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"They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them."- Revelation 20:9

And exactly one verse later,

"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."- Revelation 20:10

Is it possible that the fire from heaven that God inflicted created the lake of fire which He now uses to throw evil fiends and sinners in?

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  • The lake of fire first appears in Rev 19:20.
    – Dottard
    Feb 15 at 5:54
  • Don't forget the beast- He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing Fire to come down from Heaven to earth in full view of men.
    – Bagpipes
    Feb 15 at 15:46
  • The lake of fire is the sun. Satan lives there happily
    – R. Emery
    Feb 18 at 7:38
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The expression is only used in Revelation, but the imagery is not new. The book of Revelation is so full of imagery, symbolism, metaphors, and hyperbole that originated from the same symbolism of the OT prophesies. It is truly not possible to understand Revelation without first studying the OT prophesies. The word translated in English as "fire" is Strong's Gr. 4442, "πῦρ", or pur.(1) It became the imagery of God's judgment. Fire from heaven was the judgment God poured out upon sinful men, and sinful nations.

"...Lest My fury go out as fire, and hath burned, And there is none quenching, Because of the evil of your doings." (Jer. 4:4, YLT)

"...Lest My fury go forth as fire, And hath burned, and none is quenching, Because of the evil of your doings." (Jer. 21:12, YLT)

"And I have set My jealousy against thee, And they have dealt with thee in fury, Thy nose and thine ears they turn aside, And thy posterity by sword falleth, They, thy sons and thy daughters do take away, And thy posterity is devoured by fire." (Ezek. 23:25, YLT)

"3 He hath cut off in the heat of anger every horn of Israel, He hath turned backward His right hand From the face of the enemy, And He burneth against Jacob as a flaming fire, It hath devoured round about.

4 He hath trodden His bow as an enemy, Stood hath His right hand as an adversary, And He slayeth all the desirable ones of the eye, In the tent of the daughter of Zion, He hath poured out as fire His fury." (Lam. 2:3-4, YLT)

The words "as a" and "as" are indicators of metaphors and similes, where one thing is used to visualize another, or represent an equal state. God's fury is fire; an equivalent statement- fury = fire. His judgment was poured out like fire. The word "like" is another indicator of a comparison, of a metaphor or simile.

Fire is the imagery that we can all visualize from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah which was literally fire from heaven. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah forever represented the anger and fury of God against the evil ones who refused to repent. That burning destruction (Gen. 18:20-19:28) was visible in the smoke and fire that lingered from those cities, and became indelibly imprinted upon the minds of mankind. So, thereafter the use of the word fire in His prophetic language became the symbol of God's judgment, just as the use of the word "flood" called to mind God's judgment against wicked men.

Most probably the "lake of fire" originates from the funeral pyre imagery of the valley of the sons of Hinnom, or Gehenna as related of the valley of Topheth in 2 Kings 23:10....

"And he hath defiled Topheth, that [is] in the valley of the son of Hinnom, so that no man doth cause his son and his daughter to pass over through fire to Molech." (YLT)

where the children were being sacrificed. Topheth was the sounds of the drums used to drown out the screams of the children being burned alive. This is the imagery that is recalled in Revelation by the lake of fire. It is the judgment God poured out upon the evil ones. And, His judgment, or fire filled the entire valley.

So whenever we read of God's fury as fire in the prophesies we can almost always substitute the word "judgment" as follows:

"...but [judgment] came down from heaven..." (Rev. 20:9)

"into the lake of [judgment]...." (Rev. 20:10)

A lake is a valley that is usually filled with water. But, in Revelation the imagery is one that is filled with the fire of God's judgment. What is eternal is the burning fire, or the continual judgment of God. It is too tempting to try to force all of the metaphors of God's prophesies into literal physical earthly conditions because that is how men relate to the imagery. What we can see, touch, smell, and feel is our carnal realm, and God uses that to help us picture His spiritual nature.

If you are interested, I explore more of this imagery in the post "The Lake of Fire" at my blog ShreddingTheVeil.

Note:

  1. Strong's Gr. 4442, pur - Biblehub
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  • You have stated where you consider the imagery originates. But where does the real fire come from, when it is, in actuality, kindled ? If bodies are resurrected and cast into it, it must be materially substantial.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 15 at 11:40
  • The "real" fire? You are thinking that God is going to literally burn something? The fire of God's fury is His judgment. How that judgment is actually carried out varies from attacks from foreign armies as "floods" to disease, to famines, to droughts, and to burning cities. The destruction of Jerusalem used all of those, and the Romans set fire to the city and the temple. The first concept is of the judgment action; the second is the agency of the judgments. It was not always carried out as a literal fire.
    – Gina
    Feb 15 at 11:44
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    This occurs at the end of time. The first creation has ceased. Diabolos (Drakon) and his demons and the resurrected unbelievers are cast into a lake of fire. Is not that fire the 'elements shall melt with fervent heat' ? The first creation reduced to its elements, in conflagration ? Or do you see it otherwise ?
    – Nigel J
    Feb 15 at 11:47
  • The lake of fire is a process, not a place. It is the judgment of God. Throwing bodies into a situation or a process much like a court proceeding where evidence is presented, judgment and sentencing is carried out. The jail is not the courtroom. The final action is the casting out of Matt. 22:13 & 2 Pet. 2:17 into the mist of darkness.
    – Gina
    Feb 15 at 11:47
  • No, the Bible never speaks of the "end of time." That is a man made concept from institutionalized dogma. The "end" was always defined from God's own words as the end of each of the tribes of Israel (Gen. 49), the end of the Mosaic covenant (Heb, 7, 8, &9), and the end of the animal sacrificial system( all of Heb). The elements were the principles of worship, not the physical Greek elements. See post Frequent Mistakes Part III - The Last Day, & Part VI: The End of The World? at my blog - ShreddingTheVeil.
    – Gina
    Feb 15 at 11:51
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Did the lake of fire come from Revelation 20:9?

LAKE OF FIRE is clearly symbolic.

The Bible gives us the definition of this symbolic expression:

Revelation 20:14 (NASB)

14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the "lake of fire". This is the second death, the lake of fire.**

Revelation 21:8 (NASB)

8 But for the cowardly, and [a]unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and sexually immoral persons, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and [b]brimstone, which is the second death.”

Verse 14 says that death and hades are thrown into the lake of fire, death and hell obviously cannot be burned up. Further Vs Rev. 20:10 says that the devil is also thrown into the lake of fire, the devil is a spirit creature and cannot be hurt by literal fire.

Revelation 20:10 (NASB)

10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and [a]brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

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Here is the timeline.

Revelation 19:20 New International Version

But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

The fiery lake exists before chapter 20.

Revelation 20

1And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
...
7When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Is it possible that the fire from heaven that God inflicted created the lake of fire which He now uses to throw evil fiends and sinners in?

Probably not because the fiery lake has existed 1000 years before.

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  • Hmm but where did the lake of fire come from in Revelation 19:20? Was it from the fire inflicted by the wrathful Jesus? I have a feeling that it's actually physical after reading the last few verses of Isaiah 66. Feb 16 at 3:34
  • God created the lake of fire.
    – Tony Chan
    Feb 16 at 14:54

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