The Destruction of the
The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”
God’s character is one of love
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
God is not willing that any should perish.
For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
Each person will be judged according to what they have done.
Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
There will be two resurrections. One for the righteous who will receive eternal life. The other for the wicked who will receive the reward for their wickedness.
For our God is a consuming fire.
Our God is a consuming fire. To sin (wherever it is found) God is a consuming fire.
“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” says the Lord of hosts, “that will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this,” says the Lord of hosts.
Sinners will ultimately be burned up or turned to ashes.
For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more.
The wicked shall not be.
But the wicked shall perish; and the enemies of the Lord, like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away.
The wicked shall perish, they shall consume away.
Yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more; indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.
The wicked will not be found
And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
The punishment will be everlasting. Note the text does not say “everlasting punishing”. It is a single punishment whose effect lasts forever.
As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Sodom and Gomorrah are examples of everlasting punishment and eternal fire. These cities lie in ruins today underneath a portion of the Dead Sea.
2 Peter 2:6
And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly.
The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are turned into ashes.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
The fire cannot be quenched or put out until it completes its work of totally eradicating sin from the universe.
Thus the Lord said to me: “Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, by which the kings of Judah come in and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem; and say to them, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who enter by these gates. Thus says the Lord: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, no do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. But they did not obey nor incline their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor receive instruction. And it shall be, if you heed Me carefully,” says the Lord, “to bring no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work in it, then shall enter the gates of this city kings and princes sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, accompanied by the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city shall remain forever. And they shall come from the cities of Judah and from the places around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin and from the lowland, from the mountains and from the South, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, bringing sacrifices of praise to the house of the Lord. But if you will not heed Me to hallow the Sabbath day, such as no carrying a burden when entering the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire on its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.”’”
Jerusalem was destroyed by an unquenchable fire which human hands could not put out. It completed its work of totally destroying Jerusalem, yet Jerusalem is not burning today.
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.
The wicked shall be destroyed forever. Forever does not always mean endless existence but is literally translated “until the end of the age.”
Then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.
A slave shall serve his master forever or as long as he lives
1 Samuel 1:22,28
But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever….Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there.”
Hannah presented Samuel before the Lord forever or for as long as he would live.
2 Peter 2:4
For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment….
The evil angels and all the wicked are reserved unto judgment. Hell is not burning now.
They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.
Fire comes down from God out of heaven and devours the wicked. They are completely destroyed.
And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
The wicked will burn for different lengths of time, according to the measure of their guilt, before they are consumed.
Ezekiel 28:17,18 v
Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you. You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trading; therefore I brought fire from your midst; it devoured you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you.
Satan himself will be consumed to ashes.
Behold, they shall be as stubble, the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame; it shall not be a coal to be warmed by, nor a fire to sit before!
The fire will burn itself out and there will not even be a coal to warm at.
For as you drank on My holy mountain, so shall all the nations drink continually; yes, they shall drink, and swallow, and they shall be as though they had never been.
The wicked will be as though they had never existed.
2 Peter 3:12,13
looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
The old world shall be dissolved but God shall create a new heavens and earth.
What do you conspire against the LORD? He will make an utter end of it. Affliction will not rise up a second time.
After the destruction of the wicked, sin will never rise up again.
Commonly asked questions regarding the destruction of the wicked
Is Hell a hot spot burning in the center of the earth now?
According to the Bible, the final destruction of the wicked comes at the end of time. The wicked are reserved unto judgment (2 Peter 2:4). Our God is a consuming fire to sin wherever it is found (Hebrews 12:29). The fires of Hell originate from heaven at the end of time not some hot spot in the earth (Revelation 20:9). The wicked will be totally consumed. They shall be cut off from the earth (see Proverbs 10:25, Psalm 37:10,11,20,34,38). They shall be consumed to ashes (Malachi 4:1,3). This final destruction will occur after the thousand year millennium (Revelation 20:5) at the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28,29).
What about the texts which declare the wicked will burn forever (like Revelation 20:10)?
Forever in the Bible can be literally translated “until the end of the age” or as long as he shall live. The wicked are consumed, burned up, turned into ashes (Malachi 4:1,3). The old age of sin and death ends. God ushers in a new age (see Revelation 21:1-4). God creates a new heavens and new earth with no more crying, death, sickness or pain. In the Old Testament, a slave was to serve his master forever (Exodus 21:6). Hannah brought her son Samuel to the temple forever (1 Samuel 1:22). In both of these instances the time period was as long as they lived. 1 Samuel 1:28 clearly states, “as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” Jonah even uses the expression “forever” to describe his experience in the belly of the whale (see Jonah 2:6). Forever was a limited, not an unending time. It was as long as the Lord decreed, until the end of the age or as long as Jonah could live in that environment. The punishment of the wicked will be everlasting (Matthew 25:46). They will be consumed. Burned to ashes, they will be gone forever. It is not everlasting “punishing” or a continued state of torment. The idea of an eternally burning hell would make God a cosmic monster, delighting in destroying His creatures. A loving God must blot sin out of the universe or it will destroy the entire planet. Like a cancer surgeon, He must cut out the disease, however painful.
What about the expression “eternal fire”?
Sodom and Gomorrah, two ancient cities, filled with sin were consumed with fire from heaven. The Bible states that they were burned with an eternal fire (Jude 7). They are not burning today. These two cities are in ruins under the Dead Sea. According to 2 Peter 2:6, they were turned into ashes. An eternal fire is one whose effects are eternal, one which totally consumes forever.
Doesn’t the Bible speak about the fire which cannot “be quenched” (Mark 9:43,48)?
The fire which cannot be quenched is one which no human hands can put out. It utterly, totally consumes. As a result of the Jews disobedience, Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus in A.D. 70. The city was burned with an unquenchable fire. You may read the prophecy of this destruction in Jeremiah 17:27. “The fire consuming Jerusalem shall not be quenched.” Yet Jerusalem is not burning today. The fire has done a complete work.