Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 14, 1954
NUMBER 23, PAGE 10-11b

Heaven And Hell

Thomas Allen Robertson, San Bernardino, California

From the very beginning the devil has had many devices to get man to disrespect God, to cause him to sin, and be finally lost. By his cunning Satan was able to convince Eve that the punishment God had pronounced against her and Adam if they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil would not come to pass. Once the restraint was removed, there was nothing to prevent or hold back from doing the thing God had forbidden. The fruit looked good to Eve, so she partook of it, and gave to her husband also. Once Adam and Eve had violated God's command they were not long in finding out that God was true and that Satan had lied.

After a true likeness today Satan is working in every way he can to convince men that there is no heaven and no hell — or at least to remove the fear of hell from their minds. As a result of this effort to nullify the idea of punishment for wrong doing, there are many religious teachers and organizations which deny the facts of heaven and hell as recorded in the Bible. Their methods differ, but the end desired is the same with all — the elimination of the idea of eternal punishment.

The idea of a literal heaven for the righteous and a literal hell for the wicked is found through all the Bible. The Bible says, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." (Ps. 9:17.) Some say this word "hell" in the Old Testament really means only the grave; if such be true, then only the wicked and those who forget God would ever go down into the grave. Again, God said, "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beat him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell." (Prov. 23:13, 14.) Does "hell" here mean only the grave? Shall we take this passage to mean that by beating a child one can keep him from dying, from the grave? Of course not.

In the New Testament when Christ was asked concerning the woman who had been married to seven men, "in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife," he answered, "The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection." (Luke 20:33-36.) Peter spoke of God who "spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment." (2 Peter 2:4.) And Jude also declared, "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." (Jude 6.)

Now let us apply these facts: (1) Angels are greater in power than are we (mortals) (2 Peter 2:11); (2) Angels cannot die (Luke 20:36); (3) But God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (2 Pet. 2:4); (4) After the resurrection the dead shall be equal to the angels and cannot die (Luke 20:35, 36); (5) But they can go away into everlasting punishment. (Matt. 25: 46.) Hence, hell, everlasting destruction, is more than just death or destruction.

Jude said that Sodom and Gomorrah suffered the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 7.) Peter said that Sodom and Gomorrah were made an example to those that should live ungodly. (2 Peter 2:6.) So both Jude and Peter agree that eternal punishment is fire, and that Sodom and Gomorrah serve as an example of such. Add to this the teaching of John the Baptist and Christ, and the evidence of hell and what it is is complete. John said, "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees; therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matt. 3:10-12; Luke 3:16, 17.) Almost everyone admits that the baptism of the Holy Ghost was literal. Why then is not the fire literal also? Christ stated, "But I say unto you that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." (Matt. 5:22.)

Christ also said, "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, that having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life than having two feet to be case into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire; Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 9:43-48.) In thinking of this passage consider that Job said that man is a worm and the son of man is a worm (Job 25:6); David said he was worm. (Ps. 22:6.) Is it not clear that the "worm which dieth not" is man himself. Notice Christ did not say simply "worm," but "their worm."

"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal." (Matt. 25:46.' Everlasting is an adjective describing the punishment as to duration; it is endless, lasting forever. In the picture of the final judgment as given by John we have these words, "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." Then he goes on to say, "And whoso ever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Rev. 20:10-15.) Hell is real. And as hell is a reality for the wicked, so heaven is a reality for the righteous. Christ said that the righteous shall go away into life eternal. (Matt. 25:46.) Paul wrote that those who love the appearing of the Lord have a crown of righteousness laid up for them. (2 Tim. 4:8.) Peter said that this inheritance is "an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:4, 5.) The judgment is sure; heaven and hell are real. Are you ready for the judgment? Have you obeyed the gospel of Christ? Are you living as Christ would have you to live? If your answer is "No" to any of these questions, why not render obedience to the gospel of Christ while time and opportunity still are yours? The judgment is coming for us all. Let us be prepared.