it be at the end of the world: the angels
shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among
the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of
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 up for ever and
ever; and they have no rest day nor night.
For lo, thine enemies O Lord,
for lo, thine enemies shall perish.
the wicked will he destroy.
They that forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
soul that sinneth, it shall die.
shall be punished with everlasting destruction.
"Mortal-soulists", also called "annihilationists"
take the texts on the right to literally mean that sinners will
completely cease to exist - that their body, mind, and soul
will die. However, when the Hebrew words are looked at in
other areas of the Bible, they also refer to the righteous, to
inanimate objects, and even to the Messiah. Therefore, to
take the texts on the right that literally is a little foolish.
The words are used in other texts to mean "lost" or "cut off".
It seems clear that the death and destruction in the columns on
the right are more figurative. They refer to the fact that
the souls of sinners will be lost and cut off. The text on
the left indicate that this condition is eternal.
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Hell of Fire or Outer Darkness
Hell of Fire
Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall
gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and
them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a
furnace of fire.
Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire,
prepared for the devil and his angels.
whosoever was not found written in the book of life
was cast into the lake of fire.
the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into
outer darkness: there shall be weeping and
gnashing of teeth.
Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast
him into outer darkness.
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer
There are a few different takes on
the differences in these passages. Some, like myself,
hold that there is a literal hell of fire, and that the
"outer darkness" is a metaphor for the irremediable
separation from the light of God. Some others see
either as metaphorical descriptions. Whatever the
case, it seems clear that unless one has been redeemed by a
saving faith in Jesus Christ, eternal punishment is not
going to be a walk in the park. Both interpretations
make it clear that punishment will be eternal and
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these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but
the righteous into life eternal.
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 up for ever and ever; and they
have no rest day nor night.
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.
have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth
in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me
every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto
thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till
thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
...and that every tongue should confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord.
Philippians 2:10, 11
The passages on the left leave a
strong implication that punishment is eternal. That is
not in doubt. The question is, do the passages on the
right refute that? No, not at all. They merely
point out the fact that eventually, everyone will recognize
the sovereignty of our Lord. Even Satan will.
That does not mean that this recognition will be done in
love in the context of salvation. The unsaved will
come to the same realization at some point, but for them it
will be too late. The passage from Matthew 5 actually
doesn't refer to eternal punishment, though some of skewed
it that way to fit with their theology. This passage
is actually a caution against litigation, and an exhortation
to settle problems before they end up in the legal system.
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