Lake of Fire
The Covenant to Noah
In addition to the law of Jubilee, there is also the covenant God made to Noah which promises a restoration of all. Look at the passage:
Genesis 9:9-17 – And I, lo, I am establishing My covenant with you, and with your seed after you, and with every living creature which [is] with you, among fowl, among cattle, and among every beast of the earth with you, from all who are going out of the ark – to every beast of the earth. And I have established My covenant with you, and all flesh is not more cut off by waters of a deluge, and there is not any more a deluge to destroy the earth. And God saith, This is a token of the covenant which I am giving between Me and you, and every living creature that [is] with you, to generations age-during; My bow I have given in the cloud, and it hath been a token for a covenant between Me and the earth; and it hath come to pass (in My sending a cloud over the earth) that the bow hath been seen in the cloud, and I have remembered My covenant which is between Me and you, and every living creature among all flesh, and the waters become no more a deluge to destroy all flesh; and the bow hath been in the cloud, and I have seen it – to remember the covenant age-during between God and every living creature among all flesh which [is] on the earth. And God saith unto Noah, This [is] a token of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that [is] upon the earth. (YLT)
This covenant is God’s promise to not only Noah, but all of mankind for all future generations, and all animals, that God will never destroy “all flesh,” but instead restore it. This means that God will NOT destroy the Earth, nor will He destroy man in an eternal hell. Some people believe that there is a loophole to this covenant, and God can still destroy the Earth in another way. However, this meaning can be confirmed in other parts of the Bible. First, look at the groups that this covenant is made to: (1) Noah and his decedents, (2) every fowl, (3) every cattle, and (4) every beast of the Earth. Also, note that man is the overall king of all the creatures on Earth, the eagle is the king of the fowls, the ox is the king of the cattle, and the lion is the king of the beasts. These four groups can be seen in Revelation and Ezekiel:
Revelation 4:7-8 – and the first living creature [is] like a lion, and the second living creature [is] like a calf, and the third living creature hath the face as a man, and the fourth living creature [is] like an eagle flying. And the four living creatures, each by itself severally, had six wings, around and within [are] full of eyes, and rest they have not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is coming (YLT)
Revelation 5:14 – and the four living creatures said, Amen! and the twenty-four elders fell down and they bow before Him who is living to the ages of the ages. (YLT)
Ezekiel 1:10 – As to the likeness of their faces, the face of a man, and the face of a lion, toward the right [are] to them four, and the face of an ox on the left [are] to them four, and the face of an eagle [are] to them four. (YLT)
These four groups represent “all flesh,” or all of God’s creation. Revelation 5 says that these four groups will bow before God, meaning that all of creation will recognize God as their creator. They can only do this if God restores them to know the truth, instead of condemning them to an eternal hell.
The Symbolic Lake of Fire
So the lake of fire is not an eternal hell. What is it referring to then? The Hebrew word for fire is esh, which means a strong devourer. To understand this definition better look at these verses:
Hebrews 12:29 – for also our God [is] a consuming fire (YLT)
Deuteronomy 4:24 – for Jehovah thy God is a fire consuming – a zealous God (YLT)
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 – for other foundation no one is able to lay except that which is laid, which is Jesus the Christ; and if any one doth build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – of each the work shall become manifest, for the day shall declare [it], because in fire it is revealed, and the work of each, what kind it is, the fire shall prove; if of any one the work doth remain that he build on [it], a wage he shall receive; if of any the work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; and himself shall be saved, but so as through fire. (YLT)
Hebrews and Deuteronomy says that God is a consuming fire. 1 Corinthians 3 talks about the effect of fire on gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and straw. Fire will burn stones, wood, hay, and straw, but refine and make pure gold, silver, and precious stones. Symbolically, the wood, hay, and straw can be our sin, while the gold, silver, and precious stones can be the good qualities of love, compassion, and kindness. So if God is a symbolic fire, he burns our evil ways just like wood, hay, and straw. However, God’s symbolic fire also purifies our good ways just like gold, silver, and precious stones. So God destroys the bad in people, and makes the good even better. That sounds more like a loving God than one of wraith and hate! Now let’s look at some more verses that deal with judgment:
Revelation 20:11-12 – And I saw a great white throne, and Him who is sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven did flee away, and place was not found for them; and I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and scrolls were opened , and another scroll was opened, which is that of the life, and the dead were judged out of the things written in the scrolls – according to their works (YLT)
Revelation 21:8 – and to fearful, and unsteadfast, and abominable, and murders, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all the liars, their part [is] in the lake that is burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (YLT)
Daniel 7:9-10 – I was seeing till that thrones have been thrown down, and the Ancient of Days is seated, His garment as snow [is] white, and the hair of his head [is] as pure wool, His throne flames of fire, its wheels burning fire. A flood of fire is preceding and coming forth from before Him, a thousand thousands do serve Him, and a myriad of myriads before Him do rise up, the Judge is seated, and the books have been opened. (YLT)
Daniel and Paul talk about a white throne of fire. As usual, this is not literal but spiritual. The thrown is God’s judgment. Fire is once again referring to purification. God wants to destroy the bad and purify the good. At one point, all of us will be judged as individuals based on our works. Here’s another verse:
Acts 17:31 – because He did set a day in which He is about to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom He did ordain, having given assurance to all, having raised him out of the dead (YLT)
Acts 17 tells us that God has set a date in which he will judge the entire world, both the living and the dead. Two final verses:
Philippians 2:10-11 – that in the name of Jesus every knee may bow – of heavenlies, and earthlies, and what are under the earth -- and every tongue may confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (YLT)
1 Timothy 2:3-4 – for this [is] right and acceptable before God our Saviour, who doth will all men to be saved, and to come to the full knowledge of the truth; (YLT)
Philippians and 1 Timothy state that EVERYONE will confess that Jesus is Lord and that EVERYONE will be saved.
So the lake of fire is simply God’s judgment. God’s judgment will recompense the victims and restore the sinner to grace and forgiveness according to the law of Jubilee. God’s judgment is not punishment to deter bad behavior. Through God’s judgment, everyone will be purified like gold, silver, and precious stones, and in the end, all will believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, because the knowledge of the truth will be revealed to them.
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