Updated - 7/23/09
We have other studies that examine more of what the Bible says about the lake of fire. They are available for examination:
In this study we will examine the question, “Could the lake of fire be a volcano or some similar natural event?”
Below are several reasons why the lake of fire cannot be a volcano or some other natural event:
1. One cannot be tormented “day and night” in a physical fire LIKE A VOLCANO.
Revelation 20:15 indicates that all the unsaved must be cast into the lake of fire. We read there:
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
The ones not written in the book of life are all the unsaved. They are the ones that must be cast into the lake of fire.
God talks about the lake of fire in Revelation 20:10. We read there:
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.
In Revelation 20:10, God indicates that those cast into the lake of fire shall be “tormented day and night”.
The family of Greek words from which this word “torment” comes is always used to indicate conscious experience. These words are never used to refer to unconscious things like bones or corpses.
According to 1 Corinthians 2:13, God defines words by how He uses them in the Bible.
Therefore, God is defining this family of Greek words from which this word “torment” comes as indicating conscious experience. Later on in this study, we will look at the verses that define this Greek word translated “torment”. This word means to be afflicted.
Revelation 20:10 indicates that the unsaved cast into the lake of fire will be tormented or consciously afflicted “day and night”.
Revelation 14:9-11 agrees that the unsaved are tormented “day and night”. We read in those verses:
9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
In verse 10 God says that the unsaved will be “tormented” with fire. That agrees with the description of the lake of fire found in Revelation 20:10.
Then God continues the discussion in verse 11 indicating that the unsaved have no rest “day nor night”. They have no rest or salvation from the torment “day and night”. This indicates that the torment continues “day and night”.
Therefore, both Revelation 14:9-11 and 20:10 teach that the unsaved are tormented or consciously afflicted “day and night”.
One cannot be tormented or consciously afflicted “day and night” in a physical lake of fire.
Let’s consider a physical, literal “lake of fire”. It could be a fiercely burning lava pit.
If the “lake of fire” is a literal, physical fire, then it must be fiercely burning to be truly a “lake of fire”. God is talking about a “lake of fire”. He is not talking about a bed of hot coals. God says “lake of fire”.
A strongly burning lava pit could be a literal “lake of fire”.
What will happen to someone cast into a strongly burning lava pit or a literal “lake of fire”?
Someone cast into a literal, strongly burning lava pit will go unconscious in a few seconds or minutes. He cannot be tormented “day and night” in a literal lake of fire. His body will be burned up quickly.
The lake of fire cannot be a literal fire. Those cast into a literal lake of fire, like a volcano, will go unconscious quickly. Therefore, we know that the lake of fire is not a literal fire that simply burns up the unsaved.
This includes the fire that will destroy this universe. This fire is described in 2 Peter 3:10. We read there:
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
A fire that will cause the elements of this universe to “melt with fervent heat” is a very intense fire. Anyone cast into that kind of fire will go unconscious in a few seconds or minutes. Someone cannot be tormented or afflicted “day and night” in that kind of fire.
Therefore, we know that the lake of fire cannot be the same fire that will destroy this universe. Nor can it be a volcano or other natural event. Those cast into a literal, physical “lake of fire” go unconscious in a few seconds or minutes. They are not tormented “day and night”.
Some people will ignore these kinds of arguments. However, for truth, we must read the Bible very carefully. We cannot simply gloss-over verses of the Bible and say “this signifies the total annihilation of everything”. God has written the Bible in a very precise way.
If we want truth, we must remember that God has very carefully and very precisely written the Bible and we must read it carefully to understand what God is teaching.
In Hebrews 12:29, God helps us to understand what the lake of fire is. We read there:
For our God is a consuming fire.
The unsaved are under the wrath of God and God Himself is the consuming fire that comes against them in His wrath. The Bible guides us that God Himself is the “fire” that is tormenting the unsaved in the lake of fire.
This agrees with other verses that talk about the fire of God’s wrath. Here are some verses in which God identifies His wrath against the unsaved as “fire”. God Himself is the “fire”:
78:21 Therefore the LORD heard this,
and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up
Psalms 89:46 How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?
Isaiah 9:19 Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire: no man shall spare his brother.
Isaiah 30:27 Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire:
Isaiah 30:30 And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.
Isaiah 42:25 Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.
Isaiah 66:15 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.
Jeremiah 15:14 And I will make thee to pass with thine enemies into a land which thou knowest not: for a fire is kindled in mine anger, which shall burn upon you.
Jeremiah 17:4 And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.
Lamentations 2:3 He hath cut off in his fierce anger all the horn of Israel: he hath drawn back his right hand from before the enemy, and he burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devoureth round about.
Lamentations 4:11 The LORD hath accomplished his fury; he hath poured out his fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof.
38:19 For in my jealousy and in
the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great
shaking in the
Nahum 1:6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.
In these verses, God identifies Himself and His wrath as a “fire”. The “lake of fire” is not a literal, physical fire. God is the “fire” in the “lake of fire”.
Let’s return to the discussion of the lake of fire.
As we saw, the lake of fire cannot be a volcano or some other natural fire pit. Nor can the lake of fire be the destruction of the world at the end of time described in 2 Peter 3:10. Anyone cast into those kinds of fires will go unconscious in a few seconds or minutes. One cannot be tormented “day and night” in these kinds of physical fires.
Some may argue that the term “day and night” is just a figure of speech.
Someone may argue that the term “day and night” is not literal, but only a figure of speech.
However, normally, those that hold to annihilation insist that the term “day and night” must be understood very literally. However, when it is understood literally, then we know that the lake of fire cannot be a physical fire of some kind. One cannot be tormented “day and night” in a physical fire.
For discussion, let’s assume that the term “day and night” is a figure of speech.
Then, we ask the question: What does God mean by the term “day and night”?
We must obtain the answer to that question by searching the Bible. Let’s consider some verses with the phrase “day and night”:
66 And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:
67 In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
In Deuteronomy 28:66-67, God is describing an on-going affliction, in which the one suffering desires evening to pass to morning and, then morning to pass to evening.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
1 Kings 8:29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.
1 Kings 8:59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:
2 Chronicles 6:20 That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place.
Nehemiah 1:6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.
Nehemiah 4:9 Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.
Psalms 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
The believer thinks about the law of God “day and night”. That is, he thinks about it continually.
Psalms 32:4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
Psalms 42:3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
The afflictions and chastisements were upon the Psalmist “day and night”. They were on him continually.
Isaiah 28:19 From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.
In Isaiah 28:19, God is describing an on-going affliction that passes morning by morning. God links this to the phrase “day and night”.
Isaiah 60:11 Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.
Here, God links “day and night” with “continually”.
Isaiah 62:6 I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence,
Here, God is tying “day and night” to never. In other words, “day and night” represents something that is “continuous” so that there is never a pause.
Jeremiah 9:1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!
Jeremiah 14:17 Therefore thou shalt say this word unto them; Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease: for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous blow.
Jeremiah 16:13 Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour.
Mark 5:5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
Here, God links “day and night” to “always”, which means continuously.
Luke 2:37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
She did not depart from the temple. This means that she served God continuously, which is linked to “day and night”.
Luke 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
Acts 26:7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
In Acts 26:7, the phrase “day and night” is linked to the word “instantly”. This word “instantly” is related to the Greek word translated “without ceasing” in Acts 12:5. Again, the phrase “day and night” is linked to a continuous action.
1 Thessalonians 3:10 Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
We are to pray “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). That means to pray continuously, or “day and night” as used in this verse and other verses.
1 Timothy 5:5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
Here, God links the phrase “without ceasing” to “night and day”. Again, God is linking the phrase “day and night” to something that is going on continuously.
Revelation 4:8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
In Revelation 4:8, God ties “they rest not” to “day and night”. Again, God is linking the phrase “day and night” to a continuous action.
Of course, there is no literal “day and night” in heaven, but there is the continuous action of praising God. An action from which “they rest not”. It goes on continuously.
Revelation 7:15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
If we examine each of the above verses, we find that God is using the phrase “day and night” in the sense of something that is going on continuously. In several of the verses, God includes other language that further links the phrase “day and night” to an on-going action.
Therefore, if we want to say that the phrase “day and night” is a figure of speech, then we have to obtain what it represents from the Bible. We have seen many verses where God uses the phrase “day and night” to speak of an on-going, continuous event.
If we hold that the phrase “day and night” is a figure of speech, then we must find the definition from the Bible. The definition provided by the Bible is that this phrase means a “continuous” action.
The language of Revelation 14:10 and 20:10 in which the unsaved are tormented or afflicted “day and night” would mean that they are “continuously” afflicted. This would also mean that the lake of fire cannot be a physical fire like that of 2 Peter 3:10. Someone cast into a physical fire goes unconscious in a few seconds or minutes. He is not tormented continuously.
Therefore, either way that someone wants to understand the phase “day and night”, either literally or as a figure of speech, yields the same conclusion that the lake of fire cannot be a physical fire like a volcano nor the fire of 2 Peter 3:10. Those cast into a physical fire are not tormented “day and night”.
2. All of the unsaved that have ever lived must be
cast into the
We read in Revelation 20:15:
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
In this verse, God says that “whosoever was not found written in the book of life” must be cast into the lake of fire. That includes all of the unsaved throughout time. For example, the Biblical information is that Cain, who killed his brother Abel, never became saved. Cain is included among those that were “not found written in the book of life”.
Therefore, Cain also must be cast into the lake of fire.
But, the Bible declares in Revelation 14:9-11 & 20:10 that those cast into the lake of fire are tormented, a conscious affliction.
Therefore, Cain must awake to consciousness, as indicated in Daniel 12:2 and other verses, to fulfill the Biblical description of the lake of fire.
The Bible shows that the word “awake” in Daniel 12:2 always indicates consciousness. There are three studies that show many of the proofs of the conscious awaking of the unsaved at Judgment Day:
Some people say that “The dust of Cain will be burned up on the last day. That is the lake of fire”.
In Revelation 14:9-11 & 20:10, the Bible defines the lake of fire as being tormented or afflicted day and night. The Bible always uses this word “torment” to mean conscious affliction. Therefore, the burning of bones or dust does not fulfill the Biblical definition of the lake of fire. Cain, and all of the unsaved, must awake to consciousness to fulfill the Biblical definition of the lake of fire.
Some people say that “There is not one verse in the Bible that teaches that the unsaved who have previously died will ever have conscious existence again.”
Sadly, that statement is not true. We have prepared many studies that show that the unsaved will awake to consciousness at Judgment Day.
Another statement that is made is “Cain is dead. When you’re dead, you’re dead”.
Actually, Adam died, body and soul, the day he sinned (Genesis 2:17, Romans 8:10, 1 Corinthians 15:29). He did not cease to exist, nor did his body sleep in the dust. Rather, he became separated from God, who is life (John 14:6). We have prepared two studies that explore the Biblical definition of life and death for mankind.
When we examine the Bible carefully, we find that there are no verses that refute the teaching of Revelation 20:15. We read there:
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
The “whosoever was not found written in the book of life” includes Cain and all of the unsaved throughout time.
God defines the lake of fire in Revelation 14:9-10 and 20:10 as being “tormented with fire … and they have no rest day nor night” or “tormented day and night”.
The family of words from which this Greek word translated “torment” comes always signifies conscious affliction. It never refers to the burning of bones or dust. God has established the rule in 1 Corinthians 2:13 that He defines words by how He uses them in the Bible.
The Bible declares that Cain, along with all of the unsaved, must be consciously afflicted, day and night. Therefore, Cain also must awake to consciousness at Judgment Day to experience this.
Cain, along with all of the unsaved, must be consciously afflicted in the lake of fire. Cain will not be cast into a volcano somewhere. God is the consuming fire that will afflict Cain when God awakes him to consciousness at Judgment Day.
3. God never uses literal fire to define this family of words translated “torment”.
If the lake of fire were a literal fire into which the unsaved are cast to be “tormented”, then a literal fire should be used to define this family of words translated “torment”.
In 1 Corinthians 2:13, God teaches that He defines words by how He uses them in the Bible. The Bible says that the unsaved will be tormented in the lake of fire. If the lake of fire were a literal, physical fire, like a volcano or the fire of 2 Peter 3:10, then God would have used the burning by a literal fire as part of the definition of this family of words translated “torment”.
It would have been easy for God to recount a historical event in which someone was burned by a fire and talk about that event using this Greek word translated “torment”. However, God never uses a literal, physical fire in connection with this Greek word.
When we look at how God uses this word “torment”, it is never used in connection with a physical fire. Below are the verses by which God defines this family of words translated “torment”:
Matthew 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments <931>, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
Matthew 8:6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented <928>.
In these verses, God is talking about the afflictions of being sick. Those that are sick are consciously afflicted, but it is not the affliction of being burned by a literal fire.
Mark 6:48 And he saw them toiling <928> in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
Here, some men are in a boat on the sea in the midst of a storm. Therefore, they are toiling in rowing. That is a conscious affliction, which includes mental anxiety. However, that is not the affliction of being burned by a literal fire.
2 Peter 2:8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed <928> his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
This verse is describing Lot when he was
Revelation 9:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented <928> five months: and their torment <929> was as the torment <929> of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
In Revelation 9:5, God is using this word “torment” in reference to being bitten by a scorpion. The scorpion represents satan or his followers, the unsaved. Nevertheless, the bite of a scorpion or the bite of satan, has nothing to do with being burned by a literal fire.
Revelation 11:10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented <928> them that dwelt on the earth.
In Revelation 11:10, God is talking about the true believers who brought the Gospel during the church age. They are represented by two witnesses. It says that these two witnesses tormented or afflicted the people on the earth. That is because, the True Gospel is an affliction to unsaved man. He does not like to hear that he is a sinner and under the wrath of God. This is a mental affliction for him.
Revelation 12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained <928> to be delivered.
In Revelation 12:2, God is using the pain a woman endures during the birth of a child to typify the afflictions of being tormented. That is a great affliction, however, it has no relationship to the afflictions of being burned by fire.
When we examine how God uses this Greek word translated “torment”, we find that God never uses this word to describe the afflictions of a literal fire. By this, God is indicating that the lake of fire is not a literal, physical fire, like a volcano. Rather, God Himself is the “fire” that will afflict the unsaved at Judgment Day.
When confronted by a verse that does not agree with their teaching, there are those that will say “This is just a figure of speech that means that the whole universe will be annihilated”.
However, we cannot ignore verses, nor can we push them aside by saying “That is only a figure of speech”.
God has carefully written the Bible. God put every word and every letter in it’s proper place. We cannot ignore any verse or phrase, nor can we change anything that God has written. We must read it like God has given it.
4. NEITHER THE SMOKE OF A VOLCANO NOR THE SMOKE OF THE BURNING DESCRIBED IN 2 PETER 3:10 WILL ASCEND FOREVERMORE.
We read two important verses about the smoke of the unsaved:
Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Revelation 19:3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
One argument made against these and other verses is that the phrase “for ever and ever” should be translated “to ever and ever”, meaning that it comes to an end at the end of the world. The argument is that the preposition translated “for” is sometimes translated “to”.
However, this reasoning is not valid. This preposition is used more than 1,500 times in the Bible in many different ways. For example, it is used to talk about someone who went to meet another person (Matthew 8:34). However, this preposition is never translated “to” when used with the Greek word translated “ever” in phrases that reference eternity future.
Moreover, the exact Greek phrase translated “for ever and ever” in Revelation 19:3 and 20:10 is made up of 5 Greek words and is used only 18 other times in the Bible. All of these 18 references use the same 5 word, Greek phrase translated “for ever and ever” to speak of the duration of glory, praise and honor to God or the duration of the eternal Kingdom of God or the duration of God Himself. Two example verses with this same Greek phrase are shown below:
1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 4:9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
We must ask two questions:
Does God receive praise and dominion forevermore or just to ever and ever?
Does God live forevermore or just to ever and ever?
The answers to these two questions are obvious. God receives praise and dominion and lives forevermore. That will never come to an end.
In these two verses the phrase “for ever and ever” is the exact same 5 word Greek phrase, with exact same spelling, that we find in Revelation 19:3 and 20:10. We must remember that God defines words and phrases by how He uses them in the Bible. God is saying that just as He goes on forevermore, in the same way, the smoke of the unsaved ascends forevermore.
There is no possibility that this phrase “for ever and ever” cannot be forevermore because there is no possibility that God does not go on forevermore. We have prepared a detailed study examining this Greek phrase.
The Bible shows us that the smoke of the unsaved does ascend up forevermore, just like God lives forevermore (Revelation 4:9).
Notice that Revelation 19:3 says that “her smoke”; that is, the smoke of the unsaved church people, ascends up for ever and ever. It is not just any smoke. It is the smoke of the unsaved.
Another argument made is; “The smoke ascending up for ever and ever is just a figure of speech”.
The implication is that we can ignore it.
However, the Biblical rule is that we must compare Scripture with Scripture.
God is pointing back to verses like Jeremiah 5:14:
Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.
The words of God’s mouth are not literally a “fire”, nor is God Himself literally a “fire” (Hebrews 12:29). Likewise, the unsaved are not literally “wood”.
However, God is using an analogy from this world to teach important Gospel truths. God directs us to look at what happens when a log is cast into a fire. It burns up and once the log is gone, finally, the smoke dissipates and stops ascending.
However, the Bible teaches that in the case of the unsaved in the lake of fire, that smoke will not stop ascending. That is teaching that the wood, the unsaved, are never gone. They are continually in that fire. If the unsaved (the wood) were ever annihilated, their smoke would dissipate and cool off and would stop ascending.
God is pointing us to an analogy from this world to teach a Gospel truth.
Sadly, there are many more arguments for the eternal suffering of the unsaved. They are covered in a separate study.
However, that is the not the subject of this study.
Another argument made is that Revelation 14:11 & 19:3 don’t actually say that the unsaved will suffer forevermore.
The answer is that we cannot “play dumb” when studying the Bible. For example, the Bible does not actual say “During the Great Tribulation the believers must leave their church”. There is no direct statement in the Bible that says “Leave your church.” But, God still expects us to leave.
Regarding the command to depart from the church, God says things like we read in Matthew 24:15-16:
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in
Matthew 24:15-16 is a command to leave the churches when we get to the Great Tribulation. However, it is not written with simple language. But, God expects us to study the Bible and obey it. God will not allow us to “play dumb” and say “The Bible does not say in direct language that we have to leave the church”.
In like manner, we cannot play dumb and avoid phrases like “her smoke rose up for ever and ever”.
The Bible is clear that the smoke of the unsaved will ascend forevermore. However, any smoke from a volcano or the burning of this universe described in 2 Peter 3:10 will not ascend forevermore. This is another way that we can know that the lake of fire is not a volcano or similar natural event, nor is the lake of fire the same fire that is described in 2 Peter 3:10.
We have seen several proofs that the lake of fire cannot be a physical fire like a volcano nor can it be the fire of 2 Peter 3:10 that will melt the elements with fervent heat. We must examine carefully every verse in the Bible for truth on this or any other subject. We also cannot gloss-over or ignore verses.