Friday, June 26, 2015

The Lake of Fire: Eternal Torment or Annihilation / Soul-Sleep?

There are many passages of Scripture that are clear that annihilationism, as taught by the Watchtower Society, Seventh-Day Adventism, and other cults, is false.  The Bible clearly teaches the eternal torment of the wicked.  For a general overview of the Biblical teaching on this doctrine, please read Prepare for Judgment and examine the resources here.  In the study below the teaching of the last Word from God to mankind, the book of Revelation, will be examined.

Consider the following texts in the book of Revelation:
10 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:
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. . . .
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

20:1   And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
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.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
11   And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. . . .

8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 14:10-11; 19:20-20:15; 21:8).
 
Revelation 19:20 indicates that the Antichrist and the False Prophet, the leaders of the one-world political and religious system in the future Tribulation period, will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone at the end of that seven year period when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to set up His kingdom.  They remain there for a thousand years while the rest of the unsaved dead remain in Hades (20:14-15).  Christ rules over the earth in His Millenial kingdom (20:4-6), and then at the end of that time the final rebellion takes place, Satan being loosed from the bottomless pit where he had been placed for that time (20:7-9) but certainly not annihilated.[1]  Satan and the wicked who join him lose the battle, and at that time “And the devil that deceived [the wicked] was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  Note that the beast and the false prophet are still in the lake of fire after being put in there a thousand years earlier, and from that time forth they “shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  The plural verb “shall be tormented” makes it impossible to restrict the reference of 20:10 to the devil alone—clearly, the human political and religious leaders of the one-world system of the Tribulation still exist after being in the lake of fire for a thousand years, and will continue to exist there “for ever and ever,” being “tormented day and night,” being “tormented with fire and brimstone” where “the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night” (14:10-11).

Scripture then asserts that the unsaved dead, those who missed the resurrection to life (20:4-5), will rise for their judgment out of Hades (20:13-14).  They will have their works reviewed and will all be condemned because they all sinned and fell far short of the sinless perfection demanded by God and given freely to all believers as they are justified through faith alone based on the blood and imputed righteousness of Christ (Romans 3:23-28; Matthew 5:48; Hebrews 10:14).  After their judgment they are cast into the same lake of fire where the Antichrist, false prophet, and devil are (20:14-15; 21:8), and all together the devil and the children of the devil, those who were never adopted into God’s family by faith in Christ (John 1:12; 8:44), “shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death . . . [and] 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.”

The book of Revelation gives a very clear description of things to come.  Its prophecies will be fulfilled as literally as the prophecies of Christ’s first coming and other already fulfilled prophecies.  The book very clearly reveals that the unsaved dead will be tormented with fire and brimstone for ever and ever and have no rest day or night.  While annihilationist cults like to affirm that “for ever and ever” does not denote literal eternity, all sixty-two times the Greek phrase for “for ever” appears in the New Testament (eis + aion), literal eternity is in view (note the study here).  What is more, Revelation makes very clear that the lake of fire is not a place of annihilation, for those cast into it a thousand years earlier are still there at the end of that time, “and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  Were annihilationism true, the passage above would not be a revelation of truth from God, but a deception from the father of lies, or at least something impossible to understand.  Scripture clearly teaches the sobering truth is that those who do not come to Christ will suffer the second death and be tormented for ever and ever in the lake of fire as the just punishment for their infinite crimes against God.  If you have never been born again, consider that God has given man His Word so that “ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).  Click here to find out how you can be sure of eternal life, saved from your sin, and come into fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, instead of being sure to suffer eternally in the lake of fire for your sins.


[1]              Scripture is clear that the bottomless pit is by no means a place where any created being is annihilated:
9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
9:2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
9:11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

7 comments:

George Calvas said...

Though I agree in principle with what you wrote, I have some questions:

Which is truth?

1 Cor 15:55: "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?"

or

1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
--------

Rev. 1:18 "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”

or

18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

There are more, but this will suffice. Do you believe every word of God is pure? The words Hades and Hell are different in spelling as well as meaning. Soul sleep and annihilationism are taught when the word Hades is added.

Therefore, it will not be a problem in making a clear choice above.




KJB1611 said...

George, non-Ruckmanites do not have to make a choice. One is a translation and the other a transliteration.

KJB1611 said...

I was discussing the issue of annihilation vs. the classical Christian doctrine of hell with an SDA Ph. D. who did his doctoral dissertation on hell, affirming the Adventist annihilationist position. He affirmed that the phrase rendered "for ever and ever" in the KJV did not always denote literal eternity in the NT, but did not prove it.

I asked him the following question:

Since --- has done his doctoral dissertation on hell, perhaps he has references where Greek patristics, who wrote, thought, preached, etc. in Greek defined the Greek for "for ever and ever" as less than literal eternity. Surely they understood their own language.

I never got an answer to this.

I also noted:

There are certain OT phrases rendered as "for ever" in the KJV which often but not always denote literal eternity. [If I am going to see evidence for annihilationism,] I am looking for the texts where "for ever and ever," the NT phrase, found frequently enough, denotes less than literal eternity. It never does. "Shall be tormented for ever and ever" means exactly what it says. Obviously we can't assume that because a particular Hebrew construction is used for less than literal eternity that totally different constructions in a different language, Greek, are used for less than literal eternity. Furthermore, it is not sufficient even to demonstrate that a phrase can at times mean less than literal eternity--one must demonstrate that it must do so in a particular context. In English someone can wait at the DMV for a while and say, "I was in line for ever!" in a hyperbolic statement, but without such contextual considerations a statement such as "the saints shall reign for ever and ever" would be understood in English as literal eternity. Thus, statements such as "shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" need to be shown to be hyperbolic both because this must be shown to be a common enough use of the phrase and because context shows it is hyperbolic [in order to provide evidence for the SDA annihilationist doctrine].

George Calvas said...

"George, non-Ruckmanites do not have to make a choice. One is a translation and the other a transliteration"

Why not go around an "transliterate" more words? Why not "pascha" in Acts 12 instead of Easter? Why not "Ghenna" in Matthew 23:15 instead of hell?

Then you have Hades, Ghenna and hell. Now that would really help us understand the Holy Authorized Scriptures. Really?

KJV1611 (That name is hypocrisy! Why not find something else to use.), a bible believer as myself does not have to make a choice or run around to the Greek and Hebrew to explain anything. A bible believer does not add to the confusion by changing words so that one can obscure or not have to deal with HELL.

Is that what you call a Ruckmanite? If so, it must be a badge of honor.

Kent Brandenburg said...

George,

The Bible says what God wrote and means what God meant when He wrote it, not what translators did in 1611 and wrote in 1611. The Bible was around before 1611. You don't believe in the preservation of scripture, which is actually taught in the King James Version. You don't believe the King James Version. Stop taking these threads a different direction. We've been gracious in printing your comments even though you are taking them off the thread. Stop it. If future comments are not published, it will be because I can't work through all of this every time with you and I'm not going to keep publishing these off-thread comments. When I bring it up, you're unrepentant as well.

When you are off thread, you ought at least to be gracious about it, and ask if it would be OK if you could write an off thread comment or ask an off thread question. You've got about three pet subjects and you bring them into about every comment thread. You are of Ruckman and that is not a badge of honor.

Bruce M. said...

If the thief had met Jesus in paradise that same day then why did Jesus tell Mary not to touch Him because He had not yet ascended to His Father in John 20:17?
In John 20:27 Jesus told Thomas to touch Him because He had ascended to the Father and returned.
During the three days Jesus was not in heaven, but in the grave and therefore did not meet the thief in paradise the day that He died.

Also in the story of Lazarus, Jesus told them plainly after calling death a sleep that Lazarus was dead.
Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again.
Her response indicated her knowledge of where Lazarus was, she said "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day"
Notice that she did not say that he was walking the streets of gold - he was dead.
Would it not have been a greater comfort to Martha if Jesus had said that her brother was no in heaven? Instead He told her he would rise again.

Psalm 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thought perish.

Ecclesiastes 9:5,6 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, 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 in anything that is done under the sun.

The same God who made us is able to re-make us at the last day when we shall be caught up to meet Him in the air.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Bruce,

Thanks for commenting.

Christ said John 20:17 because He had not yet ascended bodily to heaven. His human soul was in Paradise that very day, but His body had not yet ascended to heaven.

Please read the article on Luke 23:43 here:

http://faithsaves.net/do-the-lost-suffer-forever-in-hell/


for proof that the verse MUST read the way it does in the KJV and all other English translations (the Watchtower's NWT is not a translation).

The study here:

Notes on Anti-Eternal Torment, Pro-Annihilationism “Proof-texts”

at the same website deals with your Ps 146:4 and Ecc 9:5 arguments. They are totally invalid. Please read the comments there are respond here if you disagree (or agree).

Also, when you respond, please deal with the passages actually in the post above. You did not say a single word about any of the verses cited in the blog post. Thanks.