LESSON 16

THE CITY OF FIRE


Scriptures

Hebrews 1:7 | Revelation 15:2 | Daniel 7:9 | Revelation 8:5 | Revelation 4:5 | Revelation 2:18 | Hebrews 12:29 | Ezekiel 28:16 | Song of Sol. 8:6, 7 | Genesis 1:26 | Genesis 1:28 | 1 John 3:4 | Exodus 3:2, 3 | Exodus 25:8 | Exodus 30:28 | Matthew 3:11 | Jeremiah 20:9 | Matthew 5:14 | 1 John 4:8 | Isaiah 33:14–16 |Daniel 3:22 | Daniel 3:25 | Romans 6:23 | 1 Corinthians 15:53, 54 | 1 John 3:15 | Malachi 4:1–3 | Jude 1:7 | Matthew 25:4 | Deuteronomy 9:3 | Isaiah 66:24 | Ezekiel 18:4 | Ezekiel 33:11 | Revelation 20:12 | Ezekiel 28:18, 19 | Revelation 14:10, 11 | Exodus 21:6 | Revelation 20:14, 9 | Revelation 21:1–4 | Isaiah 66:22, 23 | Nahum 1:9


Heaven is a place of fire. The angels are made as a _______________ of _______________ (Hebrews 1:7). There is a sea of _______________ mingled with _______________, upon which only the righteous can stand (Revelation 15:2). God’s throne is a _______________  _______________, its wheels as a _______________  _______________ (Daniel 7:9). Heaven has an _______________ of fire (Revelation 8:5), and there are seven _______________ of fire _______________ before the throne (Revelation 4:5). Christ has _______________ like a _______________ of fire (Revelation 2:18), and both He and His Father are a  _______________ (Hebrews 12:29). Satan had been cast out of heaven, from the midst of the _______________ (Ezekiel 28:16).

The reason why heaven is so full of fiery things is because _______________ is as strong as             _______________, its flames are _______________ of _______________, a most _______________  _______________. Many waters cannot _______________, nor can the floods _______________ it (Song of Solomon 8:6, 7).

For heaven, fire is the symbol of love! When God created man, He created him in His _______________ and in His _______________ (Genesis 1:26). Because of this, man could dwell in the fiery presence of God and not be afraid or consumed. It was to him an assurance of fiery love. But when man sinned, God became to him a consuming fire. Adam and Eve _______________ themselves from the _______________ of God (Genesis 3:8). The plan of salvation was to provide a way for man to be fit again for the presence of God, and this could only be done by purifying man from iniquity, which is _______________ (1 John 3:4), and placing the fiery law of love in his heart once again.

This is why God appeared to Moses in a _______________ of _______________ from the midst of a bush, and the bush burned with fire but was not _______________ (Exodus 3:2). This symbol was God’s ideal for man—that man could one day again be able to stand in the presence of God and not be consumed. God’s goal was to make man fireproof again. And to do this, to teach man the way to get back to the presence of God, He would give them the _______________ so that He could indeed again _______________ among them (Exodus 25:8).

Each station of the sanctuary was designed to set man on fire spiritually, to prepare him to enter into the most holy fiery presence of God. The altar of _______________ offering (Exodus 30:28), symbolizing the sacrifice of Christ, was designed to put the fire of self-sacrificing love in the heart of man. The laver, representing baptism, symbolized not only baptism by water but, as John the Baptist said, Christ was to _______________ with the _______________ and with _______________ (Matthew 3:11). The Word of God, symbolized by the baked showbread, was to be like a _______________ shut up in our bones (Jeremiah 20:9). The altar of burning incense, representing prayer, was to create within the heart a burning passion to communicate with the heavenly Father. The seven-branch candlestick was to show that we were to be the _______________ of the world (Matthew 5:14), as lit candles showing forth with fiery passion the love of God. And the _______________ law that came forth from God’s hand was designed to put the fire of righteousness within our lives (Deuteronomy 33:2). All this was to prepare us to enter into the fiery presence of God before His throne, reflected by the Shekinah glory of God found in the most holy place above the mercy seat. Each article of furniture in the path to God was to add a fire to the individual until he became recreated in the fiery image of God and, thus, enabled to stand in His fiery presence.

 

The righteous, having followed the blueprint pattern, are now fire- proof. Not so with the wicked. They are neither fireproof nor prepared to enter the city of fire. And since God is _______________ (1 John 4:8), He will not suffer them to live forever in His burning presence. It would be eternal torment for them, and a God of love cannot justly torment anyone “forever.” The question was asked, “Who among us shall dwell with the _______________? Who among us shall dwell with _______________?” (Isaiah 33:14). The answer is surprising: “He who walks _______________ and speaks _______________, he who despises the _______________ of _______________, who gestures with his hands, refusing _______________, who _______________ his ears from hearing of _______________, and shuts his eyes from _______________  _______________. He will _______________ on  _______________!” (Isaiah 33:15, 16). Yes! It is the righteous—and not the wicked—who dwell in the fire forever!

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s image in ancient Babylon, the king commanded them to be thrown into the fire, and the flame of fire _______________ (Daniel 3:22) the men who threw them, but the three Jews were seen _______________ in the _______________ of the _______________ and they had no _______________, because there was a fourth person in the fire with them, which was the _______________ of God (Daniel 3:25). This story is a snapshot of the fate of the righteous versus the fate of the wicked!

The wages of sin is _______________, but the _______________ of God is _______________ life (Romans 6:23). Since eternal life, immortality, is a gift from God and only received through Christ at the second coming, when “this _______________ must put on _______________” (1 Corinthians 15:53, 54), then the wicked cannot possess immortality! “No _______________ has _______________   _______________ abiding in him” (1 John 3:15).

 

Since they do not possess it, they are not fireproof and, hence, cannot be alive forever in order to burn forever. “Behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be _______________. And the day which is coming shall _______________ that will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear my name the Sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings. And you shall go out and grow fat as stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be         under the soles of your feet on the day I do this” (Malachi 4:1–3).

The wicked are destroyed by _______________ fire   (Jude 1:7), _______________ fire (Matthew 25:41) because that fire is God Himself, not because the wicked are eternal. The fire is not quenched because the Lord is as a _______________ fire who shall _______________ the wicked (Deuteronomy 9:3).

The wicked do not suffer forever. They die, becoming carcasses. Both the worm and the fire will do their work in completely annihilating them. “And they shall go forth and look upon the _______________ of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence” (Isaiah 66:24). While the worm will not be affected by the fire, the wicked will surely die by it because the wages of sin is death. The soul who sins is not immortal; the soul who _______________ shall _______________ (Ezekiel 18:4).

God has no _______________ in the _______________ of the _______________ (Ezekiel 33:11), yet He will punish every man _______________ to his _______________ (Revelation 20:12). Some will suffer long in the fire; some will suffer quickly. But no one will suffer more than is needed to fulfill justice. And contrary to popular belief, Satan is not in charge of hell. Confused Satanists try to make deals with the devil in hopes that he will give them a high place in hell. Nothing could be further from the truth. Satan’s fate is recorded in these words: “I brought fire from your midst, it _______________ you, and I turned you to _______________ upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you. All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; you have become a horror, and shall be _______________” (Ezekiel 28:18, 19). Satan will indeed suffer the longest, but he too shall eventually cease to be.

 

The wicked are tormented in the presence of the Lamb (Revelation 14:10). If they were to burn forever, that would place them in the presence of the Lamb forever, which means that they would be in heaven forever—not hell. The Lamb, Jesus, is in heaven, not hell!

Satan has successfully painted a picture of God as one who would forever burn sinners who had done wrong over a period of a short lifetime. This one doctrine has made many Atheists, who reasoned that if this was a God of love, who could burn people forever, they wanted nothing to do with Him. As the wicked stand before the throne of God, they realize too late that they were duped by Satan into believing a lie about the character of the heavenly Father.

They learn too late that it is not they themselves who will be tormented forever and ever, having no rest day or night, but rather that it is simply the _______________ of their _______________ that will ascend forever as the only reminder of the fate of the wicked (Revelation 14:11). They have no rest day or night not because they will suffer eternally, but because they will have no break during their punishment, no respite, no rest period. They will suffer straight through until nothing is left. The term “forever” does not only mean throughout eternity; it can also mean as long as something lasts. For instance, a Hebrew servant would pierce his ear as a sign that he was to serve his master “_______________” (Exodus 21:6). This did not mean through all eternity, but rather as long as he or his master should live. Likewise, the wicked burn until they are consumed in the fire and then they die. The wages of sin is _______________, not eternal life in torment (Romans 6:23).

Christ paid the full wages of sin for us. If He did not, we would all be lost. If the wages of sin was eternal torment, then Christ did not pay that, for He is not being eternally tormented now. He died because the wages of sin is death. All come back from the first death. But the second death is eternal; none come back from it. The only difference between the first and second death is finality. In the first death, one sleeps temporarily; in the second, the sleep is eternal.

When it is too late, the wicked see that God is love and has no plea- sure in the death of the wicked. They see the reluctance of the heavenly Father to perform this final act, this strange act. God loves them too much to allow them into heaven precisely because it would be eternal hell for them. They are not fireproof.

Death and Hades, meaning the grave, were _______________ into the _______________ of _______________ (Revelation 20:14). In a final act of love, God reaches out with His great arms of fire and embraces the wicked one last time. In that embrace, the wicked will feel the love of God that they have rejected. In that embrace, they will understand why heaven would be eternal torment to them. They will desire to become as nothing. And after their sentence is fulfilled, they become ashes. “_______________ came down from God out of heaven, and _______________ them (Revelation 20:9). The lake of fire consumes the entire earth—sin and sinners are no more.

“I saw a new _______________ and a new _______________, for the first heaven and the first earth had _______________. Also there was no more sea” (Revelation 21:1). The sea of fire is gone, the earth and the wicked upon it consumed into ashes. Then in the sight of the saints, God creates a new heaven and new earth.

 
 

“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the _______________ of God is with men, and He will               with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God’ ” (Revelation 21:2, 3). God will _______________ every _______________ from their eyes; there shall be no more _______________, nor _______________, nor _______________. There shall be no more _______________, for the former things have _______________ (Revelation 21:4). This could not be true if the wicked were off in a corner somewhere in the universe crying, in pain, and dying. Nor could heaven be heaven knowing that loved ones were burning forever in some distant place. No—the former things have passed away. God wipes away the tears from the eyes of the saints. Surely they must weep as they watch the destruction of their lost family and friends, those who chose to rebel against their Maker. But this sorrow will pass.

As the righteous watch the creation of a new earth, the Sabbath is again instituted in the kingdom of heaven. “‘For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before me,’ says the Lord, ‘So shall your descendants and your name remain. And it shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one _______________ to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me’ ” (Isaiah 66:22, 23). Affliction and sin shall not _______________ up the _______________ (Nahum 1:9).

Imagine that! No question will ever rise again about the character, love, or justice of God. The past carnage of sin, the confessions of the wicked, and the demonstration of Christ’s fiery love at the cross of Calvary will ensure that no second rebellion will occur. Earth’s movie is over. And we shall live forever and ever after …

 

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