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Catch the Vision of The Lake of Fire

Pastor Gary Buchman
Emmitsburg Community Bible Church

(9/20) Saved, Salvation, Savior, these are all wonderful words, in fact, they are precious words to us who follow Jesus Christ. But, do you know what they mean? What do you mean when you say, "I am saved," or "Are you saved?" Cp. Paul in 1 Cor. 1:18, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." Now, the word, ‘saved’ means to be rescued from danger or harm. What danger or harm have we been rescued from? I have been amazed, as I have asked this over the years, at the answers I have received. Such as:

• Rescued from a purposeless life

• Rescued from the power of my addiction or sin

• Rescued from my own selfishness

• Rescued from a love-less life like Rose in Titanic

Now while all these things may be included in the word, ‘saved,’ it is not the primary meaning. The answer is through-out the Bible but culminated for us in Revelation 20:11-15, Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Jesus our Lord spoke of this often. For example:

Matt. 25:41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Mark 9: 42 "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— 44 where ‘ Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.’45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— 46 where, ‘ Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’ 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire 48where, ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched

Matt. 23:33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?

Matt. 22:13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and[a] cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

Matt. 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell

He used the word-Gehenna- or the valley of the sons of Henna. This was a valley on the SW side of Jerusalem, where, Ahab and Manasseh offered children as human sacrifices to the god Molech. Jeremiah calls it the valley of slaughter. Josiah turned it into the place to dump the sewage and offal’s of the city. The stench and fires burned perpetually as in Jesus’ day people continued to dump their refuse and trash there to be burned. Whenever our Lord spoke of the eternal punishment of hell, He used this place as a picture.

My Daughter is required to watch the Stephen Spielberg movie, Schindler’s List as she prepares for her sophomore year of school. The movie is a very graphic depiction of some the Holocaust performed by the Nazi’s against the Jewish people in Poland. Many, many of the Jews were gunned down in Krakow, Poland and buried in mass graves. Orders came at a later date to destroy any evidence of these killings by digging up the bodies and incinerating them and as I watched I thought, what a picture of this horrible part of the Bible. Revelation 20:11-15 with Luke 16:22-31 may well be the most horrible verses to read in the entire Bible. (Watch)

Schindler’s List

This, my friends, is what Jesus died to save us from. This is what the lost next door, maybe your children, grandchildren, spouse, parents, co-worker, and every 2 out 3 people in the United States, and 5 of every 7 people in the world, will face unless they turn to God for grace and forgiveness that is in Jesus Christ alone. This is what Jesus suffered in our place and this is why we must get back to the primary business of making disciples.

Let’s look at the Text- Rev. 20:11-15 - It is like a courtroom scene.

There is a Judge, The Accused, The Prosecution, The Defense, The Sentence, and The Appeal.

I. The Judge (20:11) John, the author, is given a vision of a Great White Throne, somewhere between heaven and earth.

A. It is Great because the central figure of the Universe will preside there.

B. It is White because white represents righteousness and this will be a place of righteous judgment

C. It is a Throne because here the King of Glory will preside. His name is not mentioned here but is implied in Scripture such as: John 5:22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,

Psalm 9:7 But the LORD shall endure forever;

He has prepared His throne for judgment.

8 He shall judge the world in righteousness,

And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.

Acts 17:31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead." Jesus who came to be the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world will be the very judge of the world.

II. The Accused (20:12a) The accused are all the dead from Time of Adam until that date-now listen carefully-they are all the dead that have never turned to the one true God in repentance and faith for God’s grace and forgiveness. (Repeat) They are not the redeemed. Our Lord Jesus said this: John 5:24 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. And Paul said this Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." 1 Thess. 4:17 and 2 Cor. 5:8 among others remind us that those who have repented and received God’s grace and forgiveness are with the Lord and will be forever. These verses remind us that whether it was outright rejection or ignorance of Jesus they will stand before Him at this time, kings and peasants, civilized and uncivilized, educated and uneducated, rich and poor, religious and atheist, all will stand there before the Judge and his Throne. The sea and the graves will give up those dead bodies and God will reassemble all these molecules as the souls that have been locked away in Hades are once again in their bodies. Hell, which is like a jail will be emptied as its inmates prepare for their eternal sentence. Listen to me carefully, The dead are all those who have not had the life of God come to them by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Do you remember the words of Jesus to a long man who wanted to wait until he received an inheritance before he followed Jesus and our Lord told him, "Let the dead bury the dead." Paul describes our lives before faith in Jesus as dead, in Ephesians 2:1, "And you were dead, he has made alive…." Even Solomon said in Proverbs 21:16, A man who wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the assembly of the dead.

III. The Prosecution (vv 12-15) I believe Daniel also saw this vision in Daniel 7:10, A fiery stream issued

And came forth from before Him.

A thousand thousands ministered to Him;

Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.

The court[a] was seated,

And the books were opened. These books contain the records of all that we have ever: said (Matthew 12:36); thought (Eccl. 12:14; Romans 2:16; 1 Cor. 4:5); and done (Rev.20:12). The righteous Lord will listen and verify every detail of every persons life and then another book will be opened, The Book of Life in which is recorded the name of every repentant person who called on the name of Jesus for forgiveness and grace (Luke 10:20; Rev. 13:8), will be also opened and every dead person’s name will be sought but it will not be there. (By the way, Schindler’s List is about the 1200 Jews that Oscar Schindler purchased with everything he had and then protected during WWII). All the words and thoughts and acts of every person’s life will be compared to the Holy character of God and all who fall short of God’s holiness will remain condemned. This is not some arbitrary judgment. The Holy God of the Universe told our first parents not to violate His holiness or there would be death to pay and even after they rebelled, God provided a way of salvation and for thousands of years has been begging people to receive it by repentance and faith in the grace of Jesus Christ.

IV. The Defense – There is no defense – Romans 1:18-20 makes this very clear. Creation, Christ, Conscience, the Covenants, and the Changed live’s of others, leaves everyone defense-less.

V. The Sentence (vv.14-15) Eternal existence in the Lake of Fire. There their sentence will never be commuted, there will never be parole, or probation, or a modification. There will be all who follow the Anti-Christ (14:9-13); The Anti-Christ and his prophet (19:20); and Satan (20:10). I don’t care what you think, Satan does not rule as King in the Lake of fire, but will be severely punished forever. He is the one our Lord Jesus said this place was prepared for, but when man decided to follow Satan’s ways instead of God, our God had no choice but to condemn us with him. Notice it is a place of eternal torment. The word for Torment (20:10; 14:10-11) is Basanizo and means both physical and mental distress, torture, harassment. This is not some purgatory, neither is this some annihilation. Matthew 25:46 and Rev. 20:10, makes this clear that this is permanent, forever torment. 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." This is the second death and the fate of all the lost who are not rescued. I cannot imagine what John felt as He saw this horrible scene of the future. What do you feel?

VI. The Appeal – There is no appeal for these folks. Hebrews 9:27 makes this clear 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. There are no second chances after death. The appeal is for now. When Scrooge saw the vision of His future, he prayed that these were the visions of would only be if he did not change and that he by repentance might sponge away what he saw. If our loved ones do not alter these writings by repentance and faith in the Grace of Jesus this is their future and so, I appeal to you, no, God appeals to you to do several things:

A. Know the Gospel – Jesus died for our sins and paid this penalty for us. Then He rose again to demonstrate that God was satisfied and would give the gift of righteousness and eternal life to all who will repent and turn to God.

B. Choose Life (2 Cor. 6:2) For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation

C. Trust God (Gen18:25) You may not understand this but the Judge of all the earth will do what is right.

D. Tell some one that Jesus came to rescue them from this, not just from a church-less life. Plead with them.

E. Invite, invite, invite, and I’ll tell them

F. Pray for them and meet with us every Weds., to cry out for them.

G. Praise God for your salvation- this is what Jesus died to rescue you from.

H. This is the primary purpose for your life, your salvation, and this church- Catch the Vision.

Read other thoughtful writings by Pastor Gary Buchman