“And the wild beast was caught, and along with it the false prophet that performed in front of it the signs with which he misled those who received the mark of the wild beast and those who worship its image. While still alive, they both were hurled into the fiery lake that burns with sulfur.” ~Revelation 19:20
How do we know the lake of fire alluded to in Revelation is symbolic?
The wild beast and the false prophet are not literal.
The wild beast represents governments in opposition to God’s heavenly kingdom, and the false prophet represents the Anglo-American world power that encourages people to place their hope in democracy. (Rev. 13:11-13; 16:13)
After this, the Devil, Death, and the Grave are also hurled into the lake of fire.
Death and the Grave are not people or literal things, and the Devil is a spirit creature immune to the physical effects of fire. (Rev. 20:10,14)
This means that the lake of fire must be entirely symbolic, used to illustrate complete destruction.
“[…] The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the wicked one.”
~2 Thessalonians 3:3
It would be a mistake on my part to think I could be strong enough to make good choices without God’s guidance.
While everyone benefits from an innate conscience, gone unchecked that very conscience could end up justifying immoral or selfish behavior. (Rom. 2:14,15; Tit. 1:15)
And while I could live a fairly decent life solely based on the values my parents taught me, parents are imperfect and that approach would most certainly doom me to repeat their mistakes. (Pr. 22:6; Rom. 3:23; Eph. 6:4)
On top of this, God’s word explains that one’s personal struggle against Satanic influences is very real. (Eph. 2:2; 6:11,12; 1 John 5:19)
Knowing all this, modesty ought to move me to seek out God’s guidance through prayer and through reading the Scriptures, as well as by staying close to the congregation. (2 Thes. 3:5; Heb. 4:12)
Only then can I truly benefit from ‘protection from the wicked one.’ (Ps. 37:28)
“[…] Like heat is subdued by the shadow of a cloud,
So the song of the tyrants is silenced.”
God’s Word has long prophesied the end of all evil.
How will this be realized?
Isaiah foretells that God “will turn his attention to the army of the heights above and to the kings of the earth upon the earth.” (Is. 24:21)
The “army of the heights above” represents the wicked forces of the spirit realm, so described by the Christian prophet Paul (Eph. 6:12)
The “kings of the earth” are the imperfect humans that govern over humanity.
They fail to recognize Christ’s kingdom and act as if they will not have to render an account to God for their corrupt actions. (Eccl. 8:9)
Instead of doing Jehovah’s will, they succumb to their own selfish interests, thereby realizing the will of Satan and his demonic forces (John 12:31; 1 John 5:19)
Referring to “the army of the heights,” the prophet Isaiah says they will be gathered into a pit, like prisoners, and shut up in the dungeon. (Is. 25:22)
This coincides with the Apostle John’s prophecy in which he describes an angel hurling Satan into an abyss and locking him up for 1,000 years (Re. 20:1-3)
At the end of that period, Satan and his remaining supporters will face the same fate that corrupt leaders will have already faced: hopeless annihilation. (Re. 20:7-10)
At that time, those people who remain, including those who will have been resurrected, will be individually judged and be granted either eternal life or permanent death.
Finally, the ultimate tyrant, Death itself, will be forever silenced (1 Co. 15:22-26; Re. 20:13-15)