Everlasting Punishment: True or False? – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

Everlasting Punishment: True or False?

Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

I. The Denial of Hell

Never before has the biblical doctrine of Hell been under more attack than it is right now.

Make no mistake – Hell has always been mocked and denied.

But now, so-called Bible teachers and well-known theologians are denying the biblical doctrine of Hell.

Here are just a couple of things I’ve seen in the last few weeks.

“If you dogmatically, unquestionably and even gleefully insist that people being punished eternally for something they have absolutely no control over is good, right and just then you area likely beyond the point of being capable of having a rational discourse on the topic.”

@Soteriology101 on Twitter

Whether you are a Christian or not, chances are that you have heard about the idea of Hell. A place somewhere under the ground, where bad people who died and did not believe in God burn and suffer in the Hellfire for eternity. This is a widely accepted teaching in the Christian world, but is this really what the Bible teaches?… Think of the picture of God that this popular and widespread teaching of eternal suffering presents: “love me and do it My way, or suffer forever.” Does that sound right to you? And would it be justice, that a person who has lived wickedly for approximately 80 years, would need to pay for it for eternity? That is unthinkable and horrible. Yet this is the picture that the church has presented to the world. No wonder many people reject a god like that.


We live in such a sensitive, snow-flake society that people cannot imagine a God of wrath and judgment.

Those that profess to be Christians that deny the wrath and judgment of God are heretics. Plain and simple.

Beth Moore went public on her social media just two weeks ago denouncing the message by Jonathan Edwards entitled Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God.

“The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked…You are 10,000 times more abominable in his eyes than the most hateful venomous serpent is an ours…I get that Edwards is talking to those who do not look to Christ for salvation but I’m just saying, I was so broken and self-loathing and ensnared in my sins, such preaching would’ve made me feel like dying. Like running away, not running toward God,” Moore explained. “I would’ve wondered how he could go straight to loving someone like a son after he had abhorred them like a spider. This thought process breaks down, of course, because I’m certainly not God and, to be candid, I tend to like spiders. I mean real ones…God uses all sorts of means of calling people out of sin and unbelief. At times, I have very much needed the sternest possible warning from God. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m no big theologian but I just don’t think you’re a spider. And I don’t think God abhors you.”

People today cannot comprehend a God that judges sin, judges sinners and demonstrates wrath and anger.

  • Psalms 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
  • John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
  • Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
  • Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
  • Colossians 3:6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

Romans 2

  • 1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
  • 2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
  • 3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
  • 4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
  • 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
  • 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

Make no mistake. The wrath of God is real. Judgment is real. And Hell is real.

The Lamb of God is capable of great and destructive wrath.

  • Revelation 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

II. The Designation of Hell

The Bible is clear – Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels.

  • Matthew 25:41 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:

In eternity past, before the creation of this world, there was a rebellion in heaven against God.

This is described in Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14.

Jesus referred to it in Luke 10:18 “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.”

Lucifer, who was a cherub or cherubim, rebelled against God. (Ezekiel 28:14-16)

We believe from Revelation 12 that there are indication of how the fallen angels came about.

Satan was cast out along with his angels.

Revelation 12:3, 4 leads us to make the statement that a third of the angels followed Satan in that rebellion.

These fallen angels became referred to as “devils” throughout the ministry of Jesus.

This was Satan’s attempt to appear omnipresent, though he clearly is not capable of that.

His position was one of protecting or guarding the very throne of God.

Michael the archangel recognized the power and position of Lucifer in Jude 9.

  • Jude 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

Hell was created and prepared as a place to judge Satan and the fallen angels.

There is nothing they can do to not go there. That is their doom

But not only are the devil and his angels going to Hell, but also are the unbelievers – those that reject Christ.

God doesn’t send anyone to Hell. It is their sin that has been uncovered by the blood that sends them to Hell.

Hell is real. Hell is hot. Hell is torment. Hell is a place of unimaginable pain.

Luke 16 describes the pains of Hell. (by Pastor Robert J. Sargent)

  • There is Conscious Pain – he knew what was going on; could reason and think
  • There is Physical Pain – he could hear, feel, thirst, see.
  • There is Mental Pain – he was told to “remember.”
  • There is Spiritual Pain – he suddenly had a burden for his unsaved family

III. The Duration of Hell

There are two places referred to in the Scriptures that are often used interchangeably by accident.

The Bible teaches of a place called Hell.

Then the Bible teaches of a place called the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:14, 15)

Illustration: A man on earth that commits a crime will be arrested, put in jail, go to court for his sentencing, and then go to prison. Likewise, a person that dies unsaved will go to Hell. They will stay there until the Great White Throne Judgment as described in Revelation 20:11.

They will stand before God and their names will not be found in the book of life.

When their names are not found, they will then be cast into the Lake of Fire.

The Bible tells us that death and Hell will also be cast into the Lake of Fire.

So, we understand that Hell will be cast into the Lake of Fire, but so will death.

Meaning death will be powerless. It will lose all power over the soul.

The unsaved will be resurrected with a new body. Their body, soul and spirit will be in hell.

  • Acts 24:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
  • Revelation 20:13 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.  

How do we know that when the Bible says Eternal Damnation, that is really what it means?

1. The Fire in Hell is an Everlasting Fire

  • Matthew 18:8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
  • Matthew 25:41 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:
  • Mark 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
  • Mark 9:44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
  • Mark 9:45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
  • Mark 9:46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
  • Mark 9:48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

2. The Damnation is an Eternal Damnation

  • Mark 3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:

ETERNAL: without end, never to cease, everlasting

DAMNATION: separation; judgment

3. The Judgment is Eternal Judgment

Hebrews 6

  • 1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
  • 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

False teachers are condemned to eternal darkness.

  • Jude 1:13 …to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

False teachers are condemned to the same darkness, judgment and damnation as the fallen angels.

2 Peter 2

  • 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
  • 4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

4. Those that worship the Antichrist and receive the Mark of the Beast will be tormented forever.

Revelation 14

  • 9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
  • 10 The same 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 in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
  • 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever 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.

5. The Devil, the False Prophet and the Beast (Anti-Christ) will be tormented for ever and ever in the Lake of Fire.

  • Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

6. The unbelievers will be cast into the same Lake of Fire as the devil, the false prophet and the beast.

Revelation 20

  • 11 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.
  • 12 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.
  • 13 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.
  • 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
  • 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Teaching that annihilation is the only possible outcome of being in a fire is unbiblical for multiple reasons.

  • The bush in Exodus 3:2 was on fire and it was not consumed. And it was just a normal bush.
  • The three Hebrew children survived the fiery furnace that was so hot it killed the men that threw them in, and yet they didn’t even have the smell of smoke on them.

If Hell were not forever, why did Jesus have to die?

What would motivate sinners to repent of their sins and turn to Christ for salvation if Hell was not for ever?

IV. The Deliverance from Hell

So, what must a person do to escape this eternal damnation?

Romans 5

  • 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
  • 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
  • 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
  • 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
  • 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.