The Lake of Fire

Revelation 20:15

After the judgement, the unsaved will be thrown into "The Lake of Fire." (Rev 20:15) Certainly this is "Hell" and Jesus, speaking of it as Gehenna, made it clear that one is to avoid it at all earthly costs. This session will look at some worldly views of Hell, and compare those with Biblical pronouncements.

Gehenna, or Hell, appears twelve times in the Gospels, and eleven of those usages are by Jesus. Ryrie tells us that Geenna or Gehenna, translated as "Hell" in the NASB, is "a place in the valley of Hinnom where human sacrifices had been offered and where the continuous burning of rubbish made it an apt illustration of the lake of fire. (Mark 9:43-48, James 3:6, Rev 20:14)"

As time permits, there also will be a review of Sheol (OT Hebrew) and Hades (NT Greek). These words are often mistranslated as Hell. Note that these are arguably the same place (Ps 16:10 vs. Acts 2:27) and ultimately will be thrown into the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:14)

There are three basic views of Hell:

1. Read Mark 9:43 48. Also, Matt 25:41, 46. What view do these verses support? Why has God prepared a Lake of Fire?




2. Annihilationists argue that the lost will be destroyed. Read Matt 10:28, 1Cor 1:18 and Ps 37:28,38. Do these verses convince you that the lost will not suffer the punishment described in Mark 9?




If the lost were not to receive eternal torment, how could Mark 9:48 be reconciled? Read Matt 13:41-42 also. Does the passage indicate that this torment is temporal and will come to an end? The Annihilationists argue along two lines:

"Eternal fire" (Matt 18:8; 25:41)

"Unquenchable Fire" (Matt 3:12)

3. Read Ex 3:2. Does this defeat at least part of the argument of the Annihilationists?




The Universalists cannot believe that a God who would have all men to be saved would allow any to be lost.

4. Read 2 Pet 3:9. If God would have all men to be saved, why aren't all saved? (Note 1Pet 5:5-6)




Universalists refer to Phil 2:9-11 and Col 1:19-20. Read these verses and consider the application to the Universalist position.

5. Read Matt 7:13-14. Is there any solution for the Universalists when this verse is considered? Also consider Heb 9:27.




The question is not whether or not we understand or like this doctrine, the question is; "Is it true?" We must never force God to fit within our understanding of Him, rather we must always be conforming our understanding to the Word of God. As we learn more, we conform more. The view that is consistent with Scripture is the one that God offers salvation to the perishing, but gives free will to perish in the Lake of Fire "to those who will not humble themselves that He may exalt you at the proper time." (1 Pet 5:6)

With some of the time remaining, it will be of interest to examine Sheol and Hades:

6. Read Ps 16:10 and Acts 2:27. The New Testament quotation of the Old Testament verse replaces the word Sheol with the word Hades. (Your translation may have a translator's word for Sheol or Hades.) Would you think that Sheol and Hades are Hebrew and Greek words for the same place?




Sheol appears 65 times in the Old Testament. In the King James Version it is translated:

Hades appears in the Bible ten times, and ordinarily is translated as Hell of left untranslated. The suggestion here is that Sheol and Hades be treated as proper nouns, which name a specific place and should be left untranslated.

Some observations on Sheol/Hades:

  1. Sheol (Hebrew) of the Old Testament is identified as Hades (Greek) in the New Testament. (Acts 2:27-31, Ps 16:10)
  2. It is a place of descent. One goes down into Hades. (Mt 11:23, Lk 10:15)
  3. The unsaved descend to Hades to wait for judgement. (Mt 11:23-24)
  4. Hades is gated (enclosed).
  5. At least some, and probably all, of the unsaved dead are in Hades. (Lk 16:22-23) Acts 2:27 indicates that the souls of the saved as well as the unsaved go into Hades, since Jesus also is seen to have been there.
  6. The unsaved in Hades can see the saved dead. (Lk 16:23)
  7. The unsaved in Hades are in a flame of torment. (Lk 16:24-28)
  8. The unsaved in Hades are prevented by God from leaving. (Lk 16:26, Rev 1:18)
  9. The saved cannot go to the unsaved in Hades. (A chasm prevents this.) (Lk 16:26)
  10. The soul of the dead goes into Hades. (Acts 2:27)
  11. Jesus holds the key of Hades. (Rev 1:18)
  12. Hades will be cast into the Lake of Fire.(Rev 20:14)

Many of these conclusions are drawn from the Biblical account of Lazarus and the Rich man. (Lk 16:19-31) Some argue that these verses cannot be taken literally, but note that the beggar is named, and Jesus says, "there was a certain rich man." (Lk 16:19) Also, there are many other events and names used which implies that it is a real account about real people.

7. Read Ps 68:6, 18 and compare with Eph 4:7-10. Who were the prisoners and when were they led "captive?"




8. Read Phil 1:23 and 1Cor 5:8. What happens to the souls of the saved now that Christ has overcome death and Hades?




9. Read Heb 9:27 and Rev 20:13-14. Will there be a second chance for salvation after death?




What has been argued here is that the souls of the dead were all confined in separate compartments of Hades/Sheol until Christ defeated death and the Devil on the Cross. Possibly the souls of the saved were released through the redemptive shedding of the Lord's blood, and led into heaven by Jesus as he ascended from the heart of the earth in triumph.

Interestingly, this same position was presented almost two thousand years ago, by Josephus, in his "Discourse to the Greeks concerning Hades." Certainly there is nothing new under the sun. (Eccl 1:9)

4663 skolex { sko’-lakes}

of uncertain derivation; TDNT - 7:452,1054; n m

AV - worm 3; 3

GK - 5038 { skwvlhx }

1) a worm, spec. that kind which preys upon dead bodies

622 apollumi { ap-ol’-loo-mee}

from 575 and the base of 3639; TDNT - 1:394,67; v

AV - perish 33, destroy 26, lose 22, be lost 5, lost 4, misc 2; 92

GK - 660 { ajpovllumi }

1) to destroy

1a) to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin

1b) render useless

1c) to kill

1d) to declare that one must be put to death

1e) metaph. to devote or give over to eternal misery in hell

1f) to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed

2) to destroy

2a) to lose

3772 karath { kaw-rath’}

a primitive root; TWOT - 1048; v

AV - cut off 145, make 85, cut down 23, cut 9, fail 6, destroy 4, want 3, covenanted 2, hew 2, misc 9; 288

GK - 4162 { tr'K;

1) to cut, cut off, cut down, cut off a body part, cut out, eliminate, kill, cut a covenant

1a) (Qal)

1a1) to cut off

1a1a) to cut off a body part, behead

1a2) to cut down

1a3) to hew

1a4) to cut or make a covenant

1b) (Niphal)

1b1) to be cut off

1b2) to be cut down

1b3) to be chewed

1b4) to be cut off, fail

1c) (Pual)

1c1) to be cut off

1c2) to be cut down

1d) (Hiphil)

1d1) to cut off

1d2) to cut off, destroy

1d3) to cut down, destroy

1d4) to take away

1d5) to permit to perish

1e) (Hophal) cut off

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