The Lake of Fire - PART VI

TWO JUDGMENTS BY FIRE

Only two sections of Scripture speak of judging every man’s work in fire. They are Revelation 20 and I Corinthians 3. Earlier in this series we covered many Scriptures showing that Judgment is on the House of God NOW (from the time of the Apostles until the return of Christ), and that there is coming a later judgment at the Great White Throne. All humanity and all angelic messengers will be judged in one of these two judgments by fire.

In Part V we saw how God likens believers to a garden that is to produce fruit. God also likens our spiritual development to that of a building. We are to produce much "spiritual fruit" which will also make us "living stones" in a great temple prepared for God’s dwelling place. We will now continue our study beginning with the Foundation upon which all this spiritual structure is to be built.

JESUS CHRIST—THE ROCK

"According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation and another builds thereon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which IS Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation…" (I Cor. 3:10-12).

We already saw that we are God’s building of living stones that are to produce garden varieties of spiritual fruit.

Paul gives us an even clearer description of this spiritual building process in Eph. 2:19-21,

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are [being] built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed [being connected together] grows unto an holy temple in the Lord: In Whom ye also are built together for an habitation [dwelling place] through [in] Spirit."

God’s Word portrays a far different and higher spiritual destiny than the Christian candy-coated heaven of a Disney World Magic Kingdom with pearly gates, streets of gold, fluffy clouds, and chubby-cheeked cherubs strumming their little harps while huge choruses sing rock-n-roll gospel music and the saints practice rapping with the angels in a land of endless mountains of chocolate and candy where everyone has his own mansion in which to live in the lap of perpetual luxury, laziness, and non-accomplishment, catering to the lusts of the flesh while delighting over a vision of countless billions writhing in unspeakable torturous pain of an eternal lake of fire. What a HELL that would be!

Maybe it is time we rid ourselves of all the fabled fantasies of pagan nirvanas. Saints are never going to a geographical location on a huge rock or planet in outer space called "heaven." There will never descend out of heaven a literal city with pearly gates or streets of gold. We will never live in such a literal, physical, material city! These are symbols, metaphors, and word pictures to describe SPIRITUAL REALITIES.

God’s kingdom is SPIRITUAL. All in God’s kingdom will be SPIRITUAL. And all this is being build on a huge SPIRITUAL ROCK—The CHRIST. Jesus Christ is the "Chief Corner Stone," the "Foundation," the "ROCK!"

I live in Miami, Florida where they have recently completed twin towers of forty-five stories each right on the sand of Miami Beach. That is they appear to be built right on the sand. They are, in fact, anchored on many pilings driven down to solid bedrock. No one is foolish enough to spend a hundred million dollars on skyscrapers that would have sand for their foundation.

Jesus Christ is the spiritual bedrock upon which we are to become a spiritual and fit dwelling place for God. In times past God made His presence known within the physical temple at Jerusalem. But the physical tabernacle in Jerusalem is long gone. The Levitic priesthood is long gone. But there is still an high Priest:

"But Christ being come an HIGH PRIEST of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building… For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are figures of the true; but into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God FOR US" (Heb. 9:11 & 24).

WHO IS THIS MAN, THE CHRIST?

Just Who is Jesus Christ? Many have but a superficial knowledge of the real Jesus. And those who have studied the Scriptures deeply, are but scratching the surface of the real Christ. Jesus Christ is a whole lot more than the humble carpenter from Nazareth, Who was born of a virgin and died on a cross. JESUS CHRIST IS EVERYTHING! Everything that ever was, is, or shall be is found in Christ! He is the very CREATOR, SUSTAINER, AND ALMIGHTY GOD OF THE UNIVERSE. God the Father has never directly made Himself known to humanity. It was Jesus Christ Who came to reveal the Father to mankind.

God the Father,

"Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His SON, Whom He hath appointed HEIR OF ALL THINGS, by whom also He MADE THE WORLDS; Who being the BRIGHTNESS OF HIS GLORY, and the EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS PERSON, and upholds ALL THINGS BY THE WORD OF HIS POWER, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Heb. 1:2-3).

"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power or darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of HIS DEAR SON: In Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him were ALL THINGS CREATED, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: ALL THINGS WERE CREATED BY HIM [Jesus Christ], AND FOR HIM [Jesus Christ]:

And He is BEFORE ALL THINGS, and by Him ALL THINGS CONSIST. And He is the HEAD OF THE BODY, THE CHURCH: Who is the beginning, the firstborn form the dead, that in ALL THINGS HE MIGHT HAVE THE PREEMINENCE. For it pleased the Father that IN HIM SHOULD ALL FULLNESS DWELL. And having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to RECONCILE ALL UNTO HIMSELF; by Him, I say, whether in earth or in heaven" (Col. 1:12:20).

"I am Alpha and Omega, the BEGINNING and the ENDING, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, THE ALMIGHTY" (Rev. 1:8).

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. ALL THINGS WERE MADE BY HIM: and without Him was not any thing made that was made. IN HIM WAS LIFE; and the life was the light of men" (John 1:1-3).

"Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham WAS, I AM" (John 8:58). "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shall thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me to you" (Ex. 3:14).

Jesus Christ was the GOD of the Old Testament! Jesus Christ was JEHOVAH! Moses SAW and HEARD Jehovah, yet John tells us that,

"No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, HE HAS DECLARED HIM" (John 1:18).

And this,

"And the Father Himself, which hath sent me, has born witness of Me. Ye have neither HEARD HIS VOICE at any time, NOR SEEN HIS SHAPE" (John 5:37).

"For the Father judges no man, but has committed ALL JUDGMENT UNTO THE SON" (John 5:22).

"And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, ALL POWER IS GIVEN UNTO ME IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH" (Matt. 28:18).

"Moreover, brethren, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and THAT ROCK WAS CHRIST" (I Cor. 10:1-4).

And contrary to popular Christian tradition, Jesus did NOT say that He would build His church upon Peter. "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [Greek, petros, a piece of detached stone or rock], and upon THIS ROCK` [Greek, petra {a different kind of rock}, a mass of rock that cannot be moved as in Matt. 7:24 and 27:60, which is distinct from petros which is a smaller detached rock that can be moved] will I built MY CHURCH; and the gates of the unseen [hades] shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18). Jesus named Simon, "Cephas"(Peter is the Greek translation of Cephas which is Chaldee):

"And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, He said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone" (John 1:42),

that is, a smaller detached stone or rock in contrast to Himself Who is a huge unmovable mass of foundational BEDROCK. See Luke 6:48. The Church of the Living God is build upon CHRIST, not Peter! And so it is upon this SPIRITUAL, unmovable, foundational, bedrock of Jesus Christ that we are to be built into a new spiritual creation.

TAKE HEED HOW YOU BUILD

Constructing a building is a process that requires time and activity. Since God likens the building of His spiritual temple to the assembling of a physical building, then this process, likewise, requires time and activity. Time and activity is what we call living our lives. Now then, when does judgment begin at the building of this house of God? Answer:

"For the time IS COME that judgment must begin at the house of God…" (I Peter 4:17).

And so it clearly has already begun with the Apostles and New Testament Church nearly two thousand years ago. And it is still going on in the Church of God today, in every believer’s life, as he lives his life.

Therefore, Paul warns:

"But let every man take heed HOW he builds [his building’] thereupon" (I Cor. 3:10).

And so judgment is upon the building of God’s house as each individual believer is framed and fitted for the calling that God has for each individual. This judgment began in the days of the Apostles after the resurrection of our Lord. It continued generation after generation down through the age until today when it yet continues. And it will continue still further until the entire harvest of firstfruits is completed. Remember we already learned that if we would judge ourselves now, Paul said we would not be condemned with the world later (I Cor. 11:32).

It is while we are living and building that our works are being tried and judged BY FIRE according to HOW we are building. What fire? God’s fire. God’s "CONSUMING [spiritual] FIRE" (Heb. 12:29)! God is SPIRIT and likewise His fire is SPIRIT. I have never heard a minister or teacher preach on the good and beneficial side of God’s FIRE. Fire is usually portrayed as bringing about pain, evil, and destruction. Since God is GOOD (Luke 18:19), and God is SPIRIT (John 4:24), and God is INVISIBLE (Col. 1:15), why does the church teach the world that God as a CONSUMING FIRE (Heb. 12:29) is visible and not invisible, literal and not spiritual, and bad rather than good?

"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones [valuable traits of Godly spiritual character] wood, hay, stubble [carnal traits of no value]; Every man’s work 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"

Every thought, every word, and every deed that proceeds out of the heart and mind of man is his "WORKS." And every thought, every word, and every deed of man will come into the judgment of Almighty God’s "CONSUMING FIRE." Notice that it is both our things of great value: "gold, silver, precious stones," and our things of no value: "wood, hay, stubble" that are tried in the fire, God’s Consuming Fire. Every person possesses knowledge, therefore, every person is a combination of both good and evil (for knowledge can only be a combination of both good and evil knowledge).

EVERYTHING IS RELATIVE

Everything in the universe is a contrast with or to something else in the universe. Nothing can be known about anything without contrasting it with other things. You cannot think a thought nor can you perform a deed without a working knowledge of these contrasting factors. If I should say that a box is big, you could not have any conception of what I am saying unless you also know what it is for something to be small. Something is only smooth in contrast to it being rough. Up is only up in relation to down. Without the contrasting relationship between two opposites "up" could just as easily be "down." And all big boxes might be perceived as small were it not for the fact that there would be no concept of small without a knowledge of big.

Therefore, in the physical universe, all things are what they are by contrast and relativity. Very hot stars are only very hot relative to cooler stars. If there were no knowledge of cooler stars, there could also be no hot stars. Things are either hard or soft, or harder or softer (but harder or softer than WHAT?—always, something else). Things are light or dark (or somewhere in between, (but the in between can also only be known by gradations of relativity as well). Things are heavy or light, sharp or dull, big or small, tall or short, strong or weak, hot or cold, left or right, north or south, in or out, new or old, beginning or end, fast or slow, fat or skinny, straight or crooked, up or down, high or low, moving or still, positive or negative, visible or invisible, etc. You get the idea. Now then, this same law of knowledge pertains to inanimate things and things of a spiritual nature as well. Again it is only by understanding one thing relative to another or one thing contrasted with another that enables us to intelligently communicate and live our lives. Let’s look at a few of these: happy or sad, giving or stingy, build or destroy, kind or cruel, energetic or lazy, haughty or humble, intelligent or stupid, wise or foolish, right or wrong, true or false, good or evil, righteous or wicked, love or hate, life or death, temporary or eternal.

Having a working knowledge of these relative and contrasting terms and concepts is absolutely essential in living our lives. We must all come to know and to experience both good and evil. The universal teaching that God "never intended" for man to eat of "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" is as false and unscriptural as anything could ever be. It was both essential and paramount that man should eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Knowledge of both good and evil is an attribute of God Himself. If we are to be the "sons of God," we too must partake of this quality of God’s nature. How could man ever be fully made into the very image of His Creator God if he did not possess even the basic fundamental attributes of his Creator and Father?

Let me make one thing clear at this point, lest my detractors think they have discovered a major flaw in my teaching. "Evil" is not good nor is it eternal. Nonetheless, a "knowledge of evil" is good and is eternal. All evil will take its place in the lake of fire, but a knowledge of evil is eternal just as sure our God, Who possesses a knowledge of evil, is eternal.

And so man’s life consists of a combination of both good and evil thoughts, words, and deeds. The most saintly of men have had their flaws and the most evil of men have possessed at least a few qualities of good. I am sure that even Adolph Hitler loved his mother and was kind to his dog. But loving your mother and being kind to your dog will not get you into the kingdom of God. And let me be quick to add that hating your mother and being cruel to your dog will not eternally keep you out of the kingdom of God either.

Oh that the church could have the faith to believe that God Almighty is able to accomplish His will for humanity:

"For this is GOOD [not evil] and acceptable [but NOTHING SHORT OF THIS IS ACCEPTABLE] in the sight of God our Saviour; Who WILL have ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come to the knowledge [both the good knowledge and the evil knowledge] of THE TRUTH" (I Tim. 2:3-4).

"This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation [so here is another statement that is ‘worthy’ and ‘acceptable’ in the sight of God]. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God Who is the Saviour of ALL MEN [and nothing short of ‘all men’ IS worthy or acceptable to God], specially [specially does not mean ‘exclusively’] of those that believe" (I Tim. 4:10).

(THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN, SPECIALLY BELIEVERS)

A little digression: For the past couple of weeks I have been wasting my time exchanging emails with a man who took great exception to my treatment of I Tim. 2:4 in Part V of this series on the lake of fire. He concluded that I have not a lick of knowledge concerning proper interpretation, homiletics, hermeneutics, or exegesis. He proceeded to explain to me the king of all theological seminary theories on interpretation, which is "context, context, context" (sort of like the real estate theory of property value: "location, location, location"). He pointed out that the "context" of "all men" found in I Tim. 2:4 is found in I Tim. 2:1-2,

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for ALL MEN; For kings, and for ALL that are in authority…"

He informed me that in my ignorance I failed to see that the "all men" that God wills to be saved in verse 4 is speaking of kings and those in authority of verse 2 ONLY! Oh really?

I asked him if the "all men" of verses 4 and 5 also pertained ONLY to the "context" of verse 2. Let’s read it:

"For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men [all mankind], the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for ALL [mankind], to be testified in DUE time" (I Tim. 2:5-6).

I asked him if Jesus Christ gave Himself a ransom for "all kings and all in authority" ONLY (in keeping with his theory of "context, context, context")? I never heard from him again.

"Alleging themselves to be wise, they are made STUPID…" (Rom. 1:22, Concordant New Testament).

Let me kindly point out that the "kings and authorities" of verse 2 are only two categories of the "all men" in verse 1. Do we really think that what Paul was actually meaning to say is this: "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all kings and for all that are in authority, ONLY?" NO! The supplications, intercessions and giving of thanks were to be made "for ALL men." Paul then gives us two categories of men out of "all men" that should be included. Namely kings and those in authority, because these have the power and authority to make our lives miserable if they become our enemies, and Paul desired that the saints live a "quiet and peaceable life" as much as is possible in this wicked world.

I was kind of sad that my detractor did not answer back my last email to him, because I was holding I Tim. 4:10 in store for my next rebuttal to his inane arguments. Now this truly is a remarkable Scripture. I have had many traitors of the truth tell me that when God speaks of "all" being saved it always means "all saints" or "all in the context" or "all in Christ" or some other "all," just as long as it can never ever mean "all of mankind." But don’t you just know that it is God’s way to shut the mouths of deceivers. Let’s look at I Tim. 4:9-10 in any context you wish:

"This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, Who IS THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN, specially of those that believe."

Now had God left off that last phrase, "specially of those that believe," then maybe our detractors could once again say that, "Well, yes, God ‘is the saviour of all men,’ it’s just that He doesn’t actually save all men." Let me now show you how my Pennsylvania farm boy mind works when it comes to a Scripture like this one. God has so tightly book-ended this verse that it is absolutely impossible for even the most devious minds of detractors and traitors of the truth to misrepresent this verse with an ounce of intelligence. This verse is IRON CLAD!

Notice that this verse does not say: "God is the Saviour of ALL MEN, specially ALL MEN," does it? No. And this verse does not say: "God is the Saviour of ALL THAT BELIEVE, specially ALL THAT BELIEVE," does it? No. The "specially of those that believe," BELIEVE. The rest of the "all men" do NOT BELIEVE. These are two different groups—(1)Believers and (2)NON-believers. Since the "believers" are "specially" saved, in relation to the saving of the "all men non-believers," then they will be saved also. See it doesn’t say that God is the Saviour of all men but will ONLY save believers. No, the "all men" ARE SAVED and the "believers" are SPECIALLY SAVED—BOTH will be saved! The word "specially" does not mean "exclusively."

The word "specially" is translated from the Greek word malista, which means "in the greatest degree or particularly" (Strong’s Greek Dictionary p. 155). It is translated "specially," "especially," "chiefly" and "most of all." In every single usage of this word in the New Testament it is used in relation to others who are not excluded, but included in the same subject. Let us notice a few of these so that we can be absolutely convinced in our own minds that the "specially believers" can in no possible way exclude the "all men" of the same verse.

"For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, SPECIALLY [Gk: malista] they of the circumcision" (Titus 1:10).

Is it even necessary that I point out that this verse does not in any way insinuate that the "unruly and vain talkers and deceivers" are ALL from the circumcision ONLY?

"Not now as a servant but above a servant, a brother beloved, SPECIALLY to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?" (Philemon 16).

This verse says for sure that Onesimus was "special" to more than just Paul. And so it is with every single use of this Greek work in the New Testament.

It is absolutely clear and irrefutable that the believers of I Tim. 4:10 are saved in a special way, that is, they are saved before the rest of humanity, and they are given the gift of eonian (age-abiding) life reigning with Christ in the Kingdom of God, ages before the rest of humanity are saved. Only those called and chosen NOW will EVER reign and rule and bring salvation to the rest of the world and to the universe—THIS is a special gift of God to believers being called in this age ONLY. But … BUT, the rest of humanity WILL ALSO BE SAVED (albeit by way of the lake of fire in the great white throne judgment).

And so it is that long before the rest of humanity is purged through the lake of fire, believers must also be purged through FIRE. It is so sad that these things are not taught in Sunday school or church. Salvation is by grace through faith. But if we isolate these two words "grace" and "faith" from all the thousands of Scriptures that show us how grace and faith operate in the real world, then we will fail to see or understand the most fundamental of New Testament teachings. GAL, 2;20.

THE LIFE OF A BELIEVER

Let’s see again just what is involved in living the live of a believer:

  1. "For by GRACE are ye saved through FAITH; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast. For we are HIS workmanship [Gk: achievement], created in Christ Jesus unto [unto what?] … unto GOOD WORKS, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). We are not saved by OUR WORKS, but we are preordained to walk in GOD’S GOOD WORKS, nonetheless.

  2. "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3;3). Notice that Eph. 2:10 says that we are "created IN Christ." Something new happens when we are "IN" Christ. There is a NEW birth and there is a NEW creation, "Therefore if any man be IN Christ, he is a NEW CREATURE [Gk: creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Cor. 5:17). Albeit, this new creation has its perils as we will see in the next verse.

  3. "Yea, and ALL that will live godly in Christ Jesus [as a new and different creature] SHALL SUFFER PERSECUTION." (II Tim. 3:12). This is not just a possibility; it is an absolute PROMISE.

  4. "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through MUCH TRIBULATION [pressure, afflictions] enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).

  5. "For if we would JUDGE OURSELVES, we should not be judged. But when we ARE JUDGED, we are CHASTENED [Greek: paideuo, to train, educate, discipline, punish, chastise, instruct, learn, and teach] of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world [at the great white throne judgment]" (I Cor. 11:31-32).

  6. "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My Son, despise not you the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him. For whom the Lord loves He CHASTENS [Prov. 13:24] AND SCOURGES [see I Pet. 5:9] EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES. But if you be without chastisement, whereof ALL are partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons" (Heb. 12:5-8). "Every man’s work 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).

  7. "Fear NONE of those things which you shall suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give you a CROWN OF LIFE" (Rev. 2:10). "To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the TREE OF LIFE [eternal, immortal life]" (Rev. 2:7), "He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death" (Rev. 2:11), "And he that overcomes, and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give POWER OVER THE NATIONS" (Rev. 2;26), "He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment [righteousness] and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life [Christ is the book of life] but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels" (Rev. 3:5), "Him that overcomes will I make a PILLAR [a main and vital support in the very government of Almighty God] IN THE TEMPLE OF MY GOD…" (Rev. 3:12), "To him that overcomes will I grant to SIT WITH ME IN MY THRONE, even as I also overcame [see John 16:33], and am set down with My Father in His throne" (Rev. 3:21).

There we have a very brief overview of the life of a believer. Is it not obvious that the life of a believer consists of a whole lot more than just "believing" that Jesus is the Christ? God has bigger plans for the human race than just "saving" them. God can "save" chickens, but God doesn’t want chickens for sons! God wants sons that are PERFECT as He is perfect! Wouldn’t you all agree that becoming perfect might just require a whole lot more than singing gospel music once a week? Perfection requires many things that only God can perform in our lives. We are, after all, His workmanship, His achievement. Having ALL OUR WORKS tried in the fire of His Holy Spirit is no small part of becoming perfect.

REVEALED AND TRIED BY FIRE

"Now if any man build upon this [spiritual] foundation [Christ] gold, silver, precious stones [godly character traits], wood, hay, stubble [carnal character traits]; Every man’s work [thoughts, words, and deeds] shall be made manifest [become known, come to light]: for the day shall declare it [make it evident], because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is" (I Cor. 3:12-13).

The fire in these verses is no more literal than are the gold or stubble suggested as building materials. People do not construct large buildings out of gold, neither do they set them on fire after completion to see how well they will fare. This is all figurative and symbolic language to instruct us in much higher spiritual development. We are not literaI gardens of God neither are we literal buildings of God. But we are like gardens in certain ways—we are to produce good spiritual fruit. We are like buildings in certain ways—we are to be a spiritual dwelling place for God. We have works that are like gold and silver in certain ways—we have thoughts, words, and deeds of good and lasting value. We also have carnal and evil works—bad thoughts, crass words, and evil deeds that are of no lasting value and are only fit for destruction. Only God’s SPIRITUAL FIRE can burn away spiritual wickedness and evils of the heart.

All of these material items are used as symbols of spiritual things. Therefore, of necessity, the fire that tries these material symbols is also SPIRITUAL. It is not possible to burn up with fire an inanimate character flaw without burning up the person who harbors it. Likewise, it is not possible to purge and purify the good qualities of character in a person with literal fire without burning up the individual that possesses them. But spiritual fire, God’s all consuming, purging and purifying fire is perfectly suited to do just that. This trying and purging is not always pleasant, however, it is not a torture chamber either. Does this fire harm the person being purged in this fire?

SALVATION BY FIRE

No, our merciful and graceful loving God and Father does not eternally torture humanity IN fire, but rather eternally saves humanity BY fire.

Let’s read it and rejoice:

"Every man’s work 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. If any man’s work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED; YET SO AS BY FIRE" (I Cor. 3:13-15).

Does everyone understand this? NO ONE is tortured, killed, or annihilated in this fire! This fire of God SAVES people who go through it! There is salvation BY means of this fire. This fire is part of God’s judgment and grace!

SCRIPTURE MUST INTERPRET SCRIPTURE

Pay close attention to what I am about to say. There are but two places in all Scripture that speak of "EVERY MAN’S WORK" being tried and judged: Twice in I Cor. 3 and twice in Rev. 20. And there are but two places in all Scripture where every man’s work is tried and judged "IN FIRE." And again those two places are I Cor. 3 and Rev. 20. Now then, earlier we learned from the Apostle Peter that,

"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture at all is becoming its OWN EXPLANATION" (II Pet. 1:20, Concordant Literal New Testament).

So I Cor. 3 cannot completely answer all that is contained within its verses without the aid of the ONLY other such Scripture in the Bible, Rev. 20. And Rev. 20 cannot completely answer all that is contained within its verses without the aid of the ONLY other such Scripture in the Bible, I Cor. 3!

Paul tells us in I Cor. 2: 12-13 that,

"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might KNOW THE THINGS that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak [in only twelve more verses Paul Himself speaks of just such spiritual things concerning the judgment of men’s works in fire] not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches [not the same physical torture in physical fire taught by the foolish understanding of the church] but which the Holy Spirit teaches; COMPARING [OR MATCHING] SPIRITUAL THINGS WITH SPIRITUAL."

By comparing these two spiritually matched Scriptures with one another we can come to the truth of God’s intention for BOTH of these fires that judge and try EVERY MAN’S WORK in their own order.

The fire of I Cor. 3 accomplishes the very same thing as the fire of Rev. 20 accomplishes. Both of these fires are symbolic. Literal fire does not burn up inanimate flaws (wood, straw and stubble) of human character. But AS literal fire does burn up literal wood, straw and stubble, SO ALSO does God’s spiritual fire burn up human character flaws. We are not told of this "wood, straw and stubble" in the lake of fire, nor of the "gold, silver and precious stones." We learn from I Cor. 3 that this is the case with the lake of fire also because these two sets of Scripture are the ONLY spiritual match in the entirety of the Bible. And just as we learn new things and additional things about the lake of fire in I Cor. 3, we also learn something new and different in Rev. 20:10 that is not mentioned in I Cor. 3.

In this lake of fire of Rev. 20 we find a most unusual thing--brimstone. BRIMSTONE? OH NO! NOT BRIMSTONE! Isn’t this lake of fire going to be painful enough without adding "brimstone?" First we learn from Christendom that the non-believers and wicked will be tortured for all eternity in literal white-hot fire, and now we read in the Scriptures that there is going to be BRIMSTONE in this lake of fire! Whose idea is it to add brimstone to this fire? Is this a cruel curse from Satan? That doesn’t seem plausible seeing that this is GOD’S WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT, and not Satan’s BLACK THRONE JUDGMENT. But why then would God be putting this cursed brimstone into this fire? Wait a minute… Maybe the brimstone isn’t a cruel curse from God, but rather a marvelous blessing. Is that possible? With God all things are possible.

BRIMSTONE IN THE LAKE OF FIRE

What is brimstone anyway? Everything in the book of Revelation is "signified" (SYMBOLIZED). We know that there is literal fire and there is spiritual fire; and there is literal brimstone, but is there also spiritual brimstone? Ask any nominal Christian why there is brimstone in the lake of fire, and he will probably tell you that it is there to make the fire hotter and more painful. Oh really? Is there something about brimstone that is caustic to the skin that would cause great pain? Does brimstone somehow cause fire to burn hotter and hotter? Does brimstone make the flesh hotter? Or is it corrosive material that eats away at the skin and flesh thus causing even more intense insane pain. The very sound of the word brimstone has come to represent something Satanic. Nothing could be further or diametric opposite from reality. For those of you who have never learned the meaning and derivation of the word "brimstone," you are in for a real shock.

Look up the word "brimstone" in any dictionary and you will find it defined as "sulfur." Brimstone is sulfur. What then are the properties and uses of sulfur? I have known the Scriptural meaning and uses of sulfur for years, but I had never looked up the word sulfur in my Encyclopedia Britannica before—what a revelation.

SOME PROPERTIES OF SULFUR

SULFUR: "It is often called brimstone (burning stone) and ignited sulfur is mentioned in the earlier records of many countries as having been used for religious ceremonies, for PURIFYING (fumigating) buildings and for bleaching cloth" (Encyclopedia Britannica, page 536d). Gee, I wonder if spiritual brimstone might be used to PURIFY and fumigate people and bleach their darkened hearts to a bright white? Under the caption: "Methods of Production—Ancient producers described their method of obtaining sulfur from its ore as PURIFICATION BY FIRE" (Page 537a). (All caps emphasis is mine). "Purification by fire." That sounds very Biblical. Does God "purify" good and wonderful things by "fire?" Yes, He does: The WORDS of the Lord are pure words: as silver [silver? Isn’t the silver qualities of our character also tried in ‘fire,’ I Cor. 3:12-13?] tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times" (Psalm 12:6). Now we all know that the very "words" of God are not burned in a literal fire. But "AS" silver is tried in literal fire, so SPIRITUALLY God’s words are tried in spiritual fire.

But surely, according to what we have been told by doomsday prophets of eternal hell, sulfur must cause great torturing pain when brought into contact with human skin, and wouldn’t the smell alone be enough to suffocate all in its presence? Continuing: "Physical Properties—Sulfur is TASTELESS and ODORLESS. IT HAS NO ACTION ON THE SKIN" (Page 537d)!

So maybe it’s just the heat that is intensified by the use of sulfur, and that is its purpose in the lake of fire—to increase the intensity of the fire’s heat to cause more insane pain? Continuing: "Physical Properties—Sulfur is A POOR CONDUCTOR OF BOTH HEAT and electricity…" (Page 538a)! Imagine that—a POOR CONDUCTOR OF HEAT! Theoretically, if God were to put enough brimstone into the lake of fire it would protect those in the fire like an asbestos suit! Is anyone beginning to see the sheer folly in the church’s teaching that the lake of fire and brimstone are literal? I sure hope so.

NO, brimstone is not the demon of hell fire that it has been portrayed. Sulfur rather has hundreds and hundreds of beneficial uses (my Twentieth Century Dictionary says, ‘innumerable uses’) not the least of which are purification and medicines. But wait, there’s more. Why do we find sulfur in the lake of fire? If it serves no detrimental purpose, is it possible that it serves a beneficial purpose? I think that we can all agree that the Bible uses the word "fire" in a figurative way on many occasions. I am certain that none would consider the following verses as using fire in a literal way:

SCRIPTURAL USE OF FIGURATIVE FIRE

"His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes were as a flame of FIRE" (Rev. 1:14).

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

"And the tongue is a FIRE…" (James 3:6).

"And of the angels He says, Who makes His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of FIRE" (Heb. 1:7).

"Every man’s work 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).

"For our God is a consuming FIRE" (Heb. 12:29).

"Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap coals of FIRE on his head" (Rom. 12:20).

"John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I comes, the latchet of Whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with FIRE" (Luke 3:16).

"For EVERY ONE shall be salted with FIRE, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt" (Mark 9:49).

"But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s FIRE, and like fullers’ soap" (Malachi 3:2).

"…for all the earth shall be devoured with the FIRE of my jealousy" (Zeph. 3:8).

"For in My jealousy and in the FIRE of My wrath have I spoken" (Ezek. 38;19).

"From above has He sent FIRE into my bones…" (Lamentations 1:13).

"Is not My word like as a FIRE? saith the Lord" (Jer. 23:29).

"Who makes His angels spirits; His ministers a flaming FIRE" (Psalm 104:4).

SYMBOLIC BRIMSTONE

And there are, of course, many more such Scriptures. Fire is often used in figurative language. But what about the "brimstone?" Why, oh why, is there brimstone in the lake of fire? It isn’t caustic to the skin; it isn’t noxious to the smell; it isn’t ugly to look at, and it’s a poor conductor of heat, how can brimstone (sulfur) be detrimental to humans who are thrown into this lake of fire? Consider that sulfur is used to make medicines. Remember how many were saved with the famous sulfa drugs back in World War Two? Are there "spiritually sick" people in this lake of fire? THEY ARE ALL SPIRITUALLY SICK! EVERY ONE OF THEM! They certainly need a good medicine. We also learned that sulfur has been used since the beginning of time for PURIFICATION! Are those thrown into this lake of fire "pure?" I speak as a fool. THEY ALL NEED PURIFICATION! EVERY ONE OF THEM!

Since physical medicines cannot cure the spiritually sick, and physical sulfur cannot purge spiritual impurities, it follows that the sulfur in this lake of fire is also being used symbolically. But the physical benefits of physical sulfur used as a spiritual symbol of healing and purification is only the tip of the iceberg. What is the real origin of this word brimstone (sulfur)? Let’s notice carefully the first few times that brimstone is used in the Scriptures:

"Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah BRIMSTONE and fire from the Lord out of heaven… And he [Abraham] looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace" (Gen. 19:24 & 28).

Now in this historical event there is nothing in suggest that this destruction was figurative. No, it was a literal destruction, however, it most certainly is a spiritual and symbolic message in this destruction for our admonition TODAY!

"Now ALL these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for OUR admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (I Cor. 10:11).

Notice that this destruction of these cities comes from God, but not only did God burn the cities, but the WHOLE PLAIN AND COUNTRY as well. This destruction from the Lord was so complete that even the location of these cities is a matter of conjecture to this day! But why the "brimstone?" Could God not destroy these cities with fire ALONE? Why was there brimstone in this fire?

"So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sickness which the Lord has laid upon it; and that the WHOLE LAND thereof is BRIMSTONE, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor bears, nor any grass grows therein, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah…" (Deut. 29:22-23).

Notice once again that this destruction comes from the Lord and that it is a complete and total destruction so that even grass would not grow on this land.

Half of the occurrences of the word brimstone in Scripture are found in the book of Revelation. Every single time the word brimstone is used in Scripture, its source is GOD out of heaven. Satan is NEVER connected with the use of brimstone. Brimstone is as far removed from the nature of Satan as unrighteousness is removed from the nature of God. Now then, what is brimstone, REALLY? Are you ready for this? After all the centuries of rank paganism being interjected into God’s pure Word, it’s time we blow the lid off of this heresy being published and preached by the church around the world, blaspheming the very name and nature of our Great God!

ORIGIN OF THE WORD ‘BRIMSTONE’

Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament: brimstone, #2303. theion. We are told that "Theion originally denoted ‘fire from heaven.’" This word theion #2303 comes from the Greek word theios #2304, of which we read the following:

Theios means :

(1) DIVINE, and is used

(1a) of THE POWER OF GOD (2 Pet. 1:3), and

(1b) of HIS [GOD’S] NATURE, (2 Pet. 1:4), both of which proceed FROM HIMSELF.

(2) In Acts 17:29 it is used as a noun with the definite article, to denote THE GODHEAD, THE DEITY, THE ONE TRUE GOD." (Caps and underline emphasis are mine).

WOW! What a marvelous revelation of Spiritual Truth! So, again, why is there brimstone in the lake of fire?" BECAUSE GOD ALMIGHTY HIMSELF IS IN THIS FIRE! God IS this fire, this spiritual "CONSUMING FIRE" (Heb. 12:29). THIS FIRE IS NOT ONLY SPIRITUAL; IT IS DIVINE! THE LAKE OF FIRE IS DIVINE SPIRITUAL FIRE FROM GOD OUT OF HEAVEN TO PURGE, PURIFY, CLEANSE, AND HEAL ALL IMPURITIES OF ALL HUMANITY!!! Is this not the best news you’ve heard all day?

JESUS CHRIST DID NOT DIE ON THE CROSS, IN VAIN! JESUS CHRIST WILL NOT FAIL TO SAVE THE WHOLE WORLD! JESUS CHRIST SO LOVED THE "WORLD" THAT HE DIED FOR ITS SALVATION! JESUS CHRIST WILL DRAW ALL MEN UNTO HIMSELF. JESUS CHRIST HAS BEEN GIVEN ALL POWER AND JUDGMENT IN BOTH HEAVEN AND EARTH. EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, EVER TONGUE WILL CONFESS, EVERY PERSON WILL REPENT, EVERY MAN, WOMAN, AND CHILD WILL BE PURGED AND PURIFIED BY GOD’S ALL CONSUMING DIVINE FIRE FROM HEAVEN!

Make no mistake about it. It is by means of FIRE that all mankind will ultimately be saved! God has spoken it:

"Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by FIRE [God’s DIVINE {spiritual} CONSUMING FIRE, Heb. 12:29] and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be BURNED, he shall suffer loss; but HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED; YET SO AS BY FIRE" (I Cor. 3:13-15)!!

You say, "I don’t believe it! We are saved by GRACE, not FIRE." Does "fire" contradict "grace?" Does "grace" contradict "fire?" NO, they do not contradict.

"For BY GRACE are you saved…" (Eph. 2:8).

How so?

"For the GRACE of God that brings SALVATION has appeared to all men [but notice how it does something more in ADDITION to bringing salvation], TEACHING [Greek: paideuo, TO TRAIN, EDUCATE, DISCIPLINE, PUNISH, CHASTISE, LEARN, INSTRUCT. (P. 186, Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament). Such words as "discipline," "punish," and "chastise," are great TRIALS that we are to go through and endure. These things are not fun, but wearisome.

Peter has instructed us with the following wisdom:

"Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto SALVATION [yes, and by ‘grace’] ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein you GREATLY REJOICE [rejoice, Yes, but also with a heavy heart], though now for a season, if need be, you are IN HEAVINESS through MANIFOLD temptations [trials]: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes though it [your faith] be TRIED WITH FIRE [fire is an important aspect of saving grace], might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 1:5-7).

Salvation involves the trying of our faith "with FIRE." This Peter calls our "FIERY trial," "Beloved, think it not strange [this is not some unusually or rare thing—we ALL must go through it sooner or later] concerning the FIERY TRIAL which IS [certain] to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you [or you only]" (I Peter 4:12).

But Peter is not speaking of literal fire, but spiritual fire, God’s all CONSUMING spiritual fire. There was a reason for the brimstone in the fire that destroyed Sodom and there is a reason for the brimstone that is in the lake of fire judgment. Are we so na´ve as to think that God could not have destroyed Sodom and the neighboring cities with fire alone? Was the brimstone necessary to destroyed Sodom? Not only didn’t God need to use brimstone to destroy Sodom: He didn’t even need to use fire. God could have just made Sodom DISAPPEAR! If Mrs. O’Leary cow could burn down Chicago without any brimstone, but merely by knocking over a lantern, surely God could have burned down Sodom as well without any brimstone.

Just as there are properties of "fire" that God wants us to understand in the spiritual, there are properties of brimstone that God wants us to understand in the spiritual! Can we not get it into our heads that GOD IS SPIRIT and that all He is building and creating is SPIRITUAL. We will have SPIRITUAL bodies, we are SPIRITUAL temples, we are to produce SPIRITUAL fruit, we will live in SPIRITUAL Jerusalem, in SPIRITUAL Zion, in SPIRITUAL heaven, as members of a SPIRITUAL kingdom, Headed by a SPIRIT GOD! The physical and natural will all pass away. The two laws of thermodynamics are at work on every piece of matter in the physical universe. EVERYTHING PHYSICAL is growing older, colder, and darker—it will all come to an end one day. Let us learn another great and profound spiritual lesson from the Scriptures.

FIRST THE PHYSICAL AND THEN THE SPIRITUAL

"Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural [soulish, physical]; and AFTERWARD that which is spiritual" (I Cor. 15:46).

But this is not what the church teaches. They teach that first came the natural, the soulish, the physical, and AFTERWARD will come A BETTER VERSION of the natural, the soulish, the physical! That is unscriptural nonsense. God is not building a better version of our physical bodies. We will be given SPIRITUAL BODIES:

"There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; [Adam was destined to DIE from the time of his very creation:] "For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willing, but by reason of Him Who has subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself [this certainly includes Adam] also shall be delivered from the bondage of CORRUPTION…" Rom. 8:20-21. [Adam was created in the ‘bondage of corruption’]; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a SPIRITUAL BODY. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul [subject to death and corruption]; the last Adam was made a quickening SPIRIT [NOT subject to death or corruption]. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is SPIRITUAL" (I Cor. 15:42-46).

Make no mistake about it, what God is creating is SPIRITUAL and eternal. But first He created the physical and the temporary. He has dealt with the physical and temporary in the past, and will get do so in the future, but the time will come when God will do away with physical things, and then all will be spiritual. There was an OLD Covenant and now there is a NEW Covenant. The first was based solely on the physical and temporary promises, whereas the second is based on SPIRITUAL AND PERMANENT promises!

The reason there was "brimstone" in the fire from heaven when God destroyed Sodom and the cities of the plain is that brimstone is a purging and purifying agent. And brimstone means DIVINE! This purging of the plain of these evil cities was a DIVINE purging fire from the God of heaven. God so "divinely purged" those cities of the plain that their very location is a matter of speculation for archeologists. To show God’s utter disdain for the sins of that land, God did not merely destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring cities, but He rather WIPED THEM OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH! That land was then pure! It was fumigated. It was made white. It was purged of every and all wickedness of its inhabitants. Poor Sodom. Are they lost forever? Are all Sodomites right now burning in the fires of some fabled hell?

What do you suppose might have been the fate of Sodom had Jesus preached His message there and performed His healing miracles there? We don’t have to suppose or guess, because Jesus has already told us exactly what would have happened if He had taught and healed in Sodom:

"And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shall be bought down to hell [Greek: hades the unseen]: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, IT WOULD HAVE REMAINED UNTIL THIS DAY" (Matt. 11:23).

So by Christ’s own words we have witness of the fact that all it would have taken for Sodom to remain a city right down to our very generation today, was some healings and miracles in their city (Luke 10:13)! Is a whole race of people worth a few healings and miracles? Not according to the stupid and evil doctrines of the church. They will tell you (if you corner them) that God opted for an eternity of torture for the Sodomites rather than Salvation at the cost of a few healings and miracles! No, Sodom is dead! But like all peoples of the world who have ever died (both the righteous and the wicked), they will be resurrected back to life and will be judged and purged in the loving, consuming, spiritual, divine fire of God.

Jesus did not come to eternally destroy the Sodomites nor to torture them for eternity.

"The Lamb of God, which takes away the SIN OF THE WORLD" (John 1:29).

"…we trust in the Living God, Who is the Saviour of ALL MEN, specially of those that believe" (I Tim. 4:10).

It is just amazing to me how the Christian churches rally around the state of Israel and its capital Jerusalem, as though Jerusalem is a "holy city" to be adored and protected at all cost. A popular Jewish Christian who appears on international television always closes his program by asking everyone to "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem." Let me ask candidly: "Are those prayers being answered?" Turn on your TV or look at this morning’s newspaper and then tell me if these prayers are being answered!

Is the orthodox religion of Judaism the way to God’s heart? Is this the one religion by which men can be saved WITHOUT Christ? Well, according to one famous and rich international evangelist, the answer is YES! Christless Judaism is a means to salvation.

Oh really?

"Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name [that name is JESUS] under heaven given among men, whereby we MUST be saved" (Acts 4:12).

It is one thing to be anti-Semitic (which, of course, is wrong, and for all I know I may be a Jew myself), but quite another thing to suggest that God is well pleased with the state of Israel, or its capital, Jerusalem, or its dominant religion, Judaism. Maybe here is the time for a little reality check concerning this matter of Jerusalem and the state of Israel. Israel probably has the highest per-capita Christ-rejecting people in the western world (if we might include them in the western world). Did you know that the future salvation of Jerusalem is directly connected to and contingent upon the resurrection, restoration, and salvation of SODOM?

Even if you are a "Preterist" and believe that everything in the book of Revelation has already been completely fulfilled by the end of the first century AD (which it clearly has not), you will still have to acknowledge God’s attitude toward Jerusalem both historically and prophetically as recorded in His Word. As these things I am about to show you in God’s Word are not generally taught anywhere in the world of Christendom. Let me caution you that what I am about to show you is not a pretty picture. Parental discretion is definitely advised for any minors reading the next section of this paper.

First, let us see what God Himself calls Jerusalem:

"And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called [remember that the spiritual is more real and significant than the physical and literal] SODOM AND EGYPT, where also our Lord was crucified [our Lord was crucified in JERUSALEM]" (Rev. 11:8).

So God Himself calls Jerusalem "Sodom and Egypt." Not exactly an accolade of spiritual endearment. So prophetically God calls Jerusalem, Sodom and Egypt. How does God view Jerusalem historically leading up to this shameful appellation of "Sodom and Egypt?"

"Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her ABOMINATIONS" (Ezek. 16:1).

Throughout chapter 16, God likens Jerusalem as a young virgin bride that He takes to Himself:

"Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon you, behold your time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over you, and covered your nakedness: yes, I swore unto you and entered into a covenant with you, saith the Lord God, and YOU BECAME MINE" (Verse 8).

"And I put a jewel on your forehead, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown upon your head. Thus were you decked with gold and silver; and your raiment was of fine line, and silk, and broidered work; you didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and you were exceeding beautiful, and you did prosper into a kingdom. And your renown went forth among the heathen for they beauty: for it was PERFECT through my comeliness, which I had put upon you, says the Lord God" (Verses 12-14).

Was Jerusalem thankful to God? Did Jerusalem worship and adore God as a Perfect Husband? No:

"But you did trust in YOUR OWN beauty, and PLAYED THE HARLOT because of your renown and poured out your FORNICATIONS on everyone that passed by … and played the HARLOT … and did commit WHOREDOM with them … Is this of your WHOREDOMS a small matter … And in all your ABOMINATIONS and your WHOREDOMS you have not remembered the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, and was polluted in your blood. And it came to pass after all your WICKEDNESS (WOE, WOE unto you! Saith the Lord God … opened your feet [spread your legs] to every one that passed by and MULTIPLIED YOUR WHOREDOMS. You have also committed FORNICATION WITH THE EGYPTIANS your neighbours … You have played the WHORE also with the Assyrians … You have moreover multiplied your FORNICATION in the land of Canaan unto Chaldea … How weak is your heart, saith the Lord God, seeing you do all these things, the work of an IMPERIOUS [a female fox, arrogant, malicious] WHORISH WOMAN … as a wife that commits ADULTERY, which takes strangers [heathen religions and gods] instead of her husband [God] … but you give your gifts to ALL WHORES; but you give your gifts [of sexual favors] to ALL YOUR LOVERS, and hire them, that they may come unto you on every side for your WHOREDOM" (Verses 15-32).

God is not pleased with His harlot wife, and pronounces terrible woes upon her:

JERUSALEM’S SPIRITUAL SISTER IS SODOM

"Wherefore, O HARLOT, hear the word of the Lord: Thus saith the Lord God; Because your FILTHLINESS was poured out, and your NAKEDNESS discovered through your WHOREDOMS with your lovers, and with all the IDOLS OF YOUR ABOMINATIONS…"

Etc., etc. (Verses 35-36). But it gets WORSE:

"thou art your mother’s daughter, that LOATHES her husband and her children; and you are the sister of your sisters, which loathed their husbands and their children: your mother was a Hittite, and your father an Amorite. And your elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at your left hand: and your younger sister, that dwells at your right hand, is SODOM and her daughters." (Verse 45-46).

JERUSALEM IS FAR WORSE THAN THE VERY WORST

"Yet have you not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, YOU WERE CORRUPTED MORE THAN THEY IN ALL YOUR WAYS. As I live, says the Lord God, Sodom your sister has not done, she nor her daughters, as YOU [Jerusalem] HAVE DONE, you and your daughters" (Verses 47-48).

"Neither has Samaria committed half of your sins; but you have MULTIPLIED YOUR ABOMINATIONS MORE THAN THEY, and have justified your sisters in all YOUR ABOMINATIONS which you have done. You also, which have judged your sisters, bear your own shame for your sins that YOU HAVE COMMITTED MORE ABOMINABLE THAN THEY: they are MORE RIGHTEOUS [imagine God saying that Sodom is ‘more righteous’ than Jerusalem?] than you" (Verse 52).

What do you imagine would happen to me if I were to stand up in one of the international churches that supports Israel and Jerusalem and even teaches that they can be saved WITHOUT Jesus Christ, and I told them that the wicked City State of Sodom WAS MORE RIGHTEOUS than Jerusalem, Israel? On second thought, don’t imagine it.

OH the deceitfulness of the church! I have heard two messages on international television this week wherein Jerusalem was mentioned again as God’s chosen city of His chosen people, and how we must back Israel and Jerusalem. This corrupt city is praised and praised daily by the church as though God just really does love this corrupt city with their corrupt religion! God HATES what is going on in Jerusalem and Israel. God is NOT blessing Jerusalem. God is NOT protecting Jerusalem. There is NO PEACE in Jerusalem. God certainly loves the people of Jerusalem, but they have some deep deep repentance ahead of them. OPEN YOUR EYES! Where have you ever read anywhere in the Bible such condemnation on ANYONE as we have just read regarding Jerusalem? OH how the church applauds Jerusalem, when the reality is that their sins are reaching to high heaven.

Recently 60 Minutes presented a documentary on how Russian girls are being sold around the world as full-time live-in harlots. Thousands of Russian girls are being sold for sex slaves (and many by their own will for a better financial life). Well it just so happens that there is a location that acts as a clearinghouse for brokering these girls around the world. Just where do you suppose that brokering center is located? Would you believe, JERUSALEM?

This past week one of the news channels covered a huge gathering of homosexuals. They had a bandstand set up like rock stars have from which they paraded their cross-dressing transvestite regalia and paraphernalia. Speeches were made regarding homosexual life styles, etc. Where do you suppose this meeting was being held? Los Angeles? New York? San Francisco? NO! JERUSALEM!

There is a reason why God goes into such detail and allots so much space in His Word for such small cities as Sodom and Jerusalem. They were but the fore-runners of a much larger deception of the same ilk! This same HARLOT system permeates the world today through a huge organization and worldwide work.

"And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto you the judgment of the GREAT WHORE that sits upon many waters [not just one city or one people, but MANY WATERS OF NATIONS AND PEOPLES]: With whom the kings of the earth have committed FORNICATION, and the inhabitants of the EARTH [the ENTIRE WORLD!] have been made DRUNK WITH THE WINE OF HER FORNICATION" (Rev. 17:1-2)!

Take another look at what you have just read! According to the Word of God, there is to come (and has already come as we speak) a WORLDWIDE ORGANIZATION that will spread her spiritual whoredom and fornication AROUND THE ENTIRE INHABITED EARTH and will make ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THE EARTH DRUNK on the spiritual intoxicating wine of her doctrine! And what is the name God gives this system of spiritual whoredom? Let’s read it:

"And the woman [woman represents a church in Scripture] WAS ARRAYED IN PURPLE AND SCARLET COLOUR, AND DECKED WITH GOLD AND SILVER AND PRECIOUS STONES AND PEARLS [this church is not poor] and a golden cup in her hand full of ABOMINATIONS AND FILTHINESS OF HER FORNICATION." Gee, sounds like the exact description of the harlot woman in Ezekiel 16, doesn’t it? (Rev. 17:4-5): "And upon her forehead was a name written,

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND
ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH"

This church system is the apex, the zenith, the epitome of ALL THAT IS DECEITFUL, AND WICKED!

IT ALL BEGAN AT BABEL

This world’s counterfeit religious and political systems began at BABEL (Babylon).

"And the whole earth was of one language … they found a plain in the land of Shinar [Iraq--Babylon] … And they said, Go to, let us build us a CITY and a tower … and let us make us a NAME, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the WHOLE EARTH … And the Lord came down to see the city … Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language … So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the FACE OF ALL THE EARTHY…" (Gen. 11:1-9).

God confounded their languages and He scattered them over the face of all the earth, but they took their rebellious, self-centered, godless religion and government WITH THEM.

Have we forgotten how that later mankind once again regrouped under one central government? There was a time in ancient history when officials gather the educated and scholars from around the world, and once again shared philosophies, religions, laws, sciences, and other academia at a central location which they would then once more take back to their respective countries and share, worldwide? And what was that great nation called? That’s right, BABYLON! But that great Gold-Headed Kingdom also came crashing down under the Medes and the Persians. Well guess what? Babylon is rising once more. This time God calls it:

"MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (Rev. 17:5).

Notice that this Great Whore is a "mother of harlots." She is a mother who has harlots for daughters. This is the very same thing that we read in Ezekiel 16: 48,

"As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister has not done, she nor her daughters, as you [Jerusalem] has done, YOU [Jerusalem—a MOTHER] and your DAUGHTERS."

Any woman who has "daughters" is of necessity, a "mother."

Now for a real shocker! From where does God call HIS people? The answer shocked me.

"BABYLON THE GREAT is fallen, is fallen… For ALL NATIONS have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication … And I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come OUT of her, MY PEOPLE that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues" (Rev. 18:2-4)!

Wow! Can you believe it? God calls HIS PEOPLE, HIS SAINTS, HIS ELECT, HIS CHURCH, OUT OF "MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH"!! That’s where the Apostles came from, that’s where Paul came from, that’s where the small persecuted church down through the ages came from, that where every believer I know came from, and that’s where I came from. I, in fact, followed and obeyed several of her harlots in the process of coming out of Babylon. I was no better than the worst of sinners. It is only by God’s grace that we are able to escape this system. And God will continue to call His elect out of that very system until He destroys it in His presence.

So clearly, the Mother Whore Jerusalem has HARLOT DAUGHTERS! And of the great religious system spoken of in Revelation 17 we also clearly see that MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, is a Mother Whore of Harlot Daughters! One has to be spiritually blind as a bat to not see that when we compare "Spiritual with spiritual," these two are a "spiritual MATCH!" More proof:

The one True Church of the Living God has a "Father" and a "Mediator—Jesus Christ." But does God’s Church have a "Mother?" Ah, Yes, it surely does:

"For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory [a representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters] for these are the TWO COVENANTS; the one from the mount Sinai, which genders to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar IS [now a metaphor—‘is like, in certain ways’] mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to JERUSALEM which NOW IS [at the time Paul wrote this and continues to this day] and is in BONDAGE with her children. But Jerusalem which is ABOVE ["The HEAVENLY JERUSALEM" Heb. 12:22] is free, which is THE MOTHER OF US ALL" (Gal. 4:22-26).

What amazing Scriptures these are. The New Covenant Church of the Living God has a MOTHER—HEAVENLY JERUSALEM ABOVE. And the giant Old Covenant Whore Church also has a mother—EARTHLY JERUSALEM BELOW. The New is FREE, whereas the Old is in BONDAGE. But how can I say that the Old Covenant Church is "huge?" Aren’t there only a relatively few orthodox Jews around the world who keep the "Old" Covenant? No, there are BILLIONS of people who keep the "Old" Covenant around the world. There are almost no Christians that understand and keep the "New" Covenant. To the world of Christendom, the Old Covenant IS THE NEW COVENANT! The New Covenant is merely keeping the Old Covenant, BETTER! That’s right. To most, the New Covenant consists of keeping the Old Covenant, better. They say that they now keep the Old Covenant "in the spirit." Just how, pray tell, does one keep the "physical" in the "spirit?"

Such a doctrine is utter unscriptural contradictory nonsense. You cannot keep the "physical" in the "spirit." THERE IS NO SPIRIT IN THE PHYSICAL, SO HOW COULD ONE ‘KEEP IT’ IF IT DOESN’T EXIST? We are all born with a physical [carnal] mind. It is possible to keep physical [carnal] laws with a physical carnal mind (Paul did it to near perfection when he was Saul!). But one CANNOT keep God’s spiritual laws with a physical carnal mind!

"Because the carnal [natural physical] mind is enmity [deep seated HATRED] AGAINST God; for it is NOT subject to the [spiritual] law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7).

"For to be carnally minded is DEATH; but to be spiritually minded is LIFE and peace" (Rom. 8:6).

Let’s be sure that we are perfectly clear on these Scriptural facts:

Paul said that there ARE RIGHT NOW, TWO Jerusalem's in existence.

One answers to the New Covenant, which is HEAVENLY JERUSALEM ABOVE.

One answers to the Old Covenant, which is EARTHLY JERUSALEM IN ISRAEL.

If you think that you can spiritually keep the physical laws of Moses, then your mother is the Old Covenant which answers to "Jerusalem which now is—IN BONDAGE."

But if you are keeping God’s spiritual laws through the spirit of God, then your mother is "Heavenly Jerusalem ABOVE which is—FREE."

Of course the fact that Jerusalem is TWICE as wicked and abominable as Sodom does not in any way justify the sins of Sodom. No, God will deal with both Jerusalem and Sodom. And that is the whole point of this discussion. So even though the sins of Jerusalem are twice as abominable as the sins of Sodom, God will, nonetheless, SAVE JERUSALEM! And just when will God save Jerusalem? AT THE SAME TIME THAT HE SAVES SODOM. Yes, Sodom WILL BE SAVED, and she will be saved at the same time that doubly corrupt and abominable Jerusalem will be saved. Now least anyone think that I harbor ill feelings toward Jerusalem for writing these things, let me make it abundantly clear where these things came from. It is GOD, and not I, Who calls Jerusalem, Sodom and Egypt, and not only historically, but prophetically as well.

"When your sisters, SODOM and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then THOU [JERUSALEM] and thy daughters shall return to YOUR former estate" (Verse 55).

"Then you shall remember your ways, and be ashamed, when you shall receive your sisters, your elder [Samaria] and your younger [SODOM]: and I will give them [Samaria and Sodom] unto you for daughters, but not by your covenant. And I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall KNOW [for the first time] that I am the Lord: That you may remember, and be confounded, and never open your mouth any more because of your shame, when I am PACIFIED [make atonement, to pardon, to placate, to cover, to condone] TOWARD THEE [Jerusalem AND her sisters, Samaria and Sodom] for all that you have done, saith the Lord God" (Verses 61-63).

When God purges the hearts and minds of the wicked with His all-consuming spiritual fire, they will be UTTERLY ASHAMED! Notice what God says in Revelation 14:10 regarding anyone who is a part of this one world religious system:

"The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God [seeing that "For ALL nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of HER fornication…" Rev. 18:3], which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented [UTTERLY ASHAMED—spiritual and mental torment] with the fire and brimstone [God DIVINE spiritual fire] in the presence of the holy angels, and in THE PRESENCE OF THE LAMB" (Rev. 14:10).

They are going to have to face their sins and wickedness and hypocrisy, NOT in the presence of GOD ALMIGHTY, but in the presence of "the LAMB!" How embarrassing and shameful it will be for all those being purged in the God’s spiritual consuming lake of fire to see and acknowledge their whole life of sin in the very presence of the Lamb of God Who DIED FOR THEM! Every heart in the universe will melt like snow in a furnace when they face the LAMB OF GOD in their judgment!

So, is Sodom right now suffering in some fabled hell fires? NO. Is Jerusalem of old right now suffering in some fabled hell fires? NO. Will Sodom and Jerusalem be saved TOGETHER? YES, in the second resurrection, at the white throne judgment, in the lake of fire. The lake of divine spiritual fire will bring salvation to ALL THE NATIONS! "…but he himself [whomever of the billions of people purged in God’s spiritual fire] shall be SAVED; yet so as BY [God’s spiritual consuming] FIRE"! (I Cor. 3:15).

Remember that there are two administrations of God’s purging fire: The first is on the House of God consisting of those whom God is calling to be overcomers and sons of God. The second will be at the second resurrection and white throne judgment in the lake of God’s divine purging fire. All the children of the bondwoman, the Old Covenant, the Mother Whore with her harlot daughters, will one day be the children of Heavenly Jerusalem Above, which is the MOTHER OF US ALL!

God truly is NOT A RESPECTER OF PERSONS. GOD IS ABLE TO BRING ANY PERSON TO REPENTANCE. How could anyone deny it? There is no such thing as a person being so evil that he cannot be converted by the spirit of God. But God has a timetable, and He will follow that timetable. There is great wisdom in what God does and how He does it and when He does it and to whom He does.

If you have never experienced COMING OUT of Babylon the Great, then maybe you are being called to respond to God’s plea: "Come OUT of her MY PEOPLE." It is a great and wonderful thing to be called by God at this time to be prepared as the very SONS OF THE LIVING GOD to bring salvation to the rest of the world and the entirety of the universe!

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