Suffer For Eternity?
When you think of eternal fire what do you think of? You might have heard about eternal burning hell, where God sends sinners to suffer for all eternity. Hmm? Not a pleasant thought.
But we are not in search of pleasant thoughts here at Revelation for Kids. We’re in search of truth. Especially truth about God’s great love for you and me.
Let’s Talk About Fire
First let’s talk about fire. Fire does many things. It can warm a home, it can purify precious metals like silver and gold and it provides light in the dark night. God led the children of Israel through the desert with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. So fire is sometimes a good thing, right?
Fire can also destroy. Instead of warming a house, it can burn it down. Is a burnt house still there? No, it is utterly destroyed. Fire can burn things up.
Clues in the Bible
Put on your detective cap, because we are going to look for some clues about fire and God and eternity. Are you ready? As usual we will look in the one place that is sure to lead us to truth – the Bible.
CLUE 1: GOD’S PRESENCE and HIS LOVE ARE DESCRIBED AS FIRE!
- Our God is a consuming fire. Heb.12:29; Deut.4:24; Deut.9:3
- For Love is as strong as death. It’s flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame. Song of Solomon 8:6
CLUE 2: FIRE CONSUMES, DEVOURS, and MELTS
- As wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. Psalm 68:2
- I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath. Ezek. 22:31
- And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. Rev. 20:9
CLUE 3: FIRE ALSO REFINES and PURIFIES
- I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested…. I will say, ‘This is My people’, and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” Zech 13:9
- For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi… Malachi 3:2-3
CLUE 4: WE CAN BE BAPTIZED WITH FIRE – SYMBOLIZING THE HOLY SPIRIT
- I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance but.. He [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:11
- The there appeared to them [the disciples] divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. Acts 2:3 (The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost)
CLUE 5: JESUS WANTS TO SET YOU ON FIRE – HOLY SPIRIT FIRE
- I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! Luke 12:49
- He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:11
CLUE 6: GOD WANTS TO PROTECT YOU FROM DESTROYING FIRE
- Remember the story about the three Hebrews thrown into the fiery furnace!
Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”
They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
“Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Daniel 3:24-25
This Fire Stuff is Getting Interesting
WOW! This is getting interesting. God is a consuming fire. When people come into his presence they are either destroyed or purified.
So what about this eternal hell fire stuff. Revelation does say this:
“And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:11
Hell and Death in Revelation
Revelation mentions the word Hell 4 times and always combines it with death.
- Jesus has the keys of hell and of death. Rev. 1:18
- Death and hell sit on the pale horse. Rev. 6:8
- Death and hell deliver up the dead at the final judgment. Rev. 20:13
- Death and hell are cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Rev. 20:14
Hell [haides in the Greek) means the place of the dead, or in another sense, the grave.
In 1 Corinthians 15:55 the same Greek word [haides] is translated grave.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Dead or Alive
We have learned that hell, or the grave, is a place of death. Death and life are opposites. You cannot be dead and alive at the same time. So if hell is a place of death, then it cannot be a place where someone is tortured alive for all eternity. Think about that for a moment!
One day we will all stand before the throne of God on that great day of the final judgement (Rev. 20:11-13). Those whose names are not written in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire and die. The smoke rising from that eternal fire will be a reminder of their suffering. Yet they will be dead forever. The Bible calls this the second death (Rev. 20:14-15). I believe God will be very, very sad about every single person that dies on that day.
“As wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.” Psalm 68:2
“For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” Ezekiel 18:32
So who will burn forever in the eternal fire? Hmm?
We don’t have to guess because the Bible tells us who will survive the eternal fire of God’s presence.
Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?
Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly…
He will dwell on high.
Whoa! So the saved, the righteous will live in everlasting fire? Of course! Because God is a consuming fire and we will be with Him for all eternity. That is upside down from what the world and most churches are telling us.
The Devil and His Tricks
The devil has been at his old tricks again, deceiving christians into believing that an all-loving God would torture people alive forever and ever in burning fire. That doesn’t even sound even a teensy bit nice to me. No wonder so many people do not want to serve an angry God like that. I sure don’t.
To be sure, the fire of God’s presence will be hell to those who have turned away from him. They will be tortured in spirit and body when they realize they have rejected a loving God. But then, God in his great mercy will wrap them in his fiery presence and burning arms of love one last time and they will be destroyed, never to face the everlasting torment that his fiery presence would be for them.
I am so glad I serve a God that is loving and kind. He does not want anyone to be lost. He certainly won’t torture anyone alive for ever and ever. He warns us in Revelation that death is forever. It is final. Without Jesus there is no everlasting life.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Are You Fireproof
Jesus died for you so you can live forever with him. He wants to purify your heart and make you fireproof so you can see God face to face and live! All you have to do is accept his offer and say, “Yes Jesus, I want to follow you!”
What an amazing day that will be. I can’t wait to stand unharmed in the eternal fire of God’s love!
Doodle coloring pages from the book of Revelation.