Announcement

Collapse

Eschatology 201 Guidelines

This area of the forum is primarily for Christian theists to discuss orthodox views of Eschatology. Other theist participation is welcome within that framework, but only within orthodoxy. Posts from nontheists that do not promote atheism or seek to undermine the faith of others will be permitted at the Moderator's discretion - such posters should contact the area moderators before posting.


Without turning this forum into a 'hill of foreskins' (Joshua 5:3), I believe we can still have fun with this 'sensitive' topic.

However, don't be misled, dispensationalism has only partly to do with circumcision issues. So, let's not forget about Innocence, Conscience, Promises, Kingdoms and so on.

End time -isms within orthodox Christianity also discussed here. Clearly unorthodox doctrines, such as those advocating "pantelism/full preterism/Neo-Hymenaeanism" or the denial of any essential of the historic Christian faith are not permitted in this section but can be discussed in Comparative Religions 101 without restriction. Any such threads, as well as any that within the moderator's discretions fall outside mainstream evangelical belief, will be moved to the appropriate area.

Millennialism- post-, pre- a-

Futurism, Historicism, Idealism, and Preterism, or just your garden variety Zionism.

From the tribulation to the anichrist. Whether your tastes run from Gary DeMar to Tim LaHaye or anywhere in between, your input is welcome here.

OK folks, let's roll!

Forum Rules: Here
See more
See less

What is the purpose of the lake of fire

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • What is the purpose of the lake of fire

    Revelation 20:13-14
    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. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.


    If the people are already in hell, what is the purpose of transferring them to the lake of fire? In Luke, we see an example of a man in hell who is apparently tormented already.

    Luke 16:23-24
    And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.


    Also, the story in Luke seems to take place before the resurrection of Jesus (which is alluded to at the end of the story). Hence, I don't see any reason why this man would already be in the lake of fire, according to the chronology of Revelation. Yet he is tormented by flames.

    Notably, the lake of fire is used to punish "the beast" and the "false prophet" (which seems to be just another beast), both of whom are thrown alive into the lake.

    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.


    However, most people seem to acknowledge that these beasts are not people, but rather kingdoms (or conceivably, sets of kingdoms).

    Revelation 17:8-12
    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, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.


    Given that the beasts are seemingly not human beings, it is unclear what it even means to throw them into the fire. Also notably, they are thrown "alive," which does seem to indicate some torturous purpose. But for whatever reason, their torture stands in contrast to this passage, where a beast is killed but seemingly not tortured:

    Daniel 7:11
    I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.


    Some people argue that throwing death and hell into the lake of fire means that the unsaved people in hell are either annihilated or, conceivably, regenerated via some sort of apocatastasis. The problem with these theories is that they contradict the following passages, which indicate that both the devil and his followers are tormented forever.


    Revelation 14:9-11
    And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 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 up 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.



    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.


    Even taking into account the possibility of mere symbolism, it would make no sense to have one symbolism pointing to eternal torment, while another symbolism supposedly pointed to death itself being annihilated (the opposite of eternal torment). Hence, I am not inclined to accept the idea that death being thrown into the lake of fire means simply that unsaved people are annihilated.

    So ultimately, some questions arise:

    1) What is the lake of fire? Is it actual torment?
    2) Aren't people tormented even prior to the lake of fire?
    3) If the answers to both questions are yes, then what is the purpose of the lake of fire?

  • #2
    I believe the lake of fire is destruction. In addition to having people thrown in it, the lake of fire has death itself thrown in it (Revelation 20:13). We know from 1 Corinthians 15:26 that death will be literally destroyed, so this seems to be a clue in what the lake of fire stands for. Recognizing things in Revelation as symbols is viable as multiple examples are explicitly provided of this.
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

    Comment


    • #3
      Do you believe in annihilationism, and what is your explanation for why the devil and worshippers of the beast are tormented forever?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
        Do you believe in annihilationism, and what is your explanation for why the devil and worshippers of the beast are tormented forever?
        Yes. As for your second question, I do not believe that Revelation 14:11 actually teaches eternal torment. For one thing, it is said to be in the presence of the Lord. This paper details my position on that verse: http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/eq/2001-1_021.pdf

        As for the third question, I am still not sure how I interpret that particular symbol but as Revelation is symbolic, I suspect that image of torment is meant as a symbol meant to frighten, emblematic of the horrors of the fate. This is not particularly far fetched because torment is used as a symbol for destruction in Revelation. For example, the torment of the harlot in Revelation 17 is manifested in real life as the destruction of Jerusalem. I will note that in no place in Revelation 20 are humans explicitly connected with eternal torment - only angels and the devil.
        "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

        Comment


        • #5
          Above, I specifically quoted from Revelation 14:9-11, where it said that the smoke of the humans' torment rises forever. Also, if hell were simply destroyed, then wouldn't that mean the devil wasn't tormented forever either?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
            Above, I specifically quoted from Revelation 14:9-11, where it said that the smoke of the humans' torment rises forever. Also, if hell were simply destroyed, then wouldn't that mean the devil wasn't tormented forever either?
            It says the smoke rises forever, not the torment. Ralph Bowles addresses this in the article linked above.

            Also, the simple fact of interpreting Revelation is that if you interpret all the symbols with strict literalism, there will be some inconsistency. Revelation 20:13 days that death and Hades will be completely destroyed, yet 20:10 says that Satan will be tormented forever and ever. If this is part of eternal death, it's inconsistent. What we have to do is figure out what the symbols were meant to convey to the audience rather than try to harmonize their presentation, which isn't the main point of Revelation.
            "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

            Comment


            • #7
              I find it interesting that the primary "proof-texts" for endless conscious torment are typically plucked right out of the book of Revelation. Something's amiss.

              Obsidian, I'd highly recommend (along with KG) that you carefully review Bowles' article on Revelation 14:11.
              Last edited by The Remonstrant; 02-20-2014, 03:33 AM.
              For Neo-Remonstration (Arminian/Remonstrant ruminations): <https://theremonstrant.blogspot.com>

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't think the Bible very clearly describes hell as eternal torment. I say that based on the fact that all the references to eternal torment come from Revelation -- which is about the least clear book I have ever read. It is possible that Revelation 14 is simply referring to torture leading up to death, with the continuous smoke simply signifying the permanence of the destruction.

                However, the Bible does very clearly describe torment that carries on for a while, even if it is not strictly eternal. An example would be the tortured Pharisee in Luke 16. I find the annihilationist rebuttal to that parable entirely unconvincing. Further, if all unbelievers experienced instant annihilation rather than prolonged punishment, then passages like Matthew 10:14-15 would not make sense, where Jesus describes a difference in punishment.

                After thinking about it further, it is possible that throwing death and hell into the lake of fire just signifies that no one else will be dying or going to hell from that point onward (as opposed to everyone in hell being annihilated).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                  Revelation 20:13-14
                  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. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.


                  If the people are already in hell, what is the purpose of transferring them to the lake of fire? In Luke, we see an example of a man in hell who is apparently tormented already.

                  Luke 16:23-24
                  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.


                  Also, the story in Luke seems to take place before the resurrection of Jesus (which is alluded to at the end of the story). Hence, I don't see any reason why this man would already be in the lake of fire, according to the chronology of Revelation. Yet he is tormented by flames.

                  Notably, the lake of fire is used to punish "the beast" and the "false prophet" (which seems to be just another beast), both of whom are thrown alive into the lake.

                  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.


                  However, most people seem to acknowledge that these beasts are not people, but rather kingdoms (or conceivably, sets of kingdoms).

                  Revelation 17:8-12
                  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, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.


                  Given that the beasts are seemingly not human beings, it is unclear what it even means to throw them into the fire. Also notably, they are thrown "alive," which does seem to indicate some torturous purpose. But for whatever reason, their torture stands in contrast to this passage, where a beast is killed but seemingly not tortured:

                  Daniel 7:11
                  I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.


                  Some people argue that throwing death and hell into the lake of fire means that the unsaved people in hell are either annihilated or, conceivably, regenerated via some sort of apocatastasis. The problem with these theories is that they contradict the following passages, which indicate that both the devil and his followers are tormented forever.


                  Revelation 14:9-11
                  And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 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 up 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.



                  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.


                  Even taking into account the possibility of mere symbolism, it would make no sense to have one symbolism pointing to eternal torment, while another symbolism supposedly pointed to death itself being annihilated (the opposite of eternal torment). Hence, I am not inclined to accept the idea that death being thrown into the lake of fire means simply that unsaved people are annihilated.

                  So ultimately, some questions arise:

                  1) What is the lake of fire? Is it actual torment?
                  2) Aren't people tormented even prior to the lake of fire?
                  3) If the answers to both questions are yes, then what is the purpose of the lake of fire?
                  I agree with your assessment that the language points away from "fire as agent of annihilation" to "fire as agent of destruction." I don't see that we're encouraged to draw a strong distinction between the experience of hell and that of the lake of fire, except that hell is part of the first creation which passes away, while the lake of fire is part of the eternal new creation.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It's possible that death is associated with an actual entity and that hell is a literal place.
                    "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by seanD View Post
                      It's possible that death is associated with an actual entity and that hell is a literal place.
                      Gregory Beale has suggested that too (death being a real personal entity), though I find it hard to imagine.

                      As an aside, as an annihilationist, I affirm that hell is a literal place.
                      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What other evidence is there that death is the name of a person?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Of course I could engage in the back and forth regarding how I believe Luke 16 is often seriously misconstrued and the folly of using symbolic imagery from the visions in the Apocalypse in order to substantiate the doctrine of endless conscious torment, but after one and a half years of this I am burned out (unfortunate pun unintended). The T-Web exchanges are ultimately inadequate and largely fruitless. It seems as though only the random lurker will be deriving some benefit from these threads. Time and again I am seeing the same individuals arguing for the respective positions here. No one is likely to budge. It's time to throw in the hat (for me, at least). Both sides of the debate/dialogue will need to attend to the relevant literature from the other side of the fence (ECT or final annihilation). I'm getting the sense that many ECT proponents have not extensively engaged the annihilationist literature. This is unfortunate, but everyone will need to do their homework or ultimately remain ignorant of the broader issues at play.

                          Note to everyone: Send a private message my way if you'd like to request resource recommendations for annihilationism. (Serious inquiries only.)
                          Last edited by The Remonstrant; 02-20-2014, 07:21 PM.
                          For Neo-Remonstration (Arminian/Remonstrant ruminations): <https://theremonstrant.blogspot.com>

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                            What other evidence is there that death is the name of a person?
                            Psalm 23.
                            Last edited by seanD; 02-20-2014, 08:39 PM.
                            "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              How does Psalm 23 establish that death is literally personified?
                              "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                              Comment

                              Related Threads

                              Collapse

                              Topics Statistics Last Post
                              Started by eschaton, 10-23-2020, 06:17 PM
                              0 responses
                              10 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post eschaton  
                              Started by eschaton, 10-19-2020, 02:05 PM
                              0 responses
                              22 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post eschaton  
                              Started by KingsGambit, 07-29-2018, 07:36 PM
                              72 responses
                              13,078 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post eschaton  
                              Started by Darfius, 07-26-2015, 12:35 AM
                              29 responses
                              17,462 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post eschaton  
                              Started by seanD, 02-05-2014, 03:15 PM
                              41 responses
                              9,429 views
                              0 likes
                              Last Post seanD
                              by seanD
                               
                              Working...
                              X