As with any point of doctrine, one must carefully search the Scriptures for an answer to this important question (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). This cannot be stressed too much, for it is only in the Scriptures that we can learn God's truths. This means that we must first go to the written word of God to understand the abstract. For example, if Scripture pointedly declares that the wicked dead will be eternally tormented, then we must interpret God's mercy, love, grace and justice as allowing for this. In contrast, the following is an example of how antagonist Ellen G. White, the founder of Seventh-Day Adventism (SDA), views this doctrine:
Los Muertos Inicuos- Experimentaran Aniquilacion o Tormento Eterno?
How repugnant to every emotion of love and mercy, and even to our sense of justice, is the doctrine that the wicked dead are tormented with fire and brimstone in an eternally burning hell; that for the sins of a brief earthly life they are to suffer torture as long as God shall live.(1)The Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) have similarly written:Hell could not be a place of torment because such an idea never came into the mind or heart of God. Additionally, to torment a person eternally because he did wrong on earth for a few years is contrary to justice (italics theirs).(2)Would a loving God really torment people forever?(3)We must never resort to human reasonings apart from Scripture, like the aforementioned, if we want to know the truth. In fact, Scriptures states the deception that can result from this kind of faulty reasoning:See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ (Col. 2:8, NIV).E. G. White went on to make other extreme, unscriptural accusations about this doctrine and those who embrace it:It is beyond the power of the human mind to estimate the evil which has been wrought by the heresy of eternal torment.(4)The theory of eternal torment is one of the false doctrines that constitute the wine of the abomination of Babylon, of which she makes all nations drink ... They received it from Rome ... If we turn from the testimony of God's word, and accept false doctrines because our fathers taught them, we fall under the condemnation pronounced upon Babylon; we are drinking of the wine of her abomination.(5)
Was all of that really the message of Scripture that God wants mankind to know about the wicked dead? Let's look into the eternal record for ourselves as the Bereans did (Acts 17:11). The first passage we need to notice is Rev. 20:10:
Is Your Soul Eternal?The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (NKJV).The pronoun they in that verse refers back to the devil, the beast (or antichrist) and the false prophet. In other words, the devil and some humans will suffer this eternal fate. So, according to Scripture, their eternal destiny will be torment day and night forever and ever. From this we can also conclude that the souls of the antichrist and false prophet are eternal, since they won't be annihilated out of existence. This same truth is repeatedly substantiated throughout Scripture.
Moreover, the Greek word translated tormented in Rev. 20:10, with its meaning, is:basanizo, bas-an-id'-zo; from G931; to torture:--pain, toil, torment, toss, vex.Basanizo(6) is found elsewhere:And suddenly they [demons] cried out, saying, "What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" (Mt. 8:29, NKJV).That verse reveals that the demons already know what their future destiny will be, that is, torment not annihilation. Consequently, this verse and Rev. 20:10 together give us in-depth insights into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:Then He will also say to those on the left hand, "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Mt. 25:41, NKJV).
Such everlasting fire that the Lord spoke of in Mt. 25:41 was specially prepared for spirit beings to be tormented in forever (Rev. 20:10; Mt. 8:29). According to that verse, Rev. 20:10 and Mt. 25:46 people will also go into this special fire.And these ["goats"] shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal (KJV).The Greek word for "punishment" in this verse also means torment:kolasis, kol'-as-is; from G2849; penal infliction: punishment, torment.Again, the evidence shows that the wicked dead go to "everlasting torment," according to Jesus' teaching and can't possibly be construed to mean annihilation.(7) (If they were annihilated, they couldn't experience everlasting torment.) All people likened unto goats will be thrown into the same fire prepared for the devil and his angels, which collaborates with the clear teaching of Rev. 20:10. Like the SDA, the aggressive JW also oppose the doctrine of eternal, conscious torment of the wicked dead as shown. Two of the Scriptures that have been misused by them for this are Mt. 10:28 and Lk. 12:4, 5:
Geenna or GehennaDo not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell [geenna] (NIV).Annihilationist, Clark Pinnock, also cites Mt. 10:28 in a similar way:
And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell [geenna]; yes, I say to you, fear Him! (NKJV).Our Lord spoke plainly of God's judgment as the annihilation of the wicked when he warned about God's ability to destroy body and soul in hell (Mt. 10:28).(8)(The Greek word translated Hell in Mt. 10:28 and Lk. 12:5 is geenna. Other verses in which this word is found are: Mt. 5:22, 29, 30; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mk. 9:43, 45, 47; Jam. 3:6. Jesus was the only one to use geenna, except James in that one verse.)
The JW mistakenly understand geenna (or gehenna) to mean:We have also learned that Gehenna does not mean a place of torment, but is used in the Bible as a symbol of everlasting destruction.(9)
From Mt. 10:28 and Lk. 12:4, 5, we must conclude that those who get cast into hell (geenna) have both their soul and body destroyed there. However, the word translated destroy (apollumi), as used in Mt. 10:28, doesn't mean annihilate. Beside Rev. 20:10 as proof for this, we also can easily deduce this by examining two other verses where this same Greek word is used but rendered perish and lost respectively:
Destroy Not AnnihilateNeither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish [apollumi]: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved (Mt. 9:17, KJV).Again, this Greek word can't be equated with annihilate. We know this because the wine bottles that perished would still be in existence, but ruined for the purpose for which they were intended. Moreover, the prodigal was not annihilated when he was lost, but was fully conscious in that spiritual state.
"For this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost [apollumi] and is found." And they began to be merry (Lk. 15:24, NKJV).
Furthermore, if one was annihilated in geenna he could not experience "torment" forever and ever, as clearly expressed in Rev. 20:10. Furthermore, that same passage is even more clear when one considers Rev. 19:20 with it. Here they are together:Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone (Rev. 19:20, NKJV).Clearly then, the devil, the false prophet and the antichrist will all experience everlasting punishment, that is, torment without end forever, but not utter destruction, as some teach. That is the GREATEST DANGER WHICH EXISTS. That is even more clear when we notice that "the beast and false prophet" were thrown into the lake of burning sulfur 1,000 years before the devil gets there, that is, at the beginning of the Millennium (Rev. 19:20), yet these same humans were not annihilated in the lake of fire at the end of the Millennium (Rev. 20:10)!
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Rev. 20:10, NIV).
Remember also that this fire was prepared for spirit beings, and is something we have never seen or know anything about, except what is revealed in the Bible. To, therefore, argue that this same fire can't be literal because fire emanates light and the opposite, that is, blackest darkness has been reserved for the unsaved (2 Pet. 2:17; Jude 13, NIV) doesn't follow, since such an argument is based on what we know about a fire that cannot torment spirit beings. Isn't it possible that the fire that will torment forever can emanate darkness?
Consider the following truths about God, which are seldom mentioned:
YHWH Takes Vengeance and Maintains His WrathThe LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies (Nahum 1:2, NIV).Rev. 14:9-12 adds to all of this by stating:A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented(10) with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name. This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus (NIV).
Also, note 2 Pet. 2:9:
The Lord Reserves The Unjust Under Punishment... then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment (NKJV).The Greek word translated "reserve" (NKJV and KJV) is defined below:tereo, tay-reh'-o; from teros (a watch; perh. akin to G2334); to guard (from loss or injury, prop. by keeping the eye upon; and thus differing from G5442, which is prop. to prevent escaping; and from G2892, which implies a fortress or full military lines of apparatus), i.e. to note (a prophecy; fig. to fulfil a command); by impl. to detain (in custody; fig. to maintain); by extens. to withhold (for personal ends; fig. to keep unmarried): hold fast, keep (-er), (ob-, pre-, re) serve, watch.In the context of 2 Pet. 2:8-10, the Sodomites are the unjust ones that are reserved under punishment. This means there have been thousands of years since Sodom's destruction (Gen. 19:24) to the present and they are still reserved or preserved(11) awaiting the day of judgment cited in Rev. 20:11-15. Their souls have not been annihilated throughout the millenniums. Ponder this amazing fact.
Jude comments on the same immoral people that Peter stated were reserved:
Suffering is a Continuous TenseAs Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire (Jude 7, NKJV).The Greek word translated suffering is a present active participle, which expresses continuous or repeated action. A continuous tense suffering for them would be impossible if they were annihilated out of existence.
Notice also the word vengeance in Jude's account. Remember Nahum 1:2 when pondering it. Here it is again:The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies (NIV).
Another verse that disproves the annihilation of the wicked is often overlooked:
Annihilation, an ImpossibilityThe Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man [Judas] who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born (Mk. 14:21, NIV).Clearly that is the language of damnation. Furthermore, Jn. 17:12 is explicit that the apostle Judas Iscariot died in a lost spiritual condition, even though he was previously saved (Mt. 10:1-4 cf. 12:49,50).(12) The Lord said of Judas that he will be worse off after death than before he was born. Before we were born we knew nothing. In other words, we were in a condition similar to being annihilated. However, that is not what Judas and other wicked dead would know, according to Jesus.
Similarly, the annihilation of the wicked is disproved by the following Scripture:
Greater CondemnationWoe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell [geenna] as yourselves (Mt. 23:14, 15, NKJV).There will be greater condemnation in geenna for some than others! This would be impossible if all of the wicked would be annihilated. If such people were all annihilated, then they would all receive the same "condemnation." No one could get a greater condemnation.
Consider other related passages about those that do not enter the kingdom of God:
Other Related Passages On HellIf your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell [geenna], into the fire that shall never be quenched; where Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell [geenna], into the fire that shall never be quenched; where Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell [geenna] fire; where Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched (Mk. 9:43-48, NKJV).
And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire (Mt. 3:10 NKJV).
His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Mt. 3:12 NKJV).
But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, "Raca!" shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, "You fool!" shall be in danger of hell [geenna] fire (Mt. 5:22 NKJV).
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire (Mt. 7:19 NKJV).
Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age (Mt. 13:40 NKJV).
So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Mt. 13:49, 50 NKJV).
If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell [geenna] fire (Mt. 18:8, 9 NKJV).
And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt. 25:30, NKJV).
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt (Dan. 12:2, NKJV).
On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot (Psa. 11:6, NIV).
In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (2 Thess. 1:8, 9, NKJV).
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified(13) a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:26-29, NKJV).
In the OT, both righteous and wicked descended to sheol. Sheol is the OT equivalent of hades. We know this because Acts 2:27 quotes Psa. 16:10 and uses hades in Acts, but sheol in Psalms for the same word. Before Jesus' resurrection from the grave, both the righteous (Gen. 37:35) and the wicked (Psa. 9:17; Prov. 7:27) went down to this place. Shockingly, even Jesus, after his redemptive death and before his bodily resurrection, went to hades (Acts 2:31). It was at this time that he preached to "the spirits in prison who disobeyed" from Noah's day (1 Pet. 3:19, 20, NIV). This fact that Jesus preached from hades to the wicked dead disproves soul sleep, for such would be impossible if both Jesus and his audience were not conscious at that time.
Both Righteous and Wicked Have Descended to Sheol
Eccl. 9:5,10 has been misused for support of the faulty concept of "soul sleep." Unfortunately, these verses have been removed from their proper context thereby creating confusion. Please note verses 3-10:
Eccl. 9:5,10This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment. Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest (Eccl. 9:3-10).The "one event," which all will experience "under the sun" is physical death. See also Heb. 9:27. This explains the meaning of the dead know not any thing, that is, the physically dead don't know what goes on "under the sun" where the physically alive are. They don't have any portion with the living anymore, as they once did. Also, in the grave [sheol] there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, all common activities and pursuits among the living "under the sun." Again, 1 Pet. 3:19 is a clear refutation to soul sleep.
In Lk. 16:19-31, Jesus gave some details about the abode of the dead, with its two compartments separated by a great, impassable gulf, as he taught of two people that died and where they went afterwards. Annihilationists, like the JW, attempt to explain away this passage by saying the following:The remaining text in which Hades is used is found at Luke 16:22-26 in the account of the "rich man" and "Lazarus." The language throughout the account is plainly parabolic and cannot be construed literally in view of all the preceding texts. Note, however, that the "rich man" of the parable is spoken of as being "buried" in Hades, giving further evidence that Hades means the common grave of mankind.(14)Here's the actual passage about Lazarus and the rich man, who went to hades: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, and was buried; And in hell [Hades] 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 (KJV).
Beyond his physical death, Lazarus joined Abraham in a place of comfort. Since Abraham was a real literal OT character, we know from this alone that this teaching cannot be parabolic, as the JW want us to think. Moreover, this passage is not labeled a parable or under the description of parables, as such are oftentimes described in the Gospels (Mt. 13:3, 10, 13, 18, 24, 31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 53; 15:15; 21:33, 45; 22:1; Mk. 3:23; 4:2, 10, 11, 13, 30, 33, 34; 7:17; 12:1, 12; Lk. 5:36; 6:39; 8:4, 9, 10, 11; 12:16, 41; 13:6; 14:7; 15:3; 18:1, 9; 19:11; 20:9, 19; 21:29).
Not A Parable
Finally, to accept the rich man and Lazarus teaching as a parable, as the JW want us to, is also to ascribe a very strange interpretation to it which cannot be verified. The following is what the Watch Tower Society teaches:The rich man in the illustration stood for the self-important religious leaders who rejected Jesus and later killed him. Lazarus pictured the common people who accepted God's son. The death of the rich man and of Lazarus represented a change in their condition. This change took place when Jesus fed the neglected Lazarus-like people spiritually, so that they thus came into the favor of the Greater Abraham, Jehovah God. At the same time, the false religious leaders "died" with respect to having God's favor. Being cast off, they suffered torments when Christ's followers exposed their evil works. (Acts 7:51-57) So this illustration does not teach that some dead persons are tormented in a literal fiery hell.(15)There is no Scripture that calls God the Greater Abraham. It is vitally important to remember that the Watchtower Society is a Bible-defined false prophet. (See their long list of false prophecies available through Evangelical Outreach, P. O. Box 265, Washington, PA 15301.) So their strange interpretation of Lk. 16:19-31 must be recognized as coming from such a darkened source. Note: while they say that passage does not teach that some dead persons are tormented in a literal fiery hell, the Lord Jesus taught otherwise.
The rich man of Luke 16:19-31 also died and his body was buried. He went to a place of torment in fire:
The Fire Of HadesAnd being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then 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 (Lk.16:23, 24, NKJV).Remember, man's body is clearly not the same as the soul. Jesus taught in Mt. 10:28 that there is a difference between the body of man and his soul by the word both. Therefore, after a person dies physically his soul will live on, as is confirmed by aforementioned passages. So again we see the JW are in error as they teach the following:... God did not create man with a soul. Man is a soul (italics theirs).(16)The Greek word translated tormented (basanizo) in Rev. 20:10 is from the word (basanos) rendered torments in Lk. 16:23 and torment in v. 28. This helps us understand how the fire of Hades (Lk. 16:23, 24) can continue to torment, but not annihilate people that die in an unsaved spiritual condition. It also shed understanding on the following passage which states that Hades delivered up the dead in it and will in the end also be thrown into the lake of fire:And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell [Hades] delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell [Hades] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death (Rev. 20:13, 14, KJV).Note: the dead in hades, even after thousands of years, were not annihilated out of existence for they were delivered up to be judged, before being thrown into the lake of fire (v. 15).
Also, the second death is another name for the lake of fire. Death in that context means separation not destruction as by annihilation. Remember, when the prodigal was dead he was separated from the Father. For people to experience the second death means that they will be separated from God in a place of burning sulfur where they will be tormented forever.
The same rich person of Lk. 16:19-31 that was tormented in fire could remember his earthly life and was fully conscious as he heard, spoke with Abraham, could see Lazarus and desire water. Hence, the SDA and JW companion teaching of soul sleep is unscriptural. See also Rev. 6:9-11(17) and 1 Pet. 3:19, 20.(l8) This is also a clear refutation to the following JW belief:So man's senses of hearing, sight, touch, smell and taste, which depend upon his being able to think, all stop working. According to the Bible, the dead enter a state of complete unconsciousness.(19)
Also remember that Jonah was fully conscious as he prayed to God from sheol (Jonah 2:2). What an embarrassment and refutation this fact is to the following JW teaching:
Jonah Prayed From SheolIn all the places where Sheol occurs in the Bible it is never associated with life, activity or torment. Rather, it is often linked with death and inactivity.(20)In contrast, we see both life and activity in Jonah's prayer to God (Jonah 2:1-9). We also see torment in 2:2:And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction [tsarah] unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell [Sheol] cried I, and thou heardest my voice (KJV).This Hebrew word translated affliction is defined below:tsarah, tsaw-raw'; fem. of H6862; tightness (i.e. fig. trouble); trans. a female rival:--adversary, adversity, affliction, anguish, distress, tribulation, trouble.Clearly, Jonah suffered torment, since he experienced the above. More precisely, Scripture goes on to declare the following about his distress inside the great fish:The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple (2:5-7, NIV).Though the Watchtower Society makes authoritative declarations as to what the Bible teaches, one must not be deceived by them. They are often proven wrong, as just shown.
This destination for the evil in fire will also be accompanied with weeping and gnashing of teeth, as is similar to what might be expected from the rich man in hades:
Weeping and Gnashing of TeethThe Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt. 13:41, 42, NIV).How contrary the true message of God's word is from what the JW teach about the lake of fire and annihilation of the wicked dead:It is, at any rate, clear that Jesus used Gehenna as representative of utter destruction resulting from adverse judgment by God, hence with no resurrection to life as a soul being possible. (Matt. 10:28; Luke 12:4, 5).(21)... a destruction that is eternal and which will always be available to receive any who at any future time should merit destruction by God.(22)God's word is clear about the future beyond the grave for all who die in a spiritually unsaved condition. They will be thrown into the same lake of fire that will eternally torment the devil, the antichrist and the false prophet (Rev. 20:10, 15 cf. Mt. 25:41-46). Therefore, besides a paradise kingdom of Heaven to gain (Lk. 23:43; Phil.1:21-23 cf. 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 21:4) there is also a lake of fire to shun. This helps reveal how important and how precious salvation is. The Lord Jesus put it in these words:What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mk. 8:36, 37, NIV).One final passage needs to be mentioned and that is Mt. 7:13, 14. It is indirectly related to the eternal torment of the damned for it reveals that the majority of people ever born will miss entering the Kingdom of Heaven and go to this nightmare like place. Dear reader, are you biblically saved at this moment? If not, turn from your sins and place your faith in Jesus for your salvation (Acts 20:21). If you were once saved, but since lost your salvation, repent and come back to the Father like the prodigal (Lk. 15:24, 32). Remember: We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first (Heb. 3:14). See also Mt. 10:22 and Rev. 2:10, 11. In the end, one will either spend all eternity in God's Kingdom with its many joys and pleasures (Isa. 35:10; Mt. 25:21, 23; Rom. 2:7; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 21:4; 22:3; etc.) or will continue to experience pain and torment in an eternal, unquenchable and raging fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels without ever being annihilated and with no hope of getting out. The choice is yours, since God doesn't want anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). Also, many will be deceived by false prophets (Mt. 24:11) such as E. G. White(23) and the Watch Tower Society. Don't be one of their victims or anyone else's that might teach similarly.
(1) Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1950), p. 535. All bold emphasis in this article is ours.return
(2) You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 1982), p. 89. How presumptuous for the Watchtower to say that such an idea never came into the mind or heart of God, especially in light of the forthcoming Scriptures.return
(3) Ibid., p. 81.return
(4) The Great Controversy, p. 536.return
(5) Ibid., pp. 536, 537.return
(6) Basanizo can be associated with literal pain in one's body (Mt. 8:6) and even one's soul (2 Pet. 2:8). Compare this to Mt. 10:28 and Rev. 20:10.return
(7) Annihilationism is also known in theology as "conditional immortality."return
(8) Clark Pinnock, quoted from Four Views on Hell (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992), p. 146.return
(9) You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, p. 89. Annihilationists are usually quick to point out that gehenna is an allusion to the burning garbage dump outside of Jerusalem in Jesus' day, where sacrifices were once offered to pagan deities. By using the same term to describe the fiery place of torment reserved for the wicked dead, the Lord was simply stating that as refuse the unsaved will be thrown into fire, as was the garbage outside of Jerusalem.return
(10) The Greek word used here is basanizo, the same word used in Rev. 20:10.return
(11) Preserved is one of the meanings of this Greek word.return
(12) The popular teaching of once saved always saved, eternal security and the perseverance of the saints is not Scriptural, as shown by the Apostle Judas Iscariot and many other passages not cited here. To order our fully documented, 801 page book entitled, The Believer's Conditional Security [ISBN 0963907689] with over 700 footnotes, make your $23.45 check payable to: Evangelical Outreach, PO Box 265, Washington, PA 15301. This book is the most comprehensive and exhaustive refutation to the teaching of once saved always saved, eternal security and the perseverance of the saints that has ever been written. It will not be refuted.return
(13) This hell fire and damnation passage is directly written about people who were once saved, then afterwards sinned to the point of becoming God's adversaries by trampling the Son of God underfoot, counting the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulting the Spirit of grace. We can be certain that such a person was previously saved because it states that he was sanctified by the blood of the covenant (Jesus' blood). This could only be a real regeneration. Heb. 10:26-29 is a clear refutation to the teaching of eternal security also known as once saved always saved or the perseverance of the saints. The common fallacious comeback that such were never really saved to begin with is clearly demolished by the context of this passage. Such people never get saved again, unlike the prodigal son (Lk. 15:24, 32) or the ones referred to in Jam. 5:19, 20.return
(14) Aid To Bible Understanding (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 1971), p. 701.return
(15) You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, pp. 88, 89.return
(16) Ibid., p. 78.return
(17) Because the souls spoke and were able to receive a robe, we know that they were conscious.return
(18) Eccl. 9:5,10 must be understood with 1 Pet. 3:19,20 in mind.return
(19) Ibid., p. 77.return
(20) Ibid., p. 83.return
(21) Aid To Bible Understanding, p. 634.return
(22) Ibid., p. 1019.return
(23) For information on E. G. White, contact: Evangelical Outreach
P. O. Box 265
Washington, PA 15301.return
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