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Its Origin, Purpose, Nature
Inhabitants and Duration
Elder Oscar B. Mink
(Luke 16:19-31 KJV) There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:  And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,  And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.  But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:  For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.  Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
WHY A HELL?
Why a hell? All governments of the earth have prisons for the transgressors of their laws, and the voice of decency in universal concert cries out, saying, "This is as it should be." Then I ask, shall not God have His? Sin did not merely exile man from God, but made him a fugitive, and a rebel against all that is holy and good. God's laws are not only violated, but are scornfully flaunted and outraged by man. In God's sight, sinners are criminals, and it would be inconsistent with God's holiness and justice to have His laws broken and blasphemed, and not invoke the penalty annexed to His law. God will not excuse the guilty (Nah. 1:3).
THE TEXT IS NOT A PARABLE
Modernistic theologians teach that Luke 16:19-31 is a parable, but they err not knowing the truth. Christ is in this Scripture quoting the actual history of two individuals, one a rich man who held to the pagan philosophy: "Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for to tomorrow we die." The other, a poor sick beggar whom the rich man utterly neglected, but who had heaven's attention, and was at the time of his demise conveyed by angels to the place of infinite and eternal comfort.
Parables, similes, metaphors, and allegories are used in Scripture to set forth truth which is literally stated somewhere else in the Bible. They are used to free truth of confusion, and to enhance understanding. Parables are used to reinforce truth, and never to detract from truth. Supposing Luke 16:19-31 is a parable (which we do not suppose) would militate against the "no hell" doctrine, rather than support it. Couching truth in parabolic language does not diminish the literalness of the truth, but serves to give it a two-fold stimulus. The parabolic escape of the hell deniers is like the man in the electric chair who escaped AC. by asking for DC. Any way they turn their argument is yet against them.
In their effort to detour around the truth of a literal hell, the cults (the term "cult" is in this booklet used in a derogatory sense), and the modernists have made allegory their favorite vehicle, but due to its ill use their allegory breaks down and leaves them disastrously close to the brink of the hell which they think does not exist.
I am caused to wonder how they who try to force upon Luke 16:19-31, the ill fitting cloak of parableism, get around the earth shaking demonstration of God's wrath against sin by sending a flood upon the earth, which in its wake drowned every person on the earth except Noah and seven members of his family. Was the flood of Noah's day merely a figure, and not really a flood? The fire and brimstone which God sent down out of heaven, and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, was it real fire or merely a figure? The 185,000 Syrians who the angel of the Lord killed in one night (II Kings 19:35), were they really dead, or just merely acting like they were dead? The answers to the above questions are glaringly clear to the antediluvians, the burned out citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the 185,000 angel smote Syrians. To them the flood, the fire, and the death which the angel of the Lord wrought are all real, and no one will ever be able to convince the "rich man" of Luke 16 that the "fire" which the Lord spoke of when He revealed his destiny is merely a figure and not real.
THE NEED FOR PREACHING OF THE
Isa. 30:9-10"That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, see not; and to the prophets, prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits."
THE ORIGIN OF HELL
Of Christ. we read, "All things were made by Him: and without Him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:2). No existence antedates Jesus Christ. Paul says: "All things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist" (Col.1:16-17).
"All things were created by Him," including not only heaven and earth, but hell also. "By Him all things consist," and not merely exist or subsist, but "consist". Not only is all of creation dependent upon God for its orderliness and balanced proportions in which it is kept together (Heb. 1:3), and by which it infallibly serves the purpose of its Creator, but all of original creation, including hell, was perfectly consistent with the nature of God.
There is no such thing or place as "A Devil's hell." Hell is God's hell, and His sovereignty over hell is as absolute as it is over heaven. The first person God had disfavourably in mind when He created hell was the devil. for He says, everlasting fire was "prepared for the devil and his angels" (Mt. 25:41). The devil will suffer in Hades, yes, more so than any other creature, and he will in hell bow his knee and confess with his mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 1:10 & 11). I do not know it to be so, but I doubt that the inhabitants of hell would be the least surprised to see and eternally hear the devil mournfully crying out, "The Lord hath rebuked me, He hath brought me down to hell, to the sides of the pit" (Jude 9: Isa. 14:15).
The Bible does not tell us when hell was created. Some scholars believe it was created before the entrance of sin into the angelic family, others believe hell was created at the time of the angelic insurrection against God, and there are some who believe hell came into existence at the time of Adam's fall. As to when hell actually came into being, I simply do not know, nor is there any other man who does know, but there is something I DO KNOW about the origin of hell which no man can successfully dispute, and that is, it was in the just and eternal counsels of God and when it pleased Him He brought it forth. Omniscience cannot have a new thought or know a new thing, so there is a true sense in which hell is as ancient as God. Hell's point of origin cannot be established, but the person of its origin has been, and that person is the sin avenging God.
THE PURPOSE OF HELL
While there is much about the purposes of God which defies human scrutiny, God has on the other hand been pleased to lift the cloud of inscrutableness, and reveal a goodly measure of His eternal mind to His saints. There are some things the believer can know with absolute certainty about the purposes of God. I will cite three of the many things which the disciple of Christ can know about the purposes of God, and let us remember there is not one thing in all of existence which has its origin apart from, or acts contrary to the purpose of God.
1. All of God's purposes shall stand. "The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass: and as I have purposed, so shall it stand" (Isa. 14:24).
2. The Lord's every purpose shall be executed. "... For every purpose of the Lord shall be performed ..." (Jer. 51:29).He "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Eph. 1:11).
3. God's purposes are eternal. "According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Eph. 3:11).
God is determined to glorify Himself, and it is this end which all of God's purposes have in view. God never acts except to glorify Himself, and God being the author of all creation, the inextricable, and only honest conclusion concerning the purposes of hell is, hell was created for the glory of God.
Rev. 4:11 "Thou are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour, and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created". God does not save people merely to keep them out of hell, but His primary purpose in the salvation of the sinner is to glorify Himself. Neither does God cast people into hell merely to punish them for sin, but hell was created for the glory of God, and they who die unregenerate shall in hell eternally magnify God's great attributes of hate and justice. The rich man in hell (Lk. 16) brings as much glory to God, as Lazarus in heaven. Lazarus in heaven magnifies God's wondrous attributes of grace, love, and mercy; while at the same time the rich man in hell equally honors God's eminent attributes of holiness, justice, and wrath. God was glorified as much in casting Pharaoh down to hell, as He was in translating Enoch to heaven. God was glorified as much in the burning of Sodom, as He was in preserving the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace.
The modernist preacher presents God as a sentimental indulgent father who pats his rebellious children on the head and says, "There, there, I know you didn't mean it." But God is not the Father of all mankind. He is the Creator of all, but not the Father of all, as the ecumenist would like for us to believe. Satan has his spiritual children as well as God (John 8:44). There are children of hell as well as children of heaven (Mt. 23:15), and both heaven and hell subserve God's purpose to glorify Himself.
In reading the narrative (Lk. 16:19-31) concerning the rich man and Lazarus, there cannot be found the first element of regret manifested by Abraham in his reply to the rich man. The rich man "Cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me." Abraham replied, "Son remember..." And then proceeded to remind him of all the good things which he had squandered in his earthly life. Abraham did not say, "I know you do not deserve to be in hell, and I am sorry you are in that awful place." No, he did not say that, but went on to remind the rich man of his blatant neglect of the word of God while he was alive on the earth. Neither will God have the least pity on a single soul of the multiplied millions that shall deservedly wake up in hell, It is in this life that Christ must be ones' Advocate, or He will in the next life be that person's eternal and inflexible adversary.
The Lord says to Christ hating and gospel rejecting men, "I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me: for they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: They would none of My counsel: they despised all my reproof" (Prov. 1:26-30). But just before the Lord said to the wicked, "I will laugh at your calamity," He states the reason of His laughter, "Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof" (Prov. 1:24,25)
God does not owe man the first warning, but out of His general mercy God has filled the Scriptures with warning after warning, saying, "Why will ye die?" "Flee the wrath to come." "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,' etc.. And He says, "All day long I have stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people" (Rom. 10:21).
It is true that hell is for the purpose of punishing the lost who die in their sins. Christendom so-called with its sickly sentimentality, and its malformed concept of God may ignore sin by giving it another name, but God called sin, sin, and He sees through all the smoke-screens which modern religion uses to make sin appear to be something less than what it is. In God's sight the girl who has illicit sex, commits fornication, whether she gets pregnant or not. With our permissive and sin excusing society so-called free love is common, and when the girl gets pregnant all that it means is, the girl "slipped up." The young man who gets caught burglarizing a home is considered to have had a youthful adventure which turned out badly. The weak arm of the law slaps him on the wrist, and send him home. The drunk driver is strewing our highways with human carnage, and the one who gets caught and goes to jail for a few days is not considered to be criminal, but merely "unlucky." But in God's sight fornication, burglary and drunkenness are abominable, and "The Lord will not at all acquit the wicked" (Nahum 1:3). Even God fearing Job, said, "If I sin, then Thou markest me, and Thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity" (Job 10:14).
God will not indefinitely suffer His Divine perfection to be impugned by puny man. God's love does not invalidate His law, and man needs to learn that God is holy, just, and righteous, as well as longsuffering, kind and merciful. God's holiness is of such a nature that it begets a perfect hatred of sin, and His unmitigated justice will not allow sin to go unpunished. So it is, the purpose of hell is twofold, for the punishment of the sinner, for sin must be punished, either in Christ, or in the sinner. And hell exists for the glory of God, for hell is the place of due recompense for sin, and apart from hell many of God's wondrous attributes, deserving of exhibition. would go eternally wanting and unknown.
THE NATURE OF HELL
Christ spoke far more about hell than He did heaven, and now let us note some of the things which the Bible says about that awful place. Christ said, "... It is better for thee to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mk. 9:47,48). From these words of the Lord we learn, first that hell is a place filled with fire. Secondly, that the punishment of hell is eternal, a place of everlasting burning, "the fire is not quenched." Thirdly, hell is a place "Where their worm dieth not." The words of Christ in this text (Mk. 9:47,48) are a restatement of Isaiah's words found in the sixty-sixth chapter of his prophecy, and proves the authenticity of that prophecy, wherein we find this further word on our subject, "Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming ... the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee" (Isa. 14:9 & 11). This he said of the king of Babylon.
Gehenna or the Valley of Hinnom which is near the city of Jerusalem was a place where they cast the dead bodies of malefactors or criminals. The putrid flesh of the dead bodies gendered a deluge of worms, necessitating a perpetual fire to consume the decaying flesh and worms. and to minimize the awful stench of the place. The difference between Jerusalem's Ghenna and the Gehenna of the lower regions is, Jerusalem's Gehenna received only the body of the criminal, which was readily consumed by the fire, and the predatory worms were consumed with their stinking prey. The Gehenna of the lower regions is eternal, with eternal fire, eternal worms, and eternal sinners, with eternal souls and bodies. For God is able "To destroy both body and soul in hell" (Mt. 10:28).
In the eternal Gehenna the worms are spread under the residents of hell, and worms cover their already tormented bodies (Isa. 14:9 & 11). Ugly, slimy worms crawling in and out of the mouth, nose, eyes, ears. and every other aperture of the body. The helpless but deserving victims scream for mercy, but their pitiful and anguish laden cry loses its mournful sound in the dark caverns of endless misery, for the Scripture says, they shall be "Punished with everlasting destruction" (II Thes. 1:9).
The condemned man sitting in death row of the state prison waiting to be electrocuted would not enjoy a lecture on the nature and function of the electric chair, and neither does the condemned sinner appreciate a message on the reality and terrible nature of hell, but the person who without wavering warns God defying sinners to flee the eternal blackness of hell, renders then an invaluable service. I saw a man who had been put to death in the electric chair at Eddyville, Kentucky, the sight of which has been indelibly stamped on my mind, and I pray God that for the rest of my life to be spared all such experiences, for the scene was devastating to my weak frame. Yet, I know there is nothing so horrible in this life that it can be in any sense compared with the pain and unhappiness of the man in hell. The napalm bombs of Viet Nam, and the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will by comparison with the unending explosions of hell be like fourth of July firecrackers. Dr. LeRoy McWherter has ably written:
"The hell of the Bible is horrible beyond description. It is a lake of BURNING, BUBBLING, BRIMSTONE, environed with a dense darkness, rising in black embankments, instinct with Divine wrath. As far as the eye can see, it is FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! Huge billows of fire rise up, and roll in rapid succession, while great waves of fiery flames leap high in the air, like angry waves of the sea during a violent storm. On the crest of those mighty waves the inhabitants of hell rise for a moment, to sink DOWN again into the lowest depths of this LITERAL LAKE OF FIRE AND BRIMSTONE. While borne on the crest of these awful billows the vast regions of FIRE echoes and reechoes the wails of the LOST spirits - millions of voices sending up their heart-rending but fruitless cries for WATER! WATER! WATER!"
Let us further consult the Scriptures, and see what they say about the nature of hell. HELL IS:
A lake of fire - Rev. 20:15
A bottomless pit - Rev. 20:1 & 3
A devouring fire - Isa. 33:14
A horrible tempest - Psa. 11:6
A place of bitter sorrow - Psa. 18:5
A place where all wail - Matt. 13:42
A place of weeping - Matt. 8:12
A place of torment - Lk. 16:23
A place of filth - Rev. 22: 10
A place of cursing - Rev. 16:11
A place of outer darkness - Matt. 25:30
A place destitute of mercy - Lk. 16:24
A place where tongues are gnawed - Rev. 16:10
A place where the devil will be - Matt. 25:41
A place where the fallen angels will be - Matt. 25:41
A place where abominable men will be - Rev. 21:8
A place where there is no repentance - Rev. 16:9
A place of gnashing of teeth - Matt. 24:51
A place where the residents do not want their relatives to come - Lk. 16:28
But the dehydrated bodies of the victims of hell must go eternally parched and dry-mouthed, for hell has not nor shall ever have the first drop of water.
It is a place the terribleness of which is humanly incomprehensible, and a place to be shunned at the cost of all things which this life has to offer. The Saviour asks, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mk. 8:36). I have yet to see a Brink's truck in a funeral procession (I Tim. 6:7).
THE INHABITANTS OF HELL
Acts 17:30 "God ... now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." And the Lord Jesus Christ said two times in quick succession, "I tell you, nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3 & 5). The inhabitants of hell are made up of impenitents. (Rev. 16:9) "They repented not to give Him glory." One impenitent or unatoned for sinner in heaven would defile the whole, and ungod God. The absolute rule which our Lord set down is "repent or perish," which being simply stated is, "Turn or Burn."
People do not get disturbed when they are told the devil and his angels are going to burn in hell, nor are they concerned upon learning that the false prophet and the antichrist are going to be cast into eternal hell, neither are they moved when told that all "The abominable, the murderers, whore mongers, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone ..." (Rev. 21:8). The reason being, while they admit they do not believe in the Bible, they will tell you straight out, that they are none of the mentioned above. Oh how intense is the darkness of the lost soul, it is not merely in darkness, but is darkness (Eph. 5:8). Lost man is not merely at enmity against God, but is enmity (Rom. 8:7). Jeremiah says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9). The heart is not merely "wicked," but "desperately wicked." But what the unsaved person does not realize is, that disbelief in the Bible is a sin of such magnitude that in God's sight it is equal to being abominable, a murderer, a sorcerer, or an idolater, and the same Scripture which declares hell to be the final and fit abode of all who commit such evil, also says: "The unbelieving ... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone" (Rev. 21:8).
Under the biblical heading of "THE UNBELIEVING" are people from all walks and stations of life, and all who die in unbelief, be they rich or poor, shall stand before the God of the Bible at the last day and be made aware of the awful degree of torment they shall eternally suffer in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15). The rich man's A-1 rating with Dunn and Bradstreet will be of no value in that final assize, on the contrary, it will identify him with the rich man of Luke 16, who mishandled the things which God's common grace bestowed on him. Neither will the social or welfare programs of this world be able to help the unbelieving poor in that day, for the body whose foundation is in the dust will be at that time beyond the reach of any further help.
The religionists who pay only lip service to the word of God will hear the heart rending verdict, "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven" (Mt. 7:21). All that the lip service crowd want out of religion is a fire escape, but to their woeful dismay they shall find themselves in the burning house of the damned, where exit signs shall never appear, and their eternal lament shall be, "I am tormented in this flame."
The Pastor who failed to tell his people the truth concerning hell and their inability to avoid its fiery gates, will stand before the white throne judgment, along with his poor deluded congregation. O' they will pleadingly say, "Have we not preached in thy name? And in thy name cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?" But the perjureless and august Judge will answer, "I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity (Mt. 7:22, 23).
Some people, ignorant of God's holy character and fixed opposition to sin, have said, "Men go to hell, but it is not God Who sends them there, man puts himself in hell." There is an element of truth in this statement, but taken in its entirety it is seen to be utterly false and imminently dangerous, for it causes men to think they are secure in their sins until death, and most people live as if they are never going to die.
In the Scripture just cited (Mt. 7:22) we see man doing his best to stay out of hell, but all to no avail, and God consigns them to hell; saying, "Depart from Me ye that work iniquity" (Mt. 7:23). "... Man puts himself in hell," there is a sense in which man goes to hell on intellectual grounds, and it is on this basis it can be said a man puts himself in hell. Man by nature is depraved in all of his faculties, his intellect, will, and affections are in their every exercise self-serving. Man in his fallen state does not merely choose sin over righteousness, but he hungers and thirsts after sin, while hating every semblance of righteousness. Natural man, when measured by the divine yardstick is seen to be "at his best state altogether vanity" (Ps. 39:5). Man does not go to hell because of what he does, but because of what he is. He may fancy himself to be something of great worth, but in truth he is a child of wrath who is ill-deserving of the least favor of God, and fully merits the eternal and fiery indignation of God.
While hell shall be filled with those who are as despicable as dung, as loathsome as lizards, as gruesome as Goliath, as hateful as Herod, and as spiteful as Satan, there will not be one infidel or atheist in hell, for they all are converted on arrival.
Hell will be devoid of love, even natural affection will be alien in that place of endless sorrow and grief. There will be sons and daughters who will point their burning and puss dripping fingers into the face of their grief stricken parents, and say in hateful tone, "I am here because of my sin, yet I blame you, for on earth you taught me by word and example to ignore the teachings of the Bible, and that the church was for the unstable."
In hell there will never be one smiling face, nor the laughter of little children, neither shall there be any singing, nay, not even the satanically inspired songs of fleshly lust and lewdness shall ever be sung. There will never be one friendly handshake, nor the first gentle pat on the back. A man once told me, "It does not make any difference to me whether I go to heaven or hell when I die, for I have friends in both places." He could not be more wrong, and if he dies in his sins one of the first things he will learn is that there is no friendship in hell, but that every man is filled with hatred of every other man and that they gnash upon one another with their teeth.
Instead of kindness or concern hell will be a place of the accrued hatred of all the ages. intense bitterness shall prevail in every quarter, and the guilt ridden souls shall incessantly cry out, "O wretched man that I am. I shall never be delivered from this awful death."
THE DURATION OF HELL
One of the first questions the cultist will ask his unsuspecting prospect is. "Does eternal mean everlasting, or does everlasting mean eternal?" Obviously, a foolish question, but nevertheless a favorite with the cults. The cultist then follows up with a twisting and distorting of Scripture that makes the devil real proud, for he knows he has successfully used his dupes to further blind the minds of them which believe not (II Cor. 4:4). The devil has sown the field with his tares, and they know that the things "of the Spirit of God is foolishness unto the natural man" (I Cor. 2:14), and they capitalize upon fallen mans' spiritual ignorance, whereby their poor victim is caused to give "heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils" (I Tim. 4:1).
Two so-called Jehovah witnesses were saying it could not be proven from the Hebrew scriptures that the soul of man is eternal. The sagacious pastor to whom they were talking, said, wait a minute, stepped into his office, and handed them his Hebrew Old Testament, saying, "Find the book of Isaiah for me." They filtered and fumbled through the pages for more than ample time. Finally, the pastor said, "Show me the book of Jeremiah." Again their lengthy efforts were futile. and the pastor knowing they were mere stereotypes of Russell (their spiritual progenitor who perjured himself on the witness stand by saying he was fluent in the Greek language when he did not know the first word of the Greek language) said, "Read for me one text if you can?" They did not know a single Hebrew letter, but were quoting what they had been taught by their deceived superiors.
The Greek word "aionios" translated "eternal" or "everlasting" in the King James Version is used to denote that which is eternal in its nature. Aionios is used seventy one times in the KJV, and is set in contrast with "proskairos," which literally means, "for a season."
Aionios or eternal is used to denote the being or glory of God. (Mt. 6:13; John 8:35; Rom. 1:25, 9:5, 16:27; Gal. 1:5; II Tim. 2:10; Heb. 1:8, 5:6; I Pet. 4:11, 5:11; I John 2:17; Rev. 1:8, etc.)
Aionios or eternal is used to denote the believer's life in Christ. (Mt. 19:16, 25:46; Mk. 10:17 & 30; Lk. 10:25; John 3:15,16 & 36, 6:27,10:28; Acts 13:46 & 48; Rom. 2:7, 5:2 1; Gal. 6:8; I Tim. 1:16; Titus 1:2; I John 1:2, 3:15, 5:11; Jude 21.)
Aionios or eternal is used to denote the duration of the punishment of those who die in their sins. Jude 7 "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example. suffering the vengeance of eternal life." Some other references where the term "aionios" or "eternal" is used to show that the suffering of hell is unending are, (Mt. 18:8, 25:42,46; Mk. 3:29; II Thes. 1:9; Heb. 6:2; Jude 7:13; Rev. 14:11).
Greek scholars agree, with little to no exception, that the words "aion" and "aionios" refer to duration, and unless specified, they always mean endless duration. When Christ says to those on His left hand, "... Depart from Me ye cursed, into everlasting fire" (Mt. 25:41), there is no room to quibble, for His words leave no room for ambiguity, and unequivocally declare that the duration of hell is everlasting.
A heavenly eternity is not long enough to give God all the praise and honor due Him, neither is hell too long in duration for the occupants thereof to suffer more than due recompense for their sins. The man, woman, boy or girl who goes to hell, deserves to stay in hell, and no person in hell shall ever say, "I ought not to be there."
While no man on earth can know the date hell was actually created by God, neither shall any man in heaven, earth, or hell ever know the day of its cessation, for the simple reason; THE FIRE OF HELL IS UNQUENCHABLE, and shall burn as long as the glory of heaven shall shine.
In that great hymn, Amazing Grace, John Newton says to the weary pilgrim, "When we've been there (heaven) ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun." To those who spurn the gospel of free grace, I say, "When you have been in hell ten thousand years, burnt black by the Son, you've no less days to suffer God's wrath than when you first begun."
EXHORTING THE EARTHLY
The contemporary believer is not going to hell, and as yet he is not in heaven. Thus it is the believer's responsibility to warn, not only rich men and their brethren of their broad way travel to the gates of eternal destruction, but also the poor, yea, even the "fool" which says in his heart "there is no God," is to have the gospel preached unto him. And it is the sincere prayer of the believer, that the path to hell may grow plushy green with grass from a lack of travelers thereon.
Let me exhort those who as yet have no interest in the privileges which belong to the children of heaven. I pray the God of all grace that He may enable you to earnestly consider your carnal security, and cause you to see the urgency of your desperate need. That you may be made aware that all who believe not the Lord Jesus Christ are children of wrath (John 3:36), even more, they are bondslaves of the devil, and his diabolical will is their delight.
O' rebel, you are a stranger to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. You manifest in every way that in your present state you are an heir of hell. This is your natural heritage, and if you die in your sins this sad legacy will remain as sure to you as God shall remain sure to the heirs of glory.
When you die you will leave your earthly substance to another, but the righteous judgment of God has fastened hard upon you, and will follow you into the next world. Divine justice is weary of you, and cries out for the eternal penalty to be exacted from you, the bottomless pit opens her smoking mouth to receive you, and hell from beneath is coming up to meet you and to greet you with the spine chilling screams of the damned.
Your responsibility is, a denunciation of this present world and its vain glory, owning your helplessness to save yourself from hell, that hell has a rightful hold on you, and that if the merits of Christ's shed blood does not avail for you, that there is no hope for you.
"The wicked shall be turned into hell ..." (Psa. 9:17). A person does not have to be Judas Iscariot to be wicked, all that one need do in order to be wicked, is to be born into this world (Psa. 51:5). By nature man is from the womb to the tomb, wicked. "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies" (Psa. 58:3). Man as he is apart from Christ is guilty of eternal treason against the Lord of glory, the King of kings, and will not bow to His crown, but with his contemptuous heart, he says "I will not have this man to reign over me" (Lk. 19:14). Lost man's stubborn pride has him blinded to the fact "the Lord God omnipotent reigneth," and that the Lord's sovereign wrath has steadfastly settled upon his body and soul and will in due season throw him down at the nailed scared feet of the King Eternal.
But the sounds of mercy are not fully hushed, even in this dark and late hour the joyful sound of the gospel is with impassioned tone still going forth in our benighted land, and some repentingly hear it and turn from their sins unto God. On the other hand, multitudes upon multitudes are religiously deceived, thinking that the feeling of remorse brought on by the thought of their bodies burning in hell, is the repentance which without, Christ said, "Ye shall all perish" (Lk. 13:3). And being motivated by remorse, they have at the hands of their beguilers bought in various forms what they believe to be full coverage hell insurance. However, the true penitent knows that "it is not by works of righteousness which he has done (Titus 3:5), be it baptism or any other religious exercise that saves from sin, but his hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
Genuine repentance invariably brings remorse to the heart because of sin against Him Who was made sin for the believer, but God given repentance calls for more than remorse or sorrow for sin. Every convicted criminal fears this punishment, and out of that fear feels grief or sorrow for himself. Yet, having no knowledge that he has sinned not only against man, but also against God, he cannot or will not leave off the evil which he is accustomed to doing. Biblical repentance will manifest itself not only in sorrow for sin, but in a change of mind about God, self, sin, and about the judgment to come, It will be seen in a forsaking of sin, and in taking God's side against one's self. Any gospel which does not include the necessity of repentance is under the curse of God, and all who die under its deception will awake in a repentless hell.
Pharaoh defied the Lord, and was caused to see the darkest and longest night this world has ever known (Ex. 10:21,22). But Egypt's sightless night, as bitter as it was, can in no way compare with that absolute and eternal blackness in which Pharaoh is now immersed. Pharaoh was obstinate, and was in himself assured he could resist the God of Moses. To dissuade him, God sent the angel of death to every Egyptian household to destroy the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant throughout all the land of Egypt (Ex. 5:11,12). "There was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead" (Ex. 12:30). There was weeping and wailing, and heart rending lamentation in Egypt that night but how soon are the judgments of God upon earth forgotten Nothing short of personal death will totally negate the awful depravity of the reprobate heart. God had with plague after plague reproved Pharaoh, but it took drowning in the Red Sea to nullify his churlish nature.
If the death angel who visited Egypt in that dreadful and destructive night, wherein the firstborn in every Egyptian household died, would visit hell; His presence would be met with relentless applause. All the occupants of hell would hurry to His bloody sword, and mournfully beg for death. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, for hell's judgment is eternal, not a single moments respite while the ceaseless ages roll on and on. The unalterable decree for hell is, eternal burning.
Christ is both light and life, in Him is neither darkness nor death, and He has said: "He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). Man's native love for darkness rather than light (John 3:19) is no obstacle for God's Sovereign Son, for the "Son quickeneth Whom He will" (John 5:21), and all whom He quickens are as free from the flames of hell as He is, because where Christ is, His people shall also be (John 14:3).
No doubt the modernists who reads this booklet will call the author an "alarmist," and charge him with trying to scare people into the church. The appellation "alarmist" in this case is not utterly fallacious, for we are living in a time when people are more apathetic toward the Bible and its teachings than at any other time in the history of Christianity. The need to confront people with the truth of a literal burning hell has never been more urgent than it is today, for spiritual lukewarmness and indifference have replaced God honoring zeal, and trappings of carnal reason characterize the churches. The Lord says: "Sound an alarm in My holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness ... A fire devoureth before them, and behind them a flame burneth" (Joel 2:1-3). This is a prophecy concerning the terribleness of the great tribulation period, which is surely near at hand, and being divinely admonished to "sound an alarm" concerning God's tribulation wrath, is it not incumbent upon the believer to deliberately make people aware of the reality of hell, 'whether it alarms them or not.
As to the charge of "trying to scare people into the church," I deny it. for it is badly flawed. In truth it is God and only God Who adds to the church (Acts 2:47). When God adds to the church there is a genuine "increase" in the church (I Cor. 3:6), and that "increase" is ever fearful of the sin hating God. Every believer who loves the Lord's church desires to be used of His Saviour in building up his church, but such a believer knows "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it" (Ps. 127:1).
The cultist with his preconceived notions on the subject, may with great reluctance glance over these pages (although I doubt it), but he knows in advance what his conclusions shall be. His insatiable prejudices have precluded any favorable word. The cultist being thoroughly programmed by his superiors, and moved by evil compulsion, can only give a disdainful reading to any literature that teaches the truth concerning hell.
Whatever the thoughts of the readers may be, I am confident there will be at least a few among them, who knowing the grace of God, and considering themselves brands "plucked from the fire." will say: "God can if He pleases use even this feeble effort to glorify His name." May it be so.
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