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God in his anger destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah by fire. Genesis 19:24. Nadab and Abihu, for offering strange fire were destroyed by fire, as were Ahaziah's messengers, the two captains and each of their fifty soldiers. II Kings 1: 9 to 12.But fire is mostly used as a symbol of punishment, punishment that tormented the wicked, that made them suffer. As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it; so will I gather you in my anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you. Ezekiel 22:20. This suffering, this fire is a way to refine, to purify the wicked. I shall bring the third part through fire and will refine them as silver is refined and will try them as gold is tried. Zecharia 13:9. He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver. Malachai 3:23.

The Lake of Fire or the Furnace of Fire would also mean a place of suffering and of affliction. Thus, in furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth'. . Matthew 13:42. The fire in hell is not literal; it is a means of punishment that causes suffering and affliction. In hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment'. Luke 16: 23.

Matthew also speaks of outer darkness, as he does of Furnace of Fire, as a place of punishment: in both places we find 'wailing and gnashing of teeth'. But there is no mention of fire in the outer darkness. Fire as a means of punishment is not literal. The son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:41 & 42; But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 8:12. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 25:30.

The Book of Revelation speaks of two worlds; one the New Jerusalem, which is not really a place that we know of as a place, which 'cometh not with observation' (Luke 17:20), which is really a group of faithful people (Kingdom of God is within you. Rev. 17:21 ), chosen as Christ's Bride (Revelation 21:2 & Rev. 21:9 & 10), a state of being (spirit bodies, for ‘the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon’ Rev.20:23; Rev. 21:5 ) and the other, the world 'without' the New Jerusalem, (Revelation 22:14 & 15) where are the 'dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie'.

And this hell is not very unfamiliar to us. In hell, both the devil and the false prophets are (Rev. 20:10); and so are the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars (Rev. 21:8). And (they) shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Revelation 20:10). Death too reigns in hell (And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. Rev. 20:14). We understand that here will be no dearth of dead bodies (for their worm dieth not. Mark 9:44).

This hell is there to exist for ever and ever. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name (Revelation 14:11); and the torment too (the fire that never shall be quenched. Mark 9:45). So what about the purification part of it, of the fire from which there is no respite? In the Book of Mark, we find Christ while, warning us of the danger of the suffering in hell, (Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:48) say, "For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt". Mark 9:49. Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another. Mark 9:50.

 
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