What Is The Lake Of Fire In Hell Like – Spiritual Reading

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What Is The Lake Of Fire In Hell Like – Spiritual Reading.



Is the lake of fire a place of conscious torment, or is it a place of annihilation, i.e A place of non-existence or is it a place of non conscious existence?


There is one other question that remains to be answered, and that is, is the lake of fire a place of conscious torment, or is it a place of annihilation, i.e., a place of non-existence, or is it a place of non-conscious existence? There are those who believe in a literal hell, but they do not believe that those who are consigned to it will consciously suffer there for any great length of time.


They hold either that those who are sent to hell are annihilated, or else that they exist there in a non-conscious state. Of course, this would be an everlasting hell, and everlasting punishment, but is it the hell that is taught in the Bible? Is the lake of fire a place of continued conscious torment, or is it a place of non-conscious existence? In answer to this question let me call your attention to the fact that the punishment of the wicked is spoken of in the Bible most frequently as “Death” and “Destruction.” What do these words mean in biblical usage?


Let us look first at the biblical usage of the word “Death.” Many tell us, time and time again, that death means non-existence, or at least non-conscious existence, and therefore that is what it must mean in the passages where it is spoken of [as the future punishment of the impenitent. But does “death” as used in the Bible mean either non-conscious existence, or annihilation?


Look first at 1 Tim. 5:6; here we read, “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” Death here certainly does not mean either non-existence, or non-conscious existence. The woman that lives in pleasure still exists, and she certainly exists consciously, but she is “dead.” Death means wrong existence rather than non-existence. It is just the opposite of life, and life in the New Testament usage does not mean mere existence, it means right existence.


God-like existence, holy existence. It means the ennoblement and glorification and deification of existence; and death means just the opposite, it means wrong existence, debased existence, the ruin, the shame, and the ignominy and the despair of existence. In a similar way we are told in Eph. 2:1, that men until they are quickened, or made alive, by the power of God are “Dead in trespasses and sins.” It is perfectly clear then that death does not mean either non-existence, or non-conscious existence.


But even more decisive than this is the fact that God Himself has defined death very accurately and very fully in Rev. 21:8: “But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.” 


Here we are told in so many words that the “death” which is [the final outcome of persistent sin and unbelief is a portion in the place of torment, the lake of fire. That this lake of fire is a place of conscious suffering is made clear in the preceding chapter, Rev. 20:10, where we are told that “the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” The beast and false prophet had already been there a thousand years when the devil was cast into the lake of fire, and they were tormented consciously, without rest.


Now let us look at what “Destruction” means in the New Testament. We are told by a certain school of religious thought that “destruction” means destruction. Yes, “destruction” means destruction, but what does destruction mean? They say it means annihilation, or ceasing to be, but the Greek word so translated never means that in the Bible, nor even out of the Bible.


In the best Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament extant, Thayer’s translation of Grimm’s great work, we are told that when a thing is said to “perish” (and the verb from which the noun commonly translated “destruction” and “perdition” is derived, is the one translated “to perish”) it is not meant that it ceases to be, but that it is “so ruined that it no longer subserves the use for which it was designed.”


Furthermore, here again God has been careful to define His terms. He Himself has given us in the Bible a definition of “destruction.” We read in Rev. 17:8, 11: “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition; and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder . . . and the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” 


Here we are told that the beast goes into “perdition.” The word here translated “perdition” is precisely the same word that is elsewhere translated “destruction” and should be so translated here; or else in the other instances it should be translated, as here, “perdition.” Now if we can find what the beast goes into, then we shall know exactly what “destruction” means, for we are told that he goeth “into destruction.”


In the 19th chapter of Revelation, the 20th verse, we are told exactly where the beast goes: “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” 


Now looking forward to the next chapter, the 10th verse, which I have already quoted, we read: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the false prophet, and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” 


Putting these passages together we see that the beast goeth into “destruction,” and the destruction into which he goes is a place in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, where for a thousand years he is in conscious torment, and where after the thousand years are over he is still there and is still tormented. So then “destruction” is clearly defined in the New Testament in the same way in which “death” is defined, as the condition of beings in a place of conscious torment.


Again in Rev. 14:10, 11, we read regarding those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark in their foreheads or in their hands: “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; and the smoke of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” 


The Bible makes it clear as language can make it that the lake of fire to which “whoever is not written in the Lamb’s book of life” is consigned, is a place of continued, conscious torment. There is no escaping the clear teaching of the Word of God unless we throw our Bibles away and discredit the teaching of the Apostles and the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself.


Sherman said, “War is hell.” Of course, in the way in which Sherman meant it, this is true. It is far more true of war to-day than it was in the worst and most inexcusable phases of our Civil War—Libby and Andersonville, for example, on the part of the South, and the march through Georgia on the part of the North. But even war to-day as carried on by Germany in all its appalling frightfulness, is not hell.


Hell is incomparably more awful than the war now raging in Europe, and this awful hell of which we have been studying to-night is the destiny of some of you here in this room, unless you soon repent and accept the Lord Jesus Christ. Other appalling facts about hell we will take up next Sunday night, but we have already seen enough to make any true Christian determine to work with all his might to save others from this awful hell. And we have seen enough to make every honest and sensible person here to-night determine to escape this awful hell at any cost.


Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey.



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Are Hell And Hades The Same Place – Spiritual Reading

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Are Hell And Hades The Same Place – Spiritual Reading.



Hell and Hades are not the same.


First of all, in order to clear the way for the study of what Jesus says on this subject, let me call your attention to the fact that Hell and Hades are not the same. There are numerous places in the Authorised Version where we find the word “Hell” but where that word does not occur in the Revised Version, and where the word “Hades” is substituted for the word “Hell.”


The Revised Version is right at that point, as every Greek scholar knows. Hades is not Hell. “Hades” is the Greek equivalent of the Old Testament Hebrew word “Sheol.” This Hebrew word “Sheol” is frequently translated in the Authorised Version of the Old Testament by the English word “Grave.” It ought never to be so translated, as it never means “Grave.”


I have taken the pains to look up every passage where this Hebrew word is used and in not a single instance does it mean “Grave.” There is an entirely different Hebrew word which can properly be translated in that way. “Sheol,” or New Testament “Hades,” means the place of departed spirits. Sheol (or Hades) before the coming, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord, was the place where all the spirits of the dead, good and bad, went.


Before the ascension of Christ, in Hades was Paradise, the place of the blessed dead, and Tartaros, the place of the wicked dead. At His ascension Christ emptied the Paradise of Hades, and took it up to Heaven with Him, as we read in Eph. 4:8, “When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” 


Before Christ ascended Paradise was down, now it is up. Christ said to the repentant thief on the cross, “Verily I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise,” and Jesus Himself taught us He went down into “the heart of the earth” (Luke 12:40) and the dying thief went down with Him into this subterranean Paradise.


I think Jesus Himself went also into that part of Hades where the lost spirits were (1 Peter 3:18-20), but that is another story that we will consider later. All that is important now is that the repentant, dying thief went down into Paradise, but after the ascension of the Lord, when Paul went to Paradise, he was “caught up even to the third heaven into Paradise” (II Cor. 12:2-4).


No blessed dead are now left in Hades, and ultimately “death” and “Hades,” i.e., all that are dead who have not yet been raised, or caught up into the Celestial Paradise, all who are still in Hades, shall be “cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:14). This “lake of fire” into which death and Hades are to be cast, is the true and ultimate Hell.


Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey. 



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Is The Lake Of Fire In Hell, Real And Literal Fire – Spiritual Reading.


This is not so vital a question as the question, is there a literal hell, but nevertheless it is an important question, and I believe the question is plainly answered in the Bible, and plainly answered by Jesus Christ Himself. 


To turn again to the passage already referred to, Matt. 5:22, we read: “But I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire.” 


These are Christ’s own words. He not only speaks of hell, but a “hell of fire,” and this too is from the Sermon on the Mount. In Matt. 18:9 the Lord Jesus says again, “And if thine eye cause thee to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; it is good for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire.” 


And again in Mark 9:43-49, the passage read a few moments ago, we read, “And if thy hand cause thee to stumble, cut it off; it is good for thee to enter into life maimed, rather than having thy two hands to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire. And if thy foot cause thee to stumble, cut it off; it is good for thee to enter into life halt, rather than having thy two feet to be cast into hell. And if thine eye cause thee to stumble, cast it out; it is good for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” 


Here again some may say the fire is figurative. Turn to Matt. 13:30, 41, 42, we read these words: “Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, gather up first [the tares, and bind them in bundles to barn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.” 


Now here is a parable and we have figures and there would be warrant, if this were all that we had, for saying that the fire was figurative, as other things in the verse are figurative; but in the 41st and 42nd verses of the same chapter we read, “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and they that do iniquity, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 


Here we have the interpretation of the parable. Now in parables, as already said, we have figures, but in the interpretation of parables we have the literal facts which the figures represent, but we see clearly that here in the interpretation as well as in the parable, we have fire.


Everything else in the parable is explained, every item in the parable except the fire, but that remains fire in the interpretation of the parable as well as in the parable itself. We find the same thing in another parable in verses 47 to 50, the parable of the net cast into the sea. Here, also, in the interpretation of the parable as well as in the parable itself we have fire.


Every other figure of the parable is explained by the literal fact that it represents, but in the interpretation of the parable we have “fire.” In the light of these facts we cannot deny the literal fire of hell without doing violence to every reasonable law of interpretation.


Furthermore [still, we read in Rev. 20:15 that at the judgment of the great white throne, “and if any was not found written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the lake of fire.”There is nothing in the whole context that suggests a figure. And in the 21st chapter and the 8th verse we read: “But for the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars, their part shall be in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.”


Remember furthermore that the wicked in the eternal world are not mere disembodied spirits. This is plain both from the Old Testament and the New. We read in Dan. 12:2: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”


Now this says “them that sleep in the dust of the earth.” The soul departs into Hades. It is the body that crumbles into dust, and it is the body that is to be raised. In the New Testament, in John 5:28, 29, our Lord is recorded as saying: “Marvel not at this; for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.”


Now it is not the souls of men that are in the tombs, it is the bodies of men, and this passage teaches the resurrection of the bodies, both of the good and of the wicked. In I Cor 15:22 we read, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” What Paul is talking about in this entire chapter is the resurrection of the body, not merely the immortality of the soul, and we are here distinctly told that every child of Adam gets resurrection of his body in Christ.


Furthermore, in Matt. 5:30 Jesus says: “If thy right hand causeth thee to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not thy whole body go into hell.” Here in the plainest possible terms the body is spoken of as going into hell, and in a similar way in Matt. 10:28, the Lord Jesus says: “Be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” 


From these plain and definite words of our Lord it is plain as day that in the future life we are to have bodies, and that the bodies of the lost are to have a place in a literal physical hell of fire. While the bodily torments of hell fire are not the most appalling feature of hell, while the mental agony, the agony of remorse, the agony of shame, and the agony of despair, is worse, immeasurably worse; nevertheless, physical suffering, a physical suffering to which no pain on earth is anything in comparison, is a feature of hell.


Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey.


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1. First of all, the Bible teaches us that the [Devil is a person.


This comes out in our second text, 1 John 3:8: “The devil sinneth.” Only a person can sin. When we say that the Devil is a person we do not mean that necessarily he has a body, certainly not such a body as he is pictured as having in various paintings and engravings that are supposed to represent the Devil. A person is any being who knows and feels and wills. When we say that the Devil is a person we mean that he is a being who has intelligence, feeling and will, that he is not a mere principle of evil.


The personality of the Devil is taught over and over again in the Bible. Just a few illustrations in addition to our texts. Turn again to Matt. 13:19: “When any one heareth the word of God, and understandeth it not, then cometh the evil one, and snatcheth away that which hath been sown in his heart.” 


The representation of this passage is the representation of a person. He is called “The Evil One,” not merely “evil,” but “The Evil One,” which of course is the representation of a person. If evil is only impersonal, or if it only works through human beings, these words of our Lord Jesus would be without meaning.


The personality of the Devil comes out again very clearly and very forcibly in Eph. 6:10-12: “Finally, brethren, be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” 


Here Paul distinctly tells us that the great reason why we need to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might and why we need to put on the whole armour of God, is because there is a being of great cunning, subtlety and power, a person named “The Devil,” and that this being has under him a multitude of other personalities of such dignity and power as to be called by the titles: “principalities,” “powers,” “world rulers,” “spiritual hosts of wickedness.”


Beyond a question our Lord Jesus, and the Apostle Peter and the Apostle John and the Apostle Paul believed in and taught the existence of a personal Devil. If there is not a personal Devil we may as well give up our Bible, for in that case it is a book that is full of folly and of fraud. If there is not a personal Devil we must give up our belief in the inspired authority of the Apostle Paul, the Apostle Peter, the Apostle John, and we must give up our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.


No intelligent student of the Bible can retain his faith in the inspiration and authority of that Book, or his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, if he gives up belief in the existence of a personal Devil. As intelligent men and women, we must take our choice between believing in the existence of a personal Devil or giving up our faith in Jesus Christ and Christianity. Any system of doctrine that denies the existence of a personal Devil is radically unchristian whatever name it may arrogate to itself.


2. The second thing that the Bible teaches as to the nature of the Devil, is that, the Devil is a being of very great power and authority.


This comes out in the verses we have just read, Eph. 6:10, 11: “Finally be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” These words make it clear that the Devil is so mighty that the people of God cannot resist his cunning wiles without having on the whole armour of God, and it is also evident from the 10th verse that we cannot resist his power unless we are strengthened with the strength of God.


And this is not all: in the 12th verse we read: (12) “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” 


These are tremendous words. If they mean anything, they certainly mean that there are beings of great authority and dignity who are under the leadership of the one supreme being of evil, the Devil. The conflict that we have on hand as believers in Christ is terrific. The conflict that the Allies have on hand with the mighty military forces of the Kaiser is nothing to the battle we have on hand with the Devil and his hosts.


We are fools if we underestimate the battle. On the other hand, we must not over-estimate it. While our conflict is with the Devil, and while our wrestling is against “the principalities,” against “the powers,” against “the world-rulers,” against “the spiritual hosts of wickedness,” nevertheless He that is for us is far mightier than they. The Devil is mighty but our Saviour is almighty.


It is quite possible for one to become morbid over this subject of the Devil, and to become utterly discouraged and even deranged. That is entirely unnecessary and unwarranted. While our conflict is with the Devil and his mighty hosts, God has provided for us a strength and an armour whereby we may “be able to quench all the fiery darts of the Evil One” and to “withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand” (v. 13).


3. The third thing that the Bible teaches us as to the Nature of the Devil is that, the Devil is a being of great majesty and dignity of position.


Turn to Jude 8, 9: “Yet in like manner these also in their dreamings defile the flesh, and set at nought dominion, and rail at dignities (the literal translation of the Greek word rendered dignities is “glories“). (9) But Michael the Archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing judgment, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”


From these words it is evident that the position of the Devil was so exalted that even Michael the archangel did not dare to bring a railing judgment against him. The context seems to imply that the position of the Devil was more exalted than that of Michael the archangel himself. The Devil of the Bible is not at all the Devil of common thought. He is not a being hideous in appearance, with hoofs and horns and tail. He is not even the being pictured by Milton or Bunyan.


He is a being of very great original majesty and dignity, a being of great wisdom and power. When people talk lightly and contemptuously about the Devil they display gross ignorance of what the Bible teaches about him. It is true that he is evil in character and therefore called “The Evil One” (John 5:19, R. V.). It is true he is a liar and a murderer (John 8:44), it is true that he is full of malignity (II Cor. 4:4): but he is a being of great dignity and majesty, so that even Michael the archangel durst not bring against him a railing accusation.


4. The Bible teaches furthermore that the Devil is “the prince of this world.” 


Our Lord Jesus Himself taught this. He says in John 12:31: “Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” The Greek word translated “world” in this passage is kosmos, and the thought is of the present world order, and our Lord’s teaching is that the Devil is the prince of this present world order.


We have the same teaching of our Lord in John 14:30, where we read: “I will no more speak much with you, for the prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing in me.” These words of our Lord [are found in what many regard as the most precious chapter in the Bible, the 14th chapter of John, and if we give up this teaching of our Lord regarding Satan we must give up, not merely the Bible as a whole, but this most precious chapter in the Bible. We find the Lord teaching the same thing again on that same night, the night before His crucifixion, in John 16:11 where he says: “The prince of this world is judged”—the evident reference being to Satan.


How the Devil came to be Prince of this world it may be impossible for us to say, but that he is so admits of no question, if we are to accept the teaching of Jesus Christ, and any one who will study the ruling principles of commercial life, of political life, of social life, and above all of international relations, to such an one it will become perfectly evident that the Devil is the one who is master of the present order of things.


If we ever doubted before that there was a Devil, and just such a Devil as the Bible pictures, we can scarcely doubt it now, when we consider the action of the rulers of the earth in this present mad world war. How could beings so intelligent in matters of science and philosophy and economics as the present rulers of Germany are, ever be guilty of plunging the nations of the earth into this mad war?


There is but one reasonable answer: because there is a Devil who rules the present Kosmos, or world order, and he controls the Kaisers and the Reichstags of the world and will until the true Prince comes, the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ.


Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey.



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What Is The Existence, Nature, Character, Work And Destiny Of The Devil – Spiritual Reading.



1 John 3:8: “The Devil Sinneth.” The Bible doctrine concerning the Devil, his Existence, Nature, Character, Work and Destiny is a fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith, and is of vital importance. The teaching of the Bible on this subject is not a mere matter of theory or dogma. It is a matter of most practical every day importance.


Experience shows that if men are in error in regard to this subject, they are pretty sure to be in error on other questions that are fundamental. When men and women begin to question the existence of a personal Devil it is pretty sure that before long they will be questioning a good many other things regarding which a true child of God should have no questions. Doubt of the existence of a personal Devil is widespread to-day.


Many preachers in supposedly orthodox pulpits do not hesitate to say, “I do not believe in the existence of a personal Devil.” Denial of the existence of a personal Devil is one of the main points in the system which is so widespread to-day, and which is doing so much evil, that with considerable reason it has been called “The Devil’s Masterpiece”—Christian Science.


A well-known and popular pastor in this city some months ago proclaimed to his people that he was going to preach to them a gospel “without an atonement of blood, without an infallible Bible, without hell, and without a personal Devil.” If he does preach to them a system of doctrine without any of these he will preach some other system of doctrine than that which is contained in the book, which our Lord Jesus Christ has endorsed as the Word of God, i.e., the Bible.


He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 

1 John 3:8

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 

John 8:44

Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey.



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What the bible teaches regarding the endlessness of future punishment.


To find out exactly what the Bible teaches as to the endlessness of future punishment let us turn first of all to the words of our Lord Jesus Himself in Matt.25:46 (R. V.), “And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.” 


The first question that confronts us in studying this passage is what the word aionios (aionion) which is here translated “eternal” means. The best Greek-English dictionary of the New Testament is Thayer’s. In this dictionary Thayer after a careful study of the word, its derivation and its usage, gives these three definitions of the word, and these three only:


(1) “Without beginning or end, that which always has been and always will be.”

(2) “Without beginning.”

(3) “Without end, never to cease, everlasting.”


It is frequently said that the word aionios according to its derivation means age-lasting, and therefore may refer to a limited period. Even admitting this to be true, we should bear in mind that the meaning of words is not determined by their derivation but by their usage, and the most important question is not what the derivation of this word may be, but as to how it is used in the New Testament.


It is used 72 times in the New Testament. Forty-four of these 72 times it is used in the phrase “eternal life,” or as it is sometimes rendered, “everlasting life.” No one questions that everlasting life is endless and that in connection with the word “life” “age lasting” (if that be its proper derivation of the word) means lasting through all ages, never ending.


Once it is used in connection with the word “habitations,” referring to the habitations which the blessed are to have in the world to come, and, of course, these also are never-ending. Once it is used of the “weight of glory” that in the world to come awaits the believer in Jesus Christ who endures affliction for Christ in the life that now is.


In this case again, of course, by universal consent it means endless. Once it is used of the “house not made with hands” that believers in Christ are to receive at the coming of the Lord Jesus (II Cor. 5:1-8). Of course, this “house not made with hands” is everlasting. In fact the very point that is being brought forward in this passage is the contrast between our present bodies which are but for a brief time and our resurrection bodies which are to exist throughout all eternity.


Once it is used of the future unseen things that never end, contrasted with the present seen things that are for a season (II Cor. 4:18). Of course, these are never-ending. That is the very point that is being brought out in the contrast. Once it is used of the everlasting “comfort” (R. V.) or “consolation” (A. V.) that “our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father” give us, and that is certainly never ending.


Twice it is used of the “glory” that those in Christ obtain (II Tim. 2:10). That, of course, by universal consent is endless. Once it is used of the “salvation” Christ brings, which is beyond question never ending. Once (Heb. 9:12) it is used of the “redemption” that Jesus Christ secures for us by His blood. This redemption is never ending.


In fact, the chief point of contrast in the context in this case is between the temporary redemption secured by the constantly repeated sacrifices of the Mosaic ritual and the never ending redemption secured by the perfect sacrifice of Christ made once for all. Once it is used of the “inheritance” that those who are in Christ receive (Heb. 9:15). Here again beyond a question it is never ending.


Once it is used of the “everlasting covenant” through Christ’s blood contrasted with the temporary covenant, based on the blood of bulls and goats, given through Moses. Here again it necessarily and emphatically means never ending. That is the very point at issue. Once it is used of the “everlasting kingdom” of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (II Peter 1:11), and we are told in Luke 1:33, “of His kingdom there shall be no end.”


Once it is used of “everlasting gospel” (or good news) and that, of course, also never ends. Once it is used of the “everlasting God” (Rom. 16:26) and He certainly endures not merely through long ages, but without end.


Once it is used of the Holy Spirit who is called “the eternal (or everlasting) Spirit,” and He certainly endures, not merely through long ages, but throughout an absolutely endless eternity. This covers fifty-nine of the seventy-two times it is used, and in these fifty-nine instances the thought of endlessness is absolutely necessary to the sense, and in not a single one of the thirteen remaining times where it is used is it used of anything that is known to end.


If usage can determine the meaning of any word then certainly the New Testament use of this word determines it to mean never ending, or, as Thayer defines it, “without end, never to cease, everlasting.”


Nor is this all, God Himself determines it to mean never ending: He defines it to mean never-ending by specifically using it in contrast with that [which does end. For example, in 2 Cor. 4:18 we read, “While we look not on the things which are seen, but the things which are unseen: for the things which are seen are temporal (literally, for a season); but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Here the whole point is that the unseen things in distinction from the seen which are for a season are for a never ending duration.


But even allowing that the word according to its usage could be used of that which, though it last throughout an age, or ages, has an end; even if that were true (which it is not), then the meaning of the word in any given instance would have to be determined by the context in which it is found. Now what is the context in the passage which we are studying? Let us read it again, “And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.” 


The same Greek adjective is used in connection with “punishment” and with “life.” (In the Authorised Version it is differently rendered, but in the Greek and in the Revised Version it is exactly the same.) Certainly this qualifying adjective must mean the same in the one half of the sentence that it means in the other half of the sentence.


We must at least admit that Jesus Christ was an honest man, and He certainly was too honest to juggle with words: He would not use a word to mean one thing in one half of a sentence and something utterly different in the other half. He evidently sought to convey the impression that the punishment of the unsaved was of the same duration as the life of the saved. No one questions that the life is endless.


It would be the destruction of all our hopes if it were not endless. Therefore, if we are to deal honestly with our Lord’s words, He taught that the punishment of the unsaved was to be endless. We have exactly the same reason in God’s Word for believing in endless punishment that we have for believing in endless life. If you give up the one you must give up the other, or else deal dishonestly with the words of Jesus Christ.


We might rest the case here and call it proven, but let us turn to another passage, Rev. 14:9-11, “And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great voice, If any man worshipeth the beast and his image and receiveth a mark on his forehead, or upon his hand, he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of His anger; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment goeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, they that worship the beast and his image, and whoso receiveth the mark of his name.” 


Here we have another expression for the duration of the punishment and suffering of the impenitent, the expression rendered for ever and ever. There are in the Greek two slightly differing forms of expression that are so translated. The one form of expression literally rendered is “unto the ages of the ages,” the other form is “unto ages of ages.”


What thought do these expressions convey. It has been said by those who seek to escape the force of these words as referring to absolute endlessness, that the expression “is a Hebraism for the supreme one of its class,” and as an illustration of the same alleged Hebraism the expressions, “Lord of Lords” and “Holy of Holies” are cited. But this is not so.


In the first place, the form of neither of the two expressions is the same; and, in the second place, that is not the meaning of the expression “The Lord of Lords” or the meaning of the expression “The Holy of Holies.” The expression “Lord of Lords” does not mean merely the supreme Lord, but one who is Himself Lord of all other Lords, and this expression “unto the ages of the ages” never means merely the ages which are the supreme ages in distinction from other ages (nor as another puts it, the ages which come out of the other ages, i.e., the closing ages before eternity).


The expression according to its form means ages which are themselves composed of ages. It represents not years tumbling upon years, nor centuries tumbling upon centuries, but ages tumbling upon ages in endless procession. It is the strongest possible form of expression for absolute endlessness. Furthermore, the way to determine conclusively what the expression means is by considering its usage.


Usage is always the decisive thing in determining the meaning of words and phrases. What is the usage of these expressions in the book from which we have taken our passage? These expressions are used twelve times in this book. In eight of the twelve times they refer to the duration of the existence, or reign, or glory of God and His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Of course, in these instances it must stand not merely for the supreme ages, or any individual ages, it must refer to absolute eternity and endlessness.


Once it is used of the duration of the blessed reign of the righteous, and, of course, here again it refers to an endless eternity: and in the three remaining instances it is used of the duration of the torment of the Devil, the Beast, the False Prophet, and the finally impenitent.


It is urged by those who would deny that the expression means an absolutely endless eternity, that it is used in Rev. 11:15, where we are told that “the kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever (unto the ages of the ages),” and that we are told in 1 Cor. 15:24 that Christ “shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father”; and that therefore His kingdom must come to an end, and consequently “for ever and ever” in this passage cannot mean without end.


There are two answers to this objection, either of which is sufficient. The first is that the “he” in “he shall reign for ever and ever” in Rev. 11:15, does not necessarily refer to the Christ, but rather to the Lord Jehovah, in which case the argument falls to the ground. The second answer is that while we are taught in I Cor. 15:24, etc., that Jesus Christ will deliver up His mediatorial kingdom to the Father, nevertheless we are distinctly taught that He shall rule with the Father, and we are told in so many words in Luke 1:33 that “of His kingdom there shall be no end,” so that even if the “he” in Rev. 11:15 referred to the Christ and not to the Lord Jehovah, still the statement would be exactly correct that He, the Christ, was to reign for ever and ever, i.e., without end. 


There is not a single passage in the whole book in which this expression is used of anything but that which is absolutely endless. So the question is answered again and answered decisively that the conscious suffering of the persistently impenitent is absolutely endless.


Now let us look at another passage, II Thess. 1:7-9: “The Lord Jesus shall be 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: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” Here we are told that the punishment of those that know not God and obey not the gospel is “everlasting destruction.”


What does “everlasting destruction” mean? In Rev. 17:8, 11 we are told that the beast goeth into destruction,” so if we can find out where the beast goes, or into what he goes, we shall know what “destruction” means in the Bible usage. In Rev. 19:20 we are told that “the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought the signs in his sight, wherewith he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast and them that worshipped his image: they two were cast alive into the lake of fire that burneth with brimstone,” 


So we see that “destruction” is a portion in the lake of fire. And in the next chapter, Rev. 20:10, we are told that “The devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the false prophet (after having already been there for one thousand years, see context); and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” 


So we see that destruction means a portion in the lake of fire where its inhabitants are consciously suffering without cessation for ever and ever. It is clear then, from a comparison of II Thess. 1:7-9 with these passages, that those who know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ shall be punished with never-ending, conscious suffering.


Let us look at one more passage, Matt. 25:41 (these again are the words of the Lord Jesus Himself): “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels.” 


What I wish you to notice here is that the punishment into which the impenitent are sent is the “eternal fire” which is “prepared for the devil and his angels.” We have an exact description of just what the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels is in the passage read a few moments ago, Rev. 20:10: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where are also the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” By a comparison of these two statements we have another explicit declaration of our Lord that the punishment of the impenitent is to be a conscious agony, where they are punished without rest day and night for ever and ever.


From any one of these passages and especially from all taken together, it is clear that the Scriptures make it as plain as language can make it that THE FUTURE PUNISHMENT OF THE PERSISTENTLY IMPENITENT IS ABSOLUTELY ENDLESS.


Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey. 



Tikva


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Is future punishment everlasting?


Jesus Christ plainly taught that there was to be a literal hell and that this hell would be a place of conscious suffering, suffering far beyond that experienced by any one here in this present life, but we are faced by another question of great importance, Is this future, conscious suffering of the impenitent to be endless?




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There are many who believe in future punishment of a very severe and awful character, and who indeed believe in a literal hell of awful, conscious suffering, but they deny, or at least doubt, that this future hell will be a place of endless, conscious suffering. Many of them admit and teach that the suffering may go on for a long time, and perhaps for thousands of years, but they hold that it will end at last and that all men will ultimately come to repentance, accept Jesus Christ, and be saved.


What is the exact truth about the matter? We cannot decide this by asking what the majority of supposedly reliable theologians believe, for majorities are often wrong and minorities are often right. Neither can we decide it by reasoning as to what such a being as God is must do.






It is impossible for finite and foolish men such as we are, and such as the wisest philosophers and theologians are, to judge what an Infinitely wise and Infinitely holy God must do. All reasonings by finite men as to what an Infinitely wise God must do are utterly futile and an utter waste of time. All we know about the future is what God has been pleased to tell us in His Word. 


The Bible, as we have seen, is beyond a question the Word of God, and therefore what it has to say on this subject, or any other subject, is true and absolutely sure, and in a question of this character one ounce of God’s revelation is worth more than a thousand tons of man’s speculation. The whole question then is, what does the Bible teach in regard to this matter?




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Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey. 




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There is to be a literal Hell.


The Bible says so, Jesus says in Matt. 5:22, “But I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger [of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire.” 


In the 29th verse of the same chapter the Lord Jesus says: “And if thy right eye causeth thee to stumble pluck it out, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” 


And in the 30th verse He says: “And if thy right hand causeth thee to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” 


We read again what our Lord Jesus said in Mark 9:45-48, “and if thy foot causeth thee to stumble, cut it off; it is good for thee to enter into life halt, rather than having thy two feet to be cast into hell. And if thine eye causeth thee to stumble, cast it out; it is good for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” 


Some one may say that these words of our Lord are figurative. There is not the slightest suggestion that they are figurative. The whole context is against their being taken figuratively. It is indeed wrong to interpret figurative language as if it were literal, but it is just as unwarranted and just as wrong to interpret literal language as if it were figurative.


Of course, the word “Gehenna,” which is translated “Hell” is derived from the valley of Hinnom, where in ancient times human sacrifices were offered, but the use of the word is literal throughout the New Testament, though its derivation is figurative.


Many words that are figurative in their derivation are literal in their use, and the meaning of words is never determined by derivation, but by usage. For example, our word “eclipse” is a figure of speech. According to the figure it is a leaving or failing or fainting of the moon or sun, whichever it may be that is eclipsed. But though it is figurative in its derivation, the ordinary usage of it is literal.


The universal use in the New Testament of “Gehenna” or “Hell” is literal. The word here translated “Hell” is found twelve times in the New Testament, eleven of these twelve times it is used by our Lord Jesus Himself, and He uniformly uses it, as in the passages which I have just read, of a literal hell. If there is no literal hell, then our Lord Jesus was either a fool or a fraud. He certainly meant to convey the impression that there was a literal hell.


There can be no doubt of that, if we go to His words to find out what is the natural meaning of them. If there is no literal hell then either Jesus thought there was one when there was not, in which case He was a fool; or else He knew that there was not, but tried to make men think that there was, in which case He was a fraud.


There is no other alternative but either to believe that there is a literal hell or else to believe that Jesus of Nazareth, our Lord and Saviour, was a fool or a fraud. I know that Jesus was not a fool. I know that He was the only begotten Son of God, that in Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, that He and the Father are one, that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father.


I know that He spoke the very words of God, therefore I know that there is a literal hell, for He said so. It is worthy of note, furthermore, that most of these words about hell that I have read you to-night are taken from the Sermon on the Mount, the one part of the Bible that pretty much all men claim to believe.


There are many who say they do not know about the Bible as a whole, but they do accept the Sermon on the Mount. Well, these passages are for the most part from the Sermon on the Mount. Either accept this part of the Sermon on the Mount or else throw the whole thing overboard as the utterance of a fool or a fraud. There is no other ground possible for any man who is willing to think things through.


Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey. 


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“The future state of those who reject in the life that now is the redemption offered to them in Christ Jesus is plainly declared in the Word of God to be a state of conscious, unutterable, endless torment and anguish. This conception is an appalling one, but it is the Scriptural conception. It is the unmistakable, inescapable teaching of God’s own word.


I wish that all men would repent and accept Christ. If any one could show me one single passage in the Bible that clearly taught that all men would ultimately repent, accept Christ and be saved, it would be the happiest day of my life, but it cannot be found. I once thought it could, and I so believed and taught.


These ideas so widely noised about to-day as something new, these theories of “Pastor” Russell, formerly of Pittsburg, Mr. Gelesnoff of this city, and Dr. Mabie of Long Beach, and Mr. Pridgeon of Pittsburg, and many others, are not at all new to me. I held and taught substantially the same views regarding ultimate universal salvation years before these men were heard of, indeed nearly forty years ago. I was familiar with the arguments that they now urge, and other arguments which they do not seem to know, but which were to me more decisive than those that they urge.


But the time came, as I studied the Bible more carefully, when I could not reconcile my teaching with what I found to be the unmistakable teaching of God’s Word. I had to do one of three things: I had to either give up my belief that the Bible was the Word of God, or else I must twist the words of Jesus (and others in the New Testament) to mean something else than what they clearly appeared to teach, or else I must give up my doctrine of ultimate universal restoration and salvation.


I could not give up my faith that the Bible was the Word of God, for I had found absolutely overwhelming proof that it was God’s Word. I could not twist the words of Jesus and of others to mean something else than what was clearly their intended meaning, for I was an honest man.


There was only one thing left to do and that was to give up my doctrine of universal restoration and salvation. I gave it up with great reluctance, but I was compelled to give it up or be untrue to my own reason and conscience. It is the inescapable teaching of the Word of God that all who go out of this world without having accepted Jesus Christ, will spend eternity in hell, in a hell of unutterable, conscious anguish.


This Bible conception is also a reasonable one when we come to see the appalling nature of sin, and especially the appalling nature of the sin of trampling under foot God’s mercy toward sinners, and rejecting God’s glorious Son, Whom in His love He has provided as a Saviour.


Shallow views of sin and of God’s holiness and of the glory of Jesus Christ lie at the bottom of weak theories of the doom of the impenitent. When we see Sin in all its hideousness and enormity, the Holiness of God in all its perfection, and the Glory of Jesus Christ in all its infinity, nothing but a doctrine that those who persist in the choice of sin, who love darkness rather than light, and who persist in the rejection of the Son of God, shall endure everlasting anguish, will satisfy the demands of our own moral intuitions.


Nothing but the fact that we dread suffering more than we loathe sin, and more than we love the glory of Jesus Christ, makes us repudiate the thought that beings who eternally choose sin should eternally suffer, or that men who despise God’s mercy and spurn His Son should be given over to endless anguish.


If, after men have sinned and God still offers them mercy, and makes the tremendous sacrifice of His Son to save them—if they still despise that [mercy and trample God’s Son under foot, if then they are consigned to everlasting torment, I cannot but say, “Amen! Hallelujah! True and righteous are thy judgments, O Lord!”


At all events the doctrine of conscious, eternal torment for impenitent men is clearly revealed in the Word of God, and whether we can defend it on philosophical grounds or not, it is our business to believe it; and leave it to the clearer light of eternity to explain what we cannot now understand, realising that God may have many infinitely wise reasons for doing things for which we in our ignorance can see no sufficient reason at all. It is the most ludicrous conceit for beings so limited and foolish as the wisest of men are, to attempt to dogmatise how a God of infinite wisdom must act. All we know as to how God is to act is what God has seen fit to tell us.


In conclusion, two things are certain. First, the more closely men walk with God and the more devoted they become in His service, the more likely they are to believe this doctrine. Many there are who tell us they love their fellow men too much to believe this doctrine; but the men who show their love in more practical ways than by sentimental protestations about it, the men who show their love for their fellow men as Jesus Christ showed His, by laying down their lives for them, they believe this doctrine, even as Jesus Christ Himself believed it.


As Christians become worldly and easy-going [they grow loose in their doctrine concerning the doom of the impenitent. The fact that loose doctrines are spreading so rapidly and widely in our day is nothing for them, but against them, for worldliness is also spreading in the church (1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1; 4:2, 3). Increasing laxity of life and increasing laxity of doctrine go arm in arm.


Second, men who accept a loose doctrine regarding the ultimate penalty of sin, be it Universalism, Restorationism, or Annihilationism, or that fantastic combination, or conglomeration, of them all, Millennial Dawnism, lose their power for God. I have seen this proven over and over again.


These men may be and are very clever at argument, and very zealous in proselyting, but they are seldom found beseeching men to be reconciled to God. They are far more likely to be found trying to upset the faith of those already won by the efforts of those who do believe in everlasting punishment than trying to win men who have no faith at all.


If you really believe the doctrine of the endless torment of the impenitent, if the doctrine really gets hold of you, you will work as you never worked before for the salvation of the lost. If you in any wise abate the doctrine, it will abate your zeal. Time and time again I have come up to this awful doctrine and tried to find some way of escape from it, but when I have failed, as I always have failed at last, when I have determined to be honest with the Bible and myself, I have [returned to my work with an increased burden for souls and an intensified determination to spend and be spent for their salvation.


Eternal, conscious suffering, suffering without the least ray of hope of relief, awaits every one of you here to-night who goes on persistently rejecting Jesus Christ, as you are rejecting Him to-night, and who shall pass out of this world having rejected Him. In that world of never ending gloom there will be no possibility of repentance. As you look out into the future there will not be one single ray of hope. “Forever and ever” will be the unceasing wail of that restless sea of fire.


After you have been there ten million years and look out toward the future you will see eternity still stretching on and on and on and on, with no hope. Oh, men and women out of Christ, why will you risk such a doom for a single year, or a month, or a week, or a day? Hell is too awful to risk for five minutes the chance of going there. There is but one rational thing for you to do, that is to accept Christ and accept Him right now as your Saviour, surrender to Him as your Lord and Master, confess Him as such before the world, and strive from this time on to please Him in everything day by day. Any other course is utter madness.


Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey. 


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