|Revelation 7:14 |
14 And I said to him, "Sir, you know." And he said to me, "These are those who came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.3
3 This second group of spiritual Gentiles obtained their white robes by washing them in the blood of the lamb in great tribulation, (lots of pain and suffering). They became pure through suffering. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; Dan 12:10, through suffering: Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in the flesh is finished with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 1 Pet 4:1-2.
Now forget what you have heard from all the blind guides about the great tribulation. The men are so many that no man could number them; yet John could number the angels at ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, (100,000,000 plus more millions). And when Jesus was asked if many would be saved, (while on the earth), Jesus replied: few would be saved, for narrow is the way to the gate which increases with pressure, and many would try to enter and be unable. How then did this uncountable multitude arrive?
The Bible tells us that people who don't find holiness in this life "will be punished with everlasting destruction, separated from the face of the Lord and from his glorious power;" 2 Thes 1:9. Notice! This does not say tortured in Hell forever.
The Bible says in many places that all men are eventually saved: we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 1 Tim 4:10. (Mark! All men, not just all believers). Paul tells us: Because the disobedience of one man led all men to condemnation; even so one man's act of righteousness exculpates (pronounces not guilty of offences) all men to right standing with God and eternal life. Rom 5:18. For God has sealed them all [men] in disobedience, that he might show mercy on all [men]. Rom 11:32. And all flesh will see the salvation of God. Luke 3:5-6. Jesus made it so that all men will eventually be saved: The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor 15:22. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2. That he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. Heb 2:9. And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, to reconcile by him, all things to himself; by him, I say, whether they are things on earth, or things in heaven. Col 1:20
But all men must pass through the fire before being set to right standing with God, either: 1) the first fruits on earth pass through the unquenchable fire of the Holy Spirit's baptism of death to the sinful nature, or 2) those dying in their sins, must pass through the lake of fire. Only the devil was cast into the lake of fire to be tortured forever. The men, whose names were not found in the Book of Life were cast into the lake of fire, to receive their part in the lake of fire; but not cast forever like the devil. This experience of men in the lake of fire is "great tribulation" of Rev 7:14.
The lake of fire is one of great pain and great loss. Each person's time in the lake of fire is described by Jesus as: 1) a varying numbers of blows, based on what you knew you should have done and did not do, and 2) a penalty imposed in proportion to the offence. The popularly believed eternal torture of all "unsaved" people is a myth, and assumes a monster for God. Simple logic tells you that he who is love, would not torture people forever; that whatever punishment there was, would be instructive, and whose purpose would be to create a discipline that would not need further correction.
The time in the lake of fire could be a few years to hundreds of years, depending on how one conducted their life on earth. Whatever one sowed in their heart, whatever their desires, they have to be burned out; by becoming so satiated with them, that one sickens of them and abhors them.
Then they shall call upon me but I will not answer; they shall seek me early and diligently, but they shall not find me.
Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord,
Would accept none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof,
Therefore they will eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own desires.
For the backsliding of the simple will slay them, and the careless ease of fools will destroy them. Pro 1:28-32
They also must experience all the pain, (emotional and physical), which they caused to others when on the earth, the purpose of which is to learn to hate their evil behaviors so much that they change completely.
See Is There Hope for All for more.