April 12, 2001
The question at issue: Will any man or woman be sent to a never-ending punishment of hellish suffering by God? Or, are all men ultimately and finally saved and blessed for eternity?
My answer below………………..this is a matter worth soberly evaluating. Know WHY you believe what you believe.
WILL JESUS TORTURE BILLIONS FOREVER?
By J. Preston Eby
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator and Sustainer of ALL things and ALL people. He either does or allows everything that is done in heaven or on earth. If one hundred billion helpless human beings are being tortured, then Jesus is doing it. Satan has brought suffering and death to the whole human race. However, if eternal torment IS TRUE, then Jesus Christ will torture forever the whole human race, except the small handful who will be saved. In one hour, in a hot searing hell, our Lord will inflict more pain and agony on each person than Satan inflicted on that person during his entire life.
If this torture lasts throughout eternity, then each unsaved person will suffer more than all the suffering of all the people that ever lived on earth. Think of it! Billions have suffered horrible pain for hours, days, weeks, months, and years, during the time they were alive. And yet, after they die, EVERY unsaved person will suffer more agony than all the suffering of the whole race PUT TOGETHER from Adam until now. This is so horrible, so frightful, that it is difficult for our minds to grasp. (this fact COULD BE one of the reason that God sent His beloved JESUS, to save those who would believe Him).
Except Satan himself, Pharaoh, Nero, and Hitler were among the most horrible killers of men this world has ever known. Yet, the doctrine of eternal torture makes Jesus a million times more vicious and vindictive than these three put together. You see, these brutal murderers killed their victims. Death brought sweet relief in a moment of time. However, that Man of Galilee, that
Man whom we love, praise, and worship, that Man who taught that we should forgive four hundred and ninety times a day, that Man who told us that we should love our enemies and bless them that curse us, that Man who died for all men, will never, never forgive ANYONE who has rejected Him in this frail life, or, worse yet, who merely failed to believe on Him during this brief time. Instead of torturing them for a season and then ending their suffering with death, He will torture them through all eternity. (People can create their own god who fits their desires, but the God of bible will definitely cast unrighteous into the lake of fire as the scripture says in Revelation 20:15)
Even the hardest, cruelest, most brutal men cannot torture their fellow men for more than two or three hours without growing weak, faint, and sick (see Fox Book of Martyrs). However, Christian leaders teach that our Lord will torture His victims through endless ages. The Scripture reveals that Christ Jesus is the kindest, the most tender-hearted and merciful Person this world has ever known. His mercy endures forever, or to all generations of time. The doctrine of eternal torment pictures Him to be the most horrible monster, the most beastly, brutal, cruel, vicious Person this world has ever known. The governments of this world, ruled by unregenerated men, put their rebels in prisons, and the very worst offenders they put to death. But our Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator and Redeemer of the world, will mercilessly degree. Surely, this pagan and Romish doctrine of eternal torture does NOT glorify HIM!
One of the theologians of the Church of England (Jeremy Taylor) speaks of the fate of the wicked in the following terms: “In hell every sense and organ shall be assailed forever with its own appropriate and most exquisite sufferings. We are amazed at the inhumanity of Phalaris who roasted men in his brazen bull, but THAT WAS A JOY IN COMPARISON WITH HELL.
And here is what the renowned evangelist, C. H. Spurgeon, said on the same subject: “There is real fire in hell. The body shall be suffused with agony; your head tormented with racking pains; your eyes starting from their sockets; your ears tortured with horrid sounds; your pulse rattling with anguish; your limbs crackling in the flame; every vein a pathway for the fire to tread; every nerve a string on which the devil shall forever play the diabolical tune of hell’s unutterable lament. “torture those who offend Him to the most hideous and incomprehensible. If it were true, it is so awful that it should never be spoken without tears and a broken heart. How does the mother of a murderer speak of the corning execution of her boy? Yet the prospect to her is only one of time, and in the limits of the physical. If the people believe it, then their attitude about the whole thing reveals that they could care less if the creation burns forever.
The fact is, NO ONE really believes in an eternal burning hell if we are to judge by their actions. If they saw a person in a burning building, they would put forth every effort to save them; they would cry and scream for help; they would be late for work; they would not rest until the
victims were rescued (but, no person can rescue another person from eternal fire, except Lord Jesus).
He goes on, Yet, those who teach eternal torment can spend their hours relaxing in front of the television screen, visiting and feasting upon rich dainties with their friends, and whole days in camping, vacationing, fishing, and playing, and then lay their heads upon a pillow every night and sleep soundly, while, according to their own teaching, countless millions are going to a place a million times worse than a burning building! If they believed what they teach, they would never cease, day and night until they dropped, and others came to take their places, in their efforts to save men from such a place! They excuse themselves by saying, “All we can do is warn.” But if they were standing before a burning building would they preach a thirty-minute sermon, then turn and walk away, saying, “All we can do is warn!” And how many do they meet day after day, and never mention their danger? Ah, precious friend of mine, if my concept of hell were what modern Christendom’s is, then it is my conviction that I would not be able to wait for God to send me to preach the Gospel! I would have to spend my every wakened hour pleading, working, struggling and fighting to save men from such a fate. I would be compelled to spend hours upon hours in the chronic wards of hospitals, in rest homes, with the elderly and those working on dangerous jobs, begging men to repent and turn to Jesus before they die. And I am convinced that anyone with the love of God in his heart would do the same IF HE REALLY BELIEVED the fables that are being taught today about hell. I will say this, either those who teach eternal torture are EXTREMELY CALLOUSED or they do not believe what they teach!
George Hawtin: has so aptly written: “Is it any wonder that in the face of such sadistic humbug there has been a wholesale manufacture of infidels? All these statements (by eternal hell-fire preachers) may be a show of oratorical eloquence, but they are nothing more. They hold no part of truth. They deny every attribute of God. They make wisdom foolishness, turn eternal love into exasperated hate, make omnipotence helplessness, and make the justice of God the grossest injustice in the universe. To say that I believe in such repugnance would be a lie of the first order. I do not believe it because it is contrary to the nature of God. It is contrary to the love of God . It is contrary to the justice of God. It is contrary to the power of God. It is contrary to the Word of God and it puts God in the ridiculous position of being the almighty King of kings and Lord of lords yet having dominion a vast pocket of hate and resistance that even He cannot overcome. Further than this it makes the mighty sacrifice of Christ that was made for the entire world to be almost impotent in its power and scope (the power and scope of the sacrifice of Christ is ONLY on those who believe Him). Worst of all, it frustrates the purpose of God laid down in the beginning when He said, ‘Let us make man in our image and after our likeness.’ Some will immediately ask me whether I do not believe in hell. My answer is very definite on this point. I most certainly DO BELIEVE in hell, but the hell of the Bible and the hell of human tradition are not the same thing at all. The hell of tradition is hopeless and eternal, while the hell of the Scripture like every judgment of God is corrective, remedial, and restorative.” -end quote.
Re: Mark 14:21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.
AND TONY PIROG SAID: That proves simply that the man who betrayed Jesus would wish he had never been born. Of which is evidenced by the fact that he committed suicide.
Jesus does NOT say that Judas would WISH that he had never been born. Jesus says that it would have been BETTER FOR JUDAS if he had never been born. This is Jesus Christ’s JUDGEMENT on Judas, NOT Judas’s personal remorse. The only reason that it could be BETTER if Judas had NEVER been born (never existed at all), is if Judas would never ever be saved – for even if Judas endured some punishment for a million years – eventually to emerge from this punishment and be blessed forever, it could never be said that it would be better if he was never born.
FURTHER REPLY FROM DEAN:
Let it be clearly understood that there are 4 cardinal doctrines among those who profess Monotheistic/Bible religion concerning the final fate of the wicked:
(1) Those who are found to be STILL wicked at The Last Judgement will be utterly and permanently rejected and repudiated by God – and God will SEND THEM into never ending punishment.
(2) Those who are found to be STILL wicked at The Last Judgement will be annihilated – blotted out, as if they never existed. They will not be conscious, but will be simply NON-existant.
(3) Those who are found to be STILL wicked at The Last Judgement will be subjected to some form of TEMPORARY punishment; long or short; severe or slight; until they are purged of all remaining wickedness, after which, they shall be admitted to eternal bliss to live in God’s favor forever. (this doctrine is called “Purgatory” by The ROMAN Catholic Church)
(4) Everyone, upon their decease: no matter how they lived in this world and no matter what religion they embraced – even the most bitter and hardened atheist and even the most terrifying sadistic criminal, will be immediately admitted to eternal bliss to live in God’s favor
Neither Tony Pirog nor Preston Eby have declared whether they affirm proposition #3 or proposition #4 in their remarks above – but it is clear that they do not affirm propositions #1 or #2. We shall assume that they affirm either proposition #3 or proposition #4 for the purpose of making an answer. In any case, my purpose is to prove that proposition #1 is both morally and Biblically correct, and I will have some remarks about proposition #2 at the end of this writing.
Luke 12:4-5 Jesus said:
4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
Nothing could be plainer than that Jesus warns His hearers that there is something worse than natural death to fear. Note that Jesus says that it is GOD that does the killing, and it is God that has the power to cast the one He has killed into hell. We shall not, at the present, argue for what this “hell” is – but I only wish to point out that there is SOMETHING that can happen to a man AFTER death that is more terrifying than anything that happened to him in this life.
Note the very careful language of the above – it does not say that after God has killed a man that the man SHALL (for sure) be cast into hell, but only that God CAN cast a man into hell. The clear implication is that God may kill a man, but NOT cast him into hell afterwards. Note that Jesus issues this warning to “His friends”. Jesus warns His friends that God not only can and will kill a man, but that God can also cast that same man into hell afterwards. I do not take this warning as indicating that any once-truly-converted person will EVER end up in “hell”, but that Jesus wants us to be apprised of how serious a matter it is to provoke or test God. Someone, Jesus implies, will be cast into hell. Perhaps by the word “friends”, here, Jesus is warning those that think of themselves as His friends that they had better be correct in their presumption. In another place, Jesus says that His death is efficacious to save ONLY HIS FRIENDS, and His friends are those who DO whatsoever He commands us. (see John 15:13-14)
Hell, then, cannot be surmised as a state of mind that a man enters into on his own volition either through wanton sin or ignorant choices; neither can hell be an alien force or power that overcomes or consumes a man on it’s own. The only way that the above described man can get INTO hell, is to be cast (thrown, forced) there BY GOD.
A man’s life may be (figuratively speaking) “a living hell”, and we know what that means. A man may “go through hell” (also figuratively speaking) – when he a has difficult time of life, or if he has lived through and survived a war.
But none of the above “figurative hells” are experienced AFTER DEATH. Jesus speaks of a “hell” that is experienced AFTER death.
HOW BAD IS THIS HELL?
Again, Jesus said: Mark 9:43-48
43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
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.
Both the worm and the fire which are mentioned above are normally understood as agents of destruction. We understand the worm as describing the loathsome creature that infests and consumes, and the fire as indicative of what inflicts pain and destroys form and order. A burnt building is still made of the same elements after it is burnt, but it’s form and order are destroyed. Before my opponents begin their bit of shouting, I concede that there is nothing said about HOW LONG the man is among the fire and worms – the above verses only say that the worms never stop squirming and eating and the fire never stops burning. What will the worms be eating, and what will the fire be burning, if the man who is cast into the hell fire has been let out? Will the worms be eating at nothing and the fire be burning nothing forever? IN ANY CASE – whatever it is that Jesus is describing in Mark 9:43-48 is unspeakably horrifying. Even if this treatment only lasted for a few minutes, the combination of these 2 things, along with the consciousness of having been thrust into that state or place BY GOD – is terrifying beyond imagination!
HOW LONG DOES THE MAN WHO IS CAST INTO HELL STAY IN HELL?
Now here, is where all the quibbling about the meaning of the word “eternal” will be introduced by my adversaries. They can and will quote scriptures where the word “eternal” CAN MEAN an indefinite period with no foreknown ending. The word for “eternal” does NOT always have to mean “for ever and ever”, as in “infinitely”. This is granted, though I insist that in many places, the word “eternal” does mean “infinite”.
Rev 14:11 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.
The language above is of the same horrifying character as in Mark 9:43-48: but once again, the “for ever and ever” specifically refers to the smoke of their torment, and does NOT refer specifically to the duration of torment for those who worship the beast and his image. It DOES say that those who were so tormented have no rest, day or night, but AGAIN, it does not PLAINLY say that their TORMENT goes on forever. My adversaries will say that only the smoke goes up forever and ever, as a testimony to God’s displeasure with sin. My adversaries will say that the no rest, day or night only lasts until those who are being tormented are eventually released. After they are released (my adversaries say), those who were being tormented WILL have the rest they were previously and temporarily denied.
Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
2 Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
MY ADVERSARIES will insist that the word everlasting in the above two quotations refers to a QUALITY of destruction and punishment, and NOT to a QUANTITY of destruction and punishment. They may allow that it could SEEM LIKE forever or FEEL LIKE forever for as long as it lasts, but they insist that it will NOT last forever.
TWO YEARS ago Richard and I engaged in a lengthy, wordy debate with someone over this very matter. We did not answer that man flippantly: but decided it was time that we researched and discussed this very matter until there was nothing left to look at or say concerning it. Our opponent insisted that the words for ETERNAL and EVERLASTING and for FOR EVER AND EVER did not necessarily refer to NEVER-ENDING, and that we could not build our case on a narrow and restricted definition for these words. We decided to let him “make the rule” and to submit to this rule. We began to look for evidence of a NEVER-ENDING PUNISHMENT that would not depend on or use these words. We also realized that if we could establish that if at least ONE MAN will end up in never-ending punishment, that this alone would utterly refute our opponent’s premise. It is always the case that a single exception denies the contrary rule.
Mat 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.
Mark 14:21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.
Now, WHY JESUS said that… does it mean there is no chance in the far future for Judas to be REDEEMED??
The ONLY way it could have been better for Judas if he was NEVER born, is if he is destined for a never-ending punishment. Let us presume that Judas would suffer the lengthiest after-death purging/punishment that any man would ever suffer: but even if it were for millions of years, it would sill have an end, and Judas would eventually emerge purified and restored to blessedness. It would not have been better for Judas if he was never born in that case. We all know that the blessing of the present always soothes and mollifies the sufferings of the past. If Judas would ever be released from his punishment, and no matter HOW TERRIBLE THAT PUNISHMENT WAS……..the day would come in which that punishment was forgotten and ignored as Judas shared in the complete freedom from pain and fear that is promised to the righteous. As it is written: Rev 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
These words from Jesus Christ about Judas cannot be manipulated to mean any thing BUT that Judas was destined to NEVER-ENDING punishment. We are plainly told by Jesus Christ that at least ONE PERSON (Judas) has gone to, and is (now and already) for-ever incarcerated in a state of never-ending punishment. The fate of Judas is referred to by Peter in these ominous and portentous words: Acts 1:25 …….from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
These words imply that there is a proper place for someone such as Judas, and that that place is especially designed for and appropriate for a man like Judas. The words “his own place” infer separation and isolation, which conditions are punitive in themselves. There is no inference here that Judas ever gets out of his own place. Whatever his own place is, it does not sound good.
FURTHERMORE – Judas is given a special label that seems to insinuate a very bad fate:
John 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
Such a term as son of perdition is certainly a contrast to “son of God”. Judas is not referred to as an “errant son of God”, but he is referred to as a child (product) of destruction and punishment (perdition = hellish conditions). The word used for “son” in this place means “likeness of”. It speaks of Judas’ fitness for perdition. Furthermore, Judas is plainly said to be LOST; which term has always meant UNSAVED in the Bible-religion context. All of these things compared together leave us with no options, except to admit that Judas was ultimately consigned to a frightful fate from which he never escapes for ever and ever.
Judas is not the only specific man in the Bible for which we can find such plain testimony that he is consigned to never-ending punishment. The Antichrist (a man) is given the same label as Judas: 2 Th 2:3-4 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
The end-times false prophet is assigned to never ending punishment: Rev 20:10 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.
I have granted that the words ETERNAL, EVERLASTING, and FOR EVER AND EVER need not be confined to the idea of never-ending, BUT as the evidence begins to accumulate it gets harder and harder to make these terms mean anything less or anything other than NEVER-ENDING. The primary sense of these words means NEVER-ENDING, and it is not fair nor honest to make a secondary figurative meaning into the primary and ONLY meaning in so many places when there is no contextual evidence in the text to imply these secondary and figurative meanings.
I am content and confident that I have established from the Bible that Judas Iscariot has gone to and is now in a tormenting “hell”, and that he will NEVER be released.
Mr. Eby (above) has contended that if God will send a man to an eternal tormenting hell, that God must be ACCUSED of and BE GUILTY of the worst sin/crime in all of history. He believes in “a God of love and mercy”, and cannot see how love and mercy could ever subject a mere man to such horrific tortures FOREVER. But the same challenge could be issued against God’s love and mercy even if there was no never-ending hell at the end! God either permits or directly causes horrific sufferings all over the world, RIGHT NOW. Mr. Eby has given us a very good description of just how much horror and agony that many men in this world already suffer, but he has not answered to WHY God does not prevent this from happening. Mr. Eby has compared the idea of God watching people twist and scream in hell with indifference to our watching people burn to death in a house fire with indifference. He assures us that we should or would be driven by love and compassion to do everything in our power to rescue these people. Mr. Eby forgets that God is watching, too, and that God is apparently doing nothing to rescue these same people.
Mr. Eby does not answer to the fact that in the Old Testament, God sent the Israelites into various cities and commanded them to kill EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING in those cities, including the children. One might ask WHY God did not at least spare the children and have the Israelites adopt them and raise them righteously?
The indisputable fact is that destruction, terror, pain and misery are endlessly marching across the world right now and causing unspeakable misery among millions of people who are being abused, or starved, or are dying of frightful diseases. It is hard to see how God would be guilty of sinful cruelty for sending men to eternal suffering if He is not guilty of the same for NOT PREVENTING the endless and almost unimaginable suffering that is going on every single day in this world. (I acknowledge that God DOES protect and preserve the righteous from many & most of these things)
Mr. Eby has it that if anyone ends up in a never-ending hell, that this of necessity makes God into a “very bad God”. But then, IF THERE IS a never-ending punishment awaiting certain men, then it is not the mere fact of that that makes God into a “bad God” – it is Mr. Eby’s judgement against God.
Mr. Eby has established a principle of judgment under which God is condemned as EVIL, because even without a never-ending punishment, God would still be guilty of the same moral evil that Mr. Eby condemns (just less of it). All that Mr. Eby does is mitigate God’s “crime” by allowing that God can torment and kill men in this life without “sinning”, but that if He torments them forever, God has sinned BIG TIME.
Mr. Eby says that those who teach a doctrine of never-ending punishment have thereby tacitly accused God of being the worst and most evil being there ever was. But if God IS responsible, both for the sufferings of men NOW and for their never-ending punishment later – then it is Mr. Eby who has accused God of these things. Mr. Eby says, (paraphrase) “Anyone who would do such things is evil”. Does God do such things?
Prov 1:24-31 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
FROM THE BEGINNING, men who would seek to understand God have had to account for the fact that this world is FILLED WITH PAIN. In their attempt to “put a nice face” on God, they have come up with all sorts of explanations for why God is NOT RESPONSIBLE for all this pain. But since God created all things, including the Devil, and since God created every human faculty, including the power to choose the evil, it is impossible to conclude that God is not ultimately responsible for all that has happened. No matter WHAT men will say about this, they DO (in their secret hearts) BLAME GOD for everything. What we must do, is BE RECONCILED to God (as He is) – and not try reconcile to God to our judgement about how things “should be”. Are you reconciled to the God who created this world, in which there is SO MUCH EVIL?
WHY WOULD GOD SEND ANY MAN TO NEVER-ENDING PUNISHMENT?
Heb 10:28-29 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden ; covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (unholy = Grk.”KOINOS” = common = ordinary = not exceptional or special; that is, they account the shedding of Jesus Christ’s blood to be no more significant than the shedding of any other man’s blood)
See here again that God warns men of something WORSE than being killed………
Let us have it understood that NO MAN is sent to never-ending punishment JUST AND ONLY because he told one little lie sometime, or because he told 10,000 big lies in his lifetime. God knows that we are under endless pressure to sin (in fact, God placed us here), and that sometimes, even our health and safety can seem to be dependent on our going along with evil. A man who does not lie to protect his employer is in danger of being thrown out of his job, and etc. This is a very evil and dangerous world that we live in. The crime that damns is the REFUSAL to acknowledge and embrace (as true) the self-claims and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said: I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (John 8:24)
And because Jesus knew that He would be grossly misrepresented by many men, He pre-emptively forgave US ALL for anything that we might speak or do directly against His name:
Mat 12:32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
BUT…something called speaking against the Holy Ghost is not and will not be forgiven – NOT EVER – not even in the age to come!
It is the Holy Ghost that communicates the pure truth about Jesus Christ – either by affirming (in degree) what men preach about Christ, or by direct revelation. OF COURSE, The Holy Ghost is ALWAYS saying one particular thing all the time: that “There IS a Bible, and if you have found it, or know where one is, that that Bible, taken as a whole and rightly divided and simply defined according to all the laws of literary form, grammar and definition that we use every day in every other matter involving language” (that was an earful!) – “that THE BIBLE tells you THE TRUTH about every thing it speaks to directly or indirectly” YES, I affirm before the God that has judged my soul that THE Holy Ghost of God is saying THIS about THE Bible to EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, AND ALL THE TIME. Now what I just said that THE Holy Ghost is ALWAYS SAYING about THE Bible is not true, then I have just issued a false prophesy. Please let me summarize – THE Bible accurately describes the actual reality that you are trapped in.
John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
And Jesus Christ is said to be the VERY FACE and IMAGE of God Himself:
2 Cor 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
The SIN THAT DAMNS is the outright rejection, refusal and repudiation of God Himself – and God has made Himself known to us through JESUS CHRIST. Those who will ultimately be damned have REFUSED to allow God to be God, and have refused God the right to decide what is true and false. The damned have decided that THEY THEMSELVES ought to be the ultimate judge over what is good or evil. They have not only refused and rejected God Himself, but they have attempted to usurp God’s right to run the universe! Anyone who arrives at The Last Judgement in this condition will be sent off to never-ending punishment.
SO – the final question for each of us to answer is this one: Will you be reconciled to the ONLY God that ever existed, and Who is responsible (by creation) for the existence of all the misery that is in the world, OR will you “invent” a god that pleases you and represents no threat to you?
2 Cor 5:11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
2 Cor 5:20-21 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
ANNIHILATIONISM – the teaching that the wicked are simply blotted out so that they no longer exist:
I have NO PERSONAL NEED to send anyone to never-ending punishment. I do not ask God for such vengeance on those who have hurt or insulted me. The idea that the wicked will finally be “snuffed out” is attractive in many ways. At least (we could think) their suffering will end, and we will not have to spend an eternity KNOWING that countless millions of people, some of whom we know right now, are screaming and twisting in torment – among whom MAY BE our former friends and even our own mother, father, or child! I do not find the doctrine of Annihilationism personally objectionable – it rather seems (to me) to be an even more fitting and sufficient end of the wicked than a NEVER-ENDING HELL full of screaming people that I might have to know about FOREVER.
But still – we are faced with the question about “Whose side are you on?” – Are you on “God’s side”?, or are you in the defense of those whom God has rejected and accounted worthy of endless repudiation?
ANYWAY – about 17 years ago, God gave me a vision in which I was shown what ANNIHILATION would feel like to one who was about to be annihilated. Now this is just my personal experience, and THAT can prove nothing to you.
The realization that I could be so objectionable and unlikeable to God that He would simply “blot me out” so it would be as if I never existed was SO HORRIBLE and SORROWFUL, that I realized that I would rather go hell forever than be annihilated. At least if I was sent to hell and kept in hell that would prove that God was NOT FORGETTING ME!
This personal experience has permanently rendered me incapable of considering annihilation as a reasonable option to never-ending punishment. Now… I did not see any complimentary vision of hellish torments in order to compare these two things, and I cannot say how I would choose if both were placed before me. Those who prefer to argue for annihilationism do not do so in the defense of God’s goodness and fairness – but only to free themselves from having to be in agreement with God’s terrible judgment against the wicked. If they had ANY IDEA what it would FEEL LIKE to be facing God and knowing that shortly you will be “snuffed out” as if you never existed BECAUSE GOD DOES NOT LIKE YOU OR WANT YOU – they would abandon this view quickly and revert to the “everyone is finally saved” view if they still stubbornly refuse the inevitable reality that is sweeping down on all of humanity right now.
All sense of hope and happiness comes from the prospect that GOD not only likes you, but keeps you in mind. Every man, whether he is religious, or (avowed) atheist (atheism is a preference, not a discovery), (yes, even the atheist) derives his entire sense of hope and well being from the inner consciousness that God exists and that HE IS paying attention “to me”. To be not only rejected, but annihilated and then FORGOTTEN by God IS truly the most terrifying thing that can ever be imagined. I can tell you this – that brief moment when I was aware of what it would feel like to be rejected, blotted out and forgotten by God FELT LIKE IT WAS ALREADY LASTING FOR EVER AND EVER. So – (to me), even if the wicked are finally annihilated and are no longer conscious forever – THAT LAST MOMENT before they are thus destroyed WILL BE A NEVER-ENDING PUNISHMENT to them. Those who suspect that annihilation is the end of the wicked ought not to take any security from thinking that if they fail to “get it right” that the worst thing that can happen to them is that they will just fall asleep and never wake up. That last moment, before you “fall asleep”, could LAST FOREVER.