Lake of Fire

The Symbolic Brimstone

What about brimstone? In addition to the lake of fire, Revelation also mentions brimstone:

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)

The Greek work for brimstone used in this verse is theion which means sulfur. Sulfur was used for divine service to PURIFY and cleanse. The root word of theion is theo which is the same word usually translated “God.” Therefore:

theion = sulfur = purify
theo (root word) = God = purify (Heb. 12, 1 Cor. 3)

In Virgil’s classic Greek epic The Aeneid, fire and brimstone are also used symbolically. So fire and brimstone are both conveying the same message of purification and restoration rather than pain and suffering.

The First and Second Death

We have now established that the lake of fire is simply God’s purification and judgment. What is the second death? What is the first death? Take a look at these verses:

Romans 6:23 – for the wages of sin [is] death, and the gift of God [is] life age-during in Christ Jesus our Lord (YLT)

Revelation 2:11 – He who is having an ear – let him hear what the Spirit saith to the assemblies: He who is overcoming may not be injured of the second death. (YLT)

Revelation 20:6 – Happy and hold [is] he who is having part in the first rising again; over these the second death hath not authority, but they shall be priests of God and of the Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (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)

The first death is physical death (Rom 6). Although Jesus died on the cross for our sins, this was only a temporary payment. Remember that the law of Jubilee states that a blood relative is supposed to buy back the sold land. However, the original owner is still in debt. So even with Jesus, we cannot escape the first death.

The second death is spiritual death. Revelation 2 and 20 tell us that those that overcome and follow Christ can avoid the second death. Revelation 21 tells us that the lake of fire is the second death. Therefore, God’s judgment will only be on those that do not overcome and do not believe in Jesus Christ. But even those that don’t believe will eventually be saved due to the law of Jubilee which mandates a restoration of all things.

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