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All You Want to Know About Hell: Three Christian Views of God?s Final Solution to the Problem of Sin by Gregg, Steve (2013) Paperback
All You Want to Know About Hell: Three Christian Views of God?s Final Solution to the Problem of Sin by Gregg, Steve (2013) Paperback
22 used & new from $15.86

5.0 out of 5 stars GREGG COMPARES TRADITIONAL, CONDITIONALIST, AND UNIVERSALIST VIEWS ON HELL, July 24, 2016
Steve Gregg is a radio talk-show host and a teacher/writer; he also edited the book Revelation: Four Views, A Parallel Commentary.

He wrote in the Foreword to this 2013 book, “You may think that the Bible gives a clear and consistent picture of hell. If so, you will have occasion to be surprised in considering the biblical evidence in the following pages. I have no intention of telling you which of the alternative views is correct (since I am still waiting for someone who really knows to tell me which is correct!)… Since we are not competent to do so, God has pledged to resolve the perennial problem of sin in the universe---to rectify the results of the fall… The manner in which He plans to do so is what is debated in these pages, and is more than worth the effort to discover.” (Pg. xi-xii) Later, he adds, “I have attempted to provide the very best biblical arguments that I can find in the literature defending each viewpoint, including the traditional one. If any one view comes out sounding more credible than another as a result, I trust it may not be due to any prejudicial treatment by this author, but only to the fact that its biblical arguments are more sound and unassailable.” (Pg. 16)

He responds to a criticism of “postmortem [“second chance”] evangelization” as follows: “The appeal to Hebrews 9:27---‘It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment’---is answered by pointing out that, while judgment is experienced after death, postmortem repentance might yet occur at some time after the judgment.” (Pg. 6)

He reveals, “For years, I assumed that immortality was simply a necessary and natural aspect of having been created in God’s image… I assumed that hell was not so much a place that God had designed and constructed as it was banishment from all that God had prepared for those who love Him---a condition from which He purported to deliver all, but was thwarted by the stubborn free will of most people. It never occurred to me to ask how it was that God had found Himself in such a predicament---burdened with the heartache of knowing that He could only do so much to prevent the loss of so many of his beloved creatures, and forced helplessly to watch them go into unthinkable horror, which He would never have willingly allowed, if only He had more power to save. I obviously was not thinking clearly… More consistent with the biblical picture of the sovereign and purposeful God is the recognition that, in His setting up of the cosmos, He has provided for every contingency, so that nothing will ultimately prove to be His undoing. Even hell, whatever it is like, was ‘prepared’ by God for something.” (Pg. 41-42)

He points out, “We are often told that Jesus spoke more on the topic of hell than did any other person in the Bible. This would not be difficult for Him to do, since almost all of the biblical authors were silent on the subject. When Jesus and His disciples preached the gospel to unbelievers, there was little attempt to turn the listeners’ thoughts to matters of the afterlife… Jesus seldom spoke of hell—probably on less than six or seven occasions out of about forty recorded days of His ministry. He also seldom spoke of heaven, conceived as a place where people go when they die. Unlike our modern preaching, Jesus’ message was not about going to heaven after death.” (Pg. 59)

Of the story of the rich man and Lazarus, he comments, “If we insist that Jesus’ description of Hades, in this story, corresponds to the actual state of the dead, we are left to conclude that the Egyptians and Greeks (from whom, apparently, the rabbis derived some parts of their visions of hell), lacking divine inspiration, somehow guessed accurately about unseen matters that could only be known or by revelation from God. Jesus would then be seen as placing His stamp of approval on the mythical speculations of the pagan religions. While this is possible, it is a thesis both improbable and unnecessary.” (Pg. 83-84)

He notes, “In many cases, it is assumed that a given text refers to an eschatological, postmortem judgment, when such is not clearly affirmed… In commenting on the fates of certain Galileans recently slaughtered by Roman soldiers in the temple, and some other Jews killed by a falling tower in Jerusalem, Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’ … There is no suggestion in the text that the persons who died in these disasters went to hell. Some of them died while offering sacrifices in the temple [Lk 13:1], and may have been righteous Jews, for whom hell was not appointed.” (Pg. 164)

He suggests, “While an eschatological resurrection is often assumed to be in view in Daniel 12:2, there are reasons to be cautious about making this identification. This verse speaks only of ‘MANY of those who sleep in the dust’ arising, whereas, in the eschatological resurrection, ‘ALL who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth’ (Jn 5:28 ff). The use of ‘many’ in Daniel 12, as opposed to ‘all’ in John 5, raises questions as to whether the same event is in view or not.” (Pg. 167)

He comments on Revelation 14:10-11, “This, and the other proofs from the book of Revelation, would provide a stronger case for traditionalism if it were not for the apocalyptic nature of that book. While traditionalist scholars are certainly aware that the Revelation is written in the apocalyptic genre, they seem to ignore that fact when appealing to its description of judgment… First, the passage makes no claims that it is about hell. There is no specific mention of the ‘lake of fire,’ nor the ‘second death’---Revelation’s terminology for hell. It may well be that hell is in view here, since the reference to ‘fire and brimstone’ (v. 10) is found here… However, ‘fire and brimstone’ were previously seen in revelation in connection with temporal judgments that are not associated with the lake of fire…” (Pg. 179)

He adds, “if we allow that Revelation 14:10-11 COULD BE a description of hell, what are we told about it? It is a place of torment and restlessness ‘day and night’ (this would have to be taken symbolically, since ‘day’ and ‘night’ will not exist in hell)…” (Pg. 181) “Could the ascending smoke in this passage also refer to as memorial of a destruction earlier completed? When we are later told in Revelation that the smoke of Babylon ‘rises up for ever and ever’ (19:3), this does not necessarily allude to the continuing agony of the inhabitants, nor even of the city’s continuing to burn. It seems more to be an image of eternal smoldering---with smoke symbolizing a lasting memorial of Babylon’s judgment. So, as we have seen, Revelation 14:10-11 may not even be relevant to our discussion of hell… Even if it is depicting hell, it does not specifically say that the torment or the restlessness of the condemned continues eternally---only that their smoke does so---and such a description could be as much a hyperbole her as it is in Revelation 19:3.” (Pg. 182-183)

He contends, “Those who insist upon eternal torment ‘because sin is against infinite majesty’ do not seem to recognize that the most stunning manifestation of God’s infinite majesty is in the revelation of His grace toward the most undeserving.” (Pg. 186) He states, “The wages of sin is DEATH---not endless LIFE IN MISERY. In Scripture, as well as in language generally, death is the condition opposite to being alive---not another kind of ongoing life. It seems unnatural to speak of eternal ‘death’ as if it were an interminable ‘life of torment.’” (Pg. 195)

He argues, “In the common traditionalist view that sinners remain in a state of rebellion against God forever in hell, the creation is never really free from sin at all. Rebellion has not been conquered. It has only been marginalized and contained in one compartment of the creation. Nor has any final justice been served, since the punishment continues endlessly and is never completed.” (Pg. 201-202)

He clarifies, “Conditionalists, however, do not generally believe that God raised the wicked only to annihilate them. He raises them in order to judge, sentence, and punish them. Their end will be annihilation, but not necessarily immediately after the resurrection. Only God knows what degree or duration of punishment is truly deserved, and He is committed to judging all people justly.” (Pg. 229)

On the question as to how the redeemed will respond when they see their loved ones in hell, he quotes one commentator who suggests, “their former affection will be turned to utter rejection,’ and observes, “this explanation is lacking in … scriptural support. It is entirely speculative, and no biblical writer ever suggested that Christians would ever have such a postmortem change of heart toward their loved ones... It suggests that, when we see Jesus and become like Him, we will thereby become less compassionate than we presently are in this life.” (Pg. 259-260)

He concludes, “My own sentiments, I am afraid, have no remained entirely hidden in the presentation---though I remain genuinely undecided, at the time of this writing, as to which view best represents the complete synthesis of biblical information. I know what I would PREFER to be true, and probably the reader knows also. In the absence of certain knowledge, I think, it is some comfort in knowing that more than one possibility---not only the worst one---is worthy of consideration.” (Pg. 299-300)

Gregg does a fine job of presenting the various views fairly (he is, however, sympathetic to the Conditionalist view, in the end). For anyone seriously studying Hell, Conditional Immortality, and Universalism---particularly from an Evangelical perspective---this book will be of immense value.


All You Want To Know Abt Hell (All You Want to Know about) by Steve Gregg (5-Nov-2013) Paperback
All You Want To Know Abt Hell (All You Want to Know about) by Steve Gregg (5-Nov-2013) Paperback
by Steve Gregg
Edition: Paperback
4 used & new from $46.31

5.0 out of 5 stars GREGG COMPARES TRADITIONAL, CONDITIONALIST, AND UNIVERSALIST VIEWS ON HELL, July 24, 2016
Steve Gregg is a radio talk-show host and a teacher/writer; he also edited the book Revelation: Four Views, A Parallel Commentary.

He wrote in the Foreword to this 2013 book, “You may think that the Bible gives a clear and consistent picture of hell. If so, you will have occasion to be surprised in considering the biblical evidence in the following pages. I have no intention of telling you which of the alternative views is correct (since I am still waiting for someone who really knows to tell me which is correct!)… Since we are not competent to do so, God has pledged to resolve the perennial problem of sin in the universe---to rectify the results of the fall… The manner in which He plans to do so is what is debated in these pages, and is more than worth the effort to discover.” (Pg. xi-xii) Later, he adds, “I have attempted to provide the very best biblical arguments that I can find in the literature defending each viewpoint, including the traditional one. If any one view comes out sounding more credible than another as a result, I trust it may not be due to any prejudicial treatment by this author, but only to the fact that its biblical arguments are more sound and unassailable.” (Pg. 16)

He responds to a criticism of “postmortem [“second chance”] evangelization” as follows: “The appeal to Hebrews 9:27---‘It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment’---is answered by pointing out that, while judgment is experienced after death, postmortem repentance might yet occur at some time after the judgment.” (Pg. 6)

He reveals, “For years, I assumed that immortality was simply a necessary and natural aspect of having been created in God’s image… I assumed that hell was not so much a place that God had designed and constructed as it was banishment from all that God had prepared for those who love Him---a condition from which He purported to deliver all, but was thwarted by the stubborn free will of most people. It never occurred to me to ask how it was that God had found Himself in such a predicament---burdened with the heartache of knowing that He could only do so much to prevent the loss of so many of his beloved creatures, and forced helplessly to watch them go into unthinkable horror, which He would never have willingly allowed, if only He had more power to save. I obviously was not thinking clearly… More consistent with the biblical picture of the sovereign and purposeful God is the recognition that, in His setting up of the cosmos, He has provided for every contingency, so that nothing will ultimately prove to be His undoing. Even hell, whatever it is like, was ‘prepared’ by God for something.” (Pg. 41-42)

He points out, “We are often told that Jesus spoke more on the topic of hell than did any other person in the Bible. This would not be difficult for Him to do, since almost all of the biblical authors were silent on the subject. When Jesus and His disciples preached the gospel to unbelievers, there was little attempt to turn the listeners’ thoughts to matters of the afterlife… Jesus seldom spoke of hell—probably on less than six or seven occasions out of about forty recorded days of His ministry. He also seldom spoke of heaven, conceived as a place where people go when they die. Unlike our modern preaching, Jesus’ message was not about going to heaven after death.” (Pg. 59)

Of the story of the rich man and Lazarus, he comments, “If we insist that Jesus’ description of Hades, in this story, corresponds to the actual state of the dead, we are left to conclude that the Egyptians and Greeks (from whom, apparently, the rabbis derived some parts of their visions of hell), lacking divine inspiration, somehow guessed accurately about unseen matters that could only be known or by revelation from God. Jesus would then be seen as placing His stamp of approval on the mythical speculations of the pagan religions. While this is possible, it is a thesis both improbable and unnecessary.” (Pg. 83-84)

He notes, “In many cases, it is assumed that a given text refers to an eschatological, postmortem judgment, when such is not clearly affirmed… In commenting on the fates of certain Galileans recently slaughtered by Roman soldiers in the temple, and some other Jews killed by a falling tower in Jerusalem, Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’ … There is no suggestion in the text that the persons who died in these disasters went to hell. Some of them died while offering sacrifices in the temple [Lk 13:1], and may have been righteous Jews, for whom hell was not appointed.” (Pg. 164)

He suggests, “While an eschatological resurrection is often assumed to be in view in Daniel 12:2, there are reasons to be cautious about making this identification. This verse speaks only of ‘MANY of those who sleep in the dust’ arising, whereas, in the eschatological resurrection, ‘ALL who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth’ (Jn 5:28 ff). The use of ‘many’ in Daniel 12, as opposed to ‘all’ in John 5, raises questions as to whether the same event is in view or not.” (Pg. 167)

He comments on Revelation 14:10-11, “This, and the other proofs from the book of Revelation, would provide a stronger case for traditionalism if it were not for the apocalyptic nature of that book. While traditionalist scholars are certainly aware that the Revelation is written in the apocalyptic genre, they seem to ignore that fact when appealing to its description of judgment… First, the passage makes no claims that it is about hell. There is no specific mention of the ‘lake of fire,’ nor the ‘second death’---Revelation’s terminology for hell. It may well be that hell is in view here, since the reference to ‘fire and brimstone’ (v. 10) is found here… However, ‘fire and brimstone’ were previously seen in revelation in connection with temporal judgments that are not associated with the lake of fire…” (Pg. 179)

He adds, “if we allow that Revelation 14:10-11 COULD BE a description of hell, what are we told about it? It is a place of torment and restlessness ‘day and night’ (this would have to be taken symbolically, since ‘day’ and ‘night’ will not exist in hell)…” (Pg. 181) “Could the ascending smoke in this passage also refer to as memorial of a destruction earlier completed? When we are later told in Revelation that the smoke of Babylon ‘rises up for ever and ever’ (19:3), this does not necessarily allude to the continuing agony of the inhabitants, nor even of the city’s continuing to burn. It seems more to be an image of eternal smoldering---with smoke symbolizing a lasting memorial of Babylon’s judgment. So, as we have seen, Revelation 14:10-11 may not even be relevant to our discussion of hell… Even if it is depicting hell, it does not specifically say that the torment or the restlessness of the condemned continues eternally---only that their smoke does so---and such a description could be as much a hyperbole her as it is in Revelation 19:3.” (Pg. 182-183)

He contends, “Those who insist upon eternal torment ‘because sin is against infinite majesty’ do not seem to recognize that the most stunning manifestation of God’s infinite majesty is in the revelation of His grace toward the most undeserving.” (Pg. 186) He states, “The wages of sin is DEATH---not endless LIFE IN MISERY. In Scripture, as well as in language generally, death is the condition opposite to being alive---not another kind of ongoing life. It seems unnatural to speak of eternal ‘death’ as if it were an interminable ‘life of torment.’” (Pg. 195)

He argues, “In the common traditionalist view that sinners remain in a state of rebellion against God forever in hell, the creation is never really free from sin at all. Rebellion has not been conquered. It has only been marginalized and contained in one compartment of the creation. Nor has any final justice been served, since the punishment continues endlessly and is never completed.” (Pg. 201-202)

He clarifies, “Conditionalists, however, do not generally believe that God raised the wicked only to annihilate them. He raises them in order to judge, sentence, and punish them. Their end will be annihilation, but not necessarily immediately after the resurrection. Only God knows what degree or duration of punishment is truly deserved, and He is committed to judging all people justly.” (Pg. 229)

On the question as to how the redeemed will respond when they see their loved ones in hell, he quotes one commentator who suggests, “their former affection will be turned to utter rejection,’ and observes, “this explanation is lacking in … scriptural support. It is entirely speculative, and no biblical writer ever suggested that Christians would ever have such a postmortem change of heart toward their loved ones... It suggests that, when we see Jesus and become like Him, we will thereby become less compassionate than we presently are in this life.” (Pg. 259-260)

He concludes, “My own sentiments, I am afraid, have no remained entirely hidden in the presentation---though I remain genuinely undecided, at the time of this writing, as to which view best represents the complete synthesis of biblical information. I know what I would PREFER to be true, and probably the reader knows also. In the absence of certain knowledge, I think, it is some comfort in knowing that more than one possibility---not only the worst one---is worthy of consideration.” (Pg. 299-300)

Gregg does a fine job of presenting the various views fairly (he is, however, sympathetic to the Conditionalist view, in the end). For anyone seriously studying Hell, Conditional Immortality, and Universalism---particularly from an Evangelical perspective---this book will be of immense value.


All You Want to Know About Hell: Three Christian Views of God?s Final Solution to the Problem of Sin
All You Want to Know About Hell: Three Christian Views of God?s Final Solution to the Problem of Sin
by Steve Gregg
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.42
69 used & new from $3.39

5.0 out of 5 stars GREGG COMPARES TRADITIONAL, CONDITIONALIST, AND UNIVERSALIST VIEWS ON HELL, July 24, 2016
Steve Gregg is a radio talk-show host and a teacher/writer; he also edited the book Revelation: Four Views, A Parallel Commentary.

He wrote in the Foreword to this 2013 book, “You may think that the Bible gives a clear and consistent picture of hell. If so, you will have occasion to be surprised in considering the biblical evidence in the following pages. I have no intention of telling you which of the alternative views is correct (since I am still waiting for someone who really knows to tell me which is correct!)… Since we are not competent to do so, God has pledged to resolve the perennial problem of sin in the universe---to rectify the results of the fall… The manner in which He plans to do so is what is debated in these pages, and is more than worth the effort to discover.” (Pg. xi-xii) Later, he adds, “I have attempted to provide the very best biblical arguments that I can find in the literature defending each viewpoint, including the traditional one. If any one view comes out sounding more credible than another as a result, I trust it may not be due to any prejudicial treatment by this author, but only to the fact that its biblical arguments are more sound and unassailable.” (Pg. 16)

He responds to a criticism of “postmortem [“second chance”] evangelization” as follows: “The appeal to Hebrews 9:27---‘It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment’---is answered by pointing out that, while judgment is experienced after death, postmortem repentance might yet occur at some time after the judgment.” (Pg. 6)

He reveals, “For years, I assumed that immortality was simply a necessary and natural aspect of having been created in God’s image… I assumed that hell was not so much a place that God had designed and constructed as it was banishment from all that God had prepared for those who love Him---a condition from which He purported to deliver all, but was thwarted by the stubborn free will of most people. It never occurred to me to ask how it was that God had found Himself in such a predicament---burdened with the heartache of knowing that He could only do so much to prevent the loss of so many of his beloved creatures, and forced helplessly to watch them go into unthinkable horror, which He would never have willingly allowed, if only He had more power to save. I obviously was not thinking clearly… More consistent with the biblical picture of the sovereign and purposeful God is the recognition that, in His setting up of the cosmos, He has provided for every contingency, so that nothing will ultimately prove to be His undoing. Even hell, whatever it is like, was ‘prepared’ by God for something.” (Pg. 41-42)

He points out, “We are often told that Jesus spoke more on the topic of hell than did any other person in the Bible. This would not be difficult for Him to do, since almost all of the biblical authors were silent on the subject. When Jesus and His disciples preached the gospel to unbelievers, there was little attempt to turn the listeners’ thoughts to matters of the afterlife… Jesus seldom spoke of hell—probably on less than six or seven occasions out of about forty recorded days of His ministry. He also seldom spoke of heaven, conceived as a place where people go when they die. Unlike our modern preaching, Jesus’ message was not about going to heaven after death.” (Pg. 59)

Of the story of the rich man and Lazarus, he comments, “If we insist that Jesus’ description of Hades, in this story, corresponds to the actual state of the dead, we are left to conclude that the Egyptians and Greeks (from whom, apparently, the rabbis derived some parts of their visions of hell), lacking divine inspiration, somehow guessed accurately about unseen matters that could only be known or by revelation from God. Jesus would then be seen as placing His stamp of approval on the mythical speculations of the pagan religions. While this is possible, it is a thesis both improbable and unnecessary.” (Pg. 83-84)

He notes, “In many cases, it is assumed that a given text refers to an eschatological, postmortem judgment, when such is not clearly affirmed… In commenting on the fates of certain Galileans recently slaughtered by Roman soldiers in the temple, and some other Jews killed by a falling tower in Jerusalem, Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’ … There is no suggestion in the text that the persons who died in these disasters went to hell. Some of them died while offering sacrifices in the temple [Lk 13:1], and may have been righteous Jews, for whom hell was not appointed.” (Pg. 164)

He suggests, “While an eschatological resurrection is often assumed to be in view in Daniel 12:2, there are reasons to be cautious about making this identification. This verse speaks only of ‘MANY of those who sleep in the dust’ arising, whereas, in the eschatological resurrection, ‘ALL who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth’ (Jn 5:28 ff). The use of ‘many’ in Daniel 12, as opposed to ‘all’ in John 5, raises questions as to whether the same event is in view or not.” (Pg. 167)

He comments on Revelation 14:10-11, “This, and the other proofs from the book of Revelation, would provide a stronger case for traditionalism if it were not for the apocalyptic nature of that book. While traditionalist scholars are certainly aware that the Revelation is written in the apocalyptic genre, they seem to ignore that fact when appealing to its description of judgment… First, the passage makes no claims that it is about hell. There is no specific mention of the ‘lake of fire,’ nor the ‘second death’---Revelation’s terminology for hell. It may well be that hell is in view here, since the reference to ‘fire and brimstone’ (v. 10) is found here… However, ‘fire and brimstone’ were previously seen in revelation in connection with temporal judgments that are not associated with the lake of fire…” (Pg. 179)

He adds, “if we allow that Revelation 14:10-11 COULD BE a description of hell, what are we told about it? It is a place of torment and restlessness ‘day and night’ (this would have to be taken symbolically, since ‘day’ and ‘night’ will not exist in hell)…” (Pg. 181) “Could the ascending smoke in this passage also refer to as memorial of a destruction earlier completed? When we are later told in Revelation that the smoke of Babylon ‘rises up for ever and ever’ (19:3), this does not necessarily allude to the continuing agony of the inhabitants, nor even of the city’s continuing to burn. It seems more to be an image of eternal smoldering---with smoke symbolizing a lasting memorial of Babylon’s judgment. So, as we have seen, Revelation 14:10-11 may not even be relevant to our discussion of hell… Even if it is depicting hell, it does not specifically say that the torment or the restlessness of the condemned continues eternally---only that their smoke does so---and such a description could be as much a hyperbole her as it is in Revelation 19:3.” (Pg. 182-183)

He contends, “Those who insist upon eternal torment ‘because sin is against infinite majesty’ do not seem to recognize that the most stunning manifestation of God’s infinite majesty is in the revelation of His grace toward the most undeserving.” (Pg. 186) He states, “The wages of sin is DEATH---not endless LIFE IN MISERY. In Scripture, as well as in language generally, death is the condition opposite to being alive---not another kind of ongoing life. It seems unnatural to speak of eternal ‘death’ as if it were an interminable ‘life of torment.’” (Pg. 195)

He argues, “In the common traditionalist view that sinners remain in a state of rebellion against God forever in hell, the creation is never really free from sin at all. Rebellion has not been conquered. It has only been marginalized and contained in one compartment of the creation. Nor has any final justice been served, since the punishment continues endlessly and is never completed.” (Pg. 201-202)

He clarifies, “Conditionalists, however, do not generally believe that God raised the wicked only to annihilate them. He raises them in order to judge, sentence, and punish them. Their end will be annihilation, but not necessarily immediately after the resurrection. Only God knows what degree or duration of punishment is truly deserved, and He is committed to judging all people justly.” (Pg. 229)

On the question as to how the redeemed will respond when they see their loved ones in hell, he quotes one commentator who suggests, “their former affection will be turned to utter rejection,’ and observes, “this explanation is lacking in … scriptural support. It is entirely speculative, and no biblical writer ever suggested that Christians would ever have such a postmortem change of heart toward their loved ones... It suggests that, when we see Jesus and become like Him, we will thereby become less compassionate than we presently are in this life.” (Pg. 259-260)

He concludes, “My own sentiments, I am afraid, have no remained entirely hidden in the presentation---though I remain genuinely undecided, at the time of this writing, as to which view best represents the complete synthesis of biblical information. I know what I would PREFER to be true, and probably the reader knows also. In the absence of certain knowledge, I think, it is some comfort in knowing that more than one possibility---not only the worst one---is worthy of consideration.” (Pg. 299-300)

Gregg does a fine job of presenting the various views fairly (he is, however, sympathetic to the Conditionalist view, in the end). For anyone seriously studying Hell, Conditional Immortality, and Universalism---particularly from an Evangelical perspective---this book will be of immense value.


What's the Truth About Heaven and Hell? by Jacoby, Douglas A. (2013) Paperback
What's the Truth About Heaven and Hell? by Jacoby, Douglas A. (2013) Paperback
18 used & new from $32.92

5.0 out of 5 stars AN EXCELLENT OVERVIEW OF A WIDE VARIETY OF MATTERS, July 24, 2016
Douglas Jacoby is a Bible teacher and professor who has also written A Quick Overview of the Bible: Understanding How All the Pieces Fit Together, Compelling Evidence for God and the Bible: Finding Truth in an Age of Doubt, Your Bible Questions Answered, and The Ultimate Bible Quiz Book.

He cautions in an opening section of the book, “If we are really serious about examining what the Scriptures really say about the afterlife, we must be willing to approach the subject with an open mind. This is easier said than done. First of all, everyone interprets, whether he or she is conscious of this or not. Second, we cannot help but bring preconceptions to the discussion of the afterlife. Last, not all Scripture is intended to be read literally. Knowing the difference is key to making sense of the passages touching on the afterlife.” (Pg. 7)

He observes, “The basic sense of ‘aion’ … is ‘time, age.’ The listed definitions in the standard lexicon for New Testament Greek are ‘very long time, eternity; a segment of time, age; the world.’ There is no inherent notion of everlastingness… This makes sense. In Exodus 31:17 the Sabbath was to remain a sign for the Jewish people ‘forever,’ yet the early church felt no obligation to keep it (Col 2:16; see Gal 4:8-11). Similarly, circumcision was ‘for the generations to come’ (Gen 17:12), yet as Acts 15 and the letter to the Galatians make clear, the requirement was no longer considered binding under the new covenant.” (Pg. 16-17)

He comments on the Rich Man and Lazarus story in Luke 16:19-31, “Now to the matter of whether the event itself actually happened… the story was already familiar; Jesus’s contribution lay in how he shaped the story. Like the other parables, the situation is general. In fact it begins the same way as the previous parable: ‘There was a rich man…’ ‘Yes, but no one else in a parable is NAMED.’ So what? … As N.T. Wright points out, ‘It is hard to imagine how else the characters could be portrayed except as physical.’ Of course it’s a true story, but true in what way? Parables serve as vehicles to bring us divine truth. It’s then message of the parable that is true.” (Pg. 38-39)

He points out, “In fact nowhere in Revelation do people actually go to heaven. The new Jerusalem, the
city of God described in the closing chapters, comes down OUT OF heaven. Besides, the final vision has non-Christian nations still living on the earth (21:24). How can this be the end of the world?” (Pg. 58)

He says of Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven, “this approach fails to correctly read the genre of apocalypse, and it encourages speculation. The streets ARE gold, and the Lamb DOES have seven eyes---just not literally. Common sense is simply not enough if we are going to correctly interpret apocalyptic literature. Interpreting it as feels reasonable is one reason why we have so much confusion about the afterlife. Alcorn seems to be saying, ‘Why NOT take all the descriptions of heaven and the new earth literally?’ But can this be done consistently?... He takes the image of the souls of martyrs under the altar (6:9) literally… But why should this picture be any more literally true than the earthquake and falling stars we read about only a few verses later?... He claims there will be ‘nations’ in heaven (21:24). What about 22:15—the dogs? Like the nations, they are outside the holy city… What does it mean that death and Hades were cast into hell? Was hades, which had been the abode of the righteous, being punished?” (Pg. 77-78)

He notes, “Advocates of the traditional view [of Hell], discussing human sin, speak of ‘the infinity of the evil.’ This concept seems to be an import from theology or philosophy rather than an explicit teaching in the relevant texts themselves. Sinners are ‘always infinitely guilty of what one has done; the sentence never overtakes the crime.’ … Some have backed away from Anselm’s argument, which relies on a sense of feudal justice, but others try to salvage it.” (Pg. 106)

He acknowledges, “The most common objection to the Conditionalist view is that ‘eternal’ means ETERNAL. If eternal is a synonym for ‘infinite,’ the objection is sustained. But … [we] concluded that the common understanding of ‘eternal’ is too narrow. Revelation 14:9-12 seems to support infinite torment. As an apocalyptic passage, however, it will not bear a literal interpretation. Further, conditionalists respond that the entire traditional view rests on two highly figurative chapters in a single book of the Bible (Revelation 14 and 20).” (Pg. 110)

Of Purgatory, he says, “several authors I’ve read who support purgatory admit that there is little if any biblical justification. The grounds for purgatory are thus more philosophical than biblical. First Corinthians 3[:12-15] contains nothing about the afterlife and certainly no hint of a purgatory. What is burning is not the not-yet-holy sinner, but substandard construction of a local church fellowship.” (Pg. 120)

He states, “Jesus promised the thief that he would be with him in paradise that very day. How could he be with Jesus in paradise when Jesus had not yet ascended to the Father (Jn 20:17)? Is ‘today’ perhaps a psychological instant? Was the penitent thief to be with Jesus in the next moment of consciousness (even if thousands of years later)? Or is ‘today’ not chronological at all---as a day is normally understood? If we took Jesus literally… then that very day … the thief was to be with Christ in paradise Jesus didn’t ascend to heaven until more than 40 days later, so if by ‘paradise’ Jesus meant heaven, we would excuse the thief for being confused when he finally reached heaven after a wait of 40 days (or 2000 years!) Yet that is the way many teachers take the passage.” (Pg. 123-124)

He advises, “If God alone has the right of final judgment, we must allow him to say who is saved and who is lost. Of course he could consider the trajectory of someone’s life---the direction and momentum. (‘The way he was beginning to seek, within five years he would have been open to the gospel…”). But we do not know this for a certainty. That is, we ought not to pronounce lost those who have turned to God in faith and repentance, nor ought we to pronounce saved those who are not.” (Pg. 171)

Concerning cremation, he suggests, “If God is able to reconstitute the bodies of the dead… surely he can accomplish this whether the body is drowned, buried in the sand, dismembered, eaten by animals or humans, or consumed by fire… Moreover, it is not intuitively obvious that we are honoring God more with our bodies in a moldering, decomposing state than in an incinerated one… In the final analysis, given the silence of the Bible, the cremation issue will need to remain a matter of opinion.” (Pg. 192)

This is an excellent, broad overview of all of the various issues; Jacoby is refreshingly non-dogmatic (so much so that, at times, it’s not easy to tell just what his own perspective it!), and clear in his expositions and exegesis. This book will be of great interest to anyone seriously studying heaven, hell, immortality, conditional immortality, or universalism.


What's the Truth About Heaven and Hell?: Sorting Out the Confusion About the Afterlife
What's the Truth About Heaven and Hell?: Sorting Out the Confusion About the Afterlife
by Douglas A. Jacoby
Edition: Paperback
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5.0 out of 5 stars AN EXCELLENT OVERVIEW OF A WIDE VARIETY OF MATTERS, July 24, 2016
Douglas Jacoby is a Bible teacher and professor who has also written A Quick Overview of the Bible: Understanding How All the Pieces Fit Together, Compelling Evidence for God and the Bible: Finding Truth in an Age of Doubt, Your Bible Questions Answered, and The Ultimate Bible Quiz Book.

He cautions in an opening section of the book, “If we are really serious about examining what the Scriptures really say about the afterlife, we must be willing to approach the subject with an open mind. This is easier said than done. First of all, everyone interprets, whether he or she is conscious of this or not. Second, we cannot help but bring preconceptions to the discussion of the afterlife. Last, not all Scripture is intended to be read literally. Knowing the difference is key to making sense of the passages touching on the afterlife.” (Pg. 7)

He observes, “The basic sense of ‘aion’ … is ‘time, age.’ The listed definitions in the standard lexicon for New Testament Greek are ‘very long time, eternity; a segment of time, age; the world.’ There is no inherent notion of everlastingness… This makes sense. In Exodus 31:17 the Sabbath was to remain a sign for the Jewish people ‘forever,’ yet the early church felt no obligation to keep it (Col 2:16; see Gal 4:8-11). Similarly, circumcision was ‘for the generations to come’ (Gen 17:12), yet as Acts 15 and the letter to the Galatians make clear, the requirement was no longer considered binding under the new covenant.” (Pg. 16-17)

He comments on the Rich Man and Lazarus story in Luke 16:19-31, “Now to the matter of whether the event itself actually happened… the story was already familiar; Jesus’s contribution lay in how he shaped the story. Like the other parables, the situation is general. In fact it begins the same way as the previous parable: ‘There was a rich man…’ ‘Yes, but no one else in a parable is NAMED.’ So what? … As N.T. Wright points out, ‘It is hard to imagine how else the characters could be portrayed except as physical.’ Of course it’s a true story, but true in what way? Parables serve as vehicles to bring us divine truth. It’s then message of the parable that is true.” (Pg. 38-39)

He points out, “In fact nowhere in Revelation do people actually go to heaven. The new Jerusalem, the
city of God described in the closing chapters, comes down OUT OF heaven. Besides, the final vision has non-Christian nations still living on the earth (21:24). How can this be the end of the world?” (Pg. 58)

He says of Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven, “this approach fails to correctly read the genre of apocalypse, and it encourages speculation. The streets ARE gold, and the Lamb DOES have seven eyes---just not literally. Common sense is simply not enough if we are going to correctly interpret apocalyptic literature. Interpreting it as feels reasonable is one reason why we have so much confusion about the afterlife. Alcorn seems to be saying, ‘Why NOT take all the descriptions of heaven and the new earth literally?’ But can this be done consistently?... He takes the image of the souls of martyrs under the altar (6:9) literally… But why should this picture be any more literally true than the earthquake and falling stars we read about only a few verses later?... He claims there will be ‘nations’ in heaven (21:24). What about 22:15—the dogs? Like the nations, they are outside the holy city… What does it mean that death and Hades were cast into hell? Was hades, which had been the abode of the righteous, being punished?” (Pg. 77-78)

He notes, “Advocates of the traditional view [of Hell], discussing human sin, speak of ‘the infinity of the evil.’ This concept seems to be an import from theology or philosophy rather than an explicit teaching in the relevant texts themselves. Sinners are ‘always infinitely guilty of what one has done; the sentence never overtakes the crime.’ … Some have backed away from Anselm’s argument, which relies on a sense of feudal justice, but others try to salvage it.” (Pg. 106)

He acknowledges, “The most common objection to the Conditionalist view is that ‘eternal’ means ETERNAL. If eternal is a synonym for ‘infinite,’ the objection is sustained. But … [we] concluded that the common understanding of ‘eternal’ is too narrow. Revelation 14:9-12 seems to support infinite torment. As an apocalyptic passage, however, it will not bear a literal interpretation. Further, conditionalists respond that the entire traditional view rests on two highly figurative chapters in a single book of the Bible (Revelation 14 and 20).” (Pg. 110)

Of Purgatory, he says, “several authors I’ve read who support purgatory admit that there is little if any biblical justification. The grounds for purgatory are thus more philosophical than biblical. First Corinthians 3[:12-15] contains nothing about the afterlife and certainly no hint of a purgatory. What is burning is not the not-yet-holy sinner, but substandard construction of a local church fellowship.” (Pg. 120)

He states, “Jesus promised the thief that he would be with him in paradise that very day. How could he be with Jesus in paradise when Jesus had not yet ascended to the Father (Jn 20:17)? Is ‘today’ perhaps a psychological instant? Was the penitent thief to be with Jesus in the next moment of consciousness (even if thousands of years later)? Or is ‘today’ not chronological at all---as a day is normally understood? If we took Jesus literally… then that very day … the thief was to be with Christ in paradise Jesus didn’t ascend to heaven until more than 40 days later, so if by ‘paradise’ Jesus meant heaven, we would excuse the thief for being confused when he finally reached heaven after a wait of 40 days (or 2000 years!) Yet that is the way many teachers take the passage.” (Pg. 123-124)

He advises, “If God alone has the right of final judgment, we must allow him to say who is saved and who is lost. Of course he could consider the trajectory of someone’s life---the direction and momentum. (‘The way he was beginning to seek, within five years he would have been open to the gospel…”). But we do not know this for a certainty. That is, we ought not to pronounce lost those who have turned to God in faith and repentance, nor ought we to pronounce saved those who are not.” (Pg. 171)

Concerning cremation, he suggests, “If God is able to reconstitute the bodies of the dead… surely he can accomplish this whether the body is drowned, buried in the sand, dismembered, eaten by animals or humans, or consumed by fire… Moreover, it is not intuitively obvious that we are honoring God more with our bodies in a moldering, decomposing state than in an incinerated one… In the final analysis, given the silence of the Bible, the cremation issue will need to remain a matter of opinion.” (Pg. 192)

This is an excellent, broad overview of all of the various issues; Jacoby is refreshingly non-dogmatic (so much so that, at times, it’s not easy to tell just what his own perspective it!), and clear in his expositions and exegesis. This book will be of great interest to anyone seriously studying heaven, hell, immortality, conditional immortality, or universalism.


Did Jesus Burn in Hell?
Did Jesus Burn in Hell?
by Dr. Roger A. Milot
Edition: Paperback
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5.0 out of 5 stars A PASTOR EXPLORES WHAT HAPPENED TO JESUS AFTER HIS CRUCIFIXION, July 23, 2016
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Roger Milot is Pastor of the Harvest Baptist Church in Hudson, Florida; he is also a contributing author to the Independent Baptist publication, ‘Call to Glory.’

He wrote in the first chapter of this 2006 book, “The purpose for writing this book is to cover a subject that, I believe, has been almost completely left alone among the ranks of Biblically fundamental Christians. It is remarkable that… those involved in the conversation, though Biblically sound in the other areas of the fundamentals of the Scriptures, were on opposing sides. I’m not just talking about laymen! Furthermore, trying to find publications covering this subject is almost impossible. I have seen… none that cover the subject in a thorough manner. I have read some material from those who embrace, what I will call the ‘Jesus in the Fires of Hell Theory’ only to find that the Scriptures are twisted and misrepresented in order to ‘prove’ their point.’ (Pg. 2)

He begins by acknowledging, “This book is written on the premise that… the King James Bible is not just another version of the Word of God… removing and changing verses and portions of verses from the Bible, as other … versions do, is obviously not an act of God.” (Pg. 4) He continues, “Thank God for the King James Bible! You can trust it, love it, live by it, and never have to worry about being misled by an erroneous translation of any portion of it. Any preacher… who persists in using anything other than a good old-fashioned, trustworthy, King James Bible is either deceived, deluded, or dishonest.” (Pg. 8)

He states, “Some would dispute the fact that Jesus was nailed to a ‘cross,’ saying that He was nailed to a ‘torture stake.’ First of all, let me remind us that this dissertation is presented on the premise that that the King James Bible is the inerrant Word of God in the English language. The King James Bible uses the word ‘cross.’ That alone settles it for me.” (Pg. 15)

Of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 27:46 [“My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”], he comments, “Why did Jesus ask this question? … I believe Jesus knew the answer to the question, but posed it in order to show us His great love for us by allowing Himself to be tortured in this manner and to let us know that if one does to Hell, he will be forsaken by and separated from God. That is, there will be no more opportunities to receive salvation, to get saved. Hell is a God-forsaken place.” (Pg. 25)

He asserts, “my King James Bible tells me that Jesus made only ONE sacrifice… It is amazing, after reading these verses [Heb 9:24, 10:12], that anyone who would claim to have a working knowledge of the Word of God, would actually assert that Jesus made ‘two’ sacrifices, one on the cross and then another in hell. We must be careful that we do not handle the Bible as if it were a toy with which to be played.” (Pg 37-39)

He contends, “I will make the following statement: ‘When an unsaved person dies, he goes immediately to the FIRES AND TORMENTS of a place the Bible calls ‘Hell.’ … we will… focus on the word ‘hell’ itself and observe how it … came into existence in the English language. The English word ‘hell’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘hel’ which means ‘place of the dead.’ When a person gets saved he is made alive and is therefore no longer dead in trespasses and sins. [Eph 2:1; Col 2:13] … Therefore, the saved person will NOT go to ‘the place of the dead.’ The saved person will not go to Hell…” (Pg. 53-54)

He says, “some good, fundamental preachers and Christians choose to … focus on the fact that the word ‘hell’ is, in fact, translated … from these two words, ‘sheol’ and ‘hades.’ One can actually acknowledge this truth, and, in fact, learn from it without embracing the false teaching that there is no such thing as the judgment of eternal fire.” (Pg. 55-56) He adds, “When the King James translators translated the words ‘sheol’ and ‘hades,’ they chose, with God’s help, either the word ‘grave’ or ‘hell’ according to the plain context of their usage.” (Pg. 57)

He argues about Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31, “Does the Bible tell us where Abraham’s Bosom was? Yes, very clearly. The Bible tells us that the fires of Hell and Abraham’s Bosom were separated by a great gulf, i.e., an abyss or chasm… The area between the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:40) and Heaven is not what one would call a chasm. Therefore, we very plainly see that Abraham’s Bosom and the fires of Hell were both in the heart of the earth separated by a ‘great gulf.’ … The reason the rich man was able to see Lazarus across the great gulf … is because AT THAT TIME, a section called ‘Abraham’s Bosom’ had obviously been temporarily installed into Hell until the price for sin was paid. Saved people could not go to Heaven because Jesus had not yet died and been glorified.” (Pg. 59-60)

He adds, “After Jesus died, was buried, spend three days and three nights in Abraham’s Bosom (located in Hell), resurrected (i.e. was glorified), He was then eligible to go back to Abrahams Bosom and lead captivity captive (take those who were held captive in Abraham’s Bosom to Heaven).” (Pg. 64)

He also points out, “Notice, in Luke 23:43, that Jesus did NOT say ‘Today thou shalt be with me in Heaven.’ Although Heaven is a paradise, Jesus purposely used another word. Had Jesus used the word ‘Heaven,’ then it would have plainly told us that the thief on the cross went to Heaven on that very day, but it was not so.” (Pg. 72)

He suggests, “It was most likely during this excursion [Heb 9:11], after sprinkling the Mercy Seat, that [Jesus] led those held captive in Abraham’s Bosom captive, taking them to Heaven. My reason for saying this is that in Luke 24:51 (His ascension) we are told that He was carried up to Heaven. When He led captivity captive He would have most likely been mobilizing Himself.” (Pg. 76-77)

He concludes, “Thus the following sequence would have been what had taken place: 1. Death. 2. Three days and three nights in Abraham’s Bosom. 3. Resurrection. 4. Ascends to Heaven’s Tabernacle to sprinkle the mercy seat with His own blood. 5. A quick stop to Abraham’s Bosom to free those held there and taking them to Heaven. 6. Return to Earth.” (Pg. 77)

This is an interesting study, that discusses some little-discussed areas. It will be of interest to many of those studying the “sequence” in the New Testament of events in Jesus’ life and afterlife.


Hell you say
Hell you say
by Carl G Johnson
Edition: Paperback
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5.0 out of 5 stars AN EVANGELIST AND AUTHOR FORCEFULLY RESTATES THE “LITERAL/TRADITIONAL” VIEW, July 23, 2016
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This review is from: Hell you say (Paperback)
Carl Johnson “has been a youth counselor, pastor, and is now [as of 1974, when this book was published] an evangelist and Bible teacher, speaking throughout the U.S. in churches and schools. His many other books include The Account Which We Must Give, So the Bible is full of contradictions?, What's Going to Happen?: Answering Your Prophetic Questions, etc.

He wrote in the Preface to this 1974 book, “In study and preparation I found that very little has been written about HELL in this century. I found only a few articles, sermons, and booklets written recently… I read everything I could find on this subject and I am indebted to the writers of the past and present whose materials have been very helpful to me. In my study I found that many people do not believe in a literal Hell… In this book I want to share with the readers three things I have learned in my study of Hell: 1. What the Bible Says About Hell. 2. What Men Have Said About Hell. 3. What to Do to Keep Out of Hell… Though there is a Hell for every sinner outside of Christ, thank God, there is Christ for every sinner outside of Hell.” (Pg. v-vi, x-xi)

He states, “The Hebrew word which is translated ‘hell’ in the Old Testament is ‘sheol.’ The meaning of ‘sheol’ is ‘the world of the dead,’ the hidden world, the unseen world. It denotes the place of departed spirits, including both the saved and the lost. This Hebrew word has various translations. The King James Version … translates ‘sheol … as ‘hell’ thirty-one times, ‘grave’ thirty-one times, and ‘pit’ three times, a total of sixty-five times…. The word for ‘grave in the Hebrew is altogether different from the word ‘sheol.’ The Hebrew word for ‘grave’ where the body goes at death is ‘qeber,’ while the place where the spirit goes at death is ‘sheol.’ … it is very evident that ‘sheol’ and the ‘grave’ are two different places.” (Pg. 7)

He explains, “In the New Testament there are three words in the Greek which are translated by the one word hell: tartarus, hades, and gehenna… It is very definite that the two words ‘sheol’ and ’hades’ are identical in meaning. The Septuagint … translators were acquainted with both Hebrew and Greek and whenever they wanted to bring the Hebrew word ‘sheol’ into Greek, they used the word ‘hades.’ … In Psalm 16:10 the Bible says: ‘For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [Hebrew, sheol]; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.’ This verse speaks prophetically of Christ. This same verse is quoted in the New Testament in Acts 2:27: ‘Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [jades], neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.’” (Pg. 8)

He continues, “The section of hades into which the righteous dead went was called ‘Abraham’s bosom’ (Luke 16:22) and ‘Paradise.’ Jesus told the repentant dying thief, ‘Today shalt thou be with me in paradise’ (Luke 23:43), indicating that at death He went to ‘Paradise,’ and so did the thief who was saved. At that time ‘Paradise’ was in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:40), but when Christ rose from the dead He opened the ‘Paradise’ section of hades and took the Old Testament saints into Heaven… ‘Paradise’ is no longer in the heart of the earth but is now in the third heaven. Paul speaks of this in II Corinthians 12:2-4…” (Pg. 9-10)

He observes, “Josephus, who was born four years after the ascension of Christ, whose learning and knowledge is not questioned, described with considerable care the religious beliefs of the Jews… He said of the Essenes that they ‘allot to bad souls a dark and tempestuous den, full of never-ceasing punishments,’ and he said the Pharisees taught ‘the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment.’ … According to the testimony of Josephus the vast majority of the Jewish nation, when Christ came into the world, were firm believers in the future everlasting punishment of the wicked.” (Pg. 22)

He notes, “When I began this study of Hell, I had always thought that the fire in Hell is literal. Many of the writers whom I have checked, some of them good Bible-believing men, think that the fire in Hell is figurative. My study of the subject has confirmed my belief that there will be literal fire in a literal place and that those who go there will have their literal bodies which will never burn up---neither will the fire of Hell burn out. God, who is able to burn a bush without its being consumed (Ex 3:2), and Who can keep three bodies in a fire without their being consumed (Daniel 3:21-27), is also able to give the unrepentant sinner a body of such composition that it will be able to endure the fiery torments of Hell for all eternity without being destroyed.” (Pg. 58)

He argues, “False teachers quote Scriptures which apply to the final destiny of the wicked and try to prove that the wicked will be annihilated, using words like ‘destroy,’ ‘destruction,’ ‘perish,’ etc. It is impossible to make these words mean annihilation… in Job 19:10, Job complained: ‘He hath DESTROYED me on every side…’ If the word ‘destroyed’ meant annihilation it would mean that Job was put out of existence on every side… The Greek word for ‘destroy’ is ‘apollumi,’ which does not mean to annihilate, but it means to ‘mar,’ ‘ruin,’ or ‘rendering unfit for the intended use.’ Apollumi is also the Greek word from which the word ‘perish’ is translated. When these words are applied to the wicked, they mean that those who do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ will be marred, ruined, and unfit for their intended use, and will be separated from God forever and ever.” (Pg. 81)

The book is filled will page after page of Biblical quotes, but also by quotations from other authors (on “both sides” of the issue); and he even documents the source of his quotations! This book will be of keen interest to those looking for a defense of the traditional notion of Hell.


[(Eternal Punishment)] [By (author) Arthur W Pink] published on (September, 2011)
[(Eternal Punishment)] [By (author) Arthur W Pink] published on (September, 2011)
by Arthur W Pink
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A REFORMED/CALVINIST WRITER DEFENDS THE TRADITIONAL VIEW, July 22, 2016
Arthur Walkington Pink (1886-1952) was an English pastor and the author of many books, such as The Sovereignty of God: In Creation and Redemption, The Attributes of God, The Doctrine of Sanctification, The Total Depravity of Man, The Antichrist, etc. [NOTE: page numbers below refer to an 82-page paperback edition.]

He wrote in the Introduction, “It is the deepening conviction of the writer that what is most needed today is a wide proclamation of those truths which are the least acceptable to the flesh. What is needed today is a scriptural setting forth of the character of God---His absolute sovereignty, His ineffable holiness, His inflexible justice, His unchanging veracity…[and] the condition of the natural man---his total depravity, his spiritual insensibility, his inveterate hostility to God, the fact that he is ‘condemned already’ and that the wrath of a sin-hating God is even now abiding upon him. What is needed today is a scriptural setting forth of the alarming danger in which sinners are---the indescribably awful doom which awaits them… the nature of that punishment which awaits the lost---the awfulness of it, the hopelessness of it, the unendurableness of it, the endlessness of it.” (Pg. 6-7)

He explains, “First, we shall examine briefly some of the leading objections brought against the truth of eternal punishment. Second, we shall classify various passages which treat of the destiny of the lost, showing that death seals the sinner’s doom, that his condition is then beyond hope, that the punishment awaiting him is interminable. Third, we shall examine those scriptures which throw light upon the nature of the punishment which awaits the lost. Finally, we shall seek to make a practical application of the whole subject.” (Pg. 9)

He points out, “the Scriptures speak much more frequently of God’s anger and wrath, than they do of His love and compassion… To argue, then, that because God is love, He will not inflict eternal torment on the wicked, is to ignore the fact that God is light, and is to asperse His holiness.” (Pg. 11) He adds, “Who are we to pass judgment upon the justice of the decisions of the All-Wise? Who are we to say what is consistent or inconsistent with God’s righteousness?... Sin has so enfeebled our power of righteous judgment, so darkened our understanding, so dulled our conscience, so perverted our wills, so corrupted our hearts, that we are quite incompetent to decide… The truth of the matter is… that God is not to be measured by human standards.” (Pg. 12-13)

He observes, “God’s holiness did not prevent sin entering His universe, and He has permitted it to remain all these thousands of years, therefore a holy God can and does coexist with a world of sin!... There are good and sufficient reasons why sin should be allowed now… and who knows what these reasons are?... God had not told us in His Word. Who, then, is in the position to say that there may not be eternal reasons---necessities---for the continued existence of sin?” (Pg. 14)

About biblical passages appealed to by Universalists, he comments, “there is nothing in the words themselves which compel us to give an unlimited meaning to ‘all men,’ ‘all things,’ ‘the world.’ Therefore when we insist that ‘the world’ which is saved, and the ‘all men’ who are redeemed, are the world of believers and the all men who receive Christ as their personal Saviour… we are explaining them in strict harmony with other passages.” (Pg. 19)

Of Annihilationism, he notes, “As used in Scripture the words ‘destroy,’ ‘destruction,’ ‘perish,’ etc. never signify cessation of existence. In Matthew 10:7 one of the principle Greek words for ‘destroyed’ is rendered [of] ‘the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Those Israelites had not ceased to be, but were away from God!... the word ‘perish’ never signifies annihilation in Scripture. In 2 Peter 3:6 we read, ‘The world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.’ The ‘world’ that perished… was not reduced to nothing. When, then, Scripture speaks of the wicked as perishing and as being destroyed, it is in order to expose the error of those who assert that they have a gospel for those who die unsaved.” (Pg. 23)

He argues, “If at death the sinner passes out of existence, why resurrect him in order to annihilate him again? Scripture speaks of the ‘punishment’ and ‘torment’ of the wicked, but anyone can see that annihilation is not these! If annihilation were all that awaits the wicked, they would never know that they had received their just deserts and the ‘due reward’ of their iniquities! Scripture speaks of degrees of punishment for the lost; but annihilation would make this impossible; annihilation would level add distinctions and ignore all degrees of guilt.” (Pg. 24)

He suggests, “if God compassionates His enemies and cherishes nothing but gracious designs of infinite pity toward those who have despised and rejected His Son, we may well ask, Then why does He take such dreadful measures with them? If loving discipline be all that they need, cannot Divine wisdom devise some gentler measure that consigning them to the ‘torment’ of the Lake of Fire for ‘the ages of the ages’? This is an insuperable difficulty in the way of the theory we are now refuting. But once we see that the Lake of Fire is the place of punishment, not discipline, and that it is Divine wrath and not love that casts the reprobate into it, then the difficulty entirely disappears.” (Pg. 25)

He says of 1 Peter 3:18-20, “these verse make no reference whatever to any preaching heard by those who had already passed out of this life. They simply tell us that the Spirit of God preached through Noah, while the ark was being built, to those who were disobedient; and because they refused to respond to that preaching they are now ‘spirits in prison.’ It was not Christ Himself who ‘preached,’ but the Holy Spirit…” (Pg. 33)

He explains, “Hades refers to the same place as Sheol. Their identification is unequivocally established by a comparison of Psalm 16:10 with Acts 2:27, ‘Thou wilt not leave My soul in Sheol’ (Ps 16:10), is ‘Thou shalt not leave My soul in Hades’ in Acts 2:27. But it is important to bear in mind that Sheol or Hades had two compartments, reserved respectively for the saved and the lost… The compartment we are now considering is that which receives the souls of the wicked. In this, Christ declares, is a ‘flame’ which torments.” (Pg. 39)

He contends, “Eternal or everlasting is the one and unvaried meaning of ‘aionios’ in the New Testament. The same word translated ‘everlasting destruction,’ ‘everlasting punishment,’ ‘everlasting fire,’ is rendered ‘everlasting life’ in John 3:16, ‘the everlasting God’ in Romans 16:26… No argument needs to be made to prove that in these passages it is impossible to fairly substitute any other alternative for everlasting and eternal… The ‘everlasting punishment’ of the lost will continue as long as the ‘everlasting life’ of believers. The ‘eternal damnation’ of the wicked will no more have an end than will the ‘eternal salvation’ of the redeemed. The ‘everlasting destruction’ of unbelievers will prove as interminable as the ‘everlasting glory’ of God. To affirm the everlastingness of God is to prove the endlessness of the misery of His enemies.” (Pg. 53-54)

He asserts, “This torment then cannot mean less than the most excruciating pain which we are now capable of conceiving. How much the pains of Hell will exceed the pains of earth we know not.” (Pg. 60) He adds, “the question is often asked, How can the bodies of the lost be tormented by literal fire? Would not the fire utterly consume them? Even though we were unable to furnish an answer to this question, we should still believe that Scripture meant what it said. But we are satisfied that God’s Word answers this question. In Exodus 3 we read of the bush in the wilderness burning with fire, and yet was not consumed! … in some way unknown to us, God preserved the bush… Is God, then, unable to preserve the bodies of the damned from being consumed?” (Pg. 61)

This concise and tightly-argued book will be of great interest to those studying the doctrine of Hell; particularly from a Reformed perspective.


Martin Zender Goes to Hell: A Critical Look at an Un-Criticized Doctrine by Martin Zender (2004-03-03)
Martin Zender Goes to Hell: A Critical Look at an Un-Criticized Doctrine by Martin Zender (2004-03-03)
by Martin Zender
Edition: Paperback
4 used & new from $36.34

5.0 out of 5 stars THE CONTROVERSIAL BIBLE TEACHER ENDORSES UNIVERSALISM, July 21, 2016
Martin Zender bills himself as “the World's Most Outspoken Bible Scholar”; he also does a syndicated radio show with Dan Sheridan. (Controversially, in 2009, his wife left him after 26 years of marriage, and they were divorced in 2011; he describes himself as having been in “indelible agony” by this. He remarried, but his second wife divorced him after 16 months. ) He has written a number of other books, such as How to Quit Church Without Quitting God: 7 Good Reasons to Escape the Box, The First Idiot in Heaven: Secrets of the Apostle Paul and Why the Meek Merely Inherit the Earth, How to be Free From Sin While Smoking a Cigarette: The Book for People With Weaknesses, The Really Bad Thing About Free Will, etc.

He explains that “I quit the Catholic Church and became a Christian in 1979.” (Pg. 12) Later, he adds, “Jesus Christ began revealing His glories to me in June of 1985. I quit worrying in July. Only when I learned how to read the Bible critically did God unveil His depths.” (Pg. 16-17) He adds, “God purposely sends deception into the world---even in the form of mistranslated scripture---to separate truth lovers from the lovers of injustice.” (Pg. 18)

He states, “God does sometimes employ fire and brimstone to curtail the careers of professional sinners… Consider the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, cities which today have become synonymous with sexual perversion… The result? God ‘destroyed the cities of the valley’ (verse 29). Note the conspicuous absence of ‘God began to torment the inhabitants of these cities for eternity.’ … All threats in the days of Moses concerned earthly rewards and punishments only… Nothing eternal and not a hint of unending flame. Capital punishment was by stoning then… For men and women toiling and failing upon an evil planet, death often came as a mercy.” (Pg. 29-30)

He argues, “The key word in the [Isaiah 66:23-24] prophecy is ‘corpses.’ … There are a few smoldering corpses in Gehenna, not ten billion writhing zombies… The fire and the worms consume the old corpses, making room for new ones… Note that the Hebrew does not say that the worms would NEVER die, or that the fire would NEVER go out. As long as there are corpses to feed them, the worms ‘shall not die,’ and the fire ‘shall not be quenched.’ … Neither does the Greek speak of eternal worms and flames. Rather, it calls the fire ‘unextinguished’ and the worm ‘not deceasing.’ … the fire and the worm will serve God’s purpose until He finishes with them. And finish with them he will. This is by no means God’s ultimate goal… The goal was to rule and reign with Christ, not smolder among the dead.” (Pg. 40-41)

He asks, “How could such a distortion occur, and how could so many people fall for it? … God could easily given the translators of our bestselling [Bible] versions the wisdom to keep Gehenna the way His Son said it. He could have easily brought forward Isaiah’s ‘corpses’ into the New Testament contexts… But God refused to do either of these two things… God purposely warped our bestselling versions for force us to seek… No one can ever accuse Him of making it impossible. But if a person would just as well see stupid, disobedient sinners get punished for eternity, then the snare of ‘Hell’ is lying right at the door.” (Pg. 41-42)

He comments on John 3:16: “The Greek word mistranslated ‘everlasting’ is ‘aionion’ … [which] is the adjectival form of the noun ‘eon,’ which is a period of time… ‘life eonian’ pertains only to life during the thousand-year kingdom. Thus, the ‘perishing’ deals also with the same period… Whoever is believing in Him will enjoy the thousand-year life. Conversely, whoever does not believe will be perishing them… What happens after that?... John 3:16 doesn’t know, and neither does it care… John 3:16 is only for the thousand-year kingdom and who’s going to be there… To push John 3:16 past its design in this context is to murder it.” (Pg. 53-54)

He says of 1 Peter 3:19, “[Jesus] did not visit tormented humans in the flaming pit of Christian torture. Rather, He ‘heralded to spirits in jail… to those once stubborn, when the patience of god awaited in the days of Noah.’ These are spiritual beings, not human… These are the supernatural beings [evil spirits] that had compelled the race toward destruction in the days of Noah… Three words in all, then, hades, Gehenna, and Tartarus, all lazily lumped into the inglorious catch-all ‘hell.’ Do you feel deceived? Well, it’s over now. God is lifting the veil.” (Pg. 62-63)

Of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus [Luke 16:19-31], he says, “‘This is not a parable!’ the Christians shout. ‘It is actually happening!’ Well, no. It IS a parable, and it is called that in Luke 15:3. Beginning in Luke, chapter 15, Jesus embarks upon a fivefold parable designed to show Pharisees now badly they treated sinners… Even before part five, most listeners knew what this was: an extended series of parables… They knew dead people couldn’t talk, especially not those with flaming tongues. Concerning the death state, the Jews’ own scriptures testified: ‘There is no activity or planning or wisdom in the grave, where you are going’ (Ecc 9:10).” (Pg. 69-71)

Later, he adds, “carefully study the criteria for becoming a Lazarus and avoiding the Rich Man’s fate. Is the criteria, ‘Have faith in the cross of Jesus Christ?’ No… There is nothing here at all about personal faith. There is nothing about believing in Jesus. Rather, Lazarus is ‘saved’ and the Rich Man ‘damned’ because 1) Lazarus was poor while the Rich Man was rich, 2) Lazarus wore ratty clothes while the Rich Man wore purple… If I were an earnest Christian locked into the orthodox deception, my sincere advice for those wishing to sit on Abraham’s bosom for eternity would be: Wear ratty clothes, obtain sores, get a dog to medicate you with its tongue, give up food, and make sure nothing good ever happens to you.” (Pg. 76-77)

He states, “The lake of fire scares people, and I guess it should. Admittedly, it’s not a happy place. If only we knew what it was. Well, we do… [Jesus] defines the lake of fire in Revelation 20:14---‘This is the second death---the lake of fire.’ … Those to whom God does not give faith in this lifetime, rise to be judged at the great white throne… This occurs after the thousand-years are finished… Those whose names are not written in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire… It’s quick and painless… Jesus equated death with sleep, and that’s what the second death is: unconsciousness. The dead do not feel pain… And definitely they do not stay dead forever… If these second-deathers… are not eventually raised to immortality to live forever with God, then God is not the Savior of all mankind. But since He is (1 Tim 4:10), then these people must eventually be delivered out of death.” (Pg. 79-81)

He continues, “Only three individuals are tormented alive in the lake of fire. These three are clearly stated to be (in Revelation 20:10), ‘the Adversary (Satan), the wild beast, and the false prophet.’ If everyone is tormented there, why say there are three? Interesting that the lake of fire is not called the second death until verse fourteen, when humans are cast there. These beings of verse ten are not human. They are supernatural beings, the only beings able to stand such a trial alive. Why do Christians say that everyone is tormented in the lake of fire, when scripture says there are only three? … it is because they are careless… they cannot be bothered with minute detail.” (Pg. 81-82)

He concludes, “Where does the love of God stop? … it doesn’t. It keeps rolling until its objects are consumed and changed by it. Why should it be different with these premier sinnners? … Am I suggesting that Satan himself shall be delivered from the lake of fire with a changed heart, to be granted an eternity of praising God at his Creator’s throne? No. I insisting upon it… This is why Christ suffered so much… If Satan is not reached and reconciled with so awful an effort, it would mean the failure of the cross.” (Pg. 85-86)

Obviously controversial, Zender’s book will be of great interest to those seriously studying Hell, Universalism, and Conditional Immortality.


Martin Zender Goes to Hell: A Critical Look at an Un-Criticized Doctrine
Martin Zender Goes to Hell: A Critical Look at an Un-Criticized Doctrine
by Martin Zender
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.95
34 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars THE CONTROVERSIAL BIBLE TEACHER ENDORSES UNIVERSALISM, July 21, 2016
Martin Zender bills himself as “the World's Most Outspoken Bible Scholar”; he also does a syndicated radio show with Dan Sheridan. (Controversially, in 2009, his wife left him after 26 years of marriage, and they were divorced in 2011; he describes himself as having been in “indelible agony” by this. He remarried, but his second wife divorced him after 16 months. ) He has written a number of other books, such as How to Quit Church Without Quitting God: 7 Good Reasons to Escape the Box, The First Idiot in Heaven: Secrets of the Apostle Paul and Why the Meek Merely Inherit the Earth, How to be Free From Sin While Smoking a Cigarette: The Book for People With Weaknesses, The Really Bad Thing About Free Will, etc.

He explains that “I quit the Catholic Church and became a Christian in 1979.” (Pg. 12) Later, he adds, “Jesus Christ began revealing His glories to me in June of 1985. I quit worrying in July. Only when I learned how to read the Bible critically did God unveil His depths.” (Pg. 16-17) He adds, “God purposely sends deception into the world---even in the form of mistranslated scripture---to separate truth lovers from the lovers of injustice.” (Pg. 18)

He states, “God does sometimes employ fire and brimstone to curtail the careers of professional sinners… Consider the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, cities which today have become synonymous with sexual perversion… The result? God ‘destroyed the cities of the valley’ (verse 29). Note the conspicuous absence of ‘God began to torment the inhabitants of these cities for eternity.’ … All threats in the days of Moses concerned earthly rewards and punishments only… Nothing eternal and not a hint of unending flame. Capital punishment was by stoning then… For men and women toiling and failing upon an evil planet, death often came as a mercy.” (Pg. 29-30)

He argues, “The key word in the [Isaiah 66:23-24] prophecy is ‘corpses.’ … There are a few smoldering corpses in Gehenna, not ten billion writhing zombies… The fire and the worms consume the old corpses, making room for new ones… Note that the Hebrew does not say that the worms would NEVER die, or that the fire would NEVER go out. As long as there are corpses to feed them, the worms ‘shall not die,’ and the fire ‘shall not be quenched.’ … Neither does the Greek speak of eternal worms and flames. Rather, it calls the fire ‘unextinguished’ and the worm ‘not deceasing.’ … the fire and the worm will serve God’s purpose until He finishes with them. And finish with them he will. This is by no means God’s ultimate goal… The goal was to rule and reign with Christ, not smolder among the dead.” (Pg. 40-41)

He asks, “How could such a distortion occur, and how could so many people fall for it? … God could easily given the translators of our bestselling [Bible] versions the wisdom to keep Gehenna the way His Son said it. He could have easily brought forward Isaiah’s ‘corpses’ into the New Testament contexts… But God refused to do either of these two things… God purposely warped our bestselling versions for force us to seek… No one can ever accuse Him of making it impossible. But if a person would just as well see stupid, disobedient sinners get punished for eternity, then the snare of ‘Hell’ is lying right at the door.” (Pg. 41-42)

He comments on John 3:16: “The Greek word mistranslated ‘everlasting’ is ‘aionion’ … [which] is the adjectival form of the noun ‘eon,’ which is a period of time… ‘life eonian’ pertains only to life during the thousand-year kingdom. Thus, the ‘perishing’ deals also with the same period… Whoever is believing in Him will enjoy the thousand-year life. Conversely, whoever does not believe will be perishing them… What happens after that?... John 3:16 doesn’t know, and neither does it care… John 3:16 is only for the thousand-year kingdom and who’s going to be there… To push John 3:16 past its design in this context is to murder it.” (Pg. 53-54)

He says of 1 Peter 3:19, “[Jesus] did not visit tormented humans in the flaming pit of Christian torture. Rather, He ‘heralded to spirits in jail… to those once stubborn, when the patience of god awaited in the days of Noah.’ These are spiritual beings, not human… These are the supernatural beings [evil spirits] that had compelled the race toward destruction in the days of Noah… Three words in all, then, hades, Gehenna, and Tartarus, all lazily lumped into the inglorious catch-all ‘hell.’ Do you feel deceived? Well, it’s over now. God is lifting the veil.” (Pg. 62-63)

Of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus [Luke 16:19-31], he says, “‘This is not a parable!’ the Christians shout. ‘It is actually happening!’ Well, no. It IS a parable, and it is called that in Luke 15:3. Beginning in Luke, chapter 15, Jesus embarks upon a fivefold parable designed to show Pharisees now badly they treated sinners… Even before part five, most listeners knew what this was: an extended series of parables… They knew dead people couldn’t talk, especially not those with flaming tongues. Concerning the death state, the Jews’ own scriptures testified: ‘There is no activity or planning or wisdom in the grave, where you are going’ (Ecc 9:10).” (Pg. 69-71)

Later, he adds, “carefully study the criteria for becoming a Lazarus and avoiding the Rich Man’s fate. Is the criteria, ‘Have faith in the cross of Jesus Christ?’ No… There is nothing here at all about personal faith. There is nothing about believing in Jesus. Rather, Lazarus is ‘saved’ and the Rich Man ‘damned’ because 1) Lazarus was poor while the Rich Man was rich, 2) Lazarus wore ratty clothes while the Rich Man wore purple… If I were an earnest Christian locked into the orthodox deception, my sincere advice for those wishing to sit on Abraham’s bosom for eternity would be: Wear ratty clothes, obtain sores, get a dog to medicate you with its tongue, give up food, and make sure nothing good ever happens to you.” (Pg. 76-77)

He states, “The lake of fire scares people, and I guess it should. Admittedly, it’s not a happy place. If only we knew what it was. Well, we do… [Jesus] defines the lake of fire in Revelation 20:14---‘This is the second death---the lake of fire.’ … Those to whom God does not give faith in this lifetime, rise to be judged at the great white throne… This occurs after the thousand-years are finished… Those whose names are not written in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire… It’s quick and painless… Jesus equated death with sleep, and that’s what the second death is: unconsciousness. The dead do not feel pain… And definitely they do not stay dead forever… If these second-deathers… are not eventually raised to immortality to live forever with God, then God is not the Savior of all mankind. But since He is (1 Tim 4:10), then these people must eventually be delivered out of death.” (Pg. 79-81)

He continues, “Only three individuals are tormented alive in the lake of fire. These three are clearly stated to be (in Revelation 20:10), ‘the Adversary (Satan), the wild beast, and the false prophet.’ If everyone is tormented there, why say there are three? Interesting that the lake of fire is not called the second death until verse fourteen, when humans are cast there. These beings of verse ten are not human. They are supernatural beings, the only beings able to stand such a trial alive. Why do Christians say that everyone is tormented in the lake of fire, when scripture says there are only three? … it is because they are careless… they cannot be bothered with minute detail.” (Pg. 81-82)

He concludes, “Where does the love of God stop? … it doesn’t. It keeps rolling until its objects are consumed and changed by it. Why should it be different with these premier sinnners? … Am I suggesting that Satan himself shall be delivered from the lake of fire with a changed heart, to be granted an eternity of praising God at his Creator’s throne? No. I insisting upon it… This is why Christ suffered so much… If Satan is not reached and reconciled with so awful an effort, it would mean the failure of the cross.” (Pg. 85-86)

Obviously controversial, Zender’s book will be of great interest to those seriously studying Hell, Universalism, and Conditional Immortality.


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