This is my answer to a person who objected to my article called “The Necessary Doctrine of Hell.” This person did not think that I provided sufficient Biblical evidence to show that the wicked are sent to eternal torment rather than simply annihilated or destroyed, ceasing to exist. Here is my response:
Thanks for your question. There are plenty of Scriptures that I didn’t include that I could have which show that we are not merely annihilated when we die. Revelation 14:9-11 makes it very clear that those who worship the beast will be tormented forever by fire and brimstone, undoubtedly in hell, the lake of fire. “Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; 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, and whoever receives the mark of his name.’” Revelation 20:10 confirms this when speaking of the beast and false prophet saying, “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.” Who else will be in the lake of fire and which burns (present tense continual) with fire and brimstone? Revelation 21:8 says, “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Thus, any whose names were not in the book of life because their sins were not forgiven by the blood of Christ applied to their hearts will be in the lake of fire, to be tormented forever with the beast, false prophet, and those who took the mark of the beast.
Hades is the New Testament word that parallels the Old Testament word Sheol, both referring to the holding place of the wicked dead prior to the judgment, though it is often used to imply an eternity in hell. This is evidenced by the following Proverb in 30:15-16 which says, “The leech has two daughters,
There are three things that will not be satisfied,
Four that will not say, ‘Enough’:
Sheol, and the barren womb,
Earth that is never satisfied with water,
And fire that never says, “Enough.’” In other words, just as one pours out water on the earth and sees it be absorbed indefinitely, so too is Sheol in that it will never be satisfied. Just as fire burns and doesn’t stop consuming things, so, too, will the fire of Sheol burn. The story of the rich man in torment in Luke 16:23 also provides evidence of eternal torment in that Hades is a place of fiery torment.
I believe that the righteous go to be with God immediately, as Christ told the thief on the cross that he would be with Christ that day in paradise (Luke 23:43). The wicked are sent directly to Hades/hell. The word for hell in the New Testament is “Gehenna,” which referred to the pile of filth and dead animals that burned perpetually just outside of Jerusalem. This reference was suitable to the fire of hell, the lake of fire, which will burn and torment the wicked, the devil, and his minions forever. Believers have paradise forever, and unbelievers get torment forever. This should motivate us to evangelize, as I say in my article. God has wrath to pour out, and He will do it forever in His hell in His presence (Revelation 14:10).
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