Matt 13.27-30 and Rev 16.5-12 – Eternal punishment
Posted: 30 June 2011 in Matthew, Revelation

“So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”

“And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments. And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds. And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.”

It is easy to feel uncomfortable with the above description of what awaits those who refuse to repent or embrace the means of salvation offered to them in Christ. That fact might help to explain the often heard assertion that God is far too nice to punish anybody eternally. The fact which has to be confronted, however, is that the Bible says what it says, and it is actually quite blasphemous for the creature to imagine himself more just or merciful than the Creator. God is always both just and righteous. Furthermore, it seems to have been the expectation of Jesus that hell would not be devoid of inhabitants, as the above quotation from the Parable of the Tares (amongst a number of other passages) seems to indicate.

Should we give in to the temptation to ignore the testimony of the Bible and construct a fluffy God, who is altogether more to our liking, and who punishes nobody, we will have created an idol – and it is precisely the consequences of idolatry which are spelt out in the above passage from Revelation. Humility, and in particular the humility to submit ourselves to God’s revealed word, is enjoined upon Christrians for a good reason – namely that it is a necessary part of the attitude known as faith and trustful obedience.

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