In a January, 2013 interview, Christian apologist and teacher Douglas Jacoby joined Rethinking Hell contributor Chris Date to discuss his latest book, What’s the Truth About Heaven and Hell? His book has since been published, and Rethinking Hell has received permission from Jacoby and from his publisher, Harvest House, to reproduce chapter 8 entitled, “No Exit.”

8

No Exit

Does It Ever End?

The punishments of sin in the world to come, are everlasting separation from
the comfortable presence of God, and most grievous torments in soul and body,
without intermission, in hell fire forever.

WESTMINSTER LARGER CATECHISM

[There are] endless opportunities in an endless amount of time for people to say yes to God.
As long as it takes, in other words.

ROB BELL

The destructive process will include distress, fury, tribulation, and God’s wrath.
No one should think that the wicked simply go quietly asleep.
This is not an easy demise. The second death is not a peaceful death.

EDWARD FUDGE

I recently attended a dialogue on the duration of hell. Three scholars, representing infinite torment, universalism, and conditionalism, shared the floor.1 I was most intrigued by the spirit of mutual respect. At times, it was more than respect—verging on collegiality, even camaraderie. If only that spirit would always typify the debate on hell. In some books the battle lines have long been drawn, no side willing to cede an inch. As I have seen with my own eyes, it does not need to be this way.
I embraced the traditional view when I became a Christian at Duke University. I was unaware that there were any other serious contenders. The seminary at which I got my next degree, Harvard Divinity School, is universalist. (Universalists believe that no one will be lost.) The Bible was discredited as the word of God; we needed only to march to the beat of the drummer within. To me, universalism did not seem a serious contender. A couple of years later I stumbled across the writings of the annihilationists (or conditionalists, as they believe humans will become immortal only on the condition that God grants them this gift). I knew that advocates of the first and third views had many Scriptures to back them up, but I was taken aback to learn that some universalists also have well thought-through positions.
In this chapter we will lay out these three principal views on hell. All three were present in ancient Judaism, from which Christianity emerged, as they were in early Christianity. We will also look briefly at medieval thought on hell. After developing the positions and covering the history, we will see that each has its modern proponents.

  • the traditional view: infinite torment
  • the universalist view: eventual salvation for all
  • the conditional view: punishment followed by annihilation

The Traditional View
The traditional view, also called infinite torment, has the weight of church history on its side. Infinite torment is the official position of most churches and has reigned unchallenged since at least the fifth century. Eternal in is understood to mean “infinite.” The consuming fire of is interpreted as infinite punishment. (Actually, the passage is ambiguous.)2
Given the ambiguity of eternal, the traditional view relies on three passages to give color to eternal punishment. They are the parable of the rich man and Lazarus () and two passages in the apocalypse ( and 20:10,15). The theological basis is that the lost have sinned against an infinite being and thus deserve infinite (endless) punishment. As a result, there will be forever two kingdoms—the kingdom of God and the kingdom of evil.3 “Evil is an eternal element in the universe, no less positively real than the good itself.”4
The Universalist View
Universalists reason that since it is God’s will that all be saved (; ), and he is all-powerful, all will be saved. They also reason from God’s essence as love (). It would be unloving, and thus against his nature, to allow anyone to suffer forever.5 His overarching purpose, to bring everyone into the heavenly kingdom, will not be frustrated. God will be all in all () only when evil has been universally destroyed. (This is also a point made by the conditionalists.) Further, passages such as seem to depict unbelievers alive and well in the next world.
Universalists reason that if God can forgive sinners in this age, there is no reason why he couldn’t forgive them in the age to come. Some regard the fire of judgment either as restorative or as both retributive and restorative.6 Note that we are not critiquing secular or liberal universalism, neither of which is based on the gospel.7 Our concern is rather with the position of Bible believers who lean in the universalist direction. “There has been a more or less continuous tradition of universalism within (and on the penumbra of) Christianity.” Since 1998 a new species of universalism has emerged—evangelical. Advocates accept the reality of sin, the uniqueness of Jesus, the atonement, judgment, and hell.8 They are not numerous, but they are publishing a lot of books.
The Conditionalist View
This view entails two doctrines: the immortality of the soul, which some people see as an intrusion from Platonism, and the efficacy of the fire of judgment to annihilate those who are condemned.
The consuming fire does not preserve, but destroys, just as weeds are burnt up in a furnace (; ; ; ). Sodom serves as an example of eternal fire (; ). The fire does not consume forever; it destroys forever. Annihilation is the eventual result, though it would be wrong to suppose that conditionalists reject hell. “This is no gentle and passive death, but a fearful extinction wrought by potentially excruciating destruction in the fiery pit of the age to come.”9 I recall a scene from the film Terminator II. The terminator ends his robotic existence in a lake of molten metal. Slowly he slips beneath the surface; his destruction is not instantaneous, but it culminates in complete destruction. At last he is unconscious, extinguished forever.
Support for this view is found in the Old Testament (; ; ) and in the New Testament (; ). This is the position of the Seventh-day Adventists. In addition, the Church of the East (not to be confused with the Eastern Orthodox) holds to this position and may have done so since before it branched off of the Western Catholic Church in the early 400s.10

The Penal Justice of God

View

Analogy

Infinite torment

Infinite corporal punishment

Universalism

Corporal punishment (if any at all)
and then release

Conditionalism

Corporal punishment and then capital
punishment

First-Century Jews
I’ll never forget a lecture by New Testament professor James Charlesworth, who once visited King’s College London when I was a postgraduate student there. He demolished the notion that Jews in the time of Jesus all believed the same things.11 There was diversity then, just as now. “What did the Jews believe about ___?” is the wrong question. On many subjects there were multiple understandings. This was eye-opening for me; imagining that everyone thought alike had been so much easier. I still hear people say that all Jews in New Testament times believed in eternal torment, but this is not accurate. There was a diversity of positions among the rabbis.
No Old Testament passages clearly support infinite torment ( seems to teach the opposite), but the notion is found in many later works.12 The immortality of the soul and infinite punishment were part of Greek religion and philosophy, but the Jews had a long history of resisting such influences.13 Conditional immortality (annihilation) also finds wide support.14 In the Dead Sea Scrolls, the wicked are completely consumed. The first passage (chronologically) to unambiguously promote eternal torment is Judith 16:17, which is part of the Old Testament Apocrypha, accepted in Catholic and Orthodox churches as canonical.

The nations who rise up against my people are doomed.
The Lord Almighty will punish them on Judgment Day.
He will send fire and worms to devour their bodies,
and they will weep in pain forever (Judith 16:17).15

Notice that in Judith, Isaiah’s corpses being devoured by fire and worms have become sentient—not a subtle change. There were two Jewish views on Gehenna: It consumed sinners, or it tormented them forever. In the Babylonian Talmud, the worst sinners were sentenced to Gehenna for 12 months, after which “their bodies are destroyed, their souls are burned, and the wind strews the ashes under the feet of the pious.” There is no Gehenna in the future world.16
As for universalism, in the oldest rabbinic reference to Gehenna (Talmudic tractate Sanhedrin 13:3), the disciples of Shammai interpreted it as purgatorial, not merely punitive—though only in the case of those whose transgressions and merits balance one another.
Annihilation is taught in every book of the Apocrypha except Judith (as we saw above). In the Dead Sea Scrolls, the wicked are always completely destroyed. The Targums (Aramaic paraphrases of Scripture with commentary) explain the term “second death.”17 This expression, found in six Targums, refers either to nonresurrection (annihilation) or resurrection followed by eternal life or an eternal death.18
The most careful scholars admit that first-century Judaism was far from monolithic.19 Popular writers like Francis Chan candidly admit that first-century Jews regarded hell as a place of punishment, though they differed over its duration.20
Early Christian Positions on Hell
There are no unambiguous Scriptures supporting infinite torment in the New Testament, unless and 20:10,15 are meant to be taken literally. (If they are, this is strong support for infinite torment.) However, a few generations after the New Testament period, some Christians were cooking up horrific tortures for the damned (as in the Apocalypse of Peter, the Acts of Thomas, and the Apocalypse of Paul). Some second-century apologists, including Athenagoras and Tertullian, accepted the Greek doctrine of the soul, typically in defending the Christian doctrine of the resurrection of the body.21 Irenaeus held both annihilationist and traditionalist views simultaneously.
Universalism was always a minority view. Its most illustrious advocates were Clement of Alexandria (AD 150–215) and Origen (AD 185–254).22 Both taught that apokatastasis (restoration) purified sinners so that they would ultimately be made holy. Gregory of Nyssa (335–395) continued Origen’s thought, keeping the universalist strain alive.23
Conditional immortality (annihilationism) was taught by the apostolic fathers, the Epistle of Barnabas, the Didache, and Justin Martyr (late first to mid-second centuries). Irenaeus, as mentioned, seems to have held to annihilationism and infinite torment, while Arnobius (who died about AD 330) rejected the traditional view outright.
Summarizing the early church period, annihilationism was prevalent until the mid-second century. It seems to have been the de facto position of the apostolic fathers, churchmen living within two or three generations of the apostles.24 They used words like perish, destroy, consume, and kill, without explicitly concluding that such terms were being used in a special sense entailing immortality. Yet over the entire period (between about AD 30 and 325), infinite torment was unquestionably dominant. David Bercot, an expert on the church fathers, estimates that as many as 85 percent of writers in the early church stood for the traditional view, followed by conditionalists and (in last place) the universalists.25
I find three things noteworthy about the early period. First is the incredible diversity of opinion. Even such a stalwart defender of infinite torment as John Walvoord admitted that there was diversity of opinion from the beginning of the Christian era.26 Second, despite the diversity, no one was excommunicated for his or her difference of opinion about the nature of hell. Last, all writers took to describe Hades (), the location of those in the intermediate state, not hell. (In we will amplify this claim.)
The Medieval Church
The medieval period stretches from the time the Roman Empire favored Christianity (from around AD 311) to the Renaissance (around 1400). Persecution came to an end. There is little doubt the most influential churchman was Augustine (354??–??430). Whereas in the first three centuries there were different opinions on hell, Augustine pushed hard for uniformity.27 Augustine’s position on infinite torment determined the direction of the church thereafter.28 Although he was a staunch traditionalist, no dissenter on the topic of hell was ostracized. However, in the century after his death, things changed. At the Council of Constantinople (AD 553), Origen was anathematized.29 The one who thought all might be purified by the fire was, ironically, sentenced to be consigned to the fire—he and anyone who might dare to follow him.
Three other important figures deserve mention, all from the High Middle Ages. One is Anselm (eleventh century), who argued that infinite punishment was required because of God’s offended judgment. Just as an offense against a nobleman was more serious than an offense against a commoner, an offense against God required the greatest punishment—an infinite one. Biblically speaking, Anselm’s model is wrong. The degree of the offense is not rated by feudal thinking; with God there is no such favoritism (; ; ). The notion of infinite sin is also found in Thomas Aquinas (thirteenth century). Aquinas reasoned that at death the soul begins to suffer in hell, joined later by the body after the general resurrection. The third person of influence was Dante Ali-ghieri (thirteenth–fourteenth centuries). His graphic descriptions of the pains of purgatory and hell in The Divine Comedy still haunt the modern mind.
Modern Christian Thinkers
Infinite Torment
In our era, and with arguably greater religious freedom than at any time since before Augustine, all three of the ancient views are proliferating. Needless to say, infinite torment is the strongest position, at least if it came to a head count.30 Adherents follow Anselm’s reasoning that any sin demands infinite punishment because it is directed against an infinite being.31 One advocate states, “God has given the wicked resurrection bodies so that they cannot die.”32 is interpreted in terms of eternal torment.33 Another eloquent proponent claims Paul “teaches most directly about hell in 2 Thessalonians.”34 refers to the Lord’s coming, fire, vengeance, destruction, and banishment.
Several writers assert that backing away from a view of hell that includes eternal torment is a cowardly capitulation to peer pressure and political correctness.35 We are called not to decide which parts of the Bible we find palatable, but to take an uncompromising stand on the word of God. Interestingly, a number of traditionalists deemphasize hell by suggesting that the number of souls actually consigned there is small.36
For many Protestants, eternal torment is a major point of doctrine. Moreover, the Westminster Confession of 1646 says that the wicked proceed immediately to hell, the souls of the righteous to the highest heavens.37 (There is no intermediate state.)
Universal Salvation
Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834) was the first influential theologian since the Patristic period to consider universalism. Hell, he reasoned, should be reformative—a process. Many have followed in his train.38 Hell is a remedy, “a pedagogic cleansing process.”39 To put it less pedantically, “God will put on the screws tighter and tighter until we come to ourselves and are willing to consider the good he has prepared for us.”40
There are variants of universalism, like the idea that although everyone can expect a postmortem chance to respond to the truth, those who persist in rejecting God will be destroyed.41 Sharon Baker holds that in the fire (which is God’s very presence), we have a choice to repent and be purified or to be consumed. This combines universalism with annihilationism.42 “While we were still enemies of God, as opponents, still steeped in our sin, still unrepentant, deserving nothing but evil in return for our rebellion (retributive justice), God reached out to reconcile us through Jesus (restorative justice).” Why may he not do so after death? “How does eternal damnation, burning forever in unquenchable fire, redeem and restore?”43 God’s goal of restoration (apokatastasis, as we discussed in ) is broader than human salvation; he purposes to restore the entire cosmos.
Universalism has been recently considered by Rob Bell (endorsed by Eugene Peterson), founder of Mars Hill Bible Church. Even if we die unprepared, we may be purified by “flames in heaven” so that “we can actually handle heaven.” God is able to provide “endless opportunities in an endless amount of time for people to say yes to God. As long as it takes, in other words.” Bell stops short of committing himself, but it seems fair to call him a quasi universalist. “Renewal and return cause God’s greatness to shine through the universe; never-ending punishment doesn’t.”44 The book has been heavily criticized by Mark Galli, senior managing editor of Christianity Today,45 and addressed, among others, by Christian speaker and writer Francis Chan.46 Brian McLaren, prominent leader in the emergent church movement, says “we need to have this conversation.”47 With so many big names in the conversation, perhaps we should respond to universalism with more than a yawn. Its position feels compelling to many, especially among the younger generation. Right or wrong, its stance on hell is perceived as more reasonable (less barbaric) than the traditional view, and its proponents more gentle and winsome—qualities all who love the Lord certainly appreciate.
Annihilation
The best-known advocate of conditionalism, the third of the major views on hell, is undoubtedly Edward Fudge. His magnum opus, The Fire That Consumes, has been in print for more than 30 years.48 Three theological heavyweights, much respected across the spectrum of evangelicalism, have written the forewords for its three editions: F.F. Bruce, John Wenham, and Richard Bauckham.49 That he was able to enlist the support of scholars of such stature says a lot about the respectability and influence of conditionalism. Fudge is well aware that tradition is against his thesis. But why couldn’t the majority be wrong? “Most of the Christian Church was confused about the core doctrine of justification by grace through faith from about the time of Augustine until the Protestant Reformation—a period of more than a thousand years.”50 Baptist minister and professor of theology at Baylor University Roger E. Olson shares a helpful perspective:

Annihilation does not strike at the heart of the gospel or even deny any major Christian belief; it is simply a reinterpretation of hell. More importantly, its harsh condemnation by a few fundamentalists should not deter Christians from accepting one another equally as believers in the gospel of Jesus Christ in spite of differences of opinion about the nature of hell. Contrary to what some fundamentalist critics have charged, annihilationism is not tantamount to universalism or apokatastasis. It is simply a minority view of the nature of hell, not a denial of hell.51

Fudge says “The destructive process will include distress (), fury (), tribulation () and God’s wrath (; ). No one should think that the wicked simply go quietly asleep. This is not an easy demise. The second death is not a peaceful death.”52 Another notes: “While John baptized in water, a symbol of the eschatological judgment and purification, the one to come…would purify the righteous and burn up the unrighteous.”53
In , where false teachers are cursed, Paul has in mind their utter destruction. Greek anathema translates the Hebrew herem (; ). Anathema and herem refer to destruction. Thus the onus is on those who assign a metaphorical meaning to words like kill, destroy, consume.54
A belief in conditionalism is not based on emotion, although one’s view of God—his justice, love, and essential goodness—is no doubt a factor in the types of ultimate scenarios one can tolerate. John Stott famously told the evangelical world, “I find the concept [of eternal conscious torment] intolerable, and do not understand how people can live with it without cauterizing their feelings or cracking under the strain.”55 In response, biblical scholar F.F. Bruce wrote to him, “Annihilation is certainly an acceptable interpretation of the relevant New Testament passages…For myself, I remain agnostic. Eternal conscious torment is incompatible with the revealed character of God.”56 Professor Richard Bauckham of the University of Cambridge is just one of many living scholars standing for the conditionalist view.57
Conditionalism recognizes that in some sense the lost become less than human, like the grumbler who becomes a “grumble” in Lewis’s The Great Divorce. N.T. Wright, who steers a middle course between the traditional view and conditionalism, believes that humans cease to bear the divine image by their own effective choice, yet “still exist in an ex-human state, no longer reflecting their maker in any meaningful sense…” However, he holds this view lightly, admitting speculation: “I am well aware that I have now wandered into territory that no one can claim to have mapped.”58
Francis Chan leans towards the infinite torment view but concedes there is abundant evidence for annihilation. His comments on are apropos: “This verse is not crystal clear, and anyone who thinks it is needs a good dose of interpretive humility.”59
Assessment: Infinite Torment
The traditional view has the strong weight of tradition on its side, but that does not exempt its advocates from the need to prove their position. Too often supporters read the conclusion into the texts instead of properly deriving them. One expositor claims that the apostle Paul “teaches most directly about hell in 2 Thessalonians [1:7-10],” where Christ comes at the last day to bring retributive justice, with exclusion from the presence and majesty of the Lord and eternal destruction. Yet this passage can just as easily be read to support the conditionalist view. Another, commenting on , tells us “The worms do not die and the fire is not quenched because these dead people are not dead! They are burning ‘dead’ in torment…One does not have to be a traditionalist to see that ‘carcasses’ which do not die are ever-living ‘carcasses.’?” But he hasn’t proved his point, only asserted it. A third writer comments on Jesus’s use of : “The corpses of those enduring everlasting torment will serve as a vivid reminder to the grievous nature and terrible consequences of rebellion against God. In referring to this verse, Jesus spoke of the Valley of Hinnom (i.e., Gehenna) where a continually burning trash heap pictured the never-ending pain of the lost ().” In fact, Jesus never mentions “never-ending pain,” which is read into the text. These are common examples of begging the question.60
Expositors of infinite torment commonly fail to interpret the genre of apocalypse. For example, the nonstop burning of should be read in the light of .61 We have already discussed the limitations of and 20 (and the rest of the Apocalypse) for deriving doctrine about the afterlife. There is no need to literalize the richly symbolic apocalyptic metaphors.
Advocates of the traditional view, discussing human sin, speak of “the infinity of the evil.” This concept seems to be an import from theology or philosophy rather than an explicit teaching in the relevant texts themselves. Sinners are “always infinitely guilty of what one has done; the sentence never overtakes the crime.”62 Several advocates reason that in hell, sinners continue to hate God, accruing to themselves more guilt and punishment continually.63 Some have backed away from Anselm’s argument, which relies on a sense of feudal justice, but others try to salvage it. “Culpability is determined largely by the identity of the victim,” writes one author, who abandons Anselm’s sequence of slave, commoner, nobleman, and God, and in its place talks about ants, flies, frogs, squirrels, puppies, humans, and the “infinite and holy God.”64 Of course one who kills a human should be punished, and no one would be charged with murder in the case of swatting a fly. But no one kills God (in the sense of bringing his life to an end), and “offended justice” hardly relates to squirrels and puppies, so the argument fails. Further, regardless of the degree of pain felt by the impenitent, still their “total” misery is infinite. Every sinner thus receives the same punishment—violating the principle of and calling into question God’s fairness.
“Infinite hell protects society from lawlessness. Fear of hellfire is a powerful deterrent against sin”—or at least that is commonly said. Even if there is no hell, it is still better for society if we preach it. But is that true? Has anyone demonstrated a positive correlation between belief in hell and virtue? This argument was asserted by the educated upper class, who often merely pretended to believe in hell for the greater social good. But if a belief in hell did lead to virtue, criminals who believed in hell should have been more virtuous than their social superiors who did not.
We do not determine doctrine based on how we feel about God’s righteous standards (), but one aspect of the traditional position elicits a strong emotional response and deserves an answer. “How could heaven be heaven if just off the back porch of heaven is a fiery pit of screaming souls?”65 The first conditionalists I spoke with (some 30 years ago) asked, “What kind of a father rewards the good children upstairs, while down in the basement he is torturing the naughty ones forever?” If we predicate such a sternness of God and it turns out not to be true, would we not be impugning his character? It makes sense that God punishes sin (see ), but to torment someone infinitely?
On the other hand, we must agree with Miroslav Volf that, “With some notable exceptions, especially in recent centuries, most Christians have thought that the self-giving character of God’s love is not incompatible with the reality of eternal [infinite] punishment of those who refused to be redeemed by God’s love. That punishment has itself been seen as a mode of God’s love…a difficult thought that underscores the fundamental importance for Christians of the conviction that God is love.”66 Perhaps most believers’ natural repulsion at the thought of hell is more culturally conditioned than we may realize.
In a related thought, Yarbrough (who holds the traditional view) writes, “With Stott, I affirm that eternal conscious torment strains our sense of justice. It weighs heavily on our emotions. But so does the daily news. Can anyone take it in?…Can anyone make sense of things to…the bereaved of suicide bombers in Israel? To hapless victims of a Western serial killer? To any of their moms and dads?…I cannot make sense of any of it, and I am suspicious of anyone who says they can—anyone, that is, except Christ.”67 In other words, regardless of whether hell lasts forever, we still have to process horrific pain and suffering in our world. There are coping mechanisms that allow adherents of infinite torment to still affirm the love of God.
The weight of tradition is firmly on the traditionalist side. Its long pedigree, from the second half of the second century to the twentieth, is impressive indeed. Millions of godly persons believe it. The position may be right, but it is hardly a slam dunk.
The title of a recent book in favor of infinite punishment is Is Hell Real or Does Everyone Go to Heaven?68 But this presents a false choice. Most conditionalists believe in hell, just not in its infinity. And quite a few universalists accept hellfire as God’s means of purifying and saving everyone. Let us now assess the two main rivals to infinite punishment.
Assessment: Universalism
Universalism, like Calvinism, underscores the success of God’s sovereign plan. He will save whom he will—which in the case of universalism is all the world.
The view also highlights God’s wisdom and love. He is not willing that anyone be lost, and he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (). And yet the rest of makes clear that judgment and death are realities. They will not be bypassed by God’s goodness, only by repentance and faith.
There are several verses that seem to support universalism, though it is quickly seen that they have been wrested from their contexts. The universalist slant on is belied by . is contradicted by .
Besides, many passages seem incapable of sustaining a universalist interpretation, such as ; . Robert Mackintosh, a prominent universalist of the last century, admits that universalism cannot challenge the traditional doctrine on exegetical grounds.69
As we saw in , the “gnashing of teeth” apparently rules out postmortem conversion. The damned are depicted as angry, not remorseful. In fact, nearly all commentators miss the biblical meaning of gnashing. If the lost are defiant, they can hardly turn to God. If the devil and his angels have for ages past chosen to resist God, despite the overwhelming evidence that they are on the losing side (???; ), then there is no strong reason for believing that even with eons of time to consider one’s fate, any would actually change sides.
Universalists ignore the “point of no return” often found in Scripture (; ; ). Even if we grant the hope for postmortem salvation, not everybody will make it. The Bible speaks of a line people can cross, after which there is no repentance or even a desire for repentance.
The universalist claim that apokatastasis (“restoration,” referred to in ) applies to all the lost does not work. The Greek word is found in in connection with the restoration of the land of Israel (also in Josephus Antiquities 11.63), in medical texts, legal texts (referring to hostages and to property), and political writings (referring to order). The word never, however, refers to the restoration of persons—only of things.70
As Kreeft and Tacelli have pointed out, universalism takes away free will.71 God always gets his way. Unless free will is only a sham, this is a serious problem.
J.I. Packer’s critique is insightful: “Its sunny optimism may be reassuring and comfortable, but it wholly misses the tragic quality of human sin, human unbelief, and human death set forth in the Bible…It needs to be actively opposed so that the world may know the truth about the judgment, the love, and the salvation of our God.”72
Two sorts of universalism run through both testaments. First, God desires that Gentiles (outsiders to the Jewish covenant) be included among the people of God (; ; ). Second, God desires the welfare of all mankind, though he does not coerce them to respond to his offer of salvation. God’s care extends beyond the elect. In this respect, universalism outperforms Calvinism.
We commend the universalists for their vision that ultimately God will be all in all and that sin and the dominion of darkness will be done away with. But not many serious Bible students will be won over given the thinness of the scriptural case.
Assessment: Conditional Immortality
The conditionalist works well with the biblical doctrine of the soul. The soul is not innately immortal; eternal life is a gift only to those in a right relationship with God. Traditionalists might counter that the resurrection body is imperishable (). However, Paul is dealing with the resurrection of the righteous, who “bear the image of the heavenly man” (). Nothing is said about the lost becoming immortal. Universalists and traditionalists may appreciate the mortality of the soul, but the best fit is with the conditionalist interpretation.
The most common objection to the conditionalist view is that eternal means “eternal.” If eternal is a synonym for infinite, the objection is sustained. But in we explored the meanings of eternity and infinity and concluded that the common understanding of eternal is too narrow.
seems to support infinite torment. As an apocalyptic passage, however, it will not bear a literal interpretation.73 Further, conditionalists respond that the entire traditional view hinges on two highly figurative chapters in a single book of the Bible ( and 20).
Those on the traditionalist side affirm that unquenchable fire means that not only the fire but also those cast into it must always burn. But Homer uses the same phrase when the Trojans burned the Grecian ships,74 as does Eusebius when speaking of the martyrs who have been reduced to ashes.75 In neither case does the phrase involve conflagration in perpetuity. Pompeii comes to mind, and especially the images of those unfortunate souls incinerated in the volcanic eruption of AD 79. They had no hope of survival in such ferocious heat. Whatever goes through unquenchable fire will be burned up. This implies destruction.
The apocalyptic passages become the lens through which eternal punishment is understood as infinite torture. In , eternal punishment is parallel to eternal life, so the lost must be in torment as long as the saved are in heaven. If they were merely snuffed out, how would this be an “eternal” punishment? Wouldn’t they be getting off easy? Herman Witsius (1636–1708), a shaper of seventeenth-century Reformed orthodoxy (and a traditionalist), asked, “May it not, in its measure, be reckoned an infinite punishment, should God please to doom man, who was by nature a candidate for immortality, to total annihilation, from whence he should never be suffered to return to life?” Witsius admitted that sinners deserve punishment infinite in measure, but not infinite in intensity. Annihilation would deprive sinners of the enjoyment of infinite good (God) forever. He admitted that whether the sinner would exist forever or be annihilated, “I own that I am ignorant.”76 So respected was Witsius, J.I. Packer suggested that Witsius’s writings have “landmark status as summing up a whole era” of Reformed theology.77 Therefore we should take note of his openness to a broader definition of eternal than many Bible-believers hold today.
Actually, Jonathan Edwards made the same point as Witsius, as did Augustine before him: “Where a very serious crime is punished by death and the execution of the sentence takes only a minute, no laws consider that minute as the measure of the punishment, but rather the fact that the criminal is forever removed from the community of the living.”78
The conditionalist view takes sin seriously (a strength of the infinite torment view) but also embraces the complete obliteration of evil in the universe (a strength of universalism). No more incongruous “concentration camp” in the middle of heaven. The Lord will not be angry forever (; ).
Like universalism, conditionalism deserves a better hearing than it has received. Unlike universalism, conditionalism has ample scriptural support.
Five Scholars Offer Perspective
As we have seen, diversity of opinion about hell has characterized Christianity since the second century. My goal is not to vindicate one particular view, but to present them all so that they may be evaluated in the light of Scripture. Five highly respected scholars will now bring our discussion to a close with apt words of counsel.
Ben Witherington III holds a hybrid view. This is from one of his blogs:

Based on all my work on the theology and ethics of the NT…if I were a betting man (which I am not), I would bet that probably the annihilationist view is closer to the truth [than the traditional view], based on the revealed character of God in Christ as both just and loving. But I don’t know that I can be sure about this when the evidence is so imagaic and so metaphorical…I have to be honest and say either conclusion is possible, and equally orthodox…Equally orthodox Christians can agree to disagree and should not question each other’s orthodoxy because of it.79

John Wenham holds the conditional view. He admits, “The temptation to twist what might be quite plain statements of Scripture is intense. It is the ideal situation for unconscious rationalizing.”80 (Nevertheless, he believed he was led by careful Bible study to the conditionalist position.) This degree of introspection in a Christian thinker is rare. Wenham was aware of his “lenses,” and he reminds us that none of us are as objective as we might like to think.
J.I. Packer holds the infinite torment view. He shows the spirit of respect that is essential for meaningful dialogue on this sensitive subject. “It is distasteful to argue in print against honored fellow evangelicals, some of whom are good friends and others of whom…are now with Christ, so I stop right here.”81
C.S. Lewis adheres to the traditional view and believes in purgatory.

That the lost soul is eternally fixed in its diabolical attitude we cannot doubt: but whether this eternal fixity implies endless duration—or duration at all—we cannot say…[Hell] was not made for men. It is in no sense parallel to heaven: it is “the darkness outside,” the outer rim where being fades away into nonentity.82

Early church historian David Bercot supports an independent view. He is loath to believe in eternal torment, but in the final analysis, he is agnostic. “What happens?” says Bercot? “I don’t know and you don’t either.”25

In Brief

  • The three basic positions on hell are infinite torment, eventual annihilation, and universalism.
  • All three were present in the early church. One’s position was not made a test of fellowship until the sixth century.
  • Infinite torment has the support of some 1600 years of tradition.
  • Annihilation has biblical support and has become much more prominent in the last few decades.83
  • Universalism is the most difficult of the three positions to support biblically.

Questions for Self-Examination

  • Am I looking forward to heaven?
  • Are my concepts of heaven and hell static or dynamic? Have I made up my mind long ago, or do I still expect to learn more from the Scriptures?
  • How does my understanding of hell affect my concept of God?
  • Do I still have a sense of wonder at these eternal mysteries?
  • How often do I talk to others about the next world? Do I generally keep the gospel message to myself, or do I allow the Lord to use me as a conduit for his grace?
  1. The scholars were Jerry Walls (representing the traditional view of infinite torment), Thomas Talbott (espousing universalism) and Edward Fudge (conditionalism). 12 June 2012, Lipscomb University, Nashville. []
  2. N.T. scholar Craig Keener is ambivalent: “ may well be interpreted as destruction (annihilation), but Judith 16:17 (second century BC) had already taken it in the sense of eternal torment, so there is some cause for thinking Jesus may have believed in infinite punishment.” Craig S Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 160. []
  3. Augustine, Enchiridion 111. []
  4. Baillie, among others, draws out the implication. John M. Baillie, And The Life Everlasting (London: Oxford University Press 1934), 244. John Gerstner, Repent or Perish (Ligonier, Penna: Soli Deo Gloria, 1990), 53, is an example of a modern teacher who still believes that Satan will forever rule in hell. []
  5. Thomas Talbott, in The Inescapable Love of God (Boca Raton, Florida: Universal Publishers, 1999), Starts with “God is love” and assumes actions of God must be loving. Talbott makes a further, intriguing point (especially for those in the Calvinist camp). “And if it is not heretical for Calvinists to believe that all passive recipients of God’s electing love will all be saved in the end, why should it be heretical for universalists to believe this as well?” Those who believe in predestination make assumptions similar to the universalists’. Even if we don’t want to be saved, says the Calvinist, God’s grace will be irresistible. If it is his will, we will be saved. Talbott’s reasoning is sound, although it will not carry much weight with Arminians. “Universalism, Calvinism, and Arminianism: Some Preliminary Reflections,” 5. This paper may be easily found on the Web, e.g. http://www.willamette.edu/~ttalbott/prolegomenon.shtml. []
  6. Robin A. Parry and Christopher H. Partridge, eds. Universal Salvation? The Current Debate (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), xxiv. []
  7. There are varieties of universalism. Secular universalism holds that everyone will make it in the end. Christian universalism holds to the gospel truth that all who are saved are justified through Christ. This further breaks down into two types, salvation through responding to gospel (sooner or later everyone will say “yes’), and salvation by implicitly responding to gospel (people may be saved through Jesus Christ even though they are unaware of the fact, for example a devout Hindu or a pious Buddhist). Furthermore, some universalists construe hellfire as purifying; being saved may be quite painful, but still all mankind will make it in the end. []
  8. Comment by Karl Rahner, cited in in M. Ludlow, Universal Salvation: Eschatology in the Thought of Gregory of Nyssa and Karl Rahner Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 15. Prominent evangelical universalists today include Sharon Baker, Jan Bonda, Robin Parry, and Thomas Talbott. These stand in sharp contrast to other universalist theologians, like John Hick, Death and Eternal Life (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1994); Evil and the God of Love (London: Fontana, 1974). Hick does, however, support a theme that has been taken up by universalists like Talbott: human response to the wooing of divine love. []
  9. Edward William Fudge, The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment, 3rd edition (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books), 2011, 122. []
  10. Stanley J. Grenz, Theology for the Community of God (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), 638; David W. Bercot, The Early Christians and Three Views of Hell (CD) (Amberson, Pennsylvania: Scroll Publishing, 2012). []
  11. James Charlesworth (at that time a visiting professor from Duke University), “Pseudepigrapha, Early Judaism, and Christian Origins.” Kings College London, 8 March 1984. Currently Charlesworth serves as director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Project at Princeton Theological Seminary. []
  12. Judith 16:17; 1 Enoch 27:2, 53:1-3, 91:9; 2 Enoch 40:12-13, 10:1-6; Sibylline Oracles 52:290-310; 2 Baruch 44;12-15,51-56; Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs Reuben 5:5, Gad 7:5, Benjamin 7:5; Jubilees 36:10; 4 Maccabees 12:12. []
  13. In Homer’s Odyssey XI, 575 Tantalus, Sisyphus, Tityus, and Ixion are doomed to endless punishment in Tartarus. Virgil’s Aeneid also contains the idea. []
  14. Psalms of Solomon 3:11-12; Sibylline Oracles 4:175-185; 4 ; Pseudo-Philo 16:3. Thus the Pseudepigrapha are divided. Technically Judith is not included in the list, but we list it because it belongs with the other references. The term Pseudepigrapha refers to Jewish works of pseudonymous authorship. They were normally attributed to great figures of faith. None of these documents were accepted as canonical, with the lone exception of 1 Enoch, which is part of the O.T. canon of the Ethiopic Orthodox Church. []
  15. For the usual sense of worms as agents of decomposition, “For when a man is dead, he shall inherit creeping things, beasts, and worms. Moths and worms shall have him to heritage, and a bold man shall be taken away” (Ecclesiasticus 10:11, 19:3). []
  16. “Ge-hinnom” in The Jewish Encyclopedia, vol 5, cols 581-583, 1925. []
  17. Alberdina Houtman and Magda Misset-van de Weg, “The Fate of the Wicked: Second Death in Early Jewish and Christian Texts,” in Empsychoi Logoi—Religious Innovations in Antiquity: Studies in Honour of Pieter Willem van der Horst, Ed. A. Houtman, A. de Jong, and M. van de Weg, 405-424. Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity 73 (Leiden: Brill, 2008). The authors conclude also that the “second death” in Revelation was possibly inspired by ; ; annihilation was presupposed (p.410). []
  18. Targums Onqelos and Jonathan, on ; ; . []
  19. Craig S Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 58. []
  20. Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle, Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity, and The Things We Made Up (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2011), 56. []
  21. A typical passage is Tertullian, The Resurrection of the Flesh, 35. []
  22. Clement of Alexandria, Paedogogus 1:8; Protrepticus 9; Stromata 6:6; Origen De Principiis 1.6.2-4; Contra Celsum 5.15, 6:25. []
  23. Origen In Ezech. Hom. 1,2; Gregory of Nyssa, Oratio Catechetica 26. []
  24. Here are the relevant references in the extrabiblical Christian literature of the first 150 years: Didache1:1, 16:5; 1 Clement 9:1 (note, 2 Clement 17:6-7, which is normally not attributed to Clement, and dates from c.160 AD, shows the infinite torment view); Ignatius Ephesians 11:1, 16:2; Smyrnaeans 6:1; Magnesians 5:1; Trallians 2:1; Polycarp Philippians 7:1; Martyrdom of Polycarp 2:3, 11:2; Barnabas 4:12, 20:1, 21:1, 21:3; Diognetus 10:7-8; Justin First Apology 12,17,45; 2 Apolology 1,8,9. []
  25. David W. Bercot, The Early Christians and Three Views of Hell (CD) (Amberson, Pennsylvania: Scroll Publishing, 2012). [] []
  26. John F. Walvoord, William V. Crockett, Zachary J. Hayes, and Clark H. Pinnock, Four Views on Hell (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 14. []
  27. Through Augustine’s influence Purgatory also became the standard accepted view, as did his doctrine of original sin, which served as an apologetic for infant baptism. In the fourth century the testimony is mixed; by the fifth, the medieval Catholic view of salvation and the afterlife develops rigid contours. []
  28. Traditionalist author Harry Buis admits that there was a certain state of fluidity before Augustine. The Doctrine of Universal Punishment (Philadelphia: Presbyterian & Reformed, 1957), 61. []
  29. The Council of Constantinople (553); also Fourth Lateran Council (1215), and Vatican I (1870); as well as the words of Pope Innocent IV (1224). []
  30. Traditionalists include Beale, Blanchard, Block, Braun, Cottrell, Davies, Dixon, Ferguson, Gerstner, Harmon, Helm, Hodge, Horton, Lucado, Mohler, Moo, Morey, Morgan, Packer, Peterson, Pettegrew, Ryrie, Spurgeon, Strong, Walvoord, and Yarbrough. This list includes professional academics (usually attached to universities) and popular authors. Representative of works supporting infinite torment is John F. Walvoord, William V. Crockett, Zachary J. Hayes, Clark H. Pinnock, (Four Views on Hell. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996). An older title has been resurrected and sold very well in the (predominantly Calvinist) evangelical market. It is William G. T. Shedd, The Doctrine of Endless Punishment: Its Historical, Biblical and Rational Defense (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1886). []
  31. Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986), 521. Walvoord claims, “If the slightest sin is infinite in its significance, then it also demands infinite punishment as a divine judgment.” John F. Walvoord, William V. Crockett, Zachary J. Hayes, and Clark H. Pinnock, Four Views on Hell. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 14. Cottrell states that on the cross Jesus “suffered the equivalent of eternity in hell for every sinner.” Jack Cottrell, The Faith Once for All (Joplin, Missouri: College Press), 265. []
  32. John Gerstner, Repent or Perish (Ligonier, Penna: Soli Deo Gloria, 1990), 140. Emphasis original. []
  33. Yarbrough refers to without explanation, as thought it were obvious that these corpses were conscious. Robert W. Yarbrough, Is Hell for Real or Does Everyone Go to Heaven? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), 30. []
  34. Christopher W. Morgan, ed., Hell Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 39. []
  35. Brian Jones, Hell is Real (But I Hate to Admit It!) (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2011), 49. []
  36. E.g. William G. T. Shedd, The Doctrine of Endless Punishment: Its Historical, Biblical and Rational Defense (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1886). []
  37. Question 29 / http://www.ccel.org/ccel/anonymous/westminster2.i.ii.html. []
  38. Friedrich Schleiermacher, The Christian Faith, tr. of 2nd German ed. 1830 (Edinburgh: T&R Clark, 1989), 714-715. Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) doubted traditional concept too on the basis of his profound faith in saving power of Christ. Jörgen Moltmann – restoration of all things. Jörgen Moltmann expected the ultimate restoration of all things. Jörgen Moltmann, The Coming of God: Christian Eschatology (London: SCM, 1996), 250. Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) argued that Christ’s descent into hell [sic] makes salvation possible for all. Hans Urs von Balthasar 1988, Dare We Hope ‘That All Men be Saved? with a Short Discourse on Hell (San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 1988). See also Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Universalism and the Doctrine of Hell: Papers Presented at the Fourth Edinburgh Conference on Christian Dogmatics, 1991 (Carlisle, U.K.: Paternoster Press, 1992). Evangelical theologians since the 1960s who have endorsed or seriously contemplated postmortem evangelism (a dead might get a “second chance”) include George Beasley-Murray, Charles Cranfield, Donald Bloesch, Clark Pinnock, Gabriel Fackre, Nigel Wright, George MacDonald, and Thomas Talbott.
    A great resource for this discussion is Robin A. Parry and Christopher H. Partridge, eds. Universal Salvation? The Current Debate (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), which has valuable contributions from Thomas Talbott, I. Howard Marshall, Thomas Johnson, Jerry Walls, Eric Reitan, Daniel Strange, John Sanders, Morwenna Ludlow, David Hilborn, and Don Horrocks. []
  39. Emil Brunner, Eternal Hope (London: Lutterworth, 1954), 183; ISBE, 677-679. []
  40. Nels Ferré, The Christian Understanding of God (London: SCM, 1951), 230. []
  41. Thomas Johnson, in Robin A. Parry and Christopher H. Partridge, eds. Universal Salvation? The Current Debate (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 75-102. []
  42. Sharon L. Baker, Razing Hell: Rethinking Everything You’ve Been Taught About God’s Words about Judgment (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 115-117, 122, 141. For a similar case, Jon Noe, Hell Yes / Hell No (Indianapolis: East2West Press, 2011), 125. Sharon Baker undergirds her position—that the fire of God’s presence purifies—by an argument that slips past readers who have not been trained in Greek. She makes a connection between the word for sulfur, theeion, and the word for God, theos (p.143). But theeion comes from a different root than theos and the associated adjective, theios/theion. []
  43. Sharon L. Baker, Razing Hell: Rethinking Everything You’ve Been Taught About God’s Words about Judgment (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 93,17. Baker claims that viewing God as violent feeds our own violence and reluctance to forgive and that in the traditional view the lost become scapegoats. She seems to ignore the biblical point of no return which one can reach even in this life (, etc). While she admits that unquenchable fire would naturally annihilate body and soul (), she tries to find a way around this. Razing Hell, 38, 47; 66; 143. []
  44. Rob Bell, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived (New York: HarperOne, 2011), 50, 106-107. 108. []
  45. Mark Galli, God Wins: Heaven, Hell, and Why the Good News is Better than Love Wins (Tyndale 2011). []
  46. Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle, Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity, and The Things We Made Up (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2011). []
  47. Brian McLaren, The Last Word and the Word after That (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005). []
  48. Edward William Fudge, The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment, 3rd edition (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books), 2011. For the slimmer version, read Edward William Fudge, Hell: A Final Word: The Surprising Truths I Found in the Bible (Abilene: Leafwood Publishers, 2012). Also helpful is Edward William Fudge and Robert A. Peterson. Two Views of Hell (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2011). For a concise video approach to the topic, http://www.rethinkinghell.com/2012/08/episode-3-the-goodness-of-god-with-john-stackhouse/#more-1450. []
  49. Edward William Fudge, The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment, 3rd edition (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2011), ix, xi, xii. The book was first released in 1982, appeared in a second edition in 1994, and a third in 2011. []
  50. Edward William Fudge, The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment (Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books), 2011, 3n17. []
  51. Roger E. Olson, On the Mosaic of Christian Belief: Twenty Centuries of Unity & Diversity (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2002), 329. []
  52. Edward William Fudge, Hell: A Final Word: The Surprising Truths I Found in the Bible (Abilene: Leafwood Publishers, 2012), 128. []
  53. M. Eugene Boring, in Matthew: The New Interpreter’s Bible VIII, Leander E. Keck, ed. (Nashville Abingdon 1994), 158. Similarly, Ulrich Luz, Professor of New Testament Studies at the University of Bern, writes “The punishment for the wicked consists in their complete destruction, body and soul. Ulrich Luz, : A Commentary 101 – Trans James E. Crouch. Hermeneia. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001. []
  54. Paul’s language on the destruction of the soul is identical to Plato’s (Phaedo 115b-118a). The difference is that Plato believed the soul to be indestructible; Paul did not. []
  55. Emotionally, I find the concept [of eternal torment] intolerable and do not understand how people can live with it without either cauterizing their feelings or cracking under the strain. But our emotions are a fluctuating, unreliable guide to truth and must not be exalted to the place of supreme authority in determining it. As a committed Evangelical, my question must be-and is-not what my heart tells me, but what does God’s word say? And in order to answer this question, we need to survey the Biblical material afresh and to open our minds (not just our hearts) to the possibility that Scripture points in the direction of annihilationism, and that ‘eternal conscious torment’ is a tradition which has to yield to the supreme authority of Scripture.” John Stott and David L. Edwards, Evangelical Essentials: A Liberal-Evangelical Dialogue (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1988), 314-315. []
  56. F. F. Bruce, personal letter to John Stott. Quoted by Timothy Dudley-Smith, John Stott: A Global Ministry (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1999), 354 []
  57. See Richard Bauckham and Trevor Hart, Hope against Hope: Christian Eschatology at the Turn of the Millennium (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999). Bauckham also writes, “The New Testament uses a variety of different pictures to describe hell: fire is one of them, destruction another, exclusion from the presence of God another. Burning in fire for eternity is the picture of God that got fixed in much traditional teaching about hell as though it were a literal description. The New Testament does not require us to think of hell in this way. Hell is not an eternal chamber of horrors across the way from heaven. Hell is the fate of those who reject God’s love. God’s love cannot compel them to find their fulfillment in God, but there is no other way they can find fulfillment. They exclude themselves from the Source of all being and life.” “Hell,” unpublished essay at http://richardbauckham.co.uk/index.php?page=short=essays. []
  58. N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope (New York: HarperOne, 2008), 181-183. []
  59. Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle, Erasing Hell: What God Said About Eternity, and The Things We Made Up (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2011), 104. []
  60. Christopher W. Morgan, ed., Hell Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 39; John Gerstner, Repent or Perish (Ligonier, Penna: Soli Deo Gloria, 1990), 122; John MacArthur does the same (offers the reader eisegesis instead of proper exegesis, in The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005), 843. Robert W. Yarbrough, Is Hell for Real or Does Everyone Go to Heaven? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), 30, simply refers to without any exegesis at all. []
  61. Jim McGuiggan, The Book of Revelation (Fort Worth: Star Bible Publications, 1976), 219. []
  62. John Gerstner, Repent or Perish (Ligonier, Penna: Soli Deo Gloria, 1990), 153, 129-131. []
  63. William Lane Craig, On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2010), 273. Shedd (op. cit.) makes the same point. Here’s an interesting thought. If the wicked are able to heap up more punishment, on the basis of postmortem choices to sin, them there is an implicit admission by the proponents of this idea that even in hell the lost have some influence over their fate. If this is so, and sin affects their state (keeping them in hell), then why is there no possibility of a change of heart? []
  64. Michael E. Wittmer, Christ Alone: An Evangelical Response to Rob Bell’s Love Wins (Grand Rapids: Edenridge Press, 2011), 128-129. []
  65. F. LaGard Smith, After Life: A Glimpse of Eternity Beyond Death’s Door (Nashville: Cotswold Publishing, 2003), 180. []
  66. Miroslav Volf, Allah: A Christian Response (New York: HarperOne, 2011), 297n29. []
  67. Robert W. Yarbrough, Is Hell for Real or Does Everyone Go to Heaven? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), 36. []
  68. Timothy Keller, R. Albert Mohler, Jr., J. I. Packer, and Robert W. Yarbrough, Is Hell for Real or Does Everyone Go to Heaven? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004). []
  69. James Hastings, ed., Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1908), 2:785. For a more contemporary refutation of universalism, see Jerry L. Walls, “Why No Classical Theist, Let Alone Orthodox Christian, Should Ever Be a Compatibilist,” Philosophia Christi, Vol.13, No.1, 2011 (La Mirada, California: Biola University), 105-124. []
  70. TDNT, I: 387-393 (apokathistemi, apokatastasis). []
  71. Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics: Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 284. As philosopher Jerry Walls of Houston Baptist University makes an important point about free will. If both free will and determinism are compatible—as many theologians suppose, especially those in the predestinarian camp—then it is difficult to understand why God would not have set up the world such that eventually all would choose to embrace his will. Jerry L. Walls, “Why No Classical Theist, Let Alone Orthodox Christian, Should Ever Be a Compatibilist,” Philosophia Christi, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2011 (La Mirada, California: Biola University), 102. []
  72. J. I. Packer, http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2011/03/12/against-universalism/. []
  73. Moreover, as we have seen, there is no reason “day or night” need be a literal phrase. See ; , . []
  74. Homer, Iliad 16.123,194; 1.599. []
  75. E.g. Eusebius, History of the Church 6:41. []
  76. Herman Witsius, The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man 1.5.XLII. Witsius was professor of divinity at the Universities of Franeker, Utrecht and Leiden. []
  77. J. I. Packer, http://gospelpedlar.com/articles/Bible/cov_theo.html, last accessed 18 September 2012. []
  78. Jonathan Edwards, “Concerning the Endless Punishment of Those who Die Impenitent,” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, rev. Edward Hickman, 2 vols. (Carlisle, Penna: Banner of Truth Trust, n.d.), 2:524; Augustine, City of God, Book 21, in The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation (1954), 169-170. []
  79. Ben Witherington III, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bibleandculture/2011/03/19/and-now-the-case-for-permanent-residence-in-hell, last accessed 17 September 2012. []
  80. John Wenham, The Goodness of God (Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 1974), 27 []
  81. “Evangelical Annihilation in Review,” 37-51, Reformed Review 6 (1997), 43,47-48. []
  82. C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, London: Collins 1957, 115 []
  83. My first work on the conditionalist view was Douglas Jacoby, “Heaven and Hell: Terminal Punishment” (Unpublished paper, Stockholm, 1991), available at http://www.douglasjacoby.com. []

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

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.’

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:16

16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 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.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 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.”

Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. 18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.

22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

10 Night and day it shall not be quenched;
its smoke shall go up forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever.
11 But the hawk and the porcupine shall possess it,
the owl and the raven shall dwell in it.
He shall stretch the line of confusion over it,
and the plumb line of emptiness.

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.”

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,

12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Matthew 13:41-42

41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 13:50

50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

Psalm 110:5-6

The Lord is at your right hand;
he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
He will execute judgment among the nations,
filling them with corpses;
he will shatter chiefs
over the wide earth.

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.”

4:1  “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.

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.

and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

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.”

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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.

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

“Let Reuben live, and not die,
but let his men be few.”

14 The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears:
“Surely this iniquity will not be atoned for you until you die,”
says the Lord God of hosts.

Isaiah 65:6

Behold, it is written before me:
“I will not keep silent, but I will repay;
I will indeed repay into their bosom

Isaiah 65:15

15 You shall leave your name to my chosen for a curse,
and the Lord God will put you to death,
but his servants he will call by another name.

39 While they are inflamed I will prepare them a feast
and make them drunk, that they may become merry,
then sleep a perpetual sleep
and not wake, declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 51:57

57 I will make drunk her officials and her wise men,
her governors, her commanders, and her warriors;
they shall sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake,
declares the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.

10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.

16 “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.

15 “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.

Leviticus 24:19-22

19 If anyone injures his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him, 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him. 21 Whoever kills an animal shall make it good, and whoever kills a person shall be put to death. 22 You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the Lord your God.”

16 And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him.

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.”

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.”

and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

Hebrews 10:26-31

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Matthew 10:28

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.

6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,

but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,

but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

1 Thessalonians 5:9

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Matthew 8-20

8:1 When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

14 And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. 16 That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”

18 Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. 19 And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 21 Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 22 And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. 31 And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” 32 And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. 33 The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.

9:1 And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. 17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”

18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. 20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. 23 And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, 24 he said, “Go away, for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 26 And the report of this went through all that district.

27 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” 28 When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” 31 But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.

32 As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. 33 And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” 34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”

35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

10:1 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, nor two tunics nor sandals nor a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. 11 And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 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. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

11:1 When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is he of whom it is written,

“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.’

11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, 14 and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

16 “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,

17 “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”

20 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

12:1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.”

He went on from there and entered their synagogue. 10 And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. 11 He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.

15 Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all 16 and ordered them not to make him known. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
20 a bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
21 and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

22 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” 25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. 30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.

43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”

46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

13:1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”

10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

“‘You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.

15 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

31 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

33 He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

34 All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. 35 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet:

“I will open my mouth in parables;
I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”

36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49 So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

51 “Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.” 52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

53 And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, 54 and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

14:1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. 10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, 11 and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus.

13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

34 And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35 And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36 and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

15:1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;

in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

10 And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

29 Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. 30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, 31 so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel.

32 Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” 33 And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” 34 And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” 35 And directing the crowd to sit down on the ground, 36 he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 37 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 38 Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. 39 And after sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan.

16:1 And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

26 And you shall not bring an abominable thing into your house and become devoted to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest and abhor it, for it is devoted to destruction.

17 And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. 18 But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it.

Joshua 7:12

12 Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.

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

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.”

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.”

47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 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.”

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

For the Lord has a day of vengeance,
a year of recompense for the cause of Zion.
And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch,
and her soil into sulfur;
her land shall become burning pitch.
10 Night and day it shall not be quenched;
its smoke shall go up forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever.
11 But the hawk and the porcupine shall possess it,
the owl and the raven shall dwell in it.
He shall stretch the line of confusion over it,
and the plumb line of emptiness.
12 Its nobles—there is no one there to call it a kingdom,
and all its princes shall be nothing.

13 Thorns shall grow over its strongholds,
nettles and thistles in its fortresses.
It shall be the haunt of jackals,
an abode for ostriches.
14 And wild animals shall meet with hyenas;
the wild goat shall cry to his fellow;
indeed, there the night bird settles
and finds for herself a resting place.

15 There the owl nests and lays
and hatches and gathers her young in her shadow;
indeed, there the hawks are gathered,
each one with her mate.
16 Seek and read from the book of the Lord:
Not one of these shall be missing;
none shall be without her mate.
For the mouth of the Lord has commanded,
and his Spirit has gathered them.
17 He has cast the lot for them;
his hand has portioned it out to them with the line;
they shall possess it forever;
from generation to generation they shall dwell in it.

14:1 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 16 So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.

17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.

47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

14:1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.”

12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

18:1 The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

“If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God.

10 “If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things 11 (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, 12 oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, 13 lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.

14 “Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise: 15 he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, 16 does not oppress anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, 17 withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. 18 As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity.

19 “Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. 20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. 23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? 24 But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.

25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? 26 When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. 27 Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. 28 Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?

30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.

Romans 10:1

10:1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.

7:1 Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

29:1 He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck,
will suddenly be broken beyond healing.

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

Hebrews 10:26-31

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.

15 but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers.

that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!

Psalm 117:1

117:1 Praise the Lord, all nations!
Extol him, all peoples!

he says:
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

20 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, even the inhabitants of many cities. 21 The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts; I myself am going.’ 22 Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord. 23 Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.

49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

2:1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

1 Thessalonians 3:10

10 as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?

10 Night and day it shall not be quenched;
its smoke shall go up forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever.

And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”

Revelation 7:15

15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.

Revelation 12:10

10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

Revelation 20:10

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.

14:1 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.

Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” 16 So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.

17 Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” 19 So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.

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

He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.

16 For I will not contend forever,
nor will I always be angry;
for the spirit would grow faint before me,
and the breath of life that I made.