Planet of Rest: Doctrine of Eternal Torment

By admin On August 22nd, 2013

 

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Planet of Rest: Doctrine of Eternal Torment, CONTINUED

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THE READER CAN ALSO READ A SERIES OF SHORT DEVOTIONALS ON THIS TOPIC… “September 8th (Eternal Torment?)”

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PSALM 37: A Psalm of David.

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“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be envious against the workers of iniquity.

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“For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb…

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“For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, you shall diligently consider his place, and it shall not be…

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“But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away…

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“when the wicked are cut off, you shalt see it….I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree….Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found….

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“But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.” Psalm 37:1, 2, 10, 20, 22, 34-36, 38

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David Playing Harp www.thebiblerevival.com US public domain

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QUESTION:

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Is there anything in this above Psalm which presents the idea that the unsaved will suffehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:At_a_loss.svgr eternal torment?

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As a matter of fact, this Psalm seems to say just the opposite! Read it over again and see!

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Well, this Psalm and many more Bible passages will be presented in this article, in hopes of discovering a side to God’s character and Salvation plan, which are rarely discussed in the Church today.

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And so, if you have an open-mind, and a truth-seeking heart, then you are invited to come explore and re-examine this long-held Church dogma, known as Eternal Torment.

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magnifying glass on book wikimedia share-alike license

 

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THE DOCTRINE OF

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“ETERNAL TORMENT”

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12,000,000,000 OR SO,

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ARE ETERNALLY ROASTING?

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So, do you have any loved ones who you suspect are being tormented right now in Hell? Perhaps an aunt or uncle or friend, who died without surrendering their lives to Christ? Does this idea make you wonder if God is not as merciful as we are told by our Bible teachers? Do you have trouble reconciling the merciful Jesus with an angry God who will cast all lost souls into a subterranean torture chamber, for all time and eternity? 

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And so, how does this church doctrine of eternal torment harmonize with the following verse?

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Listen… “He (God) retains not His anger for ever, because He delights in mercy.” Micah 7:18

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Now if 90% or more of earth’s inhabitants throughout the ages are now being tormented in fire for all time and eternity, that makes this above verse from Micah seem more than just a bit disingenuous, wouldn’t you agree?

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devil Polyptyque de la Vanité terrestre et de la Rédemption céleste-Hans Memling wikimedia share-alike license

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JESUS & ANGELS WATCHING 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jan_van_Eyck_-_Diptych_-_WGA07587.jpg

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And how could Jesus and all His holy angels endure watching this unspeakable horror for all eternity, as is written… “…and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:”? Revelation 14:

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This seems just too unimaginable to be true! This would make eternal life much too sad for the redeemed!

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How could loving, merciful Jesus and all His angels watch all this torment and suffering, day after day, year after year, century after century, for all the ions of time and eternity (as this renaissance painting to the right has attempted to depict)?

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Last Judgment by Jan van Eyck-Diptych wikimedia public domain

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UNTHINKABLE HORROR

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“For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He does not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. To crush under His feet all the prisoners of the earth” Lamentaions 3:31-34

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So how does such a doctrine as “Eternal Torment” harmonize with the above verse from Lamentations, Ch. 3, which speaks of “the multitude of His mercies”? And how could this statement be true, concerning “the multitude of His mercies”, if 90% or more of the world, throughout history, will be tormented in hell-fire…for ever and ever, “in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb”?

Jan van Eyck Diptych Crucifixion Right Detail wikimedia US public domain

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Just think! That means perhaps, about 12,000,000,000 people or more will be screaming and screaming and begging the ever-watching Savior, Jesus: begging Him for mercy all through eternity; to which the on-looking Savior, Jesus will reply, “Eternal torment for you, because you didn’t believe!”, or some similar statement!

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And this, all because they rejected God’s offer of Salvation; young people and old alike, tormented in hell-fire for trillions of trillions of years, and that’s just the beginning!

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Last Judgment by Jan van Eyck-Diptych wikimedia public domain

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“FOR HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER”

Psalm 136:26

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But on the other hand, there are statements in Scripture which speak of God’s mercy. And speaking of mercy, just listen… “[God], Who gives food to all flesh: for His mercy endures for ever. O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for His mercy endures for ever.” Psalm 136:25, 26.

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Now this above passage says that God, “gives food to ALL flesh: for His mercy endures FOREVER“. Now how does that statement harmonize with the doctrine of “Eternal Torment”? Does God give daily food to those being eternally tormented? After all, those who subscribe to the Eternal Torment idea, more or less believe that those who are in Hell have bodies. So can you see how this verse presents such a contradiction to the doctrine of Eternal Torment?

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And so, the question remains to be answered“How could a God, who claims His mercy is forever, torment 90% or more of the world’s inhabitants, who lived throughout history, for trillions of years in a netherworld dungeon?” It just doesn’t make sense!

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Bernhard Plockhorst – 1825-1907 – The Good Shephard – Wikipedia – Public Domain

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ETERNITY NEVER ENDS

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And that’s just the beginning! After those trillions of trillions of years are finished, then would begin the next trillions of trillions of years…of being tormented in hell-fire, day and night, night and day!

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Never-ending torment! Ions of ions, of ions of ions, ions of ions of time! Tormented by fire and brimstone… “in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb”!

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And since Jesus and His holy angels will be witnessing all this endless suffering, then you might come to the conclusion that both Jesus and His angels must enjoy watching all these suffering multitudes! Well after all, it does say here that the Lamb and His angels will be present during all this!

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Listen again…and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:10, 11.

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devil Polyptyque de la Vanité terrestre et de la Rédemption céleste-Hans Memling wikimedia share-alike license

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EARTH: PLANET OF REST

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Counting the Sun as the 1st heavenly sphere, the Earth is the 4th heavenly sphere. If we extend http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17.jpgour theory (and it’s just a theory) that God created our solar system to correspond to the commandments, the Sun corresponding to the 1st Commandment, then Planet Earth would correspond to the 4th Commandment: the Seventh-day Sabbath.

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And so, on the very planet that corresponds to the commandment that exalts the idea of “peace” and “rest”, there exists very little peace. And very little rest. Ironic, isn’t it? 

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And so the 4th member of our solar system, being Planet Earth, will be the host for this article.

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The Earth seen from Apollo_17-NASA & – Wikipedia – Public Domain

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“THE FORMER SHALL NOT BE REMEMBERED”

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“Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for Thy mercies’ sake. For in death there is no remembrance of Thee: in the grave who shall give Thee thanks?” Psalm 6:4, 5

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So how does this above passage from Psalm 6 fit into an Eternal Torment scenario? How does this, “For in death there is no remembrance of Thee: in the grave who shall give Thee thanks?”, harmonize with this,“…and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:”?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wreaths_at_Arlington_National_Cemetery.jpg

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Obviously, there’s a real flaw in such a Church-doctrine as “Eternal Torment”.

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But just what is that flaw? And why has this doctrine survived for so many centuries? And how could Jesus and His holy angels spend all eternity witnessing the torment of unbelievers, in the light of such passages as this… “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”? Isaiah 65:17.

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You cannot insist on the Church-doctrine of “Eternal Torment” without considering such passages as this one from Isaiah! Everything must harmonize!

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Wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery – Wikipedia – Public Dom.

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JESUS NOT A TORMENTOR

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So now it begins to be seen that this verse, (“the smoke of their torment ascending up forever”), just may not be speaking of Eternal Torment. It may just be speaking of the torment which comes on the people who live on Earth at the time of the last Day of Judgment.

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After all, how could Jesus and His holy angels continually watch people burning, while listening to their continual screams for mercy throughout the ceaseless ages, and yet have no mercy? Wouldn’t you agree that this is an impossible idea?

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So how could this verse concerning, “the smoke of their torment ascending up forever” be saying that people will be tormented endlessly? After all it, just says, “the smoke of their torment ascends up forever”. It doesn’t say that they are being tormented for ever and ever. Wouldn’t you agree, that being tormented endlessly and smoke ascending endlessly, are two entirely different statements?

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And this article will reveal what the Bible has to say about all this. Because the Bible has much else to say about this idea of “smoke…ascending up forever.”

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Jesus Teaching Luke 4:31-32 – Jesus talks about Heaven – www.lavistachurchofchrist.org – Public Domain

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“ETERNAL TORMENT” NOT A BIBLE PHRASE

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Quite often, people become confused or don’t understand the difference between Man’s interpretation of the Bible, and what the Bible actually says.

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And those who are less studied in the Bible, just might have a more difficult time distinguishing between what is God’s Word, and what is Man’s INTERPRETATION of God’s Word. All such are, more or less, at the mercy of their teachers, because they haven’t studied and learned what Scripture actually says about this or that subject. And the only verses they might be taught, are the verses which support the views of their Bible teachers.

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In other words, they might never hear the other passages which support the view that the unsaved will just die, and simply cease to exist, as a result of their unforgiven sin.

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Sunset over San Diego Graveyard wikipedia share-alike license for Andy Eick

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A LOPSIDED UNDERSTANDING!

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The fact is, this doctrine which says that unbelievers will be endlessly tormented is not necessarily a Bible doctrine. And “Eternal Torment” is merely an interpretation: an interpretation of what most theologians in mainstream Christianity think that the Bible says about the nature of Hell.

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But it isn’t necessarily biblical! It may very well be just a mistaken notion by those theologians: because human nature tends to embrace what it likes, and ignores what it doesn’t like.

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And it would seem that theologians discount or ignore many passages altogether, which speak of death as an unconscious state of nothingness: no memory, no thoughts, no body, and no soul.

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Simply put, “the wages of sin is DEATH” (Romans 6:23)

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SMOKE ASCENDING & ETERNAL TORMENT

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TWO DIFFERENT IDEAS

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Because it must be mentioned right up front, that Scripture never even once states that the “Lost” from all ages, will be eternally tormented. Let’s repeat that statement: the Bible never says that unbelievers will be tormented for all eternity. Those words are just not found in Scripture!http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Holy_bible.jpg

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Listen to this next passage… Behold, all souls are Mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is Mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4.

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Notice it doesn’t say here, “the soul that sinneth, it shall be eternally tormented”. No, the fact is, the Bible is literally filled with such passages as this, which speak of death, not eternal torment. So why then, do theologians skip over and ignore these in order to prop up this notion of eternal torment?

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Holy Bible – Wikimedia – Creative Commons Lic.

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WHERE IS JESUS NOW?

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The Bible never says that unbelievers will be tormented for all eternity. Those words are just not found in Scripture!

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However, what it does say is that the, “smoke of their torment ascends up for ever…”. Yes, there is torment for Mankind, just as there was torment for Jesus, as He paid for the sins of the world, when He hung on that Cross. And on Judgment Day, there will be much wailing and sorrow! Make no mistake about that! But https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:6tag_250316-124351.jpgnever does Scripture say that this torment will go on forever.

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What it does say is this… “For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, you shall diligently consider his place, and it shall not be…” Psalm 37:2

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After all, Jesus didn’t suffer eternal torment, did He? Oh yes, Jesus suffered far more than any of us realize, for the sins of the world! But it was not eternal! Otherwise, He’d still be suffering somewhere in Hell! But He’s not! After suffering on the Cross, and saying, “It is finished!”, He died and arose again on the 3rd day, because death could not hold Him in the grave! But His punishment ended while he was still on the Cross!  

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Nevertheless, according to many, He will be constantly watching countless others suffering intensely for all eternity, even though He wasn’t tormented for eternity! Doesn’t seem to add up, does it?

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Oh yes, the Bible does say that… “the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever…”. But “Eternal Torment” and, “smoke ascending”, are two vastly different statements! And this verse from Revelation, Chapter 14 will also be re-examined in the light of other such passages, which speak of, “smoke rising for ever”.

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Cross of Jesus Christ – cropped photo – Wikimedia – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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NO ROOM HERE FOR THE CLOSE-MINDED!

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So if you are one of the fortunate ones who are open-minded enough to be able to re-examine this very ancient church-doctrine with fresh eyes, at the very least, you will come away with an understanding of just why many Christians do not believe in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nicaea_icon.jpgthe doctrine of, “Eternal Torment” for unbelievers.

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And if you are patient enough to endure having your long-held beliefs challenged, well, at the very least you will come away realizing that the Bible allows room for differing opinions on this very complex subject. Yes, there are many Bible passages which directly contradict this Church-doctrine of Eternal Torment. And the Reader might be surprised, when he or she discovers many of these contradicting passages for the first time!

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Nicaea icon wikipedia US public domain

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SOME THINGS IN THE BIBLE

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ARE “HARD TO BE UNDERSTOOD”

2nd Peter 3:16

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As also in all his (Paul’s) epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” 2nd Peter 3:16

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:At_a_loss.svgMight there be a giant flaw in such a doctrine as, “Eternal Torment? Because for God to torment someone for all eternity, and together with His holy angels, to watch that torment for all eternity, is such a hideous and unthinkable idea, it would seem that all Heaven might eventually rebel against such tyrannical cruelty.

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And think about it! Why in the world would God put us through this experiment in sin for the last number of millenniums, so that we could learn about how to be merciful to others?

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And so then, after learning all about how to be merciful, are we really supposed to believe that God will unmercifully make us go through eternity, knowing that He has not one drop of mercy for lost souls!?!

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And we then must go through all eternity knowing our loved ones are suffering intensely for all eternity, under God’s wrathful torment in fire and brimstone!

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Something is very wrong here!http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:At_a_loss.svg

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And so then, after God spends all this time filling our heart with infinite love and compassion, we will be expected to somehow live joyfully throughout eternity, all the while knowing that perhaps our mother or father or grandparents, or our children are screaming in pain for all eternity in some fiery dungeon!?!

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So just what is that flaw? The above passage states that some things in the Bible are hard to understand. And certainly, the nature of Hell would fit into that category! After all, there is that one parable which speaks of Hell as a place of torment (see Luke, Chapter 16). But there are many passages that speak of Hell as the grave; and as death and sleep, where all memory is gone. Just look at two examples of seemingly conflicting Bible passages.

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Question Marks-At a loss svg wikimedia commons share-alike license

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CONFLICTING VERSES?

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For instance, how do we harmonize this doctrine of “Eternal Torment” with such verses as this… G. Dore Wikipedia Public Domainthe wages of sin is DEATH’ (Romans 6:23)? This passage says very plainly that, “the wages of sin is DEATH”.

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Death and eternal torment are two very vastly different fates, wouldn’t you agree? And this is just one of many passages that suggest another fate for the Lost, rather than the fate of eternal torment.

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So in light of this seeming contradiction, why are there so many who are quick to censure those who disbelieve this non-biblical name, “Eternal Torment”? After all, eternity in the grave certainly fulfills the definition of Hell, since the same Hebrew word, “Sheol”, is used for both the English words, “Hell” and, “grave”, in Scripture.

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G. Dore Wikipedia Public Domain

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TWO MORE CONFLICTING PASSAGES?

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Or what about this verse? Listen… And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night” Rev. 14:11. Now if one takes this verse out of context, then it would surely seem as though there is everlasting torment. But wait a moment! We are not to form a doctrine, based only on one or two passages.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CalvaryCemeteryQueens_edit.jpg

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Just listen to this next passage… “For now should I (Job) have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept (in the grave)…There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest. There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor.” Job 3:17,18.

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This passage clearly states that even the wicked cease from troubling; and they have rest in death. This certainly does not appear to agree with the previous verse which states…And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night”. Just how do we harmonize such seemingly conflicting passages?

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These are the questions that will be dealt with, in these series of articles. So please follow along and read and consider this opposing opinion to the commonly held doctrine of “Eternal Torment”.

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CalvaryCemeteryQueens wikipedia public domain

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THINGS TOO HIGH

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“LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.” Psalm 131:1, 2

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There is nothing in Scripture which demands that you must accept any man-contrived doctrinal interpretation of Scripture, especially concerning things which God has made, not so clear. In such cases, it would be best, to simply read any ahttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Full_Book_of_Isaiah_2006-06-06.jpgnd every related verse concerning that subject, and hold fast to those individual passages, and what the Bible actually says, instead of making a faulty-at-best man-made doctrine.

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Now quite often, Bible teachers may try to frighten us into accepting their interpretations, implying that all dissidents are heretics. But when it comes to scriptural issues which the Bible has not made so clear, it doesn’t hurt one bit to have a differing opinion from the majority. Actually, it might be a sign of spiritual health, to dissent from popular opinion! 

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Nevertheless, as the Bible student really studies ALL these things out, more and more, he or she will come to the ultimate realization, that God’s mercy, indeed, endures forever. And the great commission which God has given His people, is to get to know God, and to gain an ever-increasing knowledge of the Holy One.

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Listen… “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” John 17:3

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Book of Isaiah – Wikimedia – C.C. Share-alike License

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“YE NEED NOT THAT ANY MAN TEACH YOU”

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By gaining a thorough understanding of the Bible, you will stand on solid ground. Repeat: you are not required to believe Man’s interpretation, but only the related Bible passages on the subject, leaving the seeming contradictory Bible passages concerning Hell, in the hands of God.http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_040327-N-1261P-058_Navy_Chaplain,_Lt._Marc_Massie_assigned_to_Naval_Mobile_Construction_Battalion_Seventy_Four_(NMCB-74)_studies_his_Bible_for_an_upcoming_service.jpg

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Listen to John… “These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the Anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same Anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.” 1st John 2:26, 27.

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Notice it says here that… “ye need not that any man teach you”.

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Chaplain reads Bible – Wikimedia – US Govt. Public Domain

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STUDY FOR YOURSELF

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Why not just let God’s Spirit teach you all things from the Bible and stop letting mere mortal mehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Braet_von_%C3%9Cberfeldt_woman_with_bible_1866.jpgn become your conscience? There are so many teachers out there today, who are worldly-minded and carnal, yet still desiring to make you their disciples! And consequently, there are far too many church-goers, who are content to let others tell them what to believe.

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However, it would be better to arrive at some wrong ideas on your own, rather than be deceived by others. By so-doing, at least you will have spent the time and effort to acquaint your own self with the Bible, instead of letting others do your homework and your thinking for you, and become your conscience for you!

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Braet von Überfeldt – Woman with bible – 1866 – Wikipedia – US public domain

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READ THIS OTHER SIDE of the ISSUE

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Having said all this, you are nevertheless encouraged to read the following series of articles. And at the very least, hear the Bible passages you have possibly never considered, concerning thishttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USMC-06831.jpg subject.

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Then having examined the Bible passages concerning the other side of this debate, you will soon be able to make an intelligent and informed decision concerning what Scripture actually says, regarding the fate of all those who reject the call to become “Born Again”. And then, you will no longer be helplessly dependent on others to tell you what you should or shouldn’t believe.

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USMC- prayer before Bible study – Wikimedia – public domain.

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TO READ THE NEXT (MUCH SHORTER) ARTICLE ON THE SUBJECT OF “ETERNAL TORMENT, CLICK HERE…“ETERNAL TORMENT?”

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