A Voice in the
Wilderness

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" Eternal Torment? "

Do you mean to tell me that a "Loving God" would force a [Chris- tian] mother in heaven to watch her [non-Christian] son being tortured in hell for eternity?! The closest bond on earth is between a mother and her child. God would NEVER inflict such cruelty upon a mother. The concept of an "eternal hell," coming from pagan beliefs, has been foisted upon us by the Catholics.

Or...in the end it doesn't matter what we did. After all, God has promised to "restore all things." He is going to make all things "new" and will "write His laws upon the heart" and they shall be His people."

These are but two alternatives to God's verdict upon the unregenerate. In this first example the proponents believe that the unregenerate simply "fade away from existence." They quote, "So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, They will not awake Nor be roused from their sleep. (Job14:12) "Before I go to the place from which I shall not return..." (Job10:21) "For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals...as one dies, so dies the other. Surely they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals..all go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust."(Ec3:19-20)

In this example, these passages are out of context. It should be remembered that Scripture, while teaching God's Laws given to man; also gives an accurate account of historical incidents and what men did and said in certain circumstances. The book of Job is one such book. God and Satan had a conversation in which Satan challenged God regarding Job's uprightness. In his utter state of suffering Job and his friends sit around, philosophizing. This is not God's teaching, but rather, an accurate account of what Job and his friends discussed.

In the words of the "Preacher," the verses are applied out of context, and these people neglect to continue one more verse, to v.21, "the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth." Showing the "Preacher's" realization that there is a spiritual dimension to human life.

The Second example, sometimes referred to as "Ultimate Restorationism," uses as it's proof texts things like, "For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet..now when all things are made subject to Him..that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow..and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord..behold I make all things new." (1Cor15:25,28, Phil2:10-11, Rev21:5) And, I have heard these groups preach a Salvation of Works, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." (Phil2:12- 13)

These groups "twist" Scripture "to their own destruction."(2Pet3:16) Not recognizing God's holiness and justice, and jealousy against those who "hate" Him. (Ex20:5)

What does Scripture teach about God's judgment of those who reject Him? Terms such as "hell, sheol, heart of the earth," etc. are familiar, remembering that Scripture records accuratly the suppositions of people throughout history. But let us see what is SPECIFICALLY "Taught" on the subject.

Not a whole lot is taught. A detailed description of the punish- ment and suffering is not rendered. And what is taught, is often done so in metaphors (pictures). But what is given is quite clear as to its nature.

1) First of all, we understand that judgment involves TORMENT. It is a place of "outer darkness." There will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth."(Mt8:12) The "rich man" spoke of the "flame;" of it being a "place of torment." (Lk16:24,28)

Furthermore, amount/quality of judgment is based on works. "And the dead were judged according to their works..and were cast into the lake of fire." (Rev20:12-14)

There is also a principle regarding seeking pleasure apart from God, "in the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow;" (Rev18:7)

2) Judgment is EVERLASTING. "Then He will..say..Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his an- gels: (Mat25:41) We see that this punishment was designed originally for Satan and his demons. This "fire" is not extinguished... "where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.'(Mk 9:44) The person is conscious and aware.

Many will mock and say, "Well, if I go to hell, at least I'll be with my friends...Ha, Ha, Ha!" Let me tell you, friend, the only person you will know about is Satan. "The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." (Rev20:10)

3) Many try to impress people with their flair in life. They want pleasures, respect and adulation. In this place of eternal punishment, "they shall go..and look Upon the corpses of the men who have trans- gressed against Me. For their worm does not die, And their fire is not quenched. They shall be an ABHORRENCE to all flesh." (Isa66:24)

4) Those judged will NOT BE IN HEAVEN. In the New Heaven and Earth, "they shall be His people..God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Those who "overcome" will "inherit all things.. but the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone...which is the second death...but there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life." (~Rev21)

WHAT A LOVING GOD! Those who have believed in God, and have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, whose names are in the Book of Life, will be in God's holy presence; away from Satan, without the constant haranguing influence of his demons; and will no longer have to put up with the corruption of those who refused to believe God and humble themselves, and chose, instead, to follow Satan.

God will have "avenged" the blood of the martyrs.(Rev6:10) And will have punished with just retribution the sins of the rebels and given to them their "just due...Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments."(Rv16:6-7)

There is only a finite amount of time before God's says, 'thus far, and no further.'

"And he said to me, "Do not seal the words of..prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still..behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work." (Rev22:10-12)

Amen!


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