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Duty of Preparing for the Future World: Hell: Book Eight- Chapter 5

September 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Book Eighth

CHAPTER V.

HELL.

THE WICKED WILL BE CAST INTO HELL, WHERE THEY WILL SUFFER EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT FOR THEIR SINS.[1]

Natural religion teaches the doctrine of future retribution; and even the heathen had their notions of punishment to be endured in another world, for crimes committed in this. Conscience in every man’s breast, as the agent of him who placed it there, inflicts torture, often intolerably severe, for iniquities perpetrated, and it teaches the transgressor, when he hears God’s voice in the thunder, or beholds any remarkable display of the divine power, to tremble in the apprehension of suffering the wrath of heaven. Though conscience often sleeps, for a long period, over the sinner’s guilty deeds, yet some special dispensation of Providence sometimes awakens it, and calls upon it to inflict its tortures. So Joseph’s brethren, when brought into difficulties in Egypt, were reminded of their cruelty to their brother, and filled with anguish by the remembrance.[2] But conscience, in some hardened transgressors, sleeps undisturbed, while life lasts; and natural religion, in view of the proofs that a great God reigns, infers that it will be awakened in another life which is to follow. Moreover, in the allotments of the present life, a partial disclosure of God’s moral government is made, in the rewarding of virtue, and the punishing of vice; but it is so incomplete, as here seen, that we are compelled to conclude, that, either the Governor of the Universe is not perfectly righteous, or his distribution of rewards and punishments reaches into a future state. Hence, the expectation of future punishment for crimes committed in this life, accords with the dictates of conscience and reason.

But the strongest and most impressive proof of this momentous truth, is furnished by divine revelation. In God’s book, the lessons of natural religion are taught with clearness and force; and the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. From this infallible word, we learn that wicked men treasure up wrath against the day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous judgments of God.[3] We know that this day of God’s wrath will be, when he shall be revealed in flaming fire, taking vengeance on all them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.[4] This day of judgment and wrath will not be in the present life: for “it is appointed to all men, once to die, and after this the judgment.”[5] “The rich man died, and in hell lifted up his eyes, being, in torments.”[6] Men will be called from their graves to the judgment; and from the judgment, the wicked will be sentenced to everlasting punishment. God is to be feared, because, beyond the destroying of the body, he can destroy both soul and body in hell.[7] Vain are the dreams of infatuated mortals, who suppose that the only punishment to be endured for sin is in the present life. Conscience and reason unite their voice, to awaken them from their delusion; and revelation depicts the future retribution before their eyes so clearly, that they must see it, unless wilfully and obstinately blind.

The magnitude of the evil included in damnation may be inferred from the importance which the Scriptures attach to salvation. It was a great work which Christ undertook, when he came to seek and to save them that were lost;[8] to save his people from their sins;[9] not to condemn the world, but to save the world;[10] to deliver from the wrath to come.[11] If wrath and damnation had been trivial matters, the sending of God’s only son into the world, the laying of our sins upon him, and the whole expedient adopted to deliver us from these inconsiderable evils, would have been unworthy of infinite wisdom. It would not deserve to be called “a great salvation;”[12] and the intelligence of the Saviour’s birth, brought by the angels, would not deserve to be called “good tidings of great joy.”[13] Paul declared, “It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners;”[14] and Paul was of this mind, because he believed the salvation of a sinner to be a work of vast magnitude. In this view of it, he said: “My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.”[15] In this view, he relinquished every earthly hope, and gave himself to the ministry of the gospel, enduring all hardships and sufferings, if by all means he might save some.[16] Why did he labor thus, why suffer thus, if wrath and damnation are evils of little magnitude? Paul understood the matter otherwise, when he, said, “Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”[17] It is said in the Scripture, “Who knoweth the power of thine anger? Even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.”[18] The utmost dread with which any finite mind can regard the wrath of God, will be realized, and more than realized, when that wrath is poured out on him. The power of God’s anger, finite intelligence cannot conceive; but God understands it well, and the full estimate of it was regarded, in the deep counsels which devised the scheme of salvation. An almighty Saviour, able to save to the uttermost, was chosen, because salvation was a work requiring such an agent for its accomplishment. The gospel is sent forth into the world; with the declaration of its great Author, “He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.”[19] Every sound of the glorious gospel speaks of salvation and damnation. Every accent of mercy, inviting the sinner to come to Christ for life, is a warning to flee from the wrath to come. Diminutive views of sin, and of the wrath of God due to sin, permit the sinner to sleep in neglect of the great salvation that God has provided.

The human heart is prone to doubt the doctrine of eternal damnation. The facts reported in the gospel, that Christ came into the world, died, and rose again, are so abundantly attested, that few have the hardihood openly to deny them. These are past facts, which rational men cannot well permit themselves to doubt; but eternal woe is something future, unseen, and unfelt. The apprehension of it disquiets men, and disturbs their enjoyments; and hence they are prone to drive it from them. The threat of indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, is fearful; but if they listen to it, and interpret it in its full import, they cannot remain at ease. Hence arises a criminal and fatal tendency not to take God at his word, in these fearful warnings and denunciations; but to persuade ourselves that they will never be executed. Some relieving method of interpretation is adopted, or some view taken of God’s benevolence and mercy, by which the sinner may be permitted to remain at ease, and hope that all will be well. Hence we see the astonishing fact, that multitudes practically neglect the gospel, who dare not openly deny it. If they verily believed that the wrath of God abides on them; that the treasures of wrath are daily increasing, and that the accumulated vengeance is just ready to burst on their heads in a fearful tempest; they would not, they could not remain at ease. To appreciate justly and fully the gospel of eternal salvation, we must believe, thoroughly believe, the doctrine of eternal damnation. All our misgivings, as to the truth of this doctrine, proceed from an evil heart of unbelief; and lead to a neglect of the great salvation.

Some have sought relief, in the apprehension of future misery, from the idea that the language of Scripture, which describes it, is figurative. The descriptions of future happiness in heaven, are figurative; but the figures convey very imperfect ideas of the reality. So it is with the figures which describe future misery. The fire prepared for the devil and his angels;[20] the lake of fire;[21] unquenchable fire;[22] the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched;[23] are terrific descriptions; but they are not exaggerations. They are figures; but they come short of the reality. When God punishes, he punishes as a God. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? What omnipotent wrath can accomplish, all language fails to describe, and all finite minds are unable to conceive.

Of what elements future misery will consist, we cannot tell; but it will include poignant remorse, and a sense of divine wrath, with the absence of all enjoyment, and of all hope. It will produce, in the subjects of it, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. They will realize that they are shut out for ever from the kingdom of heaven, into outer darkness; and they will remember the good things which they once enjoyed, never more to be enjoyed again and the opportunities of mercy, once neglected, never more to return. They will be tormented in the flame, without a drop of water to cool their tongues. Their hatred of God will be complete and they will blaspheme his name, while they feel themselves grasped in the hand of his almighty wrath, without power to extricate themselves. Devils, and wicked men, all under the same condemnation, will be their eternal companions: and the companionship, instead of affording relief, will be an aggravation of their woe. The whole throng, hateful, and hating one another, will be tormentors of one another. The malignant passions, which, on earth, caused wars, assassinations, cruelty, oppression, and every species of injury, will be let loose without restraint to banish peace and brotherhood for ever from the infernal society; and the passions which burn in the hearts of wicked men on earth, and destroy all internal peace, and sometimes drive to suicide, will then be unrestrained, and do their full work of torture; and relief by suicide, or self-annihilation, will be for ever impossible. O, who can endure such torments? Who will not, with every energy, and at every sacrifice, seek to escape from devouring fire and everlasting burnings?

As heaven is a place, so is hell. Judas went to his own place;[24] and the rich man desired that his brethren might not come to this place of torment.[25] In what part of universal space this place is situated, we know not. Heaven is above, and hell beneath; but astronomy has taught us, that, in consequence of the earth’s diurnal rotation, the up and down of absolute space is not to be determined by the position of the little ball which we inhabit, If the third heaven, where God resides, be a region of perfect light and glory, beyond the limits within which stars and planets revolve; and if its inhabitants see the sun and stars, as beneath their feet: the region of outer darkness may be in the opposite extreme of space, where sun and stars shine not, and where the glory of God is for ever unseen. But, wherever it is, the broad way that sinners go, leads to it; and they will at length certainly find it.

The duration of future misery will be eternal. This is expressly declared in Scripture. “These shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.”[26] The words everlasting and eternal are renderings of the same Greek word, which is applied alike to the future state of the righteous and the wicked. The punishment of these, and the happiness, of those, will be of equal duration. Both will be eternal or everlasting. The criticism which would take the word in a different sense, in one case, from that which it is admitted to have in the other, is rash and dangerous. The same truth is taught in other passages of Scripture:- “Where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched.”[27] “The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever.”[28] “Suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”[29] The last passage, inasmuch as it refers to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were destroyed by fire from heaven, may contain an allusion to that fire; but this, viewed in itself, was not eternal fire. It was a type of future wrath, and may be regarded as its beginning, and first outbursting. The fire which consumed the cities of the plain, has long since ceased to burn; but the wrath due to their guilty inhabitants did not then cease to burn: for the day of judgment will find Sodom and Gomorrah,[30] with guilty Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, all doomed to suffer, according to their several measures of guilt, the vengeance of eternal fire. These cities, in their fearful overthrow, are set forth as an example; and from the visible beginning of their awful doom, we may faintly conceive what will be the end. But it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for those who hear and reject the gospel of Christ; who must, therefore, suffer the vengeance of eternal fire, in its fiercest burnings, and in its everlasting duration.

Future misery will not be purifying in its effect. The afflictions which the righteous endure in this world are fatherly chastisements, inflicted in love, and God designs them for the profit of his children, that they may be partakers of his holiness.[31] Future misery will be inflicted not on the children of God, but on the enemies of God; not in love, but in wrath. And it will not be designed for the profit of its subjects, but for the vindication of the law and justice of God, “to show his wrath and make his power known.”[32] Affliction purifies the righteous, not by any inherent tendency which it possesses, but by the accompanying influence of the Holy Spirit. The wicked, even in the present life, grow hardened under affliction, and sometimes blaspheme God, while they gnaw their tongues with pain.[33] In the world to come, the Holy Spirit will send forth no sanctifying influence to render future torments purifying. Many of the wicked he gives up to hardness of heart, even in the present life; and to all of them the day of grace will be past for ever. The opinion that they will be ultimately restored to the favor of God, and taken to heaven, is not authorized by the Scriptures.[34] On the contrary, it teaches that the Master of the house will “shut the door;” that there is a great gulf[35] between the two worlds rendering passage from one to the other impossible; that the unjust and filthy will remain unjust and filthy still.[36] Jesus said to some, “Ye shall die in your sins; and whither I go ye cannot come:”[37] and he said concerning Judas Iscariot, “It had been good for that man if he had not been born.”[38] The last words cannot be true, if Judas at any future time, however remote, shall be taken to heaven to enjoy for ever the perfect happiness of that world: for the eternal weight of glory which will then be awarded to him, will far more than outweigh all his previous sufferings. The Scriptures teach that the heavens have received Jesus Christ, “until the restitution of all things:”[39] but if his restitution implied a restoration of all to the favor of God, Christ’s second coming would be deferred until its accomplish-ment. But as Christ will come from heaven to judge the world, and will in the judgment, condemn the wicked to everlasting punishment, we must conclude that the restitution of all things will be regarded as complete and for ever fixed; when the final judgment shall have decided the eternal state of all, and the order which bad been disturbed by the enemies of God, shall have been fully restored in his kingdom.

Future misery will not be annihilating in its effect. It is called death, the second death: but the first death does not imply annihilation of either soul or body; and neither does the second. It is called destruction: but as the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed[40] in the overthrow of those cities, but are nevertheless to appear in the day of judgment,[41] destruction does not imply annihilation. An immortal spirit suffers destruction when it is separated from God and happiness, and doomed to eternal misery. So the wicked shall be punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.[42] Besides death and destruction, the word corruption is used as the opposite of life. “They that sow to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption, and they that sow to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”[43] Corruption is not annihilation. The death of the body is followed by corruption and the worm; so that we may say to corruption, Thou art my father; and to the worm, Thou art my mother and sister.[44] Hence, corruption, and the worm that dieth not, are figures employed to denote the consequences of the second death. By the flesh, to which men sow, and of which they reap corruption, we do not understand the material body, but the depraved mind. The corruption of this is its moral disorganization, or utter loss of holiness. Were annihilation intended, the worm that dieth not, would cease to have anything on which to feed; and the fire that cannot be quenched, would cease to burn for want of fuel. If the wicked are to be destroyed by instantaneous annihilation, that destruction, instead of being an infliction of torment, will be a termination of all suffering. This does not accord with the Scripture representations of the future portion of the wicked: and no good reason can be assigned for raising the bodies of the wicked, if they are to be immediately annihilated. If destruction is to be a process, whether rapid or lingering, by which annihilation is to be produced, it will not be everlasting destruction, or everlasting punishment; for the process and the punishment will sooner or later cease. To no purpose can it be called eternal punishment, when the subjects of it shall have eternally ceased to exist. To no purpose can any be said to surer the vengeance of eternal fire, when the fire itself shall have eternally terminated their suffering. And to no purpose will the smoke of their torment ascend for ever and ever, when the torments themselves shall have eternally ceased.

Some understand the words, “Every one shall be salted with fire,”[45] to import, that the fire of hell, instead of consuming its victims, will, like salt, preserve them. Whether this be its meaning, or not, there is no reason to doubt that the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, will be adapted to the suffering which they will undergo. Instead of wasting away under its influence, or having their powers of endurance benumbed, we may rather conclude, that, as the righteous, will perpetually ascend in bliss, the wicked will perpetually sink in woe. Their deep is bottomless,[46] and being banished from the presence of God, they may continue to recede from him for ever. Their capacity for suffering, their tormenting passions, their hatred of God, and of one another, may all increase indefinitely, through eternal ages. As wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever, they will continue to fly further and further from God, the eternal source of light and happiness, into deeper, and still deeper darkness and woe. O, that men would seek the Lord, while he may be found.

Obj. 1. The justice of God does not require, and will not permit, the infliction of eternal torments for the sins committed in the short period of human life. If eternity be divided by the number of sins which any man commits, during the whole course of his probation on earth, the quotient will be eternity: and it follows, that future misery cannot be eternal, unless an eternity of torment be inflicted for every sin. An eternity of woe for one transgression, shocks all the sense of justice which God has implanted in the human breast.

This objection proceeds on the radical mistake, that men cease to be moral agents, bound by the law of God, when they have passed into the world of woe. God’s dominion is universal; and the inhabitants of hell are as much bound to love and obey him, as those of heaven or earth. Men who die in their sins, will carry with them not only the guilt accumulated during the present life, but the inclination, confirmed by habit, to continue in sin. They will hate God and blaspheme his name, and their sins cannot cease to be offensive to God, because their moral character has become fixed and unalterable. A sinner cannot become innocent by being confirmed in sin. Were it so, the inhabitants of hell would be innocent beings; their habitation would be as pure as the high and holy place where God dwells; and their blasphemies would be as little offensive to God and all holy beings, as the songs of angels. All this is manifestly absurd. Sin continued, will deserve and provoke continued wrath; and the future condition of the wicked is chiefly terrible, because they are abandon by God to the full exercise and influence of their unholy passions, and the consequent accumulation of guilt for ever and ever.

If God’s justice will not permit him to punish sinners with banishment from his presence, and confinement in the regions of woe, beyond a limited period of time; then it will follow, that when this limited period of suffering shall have passed, justice will not only permit, but will absolutely require, that they should be released. Who can believe that, after a thousand years spent in blaspheming God, and strengthening their enmity to his character and government, they shall be turned loose, to roam at large in God’s dominions, and to visit at pleasure the holy and happy place where nothing entereth that defileth?[47] Who can believe that God’s justice will demand this, and will authorize them to demand it? Yet all this will follow, if the ground assumed in the objection be not false.

Obj. 2. God’s benevolence will not permit him to inflict such misery on his creatures. He claims them as his offspring, and represents himself as their Father: and, as no human parent would so treat his children, it is not to be supposed that the benevolent Father of all will be so unfeeling and unmerciful. This objection, while it claims to honor God’s benevolence, dishonors his veracity. Our inferences from God’s benevolence may all be mistake; but God’s word must be true: and he who, relying on the deductions of his own reason, rejects the warnings that God has graciously given him, will find, in the end, that he has acted most foolishly and wickedly.

The objection assumes what is inconsistent, not only with the truth of God’s declarations as to the future, but also with known and undeniable facts of the past and present. Had the objector been present when man came forth in his original purity from the hand of his Maker, he would, on the principle assumed in his objection, have predicted, with confidence, that God would never permit this fair production of his creative power and skill to become involved in the fall and its consequent evils. Had he been present in the garden of Eden, when the serpent said, “Ye shall not surely die,” he would, in his professed honor of God’s benevolence, have confirmed the declaration made by the father of lies. The misery endured by the human race in every age, from the fall to the present moment, in every region of the globe, in every tribe, in every family, in the daily and hourly experience of every individual, is all inconsistent with the principle assumed in the objection. If, at the creation, it would have denied the possibility of what we know has occurred, how can we trust it when it now denies the possibility of what God says shall be? When our inferences oppose fact, and the truth of God, we may be assured that they are wrong.

When pestilence is desolating a land, God sees the wretchedness that is produced, and hears the cries of the suffering, and could, with one breath, drive far away the cause of the fatal malady. When a ship is wrecked in the raging ocean, God hears the cries of the sinking mariners, and understands well their terror and anguish, and could, without effort, bear the shattered vessel at once to its destined port in safety. Were the objector in God’s stead, would he be deaf to the cries of his children? Would he not promptly afford the needed relief? He would. What then? Is he benevolent, and is God unfeeling and unmerciful? So the objection would decide; and we know, therefore, that it is not according to truth.

God is of right the Father of his creatures: but he says, “If I be a father, where is my honor?”[48] and he complains, “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.”[49] By their rebellion, men have become the children of the wicked one. Christ said, “If God were your Father, ye would love me;”[50] implying that those whom he addressed were not the children of God. To such men God is not a Father, but an offended and insulted moral Governor. He is benevolent; but his benevolence does not overthrow his moral government. On the contrary, it enforces the claims of justice. To turn loose the guilty, and to permit the lawless to roam at large through his dominions, to disturb the peace and order of his government, and render the obedient unhappy, would not be benevolence. God’s benevolence is against the sinner; and when the walls of the infernal prison are broken down, and its guilty inmates are permitted to fill the universe with crime and wretchedness, it will no longer be true that God is love.

In contemplating the awful subject of future misery, and its relation to God’s benevolence, our minds may find some relief in regarding the misery as the natural and proper effect of sin. God has so constituted the nature of man, that he feels remorse for crime; and he has so constituted the nature of external things, that drunkenness, and many other sins, produce poverty and suffering. We have not the hardihood to complain that this constitution of things is not benevolent. He who, knowing that fire will burn, voluntarily puts his hand into the flame, has no right to charge God with want of benevolence, because he has made it the nature of fire to burn. Much of future misery may be regarded as the natural effect of sinful passions, tearing the soul by their violence, or of an upbraiding conscience, gnawing within, as the worm that dieth not. “God is a consuming fire,” ever-present to the workers of iniquity; and his nature must change if his wrath cease to burn against sin. The nature of things, as constituted by God, and as including the nature of God himself, must render the sinner miserable. If he would cease to be miserable, he must escape from himself, and must find another God, and another universe.

[1] Ps. ix. 17; Matt. x. 28; xiii. 40-42; xxiii. 29, 33; xxv. 41-43; Mark ix. 43; 2 Thess. i. 7-9; 2 Pet. ii. 4, 9, 10; Jude 7; Rev. xiv. 11; xx. 10, 14, 15; xxi. 8.

[2] Gen. xlii. 21.

[3] Rom. ii. 5.

[4] 2 Thess. i. 8.

[5] Heb. ix. 27.

[6] Luke xvi. 23.

[7] Matt. x. 28.

[8] Luke xix. 10.

[9] Matt. i. 21.

[10] John iii. 17.

[11] 1 Thess. i. 10.

[12] Heb. ii. 3.

[13] Luke ii. 10.

[14] 1 Tim. i. 15.

[15] Rom. x. 1.

[16] 1 Cor. ix. 22.

[17] 2 Cor. v. 11

[18] Ps. xc. 11.

[19] Mark xvi. 16.

[20] Matt. xxv. 41.

[21] Rev. xx.10.

[22] Matt. iii. 12.

[23] Mark ix. 44.

[24] Acts i. 25.

[25] Luke xvi. 28.

[26] Matt. xxv. 46.

[27] Mark ix. 44.

[28] Rev. xiv. 11.

[29] Jude i. 7.

[30] Matt. xi. 21.

[31] Heb. xii. 10.

[32] Rom. ix. 22.

[33] Rev. xvi. 10, 11.

[34] Luke xiii. 25.

[35] Luke xvi. 26.

[36] Rev. xxii. 11.

[37] John viii. 21.

[38] Matt. xxvi. 24.

[39] Acts iii. 21.

[40] Luke xvii. 29.

[41] Matt. x. 15.

[42] 2 Thess. i. 9.

[43] Gal. vi. 8.

[44] Job xvii. 14.

[45] Mark ix. 49

[46] Rev. xx. 3.

[47] Rev. xxi.27.

[48] Mal. i. 6.

[49] Isaiah i. 2.

[50] John viii. 42.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith- Appendix Point 2

February 17, 2017 Leave a comment

2. We believe that the eternity of the punishment of the vessels of wrath, is an absolute eternity, knowing no end; as well as the eternity of the life of the Saints: Mat. 25.46. This we maintain against those that affirm that all men shall be saved at the last.

Benjamin Cox- An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 1-Chapter 9-The Punishment of Sin-Number 4

CHAPTER 9-THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN-NUMBER 4

In this article we wish to deal more specifically with the duration of the punishment to be meted out to the finally impenitent and unbelieving. The Bible is quite clear and explicit that the punishment is to be eternal or endless.

The Annihilationists try to make a distinction between eternal punishment and eternal punishing. A man remarked to us only a few days ago that he believed in eternal punishment but not in eternal punishing. We reminded him that the words were the same: that punishment is the noun form and punishing the verb. Moreover, in the expression, “eternal punishing,” the participle is used as a noun, and therefore, means the same as “eternal punishment”. In a certain conference of Annihilationists, they put forth this statement: “We believe in eternal punishment, not eternal punishing—-the latter a great delusion, the former a great truth.” But this is a distinction without a difference. When A.J. Pollock was once told by two Adventists that eternal punishment does not mean eternal punishing, he asked: “Does three months’ punishment mean three months punishing?” They admitted that it does. “Then, he replied, eternal punishment means eternal punishing.”

DESTROY -PERISH-LOSE-CONSUME-BURN-UP

There are some who contend that the above words mean to annihilate or to put out of existence. We affirm that they speak of the destruction of well-being, and not the destruction of being. They speak of ruin but not of loss of existence.

#Ho 13:9 “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thine help.” Here God is addressing people who have destroyed themselves, but they are still conscious, and are told their help is in Him.

#Job 19:10; “He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone.” But Job was still in existence, and lamenting the ruin or destruction that had been visited upon him by God.

#Jer 5:3: “Thou hast consumed them but they have refused to receive correction.” How could they have refused to receive instruction if they had been annihilated? A good way to test the definition of any word is to substitute the definition for the word. Let the reader go back and substitute the word annihilation for the words destroy and consume in the above passages, and he will readily see that they do not mean annihilation.

The Greek word “apollumi” is variously translated into the English by such words as destroy, perish, and lose. That this word does not mean annihilation is obvious when we study verses where it is used. Paul says that if his Gospel is hid to the lost (apollumi). And he says that the preaching of the cross is to them that are perishing (apollumi) foolishness. In #Joh 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” ,” apollumi” is translated perish and is contrasted with everlasting life in Christ, which is judicial life, or everlasting existence under the favor and blessing of God. In #Joh 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” , we read that he who does not trust Christ shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth (remaineth) on him. The prodigal was said to be lost (apollumi). The woman’s coin was lost (apollumi). The sheep were lost (apollumi). How obvious that the word “apollumi” does not mean extinction of being! Another word in the Greek is “katakaia” translated burn in our English Bible. It is not the word which means to burn as a lamp, for profit; it means to burn so as to hurt or injure. The wicked are likened to worthless chaff and tares: “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable” (#Lu 3:17), but the burning of these things is not the same as burning men with bodies and souls. Of the burning of the wicked it is written, “their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched” (#Mr 9:46). “Their worm,” refers to something that does not die, and “the fire” speaks of fire that is not quenched. Dr. Gill thinks the worm is the conscience which will continually remind the wicked of their sins, accuse them, upbraid them, and torment them. “For every one shall be salted with fire and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt,” (#Mr 9:49). This is the most terrible picture ever given of the punishment of the wicked, and it is clearly a picture of endless suffering.

EVERLASTING AND ETERNAL

Opponents of eternal punishment claim that the primary meaning of “aion” and “aionios” is not endless. But if they had to translate from the English back into the Greek they would have to use “aion,” and “aionios” as the meaning of everlasting or eternal. If these words do not mean everlasting then we do not have any words in the Greek to denote endlessness.

We are fortunate to have a Scriptural definition of “aionios.” In “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (#2Co 4:18), it is contrasted with the word temporal (proskairos); “but the things which are not seen are eternal (aionios).” The word proskairos (temporal) is found in three other places in the New Testament. In “Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;” (#Heb 11:25), it is translated “for a season” referring to the “for a while,” and in “And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended” (#Mr 4:17), it is translated “but for a time.” Now in contrast “aionios” speaks of that which is not for a season, or for a while, but for ever.

Mosheim, a man of unquestioned learning, says that “aion” properly signifies indefinite or eternal duration, as opposite to that which is finite or temporal.

“Aionios” is used in the Greek New Testament 68 times, and in every instance the word in itself has the meaning of endless duration. Here are a few texts to be pondered. “The eternal God” (#Ro 16:26); “The eternal Spirit” (#Heb 9:19); “Eternal redemption” (#Heb 9:12); “Eternal salvation” (#Heb 5:9); “Eternal life” (#Joh 3:15,16,36 5:24); “Eternal glory” (#2Ti 2:10); “To be cast into everlasting fire” (#Mt 18:8). Now take a text where life and punishment are in contrast: “And these shall go away into everlasting (aionios) punishment but the righteous into life eternal” (aionios). #Mt 25:46. If the life of the believer is eternal then the punishment of the wicked is eternal; else words have no meaning.

This is a good place to say that everlasting and eternal are adjectives of duration and not of quality or kind. They do not describe the kind of life the believer has, nor the kind of punishment for the lost, but the duration of life and the duration of punishment.

The only way to oppose the doctrine of eternal punishment is to oppose the Bible. Opposition to this truth is born of prejudice and sentimentality, and sets aside the Word of God. One writer bluntly says: “If the Bible teaches “everlasting punishment,” so much the worse for the Bible, because we cannot believe it: you may quote texts and have behind the texts the very finest scholarship to justify certain interpretations, but it is no good. We are no longer slaves of a Book, nor the blind devotees of a creed; we believe in love and evolution.”

And another writer writes thus: “Of course God cannot be just if He arbitrarily and rigidly predestines millions to endless torment. Hence if holding to the dogma of endless torment, logically rejects predestination to save divine justice.”

This last question “lets the cat out of the bag,” and reveals the real ground of opposition. God’s right to punish sin is denied. Men dare to sit upon the bench and tell God what He can justly do with His enemies. Who fixes the penalty for sin, anyway, the criminal or the court? We are reminded that “No thief e’er felt the halter draw with good opinion of the law.”

DEGREES IN PUNISHMENT

The Bible is plain that all sinners will not suffer the same. It will be more tolerable for some than for others. It shall be easier on the heathen countries than on those which have spurned Gospel privileges. “But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you…But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee” (#Mt 11:22,24); “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city” (#Mr 6:11). “…unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required” (#Lu 12:48). Judgment is to be according to works: “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” (#Re 20:13). Degrees in punishment does not mean that some will be more severe than others. “Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation” (#Mr 12:40), speaks of some who shall receive greater damnation. “Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee,” (#Job 36:18).

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 1

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 1-Chapter 8-The Punishment of Sin-Number 3

CHAPTER 8-THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN-NUMBER 3

We are hearing much about the complacency of the American public concerning the outcome of this war. But there is a complacency far more prevalent and in the face of infinitely greater danger. There is a complacent attitude towards HELL that is so alarming as to be shocking and heart-breaking. And it is our firm conviction that this complacency is the result of failure to preach the truth on the solemn and momentous subject of eternal punishment. Those denominations that deny eternal punishment have literally sown the country down with their pernicious proaganda. They have put their “no hell” doctrine in nearly every home in the land, while we Baptists and other evangelicals have hardly raised our voice in giving the truth on the subject.

We have our theme songs for certain occasions; why not have our theme texts for the present distress? And let them be after the order of Mt 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Gehenna). Too much of our preaching is for entertainment rather than for information. We are trying to have conversions without conviction. We are calling the self-righteous into the church when we ought to be calling sinners to repentance. We are breaking alabaster boxes and filling our sermons with the odor of spikenard when we ought to be telling the truth about human depravity. We are tying pink ribbons of perfection about the necks of our people when we ought to be waving the red flag of warning. We have let our prejudice for heaven hide the terrible realities of hell.

A STUDY OF WORDS

Those who oppose the truth of eternal punishment make a show of wisdom and confuse the average person by their use of Hebrew and Greek words. We make no claim to scholarship, and anybody who can even use Young’s Analytical Concordance can follow us in this study of words.

QEBER AND SHEOL

QEBER is the Old Testament word for grave and is always used in connection with the body. It is translated grave or its equivalent in every place. It is never used in connection with the soul.

SHEOL is the Old Testament word for the unseen state, and is the place of departed spirits. It never means the grave; although in the King James Version it is wrongly translated grave 31 times. In the Revised Version it is brought into the English text without being translated.

Man has both body and soul and in death QEBER is the word used of the disposition of his body and SHEOL speaks of the disposition of his soul . There is conclusive evidence that the two words are not interchangeable. QEBER, the grave, refers to locality; SHEOL, the state of disembodied souls, is a condition.

QEBER occurs in the plural 27 times; SHEOL never occurs in the plural. The burial of one hundred bodies in a cemetery would mean one hundred graves, but the entrance of one hundred souls into SHEOL would not mean one hundred SHEOLS, but the one state of disembodiment.

QEBER is referred to as the exclusive QEBER, or grave, of an individual. For example, “my grave (qeber)” in #Ge 50:5; “grave” (qeber) of Abner #2Sa 3:32; “their graves” (#Jer 8:1). etc.

SHEOL is never spoken of as the exclusive SHEOL of any person. The one condition of dis-embodiment is common to all who have died.

SHEOL is associated with pain and sorrow. “The sorrows of hell (sheol) compassed me about,” (#1Sa 22:6). “The pains of hell (sheol) got hold upon me,” (#Ps 116:3).

QEBER is never associated with suffering, for the body in the grave is unconscious, and cannot feel pain or experience sorrow. SHEOL is always connected with the soul, never with the body. “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (sheol).” (#Ps 16:10). QEBER is never connected with the soul, but always with the body.

HADES AND MNEMEION

These are New Testament Greek words and are identical with the Old Testament Hebrew words SHEOL and QEBER. Hades, like SHEOL, means the unseen state of the disembodied soul; MNEMEION, like QEBER, means the grave. All that has been said about QEBER may also be said about MNEMEION, for both are connected with the body and mean the grave. And to prove that SHEOL and hades are identical it is sufficient to compare an Old Testament Scripture with the New Testament quotation:

“Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (sheol); neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption,” (#Ps 16:10).

“Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (hades); neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (#Ac 2:27).

The reference in the above verses is to our Lord. His soul was in SHEOL or HADES between His death and resurrection. His body was in the grave, but it did not see corruption. This condition of body in death was peculiar to Christ. Of David it is said that he “fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But he whom God raised again, saw no corruption” (#Ac 13:36,37). “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption” (#Ac 2:27-31).

THE SEPTUAGINT

This is the name of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament made by the Jews of Alexandria, about 280 B.C., under order of Ptolemy Philadelphus, King of Egypt. In this Greek translation, out of the 65 times in which the word SHEOL occurs, the seventy render it Hades 61 times. Not once do they translate it grave (MNEMEION).

GEHENNA

This is a new word introduced by our Lord. Gehenna is translated hell nine times and hell-fire three times. It belongs almost exclusively to the vocabulary of our Saviour, being found only one time: “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” (#Jas 3:6), when not employed by Him. Gehenna is the place of eternal punishment, and the only word rightly translated hell. It is not the grave, the place for dead bodies; nor is it hades, the place of departed souls. It is the place for both soul and body of the wicked after their ressurrection and judgment. Hades is temporary, as also is physical death. “And death (thanatos) and hell (hades) were cast into the lake of fire” (#Re 20:14). Gehenna (hell is eternal). “…two hands to go into hell (gehenna), into the fire that never shall be quenched” (#Mr 9:43).

Gehenna is the Grecianized form of Ge-hinnom (valley of Hinnom), which became a place of the heathen worship, not far from Jerusalem. Ahaz and Manasseh were promoters of foreign religions and set up the horrible worship of Moloch, the god of the Ammonites, in this Valley of Hinnom. Moloch was represented by a hideous ox- headed human figure made of iron and hollow. A fire was built in this image and when it was red hot a living child would be cast into its arms and thus sacrificed to this heathen god. The good king Josiah put a stop to this idol worship “And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the children of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech” (#2Ki 23:10). This valley later on became the city dump for Jerusalem and the garbage of the city was kept continually burning. And because the fires never went out, our Lord employed it as the symbol of the lake of fire, the place of eternal punishment. While a fit emblem of hell, it must be carefully noted that our Lord in speaking of Gehenna never referred to the city dump of Jerusalem except as an emblem to designate that place of eternal torment for the wicked. He was not saying that all the lost will be thrown into the valley of Hinnom. The city dump of Jerusalem is not the place of eternal punishment, but only an emblem or figure of it.

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 1

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 1-Chapter 6-The Punishment of Sin-Number 1

CHAPTER 6-THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN-NUMBER 1

We are about to write upon a very solemn theme. The flesh will not be entertained, but the spirit may be profited. Much grace is always needed for a profitable hearing of God’s word; the flesh which profiteth nothing will hinder. Our treatment of this theme will be admittedly heavy reading and it will require interest and effort on the part of the reader to get the truth. Many people have ruined their taste for good reading by feeding their minds upon trashy literature. What many people read is a revelation of their mental laziness and moral depravity. They demand that which will gratify their fleshly lusts. We are sometimes accused of speaking over people’s heads, dealing with subjects they cannot understand. Well, the only way we could keep from speaking over the heads of some people would be for us to quote nursery rhymes and talk about rag dolls and stick horses.

No criminal will enjoy a lecture on the time, place and nature of the punishment to be meted out to him, and no lost man will enjoy a sermon on the punishment he will receive for his violation of the law of God. When “Pastor” Russell was speaking to a large crowd, in denial of the truth on this theme, a thoroughly worldly man promised him a liberal donation because he said it made him so comfortable to feel that there is no hell. And when Robert Ingersoll was once inveighing against the doctrine of eternal punishment, a drunkard stood up and said, “Make it mighty strong, Bob, for a lot of us fellows are depending on you.” And every lost man vainly hopes that there is no such a thing and place as hell.

There is widespread denial of the truth about eternal punishment. I expect there is more literature being circulated today against this truth than against any other truth of the Bible. My good friend and brother, Dr. T.O. Reese, says: “The subject of eternal punishment is confessedly the most horrible and offensive doctrine held by evangelical Christians. It has been stigmatized as unreasonable, cruel, and God dishonouring, and those who teach and preach it have been called narrow bigots, Pharasaic dogmatists, and heartless theologians.”

You can hardly name a modern sect that does not either deny or eviscerate this Bible doctrine. Besides such groups as Christian Science, Russellites, Seventh Dayists, and Christadelphians, there are many individuals in the evangelical denominations who boldly and brazenly deny this truth. We allow that no truth should be rejected merely because heretics may hold it, but when such an imposing array of them is on one side of a question, there is certainly need for serious reflection, and a challenge to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

We are to preach upon this subject, first of all, because it is a part of the once delivered faith. Whatever God has revealed is to be our study and proclamation. Then, a discussion of this truth will increase the gratitude of the saints for their glorious salvation. They will see that they have been saved from something as well as to something. Moreover, a sermon on this solemn subject may, under God, put fear into the hearts of sinners, and cause them to flee the wrath to come. “Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee” (#Job 36:18). “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (#Heb 9:27). “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” (#Lu 13:3).

THE NATURE OF MAN

Man is a compound being of three elements: body, soul, and spirit: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (#1Th 5:23). We can also think of man as a dual being when we wish to differentiate between that which is material and that which is immaterial. Our Lord divided man into two constituent parts when he admonished us not to fear Him that can only kill the body, but to “fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (gehenna).” (#Mt 10:28).

The soul being the principal part of man is often employed for the man himself. In “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (#Ge 2:7), we read that God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life (Heb. lives) and he became a living soul, that is, a living person, or a living man. In “And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already” (#Ex 1:5), we are told that seventy souls came out of the loins of Jacob, meaning seventy persons. In “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (#1Pe 3:20), we learn that eight souls, that is, eight persons were saved by water. The word soul is even applied to a dead person. #Nu 6:6: “…he shall come at no dead body.” The word here for body is nephesh (soul), and the clause, if literally rendered, would be, “And he shall not approach a dead soul,” that is, a dead person. The word nephesh (soul) is translated body eight times in our English Bible. But this must not be taken to mean that soul and body are the same, for our Lord clearly distinguished between soul and body.

In the New Testament the immaterial part of man is spoken of as the real person in distinction from the body as the house in which he lives. #2Co 5:1: “…we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, … for in this we groan, …” The pronoun “We” so often occurring in this passage stands for the immaterial and invisible part of man, which dwells for a while in the mortal body, and then moves out to go to be with Christ. This certainly teaches conscious existence with the Lord after death.

The Scriptures also teach the conscious existence of the lost after death. The rich man was in conscious suffering after the death of the body, and Lazarus was in conscious comfort. The rich man’s body was buried and the soul or spirit of Lazarus was taken into Abraham’s bosom by angels. Their experiences after death could not have been bodily experiences, therefore, they were possessed of another element which had conscious existence after death.

NOT A PARABLE

I do not call the story of Lazarus and the rich man a parable. Our Lord did not say, “Hear another parable” neither does the Holy Spirit say that He was speaking in parables. The following extract from a well-known writer is worthy of consideration:

“The rich man and Lazarus I am not free to regard as a parable, while having no controversy with those who so regard it. Not only is it not called a parable, but names are introduced, a thing without precedent in our Lord’s parables. I prefer to look at the rich man and Lazarus as actual characters, whose history in this world and beyond is solemnly traced by the Lord for the moral profit of men everywhere.”

What is said of the two men in this life is quite in keeping with actual occurrence, therefore, what is said of them in death and afterwards must also be true to facts. We grant that the physical torment is symbolical, but it is a symbolism of soul torment. Is the symbolism terrible? Then the truth intended to be taught is also terrible.

THE MARTYRED STEPHEN

When Stephen was martyred his body fell in death under a hail of stones, but he said to Christ, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Physical death is the separation of the spirit from the body. James says that “the body without the spirit is dead” (#Jas 2:26).

PAUL’S EXPERIENCE

Paul had some wonderful experiences on account of which he was given a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble. Once he was caught up into paradise, where he heard “unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (#2Co 12:4). He says that he did not know whether he was in the body or out of the body; only God knew. This certainly teaches that a disembodied spirit can consciously exist and be intelligently active. Paul, as some today do, did not think a disembodied spirit is a self contradiction.

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 1

Question 18-Puritan Catechism

Spurgeon 118. Q. What is the misery of that state whereunto man fell?

A. All mankind, by their fall, lost communion with God, (Genesis 3:8,24) are under his wrath and curse, (Ephesians 2:3; Galatians 3:10) and so made liable to all the miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever. (Romans 6:23; Matthew 25:41)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

China has admitted to aborting 336 million children in barely 4 decades

March 25, 2013 4 comments

This is very sad to hear that nations will legally kill babies. Here is part of the article:

 

“WASHINGTON (BP) — China has aborted 336 million unborn children, many of them forcibly, during slightly more than four decades, the government has announced.

The staggering number of abortions should prompt mourning for the victims, but it should not be shocking, said pro-life observers of China’s policy, because the Communist government has enforced a coercive, “one-child” policy for more than 30 years.

On March 14, the Chinese Health Ministry reported the following statistics for its family planning practices since 1971, according to the Financial Times:

 

— 336 million abortions performed;

— 196 sterilizations conducted;

— 403 million intrauterine devices inserted.”

 

Read the rest at Baptistpress.

God shall surely judge these murders and judge those who sat back in comfort while these atrocious crimes take place.