Is hell and the lake of fire spiritual or literal?
Remember now, our natural body goes in the grave, and that’s the end of that part. What comes up is our incorruptible body. That body has no guarantee of staying eternal unless it is fully born again. Incorruption means that it is now a vessel that will stand before God and meet the test that He has given it. If we come up before Revelation 20:6, we are guaranteed eternal life. If we come up in Revelation 20:11-14 there is no guarantee of eternal life.
Both hell and the lake of fire are dimensions
Whether the lake of fire is literal or spiritual or both is more a matter of how we look at things. We often want to pinpoint everything and settle it once and for all. We cannot do that with everything. I have seen a lot of charts made to clarify prophetic events, but when it comes to the future, you have to wait for it to happen before you can pinpoint the details. Charts are nice, but not necessary correct.
The prophecies of the Bible are all correct, but it took the disciples years to nail down every last one of the and to give them their proper understanding. In our day we want verification on everything we think we understand. It is almost like we want to be the first one to locate a secret. God does not give us credit for what we dig up. He wants to inspire us and lead us in simplicity.
The lake of fire is real and it will consume every soul that ends up in it
One thing is for sure. The lake of fire is real and it will consume every soul that ends up in it. The lake of fire is not eternal. When the last soul has gone through the cleansing process and the life-giving spirit has gone back to God, who gave the soul life, then there is no more wood for the fire, so to say. The lake of fire will then be quenched or die out, eternity restored and no more death will be executed. 1. Corinthians 15 says
(54) But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (55) O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? (56) The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law: (57) but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Where are these places located?
We often talk about dimensions. Both hell and the lake of fire are dimensions. Jesus tells a story in Luke 16.
(22) And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and that he was carried away by the angels into Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died, and was buried. (23) And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. (24) And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.
(25) But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivest thy good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now here he is comforted and thou art in anguish. (26) And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that they that would pass from hence to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from thence to us. (27) And he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldst send him to my father’s house;
(28) for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. (29) But Abraham saith, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. (30) And he said, Nay, father Abraham; but if one go to them from the dead, they will repent. (31) And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if one rise from the dead.
The lake of fire is never located as a literal place that we can point our finger at
Jesus gives no indication of the whereabouts of this dimension other than it seems to be a dimension in the bosom of this earth. But people can dig and dig, and never find it since it is a spiritual dimension. The lake of fire is never located as a literal place that we can point our finger at. The first time it is written about as a place where anybody is thrown into is Revelation 19.
(20) And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought the signs in his sight, wherewith he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast and them that worshipped his image; they two were cast alive into the lake of fire that burneth with brimstone.
The Bible does not give a record of how long this process will take, that is just something man only can imagine. We will leave that to God. He does a good job there, and He keeps things in order.
God bless you.