I’m so glad you asked….. By Pastor F. M. Riley
December 7, 2010 #1
“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” Psalm 119:105.
“The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple,” Psalm 119:130.
“For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be manifest, that they are wrought in God.” John 3:20-21.
I am with this article beginning a new series in which I will be answering questions on Biblical topics. Some of these questions may seem “far out,” but every one of them are legitimate questions which have been sent to me by real people, both believers and non-believers. None of the questions will be “manufactured” in order to promote any particular theory or theological position. I welcome and will use current questions which readers send me. I will not identify anyone sending me questions unless they explicitly state that they have no objection to being identified, and identifying them will serve some useful purpose. Sometimes I do receive questions which are so poorly worded that I have to guess at what is even being asked. I would therefore ask that anyone submitting questions make an honest attempt to make their questions clear and to the point. I do reserve the right to edit for clarification without changing the actual meaning or intent of the question(s).
The texts above set forth my entire purpose for beginning this series. I have never previously seen a time in the 56 years I have been in the Lord’s ministry when there is so much ignorance of God’s precious Word. I mean no offense to anyone, but Biblical illiteracy is found today not only among the “average” professing Christian setting in the church pew, but also among many occupying the pulpits of America. The Lord’s statement made so many centuries ago is still true today, “…And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch,” Matthew 15:14. See also Hosea 4:6. Biblical illiteracy [ignorance of what is actually in the Bible and not in it and what it actually and literally says and does not say] is the main contributing factor to APOSTASY in the ranks of Christianity today. In my entire lifetime I have never previously seen a time when there were so many UNSCRIPTURAL theories, ideas, opinions, fantasies, so-called “interpretations,” and outright “false teachings” circulating in the ranks of Christianity as there are today. There has never been a time previously in this entire dispensation of grace when true believers need to know THE TRUTH of the inspired Word of God more than they need to know it today, 2 Timothy 2:15. See also Ephesians 5:25-27.
I am not beginning this series of studies because I have all knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. God forbid! I would never make such a claim! My only desire is to share the wonderful truths of God’s Word which by God’s grace I do know and understand. After all of these years I am still learning, just like many other true believers. What I hope to achieve is to motivate more of God’s people [true believers] to get serious about studying God’s Word and learning how to “rightly divide the Word of truth,” 2 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 5:12-14. If some choose to condemn me for this, then have it! The Lord Himself is still the final Judge!
All Scriptures used in answering questions will be from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible, or from the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew and the Textus Receptus of the Greek from which the KJV was translated. If any other versions of the Bible are ever referred to such will be explicitly noted. May the Lord be pleased to abundantly bless His Word to the hearts and minds of our readers as we study together…….
THE LOCATION OF HELL….
The Question(s)…….Where will hell be located at throughout eternity? Will it still remain in the heart of the earth, or will it be moved to a new location? I ask because the Lord creates new heavens and a new earth, and because God will dwell with humanity on the new earth. It seems odds to me having God walking on earth with hell right under Him and the devil being so close to God and the saints and humanity. I know that the devil et al will not be able to tempt, still it just seems odd for him to be that close for all eternity.
The Scriptural answers…….If by “hell” you mean the eternal “lake of fire,” the inspired Word is quite explicit. Hell is the present place of punishment for all of the incorrigible wicked today, but the Word explicitly states that Hell and all of its occupants will be “cast into the lake of fire,” Revelation 20:13-15.
The Location of Gehenna
The inspired Word is quite explicit about the location of “gehenna” [the lake of fire]. Study carefully Isaiah 34:1-17, noting especially verses 5-10, then compare that passage with Malachi 1:3-5 and Revelation 14:9-11. These Scriptures and quite a number of others make it very clear that the future “lake of fire” will be brought into existence during the coming Tribulation period as the surface of the earth actually breaks open and a literal “lake of fire” becomes a reality as the fires of hell rise to the surface of the earth, Isaiah 14:9; Revelation 9:1-2. Where will it be located? In the ancient land of Edom south and east of the Dead Sea. Today this entire area is a part of the modern nation of Jordan. Then according to the inspired Word this will be the future location of “hell” [gehenna; the lake of fire], and there is no indication in the Scriptures that it will ever be moved elsewhere. This will be its location “for ever.” Malachi 1:4.
The Reality of Eternal Punishment
Again and again in these Scripture passages the words “for ever” and “everlasting” are used in connection with this future “lake of fire.” The inspired Word explicitly states in both Isaiah 34 and Revelation 14 that the smoke from this fiery lake “ascendeth up for ever and ever.” This “lake of fire” and the smoke from it will be an eternal visible witness
to all living creatures, animal, human, and angelic or spiritual, of the consequences of rebelling against Almighty God and then blatantly refusing to repent and receive His mercy and forgiveness offered through the sacrifice of His own dear Son. Eternal punishment in the “lake of fire” for the incorrigible wicked is just as real as is eternal joy for the repentant redeemed believer in Heaven. Those today who deny the reality of eternal punishment for the unrepentant wicked might as well deny the reality of Heaven for the redeemed, because the inspired Word speaks of both places as being real and ETERNAL.
Beware of Human Reasoning
As to your concern about this “lake of fire” being located on the “new earth,” not meaning any offense but your concern appears to spring more from “human reasoning” than it does for a desire for Scriptural truth. The Scriptures should NEVER be “interpreted” by “I think…,” “it appears to me,” “it seems to me,” etc. The inspired Word explicitly states that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts, Isaiah 55:9, and that Scriptural truth is spiritually discerned, 1 Corinthians 2:11-16. What men “think” about Scriptural statements with their carnal [fleshly] minds is worthless. If you want your question and concern Scripturally answered then pay careful attention to what follows…..
The Meaning of “New Earth”
It is stated explicitly three times in the Word that “the earth” is “established for ever,” Psalm 78:69; 104:5, Ecclesiastes 1:4. The exact same Hebrew word which is translated in these verses as “for ever” [olam] is also the word used when speaking of Almighty God, His throne, and His kingdom as enduring “for ever.” Again, this exact same Hebrew word was used when the Lord made His covenant with Abraham, promising to give him and his seed after him the land of Canaan as an “everlasting possession,” Genesis 13:14-15; 17:7-8; Psalm 105:6-11. I would also suggest you read Psalm 125:1-2, Isaiah 33:20, 60:21, Jeremiah 7:7, 25:4-5, Ezekiel 37:25, 43:7, and many other similar Scriptures. Now you tell me…..did the Lord LIE when He made all these promises? Well…??
It is commonly taught by many so-called “scholars” that Revelation 20:11 and 21:1 teaches the “annihilation” of this present earth and the creation of a completely new earth. HOGWASH! If this were so, then each of the Scripture references given in the paragraph above would be a bald faced lie! The God of the Bible IS NOT a liar, and His Word is truth, John 17:17. If these “scholars” know so much about God’s Word, why is it that they cannot harmonize Revelation 21:1 with the passages cited in the above paragraph? In fact, why is it that almost without exception they totally ignore Psalm 102:25-26? “Of old hast Thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt Thou change
them, and they shall be changed.” Likewise, why do these “scholars” ignore the companion passage in Psalm 104:30? “Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created [animals]: and Thou renewest the face of the earth.”
It is a Scriptural truth that “the face of the earth” [the surface; the geology; the topography] has already been RENEWED four times according to the Scriptures, and is yet to be renewed three more times. The very same earth [globe; planet] which the Lord explicitlIy “established for ever and ever.” In each of these world catastrophes the Lord simply changes, re-shapes, and makes “all things new,” Revelation 21:5. The Greek word translated as “make” in this verse IS NOT the word which means “to create,” but rather is the word which means “to remodel, refurbish, renew, re-shape, re-fashion, or CHANGE.” Is this stated clearly enough? This earth [globe; planet] is NEVER going to go out of existence. It will be right here “for ever and ever” and will eternally serve as the “headquarters” from which the Lord Jesus Christ and His redeemed people will rule the eternal Kingdom of God, Ezekiel 43:7; 43:9. If I have to choose between what so-called “scholars” have to say about the Word, and what the Word itself actually and literally says, no reader needs to guess about which I am going to follow. Romans 3:4 is still in the Bible. So is Ecclesiastes 3:14! Who created the heavens and the earth? Well…??
Shut out of the beautiful Gates
Now look at Revelation 22:14-15. In verse 14 a blessing is pronounced upon all those who “have washed their robes” [Greek text] qualifying them to enter into “the gates into the city.” While chapter 21 describes the Heavenly New Jerusalem in detail, chapter 22 refers to both Jerusalems, the Heavenly New Jerusalem from which God reigns and the redeemed earthly Jerusalem from which Christ” shall eternally reign. See Isaiah 33:20, Isaiah 60, and many other similar passages which I haven’t the time and space to discuss in this brief study. Revelation 22:15 explicitly states, “For
without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” This has given some the impression that such wicked people will be on the earth “outside” the walls of the “New Jerusalem” even during the eternal age. Sic! Such silliness! Some folks need to STUDY MORE and “opine” less. What this Scripture is pointing out is that during the Millennial Kingdom and the Eternal Age which follows, these incorrigible wicked people will be in the “lake of fire” located outside of the earthly city of Jerusalem at the far southern border of Israel. Read it for yourself in Isaiah 66:22-24 and Malachi 1:2-5.
How sad it is that multitudes of people today, including many “religious” people, will never enter the beautiful gates of Jerusalem, for they have never entered “the gates of righteousness” [Psalm 118:19-21; Matthew 7:13-14] by “washing their robes” in the precious blood of the Lamb of God who gave Himself to make salvation accessible for all who will believe. John 3:16, 14:6, Acts 16:30-31, 20:21, and Romans 10:8-13 are still in the Bible, and they still work for all who will truly repent and believe.
I think I have provided abundant Scriptural proof that “hell” [gehenna; the eternal lake of fire] will be located right here on the new earth “for ever” exactly like the Scriptures indicate. The carcasses [bodies] of those in the “lake of fire” [Isaiah 66:24; Matthew 10:28] and the “smoke” rising from that lake will be a visible and eternal “witness” of the consequences of rebellion against our righteous, holy, just, and loving God and Creator.
If you or other readers want to study this subject in more detail, I would recommend my Bible studies entitled, The Reality of Eternal Punishment, The Justice of Eternal Punishment, and The New Earth. I will send these studies to anyone requesting them, either by email or postal mail.
Thank you for your questions. God bless you.
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Permission is granted to any true believer or Bible believing Christian ministry to reproduce this study to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written.
Please address all questions, comments, and correspondence to: Pastor F. M. Riley, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or to my email addresses at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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