After taking considerable time gathering information from the Scriptures, I must question the doctrine of eternal torment-ism. I hope this information will help you as you continue in your Bible studies. Quotes are taken from J.W. Hanson's, "Bible Threatenings Explained."
I think you'll find some truth in his writings just as J.S. Russell's"The Parousia". I hope, as a Berean, you'll keep an open mind and search the scripture to see whether these things are true.
Does the Bible teach the idea commonly held among Christians concerning hell? Does the hell of the Bible denote a place of torment, or a condition of suffering without end, to begin at death? What is the hell of the Bible? Manifestly, the only way to arrive at the correct answer is to trace the words translated hell from the beginning to the end of the Bible, and by their connections ascertain exactly what the divine Word teaches on this important subject.
Used 64 times in the OT/11 times in the NT. It does not teach a place of the consious souls. The greek Septuagint, which our Lord used when he read or quoted from the Old Testament, gives Hades as the exact equivalent of the Hebrew Sheol, and when the Savior, or his apostles, used the word, they must have meant the same as is meant in the Old Testament. Thus the New Testament usage agrees exactly with the Old Testament. Primarily, literally, Hades is death, the grave, and figuratively, it is destruction. The word cannot be translated by the term "hell".
Some use the example of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:19-31 to prove hell is a place of conscious torment.
I believe this passage is the 5th in a series of parables:
1. The lost sheep - Luke 15:3-7;
2. The lost coin - Luke 15:8-10;
3. The lost boy - 15:11-32;
4. The unjust rich man - Luke >16:1-15;
5. The rich man and Lazarus - Luke 16:19-31.
If you are convinced this is not a parable, I have some questions for you.
1. Is it possible for people to have conversation between heaven and hell?
2. Can those in heaven look down and see people burning in hell?
3. Can they hear the screams?
4. Would a finger dipped in water lesson the torment?
5. How large is Abraham's large bosom if it contains all the elect who go there?
One may ask, "What does this parable teach?
Hanson wrote, │That the Jewish nation, (especially the Scribes and Pharisees) were about to die as a power, as a church, as a controlling influence in the world; while the common people among them, and the Gentiles, were to be exalted in the new order of things. The details of the parable shows: "There was a certain rich man clothed in purple and fine linen." In these first words, by describing their very costume, the Savior fixed attention on the Jewish priesthood. They were, emphatically, the rich men of that nation. His description of the beggar was equally graphic. He lay at the gate of the rich, only asking to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the table. Thus dependent were the common people, and the Gentiles, on the scribes and Pharisees. We remember how Christ once rebuked them for shutting up the kingdom of heaven against those entering. They lay at the gates of the Jewish heirarchy, for the Gentiles were literally restricted to the outer court of the temple. Hence in Rev. xi:12, we read; "But the court, which is without the temple, leave out, and measure it not, for it is given unto the Gentiles." They could only stand at the outer court, or lie at the gate. The brief, graphic descriptions given by our Savior, at once showed his hearers that he was describing those two classes, the Jewish priesthood and nation, on the one hand, and the common people, Jews and Gentiles, on the other."
"The rich man died and was buried. This class died officially, nationally, and its power departed. The kingdom of God was taken from them, and conferred on others. The beggar died. The Gentiles, publicans and sinners, were translated into the kingdom of God's dear son, where is neither Jew nor Greek, but where all are one in Christ Jesus.
"This is the meaning of "Abraham's bosom." They accepted the true faith and so became one with faithful Abraham. Abraham is called the father of the faithful, and the beggar is represented to have gone to Abraham's bosom, to denote the fact, which is now history, that the common people and Gentiles accepted Christianity and have since continued Christian nations, enjoying the blessings of the Christian faith."
"What is meant by the torment of the rich man? The misery of those proud men, when, soon after, their land was captured, and their city and temple possessed by barbarians, and they scattered like chaff before the wind--a condition in which they have continued from that day to this. All efforts to bless them with Christianity have proved unavailing. At this very moment there is a great gulf fixed so that there is no passing to and fro. And observe, the Jews do not desire the gospel. Nor did the rich man ask to enter Abraham's bosom with Lazarus. He only wished Lazarus to alleviate his sufferings by dipping his finger in water and cooling his tongue. It is so with the Jews today. They do not desire the gospel; they only ask those among whom they sojourn to tolerate them and soften the hardships that accompany their wanderings.
The Jewich church and nation are now dead. Once they were exalted to heaven, but now they are thrust down to Hadees, the kingdom of death, and the gulf that yawns between them and the Gentiles shall not be abolished till the fullness of the Genitles shall come in, and 'then Israel shall be saved.'"
Jesus knew the Pharisees believed this and used it in a parable. Of the Pharisees, Josephus says: "They also believe that souls have an immortal vigor in them, and that, under the earth, there will be rewards and punishments, according as they lived virtuously or viciously in this life; and the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but that the former shall have power to revive and live again." (Antiquities, B. 18,Ch. 1, ▀3. Whiston's Tr.)
2) Gehenna = Greek/Hinnom = Hebrew
Hanson wrote, "Gehenna was a well-known valley, near Jerusalem, in which the Jews in their idolatrous days had sacrificed their children to the idol Moloch, in consequence of which it was condemned to receive the offal and refuse and sewage of the city, and into which the bodies of malefactors were cast and where to destroy the odor and pestilential influences, continual fires were kept burning. Here fire, smoke, worms bred by the corruption, and other repulsive features, rendered the place a horrible one, in the eyes of the Jews. It was locality with which they were as well acquainted as they were with any place in or around the city. But in process of time Gehenna came to be an emblem of the consequences of sin, and to be employed figuratively by the Jews, to denote those consequences. But always in this world. The Jews never used it to mean torment after death, until long after Christ. That the word had not the meaning of post-mortem torment when our Savior used it."
Also note, not one single time in the entire Old Testament was this word "Ge-hinnom" translated "hell."
Lev. 18:21; 20:2; Joshua 15:8; 18:16; 2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chron. 28:3; 33:6; Neh. 11:30; Jer. 7:30-33; 19:2, 6; 32:35; Matt. 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43-47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6.
Every Bible reference using the word "hell" is addressed to this world. It was also employed in the time of Christ as a symbol of moral corruption and wickedness; but more especially as a figure of the terrible judgments of God on the rebellious and sinful nation of the Jews. It was a place fit only for waste.
Should a Jew, God's chosen people ever be given a burial in "Gehenna," it would be the most humiliating thing that could ever happen to him. It would be like saying to a Pharisee, that his life, his religious works, his devotion to God were completely worthless, fit only for the dump.
Read the prophecy concerning the apostate Israel in Jeremiah 7:30-34:
7:30 For the sons of Judah Have done the evil thing in Mine eyes, An affirmation of Jehovah, They have set their abominations in the house On which My name is called -- to defile it,
7:31 And have built the high places of Tophet, That [are] in the valley of the son of Hinnom, To burn their sons and their daughters with fire, Which I did not command, Nor did it come up on My heart.
7:32 Therefore, lo, DAYS ARE COMIMG, An affirmation of Jehovah, And it is not said any more,`The Tophet,' And `Valley of the son of HINNON (Greek = Gehenna),' But `Valley of the slaughter,' And they have buried in Tophet -- without place.
7:33 And the carcase of this people hath been for food To a fowl of the heavens, and to a >beast of the earth, And there is none troubling. (See Matt. 24:28).
7:34 And I have caused to cease from cities of Judah, And from streets of Jerusalem, The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, Voice of bridegroom, and voice of bride, For >the land doth become a desolation! (See Rev. 18:23)
This passage undoubtedly refers to the literal destruction that would befell the Jewish nation in 70 A.D., when many Jews experienced literally the condemnation of Gehenna, by perishing miserably by fire and sword.
Hanson wrote, "Every Bible reference is to this world. Only Jesus and James ever named it. Neither Paul, John, Peter nor Jude ever employed it. Would they not have warned sinners concerning it, if there were a Gehenna of torment after death?" Neither Christ nor His apostles ever named it to Gentiles, but only to Jews, which proves it a locality only known to Jews, whereas, if it were a place of punishment after death for sinners, it would have preached to Gentiles as well as to Jews.
"The Book of Acts contains the record of the apostolic preaching, and the history of the first planting of the church among the Jews and Gentiles, and embraces a period of thirty years from the ascension of Christ. In all this history, in all this preaching of the disciples and apostles of Jesus, there is no mention of Gehenna. In thirty years of missionary effort, these men of God, addressing people of all characters and nations, never, under any circumstances, threaten them with the torments of Gehenna, or allude to it in the most distant manner! In the face of such a fact as this, can any man believe that Gehenna signifies endless punishment; and that this is a part of divine revelation, a part of the gospel message to the world?"
"Now if endless punishment awaits millions of the human race, and if it is denoted by this word, is it possible that only David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Malachi use the word to define punishment, in all less than a dozen times, while Job, Moses, Joshua, Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Solomon, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Hahum, Habbakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai and Zachariah never employed it thus? Such silence is criminal, on the popular hypothesis. These holy men should and would have made every sentence bristle with the word, and thus have borne the awful message to the soul with an emphasis that could neither be resisted or disputed. The fact that the word is so seldom, and by so few applied to punishment, and never in the Old Testament to punishment beyond death, demonstrates that it cannot mean endless."
"The Apocrypha, B.C.150-500, Philo Judaeus, A.D.40, and Josephus, A.D.70-100, all refer to future punishment, but none of them use Gehenna to describe it, which they would have done, being Jews, had the word been then in use with that meaning. Were it the name of a place of future torment then, can any one doubt that it would be found repeatedly in their writings? And does not the fact that it is never found in their writings demonstrate that it had no such use then, and if so, does it not follow that Christ used it in no such sense?"
A.D. 140-166. The first Christian writer who calls Hell Gehenna is Justin Martyr.
A.D. 200-220. Tertullian. This father was originally a Pagan; by birth, an African, and a lawyer by profession. He seems to have believed in the strictly endless punishment of the wicked, and to have argued against the doctrine of their annihilation, or, to use his own words, against the doctrine that "the wicked would be consumed, and not punished," that is, endlessly.
He is the first, as far as can be ascertained, who expressly affirmed, and argued the question, that the torments of the damned would be equal in duration to the happiness of the blessed.
What I find it very interesting is that Jesus and James only mentioned it. Doesn't it seem absurd that Jesus and James speaking of "hell" to the believers in Matt. 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; 9:42-47; 12:5 and James 3:6? Does they mean it literally? Seem to me when they speak of "hell", it is just a figurative. It means a greater judgment while on earth, both the elect and the non-elect.
3) Brimstone and fire:
Gen. 19:24; Deut. 29:23; Job 18:15; Psalm 11:6; Isa. 30:33; 34:9; Ezek. 38:22; Luke 17:29; Rev. 14:10; 19:20; 20:10; 21:8
These verses always speak on earth, not in "hell".
Lev. 6:12-13; 2 King 22:17; 2 Chron. 34:25; Isa. 34:10; 42:3; 43:3; 66:24; Jer 4:4; 7:20; 17:27; 21:12; Exek. 20:47; Matt. 12:20; Mark 9:43-48
Hanson wrote, "Many suppose that the words "unquenchable fire" mean a fire of endless duration, whereas, it is a fire that cannot be quenched until its purpose is accomplished. The meaning is, not that the fire was endless, but that it was not quenched,--it continued to burn--until all the material was destroyed. So the judgments of God on the Jews were effectually done -- the nation was completely devastated and destroyed. They were like chaff of the summer threshing floor in the consuming fire of God's judgment."
Josephus says, [Jewish War, B. ii, ch. xvii:6.] speaking of a fire that used to burn in the temple--though at the time he wrote [A.D.80] it had gone out, and the temple was destroyed--"Every one was accustomed to bring wood for the altar, that fuel might never be needed for the fire, for it continued always unquenchable."
Strabo, (A.D. 70) described the "unquenchable lamp" that used to burn in the Parthenon, though it has long since ceased to burn. [Lib. ix: p. 606.]
Plutarch, (A.D. 110) in Numa, [p. 262] speaks of places in Delphi and Athens, "where there is a fire unquenchable," (asbeston) though in the same breath he describes it as having ceased to burn.
Eusebius, [A.D 325, Eccl. Hist. Lib. vi, chap. 41] in his account of the martyrdom of Cronon and Julian, at Alexandria, says they were "consumed in unquenchable fire, asbesto puri," though it burned only long enough to destroy their bodies.
I believe that in Isa. 65 & 66 referring to 70 A.D. but I want look into Isa. 66:22-24:
66:22 For, as the NEW HEAVENS and the NEW EARTH that I am making, Are standing before Me, An affirmation of Jehovah! So remain doth your seed and your name.
66:23 And it hath been from month to month, And from sabbath to sabbath, Come do all flesh to bow themselves before Me, Said Jehovah.
66:24 And they have gone forth, And LOOKED ON THE CARCASES OF THE MEN Who are transgressing against me, For THEIR WORM DIETH NOT, AND THEIR FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED, And they have been an abhorrence to all flesh!
Where do they looked on, on earth or in "hell"? Very clear it occurred in 70 AD.
5) Furnace (of fire or smoke):
Gen. 19:28; Ex. 19:18; Psalm 21:9; Mal. 4:1; Matt. 13:42, 50; Rev. 9:2
How about this passage in Malachi?
4:1 For, lo, the day hath come, BURNING AS A FURNACE (See Matt, 13:42), And all the proud, and every wicked doer, have been stubble, And burnt them hath the day that came, Said Jehovah of Hosts, That there is not left to them root or branch (See Jude 12-13),
4:2 And risen to you, ye who fear My name, Hath the sun of righteousness -- and healing in its wings, And ye have gone forth, and have increased as calves of a stall.
4:3 And ye have trodden down the wicked, For they are ashes under the soles of your feet, In the day that I am appointing, Said Jehovah of Hosts.
4:4 Remember ye the law of Moses My servant, That I did command him in Horeb, For all Israel -- statutes and judgments (Old Covenant).
4:5 Lo, I am sending to you Elijah the prophet (John the Baptist), Before the coming of the day of Jehovah (parousia of Christ), The great and the fearful.
4:6 And he hath turned back the heart of fathers to sons, And the heart of sons to their fathers, Before I come and have utterly smitten the LAND (destruction of Jerusalem)!
Clearly, this occurred in the first century when Jerusalem was destroyed. It is no where said that God has a furnace in eternity, in which to burn souls.
6) Weeping and gnashing of teeth:
Matt. 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28
It is always speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem when their kingdom was cast out, not in "hell".
7) Aion = Greek/Oham = Hebrew (most Bibles put "forever" or "everlasting"):
First we need to check the background of these words:
Before the Hebrew Old Testament was translated into Greek (200-300 B.C., according to Prideaux, or during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, 384-347 B. C., say other authorities) this word [aionion] was in common use by the Greeks. Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Pindar, Sophocles, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Empedocles, Euripedes, Philoctetes, and Plato, all use the word, but never once does one of them give it the sense of eternity.
Aristotle: "The entire heaven is one and eternal (aidios) having neither beginning nor end of an entire aion." And still more to the purpose is this quotation concerning God's existence: "Life and 'an aion continuous and eternal, zoe kai aion sunekes kai aidios.'" Here the word aidios, (eternal) is employed to qualify aion and impart to it what it had not of itself, the sense of eternal. Aristotle could be guilty of no such language as "an eternal eternity." Had the word aion contained the idea of eternity in his time, or in his mind, he would not have added aidios.
Josephus and Philo, Jewish Greeks, who wrote between the Old and New Testaments, use the word [aionion] with the meaning of temporal duration, always.
Alluding to the Pharisees, Josephus says: "They believe that the wicked are detained in an everlasting prison (eirgmon aidion) subject to eternal punishment" (aidios timoria) and the Essenes (another, Jewish sect) "Allotted to bad souls a dark, tempestuous place, full of never-ceasing punishment (timoria adialeipton) where they suffer a deathless punishment, (athanaton timorian)."
Philo, who was contemporary with Christ, generally used aidion to denote endless, and always used aionion to describe temporary duration. Dr. Mangey, in his edition of Philo says he never used aionion for interminable duration. He uses the exact phraseology of Matthew, xxv:46, precisely as Christ used it. "It is better not to promise than not to give prompt assistance, for no blame follows in the former case, but in the latter there is dissatisfaction from the weaker class, and a deep hatred and everlasting punishment (kolasis aionios) from such as are more powerful."
Here we have the exact terms employed by our word, to show that aionion did not mean endless but did mean limited duration in the time of Christ.
You may point to Jude 6. "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
Hanson wrote, "The word here rendered everlasting is not aionios, indefinite duration, but aidios, whose intrinsic meaning is endless. It is found in one other place in the New Testament, Rom. i:20, "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead."
Now it must be admitted that this word among the Greeks had the sense of eternal, and should be understood as having that meaning wherever found, unless by express limitation it is shorn of its proper meaning. It is further admitted that had aidios occurred where aionios does, there would be no excape from the conclusion that the New Testament teaches Endless Punishment. It is further admitted that the word is here used in the exact sense of aionios, as is seen in the succeeding verse: "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of aionian fire." That is to say, the "aidios chains" in verse 6 are "even as" durable as the "aionion fire" in verse 7. Which word modifies the other?
1) The construction of the language shows that the latter word limits the former. The aidios chains are even as the aionion fire. As if one should say "I have been infinitely troubled, I have been vexed for an hour," or "He is an endless talker, he can talk five yours on a stretch." Now while "infinitely" and "endless" usually convey the sense of unlimited, they are here limited by what follows, as aidios, eternal, is limited by aionios, indefinitely long.
2) That this is the correct exegisis is evident from still another limitation of the word. "The angels...he hath reserved in everlasting chains unto the judgment of the great day." Had Jude said that the angels are held in aidios chains, and stopped there, not limiting the word, it might be claimed that he taught their eternal imprisonment. But when he limits the duration by aionios and them expressly states that it is only unto a certain date, it follows that the imprisonment will teminate, even though we find applied to it a word that intrinsically signifies eternal duration, and that was used by the Greeks to convey the idea of eternity, and was attached to punishment by the Greek Jews of our Savior's times, to describe endless punishment, in which they were believers.
But observe, while this word aidios was in universal use among the Greek Jews of our Savior's day, to convey the idea of eternal duration, and was used by them to teach endless punishment, Jesus never allowed himself to use it in connection with punishment, nor did any of his disciples but one, and he but once, and then carefully and expressly limited its meaning. Can demonstration go further than this to show that Jesus carefully avoided the phraseology by which his contemporaries described the doctrine of endless punishment?"
And as for the attributes of God it is quite simple. God is before the ages, he created the ages, he himself wasn't created, he's the King of the Ages, he spoke the ages into being, he has no beginning, he has no end, he is the self-existent one, etc. Therefore "olam" and "aionion" when applied to God (and His kingdom) denote "infinity" or "eternality" because of the object in view.
There are too many scriptures to mention them all using the term "forever" or "everlasting." There are just a few as examples:
"We see the word everlasting applied to God's covenant with the Jews; to the priesthood of Aaron; to the statutes of Moses; to the time the Jews were to possess the land of Canaan; to the mountains and hills; and to the doors of the Jewish temple. We see the word forever applied to the duration of a man's earthly existence; to the time a child was to abide in the temple; to the continuance of Gehazi's leprosy; to the duration of the life of David; to the duration of a king's life; to the duration of the earth; to the time the Jews were to possess the land of Canaan; to the time they were to dwell in Jerusalem; to the time a servant was to abide with his master; to the time Jerusalem was to remain a city; to the duration of the Jewish temple; to the laws and ordinances of Moses; to the time David was to be king over Israel; to the throne of Solomon; to the stones that were set up at Jordan; to the time the righteous were to inhabit the earth; and to the time Jonah was in the fish's belly. We find the phrase forever and ever applied to the hosts of heaven, or the sun, moon, and stars; to a writing contained in a book; to the smoke that went up from the burning land of Idumea; and to the time the Jews were to dwell in Judea. We find the word never applied to the time the fire was to burn on the Jewish altar; to the time the sword was to remain in the house of David; to God's covenant with the Jews; to the time the Jews should not experience shame; to the time the house of David was to reign over Israel; to the time the Jews were not to open their mouths because of their shame; to the time those who fell by death should remain in their fallen state; and to the time judgment was not executed.
But the law covenant is abolished; the priesthood of Aaron and his sons has ceased; the ordinances, and laws, and statutes of Moses are abrogated; the Jews have long since been dispossessed of the land of Canaan, have been driven from Judea, and God has brought upon them a reproach and a shame; the man to the duration of whose life the word forever was applied is dead; David is dead, and has ceased to reign over Israel; the throne of Solomon no longer exists; the Jewish temple is demolished, and Jerusalem has been overthrown, so that there is not left "one stone upon another;" the servants of the Jews have been freed from their masters; Gehazi is dead, and no one believes he carried his leprosy with him into the future world; the stones that were set up at Jordan have been removed, and the smoke that went up from the burning land of Idumea has ceased to ascend; the righteous do not inherit the earth endlessly, and no one believes that the mountains and hills, as such, are indestructible; the fire that burnt on the Jewish altar has long since ceased to burn; judgment has been executed; and no Christian believes that those who fall by death will never be awakened from their slumbers. Now, as these words are used in this limited sense in the Scriptures, why should it be supposed that they express endless duration when applied to punishment?" (Thomas B. Thayer - The Origin and History of the Doctrine of Endless Punishment). See Everlasting. - Gen. 17:7, 8, 13; 48:4; 49:26; Exod. 40:15; LeV 16:34; Numb. 25:13; Ps. 24:7; Hab. 3:6. Forever. - Deut. 15:17; 1 Sam. 1:22; 27:12; LeV 25:46; 2 Kings 5:27; Job 41:4; 1 Kings 1:31; Neh. 2:3; Dan. 2:4; Exod. 14:13; Eccl 1:4; Ps. 104:5; 78:69; Ezek. 37:25; Gen. 13:15; Exod. 32:13; Josh. 14:9; 1 Chron. 23:25; Jer. 17:25; Ps. 48:8; Jer. 31:40; 1 Kings 8:13; Numb. 10:8;18:23; 1 Chron. 28:4; 1 Kings 9:5; Josh. 4:7; Jonah 2:6; Ps. 37:29. Forever and ever. - Ps. 148:5, 6; Isa. 30:8; 34:10; Jer. 7:7; 25:5. Never. - LeV 6:13; 2 Sam. 12:10; Judges 2:1; Joel 2:26, 27; Jer. 33:17; Ezek. 16:63; Amos 8:14; Hab. 1:4.
Hanson wrote, "All these and numerous other eternal, everlasting things -- things that were to last forever, and to which the various aionion words are applied--have now ended, and if these hundreds of instances must denote limited duration why should the few times in which punishments are spoken of have any other meaning? Even if endless duration were the intrinsic meaning of the word, all intelligent readers of the Bible would perceive that the word must be employed to denote limited duration in the passages above cited. And surely in the very few times in which it is connected with punishment it must have a similar meaning."
These following words and passages are appliled to the kind of life we have:
Heb. 7:15-16, "And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchizedek there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless (akatalutos, imperishable) life."
1 Pet. 1:3-4, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, (aphtharton) and undefiled, and that fadeth not (amaranton) away."
1 Pet. 5:4, "and when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not(amarantinos) away."
1 Tim. 1:17, "Now unto the King eternal, immortal (aphtharto), invisible, the only wise God be honor and glory forever and ever, Amen."
Rom. 1:23, 'And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man."
Rom. 2:7, "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality (aptharsain)eternal life."
1 Cor. 9:25, "Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible."
1 Cor. 15:42, "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption (aphtharsian)." See also verse 50.
1 Cor. 15:51-54, "Behold I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at thelast trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, (aphthartoi) and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, (aphtharsian) and this mortal must put on immortality (athanasian) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, (aphtharsian) and this mortal shall have put on immortality, (athanasian) then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
2 Tim. 1:10, "Hath brought life and immortality (aphtharisan) to light, through the gospel."
1 Tim. 6:16, "Who only hath immortality (athanasian).
"Now these words are applied to God and the soul's happiness. They are words that in the Bible are never applied to punishment or anything perishable. They would have been affixed to punishment had the Bible intended to teach endless punishment. And certainly they show the error of those who declare that the indefinite word aionion is all the word, or the strongest one in the Bible, declarative of the endlessness of life beyond the grave."
In conclusion, I cannot find CONCLUSIVE or EXPLICIT in scripture that would lead me to believe that the wicked have consciousness after death. It seems to me that the whole apologetic for arguing for eternal torment-ism is really limited to an argument based on duration of the age that we living in. Most (if not all) of the passages that speak of "age-during punishment" are speaking of an age that has already seen it's consumation and end.
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