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The Truth About Hell

Saturday, April 30, 2011

More than 150,000 people die every day. That’s 4.5 million each month, a number that exceeds the population of Los Angeles. Add to that the number of dead throughout human history—it’s a staggering figure. Tragically, many of those people died without knowing Christ. What fate awaits them? Do they really Rest In Peace, or do they find a different reality beyond the grave?

Sadly, those who reject God and His way of salvation don’t find rest when they die. They enter into eternal hell where there’s no peace for the wicked. That’s a grim, terrible reality, and it’s what the Bible teaches.

The real conflict over the biblical doctrine of hell is essentially an issue of authority. What the Bible affirms about hell forces you to believe or disbelieve, to accept or reject. It’s back to the same question that confronts everyone: Do you believe the Bible, or do you not? At the end of the day, the answer determines the fate of every person who ever lived.

The Bible is the only authority source that tells the truth about death, hell, and eternity. The Bible has the final word on that subject—and on every subject—because it is a revealed book. It has come from God, from the spiritual realm, and has the answers about where all of us will spend eternity one day.

So, what does the Bible teach about hell?

Hell Is

Far from legend, myth, metaphor, or allegory, the Bible presents hell as a real place where wicked people suffer the wrath of God. Consider these vivid portraits of hell from three different New Testament writers:

Then the King will say to those on His left, “Depart from me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.”…These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matthew 25:41, 46)

If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. (Mark 9:43)

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)

Scripture presents a terrifyingly clear case for a literal hell. It’s a place where God punishes unbelievers for all eternity. Contrary to what some so-called evangelicals are teaching, hell is not a state of mind or a hard life on this earth. Your state of mind can change; your circumstances can improve. Hell never changes, never improves. Hell is not chastisement; it’s everlasting, insufferable punishment at the hands of an angry God.

According to the revelation Jesus gave to the apostle John, the fate of every unbeliever is to,

…drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger. And he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. They have no rest day and night. (Revelation 14:10-11)

Jesus and Hell

Though every New Testament author acknowledges the doctrine of hell, Jesus has the most to say about it. The existence of hell wasn’t something He questioned, debated, or defended, and He certainly didn’t apologize for it. He assumed the reality of hell just as much as He did the resurrection (John 5:28-29). Jesus viewed hell as a real place, a certainty, and so should you. in fact, He’s the model on how you should think about hell.

When Jesus talked about hell, His purpose was always to warn, not to raise questions or plant doubts. Consider the graphic words He used to portray hell—they clearly aren’t meant to provide comfort, but to frighten.

According to Jesus, hell is a place of outer darkness (Matthew 22:13) where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12). Hell is a fiery furnace (Matthew 13:42, 50) of unquenchable fires (Mark 9:48-49). Hell is a place of spiritual and bodily destruction (Matthew 10:28) where there are endless torments (Luke 16:23-24). Hell is most certainly a place, a horrific place where agonizing conditions exist.

No Way Out

Have you ever been stuck somewhere in a situation beyond your control—an airplane, an elevator, a jail cell? In times like those we usually have a reasonable hope of rescue or escape.

Remember the mine that collapsed last year in Chile? Thirty-three miners were trapped thousands of feet below ground. It took sixty-nine days, but all of them were rescued from their underground tomb.

We love stories like that—against unthinkable odds, finding a surprise exit route or the execution of a successful rescue in the eleventh hour. But that’s not possible when it comes to hell. God built the prison of hell, and there are no doors or windows. God is hell’s jailer, and there is no key. There are no escape routes, and no one is powerful enough to rescue anyone out of His hand. That’s why Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

Hell offers no means of escape, rescue, or relief—no way out, ever. The occupants of hell are sealed in their damnation (Rev. 22:11). Friends and family can’t help; God won’t help. The time for mercy has passed.

As one who knows exactly what awaits the wicked, Jesus told the story of a rich man who was tormented in hell:

And the rich man cried out and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.”

But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.” (Luke 16:24-26)

Dante seemed to understand that message. His imaginary inscription over hell’s entrance, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here,” rightly pictured hell as a place where mercy and hope are left at the door. But some reject that view, believing against Scripture’s testimony that God gives people a second chance. Some still say there’s a postmortem opportunity to believe the gospel, repent, and be saved. That may sound appealing (especially to sinners), but it doesn’t come from the Bible.

Others hold to a form of universalism that holds out the false hope that hell is not the final destination for sinners. In their view, God’s redeeming work doesn’t stop at death. God will eventually reconcile every creature to Himself—yes, even those in hell. As British evangelist John Blanchard put it,

All the ways to hell are one-way streets. The idea that those who go there will eventually be released and join the rest of humanity in heaven has not a shred of biblical evidence to support it.

Children are sometimes told fictional adventure stories with the delightful ending: “And they all lived happily ever after.” We call that kind of story a fairy tale. Universalism is exactly that. (John Blanchard, “Whatever Happened to Hell?”)

In the face of such clear, undeniable evidence about hell from the pages of Scripture, it seems absurd that professed evangelicals would challenge the existence, nature, or eternality of hell. But we shouldn’t be surprised. Satan continues his efforts to make sin less offensive, heaven less appealing, hell less horrific, and the gospel less urgent.

Don’t be ignorant of Satan’s devices. The Word of God leaves no doubt about the existence or nature of hell. With clarity and authority, God has told us everything we need to know about hell, and how to avoid it through the merits of Christ.


Tommy Clayton
Content Developer and Broadcast Editor


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#1  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Saturday, April 30, 2011at 11:00 PM

Very good blog... Thanks Tommy

#2  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Sunday, May 01, 2011at 5:33 AM

That's true. No happy ending, I agree.

Even sadder when one does'nt know there is a way to heaven through Christ. One path leads to life. Other the place of darkness.

It's like we are grasshoppers to God. We are born, then and we die.

I am wondering if God's book of life is thinner. I don't know, only

God knows. Few chosen the narrow way.

Tks.

God bless.

#3  Posted by Colleen Eubanks  |  Sunday, May 01, 2011at 6:10 AM

Is there a similar resource available that describes heaven as this describes hell? Thank you so much for the teaching from scripture.

#4  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Sunday, May 01, 2011at 6:30 AM

Hey Colleen,

Have you done a search for John's series on Heaven? Go to our resource page and when you search for "heaven" you will see there is both an audio series and a book written from that series available. Those two items should be what you are looking for.

Fred

#5  Posted by Trent Whalin  |  Sunday, May 01, 2011at 8:27 AM

Thanks for posting this!

#6  Posted by Dean Johnson  |  Sunday, May 01, 2011at 3:30 PM

Regarding #3:

I would add Randy Alcorn's book Heaven as a good read.

#7  Posted by Dana Purdy  |  Sunday, May 01, 2011at 5:43 PM

I think it's important to mention explicitly about hell being a physical place just like Heaven. Believers often talk about receiving a resurrection body to enter Heaven (1 Co 15) but Daniel and Jesus also said in John 5 that everyone will rise with a physical obey to face judgment. I've heard some Christians say that only they would receive a resurrection body and not unbelievers. Maybe they say this just based on 1 Co 15. Any thoughts?

#8  Posted by Joseph Otico  |  Sunday, May 01, 2011at 8:11 PM

That is so true. Thanks for this! Just a thing I would like to add about it. As far as I've learned about hell in our youth services, there rests God's presence forever with the purpose of judgment and punishment. Having said that, it's just too terrifying to think about the righteously angry presence of God there in hell. It's really a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God. By the way, the reason why I believe that that's God presence is because I believe that God's omnipresence is not limited - that's the very reason why the prefix "omni" is there in the first place. It's just that God's presence acts differently in different places - but remember that it's the same, awesome, powerful, majestic and holy God.

#9  Posted by Steve Nuhn  |  Sunday, May 01, 2011at 9:54 PM

Tommy,

We’ve all heard and known of the existence of hell our entire Christian life. Because there’s more to salvation than just keeping individual Christians out of hell, I spend most of my time in worship and prayer thanking God for salvation and for mercy, and instruction and correction and certainly blessings.

After reading your blog I have to thank you Tommy for reminding us again of the true reality of hell and the true reality of what we are saved from. As I continue to pray giving thanks as mentioned above, from now on, it will include giving thanks to God for saving me from hell.

Steve

#10  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Sunday, May 01, 2011at 11:17 PM

As we have seen from previous blogs, too many struggle with the idea that God is willing to let unbelievers live in torment eternally. It's such a mind set they need to get out of. It's hard to understand that God does not choose torment for those that reject Christ but rather they choose it even if it's by default. "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels'" (Matthew 25:41).

They choose to not take God's warning seriously. They choose to not take the biblical account of hell literally or seriously. God has not made this highway to hell a secret nor the highway to heaven. He has made it clear how to get to either one. Neither one is not that hard to find. You don't need mapquest or a GPS. God has given clear directions on how to get to hell and how to get to heaven. He tells us land marks that are easy to spot in order to know if we are on the highway to heaven or hell. He never misleads anyone by suggesting that we could try hell, you know, test it out and if we find out that it was indeed exactly as He described....hot...consistantly hot, that then we can exchange our travel plans for heaven. God is not our travel agent and heaven and hell are not timeshares where we can come and go as we please. Live cheap now, invest cheap, we get the cheap no frills accommodations. We get what we pay for. If we want to avoid the vacation from hell, we must listen to our Lord. Understand that for true paradise,we will need to invest more. Invest our faith in a risen Savior.

On the other hand, listen to Rob Bell and he'll tell you how to get that second chance resort. With his destination, you don't have to save, invest, prepare, nothing. While you've been partying in sin up to your chin, he's done all the coordinating of your trip for you. And when you get there, you'll wish it was that beach front property in Arizona! If it sounds too good to be true....

Bottom line...unbelievers choose the path to a big deep pit even though there are bells and whistles and warnings going off, they choose. In their rebellion they choose. And it's God's fault because they wouldn't listen or believe? He's told all of us it's ugly, that it's not a fitting place to live. He's been pretty graphic about it.He's told us it's F O R E V E R!! It's like,"What part of that don't they understand?" Why would anyone keep walking that path and then have the audacity to blame the One that warned them .....for years?

#11  Posted by Yc Lee  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 7:32 AM

Tommy:

Good post, thanks.

Do you mind to tell me what GTY thinks about John Stott's article about the Hell in 1988 (or 89)? Thanks.

#12  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 9:13 AM

Yc:

John Stott believes sinners are destroyed, rather than tormented forever in hell—a clear denial of eternal, conscious, torment, and thus a denial of Scripture. Of course, John MacArthur disagrees with Stott and others like him who raise doubts about the clear teaching of Jesus on Hell. We’ll talk about that in the final article coming up later. Thanks.

-Tommy

#13  Posted by Jason Jacobs  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 9:52 AM

On a recent apologetics show called "Unbelievable" with Justin Brierley, Rob Bell was interviewed and asked something along the lines of, "If there is a second chance after death, doesn't that take away from the urgency of the Great Commission? Wouldn't it destroy our motive for evangelism?" Rob answered using anecdotal evidence saying something like, "Actually, since the book has come out several people have come up to me and told me that they finally shared the Gospel with a neighbor they had been waiting many years to share with."

I thought to myself, wow, of course it would make it easier to share the Gospel if you didn't have to tell people that they will be damned eternally if they don't believe. It would be much, much easier to say, "Hey believe if you want now, it is best for you in this life, but don't worry because God's bus will pick you up at the second stop (hell) if you don't get on the bus at the first one (this life)." Anybody else catch that interview?

#14  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 10:42 AM

#13 Jason. No, I didn't catch it. Do you recall the name of the show?

Below are a few excerpts from James I. Packer's review covering a debate "at Evangelical Essentials, a conference of 350 leaders held at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, in 1989" concerning "a paper portentously titled “Evangelicals and the Way of Salvation: New Challenges to the Gospel: Universalism and Justification by Faith.”

Continuing on, Packer writes, "But no proposed theory of the Bible’s meaning that does not cover all the Bible’s relevant statements can be true.

Jude 6 and Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30 show that darkness signifies a state of deprivation and distress, but not of destruction in the sense of ceasing to exist. Only those who exist can weep and gnash their teeth, as those banished into the darkness are said to do.

Nowhere in Scripture does death signify extinction; physical death is departure into another mode of being, called sheol or hades, and metaphorical death is existence that is God-less and graceless; nothing in biblical usage warrants the idea, found in Guillebaud30 and others, that the 'second death' of Revelation 2:11; 20:14; 21:8 means or involves cessation of being."

Many many other good responses.

#15  Posted by Michael Flynn  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 10:44 AM

Great blog.

what is surprising and sad is the great body of scripture that deals with eternal punishment is plainly stated yet many people easily pass over those verses.

Revelation 20 is hard to miss and it tells of the great white thrown judgement for all those people who reject the Messiah.

#16  Posted by Barbara Henderson  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 11:03 AM

Jesus compared the little children to the kingdom of heaven. I have spent many hours thinking about that verse.

Children in general are innocent.

They are trusting.

They are fogiving.

They are curious.

They are adventureous.

They are adaptable.

They have the ability to live in the moment.

They find joy and pleasure in the smallest things.

They are beautiful.

Other things in heaven will be

joy

peace

love

laughter

contentment

We can't begin to imagine how wonderful it will be.

In hell there is no

love

joy

peace

friendship

pleasure

rest

light

help

hope

or anything good thing that is from God.

Chrisitans think of the good things in our future in heaven.

But, remember the horror of hell to help us tell the lost that there is such a place of torment - but there is also a way of escape through Jesus Christ.

#18  Posted by Jonathan Claborn  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 1:33 PM

Disclaimer: I am not Universalist, just a strict student of God's Word.

No offense, but you are not being fully honest with your interpretation of the Scriptures.

First, you said,

"According to the revelation Jesus gave to the apostle John, the fate of every unbeliever is to,

…drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger. And he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. They have no rest day and night. (Revelation 14:10-11)"

That is not the "fate of every unbeliever". You left out whose fate this is in verse 9 so you could add credibility to your blog.

Rev 14:9 And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,

This fate was for those that worship the beast, it's image, or receive it's mark. Not for "every unbeliever".

Second, you contradict your blog by quoting this Scripture.

Matt 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

As we can plainly read the soul and body are "destroyed" in this verse, not tormented.

Third, you lack the knowledge of proper Hebrew and Greek words that are translated "hell".

You mention this verse;

Luke 16:23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

You make "Hades" synonymous with the lake of fire by relating it to this verse;

Rev 20:15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

If you would have kept reading you would find Hades being destroyed in the lake of fire. Therefore they are not synonymous.

Rev 20:14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

Fourth,

You use the analogy "where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched". If you were at all familiar with the Old Testament then you would know that Jesus is referencing Isaiah;

Isa 66:24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

Notice the worms (maggots) are feeding on the dead corpses of the wicked. They aren't tormenting them. They are dead bodies, not alive souls.

Last,

You can hype up your version of hell all you want, but please don't distort the Scriptures to do so.

#19  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 1:51 PM

Amen, in heaven, the lame will leap for joy, the blind will see, the mute will sing, the deaf will hear. No sin, no death, and no more

wars.

#21  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 2:22 PM

Jonathan:

I don’t mind the critique, and I welcome any questions about what’s been written here. I didn’t see any questions in your comments, only accusations. Did you have a question about why and how I came to the conclusions I did?

Your interpretations, arguments, and objections have all been discussed and dismantled in a previous comment thread on this blog. If you’re looking for answers or desire to have your views challenged, I’d recommend you give them a read. I’m not going to rehash them here.

I’d also sincerely recommend you pick up a copy of the MacArthur Study Bible, and check out the verses you mentioned. Or listen to John’s series on Lazarus from Luke 16. Those resources will help you understand the passages you’re struggling to understand.

Your objections sound like that of an annihilationist. Are you sympathetic to that view?

#22  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 2:40 PM

I was reading on the website Apolgetic's Press and came across this and was wondering if someone would like to address this issue brought up between Hades and Hell: I tend to see Paul as knowing that absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

Here it is:

"The clearest depiction of existence beyond physical death is seen in Luke 16:19-31. In this account, both men are said to have died. Wherever Lazarus went, angels transported him there. The rich man’s body was buried—but his person was in Hades where he was tormented in flames. The rich man could see and recognize Lazarus and Abraham. Abraham referred to the rich man’s former existence as “your lifetime.” Abraham made clear that their respective locations were irreversible. The rich man’s brothers still occupied their father’s house on Earth. The rich man’s plea to send Lazarus to his living relatives would require Lazarus to “rise from the dead” (vs. 31).The term translated “hell” in verse 23 (KJV) is the Greek word hades, and is not to be confused with the term gehenna. “Gehenna” (found twelve times in the New Testament) refers to the place of eternal, everlasting punishment—the “lake of fire” where Satan, his angels, and all wicked people will be consigned after the Second Coming of Jesus and the Judgment. Gehenna is hell. On the other hand, “hades” (occurring ten times in the New Testament and paralleling the Hebrew Old Testament term sheol) always refers to the unseen realm of the dead—the receptacle of disembodied spirits where dead people await the return of the Lord (Revelation 1:18). Hades is not hell."

#23  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 2:55 PM

Again, using the words of James I. Packer's review on this subject:

Jude 6 and Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30 show that darkness signifies a state of deprivation and distress, but not of destruction in the sense of ceasing to exist. Only those who exist can weep and gnash their teeth, as those banished into the darkness are said to do.

Nowhere in Scripture does death signify extinction; physical death is departure into another mode of being, called sheol or hades, and metaphorical death is existence that is God-less and graceless; nothing in biblical usage warrants the idea that the “second death” of Revelation 2:11; 20:14; 21:8 means or involves cessation of being.

Luke 16:22-24 shows that fire signifies continued existence in pain, and the chilling words of Revelation 14:10 with 19:20; 20:10 and of Matthew 13:42, 50 confirm this.

In Greek the natural meaning of the destruction vocabulary (noun, olethros; verb, apollumi) is wrecking, so that what is destroyed is henceforth nonfunctional rather than annihilating it, so that it no longer exists in any form at all.

#24  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 3:14 PM

Lake of fire is worst than Hades, Sulfer and brimstone. Like on Venus, the planet has sulfer and brimstone. Too hot to live there. Real lake of fire is real in scriptures.

#25  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 4:26 PM

I believe in the absolute authority of the bible. I believe in eternal punishment. I am an annihilationist.

No one spoke of hell more than Jesus. Those who have been assigned to hell will experience the wrath of a holy and righteous God. After, being tormented in proportion to individual sin and guilt, Luke 12:47,48, I believe God will execute these persons, Matthew 10:28. I am very familiar with the arguments of those who believe in eternal torment. I think it's a horrible job at connecting the dots. With all due respectt to Tommy, I think Satan loves the false doctrine of eternal torment. It makes God out to be a cruel tyrant. I am in agreement with Jonathan #18. Rather than debate this subject verse by verse, please read #18.

Having said all that, I think John MacArthur is the best preacher out there. He really makes the bible come alive, and he definitely doesn't mince his words. I love his take on the meaning of discipleship and Christs words to "Follow me." However, I think he is dead wrong in his belief in eternal torment. He simply has been duped by traditional arguments on hell. I will though, continue to listen to his preaching and will follow GTY loyally.

#26  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 5:05 PM

Garrett,

I think Satan loves the false doctrine of eternal torment. It makes God out to be a cruel tyrant

Do you think God is a cruel tyrant for eternally punishing the devil, the beast, and the false prophet? (Rev. 20:10)

Jonathan (#18),

1. All unbelievers go to the same place as the devil, the beast, and the false prophet.

2. Matthew 10:28 only contradicts this post if you assume "destroy" is equals annihilation.

3. The Bible speaks of both Hades and the Lake of Fire as places of torment. It appears Hades is where people go now, but the Lake of Fire is where all will go later. Practically speaking, the result is the same--torment.

4. Do you mean that since their corpses are there, their souls are extinct? I'm not sure what you're trying to get across.

Lastly, to call this blog post Tommy's version of hell is pretty inaccurate. This is the traditional view of hell through history.

As Tommy said, a few of us went around this issue for days in the previous series. If you're curious how we respond to the annihilation view, please see those posts.

#27  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 5:10 PM

Regarding Revelation 14:9 - Note: It says "and receives his mark". My understanding is you either refuse the mark as a Christian and risk being persecuted or put to death, or you receive the mark as a non Christian, an unbeliever. You're either for or against, in or out. To not lay claim as a believer gives you over to the anti-christ as a follower who now earns his "mark" even if by default.

From John MacArthur's "Mark Of the Best" Code: BQ22411:

"As part of his plan to enforce the worship of Antichrist, the false prophet will require all categories of unbelievers, summarized as the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead. Mark (charagma; from charasso, "I engrave") was the term for images or names of the emperor on Roman coins. In the ancient world, such marks (tattoos or brands) were commonly given to slaves, soldiers, and devotees of religious cults (cf. Gal. 6:17). God sealed, with a mark on the forehead, the 144,000 to preserve them from His wrath against the unbelieving world (7:2–3); the false prophet marks the unsaved to preserve them from Antichrist’s wrath against God’s people. The mark will signify that the person bearing it is a worshiper and loyal follower of the Antichrist. In much the same way, the Roman emperors required their subjects to prove their loyalty by offering sacrifices to Caesar. Those who refused, like those who refuse to take the Antichrist’s mark, were subject to execution."

So do some actually believe that during this time, the anti-christ will allow those that are not believers to fall through the cracks and not receive their marks? So they believe the anti-christ won't declare those to be Christ followers? And even God Himself will make exceptions to fence sitters?

This is war! No one will be allowed to be neutral. You either have the mark or you don't! You either die in order to live or you live now in order to lose your life later!

More of JM:"Besides the constant threat of death, refusing to take the mark of the beast will have dire practical consequences in daily living: no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark. Antichrist’s empire will maintain strict economic control over the world. Food, clothing, medical supplies, and the other necessities of life potentially in demand in the devastated earth, which has felt the judgment of God (6:5–6), will be unobtainable for those without the mark. Currency will probably vanish, to be replaced by controlled credit. Instead of a credit card, which can be lost, people will have a mark (possibly a bar code) in their forehead or hand. Scanning people’s foreheads or hands would identify them to a central computer system. Life under totalitarian governments in our time provides a faint glimpse of what is to come."

We will be forced to worship...someone. And whom we choose will affect where we spend eternity.

#28  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 5:38 PM

"The endlessness of future punishment, then, is implied in the endlessness of guilt and condemnation. When a crime is condemned, it is absurd to ask, “How long is it condemned? “The verdict “Guilty for ten days” was Hibernian. Damnation means absolute and everlasting damnation. All suffering in the next life, therefore, of which the sufficient and justifying reason is guilt, must continue as long as the reason continues; and the reason is everlasting. If it be righteous today, in God’s retributive justice, to smite the transgressor because he violated the law yesterday, it is righteous to do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day, and so on adinfinitum; because the state of the case adinfinitum remains unaltered." - Shedd

#29  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 5:58 PM

Satan has no love and he knows his time is short. He and his minions are due to the lake of fire.

God is not a meanie. He is right and just. No evil and no sin found in God for God is good and hates sin and sin cannot stand in God's sight. Even satan and demons are afraid of God.

#30  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 6:19 PM

Hi Gabe,

Wow, It looks like we are regular debate partners :)

#1. Yes Gabe, all the wicked go to the same place as the Devil, the beast, and the false prophet Revelation 20:10. Have you seen Ezekiel 28? In verse 16 it says God will destroy the Devil. In verse 18 it says he will be consumed by fire and will be reduced to ashes. In verse 19 it says he will cease to be forever. If you read the ESV, it says in Revelation 20:10 that the beast and the false "were" in the Lake of Fire. When comparing Ezekiel 28 and Revelation 20:10, I believe Ezekiel 28 to be literal and Revelation 20:10 to be sort of symbolic. I believe forever to mean for the rest of his life. It's not the first time in the bible words like forever and eternal mean for a determined amount of time.

#2 I'm very familiar with the traditional arguments about words like destroy used in Matthew 10:28. You view destroy not to mean annihilation, but to mean spiritual destruction or a life of loss, not a loss of life. I don't know how traditionalists come to that conclusion when Jesus used the Greek word Gehenna for hell. Like you know, Gehenna was a place where the constant fires and countless maggots destroyed everything.

#3 Actually of all the times the bible mentions Hades, only once does it mention it as a place of conscious activity (Luke 16:19-31). All the other times it' simply the place of the dead. Without going into too muck detail, I think The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, was Christ using popular folklore about the afterlife. When he said Hades, his listeners would automatically know he was telling a story, not teaching doctrine about the afterlife. The Lake of Fire is also called the second death.

#4 I'm a conditionalist so I don't believe we have souls. I believe we are souls (I see the making of yet, another debate).

I wasn't saying that Tommy was the only person who believes in eternal torment, I was just using Tommy, and MacArthur as examples.

Again, I have researched this topic in some detail. I am very familiar with the traditionalists arguments against annihiation. I don't need to read the previous threads. I don't care if eternal torment is what we always believed. Orthodoxy gets no respect from me if it doesn't square with the bible.

Finally, regarding words like perish, destroy, destruction, ashes, burn up, and death, Edward White said in his book Life in Christ,"My mind fails to conceive a grosser misinterpretation of language than when the five or six strongest words which the Greek tongue possesses, signifying 'destroy' or 'destruction,' are explained to mean maintaining an everlasting but wretched existence. To translate black as white is nothing to this."

Grace and Peace...Garrett :)

#31  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 6:39 PM

Oh, we are souls. I can't walk through walls, I tried to. Sorry.

It's impossible to not have a soul. How do we breathe and live.....

#32  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 8:18 PM

I have a question for those who support the annihilationist view or state that hell is not a concious state of punishment..

How do you reconcile that belief with Phillipians 2:10-11 "so at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father"

How would you interpret this passage with the idea that we are not concious but annihilated?

#33  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 9:27 PM

Garrett (#28),

You may want to read Ezekiel 28:16 a little closer. The "destroy" is in the past tense. So if you worked solely from some English translations you couldn't believe the devil exists today. However that's not what it's saying. It could also be translated "banished" or "expelled". So it's talking about when he was thrown out of God's presence.

Moving to verse 18, you still have a problem with the past tense. So... not sure how you want to handle that.

Moving to Revelation 20:10. You're right... the ESV says the beast and false prophet "were" in the Lake of Fire. Two problems: Next it says they will be tormented. So either the devil has multiple personalities, or the torment includes the beast and false prophet (I'd go with the latter). The other problem is the verb "were" is not in the Greek. It literally says, "where the beast and the false prophet." The NET catches it and translates it, "where the beast and the false prophet are too."

So you see, the devil, the false prophet, and the beast will be tormented forever. Is God a cruel tyrant for doing that?

#34  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 11:28 PM

Hi Gabe #33,

Your right in pointing out that it's in the past tense in Ezekiel 28. However you might want to consider the prophecies about Christ in the Old Testament. Many of them are written in the past tense (He was bruised for our iniquities, they gave me gall to drink etc...). The prophet Ezekiel is prophesying about the Devil. It's written in the past tense to convey the certainty of the forthcoming event. Let me write it here again:

Ezekiel 28:16 ...Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire.

Ezekiel 28:18 ...Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; it has consumed you, and I have turned you to ashes on the earth. In the eyes of all that see you.

Ezekiel 28:19 ...And you will cease to be forever.

Gabe, to say these verses are about mere banishment is to turn a blind eye. Again: fire, consumed, destroyed, ashes, cease to be forever, all clearly indicate annihilation. What else can the prophet say?

With regards to Revelation 20:10, I think we need to interpret scripture with scripture to get the meaning; and that is what I've done with Ezekiel 28. Also, I think scholars are up in the air as to whether it's "are" or "were" in Revelation 20:10. In any event, I believe "forever" in this verse to mean until the end of his life. Jonah said that when he was in the belly of the fish, "her bars were about me forever". Also (I forget the verse) it says that demons will be in eternal chains until the time of judgement. Also, In the Old Testament, (I forget the verse :))it says that slaves were to serve their masters forever. Obviously, eternal and forever in these verses don't mean unending but a specified amount of time or until the end of their lives.

Let me turn the tables on you and go on the offensive if you will permit me. Take John 3:16 for example. It contrasts life with believers to perishing with nonbelievers. I know traditionalists believe this perishing to mean a separation from God and don't take it literally. However, the verse clearly contrasts life with perishing. It doesn't contrast bliss with torment or joy with anguish. It clearly contrasts life with perishing...how can perishing also mean life in this verse? Then there is Romans 6:23. Again, Paul contrasts life with believers to death for nonbelievers. This is a simple life or death verse. The intent is simple, but effective. It doesn't contrast ecstasy with pain. It simply contrasts life with death. With all due respect, how can death mean life in this verse?

Finally, to answer your question and for the sake of argument, if God does torment the lost forever or for and unending amount of time, would I think God is a cruel tyrant? Yes I would, and my love for him would be diminished.

#35  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Monday, May 02, 2011at 11:42 PM

Hi Micah #32,

I've never seen this verse used to support eternal torment. Frankly, I don't see where you're coming from. One doesn't have to be tormented forever to bow their knee and confess Jesus as Lord..perhaps you could claify? :)

#36  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 5:41 AM

Garrett in #34 writes,

Finally, to answer your question and for the sake of argument, if God does torment the lost forever or for and unending amount of time, would I think God is a cruel tyrant? Yes I would, and my love for him would be diminished.

The previous annihilationist wouldn't answer this, so I'll run it by you. Eternal life is contrasted consistently in Scripture with eternal punishment. For example Matthew 25:46. If you deny eternality for the punishment, you have eternality for the righteous as well. I explained it to the previous annihilationist when I wrote,

If eternal life is conscious worship of God for eternity, how can "eternal life" be conscious and forever for the righteous, but in the very contrast, eternal punishment be annihilation for the wicked? IF eternal punishment is just "eternal capital punishment" ... which means a person is merely annihilated and goes out of existence, the contrast with those who receive eternal life would mean the same would happen to the righteous. Do you understand the inconsistency here?

And in another comment, I clarified a bit more,

You have two groups contrasted with each other: The righteous and the wicked. Those who receive eternal life and those who receive eternal damnation, respectively. Both groups will receive physical, resurrected bodies. If the righteous receive resurrected bodies for eternal life, so as to consciously experience the presence of God's righteousness for eternity, then those wicked who also receive resurrected bodies for eternal punishment will consciously experience the presence of God's justice and wrath for eternity.

So in your scheme, how exactly is this contrast cancelled? You seem to want eternal conscious joy on the part of righteous, yet want to deny the contrasted opposite, eternal conscious torment for the unrepentant wicked.

BTW, just so we are clear, torment here doesn't have in mind of eternal torture as in some horror movie like Hellraisers or something. It speaks to God's justice and wrath being poured out on rebel sinners eternally.

#37  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 7:05 AM

I didn't read through all the comments quite as much as I maybe should have, so this may have already been addressed, but someone brought up the issue of orthodoxy regarding various beliefs in the nature of Hell. Personally, I hold to the belief of eternal torment because that is what I see most clearly presented in scripture...it bothers me...but I see it clearly there, so I feel I must accept it rather than rationalize it into a more palatable box...which is what I feel happens to a lot of complicated doctrinal issues. I can see a reasonable case made for annihilationalism...but not a case stronger than that for eternal torment. But I digress...

I'm curious as to how old is the idea of annihilationalism? The reason I ask is that I think the issue of orthodoxy is important...especially with regard to the doctrines of eternity (Heaven/Hell). Though this particular discussion has shifted from a debate about hell's existence to it's nature, I do think that a solid understanding of those wise saints who have gone before shouldn't be so quickly dismissed as "unscriptural" simply because we disagree with them right this moment. The heart of orthodoxy is scripture itself...there can be no older truth than that taught first by the authors of the Bible, nor any dogmatic practice more righteously to be upheld than what was common to those same men.

In so many ways, it seems that the modern universalist assault is becoming the Arian/Augustinian issue of the modern church. Where their debate regarding the nature of Christ affects the heart of the gospel, this debate over hell's very existence is an attack just as large in scope.

Let me be clear, I don't mean to link annihilationalism with universalism in anyway...because they really can't be linked, but I think the issue of orthodoxy itself applies as much to one as it does the other, and in this case it is the discussion of the one that has lead to the other. I could be wrong though...curious to hear thoughts.

#38  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 8:38 AM

I admit I have not made as thorough a review of the doctrine of hell as I should at this point, but I would like to add something. Many have an issue with the idea of "eternal torment", thinking that this principle makes God out to be some Master Torturer. It has always seemed to me that the main idea of hell is PERMANENT SEPARATION FROM GOD. It is hard for us to envision what that is like due to the common grace we all experience on Earth, even unbelievers. Imagine a place DEVOID of the love of God...it is dark, lonely, "fire", etc...I have always thought the "torment" is mostly the separation from God. What a hell that would be. Any comments?

#39  Posted by Kerry Halpin  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 9:05 AM

I just had this discussion with an annihilationist on Facebook. Many annihilationists quote Rev 20:14 as proof that hell is destroyed and everyone therein as well. If you read the rest of the passage (Rev 20:12-15) you'll notice the following:

-The dead are being judged, so they couldn't have been annihilated. vv12-13

-Death and Hell give up all those that are in them (think of emptying stones out of a jar). v13

-Death and Hell are cast into lake of fire (empty jars thrown into lake). v14

-Those not found in book of life thrown into lake of fire (the stones that were previously in the jars are now directly in lake). vv13,15

-The dead die again, so the first death didn't annihilate them. vv14-15 and 21:8

-There is no recorded end of the second death, and plenty of scriptures that explicitly declare eternal torment, so where is the evidence of annihilation?

Paul himself states in 1 Corinthians 15:44 that there is both a natural and a spiritual body. The reducing to ashes of the physical body does not affect the spiritual body, nor prevent the eternal physical body from being raised unto torment in the last judgment.

Rev 20:10 clearly states that Gehenna is eternal torment, Rev 20:15 states that all unsaved will be cast into Gehenna. Rev 21:8 confirms this, and demonstrates that Gehenna will remain even after the passing away of the old heaven and earth.

#40  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 10:05 AM

To all:

Hell on Trial: The Case for Eternal Punishment, is an extremely helpful resource. The author, Dr. Robert Peterson, takes a look at the Old Testament, the New Testament, and church history—a comprehensive survey of the doctrine of hell. He fairly represents all views and carefully compares each with Scripture. His section on annihilationism is extremely helpful.

So, for those with questions about hell—questions with answers too detailed to address in a blog comment thread—I recommend you pick up a copy of his book. It’s available at CBD and Amazon for around $12.

Dr. Peterson’s work comes highly recommended by John MacArthur, who, along with David Wells, endorsed the book with a foreword. Here’s an excerpt:

We cannot magnify God’s love by minimizing his holy wrath against sin. Some of the most tender pleadings in Scripture are Jesus’ warnings to unrepentant unbelievers in danger of being caught up in the eternal wrath of god. It is only in this context that the real wonder of God’s love can be understood and appreciated.

Hell on Trial: The Case for Eternal Punishment shines the clear light of Scripture on a truth too often made murky by critics and so-called scholars who find ways to manipulate the text rather than letting the Bible speak plainly for itself. Dr. Robert A. Peterson does let God’s Word speak for itself—and that is what makes his case so convincing.

#41  Posted by Mark Holmlund  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 10:34 AM

To take the conversation in a different direction, I don't believe the doctrine of hell is troublesome because the Bible is ambiguous about it (it isn't) but because it's hard thinking through all the "special cases". What is the eternal fate of the 2 year old killed in a car accident? The mentally incapacitated? How about this: are aborted fetuses spared the risk of rejecting Christ and in some perverted sense lucky (since it would seem likely they are all in heaven)?

This the reason Dante, writing in the Catholic tradition, has Limbo as his first circle in hell, where infants and virtuous pagans (like his guide Virgil) reside. However, the Bible doesn't give us specific answers to these questions, other than to reveal a God Who is holy and just and doesn't make mistakes. We ultimately have to rely on His sovereignty to help us understand what is difficult or even incomprehensible to grasp.

#42  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 10:43 AM

Mark:

Thanks for your comment. I understand where you’re coming from, but John MacArthur doesn’t believe the Bible is completely silent about the fate of unborn children, infants, children, and physically mature but mentally handicapped adults. That’s the reason he wrote the book, Safe in the arms of God: truth from heaven about the death of a child.

You can purchase that book, or download a free version of John’s sermon series, “What Happens to Babies Who Die?” on this site.

#43  Posted by Mark Holmlund  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 11:26 AM

Tommy,

Thanks for the recommendation. Does Dr. MacArthur address issues like the age of accountability (or IQ of accountability) in his book?

Mark

#44  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 11:32 AM

Mark:

Yes. John devotes an entire section to the issue of accountability. He says that God alone determines the age at which a child becomes accountable. For that reason, he prefers to call it a "condition of accountability." You should get the book. It's a great resource to own and give to others with questions.

#45  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 11:57 AM

These comments are so good, I have almost no time to make a comment of my own before someone else beats me to it! If nothing else, people here are sure thinking this through.

My only comment and I don't really have a scripture to support this, so maybe someone can provide one...concerning God's perfect love and our lack of comprehending it.My comment is this.

It's hard to understand God's Holy wrath. It's hard to understand His perfection. But it's equally hard to understand His love, His forgiveness, His grace. I think, maybe harder. We think we understand but I don't think we really do.

On our best day, we cannot understand this side of Heaven His glory, His grace, His perfection,His timing, His wrath, His justice. But most of all, His love that sent His son as a sacrifice for you and for me. This is not an attempt to be dramatic. I think we feel the struggle is with the subject of Hell. But I think we have no real concept of God's love. I think we don't enjoy the fullness due to our own imperfections. And because of that, it is difficult to grasp eternal Hell. When you take love and mercy for granted, Hell, eternal misery seems not a fair exchange. But...what do we know?

#46  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 12:33 PM

Garrett #35

I am not sure it does support eternal torment. I was just wondering how someone who does not believe in eternal torment would interpret the passage was all. There will come a time where everything that is intelligent in existence will acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord of the universe. Would their annihilation happen after this acknowledgment? Would there be some that were annihilated prior to this point in history? Thats what I was wondering.

This is going to be one of those blogs where I do alot more reading and asking questions then debating points as I am not very studied in this doctrine. I hold to the traditional veiw of hell but it is not a doctrine that I have dug really deep into yet, I am excited about the series. Thanks all... God bless

#47  Posted by Mark Holmlund  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 2:09 PM

Tommy #44

Just read the first sermon (10/7/01) Very helpful. Will get to the second one soon. Thanks.

#48  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 3:17 PM

Hi Fred #36,

I've heard this argument b4 and I don't get it. The righteous get eternal life and the lost get the opposite, eternal death. Both are eternal. To say that the opposite of eternal life must be eternal torment is to read opinion into scripture. Perhaps I'm missing the point you're making?

Actually, eternal life is contrasted in scripture with perishing and death more than life and punishment (John 3:16 and Romans 6:23). Eternal life is something God has promised to believers over and over again in scripture. The wicked don't get eternal life. God isn't going to immortalize sin. He is going to obliterate it and only righteousness will exist in the universe.

In Matthew 25:46, life is contrasted with punishment. The punishment isn't described in this verse. To import consciousness into Matthew 25:46 is to read opinion into scripture. 2nd Thessalonians 1:9 says that the penalty (punishment) is eternal destruction. Also consider Romans 6:23 where it says the wages of sin (punishment) is death.

I hope this answers your question about what annihilationists believe.

Grace and Peace

#49  Posted by Thomas Tyler  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 3:33 PM

This is a really helpful blog. I enjoy all of them that are posted o GTY. Im sure as everyone knows They say they found Bin Ladens body dead as a result of a US Military action. I am happy that if this is true there is one less threat to our country as will as our military heros, But partof my heart can' help but morn for another soul potentially gone to this place that the bible discribes as eternal torment. I know that he has done a ton and been respondsibe for the death of so many lives. But My heart morns that one more person will burn in that eternal fire. I have got alot of feedback on FB From believers and non-believers that I don't belong in the US because of the way that I feel about his soul. But I really believe that.. Well I know that the father feels the same way. In 2 peter 3 it says he isnt willing that any man should perish. That includes Osama Bin Laden. If that makes me anti-american I guess it just does but I am man after God's on heart. I hate the things that Osama Bin Laden has been respondsible for that have happened to america. But Hell is real. And I hate that he died and went to hell more than likely. These types of blogs give me more compassion for everybody not just the ppl that aren't that bad.

#50  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 3:34 PM

Hi Micah #46,

I'm sorry I think I misundersttod you. It's my understanding that all those who don't acknowledge Christ as Lord will be resurrected and will bow their knee and realize him as Lord. Then they will be annihilated.

There is a good book you can get on Amazon called The Fire that Consumes. It's by Edward William Fudge. It's an exhaustive look at the bible's teaching on final punishment. In the end, he comes to the conclusion that the wicked become extinct. In all fairness, there is also a book you can get called Hell On Trial by Robert Peterson. He believes in eternal torment. Finally, there is a book called Two Views of Hell by both Fudge and Peterson. In it, the authors give their views on hell and then respond to each others views. I hope this helps.

Grace and Peace

#51  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 3:45 PM

Me too. I am sad for Bin's doom. And happy that they found him. It

was a terrible day on 9/11.

God will deal with him and I prayed for him for change of heart. I

realized it's up to God to change Bin but no, maybe others will.

Thanks for sharing that.

#52  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 5:22 PM

Thanks for the resources Garret, I am going to add them to my wish list on cbd.. Reading a few other books at the moment so I'm afraid by the time I read them this blog will be over and we will be on to another topic.

M

#54  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 5:55 PM

#43 Posted by Mark Holmlund

Since God is 100% sovereign when it comes to Salvation (James 1:18 or John 3:8 - as examples); the age of accountability is really irrelevant. Why? If you are predestined to glory, then at what age you receive the Holy Spirit upon hearing the gospel & believing becomes a mute point; you will hear the gospel & believe and receive at some point if you are of the elect. This is why I believe the NT is so silent on the subject and it would also vary from person to person for a variety of reasons such as mental capacity or exposure to the Truth. I also believe that if one dwells on the age of accountability; then they may become mechanical or legalistic in their "Christianity".

#55  Posted by Tommy Lebowitz  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 6:08 PM

This article is filled with scriptural support, so I don't really see how anyone can honestly claim it's not true. Could someone please explain how to avoid hell?

#56  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 6:16 PM

Garrett writes,

To say that the opposite of eternal life must be eternal torment is to read opinion into scripture.

Opinion? How exactly? The righteous have eternal life and experience conscious joy in the presence of the Lord. The wicked receive eternal punishment and experience conscious torment in the presence of the Lord. Two experiences described as eternal.

Yet, according to your scheme, which really is only drawn from human sentimentalism, the righteous experience eternal conscious joy, but the wicked go out of existence. Even though both groups are described in the exact same way? How exactly is my view opinion then?

The text is pretty clear to me.

Continuing

eternal life is contrasted in scripture with perishing and death more than life and punishment

Okay. So what then? How does that affirm annihilationism?

Continuing

In Matthew 25:46, life is contrasted with punishment. The punishment isn't described in this verse.

Matthew 25:46 is the conclusion of a bigger discourse. You did consider the context, right? The punishment is described in Matthew 25:41. In your scheme, I take it you believe God annihilates the fallen angels as well? Revelation 20:10 explains that this lake of fire torments the devil night and day forever. Doesn't sound like annihilation.

#57  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 8:06 PM

Hi Fred #56

It's eisegesis because you're importing consciousness into both Matthew 25:41 and Matthew 25:46. In Jude 1:7 it says that Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities suffered the punishment of eternal fire...yet those cities aren't still burning today. Eternal fire isn't a fire that lasts forever, it's a fire that destroys forever. I believe in eternal punishment. What's eternal is the result, not the process. You believe in eternal punishing. God is in a perpetual state of punishing.

Look at the words the bible constantly uses to describe the fate of the wicked: perish, destroy, destruction, ashes, death, and burn up. You wondered what my point was, well there you go. I know, you're going to say these words don't mean annihilation. What else could the writers say? These words, taken literally, mean annihilation. That's what I'm affirming.

Read Ezekiel 28:16, Ezekiel 28:18, and Ezekiel 28:19. They say that God will destroy the Devil. They say that God will consume the Devil with fire and turn him into ashes. They say that the Devil will cease to be forever. These verses strongly point towards annihilation. I'm very familiar with Revelation 20:10. This book, like you know is very symbolic. Ezekiel 28 is speaking in literal terms. I believe forever in this verse means until the end of his life. It's not the first time in scripture that the words forever and eternal mean for a certain period of time. I don't remember the verses but they should be familiar. When Jonah was in the belly of the whale he said her bars were about me forever. Slaves in the Old Testament were told to serve their masters forever. In the New Testament it says that demons were in eternal chains until the time of judgement. Eternal and forever in these verses mean for a determined amount of time or until death. Also, the ESV in Revelation 20:10 says the lake of fire is where the beast and the false prophet were (I admit all other translations use the word are).

One last thought b4 I conclude this post. Consider Matthew 3:12. In it, it says that God will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. The Greek word for burn up is katakaio. It literally means to consume wholly, to burn down to the ground. Some translations just say burn, however burn up is the proper translation. To consume or to burn down to the ground is the result of eternal fire and unquenchable fire. Sounds like annihilation. What do you think?

Grace and Peace

#58  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 8:09 PM

Understanding scripture is to understand Orthodox Christianity, Church history, archaeology, literary criticism, philology,Hebrew text and cultural context, the Greek text and it's cultural context, hermeneutics exegesis,figurative interpretations,allegory or type of something more and on and on and on.

But the most important factor is the Holy Spirit. You can have more degrees than a thermometer but without the Holy Spirit, impossible to get it right. Somebody has spiritual cataracts. Is it me? Is it you? Who has it? Who doesn't? For somebody to be right, somebody has to be wrong. And if the Holy Spirit is not guiding anyone of us on this topic, does that mean we have not the Holy Spirit overall? Maybe not. Then again, maybe.

I know this. Do you know this? The Lord Jesus, has a standard that will not ever, not now, not ever fit neatly into my lowly idea of justice. The bar I set is high by worldly standards but with God's standard, there is no debate because there is no competition. We do not get, in my humble opinion, the seriousness of God's standard. It's what keeps others from believing and receiving Christ. They believe he is too severe and unattainable. He is...without help. It causes us to be dependent on Him.

Who would be the first to say, "I can figure this out by myself."? Are we in that much agreement? We must have the help of the Holy Spirit? OK. That settles that. Then who's right? You can not ever convince the one who has the help of the Holy Spirit. Similarly, you cannot convince the one who does not have the Holy Spirit. At best, you can exchange information and hope and pray the other "sees" what he has not been seeing. The sighted person prays the blind will see. Who is sighted and who is blind? I think I know. I bet you think so too!

#59  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 9:02 PM

For Tommy Lebowitz (# 55)

Great question! You asked, “How does a person avoid hell?”

The answer is crystal clear from Scripture. You must repent of your sins and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38). Only Jesus can save you from the penalty of your sins—eternal punishment in hell. (Acts 4:12). Only He can reconcile you to God and make you fit for heaven (John 14:6).

Trusting in Christ means that you embrace everything the Bible says about Him. It also means you embrace everything the Bible says about you.

Let’s start with you:

The Bible says you are fundamentally unrighteous—born in sin, corrupt to the core and ripe for God’s judgment (Romans 3:10-18). You’ve sinned against God’s holiness and spurned His glory (Romans 3:23). Your soul is ruined and you’re doomed to hell without the saving merits of Christ. You desperately need deliverance from the wages of your sin (Rom. 6:23).

That’s the bad news, Tommy. You must acknowledge the truthfulness of those facts from the Word of God. But there’s good news, too. God has provided a deliverer for you—the Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:24). You must embrace what the Bible says about Jesus, too.

Jesus is God’s Son (John 5:38). He’s the Lord of Glory (1 Corinthians 2:8). He is holy and without sin (Hebrews 7:26). He made full atonement for sinners (Heb. 1:3), acting as their substitute when He died on the cross. He demonstrated the truthfulness of all His claims when He rose from the dead (Romans 1:4; Acts 2:32).

He invites all sinners to come to him for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 11:28-30). You must place your faith in Jesus Christ alone, not in any works you’ve performed (Eph. 2:8-9). The Bible says our works are as filthy in God’s sight as a dirty rag (Isaiah 64:6). It’s by God’s grace that we are saved, through faith (Romans 10:17). It’s a gift from God.

The Bible teaches salvation through divine accomplishment, not human effort. That’s the best news in the world, Tommy. God saves bad people—and we qualify (Romans 4:5).

If you turn from our sins in repentance, and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith, He will save you. Believe in your heart that Jesus is God, and confess with your mouth that God raised Him from the dead. Everyone who calls upon the name of Christ will be saved (Romans 10:9-11).

That’s how you avoid hell, Tommy. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but desires for all sinners to turn from their sins and believe upon Him (Ezekiel 18:32).

I’ll end with this. When you confess Jesus as Lord, that means you live under His Lordship. You were enslaved to sin, but now He’s delivered you from the bondage of sin and rules as your new Master (Romans 6). Grace is free, but following Jesus involves a serious cost. That’s why Jesus told those who desired to follow Him to pick up their cross, count the cost, and never look back (Mark 8:34-38).

#60  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 10:07 PM

According to a review of a debate about such a subject such as this, James I. Packer states:

"The first argument is of necessity an attempt to explain “eternal punishment” in Matthew 25:46, where it is parallel to the phrase “eternal life,” as not necessarily carrying the implication of endlessness. Granted that, as is rightly urged, “eternal” (aionios) in the New Testament means “belonging to the age to come” rather than expressing any directly chronological notion, the New Testament writers are unanimous in expecting the age to come to be unending, so the annihilationist’s problem remains where it was. The assertion that in the age to come life is the sort of thing that goes on while punishment is the sort of thing that ends begs the question. Basil Atkinson, “an eccentric bachelor academic,” according to Wenham,28 but a professional philologist, and mentor of Wenham and Stott in this matter, wrote:

When the adjective aionios meaning “everlasting” is used in Greek with nouns of action, it has reference to the result of that action, but not the process. Thus the phrase “everlasting punishment” is comparable to “everlasting redemption” and “everlasting salvation,” both scriptural phrases . . . the lost will not be passing through a process of punishment forever but will be punished once and for all with eternal results.

Though this assertion is constantly made by annihilationists, who otherwise could not get their position off the ground, it lacks support from grammarians and in any case begs the question by assuming that punishment is a momentary rather than a sustained event. While not, perhaps, absolutely impossible, the reasoning seems unnatural, evasive and, in the final assessment, forlorn.

The second argument is that once the idea of the intrinsic immortality of the soul (that is, of the conscious person) is set aside as a Platonic intrusion into second-century exegesis, it will appear that the only natural meaning of the New Testament imagery of death, destruction, fire and darkness as indicators of the destiny of unbelievers is that such persons cease to be. But this proves on inspection not to be so. For evangelicals, the analogy of Scripture, that is, the axiom of its inner coherence and consistency and power to elucidate its own teaching from within itself, is a controlling principle in all interpretation, and though there are texts which, taken in isolation, might carry annihilationist implications, there are others that cannot naturally be fitted into any form of this scheme. But no proposed theory of the Bible’s meaning that does not cover all the Bible’s relevant statements can be true.

Nowhere in Scripture does death signify extinction; physical death is departure into another mode of being, called sheol or hades, and metaphorical death is existence that is God-less and graceless; nothing in biblical usage warrants the idea,that the “second death” of Revelation 2:11; 20:14; 21:8 means or involves cessation of being.

#61  Posted by Rachel Wienke  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 10:19 PM

I agree with and believe everything you said. Hell is a real place, sin is devastating, and Heaven is a place for the redeemed. My biggest struggle is on a more superficial level I guess...I have trouble comprehending these places. I realize the Bible offers many descriptions, and I have no doubt of the eternal torment of hell, and maybe it isn't necessary to be able visualize both Heaven and Hell...but I find that this inability to fully comprehend many of the Bible's greater mysteries is one of my biggest problems. I believe it, but often I find myself not fully understanding it.

Regardless however, I am really thankful to have found this blog.

#62  Posted by Eileen Harris  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 11:16 PM

Tommy,

I want to thank you very much for this series, it couldn't have come at a better time for me. Someone I Love very much has just recently surprised me with their beliefs of God, Jesus, salvation and hell.

In your last post you mentioned John MacArthur's series, "A Testimony of One Surprised to be in Hell". I just finished reading parts 1-4 of the six part series, I'm going to print it out and give it to her. I know that if nothing else out of respect for me, she will at least read it and discuss it with me.

All I can say is that the staff at GTY, and all the wonderful resource's provided have been a gift to me. Please pray that the Holy Spirit guides me in saying the right things to help her understand God's Truth!

Most Sincerely,

Eileen

#63  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Tuesday, May 03, 2011at 11:40 PM

Hi Rebecca #60,

I'm an annihilationist. What grammarians are you talking about that don't agree with annihilationists?(they're probably believers in eternal torment) What about eternal codemnation, eternal salvation, and eternal redemption. Obviously God isn't in an eternal act of redeeming, saving, and codemning. It's a one time act with results that are eternal. So why can't this coincide with eternal punishment? I believe in eternal punishment, the punishment is death. For as long as the saved enjoy eternal life, the wicked are punished with death. I don't believe the punishment is temporary. I might be missing the point of what your saying?

You're right in pointing out that conditionalists don't believe we have immortal souls. You're right again in saying that conditionalists believe that Greek thought on the immortalty of the soul infiltrated Christianity in the 2nd century. With all due respect, there are a plethora of scriptures that point to our mortality. I will just include a sampling here. Psalm 146:4 says our thoughts perish on the day we die. In 2nd Timothy 1:10 it says Christ has brought life and immortality through the gospel. Then there is the famous verse 1st Timothy 6:16 that says that only God has immortality. Finally, the sleep metaphor for death is used so many times for death that I don't have enough space to include them. There is the famous Daniel 12:2. Psalm 139:8 says that we make our bed in Sheol. Psalm 13:3 says we will sleep the sleep of death etc...too many. Perhaps you've heard of all of this? I would love to get your thoughts on my post :)

#64  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 3:29 AM

I'm wondering what the practical applications for all of us have been since this topic of hell has been brought further to light?

I know I am praying much more diligently for the lost, not with quite the same intensity that the apostle Paul did, but I am seeing so much of this in a broader, d e e p e r light then before. I know so many morally, good people, who will face destruction one day, and some really rotten ones who need the same prayers. Remember, it is easier to love and pray for the the morally upright then it is to love and pray for the morally bankrupt, but what does it profit us to love and pray for the morally upright, only? (I know, we are all morally bankrupt).

Great article, Tommy!!!

#65  Posted by Mark Veit  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 5:19 AM

This is probably the hardest thing for me to understand. How "Christians" can be so far apart. I mean Heaven and Hell is crystle clear to me as described in the Bible. People often say, "How can a loving God put people in Hell?" I say, how can a Just God NOT put people in Hell? I stand amazed at the chasum of space between so-called believers. Sad to think, on this topic that some people will be most unpleasently surprised at their death.

#66  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 6:06 AM

I've been trying to think of an analogy to sum up the two ideas of punishment we're at here. Obviously we're not reaching a consensus using scripture...and I harbor no delusion by thinking that a philosophical discussion would solve the problem, but I am still trying to process the argument in my head as a sort of a parable. Thankfully Jesus spoke in parables for the simple people like me. So please, be patient with me and by all means, correct me if I'm wrong, but here's what I've come up with so far. (And fair warning, I already hold to the traditional view of conscious, eternal punishment, unpleasant a concept though it may be. So the scenario may skew towards my bias...)

Scenario:

Mom bakes the best cookies ever made in the entire world. Johnny knows this. Mom tells Johnny to clean his room. She says that if he does, he gets cookies, if he doesn't, he will get punished. Of course Johnny doesn't clean his room. Which of the following seems the most like punishment?

1. Mom spanks Johnny, sends him to the room with no cookies...for argument's sake, we'll say no more cookies for ever. Eternal, conscious knowledge that cookies exist, burning hunger and desire, but because he disobeyed, he'll never have one.

2. Mom spanks Johnny, and sends him to the room with no cookies...again, for eternity, but when he gets there...he loses all consciousness, in fact, he ceases to exist period. No knowledge of his loss, no understanding of the full weight of his rebellion. He ceases to know hurt, hunger, loss, pain....sure he still misses out on an eternity of cookies, but he'll never know it.

This is essentially the difference between eternal, conscious punishment in the lake of fire and annihilation.

Even if my analogy is flawed (and it may well be, I'm just not seeing it yet), the question remains...is a non-conscious punishment really punishment? I mean, it would seem that it's more of a punishment now, while we're conscious of what we would be missing in Heaven, than it would be after the fact.

Pick it apart and educate me...

#67  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 6:24 AM

Garrett writes,

It's eisegesis because you're importing consciousness into both Matthew 25:41 and Matthew 25:46.

You are still not explaining how I am importing consciousness onto the text. Simply declaring I am doesn't it make it true. I take it, then, that you believe the righteous also do not experience consciousness?

Continuing,

Look at the words the bible constantly uses to describe the fate of the wicked: perish, destroy, destruction, ashes, death, and burn up. You wondered what my point was, well there you go. I know, you're going to say these words don't mean annihilation. What else could the writers say? These words, taken literally, mean annihilation.

I take by "annihilation" you mean, "go out of existence?" Things can perish, be destroyed, burned up, but they are not annihilated in the sense annihilationists wish to think. Additionally, these words are used throughout the OT and never do they mean what the annihilationists insist they should mean, i.e., going out of existence.

For example, take the passages you cite from Ezekiel 28. I take the prophet's description here to be God describing the fall of Satan. Did Satan go out of existence when he fell? Of course not. Even if Ezekiel is addressing Tyre, did Tyre go out of existence in the manner that annihilationists say? No. Ezekiel is describing their dominance as a city state being shut down, which was fulfilled. Moreover, Ezekiel uses the exact same word here in chapter 28 for consume to describe how the "walls" of the false prophets will be knocked down (v. 14). No mention of the walls going out of existence, or annihilated. They are knocked to the ground.

As for declaring Revelation as a highly "symbolic" book, that's a convenient dodge that doesn't deal with the problems with your position. Rather, than focusing on one definition you believe supports your view, you need to explain what John means by them being "tormented" day and night. If the wicked are annihilated as you claim, why does John describe their punishment with a descriptive term? You can only "torment" conscious beings, not beings who are no longer in existence.

#68  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 6:40 AM

Garrett,

It's impossibe to understand why God won't make them ceased. Reason is

to let those whom are save to look upon so they would understand what

the suffering and doom of those unsaved. Only God knows why. And show

how mighty God is and why He is King of all. Shows the wrath of God

of when He threw them in the lake of fire, so shows us He is God and

there's only one God. Hope it helps.

God bless.

#69  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 8:49 AM

Garrett, #63. You give me far too much credit.I wrote in #60 very first line "James I. Packer states". The statements were his as in James I Packer. If you like to read his review of this debate, you can google his name. Look for a review by the title of Evangelical Annihilationism in Review.

You ask,"It's a one time act with results that are eternal. So why can't this coincide with eternal punishment?" It can. But that doesn't mean it does. It's appointed once unto man to die. Then there is judgement and a matter of eternal destiny.Hebrews 9:27

So if you want our Lord to be consistent, then it seems to me that you would understand that eternal life...as in living, awake, aware, in heaven would "coincide" with eternal life ...as in living, awake, aware in hell. While referencing what is eternal and while looking for consistency, I think you are using the wrong comparisons, the wrong parallels. Yes, there is the one time act of salvation with one time act of sentence to hell. But I think you need to compare one time act of eternal life in heaven with one time act of eternal life in hell.Apples to apples.

Do you not agree with Packer's observation that "the New Testament writers are unanimous in expecting the age to come to be unending."?

You ask,"codemnation, eternal salvation, and eternal redemption. Obviously God isn't in an eternal act of redeeming, saving, and condemning." I don't think we should confuse God's grace we experience here and now and the fact that upon confession and repentance God forgives and forgets, that means more of the same in eternity. Anyway, redeeming and saving is for the believers, not the unbelievers. As far as condemnation goes, I guess we could say that each and every new day in Hell is another day of condemnation.

You even realize that for many people on this earth, the idea of eternal punishment as simply being dead, out of existence is just not that gross of an idea? Many want that relief. Yes, they consider it relief. Oh,hurt me again. Contrast that with victims of violence and murder who don't want the guilty put to death. Human nature tells them death is too easy for such a severe crime. They want the criminal to live out long days in bondage fully coherent and aware of their existence and local.To them, that is real justice. Who is more just than God? Could I do it? No, God knows what a wimp I am. But like I said in a previous comment, I don't have the patience of Job let alone God. I don't understand how He managed to let go of His precious son for me. I don't understand a love like that. But I have learned to not inject my reasoning, my logic into God's standards of what is good & what is evil & just.So if I...and I'll take a leap here and assume others struggle like I do...if I don't understand His love and mercy and grace and forgiveness and His thought and His ways, His standards, how can I possibly understand eternal hell? In my imperfection, I don't. But in my faith, I accept.

#70  Posted by David Washington  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 9:08 AM

I think that it's safe to say that hell is a place you don't want to find out that you're wrong about. Whether you believe in an eternal place of torment or a time of torment and annihilation, in both cases we're looking at something that is just plain bad and we should be warning people about the reality of hell and the consequences.

Though the annihilationist has an extremely difficult argument to defend in light of scriptures that clearly contradict it, I believe the ultimate problem with those who adhere to that belief is their failure to accept the idea that God could be, to put simply, so mean.

In response to that, I think what we really fail to realize is just how heinous sin is to a holy God. We don't comprehend how much of an affront it is to Him and so in order to wrap our minds around it, we come up with ideas and beliefs that are more palatable to our emotions. Something we can accept in our psyches. But it doesn't lessen the truth at all, regardless of our feelings.

Whether you agree with the doctrine of hell as a place of eternal torment, that hell has much more urgency to it than one where people are annihilated. In any case, hell should be preached as part of the gospel. Omission is a display of how much we don't love people to warn them of the wrath to come.

#71  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 9:43 AM

Garrett says"I'm an annihilationist. What grammarians are you talking about that don't agree with annihilationists?"

I don't believe that is what he said....exactly. I think he mentioned the idea, the assertion in this quote of Stott that " 'the adjective aionios meaning 'everlasting' is used in Greek with nouns of action, it has reference to the result of that action, but not the process. Thus the phrase 'everlasting punishment' is comparable to 'everlasting redemption' and 'everlasting salvation,' both scriptural phrases . . . the lost will not be passing through a process of punishment forever but will be punished once and for all with eternal results."

I think his point was that it mattered not if you were a believer or unbeliever or anywhere in between, that would not be typically the opinion of grammarians on how to understand Stoff's preferred reference. The use of the adjective eternal with an active noun such as redemption does not translate a one time event, grammatically speaking. You'd have to inquire those that are considered professional. I know a little about grammar and I agree with Packer.Stott, who made that statement Packer quoted is an annihilationist but is not a grammarian.

That said, redemption as an act is a one time event, for sure but I enjoy it's benefits each and everyday. As Packer says, it's a "sustained event". It's perpetual as in perpetual bliss...ever heard of it? If my redemption is a one time event not resulting in daily benefits but only an event that can be cataloged in a scrapbook so I can reflect and recall how great it was....at one time, that isn't very encouraging. And yet, in order to accept the theory of Stott and others,I have to view my redemption as not a continuation. I can't view my redemption as an event with everlasting results.

Look, I sin. I cause trouble. My way,my sin doesn't work out so well. I try to outrun the law in order to avoid a speeding ticket but I end up crashing my car and have injuries that affect the quality of my life the remainder of my earthly days. I confess, I repent and God forgives and forgets. But those injuries are still there. I suffer consequences of my actions. A one time event but each and every day I relive the consequences of my choices. God doesn't take away my pain just because I repented. He might heal my heart but my body is still broken and is a reminder that I am in bondage to the effects of my sin.

So, might our Lord use these willful, sinful choices and their consequences here and now as a tiny example, a taste of living eternally with the effects of a really bad choice?

Now don't anyone start praying for my injuries. I did not try to outrun the law. If I was any better at obeying the law, I'd be a legalist!

#72  Posted by Kerry Halpin  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 11:28 AM

Garrett,

You said "Read Ezekiel 28:16, Ezekiel 28:18, and Ezekiel 28:19. They say that God will destroy the Devil. They say that God will consume the Devil with fire and turn him into ashes. They say that the Devil will cease to be forever. These verses strongly point towards annihilation"

However, if you read Luke 20:36, Jesus clearly states that angels do not die. Therefore if Satan and the demons (being fallen angels, but angles nonetheless) do not die, then the lake of fire clearly does not cause them to cease to be, and if that is the case, then Revelation 20:15 and Matthew 25:41,46 should be taken in no other context than eternal conscious and physical damnation.

God created the spirit of man to be eternal like He created the angels. Therefore, both angels and men will live forever according to God's will, and men will be resurrected into eternal bodies for either eternal life or eternal damnation.

Ezekiel 28:18-19 and Psalm 146:4 do not speak of complete annihilation. See Psalm 9:6-7 and Psalm 41:5. These passages speak of the perishing of the memory of the dead from the living. Also, there are two bodies of men according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:44. So to argue that any passage that talks about perishing means total annihilation, you have to first prove that it doesn't mean simply the perishing of the physical body or the perishing of memory (both neither conflict with scripture nor the doctrine of eternal damnation) before you can defend your position of total annihilation which cannot be defended by a direct interpretation of scripture.

Eternal torment is easily defensible from a direct reading of scripture, especially considering that where it may seem to construe annihilation, those passages can from their contexts be easily linked to the perishing of the mortal body or memory from among the living moreso than they can be linked to the annihilation of one's complete existence.

#73  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 1:11 PM

I discovered to my amazement that I tend to get angry when people speak against God's word. It’s fine to be zealous for God, but also good to be reminded that we must not forget to be zealous for our own state of heart. The heart's true love for Jesus, without hypocrisy. I sinned against it, getting angry with a brother and had to repent.

That brings me back to this topic: love is either perfect or not love at all. As analogy: You can say you love your wife, but if you are not faithful to her, your words are empty and you do not love her at all.

All that is good and perfect and true and loving is in God alone. The goodness we possess is from Him. When a sinner is judged to hell, all that came from God is taken from him and given to another. Therefore in hell, there is nothing good at all.

#74  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 2:27 PM

Excellent point, Rudy. Excellent. His love and goodness was a gift that those in hell did not cherish.It is heart breaking.

#75  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 2:50 PM

Awesome, Love it when the truth comes together in a biblical way.

Digging deep for the truth is like finding gold.

God bless.

#77  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 4:17 PM

Eileen (# 62)

Thanks for the encouragement, Eileen. We're always grateful to hear reports like yours. I'm glad you found John's resources especially helpful in equipping you to minister to your friend.

#78  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 4:25 PM

Excellent point, Kerry (# 72)

See also Matthew 22:30 (and John's study note in the MSB) to reinforce the point you made about angels being deathless creatures.

#80  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 6:45 PM

I second that,Kerry...what Tommy said. Just when you think people can't post anything worthy that hasn't already been said, someone comes along that does. This blog and topic has been very impressive. I have learned so much from everybody.

#81  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 7:22 PM

Rudi, sorry. Just noticed I misspelled your name. Sorry about that.

#83  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 8:16 PM

I see no place in scripture that says both sinners and the elect have eternal life (in heaven or hell). Do you traditionalists believe that God keeps sinners alive in hell through continual recreation of the tormented persons soul in hell to get away from the problem of Rom 6:23 and other scriptures that say eternal life is a gift. And if so where is the scripture for this?

#84  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 9:38 PM

Donavan:

Not sure if you've read through the entire article, but the Scriptures listed there more than adequately answer your questions. Also, before introducing an argument we’ve already discussed (in much detail), please take a look at the comment threads for the past several blog posts. No need for us traditionalists to answer them again. ☺

#85  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 9:57 PM

Hi Fred #67,

I'm saying your guilty of eisegesis because you said these verses imply consciousness..when there is no mention of it. You told me to read Matthew 25:41 as proof. I'm not saying you're stupid, you obviously aren't, but you did say it.

I'm a conditionalist, so I don't believe we have souls, I believe we are souls, and souls can die (Ezekiel 18:4). It's my understanding through reading the bible that our hope is in the resurrection of the dead, not from a soul that escapes death. I don't want to debate this though. I've already made enough enemies :)

Regarding words like perish, destroy, destruction, and death, your right, these words don't always mean annihilation. Like you know, the word's semantic range can mean various things. We have to look at the context. I can say, "your dead to me" and it's obvious that nothing gets annihilated. However, when scripture says that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23), it's obvious that Paul is speaking of going out of existence. This is a simple life or death verse. The wicked get death, the righteous get life. There is no way that death can mean life in this verse.

With regard to Ezekiel 28, I think you're not reading it with an open mind. It uses the words destroy, fire/consume/ashes, and never will you be anymore. These words do point toward the annihilation of Satan, not to his mere expulsion from heaven.

With regard to Revelation 20:10, I see your point (though I did say what I thought about the meaning of the word forever). You can't experience torment if your annihilated. Again, take Matthew 3:12 for example. It says that God is going to burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. The Greek word for burn up is katakaio. It means to consume wholly, to burn down to the ground..classic annihilation. My point is that one verse apparently says torment and one says annihilation. Like you know, we can't just pick sides and go with them. We have to discern the general tenor of scripture and that's where I think traditionalists are in error. Obviously, scripture doesn't contradict itself so we have to use discernment. I believe forever in Revelation 20:10 means until the end of his life.

#86  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 10:07 PM

Tommy,

There is nothing about continuous recreation of sinners in hell on this or the last 2 topics on this blog.

The reason I ask is because it is the traditional theological view of traditionalists. Is this your view Tommy? And if so where do you get the scripture. How can you say this has already been discussed. It is important because it is the traditional view of the souls condition in hell and I believe it contradicts the Bible.

#87  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 10:16 PM

Hi Kerry #72,

God is almighty right? If he wants to annihilate Satan, he can do it. Yes, you're right in pointing out that angels don't die. However, you're ingoring the clear forceful language of Ezekiel 28 that God will annihilate Satan. Again, destroy, fire/consume/ashes, and cease to be forever...wow!

I don't believe we have souls. I believe man is mortal and is utterly dependent on God for life (the resurrection). I don't want to debate that though..that's a whole different bag of apples :)

#88  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 10:33 PM

Hi Rebecca #71,

I must admit, I'm a bit weak on grammar. Can I just put it like this?...What I believe is that what is eternal is the result, not the process. For as long as the righteous experience eternal life in heaven, the wicked are dead forever. Isn't this reasonable? (though not orthodox). What you believe is eternal punishing. What I believe is eternal punishment. Yes/no?

#89  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 10:48 PM

I would like to point out what annihilationists and traditionalists have in common. We both believe in the wrath of a holy, righteous, and just God. We both believe in eternal separation from God as a sentence. We both believe (I think) that most people are headed for this separation. We both believe that universalism is way out there:).

As wrong and as scripturally unsound as I think eternal torment is, I don't think it's heresy. Do you think annihilation is heresy, and if so why?

#90  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 11:14 PM

Donavan (#86)

I don’t see the justification in demanding Scriptures to prove the “continuous recreation of sinners” idea. If God says He will punish the wicked for all eternity in unquenchable fire, that’s enough for me—and obviously it’s been enough to settle the matter for scores of other evangelicals. I don’t see a need to question what God has plainly stated. And when He says it more than once, through multiple authors, in a variety of ways, that strengthens the argument even more.

If you look, you'll find plenty of verses (and arguments) in these articles and the ensuing comment threads pointing out the reality, conditions, and duration of hell. Check your view against them. I don’t think it can stand up to the scrutiny. That’s why you won’t find much sympathy for the Conditional Immortality view here. The burden of proof lies with you. After all, you’re the one contending against tradition, friend.

#91  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Wednesday, May 04, 2011at 11:20 PM

Hi Dan #68,

Regardless of what happens to the damned, you and me will be heaven with glorified bodies worshiping the King of Kings and Lord of Lords :).

Grace and Peace

#92  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, May 05, 2011at 4:15 AM

Garrett,

when you say we don't have souls, that meant you saying there's no

afterlife. We have flesh outside and soul inside both.

Just trying to understand. God bless.

#93  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Thursday, May 05, 2011at 5:20 AM

We know from the burning bush, which Moses encountered, that God can make a fire which does not consume. So I believe the Lake of Fire can burn forever and its occupants not be consumed.

I think we need to be careful about basing our interpretation of what scripture is teaching on what we believe would or would not make God a cruel tyrant. Scripture makes it clear that we can not judge God anymore than the clay can judge the potter (Isaiah 29:16, 45:9, Romans 9:21). While some clear teachings of scripture are difficult for us, the clay, to understand, we must take them (after careful exegesis) on faith and trust in God’s character and His superior understanding, wisdom, mercy, and justness. As a pig (sinner, though now a new creation) who is used to life in the mud (a sinful world) it is difficult for me to comprehend the purity of God and how the most righteous deeds of an unbeliever are offensive to Him (Isaiah 64:6), and that all of us worthy of eternal punishment forever. But just as with the other clear doctrines of scripture (such as election) which are hard to understand, I trust in our Sovereign Creator God, who scripture tells me is full of mercy and grace but is also just.

#94  Posted by Kerry Halpin  |  Thursday, May 05, 2011at 6:22 AM

Hi Garrett #87,

I'm not ignoring the language of Ezekiel, I just believe that it is more consistent with the whole of scripture to understand that passage as referring to the removal of Satan's presence and memory (and perhaps even notoriety as Isaiah says below) from the earth when he is cast into the lake of fire and the new heaven and earth is created.

Isaiah 14:9-17 speaks of the final casting down of Satan after the Great White Throne Judgment. I belive it is after the GWTJ because it speaks of the dead being stirred, which Revelation 20:13-15 speaks of. Also, Satan is humiliated and powerless, and certainly he is not powerless until after his final rebellion at the end of the Millenium.

Could this passage refer to the Millenium that Satan is bound? I don't think so because Revelation 20:1-3 speaks of Satan being bound in the bottomless pit, "the deep" as Luke 8:31 says, which is only known to be the abode of certain demons according to 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6, and not the abode of dead men.

1 Peter 5:8 states that Satan is currently loose (obviously!), so, putting all of this together, Isaiah 14:9-17 could only refer to the humiliation of Satan after the GWTJ at the end of the millenium. It also indicates that unsaved people are alive, conscious and have awareness, much like Luke 16 says in the story of Lazarus the beggar.

See Ezekiel 32:18-32 for another passage that talks about the consciousness of the unrighteous after death, specifically Ezekiel 32:31. While I can't confirm that this particular passage is talking about the lake of fire as opposed to Hades, it certainly can't help the annihilationist POV.

Now, aboud men having souls...there is a lot of intricacy of doctrine here which I won't go over in detail. But, the Hebrews used the word Nephesh for both humans and animals, meaning that both have souls (mind, emotion, will...the appearance of life if you will), and plants are left out of this categorization. Humans, however, are the only beings said to have a spirit, being made in the image of God. Also, 1 Thessalonians 5:23 clearls speaks to man having both spirit and soul.

#95  Posted by Kerry Halpin  |  Thursday, May 05, 2011at 7:04 AM

EXCELLENT post Mary #93! I 100% agree!

#96  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Thursday, May 05, 2011at 7:10 AM

Donavan, it’s been a long time.

You write,

Do you traditionalists believe that God keeps sinners alive in hell through continual recreation of the tormented persons soul in hell to get away from the problem of Rom 6:23 and other scriptures that say eternal life is a gift. And if so where is the scripture for this?

I take it by the use of “traditionalist” you mean people who actually believe the Bible is a meaningful, infallible divine revelation that isn’t subjected to silly putty style exegesis and postmodern Jedi like mind tricks in interpretation?

It may be helpful to explain why the “traditionalist” should have a problem with Rom. 6:23. How exactly does that passage speak against us dimwitted “traditionalists” and affirm your view? You seem to be suggesting there isn't any afterlife, and I certainly want to hear about that.

#97  Posted by Arturo Gomez III  |  Thursday, May 05, 2011at 7:12 AM

I was hoping to hear back from Jonathan Claborn. Very interesting comments, yet, goes to show the schemes of twisted interpretation at the tiniest turn. Thank you Tommy for your corageous proclamation in bringing truth to light, even amongst the ignorant who really need it. Unfortunately, the "higher ups" are spreading dissensions with a lack of true fervor for the Holy Scriptures, thus, spreading lies and toxic misinterpretations.

#98  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Thursday, May 05, 2011at 10:23 AM

Hey Fred

Thanks for the welcome.

By traditionalists I mean the historical view that hell is eternal conscience suffering, not

wooden literalism as you suggest but that is true also. I'll explain my post more clearly,

most conservative Bible students agree that eternal life is a gift of God Rom 6:23 so that

means that people who are not elect and going to hell don't have the gift of eternal life.

That leads to the fair question, what sustains the souls in hell, and the traditional answer of

the church has been that God continually recreates and sustains them thus not giving them the gift of eternal life.

You and others traditionalists on this blog have a clear disadvantage, you say that you use a literal hermeneutic view of the Bible (in context of course) that's why you loose debates with people like Garrett who point out words like perish, destroy, destruction, ashes, burn up, and death don't really mean what they say (in any language Greek, Hebrew, etc.). No amount of Jedi like mind tricks (as you put it) can make these words mean anything different. Just like when the Bible uses words like near, soon, quickly, and at hand you say they mean far, long ways off, and at least 2000+ years until the coming of the lord. Not to change the subject but just to show you how easy it is to point out the flaws of not using a real literal (in the way the literature intends the meaning) but a wooden literal hermeneutic.

I do appreciate your love for God, and his truth that is evident.

#99  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Thursday, May 05, 2011at 10:31 AM

Garrett asks in #88:

"For as long as the righteous experience eternal life in heaven, the wicked are dead forever. Isn't this reasonable?" Reasonable? In whose economy? How often has God done what is not reasonable to you or me?

The law of probability,possibility, sensibility or reason does not need to be explained to God. But others have tried...and failed. A few examples

1."Genesis 17:15-17 God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her." Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, 'Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?' " (was that reasonable?)

2.Genesis 18:12-14 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, "After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?" Then the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Will I really have a child, now that I am old?'Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son." (reasonable?)

3.John 20:25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."(reasonable?)

4.Exodus 1:26 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.” (reasonable?)

And what about poor Gideon with an army of 300 against an army of 32000, outnumber about 4 to 1? Would we have thought that to be reasonable? Or what about manna from heaven? Do I reason that God will drop my groceries from above and spare me Walmart?

If the Washington Gas Company can install a propane-fed torch in order to have an eternal flame at Arlington Cemetery, then certainly it is not a challenge to God to have the same.Reason is good but I think we are better off sticking to letting scripture interpret scripture lest our voice of reason fails.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."James 1:5-8

People with life sentences are condemned once but live each day experiencing the affects of that condemnation. The day of their condemnation is forever etched in their minds. Many if not most of those inmates would have preferred death. So, yes,to your question. I believe in life that is sustained in Heaven & equally life sustained in hell.

#100  Posted by Kerry Halpin  |  Thursday, May 05, 2011at 11:00 AM

Hi Jonathan #18,

If we take the context of the full passage of Revelation 14:6-11, it is evident that the third angel is proclaiming the judgment to come for all those who receive the mark of the beast. However, I find no evidence to suggest that this is a special punishment for these unbelievers, but like Revelation 14:6-7 which says that the second angel will preach the gospel to all that dwell on the earth, and salvation is not limited to the people remaining on the earth at this time, the third angel in like manner is simply preaching the universal judgment of unbelievers to all that remain on the earth. Since everyone who is not saved at this time will receive the mark of the beast with no exceptions, the angel is not necessarily singling these people out because they received the mark, but is actually cutting straight to the point and saying, “If you receive the mark of the beast, you are an unbeliever, and this is the punishment that awaits you”. In other words, the angel leaves no room for doubt, if you have the mark, you will be damned. Not a special punishment, but a clear association of those that receive the mark to unsaved sinners.

As for Matthew 10:28, certainly God is ABLE to destroy both in Hell, but that doesn’t mean He will. The whole purpose of this passage is summed up in Luke 12:4-5, the point being don’t fear men that can do no more than destroy the body, but fear God who can do anything and has power over everything. And if we stay strict to the verbiage of Matthew 10:28 without attempting to see the obvious point being made, then the passage still does not account for the destruction of the spirit in hell, so this passage doesn’t not hold up to supporting an annihilationist viewpoint.

As for Hades, just because there is a clear separation between Hades and the lake of fire, that doesn’t mean they aren’t related in the fact that both are places of spiritual torment. In fact, you are right, in that the in Hades, the physical body is not tormented because it is buried on earth, but in the lake of fire, unbelievers will have resurrected bodies with which to suffer eternal physical torment (John 5:29, Revelation 20:15, 1 Corinthians 15:24). Please see my previous posts for more about Hades being cast into the lake of fire.

#102  Posted by Kerry Halpin  |  Thursday, May 05, 2011at 11:31 AM

Hi Jonathan #18 (cont'd),

Isaiah 66:24 is referenced by Jesus in Mark 9:43-49. The Ryrie study bible indicates that verses 44, 46 and the second half on 49 are not in the best manuscripts. So if we remove those for argument’s sake, we are left with the following in the KJV (I’ve shorted the passage now to Mark 9:47-49 for the sake of brevity, but the meaning is unchanged: “(47) And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: (48) Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (49) For every one shall be salted with fire.”

While verse 49 is not the easiest to understand, here is a good explanation based on a note in the Ryrie study bible: Salt is a preservative, hence the reason Jesus tells his disciples to have salt in themselves in the next verse, to preserve righteousness upon the earth. However, in verse 49, being “salted with fire” means that those who go to hell are preserved to endure perpetual fire and wasting away (think of a perpetually rotten body in which maggots are forever fed, the worm feeding on rotting flesh doesn’t mean that the person is dead, just that their body has rotten flesh, like a carcass).

I think John MacArthur somes up this thread best in the sermon "Man's Last Day in God's Court Part 3". Please read everyone!

#104  Posted by Michael Hobbs  |  Thursday, May 05, 2011at 2:43 PM

What is the difference between spiritual death and physical death? Isn't spiritual death eternal seperation from God? How could God uncreate something that he created? If God uncreated someone from existence would that make him a murderer?

#105  Posted by Trent Biller  |  Thursday, May 05, 2011at 2:59 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#106  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, May 05, 2011at 3:56 PM

No, God is not a murderer. He is the righteousness judge. Physical death is when our bodies "the flesh" will become dust or ashes. Our souls last forever to live with God or to live apart from God for eternity.

#104 Hope this verse helps. God bless.

This what God says in

Ezekiel 18;32

For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, says the Lord God. "Therefore turn and live!"

#107  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Thursday, May 05, 2011at 7:58 PM

Hi Dan #92,

I'm a conditionalist. That means that our hope of immortality is conditional upon believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe in the resurrection of the dead. God gives us eternal life at the resurrection of the dead when Christ returns (1st Thessalonians 4:16). I believe we get eternal life at that point. I believe we are completely mortal and utterly dependent on God for eternal life.

Tommy is right though, conditionalists have the burden of proof for going against tradition. I hope this helps :)

Grace and Peace

#108  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Thursday, May 05, 2011at 9:13 PM

Just an opinion here I could be wrong.

After you understand annihilationism, and conditional immorality it makes Calvinism and the age of accountability question easy. When a baby dies and it was not elect it would not be tormented in the intermediate state because it had not willfully sinned it would simply be annihilated. This circumstance would not be the case if the unsaved person was above the age of accountability and was tormented in the intermediate state (for a just amount of time that only God knows) and then annihilated.

Pleas don't flip out at this, I have never heard this or read this from anyone it is only an extension of the idea of conditional immortality and it made me feel more confident in solving the conflict between Calvinism and the age of accountability.

#109  Posted by Christopher Davis  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 12:08 AM

Im thankful for this messege hell is real and the Bible is right we dont have to add or take any thing away. Remeber Jesus paid for our sins and if we havent recived the free gift of salvation by Repenting and putting our trust in Jesus then we choose to pay for our own sins and if that is the case it will take in hell for all eternity to compare to such a awsome love that was displayed on the cross for our sins. God himself came down to rescue us Salvation means to be Rescued from inpending danger.

#110  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 3:56 AM

I appreciate it. Big words are hard for me to understand. Had to

find out the big words people use in different terms like conditionalists ,annihilationism. Glad you are patience with me.

Tks. :)

#111  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 6:01 AM

108 - Donavan.

"After you understand annihilationism, and conditional immorality it makes Calvinism and the age of accountability question easy."

No, it doesn't. Unless, of course, you ignore some other passages. You say "not willfully sinned". Whatever happened to Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" ?

I can't see how the doctrines of grace become easy through the lenses of annihilationism and conditional immorality" (I think you mean "immortality"?).

#112  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 6:13 AM

#98 Well Donavan, I'm not a theologian, and know absolute nothing about Greek or Hebrew language, but I know that God intended the Bible to be understood by anyone.

Yes there are a lot of symbolic language implied, but getting the pieces toghether isn't that hard:

Fear God. Don't sin. Repent. Come to Christ for mercy.

Keywords from Tommy's blog topic: Eternal fire, unquenchable fire, eternal punishment, everlasting.

Is that a "wooden" interpretation?

#113  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 6:14 AM

Garrett writes,

I'm saying your guilty of eisegesis because you said these verses imply consciousness..when there is no mention of it.

Really? No mention of consciousness? So when Jesus blesses the righteous and rebukes the wicked, they're not consciousness?

Continuing,

You told me to read Matthew 25:41 as proof.

Yes. Because you wrote that Jesus never stated what the punishment is in that passage. He did. Being cast into everlasting fire.

Continuing,

I'm a conditionalist, so I don't believe we have souls, I believe we are souls, and souls can die (Ezekiel 18:4).

That's your problem. You have imbibed this SDA nonsense claiming the concept of the body and soul is Greek paganism, which it is not. Your explanation of Revelation 6:9-11 is...?

Continuing,

Like you know, the word's semantic range can mean various things. We have to look at the context. I can say, "your dead to me" and it's obvious that nothing gets annihilated. However, when scripture says that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23), it's obvious that Paul is speaking of going out of existence.

That's an awesome leap from claiming to have looked at the context and then concluding Paul is talking about going out of existence in Romans 6:23.

Continuing,

With regard to Ezekiel 28, I think you're not reading it with an open mind.

I think your reading it "with an open mind" is a big reason for your confusion in this area.

Continuing,

With regard to Revelation 20:10, I see your point ... You can't experience torment if your annihilated.

Instead of running to Matthew, stay in Revelation. You need to explain what John is saying here. Going somewhere else and saying "over here it means annihilation" doesn't help you case. You also need to show us how you came to the conclusion that the word "forever" means "until the end of his life" when there is absolutely no semantic warrant for such a use of that word.

Do you think annihilation is heresy, and if so why?

Yes I think it is heresy because proponents play loose and fast with the biblical text throwing out definitions here and there and concluding their views are established. This results in a devaluing of God's revelation in the matter of a serious subject. They also seem to be oblivious to the fact annihilation as a concept has its roots among cultic groups who were certainly outside the norm of historic, Bible believing Christianity. Groups like the Socianians, Universalists, JWs, and the SDA.

#115  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 6:42 AM

Donovan writes,

... what sustains the souls in hell, and the traditional answer of the church has been that God continually recreates and sustains them thus not giving them the gift of eternal life.

Really? Can you name some specific biblical theologians who teach this? Any systematics you recommend? You lean heavily to the preterist views of things. Do any of your preterist gurus like Demar or Gentry agree with your views, or are they "wooden literalists," as you call it, with the doctrine of hell?

The Bible is quite clear that both the righteous and the wicked are given resurrected bodies (John 5:29, Acts 24:15). Resurrected bodies that can withstand the presence of the Lord in either his full holy glory or his full just wrath.

Continuing,

You and others traditionalists on this blog have a clear disadvantage, you say that you use a literal hermeneutic view of the Bible (in context of course) that's why you loose debates with people like Garrett who point out words like perish, destroy, destruction, ashes, burn up, and death don't really mean what they say (in any language Greek, Hebrew, etc.).

You have a strawman definition of "literal hermeneutic" which is typical mindset among emergent minded sympathizers. But leaving that aside, biblical words are going to be clarified as to usage by biblical writers. None of those words have ever, in any context, been defined or used to teach annihilationism of people. Garret or you have yet to show us that. It is the problem for the annihilationist who wants to dodge clear passages like Revelation 20:10, redefine words and deny essential doctrines like the body and soul.

No amount of Jedi like mind tricks (as you put it) can make these words mean anything different. Just like when the Bible uses words like near, soon, quickly, and at hand you say they mean far, long ways off, and at least 2000+ years until the coming of the lord.

Hey. Is that the same thing as you telling us last year that Genesis isn't historical and 6 days really means millions of years and Adam wasn't a real person? Oh, maybe not, because all the "orthodox" preterists I know are 6, literal day creationists. So I guess their wooden literalists like me. Maybe I am confused. But maybe it is like the way you preterist allegorists use Josephus to interpret the Olivet Discourse?

#116  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 12:53 PM

Fred # 115

Name calling:

I understand you don’t agree with Conditionalists, Preterists or people who

don’t agree with your literal hermeneutic. I don’t think you should use these

terms as insults.

Unorthodox:

You are correct Conditionalism has been the point of view of many many

cults in history and today, Calvin railed on Conditionalism so hard I think

he alone changed the view from orthodox to cultic.

I could use the same argument about Dispensationalists having their start

in 1830s with all the cults that got started around that time.

Biblical usage of Hell:

Theological ideas about Hell have changed drastically throughout history.

You can easily see how the church (Protestant and Catholic) have changed

Hells meaning to suit their needs. Greek thought about immortal souls and

Dante have made undeniable changes to our views of Hell.

Theologians using Continual Regeneration:

Listen to James White (one of my favorite debaters) debate the Nature of

Hell on Unbelievable, I think this is the only debate he as ever lost. He

settles back on God continually regenerating souls in Hell, because he does

believe that everlasting life is the gift of God and he got cornered.

Gurus:

Yes, Demar and Gentry have incorrect views of Hell and early Genesis in my opinion.

You say:

the Bible is quite clear that both the righteous and the wicked are given resurrected bodies (John 5:29, Acts 24:15). Resurrected bodies that can withstand the presence of the Lord in either his full holy glory or his full just wrath.

I don’t see where in scripture after the resurrection the evil get new bodies. You assume

they do because you automatically fit it into your system (we all do that to some

extent).

Emergent:

I do not have an emergent mind set, in fact I feel that being Biblically conservative

really means that you study the Bible apart from your traditions, learning from

great teachers like JM and others with different views.

I came to Calvinism (Chuck Smith dedicated me 46 years ago), Preterism, and

Conditionalism, apart from my traditions.

Words in context:

As far as the clear meaning of words, I wish we knew. Debates like this force

people to define what and why they believe. It is unclear to me what part the Holly Spirit

plays as far as specific doctrine because so many godly men have differences.

(I think you are a godly man).

Genesis and Hell:

Good point on your last remark, I know you understand the different literary styles

of scripture, and yes a person with a wooden view would not pick up the distinction.

#117  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 1:13 PM

Elaine #111

Rom 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Yes, that is the Calvinsist problem with the age of accountability.

JM uses David and how he delt differently with the death of his 2 sons

as one some of the proof texts with this view.

The Conditional Immortality view gives an answer to why would God

make a baby just to send it to hell. The answer is Rom 9 he has that

right and we have no right to ask him why.

Thats why I said “willfully” sinned to keep that distinction.

#118  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 6:13 PM

Fred

You say:

The Bible is quite clear that both the righteous and the wicked are given resurrected bodies (John 5:29, Acts 24:15). Resurrected bodies that can withstand the presence of the Lord in either his full holy glory or his full just wrath.

Nowhere in these verses or anywhere else in the Bible does it promise the gift of eternal

life to everyone. This is a good example of you importing your tradition into these verses.

#119  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 8:53 PM

Hi Fred #113,

Look, I'll answer all the questions you posed, but you have to answer all of mine.

With regards to consciousness in Matthew 25:41, I misunderstood you. I was refering to the punishment and you were refering to the sentence. My bad.

Is the punishment being cast into everlasting fire, or is it destruction or torment? The punishment is the result in my book.

You said I, imbibed too much SDA nonsense. That's funny. I believed in eternal destruction b4 I knew what the SDA's believed. Yes I do believe the early church imbibed the Platonic notion that we have souls. Everytime I confront "traditionalists" about how scripture maintains our mortality, they say it only applies to the body. But that's a different bag o' apples.

Revelation 14:9-11 is a classic destruction, annihilation verse. You see the words torment, forever, and no rest day or night and that's it. You need to read these highly symbolic verses with a discerning eye (again, not that you're stupid). Notice it doesn't say their torment goes on forever, it says the smoke of thier torment goes up forever and ever. Like you know, the writers of the bible liked to use imagery from other bible writers. Read Isaiah 34:8-10. When describing the destruction of Edom, It says the fire will not be quenched, and it's smoke goes up forever...sound familiar? The point is that Edom is still not burning and we don't see any smoke rising forever. In both Isaiah and Revelation, the writers use highly symbolic language to convey total destruction. When John says they will have no rest day or night he is talking about continuity, not duration. They will have no rest day or night up until the moment of destruction. To say no rest day or night means forever is to put words into John's mouth.

With regard to Revelation 20:10, I see your point. If you just read Revelation 20:10, and then read about eternal fire and then read about eternal punishment you would sort of have a slam dunk case. The reason I rail against a literal appraisal of Revelation 20:10 is because Revelation is a highly symbolic book. I know, you think I'm evading the issue by saying it's mere symbolism. However, I disagree. Also, in the ESV it says the beast and the prophet "were" in the Lake of Fire. It's when you read every verse in the bible, not just a couple of of scriptures, that it's noticeable that eternal life is for the righteous only.

Please explain, if you would Matthew 3:12?

Do you think I'm going to hell? Speak you're mind. If I believe in and preach extinction for the wicked, will I go to hell?

I know you will agree with nothing I've said, but it's always worth knowing what the other side believes.

Grace and Peace

#120  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 6:03 AM

Garrett,

If you read John's 3 sermons on "Man's last day in court" which someone mention in this blog. It may be helpful for you. It open my mind to realize stuff. God bless.

#121  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 12:58 PM

Elaine

Sorry my answer to your post didn’t get posted.

I was saying that Conditionalism solved the problem between the age of accountability and Calvinism.

What I said was:

After you understand annihilationism / conditional immorality it makes Calvinism and the age of accountability question easy. When a baby dies and it was not elect it would not be tormented in the intermediate state because it had not willfully sinned it would simply be annihilated. This circumstance would not be the case if the unsaved person was above the age of accountability and was tormented in the intermediate state (for a just amount of time that only God knows) and then annihilated.

You said:

No, it doesn't. Unless, of course, you ignore some other passages. You say "not willfully sinned". Whatever happened to Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" ?

I agree with you, everyone was born in sin and deserves to go to Hell (thank God for his gift of eternal life) but I used the term willfully sinned, so as to draw a distinction to the age of accountability, which I don’t believe in.

Buy the way, If you believe in eternal everlasting torture in Hell, and the doctrine of the age of accountability you should be for abortion. Think about it, better these little ones should go to heaven than end up being tortured forever. Narrow is the gate and few...The logic of the doctrine of the age of accountability and Calvinism do not go together.