Wednesday, December 12, 2007

After Life (17) - Descriptive Words

The safest way to understand what happens to those are condemned at the last judgement, is to look at the descriptive words used in the New Testament. Before looking at other images used, I will examine some clear descriptions.

  1. Eternal punishment.
    Then they will go away to eternal punishment (Matt 25:46).
    Those who reject Jesus will face punishment, but this verse does not describe the nature of the punishment. Rather, it emphasises the finality of the judgement. There is no second chance. Those who reject Jesus can never escape from the fate they have chosen.

  2. Separation from Jesus
    Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Matt 7:23).
    The worst aspect of this punishment is that people will be separated from Jesus. If everything that is good and wonderful in this world is fulfilled in Jesus, being separated from him is absolutely terrible.

  3. Destruction
    Jesus warned that those who reject the gospel face destruction.
    Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it (Matt 7:13)
    While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled (John 17:12).
    The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life (Gal 6:8).
    Their destiny is destruction (Phil 3:19).
    The present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men (2 Pet 3:7).

  4. Everlasting destruction
    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 destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power (2 Thes 1:8,9).
    This is the clearest description of what happens to those who do not know Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction.

    Everlasting destruction is an interesting expression. Once something is destroyed it does not exist. It cannot be destroyed again and again. Everlasting destruction cannot be destruction over and over again as that does not make sense. The passage is describing a destruction that lasts forever. Those destroyed will never be restored or recreated again. Their destruction is final. They will cease to exist forever.

The common idea in all these expressions is "destruction". The future of those who reject Jesus is eternal separation from God, and apart from him there can be no existence. Those who are not renewed by faith in Jesus will be destroyed because they cannot bear to be close to him.

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