Posts Tagged ‘Eternal Punishment’



(Understanding the True Concept of Resurrection and Judgment)


Most religions around the world believe on a literal sense of eternal punishment – that is tormenting the wicked people in hell or in the lake of fire. Let us see what verses in the Bible are used by them to conclude that wicked people are subject to punish in hell.

Revelation 20:14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. – TNIV

Revelation 20:15 All whose names were not found written in the book of life were thrown into the lake of fire. – TNIV

Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

First let us see Revelation 20:14. It says that death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. What do we mean by death? In an Encarta dictionary death is define as:

death [deth](plural deaths)noun

1. end of being alive: the ending of all vital functions or processes in an organism or cell
2. way of dying: a manner of dying

  • an easy death
3. somebody’s dying: an instance of somebody’s dying
4. end of something: the destruction or extinction of something
5. condition of being dead: the condition or quality of being deadFrom the meaning above it is clear that death is the end of being alive. And we know that when a person dies he knows nothing and feels nothing – Ecclessiastes 9:5, 10. Thus death can mean also as end of life of a living thing. Let us see the definition of die in the dictionary.

die [dī](past and past participle died, present participle dy·ing, 3rd person present singular dies)verb

1. intransitive verb stop living: to cease to be alive (refers to a person, plant, or animal)
2. intransitive verb stop existing: to cease to exist, especially gradually
3. intransitive verb stop working: to stop functioning.

Die means to stop living or to stop existing which is also the same as end of life or end of living.
These two words are closely the same. Now, we are going to see some verses from the Bible that tells about the wicked to be destroyed by God.

2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth that now exist are being preserved by the same command of God, in order to be destroyed by fire. They are being kept for the day when godless people will be judged and destroyed. – TEV (emphasized added; for reasoning about the earth which will not be destroyed see the following links below.)

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to do what he has promised, as some think. Instead, he is patient with you, because he does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to turn aways from their sins. – TEV

Matthew 10:28 And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be afraid of Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Gehenna). – Amplified

Psalm 92:9 9 For, look! your enemies, O Jehovah,
For, look! your own enemies will perish;
All the practicers of what is hurtful will be separated from one another.

Psalms 37:38 But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off.- NIV

Let us see the definition of destroy in a dictionary.

de·stroy [di stróy](past and past participle de·stroyed, present participle de·stroy·ing, 3rd person present singular de·stroys)verb

1. transitive and intransitive verb demolish: to demolish something or reduce something to fragments
2. transitive and intransitive verb ruin: to ruin something or make something useless
3. transitive and intransitive verb abolish: to abolish, rescind, or end something
4. transitive verb defeat somebody: to defeat somebody in a crushing way
5. transitive verb kill animal: to kill something or somebody, especially an animal (usually passive)There is no word “destroy” that is used in Hebrew Scriptures which gives a meaning of continuous living but rather an end of life or cease of life. There is no such thing of eternal soul in a body that will depart after the person dies but rather the soul refers the person itself, life itself and animals.

For further explanations of that see this link:

Let us go back to the verses that state the wicked’s punishment in the lake of fire. It was said in Revelation that the death and hades were thrown in the lake of fire. We know that death is not physical in form and that hades means the world of the dead or simply the “grave” [collectively and abstract term] for the mankind which is also not physical in form. Hades is not physical in form but rather it suggests a place where all the dead are being placed. It is not the same as the common cemetery but rather a symbolic place where both righteous and unrighteous are on it when they die (see the context of 1 Samuel 2:6). Hades is the same meaning of Sheol (in Hebrew) and Sheol is described as to be unlimited in its occupancy in it sense (Proverbs 27:20). So how would a symbolic term be tormented in a literal lake of fire? It cannot be. Therefore the lake of fire must be understood in symbolic way also. In fact, the lake of fire means “the second death.” However, it makes the religionists conclude that there is a resurrection for all people whether they are wicked and righteous then after the resurrection, the judgment to each will be given. They base their belief in the verse of John 5:28, 29. However, the prophecy is for the resurrection of righteous and unrighteous (those who did not come to know the truth about Jehovah) – Acts 24:15. The proof that only those who did not reject the truth will come to life again is from John 5:25. It was said by Jesus himself that those “dead” who will respond to his words will live [or be resurrected even when died]. When he was saying these words, he mention that the time is on that time while he was preaching the good news of kingdom to people thus the word “dead” is referring to spiritually dead on his time who listen to his words about the Good News of Kingdom. Spiritually dead can be seen in these Biblical texts: Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13; 1 Timothy 5:6; 1 Peter 4:6. Therefore, from Jesus words those “dead” [spiritually dead] who will listen to truth will live.

John 5:28“Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. – NASB

We should note that in the first phrase all who are in the tombs (not in GEHENNA but only in Sheol or Hades) will come forth then after that they will be judged according to their new deeds that is if they are for eternal life or for eternal death.

Acts 24:15 having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. – NASB

There is a verse in the Bible that speaks that a person is committing a sin because of the Law. The LAW was made because of transgressions thus those who had knew the law and acted against it are committing a sin. Therefore, to those who did not know the Law of God even they have done bad things before, they MAY get a chance to live again because of the ignorance of the law. However, we should also know that right thinking and conscience dictates the person if he’s doing is bad. Thus even in the Bible not mention some things which are bad to health just for example smoking and taking prohibited drugs, it is also committing a sin. Even the LAW was not yet made to them they can certainly know what is good and bad through their conscience – the ability to know what is right and wrong. (Romans 2:12 – 16) Another example is gambling. Though there are no commands against this in the Bible, this thing is also a bad thing.  Since Adam and Eve were made perfect there would be no reason to give them a law. The only law which is commanded to them is not to eat the forbidden fruit that represents the authority of God. However, the couple broke the commandment and thus they violates the authority of God.

Acts 24:15 and I have hope toward God, which hope these [men] themselves also entertain, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. – NWT

They thought all kinds of people will be resurrected subject to two kinds of judgment – eternal punishment or eternal life. That is why people misinterpreted some Bible translations with the words “wicked” in this verse as to be resurrected also. But what does the Bible really teach? How are we going to interpret the two said verses? First, let us quote Luke 12:5.

Luke 12:5 I will show you whom to fear: fear God, who after killing, has the authority to throw into hell. Believe me, he is the one you must fear! – TEV

It says that after God kills a person he can throw it into hell (Gehenna). Would it mean the dead body decays and the soul or spirit in his body punish in eternal fire? Again, let us quote again from the Bible the verses which may happen on a spirit and soul.

Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins shall die… 20 The soul that sins shall die.– RSV

Ecclesiastes 3:19 – 21; 19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath [a]; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” – TNIV


  1. Ecclesiastes 3:19 Or spirit

Ecclesiastes 12:7 “the spirit itself returns to the true God who gave it.”

Psalm 146:4 His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground;
In that day his thoughts do perish.

Psalms 104:29  If you conceal your face, they get disturbed.
If you take away their spirit, they expire, And back to their dust they go.

Thus the spirit is a special thing given to every human. It goes back to God when the person dies. It is the force of life. It gives power to life. When the spirit of a man was taken out by God then consequently, he dies. His life (soul) goes out and gone just as what happen to Rachel in Genesis 35:18.  So how would we view the lake of fire as second death and not as literal? Remember, there are verses in the Bible that some people will not resurrect. Let us read them. Please see other English translations of these verses.

Isaias 26:14 They are dead; they will not live. Impotent in death, they will not rise up. Therefore you have turned your attention that you might annihilate them and destroy all mention of them.

Jeremiah 51:39 “When they are heated I shall set their banquets and I will make them drunk, in order that they may exult; and they must sleep an indefinitely lasting sleep, from which they will not wake up,” is the utterance of Jehovah.

Job 14:12 Man also has to lie down and does not get up.
Until heaven is no more they will not wake up,
Nor will they be aroused from their sleep.

Would it mean that this is not literal? If not literal what is this mean? Remember Job prayed to Jehovah to remember him by God if he died and be in Sheol and is hoping to resurrect him by God. Thus, what he mean in Job 14:12 is that there are people who will die and will not resurrect again. His words about heaven that will disappear indicates that the wicked people will not be resurrected even if the physical heaven vanish (though it is impossible) that is to imply the status of the dead wicked people which is not to be resurrected and so as heavens is impossible to vanish so as to the resurrection of the wicked people are impossible.

Job 14:13 O that in She´ol you would conceal me,
That you would keep me secret until your anger turns back,
That you would set a time limit for me and remember me!

Thus, Job believes in resurrection. Verse 14 shows that he was really hoping for his resurrection if ever he will die.

Consider also Revelation 20:5 which states “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over.” – TEV

In the book of Jehovah’s Witnesses published by the Watchtower explaining the book of Revelation they said that this is spiritual in sense thus claiming that these are resurrected people who did not come to succeed in having eternal life thus they died during 1000 years (See Isaiah 65:20 and the preceding and following verses of it) or after 1000 years because they did not continue to follow God’s will. Thus these are dead ones who are resurrected and given a chance to know about Jehovah and the truth yet they did not continue to live until 1000 year is over because they have refused to follow the will of God. They were punished and died and did not receive the gift of eternal life. What about the wicked people who died before Armageddon and who are against the will of God? They are in Gehenna – a symbolic place for the wicked people who really disobeyed God’s will as Jesus told in his words. Gehenna comes from the word “Valley of Hinnom” in Hebrew Scriptures which it is described as a place where the trash, dead animals and criminals were being thrown out and burn with sulphuric fire.  What does the second death means? If some people will not resurrect then definitely they won’t have second death literally. Those who are not found in the book of life are thrown in the lake of fire. In addition to this, those who did not resurrect are not found in the book of life thus they are thrown in the lake of fire but it says that the lake of fire is the second death however, they did not resurrect (based on the Biblical proofs above). Therefore, it would mean that the second death is symbolic in nature. It would only mean that the chance of living again to let them prove themselves for the gift of eternal life has been cut off. They are not given by God a chance to live forever. Remember Satan and his demons will cast into the lake of fire even they did not die for once. How would the second death be given a meaning for them? It is through saying that they will be cut off and ceased forever. The verse are very clear – wicked (those who oppose the will of God) will not resurrect again. Jesus told to fear the One who can kill the body and soul (life) in Gehenna. How can a soul be killed by God if it is eternal as most people believe? It says God can kill(destroy) both body and soul (life). Remember Ezekiel 18:4 and 20 that the soul who is sinning will die. Thus Jehovah is the One who can give back the life of one person if ever he is deserving to be resurrected. So what would mean by eternal fire?

In Jude 7 fire symbolizes as to eternal destruction “So too Sod´om and Go·mor´rah and the cities about them, after they in the same manner as the foregoing ones had committed fornication excessively and gone out after flesh for unnatural use, are placed before [us] as a [warning] example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire.” – NWT

We do not see anymore the fire that came to Sodom and Gomorra yet it is said that they have a punishment of everlasting fire. In Luke 17:29 Jesus told Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Consider this verse also.

Isaiah 34:9 And her torrents must be changed into pitch, and her dust into sulphur; and her land must become as burning pitch. 10 By night or by day it will not be extinguished; to time indefinite its smoke will keep ascending. From generation to generation she will be parched; forever and ever no one will be passing across her.

If this would mean literally then verse 11, 13, 14 and 15 of the same chapter would not be true. Owls, ravens and vultures will live there forever, if not now then on the coming paradise. (Isaiah 34:16, 17)

It is therefore to conclude that fire symbolizes a total destruction or not existing anymore of someone or something. Another text proof can be found on Isaiah 66:24. It says on this text that the dead bodies of the wicked will eat by worms that will never die and the fire that burns the dead bodies will never be put out. Do you think it is possible? How can a worm be survived on a literal fire and not die and a physical body which doesn’t melt on fire and continue to be burned by a literal fire? How can fire burn them forever when in fact wicked people are all over the world? It was said that survived people will look at the dead bodies of the wicked people. Would it mean that in every place of earth there would be a fire that will last forever? That’s impossible as for the “new earth” that will possess by God’s people. This earth will restore again. It will become a paradise. Righteous and meek people will inherit the earth (Proverbs 2:21, 22; Psalms 37:9-11, 29)

See the link below for additional information about Soul and Hell.

NOTE: There is no single term in the Bible that discusses “immortal soul” or “immortal spirit” that will depart in the body and will be tormented in the lake of fire. “Destroy” and “death” means inexistence or cease of life.

Psalms 9:17 Wicked people will turn back to She´ol,
Even all the nations forgetting God.

When someone dies it returns to dust and is normally in Sheol in its sense. Thus, what it implies is that the wicked people will return to dust just as the human were made of dust.

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10

5 For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, neither do they anymore have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten.  10 All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in She´ol, the place to which you are going.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, God [Jehovah] is love – 1 John 4:8. If his quality is love then why would he punish for eternal time those who did not follow his will? There are only two options in our life – to follow God’s will and live forever or to reject’s God’s will and die forever. Jehovah did not come up to feel on his heart of punishing a person on a literal fire – Jeremiah 7:31. What more for punishing one in eternal fire on eternal time.

Jeremiah 7:31 And they have built the high places of To´pheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hin´nom, in order to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, a thing that I had not commanded and that had not come up into my heart.’

JEHOVAH did not come to think of putting a person on a literal fire. IT DOES NOT COME UP INTO HIS HEART.

For additional information about soul and spirit please see the link from the Watchtower’s site.