In Psalm 139 David wrote: “If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol (hell), behold, You are there.”
Beloved, in Christ, the Lord is with us in heaven or in hell. His purpose is to save us from hell (save every part of us from every part of it – “wholly sanctified”) which entails the process of gathering us up and out of the (spiritual) place of sin and death where the devil and demons have some power over us.
For our spirits, this process (sozo) is not complete until we reach the NEW JERUSALEM STATE. It is my understanding that this is a (spiritual) place where men have attained to “perfection” (maturity) in their spirits. I suspect also that this is that place (in spirit) where the Apostle Paul had hoped to gain access by way of fellowship in Christ’s sufferings being conformed to His death (the ex-anastasis, or OUT-resurrection from the dead). Are you with me?
What I’m saying here, beloved, is that in Christ, death and hell have no power to hold us. In Christ, we can be totally removed from those things and those things totally removed from us, but this is a process, and physical death does not end this process. This process ends when we are fully conformed into the Lord’s likeness and image.
On a slightly different note; it is my understanding that apart from Christ there is no escape from hell, not from hell on earth, nor from hell in the spirit realm after physical death. There is no salvation (an ascension out of hell and a step by step rebuilding of the person) apart from union with the Father in Christ. Period. But hell does have an end.
To the unbeliever (in hell on earth, or hell in the spirit realm), ascension out of hell begins at the foot of THE CROSS. By faith in what Christ has done and repentance (the beginning of death to self and life in God) a spirit is justified before God. This is what unlocks hell’s (exit) door for a spirit. Also, in Revelation chapter 20, it is said that hell is to eventually be done away with, this along with death. It is said there that this will be done by immersing hell and death into “The Lake of Fire.” This means that there will come a time when hell and death have (fully) served their purpose and therefore they must give way to (or be swallowed up by) something else. This “something else” is said to be the Lake of Fire.
OK. If hell is the realm of spirit where the devil, demons, and death have lots of power and much to say, and if death is an alienation from the life of love and of power and of glory that should be lived unto God in Christ, and if these things (hell and death) have an end and this by immersion into the Lake of Fire, then just what is this Lake of Fire? What does it represent for us, and what happens to those who were bound by hell and death when hell and death are done?
Well, first off, let me say that the Scriptures describe for us an OVERCOMING in Christ where one can get entirely free from even the hurt of the second death. The second death relates to the Lake of Fire, which the personal application for us can be the things that God allows or brings into our lives for the purpose of getting us free from the first death, which quite simply is an alienation from the fullness of life in Christ. What I’m saying here is that the second death is the process of putting death (the first death) to DEATH.
Moving along in this, it is my understanding that those who can no longer be hurt by the second death are those who can no longer be hurt by the Lake of Fire, and this is because these have become an integral part of that lake (yeah, I said that). Along these lines, I have shared before that I believe that there is a people in the earth today who are becoming an integral part of the Holy Consuming Fire of God, who are doing this by willingly subjecting themselves to God’s fire, and who, if they continually ABIDE in these burnings can become so purified and perfected that they themselves can be used by God as part of THE BURNINGS OF THE AGE TO COME.
What I mean by this is that there is a place in God, beloved, where one becomes so thoroughly consumed by God’s Fire and His Love that he or she actually becomes insensitive to the heat of the fire because he or she is BECOMING ONE WITH THAT FIRE. This, dear ones, is about becoming ONE with God, a burning bush in a sense, a human vessel who is no longer consumed BY the Fire of God but rather one who (as a firebrand – a human being with a spirit on fire) continually burns before Him, with Him, and in Him in the spirit realm.
Beloved, it is my understanding (for whatever that’s worth to you) that at the end of the next age there will be a GREAT BODY OF FIREBRANDS through whom the inhabitants of the earth will learn righteousness, and this because these people will have been forged and perfectly finished (by God Himself) into righteous judges. A very large BODY OF FIRE made up of many FIREBRANDS can be considered A LAKE as much as a large body of water can be considered a lake, beloved. THE LAKE OF FIRE IS A PEOPLE through whom the Father will render righteous judgments (“do you not know that you will judge the angels?”). It seems to me that it is through these people (in union with their Lord) that all of God’s creation will finally be set free from sin and death and hell. I imagine that God is greatly glorified in this way (doing all of this through a changed people), for this is such a testimony to THE MAGNITUDE OF CHRIST’S VICTORY.
Yes, beloved, I wholeheartedly believe that there will eventually be A GREAT BODY OF SONS who walk together AS ONE in will and purpose with their Father, and that these will administer the Father’s judgments in the earth, even His judgments upon death and hell, the devil and demons. Scripture tells us that creation is groaning for these (even a firstfruits expression of these) like a woman in the travail of childbirth, and it seems (to me) that we are at or near the time for this “firstfruits expression.” So look up, dear ones (fix your gaze [entirely] upon the will and the purposes of the Father), for your redemption is drawing nigh!
Bless you all.