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    17 DESTINY OF THE WICKED - (CONTINUED)

    WE have now examined briefly the testimony of the Bible in regard to the nature of man and his condition in death. The only remaining branch of the subject, namely, his destiny beyond the resurrection, next claims attention. From the evidence already presented, it is clear that the final doom of the wicked cannot be endless suffering, because we have seen that man has no immortal element in his nature. It only remains therefore that we take up those passages which are supposed to teach eternal suffering and see if they can be harmonized with the scriptures already examined.TBI 214.2

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    REVIEW QUESTIONS ON LESSON SEVENTEEN
    1. What is shown by the testimony already examine?
    2. What then remains to be done?
    3. To what contradictory conclusions does the doctrine of the immortality of the soul lead?
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    It may be remarked first, that the immortality of the soul leads to some very grave conclusions. For instance, the punishment of the sinner is set forth as being eternal; and if the soul cannot cease to be conscious, the doctrine of eternal misery inevitably follows. On the other hand we read of a time when every intelligence in the universe will be ascribing honor, blessing and praise to God. And if the soul is immortal, we are just as clearly taught by this, the universal restoration of all the race. Christ says, speaking of the wicked, “These shall go away into everlasting punishment,” but he adds immediately concerning the righteous, “but the righteous into life eternal.” Here the same word is used in reference to the punishment of the wicked that is used to measure the life of the righteous. The punishment of the wicked therefore is eternal; and this overthrows universalism and the restoration view of Origen. How then can this scripture be harmonized with the declaration just quoted, that all living intelligences shall finally bless and praise the God of Heaven? The harmony is found in the nature of the punishment. This the Scriptures show to be death; and this view overthrows alike the restoration view of Origen and the eternal hell of Augustine.TBI 214.3

    We will now examine those passages of scripture which are put forth as evidence that the punishment threatened to the wicked is eternal misery.TBI 215.1

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    REVIEW QUESTIONS ON LESSON SEVENTEEN
    4. In what terms does Christ describe the final destiny of the righteous and the wicked?
    5. How long is the punishment of the wicked to be?
    6. What doctrines does this overthrow?
    7. How can this be harmonized with Revelation 5:13?
    8. What is the punishment of the wicked?
    9. What doctrines does this overthrow?
    10. What objection is based on Daniel 12:2?
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    1. Daniel 12:2. “But many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” The objector couples the shame with the contempt and makes both to be everlasting; but the Scripture does not so express it. It is the contempt and that only that is said to be everlasting. The contempt is an emotion exercised not by the wicked, but by the righteous. The Syriac reads, “some to shame and the eternal contempt of their companions.” The shame they will feel for themselves, which shows that they are raised to consciousness; but the contempt is exercised by the righteous so long as they hold them in remembrance at all. This text therefore furnishes no proof of the eternal suffering of the wicked.TBI 215.2

    2. Matthew 25:41. “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Wicked men are not said in this text to be everlasting; and this destroys all the force of the passage for the popular view. Not even the devil is said to be everlasting; but only the fire. And in what respect is this everlasting? Not in its process of burning, but in its effects. Just as we read in Hebrews 5:9 of eternal salvation; in Hebrews 6:2 of eternal Judgement; in Hebrews 9:12 of eternal redemption. Not a salvation Judgement and redemption that are forever going forward, but never accomplished, but such as are eternal in their effects.TBI 216.1

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    REVIEW QUESTIONS ON LESSON SEVENTEEN
    11. What is here said to be everlasting?
    12. By whom is the contempt spoken of, exercised?
    13. How does the Syriac read?
    14. In Matthew 25:41, what is said to be everlasting?
    15. Why is the fire here called everlasting?
    16. What parallel passages explains this?
    17. What is the punishment spoken of in Matthew 25:46?
    18. What is the Greek word here used for punishment?
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    3. Matthew 25:46. “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” As we have said, the punishment and the life mentioned in this text are of equal duration. But what is this punishment? The Greek word here used for punishment is kolasis, which is defined a curtailing, or pruning. The idea of “cutting off” is the prominent idea. The righteous go into everlasting life, but the wicked go into an everlasting “cutting off,” from something. What is that? Happiness? No, but life or existence such as is given to the righteous.TBI 216.2

    But how, it will be asked, can death be an everlasting punishment? It is well understood that death is considered the highest punishment that can be inflicted in this world. And why? Because it deprives the individual of all the blessings of life which he might have enjoyed had he lived. So in the case of the wicked at the final Judgement. They are cut off from the eternal blessings of life in the kingdom of God which the righteous enjoy; and hence it is to them an everlasting punishment.TBI 217.1

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    REVIEW QUESTIONS ON LESSON SEVENTEEN
    19. What is its primary signification?
    20. How does this apply to the wicked?
    21. From what are the wicked cut off?
    22. Is death a punishment?
    23. How can it be called everlasting punishment in he cases of the wicked?
    24. What is the language used in Mark 9:43, 44?
    25. What is the word here translated hell?
    26. What was it used to designate?
    27. What was the peculiarity of this valley of Hinnom?
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    4. Mark 9:43, 44. “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; where their worm dieth not and their fire is not quenched.” Twice in verses 46, 48 our Lord repeats this solemn sentence against the wicked. The word here used for hell is gehenna, a word used to designate the valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem. The use of this word throws much light upon the passage before us; for in this valley fires were kept constantly burning to consume the bodies of malefactors and the filth of the city, which were cast into it, and what the fire failed to consume, the worms preyed upon and destroyed. The figure then to which Christ called the minds of his hearers was that of complete and utter destruction.TBI 217.2

    With such language and such figures the Jews were familiar. Isaiah and Jeremiah frequently used them. The Lord, in Jeremiah 17:27, said that he would kindle a fire in the gates of Jerusalem which should not be quenched. 2 Chronicles 36:19, 21 records the fulfillment of this. It was simply a fire which burned until it had entirely consumed the gates of Jerusalem. Psalm 37:20 says that the wicked shall consume into smoke. Malachi 4:3 says that they shall be ashes under the feet of the righteous. Ezekiel in chap. 20:47, 48 speaks of unquenchable fire in a similar manner.TBI 218.1

    But the Lord, in the passage under consideration, undoubtedly borrows the language he uses from Isaiah 66:24. But here in Isaiah those that are subject to the unquenchable fire and the undying worm are not living persons but dead bodies. So the Jews would understand Christ by these terms to threaten complete and utter destruction against the wicked. Eusebius even uses the same terms, unquenchable fire, in reference to the martyrdom of Christians.TBI 218.2

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    REVIEW QUESTIONS ON LESSON SEVENTEEN
    28. What, then, would be suggested to the minds of Christ’s hearers by these terms?
    29. Were the Jews familiar with such imagery?
    30. What is said in Jeremiah 17:27?
    31. Was this unquenchable fire?
    32. Where is the fulfillment of this threatening recorded?
    33. What did this unquenchable fire do?
    34. What is the meaning, then, of unquenchable, this instance?
    35. What does David say in Psalm 37:20?
    36. What does Malachi say in 4:3?
    37. Where does Ezekiel use the term unquenchable in a similar manner?
    38. Where is the language found from which Mark 9:43, 44, was borrowed?
    40. How does Eusebius use the term?
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    5. Jude 7. “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire,” What is said to be eternal in this text? Not the people, not the suffering, but only the fire. And why is this called eternal? Simply because it is eternal in its effects. Sodom and Gomorrah will never recover themselves from that destruction. 2 Peter 2:6 says, “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.” This text therefore proves, not that the wicked will be punished with eternal conscious suffering, but with an utter consumption, even as Sodom was consumed.TBI 218.3

    6. But two or more texts remain which are urged in favor of the doctrine of the eternal torment of the wicked. These both are found in the book of Revelation. The first is in Revelation 14:11, being a part of the third angel’s message which is now under consideration: “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”TBI 219.1

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    REVIEW QUESTIONS ON LESSON SEVENTEEN
    41. What is the next passage quoted to prove eternal misery?
    42. What is said to be eternal here?
    43. Why is it called eternal?
    44. How does 2 Peter 2:6 explain this?
    45. What is the next passage?
    46. Of whom is this spoken?
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    We first inquire of whom this is spoken? It is only of a particular class, those “who worship the beast and his image.” This, therefore, is not decisive relative to the punishment of the wicked in general. But we inquire further, Does it mean eternal torment for those of whom it is spoken? As was said of the language quoted from Mark 10, so it may be of this. It is not original with the New Testament, but is borrowed from the Old. In Isaiah 34:9, 10 the prophet, speaking of Idumea, says “And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up forever; from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever.TBI 219.2

    There are but two ways in which this language can be understood, and in one of these ways it must be understood. It refers either to the literal land of Edom, east and south of Judea, or it is a figure to represent the whole world in the day of final conflagration. But in either case the meaning of the language is evident. If the literal land of Idumea is meant, and the language has reference to the desolations which have fallen upon it, then certainly no eternity of duration is implied in the declaration that “the smoke thereof shall go up forever;” for the judgements that fell upon that land have long since ceased. But if it refers to the fires of the last day, when the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth also, and the works therein shall be burned up, even then, the terms must be understood as denoting only limited duration; for from the ashes of the old earth, after a suitable lapse of time, through the working of Him who maketh all things new, there shall come forth a new heavens and a new earth according to the declaration of Peter, which shall be the eternal abode of the righteous.TBI 220.1

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    REVIEW QUESTIONS ON LESSON SEVENTEEN
    47. Is this language original with the New Testament?
    48. From what is it borrowed?
    49. What does Isaiah 34:9, 10 say of Idumea?
    50. What are the only two ways in which this can be understood?
    51. If it refers to the literal land of Idumea, what conclusion ++e we led to?
    52. If it is a figure representing the general conflagration of the last day, what is the conclusion still?
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    As we thus see that the terms as used in the Bible denote limited duration, we inquire if the lexicons define them in the same manner? The terms used are aion and aionios. Aion is defined by Greenfield, Schrevelius, Liddell and Scot, Parkhurst, Robinson, Schleusner, Wahl and Cruden, as meaning finite duration as well as infinite. The term seems to imply primarily, simply duration or the flow of time; but the extent of that must be defined by others terms. When it is applied to objects which we are told will endure absolutely without end, as God, Christ, angels, the saints’ inheritance, and immortal beings, it means unlimited duration; but when it is applied to objects which we know will come to an end, it then covers only the length of time during which those things exist. Dr. Clarke in his closing remarks on 2 Kings 5th chapter, gives us this rule for the interpretation of the words forever and ever. He says they “take in the whole extent or duration of the things to which they are applied,” If, therefore, we find other declarations stating positively that the wicked will come to an end, and we do find multitudes of such, then this term forever, or forever and ever, applied to them, must signify only the length of time during which they exist.TBI 221.1

    The second word, aionios, is subject in all respects to the same definition and rule which in noticed above in reference to aion.TBI 221.2

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    REVIEW QUESTIONS ON LESSON SEVENTEEN
    53. What do the terms forever and ever as used in the Bible represent?
    54. What are the Greek terms employed for these words?
    55. What is the meaning of these terms?
    56. What lexicographers give this among the significations of these terms?
    57. What is Dr. Clark’s rule, and where found?
    58. What may be said of the aionios?
    59. How is Revelation 20:10 explained?
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    The second passage, Revelation 20:10, being exactly parallel to the one found in Revelation 14, is explained in the same manner. Revelation 14:11 doubtless applies at the beginning of the thousand years, when the beast and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire burning with brimstone, as stated in Revelation 19:20; while the passage in Revelation 20:10 refers to a similar scene of destruction visited upon Satan and all his hosts at the end of the thousand years.TBI 221.3

    7. Having now examined all the texts supposed to teach eternal misery, and having found that all are easily harmonized with the view of the destruction of the wicked, and the some are even the strongest testimony for that doctrine, we now look at a few of the passages of the Bible which speak positively of the doom of the lost:-TBI 222.1

    Ezekiel 18:26: “When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.” Here two deaths are brought to view: the first death in sin, and the other a consequence following that a death for sin. We have seen that the first death, leaves a man unconscious in the grave; and the second must leave him in the same condition, with no promise of a resurrection.TBI 222.2

    Paul says in Romans 6:23. “The wages of sin is death;” and James (1:15) corroborates this testimony in saying, “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Death cannot, by any proper definition, be made to mean continuance if life. “The death that never dies” is a contradiction of terms.TBI 222.3

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    REVIEW QUESTIONS ON LESSON SEVENTEEN
    60.When does Revelation 14:11, doubtless apply?
    61. When, Revelation 20:10?
    62. What is taught in Ezekiel 18:26?
    63. What texts sustain this view?
    64. What does Psalm 145:20, say of the wicked?
    65. John 3:16, what?
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    Here are some of the declarations of the Bible respecting the wicked: They shall be destroyed, Psalm 145:20; they shall perish, John 3:16; they shall go to perdition, Hebrews 10:39; they shall come to an end, and be as though they had not been, Psalm 37:10, Obadiah 16; they are compared to the most inflammable and perishable substances, as a potter’s vessel, Psalm 2:9; beast that perish, Psalm 49:20; a whirlwind that passeth away, Psalm 68:2; a waterless garden, Isaiah 1:30; garments consumed by the moth, Isaiah 51:8; thistle down scattered by the whirlwind, Isaiah 17:13; the fat of lambs consumed in the fire, Psalm 37:20; ashes, Malachi 4:3; wax, Psalm 68:2; tow, Isaiah 1:31; thorns, Isaiah 34:12; exhausted waters, Psalm 58:7.TBI 222.4

    In the New Testament they are likened to chaff which is to be burned entirely up, Matthew 3:12; tares to be consumed, Matthew 13:40; withered branches to be burned, John 15:6; bad fish cast away to corruption, Matthew 13:47, 48; a house thrown down, Luke 6:49; the old world destroyed by water. Luke 17:29; the Sodomites destroyed by fire, 2 Peter 2:5, 6; natural brute beasts that perish in their own corruption, 2 Peter 2:12.TBI 223.1

    Finally, the teaching of the Bible on this subject may be summed up in this proposition: The wicked shall be consumed and devoured by fire, Isaiah 5:20-24, Psalm 37:20, Revelation 20:9. The word, in this last reference rendered devoured, says Prof. Stuart, “is intensive, so that it denotes utter excision.”TBI 223.2

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    REVIEW QUESTIONS ON LESSON SEVENTEEN
    66. Hebrews 10:39, what?
    67. Psalm 37:10, and Obadiah 16, what?
    68. To what kind of substances are the wicked compared?
    69. Name the texts and tell how they speak of them?
    70. What are the New Testament representations?
    71. What general proposition covers the teaching of the Bible on this question?
    72. What is Prof. Stuart’s definition of devour in Revelation 20:9?
    73. What bearing have these testimonies on Proverbs 11:31?
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    In the light of these testimonies from the Scriptures we can readily understand how it is that the wicked are to be recompensed in the earth. Proverbs 11:31. Coming up in the second resurrection at the end of the thousand years, they surround the beloved city, New Jerusalem, then descended from Heaven, and their fearful retribution then overtakes them. This is the day of Judgement and perdition of ungodly men, described by Peter. 2 Peter 3:10, 12; and this is the fire that melts the earth and the elements with fervent heat.TBI 223.3

    We can also understand how the righteous are recompensed in the earth according to the same passage in Proverbs; for they, after the destruction of the wicked, go forth and take possession of the earth made new as their eternal inheritance.TBI 224.1

    We can also understand how and when Revelation 5:13 is to be fulfilled; for now we have a universe clean and pure. Satan and all his followers are destroyed, the last taints of the curse and the least stains of sin are all wiped away, and all creatures raise their voices in the glad anthem of universal jubilee, ascribing “blessing and honor and glory and power unto Him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb forever.”TBI 224.2

    There is something most dishonorable to God in the idea that sin, introduced contrary to his will, must continue to all eternity. Its origin and its temporary continuance we can explain on Scriptural and rational principles; but its eternity, never.TBI 224.3

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    REVIEW QUESTIONS ON LESSON SEVENTEEN
    74. How does the doctrine of the eternity of sin affect our views of the character of God?
    75. How can sin and the punishment be balanced on the ground of eternal misery?
    76. What does Benson say?
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    With this view of eternal misery there is the most fearful discrepancy between the sins of this finite life and the eternal suffering visited upon them; hence divines are driven to say that the sins will continue in hell. Benson says that they, (sinners) “must be perpetually swelling their enormous sums of guilt and still running deeper immensely deeper in debt to divine and infinite justice.” This represents the sinner as being able to accumulate his load of guilt faster than God can devise terrors and judgements adequate to their punishment. But the Bible says that we are to give an account for the deeds done in the body, or in this life only, and be rewarded according to our works here. God has made no provision for the eternity of sin, but has devised the most effectual means to prevent it.TBI 224.4

    The philosophical objections, resting on the ground of immateriality, and that matter cannot think, the capacities of the soul, and the analogies of nature are disproved by an examination of the powers and capacities of the brute creation. It is said the immortality is assumed in the Bible; or as Bishop Tillotson says, “taken for granted.” But it cannot be taken for granted any more than the immortality of Jehovah; and that is expressly revealed.TBI 225.1

    It is said again, that annihilation is impossible. We answer, True, in reference to matter, as matter, (that is, we have no evidence that God will annihilate matter, though he could do so if he chose), but not in reference to intelligent and conscious beings. And we claim that the wicked are to cease to be, only in this respect.TBI 225.2

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    REVIEW QUESTIONS ON LESSON SEVENTEEN
    77. How does this represent the sinner?
    78. What does the Bible say we are to be punished for?
    79. Does God provide for the eternity of sin?
    80. How are some of the objections of Philosophy disproved?
    81. What may be said about annihilation?
    82. What about the charge that this doctrine has an evil tendency?
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    It is said that this doctrine has an evil tendency. If so, let the objector show us the infidels, criminals, profane, wicked and corrupt persons in the ranks of the friends of this doctrine. The truth is just the opposite of this. Multitudes in the light of this teaching are able for the first time to exclaim that they can harmonize the ways of God with reason and revelation; and therefore can believe the Bible to be his word.TBI 225.3

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