Eternal Death (Conditional Immortality, Annihilation):
One Step Out of Hell; One Step Short of Glory

By Gary Amirault

When it comes to the final destination of the wicked, or unrighteous, Christians over the past two millenniums have divided themselves into three beliefs: 1. Eternal Torment, 2. Eternal Death (Annihilationism), and 3. Salvation of the whole world through Jesus Christ. Each of these views can be supported with Scriptures. Having been in all three groups, I know that there are sincere Bible centered believers in all of them. Obviously, all three cannot be true. Two of them have to be false.

This writing is primarily for Christians who have embraced the Doctrine of Conditional Mortality, often referred to as "eternal death" and also "annihihationism." Many who hold this view, have come to this conclusion because the "doctrine of eternal torment" was repugnant to them. They felt they could bow down to such a God, but could not truly love Him. I know most Christians who hold this view are Bible students, that is, they spend time in the Bible, and enjoy deep study. This writing is design for that kind of mind and attitude. Some of it is rather technical. It has to be. Having studied and been in all three camps regarding the outcome of the fate of the wicked, (eternal torment, eternal death, and the ultimate salvation of all mankind) I feel what is contained in this writing will be helpful to those who cannot love an Eternal Tormentor. This work will also be useful to those holding a view other than eternal death, but the focus of the study is on passages used to support "eternal death." Therefore, I did not deal with many passages of scripture that the other two groups would perhaps want covered. I have other literature and audio tapes on the other viewpoints.

Several denominations, Bible study groups, and many millions of Christians believe and teach the doctrine of "Eternal Death." I know many Christians, even though they attend a main line Protestant or Catholic Church, do not believe God will really torture people forever. These often believe they will just go into unconsciousness never to wake. Millions of people who do not consider themselves Christians believe in "eternal death." Many atheists, agnostics, as well as other religions believe we will just return to dust. Is it Scriptural? It certainly is more merciful than "eternal torment," but can it stand on Scriptural ground? Let us see.

This study deals with the leading scriptures which are used to justify the "Doctrine of Eternal Death." We will look into the Greek and Hebrew words as well as the English verses used to teach this doctrine to see if this doctrine can stand up to a thorough test. After all, I think most people would agree, it would be much easier to love a God who just ends a life as opposed to One Who viciously tortures His own creatures. When we see this in a human being, we call them sick, but somehow we don't seem to have the nerve to call this kind of God "sick" also. The beginning of wisdom is to "fear" the Lord, so they say, but what kind of fear, terror or awe?

The word "annihilation" is used in this study as meaning that the ungodly, the wicked, the "unsaved," will be ultimately completely destroyed. The English words used in the scriptures to prove this teaching are destroy, perish, abolish, destruction, loss, etc. And words such as everlasting, eternal, and forever.

This teaching is not a new doctrine. It has been taught by some Christians throughout the history of the Christian Church. It is a fact that many scriptures in English translations do teach the destruction of some people. In this study, we will consider the original Greek words translated, destroy, destruction, etc., and what these words meant at the time they were written. We will also look at the words translated everlasting, eternal, forever, world, age, damn etc. This study will not deny that "destruction" is taught in the English scriptures. We do, however, want to be certain what "destruction" meant to the original writers of the scriptures. We often read words in Bibles through our sectarian definitions.

It is usage of words that determines the meaning of words. The meaning of words are often changed as the word travels through the history of a people. The word "carriage" referred to "that which is carried" in King James England. Today, it refers to a vehicle that carries. The English word "let" was often used to mean "restrain" in King James English. Today, it has taken on the opposite meaning of "allow." These are a couple examples of thousands of occurrences of dramatic changes in word usage. The word "villain" used to mean someone who lived in a villa, a rural person. Obviously, that meaning has been completely replaced. This is why it is important to study the words in their historical and cultural sense. There are places in the King James Bible where one would actually completely change the meaning of the passage if one used today's definitions of certain words found in the King James Bible.

This study will include a study of the original Greek words and the English words, destroy, destruction, etc., as used in our Bibles. In order to compare the Greek with the English, we must have certain tools to work with. In this study, we must first have a good reference Bible. There are several good reference Bibles. One of the best as far as King James Versions go, is Dr. Bullinger's Companion Bible.

The original texts of the Bible were inspired by the Creator, but no translation or version is inerrant. Now, I realize there will be readers who will differ with me on what I just said, but if you lay any of the ten leading English Bibles before me, it will be very easy to show differences in translation among them which involve key doctrinal issues. I will be more than happy to point out a few for those who do not believe me. Write me and I will send you examples.

We also do not have the original writings. When we translate, we translate from copies of copies of copies, often many generations away from the original. Since the copies were made by hand, there is not one copy today which agrees with another copy. This is a fact! If Christians were made aware of some of these things, perhaps they would spend more time in study and less time watching the Super Bowl, or the soaps.

A reference Bible that shows some of the variants of different manuscripts is very helpful. Also, a good concordance to the translation you are using is essential. Notice I said a "good" concordance. Many Christians do not even realize that each translation requires it's own concordance. The famous Strong's Concordance is only useful for the King James Translation. Should you be using the KJV, I recommend using the Young's Concordance over the Strong's Concordance because it is much easier to see the original words in the context of the sentences in which they are located. Mr. Young was also brave enough to make notice of places where he believes the King James translators made some grave mistakes. He also wrote a literal Bible translation which is very useful. I highly encourage at this time, for the reader to get their concordance and use it as we go through the following word study. Although, I personally think the KJV is a terrible translation to use in the twentieth century, we will use it for this study because most people have one and a concordance that works with the King James Bible. The truth can be found even in archaic translations if one searches honestly.

Many of the passages below which deal with the Greek language have been taken almost word for word from audio tapes prepared by Louis Abbott from Stover, Missouri. Mr. Abbott has the largest library of New Testament Greek references of anyone I know. Many Bible colleges and seminaries do not have many of the books he possesses. Mr. Abbott spends most of his evenings and weekends reading and studying Greek. He has studied these particular words more than anyone I know. An objective reading of his findings would serve us all well.

We hear the words "eternal death" in Christian creeds. Although many Christians use these words, the words "eternal death" are not in the scriptures. Again, I repeat, the words "eternal death" are not in our Bibles. Therefore, to study the teaching of "annihilation" or "eternal death" we will have to look for other words to study, "eternal death" is nowhere to be found.

The opposite of life is death and the opposite of death is life. According to the scriptures, there cannot be an eternal death. The scriptures declare an "end" to death. "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." (1 Cor. 15:26, KJV) Let us see that "death" cannot be "eternal."


Resurrection Versus "Being Made Alive"

The Greek word translated destroy in the above scripture (1Cor. 15:26,27) is not "apollumi." The word used here is "katageo" and means to nullify, discard, exempt, abolish, to make unproductive. This "last enemy" of Christ will ultimately be "nullified, discarded, abolished, or destroyed." Therefore, this clearly teaches that death is the last enemy and that in the future "death" will be destroyed. Hence, there can be no "eternal death." To teach an "eternal death" is to contradict the scriptures.

How will death be destroyed? Paul give the answer in the context, "For as in Adam all die, even so, in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Cor. 15:22, KJV) Now I know that some say that Paul is teaching in this verse that all will be resurrected, but the word used by Paul is "zoopoiethesontai" and this is a future passive verb meaning to vivify, to make alive beyond the reach of death. The Greek word "anastasis" means resurrection and is used in verse 21. We know that Jesus resurrected several people as recorded in the Gospels, but that does not mean they received unending life at that point. 1 Corinthians 15:22-28 teaches that there are three classes of orders that will be made alive. First, Christ, the first fruit. The word "first fruit" is singular in the Greek, not first fruits plural as in the King James Version. Second, they that are Christ's at His coming (Greek, parousia, appearing). This class includes all the Christians dead or alive. (See 1 Thess. 4:13-18) The third class is referred to as "then cometh the end." This includes the residue of all mankind who died in Adam. This is clearly taught in 1 Cor. 15:22-28. Therefore, these scriptures teach that all mankind who die in Adam will be made alive in Christ and I repeat, this is not resurrection. Unfortunately, many translations put a period between the second and third order of being made alive. The Greek does not have a period here. (1 Cor. 15:23,24) It is supplied by some translators.

The scriptures teach that all will be resurrected. (Study John 5:28,29) The dead in Christ when made alive will be resurrected as being "made alive" which includes resurrection but being "made alive" means more than resurrection. "Made alive" means make alive beyond death. May I remind you that not all Christians will be resurrected. Many Christians will be alive when Christ returns. Therefore, living Christians will not be resurrected, but they will be made alive or vivified. Notice these scriptures: "Behold, I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. For the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality." (1 Cor. 15:51-53) "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep,. That ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words." (1 Thess. 4:13-18, KJV; here is an example of a KJV word "prevent" which has completely lost its meaning. In the 1600's the word meant "precede," not "hinder.")

It is most important to remember vivification or being made alive cannot be limited to resurrection of the dead. Resurrection is limited to the dead. You cannot resurrect the living, yet the living in Christ will be "made alive" at Christ's coming (Gr. Parousia). I am speaking of the literal meaning of the resurrection. I do not want to dwell any longer on these words as our subject is "destruction."


Apollumi

There are two elements one needs to determine the meaning of a word which has been important over a long period of time: 1. The original meaning of the root word from which it is derived, so far as we are able to determine. 2. The history of the word as it passes from one generation to another. Other languages, social pressures, or one important person's or an institution's variant use of the word whose definition sticks with that word.

When we go back to the earliest uses of the word "apollumi," "apolleia" and their cognates, we find the words very indistinguishable from each other. We find the word in Homer where the "slayers and the slain" were "perishing from the world," but they reappear in Hades as persons capable of sorrow, joy and the ability to think. (Iliad 24:725) "We were 'undone' by their wisdom," says Odysseus. (Od. 10:27) According to Professor Plumtree, he knows of no passages in the earliest uses of these words which would mean destruction of conscious existence. (The Spirits in Prison, E.H. Plumtree) Searching the Greek Old Testament called the Septuagint, we find exactly the same usage of these words that we find in the New Testament. Below are examples of how these words were used in the Biblical sense.

Those who teach "eternal death" or "annihilation" believe the Greek words translated "destroy," "perish," "loss," mean cessation or end of life with no hope of recovery at a later time. The original words used in the Greek New Testament are: the verb "apollumi," and the noun, "apolleia." The verb "apollumi" is translated as follows in the King James Version: perish (33 times), destroy (46 times), lose (42 times), be lost (5 times), lost (4 times), bemarred (1 time), die (1 time), for a total of 92 times. The noun "apolleia" is translated as follows in the King James Version: perdition (8 times), destruction (5 times), waste (2 times), damnable (1 time), damnation (1 time), to die (1 time), perish (1 time), pernicious way (1 time), for a total of 40 times.

It is important that Christians understand the meaning of these two Greek words. An improper understanding of these words will result in an inaccurate faith in the destiny of the unbelievers and an inaccurate understanding of God's plan and love. To apply these words to the final destiny of the unbelievers will result in the denial of many scriptures that do refer to the ultimate plan of God's love. I recommend that you check the following scriptures with your concordances. It is not practical for me to quote over 110 verses. Therefore, I will quote only those passages used by those who are teaching that these words mean "destruction with no future resurrection to immortality."

First of all, let me state that I believe the original Hebrew and Greek scriptures were inspired by God. I believe the Creator allowed imperfect man to add his imperfections into Bible translations. When we look at the apostles and prophets, we quickly notice they were far from perfect, and yet were still mightily used. We see Peter, years after he received the Holy Spirit, play the hypocrite when being around gentiles. Paul had to rebuke him to his face. We read Paul saying, "I, not the Lord, say . . ." We find this in the scriptures in 1 Corinthians 7:12. I believe the Creator left us with imperfect English translations that we might rely on the Holy Spirit first. When one puts the scriptures above being lead by the Spirit, religious rigor mortus quickly sets in. The letter of the law produces death apart from the Holy Spirit quickening to us. This is true whether it is the Old Testament or New Testament. If one's witness in this world does not go past the Written Word, it will only be a witness to religious death . . . not life.

When quoting the scriptures contained herein, I will read the King James Version, and immediately after the English word, I will quote the original Greek vocabulary word. Thus the listener will know the original inspired word. By this method, I believe that Christians who do not know Greek will be able to understand how these words are used in the inspired text. I will quote verses that will clearly illustrate what these two Greek words mean.

The meaning of a word depends on its usage. Words get their color from their context. Without any dictionary whatever, it is possible to determine the meaning of almost any word if it is seen in a dozen sentences. From this we made deduce the notable conclusion that the actual and understood meaning of a Greek or English word in the Bible is not necessarily its current or dictionary meaning, but that which it absorbs from the passage in which it is found. A dictionary simply records the usage as employed by careful writers of the time for which the dictionary is written.

The word "destruction" is one of the key words of the scriptures. Hence, no amount of investigation is excessive if it provides us with a clear comprehension of its meaning. There have been endless discussions about this word resulting in diverging schools of interpretation. But most of the discussions that I have studied, do not give a satisfactory answer to all of the scriptures.

The argument has been propounded that the first occurrence of a word in the scriptures fixes its primary meaning thus the first occurrence of "apollumi" is Matthew 2:13. "Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word; for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him." In this context, it is argued that "apollumi" means deprivation of life. Now what is this first occurrence of this word in the Greek New Testament. As to chronological time, Paul was the first to put "apollumi" into the scriptures; see 2 Thessalonians 2:10. Matthew did not write until later. Was it necessary for the Thessalonians to wait until Matthew was written in order to know its meaning? It is not at all logical to argue that the vocabulary of the Greek scriptures was not defined until the Gospels were written. Let us test this theory.

The Greek noun "ta Biblion" is the diminutive form of "ha Biblios." Ha Biblios means a written volume, a scroll. The diminutive "Biblion" means a scrollet or scroll. In Matthew 19:7, its first occurrence, it is a short legal instrument what we call a divorce paper. This is not its primary or usual meaning. For it is used to describe the book of Isaiah and the book of Revelation (see Luke 4:17 and Rev 22:19). Thus in usage this is applied to any book even a large one.

Here is an excellent example from the Old Testament. For instance, there is much controversy as to the meaning of the word "sin." No occurrence is an illustration better than in Judges 20:16. "Among all this people there were 700 chosen men left handed; every one could sling stones at a hairs breadth and not miss." The Septuagint reads: "Kai ouk examartanontes." Therefore, sin in this context, is missing the mark. This literal etymological meaning is worth more than all the arguments which can be advanced. What a mistake it would be to reason from its first occurrence in Genesis 26 that its primary meaning confines it to social trespasses. It would greatly distort the meaning of Judges 20:16, if that meaning were applied to the word "sin" in this context. The only sound system of determining the primary meaning of any word in the scriptures is to study all its occurrences and to inject nothing into its meaning which clashes with any of its contexts.

Again, I ask the reader to study these two words "apollumi" and "apolleia" in a concordance that lists all of the occurrences of these words. This is the only method to know the true primary meaning of these words. The argument that "destroy" in Matthew 2:13 means "deprive of live" is an unfounded inference. "Deprive of life" would partially define the following Greek words. I quote the Greek word first followed with a literal English translation. "Apokteino" (kill), "sphatto" (slay), "onireko" (dispatch, assassinate, massacre), "phoneuo" (murder). Every occurrence of these words actually mean "to deprive of life."

"Destroy, perish, (apollumi) are used of things which have no life. "Wine runneth out and the bottles perish (apollumi)." (Matt. 9:17, see also Mark 2:22, Luke 5:37) Skinned bottles do not die when they perish. "Verily I say unto you he shall in no wise lose (apollumi) his reward." Matt. 10:42 (Compare Mark 9:41) A reward is not mortal. "That the trial of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perish (apollumi)" (1 Peter 1:7, compare Luke 15:8) Gold and money may perish and be lost but they are not deprived of life. The words which actually do mean "to deprive of life" could not be used in these verses. Neither the primary nor secondary nor any other meaning of "destroy" demands that life be taken. This is entirely a matter of the context. It is not included in the meaning of the words "apollumi" and "apolleia."

"Apollumi" is used of that which is alive. "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he lose (apollumi) one of them, does not leave the 99 in the wilderness and go after that which is lost (apollumi) until he find it. And when he has found it he layeth it on his shoulders rejoicing. And when he commeth home he calls together his friends and neighbors saying unto them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost (apollumi).'" (Luke 15:4-6) If the lost (apollumi) sheep had been deprived of life, would the shepherd have rejoiced when he found the carcass? The word "apollumi" occurs 8 times in Luke chapter 15. See verses 4, 6,8,9,17,24, and 32. Not one of these occurrences means to deprive of life. Our Lord directed His disciples "Go rather to the lost (apollumi) sheep of the house of Israel." (Matt. 10:6) The lost" sheep of Israel were no more dead than the "lost" destroyed sheep which the shepherd sought and found.

A word, whose primary meaning is to deprive of life cannot have a secondary meaning of a state of life. Life is not a secondary meaning of death. Our Lord said to His disciples, "He that findeth his life (psuche, soul) shall lose it, and he that loses (apollumi) his life (psuche, soul) shall find it." (Matt. 10:39, compare Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, and 17:33) Is our Lord urging them to commit suicide? The text refers to the destruction of the soul. Please note the Greek text reads "psuche" soul, not "zoe" life, as the King's translators translated this passage. The destruction of the soul does not mean death, it means to forgo the pleasure of life and endure the suffering due to faithfulness to Christ. Surely, no one will argue that "He that loses (apollumi) his soul" for Christ will be destroyed without hope of life later. Many Christians martyrs were destroyed by burning at the stake. Their souls were destroyed but who will argue that they will not be resurrected in the future and enjoy immortality.

I believe there is one paramount scripture that should teach us what the word "apollumi" means. "For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost (apollumi)." (Luke 19:10) This passage refers specifically to Zacchaeus; he was lost, destroyed. Because he was lost, he was ready to be found and saved. The theory of most false definitions of "apollumi" is to prove that the word means "death" from which there is no resurrection, practical annihilation, a state from which salvation is impossible. This passage directly destroys this theory. Instead of the lost being beyond salvation, they alone are eligible for salvation. You cannot rescue a man who is save and sound. It is only when a man is in the state denoted by "apollumi" that salvation can operate in his behalf. Antithetical statements such as this are of great value in the study of words. The terms "seek" and "save," are accurate indications of the opposite of destroy. One who is "destroyed" must be lost or no one would seek him. He must be in a state which calls for salvation or Christ would not have come for him. This proves that destruction is a salvable condition, not a state beyond the reach of deliverance. Add to this the fact only the "lost" are "saved" and it reverses the usual theory of "destruction." God seeks what he has "lost." It is a sad fact that most Christians believe that Jesus is seeking to save the "lost" yet on the other hand they do not believe that He will save the "lost." They do not believe that Jesus will save "lost" mankind. Thus Jesus will not be successful in seeking and saving the lost.

"Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished (apollumi)." (1 Cor. 15:18) Are the Christians who are now sleeping deprived of future life? They are at present time "perished." They are now deprived of life, but in the future, they will be resurrected to life that is immortal.

"But if thy brother be grieve with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitable, destroy (apollumi) not him with thy meat for whom Christ died." (Rom. 14:15, compare 1 Cor. 8:11) According to these scriptures, we can destroy one of our brethren by eating foods which he deems unclean. Does our eating deprive him of life? That would be an easy way to commit legal murder.

Destruction is a relative term. The coin was lost in relation to the woman. (Luke 15:8,9) The sheep was destroyed as regards to the shepherd. (Luke 15:4-7) The prodigal son had perished in relation to his father. (Luke 15:11-32) So with the destroyed sheep of the house of Israel. (Matt. 10:5,6) They were not deprived of life, they were away from the great shepherd, their Creator. The prodigals were far off from their father who created them, who loves them, who commissioned His Son Jesus to come to seek and save them. Does this prove they were outside of this affair of salvation? It proves the opposite. Destruction is a prelude to salvation. It never means ultimate annihilation.

The method of destruction or losing is not included in the meaning of the word. It varies with the context. Those who use the sword "shall perish" (apollumi) with the sword." (Matt. 26:52) "But the chief priest and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy (apollumi) Jesus." (Matt. 27:20) Destroy Jesus? Thus our Lord was destroyed by crucifixion. Who will argue that the destruction of Jesus was annihilation? Jesus was only destroyed 3 days and nights, and He returned to life and has immortality.

The disciples were afraid that they would perish by drowning. (Mark 4:38) The sheep was destroyed by straying. ( Luke 15:4) The prodigal son was lost for the same reason. (Luke 15:24) The fragments that remain would have been lost (apollumi) by neglect. (John 6:12) Food perished (apollumi) by decay. (John 6:27) We may destroy a brother by means of food. (Romans 14:15) We may destroy a weak saint by our knowledge. (1 Cor. 8:11) Especially note the last two passages since they apply to believers in Christ. Can we "annihilate" one of our own brothers with food? Christians saved in Christ may be lost or destroyed. God ultimately will not put out of existence those who are lost. God commends His love to us in that He gave His Son Christ Jesus while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8) Our Lord spoke the parable of the Lost Sheep in order to assure His disciples that God was concerned about the one sheep that had strayed. There is no line that the sinner crosses that brings him beyond the reach of God. Neither life, nor death, nor destruction, neither a career of sin, nor a decaying corpse is any obstacle to Divine Love. Nay, they are challenges which omnipotence must victoriously conquer or suffer defeat. No death, either first or second, can cope with our God or frustrate His purpose. Study Ephesians 1:9-11, Isaiah 46:8-13.

Everyone who has lost anything will bear me witness that the moment it is missing, it assumes an interest and importance which it never had before. Its value increases and we desire it more than ever. Its loss, instead of breaking our connection with it, forges a new link which did not exist before. This becomes tragically true when we lose a loved one. Loss alone brings a realization of the preciousness of possession. Let us never imagine that God is not concerned about the lost; that He is insensible to their condition, or that He would sit complacently by and see them rush to endless oblivion, if He could do anything to head them off. There are a million ways in which we could do this if we had but a tenth of His power. God is able. If the reader of this message will not acknowledge this, he must wait until God makes him realize this.

"Ha Theos agape estin," God is love and all His creatures are dear to Him. Is it not striking that He does not even try to express His affection until they are lost? Whom does God love? He undoubtedly loves all. Whom does He say He loves? God loves the world, (John 3:16) and sinners and His enemies, (Romans 5:8, 1 Cor. 15:22-28) and those who are lost. In God's wisdom, He has decreed that many shall be lost to Him until the end of the ages. Men are often compelled to abandon an enterprise which proved too much for their power. Image that God is also compelled to abandon His "will to have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth?" (1 Tim. 2:4, compare 1 Tim. 4:9-11) Thus God is unable to save all? Or being able He does not? These errors have polluted the minds of millions of men that they have corrupted the Scriptures to teach everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46) or everlasting destruction, (2 Thess. 1:8,9) and neither of these translations are correct.

Men are sometimes compelled to kill an animal to put it out of pain. They would not do so if they could cure it. Is our God like this? Is God impotent, powerless to cope with those who are destroyed? All that man can do is kill. They cannot recall from death. Is God also limited like we are? Christ proclaimed Himself as the resurrection and the life. Is the Creator unable to make man respond to His unconditional love? Is His love so repugnant or powerless that it can not loose those enchained to hate, fear, ignorance, etc.?


Apolleia

The Greek noun "apolleia" is in the Greek text which the King's translators used in Acts 25:16 which reads: "To whom I answered, it is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die (apolleia)." Many scriptures clearly teach that all the dead will be resurrected for judgment. (See Daniel 12:1-3, John 5:28,29, Acts 24:15, Rev. 20:11-15) Therefore those delivered by the Romans to die will be resurrected to life. A Christian martyr is resurrected unto immortality. The sinners, the unbelievers are resurrected to judgment. But death is not the ultimate destiny of any man. "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." (1 Cor. 15:26) How will death be abolished? The context gives the answer. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Cor.15:22) According to the historians, Paul was later to die at the hands of the Romans and surely will not ultimately be destroyed.

his word , apolleia, is also translated into damnable, damnation, perdition, destruction, pernicious, waste, and perish long with the above meaning of "to die." Those of you who believe in "annihilation" should know that it doesn't matter how bad the word may sound if it only applies to a person before the second death. The resurrection will raise everyone up and give them an opportunity to "get it right." But for those of you who lean toward "eternal punishment,' this study of the word "damn" should prove worthwhile.


Damnation

I will begin with a large quote from a book entitled Mercy and Judgment by F.W. Farrar, a canon of the Anglican Church. He writes on page 369:

The words "damn" and its derivatives do not once occur in the Old Testament. In the New Testament they are the exceptional and arbitrary translation of two Greek verbs or their derivatives; which occur 308 times. These words are "apollumi" and "krino." "Apolleia" (destruction or waste) is once rendered "damnation" and once "damnable." (2 Peter 2:3, and 2 Peter 2:1); "krino," (judge) occurs 114 times, and is only once rendered "damned." (1 Thess. 2:12). "Krima, (judgment or sentence) occurs 24 time, and is 7 times rendered "damnation." "KataKrino," (I condemn) occurs 24 times, and is twice only rendered "be damned."

Now turn to a modern dictionary, and you will see "damnation" defined as "exclusion from divine mercy; condemnation to eternal punishment." In common usage the word has no other sense.

But to say that such is the necessary meaning of the words which are rendered by "damn" and "damnation," is to say what is absurdly and even wickedly false. It is to say that a widow who marries again must be damned to endless torments (1 Tim. 5:12, "having damnation," krima), although St. Paul expressly recommends young widows to do so two verses later on. It is to say that everyone who ever eats the Lord's Supper unworthily, eats and drinks "eternal punishment" to himself, though St. Paul adds, almost in the next verse, that the judgment (krima) is disciplinary or educational, to save us from condemnation. (1 Cor. 11:29-34) It is to say that "the Day of Judgment" ought to be called "Day of Damnation." (John 5:29) It is curious that our translators have chosen this most unfortunate variation of "damn" and its cognates only fifteen times out of upwards of two hundred times that krino and its cognates occur; and that they have used it for "krisis" and "krima," not for the stronger compounds "katakrima," etc. The translators, however, may not be to blame. It is probable that "damn" was once a milder word than condemn, and had a far milder meaning than that which modern eschatology has furnished to modern blasphemy. We find from an Act passed when a John Russell was Chancellor (in the reign of Richard III or Henry VII.), that the sanction of an Act against extorted benevolences is called "a damnation"--that is, "the infliction of a loss." This is the true etymological meaning of the word, as derived from damnum, "a loss"; and this original meaning is still found in such words as "damnify," "indemnify," and "indemnity." In the margin of I Cor. 11:29, we find "judgment" for "damnation"; whereas in verse 32 the "judgment" of the Lord is milder than His" condemnation." Dr. Hey, in his lecture on the Ninth Article, thinks that the phrase, "it deserveth God's wrath and damnation," is used in the milder sense of the word which was originally prevalent. However this may be, the word has, as the Bishop of Chester says, undergone a modification of meaning from the lapse of time, and it is an unmixed gain that both it and its congeners will wholly disappear from the revised version of the English Bible. "Judgment" and "condemnation" are the true representatives of krisis and katakrisis, and they are not steeped, like the word "damnation," in a mass of associated conceptions which do not naturally or properly belong to them. Equally unfortunate is the word "hell."

The above was written in 1881, the year the first revision of the King James Bible appeared. It appears the author above, in his prediction about the "damn" words being removed from the revision was true. Checking a Revised Standard Concordance, I discovered the "damn" words were gone. To show you the above scholars were correct in tracing the "damn" word, I will quote from a modern dictionary of word origins by John Ayto. It is entitled Dictionary of Word Origins published in 1990.

Damn Damn comes via Old French "damner" from Latin "damnare," a derivative of the noun "damnum." This originally meant 'loss, harm' (it is the source of English 'damage'), but the verb "damnare" soon spread its application to 'pronounce judgment upon,' in both the legal and the theological sense. These meanings (reflected also in the derived 'condemn') followed the verb through Old French into English, which dropped the strict legal sense around the 16th century but has persisted with the theological one and its more profane offshoots. Condemn, damage, indemnity.

In conclusion, I must repeat that these words "apollumi" and "apolleia" like so many other words such as "krima," "krino," and "krisis" are relative terms. The first two words usually carry the sense of loss by someone. God is the great loser in many of their occurrences. The coin was lost by the woman, the sheep was lost by the shepherd, the prodigal son was lost by the father, Israel was lost by Yahweh, men are lost by God. Who was it that created them? Are they not His work? Will He not be the loser if they are not saved?

Almost all the reasoning about the words translated "destruction" fails to recognize the deity of God. We are asked to consider the fate of wineskins which were destroyed. We are told that as wineskins they past out of existence. Therefore, those who teach annihilation say, men pass out of existence as such when they are destroyed. The fact that these words "apollumi" and "apolleia" are never used of the second death in which this final destruction is supposed to take place should show the fallacy of this reasoning. The fact that all who are destroyed or lost are resurrected to be judged, absolutely refutes the idea of any final destruction. In the theory of annihilation, God is left out of it. We should not equate men losing wineskins to God losing men. Who lost the wineskins? Who lost the men?" Suppose we are not able to recover what we lost. Is that proof that God cannot do so? Are we the equals of the Creator? Did anything originate with us? Why then reason about God as though He were unable to find and save what He has lost. God can recall His creatures from the tomb, can we? All mankind was lost and all mankind will be justified and made alive by God. Study Roman 5:18,19 and 1 Cor. 15:22-28 and Col. 1:16-20.

When we touched the "damn" words (because apolleia was translated as such a couple of times), we found that changes in our English language combined with theological tamperings, have introduced words into our Bibles that no longer convey the true spirit in which the original writers wrote. The word "hell" has almost completely disappeared in most Bible translations. Many of the religiously tainted renderings found in our Bibles are being removed. This is coming about because we are beginning to bypass the inadequate scholarship of the dark ages and reformation which was plagued with superstition and medieval concepts. Due to discoveries such as those found at Qumran, Israel and the deserts of Egypt, we are able to get closer to the original manuscripts and the original meaning of the Greek and Hebrew words contained in the Bible. For more information about words in some of our Bibles which do not faithfully convey the original meaning, write for the audio tape, A Word About The Word.


Matthew 10:28

There is no reasoning so utterly vain as that which uses one passage of scripture in order to destroy our faith in another. Correctly translated and interpreted with the help of the Holy Spirit, there is no conflict in the Word of God. Matt. 10:28 says, "And fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul but rather fear Him Who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Greek, Gehenna)." These words are supposed to prove ultimate destruction of sinners. In this passage, our Lord is speaking to His disciples regarding the suffering required for entrance into the kingdom. Men will hate them and kill them. Literally death always effects body, soul, and spirit, but our Lord is speaking of their experiences, what they will suffer for His sake. Men will slay them. James and Peter were killed. After they were killed, they suffered no more. In a very real sense, those who killed their bodies ushered their souls into the kingdom without further pain. Speaking of God being able to destroy both body and soul, He is able to do many things, but that does not mean He will do them. He is able to blot a name out of the Lamb's book of life. You are able to stick a dagger into your right eye, but that doesn't mean that you ever will. Be careful what you tell the world that the Creator is going to do. You may find yourself adding to His Word. To be able to do something is not the same as actually doing it.

Every Christian was once lost, destroyed. Not only was this no hindrance to their deliverance, but it was absolutely essential to it. God had lost them. Through Christ, God has found and saved them. The same is true of those who are not now saved. Please remember there is not one except Jesus Christ, who was not lost and had need of a Savior. Some God will call tomorrow, many He will not call until another age. God has definitely declared that He is the Savior of all mankind. (Study 1 Tim. 2:3-6, 4:9-11) Since God has lost them and He has said He will save them, they will be saved in their own order. (Study 1 Cor. 15:22-28.)

Destruction, like aionian life, is relative to the eons or the ages. After the eons, all will be vivified. The word used in 1 Cor. 15:22 is not resurrection (anastasias). As mentioned before, the word used is the Greek "zoopoieo" which means to vivify, to make alive, to be made immortal. The apostle Paul tells us very clearly in that verse that all that are dying in Adam, the same all, will be or shall be made alive in Christ. Neither destruction nor aionian life are the end or aim of God. Imagine a God Whose very essence is love, losing a single creature who has an endless capacity of loving and glorifying Him. To create a creature whose purpose is to manifest the image of God, and then destroy it because it did not live up to the Creator's expectations sounds like something Hollywood would dream up. It sounds like a Frankenstein movie. Is this what God has produced? An error? Then God is sinful. He missed the mark, His purpose, His creation is flawed. What foolish thinking this is! We do not have such a God; He destroys nothing that He cannot restore. He loses nothing that will not return to Him. Destruction is a passing process, not a finished goal. What He destroys is our life to sin that we might live to Him who is Life! First comes death from which He brings life. We produces a field well fertilized with death and then He plants His seed in it to produce life. He produced the exact amount of death to produce the exact amount of Life He intended. Believe me, our Father wastes nothing! Through destruction, God will work out the welfare of His creatures and bring unending glory to our Savior and Creator.

I know that the scriptures say that God loves the world, thus all mankind, and that God's love will never fail. (Study 1 Cor. 13.) Therefore, God will resurrect all sinners and judge them and ultimately save them all. We forget that when God's judgments are in the earth, the world will learn righteousness. (Isa. 26:9) This is God's will and He will not be defeated. God's love will be victorious. The scriptures clearly teach that the lost will be judged in accord with their works. "For the Son of Man shall come in the Glory of His Father with His angels and then He shall reward every man according to his works." (Matt. 17:27) And again, "Who will render every man according to his deeds." (Rom. 2:6) And again, "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it and death and hell (Hades) delivered up the dead which were in them. And they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell (hades) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." (Rev. 20:13,14) Hence all at the Great White Throne Judgment will be judged according to their works and as every man's works are different, thus every one's judgment will be as variable as their works. Thereafter, they are returned to the second death which is the lake of fire. There is no variance in the second death. It is the same for all thus it cannot be the judgment according to works.

Many teach that the lake of fire is a place where the sinners are alive and consciously suffering endless misery. On the other hand, many are teaching that the lake of fire is endless destruction. Both of these doctrines are making God the loser of some or most of His creation. He came to "seek and save that which was lost," but apparently He will fail to fulfill His mission. (Luke 19:10) "Who will have all men to come into the knowledge of the truth, Who is the savior of all men." (1 Tim. 2:3, 4:10) God says,

"I am God and there is none like me declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not yet done saying 'My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country. Yea, I have spoken it. I will also bring it to pass. I have proposed it; I will also do it." (Isa. 46:9-11)

Hence God declares He will do all His pleasure. He has proposed it and will bring it to pass. Notice this quotation in which God says through the apostle Paul,

"Having made known unto us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He has proposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of time He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth even in Him in Whom also we have obtained an inheritance being predestined according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will." (Eph. 1:9,10)

Therefore it is the good pleasure which God has proposed in Himself to have an administration in the fullness of the era to head up all in the Christ. See the Greek text. Thus in the scriptures we have grace which exhibits God's glory and results in forgiveness and salvation to all. (See Phil. 2:9-13, Col. :16-20)

In these verses in Colossians chapter one we have the word all used 7 times in the King James Version. All Christians will accept all of these all's through verse 16, 17, 18, 19, but when we come to verse 20, they argue that it cannot be. God is not going to reconcile all, they say. (Greek, ta panta). Now, I ask you is this being fair to God's word? Verse 16 says He creates all and we have many other passages of scriptures which tell us He creates all, but yet, they will reject verse 20 where He says He will reconcile all. Again, I ask, is that being fair to scripture? Why not believe the scriptures? We go to church, hear that beautiful hymn, There is Power in the Blood, yet we do not believe there is enough power to do what Colossians 1:20 tells us, that is, to reconcile all.

If one refused to believe these plain statements in the scriptures, then they will have to wait until God displays He marvelous grace in the coming administration. Then they will see His grace displayed and this can be expressed in three words: seeing is believing. Therefore, I assume, in spite of the dozens of scriptures that teach God loves all and will reconcile all, many people will have to see God's grace manifested before they will believe.

But men make God's love to narrow
by false limits of their own
and they magnify His vengeance
with a zeal He will not own.

Remember, our Lord Jesus said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This He said signifying what death He should die." (John 12:32,33) We know Jesus was lifted up on Calvary. Why not believe these clear plain words of our Savior and also the words of apostle Paul where he says, "all will be reconciled" (Col. 1:20) "all will be justified" (Rom. 5:18,19), "and all shall be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22). Why not believe these clear plain statements. Why argue that these plain statements are not true. There can be no statements in the scriptures correctly interpreted and translated that contradict this glorious truth of the salvation of all people.

2 THESSALONIANS 1:7-10

Another scripture in the King James Version used to teach annihilation is:

"and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when He shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all of them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (1 Thess. 1:7-10, KJV)

Question: Do the Greek words translated by the King's translators "everlasting" and "destruction" mean a condition from which there is no hope of a future life?

EVERLASTING

First let us look at the word translated "everlasting." The following few pages should clearly show that some English translators of the Bible have caused some serious problems for Christians and the rest of the world. It will be shown that a little four letter word can totally change the character of the Creator and our relationship to Him. May translations of the future be more faithful to the Greek and Hebrew languages and to the nature of the Creator of us all which is love, a love which the most eloquent of words cannot describe. This one little four letter word, mistranslated by many Bible translations has tarnish His Character to where an earthly father's love exceeds that of the Creator's. After all, few earthly fathers would burn their children in a barbecue pit for even a few hours. Many modern Bibles portray the Father of all mankind torturing most of mankind not for just a few hours, but for all eternity. According to the majority view of church theology, He will not change His mind in this area, it is a finished deal. Let us see if the Greek and Hebrew texts bears this out.

The word "aion" in the New Testament in Matthew 24:3 is translated "world" in the King James Version. As we can see from the other versions below, scholars now believe it should have been translated "age."

"Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world?" (KJV)
"Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" (New KJV)
"Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (NIV)
"Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" (NASB)
Why is it so important to differentiate between these two words one might ask? Because there are many different "ages" according to the Bible, but our theological minds picture basically only two "worlds," the one that is and the one to come. It is this mistranslation of "aion" that has caused many people to rightfully say the Bible contradicts itself. The King James Version speaks of the "end of the world"(Matt. 24:3) and then talks about the same world "without end." (Eph. 3:21, Isa. 45:17) It speaks of "everlasting hills" (Gen. 49:26, Deut. 33:15) which will one day no longer be "everlasting." Isaiah 40:4 tells us "every mountain and hill will be made low" and "all the earth shall be burned up" in 2 Peter 3:10. Revelation 11:15 speaks of Jesus as reigning "forever and ever" ( a double use of "aion") while 1 Corinthians 15:25 says Jesus must rule "till He hath put all enemies under His feet." He then will deliver up a perfected kingdom to the Father who becomes "all in all." Does He reign "till" or "forever." Exodus 21:5,6 tells us a slave will serve his master for "ever," when clearly death will end his servitude. Leviticus 24:8 says the Mosaic covenant is to be an "everlasting" covenant whereas Hebrews 8:7-13 speaks of the end of that covenant. The Aaronic priesthood is an "everlasting" priesthood in Exodus 40:15 and Numbers 25:13 yet the book of Hebrews makes it very clear it is to be superseded by the Melchizedek priesthood. (Hebrews 7:14-18) According to the King James Version, God would dwell in Solomon's temple "forever" yet Solomon's temple has long been destroyed. The Sabbath (Saturday according to the Old Testament) was to be observed for a statute "forever," yet Hebrews says it was just a "fleshly ordinance imposed until the time of refreshing." Animal sacrifices were to be offered "forever," (Exodus 31:16, 17; 2 Chr. 2:4; Lev. 16:31) yet every Christian knows these all ended in the work of Jesus Christ. Circumcision was an "everlasting covenant" and this was before the Mosaic Covenant, according to Genesis 17:9-14), but 1 Corinthians 7:19 and Galatians 5:6 tells us it is worthless!

It is this kind of confusion that has turned many sincere seekers away from the Bible. Here we have clear contradictions. The problem is not in the original languages of the Bible, the problem is with human error in translating the Greek and Hebrew texts into current languages. The tradition of the elders is difficult to break. Men and women have built power systems upon error. The love of power, money, and position make many leaders continue the errors. Many church leaders know these contradictions exist, but are unwilling to bring about correction. Their systems are built upon fear and ignorance. To reveal the truth would be the end of their kingdoms.. Also keep in mind we, ourselves, often prefer to create our own image of God rather than the true one. We often project our corrupted view of things upon God. Now let us see if there are contradictions in the Greek and Hebrew languages.

This word "aion" translated by the King James Bible as "age," "ever," "forever," "forever and ever," "never," "world without end," "evermore," "course," and "eternal," along with its adjective "aionios," has caused the world many serious problems. It has made the Creator a God whose mercy endures "forever" yet the King James Bible says there are sins that will not be forgiven in "this world or in the world to come." (Compare 1 Chr. 16:34 with Matthew 12:31,32) The New King James and most other Bibles now translate this passage as: "in this age or in the age to come." This was spoken in the "law age." We are now in a different age and the scriptures clearly teach of ages to come. If Jesus wanted to refer to the world, he would have used the word "kosmos," but He didn't. Therefore, when this scripture is correctly translated "age," the Bible does not contradict itself. There is still hope for the Pharisee who would not be forgiven under the "law age" nor under the present age, but there is still hope for him to receive mercy in the ages to come. For a study as to how many ages there are, study the following scriptures:

he past ages (aions)-Col. 1:26; the present age (aion)-Luke 20:34; future ages (aions)-Eph. 2:7. It will become clear that there are at least five ages with no indication when the ages will end. This radically changes pet end-time eschatological schemes. This is one reason why many theologians do not want to look at this. They will have to dismantle some of their favorite fear-based doctrines.

Can this word "aion" be consistently translated one way and make sense without bringing about contradictions in the Bible? The answer is yes! Can this word be consistently translated with words that indicate "eternity?" The answer is no! Let us see how the Bible would read if we translated this word "aion" into eternity in some passages where it appears. We would get some of the following kinds of reading:

"This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of eternity (aionios)." (2 Tim. 1:9) There can be no time before "eternity."
"According to the revelation of the mystery hidden for eternity (aionios) past." (Rom. 16:25) If it was hidden in eternity, it can never manifest.
"Who gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil eternity (aion)." (Gal. 1:4)
"The harvest is the end of this eternity (aion)." (Matt. 13:39) What then, another eternity?
"Who tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming eternity (aion)." (Heb. 6:5) [There is only one eternity, not past and future ones.]
As one can see, when we translated this word consistently with eternity, the scriptures make no sense. But if we translated that word "aion" age, and its adjective "aionios" of or belonging to an age, or age-during, age-abiding, then all the scriptures dealing with time and eternity begin to make sense without any contradictions whatsoever. What is even more exciting is that this lines up perfectly with all of our Father's attributes. All seemingly hypocritical, or contradictory scriptures relating to our Father's will, desire, plan, purpose, and power, vanish away. He finishes what He said He was going to do from the foundation of the world, draw all mankind unto Himself. So why don't the translators change? Jesus said there was something more powerful than the Word of God. "You have made the word of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites!" (Matthew 15:6,7) All the systems of Christendom would have to dismantle, and I mean all of them. You can be assured, the heads of these systems have no intentions of giving up the little kingdoms you and I have helped them build.

As we have seen earlier, many of the Bibles have cleared up some of the contradictions by translating more of the passages "age" where they used to put "world." Many Bibles today have even put in "age or "ages" in some places where they use to have "forever and ever," etc. Some Bibles, written within the last 200 years, have become consistent all the way through the Bible and have translated the word "aion" and its adjective "aionios" age, eon, age-during etc. Some of the Bibles that have been bold enough to buck the tradition of the elders are: Young's Literal Translation, Rotherham's Emphasized Translation, Concordant Literal Version, The Holy Bible in Modern English (Fenton), The New Testament in Modern Speech (Weymouth, 1910), The Twentieth Century New Testament, The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Anointed, The Western New Testament, The New Testament, a Translation, Scarlett's Translation, etc. Even many evangelical\fundamentalist Bibles are breaking from the "traditions of men." The Companion Bible, a King James Reference Bible, shows clearly in the footnotes and appendages, that the word "aion" and its adjective "aionios" was grossly mistranslated by the King's translators. For further information on the subject of how many Bibles are changing for the better, write for the booklet, The Gates of Hell shall not Prevail.

Let us return to the subject of "aion." Many Bible scholars today are willing to concede that the noun "aion" means an age as opposed to forever or eternal, but they are not willing to concede that its adjective "aionios" means pertaining to an age, age-abiding, age-during or something like that. They say this word must mean "eternal," everlasting," etc. In doing so, they make themselves look very foolish. They break a rule in grammar found in every language of the world. An adjective must get its force from the noun from which it is derived. It cannot take on a stronger force. For example, hourly cannot pertain to a year, or month, or eternity; it pertains to the noun from which it came, that is, an hour. To say that "aion" means an "age," and then turn around and say its adjective means "everlasting," "eternal," forever and ever" is breaking all the rules of language. Why would they do this? If they stay within the rules of grammar, they would have to concede there is no such thing as "eternal" punishment or "everlasting" death. Religious man usually will go into their graves before admitting their errors. After all, huge empires are built upon these two false doctrines.

This noun "aion" occurs in the plural and the singular about 127 times. The plural form occurs over 60 times in the Greek text. May I remind you at this time that if the singular form means endlessness, absolute eternity, time without an end, forever, everlasting, then what on earth does the plural form mean? To top it all off, this word "aion" in the Greek shows up in forms such as this:" eons (plural)of the eons(plural)" (see Gal. 1:5, Phil. 4:20, 1 Tim. 1:17, 2 Tim. 4:18, etc.), and as "eon (singular) of the eons" (plural) (see Eph. 3:21), and "eon (singular) of the eon" (singular) (see Heb. 1:8). Clearly, because orthodox translators are stuck with their concept of "eternal" hell, they have butchered the Greek forms of this word "aion." Why? To maintain their long held traditions. It is quite obvious that you cannot have a plural of infinity or eternity. You cannot have a plural of "forever." You can not have "eternities of the eternities," "eternity of the eternities," and "eternity of the eternity." This is nonsense. But that is exactly what one would get if they translated "aion" and its adjective "aionios" into eternity in these passages. When we translate the word "aion" into its proper English equivalent "age," all begins to make sense. There is also a sense in the word indicating a flowing like streams flowing into rivers which find their way to the seas only to be draw up again to fall to become streams again. The ages are marked, but they cannot be determined until it has ended. The life of a man was an "olam," the Hebrew word translated into "aion" in the Greek. One could not measure a man's life until he died. It is an indefinite, but not infinite.

In Ephesians 3:9, 11, 21, we have two Greek words "ton aionon." This is the genitive plural noun with the genitive plural article "ton." In the 9th verse in the KJV, it is translated "from the beginning of the world." In verse 11, it is translated "eternal" with the word "purpose." In verse 21, it is translated, "world without end." So here we have the Greek genitive plural with the article translated three completely different ways within the same sentence! It is quite obvious this is very poor translating.

If you want to see this word translated correctly in the King James, turn to Colossians 1:26. Here we find "apo ton aionon" which it translated "from the ages." Notice the reference to "age" and that it is in the plural form. The King James Bible was very inconsistent with this word. Fearing to break the KJV tradition, many orthodox Bibles have also wreaked havoc with this little four letter word, unfortunately to our misfortune.

In 1 Corinthians 15:25, we have a very interesting verse. In fact, this whole context from verse 22 through 28 is very interesting. Verse 25 says, "For He must reign till He has put all His enemies under His feet." This passage is speaking about Christ Jesus. The word "till" has the same meaning as "until." The word "until: in the English and Greek means, "to the time of, up to, as far as, etc." It definitely limits the reigning of Jesus Christ until He puts every enemies under His feet. It tells us the last enemy to be put under His feet is death. This passage speaks of the end of "death." If there is a second "death," (Lake of fire) there is still death. Please note the scripture does not speak of "soul death," or "spiritual death," or "Adamic death." It simply states that death is an enemy of God which will one day be destroyed. Very simple. Let us keep it that way. One day there will be no more death. Then Jesus Himself becomes subjected that God may be all in all. The passage speaks of an end of Christ's reign. But in Revelation Chapter 11:15 we read, "And the seventh angel sounded and there were great voices in heaven saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign 'forever and ever.'" This passage clearly contradicts 1 Corinthians 15:25 in the KJV. Which will He do, reign "until" or reign "forever and ever?"

There are four places in the New Testament in which the adjective of "aion" occurs which proves beyond a doubt it cannot mean "endlessness, etc." These occurrences are: Romans 16:25, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2, Philemon 15. I will also try to show with the first of these verses that the leading translations of this century contradict each other regarding this word. This should cause one to seriously study this out. You will clearly see that most translators followed their creeds instead of the Greek when it came to this word.

The 1901 American Standard, the first revision of the King James Bible, translates Romans 16:25: "Now to him that is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal." According to the way this verse is translated, the mystery has been kept in silence through times that are eternal. If it was kept secret in eternity, it can never be made manifest! But the verse tells us that now it is made manifest. This is total nonsense. The King James Bible says it was "kept secret since the world began" while the New International Version says "hidden for long ages past." Here we see how leading translators are not in agreement as to how to handle this word. We have "eternal," " world," and "ages." This should at least cause one to seriously study this out. After all, the reputation of our Father is at stake. Does He torture mercilessly forever, annihilate a creature He made, or correct until He accomplishes a perfect work in each of His children through love and patience?

In 2 Timothy 1:9 and Titus 1:2, the 1901 American Standard reads "before times eternal." Now what on earth is that supposed to mean? If "eternal," an adjective means without beginning or ending, how can there be a "before?" This is a contradiction is three words! This shows that the translators obviously did not understand the clause which they were working with. If they had not been locked into their "eternal torment creeds," they might have been able to correctly translate the verse. The traditions of men do often blind us to obvious truth.

The King James Bible in Philemon 15 says of the runaway slave, "For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever." The American Standard also says "forever." So according to these two leading translations, this slave will remain Philemon's slave for all eternity. The New International has him back "for good." That makes more sense than "forever," but it is not correct. "Aion" never means "for good." This is paraphrasing of the most corrupt kind.

"Ages" have ends. All of the ages will one day end. To teach otherwise is to contradict scriptures such as 1 Corinthians 10:11 and Hebrews 9:26 which speak of the "end of the ages." The King James in Hebrews 9:26 speaks of "end of the world," but the Greek word "aion" here is in the plural form "ton aionon." This is nothing short of just sloppy translating. In many other passages of scripture, the King James Bible does not pay attention to the number of the word, that is, whether it was plural or singular.

The Bible clearly teaches a "pre-aion" period, at least 5 aions or ages, and a "post" aion period. There is a "before the ages," "times past," "present ages," "these ages," "future ages," and a "consummation of the ages." If the translators of some of the leading Bibles dropped their tradition of translating according to their doctrines and translated according to what the Greek and Hebrew languages say, we would not have apparent contradictions in our translations and we would clearly have a Bible that is in perfect agreement to all of the attributes of our Father, not just some of them. The scripture "Love never fails" would be true for every person born under the sun. Some denominations make Him to be clearly a "respecter of persons" which ,again, forces the Bible to contradict itself due to people forcing their traditions into the Scriptures. Clearly, He is not a respecter of persons if we see the whole picture. Our problems have always stemmed from judging the end by what we presently see. We must be seated in "heavenly places' in order to see the beginning and the end.

Now let us go back to our study. We dealt with "aion." Now let us look at the word "destruction." The Greek word translated "destruction" in 2 Thess. 1:9 is "olethros." This word is a cognate of the Greek word "apollumi." See Strong's Concordance. This word "olethros" occurs in other scriptures that proves this word does not mean "destruction without hope of life." I will quote a scripture to show that this is true. "To deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction (olethros) of the flesh that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." (1 Cor. 5:5, KJV) As this same Greek noun is used in 2 Thess. 1:9 and 1 Cor. 5:5, it is clear that this kind of destruction, does not eliminate the possibility of future life.

If one studies the scriptures and reads 2 Thessalonians 1:9 and reads "everlasting destruction," they would assume the scriptures teach annihilation, but as we know, "aion" and "aionios" cannot mean endlessness, and "destruction" (olethros) cannot mean destruction with no hope of future salvation. Enough said.

FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT

As we have seen, one cannot make a scriptural case for "everlasting destruction" when one looks at what the Greek words refer to. Clearly these words do not teach a destruction from which there is no hope of restoration or else Jesus could not have been resurrected. We will now look at the Old Testament and discover that the Hebrew is harmonious with the Greek on this subject.
"Thou turnest man to destruction and sayest 'Return ye, children of men.'" (Psalms 90:3, KJV)
In this scripture, we have the word "destruction" followed by "Return ye." Therefore, the word "destruction" cannot refer to "everlasting destruction."
"He has destroyed me on every side and I am gone and mine hope has He removed like a tree." (Job 19:10, KJV)
Job spoke these words, yet Job was not annihilated. He lost all that he had, but it was all restored to him and more. When Job was in the condition that everything was lost, he was "destroyed."

The following scriptures are often quoted to prove "endless destruction," or annihilation.

"For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, and it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of host." (Malachi 4:1-3)
This scripture certainly teaches "destruction" as the wicked will burn as stubble; they shall be ashes, but there is nothing in this scripture which indicates they are beyond the power of the Creator to restore life later. In fact, many of the Hebrew saints are now sleeping in the dust, but their sleep will come to an end. Many saints were burned to death by the church and their ashes were treated in a worse manner than to be stepped on, but this does not mean they will not receive life later on. The fact that man, whether righteous or unrighteous returns to ashes and dust, presents no problem for the Creator since these are the very materials man first came from.

SPEAKING OF "FIRE"

Isn't rather strange, that this whole business of "eternal torment," "eternal death," and the "salvation of all" seems to center around what kind of "fire" we are going to meet? John said the Judge of all men would immerse people with the Holy Spirit and fire. Jesus said His words were "Spirit and Life." Remember the words of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, "Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us. . .?"

There was a time when I felt led to go into a particular jewelry store. I had no desire to enter, as I had felt I had worn out my welcome with the Jewish woman owner. Being located next door to my business, I frequently visited her trying to lead her to Christ. She, in very definite words, told me she had had enough. But following the leading, I entered again. She was by herself. The meeting was very awkward, but I felt I couldn't leave. A customer then entered. The owner went to the back to get a custom piece of Jewelry this customer had ordered. "You will like this piece of Jewelry, Gary," said the store owner. Seeing from a distance that it was a silver cross, I told her that I really didn't care for religious jewelry of any kind. When she handed it to the customer, I could see that it was the words "Let go, Let God" in the form of a cross. At this point I found myself giving the shortest testimony I had ever given of how Jesus delivered me from alcoholism. With my head bowed down, I spoke for perhaps one and one half minutes. Upon finishing my brief testimony, this stranger came up to me and gave me a giant hug and said something like, "Your words are burning in my heart!" I will never forget that incident. I knew that short little testimony touched the very heart of her being and the best description she could come up with was "fire!" I present this story as a way of introduction to a subject much misunderstood by all of us. Let us look into the subject of "fire" from a Biblical point of view and not from our imaginative religious artists such as Dante and His "Inferno" and Michael Angelo's "Last Judgment." Let us put the wild scenes of our carnal imagination aside and look into the "fire of God."

Perhaps the best way to test which of the three doctrines of the ultimate fate of all mankind, is to test each doctrine with the ultimate acid test, "fire." If "eternal torment" or "annihilation" by fire is the wages of sin, then surely, the scriptures should be full of examples to that effect. Symbols, parables, and real events in the scriptures should boldly declare this fate, and with no confusion or contradictions. But when we comb the scriptures for examples of a fire barbecue finale, instead, everywhere we look we find heaven filled with fire and even earth filled with fire. As a matter of fact, when we really analyze fire, apart from misuse of fire, fire is very beneficial. Will we attribute to God that He will ultimately misuse fire? Let us look at the subject of fire.

First of all, we know today, that we are literally on fire. Do we not burn our food? The military has binoculars which see in the dark. They see heat. Human beings can be seen because they are giving off heat. We are slowly burning.

Does not fire make meat taste better and rid it of disease? Do you not enjoy the warmth of fire in the winter time? Do you enjoy the comforts of electricity, light, radio, computers, telephones, ovens, laser technology, etc.? Fire, when properly controlled, is very beneficial to mankind. Apart from the sun, there would be no life on this planet. Even the stars billions of miles away are helpful to man in navigation and make the dark night more enjoyable to behold.

When we come to the scriptures, it is even more abundantly clear, that "fire" is the very symbol, not of death, not of eternal torment, nor of fearful judgment, but of life itself. Fire, in the scriptures, is not a symbol of His judgments, but of His very being! It is here we find the true touchstone of which of the three teachings we have been discussing is true.

Fleshly minded thinking is very fearful of God who is an all-consuming fire! His fiery presence, however, will not destroy or eternally torture, but will purify, will cleanse us from sin, from false images of Him, from earthly thoughts. From science we have discovered that fire does not really destroy, in the sense of leaving nothing. Fire takes compound elements and reduces them to simpler forms. Did He not say, "Unless you become as little children, you will not see the kingdom of God." Simple thoughts. Religions, all of them, is very complex. The longer it has been around, the more complex it becomes. When Peter talked about the "very elements will melt with heat," he was talking about something much more complex that atomic elements that would be melted. The Greek word translated "elements" in 2 Peter 3:12, is the word "stoicheion." When one looks at other places this word is used such as in Galatians 4:3 and 4:9, we discover that atoms are not what Peter had in mind. The very laws, rudiments, principles which hold people in bondage will be burned. Systems of religion will be destroyed! The word "religion" comes from two Latin words "re" and "ligare" which means to "return to bondage."

Yes, the carnal, religious mind has always been fearful of God. When God manifested Himself as fire on the mountain, the children of Israel told Moses they didn't want to meet Him. The flesh and carnal (fleshly) thinking never wants an encounter with God. The carnal mind wants to worship its own creation and concepts of God. He will consume, burn all earthly thinking (low life) and break it into lowly, meek, simple, child-like faith. Prideful religious thoughts cannot stand in His Presence. Perfect Love casts out fear. Religious systems are built on fear. These complex systems of myriads of do's and don'ts, rituals, creeds, formulas will be reduced to nothing for that is what a lie is . . .nothing.

"By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:8-10)
An encyclopedia could be written on this beautiful verse which few Christians really understand. If truly understood, this verse alone would dismantle the religious monstrosities of the world. If one studies this verse carefully, one will discover that salvation is an "All God" situation depending upon nothing but Himself. Is not Jesus Christ the author and finisher of your faith? (Heb. 12:2) We are His workmanship; we are created in Christ Jesus; the works are His prepared before the foundation of the world. It is the faith of Jesus that saves us and finishes our salvation.

Look, Abraham wanted to cut a covenant with God. I won't go into the long details of how covenants were make in those days, but the final part of the ritual was cutting some animals in half (flesh) and walking between the pieces saying something to the affect "If you break this covenant, then let your body become as one of these animals." "As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him." (Gen. 1512) Then: "And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram." Gen. 15:17,18)

This is the kind of covenant that God makes with all of us. Our flesh falls asleep and is ridden with fear. Then God cuts the covenant with Himself, Father and Son. Man under the fear of death which was inherited from Adam, is absolutely incapable of cutting any kind of covenant with God. Our religious do's and don't fall far short of God's free gift. The works of our flesh will be burned up. The above covenant requires two parties, but man was not one of them. In this passage, God represents Himself as a "smoking oven" and a "burning torch." In this covenant, that which was burned up was flesh, but not Abraham's body, it was his works that were burned up. He is the Father of many nations and "all the families of the earth" will be blessed through the "man of faith" who fell asleep while cutting a covenant with God. You, too, will fall asleep, and the works of your flesh which you offer Him for your salvation will be totally destroyed and counted as nothing. The "salvation" that we are to "work out" are the "good works" God put in us when we became part of His body. They are His works, his gifts, not ours, lest we boast.

Let us look into the Kingdom of our Father and see what we behold. As we have been told by scripture, our God is an all-consuming fire and He is a jealous (zealous in some translations) God. We find this in Deuteronomy 4:24. He then tells them they will worship idols, do evil in His sight which will cause Him to be angry. He will then utterly destroy them, but then immediately tells them He will not forsake them, nor destroy them because He is also a merciful God and will not forget the covenant He made with our fathers. (Deuteronomy 4:24-31) Unless we understand that He has the power to kill and then make alive again, this kind of talk is foolishness. But our Father and Potter of men can and will refashion us for our good.

As we approach His Kingdom, the flesh and carnal mind become extremely fearful. Why? Because flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom. We already mentioned Abram. When Ezekiel was approached by Him, His glory appeared as fire. (Ez. 1:27,28) This righteous man fell like a dead man. When Isaiah saw Him, the house was filled with smoke and a seraphim had to touch his lips with a hot coal because he, Isaiah became a man of unclean lips. The hot coal took away his iniquity. (Isa. 6:6,7) When Daniel saw the "Ancient of Days" His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire and a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. (Daniel 7:9) In Daniel we also read of the three young Hebrew men thrown into fire 7 times hotter than normal and One like the Son of Man in their midst. When one truly refuses to worship the images made by man's carnal mind, this kind of fire will only burn off the ropes put on by religious men! I do not hesitate to say, most reading this article are bound by ropes of religion, whether you are sitting on a padded pew, or at a home Bible study. Zechariah says He will be a wall of fire to Jerusalem. (Zech. 2:5) God's ministers are a flame of fire according to Psalms 104:4 and Hebrews 1:7. He purges the blood of Jerusalem by the "spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning." When this happens "then the Lord will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assembly, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering." (Isaiah 4:4-6) In Malachi chapter 3, Yahweh describes Himself as a refiner's fire to purify the sons of Levi and to purge them as gold and silver that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness. Please note these are God's priest being purged (burned) by fire for a good purpose, that they might present a righteous offering unto the LORD. Speaking of the sons of Levi, the priestly group, it is when His own people offer to the world "strange fire," that is when God really gets mad. (Lev. 1:10) When the real fire is present, the types and shadows do not need to be paraded. These two Israelites were robbing God of His glory. They wanted to perform the "shadow ritual" when the reality was actually present. Much that we count as holy and righteous will disappear when the True Righteousness appears. Does "eternal torment" or "annihilation" really glorify Him or is it beginning to sound more like "strange fire?"

When our Father answers prayers or manifests Himself in the earth, how does He manifest Himself? Moses saw Him as a burning bush. (Acts 7:30,31) Gideon was answered by fire. (Judges 6:21) David's prayer was answered by fire. (1 Chron. 21:26) When God filled Solomon's temple, how did He manifest? By fire! (2 Chron. 7:21) Elisha was aided by chariots of fire. (2 Kings 6:17) The very Words that come out of His mouth are fire. (Psalm 18:6) I do not have enough pages in this book to declare that "God is an all-consuming fire!"

Now, man under his own religious system of do's and don'ts, whether it is based on the Bible or not, will always be fearful of the "All-Consuming Fire." By the "law" shall no one be justified in His sight and therefore comes that expectation in the carnal mind of adverse judgment leading to an awful decision. If we choose "eternal torment" or "annihilation" as the end for anyone on this earth, we will find our conscience will condemn us to the same fate. And so, should the fire fall into our own laps, we will most certainly have a right to be fearful. With our conscience in such a condition, we will gravitate towards teachings that put off judgment as long as possible. Therefore, these systems have consigned the ultimate judgment to the end. The Bible shows no such thing. We are constantly judged. We are told we are to judge ourselves. We are to learn to judge amongst each other. The judgments of God are in the earth today. Nature all around us declares this, but because of our fear of meeting our Maker, we deceive ourselves.

In preparing this article, I read some of the leading teachings on the doctrine of annihilation. One very well written book was entitled, "The Golden Future" published by Bible Fellowship Union in England. The author begins the book by declaring "The voice of God has two mediums of expression--the Bible on the one hand, supreme in the sphere of ethics, and on the other hand Nature, now rapidly yielding her secrets to the scientist and investigator." This statement, perhaps, unveils the depth of the error of "annihilationism." Where is God is this statement?. He can only speak to man by a little book or by trees and birds and clouds? How foolish! Has He lost His presence? Is He mute? Is His fire out? Are dreams and visions off limits now? Have words of knowledge and prophesy disappeared now that the incorrectly called "New Testament" has appeared? Does the dove again have no place to land? Where did this idea come from that because God added 27 more books to the Bible, He can only speak through the Bible and "nature?." In these last 27 books, do we not find angels? Don't men and women dream dreams and prophesy? Does He not also speak to men like He did with Paul? Are men and women no longer supernaturally gifted? Were the dead no longer raised? The last 27 books reveal that rather than these things being eliminated, they were increased! If you have not experienced this increase, please don't blame God, perhaps you need to move out of the realm of unbelief you reside in. Let us return to the fire!

Jesus said, "I am come to send fire on the earth" and on the day of Pentecost "tongues of fire" came upon a group who testified in the power of the Holy Spirit and 3000 persons were added to the ekklesia. John and James wanted fire to come down on the Samaritan's heads to destroy them and Jesus told them, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's live but to save them." (Luke 9:56) I am afraid Jesus would have to repeat these words to most of the ekklesia, because this spirit is still very much alive in those who belong to Him. John the Baptist tells us the Jesus would "baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Matt. 3:11) Everyone shall be salted with fire. (Mark 9:43) Fire will try everyone's works. (1 Cor. 3:13) People will be saved "so as through fire," even though their works will be burned up. (1 Cor. 3:15) There is a scripture where He tells us to be like Him. He tells us to pour coals of fire on our enemies heads. Those coals of fire are love! (Rom. 12:20) He tells us to expect fiery trials. (1 Peter 4:12)

Going into the last book of the Bible, should we expect to find a different kind of fire than what we have seen throughout the rest of the Book. We find lampstands that are the Ekklesia, seven stars in His right hand, gold refined by fire, lightenings, seven lamps of fire burning before the throne which are the seven Spirits of God, mornings stars, His eyes like a flame of fire, and a sea of glass mingled with fire.

It seems we had better get used to fire, in a literal sense, symbolic sense, and a spiritual sense. God did manifest Himself on earth as fire that consumed material substances. He also spoke of fiery trials, but they were not necessarily being burned at the stake as a heretic. He spoke of good deeds as "hot coals" on our enemies heads. The tongues of fire on the disciples heads did not burn their physical flesh. The tongue James says that "sets the course of nature" on fire has not destroyed this world with literal fire. (James 3:5,6) The 7 Ekklesia are not literal stars and Jesus Christ is not a literal lamb.

The book of Revelation begins with a sentence the carnal nature has overlooked. The carnal nature cannot receive the things of the spirit and as a result always finds itself overlooking the obvious. The book begins by saying in the King James Bible that this book is "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass: and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John." (Rev. 1:1) The word for "signified" is a verb whose noun form "semeion" literally means "a sign." A sign that says "to Jerusalem" is not Jerusalem. It points in the direction of the real city of Jerusalem. It is helpful to find the place called Jerusalem, but it is not Jerusalem.

Paul said he went to the third heaven and saw things unlawful to speak about. (2 Cor. 12:2) I know he said "I know a man in Christ . . .was caught up to the third heaven," but I am certain Paul was speaking of himself. Why was it unlawful for him to speak of these things? I also know a man who was caught up to the third heaven and I will tell you why it was unlawful for Paul to speak of these things. The spirit world, the real world cannot be truly expressed by human language. The clearest expression in human language falls far short of painting the reality of that world. The expression "unlawful" was used by Paul to say that if he talked about it in human words, it would not truly express the reality, it would fall short, which is what the Greek and Hebrew word for "sin" really means. I point this out that we may read the Book of Revelation with a proper perspective. We are dealing with symbols here which are mere representatives of spiritual realities. Do not expect frogs coming out of peoples mouths, a physical woman sitting on a beast which is also a city which will utterly be burned with fire. Why do people always put a physical sword into Jesus' hands when in fact it is a sword coming out of His mouth? Because that picture looks foolish to the natural mind, so we put the sword in His hands. The churches are not really stars nor candlesticks. Jesus doesn't really want you to be 212 degrees or minus 32 degrees indicating you are hot or cold but not luke-warm. The kings of the earth never really fornicated with this woman on a beast which is really a city. Is Jesus really dripping in blood? Is there really a winepress He is tredding and is He really a dead Lamb sitting on the throne?

The Hebrew language is a language designed to create great pictures. It is a picture language full of great exaggeration to magnify things. Unless one leaves much room for hyperboles, allegories, and parables, one will most certainly twist the scriptures to their own destruction. While the last 27 books of the Bible come to us in Greek, they borrow the symbols of the Hebrew to convey to us the symbols He uses to express spiritual truths. Even in the last 27 books, Jesus did not speak apart from parables.

I am afraid most of us are very guilty of picking and choosing what is symbolic, what is spiritual, and what is literal. John's statement at the beginning of the Book of Revelation says this book is a book of signs. Signs point to a reality, they are not the reality themselves. How does one express something that happens to a nation over many generations in one word or sentence? It cannot be done. The only way to truly understand an event covering millions of people over decades of time in earthly languages is to give "signs," which will fall short of conveying reality.

I have been pierced by the sword which comes out of Jesus mouth. He slew me and yet I live! It was not the words written in the book of Revelation about a sword out of His mouth that slew me, but the very Word of God Himself! The reality, not the symbol, nor the written word. And this death actually brought me to life!

The carnal mind cannot separate the physical, the symbol, and the spiritual reality. It will bypass the spiritual reality and call the symbol, reality. Only when it becomes absurd, will the carnal mind treat the symbol as a symbol. The reason I am spending so much time belaboring this point, is because this desire for man to bring God and His symbols down to man's language is perhaps one of our greatest errors. We make beautiful parables designed to each us something very beautiful into something terrible and grossly distorted. The parable of Lazarus and the Rich man is a classic example. I will not go into the 5 parables in Luke 15 and 16 which have been twisted into all kind of devilish foolishness. We have literature and audio tapes on that specific subject. I have spent so much time laying down this foundation of understanding the difference between these three different forms of expression because the book of revelation is perhaps THE book with which all kinds of liberty have been taken to twist these "symbols, signs" to conform to all sorts of scenarios of what God is going to ultimately do with you, your friends, and your enemies.

Only when we read this book with a heart after Him, only after we have begun to truly be conformed to His image by the renewing of our mind, only when we keep all of His attributes together, not setting one or the other aside, and only when we leave the signs exactly what they were meant to be MERE SIGNS, can we begin to harmonize and see what this book is all about. Leave the sword in His mouth and then try to kiss Him. And when you have been put to death by His Word and you have died to sin and been made alive to Christ, then you will begin to see that the lake of fire is as much a symbol as every symbol in the whole book. Now let us talk about what the "lake of fiery brimstone" speaks about. Remember, if you have a hard time picturing yourself kissing the Son with a sword in His mouth or if you have a hard time snuggling up to a dead lamb on a throne, you should have just as hard a time seeing yourself, friends, family, or enemies, either being tortured in an eternal lake of burning sulfur, or see them being nuked, or vaporized into nothing. They were not made from nothing and they will not return to nothing!

I find it absolutely amazing how our carnal mind works. The scriptures tell us that our minds cannot conceive that things He has in store for us. His love is infinitely greater than ours, and yet we manage to concoct scenarios which make the love of a mother more loving than the love of our Father. It never ceases to amaze me. One would think that if His love truly manifested in our hearts, we could not help but to hope and believe He will save all mankind, even if our Bible translation said the opposite. It seems even if our Bible said He would torment everyone, it would seem there would be people today who would act like Abraham and Moses and plead and intercede for mankind. Moses, asked Him to forgive Israel when they worshipped the calf and committed many sexual sins. Abraham dared reason with God about Sodom and Lot.

It would seem that those filled with the love of God would spend hundreds of hours combing the scriptures, spend days praying to Him, pleading for mankind. But that is not the case. Most Christians, when doing what they call "Bible Study" spend hours memorizing scriptures to prove He is a torment or annihilator. When we try to prove the Love of our Father, we find His love is steadfast and true, even if our translation of the Bible is ridden with error. When your heart is after Him, He will reveal many things to you like what I am about to show you.

In the book of Revelation, while I was studying the lake of fiery brimstone for this article, I came across some major discrepancies among the leading selling Bibles. Looking further, checking the Greek manuscripts, there were differences between various manuscripts. As a result, we have renderings such as the following:

"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (King James Version)
"All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (New King James)
"All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world." (New International Version) Footnote: "Or written from the creation of the world in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain.
"All on earth will worship it, except those whose names the Lamb that was slain keeps in his roll of the living, written there since the world was made." (New English Bible)
"And all mankind--whose names were not written down before the founding of the world in the slain Lamb's Book of Life- worshiped the evil Creature." (Living Bible) (Includes a very long and confusing footnote)
"And all the inhabitants of the earth will fall down in adoration and pay him homage, every one whose name has not been recorded from the foundation of the world in the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain {in sacrifice} from the foundation of the world." (Amplified Bible)
"and all the inhabitants of the earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slaughtered." (New Revised Standard Version)
"And ALL who DWELL on the EARTH shall worship him, Whose NAME has not been written from the FOUNDATION of the World in the SCROLL of the LIFE of THAT LAMB who was KILLED." (Emphatic Diaglott)
"And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. (New American Standard) Footnote: Or, written in the book . . . slain from the foundation of the world.
I left the word "worshiped" spelled incorrectly in Living Bible because that is how it is spelled in the two copies I have. The old translations like the King James and the new ones have something in common, they both made mistakes, like this simple spelling error. However, they also make some great mistakes, some which will affect your whole life and your relationship to God. This passage is an example which I just recently found.

Those of you who carefully read each translation above should have discovered four completely different ways the passage was written. There are clear important doctrinal issues involved. Focus on the clause "before or from the foundation of the world." Notice the KJV and NKJV have the lamb being slain from the foundation of the world, but translations such as the NRSV and the NEB have the names written from the foundation of the world. Others such as the NIV write it is such a way as to not be able to tell when the names were written, and then we have the Amplified which puts the clause in twice to make it appear that the names written before and the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world. The NAS notes both ways. That is more honest, but it doesn't solve the problem for us.

You see, if your name was written in the book before the foundation of the world, and that is why you will not worship the beast, then it is not your doing, it is all God. It is true predestination, something which the "annililation groups" don't care for because it takes away "free will."

Now which of the four ways is correct? Or is there a fifth and a sixth way? We are dealing with major doctrines here which Christians have literally killed each other over. Can one determine the true meaning of this passage? Is it important? Does you life depend upon you knowing the correct way to deal with this passage? If you were pre-elected, you can't miss, but those who weren't pre-elected cannot help but to worship the beast. How can God find fault? Bibles are full of these kind of problems. Why are not these kind of issues brought up in Bible studies? I had to find these things out on my own. Now then, if your salvation is depended upon your knowing the Bible and what says to you, these kind of problems should have you worried. I have 15 feet of shelving full of different Bible translations. Believe me when I say there are major doctrinal differences among the best of Bibles. Does that bother you? It doesn't bother me.

You see, for me, these tormenting questions are meaningless. I know that if it was up to me, I could never hold up to my part of any agreement with Him. I, like Abram and Jesus' disciples would fall asleep. I have cast my cares upon Him for I have discovered He truly cares for me, has given His life for me. I know who the author and finisher of my faith is. Do you? If you don't, you will live in torment. You will work out your salvation in your strength and come up short. It is guaranteed. And all your efforts and all your works which your soul is full of, will find itself cast among the other filth found cast into the Refiner's Fire, the Lake of fiery brimstone. Or have you not heard that "unbelievers" will have their part in the lake of fire? Those who trust in their own works do not believe Jesus did it all. Unbelievers! Did you not hear idolaters would be cast into the lake of fire? If God is not the "eternal tormentor" or "great annihilator" then have you not been worshipping a false image of God?! Idolater! And if you told those poor sheep around you all the things they must do to get right with God and put burdens upon them they could not carry, and He says He didn't put any of them on their backs, are you not a liar?! Liars will have their part in the lake of fire! And if the "letter of the law" is truly death and you have been using the "letter" against people, are you not a murderer?! Murders will have their part in the lake of refining fire! If God truly Loved the world and saved the whole world, are not the Doctrine of Eternal Torment and Annihilation abominable?! The abominable will have their part in the lake of fire!. Are you getting the message? With this perspective in mind, let us take a look at the death of this kind of deadly thinking and see if there is hope for the abominable, murdering, lying, idolater who trusted in themselves and their own works, instead of the finished work of Christ.

LAKE OF FIERY BRIMSTONE, COMMONLY CALLED THE LAKE OF FIRE

We find this term only in this apocalyptic writing which has been attributed by many modern writers to John, the apostle. Much has been written about this writing. It was one of the last books to be accepted by the Catholic church as scripture. It is hard for some today to imagine, but large portions of the early church did not consider books such as Hebrews, 2nd and 3rd John, 2nd Peter and others including the book of Revelation as scripture. One of the reasons for the Book of Revelation's late acceptance as scripture was the poor quality of the Greek. A thorough study of the process of canonization is time well spent. It is a real fire that will test your faith. Fortunately, I have the faith given by Jesus Christ, not my faith in Jesus Christ. There is a world of difference.

Perhaps two of the main reasons this book has attracted so much attention is because of the promise of being blessed to those one who read it and to those who hear the words of this prophesy and to those who keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. (Rev. 1:3) This was written 1900 years ago. Other translations say that the "time is at hand." There are generally four different types of interpretations of the book of Revelation: Preterist, Idealist, Historical, and Futurist. There are also four general theological perspectives on the book: Postmillennial, Amillennial, Premillenial, and Apocalyptic. A thorough study of the teachings of each of these eight camps should wean one from holding onto any of their pet eschatological systems too tightly. I am not going to touch any of the above. The subject is much to large. I am going to stick with two points: 1. The nature of our Father and His attributes, and 2. the language of the Greek regarding the subject of the lake of fire. This, apart from theological speculation, should convince anyone with a heart full of the love of our Father, that it never entered His mind to either eternally torment any human being nor to put them to eternal death. When the children of Israel burned their children to death in the worship of Moloch, He said, "such a thing never entered my mind.!" (Jer. 32:35) Let us look at the Greek words in the book of Revelation which will bear this out. We will look at the lake of fiery brimstone.

The scriptural references for this lake are only to be found in the apocalyptic book of Revelation: Rev. 19:20, 20:10, 20:14, 20:15, and 21:8. The Bible defines this lake for us as the "second death." We find this term "second death" also only in the book of Revelation in the following places: Rev. 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, and 21:8. Perhaps Revelation 20:11-15 gives us the most clear definition:

The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
I could write dozens and dozens of pages on this one portion of scripture and not run out of material. I will try to stay focused and limit myself to the point that the "lake of fire" which is the "second death" does not refer to "eternal death" for any human being. I would like to point out at this time, most Christian writings of the first 3 or 4 centuries do not speak of a fire of "eternal torture" or "eternal death." They speak of "refining fire." For an article on the early Christian view of salvation, write for the article or tape The Early Christian View of the Savior.

The sea was made up of brimstone, called today sulfur. The word for sulfur in Greek in the word "theion." The words in Greek for God and divine are "theos" and "theios." The Greeks used brimstone for purifying their temples! Although carnal man is usually afraid of fire, fire is a symbol for God. Everyone's works will be tested by fire. Who do you think that fire is? A lump of coal or a piece of wood or literal sulfur? NO! Our Father Who is an all-consuming fire will test the works. This is a symbol for God just as the Lamb and the Lion are but symbols of Jesus.

What happens to those who go into the lake of divine fire? Well, according to the KJV and the NIV, the devil, along with the beast and false prophet, will be "tormented day and night for ever and ever." Those of you who have received the teaching of "annihilationism" or "conditional mortality" have, I am sure, discovered that the word translated "torment" has a primary meaning quite different from the picture we get from the KJV and NIV. I won't belabor the point. Just a few brief comments for those who do not know the primary definition for the Greek words translated "torment" in this passage is "touchstone." Webster's tells us a touchstone is "a black siliceous stone allied to flint; used to test the purity of gold and silver by the streak left on the stone when rubbed by the metal. Any test or criterion by which to try a thing's qualities." It was not until religious folks used instruments like racks and other painful devices to "test" the faith of accused heretics that the thought of torment and pain was added to a perfectly good Greek word which again referred to a "divine test." Gold also symbolizes divinity. Gold with impurities (dross) would show up deficient under the test of fire.

Both the KJV and the NIV say that they will be "tormented" day and night for ever and ever. Here again, we will see both translations producing contradictions which would not occur had they translated "aion" correctly. The words "for ever and ever" are in Greek, "aionas ton aionon." The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, which has the KJV, NIV, the Nestle's Greek text with a literal rendering beneath the Greek, reveals on page 771 that "aionas ton aionon" literally reads "ages of the ages." This makes much more sense since this passage also refers to "day and night." Technically, if "aion" means eternity, then this would be rendered "eternities of eternities" which is "absurdities."

A few more things about fiery sulfur. It cannot be put out by water. The benefits of sulfur are too numerous to mention. In its pure state, it is tasteless, odorless, and colored light yellow. It is used in various compounds for fungicides, sulfa drugs, many skin ointments, matches, vulcanization of rubber, dyes, fixatives in photography, special cements for anchoring metals, hardening paper and woods. Sulfuric acid is one of the most important of all industrial chemicals because it is employed not only in the manufacture of sulfur-containing molecules but also in the manufacture of numerous other materials that do not themselves contain sulfur such as phosphoric acid. The acid is used in numerous industries from fertilizer, petroleum, pigments, metals, and making organic products.

A little side story here just to stir further research on this subject. Brimstone was first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis where the "circuit" of the five cities was destroyed by fire and brimstone. This region is where we now have what is known as the "Dead Sea." This region has been known to be active off and on with fire for hundreds of years. The "Dead Sea" has brimstone deposits. Gehenna (hell) is a valley which leads to the Dead Sea. Although the subject is too detailed and complicated to get into in this article, there seems to be enough material to indicate that the "Dead Sea" and "Lake of Fiery Brimstone" which is the "second death" have some possible connections which have not been thoroughly evaluated in orthodoxy. Remember, Sodom, will one day be restored to her former estate. Sodom is in the vicinity of the Dead Sea. (Ex. Chapter 16)

Most of you have heard at least one end-time scenario of how the end of this age or world will come about. The book of Revelation is always the center of the story. Without the beasts, false prophets, lake of fire, and plaques, these stories lose their holding power. The charts would not be so graphically gruesome without these images. Perhaps the reader should know, that probably every generation in Christendom has lived through the so-called "end-time." Starting with the Montanist's at the end of the second century among whose followers is none other than the church father, Tertullian, who was perhaps one of the leading influences of turning the church toward legalistic death. They prophesied the descent of New Jerusalem to a plain in Phrygia seven years straight, obviously missing it each year. We then come to St. Jerome who predicted the present destruction of Rome would usher in the end of the world. The church then became God on earth under Roman Catholicism so there was no need to declare an end to the earth. The "city of God" had arrived.

When the Reformation came on the scene, the end of the world prophets came out in full force. Luther predicted the end of the world in his generation. Zwingli prophesied doom. Many of the leading Protestant Reformators called the Pope of their time anti-Christ which indicates the end of the world. Dozens of minor players predicted the end throughout the 1500's, 1600's and 1700's. In the 1800's we had the following false prophets: William Miller, Ellen G. White, Charles T. Russell, Joseph Rutherford, Herbert Armstrong, C.I. Scofield, and Clarence Larkin just to name a few. Moving into the 20th century we have H.A. Ironsides, Milton Lindberg, Oswald Smith, Herbert Lockyer, William Orr, Jack Van Impe, John Walvoord, Hal Lindsey, Pat Robertson, and the list goes on into the thousands. Pulpits, T.V. stations, radio stations, newsletters, and books are full of fear-filling prophets and prophetesses. The closer we get to the year 2000 thousand, the crazier it will get. The year 1000 brought similar responses. Fill your heart with fear, or fill your heart with love. You will get hotter or colder as the years roll by. I would like to point out that many who set dates who were in error taught the doctrine of "eternal torment," or the "doctrine of eternal death." I am not aware of any who believed in the salvation of all mankind who have misled people in "judging before the time."

The words "destroy," "perish," "destruction," etc., mean that whatever is destroyed is not at the time of destruction useful for what it is intended. Man was created to enjoy a life of commune with his creator. Because of sin, man finds himself estranged from his purpose and as a result is destroyed during the ages. Our Father says He kills and He makes alive, He creates good and He creates evil, He makes vessels, can and does destroy them, and He is able to refashion them for future use. If you are presently a Christian, did you not find your former life, in the words of Paul, "dung?" Christian, is He not refashioning you presently? Are you so vain as to think that He cannot do the same for the lowest of men or the greatest of men? What do you have to offer the Creator that wasn't given to you? And if received and not earned, why do you boast? Why do you call the Creator a "respecter of people?" If you did not "earn" your estate in Him, be very careful before you exclude one single human being from His goodness and mercy. Do not find yourself complaining to Him if in the last hour He decides to "hire" every person under the sun and give them the same wages you will receive. Do not find yourself calling His goodness "unrighteous" and "unjust."

In this present age (aion) we are experiencing sin, sickness, dying death, judgment which are all relative truths, but not one of these will be experienced by anyone after the end of the ages. Let us not confuse the present process of eonian chastening, correction during the ages with the ultimate goal of our Father's love. After the present experience of separation in our minds from our Creator, we will be able to truly appreciate the glory of being in the will and purpose of our Father. We will never succumb to the temptation of believing any other voice except our Creator's. Everything He does for His children is for our good, including the painful time of learning what it is like for men to be separated from their Creator in the vanity of their carnal minds. Man has never been separated from Him. Where can man go that the Creator is not? Of Him, for Him and to Him are all things. It is only in the realm of the "lie" in our minds that we believe we are separated. One day, that lie will be completely dispelled. The Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world, and the remedy for the consequences of the "lie" was also provided for before man was ever created.

The scriptures declare that the glory of the latter house will be greater than the former. There will come forth something wonderful from these many ages of pain and suffering. After the present experiences of our Father's chastening, and our suffering the consequences of not being our brother's keeper, we will be able to appreciate the glory of our Father's blessings and universal reconciliation in the future. It is an obvious fact that when we lose something or something we have is destroyed, it becomes more precious to us and a return of something which has been lost brings much joy.

I am reminded of a popular song sung in the 1970's which contained the line: "Don't it always seem to go, that we don't know what we got till its gone." It seems deep gratefulness is best ingrained by "losing" it for a season. For Adam (mankind, in Adam all died), his separation from the presence of his creator will be something that laws cannot teach. His experience in darkness, his ignorance of the ways of his Creator will be remembered. The prodigal, while being restored to the kingdom, will never forget his "pigpen" experience. That experience will do something that the prodigal's brother did not learn. As a result, the prodigal's brother had a flaw in character. Often we, Christians have that flaw . . . self-righteousness. We constantly need to search our hearts for that disease. Is there anything in you that might desire to see some people eternally "below" you either as dust and ashes or eternally tormented in flames of fire? Would you like to see yourself in a seat a little closer to Jesus than some others you are familiar with? Search your heart. These kind of attitudes most assuredly will find the flames.

The last enemy to be destroyed is death. The lake of fire is the second death. It is the death of death which brings life! The deathly attitude of wanting one' brother is a lower state will certainly find itself eventually destroyed. It is not in line with the character of the Almighty Who loves all and is willing that all mankind be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. He Who is greatest in the kingdom of our Father is servant of all. Have we come to the place of truly desiring to serve? If not, then we have other things in our heart which must be replaced.

We have covered most of the main scriptures and arguments used to teach "eternal death." Those we did not cover, are as easy to deal with as the scriptures we just discussed. Most of the arguments stem from the words we covered in this article.

The doctrine of annihilation, when thoroughly analyzed, is not to be found in the languages of the Bible. Unfortunately, most best-selling Bible translations, due to the allegiance by the translators to the traditions of their forefathers, teach all three views: annihilation, eternal torment, and the reconciliation of all mankind. This has caused many people much grief and has perplexed many theologians to make statements like this one from a leading scholar, Dr. C Rider Smith:

"In the earlier chapter, it has been shown that the New Testament teaches everlasting punishment. On a review of the whole evidence, therefore, it follows that throughout the book there are two doctrines which to the human mind are irreconcilable; the doctrine of Universalism and the doctrine there are those who will not be saved. It is then to be concluded that on this subject there are two doctrines in the New Testament which cannot be both true, or if the right conclusion that here there are two doctrines that are both true, though the mind of man cannot reconcile them." (The Bible Doctrine of the Life Hereafter, page 258 by Dr. C. Rider Smith)
If one stays within the English of the best-selling Catholic and Protestant Bibles and remains objective, one must come to the above conclusion. However, if one digs deeper, through a little search into the meaning of a few key words such as "eternal," "destroy," "lose," "perish," we will discover there is no inconsistency throughout the scriptures regarding the fate of mankind. We can be assured that our Omnipotent, Omniscient, Loving, Just, Wise Father knows exactly what He is doing and His is doing all His good pleasure.

Man, as a builder, has shown that in the end, apart from the Creator, he is able to produce nothing but "dung," waste. Look at our landfills. Look at the thousands of cities now beneath the sand. Vanity, emptiness, futility . . . these are the products of man. This most certainly speaks of "annihilation." But it is man who is the annihilator, not our Father. He can take our "dung," plant his seeds into it, and produce wonderful everlasting life. He not only can, but He will. He is not the builder who set out to build and could not complete it. He is not the general who went to war too short handed. We, in our short-sighted Christian traditions and creeds have made Him fit this mold. But I assure you, He will break this teaching from the minds of men and bring forth the everlasting truth that His Love for His Creation, of which we are a part, will not end up in a garbage pile of ashes, as the annihilation doctrines teaches, nor will any of His creations experience a "living death" being torment for eternity as the "eternal torment" doctrine teaches. No, Our Father is not a waster, destroyer, He is a Creator and the mind of man cannot conceive of the riches of His kingdom.

JUDGING OUR MAKER

or

"VENGEANCE IS MINE," SAITH THE LORD

Therefore judge nothing before the time , until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and [to] Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think [of men] above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. (I Corinthians 4:5, KJV)

For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The Lord will judge His people." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:30, NKJV)

Whether we admit it or not, nearly all believers "judge before the time." We do not know the end from the beginning, yet most of us have pet doctrines as to what will happen to mankind when it is all finished. We bring out our little pet end-time doctrines and tell the world what one must do to avoid eternal punishment, or annihilation. What we, unfortunately, do not realize is that in doing so, we have also judged our Maker. We have judged His work, His people, and since He identifies with His people, we have judged Him. When we, through our doctrines determine whether our Creator will roast or annihilate someone, we have made a judgment. When we state a person is going to "hell" if he or she does not invite Jesus into their heart, we have judged our Creator. When we say that He will resurrect all, give all a chance to "make the decision" and those refusing to join up with Jesus, will be annihilated, we have judged our Maker. Of course, we say we are just quoting what the Bible says, but are we really quoting what the Bible says, or are we chaining scriptures out of context to make the Bible says what is really just in our hearts? Are we just projecting onto the Creator what we feel would be just if we were the Creator?

Let us take the above scripture in Hebrews as an example. How often have we heard this scripture used to tell people that God is vengeful, wrathful, and angry toward sinners. It is said that one day His wrath will be poured out upon his enemies and when it does, it will result in terrible eternal torment or utter destruction. However, the above scripture says no such thing. In the first place, notice the Lord will judge His people, not those who are not his people. Also notice this verse does not say what the outcome of His vengeance will be. He just states that it belongs to Himself, not us.

When we study that scripture further, we see that that first part is a quotation from Deuteronomy (Deut. 32:35). We discover it is found in what came to be called the Song of Moses. Moses, just before his death prophesies to Israel, not the world, that they would rebel and do evil in the sight of the Lord and provoke Him to anger. Please note that this verse speaks of an entire nation who are called God's people and he does not specify individual people. He is referring to Israel as one. When studying the Bible, notice how often the Lord deals with nations, tribes, and lands as one entity. The judgments are inflicted upon the entire people as a group, not on individuals. This is most important to understand when handling the scriptures.

In the midst of this prophecy, predicting God's people Israel will fall away from the Lord and righteousness, is the scripture, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay." In this same song is found the scripture many Christians seem to be unfamiliar with, "I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; nor is there any who can deliver from my hands." (Deut. 32:39, NKJV) Our Maker follows that with extremely strong language which is typical of judgments against nations throughout the Bible. "If I whet My glittering sword, and My hand takes hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to My enemies, and repay those who hate Me. I will make My arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh, with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the heads of the leaders of the enemy."

Now please note, we have here a prophecy from the Creator through Moses the leader of His people, that they would do wickedness which will result in them becoming enemies of the Lord. He would take vengeance upon his enemies with "arrows drunk with blood" and his "sword" would be wet with the "blood from the slain and his captives, from the heads of the leaders of the enemy." Now let me ask you this: if I end the story here and begin to preach "hell-fire, annihilation, and damnation," would I be rightly dividing the Word? The answer is absolutely not! Why? Because I failed to show the true end of His judgment. Read the paragraph right after the arrows and sword devouring flesh and you will see the final outcome His judgment.

"Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people."
The ultimate outcome of His vengeance will provide atonement for His land and His people. This is the same people who He prophesied would be His enemies! The gentiles are everyone else in the world who are not "his" people and the scripture tells them to "rejoice". His vengeance brought atonement. You see the reason why vengeance must belong to the Lord is because only He can kill and then make alive again, wound and then heal. You and I can only kill. We do not have the power to resurrect, but He does.

You may say at this point, but He will not save all of physical Israel, He will only provide atonement for spiritual Israel, those who are born again. Those who teach this usually point out that only those who have the circumcision of the heart are true Jews or true Israel. If you will turn to Romans chapter 11 verses 26 through 36, I want to ask you a plain question: Did spiritual Jews or Israel become the enemies of the church or did physical Jews or Israel? It is abundantly clear that the "all Israel" who would be saved was clearly physical Israel.

"The Deliver will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins." Concerning the gospel they are enemies but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.
Now, one may perhaps say, "Well, of course, the Lord will eventually provide atonement for the sins of His people, even though they may become His enemies, but do not carry this to the extreme of including pagans, heathen, sinners, the ungodly, etc." I would say to that statement, "Be careful who you think are 'God's people.'"
"It shall come to pass in that day that I will answer," says the Lord; I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth. The earth shall answer with grain, with new wine, and with oil; they shall answer Jezreel (God will sow). Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; then I will say to those who were not My people, 'You are My people!' And they shall say, 'You are my God!'"
Do you really want to get on the judge's seat and conjecture who will receive mercy and who will not? Do you really want to judge our Maker and tell him who will respond to His love and mercy and who will not?

The Bible is absolutely full of these kinds of examples where He speaks very strongly using language of wrath, judgment, and destruction. Remember, however, He Who kills, even though one's theology may deny it, can make alive; He can heal and He can take the clay and remold it. The Bible makes it very plain that "in Adam" all would die. (1 Corinthians 15:22) Be careful, before you say that when He shows His mercy to all, that not all will live and be healed. Despite what John Calvin has carved in stone, the Lord will have mercy upon all. That mercy will bring deliverance.

The following scripture is another one that warns us not to be dogmatic about consigning multitudes into abysses of torture that would make Hitler look like a mercy killer or to conclude that our Father created a huge garbage landfill where He dumps all of His mistakes. He makes no mistakes, even though we cannot see his wisdom in some of His creation.

"For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!" (Romans 11:33)
His ways and judgments are past finding out, yet does not each denomination have formulas, dogmas, doctrines which spell out what God will do to the "unrighteous?" Do they not tell you whether you are in good standing or not? Do they not warn you of the consequences of violating their doctrines? They most certainly do, despite the fact the scriptures warn, "Judge nothing before the time."

SODOM'S JUDGMENT AND HER FINAL RESTORATION

Perhaps the leading example used to express God's wrath and the finality of His judgments is the example of Sodom and Gomorra. Those who wish to project their own vengeful wrath upon our Creator who is love often use this example to consign the basest of society to everlasting torture. They point to the passage in Jude where Jude describes them as examples of "suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." (Jude 7, KJV) Peter said they were condemned to destruction. (2 Peter 2:6) We are presently going to take these five words and dig a little deeper than the level the King James translators dug. The theology of the Anglican Bishops who presided over the translating work was not far removed from Roman Catholicism. Do not forget that the Anglican church was formed due to Henry VIII's love life, and not from a love of the scriptures, mind you.

We must keep in mind, when we read our Bibles, men, for the most part, did the translating. As to the King James Bible, all 46 or so people involved were males filled with the knowledge and superstition of their times. The scholarship of King James day has been grossly exaggerated. I will not spend any more time on this point other than give one example to provoke you to study this out further yourself.

One of King James' favorite medicines, which he swore by as did many other leading "intellectuals" of his days, was a salve for the healing of sword wounds. The following is an account of how it was made and applied: "Take of moss growing on the head of a thief who has been hanged and left in the air; of real mummy; of human blood, still warm, of each, one ounce; on human suet, two ounces; of linseed oil, turpentine, and Armenian bole-of each, two drachmas. Mix all well in a mortar, and keep the salve in an oblong, narrow urn. With this, salve the weapon, after being dipped in the blood from the wound, was to be carefully anointed, and then laid by in a cool place. In the mean time, the wound was to be duly washed with fair clean water, covered with a clean, soft, linen rag, and opened once a day to cleanse of purulent or other matter." As we can see from the above example, the scholastic community had a mixture of truth mixed with gross darkness.

One last point dealing with King James and his translators, be very careful about consigning homosexuals to "hell" as if this sin was "the unpardonable sin." While doing some research on the King James Bible, I came across some love letters written by King James to men.

In The Wisest Fool in Christendom by William McElwee, we read: "The cheerful, unaffected and unselfconscious ordinariness of James's behavior in public, though it lacked dignity, had hitherto been in many ways an asset in his dealings with his subjects. But now it led him to treat Carr in public with the same exaggerated, gross affection as in private, and what had already been a little odd in a sixteen year old boy when he was worshipping at the shrine of Esme' Stuart, became grotesque in the middle-aged man. He appeared everywhere with his arm round Carr's neck, constantly kissed and fondled him, lovingly feeling the texture of the expensive suits he choose and bought for him, pinching his cheeks and smoothing his hair." James considered himself to be a brilliant intellectual and scholar.

James selected the scholars who were to be on the King James Bible translation committee. The leading Hebrew scholar of that day in England, Hugh Broughton, when asked to endorse the translation said he would rather "be rent to pieces by wild horses than have had any part in the urging of such a wretched version of the Bible on the poor people." (Men and their Motives by Jimmie H. Heflin and many other sources) It would be very unwise to believe that the superstitions, politics, and religious biases of sixteenth century England did not find their way into the English Bible of that time. Even today, when comparing twentieth century translations, the doctrinal positions of the translators finds itself on the pages of the Bibles they produce. Calvinists, for example, will translate predestination, and "total depravity" type scriptures quite differently than Arminianists.

With this in mind, let us examine the "vengeance of eternal fire" and see if we cannot get past fifteenth century and twentieth century scholarship with their doctrinal biases. Let us look at this scripture as it appears in the Greek and leave the theology to the theologians.

"SUFFERING THE VENGEANCE OF ETERNAL FIRE"

Suffering: In modern thinking, the English word conveys pain and agony which would correspond to a condition of being in hot fire. This word, however, did not have that meaning in seventeenth century England. The English word in that time period meant "allow" or "let." The underlying Greek word in this passage in the word "hupecho," is Strong's number 5254. Strong's definition of the word is "to hold under." Young's Concordance has to "to hold up under." If Jude wanted to express pain or torture in this passage, he could have used many Greek words to express that, pathema, atimazo, pascho, are but a few examples. Clearly are problem here is the change in meaning of the English word "suffer" which meant "allow" in the seventeenth century which today has an entirely different meaning. This is a clear example of the need for Bible translations to convey the meaning of the original languages in clear present-day English. King James Bible English is just too archaic. This is also an example to show that current dictionaries offer little help and actually hinder the discovery of the true meaning behind original Greek and Hebrew words. A contemporary dictionary offers the meaning of words as defined by the present society. The meaning of a word today may be completely different from the same word used in a previous time period. This is very important to understand.

Vengeance: This English word conveys in the twentieth century an idea of "getting even, settling scores, an eye for an eye." Often it is synonymous with the word "revenge" as one will find out in Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Vindictive is the first definition in Webster's under "vengeful." Clearly, this English word conveys the idea of retribution, a final getting even, or of someone finally getting what they deserve in the form of punishment, an 'eye for an eye' justice, so to speak."

In the Seedmaster Bible program, using its Strong's numbering system, we find the Greek word used here for "vengeance" is "dike." The Thayer's lexicon in this Bible program lists the following definitions for this word in the following order: 1. Custom, usage. 2. Right, just. 3. A suit at law. 4. A judicial hearing, judicial decision, esp. sentence of condemnation. 5. Execution of a sentence, punishment. 5a. To suffer punishment. 6. The goddess Justice, avenging justice. Please note that the primary definitions do not indicate a negative quality. It is not until we get to pagan concepts such as the "Justice Goddess" that we begin to see a vindictiveness in the definition. This word "dike" is also used in Acts 25:15 where the chief priests wanted a "judgment against" Paul. In the Greek, a word had to be added to "dike" to make it a "judgment against" Paul. Clearly, the word simply means "judgment" in both these cases.

Why do we often think in negative terms of His judgments? It seems that Christians have been taught that the Creator's righteous judgments are without mercy, that heavenly justice demands "getting what you deserve." A recent book edited by William Crockett entitled Four Views on Hell will illustrate the point. One essay in this book is written by one of the leading spokesmen for the doctrine of a literal burning of literal bodies in an eternal fire. John Walvoord, former president of Dallas Theological Seminary, writes, "The problem for all is to comprehend the infinite righteousness of God that must judge those who have not received grace. The human mind is incapable of comprehending an infinite righteousness and must bow to the Scriptures and their interpretation when directly and faithfully set forth." He makes God's righteousness almost appear as if it contradicted His mercy. We see in the natural all kinds of examples where our legal systems grant pardons, clemency, plea bargaining, lighter sentences, etc. The Creator's mercy and love is far greater than the legal system of this world, yet we refuse Him the right to make the end of His judgment, mercy for all, jubilee! James says that mercy will triumph over judgment. (James 2:13) James even warns that judgment without mercy is to those who show no mercy! This should serve as a strong warning to those who refuse to acknowledge that ultimately mercy will triumph over judgment.

Eternal: We have many tapes, booklets and tracts proving that the Greek word aion, translated by the KJV translators several different ways, cannot possibly mean "eternal." This King James Bible error is perhaps the most grievous of them all. Other popular Bibles have followed the tradition of the "Authorized Version" in perpetuating this error. The early revisionists of the KJV received (and still do) great persecution for correcting this error in dozens of places. Write and we will be happy to send you complete documented research proving that the Greek word "aion" when properly translated is a time word with a beginning and an end.

The word "eternal" in this verse is the adjective of the word "aion." An adjective cannot have a greater meaning than the noun from which it is derived. The adjective "hourly" must pertain to the "hour," it cannot mean "weekly, "monthly," or "eternally." The Greek word "aion" means "age." It would be improper grammar to give the adjective "aionios" a greater meaning than its noun. Aions (ages) are made (Heb. 1:2), there is before the aions (1 Cor. 2:7, 2 Tim. 1:9), the end of the aions (ages) (Heb. 9:26, 1 Cor. 10:11, Matt. 24:3). There are at least five ages mentioned in the Bible: ages past (Col. 1:26), present age (Luke 20:34), and at least two more in the future (Eph. 2:7). Ages have beginnings and endings, they deal with time, space, and matter. Before He made the "ages, aions" our Father was still the "I Am." The King James Bible translated this word many different ways ranging from "world," "age," to "forever," "everlasting," and "eternal." Many recent translations have cleaned up much of the mess. There are a few dangling places where some translators refuse to be consistent. I am familiar with many translations which have consistently translated the word "aion" and its adjective "aionios" into English words pertaining to periods of time with beginnings and endings. Most of you who are reading this booklet realize these two words do not speak of eternity in its true sense. Therefore I will not spend any more time on the subject.

THE FINAL WORD ON SODOM

We have all seen, and probably are all guilty of taking portions of scripture out of context and distorting the true spirit behind the words. A passage of scripture must be interpreted in context and with a true knowledge of the heart and intent of those involved in the passage. Most of us have heard bad reports about persons we know to be of outstanding character. We are less apt to receive a bad report about such a person than about a person who has a bad reputation.

I believe most people, including Christians, do not personally know the true character of our Father. We are too quick to put Him on a throne of judgment casting all his enemies into eternal oblivion whether it be eternal torment or eternal annihilation.

The following chapter of Ezekiel depicts very well the transgressions of those who claim to know Him and His methods of judgment. This portion of scripture classically reveals who the greatest transgressors against Him are and how our Father will deal with the minor transgressors. It also reveals how He will deal with the greatest transgressors, that is, those who claim to be His own.

The entire sixteenth chapter of Ezekiel is such a segment of scripture. It is a classic example of the creators view of what modern Christendom calls the chiefest of sins. As pointed out in the previous section, our Bibles have been twisted somewhat to reflect the doctrines of the translators. The larger the portion of scripture, the more difficult it is to change its meaning. In a short sentence, one word can entirely change the whole sentence. It is much more difficult to change the meaning of an entire chapter. Ezekiel chapter sixteen, I believe, truly reflects our Father's view of the grossest of mankind's sins and his ultimate dealings with our infractions.

I leave it to the reader to study the entire chapter carefully and prayerfully. We will just refer to certain passages that express the Creators view of the sins of Sodom, Samaria, and Jerusalem and his ultimate judgment of each of them. I believe it shows very clearly why vengeance must be left to our Father and what the outcome of His vengeance will be. As you read the chapter, please note:

  1. Our Maker begins the chapter with His grievances against those who were at this time called "His chosen people." He reminds them they were heathen when He called them and it was He who turned them into "chosen." (Ez. 16:1-14)
  2. His "chosen people" trusted in their own beauty, played the harlot and chased after foreign gods. He called this adultery which, according to the law was punishable by death.
  3. The God of Israel said He would judge their sins by bringing against them all those with whom she committed adultery.
    "And I will judge you as women who break wedlock or shed blood are judged; I will bring blood upon you in fury and jealousy. . . They shall "throw down your shrines and break down your high places. They shall also strip you of your clothes, take your beautiful jewelry, and leave you naked and bare. (Please note the symbolism) They shall also bring up an assembly against you, and they shall stone you with stones and thrust you through with their swords." (Ez. 16:38-41)
  4. This was their judgment, He would then be quiet, and angry no more. Question: will He judge them again for this sin, or is this the judgment for that sin? If this is their judgment, let us see what follows their judgment. "'You have paid for your lewdness and your abominations," says the Lord. "For this says the Lord God: I will deal with you as you have done, who despise the oath by breaking the covenant. Nevertheless I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed . . .when I provide an atonement for all you have done,' says the Lord God." Please note the final judgment for Israel would be an atonement for their sins even though He had them "stoned and thrust through with a sword." They were killed! "I kill and I make alive."
  5. In this chapter which graphically describes the sins of the "chosen people" and their judgment, is also the sins of Sodom, and her judgment. Sodom's sins, from the Creator's viewpoint were not nearly as bad as His "chosen people's" sins. "Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abominations before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit. Samaria did not commit half of your sins; but you have multiplied your abominations more than they, and have justified your sisters by all the abominations which you have done." (Ez. 16:50-54)
  6. Our Maker's own people committed more wicked sins than the heathen. They broke the covenant with the Creator. In spite of this, He would provide atonement for their sins, forgive their iniquity, and will at that time give Sodom and her daughters to God's chosen as daughters! (Ez. 16:53-63) If one looks at the history of Israel or the Church, one will discover that the sins of His people have always been greater than the sins of the heathen. We just refuse to acknowledge them. We are blinded by our pride, which was Israel's problem as well. It is perhaps a believer's biggest problem, pride and self-righteousness.
  7. When this happens God's own people will remember their ways and be ashamed and will receive their sisters Sodom and Samaria as sisters.
This chapter is a classical example showing how the Creator kills and then makes alive again. It shows that while He judges for grievous sins against Him, the ultimate end of His judgments is mercy. It shows that the most heinous of sins are committed by those who claim to know Him, not those who do not. It also shows we have judged Him before the time. Have we received Sodom back as a sister? I think not.

We see the Ruler of the Universe pronounce the same kind of judgments He gave to Israel upon the heathen nations surrounding Israel. Moab shall be like Sodom, Ammon like Gomorra. He will destroy Assyria, and make Nineveh desolation. (Zeph. 2:13-15, 2:9) Yet in Jeremiah our Maker promises to "bring back the captivity of Moab in the latter days." (Jer. 48:47) In the 49th chapter of Jeremiah, He said He would totally destroy Ammon, yet in the 6th verse He promises to afterwards "bring back the captives of the people of Ammon."

The Father of all's chastening and judgments of the nations are severe, but ultimately will end in mercy. Mercy will triumph over judgment even though His people have usually represented Him as ultimately "getting revenge." We, who have become Able's voice still cry out for revenge and call it our Father's voice. No, it is not the Father's voice. It is time to stop projecting our self-righteousness and vengefulness upon a God Who desires mercy not sacrifice. We are the ones who call revenge "Justice." We must repent from our false judgments. When we do, our Father will give us the heathen for an inheritance. (Psalm 2:8) Our sisters will come back into the family.

GLORY

We will not do a thorough word study of the various Hebrew and Greek words used to express what we in English call "glory." There are many studies on these words. These words center around concepts such as: weight, honor, valuable material things, divine presence, an opinion, estimate, high esteem, dignity, praise, worship, etc. We will not enter into a deeper study of "glory" than the above definitions.

Jesus Christ was said to be the express image of the invisible God.

n the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of Majesty in heaven. (Hebrews 1:1-3)

The entire book of Hebrews is really a warning to Jews who were beginning to forsake the glorious latter day house by returning back to the former house consisting of outer appearances, rituals, and customs. In the above passage, the writer refers to his days as the "last days." The writer warned of severe consequences of going back to shadows of things to come. In 70 A.D. those shadowy things were completely destroyed by the Roman army.

So the writer of Hebrews was telling us the very image of the shadow the Jews felt they were giving glory to had appeared. When Jesus began to focus on fully glorify the True Father through His suffering on the tree, they began to abandon Him in droves. Even those closest to Him could not bear the weight of this "glory." From Gethsemane to the tree of crucifixion was a lonely walk indeed.

Why did the vast majority of the Jews forsake Jesus and return to the shadow? What was the shadow? The shadow was the "law." What is the "law?" When we look at the foundation of what came to be called the "Mosaic Law," it was really nothing more than a second hand word, an intermediary word. The Creator said He wanted to speak to them personally, but when they saw the mountain in thick black smoke they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die." (Exodus 20:18) When Jesus manifested as the word of the Creator, they again said, "We have Moses."

Moses speaks of written words, yesterday's message, not living. Since he is dead, we can twist his words to say whatever we want them to say because he is not here to tell us the "spirit" behind the words. Religious man, whether he has just the Hebrew portion of the Bible or both the Greek and Hebrew portions never really wants the Creator around, who is a spirit. Religious man seeks revenge which he calls "justice." The true heart behind all of our Father's words is love, mercy, grace. These things religious man, whether he is Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Moslem, Pentecostal, Kingdom, Charismatic, or whatever, really is not interested in except for himself. We want the Judge of all to judge us with mercy but give "an eye for an eye" to everyone else.

When we look at the harsh strong words of rebuke which Jesus spoke, they were not directed to the same people to whom the religious leaders directed strong harsh words. Religious man, past or present, has directed the strong words of judgment towards those whom he deems a "sinner." This may mean breaking a set of laws, or not being in the right denomination, or being born on the wrong side of the tracks, or having the wrong color or lineage or such a simple thing as not having spoken the right set of words or being baptized a certain way. Religious man says we have "the law" and each sect has its own "law." Those who do not conform to these laws is a sinner. When observing a religious person, one will observe they spend much of their time judging according to their laws which, of course, are also their God's laws.

Now one would think that Jesus would be thankful and lavish much praise upon those who were the guardians of "God's law." But made themselves the guardians of "yesterday's word." "We have Moses!" was their reply to the Living Word. This is the very group to whom He spoke those harsh words. This is the very group that shut their ears and gnashed their teeth when they heard "the Father's Words" coming through Jesus Christ. This group, according to Jesus, sat in Moses seat, a seat of judgment. He said this group was not willing to enter the kingdom and hindered others from entering into it. Religious man loves law and judgment which he equates to "justice." The heart of the Father is "love covers a multitude of sins." The law man asks, "how many times do I have to forgive before I can do away with him forever." The heart of the Father is "His mercy endures forever."

Jesus came to show how far the mercy of the Father goes. If ever there was a time for the Creator of the Universe to manifest "justice" which means "judgment" to the religious man, it was at the crucifixion of His Son. Jew and Gentile both were guilty of the greatest of sins, greater perhaps than all the sins of the world combined. If ever there was a moment in which no man would have found fault with the Creator if He blasted that entire group of people into eternal flames, this was the moment. Yet what were the words of the Almighty Himself through Jesus Christ who only spoke what He heard the father say? "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Did the Father forgive them for the highest of sins in the entire universe? Many Christians still say no. Millions of Jews have been tortured, burned, maligned as Christ killers by the church.

How quick the church is to parrot the famous words of John and James who wanted to command fire to come upon the heads of the Samaritans because they refused to acknowledge Jesus Christ. We, Christians, are so quick to consign to flames those who have refused to yield to our disgraceful counterfeits we call the gospel.

Imagine this situation. Imagine the greatest evangelists of all time converging on your town, evangelists who personally knew Jesus Christ himself. Imagine these evangelists holding a revival at the local Baptist church. The advertising would read, "the world's greatest evangelists." It would bring the entire town. They would preach their hearts out and then give the usual Roman Road close with the usual invitation to raise their hands while no one is looking. Those who secretly raised their hands would then be told they must now come up front. But no one comes forward. How often I have heard Christians consigning those who refuse their version of the gospel to everlasting punishment. They feel justified in consigning them there. They heard "the Gospel" and refused it. They had their chance. If they go to "hell" now, they deserve it! Have you ever seen this kind of response? I have seen it more times than I care to remember. But listen to the words of Him of Whom the Gospel is all about. Listen to His words dealing with this exact situation which occurred in the first century A.D. in Samaria. Jesus said to His disciples who wanted to destroy these men who refused their gospel, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's life but to save them." (Luke 9:56)

Not much has changed in the last 2000 years. Jesus' disciples did not know what manner of spirit they were of then, and neither do they know what manner of spirit they are of today. They still would rather bring down real coals of fire rather than use the coals of fire Jesus would rather us use.

Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

The above passage reveals our Father's vengeance and His Glory. One can justify their hatefulness, self-righteousness, religious pride all they want. The touchstone (test of their faith) is right here. Those who lack the patience of the Saints will always quickly turn the true coals of fire of overcoming evil with good into natural coals of fire meant to hurt and destroy men's lives. How well we have rehearsed, "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us." Do we really understand the magnitude of that statement? No, of all the denominations I have been a part of, none of them have seen the depth of that verse. We often take a measure of that verse for our personal sins, but most of us cannot or will not extend the depth of that verse to our enemies.

The glory of the Creator will be seen when He will manifest what He has said a thousand times in the scriptures and yet we refuse to believe Him. His mercy will triumph over judgment. He will overcome all evil with good. His mercy will not end when your heart stops beating, nor will it end in the ages to come. It will not end at the supposed Great Judgment when all our enemies are expected to get what we think they should have coming to them, nor will it end if one ultimately "decides" not to "choose" Jesus. Salvation never was a choice, which requires effort, forethought, will, etc. We are born of the will of God, not of our own will. (John 1:13) Salvation is a gift that will come upon all, even upon those too ignorant to know what it is or is not.. NO, His glory will be seen when we see that His love, even though we didn't believe Him, will conquer all enemies, They will submit to Him not because He bent their necks into submission with vindictiveness and human wrath, but that He indeed had all time, power, and authority to bring about the circumstances to finally draw mankind unto Himself. He, Jesus Christ glorified His Father by loving all His enemies enough to bring them all to the Father through His love manifested on the tree of crucifixion. "'And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all mankind unto myself.' This He said, signifying by what manner of death He would die." Did the Father not give into His hands all things? (John 13:3, 16:15) Did Jesus not have all power and authority? (John 17:2) Was it not the Father's desire or will to save all mankind? (1Tim. 2:3,4) Was this not Jesus' mission? To seek and find that which was lost? (Luke 19:10) Do you dare say that Divine Love will not accomplish that which He was sent forth to do?

Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. (John 17:1-10)

Jesus came but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. (Matt. 15:24) "I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.") His body indwelled with the Holy Spirit is sent to the rest of the whole world. The scriptures declare, "He shall see the travail of his soul and be satisfied." Anyone, who has ever been touched by His love knows He will never be satisfied until He finds every single sheep that was ever lost in the world of religion, superstition, sin, selfishness, vanity, pride . . .no, He will only be satisfied when Perfect Love is complete.

I am reminded of a story J. Preston Eby tells in his book God is love. It was a story of an incident which occurred in mid-nineteenth century Russia.

A Russian nobleman accompanied by his faithful servant of many years was making his way home across the frozen steppes of Russia in a dogsled. They had traveled many, many miles across the barren wastes and were now but twenty miles or so from home, when the servant spied something which, indeed, brought great terror to their hearts. About a mile or two behind them they could make out the form of a huge pack of wolves that had scented them and was now descending upon them. They gave the reins to the dogs, cracked their whips, and shouted whatever the Russian equivalent of 'mush' is. The dogs strained their muscles and tried to go faster. Yet, irresistibly, the wolf pack closed the gap until finally there were only a hundred or so yards behind them . . .then only fifty . . . then only ten . . . then only five. Their eyes glowed like coals out of hell and their large yellow fangs were visible. The growling deep within their throats and the panting noises of their breathing, could be heard as they drew closer and closer. There was no hope; there was no place of escape. Suddenly, the servant threw himself off backward from the dogsled, with predictable results. The onrushing pack converged and stopped, tearing the servant to pieces while his master escaped. I thought to myself, 'What a wonderful illustration of love!' but upon more mature reflection, I realized that it only vaguely glimpsed the real meaning of love. It hardly touched the fringe of its garment. Ah, it would have come closer if the nobleman had thrown himself off for the servant! 'Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.'" (1 John 4:10)
In both, the doctrine of eternal torment, and the doctrine of annihilation is an element quite foreign to our Father's plan of redemption, that of man's choice. We forget so quickly that when our Father Abraham cut his covenant with the Maker of us all, he, Abraham fell asleep. It has always been a one sided covenant. In the garden of Gethsemane, again, the faithful fell asleep. The arm of salvation is the Lord's and none other. It is all of Him, including and especially the decision. He subjected creation to futility and He will restore it. And the glory of the latter house shall be greater than the glory of the former house.

It is time to put our pride away and give Him true worship and honor. "Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." (Psalm 127:1) We are His workmanship. How quickly we forget. He finds the lost sheep, and He loses none. Believe it, little lost sheep. Another love story taken from Eby's God is Love will illustrate the point.

"While reflecting upon the parental love of God, a story came to mind that I read some months ago. In this story a man who was entirely careless of spiritual things died and went to hell. And he was much missed on earth by his old friends. His business manager went down to the gates of hell to see if there were any chance of bringing him back. But, though he pleaded for the gates to be opened, the iron bars never yielded. His cricket captain went also and besought Satan to let him out for just the remainder of the season. But there was no response. His minister went also and argued, saying, 'He was not altogether bad. Let him have another chance. Let him out just this once." Many other friends of his went also and pleaded with Satan saying, 'Let him out, let him out, let him out.' But when his mother came, she spoke no word of his release. Quietly, and with a strange catch in her voice, she said to Satan, 'Let me in.' And immediately the great doors swung open upon their hinges. For love goes down through the gates of hell and there redeems the damned! Our Father and God, incarnate in the Person of Jesus Christ, holds in His nail-pierced hand the keys to death and hell. O grave, where is they victory? O gates of hell, thou shalt not prevail, for the Redeemer of Israel and the Savior of the world, the God who is LOVE holds in His triumphant hand they key!
This is how the doctrine of eternal torment and the doctrine of annihilation will come to an end. There is no true victory in either teaching, not for The God Who is Love. In fact, it has already ended. Have you not heard, "It is finished!"

I ask you to prayerfully humble yourself and meditate with all earnestness on the following scripture. Pride will keep one out of this realm, so I encourage you to ask our Father to "destroy" your pride before you read this scripture.

"'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.' But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, no in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For 'who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.'"
I would like to point out an interesting observation regarding the teaching of the doctrine of "annihilation." The two leading denominations of the teaching, (Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists) had their origins in the latter half of the nineteenth century. It was at this time evolution destroyed many peoples faith. Many denominations lost thousands of members. One of the principles of evolution is the possibility of matter being created apart from God. That everything came out of nothing. This principle made it easier for people to accept the doctrine of annihilation, which is a return to nothing, total destruction.

However, the scriptures are very clear there is no thing that is not:

"out of Him, and through Him, and unto Him." (Rom. 11:36) And again, "For by Him were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist . . . For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross." (Col. 1:16-20) And again, for a triple confirmation, "for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live." (1 Cor. 8:6)
No, things do not come out of nothing, as evolutionists conclude, all things come out of God. Will He take a part of Himself and utterly destroy it or will all things return unto Him through Jesus Christ? Consider this very carefully as you read through the rest of this article.

Another point I would like you to consider is this: When we have a pet that becomes so ill that we feel it would be better to end it's life, we say things like, "It would be best for the cat if we put it to sleep." While this may sound very humane, the fact is, we are killing the cat. Many who embrace the utter destruction of millions of human beings, use terms such as "Conditional Mortality" and "Eternal Death." They get uncomfortable when someone uses plain speech like, "God is going to annihilate, utterly destroy, 'nuke' or disintegrate them." Why do they feel uncomfortable inside? Could it be their conscience telling them their doctrine is wrong? Could it be that dozens of scriptures pass through their minds like "love your enemies," and "love never fails," etc. And they find themselves repulsed by their own beliefs? You see, if annihilation is a true doctrine, then all the butchers of the world like Hitler begin to become justified by God actions. If God can burn to death His enemies, and we are made in His image, then Hitler was just conforming to the image of God. After all, the Jews were Hitler's "enemies." When bloody Mary killed thousands of Protestants, it has been said her comment was something to the effect of, "I only do here on earth what my God will do to them in Heaven." Our concept of God will be acted out in our daily actions here on earth. Be very careful in formulating a concept (image) of God. You may become just like it. Now if your image of the Creator is One Who wants to, can, and will win all of His enemies through His love, then we will begin to conform to that image. Which image will make this world a better place to live in? I think the answer is obvious.

We must ask our Father to destroy "pride" in us because it is religious pride which makes us think we are receiving from the Holy Spirit when if fact we are receiving from the mind of man. Think the highest thought of the Creator, and that thought will fall short of His glory. Surely, annihilation and eternal torment fall very short of the glory of the All Powerful and Loving Father which He is. These teachings line up very nicely with the history of man ruling over man, don't you think? That is truly the source of these monstrous doctrines, the carnal, vain, mind of man. It is full of all manner of unclean thoughts which will one day be consumed in the lake of fire.

Now read and study the following scriptures and allow your spirit to soar to heavenly heights as the Spirit of Truth guides you into the riches of His kingdom and His love for you, your family, your friends, and the enemies in your mind.

  1. 1Tim 2:4 God will have all to be saved. (KJV) Can His will be thwarted?
  2. 1Tim 2:4 God desires all to come to the knowledge of truth Will His desire come to pass?
  3. 1Tim 2:6 Salvation of all is testified in due time Are we judging God before due time?
  4. Jn 12:47 Jesus came to save all Will He succeed?
  5. Eph 1:11 God works all after the counsel of His will Can your will overcome His?
  6. Jn 4:42 Jesus is Savior of the world Can He be Savior of all without saving all?
  7. 1Jn 4:14 Jesus is Savior of the world Why don't we believe it?
  8. Jn 12:32 Jesus will draw all mankind unto Himself To roast or to love?
  9. Col 1:16 By Him all were created Will He lose a part of His creation?
  10. Rm 5:15-21 In Adam all condemned, in Christ all live The same all?
  11. 1Cor 15:22 In Adam all die, in Christ all live Again, the same all?
  12. Eph 1:10 All come into Him at the fullness of times Are you getting tired of seeing the word, all?
  13. Phl 2:9-11 Every tongue shall confess Jesus is Lord Will the Holy Spirit be given to everyone?
  14. 1 Cor 12:3 Cannot confess except by Holy Spirit See what I mean?
  15. Rm 11:26 All Israel will be saved But most Jews don't believe yet!
  16. Acts 3:20,21 Restitution of all How plain can you get?
  17. Luke 2:10 Jesus will be joy to all people Is there joy is "hell"?
  18. Heb 8:11,12 All will know God How long, O Lord?
  19. Eph 2:7 His grace shown in the ages to come Have we judged Him before the time?
  20. Titus 2:11 Grace has appeared to all Experientially to prophetically?
  21. Rm 8:19-21 Creation set at liberty How much of creation?
  22. Col 1:20 All reconciled unto God There's that word "all" again.
  23. 1Cor 4:5 All will have praise of God What for?
  24. Jms 5:11 End of the Lord is full of mercy Is "hell" mercy?
  25. Rev 15:4 All nations worship when God's judgments are seen Could His judgment be mercy?
  26. Rm 11:32 All subject to unbelief, mercy on all All?
  27. Rm 11:36 All out of, through, and into Him All into Him?
  28. Eph 4:10 Jesus will fill all things Including "hell?"
  29. Rev 5:13 All creation seen praising God Including Satan?
  30. 1Cor 15:28 God will be all in all What does that mean, preacher?
  31. Rev 21:4,5 No more tears, all things made new "All" made new?
  32. Jn 5:25 All dead who hear will live How many will hear?
  33. Jn 5:28 All in the grave will hear & come forth How will the "righteous" judge, judge?
  34. 1 Cor 3:15 All saved, so as by fire How can fire save you?
  35. Mk 9:49 Everyone shall be salted with fire Including you?
  36. Rm 11:15 Reconciliation of the world Will fire save the world instead of destroy it?
  37. 2Cor 5:15 Jesus died for all Did He died in vain?
  38. Jn 8:29 Jesus always does what pleases His Father What pleases the Father? (1Tim 2:4)
  39. Heb 1:2 Jesus is Heir of all things Does "things" include people?
  40. Jn 3:35 All has been given into Jesus' hands Can you accept this?
  41. Jn 17:2 Jesus gives eternal life to all that His Father gave Him How many did the Father give Him?
  42. Jn 13:35 The Father gave Him all things Study the word "things" in the Greek.
  43. 1 Tim 4:9-11 Jesus is Savior of all! Can't seem to get away from that word "all."
  44. Heb. 7:25 Jesus is able to save to the uttermost How far is "uttermost?"
  45. 1Cor 15:26 Last enemy, death, will be destroyed Including "lake of fire" which is "second death?"
  46. Is 46:10 God will do all His pleasure Does Old Testament agree with the New?
  47. Gen 18:18 All families of the earth will be blessed Here comes that word "all" again.
  48. Dan 4:35 God's will done in heaven and earth What can defeat His will?
  49. Ps 66:3,4 Enemies will submit to God Can any stay rebellious in "hell?"
  50. Ps 90:3 God turns man to destruction, then says return How can one return from "destruction?"
  51. Is 25:7 Will destroy veil spread over all nations All nations?
  52. Deut 32:39 He kills and makes alive Kills to bring life?
  53. Ps 33:15 God fashions all hearts "All" hearts, including men like "Hitler?"
  54. Prv 16:9 Man devises, God directs his steps What about "free will?"
  55. Prv 19:21 Man devises, but God's counsel stands So much for "free will."
  56. La 3:31,32 God will not cast off forever Why does He cast off in the first place? (1 Cor 11)
  57. Is 2:2 All nations shall flow to the Lord's house "All" nations?
  58. Ps 86:9 All nations will worship Him "All" nations!
  59. Is 45:23 All descendants of Israel justified Including the wicked ones?
  60. Ps 138:4 All kings will praise God Are you catching on?
  61. Ps 65:2-4 All flesh will come to God That sounds wondrous.
  62. Ps 72:18 God only does wondrous things I wish we would believe that.
  63. Is 19:14,15 Egypt & Assyria will be restored Really?
  64. Ezk 16:55 Sodom will be restored to former estate Sounds impossible.
  65. Jer 32:17 Nothing is too difficult for Him Nothing? No, nothing!
  66. Ps 22:27 All ends of the earth will turn to Him For what purpose?
  67. Ps 22:27 All families will worship before Him Praise His name!
  68. Ps 145:9 He is good to all Including your worst enemies.
  69. Ps 145:9 His mercies are over all his works Let's start believing that.
  70. Ps 145:14 He raises all who fall Who hasn't fallen in sin?
  71. Ps 145:10 All His works will praise Him For "eternal torment?"
  72. Is 25:6 Lord makes a feast for all people And you are invited.
  73. Jer 32:35 Never entered His mind to torture his children with fire This came from the carnal mind.
  74. Jn 6:44 No one can come to Him unless He draws them You can't "chose" to follow Him.
  75. Jn 12:32 I will draw all mankind unto Myself Amen!!!
  76. Ps 135:6 God does what pleases Him If it pleases Him to save all that He might be in all, are you upset?
The death of living for sin, error, missing the mark, is the second death. The death of deathly living which was inherited from Adam. The glory of our lives living in Adam, in our sinful nature falls far short of the Glory of living in a sinless life, no error, hitting the mark. The Glory of the Latter House will be far greater than the glory of the former house, not only in terms of quantity, but in terms of quality. The covering the Adam had was far from the Glory that Jesus has. Jesus' covering is our True covering. "In Him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28)

If we do not put off the flesh, the Sword in His mouth will cut us in half and as with the animals Abram offered, the fire of the Almighty will consume it. The law of death in our members will be utterly destroyed, but we live, as a result of the second death, the death to death. The fiery Word of God will eventually find us out and we will finally live to bring true glory to our Wonderful, Awesome, and Loving Father through our Life in Jesus Christ, His Son.

"Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as you have given Him.

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true god, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth, I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.

And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (John 17:3-5)

The Father loves the Son and has put everything in His Hands. (John 3:35, NIV)
The Father and the Son have Glorified One another. Can we give them more glory than "eternal torture" and "eternal death?" Jesus came to destroy death. His last enemy is death. To be carnally minded is death. Pray for the death of your death, that you might see and live in the glorious liberty of the sons of God. This is your inheritance. We may partake of your aionian life today. Believe, and watch the grave stone roll off the mind of death . . .the carnal mind which prevents one from truly bringing glory to our Father.
"As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctified Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me." (John 17:18-21)
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. (John 15:5,6)

Are we abiding in Him, or in our works? What is death? Death is anything that we do that does not come from abiding in Him. We were created unto good works prepared for us in Him. If we draw from that well and manifest it in the world, we are alive to Christ and dead to the flesh (self works). But if we are building religious kingdoms, no matter how small, we are drawing our glory from the earthy which is death. Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Righteousness, Peace, and Joy, in the Holy Spirit. Gifts, fruit of the Spirit, good works that do not produce pride and self-righteousness. A servant's heart that does not grumble. Do you know these things? Rivers of living waters flowing out of our bellies. If this all sounds foreign to you, then come to the fire. He will cleanse you of all death, dead works which are so wearisome. Take His yoke upon you for His burden is light and His yoke is easy and enter into His labors that you may find rest for your soul. Let His Word divide your heart into soul and spirit. Then let the All-consuming Fire of the Father and Son, the smoking furnace and the burning lamp consume all that is not of Them that you might live in the realm of true Glory.

Some of the primary written works used to promote the teaching of conditionalism are The Fire That Consumes by Edward Fudge, The Conditional Faith of Our Fathers by Leroy Froom, and Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead by Oscar Cullman. Theologian John Stott has also written on the subject although it is difficult to ascertain his exact beliefs on the subject. We hope the material enclosed in this article is sufficient to prove the Bible does NOT teach eternal death, it teaches the restoration of all things -- it teaches the Victorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Savior of ALL mankind, loser of none.

One will find most adherents to conditionalism belonging to denominations and movements springing out of the Millerite movement of the eighteen century. Denominations such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Bible Students Groups like Epiphany and Dawn and millenianists like Christian Millenial Fellowship, Sacred or Holy Name groups like Assembly of Yahweh. Herbert Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God and all its splinter groups taught conditionalism. Recently the main branch of the original Worldwide Church of God changed their beliefs on the afterlife to line up more with the traditional Evangelical model.

For more writings on the subject of what happens to the dead, visit Tentmaker's Scholars Corner that contains dozens of fine articles and books on punishment, heaven, hell, salvation, etc.

Tentmaker's Scholar's Corner


Tentmaker Resources Bookstore Is back online.

For Information About Tentmaker Ministries Please Click Here

What is Christian Universalism?



Home| Audio Messages | Bible Matters | Blog | Books & Booklet | Dew Magazine| E-Sword Modules | FAQ |Graphics and Cartoons
Holy Spirit | Inspirationals | Lists
MailableOrder Form | Message Board | NewBooks & Articles | Privacy Policy
Reviews:Books, Bibles, Software |
QuickFind | Scholar'sCorner | Subscribe to Newsletters
Termsof Use
| Testimonials | TopicalIndex | Tracts | SupportTentmaker | Online Video | WisdomQuotes

Other Tentmaker Sites: What the Hell Is Hell?  and LoveWins

Contact us!

Tentmaker
118 Walnut
Hermann,MO 65041

http://www.tentmaker.org

© 2014 Tentmaker Ministries . All rights reserved.