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 Do the wicked burn in hell forever?

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ah bel

Number of posts : 52
Age : 25
Location : east york
Registration date : 2009-03-08

PostSubject: Do the wicked burn in hell forever?   Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:31 am


To summarize the meaning of the THREE Greek words translated “Hell” in our English Bibles:

“Tartarus” means “a place of darkness or restraint” (2 Peter 2:4). Satan abides there now.

“Hades” means “the grave” (Acts 2:31; 1 Corinthians 15:55; Revelation 20:14). Jesus Christ’s body rested there, and His saints rest there now awaiting the resurrection.

“Gehenna” means a place of fire, brimstone, and punishment (see Matthew 5:22, 29, 30, described in Matthew 13:40-42, 2 Peter 3:7, 10-12). These flames are yet future, at the end of the world.

In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ warned that unsaved sinners will enter “the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Many read this and say, “That settles it for me! The lost will sizzle forever. Yet Jesus Christ also declared, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16, italics added). So which is it? Will the damned roast eternally in “everlasting fire,” or finally “perish,” and thus cease to exist?

Another example of apparent contradiction concerns the fate of Lucifer himself. The book of Revelation says that “The devil,” along with “the beast” will “be tormented day and night forever” in the lake of fire (see Revelation 20:10). Some respond, “There’s more proof! Satan will never cease frying like an egg in a skillet.” Yet Ezekiel chapter 28 reveals a different picture. Initially discussing the ancient “king of Tyre” (Ezekiel 28:12), God’s prophet then looks behind the scenes and identifies Lucifer himself, “the anointed cherub” (verse 14), who inhabited “Eden, the garden of God” (verse 13), and who was originally “perfect in [his] ways from the day [he] was created,” until “iniquity was found in [him]” (verse 15). Moving forward to this fallen angel’s final fate, God declares, “I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you… You have become a horror, and shall be no more forever” (verses 18 and 19, italics added). Again, which is it? Will Satan be “tormented day and night” throughout endless ages, or will he become “ashes,” and “be no more forever”?

The Bible DOES NOT contradict itself. These are only APPARENT contradictions. The solution is to examine what the whole Bible says about the fate of the lost, discover its overall teaching, and then to closely analyse the difficult verses until we understand them correctly. Once we do, we will discover that everything fits and makes perfect sense.

Looking forward to the Day of the Lord, God Himself declares:

“‘Behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly, will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” says the Lord of hosts, “That it will leave them neither root nor branch’” … ‘[And] you shall trample down the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the souls of your feet on the day that I do this, says the Lord of hosts’” (Malachi 4:1, 3).

This is “the Lord of hosts” speaking, not Steve Wohlberg. Here God says that when His final day bursts upon the wicked, it will “burn them up” and reduce them to “ashes” so that “neither root nor branch” remains. Think about it. If a plant is destroyed, so that “neither root nor branch” remains, how much is left? Absolutely nothing. This is what God says will happen to “all who do wickedly.”

David wrote about the fate of the unsaved,

“As wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.” (Psalms 68:2, italics added).

“For yet a little while, and the wicked shall be no more.” (Psalms 37:10, italics added).

“The enemies of the Lord, like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish, into smoke they shall vanish away.” (Psalms 37:20, italics added).

“But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.” (Psalms 37:38, italics added).

John the Baptist proclaimed about the Messiah,

“He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12, italics added).

Paul wrote about those who “obey not the gospel”,

“These shall be punished with everlasting destruction…” (2 Thessalonians 1:9, italics added).

Paul also declared,

“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, italics added).

First, let’s take a close look at the book of Jude, right before Revelation. At the beginning of his letter, Jude urged Christians to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints” (verse 3). Next he warned of “certain men” who were planting false doctrines inside the early church (see verse 4). In verses 5 and 6, Jude warned of the consequences of being led astray. Then he warned about “the vengeance of eternal fire” (verse 7). This is what we must examine, humbly and reverently.

Here’s the entire verse:

“Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (Jude 7)

Notice carefully: it was the physical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that “suffered the vengeance of eternal fire,” not just the people. In addition, their punishment is “set forth as an example” of what will happen to the unsaved. In 2 Peter, we find an almost identical verse, yet Peter inserts one tiny, significant detail. Look closely:

“And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto all those that after should live ungodly.” (2 Peter 2:6, italics added).

What was the net result of that “eternal fire” which fell upon Sodom and Gomorrah ? Those cities became ashes. But that’s not all. Describing “the punishment of the sin of Sodom,” Jeremiah said that those evil cities were “overthrown as in a moment” (Lamentations 4:6, italics added). Now put the pieces together. By comparing Jude 7 and 2 Peter 2:6 with Lamentations 4:6, we discover plainly that the “the vengeance of eternal fire” was so incredibly hot that it reduced Sodom and Gomorrah “into ashes” in “a moment” of time. Now think about it. Are Sodom and Gomorrah still destroyed? Yes. But are they burning now? Obviously not. Then what does “eternal fire” mean? By comparing Scripture with Scripture, it means that the fire came from God and that the punishment lasts forever, not the flames. And again, both Jude and Peter called this punishment “an example” of what will happen to all the lost.

Jesus Christ also warned that He will someday declare to lost sinners, “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41, italics added). Is this fire the same type of fire mentioned in Jude 7, one which destroys completely? We know it is because five verses later our Lord clarified, “And these [the lost] shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:46). Thus the lost experience “everlasting punishment,” not punishing, just like the Sodomites.

Paul also wrote about “everlasting” consequences overwhelming unsaved sinners. Does his teaching agree with Jesus Christ and Jude? In the following passage, you will see that it does. Paul warned that when Jesus Christ returns He will come “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power…” (2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9, italics added). Here “everlasting” is combined with “destruction,” which means the lost are destroyed forever, just like the Gomorrahites.

In addition to Jesus Christ, Jude, and Paul, John the Baptist also warned about “unquenchable fire” engulfing the unredeemed. On the surface, one might assume John was referring to ceaselessly burning flames. But he wasn’t. Calling the saved “wheat” and the lost “chaff,” the wilderness prophet announced that God’s Messiah would “thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12, italics added). Thus “unquenchable fire” isn’t fire that burns forever, but fire that can’t be snuffed out by man. It burns up the chaff until there is nothing left.

In this article on the truth about hell we have discovered that Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:41, 46), John the Baptist (Matthew 3:12), Paul (2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9) and Jude (verse 7) all predicted that “eternal fire,” “everlasting fire,” and “unquenchable fire,” will eventually “burn up” all unsaved sinners to their “everlasting destruction,” just like Sodom and Gomorrah became “ashes” in “a moment.” And Sodom ’s holy judgment is “set forth as an example” (Jude 7) to us today.

“Behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly, will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, That it will leave them neither root nor branch.” (Malachi 4:1).

There are hundreds of Bible verses teaching the same thing – that the lost will “burn up” (Matthew 3:12), “be destroyed” (Psalms 37:38), and be “no more” (Psalms 37:10). Even Satan himself will become “ashes on the earth” (Ezekiel 28:19).

The Worm that Dieth Not – The Truth about Hell
Jesus warned about being cast “into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched (Mark 9:43, 44).

“And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men who have transgressed against Me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.” (Isaiah 66:24).

This is precisely what Jesus Christ said. But notice carefully that Isaiah applied this morbid scene to the “carcasses” of sinners that God’s people will someday “look” at. In other words, at time’s end, the righteous will behold dead bodies, not living souls endlessly tormented. What about the fire that can’t be “quenched”? By comparing Isaiah 66:24 with Jeremiah 17:27, it’s clear this means that the fire can’t be quenched by man until it finishes its job. What about the “worm”? In the Isaiah text, the worm doesn’t die, but the people are dead. This is biblical imagery. In Bible days, outside Jerusalem, there was a garbage dump where the carcasses of dead dogs and criminals often ended up. Worms continually crawled there within rotting flesh. Jesus used this imagery, quoting Isaiah, to illustrate the fearful fate of the lost. But again, its dead bodies, not eternal torment, being described.

Tormented Day and Night forever – the Truth about Hell
There are three places in book of Revelation that say, “the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever” (Revelation 14:11), “her smoke rose up forever” (Revelation 19:3), and “tormented day and night forever” (Revelation 20:10). “

Everyone knows that Revelation contains some symbolism, such as its references to a seven-headed beast, a Babylonian harlot holding a golden cup, and a glistening woman clothed with the sun. Obviously, these aren’t literal. What about the ‘tormented forever’ texts? Could they be symbolic too? Here’s something significant: If you look closely at each ‘tormented forever’ passage, every one is connected to symbolism. Revelation 14:11 and Revelation 20:10 refer to “the beast,” and Revelation 19:3 states, “her smoke rose up forever.” Whose smoke? The Whore riding the beast. Will a literal Harlot sizzle forever? No. This is symbolism.

Here’s more evidence worth considering: While Revelation 20:10 refers to torment forever, verse 9 says the opposite and contains no symbolism.

Verse 9 - And they [the lost] went up on the breadth of the earth [at the end of the Millennium], and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city [the New Jerusalem], and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.

Verse 10 – 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 forever and ever.

Verse 9 has no symbolism and says the lost are “devoured.” Verse 10 has symbolism and says they are tormented “forever.” Which is it? The literal truth lies in the text that contains no symbolism: “fire came down… and devoured them.” Beyond this, after “the lake of fire” is again described in verse 15, the next verse says,

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” (Revelation 21:1)

Revelation 20:9 says the lost are upon “the earth” when God’s fire devours them. Thus “the earth” is the location of “the lake of fire.” Then Revelation 21:1 says the “first earth” passes away which must include the lake of fire! Then there will be “no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Revelation 21:4). Here’s even more proof that “the lake of fire” will disappear.

One day soon, when the smoke clears, the entire universe will proclaim, “just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Revelation 15:3).

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