Is Hell eternal?

This topic contains 564 replies, has 26 voices, and was last updated by  t8 2 weeks, 5 days ago.

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  • #777264
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    This comment is taken from the forum from one of the members.
    https://heavennet.net/cgi-bin/forum/ikonboard.cgi?s=6f06cd118919b0baac113e49bc93743a;act=ST;f=17;t=4473;st=60;r=1;&#entry428190

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    I agree that this teaching goes against the character of God but you cannot overlook the justice of God. Below is what I arrived at after years of searching:

    Hell – Many teach that nearly all the people who have ever lived will suffer in eternal torment in hell. This has been based on a translation of the word aion which has translated as eternal, everlasting, forever this is offered as the proof within the scriptures that punishment goes on forever,
    However the translation for aion only means endless when it derives its meaning or endlessness from the nature of the subject to which it is connected. Best translated as “The entirety of time for the object being discussed”. Hence when applied to God it is certainly to be considered unending, when applied to smoke rising, until the consumption of the item being burned, and to the torment of the wicked, until all has been paid. God will not torture a non-believer for eternity
    For those being punished, the punishment will be proportional to their “sins” ending in annihilation. Eternal life is promised to believers and gifted to adherents, it is not something possessed by all of mankind. Eternal torment is not torment for eternity but torment to completion with eternal consequences. This concept is in keeping with the justice that God requires but with the Love that God is.

    Lake of Fire – I believe that when sin was first found in satan it was only apparent to God. The trouble was God knew that the sin in satan would spread and ruin all of Heaven itself. So He created the Lake of Fire to destroy the irredeemable (which I believe that those exposed to Gods glory and still allow sin a place cannot be redeemed). But if He were to throw satan in prior to his sins being apparent to the rest of Heavens inhabitants, they would not see the Love and Justice of God as obviously satan was popular and I do not believe that satan had done anything openly evil (something Heaven’s inhabitants probably didn’t understand anyway).

    I believe it was at this point God created man with the express purpose of exposing what sin would do if allowed to run unchecked and to show the length He would go and the price He would pay to redeem His creation if it was possible.

    We know that God has His faithful angels and we’re told satan has his but I believe that there are still those sitting on the fence. In Revelation where we are told that war breaks out in heaven and this is where I think the host of heaven has had their fill of satan’s ways and expel him and his from heaven.

    As Christ begins His reign, satan will be thrown into the abyss. After a thousand years he will be released from his prison to further demonstrate both the inclination of flesh to sin and why satan cannot be redeemed and has to be thrown into the lake of fire.

    Now God, who would have been reduced in stature had He have tried to explain His actions, is glorified for His; Grace, Wisdom, Holiness, Love and Forgiveness. He has also gained more sons proven through fire than He lost to satan.
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    #777265
     Anastas
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    I cannot say which view is correct, God knows. But as for my spirit and the sense I have gotten by the holy scriptures I would have to admit my leanings are towards an everlasting hell… Inasmuch as we understand everlasting to be that is. There are instances in the bible that “forever” is used to imply “a really long time” but that isn’t the point I mean to pursue here. Our brother Matthew said that the wicked should have “eternal punishment”. This seems to be a straight forward quote but I know that scripture is not always as straight forward as one verse may suggest. Often there are other hints of it even though they can be explained away and are not “in your face” types of proof like “eternal destruction” or “eternal fire” etc. However, I do think that they imply the eternity of the suffering to come for unbelievers. The fact is, God is holy and just and this is His creation and we can not know how terrible a sin really is in His perfect judgment. If doing sin is deserving eternal punishment, how much more is God’s love for us shown when we are given the opportunity to be absolved in Christ? Yes this is just speculation you might say which is nice but proves nothing. True. But I also look at revelation 20:12-15 and it says that death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire and this is before the unbelievers were. It would appear that death was done away with so the wicked would pay the price of their lawlessness. It seems to me that death was destroyed but since death was destroyed/killed that those who entered into the lake of fire afterwards would only be in a state of constant and continuous death but not actually dying. It would be a lot more comforting to me to think if I fail in serving Christ in faith and deed, that I might just simple perish than suffer a terrible torture. It would be comforting… but does this make sinning or being useless easier to do? I would think that it does.

    #777266
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    Even if the destruction is aeon for an age or even ages, or whether it is eternal, one view is that the worst is eternal destruction, in other words, destroyed forever.

    But the everlasting destruction that is traditionally taught is really an eternal life, but in a place of torment. If that was the case, we all inherit eternal life, but in different places.

    #777267
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    As far as there being little or no deterant if an everlasing Hell were not true, I would like to say this.

    The Great Judgement takes place after the Millennial Reign. That is a long time to be in Hell. All this age and the next (forever and ever technically speaking because that term means an age and an age). But after the judgement, Hell is cast into the Lake of Fire, the Second Death. This is taught clearly. And this same fire is the one that burns up the old heavens and earth too.

    Being in Hell before that event is a long time, and that should be deterrent enough for anyone IMO. I mean I had a vision where I was put in Hell for a matter of seconds and it was horrible beyond description.

    Vision of Hell

    When people say that God will basically torture souls forever, the gospel that they preach loses a lot of credibility, because that is picturing a God that essentially is hurting people more than Adolph Hitler did. That is how they picture it and they immediately know something is not right with that.

    Finally we are told in Genesis, that God sent Cherubim to protect the Tree of Life because if man had eaten that fruit after the fall, he would have lived forever as a sinner. Thus, God spared man that horrible fate. That shows his love right there.

    #777268
     anastas
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    It could be as you say but Could you explain your view on what our Lord meant in matt. 25:46?

    #777269
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    Matthew 25:46
    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    So the question to ask is what exactly is the punishment.

    John 3:16
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    So the wicked perish and obviously they perish of eternity. There is nothing in John 3:16 that states that they are perishing forever, but that they perish forever.

    Is the above a correct view of the word perish? Look at the next verse to see the same word. And apply that same word to John 3:16 and you will see that it means perish, not perishing.

    Colossians 2:21-22 21
    21 Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?
    22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings.

    Further, the wicked perish like animals. I am pretty sure that no one holds the belief that animals will suffer an eternal hell, yet the wicked suffer their fate. What is that fate? That they will not have eternal life, but instead will perish.

    2 Peter 2:12
    But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.

    Now here we have a verse that talks about perishing, and it is obviously meaning the living, not the dead.

    1 Corinthians 1:18
    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

    The punishment for the wicked is also destruction. The same argument made for the word perish can be made for the word destruction. Ask yourself this, when you destroy something, does that mean you break continuously? Or is a single act where it goes from working to being destroyed. The thing about the word destruction is it is conveying that it cannot be brought back, not that it exists forever in a broken state.

    So the thing about Matthew 25:46 is clear, that only the righteous have eternal life or exist eternally. Otherwise you could teach that the wicked also have eternal life, but in Hell.

    #777270
     Anastas
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    You asked what is the punishment and you answered with destruction and I would agree to that. The difference in opinion still comes from the words of the Lord when he said, “And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.” – Matt 25:46

    Now on the one hand it says eternal punishment and on the other eternal life. It has both scenarios listed together. In both accounts we have eternity but only one is described as life. So the real question is not what the punishment is, but what life truly is. Is life just simply existing? Or is it more than that?

    Everything in the bible has degrees. Just as Jesus the Lord said “but the righteous into eternal life” it is also written “there is none righteous, no, not one”- romans 3:10. Just as there are degrees of righteousness that one may be righteous in one degree but not in another, there are degrees of life and destruction.

    Now if the punishment were simply death/destruction that meant forever dead then the word “destruction” would be more than adequate by itself and the word eternal would not be needed. Why would we assume that we would be recreated after we were destroyed because of our wickedness at some point when nothing in the bible points to that? We wouldn’t and that is why the Christ was sure to speak about eternal punishment.

    I would think that the destruction a wicked man judged to be unworthy for life would receive is an on going destruction because death was already put away with in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14-15). Where there is no death there is no way for a soul to find the end of destruction but would only continue in the process of destruction for eternity.

    I think of it this way. “A servant is not greater than his lord” – John 15:20 So just as the false prophet was a servant of Satan and we know that his punishment, indeed, was eternal torment in the lake of fire (rev 20:10) why would we expect that men and angels who chose to follow and serve him would not also be punished in the same way as the false prophet who served him?

    #777271
     Anastas
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    I do not speak as if I know all things or even this thing for that matter. I only offer what I see and leave the rest to the readers own understandings and hope the Spirit of truth may show them the truth. I hope I speak the truth and may God forgive me if I speak ignorantly and may I be corrected if I am wrong. I wouldn’t think this is a road block for a brother, however. One way or the other, If you are correct T8 or if I am, any believer can agree that God is just and the appropriate punishment will be dealt out. God will do as he sees fit, and we should not merely accept it but glorify it one way or the other.

    #777272
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    Good questions Anastas.

    Without spending too much time right now going through every major point, I will address the crux of what you are saying.

    You said:

    Now if the punishment were simply death/destruction that meant forever dead then the word “destruction” would be more than adequate by itself and the word eternal would not be needed. Why would we assume that we would be recreated after we were destroyed because of our wickedness at some point when nothing in the bible points to that? We wouldn’t and that is why the Christ was sure to speak about eternal punishment.

    The answer that springs to my mind immediately is that the wicked are thrown into the Second Death. So obviously that implies a first death that is not eternal. Without doing any research due to time and reciting what I have learned over the years I will give you a quick answer that would need to be checked out.

    Death means ‘separation’. Thus the first death is the separation of the body and soul. This is still in the realm of existence as the souls of the righteous are with the Lord and the souls of the wicked are in Hell/Hades where there is torment. I have seen this myself in a vision and scripture speaks of this.

    The Second Death, I can only imagine is the separation of the soul and the spirit of God for all eternity. If life comes from God’s Spirit/Breath only, then this spirit is taken away and the soul ceases to exist or be self conscious. For a wicked soul to exist for all eternity, this would require God giving life to that soul in order for it to be aware of the punishment and torment that many imagine.

    So if there is eternal life which is existence of souls sustained by the Spirit of God, and housed in bodies,then likewise there is eternal damnation where souls have not the Spirit/Breath of God and neither a body to exist through. They are as good gone because they have not life. And yes the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever because every age will know of the fate of the Godless. The same description is given of Sodom and yet is there a traditional fire still burning there, or is it the smoke that rises up forever as a reminder as to what happened to this godless place.

    just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

    Notice that Sodom was destroyed forever. To this day, no one knows exactly where that city was. And Jude points out that they are an example of undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. He wrote this by the time the flames were well and truly extinguished too.

    If the Second Death is eternal, that is no proof that those who were cast in there are alive and suffering for all eternity. Yes it might take some time for the process of destruction, but to be fully aware and suffering for all eternity is not destruction and nor have they perished, rather that would require a purposeful sustenance of God’s Spirit to keep them alive. The only difference is that they are being barbecued forever while being kept alive.

    It really boils down to whether we believe that the wicked will be destroyed or they will be preserved in order to suffer for all the ages to come.

    #777273
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    You said:

    God will do as he sees fit, and we should not merely accept it but glorify it one way or the other.

    Yes that is true. And we have scripture that teaches us about the destiny of the righteous and fate of the wicked. So we can glimpse God’s plan, his judgement, mercy, and love, by reading scripture.

    Scripture says that the wicked will be destroyed. When we read that same word regarding other things, it still means destroyed in they way that most understand that word. Yet when it comes to wicked men, somehow the meaning is changed to being more akin to being preserved so that one will suffer forever and ever, fully conscious, and obviously kept alive by God’s Spirit because nothing else gives life.

    But we know that God who is a Spirit is the God of the living, not the dead. If God kept the wicked alive to suffer fully conscious for all eternity, then wouldn’t that mean that he is the God of the dead too.

    #777274
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    What part of man does God save? He saves our soul. He also gives us a new body. And we get the Spirit of God continuously, (eternal life).

    What is it that the wicked lose? They lose their soul. Mark 8:36:
    What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

    Matthew 7:13
    Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

    Philippians 3:19
    Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.

    2 Thessalonians 1:8-9
    8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
    9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power

    2 Peter 3:7
    By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

    2 Peter 3:11-13
    11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives
    12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.
    13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

    #777275
     G. Michael Mayhew 
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    Thanks for this teaching.

    What I see and understand is that when we accept Jesus, we accept the gift of eternal life from God. If we do not accept what Jesus did by his death, we do not accept his salvation, nor His free gift of eternal life. If we don’t accept his gift, we don’t have life – AT ALL! We are “mortal” beings, until the point where we accept what Jesus did, and His salvation by dying for our sins. Then we have become “immortal” beings, and have eternal life, but not before this point in time.

    Even John 3:16 states: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

    It seems very clear here, where we get our eternal life. I was also thinking, that since we are talking about our soul (mind, will, emotions) here, which is what makes who we are as who we are, that is what will perish, and die the SECOND DEATH.

    If the physical body dies, our soul and spirit remain together, and goes either to hell or heaven in this present age, but are incapable of being separated.

    If, at the end of the age, one is judged to be “wicked”, then that person, soul and spirit, will be cast into the Lake of Fire, away from the life-giving presence of Jehovah-God. With this eternal separation from God, (just as if you separate the spirit from our earthly physical body, our physical body will die), so therefore, if the spirit man within us is separated from God, the spirit that God created for each of us, will also die, and therefore, our soul would also die. Most likely, from a sadness so great, it would overwhelm our spirit and soul, and then whatever was left, would be consumed in the fires of the Lake of Fire.

    Yes, that is a merciful God. I can understand now all the more why God states that He desires that none would perish, but to inherit eternal life, through what God, the creator of all, orchestrated to occur for each of His created beings to do, and that was to choose life, through His Son, Jesus.

    #777276
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    This seems likely given what the scriptures teach us.

    #777277
     Anastas
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    Many teach of hell as the separation from God. Is God in Satan? in his demons? Do they care? Wickedness does not know God nor does it want to and that is why it hates God. Evil beings strive only for their own lusts and self gratification and whether or not God is involved means nothing to them. Men have their own wills (as much as God allows) just as the angels, men can hate God just as much as those angels who have fallen away. Hell is torment and not just torment from being separated from God (if it were at all possible). People who attest to this understanding of God is looking at it from a very human point of view. We don’t like to think that God would put us through torture for our wrongs. We don’t like to think that even a single sin committed may actually deserve such a fate. But we can’t grasp how bad disobedience to God really is even in the smallest infraction. Christ said, “If thine eye cause thee to stumble, cast it out: it is good for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. I emphasize the latter part. You couple that with Revelations 20:14 “And death and hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire. And if any were not found in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.” Now the first death didn’t mean total death. So why do we think the second death does? Especially when death is put into the lake of fire being destroyed before those condemned are. Those who enter afterwords will enter a continual death, a continual destruction, where their worm dieth not. God gave us a path to avoid such a future. Why do we downplay the consequences of disobedience? And who are we to judge that this is too much and not fair? This just emphasizes Yehowah’s grace and love that we have been given a way out from what we deserve. That is to fall on and be one with the Messiah Yehoshua (Jesus) the Lord.

    #777278
     John
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    Hello everyone,

    I have chanced on this website last year and visited it since a few times. Many discussions reveal a genuine interest of diverse participants. And there sure are good things coming from the dialogues.
    Alas, there being hardly anyone having the Spirit of Truth or the requisite broad, deep knowledge and understanding, the talks often stray in various directions leaving us rather more uncertain by diferring view and ideas, if not confused and more disoriented (although we may not see it).
    Do I speak like it is but ME who knows? [As opposed to others or even you ..?] Well, I speak that of which I have received more than others, by His unsurpassed Grace. And, that which I do not know, I also know and also will say.

    A brother of mine in Christ had written a few posts here, but concluded similarly. Plus, the posts quickly disappear in the vast realm of ideas and confrontations of all kinds…
    And yet I would like to help those who may be called by Him to become the candidates of Life …

    Yes, this is a difficult field. Very difficult. So difficult that no one can come to the Truth of God or understand it except that God lead him. And it is a long, trying journey.

    So I have always given up and never wrote anything. Why, it would take thousand of pages and in the end help no one. Sure, there are good thoughts, good questions raised herein, but one wrong thing skews the whole picture …
    As an example, let me state next, in reference to the above discussion on Hell …

    1. No, there is no Hell, never was, whether temporary or eternal, and never shall be.
    Proof: “Hell” is an incorrect translation of the word “hades” (greek) or “sheol” (heb.)which both mean the place (or ‘abode’, ‘realm’)of the dead. So this place, and not some ‘hell’, is going to be destroyed, meaning obliterated, cancelled, deleted .., in the apocalyptic ‘lake of fire’. Why, of course, it will be no longer needed as there will be no death either to furnish it with new dead ‘souls'(or people, if you wish). So, figuratively, the two go hand in hand into the lake burning with brimstone and fire to be eliminated, done away with (in reality, they are not ‘something’ that can burn).

    2. Re the first comment above stating that “when we accept Jesus, we accept the gift of eternal life from God.”
    Again, not so. We have to be more accurate with words. By accepting (i. e. believing in) Jesus, we are not being offered eternal life as yet. (Remember, He must accept us, too, and that is only the beginning. And that does not go without saying!, as the saying goes.) So we cannot accept the Life (or reject it)no less automatically as part of our accepting Jesus. Only some of us will be “offered” life at the last judgment, and it will be Jesus who will ‘give it (offer it) to whom he wants to give it’, to His elect ones, i.e. [And no, no one of those will decline this his “offer”. Why, of course.]

    3. There is, in the above, also an uncertainty regarding the terms “soul” and “spirit” (and “body” vs. “new body”) although this should be considered one of the key concepts to explore and understand clearly when dealing with us, humans, our destiny, and the respective references in Bible passages …. But this cannot be answered here via a few words …

    4. Anyone wants to know more? If so, how can we go about it, how to get it organized? I may be able to point the way … Or maybe you will decide to open a door .. In fact, we are presently considering to resurrect our own website we started more than 10 years ago. Maybe some of you want or need to take another step … Let me hear from you at [email protected]. God bless.

    #777279
     G. Michael Mayhew 
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    My reply to Anastas…

    What has really struck me the hardest is that even John 3:16 states a choice, either “perish” or “life”. Perishing doesn’t give the thought of eternal punishment. Plus, reviewing John 3:16, Jesus says that by accepting what He did, you can receive “eternal life”.

    This clearly implies, (if that is possible), that one does NOT have eternal life prior to accepting Jesus as your savior. (By the way, what are we being “saved” from? Perishing in the Lake of Fire).

    So, if one does not have eternal life to start with, there surely is a Second Death, which is the Lake of Fire.

    Satan and the angels that followed Lucifer, were already created as eternally existent. God created the Lake of Fire for punishment for Satan and the angels that rebelled against God, NOT for mankind.

    So, if a wicked man/woman refuses the free gift of salvation, he has also chosen to refuse to have eternal life. If one chooses to refuse life, than one has chosen to perish, and be thrown into the Lake of Fire at the end of the age, where their soul will “perish”. This is truly sad, but God will not allow such a soul, with free will, to enter heaven. To me, once again, this seems that justice is carried out, and God is merciful, and will not allow a soul to be tormented forever and ever for sin he committed in this short life. God cannot overrule a soul’s will and MAKE them love Him. Since that is their choice, He will separate that soul from His presence, and away from His presence, (since they already had to bow their knee to Jesus and admit who He is), they know their choice, and it is pure rebellion! For that reason, God will treat that soul the same as Satan. The only difference is, Satan is an eternal being. The soul of man, never earned eternal life, and therefore, will die, second death, and cease to exist, and be burnt up in the Lake of Fire.

    #777280
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    Thanks for your reply and words of wisdom.
    I would further like to add that Adam and Eve were barred from the Tree of Life by Cherubim with flaming sword. The reason was that if man ate of that tree (after they sinned), they would live forever as sinners. Obviousness God spared mankind that fate and obviously, man does not have eternal existence by default.
    (Genesis 3:21-24)

    #777281
     G. Michael Mayhew 
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    Just a followup to what I wrote just a bit ago…

    1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
    1Co 15:54 But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
    (I believe the “Death” referred to in the previous line MUST be the Second Death).

    You see, we are mortal, until we choose life, which equals immortality. The Book of Life, that we all want our names in, tells us that those who do not get their names in it, get the Second Death.

    When we are born, we are mortal. When we are born again, we have chosen immortality, getting our names in the Book of Life.

    Deut 30:19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed;

    God commands us right here, in His Law, to “CHOOSE LIFE”! Make good choices, and that one is to choose life.

    I pray that people that read this post, and this teaching, have and “ear to hear” what the scriptures are truly trying to tell us.

    #777282
     Admin 
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    I also pray in Yeshua’s name that people reading this comment will hear your words.

    #777283
     G. Michael Mayhew 
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    t8 says:
    February 20, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Thanks for your reply and words of wisdom.
    I would further like to add that Adam and Eve were barred from the Tree of Life by Cherubim with flaming sword. The reason was that if man ate of that tree (after they sinned), they would live forever as sinners. Obviousness God spared mankind that fate and obviously, man does not have eternal existence by default.
    (Genesis 3:21-24)

    I wish to add to t8’s comment…

    What was missed here was that if man had eaten of the Tree of Life, and sinned, he would have had eternal life, and God would NOT be able to destroy their soul in the Lake of Fire!

    That is why now the Tree of Life is in heaven. When those who have accepted what Jesus did for us on the cross, we have earned the right to eat of that Tree. Those that do not accept Jesus, do NOT have access to the Tree of Life, and cannot eat from it.

    What this means is that IF man had been allowed to eat of the Tree of Life in their sinful nature, God COULD NOT destroy their souls in the Lake of Fire. The Lake of Fire was created to punish Satan and the angels that rebelled against God Almighty. Satan and the angels were created as eternal beings. They will be punished for all eternity in the Lake of Fire. We all have heard it taught that God never intends for “us” to go there, but it was prepared for Satan. So, remember, IF we were made as eternal beings, we would be punished eternally too!

    God, in His mercy, did not desire for any man to be punished eternally, and did not allow man to become immortal until we accepted eternal life by accepting what His Son did for us on the cross of Calvary.

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