Eternal Destruction Of The Wicked

Eternal Punishment

Matthew 25:46 is the go to passage to refute universal reconciliation in Christ. We will look at that in just a moment. But first let's determine the meaning of a couple important words that need further digging on. Do the words "eternal," "everlasting," and "forever" in the Bible come from a word that means eternity? Well there are very few instances in the Bible where a word has caused such great confusion through translation. But this is one of those instances, and it's a big one. Some might object that the best minds in history came up with this, so how can someone claim superior knowledge? Well the reality is that perfect translation can not be guaranteed without perfect theology. So if one's theology is wrong, it is going to affect the accuracy of one's translation. So it actually has nothing to do with being a good or bad translator. The understanding of aion and aionios is imperative to understanding the afterlife.

The Greek word in view here is "ainios" which is an adjective. The root word "aion" is a noun, and it simply means "age." No adjective can have greater force than the noun from which it is derived. Therefore "aionios" means "age lasting." For example the noun "generation" has as an adjective being "generational." But nobody would claim "generational" to mean anything more than to pertain to a generation.

Also the Greek word for "punishment" is "kolasis." The root word is "kolazo." This word means to punish, correct, restrain, or to prune such as a tree. It is not evil for evil punishment otherwise unknown as revenge. That is a different word, being "timoria."

“Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2 (Here we see the word "prune" to mean to cleanse, to purify, or to atone. Pruning is used for believers so that they may bear more fruit.)

Everlasting, Forever, Eternal
-aion = means age
-aionios = means age lasting or age long
-aionian = means ages
-aidios = means eternity(never used)

Punishment 
-kolasis(kolazo) - to correct, punish, restrain, or prune

“These will go away into eternal(aionios) punishment(kolasis), but the righteous into eternal (aionios) life.” Matt. 25:46 (A big objection on this verse is that if the punishment is age lasting, then the life is age lasting. But this is not corre
ct as aionios is an adjective so its meaning is affected by the noun it is describing. For example if someone said that's a big ant and then says that's a big planet, both the ant and the planet are both described as big. But obviously the contrast in size of the planet versus the ant makes the point that the noun affects the meaning of the adjective. So the only time aionios is ever actually meant eternal in a literal sense is when it is referring to the eternal God or God's eternal kingdom, or the eternal divine nature. Otherwise it is simply referring to indefinite time or age. So when life is the noun, it's referencing a life that never ends, because it is the life that Christ gives.)

Destruction Of The Wicked

We will see that the destruction of the wicked does not mean destruction of the body, but of the old self of the sin nature. Annihilationists correctly use this word to refute eternal conscious torment. But what they fail to see is the full picture of what's happening with this word "destruction." The same Greek word "apollumi" that is used for the word "destruction" is also used for the word "lost" and "perish." Let's see how this all fits together.

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.They will be punished with everlasting(age lasting) destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. 2 Thess. 1:6-10
 (We see that it is the fire that destroys the wicked. And we've learned that this fire burns up the sin nature, the old self, but not the body. And it leaves what is left. So it is not total annihilation.)

But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 2 Pet. 3:7 (Again it is this same fire that destroys the ungodly. The old self and its sin nature is burned up and completely annihilated, but not everything is annihilated.)

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10 (Here we see that Christ came to save the destroyed because destruction and lost use the same Greek word apollumi. So it can't mean total annihilation of everything, but total annihilation of the old self of the sin nature.)

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Luke 9:23-25 (Again the same Greek word apollumi is used for lose. That makes this verse now make sense. Everyone, including the wicked must die to the old self of the sin nature. Believers do that in this life, unbelievers will do this in the next age by fire.)

The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:1-7 (It is the Shepherd's loss when he loses a sheep. It is the Shepherd's joy when he finds it. Will not the Shepherd carry the sheep back against its own free will if he has to? Will the Shepherd not first try to guide the sheep back? Either way, that sheep is coming back for it's own good. The Shepard's will and pleasure trumps the sheep and its will. The Shepherd won't allow the sheep to wander off just because it wants to. The Shepherd will allow the sheep to wander off to teach it a lesson. The sheep will understand later, but one way or the other, the sheep is going back with the Shepherd. The Shepherd will teach the sheep the error of its ways and the sheep will submit to the Shepherd.)

The Parable of the Lost Coin
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:8-10 (Only 
one sinner is left, everyone else is in Christ, but Jesus does not stop seeking the last and final sinner UNTIL he brings him back.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive againhe was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
“Now his older son was in the field, 
and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’” Luke 15:11-32

To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 1 Cor. 5:5

The Wrath Of God

And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. 1 Thess. 1:10

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, Rom. 1:18

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Rom. 2:5-10

What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory. Rom. 9:22-23

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. John 3:36

That day will be a day of wrath—a day of distress and anguish. Zeph. 1:15

 
Weeping And Gnashing Of Teeth

The phrase "weeping and gnashing of teeth" is used to support eternal conscious torment. But that is never it's intended use nor does the context ever support this. Depending on the context, it could mean the anguish felt in one's death during the destruction of Jerusalemin 70ad. It could mean the anguish felt in being removed from the light of the truth.and into the darkness of lies. It could mean the anguish felt in not being apart of the millenial kingdom and having to suffer through the flames of the lake of purification. Let's examine the different uses of this phrase and see which applies. But you will see that it never means eternal conscious torment.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matt. 7:13-14 (Does this verse teach that only a few will be saved? Let's look at the same account in Luke for further context. As you will see in the parallel text in Luke, it uses the same phrase "weeping and gnashing of teeth" that is always referencing the judgement of the 1st century rebellious Jews.)

And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streetsBut he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. Luke 13:22-30 (Jesus is speaking to the Jews of his day who will not serve in his kingdom in the 1st resurrection. We know this is to Jews of his day because it specifically references people that personally ate and drank with Jesus, as well as people Jesus specifically taught among. The first being last is referencing the Jews receiving the gospel first, but being last in the resurrection. The last being first is the Gentiles receiving the gospel last, but being first in the resurrection. Being saved is referencing being saved from the destruction of Jerusalem. Few heeded the warnings of Jesus and were saved. But this is not saying that only a few will have salvation of eternal life as most people teach.)

“Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matt. 8:10-12 (Jesus is speaking of the 1st century rebellious Jews who will be destroyed in 70ad. Those that come from the east and west are the Gentiles as the gospel will go out to them and they are grafted in. Cut off from the blessings of the kingdom ate the unbelieving Jews. The outer darkness is in contrast to the light of God's ki from as they are cast out. Weeping and gnashing of teeth is the anguish they will have while outside of the blessings of God's kingdom.)

Parable of the Wheat and the Tares
“The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear. Matt. 13:37-43 (This parable is often misunderstood. At the beginning of chapter 13 is the parable of the sower. The message of the kingdom is the good seed, vs19. The soil or the ground is the people. A hard heart is hard ground, and a soft heart is fertile soil. Why is that important for this parable that follows? Because most interpret the weeds to be the actual people, but actually the weeds are the fruit of the people that accepted lies and false doctrine of the evil one. The wheat are the good fruit of the people that accepted the message of the kingdom. So what is thrown into the blazing fire to burn up? It is the bad fruit from all the lies that is burned up. This is a painful process that causes anguish. But ultimately it is for their restoration. The misunderstanding is in vs37 and 38. The seed is the Son of Man in the sense of his message, not in the sense of his person, according to vs19. Just the same, the field is the world in the sense that the soil or ground is the actual people, their hearts are reflected in the nature of the soil being hard or soft. The weeds are the people of the evil one in the sense of their bad fruit, not in the sense of their person. So understanding how the symbols of the parable of the sower impact this parable is vitally important.)

Parable of the Net
“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matt. 13:47-50 (At worst, this blazing furnace is referencing the lake of purification which will cause anguish. It could also however reference 70ad as being the end of the Jewish age. The destruction of Jerusalem would be the blazing furnace.)


Parable of the Wedding Banquet
“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matt. 22:13 (This is the ending of the parable of the wedding banquet. Jesus sent the Roman army and destroyed the Jews. The Gentiles are called into the banquet. Jesus is talking to a Gentile man not appropriately dressed for the banquet. What he is saying is that if you are not clothed with the righteousness of Christ when you come to the kingdom, you will be rejected and cast outside the blessings of God's kingdom. You are in darkness, not light. You are on the outside, not the inside. Weeping and gnashing of teeth is anguish. It is not forever, but you can't enter the kingdom not "dressed" appropriately.)

He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matt. 24:51
(The context of this verse is the Olivet Discourse and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 ad. The weeping and gnashing of teeth is the anguish of suffering the destruction of Jerusalem and dying in the siege. There are other contexts and interpretations people perceive, but none of these should include dismissing universalism. Weeping and gnashing of teeth does not in any way mean total annihilation or eternal conscious torment.)

Parable of the Talents
And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matt. 25:30 (Luke 19:11-27 is the parallel text. I believe this is speaking to the rebellious Jews that would be destroyed in 70ad. However, for someone that may insist that it is not, it still doesn't dismiss universalism. The outer darkness is the contrast of being in the light of the truth and of Christ. Being in this light or outside of it.)

Parable of the Sheep and the Goats 
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matt. 25:31-46 (This depicts the final judgment. The sheep are the righteous through Christ, the goats are the rebellious. There are a number of interpretations on this, so it would be foolish to base a doctrine of limited atonement around such a parable. But the bottom line is that destruction is not the end game for the goats. They will endure age lasting punishment, discipline, or correction, but it is for their ultimate restoration and reconciliation.)

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6

Not Everyone Will Be Saved?

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Eph. 5:5
(Does this verse indicate not all will be saved? No, it simply indicates that nobody will inherit the kingdom in this condition. Sin must be accounted for and fixed. The lake of purification does it's work throught the Holy Spirit to eradicate all sin from the rest of mankind. At that point they will then enter the kingdom.)

You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. Matt. 10:22 (Does this verse say only a few will be saved? No, context tells us this is speaking of the destruction to come on the Jews in Jerusalem in 70ad. It is not talking about eternal salvation.)

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16 (Does this verse say that only a few will be saved? No, context tells us this is speaking of the destruction to come on the Jews in Jerusalem in 70ad. It is not talking about eternal salvation. But even if that wasn't the case this is apart of the questionable ending of the gospel of Mark. And we'd have to dissect the word "damned," as it does not mean burning in fire forever.)

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Cor. 6:9-10 (Doesn't this verse show that some will not be saved? No, it just states that nobody will be saved in that condition. Repentance and following Jesus is required. But let's read the next verse.)
And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor. 6:11 (So we see that these sinners can be delivered through Christ.)

The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:24-27 (Doesn't this verse show that few will be saved? No, as the last verse states that "all things are possible with God." It is stating that you can not be saved in a condition other than through faith in Jesus.)

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 ("Whoever" does not necessarily limit the number of who will ultimately in time believe. It would be like saying "Whoever claims their free prize will receive it." This implies that everyone will claim their free prize eventually because who wouldn't eventually come to their senses and do so. We then see in vs17 that God sent his son to save the whole world.)

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2 (If only a few are saved, why are their many mansions in God's house awaiting us?)


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