Mike's Origins Resources: A PhD Creationist's view of science, origins, and the future hope of the human race; by looking at Creation Science, Biblical Evidence, and Prophecy What happens when we die? Do we go to Heaven or Hell right away when we die? What does Jesus mean by sleep?
What happens when we die? Do we go to Heaven or Hell right away when we die? What does Jesus mean by sleep?
What happens during the 1000 years following Jesus' Second Coming? What about Judgement and what does the Bible say?
Hell Fire, Does it last forever? Is Satan in charge of Hell? Do people really moan and groan forever in agony and pain?
Are Evil Angels Immortal or are Satan and His Evil Angels Destroyed in the Fires of Hell?


Are the Wicked Tormented Day and Night for Ever and Ever?

Notice that some parts of Revelation say that the wicked will suffer torment for ever and ever while other portions of Revelation say that the wicked experience the second death.

11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Revelation 14:11

9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.

10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 20:9-10

6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Revelation 20:6

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Revelation 20:14

8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelation 21:8



Something must be wrong. How can the wicked both die the second death and yet live for ever and ever in agony because they will burn forever?

Revelation 20 is especially interesting. The wicked are said to be tormented day and night for ever and ever, yet twice in the same chapter, the wicked are said to experience the second death. John could not have been so inconsistent as to mix this issue up in the very same chapter!

There is no returning from the second death. Jesus Himself says we should fear God who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell, when the wicked are destroyed!

  1. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28

If the wicked are destroyed, both soul and body, in the lake of fire as Jesus says, they cannot be tormented for ever and ever.

In addition, if you click on the following link: Hell Fire, does it last forever? You will see, over and over again, that all the rest of the Bible says: The wicked will be completely destroyed. They will perish. They will be burned up until they will be ashes under the soles of your feet. They will be no more. They will cease to exist, etc.

So, why does Revelation say the wicked will be tormented for ever and ever when all the rest of the Bible says the wicked will be completely destroyed and cease to exist? Does Scripture disagree with itself?

No it does not have to disagree with itself. The answer lies in our understanding of the word "forever". Let's study it together.




What Does "For Ever and Ever" Mean?

In general, the Greek word aion is translated: forever. However its real meaning is "Age". There are actually two meanings for the word "Age"

  1. "Age" can mean a human lifetime, or life itself. So it can be a limited time, as long as someone is going to live.
  2. "Age" can also mean an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, or an eternity. So it can mean forever and ever.

Basically, if the subject is God or Jesus, since they exist in eternity, the meaning of "Age" would be an unbroken age, or an eternity. On the other hand, if the subject is referring to finite human beings, then the meaning of "Age" would be limited to the life-span of a human lifetime.

In the Greek New Testament, "Age" almost always refers to the subject of Jesus or God. Since He lives forever, the time that is meant is forever or for an eternity. However in the Old Testament, we have many examples where forever only means the life-time of an individual. The Hebrew language can have the same two meanings. Here is an example, in Old Testament Hebrew, where forever only means how long a person will live.

  1. If your brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you.
  2. And when you send him away free from you, you shall not let him go away empty-handed;
  3. you shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your winepress. From what the LORD has blessed you with, you shall give to him.
  4. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today.
  5. And if it happens that he says to you, 'I will not go away from you,' because he loves you and your house, since he prospers with you,
  6. then you shall take an awl and thrust it through his ear to the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also to your female servant you shall do likewise. Deuteronomy 15:12-17

Obviously, the person can only be a servant for as long as he or she lives. He or she does not live for eternity. So forever means only his or her life-time.

The idea that forever in the Old Testament Bible can be just a limited lifetime of an individual is common. Lets look in the New Testament.


Idiomatic Phrases

In the New Testament, the word "age" is not used by itself, but rather; It is included in an idiomatic expression or a phrase. These phrases are thought to describe an undefined period of time.

There are a number of similar phrases found in the New Testament. All of these phrases are usually translated as: "forever". Here are two typical phrases:

In Hebrews 5:6 & 6:20 The phrase: eis ton aiona literally means: "unto the age"
and in Hebrews 13:8 the pleural phrase: eis tous aionas literally means: "unto the ages"

These two phrases, "unto the age" and "unto the ages", are both translated as "forever". Yet, they can either mean "forever", or they can mean, "for as long as the person lives". So, these phrases do not have to express the idea that the time is forever, or an eternity. They can also be understood to mean the life-span of an individual as well. It depends on the context of the word. This is exactly what we found to be the case in the Hebrew example above.


Compound Idiomatic Phrases

Now, lets look at Revelation 14:11 and 20:10. Both of the following phrases are usually translated as: "for ever and ever"

In Rev. 14:11 the phrase: eis aionas aionon literally means: "unto ages of ages"
In Rev. 20:10 the phrase: eis tous aionas ton anionon literally means: "unto the ages of the ages"

"Unto ages of ages" and "unto the ages of the ages" are really compound expressions. The expression itself means multiplied ages. Some feel that these compound phrases could more emphatically declare the idea of eternity, so the suffering of the wicked would last forever and ever. However, this view would pit Revelation 14:11 and 20:10 against all the other texts of the Bible that speak of the wicked being destroyed. Even within Revelation 20 itself, this punishment of the wicked is called the second death (Revelation 20:6, 14). The death in which there is no return. So, this idea, that the wicked will suffer for ever and ever, does not make sense.

A second possible view is that the wicked will burn for a prescribed period of time as determined by the Judgment of God and the righteous saints. So the compound expression would express the idea that punishment would be metered out. It would be measured according to a judgment process.

In the New Testament, we see that the righteous will actually judge the wicked when they are with God.

  1. Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
  2. Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 1 Corinthians 6:2-3.
  1. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Revelation 20:4.

Now why would the righteous need to judge the wicked, since God has already judged the wicked? We know that God has already judged the wicked because He already has them being brought to life in the resurrection of the wicked, which is the resurrection at the end of the thousand years.

This is the point: If the wicked are just going to burn for ever and ever, what need is there for the righteous to judge the wicked? God has already determined that they rise in the resurrection of the wicked which many people believe results in eternal burning. So, it would not matter if they were just a little bad or they were really wicked. There is nothing to judge since they all receive the same judgement!

  1. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
  2. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
  3. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:13-15

Since the wicked are judged according to their works, it only makes sense that the righteous will either confirm God's judgement call on each one of the wicked, or they will involve themselves with how long the wicked will actually burn, a prescribed period of time where punishment would be metered out on the wicked.

However, let's not forget that in both 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 and Revelation 20:4 (seen above on this page) says that the saints judge the wicked. They are not just confirming what God decided, they are judging because God has given judgement into their hands.

  1. "But hold fast what you have till I come.
  2. "And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations--
  3. 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels' --as I also have received from My Father; Revelation 2:25-27.

Jesus will give power, over the nations, to him that overcomes. The overcomers are the righteous. So Jesus actually gives the judgement to the righteous and they will judge the wicked. They will rule them with a rod of iron, meaning that the wicked will be destroyed.

So, for a thousand years, the righteous people who are with God, will judge both the wicked angels and the wicked people who did not choose to follow God. When the righteous finish their judgement, then Judgment Day occurs; Where the wicked will be facing eternal destruction. They will be burned with fire. This is the day when the wicked face the wrath of God and of His indignation.

Thus, the eternal (forever) meaning of these compound phrases: "unto ages of ages" and "unto the ages of the ages" should be understood by the context of the associated text. This means that it should agree and fit in with the other texts of Scripture.

The wicked are to face judgment, and they will be tormented for worshipping the beast, for following Satan. We know that the wicked will experience the second death at this time. So they will not burn forever and ever; But they will be experiencing permanent death and they will cease to exist.

  1. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Revelation 20:6
  1. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Revelation 20:14
  1. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelation 21:8

We should not automatically assume that the wicked will be tormented for eternity. After all, it is only the righteous who have received immortality.

But there is nothing in the Bible that suggests that the wicked also receive immortality! Instead, the wicked will only be tormented for a certain period of time, as long as they are alive, as prescribed by the judgement. This should make sense, that the meaning is not forever, since the wicked themselves are not immortal. They have a limited life-span. Click to see: I always believed that the soul was immortal.

If either "unto the age" or "unto the ages" were used in the description of the torment, it would be clear that man would not last very long in the fire, since the natural process of burning would cause a very short period of suffering. However, since the compound phrases: "unto ages of ages" and "unto the ages of the ages" were used in the description of the punishment, because of the multiplied ages definition; It might be that the time will be metered out, for longer periods of time, so that the wicked will get their just reward.

It might be that the righteous will help determine how long each of the wicked are to suffer before they die.

However, it should be clear, from all the rest of Scripture, that the final fate of the wicked is to be completely destroyed.

  1. For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the LORD of hosts, "That will leave them neither root nor branch. Malachi 4:1
  1. You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this, Says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 4:3.
  1. For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near. . . . . And they shall be as though they had never been. Obadiah 1:15-16.

So eternal suffering is not an option for consideration, for the understanding of these two texts in Revelation.


The Smoke of Their Torment

  1. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. Revelation 14:11

Here is another interesting note: "The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever", from Revelation 14:11 obviously comes from Isaiah 34:10. It is the description of the destruction and desolation of Edom. Most of the book of Revelation actually is connected with the Old Testament.

  1. It shall not be quenched night or day; Its smoke shall ascend forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; No one shall pass through it forever and ever. Isaiah 34:10

It is clear that Isaiah was not saying that the smoke would be ascending forever since he also says that the land would then become a waste for generations. He says that it would be a place that only wild animals would inhabit. The animals would take over the land.

  1. But the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it, Also the owl and the raven shall dwell in it. And He shall stretch out over it The line of confusion and the stones of emptiness.
  2. They shall call its nobles to the kingdom, But none shall be there, and all its princes shall be nothing.
  3. And thorns shall come up in its palaces, Nettles and brambles in its fortresses; It shall be a habitation of jackals, A courtyard for ostriches.
  4. The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the jackals, And the wild goat shall bleat to its companion; Also the night creature shall rest there, And find for herself a place of rest.
  5. There the arrow snake shall make her nest and lay eggs And hatch, and gather them under her shadow; There also shall the hawks be gathered, Every one with her mate. Isaiah 34:11-15

The description of the smoke, is only a temporary action. Once the smoke is gone, then the animals take over. So, this text really speaks of complete destruction, not that the smoke would be forever rising, but that it would become a wasteland. The fire would do its job and then nothing would be left. If the area would be forever burning and smokey, the wild animals would never inhabit the area. Animals run away from smoke and fire.

The destruction of Edom matches the destruction of the wicked at the end. They will also vanish away once the fire does its job of destroying the wicked.

  1. But the wicked shall perish; And the enemies of the LORD, Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away. Psalm 37: 20.

So in this case the word "forever", only means for as long as Edom burned. And in Revelation, "forever" only means for as long as the wicked burn. The fire will not be quenched until everything is burned up.


Conclusion

Because all of the Bible teaches that the wicked will one day cease to exist and they will be as though they had never been; We know that the wicked will not suffer forever and ever. But rather, they will suffer until they die in the flames. So they will be tormented and they will have no rest day nor night until they die. The smoke of their torment will ascend up until their bodies are consumed. This is the death of judgement, the second death from which there is no return, when they are cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.

Since the meaning of the word "age" can either be "forever" or it can be "for just a lifetime", Revelation 14:11 and 20:10 can now agree with the rest of the Bible in our understanding. The fire will not be put out nor will it be quenched until the wicked will be totally consumed.

Since the compound phrases: "unto ages of ages" and "unto the ages of the ages" were used in the description of the punishment, because of the multiplied ages definition; It probably means that the time will be metered out, for longer periods of time, so that the wicked will get their just reward as dictated by the judgement. Some might burn longer, while others might burn a shorter period of time.

So, once they are consumed by the flames like an oven, they will be stubble because they were burned up. And they will be ashes under the soles of your feet. This will be the end of the wicked! After they are burned up, there will not be a fire to sit before, nor even a coal to warm yourself. This is the complete end of the wicked.

  1. Behold, they shall be as stubble, The fire shall burn them; They shall not deliver themselves From the power of the flame; It shall not be a coal to be warmed by, Nor a fire to sit before! Isaiah 47:14.

And the wicked will be no more. It will be as if they never existed!

  1. For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you; Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.
  2. For as you drank on my holy mountain, So shall all the nations drink continually; Yes, they shall drink, and swallow, And they shall be as though they had never been. Obadiah 1:15-16.

There is no hell that burns forever! They will be burned up!


Difficult Bible Questions on Eternal Torment
Answered and Explained.

 

The First Question:

I agree with the results of your word study on aion. I don't believe people will be punished forever but that there will be an end of the punishment. However to what end is that punishment intended. Is there a purpose for punishment?

Your argument is that God will torture people for periods of time based on the degree of their wickedness but that ultimately there will be an end to their agony when they are completely consumed and just cease to exist.

Couldn't a loving God (whose end goal is to make it as though these wicked people never existed) simply just twitch his finger and wipe these people out? Why does he subject the wicked to years (hundreds or thousands or billions) of punishment and torture when he will not even let them have a memory of their experience?

Think about torture for a second. It is used for a purpose is it not? To get people to confess, give up information. Isn't punishment something good parents use to correct rebellious uneducated children. Isn't the purpose of punishment to teach a person a lesson.

Can you imagine if our legal system tortured people for twenty years before sending them to the gas chamber? Don't you think every Christian in the world would be marching in the streets for just and fair punishment? Why then do we assign such characteristics to God?

Try opening your heart and mind to another option. You are already putting yourself at odds with so much christian doctrinal history when you disagree with the meaning of forever and ever, why not go a bit farther.

Imagine that God uses fire to purify sinners. God uses brimstone (sulfur) to sanctify sinners. That the lake of fire is not a literal BBQ for wicked people, but is a symbol for God's righteous judgement that does not torture people but burns away their wickedness so that the old carnal minded humanity is burned up and they can learn righteousness. Remember that this burning is all done in the presence of holy angels and the lamb. Revelation 14:10 he also will 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.

Can your heart really imagine Jesus standing at the edge of a lake of literal fire watching billions of people burning for years and years. What does your heart imagine Jesus is doing as he stands there and watches?

Try to open your heart to the possibility that the lake of fire is not literal but speaks of spiritual judgement. Jesus and his holy angels are doing the judging, and the judgements are righteous and they have a purpose other than meaningless vindictive torture.

 

I do not see any evidence that judgement is a spiritual judgement. It will be very physical.

  1. For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up, Says the LORD of hosts, That will leave them neither root nor branch.
  2. But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
  3. You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this, Says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 4:1-3.
  1. Behold, they shall be as stubble, The fire shall burn them; They shall not deliver themselves From the power of the flame; It shall not be a coal to be warmed by, Nor a fire to sit before! Isaiah 47:14.

You are right in saying that God's final judgement is NOT a punishment that will change the wicked. There is nothing for the wicked to learn. However, the Bible speaks of the final judgement as being a righteous act of eternal destruction that comes on the wicked. God will repay the wicked with tribulation.

  1. which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;
  2. since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you,
  3. and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,
  4. in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  5. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
  6. when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10.

When Jesus was here on earth, He said that if anyone led a little child to sin, it would be better for them if they were drowned in the sea.

  1. "Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.
  2. "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 16:5-6.

This also suggests to me that there is something fearful to face that is worst than death for the wicked.


Length of Time

The Bible does not say thousands of years or even a single year. The Bible actually does not indicate how long it will take. I don't think it will take that long.

  1. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Revelation 20:4
We see that judgment was given to the righteous.

  1. Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
  2. Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? 1 Corinthians 6:2-3.

I was listening to a man in a meeting describing how a cat was playing with its food. A rat was in its grasp. In a desperate attempt to get away, the rat jumped and landed in the camp fire. As he mentioned the rat jumping into the fire, the audience made stray noises indicating their horror of hearing about a rat suffering.

I agree with you. I cannot imagine God's wrath lasting for years and years. For God and for all the righteous, I believe they will be relieved and happy when it is all over. The suffering will be at an end. What ever is to be done to the wicked, all will think it just. But to say it will take years, that is going too far.

No one, neither God nor the wicked will have pleasure in the destruction and suffering of the wicked. Except that everyone will know that it is necessary.

  1. Say to them: 'As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?' Ezekiel 33:11

When God says: "Why should you die?" it is clear to me that He is speaking of eternal death and destruction. Not the sleep the righteous will experience.

I have no way of knowing how long it really will be. I know that God is a God of love and He will cleanse the Universe of all sin and evil. He will do what is needed to ensure that sin will never raise its ugly head again.

But we are so use to hearing of the wicked people suffering for an eternity that we can make the assumption that it would continue for years and years or some long period of time. But we need to put all the text of the Bible together to try to understand what will happen.


Here is something else to consider as to the reason for their suffering.

In Jude 14-16, it actually says that the Lord is returning with His saints to execute judgment on the wicked!

  1. Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,
  2. "to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
  3. These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. Jude 1:14-16

In the 15th verse; When it says the ungodly will be convicted; Are the wicked going to be convicted of their own sins at this time? I believe it is a possibility. The wicked could be convinced of their own wickedness at this time?

This is interesting. Why would the wicked need to be convicted of all their ungodly deeds if they will just be destroyed? Is there any reason for it?

Maybe the righteous will need to experience the process of the conviction where they see that the wicked themselves are actually acknowledging their own sins. But the promise has been given that: "Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Maybe the righteous will need to see that the wicked themselves actually acknowledge their own sins so that sin will never raise its ugly head again.

To add to this idea we have this verse that says: "Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

  1. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,
  2. that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
  3. and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

It says those under the earth, that must be the wicked; It says the wicked will bow down to Jesus and they will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

The Second Question:

I find the exegesis on eternal punishment unbiblical. Ancient Greek is a very well-documented language spanning over a millennium of time, millions upon millions of speakers, and all sorts of literature. To find one metaphorical meaning of word and take that to be the end all and be all of what the word can mean is highly deceptive.

The word group /kolaz- kolas-/ means, without a special context, "punishment", especially in later Greek (cf. Acts 4:21; 2Pet.2:9). The word group /aoion, aoionios/ means, without a special context, "eternal", especially in biblical literature (cf. Rom.1:25; Rev.1:6, etc., etc.).

Picking one passage which is not directly related to the issue at hand and massaging it to make a favorite point is the worst sort of sophistry masquerading as "exegesis". The language of Matthew 25:46 is very clear: /aionion kolasin/ means "eternal punishment"; that is what the Greek says, that is how all the major versions take it. Not only that, but this "eternal punishment" is in direct and parallel contrast in the same verse to "eternal life". The same word, /aionios/, is used in both cases.

If the punishment is not really "eternal", then neither would the life be. Likewise, if those resurrected unto death are only so "temporarily", that would seem to have to hold for those of us who are resurrected unto life (and we have a better hope than that!).

Scripture very clearly teaches eternal punishment for those who willfully reject God. Teaching the contrary is the worst sort of heresy. The fact that in order to do so, convoluted and deceptive arguments such as these have to be resorted to only proves the point.

I am amazed at the ground-swell lately of supposed Christians who wish to absolve unbelievers of their rejection of Christ. If that were possible, Jesus would have died for nothing (since He then would not have needed to die, if absolution without faith were possible). But I suspect that this is a case of non-Christians and very weak Christians wishing to cover for their own lack of faith and for their own addiction to sin. For if unbelievers are forgiven, then nothing we do here on earth matters (thus unbelief and all bad behavior, no matter how wicked, are no reason to fear God). How can a loving God send anyone to an eternity in hell? How can a loving God by His unfathomable Grace grant eternal life to the underserved?

I only know what the inerrant Word of God clearly teaches, and that He desires that NONE should enter into that eternal abode of the wicked prepared for the devil and his angels.

 

OK, lets look at Matthew 25:

  1. And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. Matthew 25:46

The punishment of the wicked is indeed eternal. God will completely destroy them and they will never live again! Death in of itself is a punishment and everlasting death is an everlasting punishment in of itself. They will never come back from this punishment and live. So, this is their eternal punishment and they will never escape from it.

The reward for the righteous is also eternal. They will have eternal life and thus they will live forever.

You seem to be saying that the only way for the punishment to be eternal is for the wicked to actually burn forever. But you must acknowledge that to never come back from being completely destroyed is also eternal! Their punishment is eternal because they will never live again! It is a permanent and eternal death.

Using Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, let's explore the Greek words for eternal/everlasting and punishment.

The Greek word (166 aiwniov aionios ahee-o'-nee-os) is translated as: everlasting in the NKJV and eternal in the KJV. There are three meanings of this word:
1) without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be+
2) without beginning
3) without end, never to cease, everlasting

So, the wicked will receive a punishment that is without end, never to cease.

The Greek word (2851 kolasiv kolasis kol'-as-is) is translated as: punishment in both KJV and NKJV. The meaning of this word is:
1) correction, punishment, penalty

So, the wicked will receive a punishment or a penalty. Putting the two words together, the wicked will receive a punishment or penalty that will last forever. It will be everlasting. That means that eternal punishment can also be translated as: eternal penalty.

Being destroyed, never to live again, is easily within the range of this Greek word. It will affect the wicked in a way that is everlasting. It will never end.

So, the righteous will indeed experience eternal life that will never end. The wicked will also experience eternal punishment or an everlasting penalty in that God will fully destroy them so that it will be as if they never existed.

All throughout the Bible, this very same idea is taught, that the wicked will be completely destroyed. They will have eternal death!

  1. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
  1. The LORD preserves all who love Hims, But all the wicked He will destroy. Psalm 145:20.
  1. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

From the Bible we see that the special gift of everlasting and eternal life is for the righteous. The wicked are destroyed and they perish. Their end is death, an eternal death, not eternal life. So they can not even suffer for eternity because their end is nothingness and non-existence because the Bible says that it will be as if they never existed:

  1. For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you; Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.
  2. For as you drank on my holy mountain, So shall all the nations drink continually; Yes, they shall drink, and swallow, And they shall be as though they had never been. Obadiah 1:15-16.

So, how can you even pretend that your interpretation is correct, or even Biblical, saying that the wicked will suffer forever and ever, when the Bible says over and over again that: the wicked will be no more, that they will cease to exist, that they will perish, that they will vanish away? It even says that the wicked will be destroyed together in one place at one time! The Bible says that the wicked will perish like smoke in the presence of God and like wax in the fire.

The Bible goes on by saying that the wicked will be stubble and they will be ashes under the soles of the feet of the righteous. When it is all done, the Bible says that there will not be a fire to sit next to, nor even a warm coal! All the wicked will be destroyed. They will not survive. In Revelation, this is called the "second death!" and in Obadiah, it says that the wicked will be as though they had never been.

It is not just a few times that the wicked are described as perishing but over and over and over again, it says that they will be destroyed. All throughout the Bible!

Even in other places of Matthew itself we have the idea that they will die:

  1. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28

Jesus said that we should fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Hell is a place of destruction not eternal suffering. It is clear that destruction is slated for both the body and soul of the wicked!

Let's look at Matthew 25:46 again.

  1. And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. Matthew 25:46

The punishment of the wicked is indeed permanent just like the righteous. The righteous are given eternal life but the wicked receive the eternal penalty of death. A death in which there is no end. It is permanent and eternal.

In Revelation, the fires of Hell are connected with the second death of the wicked! So there is a second death that the wicked will experience.

  1. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Revelation 20:6

The righteous will not experience the second death because they will never die again!

  1. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Revelation 20:14

It is the wicked that are cast into the lake of fire to be destroyed. That is why it is called the second death.

  1. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelation 21:8

I am a firm believer in studying all of the Bible to know what the Bible says on a particular topic. We must look at all of Scripture in order to find the truth of what is to happen.

We must not use a few texts of Scripture in a way that makes it go against other very prominent verses of the Bible! We must work to understand what Scripture says until we find that it is true; All Scripture does indeed agree with each other.

You say I am massaging an issue; But it is you who is the one who is massaging the issue and through your interpretation, you are making these verses go against all the rest of the Bible in understanding.

Now, the eternal suffering of the wicked actually comes from Pagan sources, not from the Bible. As you say, Ancient Greek is very well documented and it is found in all sorts of literature. Yes, that is true! However, it was an extremely pagan culture. Very much different from the light found in the Bible.

Unfortunately pagan culture has crept into the church and people actually follow ancient pagan culture rather than what the Bible actually says.

I agree with you that God does not desire that anyone face the punishment that the wicked will face, that of the second death, permanent death from which there is no return.

  1. Say to them: 'As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?' Ezekiel 33:11

Yes they will experience terrible suffering while they die, but they will die and Biblically we can say it will be as if they never existed.

  1. For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you; Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.
  2. For as you drank on my holy mountain, So shall all the nations drink continually; Yes, they shall drink, and swallow, And they shall be as though they had never been. Obadiah 1:15-16.

Your comments suggesting that I believe that those who reject God will eventually be forgiven is false. All who are wicked and not forgiven by God will suffer in the lake of fire and then they face death and total destruction. They will never be forgiven nor will they ever live again. It is only in this life that we can come to God.

  1. Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.
  2. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:5-6

If we do not respond to the Holy Spirit, in this life while He may be found, then eternal destruction is what we face.

 

The Third Question:

Just a quick note to guide you to your misguided synopsis on some suffering day and night forever and ever while others suffer the second death, while both groups had their part in the Lake of Fire.

My friend, slow down and read all of the lesson an not just the ending part. Those that are spoken of being tortured day and night forever and ever are speaking of Satan, the false prophet, the dragon, etc. Keep in mind that Satan was created as an angel. An angel is a created spiritual being. Spiritual beings can not die. When those whose names are found in the Book of Life are given eternal life, it is because they are given a new spiritual body and no longer are flesh and blood. Thus when the resurrected flesh and blood are not found in the Book of Life, they shall be cast into the Lake of Fire and suffer the second death. This keeps in line with the scriptures that teach us the wages of sin is death. And the dead know nothing, even their memory is gone. It shall be as if they never were (Obadiah v.16).

Also do not forget that Satan took 1/3 of the angels with him. THAT is a LOT of spiritual beings... all of which can NOT die!!! Since they can not die, they shall be tortured day and night forever and ever. And the smoke of them shall go up forever and ever. How hard is that to understand when you ask God to fill you with the Comforter so you will have understanding.

Thank you for this opportunity to expand your understanding. Don't thank me, thank the Lord.

He wrote back a second time


I am sorry that you have never seen anything in the Bible that says or even suggests that angels, including Satan cannot die. There are many things in the Bible that others also seem to have missed as they convincingly teach doctrine that disputes the scriptures. Please take a look at the teaching Jesus gave us concerning the spiritual bodies that we will receive at the resurrection if our names are found in the Book of Life. Jesus explains that with the spiritual bodies, we shall be like the angels and cannot die.

35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. (KJV Luke 20:35-36)

 

I have never seen anything in the Bible that says that the evil angels, including Satan; That they cannot die nor be destroyed. Let's look at the text you suggested:

  1. But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;
  2. nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. Luke 20:35-36 NKJV

In verse 36, it says there are two reasons why the righteous cannot die any more. First, they are equal with the angels and second, they are sons of God since they are sons of the resurrection.

Anyone who is not a son of God is not going to live forever. We know this to be true because the Bible tells us that the wicked will all be destroyed in the judgement day. They are sons of Satan just as Jesus said:

  1. "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. John 8:44

Obviously, in the case of people it does indeed make a difference who we follow, if we follow God we will live forever but if we follow Satan, we will be destroyed. But what about angels? Can they also be destroyed?

In heaven, the angels will indeed live forever. However, Satan and all his followers have rebelled against God. They are now enemies of God! Look at the next group of Bible texts which show that God will destroy Satan and his wicked angels:

  1. You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
  2. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.
  3. By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; I (will destroy) thee, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. Ezekiel 28:14-16 NKJV (will destroy) KJV

God says He is going to destroy Satan, the covering cherub.

We are not limited to the above Scripture. When Jesus was on earth, the demons often cried out. Look at what they said: (NOTE: the same scene is also found in Mark 1:23-25)

  1. Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice,
  2. saying, "Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!"
  3. But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him. Luke 4:33-35

These demons are scared of Jesus and they asked: Did you come to destroy us? They definitely knew that they could be destroyed.

In Hebrews we find that through the death of Jesus, He will be able to destroy the devil:

  1. Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
  2. and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14

Satan will be destroyed. In addition, Jesus will destroy the works of the devil as well:

  1. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8

We saw that the evil angels were scared of being destroyed. Now we find that Satan and his works will be destroyed.

Below, in two different verses, we find that the angels which have sinned will be held in chains until the day of judgment. This is further evidence that all the wicked angels will be destroyed:

  1. For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 2 Peter 2:4
  1. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Jude 1:6

Now we see that the saints will judge not only the wicked people but the wicked angels that are being held until judgment:

  1. Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
  2. Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 1 Corinthians 6:2-3.

In that judgment, both the wicked people and the evil angels will be destroyed in the same fire:

  1. "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

The fire is everlasting because they will never come back to life ever again.

We can see that both Satan and his evil angels will be destroyed. So, let's look at Luke 20 again:

  1. But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;
  2. nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. Luke 20:36 NKJV

Luke says that they will never die and that they are sons of the resurrection. But which resurrection? There are two resurrections.

  1. "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
  2. "and come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. John 5:28-29

It should be obvious that Luke is assuming that we understand what he means, that those who will live forever are sons of the resurrection of life not the resurrection of condemnation!

Also, in the same way, it should be obvious that when Luke says the righteous will be equal to the angels, that he is NOT talking about the evil angels. He is assuming that you know this. The evil angels will be destroyed. We have seen good evidence that they are destroyed.

So, the righteous people will not be equal to the wicked angels who will be destroyed; But, they will be equal to the righteous angels who will live in heaven forever!

The subject that might suggest that Satan and his evil angels will never die is the very subject of this page. "Forever and ever" can easily mean "until they die". In spite of the Scripture that says God will destroy Satan as we saw above; Many believe that verse 10 below actually substantiates the idea that Satan and his angels can never die.

  1. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
  2. And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
  3. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.
  4. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 20:7-10

There is a difference between humans and angels. Below, in verse Revelation 20:14, we see that the wicked people will experience the second death. At this point, all these people have already died. Then they were raised up in the resurrection of condemnation to receive their punishment in judgement. However, Satan and the wicked angels have never died. They are being held until that day when they will be destroyed. See Revelation 20:10 above:

  1. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
  2. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
  3. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
  4. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
  5. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15

In Revelation 14 below, we have people who are also described as receiving torment for ever and ever.

  1. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
  2. The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
  3. And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Revelation 14:9-11

So, Revelation 14 really breaks the idea that only the evil angels will experience torment that lasts "for ever and ever". Of course, "for ever and ever" is until they die, both wicked angels and people.

Let's look at a translation problem of Revelation 20:10:

  1. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 20:10

Are the beast and false prophet still being tormented after 1000 years. Remember, the beast and false prophet were thrown in the fire when Jesus comes (Revelation 19:20). That is before the 1000 years. Now Satan is placed where they were placed, after the 1000 years, but are they still there suffering in the fires of Hell?

The word "are" is not found in the text at all. It is added according to the opinion of the translators. I have found 9 different version that translate it differently. NIV and New International Reader's Version use "had been thrown"; and Tyndale New Testament, International Standard Version, Weymouth New Testament, Orthodox Jewish Bible, Amplified, and English Standard Version use "were".

If "are" is used it suggests that the beast and false prophet is still suffering after 1000 years which would agree with the idea that the wicked suffer for ever and ever and ever, forever. However, if "had been thrown" or "were" is used, it suggests that the suffering is of a shorter period. That the wicked will be destroyed by the fire. Thus forever and ever means until they die just as this web page suggests.

There is nothing in the text, in the original language, that says that the beast and false prophet are still burning and suffering. All that can be said is that Satan is put in the same place that the others had been placed.

So, there is nothing to suggest that evil angels cannot die nor be destroyed.

 

The Fourth Question:

My simple question about How long will Hell fire burn is this. Please find some explanation for me.

Was man created to live for ever? Is there any thing like eternal damnation? otherwise the opposite of eternal life is eternal damnation.
Thanks

 

So, was man created to live for ever? Yes, he was made to live forever. However, God made a stipulation that Adam and Eve must obey Him. God setup a test for them:

  1. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;
  2. "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Genesis 2:16-17

Adam and Eve were told that they would die if they ate of that tree but Satan tempted Eve not to believe God:

  1. And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
  2. "but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'"
  3. Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.
  4. "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:2-5

For the first time Eve, then Adam also, had to think about death. Before they fell, there was no death and Both Adam and Eve were made to live forever. But now, after sin has entered the world, there is death and destruction everywhere in the world.

  1. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23.

It is because we have sinned that we must die since the wages of sin is death. If it wasn't for God's gift to us, of eternal life, we would all be doomed.

In 1 Corinthians 15:22 we see that we all die because of Adam's sin.

  1. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
  2. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.
  3. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
  4. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.
  5. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 1 Corinthians 15:20-24

In today's world no one has immortality because we all die.

But, some people try to say, because of verse 22, that all people will live forever because of Christ!

However, if we continue to read into verse 23 we find the truth of what Paul was saying. When we read Verse 23 we see that it actually tells us who it is that will be made alive (It tells us who will live forever). All will be made alive, first Jesus, who is the firstfruits, then those who are Christ's at His coming. It is only those who belong to Jesus, they alone will be raised to life and be made immortal.

So, all sons of Adam will die, but all those who are Christ's will be made alive at His coming!

In this sinful earth, all people are mortal. We will not live forever and we will all die unless Jesus comes in our lifetime.

  1. Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? Job 4:17
  1. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Romans 6:12
  1. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 2 Colossians 4:11

Man is mortal. That is why we all seek for immortality. We want to live forever:

  1. eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; Romans 2:7.

The righteous looking for immortality because they presently do not have it. Soon, they will receive immortality as a gift from our Lord at His Second Coming. In 1 Corinthians we read that "this mortal must put on immortality!" Those who are raised to life when Jesus comes will be given immortality. They will put on immortality:

  1. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--
  2. in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
  3. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
  4. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
  5. "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"
  6. The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
  7. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:51-57

Jesus will raise up His people when He comes! When that happens the dead will be raised incorruptible and changed. They will not have sinful bodies with disease and pain. Also, the righteous dead in Christ will be raised up and they will receive immortality. God's people become immortal! In sin, they were mortal but now that they are raised up to life. They are changed in that they now have incorruptible and immortal bodies. They will live forever!

If the wicked are mortal and they do not receive immortality; How can they even suffer in eternity forever in hellfire? The wicked are never given the gift of eternal life so that means they will die in the fires of Hell.

Jesus even warns us to fear Him who is able to destroy both our soul and body in the fires of Hell:

  1. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28

So, God will destroy both soul and body in the fire! Nowhere does the Bible say that the wicked receive immortality so that they can suffer forever. The wicked are still mortal and they will die as the Bible so clearly states:

  1. For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth.
  2. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more.
  3. But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
  1. But the wicked shall perish; And the enemies of the LORD, Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away. Psalm 37: 9-11, 20.
  1. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; The future of the wicked shall be cut off. Psalm 37: 9-11, 20, 38.
  1. As smoke is driven away, So drive them away; As wax melts before the fire, So let the wicked perish at the presence of God. Psalm 68:2.
  1. May sinners be consumed from the earth, And the wicked be no more. Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD! Psalm 104:35.
  1. For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up, Says the LORD of hosts, That will leave them neither root nor branch.
  2. But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
  3. You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this, Says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 4:1-3.
  1. Behold, they shall be as stubble, The fire shall burn them; They shall not deliver themselves From the power of the flame; It shall not be a coal to be warmed by, Nor a fire to sit before! Isaiah 47:14.

The wicked are NOT immortal, so they will burn up and die and there will be nothing left of them. They will be ashes under the soles of your feet, they shall be stubble, there will not be even a coal to warm anything up. There will only be stubble!

So, the opposite of eternal life is eternal death. The punishment is forever since it lasts forever. They will be dead forever. The choice then is really between eternal life and eternal death.

Hell Fire, does it last forever? What does the Bible say what will happen to the wicked? For additional information on the wicked dead click on the link to the right.

Hell Fire, Does it last forever? Is Satan in charge of Hell? Do people really moan and groan forever in agony and pain?


Another question is this: Often Satan is pictured as being in control of Hell where he tends the fires of the agonizing wicked. Thus Satan is pictured as tormenting the wicked. Is that truly what is going to happen? Is that happening now? Click to see: Is Satan in charge of Hell or is he and his angels destroyed in the fire? (A new window will appear)

Are Evil Angels Immortal or are Satan and His Evil Angels Destroyed in the Fires of Hell?

 

The Fifth Question:

I read your rather long but provocative article denouncing the ages old and widely accepted Christian doctrine of an eternal torment for all who reject Christ. You do bring up a lot of interesting and frankly difficult to refute points, but in all of this, there are some things you seem to have overlooked.

You assert that "forever and ever" does or at least can mean an age that will cease. However, if we are to take that position about the torment that lasts forever and ever, we must also take that position about the following;

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen, 1 Tim 1:17

. . . To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever Rev 5:13


 

We must take into context the subject that will experience the lake of fire. In revelation chapter 20, it clearly says that the lake of fire experience is the second death! What is death? It is not living. It also says that the fire will devour them:

  1. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Revelation 20:6
  1. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.
  2. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 20:9-10
  1. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Revelation 20:14

So, in Revelation 20, we see that the wicked will be tormented day and night for ever and ever in the lake of fire and brimstone. Yet twice, in that very same chapter, we find that this action results in the second death of the wicked! In addition we see, in the ninth verse, that the fire devours the wicked! This must mean more than just having the wicked being enveloped by the flames. It means the wicked will be utterly consumed by the fire. They will be burned up!

The Greek word (2719 katesyiw katesthio kat-es-thee'-o or katafagw kataphago kat-aph-ag'-o) is translated as: devour 10, eat up 3, devour up 2, in the KJV. When used as a metaphoric sense, as in a fire, it means: to devour i.e. to utterly consume, destroy

Is John disagreeing with himself in the very same chapter? NO, it does not make sense. John could not have been so inconsistent as to mix this issue up in the very same chapter!

Our understanding of what he is saying must be wrong. Because "for ever and ever" can mean either "as long as one lives" or it can mean an "eternal forever"; We can see that John is clearly using the understand of having the wicked burn until they are destroyed.

John is not trying to confuse us. He is trying to tell us that the wicked will suffer until they die, when they are completely consumed. It is at that time that they experience the second death from which they can never return to life again.

This simple understanding allows John to agree with all the old testament texts that say the wicked will be ashes under the righteous' feet, they will be stubble, there will not be a coal to be warmed by, nor a fire to sit before. etc.

This also allows the Bible to speak plainly! All these things speak of an actual end for the wicked. The wicked will last however long they survive in the flames before they die. It is then that they experience the second death never to rise again.

So, in this way, we can use the Bible to explain itself. Because we know that the wicked will be completely destroyed, experiencing the second death; We can then also realize that the wicked will suffer in the flames until they are completely destroyed.

Now, let's look at the other side of the argument: There is no indication anywhere in the Bible, anywhere at all, that God will ever die! So when referring to God, forever and ever means an eternal forever!

We have also seen that the righteous who will live with God are also given immortality. They receive immortality as a gift from Jesus at His Second Coming:

  1. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--
  2. in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
  3. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
  4. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
  5. "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"
  6. The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.
  7. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:51-57

The righteous will put on incorruption and they who have been mortal will put on immortality! So when it says that the righteous will live for eternity, it means just that; Because, they have been given immortality. They have been changed.

The wicked, on the other hand, never do receive immortality. Since they will always be mortal, they will be destroyed. They cannot suffer an eternity since they cannot live for an eternity!

The Bible teaches that man is mortal and so he cannot suffer forever and ever for eternity. He will die the second death in the flames. But the righteous is given eternal life and his body becomes immortal. Thus He will live through the ceaseless ages of eternity with God who has saved him.

So, we can see that the two meanings of "forever" do not clash at all. We do not have to use special rules for one group over the other; But both meanings of "forever and ever" are understood in relation to the rest of Scripture. The Bible is literally used to interpret itself.



Mike's Origins Resources: A PhD Creationist's view of science, origins, and the future hope of the human race; by looking at Creation Science, Biblical Evidence, and Prophecy What happens when we die? Do we go to Heaven or Hell right away when we die? What does Jesus mean by sleep?
What happens when we die? Do we go to Heaven or Hell right away when we die? What does Jesus mean by sleep?
What happens during the 1000 years following Jesus' Second Coming? What about Judgement and what does the Bible say?
Hell Fire, Does it last forever? Is Satan in charge of Hell? Do people really moan and groan forever in agony and pain?
Are Evil Angels Immortal or are Satan and His Evil Angels Destroyed in the Fires of Hell?



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Copyright 2005 - 2014 by Michael Brown all rights reserved
Officially posted May 17, 2005
last revised January 1, 2014