[The following post is adapted from an interesting discussion in Yahoo Answers which presents some liberating truths.]
The book of life is the book of Grace. Those who have been trying to live by self-efforts instead of God’s grace would have been cast into the lake of fire to be tormented (basanizo – tested, purified) in their consciousness, until they experienced the SECOND DEATH (coming to the end of themselves) and saw their need for Jesus (“Who shall deliver me from this body of DEATH?“~ Paul wrote in Romans 7. )
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Do you know that the lake of fire is something that has continued right after new heaven and new earth? Do you also know that we will ALL have a part in it?
Yes, we ALL have a part in the lake of fire, as Jesus said, “For EVERYONE will be seasoned (tested or purified) with fire“. (Mark 9:49)
The lake of fire is something that has continued right after the new heaven and new earth, in which we are living today. The second death happens when a person who depends on self-efforts to get right with God comes to the end of himself/herself and finds freedom and perfect peace in Christ Jesus.
There are two kinds of death in the Bible. The first death is spiritual death or condemnation. Remember the ministry of death is also called the ministry of condemnation. (2 Corinthians 3) Those who are under law will experience condemnation in their conscience.
The second death is the end of condemnation. (Romans 8:1) It spells freedom for a person because when he/she experienced grace or undeserved favour, he/she will be set free from guilt and condemnation and enjoy righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit – which is the kingdom of God within each of us. 🙂
The book of Revelation was written by the apostle John before the destruction of the temple in AD70. The destruction of the temple in Jerusalem signified the end of the old covenant age or world, that is, the end of the Jewish religious law system.
Ever since AD70, we are living in the new covenant age or world, which is the new heavens and new earth.
We know God is not some sadistic, mean and vengeful God who burns people for eternity in hell. It is time for people to reexamine the context of Revelations 20-22, and study the Greek meanings for “torment”, “lake of fire”, “hades” and “forever and ever” (aion meaning for an Age). If the lake of fire is a physical place like some people said, how can death (which is non-physical) be cast into it? The lake of fire is a metaphor.
Last but not least, Revelation 21:8 “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral sorcerers, idolators, and all liars shall have their part in the lake of fire, which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” simply means the doing away of the old identity.
Because God has become all in all ever since the end of the old covenant age in AD70, we are now new creations living in the new covenant age. Therefore, we no longer see ourselves in the worldly or fleshly perspective, but we see one another in our new identity – we are all new creations, and sons and daughters of the Most High God. 🙂
“Behold, I make all things new.” May we all see one another in our new identity – we are ONE in Christ. 🙂
Reflections on the gospel: Questions for evangelicals (themysteryofchrist.wordpress.com)