THE PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED
Memory Verse: ”And if thy right hand oﬀend thee, cut if 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” (Matthew 5:30).
INTRODUCTION: “The Bible doctrine of hell is a subject which is much misunderstood. A prevalent false theory is that hell is a place burning with fire and brimstone, where sinners are tortured after they die. According to this view, when the sinner dies, his invisible, immaterial, immortal ‘soul’ goes to this place of unending agony. The sinner, men who teach this theory assert, experiences indescribable pain and misery in hellfire torture during all eternity. This theory is untrue; it is unscriptural.
“The doctrine of the endless torture of sinners is based upon the false teaching of the immortality of the soul. Man does not have a conscious, immaterial nature which continues to live after death. Man is unconscious in death. A person must be alive to experience torture and pain. If such a burning hell existed and a dead person were placed in it, he would not know anything about it, because ‘the dead know not anything.’ A living man can experience pain through the function of his nervous system and brain, parts of his body which are buried in the grave after death.
The sinner cannot feel any torture if his brain and nervous system do not function.
“The Bible mentions ‘everlasting punishment’ (Matthew 25:46), but not ‘everlasting punishing.’ The wicked will be destroyed for all eternity in the second death. They will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord’ (2 Thessalonians 1:9)” (Ibid. p. 160).
“Outside the walls of Jerusalem in the day of the apostles was a burning rubbish heap named ‘the valley of Hinnom,’ or ‘Gehenna.’ Gehenna was the city garbage incinerator for ancient Jerusalem. Rubbish, refuse, and dead animals were thrown into this valley to be consumed in the fire. The fire continued burning as long as there was material for it to consume. The rubbish itself was consumed, but the fire continued to burn as it consumed additional rubbish.
There is no fire in the valley of Gehenna today. It was extinguished centuries ago. The valley is no longer used as an incinerator.
“Gehenna fire was regarded as symbolic of judgment and destruction. Jesus used Gehenna fire as an illustration of the final destruction of the wicked. Gehenna fire refers to the lake of fire, which is the second death (Revelation 20:14-15)” (Ibid. p. 163, 164).
- What will be the final punishment of the wicked? Matthew 13:37-42.
- What will be the result of this burning? Matthew 3:12; Malachi 4:1, 3.
- What is the common belief regarding the punishment of the wicked? Mark 9:43-48.
- Does this mean that the fire will never go out? Jude 7.
- What will be the end result of the wicked on the day of judgment? Matthew 7:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10. What is this final destruction called? Revelation 20:14; Romans 6:23.
- Are the wicked dead being punished now? 2 Peter 2:9.
- The common belief is that only the soul is punished in Does this agree with the Bible? Matthew 5:29-30. What are the worms referred to in Mark 9:46?
- What is another Bible name for this “hell?” Revelation 20:14-15.