Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lake of Burning Sulfur

In past months I've looked at verses used to support the idea that hell is a place where the wicked or non-believers live for eternity and are punished for eternity.

See first post questioning the doctrine of hell here, or everything tagged with hell here.

The way I read it, there are a number of verses that talk of the wicked or non-believers perishing, or dying, and not living for eternity. Those who believe and follow Jesus are the ones who get eternal life.

However I've come across a few additional verses that should be considered, so I'm just adding them here to help organize my thoughts on this topic.

Rev 20:10 (NIV)
"And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Maybe the devil, the beast, and the false prophet are tormented forever because they are eternal beings, not mortals like us?

Rev 20:12-15 (NIV)
"And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."
Matthew 25:41 (NIV)
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."
Rev 21:8 (NIV)
"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
These verse talks of an eternal fire... but it does not say if those thrown into it will live in the fire eternally, or if they will simply perish in the fire... and there are references to a second death. Second death may simply mean what it sounds like.

Is the message "Love me or I will torment you for eternity" a message of love? I wouldn't be questioning this if it was clearly stated in scripture, but I just don't see it there. To be destroyed or perish may simply mean that those who do not choose life with Christ do not get to live with Him eternally. Either way eternal life with Jesus is still the obvious choice.

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