Eternal Destruction not Eternal Suffering

By Bryan G.

So many churches teach two main lies about death. One is that when you die, you go to heaven or hell, I’m not covering that here. But before I go on, I will point out that according to the Bible, there is a day of judgment coming, so how can anyone go to heaven or hell, when they have not yet been judged?

The other lie about death I’m covering here is the misconception of eternal suffering, burning in hell forever. My first thoughts on this was when I was about 17 years old, I’m 54 now. I was just sitting in the woods, alone, contemplating God, when it came to me, there is no way a God of love could make someone suffer a million years, then say “you’ve only just begun”. So for almost 24 years I was alone in my theory of no eternal punishing. No church taught what I believed, no one I knew believed me, but I could not think any other way. It was only when I found my current church where I was shown scripture to back up my belief.

The first verse I’m going to reveal actually covers both lies about death. This verse, in context, is only talking about those who have victory over sin, not the condemned, you’ll see that if you read the previous verses:

1 Corinthians 15:50 – 57
Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The first thing to notice here is that we are NOT born immortal, we, all flesh, are mortal and when we die, that is it, we cease to exist. This is one of the first things God warned Adam about, eating of the tree. Yes, when Adam was born, he was immortal, that was God’s plan, for man to live forever. Sin, defiance, not following god’s command ended that plan:

Genesis 2:17
but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.

So, when Eve, then Adam ate of this fruit, did they die? No. So did God lie? God did not mean death of the body, by saying you shall surely die, God meant you will not live forever in heaven, they lost their immortality. But as the verse also shows, when Jesus returns, the perishable (mortal) will be raised imperishable (immortal).

Here is another verse to show about eternal death, not suffering. If everyone who does not make it to heaven spends eternity in hell, then this verse is a lie:

Romans 2:5 & 6
But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS:

So, to go against the common teaching, if everyone is judged according to their own deeds, then how can everyone spend the same eternity in the same hell?

We’ve all heard of the rapture where Jesus will come and some will go with him and others will remain, well, that is what the Bible says, but churches add more to it. Many false teachers say that the rapture is secret, but God’s word says:

Revelation 1:7
BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen

That does not sound like secret. When Jesus returns, everyone one will know, and those left behind, will know they are condemned.

False preachers also teach that there will be a millennium after the second coming where you will get a second chance, but there is nothing in the Bible that says anything a second chance. Yes, there will be millennial, but this is where all who will be saved will reign with Christ for a thousand years, but then the Bible goes on to tell that all the rest, all who are not saved, will be devoured by fire that comes down from heaven. Anyone left behind will be thrown in the lake of fire, this is the second death.

Revelation 20:14 &15
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Not only are the people burned up in the lake of fire, but so was Hades and death, meaning there will never again be death or hell. The only ones that will suffer forever will be the devil, the beast and the false prophet.

Revelation 20:10
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

So now we should have a little bit better understanding of the end, and that you will either be rewarded with immortality, or die a second death. There are more verses on this, but I wanted to get the main idea of everything brought out before I show more about life or death.

As most people understand, you can’t just take one verse out of the Bible and make a doctrine out of it, so here are the other verses on this:

Jude 1:7
just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

Here we are told that Sodom and Gomorrah are examples of what the punishment of “eternal fire” is, so, are they still here today? Are they still burning? We see here that the “eternal fire” burned them up and they are gone, they don’t exist, and this says it’s an example of what happens to the condemned, they will also be burned up and cease to exist.

This alone brought peace to me way back when I learned it. If for some reason I or anyone I know does not make it to heaven, there is no “eternal punishing” only the eternal punishment, to burn up and die the second death. I don’t know how any Christian can have peace if they alway have the thought of suffering forever and ever if they don’t make it to heaven. I guess this is where the false teaching of today comes in, that you are saved by grace so you don’t have to keep the commandments anymore. This way they don’t worry about their other false belief of eternal suffering. What they don’t understand is that it’s not hard to keep the commandments, and the reason Jesus suffered for us is to cover the times we fail.

John 5:24
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Notice, “passed out of death”. So this shows, the we all die, and this isn’t talking about a “physical death”. Only those who believe will have eternal life. This coincides with the previous verses.

Matthew 10:28
“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

So again, destroy the soul. No “eternity” in hell, hell destroys the soul. On a side note, the word fear does not necessarily mean to be scared. Strongs shows the meaning  of fear: Definition: I fear, dread, reverence, am afraid, terrified. So I’m assuming that the word “fear” means different things to different people. In the case of someone who has no love for God, it means they should “dread” God, they should be “terrified”, they should be afraid, but in the case of a born again Christian it means “reverence”.

Luke 3:17
“His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

In this example from the Bible we see people being referred to wheat and chaff, wheat being the Christians and the chaff being the lost. What happens to the lost, the chaff? They will be “burned up” in the unquenchable fire, notice, not “burn forever”, nope, it says burned UP.

Revelation 21:8
“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

The key words here are “second death”, and death does not mean to go on and on suffering, because you can’t suffer when you’re dead. Just to make it very clear, the original word for death is:
From Strongs:
Original Word: θάνατος, ου, ὁ
Transliteration: thanatos
Phonetic Spelling: (than’-at-os)
Short Definition: death
Definition: death, physical or spiritual.

What Does Jesus Mean by ‘Their Worm Does Not Die’

One last thing to cover. Many who try and prove that hell is eternal us this verse:

Mark 9:47 & 48
“If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.

Some believe that Jesus refers to sinners as worms and says that those people would never die but would live on in agonizing torment. Those who say this fail to notice that Jesus does not call wicked people “worms,” but speaks of “their worm.” The original Greek word for worm means “grub” or “maggot.”

Jesus refers to a local method of garbage disposal to emphasize the permanent consequences of unrepented sins. The margins of some Bibles show that the words “hell fire” in Mark 9:47 should be translated “Gehenna fire.” Gehenna, or the valley of Hinnom, is located outside Jerusalem. Trash, refuse, animal carcasses, and even the dead bodies of despised criminals were thrown there to be destroyed by the fires that burned perpetually on the valley floor. If some animal or vegetable matter fell on one of the ledges below the rim, escaping the fire, it would instead be devoured by maggots.

Jesus’ point is that whatever was thrown into the valley never came out again; it was totally consumed, either by fire or by worms or maggots. In other words, just as nothing and no one exterminated the maggots or extinguished the flames in the valley of Gehenna, so there will be no escape from the certain fate that God has decreed for all unrepentant sinners—death in the “lake of fire” (Revelation 22:14).

Some of these same principles apply to Isaiah 66:24. The meaning is not that unrepentant sinners or worms live forever. In fact, the opposite is the point of the passage. If the worms that infest a dead body are not killed, the rotting flesh will be consumed until none remains. Maggots, which are simply larval flies, go through a process known as pupation and turn into adult flies. These, in turn, deposit additional eggs, and the process is repeated until nothing is left for maggots to feed on. Similarly, any fire which is not quenched, not deliberately put out, will last only as long as there is fuel to keep it burning and then go out. The whole point is that, when a person does not repent of sin, the results are absolute and permanent.

In conclusion
Eternal life is a gift from God earned by the suffering Jesus did for us, given to us only if we follow Christ. Without this gift, we do not have eternal life. People who choose not to follow Christ, will not suffer for eternity, they will be punished according to their deeds, then die a second death.