One doctrine of devils that has had it's way in today's society with great ease is that of the doctrine that says there is a Hell that lasts for all of eternity and those residing do so in screams of torment. Most take a verse in Revelation chapter 14 out of context and preach a Hell that is a place of eternal torment. Some also take three repeated verses from Mark to proclaim their belief in a worm filled eternal torture chamber. But before discussing these verses, and many other verses that speak of hell, one needs to ask one question of themselves; do they believe a God that would send His one and only Son to die a torturous and humiliating death would create a place that would be used for TORTURE for ALL eternity? Does the character of God come off as a tyrant who enjoys hearing the screams of people who have decided not to worship Him? Would this sound like a way to "glorify" Him as a loving and giving Father? Or does this sound like a way to de-glorify Him as a mean and unmerciful tyrant?
I pray at this time that you will allow me to share with you some things of God's character as well as His Scripture that PROVE this "doctrine of a devil" is simply a lie to get billions upon billions throughout all of time to "blame" the Almighty and ever living God of all creation for creating such a place and sending them there.
Not long ago I was in a conversation with a person about truth in Scriptures in a Newsgroup on the Internet. He promptly told me that God was a tyrant, and a very hate-filled vengeful God. I asked him why he believed that about his Creator. He replied, "Because He SENDS people to hell! I will never worship a God that would send people to such a place like that! A place were people go to be tortured for all of eternity screaming at the top of their lungs for ever!! How can He sit on His throne knowing that while all His "loved ones" are worshipping Him in their happy go lucky Heaven, there are countless BILLIONS in hell at that very moment writhing in a pain that cannot be described?" I assured him that he has fallen for the oldest trick in the book. The devil has painted a picture of the Almighty for him that is the exact opposite of what His Word says He is like. For example, God does NOT send anyone to hell. Nor does He want to.
2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Does this verse describe a God that WANTS to put you in hell? Does this sound like a God that would SEND you evil temptations that would CAUSE you to burn in hell? Does this paint the picture of a God that pleasures in watching your every move, waiting for you to fall after sending evil temptations that would make you sin, which would cause you to eventually BURN? The Bible PLAINLY states...
James 1:13, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:"
No, the Lord God Almighty cannot be tempted of evil and He would not SEND you evil. The Almighty and ever living Creator did NOT create you to burn. He WANTS you to live! There is an "enemy" on this planet that is fighting for control of your soul. It has to do with a WAR that is going on in the Universe. The entire Universe is watching as the Creator of it is being challenged BY one of His creations. SATAN! The devil is actually trying to prove to all that is created that his way is better than God's way. And the Almighty is proving that God's way is the only way. The devil WILL send you evil temptations. He IS getting all to sin. He is the one flashing what appeals to the flesh in the eyes of ALL of God's people. He is doing this to try and prove that NO ONE can do it the way that God planned. But the devil has one big problem with his temptations. There is a "stipulation" set on each and ever single "carrot" he dangles in our faces. The Almighty has set this in place because He loves us that much. When evil arrives, and it will, the Almighty actually sends you a way OUT of it.
1 Corinthians 10:13, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it]."
In other words, the temptation that comes your way will NOT be to hard for you to handle. If you are too weak in one area, the devil is NOT allowed to tempt you there. Why? Because "God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able" The devil is limited! His temptations MUST have an escape route for God's people. Plus, if the temptation is too strong, IT IS NOT ALLOWED! Your Heavenly Father knows you! He knows where we are strong and where we are weak. How can He know this? HE CREATED US!
Jesus warns us in a loving way that there IS a hell. He warns us that YES the Earth and everything in it will BURN UP.
2 Peter 3:10, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
He warns us because He loves us. He does NOT want us to burn and die and be permanently separated from the Father who created us. Why? We will NOT be with Him for eternity. And THAT is what He wants for you and me. Such a love!
The Almighty is NOT the one putting anyone in hell. It is the devil and his angels that confuse the world into CHOOSING hell over Heaven. The devil must make hell look like a VERY torturous place so that our view of God is altered into a view that is NOT merciful. But looking to the Bible we see this is not the case. Hell is not as the devil proclaims. It is not a place where the devil rules. It is not a place of eternal torture. It "IS" a place of eternal death however. And death is ETERNAL SEPARATION from God and all that is salvation and happiness. Notice the following verses... Remembering all the while, that this is NOT God's will for you or me or anyone to burn in hell.
2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
Isaiah 28:2, "For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act."
Lamentations 3:32-33, "But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men."
Jesus wants all to see salvation. It even says in His Word that the Father considers this hellfire a "strange act" that must be performed. It's strange because it is out of character for Him to do. It also states that if He has to cause grief, He does so with compassion. The Almighty wants us all to be saved from what hell is. In fact, it is written...
Ezekiel 18:32, "For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye."
John 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
And Hell is DEATH. Regardless of the fact that the Scriptures state that those that go to Hell "shall not see life," the world calls hell "eternal life" IN FIRE doesn't it? Yet the Bible says that the "wages of sin is death" Romans 6:23. How can this be eternal life in fire? How can this mean eternal life anywhere? Do you recall this from your studies?
Genesis 3:4, "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:"
The devil has been saying for 6000 years that WE WON'T DIE! This life in fire doctrine is no different than the serpent in the tree. BOTH are openly declaring the Lord a liar!
2 Peter 2:9, "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:"
Yes, we learned this earlier. The Lord will help us in times of temptation and deliver us out of it. But notice what happens to the "unjust" here. They are RESERVED unto the Day of Judgment to be PUNISHED. Notice what this verse is not saying here. It is NOT saying "PUNISH-ING" It is saying punished!
Matthew 25:41, "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:"
"EVERLASTING FIRE?" Some use this verse to proclaim the fire will last forever and ever and ever and ever... But look at these verses using the same word "everlasting"
2 Thessalonians 1:8,9, "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;"
The result of the FIRE is an EVERLASTING DESTRUCTION. The wages of sin is DEATH not life eternal in hell fire! Life in hell fire would mean we have a mean and very angry God who enjoys the screams of billions of people for all eternity. This is the devil's plan to get you to believe this is the character of God. The devil NEEDS you to look at God in this way!
Matthew 25:46, "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
Do you see the word everlasting PUNISH-MENT being used here by Jesus Himself to explain the fate of the wicked? If Jesus meant eternal punishING don't you think He would have said that? The Bible never counterdicts itself. Jesus meant what He said. The "wages of sin is death." Death is PERMANENT. Punish-ING is an "ongoing" process. This is not what Jesus said. Nor does any verse in His Word say this. Some even preach that yes, indeed, the "body" is killed in hell fire. But, the "soul" lives on for all eternity in flames of hell. If so, I challenge them to explain this simple and very easy to understand verse...
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."
KILL THE SOUL??? How can this be? How can the soul die? I thought they said the wicked lived forever in the flames of hell? I thought their souls would spin and float in the fires as ambers above a campfire forever. Yet the Bible AGAIN proclaims that the WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH! The body is killed and the soul is KILLED. " fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Destroy body and soul? KILL the soul? Is this ETERNAL LIFE IN HELL? No it is eternal DEATH! [By the way... The definition of HELL = GRAVE...DESTRUCTION...ETC]
If hell is a place where people reside in eternal good health, "except of course the flames that burn them" then how is it possible for us to WALK ON THEIR ASHES AFTER THEY ARE BURNED UP? Read what is recorded in Malachi about this simple fact that will occur on the last day.
Malachi 4:1,3, "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do [this], saith the LORD of hosts."
And if Satan is running Hell and in control of the eternal torments of all those that reside in Hell, then why would the Word of God tell us in the following passage that Satan will burn up RIGHT BEFORE OUR EYES?
Ezekiel 28:17-18, "Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee."
What day is this? When will this occur?
Revelation 20:9, "And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them."
When the City of Heaven is about to be placed on the Earth and all the wicked surround it to destroy it. THAT'S when what the Bible calls "The second death" (SEE Rev. 2:11 Rev. 20:6,14 Rev. 21:8) is realized by the wicked. ALL people are merely "asleep" in their graves until one of two things happens.
Biblical confirmation is EVERYWHERE in the Bible on this simple truth.
John 5:29, "And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."
EVERYONE will be resurrected one day. Absolutely everyone that ever lived will one day get up to either receive his or her eternal reward of a happy and peace filled life in the Father's Kingdom. Or they will arise to live again only to be put to DEATH for the final time. What we call "death" today is NOT final. ALL that have died WILL get up.
Now for the verses that are so twisted, by so many, to preach an eternal life in hell. The next couple of verses are used by the world to corrupt the thoughts of God in the minds of all His children. The devil wants all of us to see God as a God that says... "You better worship me or I'm going to make you regret it for all eternity!!"
Revelation 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."
This verse in Revelation is favored by literally millions of preachers to prove hell is eternal punishING. Before proving what this verse means we must find out what the term "for ever" actually means to God when He says it. Understand first, God Almighty is an ETERNAL God, and we are a MORTAL people. Looking to Isaiah 34 you will see that the same language is used to describe the fate of Edom.
Isaiah 34:9,10, "And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up forever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever."
The poetic language of Revelation is apparently the same as the Prophet Isaiah. Yet, is Edom STILL BURNING TODAY? No it is not. But for those that were burned, IT BURNED FOREVER. They never got up did they? They saw it burning as long as they lived. It lasted FOR EVER for them. And the destruction IS forever.
What IS "forever" in Scripture? Lets look at a few more verses that seem to speak of an eternal burning hell. We already learned that Jesus said in Mat 25:46 that hell is eternal punishment, not an unending eternity of burning. He meant exactly what He said; it is EVERLASTING DESTRUCTION just as we found 2Thes 1:9 says it is. The punishment is indeed everlasting. This is the "second death" (Rev. 2:11; 20:6,14; & 21:8). The second death is a death NO ONE will EVER rise from again. This is an ETERNAL DEATH! It is the exact opposite of an eternal life. The wages of sin is DEATH not life!
Remember Mat 25:41 from earlier?
Matthew 25:41, "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:"
Jesus speaks of an "eternal /everlasting fire" for the devil and his angels? Now, look to this verse...
Jude 1:7, "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."
Look across the Earth. KEEP looking... I can wait.......... are ya done looking? Is Sodom and Gomorrha STILL burning today in the Holy land? No it is NOT. But as far as the residents of Sodom and Gomorrha were concerned the fire that burned them to death WAS eternal. It burned them and they are GONE and turned to ashes forever! It burned for as long as there was something to burn. Just like "the worm that dieth not" from the 9th chapter of Mark. They too will not die as long as they have something to knaw on. As far as anyone in this hell fire state is concerned, the fire, and the worm are there for as long as they live. For as long as there is flesh to burn or eat, the destroyers of that flesh and bone, AS WELL AS SOUL, will be present until they are NOT.
Mark 9:44, "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."
Mark 9:46, "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."
Mark 9:48, "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."
The worm will live as long as it takes to finish the job. And the fire will NOT be quenched until the "fuel" is depleted. The fire is not quenched... it just "goes out." In this case the fuel is "Skin, Bones, and Soul" of the wicked. To "quench" is to extinguish a fire. This fire cannot be put out. It will burn until what is burning is GONE! They cannot "deliver" themselves out of this fire either as we see Isaiah proves.
Isaiah 47:14, "Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: [there shall] not [be] a coal to warm at, [nor] fire to sit before it."
Jeremiah prophesied that Jerusalem would burn with a fire that could not be quenched in any way possible.
Jeremiah 17:27, "But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the Sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched."
So... does this mean Jerusalem is STILL burning today because the fire is unquenchable?
2 Chronicals 36:19, "And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof."
Jerusalem burned to ashes, people... It is NOT burning today. Unquenchable indeed. Look at the "Unquenchable fire" of an Atomic blast. Can you quench it once it started? No. Yet, does it burn forever? NO.
2 Peter2:6, "And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned [them] with an overthrow, making [them] an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;"
Turning them into ASHES is not saying that they are still burning and screaming to this day in the "eternal fire" that Jude 1:7 said a few sentences above now is it? PLUS, look at the end of the verse... "an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;" AN EXAMPLE for those that live ungodly would mean screaming in fire for all eternity according to the worlds definition of hell. If this is "an example" of the future hell, then hell IS NOT as the world is preaching is it? The BIBLICAL example is one that shows people being burned until they are ASH. Here we see the Bible pointing out Sodom and Gomorrha at two separate times, therefore DEFINING just what happened on that day, and what WILL happen on the LAST DAY. It will not be an eternity of life in fire. It will be an eternity of death, ASHES are NOT alive!
Another "for-ever" in Scripture can be found in Exodus 21:6
Exodus 21:6, "Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever."
"SHALL SERVE HIM FOR EVER"???? How is this possible? What happens when the slave DIES? That's right. The definition of FOR EVER is not eternity. When the slave dies his master no longer has his service. Just like the wicked. When they "the slaves of sin" die, their "master" will no longer have their service. PLUS, their master will die as well in the lake of fire.
The vastly corrupted N.I.V.* actually helps prove this point and translates the word "for ever" as "for life".
Check this verse out... Jonah who was in the belly of the whale a mere three days (Mat 12:40) actually speaks of it as a place he resides FOREVER!
Jonah 2:6, "I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God."
You see? The devil has twisted so many verses over the years that almost everyone on planet earth believes his lies as authentic Bible teachings! But WHY must there be a hell? Why must the wicked be burned up to ashes? Why? Why? Why?
To put it simply... Sin will NOT be allowed to "rise up a second time" in eternity.
Nahum 1:9, "What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time."
Heaven MUST and WILL be a place of eternal peace and happiness as well as holiness in perfection. If sin is not allowed to rise up again, then what must become of all the wicked? They must DIE, plain and simple. It is a test folks. It is a wedding, and we are invited, and we cannot enter the wedding without the proper dress. To walk in, clothed in the sins of the world, will tarnish Heaven, and then Heaven will be no different than the World.
The Lord is merciful. He is calling out to billions daily pleading with them to choose His way over the devil. He offers eternal life if you choose His way. But if you choose NOT His way, then YOU are choosing death. It is YOUR choice. NOT His. The Almighty gives you FREE WILL to choose as you wish. Why? He did not create robots. He created a people that would CHOOSE to love Him.
The Lord God did not destroy Lucifer the first time he revolted in Heaven for a simple reason. It's called, "free will." Had He killed Satan, would not all the Angels have looked on and saw a God that will kill anyone that disobeys Him? This would have caused the Angels to worship the Lord in FEAR of being killed if they didn't. No, that is not free will. That appears to be FORCED worship.
Think about this as well. It is no different than the tree in the Garden of Eden that the Almighty told Adam and Eve not to touch. They had MANY other trees all throughout the garden to eat from. Just one was not to be touched. Why? Because the Almighty did not create ROBOTS! He gave us free will. He want's us to CHOOSE him over the tree! To choose the tree is to choose another way other than His way. The "choice" is there so we can "choose" to worship Him from our heartfelt desire to do so. Just as the tree in the garden was a choice, so is the sin in our lives a choice to ignore His way. Will you choose HIM today?
1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Isaiah 65:12, "Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose [that] wherein I delighted not."
The Bible is plain here. The Almighty ALLOWS US to make the CHOICE to either serve Him or NOT. It plainly says they "did evil before mine eyes, and did choose [that] wherein I delighted not." They DID CHOOSE to do what He did not want them to choose.
2 Thessalonians 1:6-9, "Seeing [it is] a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;"
If you choose to deny Him and His Word, you will be REMOVED "from the presence of the Lord" for all eternity. This is death. And this is the reason for all the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" that Mat 22:13 speaks of. ALL will understand on that day that they have CHOSEN hell on their own accord and they WILL all know that they messed up BIG TIME. This is the ULTIMATE in big time mess-ups people! THE ULTIMATE!! To be separated from an ETERNAL God is to be the opposite of His reality. If He is ETERNALLY ALIVE, YOU must be ETERNALLY DEAD if you are to be perfectly separated from Him.
But even now, He is merciful. He still shows a loving and merciful heart. Even when they CHOOSE not to worship Him He is still merciful. How? He lets them actually DIE. This way they won't have to deal with torturous pain for all of eternity. The devil want's you to see God this way, so you WON'T see that He REALLY loves you dearly. So dearly in fact that He actually came to earth in human form and dealt with all the everyday hassles and temptations as we do and yet CHOSE not to sin. Why? So He could be the PERFECT Sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. He took OUR place on that cross. WE DESERVE TO DIE! Not Him. Why?
"The wages of sin is DEATH. But the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23
Won't you give this loving Father a hug? He will hug back ya know... FOR ETERNITY.
WHY FIRE? A friend of mine said it best in this way...
Nature's reason for fire... (which is the exact same as God's, of course, we both know why.) I thought about how a lot of people see forest fires as a bad thing. Of course when it is arson, it is. But when it is natural, like a lightning strike, that is nature's way of cleansing. It always has been, and always will be. It replenishes the land for us. That in itself is a marvelous gift from God. But these fires destroy all that is corrupt, and make a way for new life. These fires do not go on to burn forever, only until the corrupt is gone, and at that point, new and healthy life begins to grow. So in the exact same way, the eternal fire at the end only burns until the corrupt is gone, at which point, new life will come.
Troy B Channing
Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
This is a rest that is indeed a real blessing. It is a perfect peace that cannot be explained with mere words.