EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT

Conscious existence of the damned

v     Matt 10:28:
28
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  

v     Matt 25:46
46
Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

[What is said of the one applies equally to the other. If eternal punishment does not mean forever, then neither does eternal life mean forever] 

v     Rev 13:9-11:
9
If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand,  . . .  He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.  11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”  Cf. Rev 20:10:  And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever

v     Matt 13:49-50
49
This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous  50 and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  

Mark 9:47-48
47
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,  48 where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 

v     Luke 16:19-31
 22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.  23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.  24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.  26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’  

[calls him by name—Lazarus—Never does this with any other parable] 

Objections

Objection #1: Death means annihilation

Answer: No, it means separation 

v     Eph 2:1-5
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.  4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  

v     1 Jn 3:14
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death 

v     Rev 20:11-15
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.  12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.  13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.  14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.  15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.  

v     Phil 1:21-23
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!  23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far

v     2 Cor 5:1-10
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.  2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling,  3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.  4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  7 We live by faith, not by sight.  8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord 

Objection #2: Eternal punishment is inconsistent with the character of God

(Also, eternal punishment is disproportionate to sin committed—beyond the demands of justice)

Answer: It is Annihilationism that is inconsistent with the character of God

vSin had infinite consequences (not merely temporal). Sin is a raising of the finite will against an infinite God (no finite act)    

 v    God designed man to live forever. Man’s decision to pervert that destiny results in eternal consequences. Yet there is no indication from Scripture that there is a change in the nature of the unredeemed, even in Hell. Since God must punish wickedness and sin, and the sinful live on into eternity, the punishment must likewise continue for all eternity.

 

Objection #3: The Soul “Sleep” in the Intermediate State and (for the Damned) after Death

Answer #1: There is no Soul Sleep in Intermediate State

v     Rev 6:9-11
9
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.  10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”  11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.

 

v     Matt 22:32
 32
‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

 

v     Matt 10:28
"And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” By why? If the soul dies when the body does, then there is no more reason to fear God than there is to fear man, since death at the hands of both results in the very same state.

 

 

Answer #2: There are Varying Degrees of Punishment (this could not be the case if everyone “perishes” equally at death).

v     Matt 10:14-15
14
If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.  15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

 

v     Matt 11:23-24
23
And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.  24 But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

 

v     Luke 12:47—48
47
“That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows.  48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

 

v     Heb 10:28—29
28
Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  

 

v     Rom 2:5
5
But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.  6 God “will give to each person according to what he has done.

 

v     Rom 12:19-21
19
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.  20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

v     2 Pet 2:20-22
20
If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.  21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.  22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”

 

v     Matt 18:5
5
“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.  6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

 

Recompense is according to the degree of wickedness (otherwise God would be unjust)

 

v     Matt 16:27
 27
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

 

v     Rom 2:6
God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”

 

v     2 Cor 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

 

v     Rev 20:12  
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

 

v     Rev 22:12
“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.

 

v     Prov 24:12
12
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done? 

 

v     Ps 62: 11 One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are Strong,  12 and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done. 

 

What is Eternal Punishment?

 v     Eternal fire (Matt 25:41)
41
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,  43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

 

v     Outer darkness (Matt 8:12)
“I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.  11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.  12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

 

v     Eternal punishment (Matt 25:46)
46
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

 

v     Torment (Rev 14:10-11)
 “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, . . . He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.

 

v     Alienation from God (2 Thess 1:9)
They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.

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