RESURRECTION AND JUDGMENT
CONT., page 3
THE LAKE OF FIRE
In Isaiah 26:19-21, we read that “the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.” This includes, and is even moreso, the second resurrection that leads to the great white throne judgment and the lake of fire. Verse 21 concludes this chapter, in part, with: “For behold, Yahweh is about to come out from His place to deal with the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity ….” This is, of course, the great white throne judgment and lake of fire; and we have already seen that one of the first to be cast into that fire is Satan. In Revelation 20:10 we read:
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night, to the ages of the ages.
Confirming the application of Isaiah 26:19-21 specifically to the second resurrection, we read in the very next verse, in chapter 27, verse 1, this identical event:
In that day [when the earth gives birth to the departed spirits] Yahweh will deal with Leviathan the fleeing [or, fugitive] serpent, with His fierce and great and mighty sword, even Leviathan the twisted serpent; and He will kill the dragon who lives in the sea.
Leviathan the twisted serpent who lives in the sea of death making sport (Psalm 104:26) is Satan. And, of course, being cast into the lake of fire is indeed called “the second death”: “Then death and hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14).
So what is this fire? Is it endless torment, as most Christians believe? Let us examine this and see.
Despite what Christians think, this lake of fire is not their traditional hell. If it is, then how can hell be thrown into hell? “Then death and hades were thrown into the lake of fire.” Furthermore, in Matthew 10:28 we read Yahshua’s warning:
“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
The body spoken of here that can be killed is of course our earthly body. But also, quite clearly, the body in the second part of this verse has to be the same body. Therefore, if we are not to fear the one who can kill this body, but the One who can throw this same body and soul in “hell,” there is only ONE place where this “hell” can be: right here where this subject body is obligated to be—on earth! If this hell was a place somewhere else where there is eternal torture, then how can an earthly body get there and survive? It cannot! Thus, any “destruction” of this body by God has to occur right here on this earth where it resides. (And if hell is literally “in the heart of the earth” [Matthew 12:40], and fire will literally consume this earth and a new earth is made [2 Peter 3:7, 10, and 13], will that mean hell will be consumed with literal fire and will now be made new as well?)
The Greek word for “destroy” used in Matthew 10:28 is “apollumi,” and can mean “to put out of the way, or render useless.” As you will see, that is precisely the purpose of the lake of fire, and that for ultimate good. Furthermore, the Greek word used here for “hell” is “geenna,” and is the place known as Gehenna. This was the garbage dump outside of Jerusalem where waste, and supposedly even bodies, were burned so as to prevent disease and foul decay. Thus, the purpose of Gehenna (this “hell”) was ultimately for good. Read He Was Jealous With My Jealousy, page 2, to understand more about Gehenna.
The purpose of fire in the ways of Yahweh is for correction, purification, and justice, but never for torture and sheer punishment. Paul aptly forewarned:
Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire [1 Corinthians 3:12-15].
There is no punishment in this fire, but rather testing and purification. We see the same regarding Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who equally passed through the fire. What was their outcome? The fire consumed that which bound them, but did not hurt them (Daniel 3:24-25). Also, the fourth man, Immanuel, was with them, just as He will be in the Millennium, which is brought through the fire.
Zechariah 13:9 tells us that those whom Yahweh brings through the fire are refined as silver and tested like gold. And the outcome of this fire is that they call on Him and He answers. He says to them, “They are My people,” and they say, “Yahweh is my God.” So once again, where is the punishment of Yahweh’s fire? Yahshua said in second Remnant Luke 12:49 that He came to cast fire upon the earth, and that He wished it was already kindled. This will not be a fire that afflicts and annihilates, but will be like the fire evidenced on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:3).
In Revelation 20:10, we read a description of what this lake of fire is: “the lake of fire and brimstone …; and they will be tormented day and night, to the ages of the ages.” First, you will notice that the lake of fire is for a period of given ages. This is not “forever and ever,” as many translations wrongly present. “Ages of the ages” is a succession of ages, periods of time.
Also, this lake is described as being fire and brimstone. We have already noted that Yahweh’s fire is not for torment, but for testing, cleansing, and purification. This value is emphatically confirmed in the other element—the brimstone. The Greek word for “brimstone” is “theion,” and comes from the word “theios.” This root word means “divine,” and speaks of the divine nature of Yahweh God. “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine [theios] nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Peter 1:4). Brimstone, or theion, actually means “divine incense,” and bears this meaning “because burning brimstone was regarded as having power to purify, and to ward off disease” (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). Thus, clearly, the purpose of this brimstone is equally to purify and to heal, even to make one holy, set apart unto Yahweh.
Revelation 20:10 also says that “they will be tormented.” This certainly sounds bad, even contradictory to what was just seen regarding Yahweh’s fire and brimstone. So, what do we find in the meaning of the Greek word translated “tormented”? It is the word “basanizo,” and means “to test (metals) by the touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the color of the streak produced on it by rubbing it with either metal” (Strong’s). Thus, once again we see that the lake of fire and brimstone is clearly not for the purpose of utter torment, but to examine each man so as to see how effective this purification process is, as well as determine his true value. This is, of course, the message of Zechariah 13:9, which we just noted: “And I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ and they will say, ‘Yahweh is my God.’ ” This is indeed the effect of the lake of fire.
Also, it is important to note here regarding this passage, that fire is not limited to the lake of fire following the Millennial Reign, but will be during the Millennium as well. This is undoubtedly the fire that Yahshua said He longed to kindle. Zechariah 13:7-9 tells us that two parts, or two thousand years, of the church would be cut off and die (and they have indeed died), and the third thousand-year period will experience their own fire: “And I will bring the third part through the fire ….”
This is the same fire spoken of in Malachi 4:1:
“For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says Yahweh of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.”
The Hebrew word for “furnace” here is the same word used in Genesis 15:17 that is translated “oven.” This is the oven/furnace that passed between the split covenant parts effecting the covenant with Abraham, and foreshadows the Millennial furnace that separates the split parts of Christianity, the two bronze mountains. The certain relevance of this is that Malachi 4 addresses the Elijah who prepares the way for Immanuel. Thus we see once again that the Millennial Reign will be a time of Yahweh’s refining fire.
We see then that fire actually begins in the Millennium and continues in the lake of fire following the second resurrection. Remember, this is the pure kingdom of God that is being established on earth after six thousand years of the nations, Satan, and corrupt fallen man. What else but purifying and testing fire could be expected during these two periods?
Now, some most interesting and provocative questions arise. First, into what kind of body are the dead birthed? Second, does that body physically die, as has been the case since the sin of Adam and Eve? In Genesis 2:17 we read: “… but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it, [lit.] to die you will die.” And finally, what can this mean, “to die you will die”? Let us start with this latter question.
To die you will die. So could this mean that when you die, you die? Well, that is too obvious and redundant. This has to mean more. The reality is, death is separation. When Adam and Eve sinned, it caused a separation from God; thereby, in time it caused a separation from their own bodies. Thus, in dying spiritually (“To die”), they died physically (“you will die”). “To die spiritually, you will die physically.”
This matter of separation by death is attested in several ways in the Scriptures. As we have already noted from James 2:26, physically, “the body without the spirit is dead.” Death separates the spirit and the soul from the body. This we see in Ecclesiastes 12:7 as well:
[At death] the dust [our body] will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
So, did that verse say their spirits go to hell? No, it says they return to God. Of course another separation upon death is spiritual. This is precisely what we already saw in Genesis 2:17, and is attested to here as well:
Behold, Yahweh’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear [Isaiah 59:1-2].
We also see that death separates the two in the marriage covenant of two being one flesh:
So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man [Romans 7:3].
A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord [1 Corinthians 7:39].
And finally, death can effect separation from sin.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? … For the death that He [Yahshua] died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus [Romans 6:1-2, 10-11].
… and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed [1 Peter 2:24].
Again, the effect of death is separation. Therefore, if the first death separates us from our bodies, which are the seat of sin (Romans 7:14, 23-24), what is it that the second death separates us from? Simple, it is a purification process that separates us from the practice of sin. More will be said about this.
The other two questions raised were: Into what kind of body are the dead birthed? And, does that body physically die? These are very important questions to address. First, the body of the second resurrection will be of this earth, birthed by the earth—“the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.” The statement “mother earth” will be true in every regard at that time.
The dead will receive bodies that looked like them before they died, but in their prime, and completely healed and restored. This is indicated in Job 33:25: “Let his flesh become fresher than in youth, let him return to the days of his youthful vigor.” It would seem that babies come back as babies and children come back as children to complete their growth processes.
Solomon wrote a most remarkable statement regarding life and death. He said, “So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. [This would not be true with Christianity’s hell.] But better off than both of them is the one who has not yet been, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 4:2-3). Gratefully, that evil activity has its boundary, and the dead who sleep will arise to find that heaven has come to earth. The earth then will not at all be the way it is today, and most certainly not the way it was when others died. Everything will have been dramatically transformed through the Millennial kingdom reign of Immanuel. Remember, there will be a thousand years in which God will have ruled, which will totally transform this earth—a new heavens and new earth!
Furthermore, have you ever gone to bed tired or sick, and awoke the next morning completely refreshed? When a messenger was sent to Yahshua with the news that Lazarus was sick (John 11), He replied (two days later), “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” The disciple’s answer to this was, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” We then read, “Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. So Jesus then said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead ….’ “ Again, death equals sleep.
How many times have you heard, “All you need is a good night’s rest”? Sleep, and its effects, are in fact prophetic of what takes place when the dead resurrect. When they awake it will be a new day. They will be transformed, and everything will be more perfect on the earth than it has ever been. Can you imagine the wonder of what they will awaken to after Immanuel has ruled here for a thousand years?
So, what about death? Will it continue in the Millennium or thereafter? Physical death is the enemy of God (1 Corinthians 15:26), and it seems quite evident that death will be done away with—most certainly after the second resurrection, and seemingly so during the Millennial Reign as well. We are directly told that when Immanuel dwells among man, there will be no more death:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He [Immanuel] will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new” [Revelation 21:3-5].
We have already seen that the sea is death, and verse 1 of this chapter states, “there is no longer any sea.” Again, that is not literal salt water, but death, where Leviathan the twisted serpent used to sport. “There will no longer be death.” This statement is on the other side of chapter 20 where there is the account of the great white throne judgment. But again, Immanuel will be on the earth for a thousand years before this second-resurrection judgment. And, during that time Satan is bound. In Hebrews 2:14 we read:
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who has the power of death, that is, the devil ….
Since Satan has the power of death, is it not right to consider that when he is bound during the Millennial Reign, death will be bound and cease as well? With death put away, this would mean no one during the Millennial Reign or thereafter would die. Furthermore, when Yahshua came to earth, His repeated resurrections of the dead testified that death would be conquered.
Additionally, and this is most wonderful to see, we read in Ecclesiastes 1:9: “That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.” When God planted two trees in the garden of Eden, He prophesied in doing so. The Garden was a revealing type of the kingdom of God that He would establish upon this earth. Therefore, we see that the kingdom will be, not one work, but two works—a tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and a tree of life.
The that-which-will-be fulfillments of these two trees are: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the Body of Christ, or Christianity; and the tree of life is the Bride, the two-part Remnant. These two works are equally attested in Adam and Eve. Adam is the Body of Christ that is put to sleep and its side is opened, and Eve is the Bride that comes out of the sleeping Body. Furthermore, “Eve” means “life,” and it is most telling and confirming that this tree of “life” is the female Bride, the Eve; and as you will see, through it comes life.
When Adam and Eve sinned by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were driven out of the Garden. We next read in Genesis 3:22-23:
Then Yahweh God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live perpetually.” Therefore Yahweh God sent him out from the garden of Eden to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.
From this statement we see that if Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of life after they had fallen, they would have stayed in that fallen state and never died. They would have lived perpetually. How then does this apply to the fulfillment of the Garden, the kingdom of heaven, regarding which this entire account speaks? Yahweh will have mercy and give mankind the tree of life, the Bride. And what will be the outcome for those who still live in these natural bodies? The same as would have happened to Adam and Eve had they eaten from that tree: they will not die!
This most certainly explains why death would cease in the Millennial Reign, for the glorified Bride is the tree of life. When she returns with Immanuel, those who remain here on earth will eat of her fruit—they will eat from her truth and instruction while ruling and reigning with Immanuel. This is truly wonderful to see and understand!
Someone might then ask: How can there be a second death when it says that death is no more? The death spoken of relative to there being no more death is the death of our bodies. Again, death is separation, and no longer will we be separated from our bodies. This is most certainly true with the Remnant who will be in immortal, born-from-above bodies; but nor will those in the second resurrection who are reincarnated. The latter will remain in their earthly bodies until they ascend alive and receive their born-from-above heavenly bodies as well—first Christians, and then the rest of mankind (The Waltz of Life).
On the other hand, the second death will be ongoing as a purifying process. As we have noted, this death will not separate man from his body, but from practicing sin. This is the very principle we find in several passages—the death principle. In this regard, Paul wonderfully stated, “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). Such indeed will be the second death. Furthermore he said, we are “always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:10), and “consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). Yahshua Himself said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). Likewise He said, ”Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life age-during [i.e., during that age]” (John 12:24-25). And Peter summarized this best when he wrote, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24). This is the very principle that will be in practice in the second death. It is the kingdom principle of death to self and made alive to God and righteousness, and this on a daily basis.
And let us note here that Satan is thrown into the lake of fire and experiences the second death as well. This, of course, has to imply that he too died once before, which he did when he fell (Ezekiel 28:12-19). His death, however, was obviously spiritual in nature, for he has never been separated from a body and slept as has carnal man. This then places a greater emphasis on this spiritual death and separation, rather than the natural. Furthermore, Satan equally needs to be taught not to sin and needs purification, obviously a LOT of it! But also, we are all satans, who likewise rebel and corrupt our own lives, the lives of others, and the kingdom as well. Satan and man are in apt company when it comes to the need for purification in the lake of fire.
Continue to page 4 of Resurrection and Judgment for FAITH, WORKS, AND RIGHTEOUSNESS