We are alive today. Is mankind destined to live forever? Has God promised eternal life to the wicked as well as the righteous? Did God make a mistake when He said, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23. In the Bible man’s life is pictured as being like a shadow or vapour that soon passes. Man is mortal (Job 4:17); he is corruptible (1 Corinthians 15:53, 54). Since he must see for immortality if he desires eternal life, it is clear that man does not have a natural immortality with him (Romans 2:7)
1. Through whom and by what means are eternal life and immortality made possible?
“But has now been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2Timothy 1:10
2. What is the source of eternal life?
Immortality belongs alone to God (1 Timothy 1:17; 6:16). “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John3:14, 15. Read 1 John 5:11-13.
3. Will those who reject the gospel have eternal life?
Peter asks this question, “What will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17,last part. David gives a clear answer when he says, “The Lord preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.”Psalm 145:20. Read Proverbs 13:9
4. Is it possible that when the Lord uses the word destroy to represent future punishment, He means that the sinner shall live eternally in torment?
Take a look at how God uses the words destroy, destroyed and destruction. He said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air.” Genesis 6:7, first part. He said further: “Behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.” Genesis6:17. But then He told Noah, “And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.” Genesis6:19. It is clear that the threatened destruction would put an end to their lives. Only those in the ark would continue to be living beings.
5. What was the result of the flood?
“And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and everyman. All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. Genesis 7:21-23
NOTE: When the Lord uses the word destroy to express the punishment of the wicked He means just what the word literally means. The Hebrew word for destroy is machah in Genesis 6:7 and means to wipe off, to wipe away, to blot out or to destroy.
6. To what does the path of the wicked lead?
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” Matthew7:13
NOTE: Look up that word destruction and you will quickly discover that it involves a bringing to naught; demolition; ruin; slaying or devastation. Destroy and destruction never mean to keep alive in torment. That which is alive is not destroyed so long as it remains alive.
7. Where will the wicked be destroyed?
Jesus said, “But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28, last part.
NOTE: The Greek word for hell here is Gehenna or Gehenna fire which was a place of destruction near the southwest wall of Jerusalem. It was the city dump. Fires were kept burning for the purpose of consuming filth.Men cannot live in fire. It will burn them up.
8. What does Paul say the end will be of the enemies of the cross of Christ?
“Whose end is destruction.” Philippians 3:19, first part.
9. How will those be punished who do not obey the gospel?
“Inflaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9
NOTE: Anyone knows that the destruction of a living being produces death. “Everlasting destruction” is the same as saying it is eternal in its consequences. It is a completed act. Read Jude 7.
10. Will the wicked exist throughout eternity?
“May sinners be consumed from the earth, and the wicked be no more.”Psalm 104:35, first part.
11. Will any part of the wicked be left?
“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud,yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the Lord of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch.” Malachi4:1
12. What about the devil, we he too be destroyed?
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Hebrews 2:14
The overthrow of the wicked will be complete. Their destruction will be eternal. Nowhere in God’s universe will sin or sinner be found. Says God, “The wicked shall perish.” Psalm 37:20, first part. “For evildoers shall be cut off…For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more.” Psalm 37: 9, first part, 10. God will not permit His creation to be marred forever with the effects of sin. Here is God’s protest against those who try to “imagine” that the wicked will always exist: “What do ye imagine against the Lord?he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time. “What do ye imagine against the Lord? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.” Nahum 1:9. Just as God destroyed the impenitent in Nineveh so will he ultimately destroy all who have become hardened in their rebelliion.