Is There Eternal Punishment For The Wicked?

 

This study is a response to a recent conversation I had with a dear Christian sister on the topic of eternal punishment (for those who die in sin without Jesus Christ).  For the sake of anonymity, I will call her name “Bev”.  As we talked, Bev said she believed there should some sort of punishment for the wicked deeds done by mankind, but she didn’t believe there was an everlasting punishment for sin (i.e.-torment forever and ever). 

 

Like a growing consortium of Christians, Bev felt a just and merciful God would not punish mankind forever and ever.  Her reasoning was that God is holy, and that evil souls could not continue to exist forever, along with a holy God.  Further, like many today, including Seventh Day Adventist dogma, she believed that references to the “second death” and “the lake of fire” refer to complete annihilation.  She believes the wicked will simply cease to exist, and this is their punishment.

 

I am approaching this topic objectively, and with great care to research the meaning of the original Greek and Hebrew texts, in the event some Bible translators may have erroneously included their doctrinal bias in scripture.  Bev believes the soul that sins shall ”die.”  By “die” she means “annihilation.”  We will begin with this scripture, and progress in our study from that point. 

 

As for the “spirit” of man, Bev believes that the spirits of men and women return to God from which they came.  It is unclear to me whether or not an unforgiven sinner’s spirit would return to God at death, particularly in light of the fact sin separates a person from God.

 

·         Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.  (KJV)

 

·         Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.  (KJV)

 

First, we will examine what the meaning of the Hebrew words for “soul” and “die” mean before progressing further:

 

·         Soul” = 5315 nephesh (neh'-fesh); from 5314; properly, a breathing creature,” i.e. animal of (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental); from the Hebrew root word, 5314  “naphash” (naw-fash') a primitive root; to breathe; passively, ”to be breathed upon,” i.e. (figuratively) refreshed (as if by a current of air).

 

·         Shall die” = 4191 muwth (mooth); a primitive root: to die (literally or figuratively); causatively, to kill.

 

In order to understand what the “soul” is (as defined above), we must refer to other places on the OT where this word is used.  The same applies to the words, “shall die.”  What does it mean to have, “a breathing creature...die?”

What is the Soul?

 

The Hebrew meaning of the word “nephesh” for “soul” means, “a breathing creature.”  In the Hebrew OT, both man and animals are called nephesh.  We will examine a few scriptures, which use nephesh in reference to the soul of mankind:

 

·         Genesis 2:7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.  (NAS)

 

God formed man’s physical body out of the dust of the earth.  The Hebrew word for “man” is “adam” meaning “ruddy; earth colored.”  God then “breathed” the “breath” of life into man’s physical body.  The Hebrew word for “breathed” and “breath” is defined as follows:

 

·         Breathed” = 5301 naphach (naw-fakh'); a primitive root; to puff, in various applications (literally, to inflate, blow hard, scatter, kindle, expire; figuratively, to disesteem): KJV-- blow, breath, give up, cause to lose [life], seething, snuff.

 

·         Breath” = 5397 neshamah (nesh-aw-maw'); from 5395; a puff, i.e. wind, angry or vital breath, divine inspiration, intellect or (concretely) an animal: KJV-- blast, (that) breath (-eth), inspiration, soul, spirit.

 

In the creation of man, God “puffed” a “vital breath” into man’s nostrils (nose), and man became a living being (i.e. - “soul”; nephesh).  It is the vital breath, which apparently begins the existence of the “soul.”  God breathed, not only man’s vital breath, but also divine inspiration and intellect.  Modern science cannot explain the human “mind” but the scripture plainly states it is that which has its origin in the Creator.

 

Now that it is understood man’s “soul” is created through the “puff” of God into the body of flesh, (e.g. - when a baby is born, the first thing it requires is the breath of air to survive), some more details about both man’s soul, and the soul of beasts can be seen.  One excellent example is in Genesis chapter 9, the account of Noah.  In this text, the Hebrew word for “soul” (i.e. - nephesh) is used multiple times:

 

Genesis 9:1-17

CHAPTER 9

 

1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.

2 "And the fear of you and the terror of you shall be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given.

3 "Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as {I gave} the green plant.

4 "Only you shall not eat flesh with its life (nephesh), {that is,} its blood.

5 "And surely I will require your lifeblood (nephesh); from every beast I will require it. And from {every} man (Hebrew=adam), from every man's brother I will require the life (nephesh) of man (Hebrew=adam).

6 "Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.

7 "And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it."

8 Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying,

9 "Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you;

10 and with every living creature (nephesh) that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth.

11 "And I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth."

12 And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature (nephesh) that is with you, for all successive generations;

13 I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.

14 "And it shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud,

15 and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature (nephesh) of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.

16 "When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature (nephesh) of all flesh that is on the earth."

17 And God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh.  (NAS)

Primary applications of nephesh for “soul”

 

·         Genesis 9:4 You shall not eat flesh with its life (nephesh; it’s living creature), {that is,} its blood.

 

·         Genesis 9:5 I will require your lifeblood (nephesh); from every beast I will require it. And from {every} man (Hebrew=adam)...I will require the life (nephesh) of man (Hebrew=adam).

 

·         Genesis 9:10 Every living creature (nephesh) that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you

 

It is apparent the “soul” of man and beast is a part of their life existence within a body of “flesh.”  The soul is also translated “lifeblood”; the “blood” is said to be the “life” of the “soul.”  This means without the blood flowing, the body would expire, and this would mean the “soul” could not live in the body.  Jehovah Witnesses misinterpret this passage to mean the actual soul is the equivalent of the liquid blood coursing through arteries and veins…this is a ludicrous conclusion, and J.W.’s use it to justify their doctrine to abstain from blood transfusions!

 

We can infer, from this limited amount of scripture, that the “soul” is created within the body of flesh of both man and beast.  Often, in the Hebrew language, the word “nephesh” is used to refer to the living creature residing within the body; in other words, the human body is the house for the “breathing creature” (i.e.-the soul).  This conclusion is supported by Genesis 9:5 which reads:

 

·         “I will require the life (nephesh) of man (Hebrew=adam).”

 

We conclude the “soul” (nephesh) is a distinct living being apart from the body of flesh, and the human body houses the soul during its stay on earth.

What is the Hebrew meaning of Death?

 

We will briefly discuss the words “shall die” (Translated as such from the Hebrew word “muwth” 4191).  The first time the Hebrew word for “death” (muwth) is used is when God warns Adam about partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil:

 

·         Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die (muwth)."  (NAS)

 

Did Adam literally expire in death (literal death) the same day he partook of the tree?  No, of course not!  Therefore we conclude the word “muwth” in Genesis 2:17 is used as a metaphor, symbolizing something other than literal death (perhaps spiritual death?).

 

In some contexts later in Genesis muwth IS used to speak of LITERAL DEATH; only the CONTEXT determines when its application is literal or figurative.

 

·         Genesis 5:5 So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died (muwth).  (NAS)

 

It is established the Hebrew word for “death” (muwth) has both literal and metaphorical applications.  Our next text is Ezekiel 18:4 presents a more complex use of the Hebrew word “muwth.” (for death) and “nephesh” (for soul).

 

·         Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls (nephesh; breathing creatures) are Mine; as the soul (nephesh; breathing creature) of the father, so also the soul (nephesh; breathing creature) of the son is Mine: the soul (nephesh; breathing creature) that sinneth, it shall die (muwth; be killed).  (KJV)

 

Facts from the text of Ezekiel 18:4

1.  All “souls” (nephesh) belong to God.

2.  There is a human “soul” (nephesh) of the father, and a human “soul” (nephesh) of his son; both are God’s property.

3.  The “soul” (nephesh) of mankind that sins, will, as a result, die (or be killed).

 

The Genesis account of Adam’s sin did not result in either the physical death, or the annihilation of Adam.  Therefore the Hebrew word, “muwth” translated as, “death” in both texts (Genesis 2:17 & Ezekiel 18:4), is used in its metaphorical application; that is, it is symbolic of the kind of death, which affects the soul by killing the relationship with God.  The soul that sinneth is “killed”; that is, it has brought a deadly blow to its relationship with the Author of life.

 

After Adam sinned, mankind also experienced physical death.  There is nothing in scripture to indicate the Hebrew word “muwth” refers to annihilation of the wicked.  The following list of scriptures provide ample proof of how muwth is used to refer to the expiration of the physical body:

 

·         Genesis 5:5 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died (muwth).   (KJV)

 

·         Genesis 5:8 And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died (muwth). (KJV)

 

·         Genesis 5:11 And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died (muwth).  (KJV)

 

·         Genesis 5:14 And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died (muwth). (KJV)

 

·         Genesis 5:17 And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died (muwth).   (KJV)

 

·         Genesis 5:20 And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died (muwth).   (KJV)

 

·         Genesis 5:27 And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died (muwth).   (KJV)

 

·         Genesis 25:8 And Abraham breathed his last and died (muwth) in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied {with life;} and he was gathered to his people.  (NAS)

 

·         Genesis 25:17 And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, one hundred and thirty-seven years; and he breathed his last and died (muwth), and was gathered to his people.  (NAS)

 

There are hundreds of scriptures where “muwth” is used to refer to literal, physical death, and none that refer to annihilation in any sense.  There is physical death, and there is spiritual death; “muwth” is used for both applications.  The numerous scriptures listed above clearly state how “muwth” is intended to refer primarily to the expiration of the human body, and muwth is never used of “annihilation.”  Not even once.  The unsaved would certainly make Christians the laughing stock of the world if we said “death” didn’t refer to people expiring physically.

 

·         Genesis 20:3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead (muwth) man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife.  (KJV)

 

What was God telling Abimelech?  He said, “You are a dead (muwth) man (adam).”  Adam simply refers to the physical material, which is man’s fleshly body.  There is more to “man” than a physical body, but Abimelech’s life was on the line here; God would cut his physical life short if he failed to heed Yahweh’s words.  This thought is echoed a few verses later:

 

·         Genesis 20:7 Now return the man's wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all yours will die (muwth)."  (NIV)

 

If “death” meant the annihilation of the wicked soul, why is “muwth” never used of annihilation?  In fact, the Hebrew word “muwth” is also used of burying dead corpses:

 

·         Genesis 23:12-13 Again Abraham bowed down before the people of the land and he said to Ephron in their hearing, "Listen to me, if you will. I will pay the price of the field.  Accept it from me so I can bury my dead (muwth) there."  (NIV)

 

Did Abraham refer to burying souls?  Of course not.  The dead have always been known to refer to the corpses of those whose life source has exited the body.

Is there eternal punishment for the Soul?

 

Rather than spend excessive time expounding on the meaning of the “soul” we will get to the core of this study, which is everlasting punishment.  It has been taught for many centuries that when the unrepentant sinner dies, he or she goes into Hades, or Sheol, awaiting the Day of Judgment, when each one would spend eternity in separation from God, and be punished for the sin, which each one had committed.

 

We will examine primarily NT scriptures, which speak of everlasting punishment, and refer to the meaning of the original Greek scriptures for accuracy.

 

·         Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.  (KJV)

 

In the parable of the sheep and goats, we find that those who failed to show practical love to their brethren are destined for punishment.  We will examine the meaning of the Greek words, “everlasting” and “punishment,” and conclude what their application is, being fair and objective.

What does the word “everlasting” mean?

 

ETERNAL; EVERLASTING; FOREVER = The Greek words from which these English words are derived are from (Strong’s #166); ainio; aiomnios; genitive aioníou, masculine–feminine, neuter aiomnion, adjective; also feminine aionía, neuter aionion; these words originate from a primary Greek word “aion” (Strong’s # 165), meaning, “age”; or that which is belonging to the “aion” (i.e. – the age), to time in its duration, being constant, and/or abiding is sometimes translated as eternal or perpetual. When referring to eternal life, it means the life, which is God’s, and hence it is not affected by the limitations of time. Aionios is specially predicated of the saving blessings of divine revelation, denoting those things, which are not transitory

Some of the ways that aion and its cognates are used have the following meanings:

 

1. Spoken chiefly of future time:

(A)   Of God (Romans 16:26; 1 Timothy 6:16; Sept.: Genesis 21:33; Isaiah 40:28).

(B)  Of the blessedness of the righteous (Matthew 19:29; 25:46; Mark 10:30; John 3:15, 16, 36; Romans 2:7; 2 Corinthians 4:17).  In some passages this is “zoem aionios,” (zoem [2222], life), meaning, “life eternal,” that is equivalent to the kingdom of God, and the entrance into life, being the entrance into the kingdom (John 3:3, 5, 15; Matthew 19:16; Acts 13:46).

(C)  Generally (2 Corinthians 4:18; 5:1; Hebrews 9:14; 13:20; 1 John 1:2; Revelation 14:6; in Philemon 1:15 aiomnion, an adverb meaning forever, always). In the Sept.: diathemke aiomnios (1242), testament, covenant, meaning eternal covenant (Gen. 9:16; 17:7).

 

2. Spoken of time past (Romans 16:25), chrónois aioníois (from chrónos [5550], time) meaning times eternal, ancient ages, of old (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2 meaning before time was, from eternity [cf. Sept.: Psalm 24:7, 9]).

 Other references for this word include: Mark 10:17; Luke 10:25; 16:9; 18:18, 30; John 4:14, 36; 5:24, 39; 6:27, 40, 47, 54, 68; 10:28; 12:25, 50; 17:2, 3; Acts 13:48; Romans 5:21; 6:22, 23; Galatians 6:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; 1 Timothy 1:16; 6:12, 19; 2 Timothy 2:10; Titus 3:7; Hebrews 5:9; 9:12, 15; 1 Peter 5:10; 2 Peter 1:11; 1 John 2:25; 3:15; 5:11, 13, 20; Jude 1:21.

 

3. Spoken of endless duration. The expression ‘zoem aionios’ (zoem [2222], life), means, “life eternal.” Whenever it is used for the life which God gives to those who believe in Christ (Matthew 19:16, 29; 25:46; Mark 10:30; Luke 10:25; 18:18, 30; John 3:15, 36; 4:14, 36; 5:24, 39; 6:27, 40, 47, 68; 10:28; 12:25, 50; 17:2, 3; Acts 13:46, 48; Romans 2:7; 5:21; 6:22, 23; Galatians 6:8; 1 Timothy 6:12, 19; Titus 1:2; 3:7; 1 John 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11, 13, 20; Jude 1:21).  It is to be understood as referring not only to duration, but more so to quality. That is, it is not merely a life that is eternal in duration, but is primarily something different from the natural life of man, i.e., the life of God. Since it is His life God gives to the believer through Christ, and He is endless, His life imparted must be endless, although the life He gives to the believer has a beginning.

 

The Greek word, which indicates no beginning and no end, is “aidios” (126), and is translated as, “eternal.”

 

The expression in Greek, “aioníous skenás,” (4633), for tabernacles, tents, houses, means, “eternal tents, habitations,” and refers to heaven (Luke 16:9).

 

There is ‘aionion púr’ (4442), meaning, “eternal fire,” which means punishment brought about by God (Matthew 18:8; 25:41); also, ‘kólasis aionios,’ (kólasis [2851], meaning, punishment, torment), and hence, “eternal punishment” and refers to God–given punishment lasting forever (Matthew 25:46).

 

The Greek words, “Ólethros aionios,” (Ólethros [3639] ruin, punishment), meaning, “destruction which is eternal,” (2 Thessalonians 1:9) or, “everlasting destruction,” are destruction or a state, which is imposed by God forever.

 

The Greek words, “kríma aionion,” (kríma [2917], judgment), mean, “eternal judgment,” (Hebrews 6:2) referring to the sentence imposed by God forever.

 

All of these designations of punishment stand in contrast to eternal life as the inherent punishment for those who reject Christ’s salvation in that they will be separated from the life of God, which they rejected.  As to the duration of what is designated as “aionios” (when it comes to punishment), it is only proper to assign it the same duration or endlessness as to the life which is given by God.

 

 Syn.: aidios (126), having no beginning and no ending, everlasting.

 Ant.: próskairos (4340), temporal, for a season; ephemmeros (2184), for a day, transient. In prós homran (prós [4314], for; homran [5610], hour) for the hour, meaning temporarily.

 

. (AMG Study Bible & Reference CD)

 

SUMMARY OF FACTS IN AMG STUDY BIBLE & REFERENCE CD:

In evaluating these credible sources, we see that “aionios” as translated “everlasting” (in reference to “punishment”), means the following:

 

·         Eternal, perpetual.

 

·         To time in its duration, constant, abiding.

 

·         It is not affected by the limitations of time.

 

·         Meaning forever, always.

 

·         Meaning eternal covenant.

 

·         Meaning times eternal.

 

·         Meaning before time was, from eternity .

 

·         Spoken of endless duration.

 

·         It is not merely a life that is eternal in duration, but is primarily something different from the natural life of man.

 

·         The word that indicates no beginning and no end.

 

·         Eternal fire, which means punishment brought about by God...eternal punishment, refers to God–given punishment lasting forever.

 

·         Destruction that is eternal (2 Thessalonians 1:9) or everlasting destruction is destruction or a state, which is imposed by God forever.

 

·         All of these designations of punishment stand in contrast to eternal life as the inherent punishment for those who reject Christ’s salvation in that they will be separated from the life of God, which they rejected.

 

·         As to the duration of what is designated as aionios when it comes to punishment, it is only proper to assign it the same duration or endlessness as to the life, which is given by God.

 

STRONG’S DEFINITION

 

Everlasting” - 166 aionios (ahee-o'-nee-os); from 165; perpetual (also used of past time, or past and future as well): KJV-- eternal, forever, everlasting, world - (began). 

 

The Greek word “aionios” is from the root word 165  aion” (ahee-ohn'); from the same as 104; properly, an age; by extension, perpetuity (also past); by implication, the world; specially (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future): KJV-- age, course, eternal, (for) ever (-more), [n-] ever, (beginning of the while the) world (began, without end). Compare 5550. 

 

The primary root word origin is from the Greek word 104  aei” (ah-eye'); from an obsolete primary noun (apparently meaning continued duration); "ever," by qualification regularly; by implication, earnestly; KJV-- always, ever.

 

 

SUMMARY OF FACTS IN STRONG’S DEFINITION:

 

In evaluating these credible sources, we see that “aionios” as translated “everlasting” (in reference to “punishment”), means the following:

 

·         Perpetual (also used of past time, or past and future as well):

 

·         Properly, an age; by extension, perpetuity

 

VINE’S EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY

 

ETERNAL = Aionios (166) describes duration, either undefined but not endless, as in Romans 16:25; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; or undefined because endless as in Romans 16:26, and the other sixty-six places in the NT.

 

The predominant meaning of aionios, that in which it is used everywhere in the NT, save the places noted above, may be seen in 2 Corinthians 4:18, where it is set in contrast with proskairos, literally, “for a season,” and in Philemon 15, where, only in the NT, it is used without a noun.

 

Moreover it is used of persons and things which are in their nature endless, as, e. g., of God, Romans 16:26; of His power, 1 Timothy 6:16, and of His glory, 1 Peter 5:10; of the Holy Spirit, Hebrews 9:14; of the redemption effected by Christ, Hebrews 9:12, and of the consequent salvation of men, (5:9), as well as of His future rule, 2 Peter 1:11, which is elsewhere declared to be without end, Luke 1:33; of the life received by those who believe in Christ, John 3:16, concerning whom He said, “they shall never perish,” (10:28), and of the resurrection body, 2 Corinthians 5:1, elsewhere said to be `immortal,' 1 Corinthians 15:53, in which that life will be finally realized, Matthew 25:46; Titus 1:2.

 

Aionios is also used of the sin that, “hath never forgiveness,” Mark 3:29, and of the judgment of God, from which there is no appeal, Hebrews 6:2, and of the fire, which is one of its instruments, Matthew 18:8; 25:41; Jude 7, and which is elsewhere said to be, “unquenchable,” Mark 9:43.

 

The use of aionios here shows that the punishment referred to in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, is no temporary, but final, and, accordingly, the phraseology shows that its purpose is not remedial but retributive.

       From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp 232, 233.

      

 (From Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

 

SUMMARY OF FACTS FROM VINE’S:

 

·         The use of aionios here shows that the punishment referred to in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, is no temporary, but final, and, accordingly, the phraseology shows that its purpose is not remedial but retributive.

 

·         The use of aionios is uniform with regards to it’s meaning.  It always means “perpetual; to time in its duration, constant, abiding; eternal; generally.....meaning forever, always; meaning before time was, from eternity; spoken of endless duration.”

 

·         The use of “aionios” in Matthew 25:46 for “everlasting punishment” must, by virtue of the context, have a point of beginning, which continues on in perpetuity, according to the overwhelming definition of the word. 

 

·         Since “aionios” is used in the famous scripture John 3:16 to refer to “eternal life” for those who believe that God so loved the world, he gave His only begotten Son, those whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have “everlasting life,” (indicating a point of beginning, and then extending into perpetuity), the same would have to apply for “everlasting punishment.”

 

The only exceptions to the use of “aionios” in regards to “perpetuity” (according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary), is in the following passages: Romans 16:25; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2. 

 

·         Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world (aionios) began.  (KJV)

 

·         2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (aionios).  (KJV)

 

·         Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world (aionios) began.  (KJV)

 

The three references above are the only ones in the NT where “aionios” does not refer to “perpetuity.”  The reason for the exception is noted in Vine’s Expository Dictionary where it describes “duration” which is undefined.  All three refer to the period when the “world began.”  The Greek word used for “began” in all three references means:

 

·         “Began” - 5550 chrónos (khron'-os); of uncertain derivation; a space of time (in general, and thus properly distinguished from 2540, which designates a fixed or special occasion; and from 165, which denotes a particular period) or interval; by extension, an individual opportunity; by implication, delay: KJV-- + years old, season, space, (X often-) time (-s), (a) while.

 

In the three references listed above, the word “aionios” refers to ages within, “a space of time,” AND does not indicate any sort of duration; that is why these three are excepted from the general use of “aionios” meaning, “forever, or always.”

What does the word “punishment” refer to?

 

·         Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.  (KJV)

 

Strong’s defines the Greek word for “punishment” in this text as follows:

 

·         “Punishment” - 2851 kólasis (kol'-as-is); from 2849; penal infliction: KJV-- punishment, torment.  This word is derived from the root word, 2849 kolazo (kol-ad'-zo) which is from kolos (dwarf); properly, to curtail, i.e. (figuratively) to chastise (or reverse for infliction): KJV-- punish.

 

Since “kólasis” is a word, which indicates “penal infliction” it obviously refers to punishment for an offense.  Is the soul guilty?  There are many scriptures, both OT and NT that say so.  Here are but a few:

 

·         Leviticus 5:1-6 The Law of Guilt Offerings 'Now if a person sins after he hears a public adjuration to testify when he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt.  Or if a person touches any unclean thing, whether a carcass of an unclean beast or the carcass of unclean cattle or a carcass of unclean swarming things, though it is hidden from him and he is unclean, then he will be guilty.  Or if he touches human uncleanness, of whatever sort his uncleanness may be with which he becomes unclean, and it is hidden from him, and then he comes to know it, he will be guilty.  Or if a person swears thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good, in whatever matter a man may speak thoughtlessly with an oath, and it is hidden from him, and then he comes to know it, he will be guilty in one of these.  So it shall be when he becomes guilty in one of these, that he shall confess that in which he has sinned.  He shall also bring his guilt offering to the LORD for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat as a sin offering.  So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin.  NASU

 

·         Leviticus 5:17 "Now if a person sins and does any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, though he was unaware, still he is guilty, and shall bear his punishment.”  NAS

 

·         Leviticus 22:3 Tell them, “Any one of your offspring throughout your generations who goes to the holy things which the Israelites dedicate to the Lord when he is unclean, that priest shall be cut off from My presence and excluded from the sanctuary; I am the Lord.   AMP

 

·         Numbers 15:30-31 But the person who does anything wrong willfully and openly, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one reproaches, reviles, and blasphemes the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from among his people, that the atonement made for them may not include him.  Because he has despised and rejected the word of the Lord, and has broken His commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.  AMP

 

·         Leviticus 20:6-8 And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.  Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.  And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD, which sanctify you.  (KJV)

 

God’s word in the scriptures leave no room for doubt or obscurity; the “soul” of man that sins will bear the punishment for his iniquity.  There is a penalty, or as the Greek definition implies, “penal infliction.”  To say that there is no eternality of the soul, (as it relates to punishment), is to oppose clear scripture affirming the same.  This is a dangerous position to take, as it compromises the seriousness of the consequences of sin, and could easily lead someone into areas of deception.

Scriptures where “aionios” is used for “everlasting punishment”

 

·         Matthew 18:8  "And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the eternal (aionios) fire.”  (NAS)

 

Here, the word used with aionios is “fire.”  To suggest that there is a literal “fire” which endures forever seem far fetched, particularly since fire would not affect a spirit being (we become spirit, like the angels, after we leave the human body; Matthew 22:29-30).  Nevertheless, “fire” represents one of the most painful types of injuries to human flesh, and is therefore an appropriate way of describing the agony of eternal punishment. 

 

The Greek word “púr” means, “fire" (literally or figuratively, specifically, lightning).   Since “púr” can mean, “lightening” perhaps it indicates a swift and powerful beginning to the eternal punishment, as lightening is quick and powerful.

 

·         Matthew 25:41  "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal (aionios) fire (púr) which has been prepared for the devil and his angels…” (NAS)

 

It is worth mentioning here, that God condemns wicked man alongside the, “devil and his angels.”  We know the devil, and his demons, are spirit beings; therefore, there is a valid parallel between the eternal existence of spirits, and souls; particularly in regards to punishment for sin.

 

·         Mark 3:28-29  "Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal (aionios) sin"--  (NAS)

 

The KJV translates the word eternal “sin” in Mark 3:29 as “damnation.”  The Greek word for “sin” in the NAS is as follows (Strong’s definition):

 

·         “Sin” - 265 hamartema (ham-ar'-tay-mah); from 264; a sin (properly concrete); from another Greek word, 264  “hamartano” (ham-are-tan'-o); perhaps from 1 (as a negative particle) and the base of 3313; properly, to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize), i.e. (figuratively) to err, especially (morally) to sin: KJV-- for your faults, offend, sin, trespass.

 

The KJV wrongly translates “hamartia” as “damnation.”  The Greek word hamartia simply means, “a sin” or more literally, “to miss the mark.”  The “mark” is a Greco-Roman euphemism referring to an archer’s arrow hitting its target.  Our target or “mark” is to be like Jesus, the Son of God.  We AIM to be like Jesus by hearing and obeying the Father’s commands.

 

What happens when we sin (hamartia) and miss the mark?  We can remain in condemnation, and allow Satan, the accuser, to heap guilt and shame upon us, OR…we can repent of our transgression, call upon God for mercy, and confess our sins to Him, appealing to the sacrificial atonement provided by His son Jesus.  If we do this, He is faithful to forgive us, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness!

 

1 John 1:8-2:2

 

1:8 If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts].

 

1:9 If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].

 

1:10 If we say (claim) we have not sinned, we contradict His Word and make Him out to be false and a liar, and His Word is not in us [the divine message of the Gospel is not in our hearts].

 

2:1 MY LITTLE children, I write you these things so that you may not violate God's law and sin. But if anyone should sin, we have an Advocate (one Who will intercede for us) with the Father--[it is] Jesus Christ [the all] righteous [upright, just, Who conforms to the Father's will in every purpose, thought, and action].

 

2:2 And He [that same Jesus Himself] is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours alone but also for [the sins of] the whole world.  AMP

 

The verses above from John’s epistle demonstrate how simple it is for a believer to get his or her heart back into right standing with God, after missing the “mark” through sin.  The gospel message is easy to obey, but sadly, pride often interferes with people’s willingness to come to the Father on HIS terms.  If we continuously refuse to acknowledge our sin, our hearts can become hardened, and the deceitfulness of sin can blur or completely blacken our vision.

 

·         2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 For after all it is {only} just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and {to give} relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.  (NAS)

 

This verse is a key to understanding eternal punishment.  Since mankind has been created for perpetuity, his existence apart from God will extend for eternity (aionion).  The wicked, who do not know God, or believers who refuse to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, must also suffer an eternal existence apart from the presence of God.  Just being separated from God’s presence would seem punishment enough, aside from any penal infliction for one’s own sins and wicked deeds. 

 

In 2 Thessalonians 1:9, the Greek definition of the word for eternal “destruction” is as follows:

 

·         “Destruction” - 3639 olethros (ol'-eth-ros); from a primary “ollumi” (to destroy; a prolonged form); ruin, i.e. death, punishment: KJV-- destruction.

 

Since the Greek word ‘olethros” means “ruin” in a generic sense, other verses where this word is used must be consulted to understand it’s overall application:

 

·         1 Corinthians 5:5  {I have decided} to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction (olethros) of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.  (NAS)

 

·         1 Thessalonians 5:3 While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction (olethros) will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.  (NAS)

 

·         1 Timothy 6:9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction (olethros).  (NAS)

 

It is clear, from the few verses that use “olethros” that it refers to some type of punishment, and even a state of spiritual ruin and bankruptcy.  Therefore, we conclude from 2 Thessalonians 1:9 “olethros” is a reference to the state of eternal ruin suffered by those who do not know God.  A sobering thought indeed.

 

·         Hebrews 6:1-2 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings, and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead, and eternal (aionion) judgment.  (NAS)

 

Note that “eternal judgment” is considered to be an “elementary teaching.”  A true believer should have the knowledge of eternal judgment for sin as one of the foundation stones upon which he builds his spiritual house.  The Greek word here for “judgment” is as follows:

 

·         “Judgment” - 2917 kríma (kree'-mah); from 2919; a decision (the function or the effect, for or against ["crime"]): KJV-- avenge, condemned, condemnation, damnation, + go to law, judgment. 

 

·         Kríma comes from a root Greek word, 2919 krino (kree'-no); krino means properly, to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially); by implication, to try, condemn, punish: KJV-- avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think.

 

God’s decision for judgment is a function, and an effect against the crime of disobedience to Him.  Since kríma comes from “krino” it also carries with it the meaning of an individual distinction being made by God and His Christ to act judicially to try, and condemn through punishment, each individual person who has rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The following verses are places where “krino” is used to refer to God’s eternal judicial decision to punish the wicked for sin (God delegates the decision to “judge” to Jesus, His anointed Prince or Magistrate):

 

·         Matthew 7:1-2  "Do not judge lest you be judged.  For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”  (NAS)

 

·         Luke 6:37  "And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.” (NAS)

 

·         Luke 19:22  "He said to him, 'By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow?”  (NAS)

 

·         John 3:18  "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  (NAS)

 

·         John 5:22-23  "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”  (NAS)

 

·         John 12:47-49  "And if anyone hears My sayings, and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.  He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.  For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak.” (NAS)

 

·         Romans 2:1-16 Therefore you are without excuse, every man {of you} who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.  And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.  And do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment upon those who practice such things and do the same {yourself,} that you will escape the judgment of God?  Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?  But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.  {There will be} tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to every man who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For there is no partiality with God.  For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.  For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.  (NAS)

 

·         Romans 3:4-6 May it never be!  Rather, let God be found true, though every man {be found} a liar, as it is written, "That Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and mightest prevail when Thou art judged."  But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say?  The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.)  May it never be!  For otherwise how will God judge the world?  (NAS)

 

·         Romans 14:4 Who are you to judge the servant of another?  To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand.  (NAS)

 

·         Romans 14:10-12 But you, why do you judge your brother?  Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt?  For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.  For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall give praise to God."  So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.  (NAS)

 

·         1 Corinthians 4:4-5 For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.  Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, {but wait} until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of {men's} hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.  (NAS)

 

·         1 Corinthians 5:12-13 For what have I to do with judging outsiders?  Do you not judge those who are within {the church}?  But those who are outside, God judges.  Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.  (NAS)

 

·         1 Corinthians 11:31-32 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world.  (NAS)

 

·         II Thessalonians 2:11-12 And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.  (NAS)

 

·         2 Timothy 4:1 I solemnly charge {you} in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom.  (NAS)

 

·         Hebrews 10:28-31 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on {the testimony of} two or three witnesses.  How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge His people."  It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  (NAS)

 

·         Hebrews 13:4 {Let} marriage {be held} in honor among all, and let the {marriage} bed {be} undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.  (NAS)

 

·         James 2:10-13 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one {point,} he has become guilty of all.  For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not commit murder."  Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.  So speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by {the} law of liberty.  For judgment {will be} merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.  (NAS)

 

·         James 4:11-12 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge {of it.}  There is {only} one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?  (NAS)

 

·         James 5:9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.  (NAS)

 

·         1 Peter 1:14-17 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts {which were yours} in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all {your} behavior; because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."  And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay {upon earth}.  (NAS)

 

·         1 Peter 4:3-7 For the time already past is sufficient {for you} to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.  And in {all} this, they are surprised that you do not run with {them} into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign {you} but they shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.  For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to {the will of} God.  The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober {spirit} for the purpose of prayer.  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 6:9-10 I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 11:18 The nations were angry; and your wrath has come.  The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great-- and for destroying those who destroy the earth."  (NIV)

 

·         Revelation 19:1-2 After these things I heard, as it were, a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her."  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 20:12-15 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is {the book} of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.  And the sea gave up the dead, which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one {of them} according to their deeds.  And 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.  (NAS)

 

It is overwhelming; krino is judgment from God; it is retribution.  It has eternal implications, much to the sorrow of those who do not know God.

 

·         Jude 1:7 Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the punishment of eternal (aionion) fire.  (NAS)

 

Sodom & Gomorrah are used as NT types of the eternal destruction, which awaits the wicked.

Other scriptures which speak of eternal judgment

 

·         Mark 9:42-48  "And whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.  And if your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable (aionion) fire, [where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.]  And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than having your two feet, to be cast into hell,  [where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.]  And if your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.”  (NAS)

 

·         Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting (aidios) chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.  (KJV)

 

Note:  The Greek word “aidios” is used in Romans 1:20 to refer to God’s “eternal” power; it is a word which “excludes interruption and lays stress upon permanence and unchangeableness.”  (From Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words) (Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

 

Therefore, in Jude 6, aidios refers to an eternal domain of darkness, which was from the beginning of creation, and extends into eternity, perpetuity.

 

The following phrases are formed in connection with aion, which means, "an age."  They are idiomatic expressions betokening undefined periods and are not to be translated literally:

 

·         Revelation 19:2-3  “Because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her."  And a second time they said, "Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever.” (Literally in the Greek, the words for “forever and ever” are, “eis tous aionas ton aionon,” meaning, “unto the ages of the ages")   (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 20:10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (literally in the Greek, the words for “forever and ever” are “eis tous aionas ton aionon,” meaning, "unto the ages of the ages”).  (NAS)

 

·         Revelation 14:9-11 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever (Literally in the Greek, the words for “for ever and ever” are “eis aionas aionon,” meaning, "unto ages of ages"): and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.  (KJV)

 

·         Jude 1:12-13 These men are those who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever (Literally in the Greek, the word “forever” is eis aiona,” meaning, "unto an age").  (NAS)

 

 

More Proof For Eternal Punishment Of The Wicked

 

Isaiah 1:28 But transgressors and sinners will be crushed together, and those who forsake the LORD will come to an end. NASU

 

·         Isaiah 30:27 Behold, the name of the LORD comes from a remote place; burning is His anger and dense is His smoke; His lips are filled with indignation and His tongue is like a consuming fire.  NASU

 

·         Isaiah 33:14-15 Sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling has seized the godless.  “Who among us can live with the consuming fire?  Who among us can live with continual burning?"  He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity,  NASU

 

·         Daniel 12:2 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 and abhorrence. [John 5:29.]  AMP

 

·         2 Peter 2:1-4, 10-15, 17, 20-22 BUT ALSO in those days there arose false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among yourselves, who will subtly and stealthily introduce heretical doctrines (destructive heresies), even denying and disowning the Master Who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.  And many will follow their immoral ways and lascivious doings; because of them the true Way will be maligned and defamed.  And in their covetousness (lust, greed) they will exploit you with false (cunning) arguments. From of old the sentence of condemnation for them has not been idle; their destruction (eternal misery) has not been asleep.  For God did not even spare angels that sinned, but cast them into hell, delivering them to be kept there in pits of gloom till the judgment and their doom…And particularly those who walk after the flesh and indulge in the lust of polluting passion and scorn and despise authority.  Presumptuous and daring self-willed and self-loving creatures!  They scoff at and revile dignitaries (glorious ones) without trembling, whereas even angels, though superior in might and power, do not bring a defaming charge against them before the Lord.  But these people!  Like unreasoning beasts, mere creatures of instinct, born only to be captured and destroyed, railing at things of which they are ignorant, they shall utterly perish in their own corruption in their destroying they shall surely be destroyed, being destined to receive punishment as the reward of their unrighteousness suffering wrong as the hire for their wrongdoing.  They count it a delight to revel in the daytime living luxuriously and delicately. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions and carousing together even as they feast with you.  They have eyes full of harlotry, insatiable for sin. They beguile and bait and lure away unstable souls. Their hearts are trained in covetousness (lust, greed), [they are] children of a curse exposed to cursing!  Forsaking the straight road they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the reward of wickedness…These are springs without water and mists driven along before a tempest, for whom is reserved forever the gloom of darkness…For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through [the full, personal] knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they again become entangled in them and are overcome, their last condition is worse for them than the first.  For never to have obtained a full, personal knowledge of the way of righteousness would have been better for them than, having obtained such knowledge, to turn back from the holy commandment which was verbally delivered to them.  There has befallen them the thing spoken of in the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and, The sow is washed only to wallow again in the mire. [Proverbs 26:11.]  AMP

 

·         Jude 4-13 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.  And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.  Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties.  But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, " The Lord rebuke you!"  But these men revile the things, which they do not understand; and the things, which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.  Woe to them!  For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.  These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever. NASU

Conclusion

Ample proof has been furnished to prove that punishment for sin, not knowing God, and rejecting the gospel of Jesus Christ, has eternal, perpetual consequences.  This study is but a small sampling of the enormous amount of scripture, which discuss eternal punishment.  There is absolutely NO PRECEDENT for believing in the annihilation of the soul, at any time.  Selah

 


 

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