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Cleansing the World


In the beginning the world and everything in it was perfect. Sin entered because of man’s choice to disobey God’s word. Satan’s presence upon this earth has resulted in great wickedness and terrible atrocities. While God is letting the sin experiment play out on the stage of this planet eventually there will be an end to sin. For six-thousand years the devil and his angels have been busy with destruction and deception, but it won’t always be like this. God is still in charge, Jesus paid the price for man’s redemption and is the rightful King of this world. Satan is a defeated foe.

In Noah’s day God cleansed the world with a flood because of the extent of wickedness, but in the last days the cleansing will be with fire. The following scriptures speak of God’s punishment for sin and of cleansing the earth with fire.

“The heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word (God’s word saying there would be a world wide flood) are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:7

“For behold the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, that will leave them neither root nor branch.” Malachi 4:1

Those who have persecuted God’s faithful, commandment keeping people will receive the wrath of God and His righteous judgment. One day there will be an end to the troubles and tribulation God’s children suffer. Those who persist in sin will be destroyed.

“When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, these shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9

“For behold, the LORD will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword the LORD will judge all flesh and the slain of the LORD shall be many.” Isaiah 66:14, 16

When Jesus returns to this earth the wicked are slain by the sharp sword of His word and the brightness of His glory. (2 Thes. 2:8; Rev. 19:15) “He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.” Isaiah 11:4 The righteous will ascend to heaven where they will spend a millennium with God and Christ. During that time Satan will be bound to the earth. At the end of the 1,000 years the righteous will descend in the New Jerusalem with their King. The wicked will be raised, and Satan will be loosed for a short time. Once again Satan seeks to deceive his followers to war against God and take His city. (see Revelation 20:1-8) “They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Revelation 20:9, 10. The chapter continues with a brief overview of the executive judgment which precedes the execution of eternal death. “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14, 15

An example Jesus gave concerning the final judgment and destruction of wickedness is Sodom, a city God destroyed during Abraham’s time. “On the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” Luke 17:29, 30 “Sodom and Gomorrah suffered the vengeance of eternal fire.” Jude 7 Where those cities once stood the Dead Sea now exists. No fire still burns. Eternal fire has to mean the results are eternal, not that it is burning through all eternity.

Jesus told a parable about a farmer planting a field with wheat. During the night an enemy scattered tares among the sprouting wheat. When the servants discovered the weeds growing in the field they wondered what to do. “Leave them until the harvest so you don’t uproot the wheat with the weeds,” the farmer instructed. “When the wheat is ripe we’ll bind the tares in bundles to burn and gather the good grain into my barn.”
Christ explains the meaning of this story. “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore, as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:37-43

“Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy, for He will make speedy riddance of all those who dwell in the land.” Zephaniah 1:18

“Our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29 In the presence of God’s glory sin can not exist. Those who do not confess and forsake sin will be destroyed. Those who rebel against God and His government would not be happy living in heaven and spending time with God and holy beings. The second death is God’s mercy and justice. Christ took God’s wrath against sin and died as the atonement for sin. Those who accept Him as their Savior will not be hurt by the second death.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:9, 10

When the fire goes out and nothing but ashes remain sin will never arise again. “Affliction will not rise up a second time.” Nahum 1:9

The doctrine of an every burning hell fire where God torments the wicked throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity is a lie of the devil who himself will be destroyed in the lake of fire. Those of us who are parents love our children and our hearts ache when they choose to do wrong. We would not inflict a painful, agonizing, eternal fire to their bodies. Nor will God. Each will burn according to sins committed and the devil will suffer the longest in those cleansing flames. Sinners will cease to exist. This is the truth of the Bible. After the fire goes out God will create a new heaven and a new earth where there is perfect peace and harmony.