« VorigeDoorgaan »
of everlasting punishment for the wicked? Upon this point Smith writes :
"The Greek word here used for punishment is kolasis, which is defined a cur. tailing, or pruning. Cutting off is the prominent idea. The righteous go into everlasting life, but the wicked into an everlasting .cutting off' from something. What is :hat from which they are cut off ? Happiness ? No; but life, or existence, such as is given to the righteous,
But how, it will be asked, can death be an everlasting punishment? It is well understood that death is considered the severest punishment that can be inflicted in this world; and why? Because it deprives the individual of all the blessings of life which he might have enjoyed had he lived. So in the case of the wicked at the final judgment, they are cut off from the eternal blessings of life in the kingdom of God, which the righteous enjoy; and hence it is to them an everlasting punishment."-Synopsis of Present Truth, pp. 149, 150.
That Paul so understood the nature of the punishment of the wicked is clear from his statement in 2 Thess. 1:7-9.
“ 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.” In these verses the “everlasting punishment” spoken of by our Saviour is in this text termed "everlasting destruction" by Paul. Everlasting Fire.
"Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.' Matt. 25:41.
This is the “unquenchable fire" spoken of by our Saviour in Matt. 3:12 and Luke 3:17. It is fire which cannot be put out until it has utterly consumed that which it is burning. Upon this text Littlejohn comments :
“ Because the fire in which the wicked are to be punished is called everlasting fire, some have inferred that those who are cast into that fire must suffer eternally. The mistake here lies in attributing to the wicked a quality which is not predicated of them, but only of the fire into which they are cast.
We know that they will not continue to burn eternally, because Malachi teaches that they will be reduced to ashes under the feet of the saints, and the revelator states that they will be devoured” by the fire which comes down from God out of heaven. Mal. 4:1-3. The fire in which the wicked are to be punished is called everlasting because the work which it accomplishes is eternal in its results."-Life Only in Christ, pp. 131, 132.
The use of a single word in one portion of the Bible should not be taken to overthrow a fundamental truth taught in other places. When such words occur, we should search carefully for the commentary found in other texts using the same or synonymous words.
The records regarding the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah will aid us in this instance. Gen. 19:24 states that “the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire.” Jude 7 tells us that these cities suffered “the vengeance of eternal fire."
The terms “eternal" and "everlasting" are synonymous. But these cities are not still burning. It is supposed that the Dead Sea covers the place where they were located. But the fire was very serious, for by it God “overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.” Gen. 19:25.
How completely is this a type of the last great burning day. In the
first instance the “eternal fire” continued its work until the land was utterly purged of every human feature. The "everlasting fire ” of our text will fall upon the heads of the wicked who have come up in the second resurrection, until “it shall leave them neither root nor branch." And “they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet.” Mal. 4:1, 3:
In this fire the works of man “shall be burned up,” and “the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also.' After being thus purified the earth will be reconstructed, and from the ruins will be brought forth“ new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.'
2 Peter 3. Tormented Forever and Ever.
"And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever : and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Rev. 14:11.
Does the use of the words “forever and ever" in this text teach the doctrine of never-ending torment of the wicked? If, so we must admit the
Greenfield defines the word from immortality of the sufferers, which the
which “forever" is translated as folBible distinctly denies. How, then, can lows: the seeming inconsistency be harmonized? "Duration, finite or infinite, unlimLet us consider the term as used in other
ited duration, eternity, a period of
duration past or future, time, age, texts, as we did with “everlasting fire.” lifetime; the world, universe."
“For My sword shall be bathed in Cruden, in his Unabridged Conheaven: behold, it shall come down upon
cordance, under the word “eternal," Idumea [Edom), and upon the people of The words, 'eternal, everlasting, My curse, to judgment.” “And the and forever,' are sometimes taken
for a long time, and are not always streams thereof shall be turned into pitch,
to be understood strictly. Thus, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and 'Thou shalt be our guide from this the land thereof shall become burning time forth even forever,'that is, dur
ing our whole life. And in many other pitch. It shall not be quenched night
places of Scripture, and in particular nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up when the word 'forever' is applied forever: from generation to generation
to the Jewish rites and privileges, it it shall lie waste; none shall pass through
commonly signifies no more than
during the standing of that commonit forever and ever.” Isa. 34: 5, 9, 10. wealth, until the coming of the This prophecy, like many others, has
Upon the meaning of these words a double application, and refers primarily
Smith writes: to the utter destruction of the whole land "Dr. Clarke places in our hands a of the Edomites, a country lying east and key to the interpretation of the words
'forever' and forever and ever.' south of Judea. It was settled by the
which is adapted to every instance of descendants of Esau, who became the bit- their use. According to his rule, they ter enemies of Israel as they neared Pal- are to be taken to mean as long as a
thing, considering the surrounding estine on their journey from Egypt. But
circumstances, can exist." in a broader sense the text uses the destruction of Idumea as a type of the de
FOREVER AND EVER. struction of sinners and the works of
Upon the duration of this period man when Christ comes, and the desola
Bollman writes:tion of the earth during the thousand
""The smoke of their torment asyears. If we consider the prophecy as it
cendeth up forever and ever,
14:11. Young renders this, .To ages applies to the literal Edom, we find that
of ages.' The language does not, how. the judgments foretold were long since ever, necessarily mean that the going fulfilled upon that land. Its inhabitants
up of this smoke continues for ages
made up of other ages, as weeks are were blotted out, and the very site of its made up of days and years of montbs;
but in harmony with other scriptures capital city, Petra, whose dwellings were it must mean that from the time the punishment of the wicked begins it
hewn in the cliffs of a rocky defile, was continues without interruption unto, lost to the world for centuries. Its palaor until the age of ages is reached. ces were given over to owls, serpents, and
“We are now living in time, which dragons. But its ruins have been discovis measured duration as contrasted with eternity, which is not only un
ered in recent years, and have been exmeasured but unmeasurable duration. plored, minutely written up, and every Similarly the Sabbath is sometimes corner searched for hidden treasure. spoken of as the 'day of days,'that is as being preeminent among days; so
If our text shall be considered in the eternity is here described as the age light of the great reality of which Iduema of ages. Writing of the present time
was the type, the day described by Peter and its influence upon our future existence, the poet uses very similar
as “the day of the Lord; . . .'in the language, thus :
which .. the elements shall melt with
fervent heat, the earth also and the works “We are living, we are dwelling, In a grand and awful time;
that are therein shall be burned up" (2 In an age on ages telling;
Peter 3 : 10), the result is the same. The To be living is sublime.'
earth will not, to all eternity continue as “The end of 'the heavens and the
a mass of molten, seething flame, in which earth which are kept iu store, the wicked will be tormented throughreserved unto fire against the day of
out eternal ages. No, the punishment judgment and perdition of ungodly men,' marks the end of probationary
will cease, and the fires will be quenched, and retributive ages and the begini- for Peter promises that after the fires in ning of eternity-unending duration which the wicked are “utterly burned”
de cribed by the prophet as ages of ages. From that point
have done their work, “we, according forward, there shall be no more to His promise, look for new heavens curse,' or as Dr. Clarke says, and a new earth.” Vs. 13. on Rev. 22:3, no more a'cursed per. son.' Then shali be fulfilled that Hence we find that in both type and which the beloved John saw and antitype, as given in Isaiah 34, the “forheard in beatific vision : `Every crea
ever and ever" there used is limited in its ture which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such duration. There are numerous other inas are in the sea, and all that are in stances where the term is so used. them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be
Jonalı, in the account of his sojourn unto Him that sitteth upon the
in the stomach of the great fish, says, “I throne, and unto the Lamb forever went down to the bottom of the moun. and ever.'
tains; the earth with her bars was about “The Creator will have a clean uni
me forever.” Jonah 2:6. In this in
stance “forever" means three days. In ancient Israel there were servants who in reality were slaves. But at the end of seven years they were to go free. Yet family ties and other considerations sometimes caused them to prefer to remain in ser. vitude. In such case “his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever." Ex. 21:6. Here forever would end at his death.
In 1 Sam. 1:22 the child Samuel was given by his mother to abide in the service of the earthly sanctuary "forever.” In verse eleven this period is stated to be “all the days of his life.” Here forever would end at the death of Samuel.
The preceding comments on Rev. 14:11, apply equally to Rev. 20:10, which reads, “ And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
The Rich Man and Lazarus.
In this parable, recorded in Luke 16:19–31, our Lord rebukes in a niost pointed manner the sin of covetousness. This sin seems to have been especially characteristic of these to whom the parable was addressed. This is indicated by verse 14: “The Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard these things, and they derided him."
Therefore, addressing himself directly to these same Pharisees, our Lord made some very plain statements touching the divine law and its requirements; and then proceeded to enforce by the parable what He had said.
The Pharisees seem to have been possessed of the same idea in regard to wealth that Job's friends had, namely, that riches were an indication of divine favor, while poverty and misfortune indicated the displeasure of God.
By an argumentum ad hominem, that is by an argument which appeals to the judgment of the one addressed, because made from his stand. ARGUMENTUM AD HOMINEM. point, the Saviour emphasized His re- “The argumentum ad hominem is buke of the sin of covetousness, and
addressed to the peculiar circumstan
ces, character, avowed opinions, or taught his hearers that riches are not a past conduct of the individual, and passport to eternal happiness.
Therefore has reference to him only, During their long centuries of contact
and does not bear directly and abso
lutely on the real question as the ar. with the heathen in Egypt and in Baby- gumentum ad rem does. It appears, lon, and also within their own borders, then (to speak rather more technie the Jewish people had lost lively faith in
cally), that in the argumentum ad
hominem the conclusion which actusome of the fundamentals of their own ally is established, is not the absolute religion, and had imbibed to a correspond- and general one in question, but relaing extent the doctrines of paganism.
tive and particular, viz., not that such
and such is the fact,' but that this man One of these fundamental points of is bound to admit it, in conformity to faith that had become dimmed was the his principles of reasoning, or in condoctrine of the resurrection of the dead.
sistency with his own conduct, situa.
tion, etc. Such a conclusion it is In the thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel often both allowable and necessary to we find them reproved upon this very establish, in order to silence those point. The Sadducees, a sect of the Jews,
whose weaknesses and prejudices
would not allow them to assign to it openly denied the resurrection. As this
its due weight. It is thus that our doctrine was lost sight of and even de- Lord on many occasions silences the nied, pagan superstitions were substituted cavils of the Jews.” – Elements of
Logic, by Archbishop Whately, pp. 170, in its stead.
171. One of the pagan superstitions received from the Egyptians by the Jews some time prior to the seventy years' captivity, was the idea of a nether, or under world, in the bowels of the earth, to which piace, they fancied, the souls of the departed went at death. There, according to Egyptian theology, in a dark hall, sat the dreadful god, Ma-t, or the Two Truths, to judge all the dead. Observe that this judgment was held in a dark hall. We shall meet this feature of this pagan nether world again.
The Persians believed in a purifying fire that would consume all dross; and the Babylonians and other pagans had still other ideas of the abode of the dead. Referring to the Persian idea, the International Cyclopedia, art.“ Purgatory," says, “From the Persians it passed with modifications to the Jews, and from them to the more cultivated Christians.” And the two superstitions, Egyptian and Persian, survive to-day in the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory.
This pagan conception of hades, or the place of the dead, as modi. fied by the Jews, is described by the noted historian Josephus, who notes particularly that it is a place of darkness.
Josephus, writing merely as a historian, says :
“Hades is a place in the world not regularly finished, a subterraneous region wherein the light of this world does not shine; from which circumstance, that in this region the light does not shine, it cannot be but there must be in it perpetual darkness. This region is allotted as a place of custody for souls. There is one descent into this region. The just are guided to the right hand, and are led with hymns sung by the angels appointed over that place unto a region of light, in which the just have dwelt from the beginning of the world. . . . This place we call the Bosom of Abraham.
“But as to the unjust, they are dragged by force to the left hand by the angels allotted for punishment, no longer going with a good will, but as prisoners driven by violence. Now, those angels that are set over these souls, drag them into the neighborhood of hell itself; who, when they are hard by it, continually hear the noise of it, and do not stand clear of the hot vapor itself; ... and not only so, but where they see the place of the fathers and of the just, even hereby are they punished; for a chaos deep and large is fixed between them; insomuch that a just man that hath compassion upon them cannot be admitted, nor can one that is unjust, if he were bold enough to attempt it, pass over it."
The reader will have no difficulty in tracing the connection between this Jewish picture of hades and the Egyptian and Persian superstitions of the under world. It is evident therefore from whence our Lord drew the materials for this parable. He enforced the teaching which they had treated with derision, not by appealing to conditions as He knew them to exist, but to the condition of the dead as the Pharisees understood it. Thus by an argumentum ad hominem He at once stripped those men of their self-righteousness, and brought them face to face with the very terrors which they themselves believed the future to hold for the poor and despised of earth.
And then in conclusion, in response to the request which for that purpose He Himself had attributed to the rich man, namely, that Lazarus might be sent to warn his five brethren, our Lord refers His hearers to Moses and the prophets.
But had they believed Moses and the prophets, instead of accepting even a modification of heathen mythology, they would have been free both from the danger of hell fire and from such crude and fanciful notions of the abode and condition of the dead. Moses and the prophets taught no such theories concerning the condition and place of the dead. The idea is utterly unreconcilable with any consistent view that may be taken of the nature of man and of his condition in death.
All agree that the entire material part of man goes at death into the grave and remains there until the resurrection. Even from the standpoint of those who believe that at death a conscious entity called the soul leaves the body, it is an unthinkable thing that such a soul could be relieved of thirst by a drop of water received upon the tip of the finger of another such soul.
Instead of teaching any such contradictory and inconsistent idea of the state and place of the dead as that described by Josephus and in