Eternal Death and Punishment of the Wicked
Those who go to Heaven will be eternally redeemed and blessed in body, soul, and spirit, and those who go to Hell will be
punished forever in body, soul, and spirit, as proven in the following points:
1. Gehenna is called the Lake of Fire and the second death seven times (Rev. 2:11; 19:20; 20:11-15; 21:8). Jesus speaks
of gehenna fire several times (Mt. 5:22; 18:9; Mk. 9:43). The fire is called everlasting fire that never shall be quenched
(Mk. 9:43-48; Mt. 18:8; 25:41, 46). It is called a furnace of fire where there is weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth
(Mt. 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Lk. 13:18). It is a place of fire and brimstone (Rev. 14:9-11; 21:8). It is a place
into which the body, as well as the soul and spirit, will be cast forever (Mt. 5:29; 10:28; 13:41-42; 18:9; Mk. 9:43; Lk.
12:5; Rev. 21:8). It is a place of damnation (Mt. 23:33) where the worm does not die (Mk. 9:43-48; Isa. 66:22-24). It is a
place of real, literal fire and brimstone (Mt. 5:22; 18:9; 13:41-42; 25:41, 46; Mk. 9:42-48; Rev. 14:9-11; 19:20; 20:11-15;
21:8; Isa. 66:22-24).
Men can argue that the word “fire” is figurative in some passages and that the fire in Hell is not literal, but
such plain literal language as used in the passages above prove that real, literal fire is meant.
We have just as much right to do away with the literal bodies, hands, feet, eyes, brimstone, and other literal things mentioned
in the above passages, as to do away with the literal fire.
If these things are not figurative, then the fire is not figurative. The language is too literal for anyone to try to make
the fire mean anything other than literal fire.
Suppose we try to make the fire figurative, what is it figurative of? In all figurative language the literal truth conveyed
is always clear, but there is no other truth conveyed in the passages on Hell but real, literal torment in fire, as clearly
stated by Jesus when he spoke of the rich man in the fire (Lk. 16:9-31).
Just because fire is used in a few places in a figurative sense is no proof that the fire of Hell is figurative or that we
have the authority to make it figurative any place we want to.
Since it is possible for literal fire to be in Hell and since there is nothing to even suggest that it is not literal, we
can believe that the fire is as literal as it is in all other literal passages describing other places.
Men who make the fire of Hell figurative can never be sure just what is meant by such figurative language, so if men want
mystery and indefinite speculations instead of plain literal truth that is their responsibility.
Of the 542 times the word “fire” is used in Scripture, it is used in a figurative sense only a very few times,
and these references are always clear as to the meaning. But in such plain, literal, descriptive passages of places and things
as in the above passages on Hell, there is no doubt that the meaning is literal.
To emphasize that the fire of Hell is literal, it is described as a Lake of Fire, smoke and brimstone (Rev. 14:9-11; 19:20;
20:10; 21:8). Real smoke is pictured as coming out of the Abyss that darkens the sun when the demons are liberated under the
fifth trumpet (Rev. 9:2). Where there is this much smoke there is bound to be some fire. Hell is also called a furnace of
fire and this naturally would mean literal fire (Mt. 13:42, 50; 25:41, 46). Nothing is to be gained by denying that there
is real fire in Hell.
Unbelief in a literal Hell damns many thousands of souls yearly, but faith in a Bible Hell saves thousands yearly so the truth
of such a doctrine is worth everything to men. Faith in a Hell itself does not save, but it does cause men to turn to God
and to true saving faith in Christ that will save the soul.
2. Eternal death simply means eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire. It is called “the second death,”
which is the Lake of Fire (Rev. 2:11; 19:20; 20:10-15; 21:8). The second death simply means the second and eternal separation
from God in the Lake of Fire. There is nothing mysterious about it, as some make believe.
3. The Bible does not teach the final restoration of rebels to God, as taught by some. What is meant in Acts 3:21; Rom.
5:18; Col. 1:13-20 is that all who will conform to God's plan will be reconciled and that all the creation, with the exception
of the rebels, will be restored to the original perfect state. The “all things” does not include Satan, demons,
fallen angels, and wicked unredeemed men, as is clear in Ps. 9:17; Mt. 25:41, 46; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:10-15; 21:8. The word “all”
in these passages must be understood in a limited sense, just as it is in many places in Scripture (Mt. 3:5-6; 17:11; Lk.
2:1; Rom. 1:8; Dan. 2:38-40; Col. 1:23). The context always shows to what extent “all” is limited to a part. The
word is seldom, if ever, used in the absolute sense as including everything in existence. As an illustration, in Acts 3:21
it means all the creation that submits to the plan of God. It excludes the rebels who will be punished forever in Hell. The
“all” of Rom. 5:18 includes all men if all will believe and be saved, but some will not accept salvation, so they
cannot partake of the benefits of redemption (Jn. 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:4-5; 2 Pet. 3:9). The “all” of Col. 1:20 includes
all that will become reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.
So the doctrine that all rebels will be finally saved is unsound and all men can see that it is false if they will take all
the Scriptures on the subject and be honest in reading them.
Likewise, we can do away with the idea that there are two sets of Scriptures that cannot be reconciled, one set teaching everlasting
punishment, and the other set teaching the final restitution of all rebels.
No man is compelled to reject Scriptures on either side because all passages can be harmonized, if the least honest effort
is made to do so. The simple truth is that God's plan is to reconcile all who conform to His will and to punish all who do
not, and this will automatically harmonize all Scriptures.
4. Rebels against God will be punished forever and ever and this is one of the clearest and simplest doctrines of Scripture.
We can see by scripture that the soul is immortal and the body becomes immortal in the resurrection, and that both the righteous
and the wicked will live again forever in bliss or in torment.
The final Hell is a place of endless punishment. If there is a Heaven there is a Hell, and if one is eternal the other one
must be, for the same eternal terms are used of both. All souls and bodies will spend eternity at some place.
Shall the wicked be loose with the righteous to constantly stir up rebellion? Shall Christ have died in vain to save men from
eternal Hell if there be no such place? Would God reveal such a future for the wicked in order to deceive men or scare them
into accepting Him? Many Scriptures plainly teach everlasting punishment, and we cannot teach otherwise. following passages
on eternal punishment:
The prophets predicted and pictured eternal punishment (Ps. 9:17; Isa. 66:22-24; Dan. 12:2). Some argue that “forever”
means “an age” or “period of time.” This may be true of temporary things, but never of endless things.
In other words, eternal terms when used of God's plan literally mean “perpetual” and “everlasting.”
The Hebrew word olam translated “everlasting” in Dan. 12:2 literally means “eternity,” “time
without end,” “time out of mind,” “everlasting,” “perpetual,” “forever,”
and “always.” It is the equivalent of the Greek aionios which is used of the “everlasting God” (Rom.
16:26; 1 Tim. 6:16; Rev. 15:7), “everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16, and 43 other places), “eternal salvation”
(Heb. 5:9), “eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9:14), “eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:12), “eternal punishment”
(Mk. 3:29; Heb. 6:2; Jude 7) “everlasting punishment” (Mt. 18:8; 25:41, 46; 1 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 14:6), “everlasting
destruction” (2 Thess. 1:9), and “eternal fire” (Jude 7).
In these passages it is clear that not only is life eternal but punishment and Hell are also eternal. Common logic forces
us to believe in everlasting punishment of the wicked.
In Isa. 66:22-24 we have a clear passage of the existence of Hell and of people on the New Earth being able to look into Hell
forever to see those in punishment: “They [all flesh on the New Earth] shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of
the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall
be an abhorring unto all flesh.” This proves that there is a Hell in the New Earth long after the Hell of false cults
ceases to exist.
This passage is quoted by Jesus in Mk. 9:42-48, proving it refers to a Hell in the New Earth, and the Lake of Fire where all
rebels will be cast after the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 2:11; 19:20; 20:10-15; 21:8).
Men are called “worms” in Job 25:6; Ps. 22:6; Isa. 41:14, and in Isa. 14:11 worms are spoken of being in Sheol.
The worms of Hell evidently refer to the souls of men that will never die or become dormant.
If these are revelations of God concerning Hell, then it is a fact regardless of how much men rebel against it. At any rate,
there is eternal torment and fire pictured in Hell by Isaiah and men on the New Earth will be able to behold it as a monument
of God's wrath against sin and as an example to coming generations forever (Isa. 66:22-24; Rev. 14:9-11; 21:8).
In Mt. 25:41, 46 Jesus taught that Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels, and that punishment in Hell was as long
as the life of the righteous. The Greek aionios is translated “everlasting” and “eternal” in verse
46: “And these [the wicked] shall go away into everlasting [aionios] punishment, but the righteous into life [aionios]
eternal.” Thus, the punishment of the wicked is exactly as long as the life of the righteous. If the punishment of the
wicked is age-long, then the life of the righteous is also that long. If we are not going to admit this, then we will have
to admit that God, the Spirit, redemption, etc. are also to exist only for an age or period of time.
However, aionios is never translated “age” in any Scripture. It always means “eternal.”
In Rev. 14:9-11; 20:10-15 it is stated that men and the devil will be tormented day and night forever and ever in fire and
brimstone and that the smoke of their torment ascends up forever. See the same term forever and ever as used of God, thus
proving the term expresses eternity (Rev. 4:9-10; 5:14; 10:6; 15:7; 22:5).
Other passages plainly expressing eternal punishment are Mt. 18:8; Mk. 3:29; 9:42-48; 2 Thes.1:7-9; Jude 6-7, 13; Ps. 52:5;
92:7. Thus, it is clear that endless punishment is taught in Scripture for men who persist in going to Hell.
Such men are not children of God. They are children of the devil, and if they choose to go to Hell with the devil and his
angels God is not to blame for their choice or destiny. God will not suffer one of His children to go to Hell, but He cannot
be responsible for the devil's children who choose their own destiny by the life they live.
God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 33:11), but He has promised to segregate them from the eternal society
if they reject His plan, and He is obligated to preserve society and to finally rid the Earth of all rebellion (1 Cor. 15:24-28).
No man needs to go to Hell if he will accept Jesus and conform to the plan of God (Jn. 3:16, 36; 5:24; Rom. 1:16; 10:9-10;
1 Jn. 1:7-9).