Will people burn ‘forever’ in hell?
The idea that people will burn forever in hell must be one of the funniest things the devil has come up with. Creating an impression of God as a tyranny looking forward to an eternal dominion over a scared multitude of sinners who are day in day out burning in an unending fire. Some religions have portrayed such a scary image of the scenario as saying ‘you will be the firewood burning someone’ as someone else is the firewood burning you.
How does this relate to the God we know? Lets look at the bible and understand this.
2Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
The bible is clear that the unjust are reserved until the day of judgement. This clearly negates any possibility of an ongoingform of judgement fronted by the concept of purgatory. Remember the Christ went to wake up his friend Lazarus? This is well covered in State of the Dead
So knowing that the unjust are reserved to the day of judgement, what is that judgement?
Matt 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:
Matt 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Here we see two scriptures that we need to understand-an everlasting fire and everlasting punishment-which both mean the same thing-Christ will not contradict himself.
But the bible is one and therefore to understand the bible-then we shall look at other examples in which such reference was made.
Jude 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Taking this verse literally would mean that the people of Sodom and Gomorrha and still being burnt? Really? IS Sodom and Gomorrha burning now? But we know they are not right? Eternal fire means fire eternally. It is not the punishing that is eternal, it is the punishment that is eternal.
Gen 19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;
2Peter 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
God is giving an example that if you decide to live ungodly look back at these cities and know what will happen.
Gen19:17: And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.
Lets consider consumed literally. If I consume say my lunch-it will be gone for good-now way i can get it back right? This in the same way means that the effects of this punishment last forever, not the ‘act’ of punishing.
Malachi 4:1 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.
It shall burn them up-leave nothing
Psalms 37:20: But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
Obadiah 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been
Over and over we learn-I have no pleasure in the punishment of the wicked_I have no pleasure in the death of a sinner-says the Lord. The Lord is long suffering that we all come to repentance. It is not the punishing that is eternal-it is the punishment-
Lets look at three last examples.
Revelation 20:10-15 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. 11: And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12: And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13: And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14: And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Nahum 1:9: What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.
This is God cleaning the world in its entirety. God will not chance in the new earth that the devil ‘springs’ up from this daily burning to torment the saints. This is why a once for all solution is provided by God. It therefore is baseless and unbiblical the claim that the ungodly people will burn everyday of their lives.
The punishment is once-but the effects of the punishment, just like the example given us by God of Sodom and Gomorrha will last forever.