Death and Hades eliminated
14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14–ESV)
My view of hell has been insufficient. All my life I have considered it primarily a place where rogue spirits are placed and punished. These spirits wanted God out of their lives and so they are banished getting what they said they wanted.
When I bring that concept into verse 14 though it does not fit. Death and Hades, even though capitalized as if they were proper names, are states or places not spirits. At least that is how another of my concepts go.
Suppose you look out your window only to see a neighbor lady lying still on your sidewalk. You race out to her and put into practice your basic life support skills1 but despite your best efforts and those of the ambulance crew she never returns to consciousness. The coroner’s report recorded cause of death as seizure and asphyxiation. It seems she had a thing for large pieces of gum which she aspirated when she seized.
Suppose now my Christian grief counselor tells me that her seizure will be thrown into hell. Does that make any sense? Or maybe the gum goes to hell? At least I can pick up the gum, I could throw that at a tree to get out some of my grief. But, to hell with the gum? Really?
So that is the problem that I had when I read verse 14. How do things like death go to hell? How does a place like Hades go to hell? That seems no easier for me to grasp that a seizure going to hell.
I reconciled this in my mind by by shifting my concepts of the lake-of-fire, of hell. Hell is more like a fiery garbage dump than empty, burning space for spirits who would not have God’s offer.
So, the two things that I think are good for us to pull from this are as follows:
- Hell is like a garbage dump for things that will have no part in the New-Earth Project
- Sometimes long held concepts about Bible things need changed–spend time working through things that seem to not fit. It is a great path to maturity. Also be careful how tightly you hold all of your opinions. Some may need thrown away, some changed, and others tenaciously grasped.
Yep, people go to hell (and maybe not who you’d think)
15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15–ESV)
If anyone’s name was not found where? In the Book of Life. That second book category is the all important one. A “Santa-list” book flush with mankind helping activities is not what the Bible reports as heaven or hell making. The “Santa-list” is crucial in the reward and judgment spectrum, but that is all.
Other places in the Bible say that we all fall short of God’s glory2. Even deeds done in the service of others fall short of God’s glory, his righteous requirement. Jesus once spoke the following:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23–NIV)
So here are people who did good “Santa-list” things, but Jesus disregards those things as the entry key to heaven.
So in your life the first thing that you should address, before you take your next breath is whether you are in that Book of Life. If you are not sure of that there are three steps to addressing this. Some call it the ABC’s of salvation:
- Acknowledge you are a sinner
- Believe that Jesus died for your sins
- Confess that belief in Jesus as your Savior