As its mission Got Questions Ministries [http://www.gotquestions.org] “seeks to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by providing biblical, applicable, and timely answers to spiritually related questions through an internet presence.”1 By and large they succeed in that mission. I have turned to their website many times since becoming a Christian for help answering my questions, and I don’t hestitate to recommend it as a reliable resource.
However, as is the case with any human endeavor, sometimes Got Questions Ministries (GQM) gets it wrong. Their article, “Is annihilationism biblical?”2 ranks as one of the top search results for the keyword “annihilationism,” but the answers they provide to that subject fall short and we here at Rethinking Hell desire to provide answers that we think are more biblical.

Addendum (added on 9 June 2015):

In May 2015 I was graciously invited by Got Questions Ministries (GQM) to write a short article for their website explaining and offering a brief case for the doctrine of conditional immortality. My article was published today, and can be found here: “What is conditional immortality?”

Introduction

GQM‘s answer to the question is comprised of six paragraphs, which we’ll look at one by one. The first, introducing annihilationism to its readers, begins by stating,

Annihilationism is the belief that unbelievers will not experience an eternity of suffering in hell, but will instead be “extinguished” after death. For many, annihilationism is an attractive belief because of the awfulness of the idea of people spending eternity in hell.

Whether intended or not, this definition might give readers the impression that all annihilationists believe the unsaved will be extinguished immediately after death; while that may be true of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, it’s not true of evangelical annihilationists (also known as conditionalists). Rather, whatever we believe about the intermediate state—between death and resurrection—conditionalists believe that annihilation follows after the lost are raised to face final judgment and punishment.
As for the claim that annihilationism is attractive to many because of the “awfulness” of the traditional view of hell, it is true that many conditionalists first reconsider the traditional doctrine of eternal conscious torment (ECT) because they intuit that it is disproportionately severe and therefore unjust. However, this is neither the sole nor even primary reason they go on to embrace conditionalism. Upon re-examination of the biblical data they discover it teaches that the punishment awaiting the unredeemed is annihilation, and they embrace conditionalism because their authority is Scripture. They may be relieved because annihilation is, in their eyes, a more equitable punishment than unending torment, but it is their commitment to the truth of the text that makes them conditionalists.
Suggesting that annihilationism is embraced because it may be emotionally attractive can come across as attempting to “poison the well,” implicitly encouraging readers to think of annihilationism as something believed only by those who can’t stomach the traditional view of hell. It also borders on committing the genetic fallacy by implying that conditionalism is wrong because those who believe do so only because they are first repulsed by the thought of eternal torment. Imagine, for example, if an article critical of eternal torment were to open with, “For many, traditionalism is an attractive belief because it has been the dominant view amongst Christians for many centuries, and those who promote alternative views often face harsh criticism from their peers, even exclusion from employment in ministry and academia.” While this and similar statements like the one made toward the beginning of GQM‘s article may be true, they do not lend themselves well to encouraging students of Scripture to exercise biblical discernment in testing competing views of final punishment.
The introduction continues,

While there are some passages that seem to argue for annihilationism, a comprehensive look at what the Bible says about the destiny of the wicked reveals the fact that punishment in hell is eternal. A belief in annihilationism results from a misunderstanding of one or more of the following doctrines: 1) the consequences of sin, 2) the justice of God, 3) the nature of hell.

Those familiar with the ongoing debate between traditionalists and conditionalists will note by the time they’ve finished reading the GQM article that it is anything but “a comprehensive look at what the Bible says about the destiny of the wicked.” I don’t think it sets itself out to be, but just a small handful of biblical passages are cited as prooftexts in support of ECT. In contrast, the positive case for annihilationism, as presented by Dr. Glenn Peoples in Episode 4 of the Rethinking Hell podcast, is a much more comprehensive biblical case, comprised of three distinct and thematic arguments, each based on multiple biblical texts.3 Also notable in Dr. Peoples’ treatment is that he affirms the eternal consequences of sin, and does not argue for conditionalism from a perceived injustice in eternal torment but from a purely exegetical framework. This creates doubt about the claims of the GQM article that annihilationists misunderstand the consequences of sin, the justice of God, or the nature of hell.

Consumption

With that introduction out of the way, the GQM article’s second paragraph begins to explain how annihilationists allegedly misunderstand the nature of hell.

In relation to the nature of hell, annihilationists misunderstand the meaning of the lake of fire. Obviously, if a human being were cast into a lake of burning lava, he/she would be almost instantly consumed. However, the lake of fire is both a physical and spiritual realm. It is not simply a human body being cast into the lake of fire; it is a human’s body, soul, and spirit. A spiritual nature cannot be consumed by physical fire.

Fire: Physical? Spiritual? Literal?

On the one hand, GQM claims that the lake of fire is both physical and spiritual, and on the other hand that a spiritual nature cannot be consumed by physical fire. But if the nature of the lake of fire is not limited to the physical—which must be the point of contrasting it with a lake of burning lava that would consume a human being—then even if physical fire cannot consume a spiritual nature, could not a physical and spiritual fire consume both a physical nature and a spiritual one? This argument seems confused and contradictory.
More importantly, the fact that the lake of fire is treated as if it’s a literal lake of fire, albeit both physical and spiritual, suggests that it is in fact the GQM article which misunderstands the meaning of the lake of fire, rather than the annihilationists it critiques. In , John saw the beast and false prophet thrown into this lake of fire, but consider how these creatures are elsewhere described. In the beast has ten horns and seven heads, and on its horns were crowns, and on its heads were written blasphemous names (). It has the appearance of a leopard, with feet like a bear and the mouth of a lion (). The false prophet John sees is a second beast having two horns like a lamb (). What John sees thrown into the lake of fire, then, is two terrifying beasts which serve as symbols, clearly not to be taken literally. In fact, the angel explicitly states that the beast is a symbol in , telling John that the heads represent hills and kings.
Consider also that in death and Hades are also thrown into the lake of fire. Earlier in his vision, death appeared to John as a horseman riding a pale horse, and Hades followed him (). Again, what John sees thrown into the lake of fire are symbols representing death and Hades. The realities behind the symbols, death and Hades, are impersonal abstractions and could not literally be thrown into a lake of fire and be tormented there to begin with.
GQM ‘s article, then, starts off on the wrong foot, treating the lake of fire literally rather than as symbolic imagery. The question of the imagery’s meaning cannot be answered by simply considering what fire is capable or incapable of doing to the spiritual nature of human beings. Rather, the question must be answered by careful exegesis, which we’ll attempt below.

Resurrected Bodies: Mortal or Immortal?

What GQM says toward the end of this second paragraph is astonishing:

It seems that the unsaved are resurrected with a body prepared for eternity just as the saved are (; ). These bodies are prepared for an eternal fate.

Do these two passages really indicate that the unsaved, like the saved, will be raised with bodies sufficiently different from their current, mortal ones, such that they will be capable of living for eternity? Quite simply, no—unless, that is, one reads certain presuppositions into them. , for example, simply says, “there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” Evangelical conditionalists don’t deny this; we agree that the wicked will rise from the dead. But it says nothing about the nature of their bodies. The only way this text can be interpreted as indicating that they will rise from the dead with immortal bodies is if one assumes that all resurrected bodies are immortal, but the resurrections of Lazarus (), Eutychus () and others prove otherwise. The wicked may, in fact, be raised at the general resurrection with bodies every bit as mortal as their current ones. Indeed, Paul told the Corinthians that only those who would inherit the kingdom of God would be raised with imperishable, immortal bodies ().
, like , indicates only that all the dead will be raised; it says nothing about the nature of their resurrected bodies. Of course, in the following verses John sees those who had just been raised, and whose names are not written in the book of life, thrown into the lake of fire, the same lake of fire in which the devil, the beast and the false prophet are said to suffer in torment for eternity (). However, it does not follow from the eternal torment of this unholy trio that the fate of the risen unredeemed are seen by John as suffering the same thing in that lake of fire. The text doesn’t say that they will; that’s an assumption, the implications of which we’ll consider more below. But the point is that does not tell us that the unsaved are resurrected with immortal bodies prepared for eternity.

Eternity

But what does it mean if in his vision John does see the unsaved enter into eternal torment with the devil, beast and false prophet? Still treating the lake of fire literally, GQM thinks it means they will be tormented forever and ever in reality, arguing in its article that annihilationists misunderstand eternity:

Eternity is another aspect which annihilationists fail to fully comprehend. Annihilationists are correct that the Greek word aionion, which is usually translated “eternal,” does not by definition mean “eternal.” It specifically refers to an “age” or “eon,” a specific period of time. However, it is clear that in New Testament, aionion is sometimes used to refer to an eternal length of time. speaks of Satan, the beast, and the false prophet being cast into the lake of fire and being tormented “day and night forever and ever.” It is clear that these three are not “extinguished” by being cast into the lake of fire. Why would the fate of the unsaved be any different ()?

Eternal Torment: Imagery and Interpretation

At Rethinking Hell we agree that in some texts, including many of those most relevant to the debate over the nature of hell, the word usually translated “eternal” does refer to an eternal length of time, not merely an “age” of unspecified duration. That word is not used in , but we think that by using the phrase translated “forever and ever,” John does say that the devil, beast and false prophet will be tormented forever and ever in the lake of fire. But care must be taken in intepreting this imagery, for while it is clear that these three are not “extinguished” in the imagery, it is also clear that several of the things whose symbols John sees thrown into the fire will, in reality, be “extinguished” after all.
We’ve already seen two such examples. John sees the horsemen symbolizing death and Hades thrown into the lake of fire. But as impersonal abstractions, death and Hades—the grave and the intermediate state, believed by most Christians to be where the disembodied souls of the dead consciously await resurrection—cannot experience torment to begin with. What, then, does their being thrown into the lake of fire represent? Their complete destruction, their utter end—their annihilation. There’s a reason we call it the “intermediate” state, after all. And in , Paul says death will be “abolished,” a word meaning “to make completely ineffectual.” If death is rendered ineffectual, because it’s an abstraction it can’t continue to exist powerlessly when no one will experience it again. It will have come to a permanent end. No wonder that in , John sees that “there will no longer be any death.”
But it is not only death and Hades which will in fact come to a permanent end in reality, despite that symbols representing them are seen thrown into a symbolic lake of fire. As we’ve seen, an angel interprets the terrifying multi-headed beast as symbolizing a kingdom. This ten horned beast with features of a leopard, a bear, and a lion, comes straight out of the vision recorded in , where Daniel is likewise told that this beast “will be a fourth kingdom on the earth . . . As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise” (). In the imagery, Daniel sees this beast slain, and its corpse thrown into a river of fire where it is destroyed (). If the visions of both John and Daniel were to be taken literally they would contradict one another, for John’s beast is not slain, and is instead thrown alive into a lake of fire and tormented eternally. But Daniel is told what the symbolism represents: “his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One” (). John, too, sees that following the beast’s being cast into the fire, the saints “came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (). So although the imagery is different, we know what the imagery symbolizes: the end to a kingdom’s dominion, replaced by the kingdom of the reigning saints.
We have, therefore, at least three realities—a kingdom’s dominion, death, and Hades—the symbols for which John sees thrown into the lake of fire, one of which is explicitly said to be tormented eternally there, all of which will, in reality, be annihilated. If what happens to one of these in the imagery is to be assumed to happen to them all, then sure, we could grant that John sees that the risen wicked will be tormented for eternity. But if we’re to be consistent in our interpretation of the symbolism, then the devil and, by extension, risen unbelievers seen thrown into the symbolic lake of fire will be annihilated, brought to a complete, utter and permanent end. No wonder, then, that both John and God Himself interpret the imagery in straightforward terms as symbolizing “the second death” ().

Eternal Life, Punishment and Destruction

The most convincing evidence for the eternality of hell is , “Then they [the unsaved] will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” In this verse, the same Greek word is used to refer to the destiny of the wicked and the righteous. If the wicked are only tormented for an “age,” then the righteous will only experience life in heaven for an “age.” If believers will be in heaven forever, unbelievers will be in hell forever.

Notice that the word punishment in the first sentence from Matthew is somewhat surreptitiously replaced by the word torment from GQM in the last sentence. But that is the very thing to be proved, at least when it comes to this passage. The statement from GQM ought to read, “If the punishment of the wicked is only for an ‘age,’ then the righteous will only experience life in heaven for an ‘age’.” And there would be something to this argument if it were actually responding to how we understand . However, not many of us contend that “the punishment of the wicked is only for an ‘age.'” Rather, we believe their punishment will indeed be eternal. The question is not what is the duration of the punishment, but it is what is the nature of the punishment.
Conditionalists side with traditionalists in affirming, contrary to universalism, that the punishment of the wicked will be of everlasting duration. We disagree with traditionalists, however, when it comes to the nature of that punishment. As evinced by the article’s use of “punishment” and “torment” as if they were synonymous, traditionalists believe that the punishment of hell consists in endless conscious suffering, and so naturally they assume that an eternal punishment is one which consists in everlasting conscious suffering. Conditionalists, on the other hand, believe that final punishment consists not primarily in torment but in death. One simple way to understand the contrast is to consider the difference between corporal punishment and capital punishment: one consists in the infliction of pain, the other in the privation of life.
How then do we understand eternal punishment? That the punishment is the outcome of being punished by execution, rather than its process, and that the punishment will indeed be eternal. St. Augustine rhetorically asked, “As to the award of death for any great crime, do the laws reckon the punishment to consist in the brief moment in which death is inflicted, or in this, that the offender is eternally banished from the society of the living?”4 His point is that the duration of capital punishment is measured, not in the time it takes a criminal to die, but in the duration of his execution’s consequent lifelessness. Conditionalists agree, and as the ultimate form of capital punishment, annihilation certainly qualifies as an eternal punishment, since the lifelessness that results from it will last for eternity.
And so by itself is ambiguous and may refer either to an eternal punishment consisting in everlasting suffering or the eternal punishment resulting from being annihilated. Fortunately we don’t have to speculate as to what this eternal punishment is, for Paul says in that eternal punishment consists in “eternal destruction” (emphasis mine). And Jesus says in , “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” In the synoptic gospels, the Greek word here translated “destroy” consistently means something like “slay” or “kill” when used in the active voice to describe what one personal agent does to another.5 Jesus is saying men can kill only the body, but God can kill both in hell. This is precisely what conditionalists believe God will do, whereas traditionalists believe—as the article previously indicated—that the risen bodies of the wicked will be immortal, living forever in torment.

Justice

In the GQM article’s fourth paragraph, readers are told how it is that an eternity of suffering in hell can be a just punishment for sins:

Another frequent objection to the eternality of hell by annihilationists is that it would be unjust for God to punish unbelievers in hell for eternity for a finite amount of sin. How could it be fair for God to take a person who lived a sinful, 70-year life, and punish him/her for all of eternity? The answer is that our sin bears an eternal consequence because it is committed against an eternal God. When King David committed the sins of adultery and murder he stated, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…” (). David had sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah; how could David claim to have only sinned against God? David understood that all sin is ultimately against God. God is an eternal and infinite Being. As a result, all sin against Him is worthy of an eternal punishment. It is not a matter of the length of time we sin, but the character of the God against whom we sin.

While some conditionalists do offer as a secondary argument that ECT is unjust, many—including those of us at Rethinking Hell—do not rely on this argument at all. As explained earlier, annihilation is an eternal punishment. As such, if this reasoning is legitimate and if all sin against God warrants an eternal punishment, then annihilation qualifies. But what does Scripture indicate is in fact the just penalty for sin? What do sinners deserve? Paul said that “the wages of sin is death” (, emphasis mine), and when Jesus bore the penalty deserved by His people, He “died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh” (). So the just punishment for sin is death, one that entails, at minimum, privation of embodied life. Again, this is precisely what conditionalists believe awaits the risen wicked upon being judged: execution. Traditionalists, on the other hand, believe the risen wicked will never die again.

Happiness

In its fifth paragraph, the GQM article continues:

A more personal aspect of annihilationism is the idea that we could not possibly be happy in heaven if we knew that some of our loved ones were suffering an eternity of torment in hell. However, when we arrive in heaven, we will not have anything to complain about or be saddened by. tells us, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” If some of our loved ones are not in heaven, we will be in 100 percent complete agreement that they do not belong there and that they are condemned by their own refusal to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior (). It is hard to understand this, but we will not be saddened by the lack of their presence. Our focus should not be on how we can enjoy heaven without all of our loved ones there, but on how we can point our loved ones to faith in Christ so that they will be there.

Of course, nothing in the above paragraph serves as a challenge to conditionalism, and a conditionalist could agree with much of what is written there. It is worth noting, however, that in at least one passage in Scripture, the picture painted of eternity is not one in which the unsaved are merely absent from the presence of God and of the saints. In , Jesus says that in Gehenna “their worm does not die, and the fire is not queched,” quoting from a scene in which worms and fire are consuming corpses, not living people in torment.
says all of God’s people “will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against [Him]. For their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrence to all mankind” (emphasis mine). The undying worm is basically the same idiom as used in , whose stouthearted scavengers will not be frightened away from their carrion, and will thus completely consume the carcasses of disobedient Israelites.6 Unquenchable fire is an idiom used consistently in Scripture (; ; ; ; ) to refer to a fire which, incapable of being extinguished prematurely, completely devours.7
It’s ironic, then, that and are so frequently appealed to by traditionalists as support for their view, when in no uncertain terms it communicates that the unsaved will be slain and completely devoured. And the vision of eternity it paints is not one in which the lost will merely be excluded from the presence of the redeemed; it is one in which they will have been so excluded by means of execution.

Conclusion

In its final paragraph, the article begins its conclusion, saying,

Hell is perhaps a primary reason why God sent Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sins. Being “extinguished” after death is no fate to dread, but an eternity in hell most definitely is.

If Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, just what was that penalty? Again, He “died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh.” Paul told the Corinthians that the fact that Jesus died for sins is “of first importance,” saying “Christ died for our sins” (), later telling them that it was on their behalf that Jesus “died and rose again” (). Paul delivered the same message to the Romans, telling them that “at the right time Christ died for the ungodly,” and that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (). The author of Hebrews followed suit, saying that whereas the sacrificial deaths of bulls and goats as part of the Mosaic covenant could not take away sins, “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” ().
But is it true that whereas an eternity in hell is something to fear, death is “no fate to dread?” If we’re to believe Scripture (rather than anecdote), the answer is clearly no. For in addition to its consistent testimony that the just penalty for sin is death, the Bible says that by His death Jesus freed “those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives” (, emphasis mine). Besides, it’s not as if anecdote universally supports the claim that death is not fearful. 20th century agnostic Philip Larkin, in his famous poem “Aubade,” wrote in haunting detail about his dread of consciousless extinction: “yet the dread of dying, and being dead, flashes afresh to hold and horrify . . . at the total emptiness for ever, the sure extinction that we travel to and shall be lost in always. Not to be here, not to be anywhere, and soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.”8 William Barclay writes that according to first century Greek historian and biographer Plutarch “the idea of annihilation was intolerable to the Greek mind . . . [Faced] with the alternatives of annihilation and a life of torment in Hades, the Greek would have chosen the torment rather than the annihilation.”9
So while it may be true that perhaps some unbelievers do not fear death, many do—and death is a fate to dread. There’s a reason it has been the punishment reserved for the most heinous of crimes for ages by societies around the world.
Wrapping up, GQM ‘s article concludes as follows:

Jesus’ death was an infinite death, paying our infinite sin debt so that we would not have to pay it in hell for eternity (). When we place our faith in Him, we are saved, forgiven, cleansed, and promised an eternal home in heaven. But if we reject God’s gift of eternal life, we will face the eternal consequences of that decision.

Indeed, the gift of eternal life is something not everybody receives, and therefore not everybody will live forever. This is in direct contradiction to the traditional view which holds that an unsaved person’s body rises but “dies not again,”10 that “the evil ones . . . shall be made immortal,”11 that “every human being ever born lives forever,”12 that in hell they “will continue living in a state with a low quality of life.”13 Conditionalism, on the other hand, accepts what the Bible says is the eternal consequence of failing to turn to Christ for forgiveness of sins: the second death from which the unsaved will never rise again.

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  1. “About GotQuestions.org,” GotQuestions.org, http://www.gotquestions.org/about.html (accessed February 21, 2013). []
  2. “Is annihilationism biblical?” GotQuestions.org, http://www.gotquestions.org/annihilationism.html (accessed February 21, 2013). []
  3. “Episode 4: The case for annihilationism with Glenn Peoples,” hosted by Glenn Peoples, Rethinking Hell

    , September 4, 2012, http://www.rethinkinghell.com/2012/09/episode-4-the-case-for-annihilationism-with-glenn-peoples (accessed February 21, 2013). []
  4. St. Augustine, The City of God, enhanced Kindle edition, locations 16804-16805. []
  5. Glenn Peoples, “The meaning of ‘apollumi’ in the synoptic gospels,” Rethinking Hell [blog] (posted October 27, 2012), http://www.rethinkinghell.com/2012/10/the-meaning-of-apollumi-in-the-synoptic-gospels (accessed February 21, 2013). []
  6. Chris Date, “Their worm does not die: Annihilation and ,” Rethinking Hell [blog] (posted July 17, 2012), http://www.rethinkinghell.com/2012/07/their-worm-does-not-die-annihilation-and-mark-948 (accessed February 25, 2012). []
  7. Chris Date, “The fire is not quenched: Annihilation and (Part 2),” Rethinking Hell [blog] (posted November 20, 2012), http://www.rethinkinghell.com/2012/11/the-fire-is-not-quenched-annihilation-and-mark-948-part-2 (accessed February 25, 2012). []
  8. Philip Larkin, Philip Larkin Poems: Selected by Martin Amis (Faber and Faber, 2012), Kindle edition, locations 1247-1254. []
  9. William Barclay, The Apostles’ Creed (Westminster John Knox Press, 1999), 298. []
  10. John Gill, A Body of Doctrinal Divinity: Or a System of Evangelical Truths (Baptist Standard Bearer, 2001), 679. []
  11. Belgic Confession, Article 37, http://www.reformed.org/documents/BelgicConfession.html. []
  12. John MacArthur, “The Answer to Life’s Greatest Qustion, Part 1,” http://www.gty.org/resources/print/sermons/42-141. []
  13. Habermas, G. and Moreland, J.P. Immortality: The Other Side of Death (Thomas Nelson, 1992), 173. []

20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

13:1 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”

And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear:

10 If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. 16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

13:1 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.

And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.

11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.

But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; 10 they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. 11 As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. 12 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast.

14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.

15 having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.

15 having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.

11:1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the Council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.

54 Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples.

55 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. 56 They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?” 57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11 And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. 12 And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

1 Corinthians 15:53

53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.

15 having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter. Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.

“As I looked,

thrones were placed,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued
and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.

11 “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.

13 “I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.

15 “As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. 16 I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. 17 ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’

19 “Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet, 20 and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. 21 As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.

23 “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast,

there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,
which shall be different from all the kingdoms,
and it shall devour the whole earth,
and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
24 As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them;
he shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.
25 He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.
26 But the court shall sit in judgment,
and his dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and destroyed to the end.
27 And the kingdom and the dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;
their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey them.’

28 “Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.”

23 “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast,

there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth,
which shall be different from all the kingdoms,
and it shall devour the whole earth,
and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
24 As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,
and another shall arise after them;
he shall be different from the former ones,
and shall put down three kings.

11 “I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire.

26 But the court shall sit in judgment,
and his dominion shall be taken away,
to be consumed and destroyed to the end.
27 And the kingdom and the dominion
and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High;
their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
and all dominions shall serve and obey them.’

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:8

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’

24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

26 And your dead body shall be food for all birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth, and there shall be no one to frighten them away.

48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’

47 Say to the forest of the Negeb, Hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree in you and every dry tree. The blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from south to north shall be scorched by it. 48 All flesh shall see that I the Lord have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.”

27 But if you do not listen to me, to keep the Sabbath day holy, and not to bear a burden and enter by the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem and shall not be quenched.’”

Seek the Lord and live,
lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph,
and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel,

17 Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore my wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched.

25 Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands, therefore my wrath will be poured out on this place and will not be quenched.

48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’

48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’

24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,

15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:8

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.