Following The Evidence #135

If we were in my classroom right now, I would draw a BIG circle on the board and next to it I would draw a very little circle. The big circle would represent all the evidence on the subject we have been considering and the little circle would represent “the problem texts” like the one from yesterday. When arriving at the truth on this subject we should not try to make the big circle fit into the little one but working out how the few verses harmonize with the vast bulk of scripture on the subject.

After my categorical statement from 2THess1:9 where Paul, referring to the unsaved, used the phrase “The punishment of eternal destruction,” and I said the Bible only ever uses the noun (destruction) and never the verb (destructing), someone asked about Rev.14:11 This text says, “the SMOKE of their torment goes up for ever and ever…” Notice also v:10 where God’s wrath, for the first time in human history is “unmixed” with mercy. The torment, is as Jesus portrayed, “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt.13:42). Absolute remorse!
I believe in eternal punishment, I just don’t believe in eternal punishing, because the Bible doesn’t teach it. The former is a noun and the latter is a verb. The Bible never uses the verb!

Ps.68:2 is another smoke text that talks about the wicked perishing, just as we discussed in John 3:16. Ps.37:10 and 20 talks about the wicked perishing and vanishing away like smoke. Ezek.28:14-18 says even lucifer will become ashes and vanish away forever!
Which option do you prefer? God will either erase sin, or the lost are tormented for eternity. However, we should not base our doctrines on what we prefer. If we read the context of Rev.14:11 (8-10 e.g.) we find obvious symbolism, beasts, angels, wine etc. The smoke and torment are connected to obvious symbolism.

When we read Revelation carefully, not like water-skiers, but as deep-sea divers, we find that this masterpiece of literature, prophecy, power and truth is all centered in the Lamb (an obvious symbol.) We also find that everything in Revelation is rooted in the Old Testament somewhere.
Rev.14:11 finds its root in Isa 34:9-10 where we find the fire and brimstone of the Edomites, with their smoke going up forever and ever. Is Edom still burning? Petra was the capitol of the Edomites – I’ve seen many pictures of it – there are no fires there! Rev 14:11, when talking about the destruction of the unsaved in the last days is paralleled with the destruction of Edom. The Bible says the same of Sodom and Gomorrah. (see 2Pet 2: 6 and Jude 7) God’s eternal fire turned Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes in a moment, using the term eternal punishment(N) not punishing(V) and the smoke is still ascending!

Rev.21 speaks of the new heavens & new earth. There is not a place anywhere where smoke is going up forever. The choices are presented in many scriptures like John.3:16 and Rom.6:23. This whole planet of sin, darkness, evil, deception, wickedness, immorality, terrorism, pornography, child abuse, slavery, pain, suffering, sorrow, and death will all end up in one massive fire. WHY? Because God’s heart is a heart of love and He will obliterate evil from Universe and get rid of it! Even the lake of fire will pass away (Rev.20:1-15). The doctrine of eternal torment is an attack on the Character of God, it was invented during the Middle Ages for the purpose of control. It makes God into the ultimate terrorist. It is the vilest of doctrines and has made many an atheist. If hell burned forever, then somewhere in God’s universe there is always going to be pain & suffering, sorrow, torment & torture forever. However, Rev.21:5 says these will all be GONE!

I believe in the word of God! I believe God’s character is one of love. This was revealed to us at the cross where Jesus died and rose again for our sins. God’s Universe is founded on and filled with love. Look at the whole Bible. God’s character is a character of love and justice. Those who reject God and His truth ‘perish’ to use Paul’s term in 2THess.2:10. They must suffer the consequences of their choices. The ‘weeping and wailing’ Jesus mentioned 6 times is the final realization of what they have lost.

When it is all over, it is OVER! There will be a new Heaven and a New Earth in which only righteousness dwells. The Universe will be happy & harmonious, like it was before lucifer’s rebellion. (There is not going to be a secret corner of misery somewhere.) Sin & suffering is gone. I hope you are planning on being there.

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