe that Hell is forever, that the lake of fire is forever? The cults do not.
So Jesus is showing us that the duration of punishment in the lake of fire is of the same duration as the bliss if heaven.
Moreover, friend, the bliss of heaven is forever.
In addition, note that these are the words of the Lord Jesus, Who does have a certain reliability about Him.
I could get very morbid and gory, but I will not. I just want you to be equipped to know what the Word of God says. You must be motivated to deal with the truth. You must realize the direction that you and the rest of lost mankind is heading. I hope you will purpose to seek Christ. This is not a game that we are playing. Kids, this is out and out war. The enemy knows this . . . Why don’t you?
 H KAINH DIAQHKH, (London: Trinitarian Bible Society), page 54.
 G. Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon Of The New Testament, (Edinburgh: T & T Clark Ltd, 1986), page 16.
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