GP 1621Compiled 6/83
—Heaven, Hell or in-between?—Part 13 of the BOF
(Compiled by Apollos from the writings of Father David.)
1. WE KNOW FROM OUR PREVIOUS STUDIES THAT ALL OF THE SAVED, BORN-AGAIN CHILDREN OF GOD OF ALL AGES WILL BE RAPTURED & RESURRECTED BEFORE THE MILLENNIUM, at the end of the Great Tribulation period when Jesus comes & gathers together His Church‚ His Bride, to be with Him forever! We also know that they will then "live & reign with Christ for a thousand years" on the Earth. (Rev.20:4.)—But what about the billions of unsaved people of all ages‚ what has become of them?
2. "THE REST OF THE DEAD LIVED NOT AGAIN UNTIL THE THOUSAND YEARS WERE FINISHED." (Rev.20:5.) After the Millennium & its catastrophic climactic finish with the Battle of Gog & Magog & the great final holocaust that will burn up all the wicked & all the pollution & all the evil & all the filth & everything foul & vile throughout both the Earth & the atmospheric heavens, then all the unsaved of all ages, including the rebels destroyed at Gog & Magog, will be resurrected for the final Great White Throne Judgement.
3. SO IT IS THEN, AT THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM AFTER THE BATTLE OF GOG & MAGOG, THAT THE GREAT SECOND RESURRECTION TAKES PLACE, the "resurrection of damnation", as Jesus called it‚ which literally means the "resurrection of judgement". (Jn.5:29.) At this time all of the unsaved dead are finally raised to stand before God Himself in the great final Judgement in which they are all given their final sentences & are assigned to their final places in the hereafter.
4. NOW MAKE SURE THAT YOU DON'T CONFUSE THIS FINAL "GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT" AT THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM WITH THE "JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST" (Rom.14:10)‚ which occurred a thousand years earlier at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in Heaven! The Judgement Seat of Christ is an entirely different judgement altogether in which we, the saved, the born-again, are judged by Christ Himself, because we know Him, where He will reward us according to our works, & from where we go on to conquer & rule & reign with Him over the World for a thousand years.
5. BUT THIS GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT IS NOT FOR THE SAVED AT ALL!—This judgement is for all the dead, small & great‚ including all those who lived through the Millennium & yet followed the Devil & were then destroyed at the end of it—all the dead of all ages who were not saved & therefore did not take part in the "First Resurrection" at Christ's Second Coming. All the people who ever lived, whether good or bad, if unsaved, will have to stand at this Great White Throne Judgement of God!
AT THE THRONE!
6. "AND I SAW A GREAT WHITE THRONE, & HIM THAT SAT ON IT, FROM WHOSE FACE THE EARTH & THE HEAVEN FLED AWAY; & THERE WAS FOUND NO PLACE FOR THEM. And I saw the dead, small & great, stand before God; & the books were opened: & another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: & the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; & death & Hell delivered up the dead which were in them: & they were judged every man according to their works. And death & Hell were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire." (Rev.20:11–15.)
7. HERE IS THE AWESOME PICTURE OF GOD HIMSELF AT THE LAST GREAT JUDGEMENT OF ALL THE DEAD WHO WERE NOT SAVED. Now the preachers always say that this is the judgement of "the wicked", but it does not say "the wicked" here at all!—It simply says "the dead".—Some not so wicked, some very wicked, some perhaps even good!—But none of them saved.
8. SO LET'S JUST CALL THEM THE UNSAVED, BECAUSE THERE'LL BE VARIOUS CLASSES OF UNSAVED, AS YOU'LL SEE. There'll be the ignorant & the somewhat innocent‚ & the good who tried to do the right thing.—The Bible says so! (Rom.2:12-15.) Then there will also be various degrees of the guilty & the very wicked, the horrible, the cruel & on down the line!
9. IT SAYS THAT HE SAW "THE DEAD, SMALL & GREAT, STAND BEFORE GOD; & THE BOOKS WERE OPENED"—several books, a lot of books‚ maybe millions of books! "And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life"—a very important book! "And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." (Rev.20:12.) Apparently this could be their own memories, or records that God somehow keeps of their words & works.
10. THEY SAY THAT EVERYTHING YOU'VE EVER SEEN, HEARD, THOUGHT OR DONE IS RECORDED IN YOUR OWN PERSONAL TAPE RECORDER, YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND. In fact‚ science says that you never really forget anything! So certainly God is able to turn on everyone's little recorder & run through their entire life‚ in a fraction of a second if necessary, & judge everything they've ever done.—He could do it for the whole World simultaneously if He wanted to! So this "opening of the books" might be the Lord reeling off or reading off everything everyone's ever done, in order to judge them fairly & accordingly.
11. "AND THE DEAD WERE JUDGED OUT OF THOSE THINGS WHICH WERE WRITTEN IN THE BOOKS, ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS." Now what does this mean, "according to their works"? Most of the preachers & churchy theologians today teach us that God is just going to toss them all into Hell & that's that!—Throw them all into the Lake of Fire & be done with it!
12. BUT IF EVERYBODY'S GOING TO GO TO HELL ANYWAY, WHAT THE HELL'S THIS JUDGEMENT FOR? If everybody who's going to be spared from the flames of Hell & Lake of Fire has already gone to Heaven & is already saved, what's the purpose of this Great White Throne Judgement of God?—Of the unsaved who were never resurrected to begin with‚ & of all those who were destroyed in the fire when the Earth & atmosphere were burned up? What's this Great White Throne Judgement for in the 20th Chapter of Revelation?—Why doesn't God just toss them all straight into Hell?
13. WELL, IT'S OBVIOUS THAT SOME ARE GOING TO BE PUNISHED WORSE THAN OTHERS, & some are going to get very little punishment, if any! Others are going to get plenty, just what they deserve, but no more! God is going to make a difference & judge everybody justly & righteously & mercifully, according to their works!
14. THERE'S SO MUCH IN THE WORD OF GOD SHOWING THAT THERE WILL BE DEGREES OF PUNISHMENT JUST AS THERE ARE DEGREES OF REWARD. God is just & God is thorough & "every man will be rewarded according to his works"! (See Ps.62:12; Jer.17:10; Mt.16:27; 2Co.5:10; Rev.2:23; 20:13;22:12.) We'll even have to "give an account of every idle word, for by thy words shalt thou be justified, & by thy words shalt thou be condemned." (Mt.12:36,37.)
15. JESUS HIMSELF SAID THAT THEY WHICH KNOW THE LORD'S WILL‚ YET STILL DISOBEY & DO THINGS DESERVING PUNISHMENT, shall receive severe punishment! But those who did not know His Will & yet did things worthy of punishment shall receive light punishment.—"And that servant, which knew his Lord's will, & prepared not himself, neither did according to His will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, & did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given‚ of him shall be much required." (Lk.12:47,48.)
16. SO THEIR BEING "JUDGED ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS" simply means that they will be rewarded or punished according to how good they were, or how bad they were‚ & obviously there's going to be a difference! "For the work of a man shall He render unto him, & cause every man to find according to his ways. Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgement." (Job 34:11,12.) God is just, fair & righteous‚ & everybody is going to get exactly what they deserve & need.
17. "AND THE SEA GAVE UP THE DEAD WHICH WERE IN IT; & DEATH & HELL DELIVERED UP THE DEAD WHICH WERE IN THEM: & THEY WERE JUDGED EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS." (Rev.20:13.) Again‚ here we see the Second Resurrection, of all the unsaved dead, some of whom have been confined to the bottom of the sea & other places as ghosts & spirits!—Apparently the punishment, or at least the temporary probation‚ that some of the unsaved dead are given is to be assigned to stick around near their dead body or their former habitat, etc.
18. BUT DURING THIS SECOND RESURRECTION, ALL OF THESE "REST OF THE DEAD" COME UP FROM EVERYWHERE!—Out of the sea, out of the graves, from past aeons of time—all the unsaved dead that ever lived!—All those who didn't get saved during this Age of Grace of the past 6‚000 years of Earthly History, plus all those who didn't get saved during the Millennium!—All those who didn't get saved in these 7,000 years are going to be raised in this Second Resurrection to stand before the Great White Throne Judgement & to be judged out of the Books!
19. ANOTHER VERY INTERESTING POINT IS REGARDING "DEATH & HELL DELIVERING UP THE DEAD WHICH WERE IN THEM".—Does this mean that some will be resurrected out of Hellfire, only to be judged & cast back into the flames from which they just came? Well, if we look up the original Greek word which our translators translated as "Hell" here in this passage, it will shed a lot more light on this question:
20. THE ORIGINAL GREEK WORD USED HERE IS "HADES", which, perhaps to your surprise, you'll find does not mean a fiery, flaming, torturous "Hell" at all! "Hades", according to the Greek lexicon, literally means "the unseen state"!—In other words, the Spirit World!—The invisible realm of ghosts & spirits! So the unsaved who have died & departed from this life are merely in an unseen state! They're not all in Hellfire, neither are they stuck in a hole in the ground, the "grave", which is another translation of "Hades" in our English Bibles.
21. BUT OF COURSE‚ THE CHURCH DOESN'T WANT TO ADMIT THAT THERE'S ANY PLACE ELSE TO GO BESIDES HEAVEN & HELL!—And that's been one of the things that has caught in the craw of many a sinner & many an unsaved & potential believer who just couldn't believe in that kind of Church doctrine‚ that God would send everybody straight to Hell who didn't happen to go to Heaven!—Here is the original meaning in black-&-white, showing that where it says "grave" or "Hell" in our Bibles it doesn't always mean Hellfire!—It's the Spirit World!
22. THE TRANSLATORS SHOULD HAVE USED THE LITERAL TRANSLATION TO MAKE IT CLEARER. But frankly‚ I think the Churches didn't want to leave any loopholes to allow anybody to think they could crawl through & escape eternal hellfire torment hereafter, so they just kept translating these words as "Hell" & gave everybody the conception that Hell could be nothing other than the Lake of Fire, & not "the unseen state" of the Spirit World which it really is!
23. "AND DEATH & HELL WERE CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE. THIS IS THE SECOND DEATH." (Rev.20:14.)—It does not say here that all these people were cast into the Lake of Fire, only Death & Hell. In other words, Death, or the power of death, & Hades, the Spirit State, are cast into the Lake of Fire. These former places or states of confinement or punishment or imprisonment are now cast into the Lake of Fire, including the end of the Spirit Sphere which exists today.
24. JUDGEMENT CANNOT COME UNTIL THERE IS AN END TO TODAY'S SPIRIT WORLD, AN END TO THE UNSEEN STATE, BECAUSE NOW THE SPIRITS ARE STILL OPERATING IN THAT REALM! Ghosts are still haunting, spirits are still spiriting, our good spirit helpers are still helping, & the evil spirits are still cursing & damning & rebelling, so that all their dirty work isn't even done until the Great White Throne Judgement! And all those who died unsaved & perhaps didn't know the Gospel, but maybe did the best they could with what they knew, are now on probation in the Spirit World & are going to be judged according to how well they behaved & operated there.
25. EARLIER WE LEARNED THAT ONE OF THE "BOOKS" WHICH WAS OPENED AT THIS GREAT JUDGEMENT THRONE WAS THE "BOOK OF LIFE"‚ which you'll find out now is a very, very important book.—Because after Death & Hell are cast into the Lake of Fire, it says, "And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire!" (Rev.20:15.)
26. IT DOES NOT SAY THAT THEY WERE ALL CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE. It says, "And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire." In other words, there's going to be another dividing at the last Great White Throne Judgement between the sheep & the goats, between those who deserve to go to Hell & those who don't!
27. BUT IF THE BOOK OF LIFE CONTAINS ONLY THE NAMES OF THOSE WHO WERE SAVED IN THIS LIFE, AS THE PREACHERS HAVE ALWAYS TAUGHT, WHY BRING IT OUT AT THIS GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT OF THE UNSAVED?—Just to prove they're not in there? If none of these people are going to be spared at all from Hell, why in the World would the Lord need to open this Book at all? If everyone written in the Book of Life is already saved & already raptured & already in Heaven, & none of these folks at this Judgement are written in there & it's just a bare blank book, then why bother?
28. NOW DON'T FORGET‚ ONLY THE UNSAVED ARE PRESENT AT THIS GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT, but nevertheless a difference is made between these unsaved as to whether they are in the Book of Life or not‚ & only those not found in the Book of Life are cast into the Lake of Fire.—But not all of them! So who's not found in the Book?—Well, obviously the most wicked & those who absolutely rejected Christ & rebelled against Him, like all of those Mark-of-the-Beast people in the Tribulation & all of those rebels who at the end of the Millennium turned against the Camp of the Saints when the Devil tried to pull his big revolt!
29. THOSE PEOPLE DESERVE HELL!—I'd say they really deserve the flames & the Fiery Lake!—After a thousand years of the personal, visible, loving reign of Jesus Christ & His Saints on the Earth & the manifestation of God on every hand, they still rebelled against God‚ so they deserve to go to Hell! I'd say if anybody ever deserved it, they deserve it!
30. SO FROM ALL I CAN GATHER FROM THE SCRIPTURES, IT SEEMS THAT THE LAKE OF FIRE IS PRETTY BAD PUNISHMENT FOR THE VERY WORST!—To be cast into the Lake of Fire you've got to be a pretty wicked sinner who has really been defiant of God & of every opportunity God has given you to repent, & really done a lot of damage & hurt a lot of people—like Hitler & some of those sorts of characters—those who have turned many astray.
31. IN OTHER WORDS‚ ALL OF THE WORST ARE GOING TO BE CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE, THE FLAMES OF HELL! And all of the best true Saints of God are going to inhabit the Holy City! And those who were not bad enough to go to Hell & yet not good enough, through Christ's goodness, to go to Heaven, will be in-between somewhere, wherever God chooses to place them!
32. SO EVEN AMONGST THE UNSAVED THERE ARE BOTH THE GOOD & THE BAD—not good enough for Heaven, in other words, through the Blood of Christ, nor bad enough for Hell.—But they were found written in the Book of Life & thereby spared from the Lake of Fire.—Not saved for Heaven & not damned to Hell, but found written in this Book of Life & spared! Apparently they will be given some form of life instead of the death penalty‚ some fate other than Hell.
33. BUT HOW DID THEIR NAMES WIND UP WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE?—We don't really know! But we can assume that they were saved either during the Millennium‚ or in the spirit world after the Rapture!—Because all of the souls saved before the Rapture already went to Heaven at Jesus' Second Coming, & therefore have no part in this judgement of "the rest of the dead".
IS GOD A MONSTER?!
34. MOST CHURCHES TODAY PROMOTE THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF AN ETERNAL HELLFIRE FOR EVERYBODY WHO DOESN'T ATTEND THEIR CHURCH! Religious teachers & church theologians teach that in the Afterlife, all mankind will be divided into two distinct classes: The "Saved" & the "Wicked", or unsaved.—And they often consign everyone but themselves, who of course they consider the "Saved"‚ to an eternal burning, torturing, fiendish, unending Hellfire, where there's no difference in punishment or reward!
35. WHEN A SINCERE YOUNG MAN ONCE TOLD ME, "I CAN'T BELIEVE IN A GOD THAT'S GOING TO SEND ALL THESE PEOPLE TO HELL FOREVER‚ people that never even had a chance to hear about Jesus, little babies & ignorant natives & the millions of people of different religions who are fairly righteous & are trying to do the best they know how, living up to whatever light they've got.—I just can't believe in such a God!" I replied,
36. "WELL, I AGREE WITH YOU!—I DON'T BELIEVE IN SUCH A GOD EITHER!" For I am personally convinced, from my own study of the Scriptures & people & the nature of God, that God has mercifully made some other provision besides Heaven & Hell for such people. For instance, should people who never heard the Gospel, heathen who never even heard the Name of Jesus, should they all be thrown into an everlasting torment & fiery Hell forever when they never even had a chance? Whose fault was it that they never heard?—The churchy do-nothing Christians ought to be thrown into torment & fiery Hell for their sin of not telling them & not preaching the Gospel to them like they should have! (Mk.16:15.)
37. CAN YOU POSSIBLY IMAGINE LITTLE BABIES GOING TO A PLACE LIKE THAT?—It's ridiculous! I just cannot believe that false, unbiblical, unscriptural doctrine of eternal Hellfire & brimstone & torment & torture that the churches push! If it were true‚ I couldn't believe in God, for He'd be a monster!—To punish ignorant, innocent people who did the best they could, even though they never heard about Jesus & thus never received Him!
38. BUT APPARENTLY, THAT'S WHAT THE GOD OF MOST OF THESE CHURCHY RELIGIOUS ORGANISATIONS IS—A MONSTER! Because their doctrine is: "Either you go our way & attend our services‚ or that's the kind of a Hell God's going to send you to!" They preach this cruel doctrine of eternal Hell & no hope for anybody who dies unsaved—& that's it!—Once you're gone, you're gone forever!—How awful!
39. WHAT A TRAVESTY AGAINST THE TRUTH!—How horrible! My God, what the churches are guilty of!—Misleading the people & even offending people's sense of the justice & grace & love & mercy of God by their exclusive, unscriptural‚ false doctrines! They try to make the people believe that if they don't go to their Church & their building & go through their rites, they are going to go straight to Hellfire, period!—No alternative, no in–between!—When God's Word makes it as clear as anything that there is an in-between!
40. BUT TO THESE EXCLUSIVE EVANGELICALS & FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCHY THEOLOGIANS, IT'S EITHER HEAVEN OR HELL & THAT'S IT!—Period! "When you die unsaved, Brother, that's it!—You're finished!" They say you go to Hell & you're stuck there in the torment & the flames forever! It wouldn't matter if you were the best man on Earth, if you didn't believe in Jesus, to Hell you go & in Hell you stay & that's it!—You get the same evil punishment as the Devil & all his demons! That's what they teach & preach!
41. BUT WHAT KIND OF A GOD WOULD DO A TRICK LIKE THAT? I just can't believe that kind of thing! Although that's what I was taught all my youth‚ thank God I finally woke up to the facts & the Scriptures & the reality & the reason & the logic & the plain common sense that our God is not that kind of a monster!—That there are other stages & grades & levels in-between Heaven & Hell!
42. CERTAINLY NOT EVERYBODY DESERVES THE SAME KIND OF PUNISHMENT & THE SAME AMOUNT OF PUNISHMENT & the same severity of judgement as do the very worst & the most wicked! Many folks simply didn't know the Truth, never heard the Gospel, never even heard about Jesus, didn't know about His Love, & therefore died ignorant of their Master's Will.
43. AND IT'S AN AMAZING, WONDERFUL THING THAT THE WORLD OVER, even in the darkest jungles & the most remote places, even the most primitive savages seem to know the difference between right & wrong‚ good & evil, & know that certain things are sinful & wrong & it's wrong to do them. God's basic moral standards against stealing & killing & things like that are pretty universal.—Even the most savage & primitive & aboriginal cultures know that these things are wrong & have laws against them.
44. "THIS IS THE LIGHT, WHICH LIGHTETH EVERY MAN THAT COMETH INTO THE WORLD!" (Jn.1:9.) Every man ever born‚ every man that ever lived, has at sometime or other been sent God's Light to enlighten his darkened heart with His Love, to show him His Love. The Holy Spirit is faithful to speak to the heart of all & to tell them when they're doing wrong. Everyone knows the difference between good & evil, even if they may not know all their Master's Will.
45. THEY MAY NOT EVEN KNOW THEIR MASTER, they may not have ever known the Gospel or the Truth or the Good News of Salvation, but they know the difference between right & wrong. And if they then, in spite of that, do things worthy of stripes, it says they'll be beaten, but with few stripes—their punishment will be light, corrective, no doubt of the chastisement nature‚ & they'll undoubtedly then repent & be forgiven & be given a new life.
46. SO THERE WILL BE A GREAT DEAL OF VARIETY OF PUNISHMENT & REWARD FOR THE WICKED, & also for the ignorant & innocent & not-so-wicked who just didn't know any better. God can't exactly "save" them if they didn't have Jesus or receive Him, but He's going to be easy on the ones who were good & tried to be good‚ who even without the Law did those things which are required by His Law of Love.—Who even without the knowledge of Him & His Love, felt His Love in their hearts. (Rom.2:14‚15.)
47. "FOR NOT THE HEARERS OF THE LAW ARE JUST BEFORE GOD, BUT THE DOERS OF THE LAW SHALL BE JUSTIFIED. For when the Gentiles (the ignorant), which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves. Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts‚ their conscience also bearing witness, & their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another." (Rom.2:13-15.)
48. SO FOR THOSE WHO HAVE TO BE PUNISHED HEREAFTER‚ the punishment will be designed & tailored according to their deeds & their accountability. For what purpose?—Just to get revenge?—Just to be vindictive?—God is not that type of vengeful God, to vindictively only want to make people suffer for their sins! But it is for a purpose, for a reason—to show them something.—To bring them to the Light, to demonstrate His goodness & kindness & love & to show them the difference & what damage they did by their disobedience & their lack of love. Why?—To hope for belief & to hope for Godly sorrow & repentance & a change.
49. AND WHETHER DEAD OR ALIVE, THEY WILL ALL GET THE LIGHT!—SOONER OR LATER THEY WILL ALL HAVE A CHANCE TO BE SAVED OR AT LEAST TO BE RECONCILED! Now doesn't that fit your picture of an all-loving all-merciful God Who will be merciful not only to the now-living, but also to the dead?—As evidenced very plainly by Jesus' trip to the place of imprisonment in the heart of the Earth to preach the Gospel to the departed spirits there, that they might believe & be saved & liberated!
50. "FOR AS JONAS WAS THREE DAYS & THREE NIGHTS IN THE WHALE'S BELLY; SO SHALL THE SON OF MAN BE THREE DAYS & THREE NIGHTS IN THE HEART OF THE EARTH.—For Christ also hath once suffered for sins‚ the just for the unjust‚ that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also He went & preached unto the spirits in prison. For this cause was the Gospel preached also to them that are dead‚ that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit!" (Mt.12:40; 1Pe.3:18,19; 4:6.)
51. LOOK AT THE MERCY OF CHRIST! He Himself went down into the bowels of Hell, so to speak, the "underworld", & preached to the spirits in prison! Jesus went down there & was one of them & preached to them & gave them the Gospel of deliverance, "that they might live according to God in the Spirit"!
52. IN AN OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURE WHICH CONFIRMS THIS, GOD, APPARENTLY SPEAKING TO HIS SON, JESUS, SAYS, "By the blood of Thy covenant I have sent forth Thy prisoners out of the Pit wherein is no water!" (Zech.9:11.)—"For He looketh upon men, & if any say, I have sinned, & perverted that which was right, & it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the Pit, & his life shall see the Light! Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man‚ to bring back his soul from the Pit, to be enlightened with the Light of the Living!" (Job 33:27-30.)
53. GOD'S GOING TO GIVE EVERYBODY A CHANCE—DEAD OR ALIVE, NOW OR THEN—TO SEE THE LIGHT, TO HEAR THE GOSPEL, TO EVEN SEE & BELIEVE & RECEIVE JESUS CHRIST AS THEIR SAVIOUR!—Now doesn't that fit your picture of a truly just & merciful & all-loving God, that everybody is eventually going to have a clearcut chance to see & believe & receive & obey Jesus Christ?—Everybody!—Dead or alive!
54. BUT THE CHURCH HAS TAUGHT FOR SO MANY YEARS THAT HELL IS PERMANENT, & they really gag on this verse in Peter about Christ preaching to these already-departed "spirits in prison". (1Pe.3:19.) In fact‚ the only way they can explain it is by saying that He went down there to preach condemnation.—Can you imagine?—To confirm their sentence!—To show that that's what they deserved! What a horrible, cruel interpretation of that verse, that Jesus went down there & preached to the prisoners just to make them feel worse by not giving them any hope at all! But I am convinced that He preached the Gospel to them, & that if they believed it & received it & repented of their sins‚ they were released! PTL!
IS HELL FOREVER?
55. NOW DON'T GET ME WRONG, I'M NOT SAYING THAT THERE IS NO HELL OR THAT NO ONE IS GOING TO GO THERE.—Because the Scriptures make it quite clear that the most wicked "shall have their part in the Lake which burneth with Fire & Brimstone: which is the second death." (Rev.21:8.) The very worst—the Scribes & the Pharisees & the hypocrites, the ultimately wicked who are just horrible & have slaughtered millions & destroyed nations & killed babies & innocent women & children—Hell could hardly be bad enough for some of those people, & it'll be plenty bad! But don't worry‚ it will be bad enough, God will see to that!
56. SO I DO BELIEVE IN HELL!—I JUST DON'T BELIEVE THAT HELL IS FOR EVERYBODY, NOR IS IT FOREVER!—But that it's just for the worst, the most rebellious & defiant & disobedient & wicked & cruel & horrible, like the Antichrist & his False Prophet & the Devil & his angels. They're all going to go to the Lake of Fire, but not everybody!
57. BUT THOSE WHOSE WORKS WERE EXTREMELY EVIL & EXTREMELY BAD, WHO WERE SO WICKED THAT THEIR NAMES WERE "BLOTTED OUT OF THE BOOK OF THE LIVING‚ & NOT WRITTEN WITH THE RIGHTEOUS" (Ps.69:28), they will deserve Hellfire & extreme punishment! I don't know how long they'll have to stay there, maybe some will have to stay there forever!—Or maybe He'll have mercy on them one of these Millenniums, if they ever repent!
58. BUT EVEN FOR SOME OF THOSE, I THINK HELL IS GOING TO BE A PURGATORY! I think even some of those will be purged from their rebelliousness & their unbelief & their hardness & rejection, & just like a child being punished or chastised, they'll be given a chance there under punishment to repent & have some kind of restoration & restitution—if not actual salvation, at least some kind of eventual reconciliation.
59. SO THE TIME IS DEFINITELY COMING WHEN THEY'RE GOING TO BE TORMENTED, punished & chastised for their wickedness & their trouble-making, until maybe they'll learn. What's the use of punishing people if it's totally impossible to ever teach them anything & they'll never change‚ never regenerate, never learn? It looks to me like Hell would be a totally useless waste of time if it's used for nothing but just to give people eternal suffering—which I don't think hardly anybody deserves!
60. YOU WILL FIND IN OUR NEXT & FINAL LESSON ON THE MARVELLOUS HEAVENLY CITY & the New Heaven & New Earth that the last two Chapters of Revelation give some hope for everybody! After all, when they finally see the Truth & know the Truth‚ even the renegades who rebelled again at the end of the Millennium are bound to wake up eventually & realise that they were wrong! You'll learn in our next lesson that there will be some people living outside of the Heavenly City on the beautiful New Earth who sound exactly like the people who were earlier cast into the Lake of Fire! (Rev.21:8; 22:14,15.)
61. BUT WHAT ABOUT SOME OF THE VERSES LIKE REVELATION 14:11 that say that the very wicked, Devil-worshipping, Mark-of-the-Beast-receiving people will be "tormented with fire & brimstone, & the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever & ever: & they have no rest day nor night!"? This sounds like an eternal, perpetual‚ never-ending punishment!—Is it?
62. WELL, YOU'VE GOT TO KNOW THE MEANING OF THIS WORD "FOREVER", because the original word used here in the Greek is "aeon", literally meaning "for an age"—which no doubt is for a long time, but does not necessarily mean eternal! And "forever & ever" in the Greek means "for an age & an age". This Greek word "aeon" is also used in the other New Testament references to "everlasting" & "eternal" punishment, which again implies that it will be "age-lasting" or "for an age".
63. SO WHERE IT SAYS "FOREVER" OR "EVERLASTING" OR "FOREVER & EVER", REMEMBER, IT DOESN'T ALWAYS MEAN WHAT FOREVER OR EVERLASTING MEANS TO US! In a couple of places in our New Testament the English translators did actually translate this Greek word "aeon" as "age", such as in Ephesians 2:7 & Colossians 1:26‚ which speak of "the ages to come". However in virtually every reference to future punishment they used the words "forever", "everlasting" & even "eternal".—And I strongly suspect that this was probably influenced by the Church & their interpretation. They didn't want to give people the idea that there was ever going to be any end to Hell or that they were ever going to have any chance of getting out.—They wanted to scare'm into going to their Church with the fear of death & eternal, everlasting punishment in Hell if they didn't!
64. BUT THANK GOD, SO-CALLED ETERNAL PUNISHMENT, ETERNAL HELL, EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT, HELL-FIRE FOREVER & EVER, IS NOT GOING TO BE FOREVER & is not going to be everlasting & is certainly not going to be eternal! It would be a horrible travesty on the judgement of God & His justice, much less His Love & mercy, if He would allow His creations, both man & even angels, to suffer literally forever!
65. IT WOULD BE A FAR GREATER CREDIT TO THE JUSTICE & THE LOVE & THE MERCY OF GOD if, after they have suffered sufficiently for their sins & been punished enough to pay for their wickedness & served their term, so to speak, paid their debt to His society‚ that they should then be released in some way & their punishment come to an end.
66. EVEN IN THIS LIFE ACCORDING TO MAN'S LAW, VIRTUALLY ALL PUNISHMENT HAS SOME KIND OF AN END! There comes a time when the offender has paid for his crimes with his imprisonment or with fines or even with his life! This satisfies the laws of man‚ why not the laws of God? Perhaps some people will pay for their own sins, since they wouldn't believe in Christ & wouldn't believe in His death!—So they will have to suffer the prescribed punishment pronounced upon sin, which is death! (Rom.6:23;Rev.21:8.)
67. BUT WHATEVER THE SINS & HOWEVER GUILTY THE PARTY MAY BE, THEY WILL RECEIVE A JUST, FAIR PUNISHMENT. And whether they receive "few stripes" or "many stripes" (Lk.12:47,48), they will all come to an end! A few is a number & many is a number‚ & whether few or many, they will come to an end when they have received enough to have accomplished God's purpose to cause them to repent‚ to see the Light & be sorry & turn away & change! They will eventually be released from their prisons & their punishments & the worst cases from their torments, whatever they may be.
68. I'M CONVINCED THAT GOD IS NOT A MONSTER WHO'S GOING TO KEEP PEOPLE IN FLAMES ETERNALLY! I guess I'm a little more inclined to believe the good old Catholic doctrine of Purgatory as far as Hell's concerned.—That they're not going to be in the Lake of Fire forever, but they're only going to stay there until they've paid for their sins.
69. GOD IS JUST, GOD IS LOVING, GOD IS PURE, GOD IS HOLY, GOD IS PERFECT, & everything will work out perfectly in the long run. There will be perfect judgement & punishment for the wicked, & perfect reward for the righteous & the believer & the ones who obeyed the Lord. So although the guilty will be punished for their sins, when their punishment is over & they've learned their lessons‚ they'll be released!—And that's the whole idea.—Released by the grace of God & the forgiveness of God just like everybody else!—PTL!
"A WAY OF ESCAPE" (1Co.10:13.)
70. THANK GOD THAT WE, ALL OF US WHO HAVE RECEIVED JESUS‚ HAVE ONLY HAPPINESS & JOY & BEAUTIFUL ETERNAL REWARDS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT LIFE, because we have received God's substitutionary sacrifice for our sins, Jesus Christ & His Blood shed on the cross, & we are relieved from the punishment & the penalty for sin & from the sentences that will be passed on others at this Great Final Judgement. We are completely forgiven & relieved from the punishment for sin, for "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1Jn.1:7.)
71. OF COURSE WE ALL DESERVE HELL, PUNISHMENT & THE WHOLE WORKS, BUT WE GET TO ESCAPE IT BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IN CHRIST & HAVE RECEIVED HIS FORGIVENESS & His punishment on the cross in our place. But the others who have not done that in this life, when they wake up in the next World & find out that they were very wrong & that the Gospel was true, well, then they are going to believe!—But for some it will be too late!
72. THOSE WHO HAVE WILFULLY, KNOWINGLY REJECTED JESUS CHRIST'S SALVATION & HIS SUBSTITUTION, HIS TAKING THEIR PUNISHMENT FOR THEM, are going to have to suffer for their own sins. They themselves will have to suffer the judgement & serve out the sentence until they have suffered enough to pay for it. They rejected the way of escape that God provided for them‚ so they will have to be punished. They will have to suffer for it.—And as we've seen, some are going to be so bad that they'll have to suffer the very fires of Hell, the Lake of Fire in the heart of the Earth!
73. HIS WORD SAYS THAT "GOD IS NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, BUT THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE." (2Pe.3:9.)—And to show His Love to all men, He sent Jesus to live, die & suffer for us: "For God so loved the World‚ that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the World to condemn the World; but that the World through Him might be saved." (Jn.3:16,17.)
74. JESUS SAID, "I CAME NOT TO JUDGE THE WORLD, BUT TO SAVE THE WORLD. He that rejecteth Me, & receiveth not My Words, hath one that judgeth him: the Word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the Last Day." (Jn.12:47,48.) He loves you & didn't come to judge & condemn you, but to save you forever! But if you hear His Word & refuse to receive it‚ if you know that He "stands at the door of your heart & knocks" (Rev.3:20) & you turn Him away & reject Him‚ then you condemn yourself!
75. "THIS IS THE CONDEMNATION, THAT LIGHT IS COME INTO THE WORLD, & MEN LOVED DARKNESS RATHER THAN LIGHT, because their deeds were evil!" (Jn.3:19.) His Word asks‚ "How shall we escape‚ if we neglect so great salvation?" (Heb.2:3.) The answer is simple—you can't escape! For if you reject Jesus & reject His Blood & refuse to believe & refuse to receive, you will have to suffer for your own sins, your own punishment!—"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ!" (Rom.6:23.)
76. YOU DON'T WANT TO BE IN THAT CROWD AT THE SECOND RESURRECTION WHO WILL STAND BEFORE GOD'S GREAT JUDGEMENT THRONE to be judged according to all of their deeds, do you?—Why pay the heavy price of age-lasting punishment for all of your sins when Jesus has already suffered for you?—All He asks is that you humbly accept His pardon‚ ask His forgiveness & receive Him into your heart! He's the only escape, the only way! Do you have Jesus?—If not, take Him now! God bless you with Salvation!