Hell itself shall be cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:14) so how can Hell be the Lake of fire?
I believe this passage refers to one historical period in time, not a place at all and the 'Hell' here is merely the grave or the final end. It is the end of death and the end of the grave. There will be no more death from that time on.
Here’s how it reads starting in verse 11: Rev 20:11-15 ‘And 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. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand 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.
13 And 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. 14 And death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Many Christian pastors and authors have commented on this, spinning the same ole’ song-and- dance party line that has been promulgated by the Catholic Church for the last 400 years.
Reuben Archer Torrey, better known as R.A. Torrey for example, was a prolific writer and theologian who lived from 1856 to 1928, is often quoted as one of the ‘Greats’, even to this day. He is relegated as an expert on the subject of Hell.
He became the Superintendent of the Bible Institute of Chicago (now the Moody Bible Institute) and is widely regarded as being doctrinally astute. But in his ‘Bible Answer Book’ on page 14 he talks about annihilation and the alternate view.
This is what he wrote: ‘Q. Why is the theory of the annihilation of the wicked, supposedly indicated by Revelation 20:14-15, un-scriptural and a reprehensible doctrine?
A. The annihilation of the wicked is not indicated in Revelation 20:14-15 to anyone who reads the whole passage and parallel passages in the Scriptures.
The passage reads: “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
The fate of those cast into the lake of fire is not annihilation. There is no Scripture to support such a theory.
The Bible clearly teaches that the future destiny of the wicked is a condition of un-resting, unending, conscious torment and anguish. (Please refer to the section “Eternal Punishment” in this book.) [Emphasis mine]
As to its being a “reprehensible doctrine”, I would say that I have never known anyone who accepted this doctrine who did not lose power in serving God. I could give examples of men whom God greatly used who have been led to accept this doctrine and who, in consequence, have been in part or altogether set aside as soul winners. If one really believes the doctrine of the endless, conscious torment of the unrepentant, he will work as never before for their salvation before it is too late.
On the other hand, immediately at death, the spirits of the wicked depart into that portion of Hades reserved for the wicked dead, where they consciously exist in great torment. (See Luke 16:19-31.) But this is not their final condition of torment.
At the close of the Millennium—the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth after His second coming—those who have died in sin will be raised again to stand before the Great White Throne of God, to be judged and assigned to their final condition of torment. (See Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8).
It is then that they will enter into their final and fullest suffering. Just as the redeemed spirits will be clothed at the coming of Christ with their glorious resurrection bodies, which will be perfect counterparts of the redeemed spirits that inhabit them and partakers with them in all their joy, the wicked are to be clothed with bodies that will be perfect counterparts of the lost spirits that inhabit them and will be partakers with them in all their misery.’
I will do my best to illustrate as succinctly as I can, all the issues I have with this depiction:
Take note of his use of hostile, prejudiced verbiage.
Should we take all of his assumptions as ‘gospel’ without proof or scriptural reference? No. Regardless of one’s fame or supposed relevance or importance to the ministry of Jesus, we must all adhere to the same high standard of the Bible alone as our authority, not some mans’ opinions.
We don’t know better than God. Torrey makes claims without using any scriptures to back them and then says opponents to the Hell doctrine have no scriptural support for their beliefs. Isn’t this hypocrisy?
He said ‘The fate of those cast into the lake of fire is not annihilation.’ Yet in the previous verse he accurately quoted Revelation 20:14-15 which states that the lake of fire is the second death.
Death is the cessation of life, not the continuation of it in another place. (See Psalms 146:4 and Ecclesiastes 9:-6) Sounds like annihilation to me.
They are raised in the Day of Judgment, judged and condemned as unworthy of eternal life (See Acts 13:42-46), then executed by God. (John 5:27-29) Thus they die twice. (Jude 1:12-13)
Is R. A. Torrey the authority or God’s word? God’s word says death is the opposite of life; he says it is life in another place, a very hot, yet un-consuming fiery place. I’ll take God’s word over man’s any day and twice on Sunday!
Also notice his use of the words ‘anyone who reads the whole passage’. This wording is argumentative, pointed, biased and hostile, in my estimation, as is the way he worded this entire diatribe.
These juvenile tactics are designed to belittle those who might have a differing viewpoint, regardless of their credible and/or scriptural reasons for their beliefs.
We should add up the scriptures like an arithmetic problem, and never read into a passage what is not really there. This is the right way to get to the truth. This is forthright and honest.
To twist the scriptures around to fit their modis operandi is lying. This is deceitful and sinful. This is how lies get perpetuated and people just swallow them hook, line and sinker, because they are scared and don’t bother to look into them for themselves. They would rather trust some man to do it for them.
We who are Pastors and teachers had better take warning from God’s word to only teach the truth.
This doctrine needs to go to the dump. To teach it any longer is repelling good people, especially the youth of today, away from the Bible and away from the church and God.
No other single doctrine has caused more atheism than the doctrine of eternal conscious torment in the flames of Hell. That is a shame and disgrace.
It is lying to the people in the name of God. It is making God out to be a liar like unto them. ‘Woe be to the pastors who mislead my flock!’ (See Jeremiah 23:1-4)
And don’t let them tell you they are ‘staying the course’ for the sake of tradition or orthodoxy or that there is any value in doing so. Reality is that if they were to repent and teach the truth about this blasphemous doctrine of demons, they would lose their jobs.
Their Elder Board would immediately throw them out on their ear. They may as well resign. Then where would they go to work come Monday (or Tuesday)?
It’s really about the money, seems to me. Of course, they will immediately and vehemently rebuff this reality if confronted. But think it through. No one wants to lose their job and/or their incomes.
My question to him and all other Hell-mongering pastors out there would be: ‘Have you never read in the scriptures what God himself has to say about all this in these many scriptures as we are studying here?
Or do the scriptures really mean anything to you? Who are you to supersede the words God himself had transcribed by his servants?’ This is plenty of ‘scriptural support’ against eternal conscious torture.
Torrey goes on after this and says ‘The fate of those cast into the lake of fire is not annihilation’ and ‘There is no Scripture to support such a theory.
The Bible clearly teaches that the future destiny of the wicked is a condition of un-resting, conscious torment and anguish.’ This is a lie from the Devil himself if you ask me.
No, the Bible does NOT clearly teach any such thing. It teaches that the destiny of the wicked is death. Death is the absence of life. It is NOT conscious torment (torture) and anguish in a very hot torture chamber.
As it is written by the Apostle Paul in Romans 6:23 ‘For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’
Death is not eternal life in a hot place separated from God. It is NOT conscious awareness in the dark. When I am dead, I have no awareness at all.
I am gone; out of sight and out of mind. It is the same as being in a deep sleep. I won’t remember anything. I am no longer aware of anything that happens on Earth.
The dead know nothing as it is written in Ecclesiastes 9:5 ‘For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.’ They are unconscious and those who are condemned by God and executed will never live again (thus it is the second death).
That is what God had written in his word. Him I trust, not men.
Look at all these scriptures in this study and consider the enormity of their weight. You can trust and rely on them, not on mere mortal reasoning.
And as far as ‘losing power’ in serving God, sure; if a pastor sprung this on his congregation one Sunday morning he would lose his job on the spot! Why? The Elder Board would insist on his resignation, as I said.
You see, their income and livelihoods depend on frightening parishioners and keeping them in the pews through fear and out of their money, which is what the Church lives on.
They expect the pastor to maintain the status quo and keep this foul blasphemous myth alive for their very survival.
So the doctrine of Hell is not really about eternal destiny at all; it’s about money! Who cares about the truth? Pastors who promulgate this foul doctrine are being dishonest and greedy, seems to me. Shame on them all!
Besides, we are not the ‘soul winners’; God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the soul winners. Souls, by the way are beings. There is NOTHING IMMORTAL about them, as far as human souls are concerned (See Ezekiel 18:4, 25).
More about ‘Immortal Souls’ later.
And just where did Jesus say ‘before it is too late’? Could it be possible for God to forgive someone after they die? What if they wake up in a resurrection, face Jesus and say ‘I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.’
Would he say ‘You should have thought about that while still alive. Now it’s too late! Now you must be in Hell for all time to come!’ What kind of a justice would that be?
Then Torrey claims Luke 16:19-31 says the spirits of the wicked ‘depart into that portion of Hades reserved for the wicked dead, where they consciously exist in great torment. But this is not their final condition of torment.’
As we have already seen this is not true. Let’s not read into the text what is just not there. It doesn’t say anything like that. Jesus would have told us if that were his intentions (See example in John 14:2).
Both of these are false. There is no such thing as compartments in Hades. Hades is merely the grave. No grave has compartments. No one is there now, waiting to be ‘re-assigned’ to their ‘final condition of torment’.
To support this, Torrey refers us to Revelation 20:11-15 and 21:8 and I quote: ‘11 And 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. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand 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.
13 And 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. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.’
This scripture tells us the dead await a resurrection to judgment, that they are raised to be judged ‘according to their works’ and that death and the grave are to be abolished. Also that those deemed unworthy of life, die the second time.
What it doesn’t say is that the wicked depart into some compartment and it doesn’t say they are held in great torment and it doesn’t say this is not their final condition. Again, let’s allow scripture o be our authority rather than men.
In 21:8 of Revelation it says: ‘8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whore mongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.’
Torrey claims this supports eternal conscious torment in the flames of Hell, but no, it says directly it is the ‘second death.’ Death is the opposite of life, not life in some other condition or place.
And lastly, Torrey claims the wicked are to be clothed with bodies that match the spirits residing inside them and that both body and spirit will suffer in this ‘final condition’ to experience their final and fullest suffering.
But let’s not add to the book of Revelation what is not there. (Revelation 22:18-19 ‘For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: