Author: Michele at ScriptureStudy.Guide
Posted: May 28, 2022. Updated September 22, 2022.
We are told in 1 John 5:16 not to pray over those who sin unto spiritual death. Why would God tell us such a thing if there is an unending lake of fire ahead for them? Because only God’s will is being done in the lives of unbelievers, and He is ALWAYS JUST AND GOOD. God’s plan is perfect, He is always just, and He is not a sadist (for more info, see God Created Evil).
God tells us He is the beginning and the end; the first and the last (Revelation 21:6, 22:13). He uses these markers for us even though He always has been and always will be. We see His beginning happening in Genesis 1:1 with the first day of His creation. God tells us of a “time of the end” which was in 70 AD (Daniel 8:17 & 19, 11:35 & 40, 12:4 & 9), then we see another time of the end with all former things having passed away after the second coming of Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:1, 4). God works in ages – He is the only unchanging constant.
This article will explain death, hell, the new testament lake of fire, Sheol/Hades, and the old testament “unquenchable fire,” and their duration and purpose according to the canonical scriptures.
It will be helpful to first establish that human spirits will never cease to exist. The human being who fell in the garden was created in God’s image which is spirit (Genesis 1:26-27).
The spirit of the wicked will not disappear like a burned out match once in the lake of fire — this is not supported anywhere in scripture. You can find the full study on this here: Do Wicked Human Spirits or Souls Cease to Exist?
The word “destruction” in Romans 9:22 implies experiencing God’s wrath followed by time in the lake of fire. The verse reads, “vessels of wrath fit for destruction”… it doesn’t say “vessels of wrath destined to cease to exist.” Destruction has nothing to do with disappearing forever. To destroy something is simply to alter its current state to an unrecognizable state.
Isaiah 42:5 says, “Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:”
If a human being were to cease to exist in the spiritual realm, then there would be no need for them to have a spirit at all. The worm of the wicked is different from their spirit (Mark 9:43-49).
What is Hell?
What we think of as “hell” is referred to as the “lake of fire” in the new testament and “everlasting fire” in the old testament. However, the word translated as “hell” in the KJV bible is just the grave below the earth.
“Hell” is actually the Greek word Hades (Strong’s G86) in the new testament which is called Sheol (Strong’s H7585) in the Hebrew old testament. This is “the unseen place” below the earth which is the holding place of the wicked dead’s spirits where they unconsciously await in darkness for their resurrection for the great white throne judgment.
The lake of fire is not in Hades.
What is the Lake of Fire?
The lake of fire is literally “a fiery pond/lake” in the Greek. It is not hell which is Hades.
Matthew 25:41 tells us that the “everlasting fire” was prepared for the devil and his angels… God did not intend for the fiery lake to be for human spirits who He created in His image, but will use it to end wickedness and sin.
I am going to give my personal interpretation here based on what I have learned by studying this topic using the entire canonical scriptures for context (and not just singular verses). When Jesus returns to earth at His second coming, His righteousness destroys the earth with “fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:10 & 12). We are told that “fire and brimstone” are cast down onto the earth (Revelation 9:17-18). We are then told that the “lake of fire is burning with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 19:10, 20:10, 21:8).
My personal belief is that this earth as we know it will become the lake of fire (Revelation 14:10). The ground, oceans and sky will dissolve away and the molten lava below the earth will combine with the fire and brimstone and become the lake of fire. It’s going to be a place that we will visibly see and be able to look down on once we are in the spiritual realm in infallible bodies — do read Luke 16:22-31.
As Acts 14:22 says, Christians abiding in this wicked earth are experiencing much tribulation (this is not our home), so how fitting for this earth to be turned into a literal lake of fire for those unbelievers who once vexed the poor and needy (Ezekiel 22:29), prospered deceitfully in this world and/or considered this earth their home. That is the action of a just God.
What is Sheol and Hades?
We learned above that Hades is the unseen place below the earth where all unbelieving human spirits are unconsciously waiting for the great white throne judgment.
Hades is the Greek word that is the same as the Hebrew word Sheol. When you see Sheol in the old testament and Hades in the new testament, they are the same place.
Sheol/Hades has 2 halves/parts/chambers. Sheol’s 2 halves were before the cross — the upper chamber was Paradise where the spirits of the righteous human dead were unconsciously resting, and the lower half was the holding place of the wicked human dead spirits.
When Jesus died on Calvary, he descended into Paradise where He ministered to the human spirits in all of Sheol. All those who believed on Him ascended into heaven with Him. At this time, Paradise moved into heaven where the righteous dead are now resting in the presence of the Lord.
After the cross, Sheol, now called Hades, had different inhabitants. The upper half (previously Paradise) became the holding place for the wicked dead human spirits. The lower half is now the holding place where the fallen angels are bound (2 Peter 2:4) and Satan is restrained in the deepest part of this lower realm during this gospel era (Revelation 20:1-3).
All of this is an UNSEEN spiritual realm. We cannot dig through the earth and release fallen angels that we can see with our human eyes — they lost their habitation (infallible bodies) when they left their first estate (heaven) — see Jude 1:6.
What is Death?
Revelation 6:8 and 20:13 & 14 mentions “Death and Hell” being raised for judgment. Because “Death and Hell” are mentioned together, and Hades has 2 halves/parts that are below the earth, then I believe it is all of Hades being raised here.
We know the upper chamber of hell/Hades is the holding place of wicked human spirits.
‘Death’ here is spiritual death which could also be referring to the fallen angels in the lower chamber of Hades. Both are raised, then judged and cast into the lake of fire at the end of the last day.
What was Hell in the Old Testament?
We know that hell in the old testament was Sheol which is the unseen holding place of wicked human spirits.
The new testament lake of fire is referred to as “fire” in the Hebrew old testament (Strong’s H784). Fire was used extensively before the cross as the way to destroy all abominations/uncleanness/sin.
Everything and every event in the old testament was a foreshadow of things and events in the new testament (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
Numbers 31:23 says, “Every thing that may abide the fire, ye shall make it go through the fire, and it shall be clean: nevertheless it shall be purified with the water of separation: and all that abideth not the fire ye shall make go through the water.”
What is happening in this verse is a foreshadow of the lake of fire, and a foreshadow of the river of life that came to mankind through Jesus Christ. Those who can bear (live and prosper in) the fire (this earth) will go through the lake of fire and BE MADE CLEAN. Those who do not dwell in (become comfortable with) the fire of earth with the wicked will be washed by the cleansing water of the Son for purification to be acceptable unto the Father.
God uses fire to try, refine and prove His children’s faith
Zechariah 13:9 — “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.”
Psalm 66:10 — “For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.” “The Lord trieth the hearts” (Proverbs 17:3).
Job 23:10 — “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
1 Peter 1:7 — “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”
We can clearly see that each of us will go through the Refiner’s fire in either this age/world or the next age which is the second death. Strength, understanding and unwavering faith will always accompany God’s refining fire on His people.
The fire CAN be quenched
Numbers 11:1-2 says: “And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. 2 And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire was quenched.”
We see here that a righteous advocate, Moses, was able to quench the fire of judgment from God. Under the new covenant, Jesus is our advocate who will quench the lake of fire and brimstone per God’s will.
Those who were in the outer parts of the camp symbolize unbelievers — this is a foreshadow of the unbelieving being thrown in the lake of fire. Those who cried out to Moses symbolizes believers who call on Christ Jesus for their salvation — these go through the Refiner’s fire while on earth.
Jesus also describes an unquenchable fire
In the book of Mark, Jesus describes a “hell with a fire that cannot be quenched” where “their worm dieth not” (Mark 9:43-49). The word “hell” here is Strong’s G1067 and is explained in the old testament — it is the valley of Hinnom called Gehenna (Jeremiah 7:31 & 32:35). In this valley, the idolatrous Israelites burned their firstborn children as sacrifices to Molech. The valley eventually became the place where dead bodies and putrefying matter was thrown in to be consumed (source here).
The fire could not be quenched because their “worm (slug; maggot) dieth not.” I believe this worm is the evil invisible spirit power which causes foulness and sin in fallible human beings. The fire will burn for a human spirit as long as their putrification of sin remains with them. The worm itself may continue on for countless ages apart from fallible flesh because the lake of fire was created for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41), or the worm may just cease to exist once its purpose is over — the bible does not explain this worm. What we do know is that through the Advocate, whose shed blood defeated all sin and conquered death, the fire CAN be eventually quenched for an individual spirit when God separates them from their worm, according to His righteous judgment (Numbers 11:1-2). God is Sovereign and created and controls this worm (details here).
When Jesus was on the cross, He prayed for His evil, unbelieving murderers, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Do you believe that God will NOT forgive them after His vengeance is poured out (Deuteronomy 32:35)? Who on this earth could possibly be more wicked than those who murdered our one true Messiah?? If that level of forgiveness applied to Jesus, it certainly applies to us, as He taught us to pray “as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Matthew 6:12). As believers with faith that is NOT OF US, we need to check our self-righteousness and pride before Jesus returns for His true bride.
Now that we have covered all the forms of hell in scripture, we can continue on to study its duration.
There is no debate among most people that there is a real lake of fire and brimstone that unbelievers will be cast into after the great white throne judgment. What is in question is it’s length, or specifically, its never-ending length. God does explain this to us in these verses:
Colossians 1:20 — “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
God is going to re-establish a relationship with all in heaven and all in earth. It doesn’t say “all BELIEVERS,” but ALL in earth and ALL in heaven.
Ephesians 3:9 — “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:“
God created ALL things by Jesus Christ, and the power of His shed blood has NO LIMITS.
Romans 14:11 — “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
When the Lord says “every,” then I believe it is EVERY one. This worship will be genuine and heartfelt; not forced.
Quick Grammar Lesson
This section will explain the parts of speech of a word so you will know how it is used in a sentence. You may wish to skip this section and come back later if needed.
The terms Nominative, Genitive, Dative and Accusative are Noun Cases (they explain the proper use of the noun). The 9 forms of aion, Strong’s G165, are all Masculine nouns. Noun Cases are defined as follows:
Indicates the subject of the verb.
Example: Lazy students whine. (Lazy=adjective. Students=subject. Whine=verb.)
Here, students would be in the nominative since it is what was/is doing the verb (whine).
Example: The boy’s balloon is gone.
This case is easier to notice since the word itself usually changes. “‘s” is added to the nominative word to indicate possession, so ‘the boy’ becomes ‘the boy’s’. Personal pronouns also change (e.g. he, she, it –> his, her, its).
Indicates the indirect object.
Example: I bought a horse for my friend. (I=subject. Bought=verb. Horse=direct object. For my friend=indirect object.)
Here, the dative is ‘for my friend’. The reason why this is not in the accusative is that I am buying a horse (the direct object in this sentence), rather than my friend.
Indicates the direct object.
Example: Do you have money? (You=subject. Do have=verb. Money=direct object.)
Here, money would be in the accusative since it is the pet that the verb is being done to- the pet is owned by the person.
A NOUN is a person, place, thing or idea.
Examples: Joe, dog, home, Paris, table, time, an age, power.
A VERB expresses action, existence or occurrence.
Examples: She ran home. He has been sick.
An ADJECTIVE describes a noun.
Examples: Blue house. Silly girl.
Duration In The Greek New Testament
The words in the new testament referring to the duration of the lake of fire is lumped under 2 Strong’s Concordance words: G165 – aion, and G166 – aionios.
Aion – Strong’s G165
The word G165 in Strong’s is aion, a MASCULINE NOUN properly defined as “an age” — a length of time that has a beginning and an end, and it’s length (or mode of dealing) is determined by God.
The KJV translates Strong’s G165 in the following manner: ever (71x), world (38x), never (with G3364) (with G1519) (with G3588) (6x), evermore (4x), age (2x), eternal (2x), miscellaneous (5x).
Obviously, the words world, ever, age and eternal cannot mean the same thing but all relate to an age.
There are actually 9 unique Greek words, called “Greek forms,” lumped under the one Strong’s word G165, aion. All 9 forms of aion are MASCULINE NOUNS. But 4 are singular (only ONE age), and 5 are plural (more than one age, or two or more ages occurring simultaneously). But none of these words denotes an age that never ends.
The 9 Greek words for aion are as follows (you can click on each word to read all of the verses in which they are used):
- αἰῶνα — 33x (singular age – all these words refer to times unto Christ)
- αἰωνας — 1x (plural ages)
- αἰῶνας — 30x (plural ages)
- αἶῶνας — 1x (plural ages)
- αἰῶνι — 8x (dative singular – translates as “world”)
- αἰῶνός — 1x (singular – possessive case of “world”)
- αἰῶνος — 24x (singular – all but 3 translates as “world”)
- αἰώνων — 29x (plural ages)
- αἰῶσιν — 1x (plural ages)
Study help: You may wish to use a color pencil to shade all the singular uses of G165 in your study bible to recognize them as being the one age created unto Jesus Christ (which ends when Death and Hell are cast into the lake of fire – 1 Corinthians 15:25-26).
Word #1 is interesting, αἰῶνα… so many uses as the word “never.” The proper use for this is “not ever” which means “not for this age” or “not during this course.” It means that we will not be in one place or position for a never-ending eternity but will move on to other roles in or after the new heaven and new earth.
Important Note about word #3: Luke 1:33 – “And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; G165 and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” The word “kingdom” here means “royalty” — it is a genitive (shows possession) singular feminine noun — feminine is referring to the church/Christ’s bride. The phrase “shall be no end” is “not be limited” in the original language. The verse actually reads “Jesus will reign over spiritual Israel for multiple ages and sovereignty shall not be limited.” We know that Jesus gives His kingdom back over to the Father after Death and Hell are thrown into the lake of fire (1 Corinthians 15:25-26) — this closes that final age of this plural age.
Word #8: In the KJV, Ephesians 3:21 says “throughout all ages, world without end.” The word ‘without’ is not in the original language AT ALL. It actually reads, “throughout all the generations, the age of ages.” The first G165 is singular, the second is plural.
The one verse I had trouble with was Revelation 5:13-14 which is referencing God and the Lamb being worshiped for plural ever and ever (ages and ages), but then I saw the context: the beasts of creation and that above and below our earth is doing the worshiping… we know that this is happening in heaven right now during this church age, and has been happening since creation, which is why there are multiple ages (old covenant and new covenant; simultaneously in both the physical and spiritual realms). We will then move into another age when Jesus returns His kingdom back unto the Father once all has been put in subjection to Him (1 Corinthians 15:28).
God’s spiritual realm is now, always, future and forever, but it clearly is made up of defined ages.
The primary issue in this study is not so much the noun G165 aion (because we know it has a beginning and an end), but the adjective G166 which is aionios which is generally defined as “age everlasting” or “perpetual age.” We will look at this in context.
Aionios – Strong’s G166
Strong’s G166 is aionios — it is an ADJECTIVE that describes something pertaining to a duration. It is describing something in terms of an age.
Strong’s uses the words “perpetual” and “terminus” to define this word. Terminus is “the final point; the end.” Perpetual means “ongoing” until the terminus point is reached.
In other words, the aionios duration of things surrounding the judgments, promises and will of God are FOR A PURPOSE and will continue until the purpose of God’s will is reached (the final point).
There are 11 unique Greek words in the original texts that fall under Strong’s G166 which the KJV translators have defined as “eternal” or “everlasting.” Strong’s G166 is aionios — you can see this here in the Textus Receptus Concordance in the Blue Letter Bible:
In the example above, I included the one use of one Greek word, αἰωνίους, an adjective that is translated as “everlasting.” This verse is saying that a worldly-wise man who stole from one man to do favors for other men, should make friends of those cheats so they will receive him into their everlasting tents.
Now we know that no man on this earth has an “everlasting tent” or “eternal habitation” to offer anyone. Yet, here we see it in the KJV bible. I could have used this one instance of aionios to blast the concept of a never-ending hell fire, but we want to check all of the words in the entire bible to gain a full and complete understanding. Context is key if we are to get to the truth.
What we need to learn from this example is that aionios can be a very short period of time (less than 80-100 years) so could also be a very long period of time — the aionios “age lasting” or “perpetual age” is not never-ending nor is it the same length of time in each case it is used.
11 Different Words for Aionios
All 11 aionios words are ADJECTIVES which describe something. It is from the root word aion or “age” which is a masculine noun.
You can click the links below to see the complete list of scripture verses where each word is used in the KJV bible.
The 11 aionios words are as follows:
- αἰώνια — 1x (plural neuter)
- αἰωνίαν — 2x (singular feminine)
- αἰωνίοις — 1x (plural masculine)
- αἰώνιον — 45x (singular)
- αἰώνιός — 1x (singular feminine)
- αἰώνιος — 2x (singular feminine)
- αἶώνιος — 1x (singular feminine)
- αἰωνίου — 14x (singular, possessive)
- αἰωνιόυ — 1x (singular feminine)
- αἰωνίους — 1x (plural feminine)
- αἰωνίων — 2x (plural masculine)
In context, we see the following:
Word #1 is a nominative plural neuter. This is describing the unseen realm in a positive context.
Word #2 is a singular feminine. It is referring to what the church was given during the church age that moves them into the new earth and new heaven. It describes an age that fulfills a purpose.
Word #3 is a plural masculine translated as “since the world began.” These are the ages from before the world and during the world which will culminate at the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Word #4 has 4 parts of speech.
- The accusative singular feminine in all of it’s 38 uses is referring to eternal LIFE in Christ Jesus which culminates in the new heaven and new earth.
- The accusative singular neuter has 4 uses and two of them are referring to the church age and it’s eventual rewards (“everlasting gospel” and “eternal weight of glory”). This demonstrates an eventual culmination.
- The 2 uses of this accusative singular masculine word points to an age that culminates in everlasting destruction from the Lord’s presence (we know God reconciles all to Himself in Colossians 1:20), and in a man accepting a brethren in the Lord.
- This nominative singular neuter is referring to “the times of the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ” which refers to all creation unto Christ and its culmination or purpose.
Word #5 is a nominative singular feminine referring to life everlasting.
Word #6 is a nominative singular feminine referring again to eternal life.
Word #7 is a nominative singular feminine again referring to eternal life.
I can’t help but notice that the word that describes our life in the heavenly spiritual kingdom is SINGULAR… a single lasting age with a beginning and an end (like our current earth has)… so God has even bigger plans for us that we are not aware of.
Word #8 has 3 parts of speech, all genitive singular.
- The 10 uses of this feminine adjective are referring to everlasting life, inheritance, covenant, glory and the world, with one instance of a warning of “everlasting damnation” — being feminine, I don’t take this to be a never-ending force but rather the age of the second death in the lake of fire.
- The neuter refers to eternal judgment, Spirit and fire. The Spirit was given to Jesus when He was a man in the flesh — this context shows a culmination of purpose — Jesus returning to the presence of God, moving from the physical realm to the spiritual realm.
- This genitive singular masculine is referring to the “everlasting God” who is “the beginning and the end” (Revelation 21:6 & 22:13).
Word #9 is a genitive singular feminine referring to eternal life.
Word #10 is an accusative plural feminine referring to the tents of human men (covered above). Definitely demonstrates having an end.
Word #11 is a genitive plural masculine referring to “world began” and eternal life.
Aion / Aionios Summary
Having studied the context and usage of all the verses of all the words under Strong’s G165 and G166, it is crystal clear to me that nothing is going to remain stagnant or never-ending in the spiritual realm. God Himself is the only constant that never changes.
All but a few verses are speaking of positive things given to those who love God which culminates in something greater. There are several verses that reference the fire that is a “lasting age” (or “age upon ages,” possibly countless ages in Satan’s case for whom the fiery lake was made for), but nothing implies a duration that never ends; rather everything is culminating in something even more magnificent than what came before — nothing is going to remain in a state of never-ending destruction (remember Colossians 1:20).
Even God describes Himself as being the first and the last, the beginning and the end — He uses these markers for us even though He’s always been and always will be. God Himself, the plural holy Elohim who created us and our earth, appears to be in a constant state of ending one chapter (like us and our earth) and beginning another chapter…. working for 6 ages/thousands and resting for the 7th age/thousand.
I once heard a great bible teacher hesitantly admit that he believes we are in a cycle that repeats itself. I do believe he was 100% correct.
Duration In The Hebrew Old Testament
In looking at the verses that use the word “ever” or “forever” in the Hebrew, all of them fit an age of time that has a beginning and an end with a possible exception of one verse: Exodus 15:18. We know that Jehovah always has been and always will be — He is eternal — so why does this verse appear to be different from all the others which are an age? Because it isn’t different… it is talking about His reign over His current creation, and not His existence or role as our Father.
In the KJV, Exodus 15:18 reads:
The LORDH3068 shall reignH4427 for everH5769 and ever.H5703
In the original Hebrew, it reads:
Exo 15:18 – יהוהH3068 ימלךH4427 לעלםH5769 ועד׃H5703
Note: Hebrew is normally read from the right to left, but WordPress switched it to left to right when I pasted it here... that is why the punctuation seems to be at the beginning of the word — it is actually at the end of the word.
The first thing we notice is that the words “ever and ever” in the KJV are actually 2 completely different Hebrew words, H5769 and H5703.
The second thing we notice is that in all the other verses which, in context, fit an age of time with a beginning and an end, they only use the one word H5769.
So we see that the addition of the word H5703 will explain how this is not just an age but a lasting age with an end point. This is because it is speaking of Jehovah’s reign pertaining to just us and our earth; it is not speaking of His being our Father as that always has been and always will be.
Our spirits will go from being His young children to His “adult children” or mature perfect spirit beings in the ages that follows the current ages. Scripture supports this in Isaiah 65:20 which tells us that there are only mature spirit beings in God’s heavenly kingdom (see this study). We know God becomes ALL in ALL, that is, ALL in EVERYONE and EVERYTHING after Jesus returns and we are made infallible/perfect (1 Corinthians 15:28). We are NOT our own and we are NOT gods. God will literally absorb ALL unto Himself… He won’t reign over Himself… He is extending Himself through His infallible, perfect creation!
H5769 – “Ever” and “Everlasting”
This is the word that is used throughout the old testament as “ever,” “forever,” and “everlasting.” In the Strong’s, it means “a point concealed.” The italicized words in the Strong’s are added by men. We see the true meaning of this word is “the point.” This is a point in time (or an age of time) in which one does not know the end.
H5703 – “Ever”
This word is defined as “terminus” which is a duration up to an end point. We see the use of ever and forever in the old testament is not much different from the new testament.
Everything about God’s creations is determined in ages. The ONLY constant that never changes, and that has ALWAYS been and ALWAYS will be, is God Himself.
The Time is Nigh
Jesus could literally come at any time as He said He would: “Like a thief.” We won’t be expecting Him when He comes so we must watch for Him constantly.
God works for 6 ages and rests for 1 age — a day is as a thousand years/an age to God (a study on the word ‘thousand’ can be found here).
The final kingdom of earth was setup in 538 A.D., and the great tribulation like this world has never seen and never will see again, was the 1,260 years/prophetic days, 42 months, the time, times and a half from 538-1798 A.D. [See this article for links that prove prophecy fulfillment.]
The one world agenda has kicked into high gear. Agenda 2021 has already been completed, and they moved up the date of their 2030 plan to 2023, because they know time is SHORT. We may see a third world war, but we could be seeing Jesus Christ coming in the clouds for His saints at any moment!
I’ve received some blowback for this study which happens when one speaks God’s truths. Some Christians cannot forgive certain trespasses. They believe their fallible filth is better than the next person’s fallible filth. They forget that what is pure and good about their fallible selves is spiritual and ONLY OF GOD and not of them (Ephesians 2:5). Sin is sin… there are not varying degrees of it… their own gossip is the murdering of another. They are limiting the power of the shed blood of Jesus Christ and feeling justified in doing so… that self-righteousness is sin that the bible calls “holier than thou” in Isaiah 65:5.
People with an opinion on this topic typically fall into 3 camps:
- They insist hell is eternal because they have no problem with purposeless torture because they hate their father or sibling or serial killers or the school yard bully or some other human being rather than heeding the words of Jesus: “Love your enemies.”
- They insist hell is not eternal because God made them the way they are so they don’t have to repent or do anything to keep their fallible vessels in-check (see the articles Are You Producing Good Fruit? and Dealing with Temptations and Sin).
- Camp #3 is a small minority who believes human spirits will fizzle out like a match in the lake of fire, even though this is not at all scriptural. Jesus Christ died to keep His bride out of the lake of fire, but He also died for ALL of creation, even the beasts of the field and the fowl of the air (Colossians 1:20).
Well, I do not share the beliefs of any of those 3 camps so am heavily criticized by them (which is fine). I agree with ALL of scripture, not just the parts that make one feel justified. And I do not twist scripture to make myself feel better.
Unbelievers and the unrepentant will be punished (Exodus 34:7), it will be deserved, it will not be never-ending, and it will be for a perfect purpose. When God said the wicked will be judged/punished according to their works which are recorded in the books, I believe Him (Revelation 20:12). If every unbeliever were in the lake of fire for a never-ending eternity, then what is the purpose? Does God act apart from purpose? …absolutely not.
The fire cannot be quenched — it never lets up — unless there is a worthy advocate (Numbers 11:1-2). Our Advocate is Jesus Christ whose blood cleanses ALL uncleanness. God will eventually rid His creation of their worm and draw human spirits to His Son according to His will (Ephesians 2:8-9, Colossians 1:20).
God is going to reestablish a relationship with ALL those in earth and in heaven, even the beasts of the field (Colossians 1:20)…. so there are a lot of Christians who need to deal with that fact before its too late. Are you going to be judged as one who never forgave the trespasses of others? Or one who did not love his enemies? God may have hated Esau, but Jesus loved everyone.
When Jesus was on the cross, He prayed for His evil, unbelieving murderers, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Do you believe that God will NOT forgive them after His vengeance is poured out (Deuteronomy 32:35)? Who on earth is more evil than those who murdered the one true Messiah?? If that level of forgiveness applied to Jesus, it certainly applies to us, as He taught us to pray “as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Matthew 6:12).
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
I pray this study has helped in some way. Be comforted in the assurance that God is not vicious without reason, especially to those whom He has blinded to His truth according to His will. We should leave the fate of our unbelieving loved ones in the almighty hands of God, knowing FULL WELL that His actions are nothing short of righteous and JUST. God will fulfill His work in His creation (Philippians 2:13 & 1:6).
May God bless you and your family. Please pray for peace in new Jerusalem which is the spiritual hearts of the redeemed who are one body in Christ Jesus (Psalm 122:6, Revelation 20:1-3).
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