If we have been raised as christians, will have been taught a number of unscriptural doctrines that have been introduced through pagan religions, mistranslations or deliberately twisted Scripture… The everlasting punishment of Hell (Gehenna) is NOT one of these.
Unlike the theory of the “Trinity” or ‘Rapture”, which are not found in Scripture, the Hebrew words Sheol and Gehenna and the Greek word Hades (all synonymous of Hell) are found numerous times in Scripture. As with the majority of articles on this site we keep our own words to a minimum and let the Scriptures speak for themselves.
Let’s examine a number of the Scriptures referring to the final destination of the lawless:
Daniel 12:2 “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth wake up, some to everlasting life, and some to reproaches, everlasting abhorrence.”
Note: The Hebrew word for “everlasting” is “owlam” and literally means: forever, everlasting, perpetual or unending future. Obviously, if the righteous rise to everlasting (owlam) life, then the abhorrence is also the same…
Yeshayah 33:12-14 “And peoples shall be like the burnings of lime, like thorns cut up they are burned in the fire. 13 “You who are afar off, hear what I shall do; and you who are near, know My might.” 14 Sinners in Tsiyon shall be afraid; trembling shall grip the defiled ones, “Who of us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who of us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”
Note: Again we encounter the word owlam. This time is mentioned the “fire” and “burnings”…
Matthew 3:12 “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He shall thoroughly cleanse His threshing-floor, and gather His wheat into the storehouse, but the chaff He shall burn with unquenchable fire.”
Note: Here we rely on the Greek manuscripts and the “unquenchable” burnings reveal a familiar word “asbestos”, the Greek word not surprisingly meaning “unquenchable”. Take note, these are the words of the Messiah…
Matthew 25:41 “He shall then also say to those on the left hand, ‘Go away from Me, accursed ones, into theeverlasting fire prepared for the devil and his messengers.”
Note: Now we encounter the Greek word for “everlasting” which is: “Aionios”; again meaning: perpetual, eternal, without beginning or end…
2 Thessalonians 1:9 “Shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Master and from the esteem of His strength”
Note: Again we see the familiar “everlasting” (Aionios), and also a warning that this is a punishment. So far it is without question that the fire of the punisment is forever, and few people disagree; but that doesn’t mean that the punishment of the burning lasts forever… or does it?
Yudah 1:7 “Even as Sedom and Amorah and the cities around them in a similar way to these, having given themselves over to whoring and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, undergoing judicial punishment of everlasting fire.”
Note: Some may see this as evidence that “everlasting” is not everlasting if this is referring to the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah, but notice that the punishment the cities (inhabitants) are“undergiong” (Greek “hupecho”) is a present tense article; not past tense. Therefore this verse is speaking of their “everlasting” (Aionios) punishment of the eternal judgement.
Mark 9:43 “And if your hand makes you stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled, than having two hands, to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire, “where their worm does not dieand the fire is not quenched.”
Mark 9:44, Mark 9:46, Mark 9:48 “where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.”
Three times Yahushua warns of “unquenchable fire”, but notice “their worm”!
This “worm” is the Greek word “skolex” “G#4663: of uncertain derivation: A worm, specifically that kind which preys upon dead bodies.” (Strong’s)
How could the worm that feeds on rotting flesh not die if the punished are totally consumed by fire?
Matthew 25:41 “He shall then also say to those on the left hand, ‘Go away from Me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his messengers.46 “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life.”
Note: Yahushua had a lot to say about the eternal punishment of the unrighteous. Here in this parable He describes “everlasting fire” and “everlasting punishment”. How can this punishment be everlasting if it’s just a quick sizzle into ashes?
Matthew 25:46 “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life.”
Note: This is getting clearer. Like Daniel 12:2, the “everlasting punishment” is eqauted with the “everlasting life”. If the life for the righteous lasts forever then so does the punishment! No?
Luke 16:23-28 “And while suffering tortures in the grave, having lifted up his eyes, he saw Abraham far away, and Elʽazar in his bosom. 24 “And crying out he said, ‘Father Abraham, have compassion on me, and send Elʽazar to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering in this flame.’ 25“But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your life you received your good, and likewise Elʽazar the evil, but now he is comforted and you are suffering. 26 ‘And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set, so that those who wish to pass from here to you are unable, nor do those from there pass to us.’ 27 “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, let him warn them, lest they also come to this place of torture.’ ”
Note: Here the Messiah Himself uses the terms: “torture” and “suffering”! Why would Yahushua use graphic terminology in this parable if there is no eternal suffering? Was He trying to trick the listeners into believing of the existence of eternal torture, or did they already know from Scripture? Although this is a parable, a number of Yahushua’s spiritual comparisons have the words “is like…”, whereas this is a literal description of the punishment of the lawless. In fact when Yahushua explained the parable of the “wheat and darnel” to His disciples, He used exactly the same descriptions:
Matthew 13:41-42 “The Son of Adam shall send out His messengers, and they shall gather out of His reign all the stumbling-blocks, and those doing lawlessness, 42 and shall throw them into the furnace of fire – there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
FIRE, SMOKE AND TORTURE
A question should be asked: what words and descriptions should Yahushua have use if He was not warning of a place of eternal fire, torture and punishment? How could He have made it clearer?
If Yahushua’s words aren’t enough to convince those who claim to believe His Words; there’s the Book of Revelation which was given to reveal to us the end days and the future of the obedient and the disobedient:
Revelation 14:10 “he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of Elohim, which is poured out undiluted into the cup of His wrath. And he shall be tortured with fire and sulphur before the set-apart messengers and before the Lamb.” 11 “And the smoke of their torture goes up forever and ever. And they have no rest day or night, those worshipping the beast and his image, also if anyone receives the mark of his name.”
Note: Again we encounter the “torture” of the wicked. Everyone knows that a torture is not something that is quick and painless, and in this case is “forever and ever”! Some will claim it is only “the smoke” that lasts forever. This is an unfounded statement considering the fact that the very same verse describes having “no rest day or night.”
Revelation 20:10 “And the devil, who led them astray, was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet are. And they shall be tortured day and night forever and ever.”
Note: Some would again claim that ,“tortured day and night forever and ever” only applies to the devil, beast and false prophet, but it’s not only Satan and his workers who are thrown in this lake:
Revelation 20:15 “And if anyone was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
Revelation 21:8 “But as for the cowardly, and untrustworthy, and abominable, and murderers, and those who whore, and drug sorcerers, and idolaters, and all the false, their part is in the lake which burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”
Some hypothesize that “sheol”; translated as “the grave”, is not the same as “hell fire”, and that “death” and “the grave” are used synonomously, which accurately speaking is true, but in context the meaning of the eternal punishment is obviously the same. Here’s a few examples:
Proverbs 23:14 “Beat him with a rod And deliver his being from the grave.”
Note: Everyone is going to the grave, but the context of this verse is clear. You can’t deliver someone from dying, but through teaching you can deliver ones soul from eternal death.
Psalm 9:17 “The wrong return to the grave, All the gentiles that forget Elohim.”
Notice that the wrong “return” to the grave, which makes complete sense in light of what happens at the “second death”
Revelation 20:14 “And the death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”
Note: Strictly speaking, the “lake of fire” is where the eternal “torture” us exacted on the lawless as we have seen is Rev 20:10.
ETERNAL TORTURE OR A QUICK SIZZLE?
One particular verse used to support the notion that the eternal punishment spoken of is a complete destruction by fire of the wicked, rather than a torturous eternal burning is:
Malachi 4:1-3 “For look, the day shall come, burning like a furnace, and all the proud, and every wrongdoer shall be stubble. And the day that shall come shall burn them up,” said YHWH of hosts, “which leaves to them neither root nor branch…3 “And you shall trample the wrongdoers, for they shall be ashesunder the soles of your feet on the day that I do this,” said YHWH of hosts.”
In all honesty, this verse sounds exactly like a permanent end, yet in light of the weight of Scripture warning otherwise, it would be more likely that this description is a parable. How can the wrongdoers be ashes under our feet when Yeshayah prophesies the culmination of all things in terms like this?
Yeshayah 66:23-24 “And it shall be that from New Moon to New Moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,” declares YHWH. 24 “And they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm shall not die, and their fire not be quenched. And they shall be repulsive to all flesh!”
Note: Again the familiar terminology of “fire” and “worm”, but notice the righteous will “look upon the corpses”. Ashes are not corpses.
Again in the Psalms Dawid writes about those who hate Yahweh…
Psalm 81:15 “Those who hate יהוה would cringe before Him; And their time of punishment be forever.”
Note: Even though “of punishment” is added text, the message is clear.
IS IT IN YAHWEH”S NATURE?
This is by far the most difficult question to answer, but none of us can really comprehend the love or the justice of Yahweh. It is without a doubt that, from Scripture, there is a “lake of fire”, though for some there is question as to whether the punishment itself lasts forever. Again the question arises; how should Yahweh or Yahushua have described the punishment of the lawless if it was not a place of eternal torture by fire?
One thing is clear that Yahweh gives us a free will and that by our choice of obedience or disobedience, we condemn ourselves to the punishment. Scripture reveals that the “lake of fire” was actually “prepared for the devil and his messengers.” (Matt 25:41)
The Scriptures warn of the “Anger”, “Wrath” and “Vengeance” of Yahweh hundreds of times and we know that “The fear of YHWH is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10)
Luke 12:5 “But I shall show you whom you should fear: Fear the One who, after killing, possesses authority to cast into Gehenna. Yea, I say to you, fear Him!”