The Lake of Fire
PART III

JUDGMENT BY FIRE MUST BEGIN AT THE HOUSE OF GOD

GOD’S TWO AREAS AND ERAS OF JUDGMENT

Before God brings a final judgment on the entirety of the world, He must first perform another judgment on another group of people. This judgment is going on right now. The world is totally unaware of this judgment, although it has been going on for two thousand years. It is happening behind the scenes. Only a relative few are participating in this judgment by fire, and they are all volunteers!

We know for a fact that there is coming a WORLDWIDE judgment on mankind, for Scripture has stated such:

"Because He hath appointed A DAY, in which He will JUDGE THE WORLD [Greek" inhabited earth] in righteousness..." (Acts 17:31).

Most have at least heard of this judgment even if they have no solid understanding of what it is all about or its primary purpose. We will have a great deal to say about this judgment later. But first we will take a look at another judgment almost universally unknown in the world of Christendom. It is a judgment that involves believers, NOW!

Peter, who was given many keys to the kingdom, introduces this judgment to us:

"Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For   the TIME IS COME that JUDGMENT MUST BEGIN AT THE HOUSE OF GOD..." (I Pet. 4:16-17).

What do you know about this judgment on the house of God. Do you know anything specific? Well, don’t feel too badly, most people don’t. Apparently theologians and clergymen don’t know too much either, seeing that it is not a popular subject to teach. If they had even a superficial understanding of God’s judgments on the house of God, they wouldn’t interpret the great white throne and the lake of fire as some hideous act of divine eternal terrorism. These two judgments have much in common.


Just what is this human life on earth for, anyway? -- Why are we here? -- What is our purpose? -- What is God’s purpose for the Christian?

As children we are taught that Christian people live; they die; their souls go to heaven. Bad people live; they die; their souls go to hell. Live, die, go to heaven or live, die, go to hell.

So I guess this earth is a giant "soul factory." But the truth is that Christian souls do not go to heaven at death, neither do wicked souls go to hell at death. Contrary to all Christian belief, the Bible reveals (as does elementary science), that dead people are DEAD. What a revelation! That’s right, boys and girls, living people are "ALIVE" and dead people are "DEAD." This is not rocket science!

If ALL the dead are either alive in hell or alive in heaven, who, pray tell, is God going to resurrect back to life from the dead when He returns to judge the world in righteousness? How can the dead be living in heaven or hell when they haven’t as yet been judged as to where they should be living in the first place?

THE BELIEVER’S JUDGMENT BY FIRE

Well, yes, it does appear that there is a judgment on the house of God, but certainly not a judgment by FIRE, is there? Doesn’t God judge non-believers with fire, but not believers? This only sounds strange to you if you have never been taught the Scriptures.

"Beloved, think it NOT STRANGE concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some STRANGE thing happened unto you" (I Pet. 4:12).

Peter makes it sound as though going through fiery trails is the norm rather than the exception. The New Testament is filled with the fiery trials of the Saints.

Now I hope that none will be offended at my next few statements, but if so, so be it. Unless God Almighty through the purging power of His FIERY SPIRIT, is BURNING OUT the lusts and passions and vanity and haughtiness and greed and self-righteousness and laziness and weakness and hypocrisy and wickedness and pride and materialism and cynicism and depravity and carnality in your life, then Jesus Christ is not choosing you to reign with Him as the Sons of God in the Kingdom of God to bring all Heaven and Earth to repentance and salvation!

And I will tell you on the authority of Jesus Christ and all the Holy Scriptures, that anyone who teaches and takes delight in thinking that God would ever torture anyone for all eternity, will NEVER BE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD WITH SUCH AN ATTITUDE!

Such damnable character flaws of the mind and spirit are going to be burned out of us all! God will either BURN OUT these filthy impurities from our hearts and minds NOW, or He will BURN THEM OUT IN THE LAKE OF FIRE, but either way, make no mistake about it, THESE THINGS ARE COMING OUT!!!

JOHN THE BAPTIST: John the Baptist said that Jesus would be baptizing repentant believers with fire.

"I indeed baptize you with water unto REPENTANCE: but He that comes after me is mightier than I, Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, AND WITH FIRE" (Matt. 3:11).

JESUS CHRIST:

"For EVERY ONE [sinner and saint] shall be salted with FIRE" (Mark 9:49).

APOSTLE PETER:

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it [your faith] be TRIED IN THE FIRE, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 1:7).

APOSTLE PAUL:

"Every man’s work [including believers] shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed BY FIRE, and the FIRE shall try every man’s work of what sort it is" (I Cor. 3:13).

With such noble and august witnesses, does anyone deny that the repentant, converted, dedicated, believing Christian will escape being "revealed," tried," "salted," and "baptized" by FIRE? These Scriptures are undeniable! Whatever this "fire" is, it is going to be used ON EVERYONE. These four Scriptures have the believer specifically in view, but it says and includes "EVERYONE shall be salted with FIRE," and "EVERY MAN’S WORK ... shall be revealed by FIRE."

And there is absolutely NO DIFFERENCE when it comes to the non-believers:

"And I saw a great white throne ... And I saw the dead... and the dead were JUDGED... according to their WORKS... and they were judged EVERY MAN according to their WORKS" (Rev. 20:11-13).

And are these non-believers judged differently from believers who are "revealed, tried, salted and baptized IN FIRE?" Just HOW are these non-believers judged in the book of Revelation? How are the "...fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars..." JUDGED? Answer: "...In the lake WHICH BURNS WITH FIRE..." (Rev. 21:8)!

Is this "fire" in the book of Revelation DIFFERENT from the fire that tries the works of believers in the book of I Corinthians? NO. The word "fire" used in the four examples above concerning believers, is the SAME word "fire" used in the book of Revelation concerning non-believers:

STRONG’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, page 219, #4442, pur; a primary word; "fire" (literally OR FIGURATIVELY. Pur is used (besides its ordinary natural significance):

(1) of the holiness of God, which consumes all that is inconsistent therewith, Heb. 10:27; 12:29; cf. Rev. 1:14; 2:18; 10:1; 15:2; 19:12;

(1a) similarly of the holy angels as His ministers, Heb. 1:7;

(1b) in Rev. 3:18 it is SYMBOLIC of that which tries the faith of saints, PRODUCING WHAT WILL GLORIFY THE LORD;

(2) of the divine judgment, testing the deeds of believers, at the judgment seat of Christ I Cor. 3:13 and 15;

(3) of the fire of DIVINE JUDGMENT upon the REJECTERS of Christ, Matt. 3:11 (where a distinction is to be made between the baptism of the holy Spirit at Pentecost and the "fire" of divine retribution; Acts 2:3 could not refer to baptism); Lk. 3:16."

End of quotation, (All CAPS emphasis are mine).

I was quite amazed to see this broadened definition in Strong’s Concordance. In my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance that I purchased over forty years ago, it has but one line after the Greek word pur. It states that pur is "fire" either (literal or figurative), fiery, lightning. That’s it. So when I purchased the NEW Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible last week, I was pleasantly surprised to see the expanded definitions, especially with reference to this word "pur" -- FIRE. I learned the use of the word "fire" in Scripture the hard way -- I had to research.

We could easily spend twenty pages just commenting on the examples used in this expanded version of Strong’s. I won’t do that, but let’s take a brief look at a few enlightening items: First, we learn that this word can be, and is, used "figuratively." And in fact, the first five examples given in Strong’s ARE examples of figurative usage of the word fire. And of the 500+ times the word 'fire' is used in the Bible, hundreds of times the word 'fire' is used in a figurative or symbolic sense.

I call your attention to the statement in Strong’s (1b) "In Rev. 3:18 it [fire] is SYMBOLIC, of that which tries the faith of saints, PRODUCING WHAT WILL GLORIFY THE LORD"! (CAPS emphasis mine).

I just love it when Christian Scholars will occasionally just absolutely "nail" a Scriptural Truth. Notice this beautiful and profound Scriptural Truth: The symbolic fire of Rev. 3:18 tries the faith of the saints, and PRODUCES what will GLORIFY THE LORD! ASTOUNDING!

Carefully note that it is not the "believer" who "produces" these glorious things, but it is the "SYMBOLIC FIRE" that produces them. And just Who is this "symbolic fire?" It is, of course, GOD -- "For OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE." (Heb. 12:29)!

Therefore it is GOD who "PRODUCES" qualities in the saints that will GLORIFY HIMSELF! God’s consuming SPIRITUAL fire (remember that "GOD IS SPIRIT" Jn. 4:24) does the "producing," not the saint,

"For HIS ACHIEVEMENT are we, being created in Christ Jesus..." (Eph. 2:10).

"Now what have you which you did not OBTAIN? Now if you OBTAINED it also [from GOD] why are you boasting as though [you are] not obtaining [it from God]?" (I Cor. 4:7 Concordant Literal New Testament).

"All is of God" (II Cor. 5:18).

"The One Who is operating ALL in accord with the counsel of HIS will" (Eph. 1:11).

Etc.

In statement (1) the editor of Strong’s cites seven more Scriptures that are used symbolically and figuratively to demonstrate "the holiness of God, which CONSUMES ALL that is inconsistent therewith." It doesn’t consume their physical bodies, nor does it burn their physical bodies to produce pain, but it "CONSUMES" all that is not consistent with God’s holiness. And these are the things of the heart, mind and spirit! It is not the "body" that needs chastisement and purification, it is the MIND, HEART, AND SPIRIT that needs purification from unholiness. You cannot burn pride and vanity out of one’s heart with REAL FIRE (besides the advocates of torturing with real fire for all eternity admit that it accomplishes NOTHING). It takes the fire of God’s spirit to burn away evils that have their origin in the realm of spirit.

This teaching is so absolutely elementary that it seems strange to even have to explain it. And yet, many of the greatest minds in theology today have not a clue as to these simple spiritual truths. All over the world Christian leaders continue to teach that the way God will deal with people who have wicked and carnal hearts, minds, and spirits, is to BURN THEIR FLESH IN REAL FIRE FOR ALL ETERNITY! And what, pray tell, does this infinite mountain of eternal pain accomplish? Why it is "justice" cry the high priests of Christendom!

Webster’s Concise Dictionary p. 392, justice n. 1. The quality of being just, fair, or impartial; evenhandedness.

So first and foremost we are told that burning billions and billions of men and women, and boy and girls, in fire for all eternity is "QUALITY!" - QUALITY? HELL IS A PLACE OF "QUALITY?" Just how sick can the human mind get, and just how low can the human heart sink? And this not from infidels, but from the leading advocates of the Christian Faith!

BACK TO SPIRITUAL BASICS

God gives us perfectly simple and understandable examples of HOW He deals with our sins and faults. In Hebrews 12:6 we read:

"For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not?"

Of course when we ask this question today, the answer is not so obvious as back when the writer of Hebrews asked it. Less and less children are chastened by their fathers today, and look at the disastrous results. But ideally a son should be chastened -- chastened, not BEATEN! Maybe I need to investigate this matter one day. Just maybe those who teach the hardest for an eternal hell of pain are those who were physically molested and beaten as children, rather than lovingly chastised. Continuing:

"Furthermore we have had fathers of our FLESH which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of SPIRITS, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His HOLINESS.

Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Heb. 12:9-11).

This is not difficult to understand. Our fathers in the FLESH have corrected us with rods, straps, belts, sticks, paddles, and the back of their hand. This was done for our teaching and correcting. And it worked, "...we gave them reverence..." Now then, "...shall we not MUCH RATHER be in subjection unto the Father of SPIRITS..."?

Our Heavenly Father is NOT FLESH, but is the Father of SPIRITS! God is SPIRIT. God is working with our SPIRITUAL life. God does not chasten and correct us believers in Christ Jesus with physical rods, straps, belts, sticks, paddles, and the back of His hand! So how is it that God our Father of spirits accomplishes on a spiritual level what our physical fathers tried to accomplish on a physical level? Verse 29 gives us the answer: "For our God is a CONSUMING FIRE !"

As trash is burned and precious metals are purified by the use of LITERAL and PHYSICAL fire, so God burns our spiritual trash and purifies those qualities of character worth saving by His SYMBOLIC and SPIRITUAL fire. Physical fire is inanimate and uncaring. God’s spiritual fire is caring and loving.

There it is. There’s the gospel; there’s the purpose for human existence; there’s the plan of God. God is forming man into the very image of Himself. This requires not only a knowledge of good and evil, but an experience of good and evil. God provides both. He is calling just a few select ones out of this world now, and He will call the remainder of the human race later.

Some sinners are called, given faith, brought to Christ, repent, receive God’s spirit and are being saved NOW. All the rest of the world’s sinners will also be called, given faith, brought to Christ, repent, receive God’s spirit and will be saved LATER. And God uses the same method to convert and save both groups of sinners. That’s because God CHANGES NOT and God is NO RESPECTER of persons, and God WILLS to save all mankind, and God will perform ALL HIS WILL, PURPOSE, AND PLEASURE!!

All of the above verses regarding fire are used in a figurative and symbolic manner. Christ does not literally "baptize" (IMMERSE) His saints in REAL PHYSICAL FIRE. It would burn them all up, and there wouldn’t be any saints or believers! Likewise we saw in Part I that the "lake of fire" is also symbolic and used in a metaphor to describe a SPIRITUAL TRUTH. More on this later.

And so we are assured that EVERYONE will be "revealed," "tried," "salted," and "baptized" "in FIRE." And these fiery trials as Peter calls them go on for a lifetime. If it were real, physical fire, all believers’ lives would be short indeed. God is SPIRIT, and God is a CONSUMING FIRE. It is God’s SPIRIT that is likened to fire. The spiritual teaching in this symbol is to recognize what real fire accomplishes and to then use that as an analogy as to what God DOES TO US (or more properly FOR US).

Fire does a number of things:

  1. Fire CHANGES things. Fire brings about molecular changes in the materials that are burned. God’s spiritual fire will make changes in our mind, heart, and spirit.

  2. Fire PURGES. In times past if a building were diseased and rat-infested, they would purge away the filth by burning it down. We are to be purged from all our diseases of sin and carnality. Jesus Christ paid the penalty of sin for us, but now God wants to get at the root and core of what caused us to sin in the first place. We all need desperately to be CHANGED and PURGED.

  3. Fire BURNS UP combustible materials that have no value in saving. God will burn out of all of us the straw, grass, and stubble, which represent evil and wrong doctrines, idols of the heart, and philosophies that exalt themselves against God.

  4. Fire PURIFIES things of value which we do want to retain. The analogy is used in the Scriptures of purifying gold by fire to make it more beautiful and more valuable. Gold represents the highest doctrines of spiritual understanding such as the Love of God and the Sovereignty of God, and salvation of all.

No one teaches us more regarding the fiery trials of life than the apostle to the nations, Paul. Paul was "revealed, tried, salted, and baptized" in God’s "CONSUMING FIRE," and yet never a single hair on his head was ever singed.

THE CALL OF PAUL

When Jesus desired to ask the worst sinner who had ever lived (that would be Paul):

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to SAVE SINNERS; OF WHOM I AM CHIEF." (I Tim. 1:15)

To volunteer to teach the gospel to the Gentiles, He merely shined a bright light in Paul’s face to get his attention. Here are just a few revealed events in the life of Saul before God turned him into PAUL:

"Now Saul [Paul], yet breathing out THREATENINGS and SLAUGHTER against the disciples of the Lord..." (Acts 9:1):

"And I [Paul] persecuted this way unto THE DEATH, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women" (Acts 22:4).

"And I PUNISHED them OFT in EVERY synagogue, and compelling them To BLASPHEME; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them unto strange cities" (Acts 26:11).

"For I am the LEAST of the apostles, that am not meant to be called an apostle because I PERSECUTED the church of God" (I Cor. 15:9).

"For ye have heard of my conversation [behavior] in time past in the Jews religion, how that BEYOND MEASURE I persecuted the church of God, and WASTED it" (Gal. 1:13).

Most people believe that when Paul said he was the "chief of sinners" he was just blowing hot air--trying to play super humble or something. That he was so spiritual that he equated persecution of the church with being the grossest sin of all time. Not so. God’s Holy Spirit did not inspire Paul to "blow hot air" to make himself look artificially humble! Paul (Saul before his conversion) really was THE WORST SINNER THAT HAS EVER LIVED IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD! (Including Hitler!)

There is a very important reason for understanding how gross a sinner Paul really was. There is a paramount reason why you will NEVER be able to out-sin Paul. NO ONE has ever been able to out-sin Paul. Men like Hitler and Hussein may even come close, but no one will ever hold that infamous distinction of being the "chief, preeminent, foremost sinner of all time" but the apostle Paul. Jesus Christ had to fill that position two thousand years ago for our understanding of upon whom the ends of the ages are come! Here’s the proof:

The phrase "beyond measure" in the KJV (Gal. 1:13) is translated from the Greek word hyperbole and has two primary usages:

  1. "TRANSCENDENT" as found in Scriptures such as II Cor. 4:17

    "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more EXCEEDING AND ETERNAL [eonian] WEIGHT of glory."

    The Greek translated "exceeding" is huperbole, and means TRANSCENDENT. Transcendent describes something that is highest, incomparable, consummate, matchless, preeminent, sublime, perfect, unequaled, unparalleled, and unrivaled! In other words the highest possible degree. Nothing is higher than that which is huperbole -- TRANSCENDENT!

  2. "INORDINATE" as we read in Gal. 1:13,

    "For you hear of my behavior once, in Judaism, that I INORDINATELY persecuted the ecclesia [church] of God and ravaged it." (Concordant Literal New Testament).

    Inordinate describes something that is excessive, exorbitant, extravagant, unreasonable, and too much. Now here’s the kicker: "Inordinately" is translated from the SAME GREEK WORD huperbole which is also translated "transcendently"! (For more details on this see my paper entitled Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh Identified).

Here then is the Biblical truth of this matter. To the degree that "transcendently" describes the HEIGHT of God’s goodness and glory, so likewise does the word "inordinately" describe the HEIGHT of evil that Paul perpetrated on the Church of God. God’s transcendent (huperbole) goodness and glory are UNPARALLELED! Likewise, Paul’s inordinate (huperbole) slaughter (murders) and threatenings are also, UNPARALLELED! God’s Word does not say in vain that Paul was the CHIEF, FOREMOST, PREEMINENT (very, very WORST) of ALL SINNERS WHO HAVE EVER LIVED! He really WAS.

Now then, what do we read next after all these "threatenings and slaughter?"

"And as he [Saul] journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth... And he TREMBLING AND ASTONISHED, said, ‘LORD, WHAT WILL YOU HAVE ME TO DO?" (Acts 9:3-6).

By all Scriptural indications, it probably took no longer than 30 seconds before Paul was fully committed to His New Lord. Do you reckon Jesus could ever do such a thing again? Or, was this incident a mere fluke? Don’t you fancy that Jesus could possibly convert one of the lesser sinners of the world (say Ted Bundy) in maybe 29 seconds? Or 28 seconds? Then why do you suppose that the High Priests of Christendom are teaching the world that there are billions and billions of LESSER sinners that Jesus CANNOT convert in 29 seconds or 29 QUADRILLION CENTURIES?

I did not use up a couple of pages here just to tell an interesting story from the Bible. It is more than just an interesting story, it is an amazing and marvelous story, and it portends profound hope for a lost and sinning world. Why does Paul tell us that he was the chief of ALL SINNERS? Why did our Lord choose this worst of sinners to be His apostle at this particular time in history? Why didn’t He choose a mediocre sinner like James or John to be His apostle to the Gentiles? Why did it have to be THE WORLD’S WORST SINNER? What did our Lord prove by using the world’s worst sinner that He couldn’t have done by using a lesser sinner? MUCH!

I have heard people say that "God won’t save me; I have committed too many horrible sins for God to ever save me!" And I have heard and had people personally tell me that God will never save men like Ted Bundy or Adolph Hitler because their sins were so evil and so many. Oh, how we humans love to put limitations on an INFINITE GOD! Here’s the answer as to why God needed to chose the world’s WORST SINNER to be the apostle to the rest of the world:

"Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting" (I Tim. 1:16).

The King James really does not do justice to this verse at all. Most have read right over this verse and never saw the profound, universal, all-embracing teaching in this verse. Let me quote it from the Concordant Version:

"But therefore was I shown mercy, that in me, THE FOREMOST [the worst sinner ever] Jesus Christ should be DISPLAYING [publicly] ALL HIS PATIENCE [yes God has ‘patience’ with even the worst of sinners], FOR A PATTERN, of those who are about to be believing on Him for life eonian"

Jesus Christ chose Paul, the WORST, CHIEF, FOREMOST, PREEMINENT SINNER THAT EVER LIVED (huperbole), to be put on PUBLIC DISPLAY for the whole world to see Jesus Christ demonstrating ALL HIS PATIENCE, for a "PATTERN" that will be repeated over, and over, and over again billions and billions of times for all those that Christ will likewise bring to repentance at any second He so desires!!!

Here’s the lesson: If Jesus Christ can bring to repentance, and convert, and save the WORLD’S WORST SINNER THAT HAS EVER LIVED in about 30 seconds, then that drunken cussing uncle of yours (the one you believe is going to hell for all eternity), is NO MATCH FOR THE CONVERTING POWER OF JESUS CHRIST! And ALL OF THE LESSER SINNERS of the world also are no match for the converting, saving power of Jesus Christ. Once the Giant of all sinners has been conquered, converting the sinning MIDGETS will be an easy task!

Has no one ever considered what would happen if God were to strike down Hitler with a BLINDING LIGHT FROM HEAVEN? Do you really think he would shake his fist toward heaven in total human defiance? Well, if you do, you think as a fool! Paul despised the Church of the Loving God. He hated it with evey fiber of his being. He went to great length and personal hardship to seek out and TORTURE the Saints of God. But when God struck him down with a blinding light from heaven, Paul "trembled" (Greek, tremo, dreadful and terrifying FEAR), and was "astonished" (Greek: thambeo, to stupefy, astound, amaze, astonish), and melted like jelly in the noonday SUN!

And some would suppose that Hitler or any LESSER sinner would do otherwise? Well, God didn’t strike down Hitler with a blinding light from heaven, but guess what? HE WILL YET DO IT! And when He does, Hitler will sob like a babbling idiot! He will violently shake and tremble in UTTER DESPAIR AND TERROR, and he will REPENT, make no mistake about it! OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE! God has ways to MAKE carnal-minded, God-defying men and women VOLUNTEER real fast!

I am wearied by the countless times people have told me: "God will NEVER make anyone do anything against their own free will." Oh, really? Show me the Scripture. Show me the SCRIPTURE!! Are any so STUPID as to believe that on the very day that Paul was on his way to Damascus to persecute and torture the Saints of Jesus Christ with nothing else on his mind, but he paused for a moment in the middle of the road and thought to himself, "You know, I think that I will not go to Damascus today and persecute Christians. I believe that I will right now exercise my ‘free will’ and repent of all these sins and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ Whom I have been persecuting. Yes, I think I will do that right now, BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE." Is THAT what the Word of God says? IS IT? Or rather did not Christ MAKE His will PAUL’S WILL in mere SECONDS?

So many ignorant people just do not see that they are BLASPHEMING the very name, nature, and character (LOVE) of God by their demeaning and hate-filled accusations about what God can and cannot do! God went AGAINST the will of Paul (Saul), and God MADE His will PAUL’S WILL in a matter of SECONDS. But Christendom teaches that God doesn’t do such things. It just isn’t right. It just isn’t God’s way. WELL, YES, IT IS RIGHT, AND IT IS GOD’S WAY, AND HE WILL DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN UNTIL ALL HUMANITY IS SAVED!

And so we learn that God converted the world’s worst sinner in a matter of seconds. We learned that The Father inspired Jesus to pray: "Forgive them, for they know not what they do." We also learned that the "them" in this prayer includes the whole world, for the Scriptures plainly tell us that it is the whole world that is accountable for Christ’s Crucifixion, even though it was performed by the express foreordained will of the Father.

Now then, what do these marvelous and profound Scriptures accomplish in the hearts and minds of those who are teaching "eternal torment?" Nothing. Absolutely NOTHING! These Scriptural truths have NO effect on the hearts of those depraved persons who delight in the prospects of an eternal hellhole of torture for most of humanity. But at God’s choosing, they will all melt as Paul did in the blinding light of God’s noonday Sun!

For those few of you whom God is beginning to speak to through His spirit, it should now start to become clear that nothing can thwart the will of God which is to SAVE ALL HUMANITY. God has spoken it; He has willed it; He will perform it.

FOR WHAT DID PAUL VOLUNTEER?

All who will have a part with Christ when He comes to rule this earth in His kingdom must volunteer for judgment now! Remember how Paul volunteered: "What will You have me to do?" But just what was Paul volunteering to do?

  • Was he volunteering to be praised and adored by the public?

  • Was he volunteering to wear thousand-dollar suits, $500 shoes, $20,000 Rolex watches, drive $80,000 automobiles, live in multi-million dollar multiple homes, fly in private executive jets, and collect millions and millions and millions of dollars of poor people’s money to promote the gospel of prosperity and worldliness?

  • Did our Lord tell Paul that his ministry and calling would be a "walk in the park" with never-ending comforts and pleasures, having medals and honors bestowed upon him by the leaders and dignitaries of pagan nations, living in a five and a half-million dollar mansion large enough to be a luxury hotel, while feasting like a fat king in the opulence of Babylonian extravagance?

  • Is this the description of a successful minister of the Gospel?

  • Was Paul’s message to all the Gentile nations that they had to give to him (or they would be ROBBING GOD) ten percent of all their gold, silver, salaries, or money, so he could flaunt his worldly and lavish lifestyle in the faces of these poor Christian converts.

Let’s "get real" as they say.

"For I will shew him [Paul] how GREAT things he must SUFFER for my name’s sake" (Acts 9:16).

In II Cor. 11:22-28 we learn that Paul suffered the following:

weariness jails blows
deaths thirty-nine lashes flogged with rods
stoned shipwrecked day & night in swamp
journeys dangers of rivers dangers of robbers
dangers of his race dangers of the nations dangers in the city
dangers in wilderness dangers in the sea dangers from false brethren
toil and labor vigils famine and thirst
fasts cold and nakedness

"Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me DAILY, the care of ALL THE CHURCHES"! (2Co 11:28)

Add a little "fire" to the above scenario and we might conclude that Paul was being tortured and punished in a Christian hell.

But Paul was not being "punished," he was being "JUDGED," and there is a world of difference. Paul was being made STRONG. Paul was being molded into a SPIRITUAL GIANT! And being trained, educated, purged, perfected into a spiritual giant is NOT a walk in the park!

Was it just Paul that God singled out to endure such hardships and trials? No, we too must partake of the same:

"Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that WE [Christians, followers of Christ] MUST through MUCH TRIBULATION [Greek: thlipsis--affliction, troubles, burdens, persecution, anguish] enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).

Does your pastor teach that you must go through such things if you are to be a follower of Jesus Christ and rule with Him in the Kingdom of God? Or does he teach that if you are going through just such things that you probably need to get your life in order and repent because you obviously have many, many sins in your life that are bringing on all these troubles and therefore, you are not being blessed of the Lord? Their prosperity gospel of worldliness and gross materialism is a travesty of the gospel of Jesus Christ! I hear this prosperity gospel of worldliness and materialism every time I turn the TV on. But what do the Scriptures say?

Before I continue this train of thought, let me interject that although we are to go through extreme hardship, persecution, and tribulations, God nonetheless strengthens us so that we can endure these things. It is not God’s purpose to discourage us. We have this promise from God:

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape [Gk: ‘sequel’] that you may be able to bear it" (I Cor. 10:13).

I'll let you check all the many Scriptures of comfort that God gives us even while we are undergoing all our trials and sufferings. Here’s one more good one, however:

"Blessed [Gk: HAPPY] is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the CROWN OF LIFE, which the Lord has promised to them that love Him" (James 1:12).

It is most important that we consider, however, some of the many Scriptures that relate to our suffering, afflictions, and persecutions. This is necessary if we are to ever acquire a deep spiritual understanding of God’s judgment on the world in the lake of fire and second death. As we go through these many Scriptures, be aware of the fact that we are not going through all these things as punishment. God is not punishing us, He is chastening us, and there is a BIG difference.

"And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we SUFFER with Him, that we may be also glorified together" (Rom. 8:17).

"That no man should be moved by these AFFLICTIONS: for yourselves know that we are APPOINTED thereunto" (I Thes. 3:3).

Paul suffered much to get the gospel to the Thessalonians:

"...Suffering ...being outraged ...a vast struggle ... [why?] ...We have been TESTED by God to be entrusted with the gospel... God, Who is TESTING our hearts" (I Thes. 2:1-4, Concordant Literal New Testament).

Then he tells them that they too are "appointed" to such like sufferings and afflictions. Paul praises the faith and endurance of the Thessalonians because of: 

"...all your PERSECUTIONS and the AFFLICTIONS with which you are bearing... which you are SUFFERING... you who are being AFFLICTED..." (I Thes. 1:5-7).

Now then, was this because the Thessalonians lived in a bad part of town, or bad part of the world, or that they lived at a bad time in history? Or does God bring these things upon all who would follow Christ in all ages?

"Yea, and ALL [in every era] that will live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL SUFFER PERSECUTION" (II Tim. 3:12).

But aren’t all these persecutions and afflictions at the hands of evil men rather than God? For sure wicked men commit many wicked deeds against the true followers of Jesus Christ, but who is ultimately responsible for ALL things, including the tribulations and persecutions of believers? It is, of course, GOD

"Who works ALL things after the counsel of His Own WILL" (Eph. 1:11).

"So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in ALL YOUR PERSECUTIONS AND TRIBULATIONS that ye endure; Which is a manifest token [display] of [of WHAT?] ...OF the RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT [Gk: ‘just judging’] OF GOD!"

And for what grand purpose?

"...that ye may be counted WORTHY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, for which ye also SUFFER" (2 Thes. 1:4-5).

Just how much are we expected to give up and suffer for Christ in order to be worthy?

"And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than Me is NOT WORTHY of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is NOT WORTHY of Me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, IS NOT WORTHY OF ME" (Matt. 10:36-38).

What does God consider a "reasonable" sacrifice to become members of the Family and Kingdom of God?

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your BODIES A LIVING SACRIFICE, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1).

Make no mistake about it; if you will follow Jesus Christ, you will experience many of the hardships spoken of in these Scriptures. I am not saying that it is necessary to teach youngsters in Sunday School these deeper truths of God, but if we adults are to ever go on to maturity in Christ, it’s time to get our heads out of the sand!

The good news is that if we have a volunteering heart and accept the judgments of God on our lives now, we will be sure to avoid the harsher judgment on the whole world reserved for "that day."

"For if we would JUDGE [Gk: diakrino=THROUGH JUDGE, separate thoroughly, to withdraw, discern, judge] OURSELVES [members of the called-out House of God], we should not be judged [Gk: krino=judge, set right, decide, to try, condemn, punish]. But when we are judged [the same Greek word krino as used above with reference to judging the wicked world] we are CHASTENED of the Lord, that we should not be condemned [Gk: katakrino, an adverse sentence] with the world" (I Cor. 11:32).

Pay close attention to the three Greek words, diakrino, krino, and katakrino, used in this verse.

There is so much contained in this verse. There is a judgment now on God’s saints. We are judged by being "chastened of the Lord." What does that mean? "Chastened" is from the Greek word paideuo and here is what it means: "to train up a child, i.e. educate, or (by impl.) discipline (by punishment): -- chasten (-ise), instruct, learn, teach" (Strong’s Greek Dictionary p. 54).

Are you following this amazing use of words? You will now learn a marvelous truth of Scripture that is not being taught in any theological seminary that I am aware of anywhere in the whole world.

We are "judged" by God, and the vehicle that God uses to do this judging is "chastening." In other words, we are "judged" by God by being "trained up" like a child, by being "educated," by "discipline" involving "punishment," "instructed," by which we "learn," and all these "teach" us WHAT WE SHOULD BE.

There is no doubt that some of this chastening can be harsh, sorrowful, and painful. Much of it is not very pleasant and God admits as much to us. And it is not possible for one single son of God to avoid this chastisement! Let’s read it:

WHEN GRACE IS A VERB

Grace means favor, a gift, to be cheerful, well, happy, graciously, freely, deliverance from danger, and a dozen other benevolent qualities of peace, joy, goodness, and salvation. It is one of those truly wonderful words of blessing. But just how does it operate in "the real world" as we say? A definition does not tell us everything about a word. We can, likewise, define "love" as, a deep, tender feeling of affection. But does that definition tell us how love actually functions?

We learned that "...when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord" (I Cor. 11:32).

Chastening defines how it is that God judges us. Now then, we are about to learn one of the most remarkable spiritual truths in the whole Bible:

"For the grace of God that brings salvation hath appeared to all men , teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world [eon or age]" (Titus 2:11-12).

Here then is the remarkable parallel between God’s judgment and His grace:

God "judges" us by "chastening" us! (I Cor. 11:32) "chasten," Greek: ‘paideuo’ #3811
God "graces" us by "teaching" us! (Titus 2:12) "teaching," Greek: ‘paideuo’ #3811

WOW! Do you even begin to understand what you have just read? Whether God "JUDGES" us (and later the wicked world), or "GRACES" us, He does it THE SAME WAY!!

"Judging" is CHASTENING (Strong’s #3811), and "gracing" is CHASTENING (Strong’s #3811). It is the SAME WORD!

"Grace" is not a stagnant feel-good noun -- it is also a verb -- that is, it does something; it accomplishes something; it produces something of great value in the believer.

"Teaching" accomplishes something essential in making man into God’s very image.

The next verse tells us what it "teaches" us: "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts... living soberly, righteously, and godly!" Just the words "living godly" will cover every single thing that God EVER ASKS OF US -- EVERYTHING. "Living GODLY" covers every possible act of faith, love, and obedience that anyone could ever conceive of.

When God uses the SAME WORD to describe something that He wishes to accomplish, it behooves us to study deeply what that word means, especially when that word has to do with the very destiny of all peoples who have ever lived.

The subject of I Cor. 11:32 is JUDGING.
The subject of Titus 2:11 is GRACE AND SALVATION.

HOW does God "judge" us? BY CHASTENING (#3811, paideuo)!.
HOW does God's "grace and save" us? BY CHASTENING (#3811, paideuo)!

God JUDGES by chastening (I Cor. 11:32), and God GRACES by chastening (Titus 2:11).
By GRACE GOD JUDGES US and by JUDGING GOD GRACES US!

Gracing us by means of chastening, TEACHES US TO LIVE GODLY and brings salvation. Judging us by means of chastening, also TEACHES US TO LIVE GODLY and brings salvation!

It is high time we dispense with the hypocrisy.

When God JUDGES US THROUGH CHASTENING (I Cor. 11:32) it is for our good and for our benefit and for our salvation. Why then do we think that God changes character when He likewise judges the wicked, unjust, and non-believers at the great white throne? Why? God changes NOT! God is NOT a respecter of persons. You read all of these Scriptures. Do we think the Scriptures LIE?

If you are not rejoicing over these profound and marvelous revelations, then you must be spiritually asleep. I have just shown you one of the most remarkable truths in the entirety of the Bible! You would do well to not read any further until you thoroughly grasp what has been presented here.

And again I ask, "What does this have to do with the lake of fire?" EVERYTHING! I am not going to go into detail on this aspect of judging yet, but suffice it to be said here that the "judging" (Greek: krino in I Cor. 11:32 by chastening that brings godly living and salvation is also the very same "judging" (Greek: krino) used in Revelation 20:12 with reference to the lake of fire.

Seriously, do many believe that these God-inspired Greek words have one meaning when applied to God judging and gracing believers now, but then have a totally different meaning when applied to as yet non-believers in the day of judging? Do you? Well, regrettably, many do think that God is fickle, inconsistent, and a respecter of persons. Can you for once in your life begin to use your God-given mind to think for yourself?

This is an absolutely marvelous teaching. God "judges" us by "chastening "(paideuo) us, which means, teaching, training, learning, disciplining, punishing, instructing, and educating. And God "graces" us also by this same "chastening" (paideuo) which does not change meaning from one Scripture verse to another. Notice how other translations render this word paideuo in Titus 2:11-12:

"Teaching us..." King James

"Instructing us..." American Standard Version

"Disciplining us... New Testament (Henry Alford)

"And schooling us..." The Centenary Translation (Montgomery)

"Training us..." The New Testament in Modern Speech (Weymouth)

Now it is true that the Greek word paideuo #3811 can also mean "punishment." But punishment is not the main force of this word. Notice that none of the above translations (nor any that I know of) translate this word, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, PUNISHING us that denying ungodliness ..." No, the force of this word is to DISCIPLINE, TRAIN, INSTRUCT, SCHOOL AND TEACH. Let’s at least have the sensibility of a ten year-old. Of what value is "disciplining, training, instructing, schooling, and teaching" if it goes on forever and ever and ever, and while being burned with fire, for ALL ETERNITY? Gee, do we think they will EVER "learn their lesson?" I, of course, speak as a fool.

All of these aspects of paideuo are with a view to amendment, correction, and setting right, not merely punishment for punishment’s sake. A father chastens his children with a view to amendment and correction, not for the sole sake of CAUSING PAIN! Why do we think carnal-minded human fathers are a billion times more noble and merciful in the disciplining of their children than God is in the disciplining (chastening -- judging -- gracing) of HIS children?

There is a need for much repenting in the teaching of this vile doctrine of eternal torment. This doctrine of eternal torture blasphemes the name of our Loving Father. It is heresy on a level with hypobole -- inordinate -- TOO MUCH! It is a damnable teaching. And it is among the filthy trash of wood, straw and stubble that will be purged out and burned out in God’s Lake of Fire from every person who teaches and delights in this most disgusting of all disgraceful theologies of depraved men and women.

Oh yes, there are things that are going to be burned out of existence in God’s "lake of fire," and this deplorable doctrine of eternal torment will be the first to be abolished and death will be the last to be abolished--and so, let it burn ... LET IT BURN!

Remember that Jesus Christ does not change and that He does not respect (have partiality) with regards to persons. With those two thoughts in mind, what is accomplished by the "chastening" of the Lord? He "graces" us by chastening and He "judges" us by chastening. What does it always accomplish? Answer:

"For the grace of God [that chastens us] ... BRINGS SALVATION" (Titus 2:11)!!

And all of this is of God. God judges, God graces, God chastens, and God brings SALVATION!

Perhaps you have a shortcut-formula which bypasses all these hundreds of Scriptures I am presenting and makes them all void and of no effect? I have heard of such short-cut formulas, but God’s Word knows nothing of them!

Notice:

"Being CONFIDENT of this very thing, that He [that’s Christ] which hath begun a good work in you WILL PERFORM IT until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6).

And when Christ's

"... JUDGMENTS are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world [the whole world] WILL LEARN RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Isa. 26:9).

As far as Christian theory goes, this Scripture in Isaiah might just a well be a lie, for they say it will never happen. They teach that the whole world will never ever learn righteousness and receive salvation. That’s because they neither believe the gospel nor teach it. And so rather than bring the gospel of universal salvation, they threaten the world with universal damnation in the fires of eternal hell if they don’t follow their short-cut-formulas to material wealth and spiritual salvation. And thus the name of God is being blasphemed among the nations (Rom. 2:24) to this very day.

PUNISHING VS. CHASTENING

While considering all of the hellfire and brimstone material disseminated by Christian teachers, preachers, writers, and educators around the world, just how many hundreds of times do you suppose the word "punishment" is used in the entire New Testament with regards to sinners? Hundreds? Would you believe less than fifty? Would you believe less than ten? Would you believe ONCE? That’s right, the answer is one time.

"Of how much more punishment [Gk: timoria], suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" (Heb. 10:29).

I can assure you that those who have committed the above crime towards the Lord are few indeed. Most of humanity that will be judged in the lake of fire have NEVER EVEN HEARD of Jesus Christ, let alone, "trodden underfoot the Son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant, an UNHOLY thing, and done DESPITE unto the Spirit of grace." Most have never even heard of such sins, let alone committed them.

This is a most powerful Scripture to be sure, but it does not speak of "eternal" punishment, and it is the ONLY SCRIPTURE IN THE ENTIRETY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT that uses the word "punishment" with reference to punishing sinners!

There are three other places in the KJV that the word "punish" or "punished" is used correctly. They are Acts 4:21; 22:5; and 26:11 where it Saul (later Paul) is punishing not sinners, but members of the church, the followers of Christ.

II Thes. 1:9 should be translated, "eonian extermination" and not "punished ... everlasting."

II Peter 2:4 & 9 should both be "chastening" as it is the same Greek word kolazo and not timoria which means punish.

The KJV uses "punished" in verse nine, which should be "chasten," and ironically it doesn’t even translate the Greek word kolazo (chasten) in verse four -- the KJV translators left it out completely. I suppose the translators thought that it was redundant to say, "chastening judging." But then again, they didn’t bother to look at II Cor. 2:6 which should read "rebuke" (another Greek word, epitimia), not "punish."

And lastly, I Pet. 2:14 should read "vengeance" ( still another Greek word, kdikesise), and not punishment.

So in the case of "punishment" we have but ONE Scripture to deal with, and we will deal with it.

This next fact doesn’t necessarily "prove" anything, it’s just the way my mind works. Jesus Christ said:

"O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the ABUNDANCE of the heart the MOUTH SPEAKS" (Mat. 12:34).

I think we all understand that statement: What is heaviest and most dominant on our heart is what we talk about the most.

Now then, my observation. We learned of the one time that punishment is used in reference to sinners. Would you all be interested in knowing how many times the opposite of punishment is used? Okay, the word "mercy" (-ies, -iful) is found in the Bible over THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY times! Could it be that the "abundance of God’s heart" consists of many more MERCIES than it does of vengeance and punishment?

Where do you suppose we find nearly a hundred of these occurrences? That’s right, in the writings of King David. No wonder blind Bartimaeus ...

"began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son OF DAVID, have MERCY on me" (Mk. 10:47).

God promised to give His Son "...the sure MERCIES OF DAVID" (Acts 13:34). You see, David’s heart spoke such an abundance about God’s mercies, that God said of him:

"...I have found DAVID the son of Jesse, a man AFTER MINE OWN HEART which shall fulfill all my will" (Acts 13:22).

Three hundred and thirty to ONE! Probably doesn’t mean a thing. Just an observation.

By the way, even among those who love the doctrine of eternal torment, no Scripture in the Old Testament has ever been brought forth which even vaguely defends their theory.

PUNISHMENT AND THE GOSPEL

For all those who have never heard the real Gospel of God, here it is:

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publish peace; that brings GOOD TIDINGS [that means gospel] of GOOD [not evil tidings of a Lord who administers infinite acts of eternal terrorism], that publishes SALVATION [not DAMNATION] ... The LORD hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of ALL THE NATIONS [that’s the whole world], and ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH [that’s everyone] SHALL SEE THE SALVATION OF OUR GOD" (Isa. 52:7 & 10).

I am wondering if most of my readers have ever even heard of this verse or knew that it is in their Bibles.

Now I am aware of the many Scriptures that speak of death, destruction, and perishing of wicked people. And we won’t forget the one Scripture with regards to punishment. All those Scriptures are true. They are not, however, God’s final judgment on the wicked. The final judgments of God will bring salvation to all and there are no scriptures that contradict those saving declarations of Almighty God. God has declared it; He has spoken it; His Word has gone forth: He has willed --

"Who WILL have ALL men to be SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (I Tim. 2:4).

Here then is a declaration of God from His own inspired Word. It is found in all Bibles and in all languages on earth for all to see and believe. But the Church of Babylon has tried to destroy this declaration and make it of no effect in the minds of millions and millions of people around the world. They teach that this verse and declaration of Almighty God WILL NEVER EVER HAPPEN! Well, be it known, that they LIE!

Here’s what God says about His own words and His own declarations.

"So shall MY WORD BE that GOES FORTH OUT OF MY MOUTH [as in I Tim. 2:4 and a hundred Scriptures like it]; it shall NOT return unto me void [unfruitful, negated, ineffective, ineffectual, inoperative, invalid, null, worthless, vain, unsuccessful], but it SHALL ACCOMPLISH THAT WHICH I PLEASE, AND IT SHALL PROSPER [bear fruit, benefit, do well, flourish, increase, multiply, progress, make good] in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11).

Oh, the audacity and blasphemy of those who proudly teach that God cannot and will not ever accomplish His own will, save five percent! Does Isaiah 55:11 sound like only a FIVE PERCENT gospel that Christendom is preaching around the world for TEN PERCENT of your money? Like those who crucified our Lord, they know not what they say, and God will forgive them too. But for those who are ready to learn and believe, let’s see how God answers such utter foolishness:

Remember the former things of old:
For I am God, and there is none else;
I AM GOD, and there is none like Me,
"Telling from the BEGINNING, the HEREAFTER,
And from AFORETIME, what has NOT YET been done,
Saying, ‘ALL MY COUNSEL SHALL BE CONFIRMED,
And ALL MY DESIRE WILL I DO.
Calling from the sunrise, a bird of prey,
From a land far off, the man of My counsel.
Indeed, I SPEAK! INDEED, I WILL BRING IT ABOUT!
I formed. Indeed, I WILL DO IT"
(Isaiah 46:9-11).

Nothing can hinder God’s words or declarations. Even the things that are perceived to be hindrances to God’s will (such as the lake of fire and the second death), are not hindrances at all, but rather are the very instruments for the accomplishment of His will. God has a ONE HUNDRED PERCENT GOSPEL, AND IT’S FREE!

GRACE AND JUDGMENT

"For whom the Lord loves He CHASTENS..." (Heb. 12:6).

There is no escaping it. If you are to be a "son of God" you will be chastened. Now I don’t want to pile too much on you at once here, but there’s more. As you can see from the definition above, the word "chastened" is paideuo, and is not too severe. Even if involving some punishment, the whole thrust of the word is to train, educate, discipline, instruct, etc. These are all good things not to be feared. But there is more, so we might just as well read it and get our attitudes adjusted to it. The rest of the verse:

"For whom the Lord loves He CHASTENS, and [AND] ...SCOURGES every son whom He receives [or is assenting]" (Heb. 12:6)

"SCOURGES?" No, not scourging! Does God show His love toward us by scourging us? It is absolutely necessary. Scourging is definitely even more severe and harsh than chastening.

The word "scourge" in Heb. 12:6 is from the Greek word mastigoo and here’s its definition: "to flog (literally or figuratively) -- scourge" Strong’s Greek Dictionary, page 46. And what does "flog" mean?

"flog 1. To beat severely with a whip or rod." Page 531 American heritage College Dictionary.

This word "scourge" in Heb. 12:6 which God performs on us, is the very same word found in John 19:1 where it says they took Jesus and "scourged" Him. Now then, will God literally "BEAT SEVERELY WITH A WHIP OR ROD" every son that He receives? No, not necessarily, even though they did literally do so to Paul and many other followers of Jesus Christ. Remember that the definition said it can be "literal OR figurative."

Many people have come to know Christ in their senior years, and God does not literally beat every little old lady with whips and rods when they turn to Him. However, the chastening of God’s grace which we read about in Titus 2:11 can certainly seem like a real flogging. God will chasten us until He drives out the beast in us. The beast of supposed "free will" which is really self-will does not want to leave peaceably! It takes the very presence of Jesus Christ to dispel the beast of humanistic self-determinism, commonly called "free will."

Although we are not condemned when God judges us, we nonetheless must be chastened.

"If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? But if you be without chastisement, whereof ALL are partakers, then are you bastards, and NOT sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection into the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for OUR PROFIT, that we might be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but GRIEVOUS: nevertheless afterward it yields the PEACEABLE FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS unto them which are exercised thereby" (Heb. 12:7--11).

So it is essential that we accept God’s chastisement which is how He "judges" us.

The reason we are not "condemned" with the world is because we accept God’s judgment in our lives

"There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:1).

But can we compare the judging that believers go through with the judging that the wicked receive at the end of the age in the lake of fire. Surely there is no comparison, is there? Trust me when I say, "For there is no respect [Gk: partiality] of persons with God" (Rom. 2:11).

  • Doesn’t the "second death" part of the "lake of fire" seal their fate forever?

  • Isn’t it true that God will never, ever pressure anyone to accept Jesus Christ?

  • Isn’t it true that even God Himself doesn’t know why some people reject His Sacrifice?

  • Didn’t God predestine us to be saved but predestined those in the lake of fire to be damned?

  • Isn’t the reason why some people choose Christ and others Reject Christ an eternal mystery?

  • Is there something about death itself that prevents God from saving a non-believer after death?

  • Does Rom. 8:38-19 substantiate the teaching that death separates God from sinners, eternally?

  • Isn’t the lake of fire the most dreadful thing that God Almighty has ever created?

  • Will billions of sinners purposely choose to be tortured in fire forever rather than accept Christ?

  • Let’s face it, isn’t the lake of fire something we will never understand until it comes?

  • Is God as stupid and depraved as the theologians who try to bring Him down to their level?

I will now answer all these questions in order: No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, No, and NO!

KEEP THESE SCRIPTURES IN MIND

I don’t want us to lose track of the verses we are endeavoring to explain from other Scriptures. So let’s take a quick review. There are only a half dozen things that we should keep ever present in our minds as we journey through the Scriptures:

"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast [what is THAT?], and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone [does brimstone make the lake of fire burn HOTTER? Is fire without brimstone not hot enough to burn and torture human flesh?]" (Rev. 19:20).

"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire [I thought a lake contains water] and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented [does that mean TORTURED? Can spirit beings be tormented by physical fire?] day and night [but there shall be ‘NO NIGHT’, 20:25] for ever and ever [how long is THAT? Is ‘ever AND ever’ something like TWICE as long as eternity?]" (Rev. 20:10).

"And I saw a great white [not BLACK] throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away [where did they GO?]; and there was found no place for them [if this is literal, then where pray tell did God PUT THEM?]" (Rev. 20:11).

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand [stand WHERE, both the heavens AND THE EARTH ‘fled away’ Verse 11] before God; and the books [are these books like a daily DIARY from Walton Books?] were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life [why is this only ONE book?]: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works" (Rev. 20:12).

"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it [is this speaking of dead sailors who drowned in the ocean?]; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them [is death and hell a place or a realm? And how can HELL deliver up their DEAD -- we are assured by Christendom that those in hell are VERY MUCH ALIVE and SUFFERING?]: and the dead were judged [does judge mean SENTENCED TO HELL FOR EVER?] every man according to their works" (Rev. 20:13).

"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire [wait just a minute; Christendom tells us that death {separation from God} and hell represent what the lake of fire actually IS, so how pray tell can they be cast INTO the lake of fire?]. This is the second death [Ah, here is the real key to understand this whole enigma - -the SECOND death is not a repeat performance of the FIRST death]" (Rev. 20:14).

"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire [where they are BURNED UP? TORTURED FOR ETERNITY? Or JUDGED -- set RIGHT?]" (Rev. 20:15).

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake of fire which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).

One can check a hundred translations of the Bible, and there will be little deviation from the verses cited above. The King James Version is about as accurate a translation of these verses as there is. Most versions are very close to the KJV, word for word. But there are about a dozen Bible Translations that differ most significantly on five little words. The most heretical and damning doctrines of Christendom completely melt away with a proper translation of these five little words: eis tous [for the] aionas ton [of the] aionon. So we have "for the (something?) of the (something?)." When we find out what the aionas and the aionon is, we will have totally demolished the most vile, evil, damnable religious doctrine in the history of the world!

Later in this series I will prove this so completely, so understandably, so simply, that a child will be able to understand it. You should never be deceived by Mystery Babylon the Great ever again.

Now we learned from Scripture that if we would volunteer to have God judge us now that we would not need to be condemned with the world in the lake of fire. And Peter tells us that this judgment (like the one the Thessalonians were going through) must begin at the HOUSE OF GOD. We saw that it involves much tribulation, sorrow, affliction and suffering. These things are God’s judgment on believers to try their hearts and prove them worthy for the Kingdom of God. Christ told us that if we do not forsake all (even give our very bodies as a living Sacrifice, according to Paul) and take up OUR cross and follow Christ into persecutions that start in our own household, then He doesn’t want us in the kingdom with Him -- we are NOT WORTHY (at this time)!

Now if you are following these Scriptures closely you will see that we are to give our bodies as a living sacrifice and endure suffering, affliction, and persecution. But there is MORE! Oh NO, how much more can we take? What else? TRIALS. There are trials! The word "trial" in the New Testament is translated from the Greek word dokimion and means TESTING. God is going to TEST us. Are you excited about that? Me neither. However, it must be done. We must go through it. Peter tells us the many trials and temptations are a heaviness to your hearts, but because we know why we are going through it, we can, nevertheless, REJOICE!

"Wherein ye GREATLY REJOICE, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in HEAVINESS THROUGH MANIFOLD TEMPTATIONS" (I Peter 1:6).

Ah, yes, how sweet it is in the mouth (REJOICE), but how bitter it is in the belly (HEAVINESS) (Rev. 10:10). But say, did you notice how LONG these trials last? For eternity? Or for "a season"? Remember there is NO partiality with God. Later we will see that those in the final judgment of lake of fire will also be there for just "a season" not eternally!

BECOMING PERFECT

Jesus Christ DIED FOR OUR SINS, and that accomplishes the SALVATION OF THE WHOLE WORLD, because God will eventually bring every creature in HEAVEN AND IN EARTH to repentance and humble submission to Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:9-11, Rom. 10:9, I Cor. 15:25). But forgiving sin, pardoning sin, justifying our sinful past, or even redeeming our bodies and giving us incorruptible and immortal bodies, does NOT make us perfect in deed and character!

God is PERFECT! And God wants His children to BE PERFECT! And believe it or not God WILL ... MAKE ... US ... PERFECT!

"He [God] chooses us in Him [Christ] before the disruption [foundation] of the world, we to be HOLY and FLAWLESS [PERFECT] in His sight..." (Eph. 1:4).

"You, then, shall be PERFECT as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mat. 5:48).

"I in them, and Thou in Me, that they [that’s US] may be made PERFECT in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent me, and hast loved Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me" (John 17:23).

"Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man PERFECT in Christ Jesus" (Col. 1:28).

People are quick to say, "Well, NOBODY is perfect." That’s not true:

"For it became HIM, for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things, in bringing many [that’s us and the rest of the world] sons unto glory, to make the CAPTAIN of their salvation PERFECT [how?] Through SUFFERING" (Heb. 2:10).

Yes, maybe no one but Christ is perfect now, but it won’t always be that way. Paul knew that it was a process and that it would be ultimately God’s achievement:

"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:12).

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; For the PERFECTING OF THE SAINTS..." (Eph. 4:11-12).

Say, did you notice that Christ was perfected through "SUFFERING?" Are we not to bear our own Cross? If they hated and persecuted Christ, will they not do likewise to us? Do we think the Scripture says in vain,

"Herein is our love made PERFECT, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He [Christ] IS, SO ARE WE in the world" (I Jn. 4:17).

Paul tells us in I Thes. 2 and II Thes. 1 that suffering and persecutions are a big part of the judgment that God uses to test us and to deem us worthy of His kingdom and salvation.

There is a giant reason why most professing Christians do NOT suffer persecutions. They may have social, health, and financial problems, but persecutions? Hardly! Why is that? Do you know that more people suffer persecution from their families BEFORE they become Christians than they ever do AFTER they become Christians? Why do you suppose that is? Could it be that as Christians they blend INTO society rather than STICK OUT?

I can tell you on the authority of Jesus Christ, God’s Word, and the Apostle Paul, that unless you are SUFFERING real PERSECUTION, you are NOT a follower of Jesus Christ nor are you living godly in Christ Jesus!

"Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted ME, they will also persecute YOU; if they have kept MY saying, they will keep YOURS also" (John 15:20).

"And at that time there was a GREAT PERSECUTION against the church... and they were all scattered abroad... except the apostles" (Acts 8:1).

"YEA, and ALL that will live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL SUFFER PERSECUTION" (II Tim. 3:12).

GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE

God has a way of making imperfect people perfect. It is called FIRE! Whether purging or clearing a garbage dump, or refining gold and silver, there is nothing like the purifying, purging, and perfecting power of FIRE!

What a marvelous metaphor God uses when He compares Himself and His Holy Spirit with that of "FIRE" -- "For our God is a consuming FIRE" (Heb. 12:29). There are so many marvelous qualities and mysteries of fire that multiple books are needed to elaborate upon them. However, let me just interject a couple of points here. Fire CHANGES things. This fact is most important in understanding the purpose for the "Lake of Fire."

  1. Fire changes combustible things (even undesirable things) into useful heat and energy.

  2. Fire changes the quality of precious stones, gold and silver by purging out the impurities, thus making them perfect.

It is automatically assumed without any Scriptural proof whatsoever, that when one is "thrown into the lake of fire" that (1) It is literal fire that causes physical pain and torment. And/or (2) It causes physical death and annihilation. And/or (3) There is no escape and it lasts for all eternity

Let’s be precise now and see what the Scriptures actually tell us about all those sinning people AFTER they are thrown into a lake of fire. Rev. 20:10 only mentions the beast and false prophet along with Satan the Adversary as being cast into the lake of fire. No sinners are thrown in at this point. But after we are presented with the great white throne in verse 11, and all the dead being judged in verse 12, we come to verse 15 where sinning people are cast into the lake of fire. Let’s read it:

"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was CAST into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:15)

Are they TORTURED by this fire? It doesn’t say.

Are they KILLED, do they die? It doesn’t say.

Do they ever COME OUT? It doesn’t say.

How LONG does this lake of fire last? It doesn’t say.

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall HAVE THEIR PART in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).

Is this group of sinners TORTURED by this fire? It doesn’t say.

Are they KILLED, do they DIE in this lake of fire/second death? It doesn’t say.

Do they ever COME OUT? It doesn’t say.

How LONG does this lake of fire/second death last? It doesn’t say.

So from these verses alone, what do we know for sure happens to these sinners AFTER they are cast into this lake of fire? Nothing. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

Do either of these two verses SAY ANYTHING WHATSOEVER about what takes place in this lake of fire/second death or how long it will last? NO! NO IT DOESN’T! NOT EVEN ONE SINGLE SOLITARY WORD -- NONE, ZERO, ZILCH!

Then HOW ... HOW PRAY TELL ... do all these Christian religions of the world know for sure that the sinners cast into the lake of fire/second death, actually do suffer in unbearable torture, and that this torture lasts for all eternity, or as others say, they are annihilated for all eternity from which there will never be a resurrection? How do they KNOW all this stuff for sure? Well, of course, THEY DON’T KNOW! They ASSUME! They SPECULATE! And some of them lie.

So there you have seen it with your own eyes. These Scriptures in Revelation 20 and 21 do not really, actually, factually, literally, say what theologians claim, do they? No, they DON’T! You have all heard of things being "waterproof" and "fireproof," well now I am attempting to make my readers "LIE-proof" forever! One only needs to understand a half dozen absolute spiritual truths, and that person will be "LIE-PROOF" for ever! Let me give them to you quickly, and we can discuss them in greater detail as we go:

  1. GOD IS LOVE

  2. GOD IS SOVEREIGN

  3. CHRIST’S WORDS ARE SPIRIT

  4. MAN’S WILL IS NOT FREE AND INDEPENDENT OF GOD

  5. THE GREEK WORD ‘AIONIOS’ NEVER MEANS ETERNAL

  6. GOD WILLS TO SAVE ALL MANKIND

  7. GOD WILL PERFORM ALL HIS WILL

These seven spiritual truths will protect you from all unscriptural and heretical teachings. And as you mature in Christ Jesus our Lord, you will only be required to understand and believe one of the above spiritual truths. That would be the first one which covers ALL: GOD IS LOVE !

But there are other Scriptures in other parts of the Bible stating that God will either torture or annihilate people for all eternity in real fire, are there not? No. There are not. Now I am sorry if this disappoints some of you, but ‘No,’ there are not!

Now don’t start e-mailing me just yet -- I’ll cover all those verses that some of you still think are real fires that torture or annihilate people for eternity.

And I do not want anyone to draw the erroneous conclusion that since we must go through a plethora of trials, tribulations, suffering, and persecution, that all God is interested in is putting us through a living hell.   This is not the case at all.  Each and every trial and persecution that comes upon us is designed to MAKE US SPIRITUALLY STRONG. And with spiritual strength comes PEACE, FULFILLMENT, TRUE HAPPINESS, AND JOY.

How would you like to be "supremely blessed" "well off" "fortunate" and "happy" for the rest of your life?  Well, believe it or not, going through all the trials and tribulations and persecutions that Christ outlined in the Scriptures for all those who would become His followers, is exactly how all of these good things can become yours!

I think all of my readers are mature enough to understand and firmly believe that happiness does not come from the abundance of things we possess (although those things have their place too). True happiness is from the inside out. Happiness is produced from within, and not by things from without. True happiness is a heart and mind at PEACE! Have you ever noticed that every single epistle that Paul penned has in the salutation: "GRACE to you and PEACE from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ?" We have already learned that "grace" is God's gift of not only salvation, but a training, schooling, disciplining, chastising power that changes our character from carnal to godly! And what is the result of all this?  PEACE!  Peace of mind, peace of heart, peace of spirit.  When God grants us "PEACE," we are truly blessed, fortunate, well-off and very HAPPY!

I am really excited about installment IV coming next. I will show you a Scriptural formula that will guarantee our understanding of such verses as "the lake of fire which is the second death." Without this formula given by Christ and restated by Paul, one will never understand the truth or purpose of the lake of fire. In fact, Christian theologians, and many Christians themselves I’m afraid, do exactly the OPPOSITE of what these Scriptures tell us we must do if we are to understand SPIRITUAL THINGS.

Part IV: http://bible-truths.com/lake4.html

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