I recently heard someone say, if a man dies and goes to Hell that he will actually be destroyed and thus not suffer for all eternity. What does the Bible say about this?
Michael Pearl: All right, here we are in the studio to answer your Bible questions. Got Jared behind the counter. He’s the one who does all the editing and takes care of the web, and that sort of thing. So, he’s carried me in here today, sort of, to answer your questions, and I am just delighted to be here. What’s the first question, Jared?
Jared: I recently heard someone say, “If a man dies and goes to Hell, that he will actually be destroyed and thus not suffer for all eternity. What does the Bible say about this?”
Michael: Well, I wish what you heard was true. When I was about 20 years old, I decided I didn’t want to believe in Hell, and so I studied the Bible to try to disprove a permanent, eternal, everlasting suffering because, if I were God, I wouldn’t do that to someone. Not my worst enemy, I wouldn’t punish them forever in a lake of fire. I might kill them and terminate them, and make them cease to exist, but to punish them forever and ever, I wouldn’t do that. And so if I were writing a Bible and advocating a religion, if I were creating a religion for people to believe, and pass down to future generations, I wouldn’t put that in it either, because that would make it hard for people to believe and accept. It’s so contrary to our sensibilities.
So, I studies for — oh, I don’t know — nine or 10 months. I suspended my belief in Hell to see what the Bible had to say.
And after about nine or 10 months and searching as thorough I could... I also read literature by everybody I could get a hold of, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, since they are so anti‑eternal fire, and the Seventh Day Adventists. I tried to find anything anybody had ever written and to see what they had to say. And after about nine months, I had to accept the fact that there is an eternal lake of fire.
Now, Jared asked the question, and I took a break, and ran over to my computer and got some, just, Scripture off of it, but I had some notes there, so that I can be very precise here to make sure that this not just my opinion.
It’s quite a bit. There are three pages of nothing but Scripture, but I’ll just read to you a couple of them. Let’s scan down through it here. Mark 9:45, “And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into Hell, into the fire, that never shall be quenched.”
I could argue well, the fire never goes out, but the soul would cease. Here in Luke chapter 16, he speaks of the rich man and Lazarus, and it says, “The rich man in Hell lifted up his eyes being in torment. And seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”
Now this is sometime after he had died. He is already in the flame. The flame is not destroying the rich man. You say, “But that’s just a parable.” Well, great! If you look at Jesus’ parables, you’ll find that every single detail in the parable is specific.
Sometimes, He gives parables about seeds, and He says, the seeds are the Word of God. He gives parables about birds; he says the birds are the devils. But when He gives parables, He interprets the parables for us, and tells us the meaning.
He didn’t interpret this one. He left this standing. And in parables, He never gives personal names. And in this one, He gives personal names. In parables He said, there was a certain man who planted a vineyard and had his servants... or he said there’s a bridegroom.
In this one, He gives the names. And He says, “For I am tormented in this flame.” He said, “I have five brethren; go and testify unto them, lest they also come to this place of torment.” So, the rich man spoke of the fire that he was in as a place of torment, that he didn’t want his brothers coming to.
And then, the Book of Revelation — to get down quickly to the bottom of it here. He said in Revelation chapter 20 verse 10, “The devil that deceived them was cast in to the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and false prophet are and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
So, according to the Word of God, the torment is forever and ever. And he says, “The sea gave up the dead which were in them, and death and Hell delivered the dead which were in them, and they were cast in the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosever’s name was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” The second death he pictures is forever and ever. Tormented day and night forever and ever.
And there are quite a few passages that speak about torment day and night forever and ever, in a fire that won’t be quenched. And then, we have the example of Lazarus who was tormented and who was in a constant state of torment, begging for water to be placed on his tongue. So, he was not consumed in the flame.
And now another passage — I’ll just quote it to you — in Matthew, he said, “Where their worm dieth not.” Their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And forever and ever, where their worm dieth not. Now what does that mean, “their worm”? It’s possessive, “their,” — T-H-E-I-R. Not the worms, but their worms. The Book of Isaiah speaks of Satan as being cast in to Hell. And it says of him, that he descended down in to the pit.
And it says in Isaiah chapter 14 verse 9, “Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming. It stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth. It raised them up from the thrones, the kings of the nations.”
Now this would be the same event that occurs at the end of the millennium that I just read to you in Revelation chapter 20. This is when Satan goes to Hell. “And they shall speak,” those, the dead in Hell shall speak, “and say unto thee, ‘Art thou also become weak as we? Art thou become like unto us?’ Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols; and the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground...” Skipping down to verse 15, “Yet thou shalt be brought down to Hell, to the sides of the pit.” So, Lucifer when he goes to hell at the end of the millennium, the chief ones, the dead ones, will stir up for him, and say, “What are you doing here? Aren’t you the one that damned all the souls? How come you ended up here as well?” And then they say, “The worms are under you, the worms cover you.”
It’s just my surmising, what are the worms, but I believe that in Hell, the very essence of the human soul, the human being, will be left, we’ll not be destroyed. Probably this body that we know, this body of flesh will be burned up, but naturally it wouldn’t be in something that boiling hot.
But there is something of the human that cannot be destroyed, because it is divine. There is something God Himself cannot destroy because He breathed into our nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.
So, God placed something of Himself in each of us, and we are therefore eternal as God is eternal, and it cannot be destroyed. And so, when we are cast into Hell, all that remains, I suspect, is our worm — their worm which dieth not.
And that worm will be a little eye, little mouth like a worm has, a little maggot that lies in the burning ashes of Hell, and the worms will be under Lucifer, and the worms will be over him. And he will be just another outcast, another discard from God’s eternal kingdom because he was not worthy for His presence, not worthy to sit around His throne.
I preach on Hell less than anything in the Bible, probably about once every 10 years. Why? Because I don’t like it. I don’t want to think about it. It’s too horrible. It’s like talking about a child that got 95% burn on her body. I’d rather not look at or talk about them.
I am thankful that there are some priestly people who can deal with that, but I can’t deal with it. I believe it because the same God that spoke about Heaven, spoke three or four times as much about Hell as he did Heaven.
And He said, “It’s forever and ever.” I would like to believe it’s otherwise, but if I am going to be a Bible believer, and if I am going to follow the God who was willing to die and shed His blood to save my soul from Hell, I am going to have to believe what he says about Hell.
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