Introduction I Cor. 15:51-58
The most devastating emotion a human can go thru is the lost of a love one. There is a sense of helplessness and hopelessness that devours the survivor guilt and hatred grab a hold of your life and there is no comfort in sight. For those left behind there is a deep sense of loss and a wounded heart that finds no healing. When we examine death it makes no sense to us as we meditate upon the losses we have endured.
1. Death (I Cor. 15:51-58)
∑ Every human will die, (Heb. 9:27-28) mark it down when you were born you signed your death warrant
∑ Death is common like life yet we fear death because it is the unknown
∑ We all celebrate birth. we have parties, pictures take videos and rejoice but in death there is sorrow
i. Yet, we need to understand that death is part of our path as humans, you will die
ii. Look as those around you because sooner or later they will cease to exist
iii. There is no logic to life (Mark 8:36) you can attain greatness but at what cause
iv. Rich, poor, bond or free it will all be non sense (Eccl 1:1-18) & (Gen 3:17-19)
v. Solomon understood this he had all the wisdom yet we discouraged at what he understood
vi. This is the reason why many go insane and can not cope with life as we know it
∑ When death comes it is the great ending to a meaningless life
∑ Some argue to achieve great endeavors to make your life count but name me what you can recall
∑ What do you recall about people 5000 years ago? Special on the history channel? Vanity
2. Death's Secret
∑ Death holds a secret to all that have tasted of life, it is the end of the struggle
∑ Death is the finish line of life (Phil 3:14)
∑ Death is not what it appears to be, we view it as a terrible thing but in reality Death is the unknown
a. This makes it interesting because it can be a good thing or a bad thing
b. The unknown is what scares people, when you reach death it's over, we see the grave and discomposure
- As humans all we understand is carnal, when death appears the carnal dies, scary
- People don't understand the eternal, although they speak much of it
- Do you understand the secret of death? Do you believe the secret to death?
- When I die I go to heaven, what makes you so sure about that?
- Are you going to wait for death to find out what it has in store for you, a little too late
- You have to prepare for death it must not catch you by surprise
- You need to understand death, it is important beyond just head knowledge
3. Death is The Beginning (Vs. 51-52)
∑ Death is only the beginning to those that are born again, you will live forever
i. It is not a new life to everyone, after death there will be a judgment (Rev 20:12-14)
∑ Your whole life is the standard for where you will spend eternity
i. What God is searching for is your name in the book of the Lamb (Phil 4:3 & Rev 3:5)
ii. (John 3:1-21) - Jesus stated you must be prepared for the eternal plan, be born again
∑ Many believe that they are right with God and ready yet we see a noble man come to God ignorant
∑ Religion won't save you from the second death - (REV 2:11, 20:6, 20:14 & 21:8)
i. After you die upon this world it will take you to the Judgment seat of God, unless you are born again you will taste a death that is horrible, eternal separation from God
ii. This is not just a story but Truth the reason Jesus died on that cross, so we too can escape
iii. (Matt 24:46-51) - Gods requires faithfulness and service to inherit eternal life
Hebrews Chapter 2 - Don't neglect God's salvation
1 Cor 15:51-58
51 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.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
1:1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
8 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
12 I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.
17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
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.
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
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.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death
8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
WHAT IS THE "SECOND DEATH"
Lorraine Day, M.D.
Only four times in the Bible is the term "Second Death" mentioned: Rev 2:11, Rev 20:6 & 14, and Rev. 21:8. We have been taught that this "Second Death" means permanent separation from God either by burning or some other form of annihilation, depending on your particular theology.
Since this Death is designated by number as the "Second" Death, that demands that there must be a "First" Death.
So what is the "First" Death?
From the moment a baby is born, he begins to die. Cells are dying throughout a human being's lifetime, a process that ultimately leads to the death of the individual. Since this "Death" is inherent in EVERY individual when he is born, it is logical to assume that this death is the "First" death!
The "First" death then, is the physical death that each person dies on this earth - a physical, but TEMPORARY death from which everyone will be resurrected. Those who are righteous will be resurrected to everlasting life and those who are wicked will be resurrected for the judgment and the "Second Death", believed by nearly ALL to be a physical death also, but this time the death is presumed to be PERMANENT!
So, both "Deaths", the First and the Second, are physical deaths - according to present day theology. The ONLY difference, most Christians believe, is that the "First" is temporary and the "Second" is permanent (and its method of accomplishment more hideous).
But --- there is ANOTHER Death that is spoken of repeatedly in the Bible. Could this be a THIRD type of Death?
"How shall we, that are DEAD to sin live any longer therein?" Rom 6:2
"Likewise consider yourselves to be DEAD indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom 6:11
"And you He has made alive, who were DEAD in trespasses and sins." Eph 2:1
"He loved us even when we were DEAD in sins...".. Eph 2:5
"And you, being DEAD in your sins...He has made alive together with Him." Col 2:13
"...that we being DEAD to sins, should live unto righteousness..." 1 Peter 2:24
"They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh..." Gal 5:24
"The body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." Rom 8:10
"There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body...Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterwards that which is spiritual."
1 Cor 15:44,46 (the "natural" body is first - and the "spiritual" body is second.)
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." John 3:3,6
vs 2 How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
vs 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
vs 4 Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
vs 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.
vs 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed (rendered inoperative) , that henceforth we should not serve (be slaves of) sin.
vs 7 For he that is dead is freed (or justified) from sin.
vs 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.
vs 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. (Note: Death has no more dominion over someone who has died and been resurrected a new creature).
vs 10 For in that He died, He died unto sin once for all, but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.
vs 11 Likewise consider ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This death spoken of in ALL these texts is clearly a Spiritual Death, NOT a literal physical death.
Since this is the ONLY other type of Death (other than a physical death) that is spoken of in the Bible, at least up until the book of Revelation, wouldn't this logically--and chronologically, be termed --The "Second" Death --- a Second type of Death?
If so, is this synonymous with THE "Second Death" spoken of in Revelation? If not, then since the different types of Deaths appear to be numbered in the Bible, what number is this Death? And where does it fit in the scheme of things?
If the Bible has discussed the literal death of the body of flesh -- AND the spiritual death of the sinful flesh, then is the "Second" Death spoken of in Revelation a TOTALLY different type of death from these two previously discussed?
Let's let the words of Jesus clear up this problem!
In John 3:1-12, Jesus gives us the answer.
"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be with him.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, (second birth) he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus said unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the SECOND time into his mother's womb, and be born?
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. ("Second" birth is Spiritual)
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto you, You must be born again...(Second birth)
Nicodemus answered and said unto Him, How can these things be?
Jesus answered and said unto him, Are you a MASTER of Israel, and you don't know these things?..." (You mean even the most respected religious leaders of the day didn't understand this truth?)
Jesus is pointing out to Nicodemus that the FIRST BIRTH is PHYSICAL, but the SECOND BIRTH (being "born again") is SPIRITUAL!
FIRST BIRTH = PHYSICAL
SECOND BIRTH = SPIRITUAL
It's the SAME with the TWO DEATHS spoken of in the Bible!
FIRST DEATH = PHYSICAL
SECOND DEATH = SPIRITUAL
Now, go back and re-read the texts on the previous pages and you will clearly see that the "Second Death" is the process of "DYING TO SIN" - "BURYING THE OLD MAN OF SIN", a Spiritual Death and NOT a physical death! A "DEATH" that results in the formation of a "NEW CREATURE in CHRIST!"
Now let's analyze the "Second" Death spoken of in Revelation.
Rev 2:11 He that overcometh shall not be hurt by the Second Death. (He that overcomes has already 'DIED" the Second Death - death to sin! Therefore, it cannot hurt him.)
Rev 20:5,6 The righteous "live and reign with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead do not live until the thousand years should be finished.) This is the first (former) resurrection.
Happy and holy is he who has a part in the first (former) resurrection! Over these the Second Death has no power (jurisdiction). See Rom 6:7 "For he that is DEAD is FREED from sin." That's why the Second Death has no power - because he already died to sin.
Rev 20:13-15 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (hades = the unseen), delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (Hades = the unseen, where the "soul" goes when a person dies. It just ceases to be - it is in the "unseen.")
And (after the judgment) death and hell (hades = the unseen) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the Second Death. (Note: It is impossible to throw "death" and the "unseen" into a literal lake of fire!)
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Rev 21:8 But the cowardly and unbelieving and the abominable and murders, and sexually immoral and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
(Note that DEATH has already been "thrown into the lake of fire", and presumably abolished, BEFORE the wicked are thrown in. So how can the wicked now die - if death has been "destroyed"?)
(For more information on "Fire," see upcoming study: "Fire" in the Bible: When is it literal and when is it figurative?)
There is a First Birth (physical) and a Second Birth (spiritual - being BORN AGAIN!).
There is a First Death (physical) and a Second Death (spiritual) - which results in a "New creature in Christ."
The "flesh" cannot be "converted;" it must be "destroyed," disassembled, made new. The "Old man of Sin" must be buried. The carnal (fleshly) mind "is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are flesh can not please God."
0 8: 7,8
The "flesh" is "destroyed," but the person is not. After all, Jesus said He came "to DESTROY the WORKS of the DEVIL." (1 John 3:8)
We are the Works of Christ. He created us. We are NOT the works of the devil. Only the SIN in our lives is the work of the devil. It is the SIN ONLY that is permanently destroyed. Then we become "A NEW creature in Christ."
Jesus said: "Behold, I make ALL THINGS NEW!!"
By Arlen L. Chitwood
Exactly what does it mean in Rev. 2:11 for individuals "to be hurt of" the second death?
"He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death."
Revelation 2:11 is dealing with Christians, relative to overcoming or being overcome. And in the light of Rev. 20:4-6; 21:7, 8, which deals with the same subject, Rev. 2:11 can mean only one thing: Nonovercoming Christians are going to be "hurt of the second death," defined in Scripture as having "their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone (Rev. 21:8b).
"Fire" in Scripture is associated with the judgment of the saved as well as the judgment of the unsaved; and, following judgment, nonovercoming Christians will be "hurt of the second death," which is associated with the lake of fire.
Thus, the time when this will occur is following events at the judgment seat. And though the Christians' works will be tried in fire at the judgment seat, this is not synonymous with Christians having a part in "the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone."
Rather, at this judgment, Christians will be shown to have either overcome or to have been overcome, with the carrying out of decisions and determinations made at the judgment seat occurring at a time following these events.
(Note in the judgment of the unsaved in Rev. 20:11-15 that the lake of fire and the second death enter into the matter only following judgment. The lake of fire and the second death come into view only following decisions and determinations surrounding their judgment.
And it will be the same for the saved preceding this time. They will first be judged. Only then, only following the decisions and determinations surrounding their judgment, do the lake of fire and the second death come into view.)
The Lake of Fire
The lake of fire is empty today, and it will be empty at the time Christians are judged. The first individuals to inhabit the lake of fire will be the beast and the false prophet, and their being cast therein follows the judgment of Christians.
Nonovercoming Christians themselves will not have their part in "the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone" until the actual millennial reign of Christ, which follows the beast and the false prophet being cast therein. Overcoming Christians will be crowned at this time, and nonovercoming Christians will experience the second death at this time. For the latter, the entire scene, from the judgment seat on into the millennium, is apparently what is being referred to in Heb. 10:27 -- that which awaits the one guilty of the "wilful sin" (v. 26), for which there is no sacrifice:
"But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries."
It should not be thought strange that the same lake of fire appearing in connection with the outcome of the judgment of the unsaved first appears in connection with the outcome of the judgment of the saved. The very reason God brought "the lake burning with fire and brimstone" into existence was the entrance of sin into one province in His universe -- a province where man, following his creation, found himself.
The lake of fire was prepared for the Devil and his angels following their sin (which had to do with regality -- Satan seeking to exalt his throne [Isa. 14:13-15]), but it is also presently being reserved as the place where those rejecting the very reason for man's creation (which had to do with regality as well [Gen. 1:26-28]) will ultimately find themselves -- nonovercoming Christians first, and then the unsaved.
Thus, "the lake of fire" is connected with sin in relation to regality and this earth -- whether angels or man (saved or unsaved). And though this lake of fire was prepared for "the devil and his angels" (the first to rebel in this respect), man, ignoring or rejecting the reason for his creation (whether saved man, or unsaved man), will have a part in the same lake of fire. For saved man, it will be millennial; and for unsaved man, it will be eternal.
Bear one thing in mind about judgment. No man (saved or unsaved) will ever appear in judgment to determine his eternal salvation or eternal damnation. The question surrounding eternal salvation is always taken care of before man enters into judgment, and this matter will not be an issue at any future judgment. Every man will be resurrected "in his own order ['in his own company' (whether a company of saved individuals, or a company of unsaved individuals)]" (I Cor. 15:23), and every man will be judged in the company in which he is resurrected.
The saved and the unsaved form entirely separate companies, in accord with their separate resurrections, and will be judged at different times. When the saved are judged, only the saved will appear; and when the unsaved are judged, only the unsaved will appear. In each case they will appear in a particular company with the issue pertaining to their salvation being a settled, closed matter at that time. There is simply no such thing in Scripture as companies of saved and unsaved individuals being judged together, at the same time.
All judgment, whether of the saved or of the unsaved, will be on the basis of works -- the works of the ones being judged (cf. Matt. 16:27; I Cor. 3:12-15; Rev. 20:11-15). And such works can have nothing whatsoever to do with issues pertaining to eternal salvation or eternal damnation. Redeemed man has been saved strictly on the basis of the work of Another, and unredeemed man abides in his present state simply because he has not accepted the work of Another. Resultingly, neither eternal salvation nor eternal damnation can be an issue when the works of man come under scrutiny, as will be the case in all future judgments.
No unsaved person will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, and no saved person will appear before the great white throne. In each case, the eternal destiny of all individuals involved will have been determined before judgment occurs. And the same principle must hold true for all other judgments (e.g. that of Israel [Ezek. 20:33-38]; the Tribulation martyrs [Rev. 20:4-6]; or living Gentiles who survive the Great Tribulation [Matt. 25:31-46]).
All future judgments will be carried out in orderly fashions. As in resurrection, so in judgment, every man will appear in his own company; and within this company every man will answer for his own actions, performed either as a saved or as an unsaved individual.
The judgment of living Gentiles at the time of Christ's return, as outlined in Matt. 25:31-46, is often looked upon by some as a general judgment of saved and unsaved individuals, with issues of this judgment pertaining to the eternal destiny of those being judged. But such cannot be the case at all.
Note first that the ones coming under judgment are separated into two categories -- referred to as "sheep" on the one hand, and "goats" on the other -- with there being one destiny for the sheep and another destiny for the goats.
Then note that the sheep will be allowed to "inherit the kingdom," but not so with the goats. Rather, they will be told, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting ['age-lasting'] fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (vv. 34, 41).
Sheep and goats are metaphors in this passage, used in an antithetical sense; and inheriting the kingdom or departing into everlasting (age-lasting) fire, in connection with the sheep and goats, present destinies for each, set forth in an antithetical manner. And neither the text nor the context has to do with eternal verities. Rather, both have to do with the 1,000-year reign of Christ, the coming kingdom of Christ.
Accordingly, either realizing or not realizing an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ is in view throughout. Thus, the thought of "sheep," "inherit the kingdom," "goats," and "everlasting [age-lasting] fire" must be understood with the kingdom in view, not with eternal verities in view.
(The word translated "everlasting" in Matt. 25:41 is from aionios in the Greek text. This is the adjective form of aion, from which we derive our English word, aeon. Neither the noun nor the adjective means "eternal." Rather, the two words literally have to do with "a period of time," usually thought of as "an age."
There is no word for "eternal" in the Greek text of the New Testament [nor in the Hebrew text of the O.T., for that matter]. The only way in which the Greek language can express "eternal," apart possibly from contextual considerations [e.g., when aion or aionios is used relative to Deity], is through a plural use of aion [e.g., Heb. 13:8; "ages"] or through a double use of aion, in the plural and articular both times [e.g., Rev. 1:6; "the ages of the ages"].)
The saved alone are in a position to come under the type judgment seen in Matt. 25:31-46. And the events surrounding this judgment parallel those seen relative to the judgment of Christians. Individuals are seen judged on the basis of works; and the outcome of this judgment is two-fold: 1) realizing an inheritance in the kingdom on the one hand, and 2) having a part in the lake of fire on the other.
I. The Nature Of Hell Is Spiritual Not Physical
A. BLIND MEN FEELING DIFFERENT PARTS OF AN ELEPHANT TO GET AN OVERALL PICTURE
1. God used physical symbols to describe by representation something that is otherwise impossible
2. How do we teach our children what a cow is? We point it out and say, "look cow!"
B. God employed 6 word pictures to describe heaven:
WORD PICTURES OF HEAVEN
WORD PICTURES OF HELL
A beautiful city: Heb 11:16; 13:14; Rev 21
The garbage dump of City: Mk 9:43-48 (Hell=Gehenna=Valley of Hinnom=Dump)
Eternal day: Rev 21:25 + 22:5
Eternal night, black darkness: Mt 22:13; 25:30; Jude 13; 2 Pet 2:17
Sabbath rest: Heb 3:12-4:11; Rev 14:13
The second death: Rev 2:11; 20:6,14
New heavens & earth: 2 Pet 3:3-13; Rev 21:1
Exiled & banished away from God's new kingdom: 2 Thes 1:9; Mt 22:13; Rev 22:15
A garden paradise: Rev 2:7; 22:2-3
Beaten & tortured while shackled in prison: Lk 12:47-48; Mt 22:13; 18:34; 24:51
Holy place in Jewish tabernacle: Heb 9:11,24
Eternal fire: Mt 25:41; 13:42; Jude 7
C. Heaven and hell are of the same nature:
1. Not of this world, realm or creation: Jn 18:36; Heb 9:11,24; Rev 20:11=2 Pe 3:10
II. 9 WORD PICTURES OF HELL
A. Hell=Greek, "Gehenna": "SENTENCE OF GEHENNA": MT 23:33
1. Used 13x in NT: Mt 5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:8,9; 23:15,33; Mk 9:43,45,47; Lk 12:5; Jas 3:6
2. Deep narrow valley outside Jerusalem: Valley of Hinnon, Josh 15:8, see MAP next page
3. Why did Jesus choose the valley of hinnon as the ultimate picture of hell?
a) Human sacrifices offered to Baal & Moleck: 2 Chr 28:3; 33:6; 2 Ki 23:10; Jer 7:31; 19:2-6; 32:35
b) Some have speculated it was the garbage dump of Jerusalem at the time of Christ:
(1) filth, dead animals and bodies of executed criminals
(2) Some suggest that fires were stoked to burn and sanitize
(3) Barnes, "...It was the place where to throw all the dead carcasses and filth of the city; and wan frequently the place of executions. The sight was horrible, the air was polluted and to preserve it in any manner of purity, it was necessary to keep fires continually burning there. The Jewís extreme loathsomeness of the place, the filth and putrefaction, the corruption of the atmosphere, and the lurid fires blazing by day and night, made it one of the most appalling symbols with which a Jew was acquainted."
4. Penalty for the sons of Gehenna: Mt 23:15,33
5. Purpose: Body and soul will be destroyed: Mt 10:28
6. Duration of Gehenna: Eternal: Mt 18:8,9 (Eternal fire = Gehenna fire)
a) Some think Gehenna depicts annihililation, yet the fire itself is described as eternal
7. Only two elements directly mentioned with Gehenna:
a) Unquenchable, eternal fire: Mk 9:43,45,47; Mt 5:22,29,30; 18:8,9; Jas 3:6
b) Eternal worms: Mk 9:48
B. Wicked cast into eternal fire: Mt 25:41 (3 FIGURES EXCLUDING GEHENNA FIRE)
1. Unquenchable fire of Gehenna: Mk 9:43,45,47; Mt 5:22,29,30; 18:8,9; Jas 3:6
2. Furnace of fire
a) Burn chaff with unquenchable fire Mt 3:12; Lk 3:17
b) Burn tares in furnace of fire: Mt 13:42,50
3. Rain of fire and brimstone:
a) Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah: Gen 19:24,28; (antitype of hell: Jude 7)
4. Lake of fire which burns with brimstone (sulfur): Rev 19:20; 20:10; 21:8
a) "Once a brimstone (sulfur) deposit ignites, it would melt & run in burning streams down the ravines spreading everywhere suffocating fumes the ordinary match" ISBE
b) "Torrents of brimstone" (fast moving flows): Isa 30:33
c) "Lake of fire" could also be a reference to lava from a volcano
C. Exiled & banished from Godís kingdom:
1. "Away from Godís presence": 2 Th 1:9; cast into outer darkness: Mt 22:13
D. Eternal night:
1. "outer darkness": Mt 22:13; 25:30; black darkness, Jude 13; 2 Pe 2:17
2. Counterpart: Heaven likened unto eternal day: Rev 21:25; 22:5
E. The second death: Rev 2:11; 20:6,14
F. A scourging, shackled torturing in prison:
1. Scourge: "lashes, cut in pieces" Lk 12:47-48; Mt 24:51
2. Shackled: "bind hand & foot" Mt 22:13
3. Tortured: "handed over to torturer: Mt 18:34
G. Worse than drowned in sea with millstone hung around neck: Mt 18:6
III. FACTS ABOUT HELL
A. A place of everlasting destruction: 2 Th 1:9; Phil 3:19; Heb 10:39
B. A place of conscious punishment
1. Both the rich man and Lazarus were fully conscious: Lk 16:19-31
2. "away from the presence of God": 2 Th 1:9
a) indicates conscious existence in exile not annihilation
3. A place of suffering, affliction and retribution: 2 Th 1:5-8
4. Weeping and gnashing of teeth: Mt 13:42,50; 25:30
C. Duration of punishment is forever, eternity
1. The same words that describe hell also describe God and duration of heaven
a) forever: Rev 14:11; 20:10
b) black darkness forever: Jude 13
c) Eternal: Mt 25:46 (heaven and hell alike)
2. Eternal day of Christians is same duration as eternal night of lost
3. The undying worm, everlastingly consuming an unconsumable body
4. No second chance:
a) Appointed to die once then comes judgement: Heb 9:27
b) Great gulf fixed between good and bad: Lk 16
5. Annihilation is a false doctrine:
Based fundamentally upon the false doctrine that rejects the dichotomous nature of man. Eternal punishment is likened unto setting fire to dry leaf. The leaf is destroyed forever, it ceases to exist and the fire goes out although nothing could extinguish the fire before the leaf was fully consumed. "Carnalists" believe the Bible teaches "eternal destruction" (destroyed forever) rather than "eternal punishment" (conscious pain forever). The Bible mentions a punishment worse than physical death: Heb 10:28-29 What is it if not hell?
D. Hell is a demonstration of Godís justice: 2 Th 1:5-10
1. The "carnalist" type groups who teach annihilation argue that God would not be just to punish a man forever.
2. Just as no one can actually understand the logic behind Godís mercy in saving us through Christ dying on the cross, we probably canít understand Godís justice with hell.
E. Degrees of punishment in hell
1. Proof texts:
a) Many and few lashes: Lk 12:47-48
b) Both lost but one judgement more tolerable than other: Mt 11:24
c) Hypocrites will receive "greater condemnation": Mk 12:40
d) Better for them if they had never been Christians: 2 Pe 2:20-21
2. The basis of the degree of punishment is not the frequency or magnitude of sin, but rather how accountable the individual was to God: (teachers- stricter judgement Jas 3:1)
a) The elder who runs off with another women will be punished more severely than any of the recent mass murder-rapists.
b) It is not a matter of how bad they sinned but the degree they knew it was sin.
3. Danger of those who reject degrees of punishment and reward:
a) It directly contradicts scripture: Lk 12:47-48; Mt 11:24; Mk 12:40; 2 Pe 2:20-21
b) It violates that there are in fact, as everyone recognizes, varying degrees of sin in a practical way.
c) It violates everything the Old Testament law taught about varying degrees of punishment for varying sins.
d) It violates the principle of every civil/criminal code in the world by punishing all crimes identically. (Remember that most civil codes were built upon Judeo-Christian principles, the rest upon common sense.)
e) It violates everything human parents understand in raising children, (just try disciplining children the identical way for varying sins.)
f) It is patterned after "communism", where all get the same thing in spite of personal effort. It gives no incentive to excel. And no discouragement to sin the more!
g) It allows men to get the same reward for minimum effort. It condones, legislates and entrenches a mindset of mediocrity in the church. Statements like, "Hey what do we pay the preacher for!" is the fruit of this false doctrine! As one brother said, "This doctrine poisons the well-springs of zeal!"
h) It encourages Ketchersidism for if all men get the same reward, regardless of the extent of sin in each of their personal lives, then any one can see the close connection between, "We all get to heaven, regardless of our varying degrees of personal sin" AND "All the denominations get to heaven regardless of their varying degrees of doctrinal sin." (No one believes we are saved by either moral or doctrinal perfection!)
i) It is a gospel of Calvinism, where there is no grey, only black and white. Christians get to heaven, in spite of their degree of sin and are essentially, in a practical sense, eternally secure.
j) It is a gospel of Calvinism, because it makes God an unjust judge. Just as Calvinists have sinners paying for sins, they had no choice but to commit, so too this doctrine has sinners paying for sins
k) It encourages the unrighteous to sin more. If a criminal accepts he is going to hell, this doctrine gives him no reason to not go all the way and become a mass murder! Why not sin the more! Hell will not be any hotter!
l) It makes God a respector of persons for punishing all men identically, in spite of varying degrees of sin.
4. Degrees of punishment and reward:
a) It does not dismiss the fact that, one sin, any sin, the first sin, separates God and man for eternity in Hell.
b) It agrees with the witness of common sense, Old Testament, civil code and parenting.
c) It is patterned after "monarchy" (kingdom, Jesus is king), where the king bestows special favours for valiant efforts and extraordinary punishments upon exceeding wicked men.
d) It creates an incentive of reward directly proportionate to effort, according to the wisdom in the book of proverbs and after "if a man wonít work, neither let him eat".
IV. The 10 Descriptions Are Symbolic
A. Physical garbage dump outside of Jerusalem
B. 4 Different figures of fire: (INCLUDING GEHENNA)
1. Fire of Gehenna
2. furnace of fire
3. rain storm of fire and brimstone
4. lake of fire and brimstone
a) huge furnace with lake of fire inside, raining fire located in valley of hinnon in Jerusalem?
b) Or 4 different figures to depict the spiritual counterpart
C. Exile and banishment
D. Eternal night
E. A bottomless pit (Hades)
F. Scourged, while shacked in a prison
G. Worse than drowned in sea with millstone hung around neck: Mt 18:6
V. CONCLUSION: Not A Pretty Place
A. Touch: pain from burning fire
B. Taste: dry mouth, extreme thirst, blood from gnashing teeth
C. Smell: rotting garbage-Gehenna; rotten eggs-brimstone
D. Sight: smoke-fire; corruption-Gehenna or black darkness
E. Sound: moaning, weeping, crying, screaming
Facts About Heaven
Facts About Hell
|Duration is forever, eternity: Mt 25:46; Rev 22:11||Duration is forever, eternity: Mt 25:46; Rev 14:11; 20:10; Jude 13. No 2nd chance: Heb 9:27; Never to enter heaven: Lk 16:26|
|Conscious reward: Mt 5:11. Comfort from sufferings: Rom 8:18; 2 Cor 4:17-18||Conscious punishment: Lk 16:19-31; 2 Th 1:5-8; Mt 13:42,50; 25:30|
|Physical & emotional healing: Rev 7:16; 21:4||Destruction: 2 Th 1:9; Phil 3:19; Mt 10:28|
|Reward for obeying: 2 Pe 1:10-11||Punishment for bad conduct: Rom 2:5-11|
|Better than our wildest imagination: Eph 3:20||Worse than any known fear and horror|