Time or Eternity? ™

The Fate of the Wicked

In Judgement on May 16, 2012 at 8:00 am

What shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”(1 Peter 4: 17) The Creator has done everything which a merciful God could do to redeem this earth and save man from the awful penalty for sin. Heaven’s most valued treasure was given when the Son of God was offered as a sacrifice for sinners.  And as every overture of mercy has been rejected by the majority of the human race, the heart of God has been filled with sorrow, and He exclaims, “As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezek. 33:11) God Himself can save the sinner only through the pathway of repentance, forgiveness, and a new life. Obedience is a necessary requirement of salvation.

God and holy angels know the terrible consequences of sin, and all heaven would rejoice if man would accept the overtures of mercy and roll back the tide of wickedness which is sealing the final doom of the impenitent.  At the cross of Calvary, as the cruel nails were being driven through the hands of our Saviour, causing the most exquisite agony, He was able to appreciate the terrible retribution of suffering that would finally be meted out to His tormentors. But this thought added only sorrow to His sufferings. His heart of love was filled with pity, and He pleads, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23 : 34)The thoughts of God are toward us for good. “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected [desired] end.” (Jer. 29:11)  All heaven is most intensely interested in the salvation of man. If we had only a fraction of the interest in our own future welfare that is manifested for us by heaven, every effort of our being would be engaged in the work of overcoming.

The whole human race is under condemnation, for Paul says, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23) He also says, “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6 : 23)  So, because of sin, the whole race is condemned to death. Paul further states that “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom. 5:12) Therefore, to rescue man from the penalty of death, a way was provided by which the penitent might escape. But those who do not accept the overtures of mercy remain under the sentence of death, which sentence will be carried out at the great day of the executive judgment of God.  Of this event Paul writes, “Who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life:  “But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil; . . . “But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good.” (Rom. 2:6-10)

There is a great diversity of opinion as to the nature and duration of the punishment to be inflicted upon the wicked, and when and how it is to be administered. Setting aside our previous opinions, let us turn to the word of God as the only true foundation upon which to build the superstructure of our belief.  Of the final punishment of the wicked we read, “Behold, all souls [people] are mine; . . . the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezek. 18:4)  James says, “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:15)  The death mentioned in the foregoing texts does not refer to the natural death which is the inevitable lot of all the sons and daughters of Adam; if it did, the righteous and the wicked will be punished alike. The text refers to the second death, which is sent as the final punishment of the wicked. It is the death described by John when he says that “fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” (Rev. 20:9) This occurs after the second resurrection, at the end of the “thousand years.”

The theory of natural immortality is responsible for the popular belief that the souls of the righteous go at death to their exceeding great reward. The same theory, in order to be consistent with itself, is practically forced to advocate an ever-burning hell into which the wicked are cast at death, there to be tormented through all eternity. But thanks be to God, the good old Bible is not responsible for the monstrous doctrine of eternal torment.  The widely different rewards of the two classes are plainly stated in God’s word. To the righteous, The gift of God is eternal life.” (Rom. 6:23) To the wicked, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezek. 18: 20)

The Wicked Shall Die.

To die.—” To cease to live; to expire; to decease; to perish.”Webster. Of the one who dies in wickedness, we read, “For his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.” (Eze. 18:26) Of the final sentence passed upon the wicked, the Lord says, “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die.” (Eze. 33:14) Solomon says, “He that hateth reproof shall die.” (Prov. 15:10) Of the fruits of sin Paul writes, “For the end of those things is death.” (Rom. 6:21)  Of the end of the finally worldly and unconsecrated Paul says, “For to be carnally minded is death.” (Rom. 8 : 6) Of the final results of sin James tells us that “sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:15)

The Wicked Shall be Destroyed.

To Destroy.—“To demolish; to pull down; to bring to naught; to annihilate.”—Webster. The word destroy is used many times in the Bible to describe the punishment of the wicked. “The Lord preserveth all them that love Him: but all the wicked will He destroy.” (Ps. 145: 20)  The Lord, speaking through David of the final end of the wicked, said, “I will early destroy all the wicked of the land.” “The transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.” “All the workers of iniquity . . . shall be destroyed forever.” (Ps. 101 : 8; 37 : 38; 92 : 7)  Solomon says, “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed.” And again,” Destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.” (Prov. 13 : 13 ; 10 : 29)  Of those in the church who do not walk orderly, Paul says, “Whose end is destruction.” (Phil. 3:19)  We read that the desire for riches which leads to hurtful lusts will “drown men in destruction and perdition.” (1 Tim. 6 :9)  Of those who obey not the gospel, Paul writes, “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” (2 Thess. 1 :9)

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