Answer : ____________________
NOTE: God destroyed those two cities with eternal fire--the same kind of fire that will destroy the wicked in hell.
NOTE: In the above texts, the Bible clearly states that the wicked will be cast into the fire in the day of judgment at the end of the world--not when they die. This obviously means that no one is in hell now. It is only fair that no one should be punished until his case has been decided in the judgment. People are rewarded or punished at the second coming, and not before (Revelation 22:12).
NOTE: The Bible assures us that the wicked who have died are reserved in the grave until the resurrection at the end of the world. They will hear Jesus' voice calling them and will come forth from the grave, not from hellfire.
NOTE: The punishment for sin is not everlasting life in hellfire, but the exact opposite--death. We all die the first death (Hebrews 9:27), but the Bible says that the death the wicked will die in hell is the second death (Revelation 21:8). From the first death, all are raised for punishment or reward; but there is no resurrection from the second death. It is final. In addition, if the punishment for sin is everlasting torment in hellfire, then Jesus did not pay the penalty.
NOTE: The concepts of limbo and purgatory are not found in Scripture. The Bible teaches only two choices--eternal life or eternal death (Deuteronomy 30:15).
NOTE: The wicked in hell will go up in smoke. Only ashes will remain.
NOTE: Hellfire will be here on earth, because it will be the earth on fire.
NOTE: No! Far from being in charge of hellfire, the devil will be cast into the fire. It will finally turn him to "ashes upon the earth," and God says of Satan, "Never shalt thou be any more." Ezekiel 28:18, 19.
NOTE: After sin, sinners, and everything on earth is destroyed, the fire will go out. It will not burn throughout the ages. An eternal hell of torment would make it impossible to ever get rid of sin. God's plan is to isolate sin and destroy it, not perpetuate it. Revelation 21:5 says, "Behold, I make all things new."
NOTE: Many believe that the soul never dies, but twice God says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Ezekiel 18:4, 20. So according to Scripture, the wicked will be destroyed in hellfire--both soul and body.
NOTE: The purpose of the fire is to destroy Satan, his evil angels, and sin. If I refuse to turn loose of the plague of sin, I will have to be destroyed with it, because if sin is not destroyed, it would again contaminate the universe.
NOTE: God can't stand the thought of destroying those He loves. "The Lord is not ... willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9. He is constantly saying to them, "Turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?" Ezekiel 33:11. Destroying people is so foreign to God's ways that hellfire is called His "strange act." God leaves nothing out in His desire to save people. Before they are destroyed, every wicked person will admit that God has been fair (Romans 14:11).
NOTE: No! Unquenchable fire cannot be put out. However, when it has burned everything up, it goes out. For example, Jeremiah 17:27 warns that if God's people were not faithful, He would kindle a fire in Jerusalem that "shall not be quenched." And the Scriptures declare that this prophecy has already been fulfilled. "They burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire. ... To fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah." 2 Chronicles 36:19, 21. That fire could not be put out until it had consumed everything; then it went out. It is not burning today, even though the Bible calls it "unquenchable."
NOTE: We must let the Bible explain itself. We can see in this verse that Sodom and Gomorrha were destroyed with everlasting fire as an example of hell, but those cities are not still burning. They were turned into ashes (2 Peter 2:6), which is what eternal fire does. It is eternal in its consequences. (See supplement entitled "The Rich Man and Lazarus.")
NOTE: No. Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17), yet he said "for ever." I'm sure that it felt like forever! The Greek word translated "for ever" in Revelation 20:10 is "aion," from which we get our word "eon." It often represents an unspecified period of time, limited or unlimited. The words "for ever" are used 56 times in the Bible referring to something already ended. In one instance, "for ever" describes the life of a faithful slave (Exodus 21:6), and in another place "for ever" means 10 generations (Deuteronomy 23:3). With man, "for ever" often means "as long as he liveth" (1 Samuel 1:22, 28).
NOTE: On the ashes of this purified world, God will create new heavens and a new earth. He promises joy, peace, and indescribable happiness for all living creatures throughout eternity.
NOTE: No! The promise is specific. Sin will never rise again.
Isaiah 65:17 For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
NOTE: If your son became a hardened murderer, would you feel that he should be punished? You probably would. But would you want him to burn alive in a fire, in terrible agony, for even one day? Of course not. You could not stand that. Neither could the loving Lord stand to see His children so tortured. That would be worse than the very worst of all war atrocities. Is God like that? No indeed! An eternal hell of torment would be unbearable for God and diametrically against His character of love and justice.
The Rich Man and LazarusMany have used the parable of the rich man and Lazarus to try to prove that people go right to heaven or to hell at death. This was never Jesus' intention in employing this story. The word Jesus used for "hell" was "Hades," a place of torment in Greek mythology.
All of the Jews listening to this discourse would have understood that Jesus was using a well-known myth to illustrate a point. If we take a closer look at Luke 16:19-31, we will quickly see that this parable is filled with symbols that Jesus never intended for us to take literally.For example, do all the saved go to Abraham's bosom? No.Will the people in heaven and in hell talk to each other? No.Would a drop of water cool the tongue of a person burning in hell? No.Does Abraham decide who is saved and who is lost? No.In the same way, this parable cannot be used to teach that people who die before the last judgment day at the end of the world will go right to heaven or to hell when they die. John 12:48 declares, "The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day."So what does this parable mean? The rich man was a symbol of the Jewish nation, feasting on the Scriptures while the beggar at the gate, the Gentiles, were starving for the Word. Jesus concluded the parable with the observation that "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." Luke 16:31. Indeed, Jesus did later raise a man named Lazarus from the dead, and most of the Jewish leaders still did not believe (John 12:9-11).