Disagree with a fundamentalist, and he may remind you of hellfire, much as a bully might remind you of his big Cousin Paulie. And if he really wants you to shake in your shoes, he reminds you of the Lake of Fire! But I’m not afraid of the Lake of Fire, and you don’t have to be either.
The Lake of Fire is found only one place in the Bible: Rev 20:10-15. (21st Century King James Version)
10And the devil who had deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are; and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
11And I saw a great white throne and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them.
12And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13And 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.
14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Take the verses literally and you might worry, especially if you’ve been…..well….bad. Quite obviously, though, the verses are not literal.
If they were, then you’d have to explain how death (vs. 14) can be thrown into hell. Is death something you can torment (for ever and ever)? In fact, hell itself is thrown into the Lake of Fire. Hell thrown into hell, a prospect many find….awkward.
While we’re at it, we must also throw the Devil (vs. 10) into the Lake of Fire. But that doesn’t quite work either. Turns out that the Devil maintains a summer cottage on the Lake of Fire. He’s not bothered by it a bit. The hotter the better.
Fortunately, common sense can prevail, for verse 14 tells us what the Lake of Fire really is…..the second death. That is, death (or destruction), which is permanent, unlike the first death, from which one can be resurrected. Thus, being cast in the Lake of Fire simply means that, in the new system….God’s Kingdom rule over earth….death, hell (Greek: Hades, or the grave) and the Devil will be no more.
New writings apparently appear (vs. 12) in the new system….the existing Bible serves mainly to get us to that point. How will resurrected ones….those emptied from the grave…..respond? Some (vs. 15) will not respond well at all, and thus are added to the list of ones done away with permanently.
Yeah, but what about the Devil being tormented in the Lake of Fire (forever and ever)? What about that, Tom Sheepandgoats, hmmm?
Matthew 18:34 refers to jailers as tormentors, presumably because that’s what they did. They were not nice. But the key thought is that they kept you out of circulation. (Matt 18:34 (KJV) And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.) So the Devil is jailed….kept inactive….out of circulation …in the Lake of Fire. (forever and ever)
See Rev 21: 4