THE GOOD NEWS MINISTRY AND MISSIONS OUTREACH PROCLAIMING THE GOOD NEWS OF THE SOON RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST!
1. HELL IN TODAY'S WORLD
An evangelist once encountered a sceptic who, when asked to receive Christ, said, "I'm not afraid of Hell - all the Hell we will ever get is right here on earth!" The preacher's reply was quick and devastating, "I'll give you three reasons why this cannot be Hell. First, I am a True Christian, and there are no True Christians in Hell! Secondly, there is a place just around the corner where you can slake your thirst, but there is no water in Hell! Thirdly, I have been preaching Christ to you, and there is no Gospel in Hell!"
Dr. R.A. Torrey, who succeeded D.L. Moody, believed in the plain Bible teaching on Hell. He said, "We know absolutely nothing about future punishment but what God has been pleased to tell us in the Book; just as we know absolutely nothing about the future blessedness of the saved except what God has been pleased to tell us in this Book. If you are truly logical and not merely sentimental, if you give up what the Bible teaches on one subject, you will give up what it teaches on the other. If a man will believe that part of the Bible that he desires to believe and rejects that part of the bible that he does not desire to believe, in plain unvarnished English, he is a fool."
If the Bible is not true, we have no real proof that there is either a Heaven or a Hell. If the Bible is true about Heaven, it is also true about Hell.
Whenever I speak on this subject of Hell there are those who are bound to write and ask, "How do you reconcile the doctrine of Hell with the fact that God is a God of love?" I answer with this question, "How do we know that God is love?" We know this only from the Bible. If the Bible is not true we have no proof that God is love. Friend, if you reject what the Bible says about Hell you must in simple logic give up your belief that God is love.
Of course today the words "Hell" and "damn" are a part of the everyday language of most people- including our politicians, radio announcers and TV personalities. The use of such four-letter words portrays their lack of education and inability to express themselves forcefully in the English language. Such conversation surely reveals a mental vacuum.
"See you in Hell tonight!" cried one friend to another. They planned to meet in a night club which chose this name for the sake of publicity. Hell is fast becoming a joke word and people are laughing at the very idea of such a place. They scoff at the Word of God which teaches the eternal punishment of all who reject the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.
"Why, man, I'm getting my Hell here upon the earth!" This is what a business man said to me recently. I replied, "Sir, the Hell you are getting upon earth is but a Sunday school picnic compared to the eternal torments you will suffer unless you repent of sin and turn to the Lord."
A young man carelessly boasted, "Well, if I go to Hell think of all the company I'll have." I said to him, "Don't deceive yourself. There is no company in Hell. It is a place of total separation from everyone. Although there may be many famous people there, they will give you neither joy nor pleasure. Hell is a place of suffering and there will be no companionship whatever to help relieve the agony."
A common expression used by many people who are rude in their speech is, "Go to Hell." The same ones, however, say they are not sure there is a Hell. They live and act as though death ends all or as though they can get by without meeting God. The very fact that they tell people to go to Hell shows an inner conviction that those who do wrong should be punished.
Perhaps you are thinking, "But Pastor, you do not understand my situation. My life is truly a Hell on earth." Oh, but I do try to understand. The mental anguish and heartache caused by unhappy circumstances is very painful. Many are constantly struggling with difficult situations. Life is hard. Yet, there is some relief here upon the earth. There is some charity, some mercy, some easing of pain by drugs and sleep - and there is always hope. But in Hell there is only suffering - absolute physical and mental torment - and there is no hope.
Most seminaries and theological colleges either play down the Bible teaching on Hell or do away with it altogether. This has resulted in the subject hardly ever being mentioned from our modern-day pulpits. When was the last time you heard such a message in your church?
A Rose by any other name is still a Rose. Hell by any other name is still Hell. Whether you call it Sheol, Hades, Gehenna or Tartaroo. They are all rooms in the same house. The House Of Hell. Hell is a real place of permanent separation from God, a prison house of despair, a place where there are no exits, the permanent grave, a bottomless pit, a garbage dump, an abyss, a place of imprisonment, a place of burning and consuming fire, a place where demons and devils are cast and confined. It does not matter what name you use, they all, collectively are Hell.
Today we have a movement called Neo-Evangelicalism or New Evangelicalism which teaches that the Bible is not the literal, verbally inspired Word of God but that it contains the Word of God. If you will look at the proclamations issued by various Evangelical groups over the past fifteen years, you will see that the majority make no mention of the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, or of the inerrancy of the Bible, or of its preservation.
The late Bishop J.C. Ryle, who died in 1900, said: "If you would promote faith, defeat the devil and save souls, preach Hell!"
"The conscience of man cries out of Hell. Go to the bedside of some dying child of the world and fear not to talk to him of God's judgment upon sin and wrath upon the sinner. Preach to him of a Saviour who went into the yawning jaws of Hell that forgiveness might be purchased at great price - His own shed blood - and offer him mercy but only by faith in that blood; and watch his restless anxiety about the future turn to calmness, and marvel as he departs in peace."
"The interests of holiness and morality cry out of Hell. Tell men it matters how they conduct themselves, that there is an eternal difference between Abraham and the Sodomites, between Paul and Nero, between the drunkard who dies unrepentant and a Baxter, a Wilberforce, or a McCheyne. Preach Hell as the final end of men who will not have the Christian Saviour in whom they may live soberly, righteously, and godly.'
"The Bible speaks of Hell from beginning to end. Hundreds of texts in God's Word remind us of the wages of sin, the end of the flesh and the reward of ungodliness. Jesus cried that the gate to Hell is wide, the road is broad and well travelled. When you stand before the people, preach that!"
Thank God for those who have stood for Biblical inspiration among the scholars and believed in Hell. I think of Dr. R.A. Torrey who said, "I claim to be a scholarly preacher. I have a right to so claim. I have taken two degrees, specializing in Greek in one of the most highly esteemed universities in America. I have also studied in two German universities. I have read the Bible in three languages every day of my life for many years. I have studied question in English and in German. I have written thirty or forty different books which have been translated into many languages. Yes, I believe in scholarship and I believe in the old-fashioned doctrine regarding Hell."
Yes, and we could mention other men, greatly used of God, who believed in Hell.
D.L. Moody, "The same Christ that tells us of Heaven with all its glories, tells us of Hell with all its horrors." Henry Ward Beecher, "The thought of future punishment for sinners which the Bible reveals is enough to make an earthquake of terror in every man's soul. " Dr. W.N. Clarke, "The principle of retribution is right because good ought to work good and evil ought to work evil." Billy Sunday, "You will not be in Hell five minutes until you believe there is one."
But hear now the voice of Christ: "Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: ... And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal" (Matthew 25:41,46).
There is a real Hell for everyone who rejects the salvation offered in the Cross-work of Christ.
You, yourself may emphtically say "I don't believe in hell!" But you will when you get there! By then, it will be too late - much too late!
2. WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES
It is not easy to be a Bible preacher in these days of compromise and anti-Bible preaching. But we have the plain command in Ezekiel 3:17-18: "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand."
Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge, author of the book, THE NEW EVANGELICALISM, speaks concerning the compromises of our day: "The very existence of this so-called 'neo-evangelicalism' implies a discontent with and disapproval of the old-fashioned approach. It is felt that there must be a new, more moderate definition of orthodoxy, a milder view of the inerrancy of Scripture, less contending for the faith and more friendly give-and-take with modernists. The 'neo-evangelicals' desire seems to be to make as much common cause as possible with the enemies of the cross, to regard ministers who deny the Bible as 'fringe-friends', to fraternize with believers as though we were all the family of God, and to do theological evil in order that good might result. This Jesuit attitude is not advocated in the Bible. Indeed, it runs counter to the plain commandments of the Word of God. The true believer is to have no spiritual traffic with sin or error" (from The King's Business, p.14, may 1958).
Irrespective of what modernists and modern-day appeasers teach, the Bible declares there is a Hell.
HELL! the prison house of despair, Here are some things that won't be there: No flowers will bloom on the banks of Hell, No beauties of nature we love so well; No comforts of home, music and song, No friendship of joy will be found in that throng; No children to brighten the long, weary night, No love nor peace, nor one ray of light; No blood washed soul with face beaming bright, No loving smile in that region of night; No mercy, no pity, pardon nor grace, No water; O God, what a terrible place! The pangs of the lost no human can tell, Not one moment's peace - there is no rest in HELL.
HELL! the prison house of despair, Here are some things that will be there: Fire and brimstone are there, we know, For God in His Word hath told us so; Memory, remorse, suffering and pain, Weeping and wailing, but all in vain; Blasphemers, swearers, haters of God, Christ-rejectors while here on earth trod; Murderers, gamblers, drunkards and liars, Will have their part in the lake of fire; The filthy, the vile, the cruel and mean, What a horrible mob in Hell will be seen! Yes, more than humans on earth can tell, Are torments and woes of eternal HELL!
JESUS ON HELL
Any child reading the Bible will understand that Jesus spoke time and again about a place of eternal punishment. This is the same Lord Jesus who spoke words of comfort to those in trouble, who healed diseases, who raised the dead, and who went to the Cross.
Here are some of the passages of Scripture that record our Lord's teaching on Hell (Gehenna).
"But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire" (Matthew 5:22).
"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell" (Matthew 5:29).
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell"(Matthew 10:28).
"And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire" (Matthew 18:9).
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves" (Matthew 23:15).
"Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matthew 23:33).
These are sober words coming from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ. If He believed in a place called Hell, I do; and since He preached on it, certainly all Bible preachers must do likewise.
I am thinking today of so many of you who have loved ones not saved. They are without hope. When members of our families are ill or in trouble of some kind, it is easy for us to be concerned and to weep for them. How much greater our concern ought to be if they are not saved and on the way to a Christless eternity. Jesus wept for lost souls. He had compassion on the unsaved multitudes. Yet we have ceased our weeping. We have lost our compassion.
THE OLD TESTAMENT
Not only do we have the words of Jesus, but we have the simple, plain Bible teaching on Hell from cover to cover. In Jeremiah 23:12 we read of the peril facing every unsaved person each hour he lives: "Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the Lord." Just think seriously of the peril of standing on slippery grass in the darkness facing the judgment of Hell.
Isaiah 14:9: "Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming ..."Job 21:29,30:"...do ye not know ... That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath." Psalm 9:17:"The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."
What we have learned today from the Word of God is that there is a place called Hell. In the New Testament alone there are 264 chapters and 27 books. 234 times God speaks of a place of judgment and eternal punishment. If you were travelling along life's road and saw 234 signboards within 27 miles with the warning, "THIS ROAD LEADS TO DESTRUCTION", I am sure you would turn around and get on another road. Yet, how careless the multitudes are concerning their eternal destiny. God's warnings go unheeded, but at death it will be too late to change directions. The following poem reiterates this solemn fact:
FIVE MINUTES AFTER I DIE
Loved ones will weep o'er my silent face, Dear ones will clasp me in sad embrace, Shadows and darkness will fill the place, Five minutes after I die. Faces that sorrow I will not see, Voices that murmur will not reach me, But where, oh, where will my spirit be, Five minutes after I die.
Quickly the years of my life have flown, Gathering treasures I thought my own, There I must reap from the see I have sown Five minutes after I die.
Naught to repair the good I lack, Fixed to the goal of my chosen track, No room to repent, no turning back, Five minutes after I die.
Now I can stifle convictions stirred, Now I can silence the Voice oft heard, Then the fulfilment of God's sure Word, Five minutes after I die.
Mated for aye with my chosen throng, Long is eternity, O, so long, Then woe is me if my soul be wrong, Five minutes after I die.
O, what a fool- hard the word, but true, Passing the Saviour with death in view, Doing a deed I can ne'er undo Five minutes after I die.
If I am flinging a fortune away, If I am wasting salvation's day "Just is my sentence", my soul shall say Five minutes after I die.
God help you to choose! Your eternal state Depends on your choice, you dare not wait; You must choose now; it will be too late Five minutes after you die.
3. A PICTURE OF HELL
Hell is neither a matter of circumstances here upon the earth nor a state of mind. It is a definite place. It is a place just as real as Heaven - as real as any city in our nation today. The is no such place as Purgatory, when you die unsaved, you go directly into hell. (Luke 16:19-31)
In Luke 16:19-31 we have a description of this awful abode: "There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, as was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
Notice carefully that Hell is spoken of as a place of everlasting fire. Yes, there is fire torment in Hell. The Holy Spirit uses the word "fire" in speaking of the eternal punishment of the lost.
" ... hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched"(Mark 9:47,48).
- " ... everlasting fire" (Matthew 18:8).
- " ... everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels"(Matthew 25:41).
- " ... a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 13:42).
- And here in Luke 16 the rich man cried: "I am tormented in this flame."
We do not need to prove that the fire of Hell is literal fire any more than we need to prove that the gold of Heaven is literal gold. I believe that when God says fire He means fire, and when He says gold He means gold.
Hell is a place of torments. Three times in Luke 16 we read of the rich man being tormented. In Revelation 14:10,11 we also read: "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: 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."
Hell is a place for all sinners whether vile or self-righteous. My friend, if you die unsaved, this will be your sad destiny. All the unrepentant of the land will be there. Romans 1:29-31 is a picture of the sinfulness of the human heart: "Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful."
And Revelation 21:8, in speaking of Hell, says: "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." The Devil and all his demons will be there, too (Revelation 20:10).
Hell is a place of no escape. There is no Purgatory where the dead can be released through prayers and money. In all the public buildings of our cities the word "EXIT" is a word not found in Hell. Jesus said, "there is a great gulf fixed."
Hell is an eternal place. "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: But the righteous into life eternal."(Matthew 25:46). Most people want to believe in life eternal yet they reject everlasting punishment. The words "eternal" and "everlasting", however, have the same meaning.
Hell - a place where the Holy Spirit never strives; where every soul is left to its own depravity; and where there is neither leisure nor repentance.
Hell - where there will be gnawing of tongues and blasphemy against the God of Heaven.
Hell - immortal pain and tears; an infinity of wretchedness and despair; the blackness of darkness forever; weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth; a long, long eternity - oh, miserable condition of the damned!
Hell is a lake of fire (Rev. 20:15).
- A devouring fire (Isaiah 33:14).
- A bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1).
- Everlasting burnings (Isaiah 33:14).
- A furnace of fire (Matt. 13:41,42).
- A place of torments (Luke 16:23).
- Where they curse God (Rev. 16:11).
- Where they can never repent (Matt. 12:32).
- A place where they have no rest (Rev. 14:11).
- A place of everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46).
- A place of blackness of darkness forever (Jude 13).
- A place where they gnaw their tongues (Rev. 16:10).
- A place where their breath will be a living flame (Isaiah 33:11).
- A place prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41).
- A lake of fire into which the Antichrist and the False Prophet are cast alive (Rev. 19:20).
- A place from which the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and forever (Rev. 14:11).
- A place where they drink the wine of the wrath of God (Rev. 14:10).
- A place where they do not want their loved ones to come (Luke 16:28).
- A place where there are murderers, liars, the fearful and abominable (Rev. 21:8).
You may smile now at these serious words. You may fall back on your conceited intellect and your college degree, but there will be as many - if not more - educated people in Hell as of any other group. In fact, it is as easy to go to Hell from a university as it is from a booze joint or gambling den.
You are either on the way to Heaven or Hell right now. You are either lost or saved. You are on the broad way with the crowds, or on the narrow way with the very few true and faithful people of God. One day your destiny is going to be forever settled and you will be either in Heaven or Hell. That is why the Holy Spirit pleads with you today to come to Christ. He alone is able to save you having paid the penalty for your sins on Calvary's Cross. "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them"(Heb. 7:25).
4. HELL AND THE LAKE OF FIRE
Three different words are to be found in the Bible all of which have been translated "Hell." A proper understanding of these words is very important for they are often used by false cults to destroy the true meaning of Hell. The three words are Tartarus, Hades, and Gehenna.
"Tartarus" is found only once in the New Testament. 2 Peter 2:4: "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." This word "hell" has reference only to the angels who sinned and to their place of confinement until they are brought before the Lord in judgment.
The word "hades" is found ten times in the New Testament. Matthew 11:23, 16:18; Luke 10:15, 16:23; Acts 2:27,31; Revelation 1:18, 6:8, 20:13,14. The most familiar passage is Luke 16:19-31 which we studied in our last message.
We saw from Luke 16 that there is no such thing as "soul sleep." This is a false doctrine which teaches that the dead are unconscious until the resurrection of the body. Not at all! The rich man in hades was fully conscious. He had all his faculties and was tormented day and night. He was also tormented by the fact that his five brothers were unsaved and would also come into hades unless they repented and turned to the Lord.
The word "gehenna" is found twelve times in the Gospels as follows: Matthew 5:22,29,30, 10:28, 18:9, 23:15,33; Mark 9:43,45,47; Luke 12:5 and James 3:6. Then, of course, it is found in Revelation 20:15.
Let us examine some of the passages where Jesus used the word "gehenna" in referring to the final hell of all unrepentant apostates and unbelievers:
Matthew 5:22: "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."
Matthew 5:29: "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell."
Matthew 10:28: "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
The Bible clearly teaches that Gehenna, the final Hell, is a place of fire:
"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire"(Rev. 20:15).
- Matthew 18:8 says: "to be cast into everlasting fire."
- Mark 9:43,48:"fire that never shall be quenched ... where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."
- Revelation 21:8: "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."
There are some who tell us that the fires of Hell are not literal fires but are only symbolic of the punishment of Hell.
The Truth about Hell
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments. .. . Luke 16:23
What you're about to read is hard to believe.. . .
We're going to examine the place the Bible calls hell. We'll present documented evidence for a place called hell. Don't take what you're going to read lightly. If what you read is true YOU COULD BE IN SERIOUS DANGER!
Several years ago a book was published, entitled Beyond Death's Door by Dr. Maurice Rawlings. Dr. Rawlings, a specialist in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease, resuscitated many people who had been clinically dead. Dr. Rawlings, a devout atheist, "considered all religion "hocus-pocus" and death nothing more than a painless extinction". But something happened in 1977 that brought a dramatic change in the life of Dr. Rawlings! He was resuscitating a man, terrified and screaming descending down into the flames of hell:
"Each time he regained heartbeat and respiration, the patient screamed, "I am in hell!" He was terrified and pleaded with me to help him.. I was scared to death. . . Then I noticed a genuinely alarmed look on his face. He had a terrified look worse than the _expression seen in death! This patient had a grotesque grimace expressing sheer horror! His pupils were dilated, and he was perspiring and trembling he looked as if his hair was "on end."
Then still another strange thing happened. He said,"Don't you understand? I am in hell. . . Don't let me go back to hell!" . . .the man was serious, and it finally occurred to me that he was indeed in trouble. He was in a panic like I had never seen before." (Maurice Rawlings, Beyond Death's Door,(Thomas Nelson Inc., 1979) p. 3).
Dr. Rawlings said, no one, who could have heard his screams and saw the look of terror on his face could doubt for a single minute that he was actually in a place called hell!
Certainly there is no reason to believe that these fires are only symbols, but rather they are literal fires. However, let us suppose they are symbolic. Would that make the punishment any easier to bear? Not at all! The reality would be greater than the symbol and the punishment awful and terrible.
The Bible gives another picture of Hell in Matthew 8:12, 13:42,50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30, and Luke 13:28. These verses speak of being "cast into other darkness" and of "weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Now there are some who teach that the wicked dead are annihilated at death, never to be brought back into existence. Others teach that they are annihilated in Hell. The Jehovah's Witnesses say that the wicked are annihilated at death, then recreated to be given a second chance. But those who refuse this second chance for eternal life will be annihilated. They will cease to exist.
Those who believe in annihilation tell us such words as destroy, destruction, perish, and consume - mean annihilation. One of their favourite texts on this point is I Thessalonians 1:9:"Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power."
Let us now study some of these words in the light of the Bible to see their true meaning.
FIRST, the words destroyed or destruction cannot be translated as annihilate or annihilation. Job 19:10: "He hath destroyed me on every side." Job could not have been annihilated and still live to tell about it. Job 21:17: "How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them!" How could they be put out of existence many times?
Ìsaiah 34:2: "For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies: He hath utterly destroyed them." The nations are not yet out of existence.
Hebrews 2:14: "That through death He (Christ) might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." The devil is not out of existence yet.
2 Thessalonians 1:9 reads: "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power." Those who teach the annihilation theory say that no one could go out of the presence of an OMNIPRESENT GOD without being put out of existence. Our reply is that Cain went out from the presence of the Lord (Gen. 4:16) without being put out of existence.
Those who are banished from the presence of the Lord are banished from His presence in Heaven. The word destroy does not mean annihilate.
SECONDLY, the word perish never means annihilation. Yet false teachers use such verses as John 3:16 which says, "whosoever believeth in Him should not perish," to try to prove their theory that the wicked shall go out of existence for ever.
The Greek word for perish is apollumi and means "to render unfit for the intended use." In Matthew 9:17 the bottles into which the new wine is put are said to break: "the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish." This simply means that the bottles are rendered unfit for their intended use. They have not been put out of existence.
In Luke 15:17 we hear the prodigal son say, "I perish with hunger." He was certainly not annihilated.
In 2 Peter 3:6 we read: "Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished." But the world was not put out of existence.
FINALLY, the word consume does not mean annihilation. In 1 Samuel 27:1, David said: "I shall now perish (the literal Hebrew is, be consumed) by the hand of Saul." David certainly did not mean he would go out of existence at the hand of Saul.
Galatians 5:15: "Take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." Paul was not referring to them annihilating one another.
We can therefore see from the Bible that the words destroy, destruction, and perish, do not mean annihilation.
There are some teachers who believe that after the wicked have been punished in the lake of fire, they will then be taken out and transferred to Heaven. The main verse they use for this theory is Acts 3:21: "Whom (speaking of Christ) the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began."
Let us notice, however, that the restoration is to be for all things "which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His Holy Prophets." There is not one place in the Bible where it is taught that the wicked and Satan will be restored unto Heaven after their punishment.
All who believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God know that there is no escaping the truth of the lake of fire for those who die in their sins. I do not know how it is possible for believers to say they believe in Hell, and yet do so little to "rescue the perishing, and care for the dying."
It is because of the reality of the Lake of Fire that we proclaim the Gospel (THE GOOD NEWS) and send forth Christian literature. The time is short and whatever we are going to do to warn lost souls, we must do it now.
If you are not yet saved, I plead with you in Jesus' Name, to turn from your sins and receive Christ as your own personal Saviour. He is waiting to save all who will come to Him by faith.
Let Us Pray Together--
PRAY: "God be merciful to me a sinner. Receive me now for Christ's sake. Cleanse me from my sin by your precious blood, shed on the cross for me; lead me to be Baptized and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Teach me to pray each day; to read Your will for my life from your word, the Bible; and help me to worship and serve You in the fellowship of your church. I thank you Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN!