I found this on a Christian Thread and thought it was interesting:
Mr. L. Ray Smith
BRIMSTONE IN THE LAKE OF FIRE
What is brimstone anyway? Everything in the book of Revelation is "signified" (SYMBOLIZED). We know that there is literal fire and there is spiritual fire; and there is literal brimstone, but is there also spiritual brimstone? Ask any nominal Christian why there is brimstone in the lake of fire, and he will probably tell you that it is there to make the fire hotter and more painful. Oh really? Is there something about brimstone that is caustic to the skin that would cause great pain? Does brimstone somehow cause fire to burn hotter and hotter? Does brimstone make the flesh hotter? Or is it corrosive material that eats away at the skin and flesh thus causing even more intense insane pain. The very sound of the word brimstone has come to represent something Satanic. Nothing could be further or diametric opposite from reality. For those of you who have never learned the meaning and derivation of the word "brimstone," you are in for a real shock.
Look up the word "brimstone" in any dictionary and you will find it defined as "sulfur." Brimstone is sulfur. What then are the properties and uses of sulfur? I have known the Scriptural meaning and uses of sulfur for years, but I had never looked up the word sulfur in my Encyclopedia Britannica before—what a revelation.
SOME PROPERTIES OF SULFUR
SULFUR: "It is often called brimstone (burning stone) and ignited sulfur is mentioned in the earlier records of many countries as having been used for religious ceremonies, for PURIFYING (fumigating) buildings and for bleaching cloth" (Encyclopedia Britannica, page 536d). Gee, I wonder if spiritual brimstone might be used to PURIFY and fumigate people and bleach their darkened hearts to a bright white? Under the caption: "Methods of Production—Ancient producers described their method of obtaining sulfur from its ore as PURIFICATION BY FIRE" (Page 537a). (All caps emphasis is mine). "Purification by fire." That sounds very Biblical. Does God "purify" good and wonderful things by "fire?" Yes, He does: The WORDS of the Lord are pure words: as silver [silver? Isn’t the silver qualities of our character also tried in ‘fire,’ I Cor. 3:12-13?] tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times" (Psalm 12:6). Now we all know that the very "words" of God are not burned in a literal fire. But "AS" silver is tried in literal fire, so SPIRITUALLY God’s words are tried in spiritual fire.
But surely, according to what we have been told by doomsday prophets of eternal hell, sulfur must cause great torturing pain when brought into contact with human skin, and wouldn’t the smell alone be enough to suffocate all in its presence? Continuing: "Physical Properties—Sulfur is TASTELESS and ODORLESS. IT HAS NO ACTION ON THE SKIN" (Page 537d)!
So maybe it’s just the heat that is intensified by the use of sulfur, and that is its purpose in the lake of fire—to increase the intensity of the fire’s heat to cause more insane pain? Continuing: "Physical Properties—Sulfur is A POOR CONDUCTOR OF BOTH HEAT and electricity…" (Page 538a)! Imagine that—a POOR CONDUCTOR OF HEAT! Theoretically, if God were to put enough brimstone into the lake of fire it would protect those in the fire like an asbestos suit! Is anyone beginning to see the sheer folly in the church’s teaching that the lake of fire and brimstone are literal? I sure hope so.
NO, brimstone is not the demon of hell fire that it has been portrayed. Sulfur rather has hundreds and hundreds of beneficial uses (my Twentieth Century Dictionary says, "innumerable uses") not the least of which are purification and medicines.