Hell is Unending Judgment

by Mike Ratliff

24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” (Isaiah 66:24 ESV)

Those who espouse Christian Universalism as the true model of God’s Redemption plan for man, must ignore most of Sacred Scripture as well as misinterpret their so-called “proof texts” in order to make their suppositions. The Bible makes it very clear that the Universalist teachings of Rob Bell and Doug Pagitt are heretical.

Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post. Then read this piece by Ken Silva about the Universalist teachings of Doug Pagitt. Then read this piece also by Ken Silva about Rob Bell and his Universalist leanings. This form of Universalism is not the old Christian liberal teachings that we see in Unitarianism. No, this new form is called “Christian Universalism,” which claims to be evangelical. However, it teaches that all people who die, regardless of their religious believes or lack thereof, will be cleansed and cleaned up by God then will enter into paradise or heaven where Jesus is. What does the Bible teach us about the eternal destiny of those who die in their sins, which is another way of saying that they died in their rebellion against God?

Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post, Isaiah 66:24. What does it tell us? Who is it whose worm does not die nor is their fire quenched? It is those who have rebelled against God. This would be all those who have not believed the Gospel and repented. They have remained in their sins because they have clung to their sins and rejected God as their Sovereign Lord. Our Lord Jesus quoted this passage in Mark 9.

42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, [7] it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, [8] to the unquenchable fire. [9] 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 For everyone will be salted with fire. [10] 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” (Mark 9:42-50 ESV)

The Greek word used here translated as “hell” is γέεννα or geenna. This word describes the Valley of Hinnom. It was the place of the city dump for Jerusalem and spiritually represented the place or state of the lost and condemned. The reason γέεννα was used to describe “hell” is that as the city garbage dump there were fires constantly burning there. This gave the hearer or reader a graphic image of the nature of eternal torment. The punishment of hell lasts for eternity and it is clearly taught throughout both the Old Testament and New Testament.

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2 ESV) 

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41 ESV) 

This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering- since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from [2] the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 ESV) 

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” (Revelation 14:9-11 ESV)

These 4 passages are just a sampling. Our Lord spoke more of hell than He did of Heaven. Hell is always spoken of as being eternal. There is no end to it. Those in it are there forever. That is terrifying my brethren. No one would want anyone else to go there. No, we must pray for all those we know who do not know Jesus as Lord and Saviour to hear the Gospel, repent, and believe thereby receiving eternal life and justification by our Lord God. This is the only way of escape from God’s Wrath. Look again at Isaiah 66:24. This is a terrifying picture of unending judgment. My brethren, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is good news to those who obey it, but it is very bad news to those who remain in rebellion. Many believe that God’s judgment is yet future and the Day of the Lord is for the time at the end. The Day of the Lord began when John the Baptist proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was at hand and it became manifest in the world as our Lord Jesus won the victory at the Cross. Each believer is part of our Lord’s Kingdom. When a person rejects the Gospel, they are incurring judgment upon themselves. On the other hand, when a believer is saved they receive righteous judgment in their justification as the Father declares them righteous.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15 ESV)

The first death is the passing from physical life unto physical death. However, there is a second death. The second death is the lake of fire. Who is thrown into it? All those whose name was not found written in the book of life is cast into the lake of fire. Those whose names are in the book of life cannot be hurt by the second death.

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.

“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander [1] of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’ (Revelation 2:8-11 ESV)

Who is not hurt by the second death? We know that those whose names are found in the book of life will not be thrown into the lake of fire. Now we see another attribute of those whose names are in the book of life. What is it? They conquer. This is the Greek word νικάω or nikaō. It literally means, “to get the victory.” Some Bible versions translate this as “overcome.” It carries with it the idea of subduing an enemy or opponent. I used to run in Nike shoes. The company got that name from this Greek word because it means “victory.” In the context of Revelation 2:8-11 it describes Christians persevering or remaining faithful to the end, even if they are killed or persecuted for their faith. This is what marks a genuine Christian. Those who remain faithful even unto death are those who conquer or overcome and they will not be hurt by the second death because their names are written in the book of life. They are not written in the book because they overcome, but overcome because they are regenerate Christians who have the Holy Spirit and God preserves them to the end.

My brethren, our Lord also said that the way unto eternal life is narrow and hard to find. In fact, few actually find it.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy [1] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14 ESV)

How popular with men are the teachings of those who espouse Christian Universalism? You know this is perceived as good news because then it does not matter how one lives or what one believes because all will end up in the same place in eternity. However, our Lord says that the wide and easy way leads to destruction (the lake of fire, the second death) while the narrow gate, which is hard, leads to life (eternity with the Saviour in the New Heaven and New Earth), but few will find it.

My brethren, do not listen to those who preach this “other gospel” that is nothing more than the manifestation of the doctrines of demons, which says that all it takes to have eternal life with Jesus is to simply be human. No, this is a lie from our enemy and it is also why Christians must learn the truth. They must get into the Bible and get God’s truth into them so that these lies can be seen for what they are and dealt with Biblically.

Soli Deo Gloria!

28 thoughts on “Hell is Unending Judgment

  1. Pingback: Hell is Unending Judgment - Reformata

  2. An eternity in hell has to be the most horrifying sentence and reality that has ever been. You would think that peoples eternity would be number one on their list as a concern! I think death only scares those who have no security about their eternity. Why do they fear death??? They all think they are going to talk their way in to Heaven so why are they afraid??? You and I know why. But it is just beyond me to no end to think that people can just la-de-dah around with no concern about the afterlife. It should be their biggest concern. Out of site out of mind sort of thing I guess………. The ones that seem to read their Bibles have had scripture so twisted and presented to them, that they don’t know the difference. Lord knows they don’t break out a concordance or dictionary and test the teacher. Its sort of like taking a total strangers word for it if they said that the car you were about to drive down a steep hill had breaks and you believed them even though you never drove the car or tested the brakes…..and of corse the guy lied to you and there were no brakes. Makes about as much sense!!
    Good post Mike.

  3. Thats why they reject what we believe, and why they believe the lie. The strong delusion have obviously been sent. Sometimes I wonder if the strong delusion has always been there from day one? What I mean is, any who wern’t or won’t be saved had the strong delusion sent to them.

  4. Pingback: The Universalism Heresy « The Peregrin Pages

  5. Mike: I was wondering if you coule help me with something. 1 Corinthians 15:22 says “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.” This verse is in the context of Paul speaking of the resurrection of the saints right?

    I recently had a CU tell me that this was a proof text for his flawed theology because “all” meant “all” and that means that everyone will eventually be saved. In other words, just as evenone died because of original sin, everyone shall be made alive by the atoning work of Christ.

    But if I am interpreting the context of this verse correctly, “all” is refering to the saints, not to all of mankind.

    What do you think? In my discussions with some CU’s, I often find that they pull verses like this out of context in order to twist them to “prove” their theology. I want to make sure I am interpreting this correctly and not way off base here.

    Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.

  6. Yes, Joe, you are interpreting it correctly. The first all is speaking of all of Adam’s descendants. The second all refers to the elect. Adam represents all people. Christ represents His elect only.

  7. I just watched a video online in two parts at http://www.contendingforthetruthonline.blogspot.com. John MacArthur was talking with Kirk Cameron about how wrong the seeker-friendly gospel was. They both came out on TBN and exposed the name it and claim it, health and wealth gospel as a fraud. And they did this on TBN. I can’t believe that The Blasphemy Network didn’t edit it and cut them off. I was in tears because it was long overdue to have someone boldly come on that network and proclaim the truth. Kirk was backing him up on it… big time! Go and watch the video. I think the video is titled, “Kirk Cameron and John MacArthur nailed it on the head.” You can go to youtube and watch it there too. It looked like it came from youtube.

  8. I declare by the true grace and will of God, the one true gospel as the Christ, Yeshua, died for our sins according to the scriptures, He was buried and He rose agsin the third day according to the scriptures.

    “Christian Universalism” declares all men are saved. I have been accused of preaching this false doctrine, but hear me closely. We, the saints of God are not appointed to wrath, the wrath of God, because we are saved (if we endure to the end). We are saved from sin, death and judgment. We are predestined to be conformed to the image of the Father’s Son, raised from the dead, clothed in a glorified body, partakers of the divine nature. No, all men are not saved. Many are called, few are chosen.

    But 1 Cor 15 does say, “in Adam ALL died, in Christ all are made alive”, but it does not stop there, “each man in his own order”. It says in the scriptures also, “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess”, that Yeshua is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Paul says all men are made alive in his own order, and this does not mean all men are saved. It means in the end all men shall live. There are the saved, and the nations of the saved. There are those who live and abide in the presence of God in the new Yerushalem, and there are those who bring the glory of the nations to the new Yerushalem, but do not enter in. There is the glory of the heavenly, and the glory of the earthy. There are the mortals who put on immortality, and there are the corruptible who put on incorruption. There is the glory of the sun, and the glory of the moon and the stars.

    Isaiah 66 is quoted. Isaiah chapters 40-66 was written by a prophet of Yisrael who spoke the words of prophecy when Yudah was in captivity in Babylon. He spoke words of hope, that God had not forsaken His people despite the fact there was no intercessor from among them, so God Himself raised up a deliverer, Cyrus, to issue the decree to return to the land. And after the captivity was over and the people returned to the land, Babylon itself would be judged (according to the prophet Yeremiah) and the word of the Lord was fulfilled in their return to Yerushalem and the temple rebuilt, “from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth, and look upon the dead bodies of the men that have transgressed before Me”, those who have rejected the words of this prophecy, and their fate will not be forgotten in that generation of restoration.The prophecy had relevance in the day it was written, and more so, for the word spoken and its fulfillment all prophecied of the Christ, Yeshua, and it shall be complete in Christ. He is the sum of all things. For once again the decree shall go forth for the remnant of the nations to go forth to Yerushalem, and then Babylon shall be judged in one day and one hour. And then “all Yisrael shall be saved”.

    Daniel

  9. Daniel, you quoted 1 Corinthians 15:22, but you are not interpreting it correctly. All people are in Adam and because of his sin all who are natural men are still in Adam and so participate in his death. However, Christ represents His people who are the elect. You said in your second paragraph that many are called, but few are chosen. All in Adam are called, but only the elect believe and are saved and ALL of them are saved. The “ALL” who are saved are the elect, who are in Christ, not all people.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  10. Mike, I wrote that not all men are saved. If a man has to live his life in sin, or have the judgment of God fall upon him, and die apart from Christ and lay in sheol (the grave) he is not saved from anything. The saved ones are saved from sin, death and judgment. Those apart from Christ are not saved from sin, death and judgment. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord is the portion of the children of grace.

    As far as Isaiah 66, “And they (the children of grace) shall go forth, and shall look upon the dead bodies of the men that have transgressed me. For their worm (literally in the Hebrew “maggot”: the maggots that eat their dead bodies) shall not die, neither shall the fire (of God’s judgment be quenched), and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.” This speaks of the saved looking upon the dead carcasses of the men that have transgressed God, and they (the children of God) being alive after the judgment of God has occurred. And the maggots that eats their bodies shall not die and the fire of God’s judgment shall not be quenched: the purpose of God shall be utterly and completely be fulfilled to the uttermost. All apart from Christ shall perish in judgment. It speaks nothing here about an everlasting place of punishment.

    1 Cor 15:22 says what it says, For in Adam ALL die (all men die. All means all), even so in Christ shall ALL (all men. All means all) be made alive. BUT every man in his own order. Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ’s (the children of grace) at His coming.” And yet we are suppose to say when all is first used, it means all men, but when it is used the second time in the same sentence it does not mean all men, but a few. I reject this. All means all.

    Beloved, men apart from Christ, their ultimate fate is not to burn in a place called hell forever. It is “in Christ shall all be made alive” but in their own order. These are not the saved, for they shall die and abide in sheol, the grave, in condemnation until the resurrection of the great day. The grave apart from Christ is not a nice place and we, the children of grace, wish this upon no man, for we desire that none perish. But we understand the purpose of God, that in a great house there are vessels of honor and dishonor. But we also understand that the end of the Lord is the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercies, and His mercy endureth forever.

    Yeshua Himself described sheol in Luke 17 in this manner, and not in the way of eternal torment. It is added to the passage. You will find not one mention of the rich man suffering eternally. Yeshua Himself talked far more about judgment, Gehennna, than sheol.

    These words do not fit the universalist who says all men are saved (I reject), and neither does it fit those who adhere to the eternal abode of torment for those apart from Christ (I reject). Perfect love cast off all fear. In Christ the children of grace have no fear of death, not for themselves or others. “The mercy of the Lord endureth forever.”

    Daniel

  11. Daniel,

    You are in error. You can reject the Lake of Fire as being eternal if you want, but you cannot prove that nor can you prove your supposition that the unsaved do not spend eternity in the Lake of Fire, which is Gehennna. Carefully read the following passage, which is Revelation 20:11-15.

    Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15 ESV)

    No one is confusing Sheol, which is Hades with Gehenna, which is Hell or the Lake of Fire. Notice that all of those whose name is not found written in the book of life are thrown into the lake of fire with death and hades, Satan, the Beast, and the False Prophet. This is eternal and no matter how you try to misquote scripture to make it not eternal, you are in error. This error is heresy sir and I counsel you to repent of misusing God’s word in this manner. Our Lord Himself said that the Lake of Fire, Gehenna, is where the flame is not quenched nor does the worm die.

    You are also forcing your interpretation on 1 Corinthians 15:22. Here it is in context.

    And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. (1 Corinthians 15:17-25 ESV)

    Paul is talking about the resurrection of Christ and what that means for believers. All in Adam (all men except Christ) are born spiritually dead. However, all who have born of Christ (the elect not unbelievers) are resurrected unto new life at the new birth. Christ is reigning right now Daniel. His Kingdom is present right now and He is ruling amongst HIs enemies. However, the day is coming when He will no longer do that, but will make His enemies His footstool and that will be what read about in Revelation 20:11-15. Again, I counsel you to stop trying to force an unbiblical interpretation on God’s Word.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  12. Pingback: In His Own Order « Possessing the Treasure

  13. Hi Mike,

    One thing that is missing though, is that the phrase “For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched” is an idiom and not a literal phrase. The Jews of Jesus’ day said the same thing about the literal Gehenna.

    I do have a question though. Do you consider it a damnable sin to not believe in an everlasting, literal Hell?

    Thanks.

  14. Dave, and Jesus was telling those who heard Him that that described what the literal Hell is like. I consider one who does not believe in an everlasting Hell to be guilty of unbelief.

  15. Thanks for the response. Do you believe there to be a difference between simple faith in God, such as the typical John 3:16 stuff, and belief in an everlasting Hell?

  16. Dave,

    Belief in the REAL gospel includes a belief in an everlasting Hell. A gospel teaching that excludes the wrath of God is not the real gospel. Let me ask you a question. What purpose does the Gospel serve if it isn’t a deliverance from God’s Wrath?

    If you have a gospel that says that there is no such thing as Judgment and the everlasting consequences of rejecting it then all you have is some man-made feel good paradigm that is something that isn’t true Christianity at all. The Gospel is not what the natural man wants. He wants God to bless him, but forget that demand of dying to self and the world. No, the Kingdom of God is the real reality not the temporal.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  17. Thanks Mike,

    Your response makes sense. My answer to your question would be that the purpose of the Gospel is to bring Light to the darkness in man. I certainly believe that there is a place of punishment for evil doers, and ultimately those who reject Jesus, but the place I am a little unsure of is the importance of certain teachings regarding it.

    I am always interested in what people believe and why, and the reason I asked about if you considered it a damnable sin to not believe in an everlasting Hell, is that the believe that the power of Jesus is the most important message. From there I see that God will guide believers to truth.

    I personally think there is a little misunderstanding on the message of Doug Pagitt and others who I don’t take to denying the place of punishment, but more asking questions such as “If it’s a literal place, where is it?”. It took me a while, but I eventually came to realise that it is not a denial of Hell at all, but questioning the nature of some things believed.

  18. Well Dave, you see this is why I have no use for fellows like Pagitt. Why even be concerned about what God has not revealed? We are to obey the Gospel and preach it to everyone who will hear. You need to understand that Pagitt is questioning the veracity of the Doctrine of Hell and has even suggested that everyone will be reconciled to God in the end so that it is temporary. That is denying what the Word of God teaches. I would love to debate that man one-on-one…not that I have any superior knowledge, but the Word of God does not lie and it is very straightforward about these truths.

  19. Mike: Is the second death (lake of fire )an absence of consciousness forever or it is conscious torment forever where the worm dieth not and the fire last forever?
    What does: “where the worm dieth not” mean?

  20. Hi Mike,

    What’s your take on

    Psa 49:20 Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

    Some take that to be proof of annihilation.

    Is it wrong to search the scriptures and question the veracity of any doctrine believed? I have personally found much fulfillment in questioning everything I have ever learnt, and sometimes coming to the same conclusion, and sometimes a different one.

    I’m not being facetious when I ask, but how far do these doctrines need to be believed to be saved? I know of at least four views of what happens when you die, e.g. go to a single Sheol, split Sheol, directly to Heaven, continue in the spirit world as here etc.

    Let me know if this is getting outside of the scope of comments.

    Dave.

  21. Lafe,

    The description, “the worm dieth not and fire last forever” is talking about the eternal fire and torment that is present in the lake of fire. All cast into it are resurrected with bodies that are not consumed by the fire nor are they devoured by the worms. No, but they are in the flames and experience both for eternity. Never forget that once we leave this world and enter eternity then time is irrelevant.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  22. Lafe,

    There are some things we can only speculate about, but a loss of consciousness can be ruled out. Hell, or the Lake of Fire is place of torment where the resurrected bodies of those cast there are not consumed, but are constantly in flame and are undergoing the eating of worms which do not die and fall away like maggots in earth do. Maggots eat flesh then become flies which lay eggs in the flesh which hatch as maggots, etc. This may be symbolic language, but I have not read of anyone who has given an interpretation of it that is any better than this, “This is horrible and we should praise God that our names in the Book of Life so that we will not have to endure this for eternity.”

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

Comments are closed.