Annihilation of the Soul…??
Annihilation of the Soul…??
By Pastor F. M. Riley
Revised July 2, 2012
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Matthew 25:46
In your email you stated, “I taught and defended eternal suffering for many years, but then began to realize that I was not taking the Word at face value when it comes to verses like John 3:16 – sinners will either live forever or perish; and Romans 6:23 – the wages of sin is not eternal misery but death; and Matthew 10:8 – God is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
My regret for you is that you did not stay with the truth when you had it. Instead, you turned your back on the truth and began to “second guess” God’s Word by reading into the Scriptures English meanings for Greek words, which the Greek text neither states nor even implies. God’s people [true believers] are commanded to “study” the Word in order to “rightly divide” it [2 Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”], and those who are truly called of God to lead and teach God’s Word to God’s flock should take this command to heart.
The Scriptures you refer to do not support your “theory.” I am now going to prove this statement to you and to all of our readers right straight from God’s inspired Word, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, “Test all things; hold fast what is good.”
The word “perish” in John 3:16, “For Yahweh so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” is translated from the Greek word, “apollumi.” This Greek word literally means, “to cause or bring to ruin or loss; to give over to eternal misery; to be lost or ruined; to incur the loss of eternal life.” See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, pages 64-65, Strong’s No. 622. The wording of John 3:16 makes it clear that the true believer will never “perish” [be brought to ruin and loss eternally]. John 3:16 actually says nothing about the state of the unbeliever. The verse is dealing only with “whosoever believeth.” To read something into this verse about the future state of the unbeliever is ridiculous, for the verse says absolutely nothing about the unbeliever. But even if it did, it would not change the meaning of the Greek word, “apollumi.” This word in no way means or even implies the cessation of existence or annihilation of the soul of the unbeliever. The word “apollumi” occurs 92 times in the New Testament, and is never used in the sense of annihilation or cessation of existence. Check it out for yourself.
In Matthew 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” the Lord used the exact same word, “apollumi,” but in this verse it is translated as “destroy.” The meaning of the word didn’t change. It still means “to bring to ruin or loss.” It doesn’t even suggest the annihilation of the unbeliever’s soul. In fact, a truth that you appear to have overlooked in this verse is the word, “kill.” In the verse the Lord Himself said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy [apollumi] both soul and body in hell. The Greek word translated as “kill” twice in this verse is the word, “apokteino.” This word literally means, “to kill; to kill off; to destroy (allow to perish); to extinguish, to abolish.” See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, page 64, Strong’s No. 615. If the Lord had wanted to teach the annihilation of the soul in this verse, it appears that this is the word He would have used. But He didn’t! Instead the Lord explicitly stated in this verse that men “are not able to kill the soul.” Now isn’t this interesting?
The word translated as “death” in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of Yahweh is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Master.” is the Greek word, “thanatos.” This word literally means, “the death of the body; that separation of the soul from the body by which the life on earth is ended.” The word is properly an adjective in the Greek text, but was translated as a noun in the King James Version. In other words, it is describing a state of existence. See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, pages 282-283, Strong’s No. 2288.
You also stated in reference to Mark 9:47-48, “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of Yahweh with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire—48where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’” and Isaiah 66:22-24, “For as the new heavens and the new earth Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says Yahweh, “So shall your descendants and your name remain. 23And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says Yahweh. 24“And they shall go forth and look Upon the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, And their fire is not quenched.
They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” that “The undying worm and unquenchable fire are agents of destruction; they represent God’s wrath finishing off unrepentant sinners.” Once again, this is just your opinion, and is not supported by the Scriptures. Proof? Gladly!
In Mark 9:43-48 Christ specifically stated three times, “Where their worm dieth not….” The word “worm” in these verses is in the singular, not the plural. In other words, it does not refer to a horde of worms [maggots], but rather to one specific “worm.” This is in harmony with the fact that in these six verses Christ is obviously speaking about an individual [singular]; “if thy hand,” “if thy foot,” “if thine eye,” etc. It is specifically “their worm;” the “worm” that represents that particular person. You don’t believe this? Then let’s see if God’s Word can give us more light….
In Job 25:4-6 the Scriptures state, “How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not: yea, the stars are not pure in His sight. How much less man, that is a worm? And the Son of man, which is a worm?”
Keep in mind that even though these questions are asked by Bildad, they are still a part of the inspired Word of God. This is an amazing and revealing passage. Verse 6 explicitly states that “man” is “a worm,” and that “the Son of man” is “a worm.” However, these two occurrences of the English word, “worm,” in this Scripture are not translated from the same Hebrew word.
 The first occurrence of the word “worm” in this verse is translated from the Hebrew word, “rimmah.” This word literally means, “maggot.” The word is accompanied by the Hebrew tense which means, “to breed in like manner.” In other words, men reproduce themselves so rapidly that they appear to be like “maggots” spread abroad upon the face of the earth, devouring the earth and all of the goodness that the Lord has placed in and upon the earth. Compare Isaiah 24:4-6, “The earth mourns and fades away, The world languishes and fades away; The haughty people of the earth languish. 5The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, Because they have transgressed the laws, Changed the ordinance, Broken the everlasting covenant. 6Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, And those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, And few men are left.”
It is more than “coincidence,” that this Biblical statement is in perfect harmony with medical science. Hello! Do I have your attention? At the time that the sperm of a man integrates with the egg of a woman, conception occurs. Life begins at conception! A new human being has been conceived. During the first few hours or days of that new person’s existence in the womb, according to medical doctors and medical researchers, that newly conceived person resembles a tiny “worm” in the womb, struggling to form into a human being. Thus the very essence of man in the womb [body, soul, and spirit] first bears the appearance of a “worm.” The literal truth of God’s Word in Job 25:6 is thus verified and exalted. Glory to God!
Now what should true believers derive from this truth? The Word of God in Job 25:6 explicitly states, “man…..is a worm.” The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said of mankind, that in Hell “their worm dieth not,” Mark 9:43-48. Thus the very soul or essence of man, “a worm,” will never cease to exist, not even those incorrigible Christ rejecting sinners who end up in Hell. Praise the Lord for vindicating the literal truth of His Word by His Word. Scripture always explains Scripture. Compare 1 Corinthians 2:12-13, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from Yahweh, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by Yahweh. 13These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” Glory to God!
 But don’t forget that there is a second “worm” mentioned in Job 25:6. By Divine Inspiration Bildad also said, “the Son of man…..is a worm.” This second occurrence of the word, “worm,” in this verse is translated from the Hebrew word, “tolaath.” See Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, page 859, Strong’s No. 8438. This Hebrew word refers to the “crimson grub,” a rare species of “worm” found in the Middle East. In ancient times these worms were actually cultivated; that is, they were gathered, fed, cared for, and protected until they had reproduced hundreds or even thousands of offspring. When these “crimson grubs” [tolaath] reached maturity, they were then crushed to death. The blood that flowed from the crushed bodies of the “tolaaths” was a bright beautiful shade of red. In ancient times the blood of these “crimson grubs” was highly valued as a dye. When clothing was washed in the blood of these “tolaaths,” the color would never fade, and it could never be removed. Do our readers begin to see the picture the Lord painted for us true believers in His wonderful Word?
Bildad explicitly stated, “the Son of man…..is a worm” [tolaath]. This truth is stated a second time in Psalm 22:6 where the Lord God Himself said, “But I am a worm [tolaath], and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” Now let’s notice the application of this truth…..
The Scriptures explicitly state, “But when the fullness of the time was come, Yahweh sent forth His Son, made of a woman [Genesis 3:15], made under the law [Torah], To redeem them [Israel] that were under the law [Torah], that we [Gentiles] might receive the adoption of sons,” Galatians 4:4-5. Glory to God! Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!
When Christ came into the world He was “despised of men,” Isaiah 53:3. He was regarded as nothing but a “worm” [tolaath], fit only to be crushed under the feet of men. There on Calvary’s cruel cross the life’s blood of Christ was crushed from His body by the weight of our sin. But oh what a precious flow! When a truly repentant believing soul is washed in His precious blood, it covers all the stains of sin so that those stains are never seen again by our Heavenly Father. And when His precious blood is applied to the soul, it never fades and can never be removed. Compare Exodus 12:13, “Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”, 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, “Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”, and 1 John 5:6-9, “This is He who came by water and blood—Yeshua HaMashiach; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 8And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.
9If we receive the witness of men, the witness of Yahweh is greater; for this is the witness of Yahweh which He has testified of His Son.” Glory! Praise the Lord!
Dear readers, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is our “tolaath,” exactly as stated in Job 25:6 and Psalm 22:6. On the other hand, man in his fallen sin nature is a “worm” [rimmah…maggot] from his conception, exactly as stated in Job 25:6 and Mark 9:43-48. The Lord God Himself, in speaking of those who will be “cast into hell fire,” explicitly stated that “their worm” [the body and soul of the incorrigible sinner] will never die!
This should settle the question for all who are willing to deal honestly with the Scriptures. However, there is more…..
“a living soul”
All who claim to be “Christians” should be familiar with Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Whether some want to believe it or not, this Scripture clearly integrates the body, the soul, and the spirit of man into one being; “a living soul.” This Scripture, along with Genesis 1:26-27, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”, also makes it clear that it was “the Lord God” who created man; his body, his soul, and his spirit, and integrated them into one “living soul.” Man himself had nothing to do with his own creation. The creation of man was totally the work of God.
I am emphasizing this point because in Ecclesiastes 3:14 Solomon explicitly states, “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before Him.” Hello! Are you listening?
Genesis 1:26-27 and 2:7 explicitly states that it was “the Lord God” who created man, and Ecclesiastes 3:14 is just as explicit that “whatsoever” God does will “be forever” [never cease to exist]. Now do our readers really believe God’s Word, or are some going to deny it? Does this sound like the soul of man, any man, lost or saved, is ever going to be annihilated and cease to exist? Not hardly!
The Word of God teaches that the body of man can be separated from the soul and spirit temporarily, 1 Kings 17:17-22, “Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him. 18So she said to Elijah, “What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?”
19And he said to her, “Give me your son.” So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. 20Then he cried out to Yahweh and said, “O Yahweh my Mighty One, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?” 21And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to Yahweh and said, “O Yahweh my Mighty One, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.” 22Then Yahweh heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.”; 2 Corinthians 5:1-8, “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from Yahweh, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is Yahweh, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”; Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of Yahweh is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”; James 2:26, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” The Word also teaches that the body of the true believer is to be changed at the time of the resurrection and rapture of God’s people, 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, “But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” 36Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. 37And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. 38But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body.”; 15:51-54, “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.””; Romans 8:18-19, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”; Philippians 3:20-21, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” But the inspired Word also teaches that the believer’s body, soul, and spirit [the essence of man] is to be reunited at the coming of Christ, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
What is true of the believer is just as true of the incorrigible unbeliever, but not in the exact same way. The Lord Himself taught that there will be a bodily resurrection for unbelievers, just as there is a bodily resurrection for believers, John 5:28-29, “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” At the time of the resurrection of unbelievers, their body and soul will be reunited and both their body and soul will be “cast into hell” [gehenna], Matthew 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”; 25:41, “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:”; Revelation 20:12-15, “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” There is no indication in the Scriptures that the bodies of the incorrigible wicked will be “changed” in the same way as the bodies of believers. Rather, it appears that the soul of unbelievers will return to the same vile, weak, diseased, sick, crippled, torn, or injured body that they had at the time they physically died. The only change in the resurrected bodies of the wicked appears to be that their bodies will continue to exist throughout the endless ages of eternity in Hell.
You also stated that “immortality will be given only to the saved, at their future resurrection” and you cited Romans 2:7, “eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;” and 1 Corinthians 15:50-54, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”” as proof texts for your statement. While I understand what you meant by your reference to “immortality,” you cited the wrong Scriptures as proof for your position.
The word “immortality” in Romans 2:7 is translated from the Greek word, “aphtharsia.” This word literally means, “incorruptible; undecaying; not corruptible; not subject to corruption.” See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, page 88, Strong’s No. 861. It is obvious that the word is incorrectly translated in Romans 2:7.
This same word is used in 1 Corinthians 15:42 and 15:50-54, however in these verses it is not translated as “immortality.” Rather, in these verses the word is correctly translated as “incorruption.” It is obvious from the actual meaning of the word “aphtharsia,” that it speaks of a sinless state; an incorruptible state of existence in which both the desire and ability to sin will be totally removed from all true believers. This is the state of existence that the Lord Himself is in at this present time, and which He has promised to bestow upon every true believer at the time of the resurrection and rapture of New Covenant believers. Glory to God! Praise the Lord!
However, the English word “immortality” does occur in 1 Corinthians 15:53-54, “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.””, where it is translated from the Greek word, “athanasia.” This is the word which literally means, “deathlessness; hence immortality.” See Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, page 13, Strong’s No. 110. This same word is used again in 1 Timothy 6:16, “who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.” where the Lord alone is pointed out as being the possessor of “immortality” [deathlessness] and is therefore the only One capable of bestowing such “immortality” upon others, John 1:4, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”; 5:26, “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself,”; 6:40, “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”; 10:27-28, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”; 11:25-26, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?””; 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”; 17:2-3, “as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true Mighty One, and Yeshua HaMashiach whom You have sent.”
It is therefore obvious that none of the Scriptures you cited have a thing to say about the future state of the unbelieving incorrigible wicked. To attempt to support the “false teaching” of the annihilation of the souls of the wicked based on the passages you cited is ludicrous. Those passages give no support whatsoever to your theory.
Almost invariably those opposed to eternal punishment will trot out the origin of the word “gehenna,” which is translated as “hell” 12 times in the New Testament. Catholics, Preterists, and other assorted “religionists” who oppose the Biblical truth of eternal punishment, claim that “gehenna” was only a reference to the Jerusalem city dump located in the “valley of Hinnom,” 2 Kings 23:10, “And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech.”; 2 Chronicles 28:3, “He burned incense in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and burned his children in the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom Yahweh had cast out before the children of Israel.”; 33:6, “Also he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom; he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke Him to anger.”; Jeremiah 7:31-32, “And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into My heart.
32“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says Yahweh, “when it will no more be called Tophet, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter; for they will bury in Tophet until there is no room.”; 19:6, “therefore behold, the days are coming,” says Yahweh, “that this place shall no more be called Tophet or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.”; 32:35, “And they built the high places of Baal which are in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I did not command them, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.’” Fire burned continually day and night in that ancient city dump, consuming the garbage that was dumped there. This often included the dead bodies of animals and sometimes the bodies of executed criminals. It is obvious that the Lord God used the word “gehenna” to typify or symbolize the future abode of the wicked, because the people of Jerusalem to whom the Lord was preaching were quite familiar with the “valley of Hinnom.” They would therefore understand that the Lord was warning them of a place of everlasting fire and torments. Since the dead bodies cast into the “valley of Hinnom” were consumed by the fire burning there, some today assume that the bodies of the wicked who are cast into “hell” [gehenna] will likewise be consumed. But such an assumption is totally wrong…..
The “valley of Hinnom” is the origin of the word, “gehenna,” but it is only a symbol of “gehenna.” Every reader of this study knows that there is a vast difference between a symbol and the reality that is being symbolized. For instance, the fire that burned in the “valley of Hinnom” day and night continually in ancient times, went out centuries ago. But the fire prophesied by the Lord Himself to burn in “gehenna” will continue to burn eternally, Mark 9:43-48, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched—44where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’
45And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched—46where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’ 47And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of Yahweh with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire—48where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’”; Revelation 14:9-11, “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of Yahweh, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.””; 20:10, “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”; 20:15, “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” The fire in “gehenna” will never go out!
Also, the “valley of Hinnom” is a relatively small valley near Jerusalem. I’m not fool enough to believe that the bodies and souls of all the incorrigible wicked who have lived throughout human history would fit into that small valley. I’m not even sure if the Grand Canyon, one of the largest valleys on earth, would hold all of the bodies of the incorrigible wicked who have lived during human history. But they will all fit into “gehenna” quite well, for the inspired Word says so. “For Tophet [Hebrew equivalent of “gehenna”] is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; He hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it,” Isaiah 30:33, “For Tophet was established of old, Yes, for the king it is prepared. He has made it deep and large; Its pyre is fire with much wood; The breath of Yahweh, like a stream of brimstone, Kindles it.”; Matthew 25:41, “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:”; Revelation 20:15, “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Solomon also stated in Proverbs 17:20, “Hell and destruction are never full…..”
Knowing full well that the “valley of Hinnom” is only a symbol of “gehenna,” the future “lake of fire and brimstone,” why would any true believer want to claim that the symbol is the reality when referring to the future punishment of the incorrigible wicked? Doesn’t such a claim constitute an outright denial and corruption of God’s Word? Well…??
The truth is, there is not a Scripture in the entire Word of God which states or even implies that the souls of unbelieving, unrepentant, incorrigibly wicked sinners will “burn up” and cease to exist when cast into the fires of “hell” [gehenna]. Not one single Scripture! None!
The theory of the annihilation of the souls of the incorrigible wicked is pure fiction. It is a fantasy conceived in the depraved minds of those who would like to live in sin and rebellion against God and their fellow man, then face no punishment for their selfish wicked life when they pass into eternity. Wouldn’t that be convenient…….for them? They could burn their “candle” [Proverbs 24:20] for the flesh, the world, and the Devil all their life, and then in mockery blow the smoke in the face of God at death, knowing that the only “punishment” they would ever receive would be to be burned out of existence within a few seconds. Some punishment! Sic!
Sadly, even some true believers have fallen for such unscriptural fiction. Instead of staying with the truth of God’s inspired Word, they have listened to the siren song of the Babylonian whore religious system [Matthew 13:33, “Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.””; Revelation 17:1-5, “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
3So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”], and have succumbed to her “false teachings” about “purgatory,” “universal salvation,” and many other corruptions of the Scriptures, including that of the “annihilation of the soul” of the incorrigible wicked. Sic!
The truth is that God’s Word teaches that every soul of mankind will continue in conscious existence eternally. God’s people [those truly saved by a personal faith in Christ] will eternally enjoy “the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him,” 1 Corinthians 2:9. But all Christ rejecters [the incorrigible wicked] will suffer the eternal torments they choose for themselves when they reject God’s only way of salvation [John 14:6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.; Acts 4:12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”] and ally themselves with Satan and his angels, and his followers, Romans 6:16, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”; Revelation 14:9-11, “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of Yahweh, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.””; 20:10, “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”; 20:11-15, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
There is absolutely NO TRUTH to the “false teaching” of the so-called “annihilation of the soul” of the unrepentant Christ rejecting incorrigible wicked. None! PERIOD!
I suggest that every true believer read Revelation 3:19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” again, and take the words of the Lord God to heart!
I choose to close this study with these inspired words to those “professing” to be God’s people,
“But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak,” Hebrews 6:9.
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All comments, questions, and correspondence should be addressed to: Last Call Gospel Ministry, Pastor F. M. Riley, 184 County Road 108, Harrisburg, Missouri 65256, or I can also be contacted via email at: email@example.com
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