Avast, ye!Someone recently brought my attention to the fact that Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio and “Fighting for the Faith” recently offered some criticisms of my summary of the positive biblical case for annihilationism in episode 4. Here are my thoughts on the criticisms, which, so it seems to me, go the way of many scurvy criticisms that came before – straight to Davy Jones’ locker.
In the positive biblical case for annihilationism, there are three fairly simple arguments. Firstly there’s the biblical argument from immortality. Scripture teaches that human beings are mortal and that death would be our final destiny were it not for Christ, who came into the world so that people would not perish but have everlasting life. But immortality is only ever promised as a gift to those who are saved by God. It follows that supposing anyone will be lost (as I do, since I think the biblical evidence against universalism is strong), they will lose life itself forever, since immortality is found through Christ alone.
The second biblical argument I used is the biblical vision of eternity. On a number of occasions the biblical writers give us hints of what eternity will look like. Not in great detail (they couldn’t tell us what they didn’t know for themselves of course), but in broad strokes, the biblical picture of eternity is that it will not contain any evil. All traces of sin will be gone, all people everywhere will submit themselves to Christ, and God will, to use a biblical phrase, be “all in all.” But clearly if the traditional view of hell is correct, this would be false, since sinners would still be sinners, and hence sin would still be a part of creation forever. Annihilationism, however, affirms the biblical view that evil will be no more in eternity.
Thirdly and lastly, I pointed listeners to the biblical language of destruction. In countless passages of Scripture, the biblical writers use clear language to state that a time is coming when the lost will be destroyed. All kinds of language are drawn upon by biblical writers to make this point: They will die, be destroyed, be blotted out, they will not stand, they will become as lifeless as the idols they worship, they will be punished with everlasting destruction, they are compared to weeds that are burned up in a furnace, we are warned of the raging fire that will consume the enemies of God, they will die a second death, and so on. There is a sheer wall of evidence comprised of a large volume of biblical texts indicating that the biblical writers viewed the final fate of God’s enemies to be complete and irreversible destruction.
So how does Chris Rosebrough address this substantial case? Sorry, me hearty, but this response is going to have to walk the plank.
Let’s start with the biblical argument for immortality. This one, although not about passages that speak on the subject of hell, is fairly vital. When we get to the passages that do speak about final judgement, the way that we read them should be informed by a biblical worldview. One of the aspects of that worldview is that we are ultimately bereft of life without God, and that God alone is immortal. God will give immortality only to those who find favour with him. And yet in spite of the foundational nature of the question of immortality, Rosebrough’s major response is largely to urge people to ignore these passages as irrelevant, as though they don’t relate to our topic at all. For example, when considering , when human beings were consigned to die and return to the dust because of their sins, Rosebrough asks what the topic of the text is. “Is it damnation?” he asks. He adds “it’s the consequence of sin, but is it talking about the eternal fate of the damned?” Declaring that it is not, he effectively dismisses the passage on the grounds that “that’s not the topic.” This is quite clearly to avoid taking the argument seriously. Of course damnation in the sense of consignment to eternal torment isn’t the topic of the text. After all, it’s my contention that no passage of Scripture has that as its topic! But the point is that the passage clearly speaks to the fate of sinners as being—unless God acts to save them—banishment from God’s presence, and ultimately, death. Granting that there may be an “allusion” to the fate of sinners here, Rosebrough says that since it’s only an allusion the meaning of the passage is therefore “unclear.” So, we really shouldn’t place much weight on it, he suggests, and should instead interpret it consistently with how he interprets other passages of Scripture.
But there were other passages in favour of this argument too. for example claims that immortality is to be found in the path of righteousness. But Rosebrough again claims that this passage isn’t even on the same topic as the one I am addressing, since the topic is not “damnation.” At this point the listener starts to get the sinking feeling that Rosebrough hasn’t appreciated the purpose of the argument. The point is not that these are passages that go out of their way to speak about hell or final judgement, and that they do so by stating that those who go to hell will not have immortality. This is an argument to an understanding of hell from foundational biblical considerations. And one of those considerations – surely a relevant one – is that although the Bible does speak of people being able to obtain immortality, that fate is bound up which God – and according to this proverb, with being on the path of righteousness. If the lost do not have immortality, then it follows that they do not live forever in hell. So dismissing the evidence on the grounds that the passages do not state anything directly about final punishment misses the point. It is also hard to see why Rosebrough diagnoses the clear/unclear status of this text by simply claiming “it’s unclear.” In what way is it unclear. Is it because Rosebrough is uncertain about what “righteousness” is, or uncertain about what “immortality” is. If neither, how is it unclear?
For some reason Rosebrough lays great stress here on the fact that the term “immortality” in the NIV is translated from the Hebrew , which literally means “no dying” (not quite “no death” as Rosebrough claims, that would be `al-muth). Why this has any significance is unclear, for as Rosebrough is surely aware, this is how the New Testament term for immortality is constructed as well. To be “immortal” in New Testament Greek is to be athanatos, literally “without death” (a is a prefix that means “without” and thanatos is the Greek word for death). Similarly the Greek word for immortality, athanasia, literally means “not dying.” It should not surprise us, then, that the Hebrew phrase `al-moeth, “no dying” is likewise translated as “immortality.” Trying to give the impression that this is improper by appealing to the Hebrew here really does look a bit like someone without a firm grasp of the language bolstering his case by referring to it. Things only get worse when Chris speaks to a member of the audience and directly claims that “the NIV doesn’t get at what it says in the original language.” In fact it does. To live and never die is precisely what immortality consists of.
Chris then turns to , where the writer says in that Christ has abolished death and “has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” Predictably, Chris places this text in the “off-topic” category, because it isn’t about “damnation.” As already noted, this is simply a mistake. The point here is that the biblical teaching about immortality can inform our understanding of damnation, because as Chris was fond of reminding his audience – no passage of Scripture is going to teach directly against another. Almost incredibly, Chris’s next question is whether or not immortality is spoken of in this text as something that is conditional, and his immediate answer is “No.” Moreover, he says, this passage “is not clear at all” on what implications it might have for our understanding of final punishment. I have to wryly observe that the sudden case of “wow, this passage is so unclear” that seems to sweep over Chris whenever someone observes how the passage points away from Chris’s theology of hell. The fact is, the passage quite plainly does point to immortality being conditional, for it is brought to light through the Gospel. And contrary to Chris’s denial, the passage likewise has at least one fairly clear implication when it comes to eternity: Those who partake in the Gospel will have it. Those who do not, will not. Lastly, Chris points out that the Greek term here aphtharsia is not the standard term for immortality, athanasia (although he does not mention the latter). True enough, but as he will be aware, it is perfectly capable of meaning immortality, and when placed in parallel to “life” here, it almost certainly means this, as virtually all of our translations indicate.
Next Rosebrough comes to , that great passage on the resurrection which says that God’s people will be raised immortal, glorious, in power and so on. Yet again, he starts out by asking if this passage refers to “the damned,” and again the answer is “no – but you’re missing the point.” Likewise, he repeats his familiar refrain that the passage is just “not clear” on what it has to say about the eternal state. This is a shame, because the implications are fairly straightforward: The only time the New Testament ever talks about human beings being immortal, it is right here, in a passage that Chris acknowledges to be about the fate of the saved. This is how people receive immortality, and the cumulative picture we have seen in Scripture is that there isn’t another way. It’s a gift of God or nothing at all.
Apparently skipping over the argument grounded in the biblical vision of eternity, Rosebrough moves on to the argument from the biblical language of destruction. Chris admits the inevitable – there are many, many passages of Scripture that describe the fate of the lost as destruction. He starts at the deep end, in , where Jesus warns of God’s ability to “destroy the body and soul in hell.” His first refuge here is a lexicon (although I’m not sure which one). The lexicon he cites provides a range of possible meanings, and Chris notes that in the active voice it means “destroy” or “ruin.” But imagine my surprise when in his next breath he makes the staggering claim that in the Greek there is “no room” for the possibility that the word means “cease to exist.” What? Firstly, who used the phrase “cease to exist”? Not me. Secondly, for someone who speaks a lot about following the rules of grammar, this is a doozie. “Destroy” is the active voice. To “cease to exist” would be the passive, or at least the middle. So why is Rosebrough now talking about what the middle or passive voice (allegedly) cannot mean when the passage he has just quoted from uses the active voice? Does he know that it was the active voice? It would appear not. And then, instead of comparing one biblical usage with another – a practice he elsewhere appears to endorse – he then breaks away to talk about his children playing Mario Kart, where one claims that they “destroyed” the other. He also drives home the point that he genuinely does not understand the annihilationist point of view, when he makes comparisons about a car being destroyed by being crashed into a tree, and yet not immediately ceasing to exist. He claims on this basis that “that’s what apollumi here is getting at.” But this is no way to do exegesis of Scripture.
In fact, this is yet another example of traditionalists employing what has been called the “illegitimate totality transfer,” where they pick up a lexicon, observe that a range of meaning exists for a word, and then imagine (incorrectly) that they were entitled to decide for themselves which of those meanings they will find in a passage of Scripture that uses it. The fact is, every time the word apollumi is used in the active voice in the synoptic Gospels to describe the actions of one person or agent against another (I say “agent” because it is once used of the actions of an evil spirit this way), it always refers to a very literal death – not just ruin or loss of function. Proper preparation would have alerted Rosebrough to this fact, which has been pointed out before here at Rethinkng Hell.
This kind of error is made all the more painful given that Rosebrough, in his next example, states that he knows that this methodology is an error. Jesus called people to seek out the narrow way that leads to life, because the path to destruction is broad. Here too the word for “destruction” in (apoleian) is a noun from the apoleia word group (just as apollumi is the major verb in that group), as Rosebrough notes, and here he says that it is “possible” for the word to mean literal destruction as the annihilationists mean that term. For this reason it is remarkable that he claims that there is literally “no room” for the verb form, apolullimi, to convey this meaning. The relationship between apoleia and apollumi is just like the relationship between the English words “destruction” and “destroy.” But he then goes on to make the very observation that he overlooked when looking at apollumi – the observation that the mere fact that one meaning exists within the semantic range of a word does not show that this is the intended meaning in any given instance of that word. Following this advice would have stopped him from illegitimately transferring the whole possible range of meanings for apollumi into , a maneuvre used to avoid the inference to literal destruction. But now he remembers the principle, and asks us how we can decide which nuance of meaning we should find in the word “destruction” in . Unfortunately, his answer isn’t even close. He says that every doctrine of Scripture will be laid out somewhere in Scripture in clear “non-figurative” language, and such texts should be the governing passages. One can only wonder how “figurative” Rosebrough thinks is, but in any event, this provides him with the opportunity to introduce a straw man, asking: “Is there a passage that says, in clear didactic language, that when the evil are judged, that they will be destroyed and cease to exist?” The straw man is fairly obvious: Firstly Chris is drawing a distinction between being destroyed and ceasing to exist, as though my argument was about people being not merely killed or destroyed in a straight forward sense, but also having every atom pulverised out of existence – metaphysical annihilation! Yet clearly that was never my argument. I don’t believe I ever referred to people “ceasing to exist.” Death and destruction is what Scripture indicates, and the reality is that there are many texts that teach precisely this, including and this one here in – although others come to mind (including or the comparison to weeds burned up in a furnace). Chris becomes distracted at this point, but his implied answer is “no.”
Chris then moves into very familiar proof texts for eternal torment such as , and others. Chris Date and I have already addressed many of these in episode 18 I note, however, with a sense of irony, that after emphasising that we need clear, didactic passages to guide us, Rosebrough hangs his strongest arguments on the apocalyptic imagery in the book of Revelation, arguably neither didactic nor clear! He tops off his argument with the clearly untrue claim that the early church fathers clearly and unanimously taught the doctrine of eternal torment. We know that this is simply not the case. The error here is that Rosebrough quotes fathers who simply quote biblical phrases like “eternal punishment,” committing the informal fallacy of begging the question. Clearly it is the meaning of these passages that is in dispute, so pointing out that the church fathers used these phrases is not evidence that they agreed with Rosebrough’s interpretation of them.
I won’t repeat the arguments that we made in Episode 18, but they address the effort that Rosebrough exerts to find the doctrine of eternal torment in Scripture, as does Chris Date’s Episode 7: Answering Traditionalist Objections. The point is just that Rosebrough’s attempt to undermine the biblical case for annihilationism is demonstrably weak. Often passages are simply dismissed as being “unclear” with no obvious good reason, effectively silencing their witness. Similarly, passages are dismissed as off-topic even though they clearly speak to issues that are foundational (most importantly, the question of immortality). Well-known fallacies of biblical interpretation are depended on at crucial junctures, preventing the evidence from speaking at all (so that, for example, the force of the many biblical passages that teach the destruction are simply blunted by selecting less likely meanings – while completely ignoring other passages that teach the destruction of the lost like the parable of the weeds or comparisons with the annihilation of Sodom), and double standards abound (e.g. appealing to sound principles about how to approach words with a range of meanings one moment, violating those principles the next moment, or demanding clear didactic passages one moment and depending heavily on apocalyptic imagery in the next). I appreciate that traditionalists are trying to take the annihilationist position more seriously, but the biblical resources to overturn the case are simply not there. I submit that even among Rosebrough’s audience, there will be those who hear the evidence and Rosebrough’s response to it, and who will be struck by a resounding “…wait a minute.”
Glenn Peoples

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3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

17 And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

28 In the path of righteousness is life,
and in its pathway there is no death.

1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

To Timothy, my beloved child:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

15 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,

15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under 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.

29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

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.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

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.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

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.

7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

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

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

10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius.