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"Alternative" Doctrines of Hell
Christians and non-Christians as well, teach alternative doctrines of Hell: annihilationism, universalism and purgatory. Alternative doctrines of Hell are WRONG in God's Eyes, just as alternative 'Lifestyles' are wrong in God's Eyes. See our article of Alternative Lifestyles at: http://www.hisservants.org/alternative_lifestyles_h_s.htm
??Eternal torment or annihilation??
Annihilation is defined as "total destruction" or "complete obliteration" of an object; having its root in the Latin nihil (nothing). A literal translation is "to make into nothing".
In physics, the word is used to denote the process that occurs when a subatomic particle collides with its respective antiparticle. Since energy and momentum must be conserved, the particles are not actually made into nothing, but rather into new particles. Antiparticles have exactly opposite additive quantrum numbers from particles, so the sums of all quantum numbers of the original pair are zero. Hence, any set of particles may be produced whose total quantum numbers are also zero as long as conservation of energy and conservation of momentum are obeyed. Taken from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annihilation
The damnable heresy of annihilation teaches that man has no conscious existence after he dies. False teachers of annihilation include: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians, Seventh-day Adventists, Herbert W. Armstrong.
Annihilationists say that if you burn paper, it is eternally destroyed and that is how we should view Hell. But, what does the Bible say?
Arians deny the full deity of the preexistent Son of God who became incarnate in Jesus Christ. They hold that the Son, while divine and like God ("of like substance"), was created by God as the agent through whom He created the universe. Arians say of the Son, "there was a time when he was not." All Arians say that Heaven is a physical restored paradise upon the Earth.
The Truth is: the wicked will NOT be annihilated. It will be the present heaven and earth that will be annihilated! (Rev. 21& 22; Isa.65:17; 66:22-24; 2 Pet. 3:6-7,10-13). Physical Creation will be annihilated, NOT mankind!
Malachi 4:1-3 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, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. 2 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. 3 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 hosts. (KJV)
Annihilationists reject eternal conscious torment, which was widely believed in the ancient world. They say that Jesus incorporated false pagan doctrines into His teaching on Hell. This is utterly ridiculous for it would mean that Jesus promoted false doctrine. Jesus’ RIGHT teaching on ETERNAL conscious torment is absolutely TRUE. Believe it my friend!
Why would anyone think Jesus was ignorant of what Gehenna meant to the common people of His day? Why would anyone think He was mistaken in using the graphic descriptions of Gehenna? BEWARE!!! To think these things is to do a great injustice to Him Who was the Greatest Teacher who ever lived. His language connected with Gehenna, such as "fire is not quenched" and "their worm dieth not," demonstrates beyond all doubt to any reasonable person that He deliberately used the word Gehenna (Mat.5:22.29; 10:28; 18:19: 23:15,33; Mark 9:42, Luke 12:5) to impress upon His hearers that eternal punishment awaits the wicked after the resurrection. No other conclusion is possible. Mark 9:43-44 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (KJV) . . . To quote David Ring: "If you don't believe in Hell now, a second after you die you will believe it." Probably not quoted word for word.
Scriptures speaking of the fires of Hell in the Old Testament: Ps.9:17; 140:8-10; Pro.15:24; Isa.5:14; 14:9-15; 33:10-14.
#1 Hell is the place of judgement. Matthew 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?(KJV)
#2 Hell is placed at the end of the world after the resurrection. Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (KJV)
#3 Hell is the place of conscious torment. Mark 9:47-48 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.(KJV) Isaiah 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. (KJV)
Blessings in Heaven are the same duration as the punishment in Hell. Heaven and Hell are the exact duration . . . eternity! Eternal is forever. Eternity is ferever.
Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (KJV) . . . The wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life.
2 Thessalonians 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (KJV) . . . The wicked will pay the penalty of sin, eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord.
Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (KJV) . . . Hell DOES exist!
Jude 1:13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. (KJV) . . . An eternal Hell is reserved for the wicked.
Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. (KJV) . . . NO rest day or night, forever!
Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (KJV) . . . Man can kill the body, but cannot touch the soul! Our present bodies will not go into eternity, only our spirit and soul. This verse refutes annihilation. It is proof of what God can and shall do to man. The Gospel of Luke tells us the same thing!
Luke 12:4-5 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. (KJV) . . . According to annihilationists, once a person is dead, he ceases to exist.
The above Passages prove that they are wrong and that there IS a conscious part of man that survives death. Luke 16:22-31 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (KJV)
What Hell Is NOT!
PURGATORY is an utterly false view of Hell which is taught by Catholics. Purgatory: Is it a purifying fire or is it a fatal fable? Catholics who believe in a purifying fire that will purge away their sins are deluded victims of a damnable heresy (2 Pet.2:1). This invention of a place for purification of sins called Purgatory is one of the most seductive attractions of the Roman Catholic religion. Purgatory is what makes Catholicism work. If Purgatory were removed, the Catholic religion would fall. Purgatory is the hope of eternal comfort somewhere down the road. Catholics believe a person does NOT go to an ETERNAL Hell. NO. They go to a temporary Purgatory. Personally, I will stay with the hope of eternal life promised by God (Tit.1:2).
Catholicicm teaches that you can never know you are going to Heaven. That is FALSE! John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (KJV) . . . What a comfort this verse is! When we BELIEVE, we HAVE eternal life and we have it NOW! (John 5:24). 1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (KJV) . . . The Bible tells us we can KNOW that we have eternal life.
Catholics believe that you just have to keep trying, keep working at it, in that long journey toward perfection. Catholics are guilt-ridden and fear-ridden and have NO comfort of whether they will ever get into Heaven. If Catholics had no Purgatory for comfort, they would have no safety net to give them a chance of Heaven. Purgatory is their second chance, a chance after death, and this is why it is SO dangerous! There is absolutely NO hope of salvation AFTER death! Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (KJV) Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (KJV)
The Motivation for Purgatory
Catholics have a very good motive! MONEY! Over the centuries billions of dollars have been paid to Roman Catholic priests to obtain relief from those imaginary sufferings in Purgatory's fire. The Catholics have always taught that the period of suffering in Purgatory can be shortened by purchasing indulgences and novenas, buying Mass cards and providing gifts of money. When a Catholic dies, money is extracted from mourning loved ones to shorten the deceased's punishment in Purgatory. Some Catholics will their entire estates to their religion so that perpetual masses could be offered for them after they die. It is no wonder that the Catholic religion has become the richest institution in the world. The buying and selling of God's grace has been a very lucrative business for the Vatican.
Another motive is controlling people. The enslavement and suppression of people is the goal of every cult, and Purgatory does exactly that. The concept of a terrifying prison with a purging fire, governed by religious leaders, is a brilliant invention. Catholics will not say how long people have to suffer for their sins . . . months, years?? Nor do they say how many Masses must be purchased before they can be released from the flames. This dreadful fear and uncertainty in loved ones is a ruthless form of religious bondage and deception!
Biblical Support for Purgatory
There is absolutely NONE, anywhere! The word purgatory nor the idea of sin-purifying fire is found NO where in Scripture. BEWARE!!!
HADES. Hell and Hades are NOT the same. They are two entirely different places in two entirely different times. Departed spirits of men go to the temporary Hades to await judgement. AFTER the Judgement, the wicked will be cast into an eternal Hell. Arians always confuse the two!
Annihilation vs. Eternal Conscious Torment
ANNIHILATION advocates teach that the unsaved will be annihilated, either immediately after death or after experiencing a limited time of punishment . . . Where? and How long? Annihilation after death is very easy to rule out because it contradicts Jesus' teaching that there will be degrees of punishment, for immediate annihilation does not allow for any difference in destiny.
Matthew 5:29-30 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. (KJV)
1 Corinthians 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (KJV) . . . ALL mortal bodies will become immortal (eternal) at the resurrection. This is a powerful argument against annihilation. If ALL men both good and WICKED put on immortality at the resurrection, HOW could they possibly cease to exist? Ceasing to exist is NOT immortality! Immorality is living FOR EVER in one of two places: Heaven OR Hell! Heaven is eternal bliss, Hell is eternal agony!
Immortality is to NEVER die again . . . whether it be in Heaven or Hell. Man's body is not immortal now, but will one day be made so. ALL men, whether good or wicked shall one day be immortal!
Being mortal refers to our BODY . . . NOT our soul. Physical death is separation of the mortal body from the eternal soul and spirit. When a person dies, his spirit and soul (1 Thes.5:23) lives on, consciously (Luke 16:19-31). After the resurrection, an immortal spiritual body is then given to all.
The second death is NOT the separation of the body and soul . . . it is the separation of man from God for eternity in Hell. 2 Thes.1:8-9 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (KJV)
While living here on Earth, we are a spirit with a physical body. While dead in Hades, the wicked are a spirit without a physical body. After resurrection, the wicked will be a spirit with a body to await judgment at the Great White Throne (Rev.20:10-15) and believers will be a spirit with a body, just like Jesus! (1 Jn 3:2; Phil 3:20-21).
UNIVERSALISM teaches that all people will be saved. Some say that it is through the atonement of Jesus that ALL will ultimately be reconciled to God. Others say that ALL will go to Heaven one day, whether or not they have trusted in Jesus to save them OR even if they rejected Jesus as Saviour during their lifetime. This does NOT make any sense to me! This is NOT what the BIBLE teaches!
False Teachers teach this damnable heresy that universal redemption will be realized in the future where God will bring all people to repentance. Universalists believe this repentance can happen while a person lives OR after he has died and lived again in the millennium (as some "Christian universalists" claim). Some universalists even teach that Satan and all demons will one day be reconciled to God. This is an absolute falsehood to anyone who knows the Bible!
Rev. 19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (KJV) . . . Antichrist and the False Prophet are cast alive into HELL! Hell is eternal, for ever!!! Rev.20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (KJV) . . . Satan shall be tormented day and night for ever in Hell!!! Neither Satan nor even one of his demons will ever be reconciled to God!
Uuniversalistic beliefs are in serious error. People SHALL suffer eternal damnation. Rev.14:11-12 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.  Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (KJV) . . . Christians . . . keep your faith in Jesus! Only He can get you to Heaven! . . . Satan and the demonic forces have NO redeemer.
Some universalists (who claim to be Christian), BUT, they deny the doctrine of the Trinity and the incarnation of the Word of God as God the Son. They also deny the Person and deity of the Holy Spirit. Usually, these denials are held by Unitarian Universalists, though others who are not of this bunch also deny the Trinity. Those who deny these necessary doctrines CANNOT be classified as Christians.
If a person denies the deity of Christ, they deny one of the basic, essential doctrines of salvation. In this sense, those universalists who deny the deity of Christ are in a false religious belief system, a cult. When one essential doctrine is denied, many other Biblical doctrines are also denied and salvation is null and void because the object of their faith is false.
There is a denomination known as Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). The UUA can be classified as non-Christian because it denies the deity of Christ, the Person of the Holy Spirit, etc. It is not possible to categorize all universalists into one category. Its adherents vary in their beliefs. Some are Arian (God is one person, Jesus is a creation). Some are Trinitarian. Others even lean toward New Age concepts of man's divinity. Universalism is not really a doctrine that identifies a group. Rather, it is a doctrine of different, contradictory groups, who all claim universalism.
In Universalism, the word "eternal" means "without end" when it comes to salvation, but NOT when referring to damnation, even though the same word is used for both and in the same context in the Bible. Mat. 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (KJV)
Can a TRUE Christian believe in Universalism? "Christian Universalism" is the position that all of mankind will ultimately be saved through Jesus whether or not faith is professed in Him in this life. It claims that God's qualities of love, sovereignty, justice, etc., require that all people be saved and that eternal punishment is a false doctrine. Salvation, they say is NOT from Hell, but from sin.
There are two main groups in Christian Universalism:
- #1 Those who teach that the unrepentant will be punished in a future state, and that their punishment will be proportional to the degree of sin committed in the mortal state. They generally hold that the punishment is moral and not physical. They believe there is no Hell. They do not maintain that salvation is merited through these sufferings.
- #2 Those who teach that all the punishment for sin occurs in this life and that God's discipline in our lives is for the purpose of purifying us, though this purification is not our merit for salvation. In eternity, there will be a loss of reward for those who did not trust in Christ in this lifetime.
Christian Universalists claim to hold many of the tenets of historic Christianity: Trinity, deity of Christ, deity of the Holy Spirit, salvation by grace, etc. It is always necessary to ask what is meant by the terms they use because of the great difference that exists in Universalist beliefs.
Christian universalists claim to affirm:
- The inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. They seem to hold to the orthodox position.
- There is only one God. Most Universalists who claim the title "Christian Universalists" do not accept Biblical doctrine of the Trinity, but lean more towards either Arianism (God is One Person, Jesus is created) to modalism (God takes different forms in history). This is heresy! Jesus is the Son of the Living God!
- Some hold that Jesus is not God but that He is divine. This is very confusing since divinity is a quality of God, NOT angels or men.
- Jesus' Resurrection. Most Christian Universalists affirm the physical resurrection of Jesus. But, some claim that He did not rise from the dead physically, but was assumed into Heaven to dwell with God.
- The Holy Spirit is God's Presence. There is a common denial of the Person of the Holy Spirit. (personhood is self-awareness, a will, the ability to speak, etc.). This is a serious error on the part of those who hold to it. But, many Universalists agree that the Holy Spirit is the third Person in the Godhead.
- Some Universalists believe in consciousness after death, others do not.
- Some believe in limited punishment of sinners in a type of Hell that is not of fire, but of some moral chastising.
- That punishment in the afterlife was for a limited period during which the soul was purified and prepared for eternity in the presence of God. Sounds like the Catholic Purgatory!
"Christian Universalism" really is NOT "Christian" because it is mixed together with many other unorthodox and FALSE teachings. This FALSE belief system should be avoided like the plague.
Universalism teaches that everyone will eventually repent and accept Christ. This is utterly ridiculous! The Bible teaches that more people will go to Hell rather that Heaven. Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (KJV) . . . IF no humans would ever be sent to Hell, there would have been NO need for Christ to go to the cross. And we would have no need to warn others about it.
Hell, Degrees of Punishment in Hell?
Hell, God's Wrath, What Is It?
Hell, Judgments Come From His Holy Character
Hell, Judgments Come From Nature
Hell, Promises Fulfilled
Hell, Promises of Pestilence