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I received the following question:

I was re-reading some Sellers at work the other day on Future Punishment and it was in the article on “More About Gehenna” that I had a question.  Sellers spoke of being tossed into Gehenna as a terrible reputation kind of thing and that not everybody would be done.  It would only be for something that would be of a heinous act deserving for it.  So then this led me to think where is everybody cast.  Everybody is cast into the Lake of Fire right? I would say yes because Hades is tossed there. However, in my mind I always thought that the future Gehenna was the Lake of Fire.  This would make me think differently.  Furthermore, I realized that there is no passage in Scripture linking the two together (even though it might be an obvious comparison).  What do you got for me?

The reputation aspect of being thrown into Gehenna first of all had to do with the day in which Christ was speaking. At that time, the leaders in Israel, once they had executed a criminal, had the right to be able to have his dead body thrown unto the trash heaps of Gehenna. There, he would either be incinerated by the fires that were always burning to consume the trash, or be eaten by the worms that thrived on the garbage that was there. To be disposed of this way marked one out as one of the worst of criminals, and was the ultimate in ignominious ways to die. Read the rest of this entry »

rulerhand02I received the following question:

There has been quite a bit of talk among some folk here about number of resurrections and questions about “if death is the wages of sin then what about different levels of judgement?”  Obviously Sellers hadn’t mentioned it and I have not studied out this aspect of our future but some of my friends are interested so I thought that I would throw it out there to you.  

When every man stands before God in judgment, He will do what is right in regard to each of them.  The ultimate punishment will always be death, but whether or not there might be other penalties exacted before the final one, it is hard to say.  Certainly, in regard to the men who follow the anti-Christ, they are kept alive for five months and tormented.  Revelation 9:4-6.  “They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.  And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months.  Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.  In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.”  These men, who knowingly reject the Kingdom and choose the anti-Christ instead, are the worst imaginable of sinners, and God sees fit to torment them five months, not allowing them to die.  This seems to be about the worst judgment He ever metes out Biblically, that I can see, that doesn’t involve death, but rather torment before death.  It is a far cry from eternal, conscious torment, certainly, but still is quite a punishment!  I can imagine that, though there may never have been a group of men on earth quite as wicked as these men, that there have been individuals throughout the ages that have been nearly as wicked.  That these might receive some punishment prior to death in the future seems possible. Read the rest of this entry »

trashcan02I received the following question:

Nathan, would you please explain to me your views on hell? Thank you.

I will try to be basic and understandable, yet thorough enough that you get the idea.

The first fact we need to understand is that “hell” is on a much more shaky ground translation-wise even than “baptism.” “Baptism,” as I said, is really a Greek word that is not translated. “Hell,” on the other hand, is a very questionable translation of any word in the Hebrew or the Greek of the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, “hell” is exclusively translated from the Hebrew word sheol. The problem is that sheol is not consistently translated “hell.” It is translated “hell” 31 times, only about half of the time it occurs. It is translated “grave” another 31 times. 3 times (these numbers are from the King James Version) it is translated “the pit.” How a word could mean “hell,” “grave,” and “the pit” all at the same time, I am sure I do not know. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

May I ask you a Biblical question concerning eternal torment?
The key word to the question is ‘Tolerable’   found in Matt. 10:15, 11:22 and 11:24  also same in Mark 6:11 and Luke 10;12, 14 Referencing cities that it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city…

Can you get the Greek and Hebrew meaning of Tolerable – Is there going to be degrees of punishment or suffering? The scriptures above seem to indicate that.

Certainly, you may ask. I am happy to answer questions. So, go ahead and ask!

The word “tolerable” is anektos, which has to do with that which is bearable or endurable, or through which one can be sustained. Read the rest of this entry »

kamchatka02I received the following question:

Is the lake of fire, in revelations, literal or symbolical? I am of the opinion that it is not literal, since hell and death are cast in it, but maybe I am wrong. What do you say? Thanks in advance for your clear thinking.

I would say both. We tend to make symbolism an either/or type of thing, but many things in the Scriptures are symbolical precisely because they are first of all literal. If the literal thing did not exist, the symbol would not exist either. One example is the Israelites’ forty years’ wandering in the wilderness. This was definitely a symbolical period, yet it was so only because it literally was forty years. It would not have been symbolical if they had wandered eighty years, or twenty years, and certainly not if they had not wandered at all. The symbolism only works because the thing literally took place. Read the rest of this entry »

In our last message, we set out to discover what the Bible teaches about hell. To do this, we set out to learn exactly what the Scriptures have to say about the topic. We learned that the Old Testament word that is translated as “hell” in English is the Hebrew word Sheol. We followed this word out, and we saw that it is used as a place where both the righteous and the wicked go after death. Though it is sometimes hard to see what it means since it is often used in poetry, it seems clear enough that Sheol means the state of death. Those who are in Sheol are in the death state, in contrast to those who are still alive.

We examined the first nineteen occurrences of this word in the last message, which took us through all the occurrences up to the end of the book of Job. Now, let us continue to examine this word from where we left off at the beginning of the book of Psalms.

Psalm 6:5. For in death there is no remembrance of You;
In the grave who will give You thanks?

The twentieth time this word occurs is in the book of Psalms. In Psalm 6, David is speaking. He is calling upon the LORD to save him, and he makes this argument as a reason He should do so. In death, he insists, there is no remembrance of the LORD. No one gives Him thanks in Sheol. Notice again the parallel thought here that characterizes Hebrew poetry. Death and Sheol are spoken of as being parallels. When one is in the state of death, he is unable to remember the LORD or thank Him. This shows that Sheol is viewed as a place of powerlessness and of forgetfulness. Whatever orthodoxy might say, there is no indication here that “hell” is “conscious.” Read the rest of this entry »

reaper02The topic of hell is one about which believers often have much to say. Like heaven, hell is an emotional topic, and one that few are willing to compare with the Word of God to come to any kind of advance in truth. What most who claim to be Bible believers think about hell is no different from what the world around them thinks about it. Many would have to admit, if asked, that their beliefs about hell after they were saved did not really change much from what they believed about hell before they were saved. If they did change, this was usually because they were taught orthodox Christian beliefs about hell, and not because someone led them to the Word of God to find the truth the Spirit placed for us there.

Because of these things, a study of hell is one that few are willing to undertake, at least not with the Bible as the central and only source of this study. The Bible is decidedly unorthodox when it comes to this topic of hell, and so to maintain what Christians have always believed, many other sources need to be consulted and given equal weight with the Bible in determining what churches call “the truth about hell.” Yet since we are only really interested in the Bible’s teaching, not that of men or churches, we reject all such additional sources. Neither Plato, nor Dante, nor the ancient Greeks shall be allowed to give evidence to override and negate the testimony of the Word of God. We want only what the Bible teaches about hell, and only God’s teaching on hell will satisfy one whose desire really is God’s truth. Read the rest of this entry »

heaven or hellI was listening to a Christian music radio station as I was driving in my car today, and I happened to hear a song that contained the line, “There is just one Heaven, and there is just one Hell.” I started thinking about this, and realized how weak a Biblical foundation such a statement is laid upon. First of all, the Hebrew and Greek words for Heaven are plural almost every time they are used in Scripture (although not every time.) So how can there be only one Heaven? Then there is the statement, ” the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’s.” (Deuteronomy 10:14, King James Version) How can there be one Heaven if there are Heavens and a Heaven of Heavens? Read the rest of this entry »