Why Doesn’t God Punish Evil Instantly?

O. Elishiba asks:

“Why doesn’t God give instant punishment for committing a sin? One man made my family cry a lot, he deceived me and almost killed them with emotional pain. Don’t you think that same day his car should have crashed or he should have perished. Today after many years he is extreme evil, wealthy, cruel, prosperous, has happy family, while we are still in pain.”

My answer…

The bible teaches that God is long-suffering and it is not his will that any should perish. Think about it, as bad as this person is would you want them to end up in hell for eternity? Also think about how you were when you were lost – had God given you justice at that point in your life you would have perished on the spot. The bible instructs you to forgive and pray for that person’s salvation. If you have a problem with that ask God to give you supernatural grace. Point is God is patient, forbearing and long-suffering with sinners…

Most Comforting LIE: The Denial of an Eternal Hell

Hellfire

“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: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 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: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.Matthew 9:43-48

Look at how many time Jesus Christ reiterates this point! Hell is a place of eternal suffering that will not be quenched! Remember how the bible repeats things three times for emphasis?

Here Jesus repeats it 5 times! But what sayeth the Chapel?

“We know man can kill our earthly bodies, but only our Father in heaven has the power to wipe out the existence of the soul… God’s emotions are so much greater than you can even imagine, and to roast one of his own children day and night would be something only Satan would conceive of.” – SOURCE: Shepherd’s Chapel, Newsletter #151

Because of teachings like this many are hell right now awaiting the lake of fire judgment.

In November of 2004, the Holy Spirit began to intensely convict me. I had just gotten a CD called “Consuming Fire” from the Chapel. In it for the first time I learned about their ideas about hell which aren’t biblical at all…

Now, I had accepted just about everything Murray had taught to this point but I had never encountered his position on annihilationism. I always assumed that it was as Jesus said it would be… eternal suffering. I didn’t know he taught this, I was shocked and couldn’t accept it because I knew in the core of my being it was wrong.

Annihilationism is the doctrine that there is no literal eternal conscious hell. God simply casts lost humanity into the lake of fire and they are burnt up and cease to exist, like “fat dripping into the fire and going up in a puff of smoke” as Murray would say.

As I listened to this message I began to realize that Murray was very wrong and this would begin an intense period of torment in my life where I would come to question everything the Chapel taught. In March of 2005, the dam broke and I rejected him and his teaching fully and profoundly as I have detailed here on the blog.

Does the bible teach that souls cease to exist once they are cast into the lake of fire or does it teach eternal conscious torment? It matters! Eternity is FOREVER!

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

It’s pretty clear, don’t you think?

And frankly, if you subtract this reality from your gospel presentation then really nothing is at stake anyway… you didn’t ask to exist, live like you want and when you die, it’s over. So what if you’re a wicked unbeliever, there’s no real impetus on you to believe… for many unbelievers this is simply what they expected after death anyway.

If you are a devout follower of false religion you are in danger of perdition, know this: HELL LASTS FOR ETERNITY AND YOU WILL BE CONSCIOUS OF IT – AND YOU WILL NOT LIKE IT!

JESUS CAME AND SHED HIS BLOOD TO SAVE YOU FROM THE WRATH TO COME DUE TO YOU BECAUSE OF YOUR SIN! Chapel students seem to think they are above needing God’s grace in this life because of their performance against Satan in the first earth age… BLASPHEMY!!!

It’s shouldn’t be hard to see that false teachings like this will lead a person straight to hell. And there are many false teacher awaiting judgment in Sheol today for these things. Let that thought sober you up a little!

Annihilationism, Just One More Doctrine of Demons

4836578407_hell_thrown_in_1__answer_2_xlarge

Here’s another excellent article by Colby Braden at reformedthinker.blogspot.com exposing the Chapel’s false teachings on annihilationism…

Refuting Shepherd’s Chapel – Hell (Matthew 10:28)

Shepherd’s Chapel denies eternal punishment in hell (Matthew 25:46). This view is commonly called annihilationism and is very popular in heretical groups (Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah Witness, etc.). Although it is a deep topic and needs much to be said, in this post I want to address just some of the errors that Shepherd’s Chapel teaches.

If one discusses the subject of hell with a student of Shepherd’s Chapel probably the first verse that they will quote to defend annihilationism is Matthew 10:28.

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matt. 10:28, KJV)

 Arnold Murray along with his followers will latch on to the word “destroy” in this verse and claim that it means blotted out or annihilation. Thus, to them, this verse teaches annihilationism straight from Jesus’ mouth. The word destroy used in this verse is the Greek work apollymi (#G622). A few words must be said about this word. First, as used in Scripture the words “destroy,” “destruction,” “perish” etc. never signify cessation of existence. Second, you can go back in this same chapter in verse 6 and see how this word is used:

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matt. 10:6, KJV)

 The word “lost” used in this verse is the exact same Greek word apollymi that is used in verse 28 for “destroy”. As you can tell the word does not mean blotted out or annihilated. These sheep (Israelites) that Christ is talking about were not obliterated or blotted out, they were rather lost or separated from the true Shepherd (Christ). This is similar to those “destroyed” in hell, they are separated from Christ for all eternity (Rev. 22:15). This refutes Shepherd’s Chapel’s claim that the meaning of apollymi in Matthew 10:28teaches annihilation. The Greek word apollymi is also used in the following verses (the bolded word is the Greek word apollymi):

 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. (Matthew 18:11, KJV)

What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which islost, until he find it? (Luke 15:4, KJV)

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.(Luke 15:24, KJV)

As can be seen the Greek word apollymi does not mean total annihilation, blotted out, or cessation of existence. Arnold Murray, as he has done many times, misuses the Greek or shows lack of understanding of how the Greek language works.

So, briefly, what does the Bible teach on hell? Well here is one thing that Christ said about it:

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matt. 25:46, KJV)

This punishment of hell Christ describes as everlasting. I have heard Shepherd’s Chapel students claim that since annihilation is everlasting then it is everlasting punishment. This is not possible in the Greek syntax. the word for everlasting is aionios in the Greek and it modifies the nature of the punishment, not the results of the punishment. In this verse aionios modifies kalasis “punishment”, which is an action noun. Greek nouns that end with –sis will focus on the action of the noun and not it’s results. You can compare 2 Thess. 2:16 to see a parallel. In that verse aionios modifies paraklesis “comfort”, another –sis ending action noun. So this verse proves that Christ taught an everlasting hell of punishment. Also we have this:

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. (Rev. 14:11, KJV)

This again is another favorite verse for Shepherd’s Chapel. When you use this verse to prove the Biblical view of everlasting hell then they will jump on you and say “look it says the smoke of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever. Only the smoke.”. Ha! Gotcha right? Well no.

First, what is the smoke? It is of their “torment”. It doesn’t say it was the smoke of their annihilation, but the smoke of their torment. If the smoke ascends forever and ever, and the cause of the smoke is the torment, then it stands to reason that the torment lasts forever and ever. Second, if you continue to read this verse it states clearly thatthey have no rest day nor night. It does not say they were annihilated and the smoke rose for eternity. This verse clearly teaches that they are tormented for eternity and have no rest day or night.

This verse is very similar to 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. (Rev. 20:10, KJV)

After judgment is passed down to Satan and his minions they are all thrown into the lake of fire and tormented day and night forever and ever. If this verse teaches anything, it at least teaches that Satan is tormented in hell for eternity. If you continue reading Revelation chapter 20 then you will see that all those in hell are cast into this exact same lake of fire (Rev. 20:14, also Matt 25:41). Again since they are cast into the same lake of fire the Devil is then the same punishment is dealt out. Also if you continue reading Revelation and in the last chapter (after all this has taken place) you see that the unsaved were not annihilated in Revelation chapter 20 but cast outside the Great City:

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Rev. 22:14-15, ESV)

I have heard the students of Shepherd’s Chapel claim that “forever and ever” does not mean eternity but simply a period of time. This is absolutely impossible in the Greek. The Greek phrase is eis tous aionas ton aionon and is often translated as forever, forevermore, and forever and ever. It is also used of the attributes of God which we know are unchangeable and are eternal. Please compare how this Greek phrase is used in the following verses of Scripture especially the ones in Revelation: Gal. 1:5Phil. 4:201 Tim. 1:172 Tim. 4:18Heb. 13:211 Pet. 4:11Rev. 1:6Rev. 1:18Rev. 4:9Rev. 4:10Rev. 5:13Rev. 7:12Rev. 10:6Rev. 11:15Rev. 15:7Rev. 22:5

If you do your research and actually read those verses you will see that eis tous aionas ton aionon does not mean a temporary amount of time, but is basically the Greek way of saying eternity.

One last note, even Daniel in the Old Testament saw that evil people are not annihilated at end of this age:

 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2, KJV)

Notice this verse says that in the end at the resurrection and judgement (Revelation 20) the saved receive everlasting life and the damned everlasting contempt (not annihilation).

So in conclusion we have shown that Shepherd’s Chapel view of hell cannot be supported exegetically nor systematically from Holy Scripture.

Soli Deo Gloria!