CHAPTER 44 – Revelation 20:14-15 地獄與火湖 HELL AND THE LAKE OF FIRE

在這時代講地獄,似乎是不合潮流的。有很多人已經不相信有地獄的存在。神學家、主日學老師也都盡量少講這個題目。很多人不相信有地獄,是因為覺得與神的愛相違背。地獄的懲罰太嚴厲了,就算罪大惡極的人,也不應該受永遠地獄的懲罰,何況很多人不算得是大壞人,只是因為不認識基督,就要永遠滅亡,像是太過份的懲罰。這都是受了錯誤的地獄觀影響。

It seems that nowadays speaking about hell is not the trend. Many people do not believe that hell exists. Theologians and Sunday school teachers avoid speaking about this topic. Many people do not believe there is a hell because they feel that it goes against the portrait of a loving God. The punishment of hell is too severe; even the greatest of criminals should not be condemned to go to hell for eternity, much less those who do not believe that they are bad people. How could these people be sent to hell forever just because they do not know Christ? It is because they all have been influenced by the wrong view of hell.

中國人接受了從印度來的佛教已經有二千年之久,有關於十八層地獄的描寫,甚麽上刀山、下油鑊;西方有但丁對地獄的描寫,說地獄裡有鬼魔把人分屍,施行種種殘酷的刑罰。這些都是不正確的觀念,將異教的神話故事,雜在聖經的真理中間。

For more than 2,000 years the Chinese have accepted the beliefs of Buddhist religion from India about the 18 layers of hell, the mountain of knives, cauldron of boiling oil; the West has Dante’s description of hell, describing how demons tear the bodies apart, carrying out all kinds of cruel punishments. Those are all incorrect view of hell, mixing pagan mythology with the truth of the Bible.

有人不相信地獄存在,有人都不想談它。沒有人知道在哪裡?但不知道不等於不存在。今天用幾個常問的問題來看聖經對於地獄的描寫。

Some people do not believe that hell exists and others don’t want to talk about it. Nobody knows where it is, but not knowing doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Today, we will ask a few questions to find out what the Bible says about hell.

甚麽是地獄?

WHAT IS HELL?

希臘文有叁個字常翻作地獄,其實都指不同的地方。

In the Greek language there are three words that mean “hell”, actually they refer to different places.

( 一) tartarus ( 彼後2:4; 猶6) :是囚禁惡天使,等候審判的地方。應該翻作「無底坑」。是囚禁特別兇惡鬼魔的地方。可能在另外一個空間,稱為無底坑,表示它深不可測,沒有邊界,像太空之大,爬不出來。這並不是囚禁人靈魂的地方,更不是人靈魂永遠歸宿之處。

(1) Tartarus (2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6): It is a place where the evil angels were sent to be held for judgment on the Great Day. It should be translated into “bottomless pit”. This is a place where the especially ruthless wicked demons are imprisoned. Perhaps in another place called the bottomless pit which is deep and unmeasurable, without boundaries, as big as the outer space, where it is impossible for them to climb up and get away. This place is not where people’s souls are imprisoned, nor it is the final destination of people’s spirits.

( 二) hades 陰間:不信的人死後暫時停留,等候末日白色大寶座審判的地方。天主教的煉獄從這發展出來,給人第二次的機會,只要受夠熬煉,就可以上天堂。耶穌講過財主與拉撒路的故事,財主在陰間受痛苦,非常熱與渴。難怪天主教說是煉獄,但天主教所講的煉獄,與聖經所講的陰間不同,乃是錯誤教義,不應該相信人有第二次悔改的機會。

(2) Hades: This is the place where unbelievers will be kept temporarily after they die. This is the place where they will wait for the last judgment of the Great White Throne. The idea of purgatory that the Catholics believe in developed from this place . They think they will get a second chance after suffering enough to be able to get to heaven. When Jesus spoke about the story of Lazarus and the rich man, the rich man was suffering in Hades, he was extremely hot and thirsty. No wonder the Catholics said it is purgatory, but the purgatory that Catholics talk about is different from the Hades that the Bible speaks about. It is false teachings, do not believe that people have a second chance to repent.

( 叁) gehenna 地獄:來自舊約欣嫩谷( 書15:8; 王下23:10) ,是耶路撒冷城外低窪之地,燒垃圾的地方,是骯髒、有蟲、有火之處。所以主說:「蟲是不死的,火是不滅的。」現在以色列已經把這地方修輯好了,成了做生意、熱鬧的地方。不過那地方仍然稱作「地獄」,有些餐館、商店仍然用地獄這名字。猶太人不讀新約聖經,不相信地獄,甚至不相信陰間,認為只是墳墓的同義詞。我們知道有地獄,因為耶穌說得最多。

(3) Gehenna: Comes from the Old Testament, the Valley of Hinnom (Joshua 15:8, 2 Kings 12:10), a small valley outside of the city of Jerusalem, a place where garbage is burned, it’s filthy, full of worms and there is fire. That is why the Lord said: “Their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.” Nowadays, Israel has made this place into a lively place of business. However, that place is still called “Hell ” as well as some restaurants and stores that are in the area. The Jews don’t read the New Testament, don’t believe in hell and don’t believe in Hades, they think it is a synonym of the word tomb. We know there is a hell, because Jesus talk about it the most.

( 四)lake of fire 火湖:「死亡和陰間也被扔在火湖里,這火湖就是第二次的死。」啟示錄特別用上一個新字:「火湖」,或「硫磺火湖」。那時還沒有火藥的時代,硫磺是最易燃燒、燒得最猛烈的東西。「硫磺火湖」告訴我們那是烈火包圍的地方。我們只知道這是痛苦的地方,像燒垃圾的地方一樣,有不滅的火、不死的蟲。人間無論多苦都不會像它。滅亡的人晝夜在良心煎熬下,永遠帶著後悔的灼熱、燃燒感。

(4) Lake of Fire: “Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” Revelation specifically uses a new word: “Lake of fire ” , or “Lake of burning sulfur”. In those times gun powder was not discovered yet, sulfur was the most flammable substance which burned very fiercely. “The lake of burning sulfur”, tells us that is a place surrounded by blazing fire. We only know that it is a place of suffering, like a garbage incinerator. It is a place of unquenching fire and worms that don’t die. Nothing on earth compares to that place. Those who perish will be tortured by their consciences day and night, burning with regret forever.

其實中文的「天堂、地獄」,都是從佛教挪用過來,可以說是不準確的。將來的天國不在天上,是在新天新地的地上。聖經沒有一處告訴我們將來上天堂。地獄更明顯不合聖經描寫。可能用「火湖」比較貼切。

Actually, the notions of “heaven and hell” of the Chinese people come from Buddhism, and is not accurate at all. The future kingdom of heaven will not be established in heaven but in the new heaven and new earth. Nowhere in the Bible mentions that we will go to up heaven. And the description of hell by the Chinese is completely different from how the Bible describes it. Using the words “Lake of fire” may be the closest.

不要誤會神用火來懲罰人。火表示人與神隔絕,沒有神恩典的焦慮難過。今不信者雖有痛苦仍然享有主恩典,神降雨給義人,也給不義的人。神所給人普遍的恩典他們都享有:家庭、朋友的愛、食物、健康、娛樂,他們都不缺少,還有各種藝術才能、眼光,能夠唱歌、跳舞、繪畫,可以陶醉在藝術享受中。所以不信的人今天仍然享受神的恩典。

There is the misunderstanding that God uses fire to punish people. Fire represents the isolation of humans from God, the anxiety and grief of not having the grace of God. Today, unbelievers, even though they may have sickness and sufferings, they still have the grace of God, God sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. They can all enjoy the universal grace that God gives to everyone: A home, the love of friends, food, health, entertainment, they don’t lack these things, there is also the different kinds of artistic talents, insights, they can sing, dance, draw and paint, they can immerse themselves in the enjoyment of art. Today, all the unbelievers can still enjoy the grace of God.

火湖在哪裡?

WHERE IS THE LAKE OF FIRE?

14 死亡和陰間也被扔在火湖里,這火湖就是第二次的死。

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

到底火湖在宇宙中哪個部份?在星球上抑或地球上?還是在太空某處?這是一個特別的範疇,姑且用dimension 來描寫。有人用另一個dimension 來描寫靈界,就是天使、魔鬼活動的地方。因為聖經說神創造「諸世界」( 希伯來書一章) ,或多個不同性質的世界,但在啟21 章說的「新天新地」,卻是一個單數字,就是說,將來只有一個天地,再沒有其他世界。再沒有人覺得靈異、神怪的事發生,再沒有玄妙的事,從另一個世界傳過來。因為再沒有別的世界了。

So, where is the lake of fire in this universe? Is it on a star or on the earth? Or where in outer space? It is a special category which can be described as a dimension. Some people use another dimension to describe the spiritual realm, the place where angels and demons live because the Bible says that God created the “worlds” (Hebrews 1), or a world of a different nature, but in Revelation 21 it talks about “a new heaven and a new earth”, which are singular words, which means that in the future there will be only one heaven and one earth, there will not be other worlds. No one will feel supernatural or strange things happening, no more mysterious things passing from one world to another.

也告訴我們地獄不是一個世界。它不在新天新地裡面。有人認為那是太空中的黑洞,是密度比重最大地方,整個地球可以被吸去變了它的一部份,沒有東西能逃得過這黑洞。人的靈也被壓縮到看不見,比火燒還要難受。真的是這樣嗎?不得而知。

Also, it tells us that hell is not a world. It is not in the new heaven and the new earth. Some people believe that it is the black hole in space, a place where the gravitational field is very intense, the whole earth could be sucked into it and become part of it, nothing can escape from the black hole. The spirit of man can be compressed in such a way that it cannot be seen, burned with fire and suffering pain. Will it be really like this? Don ‘t know.

我們只知道,這是第二次的死,就是說,他們復活的身體也死了,被扔在火湖里的,有舊的陰間、無底坑等世界,有鬼魔的靈及所有的污靈,並所有罪人的靈。人的靈與鬼魔的靈不一樣。因為當天使被造是一種稱為靈,但又能單獨存在,可以工作與活動的。人卻不一樣。人是身體先被造,再加上神的靈吹進去。就成了有靈的活魂。人的靈像軟件,放進硬件裡,就是身體中,使這身體能夠作工與活動。

We only know, it is the second death, that is, their resurrected body will also die, thrown into the lake of fire, there is the old Hades, other worlds like the bottomless pit, there are demons and all evil spirits, also the spirits of the sinners. The spirits of a people and the spirits of demons are different because the angels were created as spirits with powers that can exist by themselves, they can work and move. People are different. The man’s body was created first, then God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life then he became a living thing with a spirit. The spirit of man is like a computer software which is placed into a hardware, which is the human body, so the body can work and move around.

在陰間裡,人的靈是靜止的存在,「沒有工作、沒有謀算、沒有知識、也沒有智慧。」( 傳9:10) 有意識卻沒有活動。像沒有了硬件的軟件一樣。沒有人的腦袋、手腳配合,存在在一個沒有時間、空間的非世界中。是靜止不動,再也接觸不到任何神所創造的東西,再沒有神的恩典跟隨。但意識中充滿悔恨、內疚,如被不滅的火所燒一樣。

In Hades, the spirit of man exits in stillness , ” there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) There is consciousness but there is no activity. Like a computer software without a hardware. Arms and legs without a brain, existing in the netherworld without time or space. Completely still, never again being in contact with the things that God created, never again having God’s grace following you, yet the consciousness remains full of regret and guilt like a fire that never stops burning.

現在活著的所有人,都活在神恩典之中,能夠吃到美味的食物,覺得快樂,那是神的設計,神給人的恩典;覺得與朋友談心覺得很快樂,也是神設計的恩典;能運用藝術的細胞,享受到藝術創作之樂,享受視聽之娛,也是因為神的創造,神的賜與。當人死去,失去了身體,一切快樂活動全部停止,一切神所創造的東西,無法再接觸,活在沒有時間空間,完全靜止不變的狀況,沒有宴會、娛樂、朋友。只有悔恨。

Right now, everyone who is alive lives under the grace of God, we can enjoy delicious food, feel happiness, that is what God planned for us, that is God’s grace towards all human beings. When you can talk heart-to-heart with a friend and feel happy, that is the grace of God under His plan. To be able to use your artistic abilities, enjoy a piece of art, enjoy audio-visual entertainment, those are the things that God has given us through His creation. When a person dies and leaves the body, all those activities stop, the dead will not be able to be in contact with all the things that God created, but will be in a complete still condition, existing in a place without time or space, where there are no parties, no entertainment, no friends; a place where there is only remorse.

甚麽人被丟進火湖?

WHO WILL BE THROWN INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE?

15 若有人名字沒記在生命冊上,他就被扔在火湖里,這是第二次的死。

15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

生命冊上有名,表示有基督的生命,那是天國公民活人的名冊。不是死亡冊,他就可以活在基督的國里。

Those whose names are written in the book of life are those who have the live of Christ, that is the book of those living who are citizens of heaven. Whoever is not in the Book of the Dead will be able to live in the kingdom of Christ.

沒有主生命的人,在今世不喜歡過基督徒的生活,會覺得作基督徒非常苦悶,受捆綁沒有自由。這樣想,是因為他們沒有主的生命。有魚的生命會喜歡水里的生活,沒有魚的生命,活在水里太多不便。

People who do not have the life of the Lord do not like to live as a Christian, they will feel that being a Christian is very boring and that there is no freedom. They think that way because they do not have the life of the Lord . If you had the life of a fish, you would enjoy living in the water, but if you didn’t have the life of a fish you would feel that being in the water is very inconvenient.

教會裡的生活,弟兄姊妹坦誠相交,講心靈裡面的話,非常快樂。在其他團體跟人談話的主題,環繞著成功、財富、孩子,講話也要很小心,免得給人輕看。聽人說話也要小心,怕講的人有其他目的。你比他好,他會嫉妒;比他差,他會輕視。甚麽時候都會戴著假面具來生活。但是他們會樂此不疲。他們不會喜歡教會的生活,不會喜歡有神的靈的看管,所以到後來,唯一可以去的地方,就是沒有神恩典的地方。

It is a joy for brothers and sisters in the church to be able speak with each other open-heartedly. When speaking with people in other group settings people have to be very careful of what they say so that others will not look down at them. The topic of their conversations is usually about success, wealth or their children. And when listening to someone talk, they have to be very careful also, they never know what the other person is up to. If you are better than them, they will be jealous of you; if you are worse than them, they will look at you with contempt. They are never tired of wearing a mask. They will never enjoy church life; they will not like how a person who has the Spirit of God views things. Therefore, at the end, the only place they can go will be a place where the grace of God is no more.

火湖本來不是為人預備的,乃是為魔鬼與牠的使者預備的。這裡看好像是為人預備的,其實十節說魔鬼先被丟進火湖,十四節死亡陰間也被扔進去,罪人是因為跟隨魔鬼而去,是人自己的選擇,自己做決定,願意跟隨撒但的道路,喜愛牠的生活方式,就會永遠與牠在一起。

Originally, the lake of fire was not intended for human beings, but for the devil and his emissaries. Here it seems that it was prepared for mankind. Actually, verse 10 says that the devil was first thrown into the lake of fire and verse 14 says that Death and Hades were also thrown into the lake of fire. Sinners were thrown into the lake of fire because they chose to follow them, it was their own decision. Willing to follow the way of Satan, loving Satan’s lifestyle, will make anyone end up with him for eternity.

有人覺得在世界上受很多苦,世界就像地獄,打仗、衝突、仇恨、鬥爭,加上不景氣,肉身心靈都受痛苦。其實現在雖然痛苦,只是肉體的苦,還有禮拜堂可以去,有人傳講福音,還有機會悔改,可以禱告,祈求主的幫助,心靈可以得到主的力量,勝過痛苦,還有回頭的機會。在火湖中就再沒有機會,沒有回頭的可能,也沒有出路。

Some people feel that when they suffer a lot in this world, this world becomes like hell, wars, conflicts, hatred, struggles, plus depression, body, soul and spirit suffering. In fact, even though at the present there is suffering, it is only the physical body that suffers, there are still churches that people can go to, there are people who preach the Gospel, there is still a chance for repentance, you can pray for God’s help, the spirit can be strengthened through the Lord, to overcome the pain, there is still an opportunity to turn back. In the lake of fire there will not be a second chance, there will not be the possibility of turning back, and there will not be any way out.

惡人甚麽時候到火湖?

WHEN WILL BE WICKED BE THROWN INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE?

很多人的想法是,死後馬上進地獄。人死之後是否馬上到火湖去?當然不是。人的靈魂要在陰間等候末日的身體復活,經過白色大寶座的審判之後,纔有第二次的死,纔被丟進火湖里。

Many people believe that people go to hell right after they die. Do people go directly to the lake of fire after they die? Of course not, the spirit of a human being will be in Hades awaiting the resurrection of the body at the end of the world, after the judgment of the Great White Throne, then the second death and finally thrown into the lake of fire.

基督徒死後,也不是馬上到天堂去,是到暫時停留的樂園裡。樂園與陰間無法相通,主所說的「財主與拉撒路」的比喻中,財主在陰間受痛苦,遠遠看見生前所認識的拉撒路與亞伯拉罕在一起,沒有痛苦,享受回家的溫暖。但他不能過去,因為兩處有深淵相隔。其實不信的人,不單到不了樂園,他們在陰間,也是單獨的,再不能與生前的好友敘舊。

After Christians die, they do not go directly to heaven, they go to Paradise temporarily. Paradise and Hades are incommunicated . In the parable that the Lord spoke about, “The rich man and Lazarus”, the rich man was suffering in Hades forever seeing Lazarus, whom he knew when they were alive. Lazarus was together with Abraham, not suffering anymore, enjoying the warmth of being at home. But he could not cross to the other side because both sides were separated by an abyss. Actually, unbelievers not only don’t get to go to Paradise, but they are isolated in Hades unable to reminisce the good old times with their friends.

為甚麽要有火湖?

WHY IS THERE A LAKE OF FIRE?

有人認為火湖的懲罰太過份,沒有機會聽信福音就下地獄,像犯了交通規則,要被判死刑一樣。如果許多人沒有機會聽福音,神怎麽能這樣殘忍,讓這些無辜的人被丟進火湖里?要記得人在進火湖之前,有一個白色大寶座的審判。神必定有最公平的處理方法。

Some people believe that the punishment of the lake of fire is too much. Being sent to hell because someone did not have the opportunity to hear and believe in the Gospel is like someone receiving the death penalty because of a traffic violation. How could God be so merciless as to send innocent people to the lake of fire just because they did not have the opportunity to hear the Gospel? Remember that before people enter the lake of fire, there is the final judgment at the Great White Throne. God will certainly have the most impartial way to handle each case.

要知道靈是不滅的,魔鬼原是天使,是靈,不能消滅,只能放在火湖里。人的靈也是不能消滅,既然他們不要神的國,就只好在神的國之外。在沒有時間、空間、活動的靜止裡。這已經是最仁慈的解決辦法。

Know that the spirit is immortal, the devil was originally an angel, he is a spirit, he will never died , he can only be placed in the lake of fire. People’s spirit will never die either and since they do not want the kingdom of God, the best place for them is outside the kingdom of God, in the stillness where there is not time, space or activity. This is already the most merciful solution.

如果沒有火湖,人人進入天國,那是不是好事?我們要記得主的心腸最柔軟,祂整天沒有吃飯,人來求祂幫忙之時,祂一個也不推辭,從來不說:「辦公時間已過,明天請早。」這樣好心腸的主,怎會折磨人?但耶穌論地獄最多,新約共提地獄12 次,11 次是主耶穌說的。火湖乃是愛的設計。

If there was no lake of fire and every body enters into the kingdom of heaven, would that be a good thing? We must remember that the heart of the Lord is the most kind one, he had not eaten the entire day, but when people came asking for His help, He did not reject anyone, He never said: “Office hours are over, come back tomorrow.” A Lord with such a kind heart, how could He torment anyone? But Jesus spoke about hell the most, 12 times in the New Testament, Jesus Himself spoke about it 11 times. The lake of fire was set up because of love.

當法院宣判患愛滋病的小孩可以回到學校唸書。但同校很多小孩馬上轉校。其實他們不一定會受到感染,但人還是不願意與愛滋病患同在一起。如果新天新地裡面有傳染罪與死的可能,那怎能還算是天國?許多人因為某罪犯出獄後,住在隔壁,他們第一件事就是想要搬家。

When the court pronounced that a child with AIDS could go back to school. Many kids transferred to another school. They might not get infected with the disease, but people still do not want to be with kids who have AIDS. If in the new heaven and the new earth there is the possibility of sin and death to be contagious, then how could it still be the kingdom of heaven? Many people want to move away when they know that a criminal that was released from prison lives next to them.

如果邪惡、詭詐的人進入天國,天國豈不是變了地獄嗎?讓死囚、神經病人、或兇殘的野獸,與孩子、家人同住,那不是破壞了可愛溫暖的家了嗎?他們不是應該有自己的地方嗎?所以火湖乃是最仁慈的方式來處理邪惡的問題。

If wicked and treacherous people enter the kingdom of heaven, wouldn’t the kingdom of heaven become hell? If we permit a convict sentenced to death, a psychopath, or a brutal savage beast to live with our children and family, wouldn’t it destroy a loving and tender home? Ought they not to have their own place? Therefore, the lake of fire is the kindest way to deal with the problem of wickedness.