“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9
The second coming of Christ means some will perish! Not live in hell, but perish!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Those who believe have eternal life, those who don’t believe perish!
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What are the wages of sin? Death! The penalty for sin is eternal death (perish) not eternal life.
Is the end of sin as simple as death or is it eternal life in flames? Which one of these is just and fair?
Is the end of sin and its consequences a place of living torture throughout eternity as described by Bill Wiese in his book 23 Minutes in Hell?
Again, as mentioned in earlier posts, many choose to believe man and his books instead of God and His books.
Is Mr. Wiese’s description really the end of sin? As long as there is sinful beings being tortured under the earth or in a corner of the universe has sin been eradicated? Do those being punished have flesh that is constantly burning? Eyes constantly melting?, Do they breathe oxygen or flames? Do they have a body that does not have one square inch that is free from fire and pain?
Is there a place where people are now suffering unmercifully desiring death and finding no relieve from the intense pain of fire because they must live like this forever?
Does this sound like the God who so loved the world…..?
Recently, there were a bus filled with students that crashed and burned. One of the students who survived the wreck, but was drenched in flames ran screaming for help towards another person who saw the wreck. Of course the kind bystander mercifully put out the flames and injured herself in the process. If you were that bystander would you have tried to put out the flames? Most all people (regardless of religion or not) have a heart that does not like to see anyone or any animal suffer, but yet our modern churches have painted God as one who will not put out the flames, but actually perform a miracle moment by moment to keep a person alive so they can suffer because they rejected his son. This they call justice.
To believe in this kind of vindictive God, you must skip over some important verses like those described above or re-write them to say,
The wages of sin is eternal life in hell.
Instead He is patient with you not wanting anyone to live in hell.
As we shall see, there is a hell, but it is not what has been taught and preached. It is God’s merciful way of putting an end to sin and its consequences
Indeed, sin and its consequences has an end! The scriptures describe it well for all who will listen.
The beginning of sin is important. It helps us to understand the end of sin and its consequences.
Many are tempted to think sin began with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, the word of God lets us know it started before! Before Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit an enemy of God was at work as demonstrated in the contradictions of Satan disguised as a strange animal sitting in the tree forbidden by God Himself.
The first parents were deceived by Satan. He contradicts God in his conversation with Eve and tells the very first lie recorded in the Bible. It has to do with death and being like God.
God told the first pair the penalty for disobedience is death. Satan says, No! there is no death! In fact, he asserts, God knows their eyes will be opened and they will be as gods!
In many Christian pulpits we hear the same lie. You do not die, you will live eternity in one of two places!
After the short discussion with Satan, Adam and Eve used logic that seemed right. The fruit does looks good for eating and it does have the potential for a better more wise life than the one God had provided. This nice creature told us! He would not lie to us.
Thus sin, the consequences (unhappiness, wars, sickness, confusion) and its penalty (death) came into the world.
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men,”
The prophets and writers of the Bible are quick to name the serpent as Satan who is given many other symbolic names to identify him and his character. While the names are symbolic, he is not. His work can easily be seen and detected in the world today. If there is an eternal torture place, Satan is not there. He is here with us. Even if this torture chamber started at the end of time, there remains contradictions in the fate of the lost and of Satan.
Who is this Satan anyway?
Ezekiel 28 summaries Satan’s story. Ezekiel uses the King of Tyrus to paint a picture of Satan. From this passage, we learn about Satan, sin, and his ultimate fate:
“You were the signet of perfection,
full of wisdom
and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God;
every precious stone was your covering,
carnelian, topaz, and jasper,
chrysolite, beryl, and onyx,
sapphire, carbuncle, and emerald;
and wrought in gold were your settings
and your engravings.
On the day that you were created
they were prepared.
With an anointed guardian cherub I placed you;
you were on the holy mountain of God;
in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.
You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created,
till iniquity was found in you.
In the abundance of your trade
you were filled with violence, and you sinned;
so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God,
and the guardian cherub drove you out
from the midst of the stones of fire.
Your heart was proud because of your beauty;
you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.
I cast you to the ground;
I exposed you before kings,
to feast their eyes on you. By the multitude of your iniquities,
in the unrighteousness of your trade
you profaned your sanctuaries;
so I brought forth fire from the midst of you;
it consumed you,
and I turned you to ashes upon the earth
in the sight of all who saw you.
All who know you among the peoples
are appalled at you;
you have come to a dreadful end
and shall be no more for ever.”
Ezekiel 28: 12-19
From these verses we can see that:
- Satan was beautiful and wise
- He was in the Garden of Eden
- He was created
- He was in heaven near God (mountain of God)
- He was blameless until iniquity was found in him
- His heart became proud because of his beauty and splendor
- God casts him from the holy mountain of God
- His trade is in iniquity and unrighteousness. (The opposite of God’s character)
- Eventually God will send a fire from the midst of him that will consumer him.
- He will come to a dreadful end and will be no more
- His fate is ashes
His fate is found in not only death, but ashes and non-existence forever. His fate is the same fate of those others who chose to believe Satan and chose to rebel against God and chose a path of sin and disobedience:
“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.…”
“Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty.”
If He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;
2 Peter 2:6
How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.
Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: “Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?”
Isaiah 14: 12-16
From these verses we see:
- As in Ezekiel, Lucifer (Satan) is removed from the mountain of God (heaven) and cast down to the earth.
- He wants to make himself like the Most High. He desires the worship. (It is not strange that the battle between truth and error has to do with worship.)
- His fate is death.
Before Satan was cast out of heaven, there was a war. It was unlike any on earth. The war did not include any physical injuries or death, but a war of allegiance. Sides were chosen and angles lined up behind Michael (Christ) and Satan.
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.“
Revelations 12: 7-9
From these verses we see:
- There was a war in heaven between allegiances to Michael and to Satan.
- Satan and his angels did not prevail and they were cast out.
- Satan and his angels were cast to this earth.
All three passages from Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Revelations describe conflict in heaven and Satan along with his angels being cast out. They are cast to this earth. The next place we see Satan is in the Garden of Eden conversing with Adam and Eve.
So sin began in the heart of Satan and was transferred to angels and then to God’s creation, Adam and Eve
Mystery of mysteries: Sin. To explain it, is to excuse it. All we can see is where and with whom it started.
Mysteries of mysteries: The love of God to send his only Son to become one of us and to pay the penalty for sin: eternal death.
Sin is now like a disease, but God sent His son to make a way of escape from sin and its consequences. It is trusting in the life, death, and resurrection of his only begotten son Jesus that gives us hope.
We have seen in earlier studies (Parts 1-5) that when Jesus returns there are only 4 types of people who ever lived:
The Saved Dead and Saved Alive meet the Lord in the air. From there he takes us back to where He is now. But the Lost Alive are slain by the brightness of the His coming. For 1,000 years, there is no one on this earth except for Satan and his angels. There is no one to deceive until the 2nd resurrection that occurs and judgment begins. Please read the earlier studies for detail and the related Bible verses.
At the end of the 1,000 years something very dramatic occurs that puts an end to sin and begins eternity. Let’s read about it as given to us by Peter, Paul, and John:
“But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
2 Peter 3:7
This earth and ungodly men will end with fire.
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
2 Thessalonians 1: 7-9
Notice that the punishment is everlasting destruction, not everlasting life in hell. The punishment is everlasting in its effect not in its duration.
“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.”
Revelations 20: 14-15
Death and hell is cast in the lake of fire. Death is not a person nor is hell (the grave), so why are these two signified as being thrown into the lake of fire? Can they be punished? This lake of fire is the fire that does a work of ending both death and its home (grave). Anything that would remind us of death is destroyed. Those who are lost are also ended. They perish as shown in the verses we discussed at the beginning.
This is God’s sorrowful and strange work, but He does not stop there. He is the Creator. So He creates! He is a comforter, so he wipes away the tears of those who lost loved one. This time sin will not raise its head again. All have experienced the sting of death and sin and who developed a saving relationship with Jesus now understand the danger of rebellion. With this experience and the love of their Creator they still have the freedom to choose, but it now operates on the great principle of love, experience, and understanding.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Revelations 21: 1-5
A new earth and new sky free of pollution. God, Himself, will dwell here with those who made Him their God. He wipes away the tears. No one will ever experience the consequences of sin: sickness, sorrow, death.
For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain.
And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.
It is a glorious thought to think the saved will be able to watch our great Creator God make a new heaven and a new earth! Perhaps, He will take 6 days like the first time.
Also, it will be a wonderful day each week when all gather to Worship our Creator and Redeemer on the Sabbath–the day God blessed the first time as a tribute to His creation and redemption. Maybe the Sabbath will then be a celebration of the new heavens and new earth He spoke into existence as we watched!
During eternity we will ever be learning and building and enjoying the works of our hands:
“And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. “
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse…. Revelation 22: 1-3
The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love. Great Controversy, p. 678
__________________________The End of Sin_____________________________
With our next study, we will examine the passages used to construct the idea of unending torture. Until then…Blessings to you and your family.