Eternal Hell (Is hell eternal or temporary)
1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
There is a view going around in some churches, even evangelical churches that eternal hell or eternal punishment is not really everlasting and that a loving God would not condemn sinners to endless torment but that they will be annihilated.
Well, if we believe that the Bible is the word of God, then we need to see exactly what the scriptures say about this matter.
In Matthew 25:46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
2 Thessalonians 1:9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might
2 Thess. 1:9 "And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,".
Jude 1:7 "Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire" .
There will be a Day of Judgment when all people will face God. Those who are not covered by the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross will be cast out into hell where they will undergo eternal punishment.
Eternal punishment in hell is defined by the word aionios, which is the word in Greek, the original text of the New Testament, for eternal or everlasting.
The meaning of the word, everlasting. αἰώνιος aiōnios, ahee-o'-nee-os
From Strong’s Concordance G165; perpetual (also used of past time, or past and future as well): - eternal, for ever, everlasting.
The meaning of the word eternal: Same word αἰώνιος aiōnios, ahee-o'-nee-os
The meaning of the word forever: forever (also: evermore, for ever, for good) is, για πάντα gia pánta
There are people who would like to redefine that word aionios and say, "Well, it doesn't really mean forever." It is a temporary word meaning “age”.
However if you do that with hell and hell is not eternal or everlasting then what do we make of heaven, because the same word is used to describe both.
If there is not an everlasting hell, then there is not an everlasting heaven.
To go one step further, if there is no eternal hell or heaven, what do we say about an eternal or everlasting God?
We would have to do an awful lot of shuffling of scriptures to accommodate such an idea.I believe that the Bible is very clear on the fact that God is Eternal and therefore, so is hell and so is heaven.
So then, where does this idea that "aionion" means something temporal and not eternal?
Well, Universalist have to take this word "aionion" and manipulate it’s meaning to mean a temporary state.
Universalist’s believe that eventually, everyone will be saved and go to heaven.
The Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory would come under this category.
Purgatory, being an intermediate destination of those who die in a state of sin. This teaching says that people will serve a particular period of time paying for their own sins in this place called Purgatory but eventually, maybe, with the help of family and friends praying for them, or paying for indulgencies, or lighting candles and saying masses, they will eventually go to heaven in the end.
Then there are those who cannot believe that a just and loving God can condemn people to suffer in torment for all eternity and so therefore have to somehow make eternity into a temporal state.
This is taught by churches such as The United Church of God, which is the Church that follows the teachings of Herbert Armstrong (British Israelism). This is an emotional argument that God Himself and His saints would never enjoy heaven if they knew some human beings (let alone loved ones and friends) were perpetually in hell.
Then there is the argument that an eternal hell would tarnish God’s victory over evil.
Another group that teaches annihilationism, also known as extinctionism or destructionism, are the Jehovah’s Witnesses ( The Watchtower, Bible and Tract Society) along with the Seventh Day Adventists. With the claim that "aionion" can be translated into something temporal and that its root means "age," these religious movements then say that any reference to "eternal fire," "eternal torment," or "eternal punishment" is not really eternal. Instead of "eternal torment," it is "aionion torment." Instead of "eternal punishment," it is "aionion punishment." meaning it lasts for an age.That way, to the Universalist and anyone that finds the difficulty in accepting eternal punishment, there is no eternal hell, no eternal punishment, and no eternal damnation. Everyone will be saved or will be totally anniahated, become extinct or destroyed.
Here are some scriptures that use the Greek word “aionion” when referring to eternal life.
John 6:47, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal (aionion) life.
John 10:28, "and I give eternal (aionion) life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.
Acts 13:48, "And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal (aionion) life believed."
Romans 2:7, " to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal (aionion) life."
Romans 5:21, "that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal (aionion) life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Rom. 16:26, " but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal (aionion) God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith."
Gal. 6:8, "For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal (aionion) life."
1 Tim. 6:16, "who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal (aionion) dominion! Amen."
1 John 1:2, "and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal (aionion) life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us"
1 John 5:11, "And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal (aionion) life, and this life is in His Son."Here are some scriptures that use the Greek word “aionion” when referring to eternal death or hell.
Matt. 18:8, "And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the eternal (aionion) fire.
Matt. 25:41, "Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me,accursed ones, into the eternal (aionion) fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;"
Matt. 25:46, "And these will go away into eternal (aionion) punishment, but the righteous into eternal (aionion) life."
Mark 3:29, "but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, never hasforgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal (aionion) sin."
Mark 10:30, "but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal (aionion) life.
Luke 18:30, "who shall not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal (aionion) life."
2 Thess. 1:9, "And these will pay the penalty of eternal (aionion) destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,"
Jude 7, "Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the punishment of eternal (aionion) fire."
The Greek phrase aionas ton aionon, which is translated "forever and ever," occurs 18 times in the Greek New Testament. In 17 of them, the phrase means without end, extending into infinity.
Rev. 14:11: "And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."
Matt. 3:12: Matt. 3:12, Luke 3:17, and Mark 9:43 all talk about an unquenchable fire, unquenchable, inextinguishable, not quenched, pertaining to a fire that cannot be put out,
The idea that the first death brings death to the body and the second death brings death to the soul is a scriptural truth but this is not talking about permanent annialhation.
The truth is that those that die physically in Christ (those who are born again) will be raised at the Rapture (the return of Jesus Christ) with all those true Christians who are still alive at His coming. They will be given a new body fit for eternity in heaven.
1 Thess 4: 13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Cor 15: 53 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
Those who die outside of Christ will be raised on the last day, they will be judged and given a body fit for eternal hell.
Rev 20: 12. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
No matter how hard it is for people to accept, whether one can get their head around it, or not. The Bible is the final authority.
There is an important truth that needs to be remembered and that is, that God is under no obligation to save anyone from an eternity away from Himself.
Every man, woman and child are born under sin and separated from God by that sin.
1Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Every person is born separated from God and needs to be rescued. None of us deserves to be saved but God in His mercy chooses to save us by His grace through our faith in His Son Jesus Christ
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
How does one experience this new birth?
John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the Life and no one comes the Father but by Me”
Jesus Christ took our sin on Himself and died on the cross to pay the price of our sin.
We need to believe that, repent of our sin and trust in Him alone for our salvation.
The way to escape an eternity in hell and experience an eternity in heaven, is through Jesus Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone.
The scriptures teach that God, indeed is eternal, Christ is eternal, heaven is eternal and yes, hell is eternal.