Hell

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A Letter from Uncle Jack

 

What is Hell

Italics are my comments

Have you ever heard comments like these [Oh go to hell, or May the fires of hell consume you] When we speak of hell, do images of people being burned up come into our mind. We wonder will they be burnt up as in a moment or will they burn for many days, Which is a concept that as a rule Adventists do not believe in. Does it make any difference if one burns for many days or forever, after the first day one might get used to it.

Reading from the SP.

"Some are destroyed as in a moment, while others suffer many days. All are punished "according to their deeds." The sins of the righteous having been transferred to Satan, he is made to suffer not only for his own rebellion, but for all the sins which he has caused God's people to commit. His punishment is to be far greater than that of those whom he has deceived. After all have perished who fell by his deceptions, he is still to live and suffer on."

If we stop and look at this statement you will notice that all have perished who fell by his deceptions, nowhere is it saying that all have been burnt. After Satan is also destroyed then God brings on the cleansing flames. Many people have died by fire for their faith. Does that mean they have already gone through hell? No! and the reason is that they were never separated from the source of life. They died with the hope and belief that God would resurrect them when He comes the second time.

"In the cleansing flames the wicked are at last destroyed," {dead are completely burnt up} " root and branch,--Satan the root, his followers the branches. The full penalty of the law has been visited; the demands of justice have been met; and Heaven and earth, beholding, declare the righteousness of Jehovah." {GC88 673.1}

If the wicked do not suffer burning in hell, What then is their punishment? In order to find the answer we have to look at the life of Christ, from the time He entered the garden of Gethsemane on Thursday to when He died on the cross. Christ did not go to hell, He went through hell and He did it for everyone on this earth, the wicked will experience some of that which Christ went through.

"In the Garden of Gethsemane Christ suffered in man's stead, and the human nature of the Son of God staggered under the terrible horror of the guilt of sin, until from His pale and quivering lips was forced the agonizing cry, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me." . . . Human nature would then and there have died under the horror of the sense of sin, had not an angel from heaven strengthened Him to bear the agony. . . . Christ was suffering the death that was pronounced upon the transgressors of God's law. " {AG 168.2}

"It is a fearful thing for the unrepenting sinner to fall into the hands of the living God. But never was this proved to so great an extent as in the agony of Christ, the Son of the infinite God, when he bore the wrath of God for a sinful world. It was in consequence of sin, the transgression of God's law, that the Garden of Gethsemane has become pre-eminently the place of suffering to a sinful world. No sorrow, no agony, can measure with that which was endured by the Son of God. " {AG 168.3}

"The agony which Christ endured, broadens, deepens, and gives a more extended conception of the character of sin, and the character of the retribution which God will bring upon those who continue in sin. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ to the repenting, believing sinner." {AG 168.4}

"Oh, was there ever suffering and sorrow like that endured by the dying Saviour! It was the sense of His Father's displeasure which made His cup so bitter. It was not bodily suffering which so quickly ended the life of Christ upon the cross. It was the crushing weight of the sins of the world, and a sense of His Father's wrath. . . . The fierce temptation that His own Father had forever left Him caused that piercing cry from the cross: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" {AG 170.4}

I would recommend you read for your self the hell that Christ went through In the book "Godís Amazing Grace" page 168-170 which these quotes are taken from.

The problem some say is that there are quotes in the Great Controversy and in the bible that say the wicked will suffer burning until they are dead. Let us look at the references in the GC. To actually see what the bible and the SP. Say.

The Great Controversy pages 655-657

"The people see that they have been deluded. They accuse one another of having led them to destruction; but all unite in heaping their bitterest condemnation upon the ministers. Unfaithful pastors have prophesied smooth things; they have led their hearers to make void the law of God and to persecute those who would keep it holy. Now, in their despair, these teachers confess before the world their work of deception. The multitudes are filled with fear, We are lost!" they cry, "and you are the cause of our ruin;" and they turn upon the false shepherds. The very ones that once admired them most, will pronounce the most dreadful curses upon them. The very hands that once crowned them with laurels will be raised for their destruction. The swords which were to slay God's people are now employed to destroy their enemies. Everywhere there is strife and bloodshed. {GC88 655.4} wherever there is bloodshed there is death

"A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord hath a controversy with the nations: he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword." [JER. 25:31.] For six thousand years the great controversy has been in progress; the Son of God and his heavenly messengers have been in conflict with the power of the evil one, to warn, enlighten, and save the children of men. Now all have made their decision; the wicked have fully united with Satan in his warfare against God. The time has come for God to vindicate the authority of his downtrodden law. Now the controversy is not alone with Satan, but with men. "The Lord hath a controversy with the nations;" "he will give them that are wicked to the sword." {GC88 656.1}

The mark of deliverance has been set upon those "that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done." Now the angel of death goes forth, represented in Ezekiel's vision by the men with the slaughtering weapons, to whom the command is given: "Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary." Says the prophet, "They began at the ancient men which were before the house." [EZE. 9:1-6.] The work of destruction begins among those who have professed to be the spiritual guardians of the people. The false watchmen are the first to fall. There are none to pity or to spare. Men, women, maidens, and little children perish together. {GC88 656.2}

At this point in the last day of events no one has yet been burned to death , but all have been destroyed by the sword.

"The Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain." [ISA. 26:21.] Remember when the Lord punishes, He withdraws His protection.

"And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.

This could be describing Hiroshima in Japan when the atom bomb exploded over that city. I am sure swords will not be the only instrument of war being used.

And it shall come to pass in that day that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor." [ZECH. 14:12, 13.] In the mad strife of their own fierce passions, and by the awful outpouring of God's unmingled wrath, fall the wicked inhabitants of the earth,--priests, rulers, and people, rich and poor, high and low. "And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried." [JER. 25:33.] {GC88 656.3} According to this statement all the wicked will be destroyed by their own hands. As you remember Godís unmingled wrath is the total withdrawing of Godís protection from the wicked.

At the coming of Christ the wicked are blotted from the face of the whole earth,--consumed with the spirit of his mouth, and destroyed by the brightness of his glory. Christ takes his people to the city of God, and the earth is emptied of its inhabitants. "Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof."

This is describing the first coming of Jesus but then it goes on to describe again the end of sin on this earth.

"The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled; for the Lord hath spoken this word." "Because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned." [ISA. 24:1, 3, 5, 6.] {GC88 657.1} Did you notice that the land has been emptied of all and utterly spoiled before the burning happens.

The Great Controversy pages 671-673

This is a recap of what we read on pages 655-657just like Gen. Chapter 2 is a recap of Gen. Chapter 1 only worded some what differently.

Notwithstanding that Satan has been constrained to acknowledge God's justice, and to bow to the supremacy of Christ, his character remains unchanged. The spirit of rebellion, like a mighty torrent, again bursts forth. Filled with frenzy, he determines not to yield the great controversy. The time has come for a last desperate struggle against the King of Heaven. He rushes into the midst of his subjects, and endeavors to inspire them with his own fury, and arouse them to instant battle. But of all the countless millions whom he has allured into rebellion, there are none now to acknowledge his supremacy. His power is at an end. The wicked are filled with the same hatred of God that inspires Satan; but they see that their case is hopeless, that they cannot prevail against Jehovah. Their rage is kindled against Satan and those who have been his agents in deception, and with the fury of demons they turn upon them. {GC88 671.2}

Saith the Lord: "Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit." "I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. . . . I will cast thee to the ground. I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee." "I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. . . . Thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more." [EZE. 28:6-8, 16-19.] {GC88 672.1

This was a prophecy of how Satan would be no more not as to how he would be destroyed. God destroys by removing His protection.

"Every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. "The indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter." "Upon the wicked

[Is it possible He is talking about the dead since He has already utterly destroyed them and because they have been delivered to the slaughter].

he shall rain quick burning coals, fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup." [ISA. 9:5; 34:2; PS. 11:6 (MARGIN).] Fire comes down from God out of Heaven. The earth is broken up. The weapons concealed in its depths are drawn forth. Devouring flames burst from every yawning chasm. The very rocks are on fire. The day has come that shall burn as an oven. The elements melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein are burned up. [MAL. 4:1; 2 PET. 3:10.] The earth's surface seems one molten mass,--a vast, seething lake of fire. It is the time of the judgment and perdition of ungodly men,--

{I do not have a problem with this statement if it is read in the right setting, when God cleanses the earth He can and will use every instrument of destruction He wants to.]

"the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion." [ISA. 34:8; PROV. 11:31.] {GC88 672.2}

The wicked receive their recompense in the earth. [ISA. 34:8; PROV. 11:31.] They "shall be stubble; [That means no more, they are dead] and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts." [MAL. 4:1.] Some are destroyed as in a moment, while others suffer many days. Isnít it beautiful that through out this whole experience one cannot blame God in any way that He personally destroyed anyone. They all destroyed themselves while they were going through their hell experience. Some as in a moment others for many days. The devil for many more days. Not by fire , but through an experience like Christ went through which will be worse than death by fire.

The Dragon inspired the Beast to burn up heritics, Are we to believe that God uses the same tactics?

Jer. 7; 33-34 Jer. 8 ; 2-3

Two quotes that are very encouraging

" It is God that shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer. But the Christian world have shown contempt for the law of Jehovah; and the Lord will do just what He has declared that He wouldĖHe will withdraw His blessings from the earth and remove His protecting care from those who are rebelling against His law and teaching and forcing others to do the same. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard. He will favor and prosper some in order to further his own designs, and he will bring trouble upon others and lead men to believe that it is God who is afflicting them." GC 589

Prophets and Kings, 176. "Christ will never abandon those for whom He has died. We may leave Him and be overwhelmed with temptation, but Christ can never turn from one for whom He has paid the ransom of His own life."

In view of the fact that Christ died for all men, this statement is saying that it is impossible for Christ to turn away from anyone. Men turn away from God. God cannot turn away from men. That is impossible. If these statements are true then God would never destroy one single person, since the Devil is in control of all the wicked.

That would hold true for every sinner that we claim God has destroyed. Since they would not be under the control of the Devil at that point.

God and Heaven alone are infallible
"We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and
heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have
to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion,
will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions
with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ
prayed.--The Review and Herald, July 26, 1892. {1SM 37.3}

But no new truth will contradict truth previously known; "the path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day" (Prov. 4:18, KJV). If at any point as truth unfolds like a rose bud unfolds, we reject the new revelation of truth, we in fact reject Christ at that point, for He says, "I am the ... truth" (John 14:6). Therefore it is impossible to reject any truth without rejecting Him!