There are those who teach that the unrepentant wicked of this life will go to everlasting punishment, a never-ending horrible torment, because they didn’t “accept” Jesus Christ into their hearts. This is a diabolical doctrine taught as Gospel truth, used to convert the simple, not by fear of God, but by fear of the worst possible outcome man can imagine. Read Diabolical Doctrine: Those who don’t believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will be fearfully and forever tormented, without end and Diabolical Doctrine: Accept Jesus as your personal Savior, and you will be saved.
Another theory we now debunk is one that mercifully puts the wicked out of their misery, asserting it’s highly unreasonable to subject any living creature to endless torment. This is a more appealing alternative and reflects more favorably on God, Who is Love by Nature, but it’s still a lie and falls far short of His glory.
There is a third alternative, which is not only an alternative but the design of God, testified of in the Holy Scriptures.
The truth is God isn’t willing that any should perish, but that all men be saved:
“The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 MKJV).
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4 MKJV).
And who can resist His will?
“You will then say to me, Why does He yet find fault? For who has resisted His will?” (Romans 9:19 MKJV)
Certainly not the sinner who is slave to sin and who is utterly dependent upon an Omnipotent Savior, not only to cause him to do that which is right, but even to want to do (to will) it:
“For it is God Who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
“He Who calls you is faithful, Who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
And the Scriptures declare that God will do this for every soul who ever lived, because all have sinned; they aren’t able to give Him glory except through the saving work of Jesus Christ:
“Therefore God has highly exalted Him, and has given Him a Name which is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly ones, and of earthly ones, and of ones under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11 MKJV).
If only one knee doesn’t bow or if only one tongue doesn’t confess, then the glory of God the Father won’t be complete, will it? And who can deny it?
A wonderful statement by the Lord Jesus destroys the notion of annihilation of the wicked. He said to His disciples, as He was sending them out to preach and minister:
“And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” (Mark 6:11; see also Matthew 10:14-15 and Luke 10:10-15)
Who was more deserving of eternal damnation or annihilation than the Sodomites? Sodom and Gomorrah go down in history as the cities destroyed by Divine intervention because their wickedness was so great (read of their vileness in Genesis 19).
Let’s consider the eventual fate of Sodom and Gomorrah in light of Jesus’ words. How is it there’s “tolerableness” for Sodom and Gomorrah if they’re only going to be eternally tormented or, more mercifully, annihilated? Why is there even a day of judgment? Why a comparison of these other cities to Sodom and Gomorrah if they will all be consigned to annihilation?
Do the proponents of these doctrines of devils say Sodom and Gomorrah will burn in Hell or be annihilated, but not as severely as those cities that refuse to hear the Gospel? How can some burn more or less severely than others, if it is forever? How can there be more tolerability for some than for others, if they are to be completely disposed of? Is this what they call mercy?
Surely, God is not served, or His glory enhanced, in continuing the sufferings of His creatures without end. The thought of, “I told you so,” won’t serve any good for the sufferers, seeing there’s no hope of redemption. Surely there’s no profit to the saved if their friends and relatives are tormented or destroyed.
The Lord’s truth of comparative tolerability summarily discounts any possibility of either eternal torment or annihilation.
Take heart, dear reader; the Lord can deliver you from such lies and hopelessness. I also believed foolish nonsense until the Lord delivered me from it, by the illumination of the Scriptures through His Spirit.
Let’s look at these verses:
“And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to Heaven, shall be brought down to Hell. For if the mighty works which have been done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you” (Matthew 11:23-24 MKJV).
I have heard many people say God is fair, just, and loving, and that He leaves people without excuse before He exacts punishment or consequence. But here we have the Lord’s clear testimony that if God had done those same works in Sodom that were done in Capernaum, Sodom would have been spared the judgment of fire. Why? They wouldn’t have corrupted themselves as they did.
But He adds that Sodom will yet have its day in judgment, a day of tolerance beyond that of Capernaum, which was not destroyed by Divine intervention. Again, what need have we of tolerance and the contrasting of degrees of unrighteousness if all are going to burn forever or be annihilated?
And how can annihilation, the epitome of death, be the end, when God says that death is cast into the Lake of Fire?
“And death and Hell were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death” (Revelation 20:14 MKJV).
In other words, there is an end to death, a second death, which is also the end of sin and Hell. Physical death isn’t final at all, except that it ends our brief and painful stint of existence on earth. Jesus Christ is the Omega or our Z. Therefore He alone is the Finality. Death isn’t final, but it is finalized.
The Scripture says that Jesus came to overcome death, the last enemy:
“For it is right for Him to reign until He has put all the enemies under His feet. The last enemy made to cease is death” (1 Corinthians 15:25-26 MKJV).
Consider the verses just before that one:
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first-fruit, and afterward they who are Christ’s at His coming; then is the end, when He delivers the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when He makes to cease all rule and all authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:22-24 MKJV).
“All will be made alive,” means that death is not final. Jesus, Who is the very essence of Life and the Light of men, will be and is the Finality. By Whom all things consist, “all will be made alive”!
Also, if death is final (meaning sinful people are annihilated), why would He have keys for it?
“And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying to me, ‘Do not fear, I am the First and the Last, and the Living One, and I became dead, and behold, I am alive for ever and ever, Amen. And I have the keys of Hell and of death’” (Revelation 1:17-18 MKJV).
Death is the absence of God – and God is Life. He doesn’t make Himself absent forever. He is…THE RESURRECTION! That’s what His work on the cross and the resurrection to new, imperishable life is all about.
“Then will take place the word that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?’” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55 MKJV)
Death is swallowed up when the fallen nature producing death has been eliminated by Jesus Christ. This is the annihilation that does take place, when the old man is put away and the new man is raised up in His imperishable life:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV).
Man was created in the image of God. He was created by Perfection Himself. Therefore man will be brought to perfection – he who was “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).
Shall that which was intended for perfection be tossed into the universal garbage heap or incinerator? Would that not be a clear demonstration of sheer incompetence and abject failure on the part of One Who, by His very nature, cannot fail?
Oh, how man, in his darkness he calls light, fails to reason clearly with those faculties God has given him. But this, too, is the perfect design of God:
“For the creation was not willingly subjected to vanity, but because of Him Who subjected it on hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:20-21 MKJV).
The mental disposition behind the doctrine of annihilation is the same as for eternal torment – it’s all about man controlling his destiny by his self-righteous choosing and works. You would think “believers” would rejoice to hear of God’s mercy to save all sinners, but when His generosity comes at the expense of their righteousness, they refuse and object.
“But,” it is argued, “God doesn’t want a bunch of robots running around, zombies forced to love Him. So, in His wisdom, He gave us free will, so we can choose for ourselves.” That sounds magnanimous, but there’s a problem: Those thoughts express the “magnanimity” of the prince of this world, the consummate rebel who insists that we are free agents, able to be as God in our own rights and free to exercise our own rights independently of God, even deciding how to worship Him.
The fact is that we lost all rights in the first Adam when we believed the serpent instead of God. In that day we died and lost everything, including our free will. We became bondservants to sin. We were plunged into “outer darkness where was weeping and gnashing of teeth.” We were made subject to the liar, who has filled our heads with all false notions of God and of God’s will and ways.
Instead of ruling, man became a slave under the serpent’s dominion. A free agent, indeed! Ask any slave about free will. He’ll teach you soon enough. He’ll tell you plainly that he has very little right to choose anything. However, the great slave owner of the universe, the liar, murderer, and usurper of mankind has deceived his subjects into believing they have free will. Indeed, isn’t that what deception is all about – believing the opposite of what is true?
But in the fullness of time, God sent His Only begotten Son to redeem Adam and his progeny from that bondage, bringing us into true freedom wherein, at the Name of Jesus, our knees bow, and our tongues confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (yes, Lord… in other words we are submitted to a Higher Power, not free to do as we please). Read Diabolical Doctrine: Man has free will.
Annihilation? No. Eternal torment? No. Absolute redemption for all? Yes, to the glory of God the Father, through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who loved us, and gave Himself, not only for the chiefest of sinners (Saul of Tarsus), but for us all. Jesus Christ is rightly called our Savior and Lord, greatly to be believed and greatly to be praised. Blessed be the Name of Jesus!
For further knowledge of the Scriptures on the topic of the salvation of all mankind, you can read our letters and writings in The Restitution of All Things.
Consider the alternative to believing the doctrine of annihilation: Where sin abounded, grace has abounded much more. All men will one day rejoice in God, their Savior, to His full glory. Amen!