The Awfulness of Hell

John Gill on Mark 9:49

” For every one shall be salted with fire”

 

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That is every one of those that transgress the law of God, offend any that, believe in Christ, retain their sins, and sinful companions; every one of them that are cast into hell, where the worm of conscience is always gnawing, and the fire of divine wrath is always burning, with that fire every one of them shall be salted: that fire shall be to them, what salt is to flesh; as that keeps flesh from putrefaction and corruption, so the fire of hell, as it will burn, torture, and distress rebellious sinners, it will preserve them in their beings; they shall not be consumed by it, but continued in it: so that these words are a reason of the former, showing and proving, that the soul in torment shall never die, or lose any of its powers and faculties; and particularly, not its gnawing, torturing conscience; and that the fire of hell is inextinguishable; for though sinners will be inexpressibly tormented in it, they will not be consumed by it; but the smoke of their torments shall ascend for ever and ever; and that they will be so far from being annihilated by the fire of hell, that they shall be preserved in their beings in it, as flesh is preserved by salt:

The Books

 

The books were opened and all men were judged according to what was written in the books (Revelation 20:12-13). What are the various books mentioned in Revelation and other Scriptures?

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The first mention of a book is Genesis 5:1 where Moses is commanded to keep a record of the genealogy of the first generations of mankind. To this was added all the books of the law or covenant, the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible). To this was added the writings, or poetry books and the books of the prophets to comprise all the Old Testament. The whole of this book testifies of Christ to come (Psalm 40:7, Heb.10:7). In many places where prophets or an apostle are required to write, read, assimilate and preach this word we are to believe these are parts of inspired Scripture e.g. Jer.15:16, Ezek. 2:8,3:1, Rev.1:11, 10:2, 9-10. After the coming of Christ and the apostles, the New Testament, gospels and epistles, including Revelation, all of which are the inspired word of God and infallible, were added to the Old to comprise the whole Bible. This is God’s book in which we learn of all the other books! It is the canon of Scripture, now fixed (Rev.22:18-19). It is real, we can handle it and read it (in several thousand languages) and be blessed by so doing (Rev.1:3), it has power to save and harden (Heb.4, Is. 6:9-10, II Cor.2:16).

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The book mentioned in Revelation 5:1,3, 5ff is the book of God’s eternal decree which only Christ is fit to open and execute. This “book” is in the mind of the eternal, unchanging God and determines all that has or will ever happen in this universe.

The books (Rev.20:12-13, 15) out of which all men will be judged are a record of all the thoughts, words and actions of all men who have ever lived down to the minutest detail which will be opened on the last day and which will determine the eternal destiny of all men (Matt.12:36, 25:31-46, II Cor.5:10, Rom 14:12). Daniel knew of them (Dan.7:10). Think of them this way. God’s mind and memory are infinite and contain, like the greatest computer ever made, a full record of everything that has come to pass, inevitably because he also decreed it before time began!

The key book as far as Christian believers are concerned is the Lamb’s book of life. This book, kept invisibly in the mind of God, which is also eternal, contains a record of all the elect (Dan.12:1, Phil.4:3, Rev.13;8, 20:15, 21:27). This book cannot be added to or subtracted from (Ex.32:33), to be “blotted out “of it means to have never been in it! It also determines who will not follow Antichrist.

It is noteworthy that on the last day there is a separation of sheep (elect) from goats (reprobate) even before the books are opened and this separation has already occurred at death when each goes to his own place, either to be with Christ in heaven or the place of the dead and damned in hell (John 3:18, Luke 16:23). The final judgment after the general resurrection then determines the eternal destiny of everyone, the sheep having done good works to prove their election, and the goats having done wickedly, especially to God’s people, to cement their damnation. Christ also teaches there will be degrees of reward and punishment in his own words and the epistles (Matt.5:12, Luke 12:48, James 3:1) the rewards include various crowns (I Cor.9:25, Phil.4:1, II Tim.4:8, Rev.2:10, I Peter 5:4, Rev.3:11). All believers who are justified both in this life and the next, stand un-condemned because of Christ, it only remains for them to lay up treasure in heaven as both they and the wicked fill up their cup of suffering or iniquity as the case may be. We can be assured of this, the “judge of all the earth shall do right” (Gen 18:25).

 

The Scope of God’s longsuffering.

So good I must share it!

Covenant Reformed News

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November 2016  •  Volume XVI, Issue 7

God’s Longsuffering and the History of Sin

In the last four issues of the News, we surveyed all the references to God’s longsuffering in both the Old and the New Testaments, emphasizing that the exercise of this divine attribute is particular, for the elect alone. But what about how this works out in the history of sin?
Let us start with the beginning of the history of sin: the fall in Genesis 3. Why did the Most High not cast Adam and Eve into hell immediately after their eating the forbidden fruit? Surely, this is what their sin deserved? However, in God’s eternal decree, He had a wonderful plan to glorify His great name through the salvation of an elect church in Jesus Christ. The immediate death and damnation of the first two human beings would have stopped the propagation of mankind! What then of the history of the world? What about the coming of the Messiah?
Moving forward many centuries, we come to the flood. Why did God tell Noah that 120 years would pass before the global deluge (Gen. 6:3)? It was not because the Almighty was longsuffering to the reprobate in that age. Rather, time was needed to build the ark and for Noah to preach about God’s coming judgment (II Pet. 2:5). Also within these twelve decades, other elect saints, like Methuselah, died. They could not perish in the flood because it was a picture of Jehovah’s avenging wrath against the ungodly! The longsuffering of God saved the eight souls in the ark; it was not trying to save the impenitent reprobate who drowned under the judgment of the Most High (I Pet. 3:20).
Why did the Lord not destroy Sodom earlier? It was not that God loves, and is longsuffering towards, everybody head for head. Instead, the Sodomites had to fill up the cup of their iniquity. The development of their wickedness even reached to their attempted, homosexual gang rape of two strangers (Gen. 19:1-11). Until the departure of believing Lot, the only elect person in Sodom, the Almighty could not burn up the city, as Abraham well understood: “That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (18:25). After all, the fire and brimstone are a picture of the “eternal fire” of hell (Jude 7; II Pet. 2:6)!
What about the Egyptians in the book of Exodus? Was the Almighty longsuffering towards them? No. Through the words and miracles of Moses, God hardened the hearts of Pharaoh (Ex. 4:21; 7:3, 13; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:4, 8), his servants (10:1) and his people (14:17). Jehovah’s hardening of the Egyptians issued from His eternal reprobation and holy hatred of them (Rom. 9:10-24; 11:7-10). Moreover, the Egyptians were destroyed for the sake of His beloved Israel: “For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life” (Isa. 43:3-4).
Why did God not destroy the inhabitants of Canaan earlier? Was this because they were the objects of His longsuffering? No. In the days recorded in Genesis 12-50, there simply were not enough descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to possess the promised land. Besides, the people in Canaan had not yet sufficiently developed in their sin. As Jehovah told Abraham centuries before the conquest of the holy land, “But in the fourth generation they [i.e., Abraham’s descendants] shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Gen. 15:16). Then the Most High would use the sword of Joshua and the nation of Israel to inflict His judgment upon the wicked inhabitants of Canaan (cf. Lev. 18).
After the Jews crucified His Son, why did Jehovah not devastate Jerusalem and its temple sooner? Why did He wait four decades until AD 70? Christ explains that the Jews must commit other sins, especially persecuting His followers, so as to be fully ripe for their inescapable judgment: “Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar” (Matt. 23:32-35). Furthermore, elect Jews in and around Jerusalem needed to be saved first, as we read in the early chapters of Acts (e.g., 2:41; 4:4; 6:1, 7).
Does the sparing of the Gentile world for many hundreds of years before the Holy One of Israel began to gather a catholic or universal church (cf. Acts 14:16; 17:30) prove that He was longsuffering to these reprobate people? Of course not! How could the Triune God save elect Gentiles in the New Testament age, if He had wiped out their ancestors centuries before? The Lord had His elect among the subsequent generations and numerous descendants of ancient idolaters, including the (largely Gentile) readers of the Covenant Reformed News!
Finally, does the “delay” of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for the final judgment indicate that God is longsuffering to the reprobate? No. Revelation 6:9-11 records “the fifth seal.” John “saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.” This is the loud cry he heard: “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” John beheld that “white robes were given unto every one of them.” Then we read of the answer to their earnest cry: “it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”
In short, the scriptural explanation of the delay of the great judgment day is that more saints must be martyred and the ungodly world must fully manifest its wickedness. Only then will all things be ready for the glorified Christ to return to deliver His beloved people and punish those who rebel against Him. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32)!  Rev. Stewart

 Previous CR News

God never forgives sin he always punishes it!

Sounds strange but it’s true! Listen to John Owen the great Puritan theologian,”But plainly, God, in that he spared not his only Son, but made his soul an offering for sin, and would admit of no atonement but in his blood, has abundantly manifested that it is of necessity to him (his holiness and righteousness requiring it) to render indignation, wrath, tribulation, and anguish unto sin. And the knowledge of this naturalness of vindictive justice, with the necessity of its execution on supposition of sin, is the only true and useful knowledge of it. To look upon it as that which God may exercise or forbear, makes his justice not a property of his nature, but a free act of his will; and a will to punish where one may do otherwise without injustice, is
rather ill-will than justice.”

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So God always punishes sin, all the sin of his elect at the cross in his son and the sins of all the reprobate in hell eternally. So we can say God always punishes sin but for his chosen people he both punishes AND forgives.

Psalm 137:9

 

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Psalms 137:9

Happy [shall he be] that taketh and dasheth thy little ones
against the stones.

Hear John Gill: ” That takes the infants from their mothers’ breasts, or out of their arms, and dashes out their brains against a “rock”, as the word F11 signifies; which, though it may seem a piece of cruelty, was but a just retaliation; the Babylonians having done the same to the Jewish children, and is foretold elsewhere should be done to theirs, ( Isaiah 13:16 ) . Nor is this desired from a spirit of revenge, but for the glory of divine justice, and that such a generation of cruel creatures might be rooted out of the earth;”

Helpful article   God’s judgment of the wicked.

I came across a slide called “God-the original baby killer”. While it was written by someone who clearly hated God it still truthfully named places in history where God did just that through his angel or human instrumentality namely: Exodus 12:29, Numbers 31:17 and I Samuel 15:3. The principle of just retribution (eye for eye, tooth for tooth) is also applicable (Obadiah 15).

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It ought to be remembered that so-called civilised societies around the world have been responsible for the majority of baby deaths by abortion  since time began!

Don’t all babies who die go to heaven?

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The idea that all children dying in infancy go straight to heaven has no Biblical basis. Certain Scriptural facts must be remembered as we contemplate the fate of dying babies:

  1. Every human being is conceived and born in sin bearing the guilt of Adam and deserving eternal death (Psalm 51:5).
  2. God as sovereign, elects and reprobates before the world was formed and before babies are born (Romans 9:11). Hence there are elect and reprobate infants.
  3. God as the potter has the right over the clay (human beings) (Romans 9:21).

Thus when we read Psalm 137:9 of the children of pagans being dashed against stones or in Numbers 16:27ff of the babies of Korah, Dathan and Abiram going alive down to the pit of hell we need to remember the above.

Listen to Professor Emeritus Herman Hanko:

“The objection is still raised that the Psalm speaks of Babylon’s “little ones.” Is not that cruel and heartless and beyond the bounds of decency that little ones were smashed against the stones? Again, such an objection is really made against God. I have difficulty understanding why people find this incomprehensible. While I write this the dead bodies of babies are being dug out of the ruins left from a terrible earthquake in Pakistan, and many babies were recently buried beneath a mudslide in Guatemala. Earthquakes and mudslides are God’s judgment. God is angry with the sins of this world. He comes in judgment to avenge His own holiness.

We ought to remember that all are guilty of Adam’s sin, including babies who are conceived and born in sin (Ps. 51:5). We all, including our children, deserve God’s judgments. God Himself has said in His holy law that He visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children (Ex. 20:5). God executes His own judgments against the wicked and their seed. Is it worse when God uses the Medes to dash Babylon’s little children against a stone than that God uses a hurricane to kill little children in New Orleans? How can that be?

But let us who know God remember His holiness and bow in fear and awe before Him who always judges righteously. And let us remember that we and our children deserve such judgments ourselves, for such self-knowledge will bring us to our knees in repentance and confession. And let us remember the riches of God’s mercy in delivering us and our children from such awful judgments, for what we deserve Christ bore in our place. That will put in our hearts the fear and praise of the God who has graciously delivered us.” Prof. Hanko (Covenant Reformed News Nov.2005)

And infant baptism saves no infant, it is merely a sign given to infants of believing parents that their child is born into the sphere of the covenant and that if they are elect they will inherit all the promises of salvation.

 

Gottschalk (9th century monk)

” Therefore, what I believe most firmly, speak most confidently and confess most certainly and fruitfully, I also now most truly avow: that our omnipotent God, Creator and Preserver of all creatures, may now be considered as the gracious renewer and restorer of the elect only; He has never willed at any time to be the Saviour of any of the reprobate; nor Redeemer; nor crowner.” Gottschalk (9th century pre-Reformer).

‘ God elects whom he wills and reprobates whom he wills, and does not change his mind about it. Christ died for the elect, and no elect can ever be lost.’

from “Gottschalk, Servant of God” by Connie Meyer.

http://www.cprf.co.uk/bookstore/gottschalk.htm#.Vr8qPP3cvm4IMG_6600