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Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

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Knowledge of GodLamb, Lamb of God
Additional Resources
• International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Lake of Fire
Lake of Fire

God's final retributive punishment. After Armageddon the beast and false prophet will be tossed into this "lake of burning sulfur, " joined by Satan at the millennium's end, and "tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev 19:20; 20:10). After the final judgment, Hades (the personification of God's adversaries) and the wicked are cast here (Rev 20:14-15). Jesus calls this "fiery furnace" gehenna [γέεννα] or hell (Matt 13:42; 18:8-9; 25:41).

The Old Testament explicitly portrays God's fiery judgment at history's consummation, but not hell (Isa 66:15-16, 24; Ezek 38:22). This concept is developed during the intertestamental period (1 Enoch 90:24-6; 103:8; 4 Macc 12:12; 4 Edras 7:38). Jesus extensively uses the imagery of "hell-fire" (Matt 5:22; 7:19; 13:40-42, 50; 18:8-9; 25:41; Mark 9:43, 48-49; Luke 16:24; John 15:6), derived from the Old Testament descriptions of God's retributive judgment, particularly Sodom's ruin (Gen 19:24; Lev 10:2; Num 16:35; Isa 34:10; Luke 17:29; Jude 7).

This lake of fire and associated imagery convey three important ideas. First, thrown into this lake, the wicked are permanently separated from God's love and good creation, and thus experience the "second death" (Rev 20:14; 21:8). Second, fire denotes God's searing holiness exacting retribution for evil deeds (Heb 10:30; Rev 14:9-11). Third, this "unquenchable fire" portrays hell as everlasting (Mark 9:43, 48; Rev 20:10).Timothy R. Phillips

See also Hell


Copyright Statement
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Edited by Walter A. Elwell Copyright 1996 by Walter A. Elwell. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Book House Company, PO Box 6287, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49516-6287. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Bibliography Information
Elwell, Walter A. "Entry for 'Lake of Fire'". "Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology".
<>. 1897.


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