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The Lake of Fire

Scripture: Luke 17:28, 2 Peter 2:9, Revelation 20:7-10
What does the Bible teach about hell? Is the devil in charge of hell? The Bible gives us solemn warnings about a day of calamity coming. Jesus speaks of Noah's day and the warning to Lot and his family in Sodom and Gomorrah. There is a reward of the wicked, the punishment, that will eternally destroy them and all evil. The wages of sin is not eternal torment, but death.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Question and Answer: Karen Batchelor

DB: Turn around. There you are.

KB: That’s how it works. (Audience laughs) It’s the plan. (Laughs) (Audience laughs) Alright, we’re gonna get right into our questions.

KB—Question and Answer #1: Can the devil read our minds?

No! The Bible tells us in I believe it’s II Kings chapter 8 (uh) verse 39, Solomon, in his dedication prayer says, “God and God only knows the thoughts of men’s hearts.” (Uh) One of the characteristics that we know Jesus was God the Son is because He knew what was in man. He often read people’s minds. He knew what they were thinking and He would answer what was on their hearts. The devil can put a thought in your mind; I can put thoughts in your mind while I’m talking, he can put temptations in your mind but he doesn’t know what’s going on in your mind. He can sometimes look at your body language; he’s an expert, and his demons, of reading your body language and expressions to see if his temptations are taking hook. But he can’t read your mind, only God can do that. Now in connection with that question sometimes people say, “Well, then I should probably pray quietly so the devil doesn’t know what I’m praying.” Ah, it’s appropriate to enter your closet in prayer and have private prayer but don’t be afraid to pray out loud cause Satan trembles when you pray, amen? (Audience says “amen)

KB—Question and Answer #2: Amen. At what age does Christ judge our children as accountable?

DB: (Uh) In connection with this question we had a number of people wanting to know what is the right age also for baptism, because, obviously, when they reach the age of accountability and they’re old enough to be lost, are they old enough to be saved? (Audience answers “yes”) So it would be the same age. There is no exact age given in the Bible. Some have said Jesus was dedicated and went to the temple 12 years of age—that should be the age. (Uhm) But it didn’t really say that that was a time for baptism. You don’t wanna make ‘em wait till they’re 30, and that’s when Jesus was baptized. (Uhm) The real criteria is different children mature at different ages, they need to be old enough to comprehend the basics of salvation, they should have their own personal relationship with Jesus. (Uhm) Every evangelist might draw the line differently. I think you were what, 9 years old, when you were baptized?

KB: Yeah.

DB: And it seemed to stick—you thought you maybe a little younger.

KB: I was a little young, yeah.

DB: At that time, looking back now. (Uh) Our boy, Steven was baptized what—ten?

KB: Ten.

DB: Ten years old?

KB: Hmmm.

DB: So you know right in there (uh) girls seem to comprehend a little earlier than boys as a rule. And so it’s when they can comprehend when they have their own devotional life (uhm) and that’s how the Lord—He looks on the heart, right? How many of you know adults that because of some mental handicap have never reached that age, you know what I’m talking about? Is God gonna judge them because well, they’re 12 years old now, they’re responsible. He looks at the heart.

KB—Question and Answer #3: Why should we have to go to church? This is from Harrington. He sent in many questions so he’s gonna be happy that we’re having an opportunity to answer him. Says, why should we have to go to church, does it mean you are not really a Christian if you don’t go? My dad is a great person but I’m confused I know he will see this if you answer it on your program and I want him to go, so please answer my question. (Audience laughs)

DB: Hope we’re not causing a family problem here.

KB: Harrington, I hope we didn’t get you in trouble.

DB: (Uhm) Well, first of all, some people think that the Sabbath is simply a day of rest but in the Bible it is called a “holy convocation,” and the word “convocation” means an assembly, a convening. And so it is a time not only for rest and for personal time with God but it is especially a time for corporate fellowship and worship that we might gather together and worship the Lord. Matter of fact, the word “church” and “synagogue,” they mean assembly. And so we need to gather together. Hebrews chapter 10, “Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together and all the more as you see the day approaching.” That day is approaching, amen?

KB: Amen.

DB: We need to get together, when the Spirit was poured out, don’t forget, they were in one accord and one place. He poured it out on them collectively.

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KB—Question and Answer #4: Where in the Bible does it say that it was Jesus who wrote the Ten Commandments, not Jehovah?

DB: There’s no scripture that says Jesus wrote the Ten Commandments. The Bible does tell us that it was the Lord that spoke these words. And then you read in the New Testament God committed all creation to Jesus. (Uh) Gospel of John chapter 1, “All things,” how many things? (Audience answers “all things”) “All things that were made were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made.” Would that include the Ten Commandments? Now I believe God the Father, Son, and Spirit participated. But I believe it was the finger of Jesus that etched those words.

And there’s in that question there’s a confusion I could detect. It said how do you know it was Jesus and not Jehovah? I would put this question to you: what makes you think Jesus isn’t Jehovah? (Audience says “amen”) When you look at the definitions for Jesus in the Bible it says Jehovah as our only Savior, isn’t Jesus called our only Savior? Only Jehovah knows the thoughts of men’s hearts, I just quoted that, it translates Jehovah. Did Jesus know the thoughts of men’s hearts? In the beginning Jehovah created the heaven and the earth. Jesus said all things that were made were made by Him, God the Father created all things through Jesus. And so people sometimes think that (uh) Jesus is not Jehovah and that’s a misconception.

KB—Question and Answer #5: How do we know that the symbols in the Bible are really stand for the explanation that are given? From our Bible symbol sheet?

DB: Okay. (Uh) First of all, the Bible symbol sheet for those who are watching, if you go to the amazing, no, prophecy code website, prophecy code.com, there is a link there and if you wanna download the Bible symbols in their common (uh) meanings, they’re scriptures by each one. And they help you find them. And we’ve, for instance, a sword spiritually speaking, “The word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword” Hebrews. (Uh) Ephesians chapter 6 says (uh) “The sword of the spirit which is the word of God.” So we know the word is a symbol for the sword.

What is the lamb? John the Baptist said, “Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” Who is the dragon? Revelation 12, “That old serpent, the dragon, the devil and Satan.” And so you compare scripture with scripture and you get what the, the meanings are. The Bible will interpret itself.

KB—Question and Answer #6: You said you didn’t believe evolution is scientific, how can that be when so many scientists endorse it? Thanks and God bless you.

DB: You know there was a day when the scientists in the world said the world was flat. (Uh) Scientists are human and (uh) there are also a great number of scientists that believe in creation. (Uhm) I used to believe in evolution, my--I could not torture my mind to continue believing that, I did not want to believe in God because you know one reason I think many want to believe in evolution is if we’ve happened all spontaneously, then we are God and we’re not accountable to a creator.

And I think there is a hidden agenda in trying to delete God and our accountability to God. But there are too many miracles around us for us to deny the intelligence that it required to design this universe and our world and all the inter-working systems in the creatures and the diversity. I--I just, it does--it’s so unscientific to believe it that (uh) you know if a person who wants to believe something, they can. If a person convinces himself often enou-- but the evidence is so powerful.

If you study evolution you’ll find that the intermediary links between the broad variety of species are missing. They tried to explain the great leap between the mammals and the reptiles and the birds and they’re looking desperately the world over to find some of these intermediary links. They still haven’t found them. Sometimes they’ll find a tooth or something say, “Yeah we found it. I think we found it.” It’s not there. God made each one after its kind, they’re separate and distinct.

KB—Question and Answer #7: Amen. You said that Jesus could come in this generation, when did this generation start and when does this generation end?

DB: I am not setting the date for Jesus’ coming. I’m using the word generation and sort of the (uh) philosophical sense. (Uh) A generation is the time in which you live. (Uh) Biblically, a generation is 40 years. I’m not saying He’s coming in 40 years, course 40 years from now I probably won’t care. (Uhm) If you call me on that you’ll forget by then. (KB: That will make you almost 90) But (uh) I’m not setting the date I’m just saying that I do firmly believe that very few of us here will die of old age, that is my belief. I think Jesus is coming soon based on the evidence I see and the signs that He’s given in His word. The final events could start transpiring anytime now.

KB—Question and Answer #8: Alright. Matthew 16: 17, 18, and 19 is used as evidence that Peter was the first Pope and also a basis for the Catholic Church for forgiving sins. What did Jesus mean when he told Peter: And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven?

DB: Well, first of all, the--the idea that Jesus committed eternal life into the hands of a fisherman who is going to deny even knowing Him in a few days is I think a reckless belief. (Uh) Peter seemed to be one of the most volatile of the 12 disciples and I mean, I love Peter and I can identify with him and I believe he was an inspired apostle but the idea that access to the kingdom of heaven and the keys to the kingdom of heaven were being committed. He committed the keys to all believers in the sense that as you present, anyway we’re using key as a symbol here, as you present the truth, the truth will set you free.

If you look in Revelation Jesus said, “I am the one who has the keys,” He doesn’t say Peter is the one. We read that to you at our previous study this morning. And so (uh) that’s a dangerous belief and then I think they’re also alluding to the place where (uhm) Peter said, “You are the Son of God,” and Jesus said, “You are Peter but upon this rock I will build my church.” And it’s often used to say this was His declaration that He was building the church on Peter.

Really!? We’re in big trouble! If it’s being built on this fisherman, who was so volatile, He’s building the church on the statement that Peter made when he said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus said, “You are Peter,” and the word “Peter” that He uses there is (uhm) a “petros,” it’s a rolling stone that would be dashed around in the waves. But He goes on He says, “Upon this “petra,” this rock,” it’s a different word, “petra” is a rock of immense proportions like Yosemite Half Dome or Gibraltar, He’s saying, “…on this rock that I am the Messiah, I will build my church.” Not on Peter; walking on the water, looking back and sinking down in the waves, I hope we’re not building on the church on that. (Audience laughs)

KB: Denying Jesus.

DB: Yeah, the--the denying of Jesus and then later Paul had to chastise him for a, one day he says he believes like the Gentiles the next day he’s siding with the Jews and, no that would (uh) I hope not.

KB—Question and Answer #9: In one of the lessons we learned that Jesus had died on the cross 31 AD, later you stated that the temple was destroyed 70 AD, you stated that after the destruction of the temple that ended the sacrificial system, so are you saying that after Jesus died in 31 AD they continued to sacrifice for 39 more years?

DB: Yes. You remember when we studied the 400 and 90 year prophecy it is true that Jesus was crucified 31 AD. When He was crucified your Bibles tell you there was an earthquake, the veil on the temple was rent, He caused the sacrifice to cease that year. The Passover sacrifice was totally interrupted. No question they probably repaired that and they resumed their sacrificial system until the temple was destroyed in 70 AD. But don’t forget the last time Jesus left the temple, He said, “Your house is left to you desolate,” it was still there but desolate. The--it’s like (uh) in the book of Samuel, “ichabod,” the glory is departed, that’s what that means. And so yeah, there was a shell and they went through the rounds of services but God’s protection, His power was gone.

(Sound effects starts and ends before DB speaks)

Sermon Questions: Douglas Batchelor

Good evening, friends. (Audience says “good evening”) We--we are (uh) going to study a subject that I think you’ll find can be very liberating, very important. As I stated a few minutes ago, of course our Bible studies, “Revelation’s Lake of Fire,” this is found in Revelation chapter 20 and some of it chapter 21. (Uh) We have a study guide that goes along with it, “Is the Devil In-Charge of Hell”? And (uh) very interesting study guide.

I’d like to begin by sharing some interesting facts with you, the lowest of point on earth—who knows where it is? It’s called the basement of the planet—is the Dead Sea, which is part of the biblical land. Over 13 hundred feet below sea level, I’ve been there before, very hot, you even feel a more dense air pressure down there than you would feel at sea level, it’s that much different. And I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it I’m a pilot and so I when I start to climb I feel the loss of air pressure, you can feel it in your lungs, but I remember distinctly feeling how much denser it was. For years people wondered if the Dead Sea had a big chasm in it somewhere because all the water from the Jordan River runs out of the Sea of Galilee down the Jordan River into the Dead Sea, but nothing ever runs out of the Dead Sea. It always takes, it never gives. Which could be why it’s dead, that’s a lesson for all of us, right?

They actually sent a navy lieutenant there once (uh) I think it was Captain Lynch and they did some explorations and they sounded it to find out if it was a bottomless chasm and the water was just pouring into the middle of the earth. And they found out no, it’s solid on the bottom, it just evaporates faster than it can run in. Because it’s about 40 mine--49 miles long, an average of 9 miles wide, one of the hottest, driest, most desolate places in the world.

Just a little bit south of the Dead Sea are some very interesting-looking bad lands. (Uh) There are these hills that are like this pot ash clay compressed and embedded in these hills is something that you’ll only find there and nowhere else in the world. They have these sulfur balls. And (uh) I--I was talking to someone about if I could demonstrate this, I actually did it once, these you can just take a match to it, I got a match here but I’m not gonna do it. You can take a match to it. Any of you ever smoke burning sulfur? What’s the smell like? Rotten eggs! And I did that one time and I learned my lesson. Everybody left the meeting. No, (Laughs) (Audience laughs) but it does make stink quite a bit. And (uh) you can come up and smell it later, if you’d like to. Matter of fact, I’m not gonna wanna put my fingers anywhere near my nose now.

But (uh) these sulfur balls are flammable, they burn very hot, I think (uh) one of my friends, I wanna thank (uh) Andrew Jones and Richard and others who’d sent this to me. (Uh) You can see, last night they took a picture of one burning and sent it to me, said, “Don’t set it on fire, Doug, we’ll do it for you outside and send you a picture,” and they did that for me from California. And they just put a match to the side see how blue hot it’s burning? These are embedded in that pot ash down there. How do you think they got there?

I’ll tell you the story. Genesis chapter 13 verse 3, the Bible says, “But the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly before the Lord,” and as a result of that, after years of patience God sent two angels to Sodom and I think you remember that they were poorly treated. They went to Lot’s home. Lot was the nephew of Abraham who was praying. Uncle Abraham was praying for Lot cause he knew that Sodom was doomed. And they said, “Get out of town,” I’m paraphrasing, “escape for your life, do not look behind thee, escape to the mountains lest you be,” what? “consumed; lest you be burnt up.”

And he went to visit his daughters in law and family and said, “God’s told me this place is doomed get out of town now.” And they mocked him like he was a religious fanatic. Could that happen again? He seemed like one that mocked unto his sons-in-law and finally the angels said, “We can’t wait any longer, escape for your life, lest you be consumed.” And the Bible says he got out of town and the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. It rained down. And evidently, this is the very place where you find these sulfur balls embedded in the ash. Some of them came down on fire and they extinguished themselves on impact and they’re still there today, it’s kind a fascinating, isn’t it? Only place you can find these just like that.

You know Jesus said, speaking of the last days, “As it was in the days of Lot,” matter of fact, I’ve got it here Luke chapter 17 verse 28, “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot; they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom,” butterflies were flitting from flower to flower and business was starting as usual, and folks were waking up and brewing their coffee and doing everything they did every other morning, it looked like another great day and then suddenly everything changed. Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noah,” another beautiful day and then suddenly everything changed.

You know it’s one thing that struck me about 9/11 it was a beautiful day. And I think sometimes we are living under the delusion that God is gonna send us some kind of advance warning, He has, it’s called the Bible, (Audience says “amen”) and He wants us to listen to it. The Bible tells us that (uh) “…as it was, they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built, but on the day they went out of Sodom God rained fire and brimstone from heaven.” Jesus uses the same words, “And destroyed them all even so will it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day he was on his house top and his goods in the house let Him not come down and take them away. Likewise the one who’s in the field let him not even come back for his clothes,” and then Jesus gives us this solemn words, “Remember Lot’s wife.”

Lot’s wife heard the explosion or eruption or the roar behind her, maybe her heart was yearning for her things and her children, we don’t know what was happening, but she looked back and God said, “Don’t look back.” Does God mean what He says? (Audience answers “yes”) Sometimes we think He says, “Remember the Sabbath day,” and it’s optional. God means what He says. And she turned around—she looked back, what happened? Turned into a pillar of salt!

Bible says, Abraham from his vantage point up in Hebron, he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah and lo the smoke of the country went up as a smoke of a furnace. God had not told Abraham not to look so he looked, and nothing happened to him cause he didn’t know. And it looked like a furnace. Some have wondered if it was a nuclear explosion but no, a fire and brimstone. This is, if you set this on fire, it’s brimstone, still there today, isn’t that fascinating?

Now when we think of fire and brimstone, what subject, what Bible subject pops into your mind? Hell! And that’s our subject today, hellfire, which is exactly the same as the lake of fire that you find in Revelation. Some have tried to separate the two; it’s the same subject that we’re going to study. The Bible has a lot to say not only about the reward of heaven and we have a study coming on the New Jerusalem, you’re gonna love that one. But we also have a study on something that is in Revelation, it is in prophecy, Old and New Testament dealing with the punishment of the wicked. It’s a sobering truth we need to be aware of and God wants us to know to avoid it but He also wants us to know the way He is dealing with sinners is a loving way. The love of God is revealed in this subject. Let’s get right into our study.

DB—Sermon Question #1: Number one. How many lost souls are being punished in hell today according to the Bible?

Answer? II Peter chapter 2 verse 9, “The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation,” godly are delivered, “and to reserve the unjust unto the Day of Judgment to be punished.” Where are the unjust? Reserved! Any of you ever made a reservation? It’s something that is held for you. You don’t want this reservation. (Audience laughs) But the--the unjust are, they’re be in reserved, they’re being held for this day of punishment.

And again, John 12:48, “The word that I have spoken,” Jesus said, “will judge them in the last day.” We read a lot about that in John chapter 6 today, right? When are they gonna be punished, rewarded, judged? The last day. How many people are burning in hell now? Nobody! Oh, some of you are getting riled up oh, you said, “Pastor Doug, you’re telling me you don’t believe in hellfire”? I do believe in hellfire, if that makes you happy. I do. I believe the wicked are gonna burn. That for our Baptist friends out there you wanted to hear that. My dad was a Baptist. Oh, first time I was baptized in the mountains, remember that subject? Baptist; so I understand and this is a very integral part, I do believe in it. But nobody’s burning yet according to the Bible, cause the Lord says they are reserved, haven’t been judged yet. Resurrection hasn’t taken place; even the resurrection of damnation hasn’t taken place yet.

DB—Sermon Question #2: Number two. When will sinners according to the Bible be cast into hellfire?

How many of you remember the parable Jesus told about the farmer who had an enemy that spread weeds, tares in his wheat? And in that parable they’re told to first gather together the tares, bind them in bundles and burn them, Matthew 13 verse 40 is where you find this. And then later when Jesus explains this parable, He says in (uhm) Matthew 13 verse 40 to 42, “So shall it be in the end of the world,” when? (Audience answers “end of the world”) “End of the world, the Son of man will send forth His angels and they will gather together them that do iniquity and shall cast them into a furnace of fire.” They’re being cast into hellfire, lake of fire, furnace of fire, you can call it what you want, when? The end of the world, it’s when they’re going to be gathered and punishment is meted out. So how many are burning in hell now? (Audience answers “none”) Nobody is burning in hell now.

DB—Sermon Question #3: Number three. Where are sinners who have died now if, they’re not burning?

A lot of scripture, the Bible tells us John chapter 5 verse 28 and 29, “The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves will hear His voice,” it’s coming, “and they’ll come forth.” “The wicked is reserved,” Job 21 verse 30, “The wicked is reserved unto the day of destruction,” he’s being reserved just like Peter said. And again, “Yet he shall be brought to the grave, he’ll remain in tomb until,” when? “The Day of Judgment.” He’s reserved in the tomb until the Day of Judgment. If that’s clear, please say amen. (Audience says “amen”) Okay.

DB—Sermon Question #4: Number four. What is the end result of sin?

Now wait a second, if you don’t mind, another scripture popped into my mind, I’m hoping it’s the Holy Spirit. Daniel chapter 12, “At that time Michael will stand up, the great Prince that stands for the children of thy people and there will be a time of trouble such as there never has been since there was a nation even unto the same time and at that time thy people will be delivered everyone that is found written in the book and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” When Michael stands up great time of trouble, resurrection, many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, “Some to everlasting life, some to everlasting shame and contempt.” When are the wicked gonna get that? When Michael stands up, great time of trouble, and that’s synonymous with the plagues at the end of the world.

Number four. What is the end result of sin? The Bible tells us, penalty for sin is death. James 1:15 bears that out, “Sin when it is finished brings forth,” what? How many know this one? John 3:16. Could you say this by heart? “For God so loves the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Now this is something that some people they have an “aha” experience right about now. There are two destinies for everybody, there’s two roads, there’s two choices, there’s two masters: life and death, good and evil, Christ and the devil, either eternal life or perish. It is not eternal life in heaven and eternal life in the fire. Life and death is what He’s offering us. Are the wicked punished in hellfire? Yes! How long? Well, we’ll get to that in just a minute.

Again, Romans chapter 6, what does Paul tell us? “The wages of sin is,” what? Everlasting life in the fire, is that what it says? “The wages of sin are death but the gift of God is everlasting life.” The gift doesn’t go to everybody, it’s those who at, everlasting life is for everybody.

The first lie that the devil told Eve was what? “You won’t really die.” You’ll live forever in hell or you’ll live forever in heaven, but you’re immortal. We looked at all the verses this morning dealing with immortality, did we find one? I asked the whole audience, no offers, right? Is there a single verse in the Bible that says we have immortality now? Not one! The--God said, “You will die,” the devil said, “No, you won’t.” The tragedy is that there are many Christian leaders that are repeating the lie of the devil.

Why do you think God said to Adam, Genesis chapter 3 verse 22, “Chased them, evicted them from the Garden of Eden lest he put forth his hand, take also of the tree of life, eat and live forever.” God said, “He’s not gonna live forever and I’m not gonna let it happen because I’m not going to immortalize a sinner.” God does not want to immortalize sinners. They will be exterminated, punished, and eradicated from the universe. He’s going to have a pure universe.

This whole concept, i--it came from medieval teachings. And you know this subject, if you haven’t noticed I get excited about it, part of the reason is I used to go to some Christian schools that taught this and my idea of God was, I mean I was being told that if you’re not baptized as a baby and you die, those babies go to hell and they burn…forever and ever and ever, or at least, purgatory, burn a little bit there forever and ever and ever. But because they’re immortal you know they might burn in purgatory then make it.

And this idea that God would, oh I’ve heard some sermons, someone not too long ago sent me a sermon. He’s an eloquent, great, preacher. I have great respect for him. But just one sermon, “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God,” any of you ever heard of that one? Jonathan Edwards? Boy…makes your skin growl! Talks about the doomed hanging above the fires of hell by a spider web and is ready to pop in any moment and gonna plunge down into the sulfur and burning brimstone and after swimming through this molten lava for a thousand years you find your way to the surface and you cry out, “Oh, Lord, how long”? And He says, “You’ve just begun.” And He pushes you back under again to blister some more, I’m paraphrasing; it’s a very rough translation. But (uh) I mean really, a lot of people, this is their idea of God is that He is a sadist and that He is going to enjoy watching these creatures that He created that have these sinful tendencies be tortured through endless ages.

You know how long eternity is? Can you figure this? A billion years from now you swim to the surface of the brimstone and God says, “You’ve just begun.” (Audience laughs) And you get pushed back and you’re blistering and writhing and shrieking the whole time. It is a doctrine of devils. It came from the Dark Ages.

You know I used to go a public school and they had a school play, and my mother directed it, she was always into theatrics, and (uh) it was on Greek mythology. You can have a school play on Greek gods but you weren’t allowed to have a school play on Jesus. And (uh) I was Pluto. I probably made a good Pluto, (Laughs) not papa in Pluto. I was Pluto, the God of Hades. And (uh) y--you heard in Greek mythology about (uh) Pluto, the God of Hades and he had the hounds of hell; you heard that expression, the hounds of hell? Where’s that in the Bible? It’s from Greek mythology. And a lot of these concepts about the devil being in charge of hell and--and Hades, they all come from mythology and they found their way into the church.

Remember how we learned how many Pagan traditions came into the church? Things started getting corrupted but it was advantageous. The religious leaders found that fear is a very powerful mechanism. And you can motivate people and you could get (uh) increased offerings by using fear, and (uh) it was very successful.

I better get back to my lesson here. If the idea that the penalty for sin is everlasting torment did Jesus die on the cross for our sins? If the penalty for sin is to burn forever and ever and ever, and ever, Jesus didn’t pay our penalty. The penalty for sin is death, did He die? He paid our penalty. The whole idea that the penalty for sin is eternal torment, Jesus did not take our penalty. And then we’re all in trouble. But He did die.

It’s like with Daniel, the penalty for disobeying the king’s command was death, he put ‘em in a lions’ den, he spent one night, he took ’em out, he said, “I’ve kept the law,” the law has been satisfied then he threw in Daniel’s enemies and the lions ate them. Daniel came back out alive he didn’t stay in forever.

DB—Sermon Question #5: Number five. What will happen to the wicked in hellfire?

The Bible tells us in Psalms 37 verse 10, verse 20, “For yet a little while and the wicked shall not be, but the wicked shall perish into smoke they will consume away.” Gonna burned up, “For behold,” Malachi 4, you know this, verse 1, “for behold the day comes that would burn as an oven, and all that do wickedly shall be stubble.” How many of you have done farming before, you know what stubble is? And after you harvest the rice they’ve got this (uh) little stocks that looks like it’s been mowed off, it’s called stubble and you burn it into smolders and that’s all that’s left. “It’ll be stubble; it’ll leave them neither root nor branch.” Malachi chapter 4, “The day that comes will burn them,” say this with me, it’s talking about the wicked; “The day that comes will burn them up.” What does it say? You gonna burned up. It’s all gone. You gotta raise your voice when you say that. (Audience laughs)

You know I’m showing you a picture there on the screen, anyone know where that’s from? Pompeii; I’ve been there, at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius, it used to be much taller course so did Mt. St. Helens, there was this (uh) Roman Las Vegas. It was a--a very lush sea port town for people to vacation and the towns of Pompeii and Herculean (uh) were devastated during an earthquake in about 68 (uh) BC but the mountain finally blew its lid in 78 BC.

What many people don’t know and of course (uh) at least 2,000 bodies they found so far and they haven’t finished excavating it yet, but (uh) some people were found, gladiators still chained up, and a lot of Roman soldiers lost their lives during that time.

Little amazing fact, a lot of people don’t know, the legion of soldiers that worked under the General Titus who later became the Emperor that destroyed Jerusalem and sacked the temple in 70 AD were at that time vacationing as a reward for their service, took ‘em years to move ‘em around back then they didn’t have aircraft, and they perished. The soldiers that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple were there when it blew, just interesting to think about.

What else does the Bible say about the punishment of the wicked? “But the fearful, and the unbelieving, and the abominable, and the murderers, and the whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars will have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death.” I don’t know maybe I should light this up after the program if you wanna come outside and find out what brimstone smells, your--hopefully, you’ll never find out any other way, right? (Audience laughs) Gaye, if you’re wanting to know we’ll do it that way.

DB—Sermon Question #6: Number six. When and where and how will hellfire be kindled?

Answer? Matthew, Jesus’ speaking, chapter 13, “So shall it be at the end of the world the Son of man shall cast them into a furnace of fire.” Again, Revelation 20 verse 9, it says “They went up on the breadth of the earth.” This is something we’ll talk more about tomorrow night when we study the millennium of Revelation chapter 20, the devil being chained, “They went up on the breadth of the earth and compassed the camp of the saints about the beloved city and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.” Doesn’t that sound a little bit like what we read about Sodom and Gomorrah?

Do you know the Bible writers tell us what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah is an example of what’s gonna happen in the last days and how God is gonna deal with the wicked. And it goes on again, Proverbs chapter 11 verse 31, “The righteous shall be recompensed in the earth.” Remember when Jesus said, “The meek will inherit,” what? (Audience answers “earth”) The way it is now or the earth made new? He’ll create a new heaven and a new earth. “The righteous are gonna be recompensed and the earth much more the wicked and the sinner.”

So I don’t know if you caught this we just read three scriptures here that told about hellfire, where is hell gonna burn? On earth; more specifically, Washington D.C. (Audience laughs) Amen? (Audience says “amen”) It--you know, the idea that you know because comes--comes from Greek mythology again you know Hades lived in the underworld and this idea that the devil is down yonder.

And I remember walking out of the market one day and (uh) sometimes I just look for an excuse to go to the market so I can read as much of those tabloid covers as possible for entertainment. And I remember checking out of the market one day and it said, “Oil Well Drillers in Russia Drill Too Deep Demons Escape from Hell.” (Audience laughs) Any of you remember that one? (Laughs) And there are preachers that still preach way down yonder somewhere the devil’s got his condo, there’s his whole office and he’s got, he’s got everything set up down in these caverns. When the devil came to--in the book of Job chapter 1, when the devil came to the Lord and the Lord said, “Where did you come from?” He didn’t say, “I came from a cavern down in hell then in the earth,” said, “I came from walking to and fro on, on the earth.” And the devil’s business isn’t down yonder it’s up here. He’s on the earth. And that hellfire is gonna rain down on the earth. God rains it down on the earth. On the earth, they compass the camp of the saints, right? That’s where it’s gonna happen.

DB—Sermon Question #7: Number seven. How big and how hot will hellfire be?

The Bible tells us, “The day is coming that will burn as an oven,” Oh I’m sorry, “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise and the elements will melt with fervent heat.” (Uh) Some think that when the Lord comes as a thief, life’s gonna go on for another seven years. You know this whole Left Behind, secret rapture scenario they’ve got the Lord coming like a thief and then life goes on for another seven years.

What does the Bible say is gonna happen after the Lord comes like a thief? The elements are gonna melt with fervent heat.

You know they learned when the bomb, atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima that even rocks will burn. You get ‘em hot enough. II Peter chapter 3, “The earth also and the works therein will be burned up.” It’s gonna be burned up so there’ll be nothing left. Of the wicked God’s gonna purify, fire purifies.

And (uh) you know in Northern California where Karen and I had our home for 20 years now (uh) periodically, we see forest fires out there. And (uh) I was flying home (uh) not too long ago, flying from our cabin up in the hills back to Sacramento on our small plane, and had to fly over some forest fires. I had to negotiate around what looked like a mushroom cloud and I could barely breathe in the plane because of the smoke. And (uh) you just can imagine what this planet is gonna be like when the Lord sets it on fire. Maybe something like that, that’s actually a picture of the sun with some (uh) overactive sunspots.

Revelation 20 verse 14 and 15, “Then death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire.” Wait a second, some people are saying, “How can hell go to hell”? (Audience laughs) Isn’t that what that said? There’s a lot of misunderstandings about what the word hell means in the Bible or Hades, more times than not 54 times in the Bible do you find that word it’s tra--I always kind a feel like I’m cursing when I say it but it’s in the Bible. Hell typically means the grave. That’s what it means. And so it means death and the grave are cast into the lake of fire. No more death, no more grave, got it? Otherwise, it wouldn’t make sense. “And anyone not found written in the book of life is cast into the lake of fire.”

Now here’s a big issue, do you know how to get your name written there? You come to Jesus and you ask Him to blot out your sins with His blood and enter your name in the book of life, surrender your life to Him, you won’t need to worry about the lake of fire.

DB—Sermon Question #8: Number eight. How long will the wicked suffer in the fire?

Now some people think they’re gonna burn forever and ever. Jesus said, Revelation 22 verse 12, “And behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me to give to every man according as his work shall be.” First thing, when do they get rewarded? When He comes. How do they get rewarded? According to what they deserve. Does everybody get the same reward? If everybody burns forever and ever then it’s really not fair that Cain, who killed one person, his brother, five thousand years ago, would burn 5,000 years longer than Adolf Hitler. I’m assuming Hitler’s lost, is that okay with you? (Audience laughs) I don’t wanna judge him or anything cause someone might gonna come up to me, but (uh) would that be fair? No, of course not! And everyone is gonna get rewarded according what his work shall be.

And again Matthew 16:27, it says (uh) “And He’ll reward every man according to his,” what? His works; we’re saved by grace but we’re rewarded according to our works cause your works will demonstrate whether or not you really are saved. That’s why Jesus said, “Why do you say Lord, Lord and do not the things I say”?

Luke chapter 12 verse 47 and 48, “That servant that knew his Lord’s will and neither did according to (uh) His will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” In other words, if we know what God wants and we don’t do it, we’re punished more severely. “He that didn’t know His Lord’s will and didn’t perform it He will be beaten with few stripes.” Does that sound fair to you? That’s what Jesus said people are gonna get according to what they deserve. Christ said, “Fear not them that kill the body but are not able to kill the soul.” Some people say, “Well, the souls burn forever in hell, the body gets burned up,” have you heard that before? “Yeah, it’s true, Doug, the--the--the body is all get burnt up and God makes a new heaven and a new earth but the souls burn forever.”

What did we learn about the souls today? The soul that sins will die. What does Jesus say about what happens to the soul in hell? “Fear not them that kill the body but are not able to kill the soul.” He goes on and says, “Fear them that destroy soul and body in hell,” both.

DB—Sermon Question #9: Number nine, I’m gonna give that scripture to you again later. Will the fire ever go out?

The Bible says, Psalm 37 verse 10, “For yet a little while and the wicked shall not be but the wicked shall perish and the enemies of the Lord shall be consumed into smoke they will consume away.” Again, Isaiah 47: 14, “Behold, the day shall be as stubble, the fire shall burn them, they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame,” these are prophecies and this is a prophecy code meeting, “there’ll not be a coal to warm at nor a fire to sit before.” No coal, no fire, they’re going out, right? And if you have any doubts Jude tells us, “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah are set forth as an example suffering the vengeance of,” what kind of fire? “Eternal fire.”

Now some people say, “There you have it Doug, the fire is eternal, it’s gonna burn forever and ever.” Is that what it said? Are Sodom and Gomorrah still burning today? (Audience answers “no”) They were burnt with eternal fire but they were burned up, what it’s saying, was Sodom and Gomorrah ever rebuilt? Oh, it’s 4,000 years ago, you can go there today it’s still ashes. They were burnt with eternal fire; the results of the fire are eternal. It doesn’t mean that they are still burning. They were cities, not people. I mean the idea that God’s gonna burn cities forever and ever is even more absurd.

Now sometimes there are some scriptures in the Bible for instance, Revelation 14 verse 11, where it talks about the phrase forever and ever. And people get confused. I’ve given you a small sampling of the thousands of scriptures that they have in the Bible explaining that the wicked will be, let’s repeat this they’re gonna be consumed, devoured, burnt up, smoke, perish, never shall there be anymore, these are some of the phrases that the Bible is using, destroyed.

I mean if you are the Lord and you tried to use a thesaurus to communicate the fact that the sinners are going to be eradicated, annihilated, burnt up, destroyed, gone, no more, what words would you use? Bear with me I know none of you ever saw the Wizard of Oz, (Audience laughs) but when I was preparing this study some words from the munchkins popped into my mind. (Audience laughs) But we’ve got to verify it legally, talk about when the wicked witch was dead, to see if she is morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably, and reliably dead. And she’s not only merely dead she’s really most sincerely dead.

And that, for some reason that popped into my mind (Laughs) (Audience laughs) when I was thinking about it. How do you communicate that sinners will be destroyed? What other words does God want? But people seize upon a few misunderstood phrases and they build a whole theology on that. They completely--they blind themselves to the bulk of evidence and they focusing on what they want to believe.

Now there are a few difficult scriptures where it uses the word forever. The word that’s used there in Greek is “aion.” Have you ever heard someone say, “Why, I haven’t seen them in ‘eons.’” Eon is an unspecified period of time. It doesn’t have a start or finish per se. And the reason God uses that word is because all the sinners burn different periods based on what they deserve. He couldn’t give a specified period.

There are other places in the Bible where you gonna find the word forever and it obviously had an ending. You remember for instance when Jonah, and Jonah’s time in the fish was compared to the hell that Jesus went through. And that Jesus quote is Matthew chapter 12. It says, “Jonah prayed from the belly of the great fish,” and he said, “The earth with her bars was about me forever.” He was imprisoned, how long? You think it felt like forever? (Audience answers “yes”)

You know what Jonah went through is a good picture of the darkness and separation from God. Here he is in the bowels of this sea monster, at the bottom of the ocean and it’s dark and--and one day it occurred to me that if he was in there alive maybe that fish had swallowed other things that were still squirming in there with him. Wouldn’t that be awful? And then if you ever you do any diving at night you know sometimes this fish flash by luminescence and all the sudden a little flash octopus and jelly fish and aw, must’ve been like hell in there, (Audience laughs) right? So this is how he talks and do you think it felt like forever? Three days and three nights in the digestive system of the sea monster? But was it forever? The Bible says he was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Again you can read in Exodus 21, a Hebrew could have a servant for seven years and at--after that time you could go through a ritual where he would stay with his master and it says, “He will serve him forever.” How long would that be? Till he dies, right? When Hannah brought little Samuel to the temple she said, “I’m gonna leave him here forever,” how long was that? Till he died, the rest of his life, and again it specifies later for as long as he lives.

And so when it says that the wicked are gonna be burnt forever, it means, the word there, don’t forget, it’s going from Greek to English, it’s “eon,” they’re burnt up according to what they deserve until they die, they’re punished. And they’re burnt with not only (uhm) everlasting fire cause will they ever live again? No second chances. It’s also called unquenchable fire and I’ll get to that just a minute.

Forever and ever is a biblical expression which means until the end of the age not necessarily an infinite, unending length of time, you must ris--read that phrase in its context. Now (uh) Donald Barnhouse, the theologian, when he considered this subject, and for those who are watching if you haven’t figured it out by now I’m a Seventh-day Adventist, I’ve tried not to brag about that cause I want everyone to feel comfortable, but we just wanna stick to the Bible, right?

Barnhouse says,We can’t be too hard on the Adventists for believing this because after all Martin Luther believed it, the Father of the Reformation, as did William Tyndale and a more modern scholar kind of turned the world up on his ear, John Stot, who is a great scholar, he also believes that the Bible is very clear that the wicked will be burnt up in the lake of fire.”

(Uh) Pentecostal, Edward Fudge wrote a book that kind a surprised everybody and he said, “If you gonna go by the Bible there is no question the wicked are burnt up in the lake of fire.” There’s a lot of people out there that know this and they’re afraid to say anything because it’s considered unpopular.

Quick story—oh must be 25, 30 years ago. I was driving my little MAZDA GLC Japanese car across Texas to the home where we were living at that time. And I saw, at Christmas Eve, car was broken down and I pulled over to see if they needed any help and the man said, “I’m not sure what it is, headlights just started getting dim and finally the car died,” and I used to do mechanic work. And I said, “It sounds like your alternator.” And we checked, battery was stone dead, it was--alternator wasn’t putting anything out, so something very funny he’s driving this Big Old Texas Oldsmobile or something like that, I pulled his car several miles to our house with my Mazda GLC. (Audience laughs)

And it was Christmas Eve, couldn’t get--I took his alternator apart, it needed new brushes you men know what I’m talking about, and couldn’t do anything about it that night. And invited him, his wife, two girls, to stay the night with our family and (uh) got to talking. He’s a Baptist minister. So I wanted to study. We started talking about some of the differences of what we believe and this subject came up.

And as I shared with him what I’ve just shared with you, he became very nervous and looking a little edgy and he said, “Brother Doug,” he said, “I’ve seen these scriptures before and I realized if you’re gonna go strictly by the Bible that it is pretty clear that hell doesn’t burn forever.” But then he said, “If I told my church members that they wouldn’t come to church anymore.” (Audience laughs) And I said, “Brother, is that why they’re coming”? Fire insurance? (Audience laughs) Trying to stay out of hell?

And you know granted the Bible does have some very sobering warnings about the lake of fire and wanting to avoid it that maybe a starting point for anyone in the right in mind, right? I mean, fear of destruction, we all you know, that’s why we don’t grab rattle snakes, right? It’s self-preservation, it might be a starting point, but somewhere along the way if the only reason you’re going to church and serving God is you’re trying to stay out of hell, should you ever arrive in heaven you’ve lost your motivation. Along the way we’ve got to learn to do it because we love the Lord (Audience says “Amen”) and we know Him.

And you know the other reason this subject is important to me before I learned the truth I hated God. I wouldn’t say that out loud but in my heart of hearts I thought God is mean, He’s gonna torture these creatures who are all feeble and weak sinners and He’s gonna torture them through endless ages for the sins of this brief lifetime, why, He’s a sadist. That’s what I thought. When I learned the Bible truth on this subject, it was one of the most liberating subjects I’d ever studied because it helped me see that God is just and He’s loving. (Audience says “amen”)

DB—Sermon Question #10: Number ten. What will be left when the fire goes out?

Malachi chapter 4 verse 3, very clear, “And He’ll tread down the wicked for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet.” The Bible says that when the redeemed go forth from the New Jerusalem God’s gonna create a new heavens and a new earth, the meek will inherit the earth. If the wicked are burned by the fire that God rains down out of heaven, forms a lake of fire, it burns until they’re--they’re all burned up, I don’t know how long that will be.

Who do you think is gonna burn the longest? Devil; the bible says day and night forever and ever, that means day and night till he’s all gone. And (uh) eventually, we’ll--the gates will be opened, we’ll walk out and underneath (uh) our toes will be the grass living green, and underneath the grass will be the ashes of our persecutors. The wicked will become ashes under the soles of our feet, it is gonna be quite literally that way, “There will not be a coal to warm at nor a fire to sit before it,” we read this to you earlier.

And again, another verse, I read you Jude now listen to what Peter says about Sodom and Gomorrah. “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes,” he turned them into what? Ashes. “Condemning them with an overthrow making them an example to those who afterwards should live ungodly.” Why did I start out with this story about Sodom and Gomorrah? Cause the Bible says they are an example for anyone that has any question, about what’s going to happen to the wicked. It’s sort of a combination of Noah and (uh) Lot, except instead of being in a lake of water it’s a like of fire, they are drowned in fire and the world is purified by that same fire.

DB—Sermon Question #11: Number 11. Will the wicked enter hell in bodily form and be destroyed both soul and body?

Yeah, the Bible is very clear, I told you I’d read you this again, Jesus is speaking, do you believe Him? (Audience says “yes”) The Lord said, “Fear not them that kill the body but are not able to kill the soul but rather fear Him who is able to,” say it with me, “destroy both soul and body in hell.” That sounds like a d--dictionary definition to me, what’s gonna happen to the wicked? Soul and body destroyed in hell. There’s not gonna be some part or ghost of them that’s gonna flutter around indefinitely.

And again, Jesus said, Mark chapter 9 verse 47, “If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than having two eyes to be cast into hellfire where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.” Now the word that is used there when he talks about hellfire He’s talking about “Gehenna” and that is one of the words that you’ll hear in a minute that we use for hell. There’s four primary words, you’ve got Sheol, is the Old Testament word for hell that (uh) means the grave most of the time, just means the grave. Then you’ve got Hades which (uh) generally means the grave, sometimes it--it’s referring to the Greek place of punishment. Then you’ve got (uhm) Gehenna and Tartarus. Tartarus is used one time it means a place of darkness.

The valley of Hinnom was just outside of Jerusalem, it was a very steep, rocky ravine, it’s still there today. It was not a good piece of terrain to build or develop because of its steep structure. Another thing is they had set up Pagan gods there at one time and so to show their love for God they decided to make that the city dump. And so they used to throw all their trash, unclean animals that died were thrown in there, and (uh) it might have you know old baskets and rotten clothes and I heard that sometimes criminals if they couldn’t find anybody to cover expenses they’d throw them in Gehenna and that’s why and they tried to keep it burning to keep the stench down, it was full of worms and smoldering all the time.

Any of you ever lived in Texas? You know every ten miles there’s a, Texas is big. Matter of fact, you drive across Texas and it says, “The sun is risen,” a few miles later you’ll see another sign, “The sun is set,” a few miles later it will say, “And I am still in Texas yet,” (Audience laughs) big state. But every ten miles they got a town and a lot of them have their own city dump. And (uh) on still days when there is no wind sometimes you can spot where the towns are because you see little ribbons of smoke coming up from the dump, somebody burnt their trash, they forgot that it was still smoldering, they threw it in the city dump, whole dump caught on fire, and they just smolder all the time. Those of you who’ve lived there you know what I’m talking about.

That’s the word Jesus used, better to go to heaven missing an eye or a hand or a foot than go to Gehenna, the city dump, where the fire is not quenched and the worm does not die, okay?

It goes on to say, Matthew 3 verse 12, “He will throughly,” that means thoroughly, “purge His floor and gather His wheat into the garner but He will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire.” “Oh Doug, it says right there the fires of hell can’t be quenched, they’re gonna burn forever and ever.” It’s not what that means.

Let’s read it some more. Jeremiah chapter 17:27, a prophecy, Jeremiah said and Nebuchadnezzar was going to destroy the temple if they didn’t repent, they didn’t repent and he destroyed the temple this is before that happened. “But if you will not hearken to me to hallow the Sabbath day and not to bear a burden even entering at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day then I will kindle a fire in the gates thereof it will devour the palaces of Jerusalem and it shall not be,” what? “Quenched.”

Was Jerusalem and the gates burnt by Nebuchadnezzar? Yes. Was it quenched? No. It burnt until it was all burnt up. God is very simply telling us there will be no fireman in hell quenching the fire, it’s going to do its work, no artificial means can stop it. Alright, let me see if I can illustrate this. Okay, alright I did it with a wrong hand here, alright I’m burning (Aw) I’m burning this match, I’m not gonna quench it, aww…hooo…ha…hoo…haa…I’m not gonna quench it, am I quenching it? I refused to quench it. Did I quench it? (Audience says “no”) Is it still burning? (Audience answers “no”)

What is it become? Can you see that? It’s ash. It was burnt with unquenchable fire. I’m gonna make sure it’s quenched here. (Laughs) So I don’t set the building on fire. That’s all it’s saying it means that nobody is taking any kind of active action to extinguish the fires of hell. It’s gonna do its complete work, there’ll be nothing left, no root, no branch, there’ll be not a coal to warm at, nothing left, is that clear?

Matthew chapter 5 verse 30, Jesus said, “It’s profitable for thee that one of thy member should perish and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” And He goes on and He says, (uh) “The soul that sinneth it shall,” what? (Audience says “die”) “Die.” Soul and body cast into hell, is it just souls going in or are people going in bodily form?

DB—Sermon Question #12: Number 12. Will the devil be in charge of hellfire? What do you think?

Can you trust, that’s--that comes from Greek mythology once again that the devil’s, you know, he’s got his pitchfork and make sure everybody cooks evenly (Audience laughs) and (uh) he’d flip ‘em every now and then and (uh) that he’s in charge, could you trust the devil to make sure everybody gets an even reward? (Audience answers “no”) No, you’d be the--that’s asking the fox to guard the chicken coup, right? (Audience laughs) He’s a sadist. You can’t trust him to do that.

Matter of fact, what does the Bible say about the devil’s fate? Revelation 20 verse 10, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and burning brimstone.” Satan is going to be cast into hell. He’s not in charge of hell, he’s afraid of it like every sinner ought to be. The idea that he’s in charge of--of hell is again, it’s a fable from Greek mythology.

What does it say about the devil in Ezekiel chapter 28? “I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of them that behold thee.” He goes on and He says, “I’ll bring forth a fire from the midst of thee and it will devour thee and I will bring thee to ashes on the earth in the sight of them that behold thee. Thou shalt be a terror and never shall thou be anymore.” If anybody deserves to burn forever and ever, who is it? (Audience answers “devil”) He’s gonna burn the longest and maybe even the hottest.

If everybody is going to get different rewards then obviously it must mean a difference in the duration, or the intensity, would you agree with that? And obviously, there maybe both, some people are gonna maybe burn a little hotter and a little longer but they’re not gonna burn forever. We are not going to sit on the walls of the New Jerusalem eating popcorn and watching the wicked burn. (Audience laughs) For one thing, do you think that the Lord is going to erase all natural affection?

You know it’s very hard for us to sometimes consider this but I think most of us recognize there are going to be people lost that we know and care about. Is the--the Lord, does He love the--the sinners? Does He love the lost? Is God going to just remove all natural affections so that we could have a spouse or parent or child or someone we cared about and--and they’re in the lake of fire and we’re up there going, “Well, too bad, you know we just don’t care anymore,” and they’re gonna be burning forever and ever?

And I’ve talked to pastors and they say, “Yes, and we’ll say ‘halleluiah.’” (Audience laughs) And they got this distorted idea. God has no pleasure in the wicked being lost, let alone suffering through the endless ages. Revelation chapter 20 verse 15, “And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Two choices friends: life or death, eternal life or perish, book of life, lake of fire; only two choices, only two roads. I hope you’re all choosing the right road.

We have a home as I stated; a cabin way up in the hills in Northern California, we don’t get there very often now but we sure miss it. For years, now with the house is solar electric and we’ve actually got a little satellite television but for years all that we had was a little radio. And there was a very few stations we could get cause we’re so remote but we used to get this Christian radio station, they’re on here in town, I’ve been listening to him, been around for years. Have some good programs, good music, but one speaker comes on this Christian radio program on an all too frequent phases and he attempts to expound the Bible and answer Bible questions.

And (uhm) I was up there in the hills, 12 miles, a dirt road from the nearest telephone, listening to the radio. A mother called in and she said, “Brother so and so,” and I could tell by her voice that something heavy was happening, she said, “My son died this last week, car accident, he was drinking, he was not a Christian, struck a tree, died instantly, I just need to know where he is.” And he tried to evade the questions, she said, “No, no, no. I wanna know is he in hell now”? And he said, “Well, if--if he wasn’t saved, yes, he would be burning in hell right now. And that’s--that would be his fate for eternity.” And you could hear the lady choked and hung up the phone. Oh, I started getting so upset because I knew it wasn’t true and it made God look bad, and that’s what bothered me.

Then a college student called up almost next call, and she said, “Brother so and so you know I--I believe in Jesus and He seems so loving and good and I--I want to accept Him but if He’s gonna torture the objects of His creation through ever and ever for the sins of one lifetime how could I ever love Him”? And he said, “Well, who are we to question God? And He’s God and He does what He wants.”

And--and I got so mad, here it was like eight o’clock at night and I don’t know, I hopped in the car, I drove 12 miles to the next telephone. I prayed all the way that I would get through because people are calling from all over the country. (Audience laughs) I got in I dialed the first time, got a busy signal, I prayed and dialed again, and all of the sudden said, “Welcome to the program, you’re on the air.”

And I didn’t know exactly what I was gonna say (Audience laughs) I hadn’t prayed about that yet, but you know Jesus said, “In that hour the Holy Spirit will tell you what to say.” (Audience says “amen”) And I said, “Brother so and so, I said I am a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, I believe,” I wanted to get that in so people listening would know where to go, (Audience laughs) and I said, “And I believe that the Bible clearly teaches that the wicked are going to be devoured in the lake of fire, they’ll be consumed, they’ll perish, they’ll go burn up,” and I said, “can I share a few scriptures”? And I began to quote all the scriptures and finally he hit a butter, button or something because I listened on the radio in this person’s house and all the sudden didn’t hear my voice anymore. (Audience laughs)

And (uh) he began to try to answer. Well, then he paused again to let me try and rebut some of what he said and I said, “Well, I can deal with that,” and I began to answer all those scriptures. He finally cut me off. He wouldn’t take any other phone calls for the last 20 minutes of the program. And I was praying that those people who had called and were listening who were grieving, who had this distorted idea of God.

And you know some thing else? I prayed that day on my way home I said, “Lord, would God that I could have a radio program someday where people could call up and I could tell them what the truth is”? (Audience says “amen”) And here, praise the Lord, I have a program now, isn’t that exciting? (Audience claps) So and it’s growing. (Audience still clapping) God has been blessing. Almost out of time (Clapping stops) and I’ve got a few more questions.

DB—Sermon Question #13: Does the word hell as used in the Bible (uh) what does it mean? Is it always referring to a place of burning or punishment?

We’ve already covered this with you very quickly; you’ve got those four words: Sheol, Gehenna, Tartarus, and (uhm) Hades. And they typically mean the grave. Tartarus means a place of darkness. A few times Hades does mean it’s sort of used in connection with the Greek place of punishment. It means a place of punishment.

Someone write down about the rich man and Lazarus, I’ll try and answer that for you tomorrow night.

DB—Sermon Question #14: Number 14. What is God’s real purpose in hellfire? Is it so He can get even with those who don’t love Him?

I mean is that how God operates? The Bible says, Matthew 25:41, “He’ll then declare, depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for those,” who don’t love me? No, “Prepared for the devil and his angels.” If we choose to follow the devil and his angels it means we’re his servants and we get his reward.

Romans chapter 6, “Don’t you know whoever you obey that’s whose servant you are.” And if we choose to follow and obey the devil, that’s whose reward we’re gonna share and God does not want us to have that reward that’s why Jesus died, He wants desperately to save us from that.

And again Revelation 20 verse 9, “And they went up on the breadth of the earth and compassed the camp of the saints about and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.” Those that join Satan in his final assault on the city of God will be devoured by the fire that rains down out of heaven.

DB—Sermon Question #15: Number 15. Isn’t the work of destroying sinners foreign to God’s nature?

Absolutely! The Bible tells us, “God is love.” He’s not vengeance or sadism. The Lord is not willing that any should burn forever and ever is that what it says? He’s not willing that any should perish, let alone burn forever and ever. He doesn’t even want you to perish. He wants you to live, that’s why He created you. But they should all come to—friends, if you’re listening tonight, Jesus is pleading with you. The subject of hell is very real, just as real as what I’ve got right here; Sodom and Gomorrah; real, they were destroyed. The lake of fire is real, wicked will burn according to what they deserve.

Jesus died for your sins. If you do not accept His sacrifice in your behalf there’s only one alternative, you will then have to suffer for your own sins. That’s a frightening thought for me. You remember the parable of the unmerciful debtor in Matthew chapter 18? When that man would not accept the king’s forgiveness and when he would not forgive his brother the king said, “Okay then, I’m retracting my forgiveness, you will now be tormented according to what you owe.” And that’s what will happen with those that do not capitalize on the incredible sacrifice that Jesus has made that we might live forever and be forgiven.

What a foolish thing, “What profit is it to gain the whole world and lose your soul”? Another scripture didn’t even think about that you’ll lose your soul. You don’t burn forever and ever in hell. Again, Isaiah 28, “The Lord shall be wroth that He might do His work, His strange work and bring to pass His act, His strange act.” It is so out of character for God to destroy life, He wants to make life. How much more out of character is it for Him to torture something through endless ages?

When I lived up there in my cave, I used to cook on a fire, had a cat named Stranger, he just showed up one day, lived with me for a year and a half then disappeared. And (uh) he would catch the mice in the cave every now and then and you know cats are a little sadistic, you all have cats? You know what I mean, they don’t just catch them and eat them, they don’t want them to die fast, they like them to die slow and so they beat up on ‘em and they let him go and say, “I dare you to hop away,” and they start to hop away and they pounce on them again and bite them and beat them up a little bit, but don’t kill ‘em, they like to torture ‘em.

And Stranger caught a kangaroo rat, little cute kangaroo rat there by my cave and I was cooking dinner and I felt so bad for the poor little thing. But you know cat’s got to eat. And so (uh) he was beating the thing up and I’ve seen it a hundred times but this time the thing was so dazed, it hopped right into my fire. (Audience says “awww”) Listen to you. (Audience laughs) Listen to you. No, I’m serious, look at that reaction. You don’t wanna see a rat burn. (Audience laughs) Am I right?

If you selfish, mortal sinners don’t wanna see a rat burn for three seconds, is mortal man more just than God? You think our Heavenly Father wants to see the objects that He died for tortured through ceaseless ages? Absolutely not! The Bible says in Ezekiel 33, “As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” They’re gonna die, doesn’t say burn forever and ever. “But that the wicked turn from his evil ways.” Then He goes on and God pleads, He says, “Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, why will you die”?

He wants you to live. That’s why Jesus came. “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives but He came to save ‘em. And again, it says Job posed a question, “Shall mortal man be more just than God”? What are God’s plans for the post-hell earth and His people? Nevertheless, according to His promise we looked for what? “A new heavens and a new earth where in dwells righteousness.” Now don’t miss this, friends, “And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes there will be no more death,” how much death will there be? (Audience answers “no more”) “Neither sorrow,” no sorrow, “nor crying, neither will there be anymore pain.”

He doesn’t say just for the saved, He says I’m making a new universe, no more pain. How can there be a torture chamber somewhere where sinners are burning eternally if there’s no more pain? “No more pain, no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying.” He is not going to immortalize the devil or sinners. He’ll make all things new, amen? (Audience says “amen”)

And you and I need to let Him make us new now. “For behold I create a new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness, the former will not be remembered nor come into mind, affliction will not rise up the second time.”

Dear friends, if you would like to be in that kingdom, the Bible tells us in Revelation chapter 20 verse 14, “Those that are cast in the lake of fire this is the second death.” You know if you are only born once, you’re gonna die twice. But if you’re born twice, you’ll only die once. (Audience says “amen”) Born physically and then accept Jesus, born spiritually; born twice, die once. If you’re only born once physically, you’re gonna die in probably a physical death and then a spiritual death, eternal death in the lake of fire.

God sent His Son that you don’t have to die that second death. Some of us might die of old age. We might go to sleep in Christ, amen? (Audience says “amen”) Don’t have to fear that death, but you don’t wanna die the second death and you don’t wanna be in the second resurrection either, from which there is no reprieve.

This is a very important message because it really is a gospel message. The Lord is pleading with our good senses, He’s saying, “I want you to live. There’s two choices: perish or everlasting life; choose ye life.”

(Background music starts)

You know the Bible tells us that God’s original plan for everything to be good, good, very good. He wants us to have life everlasting. He wants it so much that He was willing to die to provide the opportunity for you to live with Him forever. He doesn’t want you to suffer for your sins cause He already suffered for ‘em. What a waste for Him to suffer for all your sins and you to suffer as well. He’s appealing to you today, friends, to say, “Lord, I want to accept what you’ve done in my behalf and live for you.” And He’ll put you at His right hand where there are pleasures forever more. Is that your desire, friends? He’s calling you today to come to the cross and accept that forgiveness: eternal life or perish? Those are our choices. Would you like to choose Jesus tonight friends? Those who are watching, is that your prayer. Let’s ask Him once again.

Father in heaven, dear Lord, we are so thankful that Jesus came and He suffered so intensely, He suffered for the--the misery and the guilt of all the sins in our lives, all the sins we ever have committed or could commit, all of all of humanity and we can’t comprehend that, we’re poured upon Jesus. And Lord, we accept what He has done in our behalf. We want to embrace it and then I pray that we’ll be transformed by your love. Help us to be new creatures now that we might have our new bodies when Jesus comes and live in that new earth. Lord, I pray you’ll work miracles in the lives of each person who is listening and watching now. Help them to embrace the truth and be liberated by the truth cause Jesus is the truth, and it’s in His name we pray, amen.

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Is the Devil in Charge of Hell? by Bill May

Is the Devil in Charge of Hell? by Bill May
God's Promises




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