If you believe in hell, do you believe it is eternal? Do you believe it is a place of absolute separation from the presence of God, filled with screams and the terror of those suffering in everlasting torment? My intention in this page is to verify beyond a shadow of a doubt, especially to those who believe the words of the Bible, that if there is a hell, it can not be eternal. After all, smile, only God is eternal.
June 4, 2010
2 Thessalonians 1:4-12
This is a passage of scripture that trips alot of folks up.
Paul is writing to the Thessalonians, who were experiencing intense persecution. Paul considers persecutions and tribulations to be proof that the Thessalonians were worthy of the kingdom of God, for which they were suffering. (v4-5)
And that God would repay those who were troubling them. And that He would be giving the Thessalonians rest, along with Paul, when the Lord Jesus was revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. (v6-8)
Who shall be PUNISHED with EVERLASTING DESTRUCTION from (by) the presence of the Lord, and from (by) the glory of his power; (v9)
When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admitted in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (v10)
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (v11-12)
PUNISHED (dike - Strong's 1349) = right (as self-evident), ie. justice (the principle, a decision, or its execution):--judgment, punish, vengeance.
EVERLASTING (aionios 166) = (from 165); perpetual (also used of past time, or past and future as well):--eternal, for ever, everlasting, world (began).
DESTRUCTION (olethros 3639) = (to destroy); ruin; ie, death, punishment--destruction.
Where else do we see the Greek word, DIKE (punished)?
Jude 1:7 - Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
For there are certain mean crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
I will therefore put you in remembrance, though you once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt afterward destroyed them that believed not.
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in EVERLASTING chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (Hmmm... "everlasting" even though these angels are to be cast into the lake of fire with the devil?)
Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the VENGEANCE (dike/punishment) of ETERNAL fire.
AND YET, in verse 23 the reader is encouraged to "Save others with fear, snatching them out of the FIRE; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh!"
How can someone be saved out of ETERNAL fire? Or is "fire" in verse 23 different than the "fire" in verse 7?
And how can something burn with ETERNAL fire (Sodom and Gomorrah) and yet not be burning today? Here we are given an "example"... and yet... what exactly was God's "vengeance of eternal fire"?
And in the both examples of "fire", we see the mention of FLESH.
Where else do we see the word, OLETHROS (destruction)?
1 Cor 5:1-5 - It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from you.
For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such a one unto SATAN for the DESTRUCTION of the flesh, THAT the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Who is doing the destroying?
What is being destroyed?
Will it be EVERLASTINGLY destroyed?
What is the purpose of the destruction?
1 Tim 6:6-9 - But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and rainment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in DESTRUCTION and perdition.
We see men being "drowned" in destruction by their lusts. I wonder if Paul considered Jesus to be behind this destruction, as he did with the Corinthians? I wonder if their drownings will have the same result that he mentions in 1 Cor 5, "That the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus"?
We have three scriptures here, all using the word OLETHROS/DESTRUCTION:
We see Jesus destroying (1 Thess).
We see Satan destroying by tempting men into lusts (1 Tim).
And we see Jesus destroying through Satan (1 Cor).
Interesting... I wonder if those being destroyed in 1 Cor would know it was the power of the Lord Jesus Christ behind the destruction? I wonder if those looking on would know that?
Satan is the temptor. His work is to tempt us not to believe God. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. But it's interesting to see that in 1 Cor 5, Paul says it's Jesus behind the destruction. Reminds me of the Jews wanting meat in the wilderness. And God gave them meat! Satan's temptations needle a weakness within us. And when that weakness "bears fruit", we are DESTROYED by it. But, ultimately, "that the spirit might be saved?"
Would the destruction of 1 Cor and 1 Tim be the same "quality/length" of destruction as the destruction we see in 1 Thess (everlasting)? Or are there different types/degrees of destruction?
If so, would there be different types/degrees of life, seeing that some scriptures say we enter/receive life, and other times we enter/receive everlasting/eternal life?
In my mind, there is nothing more important than understanding Who God Is and What He Has Done, Is Doing, and Will Do. This includes the ETERNAL DESTINY of every last one of HIS creatures.