From the beginning of sin it has been the work of the devil to misrepresent the character of God. In heaven he injected doubt into the minds of the
angels as to the justice and love of God. In this work of deception he succeeded so well that one third of the angels followed him in rebellion
(Revelation 12:3, 4, 7-9).
Since his expulsion from heaven it has been the devil's studied purpose to bring havoc to this earth. He seeks to alienate the affections of God's
children by misrepresenting the character of God. He has confused even those who profess to be Christians. Many people do not know that God is
really a God of love. They do not understand His plan of salvation for fallen man.
Millions of people have turned away from God, thinking Him to be unmerciful and unfair. They have done this in many cases because of a
misunderstanding about the punishment of the wicked. Pagan beliefs and teachings have been mixed with the Bible truth. By a misuse of texts,
man-made theories are made to appear to have Biblical support.
Robert Ingersoll, the prince of infidels, might have become a great Christian preacher. Unfortunately he was taught that there would be many infants
who would burn in hell through all eternity. He is reported to have said, "If that is what God is like, I hate him."
If those who have been misinformed could only know what the Bible teaches concerning the punishment of the sinner, they would see the mercy,
justice, and wisdom of God. Let us discover what the Bible really teaches concerning hell.
The wicked are "reserved" for the day of punishment. They are not now burning in hell. They are not punished until after the day of judgment.
3. What pronouncement does Christ make at His second coming that shows that the wicked have not been rewarded before this time? Matthew
16:27 & Revelation 22:12
Both the wicked and the righteous are included in this pronouncement. At Christ's coming, He will separate the two classes of people -- those who are
saved and those who are lost (Matthew 25:31-34).
PLEASE READ the entire parable that Christ gave concerning the sower and the seed. In this story, Christ outlined the fate of the wicked and the
reward of the righteous in detail. You will find this parable in Matthew 13:24-30.
4. In His parable, when did Jesus indicate that the harvest, or the separation of the evil from the good, would take place? Matthew 13:39
5. In the parable, when will the wicked, or the tares, be destroyed? Verse 40
This should make it clear that the wicked are not burning now! It is after His coming that the angels are sent forth to gather the wicked ones into
bundles to be burned.
6. When will Christ send forth His angels to separate the good from the evil? Matthew 24:30, 31
7. What does God say will be the final wages of sin? Romans 6:23
This text does not say that the sinner will live forever in torment. Life and death are contrasted here, showing that the wicked will cease to live while
those who have accepted eternal life will continue to live forever.
8. What does God call the death that is the final punishment of the wicked? Revelation 21:7, 8
Many people entertain the belief that the soul, or the individual, cannot be destroyed, but the Bible says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel
11. How complete will the destruction of the unrepentant sinner be? Malachi 4:1-3
12. How does the Bible describe the utter destruction of the wicked?
13. After the work of destruction has been completed, how much fire will remain? Isaiah 47:14
(Here under the symbolism of the king of Tyre, the final destruction of Satan is pictured).
16. What kind of fire was to destroy Jerusalem if the people did not reform? Jeremiah 17:27
The people failed to heed God's warning, and the city was burned with a fire that could not be quenched. It burned the city to the ground, but it is not
burning today (Jeremiah 52:12, 13).
17. How does God describe the effect of the fire that will be used on the wicked? Matthew 25:41
18. What kind of fire did God use in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? Jude 7
The "eternal" fire is not burning today. It was eternal in its results, for 2 Peter 2:6 says, "And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes
condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly." It is the effect of the fire, not the fire itself,
that is everlasting or eternal.
"How repugnant to every emotion of love and mercy, and even to our sense of justice, is the doctrine that the wicked dead are tormented with fire and
brimstone in an eternally burning hell; that for the sins of a brief earthly life they are to suffer torture as long as God shall live. Yet this doctrine has
been widely taught and is still embodied in many of the creeds of Christendom. . . . Where, in all the pages of God's Word, is such teaching to be
found? . . . Such is not the teaching of the Book of God" (The Great Controversy, p. 535).
19. How much is destroyed and purified by this fire besides the wicked? 2 Peter 3:10
20. How do we know that this fire will eliminate all that hurts or brings sorrow to mankind? Revelation 21:4
21. How does God feel about the death of those who refuse salvation? Ezekiel 33:11
God removes the cancer of sin only because He has to destroy sin to save the world. If sin were allowed to continue, it would contaminate the
universe. God, out of mercy, finally removes the cancer of sin that we might be freed from this dreaded plague.
Only those who continue to cling to sin will be destroyed with it. The person who clings to his sins would not be happy in heaven. There will be no bars
in the New Jerusalem, no girlie shows, or gambling places. Only those who have learned to love righteousness will desire to be there. Only those who
love God would be happy there.
22. How many individuals does God want to see perish in hell? 2 Peter 3:9
23. What choice does God offer to every person on this earth? Isaiah 1:18, 20
This decision is up to us individually whether we spend eternity in heaven or are destroyed. Jesus has paid the price of our redemption. He
stands at the door of our hearts, knocking for entrance. he longs to forgive our sins and save us. The power of God's love and grace
constrains us to come, but God will not force us to accept His free gift. If we want forgiveness and cleansing, we can have it. We can
choose to love and obey Him, or we can choose to reject His great salvation. But the question comes, "How shall we escape, if we neglect
so great salvation?" (Hebrews 2:3).
24. After studying this lesson, can you see that the character of God is one of love and mercy?
|"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a
light unto my path"
|There is a land of pure delight, Where bliss eternal reigns;
|Infinite day excludes the night, And pleasures banish pain.
|There everlasting spring abides, And never withering flowers,
|And but a little space divides, This heavenly land from ours.
|Could we but stand where Moses stood, And view the landscape o'er,
|Not all this world's pretended good, Could ever charm us more.
|We're traveling to Immanuel's land, We soon shall hear the trumpet sound,
|And soon we shall with Jesus reign, And never, never part again.