Is the Lake of fire or Burning Hell Real?
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    Is the Lake of fire or Burning Hell Real?

    People are very interested in the topic of Hell. They want to know where is hell?; whether they will end up in heaven or hell?; what is the divine revelation of hell?; whether the bible hell is same as that in the movies or books?. There is even a hell.com and hell Wikipedia on the internet!

    One would be amazed at how many people search the keyword 'hell' in the search engines everyday. The following are just a few examples with the search frequency next to the keyword.

    hells 2,240,000
    heaven hell 450,000
    hell yeah 301,000
    hell boy 2 246,000
    hell girl 246,000
    hell in a cell 246,000
    cowboys from hell 201,000
    hell ride 201,000
    hell house 40,500
    dr. hell 6,600

    Hell has also become a daily term that people use. When they don't want to do something, they say wait till hell freezes over or hell no. If one causes you trouble, he or she gives you hell, as reflected in phrases like 'hope it gives you hell' or simply 'give you hell'. When people are mad, they say they are mad as hell. When they don't like someone, they say he or she is from hell or should go to hell.

    But hell is no laughing matter. A lot of people take hell too lightly, as if going to hell is something one should rejoice about. There is even a book called I hope they serve beer in hell and a song calls a walk through hell. There are hell song-s and lyrics (for example highway to hell). However the only sounds of hell or hell sounds the Bible talks about are that of the weeping and gnashing of teeth due to the doom of unrighteous in hell (Matthew 8:11-12; 13:41-42, 49-50; 22:12-13; 24:50-51;25:29-30; Luke 13:27-28).

    So why are people taking hell so lightly nowadays? It's due to the false teachings that try to misguide people into believing hell is not real, mainly by the work of the Jehovah Witnesses.

    The main arguments from the Jehovah Witnesses are as follow:
    1) They argue that the idea of Hades, hell, sheol or gehenna comes from a rubbish dump outside the Jerusalem city thus it is symbolic.
    2) They argue that the Bible teaches dead people are unconscious (Ecc. 9:5, 10, Psalm 146:4, Ezekiel 18:4), thus they cannot be in the lake of fire.
    3) They emphasize God's love (Exodus 34:6,7) but not His wrath and argue that God is against burning people (Jeremiah 7:31)
    4) They argue the wages of sin is death (Romans 5:12, 6:23) and not eternal torments in hell

    Let's tackle the above false teachings one at a time.

    1) Jehova Witnesses argue that hells not real and is symbolic. We will prove that the burning hell or lake of fire is real or literal later. However, for now, for the sake of argument, let's assume it is symbolic.

    Take a look at the follow teachings from the Scripture on hell. They all point to one thing; the lake of fire.

    Isaiah 66:24, And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be abhorring unto all flesh.

    Matthew 13:41-42, The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    Matthew 18:8, 9 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

    Matthew 25:41 (Jesus speaking to people at final judgment), ...Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

    Mark 9:44 (speaking of hell), Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

    Luke 16:19-31 "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'

    Revelation 14:11, And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night...

    Revelation 20:12, 15, And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life...And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    Revelation 21:8, But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

    Even if hell were symbolic, the dump site outside the Jerusalem city wall, where the fire was kept burning by constantly feeding sulfur was a pretty good symbol. The Jehovah Witnesses would tell you that hell means eternally being put to sleep. Does the burning dump site resemble more of the lake of fire or simply eternal sleep (or death), we'll let you be the judge.

    So why do Jehovah Witnesses think that hell means eternally being put to sleep?

    2) The Jehovah Witnesses think that hell means eternally being put to sleep because of the following Old Testament verses (Ecc. 9:10, 10, Psalm 146:4, Ezekiel 18:4, Job 14:13), which basically say that the dead are unconscious or have no feeling, therefore they cannot be suffering in the lake of fire.

    The above verses only prove that when one dies, his spirit goes out (Psalm 146:4), and the body has no feeling (Ecc 9:10). But this only applies to the first death. The Bible teaches that people who die before the return of Christ will be resurrected (both the righteous, 1 Thess 4:16-17; Isaiah 26:19; Dan 12:2; Rev 20:4, and the wicked, Rev. 20:12). Only after the body resurrection will the wicked be thrown into hell (or the lake of fire), to suffer the second death.

    There are two problems with the false teachings of the Jehovah Witnesses, 1) why do the verses on unconscious death only appear in the Old Testament and not in the New Testament? 2) why are these verses (Ecc. 9:10, 10, Psalm 146:4, Ezekiel 18:4, Job 14:13) so different than the New Testament description of eternal death (see 1 above) which has the persistent message of burning fire?

    The answer is very simple. The Old Testament verses on death describe the first death which has no claims on us due to Christ's resurrection. It's the resurrected bodies of the unrighteous that will end up in hell, know as the second death. From this we see that the false teachings of the Jehovah Witnesses don't hold water and the true teaching is consistent throughout. We'll let you be the judge.

    3) Jehovah Witnesses say that the loving God will not cause people to suffer in hell and that He is against burning people (Jeremiah 7:31). It is true that God is love. But that's only part of His attribute. The Bible also teaches that God is also wrath (Num 32:10-13, Psalm 90:9, Zech 7:12, Romans 1:18, etc). One has to look at the holistic attribute of God and not His partial attribute. After all God is both righteous (sin must be punished) and merciful (sent His own son to die for our sin)

    Amos 3:6 says when a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?

    Isaiah 45:7 says I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things

    It is true that God forbids us to sacrifice our children by burning them (Jeremiah 7:31). But this is the same as God commanding 'thou shall not kill' but He Himself has the right to kill. After all God did burn down the entire city of Sodom and Gomorrah, didn't He? (Genesis 19:1-28)

    Jesus Christ died for our sin. For those who refuse His salvation, their sins are upon themselves. Is it fair for Christ to die a torturous death on the cross and for those who reject Him to simply sleep eternally? We'll let you be the judge.

    4) Jehovah Witnesses argue that the wages of sin is death (Romans 5:12, 6:23) and not eternal torments in hell. This point is very similar to what happened to Adam and Eve. God told them clearly that they will die the moment they eat from the Tree of Knowledge (Genesis 2:17). However, Adam and Eve did not physically die immediately after they ate from the tree, did they? Here, death means physically separated from God. If we don't repent from our sin, we'll be spiritually dead and eternally separated from God. Therefore, this does not prove that the teaching of a burning hell is contradictory to these biblical verses. The wages of sin is indeed death (separation from God), and one can be dead (separation from God) and be burning in hell at the same time (second death). Remember what God said in Matthew 25:41? ...Depart from me (separate from me), ye cursed, into everlasting fire (second death).

    For those who argue that the penalty of sin is physical death and thus one cannot be burnt in hell are actually accusing God a liar, for Adam and Eve did not die immediately after they ate from the Tree of Knowledge (Genesis 2:17). We'll let you be the judge.

    We have answered all questions from the Jehovah Witnesses with our consistent theology. Throughout the years, we've debated many Jehovah Witnesses and none of them could reply to our points above.

    Now, we will proceed to prove that burning lake of fire or hell is literal and real, and challenge the Jehovah Witnesses to disprove the following with examples in the Scripture. Here are the three main reasons hell's literal and real.

    A) From 1) above, we've listed so many verses of Scripture teaching that hell is a burning lake of fire. This teaching is persistent throughout the Bible. Symbolic scriptures don't have exactly the same symbol throughout the scripture. For example, there are various symbols of anti-christ, little horn, various beasts, etc, and symbols of Israel, the fig tree, Hosea's wife, the woman who gives birth in Revelation, etc. Scriptures with persisting teaching like burning hell are literal.

    B) Symbolic scriptures don't have real people with real names in the story or parable itself. For example, the Scriptures verses of Luke 16:19-31 with real people like Abraham and Lazarus talking about the lake of fire in the story itself are literal and not symbolic. (One Jehovah Witness gave an example of Mark 11, arguing that Jesus was talking to the disciples about the parable of the fig tree. While Jesus and the discipes are real people, they are not in the parable itself. The conversation between Jesus and the disciples is on the parable, but they are not in the parable.)

    C) Using the burning dump site to describe the lake of burning hell does not mean it is symbolic. Prophets had to use what they knew (e.g., the dump site) to describe what they didn't know (e.g., the burning lake of fire) all the time. A good example in the Bible is the description of the battle of Armageddon. Prophet Ezekiel and John used bows and arrows, swords and spears to describe the weapons being used in the end times (Rv 14:20; Ezekiel 38:4, 15). Will people use bows, arrows, swords and spears to fight in the end time. The answer is certainly not, but these were the weapons known to the prophets. Likewise, Biblical authors didn't know how to describe a lake of everlasting burning hell, and they used the burning dump site to explain it. Just as the end time weapons will be much, much more severe than bows, arrows, swords and spears, the lake of fire or hell, will also be much, much, much more severe than the burning dump site.

    There is another very important point. Since Jesus persistently taught that hell is a burning lake of fire. If hell is just dead without feeling as the Jehovah Witnesses claim, would that make Christ a liar (symbolic or not)? Exaggeration is a lie after all!

    If you still believe there is no burning hell, ask yourself before you deceive more people that there is no burning hell, what if you are wrong?

    If we were wrong, we'll stand boldly in front of God's judgment seat and tell God that we are merely teaching what Christ and the Scripture persistently teach (Please refer to 1 above). After all symbolic or not, what's wrong with warning people hell is a lake of fire, much like warning people to beware of anti-christ that he is a beast.

    However, if you are wrong, you will be deceiving people to believe that there are no consequences of sinning, falling right into Satan's trap. The Holy Spirit uses the consciousness of our sin, the righteousness of Christ and the knowledge of judgment to convict people to believe in God (John 16:8-10). If you take away the judgment of hell, you are giving people a license to sin, and the consequence of that is obvious without explaining. And you will be responsible for deceiving others.

    Conclusions:
    Weíve proven here that the burning hell is real and literal. Even if hell were symbolic as the Jehovah Witnesses claim, the burning fire of dump site outside Jerusalem where the fire never ceased was a far better description of hell (see all the verses under 1) than the unconscious state of death that Jehovah Witnesses believe. Their false teaching of this unconscious state of death came from a few Old Testament verses describing the first death (not the eternal hell). When one dies, the spirit leaves the body, which then has no feeling and it returns to duct. However, due to Christís dying on the cross and His resurrection, we will all have a body resurrection. The righteous will be in heaven and the wicked will end up in hell, the burning lake of fire (known as the second death or eternal torment). This is the reason why these verses of unconscious state of death are not found in the New Testament, for Christ has won over death. Jehovah Witnesses also argue that God is love and He is against burning people. However, they forgot that the Bible also teaches that God is wrath and that He did burn down the city of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Witnesses also preached that the wages of sin is death and not eternal suffering in hell. In the Scripture, death means spiritual separation from God. This is the reason why Adam & Eve did not die immediately after they ate from the Tree of Knowledge despite Godís warning that they will die the moment they ate from the tree. This also matches well with Matthew 25:41 where God told the unrighteous, depart from me (separate from me), ye cursed, into everlasting fire (second death).

    May God bless you richly!






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