Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oh Hell!!(texts explained by someone smarter than me)

Hey everyone.I found this great online article "Everlasting torment Examined" that I wanted to share portions of.Please clickety click on the link for the entire sensible awesome thing :)Thanks to the guy who recommended this !The person who wrote this is not affiliated with JW's as far as I know.

***Matthew 10:28
“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.”

The passage, as it relates to final punishment is unambiguous in stating that the ‘soul,’ whatever it may be, is not indestructible or immortal. It can and will be destroyed in Gehenna (translated, “hell”). That is a fairly clear statement that the fate of the unrighteous is not eternal torment, but destruction. At face value the term commonly denotes concepts like, ‘abolish, obliterate, annihilate, raze, demolish, etc.’ If Jesus wanted to teach everlasting torment, he would have likely used different wording such as ‘fear Him who could torment body and soul in hell,’ but he does not say that. He uses the term ‘destroy’ and the burden of proof is on the side of the Orthodox to show that the term ‘destroy’ means ‘torment.’ Of course this cannot be done, because the Greek (apolesai) simply cannot be forced to mean that.

God will completely and utterly kill the soul. That is the clearest and most coherent meaning of the admonition – an endless torment does not fit the context or the language, but makes nonsense of both.

***Daniel 12:2
“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”

That the unrighteous are raised to undergo a shameful death is even more substantiated by the use of the word ‘contempt’ in the Hebrew. Literally meaning ‘abhorrence,’ it is the same word used in Isaiah 66:24 where the righteous look upon the corpses of the rebellious with abhorrence as fire and worms consume their dead bodies. These are the only two times this word is used in the OT and some significance should be granted to that fact when establishing a connotation. In Isaiah’s usage, the corpses of the wicked are viewed with lasting disgust, and in Daniel, given that they rise in order to die, the lasting contempt must refer to a similar thing.

Moreover, a note should be made that the ‘contempt’ is coming from either the righteous or God (or both), and is not descriptive of any state of the wicked. The ‘everlasting contempt’ is the subjective experience of the righteous prompted by the shamefulness of their counterparts.

It is the memory of the dead that is shamed, disgraced and held in contempt – “Let the wicked be put to shame, let them be silent in Sheol” (Psalm 31:17, see Ezekiel 32:30, Isaiah 14:9-20, and Proverbs 10:7 for other examples of this common OT theme).
Because they will not rise to an enduring life, there is no place for a clarifying of their state since they are dead, and such a condition needs no explanation. A state of death was clearly understood and it was enough to mention that their execution and failure to attain immortality brings their memory only a lasting disdain.

That Hebrew word is olam(for everlasting).The word does not demand an actual eternity, nor does the context demand the contempt must last literally as long as the life; however, should the words be taken to mean that the contempt lasts as long as the life, it can be taken as a parallel to illustrate the opposing fates of the Godly and ungodly. The one goes on to live forever; the other is dead forever. That is, their death state is everlasting because they are held in permanent contempt and do not deserve to “shine brightly like the stars forever” (v.3); nor are they “to attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:11) because they are not “worthy” of it (see Luke 20:35,36).

Similar language in the OT may help in determining the most accurate meaning of the phrase in question: everlasting contempt. In Psalm 78:66 retells how God placed on his enemies an “everlasting reproach.” Contextually, the phrase is found in this historical narrative retelling the history of Israel’s mistakes, judgments and restoration (see vv. 34-53 for example). The scorn of “everlasting reproach” took place, then, in time and depicts the denunciation of Zion’s enemies (v.68) – which is parallel to an indefinite rejection similar to the one experienced by the tribes of Joseph and Ephraim (v.67). Clearly, “everlasting reproach” bears the meaning of an indistinct and lasting reprimand, at most for as long as these enemies exist. That comparable language to “everlasting contempt” often bears this temporal sense can be seen in Jeremiah 23:40 where God denounces the people for following after false prophets and will have them endure “everlasting reproach” and “everlasting humiliation” – their city and their memory will be disgraced and their shame not forgotten. Again this is not an eternal and infinite reproach upon Israel, but an indefinite and lasting one that will endure a long time until her restoration. As Joel predicts: “The LORD will be zealous for His land and will have pity on His people. The LORD will answer and say…, ‘Behold…I will never again make you a reproach among the nations’” (2:18,19). Given these uses, the phrase everlasting contempt ought to be read as an expression of a permanent disdain lasting indefinitely, not as teaching a literal eternity of disgust.

Whatever the exact meaning of the phrase is, however, the above discussion has done justice to the language and context. Should both states be insisted on as being literally the same duration, the parallel, as has been established, is between “life” and “death” and as both are forever, that is satisfactory.
They (who believe in literal hellfire)have to conclude that the righteous, for all eternity, will experience feelings of disgust, abhorrence and contempt. How, though, can these be any part of the new heavens and new earth where there is no more sorrow, pain, or tears – where the old order of things was said to have passed away? How does the Traditionalist imagine that the righteous will watch a person be tormented for long periods of time without becoming horrified and miserable themselves? It is only the most sadistically ill people who do not experience agony when they view the protracted agony of others.

No interpretation that creates “righteous sadists” can be the true one.

***Matthew 25:41, 46
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels’…These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Five things, (1) much can be said concerning the Greek expression kolasis aionios (punishment eternal), including (a) how antiquity sometimes used it to describe a finite penalty between people, (b) how the word aionios can bear various meanings along with being indefinite, (c) how the gospel of Matthew was probably written in Hebrew with the word for “punishment” (kolasis) being a translation, (d) how different words instead of punishment, like “fire” or “judgment,” appear in different manuscripts, or (e) how the word kolasis might bear the sense of cutting off, abscission, chastise or restrain.

The word kolasis does not require the connotation of conscious suffering. New Testament and Septuagint (Greek OT) usage will show what the lexicons detail: that the word generically means punishment, penalty, or correction.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life….For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life…” (John 3:16, Romans 6:23). In addition, it is no surprise to frequently find kolasis in the Septuagint connected with death – natural enough as putting to death is a punishment (perhaps the most severe that can be inflicted). Moreover, the conclusion that the general word punishment specifically means death is founded by taking the language at its primary meaning – a person must die and come to an end if they do not live forever. Thus, it appears plain enough; Jesus is warning that the unrighteous will suffer a capital punishment of death.

It is called an eternal punishment because, destroyed, the punished will cease to exist forever, never to live again. It is understood, then, not as an everlasting punishing, but as a one time punishment that will have everlasting consequences. Compare Hebrews 6:2 where the phrase ‘eternal judgment’ is found. God is not going to be judging for all eternity; rather he will make one judgment that will have permanent implications. Similarly, He will not be punishing for all eternity, but will punish once with death, and it will be final, unending, irreversible and eternal.

The phrase ‘eternal fire’ might have been difficult to interpret were it not for Jude 7 which tells us exactly what it means and how it was used by the biblical authors.

“…even as Sodom and Gomorrah…having…given themselves up to unclean desires and gone after strange flesh, have been made an example, undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.” Jude states that Sodom and Gomorrah serve as an example of those who underwent the punishment of eternal fire. That punishment was a complete reduction to dust and rubble; total annihilation and destruction and those cities do not exist anymore. The ‘eternal fire’ did not torment the cities, it eradicated them. They endured the punishment of a fire which consumes utterly with permanent results. Therefore, Jesus means to say, when he uses the phrase, ‘eternal fire,’ not a flame which will burn forever in order to torture the unsaved, rather, he means the unrighteous will be consumed and destroyed entirely by a fire that leaves nothing left for all eternity. As Hebrews phrases it, all that remains is a “…terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries” for “God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 10:27, 12:29).

Should any doubt remain as to what Jude is trying to communicate and what the phrase ‘eternal fire’ designates, one more passage should be examined.
“…He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter” (2 Peter 2:6). This is a parallel passage to Jude 7 with the extra detail as to what ‘eternal fire’ does and what is meant by ‘destruction’ – a reducing to ashes. Now this punishment is set forth as an example to the ungodly, why? Why would a ‘reduction to ashes’ be given to the ungodly as an example if that is not what their fate was going to be? What sense would that make to give them an example of a fire that consumes when their real punishment would be a fire that torments? It would make no sense at all. God gives the ungodly this example precisely because that is what will happen to the one that persists in wickedness.

***Mark 9:43-48
“…it is better for you to enter life crippled, than…to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire…where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”

The Greek word here translated ‘hell’ is Gehenna. This is a reference to the Valley of the Sons of Hinnom which lay to the south of Jerusalem where it was commonly used as a garbage receptacle. Worms consumed decaying material, and fires burned to dispose of trash, carcasses, and all types of waste.

The language of ‘worm’ and ‘fire’ comes directly from Isaiah 66:24, “Then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind.” The image is one of dead bodies rotting, being consumed by worms and fire. Note those agents are not tormenting living people, they are destroying corpses.

Jesus, once again, offers life as the reward, compelling us to interpret ‘going into Gehenna’ as a death sentence. It is not between alternatives of bliss or torment, it is, as biblically usual, 'life' and 'death.' It is better to lose an eye, or a hand, and still be alive (9:43), then to go into ‘gehenna’ where the entire body will be lost.

Gehenna was not a prison of torture it was a trash dump of putrefaction. A reference to Gehenna, then, would evoke images, not of torment, but of destruction and death.
In particular, fire in both testaments, I repeat, is a consistent and clear tool for consumption and especially so in this context of refuse and debris. Moreover, worms do not torture or inflict pain – that is senseless. To interpret it that way leads to the absurdities of there being immortal worms in hell that torture the living, in addition to making the Bible choose a worm as a means to communicate pain and agony. Such an idea is simply foolish.

The burden of proof, therefore, falls on the Orthodox again to show that ‘worm’ and ‘fire’ in this context are meant to connote ‘torment’ and not ‘consumption,’ and once again the history of Gehenna, the reference in Isaiah to ‘corpses,’ and the contrasting of life with death make this an impossibility.

Doesn’t ‘unquenchable fire’ mean an eternally burning fire? No, this has to be read back into the language once everlasting torment has been assumed. The phrase means to communicate the strength of a blaze, not its duration. In other words, ‘unquenchable’ has nothing to do with how long the fire burns, but is used to qualify its sheer intensity. It is the hottest conceivable fire that will not and cannot be quenched while it does it job of burning to ashes.
This can be seen vividly in Matthew 3:12, “…He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Fire, consumes, burns up, reduces to ashes, it is a simple and clear concept. It does not ‘torment’ the chaff; it ‘burns up’ the chaff. And if it weren’t clear enough, Jesus in Matthew 13:40, speaking of final judgment in a parable says, ‘just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.’

Quite simply, to say ‘their worm will not die’ or ‘the fire will not be quenched’ does not necessitate a fire will always be burning and worms will always be living. Once again, this is language for the effectiveness, not the time extension of the worm and fire. It emphasizes the finality of the sentence, that there is no second chance, that the worms are not going to die and the fire is not going to be extinguished before it does its job reducing the carcasses to nothing. This is verbiage to guarantee death and total consumption – succumbing to these agents is inevitable precisely because they are not going to expire or be quenched.
That is to say, there is not one ray of hope the worms will crawl away or the fire will blow out and preserve something of the body. Instead, the worms are going to feed and the fire is going to consume until there is nothing left of the corpse, and there is nothing that will impede these forces. Anything subjected to such effective destroyers cannot escape complete destruction. Thus, the wicked will not enjoy an honorable burial; they will lose their entire body in a grisly cremation, tossed as garbage into Gehenna. And that is Jesus’ point – that it is better to lose an eye or a hand and live, then to die and have your entire body devoured by worms and fire.

“Say to the southern forest: ‘…I am about to set fire to you, and it will consume all your trees…the blazing flame will not be quenched, and every face from south to north will be scorched by it.’” (Ezekiel 20:47-48; see also Matthew 3:12, Jeremiah 7:20, 17:27 and Isaiah 1:31). Notice that the “blazing flame” and unquenchable fire are for consuming and scorching, and that it would be foolish to conclude the southern forest will be eternally ablaze after everything has been burnt up.
There is no reason to attach a figurative sense to the word die and ignore its primary meaning in clear prose.there is no lexical or linguistic evidence to suggest that die can even support a metaphorical meaning of ‘endless torment.’ Such a loose and arbitrary imposition on the word is a gross error without equivalent.

***2 Thessalonians 1:9
“These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power…”

The comma and the word away, both following the word ‘destruction’ are not a part of the original Greek. The text reads roughly as follows: who will pay the penalty of eternal destruction from the face of the lord and from the glory of his strength.
Paul is saying to the unrighteous that they will not escape, they will not be hidden, and they will not be away from the destructive presence of God.

Examine:II Thessalonians 1:6-10
Option 1: Paul wanted to communicate a fiery banishment to a state of ruin shut out from Christ’s person and shut out from Christ’s glorious strength. Option 2: Paul wanted to communicate a fiery punishment of destruction that comes from Christ’s person and from his glorious strength. The first option simply fails to account for how Paul could conceive that being deprived of Jesus’ strength would be a punishment.
Paul means that Christ in blazing fire, with mighty angels, dealing out retribution, will destroy sinners using his strength.

How is it possible to suffer an eternal destruction in limited time during the space of a single event? The only answer for this is that they are put to death and permanently destroyed, all of which happens on the day Christ returns – penalty paid in full. The Traditionalist’s explanation, however, demands that the sinner never actually fully pays the penalty, but begins to pay it on the day Christ returns and continues to pay forever afterward. The context, however, shows that they will pay all of it on the ‘day of the Lord.’

A similar passage in I Thessalonians buttresses the above conclusions. “…the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, ‘peace and safety’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape” (5:2,3). The same word in II Thess. 1:9 for destruction, olethros, is used here. Along with the ‘day of the Lord’ it is obvious that we have the same destruction spoken of in both places. This verse tells us that the destruction will overtake them suddenly and by surprise, like a thief in the night, and like a woman seized by labor pains. Notice, it is the destruction that surprises them, showing once again that Paul understood the destruction to be a single event, not an endless state.

A state of ruin away from the presence of Christ is neither violent, surprising, sudden nor fatal. It bears no resemblance whatsoever to the deluge and destruction of Sodom, and therefore cannot be what Paul had in mind.(In Luke 17:26-30). Once again, it is destruction from the person of Christ that fits the criteria.

. But it is still left to assume, for argument, the sense of separation and determine if an annihilationist conclusion is impossible.
Certainly, if one suffers eternal ruin and is shut out from the presence of Christ, it cannot prove they have any conscious presence elsewhere, anymore than they would have a presence or consciousness somewhere after being killed. Consider the following biblical texts that highlight this: Genesis 6:7, 7:4, I Samuel 20:15, Amos 9:8, Zephaniah 1:2,3 and especially Exodus 32:12 and Jeremiah 28:16. In no case of this separation from the land’s or earth’s face are we to assume that they will have a presence elsewhere for the simple fact that they are dead.

Why then should we assume that a person suffering eternal ruin, away from the presence of the Lord, is alive and present somewhere else? An eternal ruin can just as easily refer to them being completely dead and destroyed; much like a demolished city.

Traditionalists are quick to exploit. They reason as follows: destroy does not have to mean the termination of existence, but can mean the loss of use and function.The point then is that, whether organic or inorganic, slowly or quickly, anything said to be lost, ruined or wasted, is to describe the cause for its fate of extinction. As ‘destroy’ primarily communicates something akin to demolish, damage beyond repair, reduce to useless remains, annihilate, kill, to put an end to, extinguish, etc., every usage of that word must bear some semblance to and dependence on this meaning. That is why to ‘ruin’ something always has as its goal, an object’s extinction. You do not ‘ruin’ something in order to perpetuate its existence and that is why anything spoken of as ‘ruined,’ connected to its root meaning of ‘destroyed,’ is understood to be an ‘extinction.’ So in the case where a ruinous cause does not describe the final effect, we recognize its extinction as implied and inherent. Therefore, the Traditionalists are completely outside their semantic rights to assume that an object made useless and ruined is to persist forever.

The Traditionalist, then, who will not properly define the Greek word apollumi as a destruction, ruining or loss ‘to extinction’ but as something connoting a ruining to a ‘useless and lower quality of existence,’ has to explain the following: Matthew 2:13; 5:29, Mark 3:6; 9:41; 11:18; 12:9, Luke 17:27, 29, 21:18, John 10:10, I Corinthians 1:19; 15:18, Hebrews 1:10-11, James 1:10-11, and Revelation 18:14.

Traditionalism is left, then, with most usages of the word clearly meaning ‘destruction to extinction,’ and a few usages where it does not, and they haven’t the slightest idea how to reconcile them. This is so because they have ignored basic laws of linguistics, as noted in the above points. This anarchy allows them to define a word in whatever way they need to in order to make it conform to a dogma. So being destroyed just means ‘ruined without destruction;’ perish means to be in a state of perishing, and to die means existing in a state separate from God.

What then is the significance of the adjective aionios when it is describing destruction? In my personal estimation, however ignorant it may be, the word aionios is best translated here as permanent and not eternal.Though near equivalents I think permanent better captures the sense of the word in various contexts. For example, in II Corinthians 4:18 – 5:4, the things which are seen are temporary but things that are not seen are permanent .That being said, II Thessalonians 1:9 appears to be a context more suitable to permanent than eternal because it would make little sense to speak of an infinite process of destroying. The sense then would be that sinners will suffer a permanent destruction from Christ.

But the point does not need to be pressed and the standard translation of ‘eternal destruction’ is adequate and can remain. It still carries the same meaning that they will be punished by Christ’s strength with a destruction that will be everlasting and irreversible. That is to say that an eternal destruction describes the permanent consequences of the destruction, not the duration of the destroying process. This sense is common when the word ‘eternal’ is paired with a ‘noun of action’ – for example, an eternal salvation, eternal redemption and eternal judgment (Hebrews 5:9, 6:2, 9:12); or an eternal sin (Mark 3:29), or an eternal fire (Jude 7). Neither the salvation, redemption, judgment, sin or fire are going to be eternally enduring actions, rather their results are what is meant as final and everlasting.

****Revelation 14:11
“…the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image….”

****Revelation 20:10
“And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

The genre is characterized by symbolism, cryptograms, visions, poetry, hyperbole, figures of speech, and metaphors.

Caution should then be taken to interpret the passages in light of the clearer testimony of the Bible, and not the other way around. That is, if the rest of the Bible in precise language tells us the fate of the unrighteous is death and destruction, we ought to bring apocalyptic texts into harmony with the unambiguous majority.

***Revelation 14:10,11
“…he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength…and he will 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 goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image….”

They cannot be taken literally unless we are prepared to have people drinking cups of wrath, a lamb watching torment, unending smoke from bodies that are being consumed but never totally, a man sitting on a cloud, sickles reaping grapes, a two-hundred mile river of blood from these grapes, angels pouring wrath from golden bowls, mountains vanishing and islands running away. No, these pictures communicate that drastic punishment will come from God upon those who support the evils of the world system and against those who persecuted Christians.

As symbols what then are they representing? The key language under examination has its precedence in the Old Testament and helps clarify what is meant. In particular, the ‘fire and brimstone’ comes from Genesis 19:24 as the instruments by which Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed as Jude and Peter reference, as well as Ezekiel (see 38:18-23). Though the Apocalypse says that these will be an instrument of ‘torment’ that is only to add a detail to what they will do and not to disclose all that they do (see Revelation 18:8-10). “Fire and Brimstone,” as types, bring destruction and desolation, and would be so understood as the result of God ‘tormenting’ or punishing with it. This, strangely enough, can be shown from the following phrase, ‘the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever,’ which originates in Genesis 19:28 and is borrowed from Isaiah 34:9,10.

Without grasp of these roots and with a medieval preconception, we tend to read the verse to say, ‘the smoke from their constantly burning bodies keeps on ascending and will continue to rise without end because they will always be burning.’ Leaving aside the numerous problems when read that strict, that understanding is simply not consistent with biblical language. The verse is best understood to teach that the temporary occurrence of torment with ‘fire and brimstone’ produced a destruction that will last forever. That is the language of ‘forever ascending smoke’ – a symbolic reminder of a permanent and complete desolation.

As noted, this imagery is taken from Isaiah 34:9-11 where Edom is promised the vengeance of God, its land ‘becomes burning pitch,’ not ‘quenched night or day’ and its ‘smoke will go up forever.’ Now clearly, the fire has long gone out, and the smoke is not ascending anymore. The language then is a metaphorical way of impressing on the mind the absolute and irrecoverable ‘desolation’ of a land that ‘none will pass through forever and ever,’ condemned to ‘emptiness,’ occupied only by wild animals.

‘they have no rest day or night’
That is to say while they are alive and being judged (Chapter 16) they will find no intermission to their torments, but as these plagues end in death and have no reference to the afterlife we are compelled to understand the duration of torment to be finite, while the result of it (the smoke) is dramatically expressed in infinite terms to communicate its finality and permanence.

Moreover, the phrase seems to be contrasted with the saints who persevere and get to ‘rest from their labors’ (v.13). This lets them know that though they lack rest now and though life is easy for their persecutors, the tables will soon turn. In sum, the message to the Christians appears to be this: Those that oppose you will soon be punished with no rest from their torments and whose end is a cursed, ‘second death,’ but should your rest come in a blessed death, your reward will soon follow in eternal life (v.13, cf. 20:4-6; 21:4-7).

Putting all the pictures of the apocalypse together, as has been attempted, along with all the data from outside of the book, the probability that the meaning of the angelic message is an actual endless tormenting and not death and destruction is effectively zero.

In conclusion then, to understand Revelation 14:11 as depicting hell’s eternal torments, one has to ignore the context and setting of the judgment, ignore the details of the judgments in Chapter 16, and ignore the fact the judgments end in death. Further, one must interpret allegory literally, ignore the genre of the passage, maintain physical absurdities, and disregard similar language in the OT and matching language in the same book, which clearly demonstrates that the picture is one of destruction.

***Revelation 20:10
“…the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

This passage can no more prove the dogma of hell than one could prove Jesus will actually ride the sky on a white horse with fire for eyes, wearing a robe drenched in blood with a sword coming out of his mouth.

Since the ‘beast and false prophet’ are clearly symbols, their punishment must also be symbolical. How can the characters be emblematic and their fate not be?

‘Ages of ages’ is thus an indefinite amount of time finding its duration in connection to the object referred to.

We might also recall the smoke rising ‘forever and ever’ in Isaiah 34 and Revelation 19:3 as denoting an indefinite but limited amount of time. Also, 2 Kings 5:27, Psalm 83:17, Matthew 21:19, and Philemon 15 are among numerous examples of the word ‘forever’ limited to the duration of the entity spoken of.
As the ‘lake of fire’ symbolizes the ‘second death’ (20:14) there are no grounds to state that objects thrown into it are not exterminated.We must go against common sense (what happens to something thrown into a fire), common biblical usage of ‘fire and brimstone’ denoting destruction, and explicit statements of its fatal nature if we are to make the ‘lake of fire’ mean endless torment and not a picture of cremation.

Neither can it be urged that ‘the second death’ does not mean extinction, for again that is its most natural meaning. The burden falls on the orthodox to show that ‘second death’ means endless, conscious suffering, but again this would be too far a stretch. To call something ‘second’ it must bear some resemblance to a ‘first,’ and as the first death resembles nothing remotely close to a conscious torment, we are not justified in concluding that the ‘second’ will be of that nature. On the contrary, the first death resulted in the extinction of life, compelling the belief that the second death will do the same. The only difference being the first death is interrupted by a resurrection (20:12,13), the second time kills permanently.

Death and Hades (20:14) are also thrown into it. Everlasting torment would make nonsense of the symbolism, as ‘death and Hades’ cannot be tormented. Annihilation, on the other hand, suits the imagery perfectly. Clearly they are pictured as being abolished and brought to nothing for what else could it mean to put ‘death and Hades’ into the ‘second death?’ So when it is said that the beast will be go to ‘destruction’ (17:8,11), it is understood to mean that it will suffer the same fate of death and Hades – extinction.

Furthermore, Luke 4:34 and Mark 1:24 specifically mention that the demons expected and feared destruction, “Have you come to destroy us?” Matthew 8:29 and Mark 5:7 mention that the demons also expected and feared ‘torment,’ however this only shows there would be suffering involved in the punishment which would destroy them.

There is no place in the new creation for unrighteous beings, and consequently, the devil will have no existence in the new order where all submit to Christ, reconciled to God who is all in all. The point is most famously pictured in the apocalypse where envisioned are the creation of a new heaven and new earth for the first ones passed away. God will dwell there, He will wipe away every tear, there will no longer be death, mourning, crying or pain, for the ‘first things have passed away.’ God is ‘making all things new’ (Revelation 21:1-5). No wicked creature, angel or man, has any part or right to the new kingdom or new creation. Their part is in the lake of fire, which is the second death (21:8), which does not belong to the new creation. It, with all its inhabitants, will pass away with the first order of things. To imagine, then, after reading the above, that Paul, Peter and John envisioned a place of suffering, sentient, rebellious and unrighteous creatures, not only existing in the new creation, but existing for as long as the kingdom of God, is preposterous in the highest degree. Sin and sinners were all to be annihilated with the old creation and only righteousness would dwell in the new heavens and new earth.

Reason with the above,sleep on it and thank God in the morning for his love and mercy.

For those who still think eternal death isn't a big enough punishment,go to the peeps on death row and ask them what they think.Then tell them that if they weren't going to be kiiled that they could live FOREVER in a MUCH better permanent peaceful world without sorrow death or tears with clean air surrounded by nothing but beauty and perfection.Then tell them they still have to die..forever..that they won't get to see it for even a moment,but that they COULD'VE seen it for eternity had they chosen Jehovah's way .Still think the punishment isn't big?I'm thinkin I'd rather have my left arm chopped off and my right eye poked with a nail a million times than to miss out on what God has promised.

"When we seriously reflect on the significance of such a hopeful
and joy-inspiring vision of what the future holds for the
righteous, is it reasonable to believe that the one who intends to
create a world where “pain shall no longer exist,” and who
intends to “make all things new” will, on the other hand,
preserve a corresponding realm or co-existing dimension where
the wicked will be kept alive against their will to be consciously
tortured by fire throughout the endless stretches of eternity,
without the remotest possibility of relief or cessation? What
would be the benefit or purpose of this? And how would such
truly harmonize with the spirit of God’s intention to ultimately
“make all things new” through Jesus Christ?"`~Patrick Navas(who wrote a paper on Revelation it.)


  1. Thanks so much for this post. I have read about everything written on this topic, and this is one of the very best pieces I have come across. His careful, full analysis of Revelation 20:10 is especially excellent--I know of no other handling of that passage (Mr. Navas article I would rank a close second, and I encourage everyone interested to google that and read it too). By the way, I read the full article at the address listed at the top of the post, and I encourage everyone too. Anyway, thanks again for this wonderful post!

  2. correction: "no better handling . . . "

  3. I agree!Steve Scianni who wrote this terrific essay definitely has a way with words and a gift with communication.I have tried to get everyone I know to read this thing.So I REALLY appreciate your taking the time and thank you for your kind words.God bless you for being willing to reason with the scriptures and cling to truth where you find it!Btw,from July of 2009 there's a blog called Helll naw you might like,which also has snippets of another essay Steve wrote that I put in a video.Thanks again.

  4. This is a well written and researched article. I will have to go to the link for the full thing, bookmark it for future reference. Usually I just do the concordance search for perish and read those verses, seems to end the discussion pretty good. I don't understand how people don't see that what is offered is eternal life. Not eternal life or face torment.