Chapter 1
The Necessity of the Blood of Jesus

The Problem – Man’s Sin

When man was created, God considered him, and His verdict was “very good.”

…God hath made man upright… (Eccl. 7:29)

Man was the crown of God’s creation, being created in God’s image. But man and the rest of creation could hardly be described as being “very good” now! Wars, murders, riots, starvation, poverty, earthquakes, fires, famines, disease and much more, all bear loud testimony to the fact that things now are not as they were in the beginning. So, what happened?

Man’s Probation

According to the first three chapters of Genesis, after God created man He put him on probation. God put the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden, commanding Adam not to eat of it. It was a test, a simple test of obedience.4 If Adam had obeyed God, he would have enjoyed health, prosperity, harmony with the rest of creation and endless life.5 But Adam disobeyed God. As a consequence, he received the penalty, or punishment, for his disobedience.

Adam deserved the full eternal punishment of sin the very moment he sinned; but God, in His grace and longsuffering, and for the purpose of saving some men, did not execute the full penalty immediately.

All Men Were In Adam

God was dealing with the entire human race when He dealt with Adam. In chapter seven of the book of Hebrews, Paul makes reference to the time when Abraham met Melchizedek (the pre-incarnate Son of God) and paid tithes to Him. In this context, Paul teaches that Levi (who was a great-grandson of Abraham) paid tithes to Melchizedek even though he was not yet born. When Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, Levi was “in his loins,” and so, in a sense, he participated in Abraham’s action.

Also, in Genesis 46:26, it is said that Jacob’s descendants “came out of his loins.” In a literal sense all of Jacob’s descendants were “in him.”

In the same way, the entire human race was “in Adam.” Had Adam obeyed God, all of humanity would have been rewarded and blessed. But since Adam disobeyed and sinned, all humanity is cursed and suffers the punishment of sin:

…by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men… (Rom. 5:12)

…through the offence of one…many be dead… (Rom. 5:15)

…by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation… (Rom. 5:18)

…in Adam all die… (1 Cor. 15:22)

While all men are not personally responsible for Adam’s sin, yet when Adam sinned and fell, all humanity fell too because all men were “in Adam.” Adam sinned and therefore received the punishment for his sin, and since all men were in Adam, all men partake of that same punishment.9

The Punishment of Sin

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Gen. 2:17)

God told Adam if he sinned he would “surely die.” A literal translation of this Hebrew expression is: “dying, thou shalt die.” In Hebrew this grammatical construction is known as an “infinitive absolute,” which expresses certainty. In other words, God said to Adam, “You will certainly die.”

The punishment for Adam’s sin, in the broadest, most general terms, was “death.” Adam ate of the fruit of the tree – he disobeyed God – and he became subject to death; and “in him” all humanity became subject to death, also.

“Death” does not mean a ceasing of existence, but “death” involves separation and suffering. The suffering is both temporal (i.e., in this life) and eternal, and both physical and spiritual.
There are five aspects of the punishment for sin:

(1) Spiritual death.

In punishment for his sin, Adam, with all humanity “in him,” was driven from the presence of God. This principle is seen in Isaiah 59:2:

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear. (Is. 59:2)

This was the essence of the fall of man – the loss of communion with God. Sin produced absolute alienation between God and man. When he sinned, Adam’s spiritual relationship with God was severed, and the spiritual life of God was cut off from him. Man was alienated from God and from the life of God, and from all that the life and nature of God produces – holiness, righteousness, peace, life, joy and blessing. Man was alienated from God, and his spiritual nature and character became corrupt.

Adam’s relationship with God was severed; therefore all men that “came out of Adam’s loins” were severed from God. Adam could only produce “after his image,” and his “image,” or nature, was now sinful and alienated from God.

And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth: (Gen. 5:3)

Adam could not produce anything greater than himself. Therefore all men are, by nature, spiritually dead, sinful, alienated from God, without God and dead to God. All men are, by nature, morally defiled and corrupt. That is why all men must be born again to be restored to true spiritual life and fellowship with God.

(2) All the sufferings of this life.

For the wrath of God is being revealed [i.e., here and now] from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men… (Rom. 1:18, Greek)

All the sufferings of this life are part of the original punishment for man’s sin. They are the curse of sin. Their origin is God’s judgment upon man’s sin. This includes sickness and disease, demonic oppression, material and financial poverty and every conceivable type of suffering.

(3) Physical death.

Physical death is part of God’s punishment for sin, and involves the separation of spirit and body and the dissolution of the body into the earth.

(4) Suffering in hades after physical death.

“Hades” is a Greek word. “Sheol” is the parallel Hebrew term. Both hades and sheol refer in a general sense to the place of departed spirits, whether righteous or wicked. Within hades, or sheol, there is a place for the lost. It is a place of suffering and horrible torment.

But this is not the final place of suffering. That is called “gehenna.” Gehenna is the place of the second death, the place of the eternal punishment of the lost. Hades is not the final destiny of the lost. It is a temporary place of suffering, where the lost await their resurrection and final judgment by God. It is, nevertheless, a place of extreme suffering and torment.

We can learn this from Jesus’ account of the rich man in Luke 16. Lazarus, the beggar, died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom, but the rich man after his death was tormented in hades. The King James Version reads, “hell,” but the Greek word is “hades.” Between the place of the righteous and the place of the lost there is a great gulf fixed so that no one can pass from one side to the other; and on the side of the lost there is torment:

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. (Luke 16:23-25)

This is part of God’s punishment upon the sin of man.

(5) Eternal death.

When Adam sinned, he immediately incurred the full penalty of his sin, including eternal death. However, God, in His grace and for the purpose of saving some of Adam’s seed, did not execute the full penalty immediately. But one day soon, at the end of the age, He will do it:

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. 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. 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. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:11-15)

Eternal death, or the “second death,” is the final and ultimate punishment of sin, and consists in the everlasting conscious punishment of the lost. Many find this particular doctrine a rather unattractive one, but it is clearly taught in the Bible.

The Eternal Punishment of the Lost

The eternal punishment of the lost is clearly taught in both the Old and New Testaments. Both Testaments teach that God will punish the lost with fire and for eternity.

The Old Testament teaches that God punishes the wicked with fire and brimstone:

For Tophet20 is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; He hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it. (Is. 30:33)

and eternally:

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Dan. 12:2)

The New Testament likewise teaches very clearly the reality of everlasting suffering and torment for the wicked, and the same details are stated: fire and eternity.

The Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 13:41-42)

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…And these shall go away into everlasting punishment… (Matt. 25:41-46)

…the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable. (Luke 3:17)

…suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 7)

But the fearful, and the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev. 21:8)

In spite of the fact that it is clearly taught in both Testaments, the doctrine of the eternal punishment of the lost has been attacked and rejected by many teachers and movements over the centuries.24

Eternal punishment is easy to understand when considered in the light of the holiness of God. The Bible teaches that God is holy. He does not just “have” holiness. His very nature is holiness. God is infinitely holy. Sin is a violation of that holiness, and therefore it is an infinite violation. Consequently, every sin, no matter how “great” or “small,” deserves and incurs infinite wrath and endless misery and punishment.25

For those who are saved and have received the free gift of righteousness, however, the opposite is true, and their final destiny is endless and infinite happiness, joy, peace and blessing.

Objections to the Biblical Teaching of the Eternal Punishment of the Lost

Some may object to all that has been said and say, “What a harsh thing – poor mankind being afflicted by God with endless suffering for some little sin! How unfair!”

Our answer to the charge of unfairness is: The problem lies not in God but in you who object! You have no understanding of the nature and awfulness of sin, or of the nature of the holiness of God that sin violates.26

Evil men understand not justice: but they that seek the Lord understand all things. (Prov. 28:5, Hebrew; cf. Ezek. 18:29-32)

God does no wrong; He is incapable of it. He does only what is right, and He punishes sin with only what is its just and righteous desert.

Some may not like to believe it, but sinners deserve eternal punishment. It was God’s grace (undeserved favor) that delivered you from the punishment of your sin. He owed you eternal punishment, but He gave you forgiveness and life.

For the wages of sin [i.e., what you earned and deserved for your sin] is death; but the gift of God [i.e., what you didn’t deserve] is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom. 6:23)

Eternal punishment is not a revelation of the unfairness and harshness of God, but of the awfulness of sin that rightly deserves such punishment.

Another may object, “But it is inconsistent with the goodness and love of God that He should allow any of His creatures to suffer eternally.”

In reply, it must be emphasized that God does more than merely “allow” sinners to suffer eternally. Matthew 25:41 teaches that the lake of fire was “prepared” to be the eternal abode of the lost. By whom was it prepared? Obviously not by the devil, because he is going there too! Some have the mistaken idea that hell is Satan’s kingdom. Hell is not Satan’s kingdom. It is his place of eternal punishment. He is not lord over hell but rather subject to hell. So then, who prepared the lake of fire?

Whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable. (Luke 3:17)

This Scripture shows us that Jesus Christ will burn “the chaff” with unquenchable fire. Isaiah 30:33 informs us that “the breath of the Lord” kindles the lake of fire. Romans 2:5-9 teaches that God will give “tribulation and anguish” to every man that does evil. Job 27:13 says the wicked will receive their punishment from “the Almighty,” and Proverbs 3:33 reveals it is “the curse of the Lord [which] is in the house of the wicked.” So it is God Himself who executes His final and ultimate punishment of sinners.

God is good and God is love, but God is also holy, and He cannot deny one aspect of Himself for the sake of expressing another. God is love, but 1 John 1:5 also teaches that “God is light,” and between light and darkness there can be no fellowship. God cannot deny His holiness, righteousness and justice which have been violated by sin, and which demand that sin be punished, and proceed to bestow eternal blessings upon sinners.

For God to forget about sin and not punish it with the punishment it deserves would require Him to forget about His holiness; and God cannot forget about His holiness because He is holy. Holy is what God is by nature. Holiness is God’s very being. He cannot deny His holiness. God is holy, and infinite holiness demands punishment of all that is unholy.

Furthermore, God is the righteous Judge of the moral universe; and righteous judges condemn law-breakers28, sentencing them to the punishment they deserve.

Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; (2 Thess. 1:6)

Here Paul says it is “a righteous thing” for God to punish sinners. It is not unrighteous, unloving, wicked or cruel of God to punish sinners. Sinners deserve punishment. God’s wrath upon sinners is His “righteous judgment” (Rom. 2:5). God’s judgments are not enjoyable to sinful man, but they are, nevertheless, righteous!

…every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; (Heb. 2:2)

In Hebrews 2:2, Paul speaks of God’s punishment of sin under the Mosaic Law being a “just recompence of reward.” The Greek word translated “recompence” in this verse means “payment of wages due.”

In a number of Scriptures, judgment is said to be the “reward” of unrighteousness (2 Pet. 2:13). Sinners are “worthy” of punishment (Heb. 10:29), and have “earned” divine wrath (Rom. 6:23a).

God’s wrath and righteous anger against sin and sinners is not inconsistent with His love and goodness. Both are true of God. He is holy and He is love. The Bible teaches both and we must understand and live in the light of our knowledge and experience of both. We must “behold therefore the goodness and severity of God” (Rom. 11:22).

Another common objection to the teaching of eternal punishment is, “Well, eternal punishment may be true, but talking about hell just turns people away. After all, who wants to hear about sin? Who wants to hear about a holy God who is furious with sin and hates sin and hates sinners, and who is going to send sinners, because of their sin, to an eternal hell?”

Our answer is: Quite right! Sinners do not want to hear about sin, righteousness and judgment. Sinners do not want to hear about hell. Sinners do not want to hear about a holy God who is angry with them; whose wrath is abiding upon them. Sinners do not want to hear about these things – and neither do good religious church members. They become offended!

Think of that! People are offended at God’s wrath. Men are upset and insulted. Mere men, and sinful men at that, are offended with God, when in reality God is offended with them!

And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. (Gen. 6:5-7)

Genesis 6:5-7 says that when God looked upon the sin of man, He regretted (literal Hebrew) that He had made man, and He was grieved in His heart at the condition of man. Psalm 14 teaches the same thing:

They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy… (Ps. 14:3)

The Hebrew word translated “filthy” in this verse is also used in Job 15:16:

How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

The word “filthy” literally means “to be corrupted.” It is the word one would use to describe milk that has gone sour. Worse than the smell of sour milk, sinners stink before God! “They [not just their works or sinful deeds, but they themselves] are all together become stinking.”

Jesus came to a friend of mine once and showed her a pile of stinking garbage. It was a heap of garbage and filth, and was absolutely vile and disgusting. She understood that the garbage became viler and viler toward the center of the heap. The Lord told her that all of her most righteous works were worse, far worse, than the vilest, most stinking part of the garbage and filth before her!

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Is. 64:6)

This is the tragic state of fallen man before his pure and infinitely holy God.

The Love and Hatred of God

In several Scriptures it is stated that God not only hates sin, but He also hates the sinner who commits the sin:

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (Rom. 9:13)

…thou hatest all workers of iniquity.…the Lord will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. (Ps. 5:5-6)

The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence His soul hateth. (Ps. 11:5)

All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters. (Hos. 9:15)

…when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son… (Rom. 5:10)

How then do we reconcile this with God’s love for fallen mankind? After all, doesn’t the Bible teach that God loves the world? We often use the expression: “God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.” So how could He hate sinful men?

Firstly, sin has no existence apart from the sinner who commits it. Sin is in the heart and nature of sinful man. He himself is sinful. That is his nature. He only sins because his nature is sinful. So to hate sin is to hate the nature that produces it; which, in turn, is to hate the sinner himself, because you cannot separate a man from his nature. His nature is who and what he is.

Then consider this: which is worse – the sin or the heart that motivated it? The sin is merely the compliant instrument of its author. If a man chose not to sin, then the sin would not exist! So then who is to blame? If God hates sin, then He certainly hates that which originated it – that is, the heart of sinful man!

Furthermore, what is it that God judges? Does He pour forth His wrath upon the action of sin per se, or upon the sinner who committed it? Obviously the sin itself is not punished – the sinner is punished! He is punished for his sin, but it is he himself who actually experiences the punishment. So who or what is the object of the wrath and hatred of God? The answer is plain.

But if all that sounds a little obscure, let us put it another way. You will understand this if you see the hatred of God toward sinful man as being not an emotion, which is what we think of when we speak of hatred, but rather as the reaction of the infinite holiness of God against what is diametrically and violently opposed to Him – that is, sin. God cannot – by His very nature – tolerate sin. In His holiness, He cannot have any attitude toward sin other than violent wrath.

Think for a moment of hell. It is a real place. It is a place of eternal suffering and agony. And it is not Satan who sends sinful men there – it is God!

God is very different from what He is often presented to be in contemporary theology.

God is infinitely holy, and in His holiness He has infinite wrath and hatred against sinners and their sin.

God is also infinite love, and in His love He has great mercy and pity toward His fallen creation.

Don’t think of God being as a man. We cannot love and hate at the same time. Yet there is no contradiction in the co-existence of the holiness (which expresses itself in hatred toward sin and everlasting wrath) and the love (which expresses itself in redemption) of God.

God is both holiness and love. There is much in God’s universe that cannot be understood by our finite minds; but as we seek Him for revelation of it all, He will give us wisdom.

The Truth Must Be Preached!

Many people are offended at the teaching and preaching of the wrath and righteous judgments of God, and would rather concentrate on “positive” matters. To them we declare:

(1) God has commanded us to teach His whole counsel, and we are responsible and accountable to that command.

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. (Is. 58:1)

There are several reasons why we must preach the Word of God without compromise.37 Firstly, God has commanded us to preach His Word so that men can be saved. He has also commanded us to preach His Word simply for His own glory, whether or not men are saved by it. Finally, God has commanded us to preach His Word to deliver our own souls from responsibility for not warning men about their impending destruction.

(2) Jesus never sought to conceal or obscure the truth of the eternal punishment of the lost. In fact, He spoke more often of hell than of heaven.

(3) The truth sets people free (John 8:32), and if the truth is not presented then they will never be free. When the truth is spoken in love and God’s holy Word is not watered down, then the sheep will hear His voice. One need never be afraid of turning the sheep away if he stays faithful to God’s Word. But if there is compromise, then it is no longer the Word of God but the words of man, and when it is not the Shepherd’s voice His sheep will not hear (John 10:4-5).

(4) To omit or water down the scriptural teaching of hell and eternal punishment is to deny the reality and urgency of the proclamation of salvation. If there is no eternal punishment for sinners in hell then from what is man to be “saved”?

(5) The extent to which the truth of eternal punishment and God’s hatred of sin is toned down is the extent to which the holiness of God – of which eternal punishment and wrath is an expression – has been demeaned, and is the extent to which the work of Jesus on the cross, which was necessary to save us from such wrath, has been degraded.

(6) It is by the fear of the Lord that men repent and turn from evil.

…by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. (Prov. 16:6)

While our concern for new converts must be that they come to experience forgiveness and a true fellowship of love with Him who is love, we should never be afraid of bringing people face to face with their infinite almighty God whose holiness manifests itself in eternal wrath against sin and sinners. Jesus Himself used the wrath of God as a motivation for people to fear Him:

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. But I will forwarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear Him, which after He hath killed hath power to cast into gehenna; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him. (Luke 12:4-5, Greek)

The Nature of the Eternal Punishment of the Lost

The eternal sufferings of the lost consist in:

(1) Separation from the presence, favor and fellowship of God.

These will receive the punishment of eternal destruction as exiles from the presence of the Lord… (2 Thess. 1:9, Williams New Testament)

God is infinite Spirit and is everywhere all at once. Therefore, “exclusion from the presence of God” does not mean there could ever exist a place where God is not. Nevertheless, it will be Jesus who says to the lost, “Depart from me” (Matt. 7:23); and so this signifies eternal alienation from God and total separation from His manifest presence and blessing.

This is the essence of the Fall, and it is the worst punishment that could ever come to man – the eternal and irrevocable loss of fellowship with his God. Man was made for God – for fellowship with Him. There will be no greater pain or anguish that comes to ruined mankind than that which results from this loss.

(2) The loss of all earthly good, enjoyment and pleasure.

…the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment… (Job 20:5)

While upon the earth, sinful man enjoys much that is good, but it is all only for a moment, a very brief space of time. An instant after death all the good things he enjoyed in this life, all the social prestige and position he obtained, and all the material wealth he heaped to himself will be gone forever. In eternity, he will discover that the only abiding “wealth” he has ever possessed, and the only lasting “treasure” he has ever laid hold of, is the eternal wrath of God (Rom. 2:5).

(3) Another aspect of eternal suffering will be the inward despair and agony of those who are lost, forever, without hope. The despair of being utterly and eternally without hope and fully knowing it is unimaginable. Arthur Pink wrote, “unrelieved will be their fearful sufferings; interminable their torments. No means of escape. No possibility of a reprieve. No hope of deliverance...‘There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.’ There will be no resting-place in hell; no secret corner where they can find a little respite; no cooling fountain at which they may refresh themselves. There will be no change or variation of their lot. Day and night, forever and ever, shall they be punished. With no prospect of any improvement they will sink down into blank despair.”

(4) The fire.

And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 13:42)

The fire is obviously not a physical fire because Satan and his angels, who will suffer there as well, are spirit beings. Nevertheless, it is an actual fire. It is a spiritual one – a fire of spiritual substance. This spiritual fire will be far worse in its ability to inflict pain and suffering than a natural physical fire. It will be an eternal, undying fire.

The same [i.e., those who worship the beast, and receive his mark] shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone…And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night… (Rev. 14:10-11)

…cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire… (Mark 9:47-49)

In Mark 9:49, the phrase “every one shall be salted with fire” probably means that the unquenchable fire of the second death, instead of destroying as fire usually does, will act like salt and preserve in a state of torment and agony.48

The abode of the lost at present, which is in one region of hades, is a place of torment by fire as well (Luke 16:22-28). The testimonies of a number of people who have had supernatural visions and experiences of both hades and the eternal lake of fire confirm all the above.

(5) The lake of fire is a place of extreme anguish and torment.

But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, [God will give] indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil… (Rom. 2:8-9)

Paul says the eternal state of the lost will consist in “tribulation” and “anguish.” The Greek words translated “tribulation” and “anguish” respectively refer to outward affliction and inner torment. The suffering will be entire. Spiritually, mentally, emotionally and bodily – every faculty of man will experience the severest, acutest agony possible to his heightened senses.

The lake of fire will be a place of the most awful suffering. Jesus referred to the “wailing and gnashing of teeth” of the lost no less than seven times in the Gospels. Wailing and gnashing of teeth are extreme expressions of sorrow and anguish.

Those in the lake of fire will be “tormented...for ever and ever” (Rev. 14:10-11). The Greek word translated “tormented” in Revelation 14:10 occurs for the first time in the New Testament in Matthew 8:6: “Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.” The same word occurs again in Revelation 9:5 where it is said that the demonic “locusts” during the Tribulation will be given the power to torment with “the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.” This will cause a suffering so intense that men will “seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them” (Rev. 9:6).

The pains and torments of hell will be far beyond the most excruciating pain that one is now capable of conceiving.

(6) The companions.

…Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (Matt. 25:41)

All the lost will be there, although not to enjoy the pleasures of sin with one another as many would like to believe. Rather, they will suffer in the presence of one another’s agonies and torments. All the lost will be there including the most evil, disgusting and vile people who have ever lived. Satan and his angels and demons will also be suffering in torments there.

(7) It is eternal.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment… (Matt. 25:46)

Those who teach that the lost are either annihilated or ultimately reconciled to God after a time of reformatory suffering are in gross error.53 This fact is seen in those many passages which teach the everlasting nature of the conscious punishment of the lost.

…and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Dan. 12:2)

…cast into everlasting fire. (Matt. 18:8)

Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction… (2 Thess. 1:9)

…and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Rev. 20:10)

This is the eternal state of the lost. It is awful. But it is right. It is the righteous judgment of God. It is awful. It is fearful. But it is right. It is right. The eternal torment of the lost is right! The problem is not that God is cruel. The problem is that sin is so awful. Sin deserves this punishment.

There is something missing in today’s churches. The repentance is often very shallow. There is little conviction of sin and little reality of God in the lives of many Christians. Part of the reason for this is that man doesn’t want to face the reality of the wrath of God against sin. But this truth should not be avoided. It will bring the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom.

This is not just a “doctrine” to agree with. This is reality. This is the eternal destiny of men and women you know, and work with, and see in the marketplaces. This is reality. It should affect you. It should grip you. It should break your heart. It should move you with compassion to pray for them and to reach out to them.

This then, was the place of eternal torment for all men, but for the grace of God. One cannot understand the grace of God or His redemption of men until he understands the awfulness of sin and its consequences. That is why we begin here so that what God has done in saving men can be truly understood, and the precious blood of Jesus which has saved us from such an end can truly be appreciated.

The eternal rewards and blessings of the redeemed are inconceivable and inexpressible (Is. 64:4); and the eternal punishments of the lost are too!


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