Praise the Lord Saints.
Luke 12:4-5: “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: fear him, who after he has killed, has power to cast into hell, yes, I say to you, fear Him!” Jesus is saying the death of the body is not the end of one’s existence.
Matt. 11:23-24: “And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.” But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the Day of Judgment than for you.” All these statements show that God will treat all in judgment with different degrees of punishment.
Some claim that the lake of fire is just an illustration of the grave and the dead go there. The best example of this not being true is the beast and the false prophet are thrown in the lake of fire alive Revelation 19:20-21. Clearly showing this is not the grave of the dead. Satan is later captured by an angel and bound captive being put in the worst part of this location.
While there are some groups and cults that say God annihilates people, that they somehow cease to exist after they die, this teaching is clearly unbiblical. The antichrist who is a man is resurrected after he is killed by Jesus’ second coming and then cast into the abyss (hell). In Rev. 20:7 Satan is alive and spends 1,000 years only to be let out again to lead one last rebellion and to be judged proving this is not annihilation.
The angels, who sinned in the time of Noah, are held in reserve in chains for judgment in the abyss (Jude 6, 2 Peter 2:4). They clearly are waiting for judgment day. Obviously they do exist as spirits and so does man after he dies. God does not annihilate people; He respects the creatures he created and their own choice so much that he will never take their life away. He’s not going to take their consciousness away either because they didn’t go His way.
The question comes up, if He doesn’t annihilate, why doesn’t He just reform them instead of punish them when they’re disobedient? C. S. Lewis wrote, “To be cured against one’s will is to be put on a level with those who have not reached the age of reason.”
It’s like being classed with infants and domestic animals. To be punished ever severely because we have deserved it, that we should know better, it is to treat us as humans made in God’s image. It is immoral to force reformation on someone against their will so a reformatory concept is really what is inhumane.
Punishment is the most humane and loving thing God can do. Justice demands punishment for those who hurt others and break eternal laws. There is no eternal reformatory, but there is a temporary one which is called life. In a lifetime, if one does not reform, repent and go God’s way, then the day of reformation is over and the day of justice and punishment begins, which will last longer than a billion lifetimes.
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” (Heb 9:27)
Matt 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” This word destroy is not used in physical sense but bringing to ruin what one once had.
Or when the demon possessed man cried out Matt 8:29 And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time? “Again in another incident a demon asks, “I beg you, do not torment me! Vs. 31”And they begged him that he would not command them to out into the abyss.” So even the spirits who once knew God are afraid to go to this place.
Rev 20:10 “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.” it clearly does not say annihilated!
II Thess. 1:8-9: “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,” while this word can mean death, in its context it means ruin or punishment because of the clearer definitions of punishment used elsewhere.
Till next week,
Rev. Dr. Robert L. Harrison, PhD