"THE UNSPEAKABLE TORMENT"
By Jim Murriner
We must not feel that we have the right to determine what is just and unjust, when it comes to the punishment of the wicked. We must remember that we are the creatures and God alone is God. Isaiah55:8-9 reminds us that we do not always think rightly so we must rely totally upon God to determine what is the just judgment of the wicked.
8“"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah40:13-14 reminds us that we do not have the ability to teach God anything, let alone, teach Him concerning judgment.
13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counselor hath taught Him?" 14 "With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding?"
We are creatures who have no right to set certain standards of just and unjust then impose them upon God. The conditions of the problem is not within our grasp to determine.
If we believe that the Bible is the Word of God, we must depend upon this "Word" to determine what is just punishment of the wicked.
Matt. 17:5tells us to listen to Jesus.
"While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him"
John 1:1 tells us that Jesus is the "Word", so it is the "Word of God" that we are to listen to today.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
As we look at the scriptures it is important that we try to see what it meant to those to whom Jesus was speaking. Hell is a place and also a condition of unspeakable and unending torment and woe. We want to look at two aspects of hell. First, we want to see that hell is a place of outer darkness, and it is also a place of fire. Our Lord called it a furnace of fire!
Matt.8:11-12 tells us of this.
10“And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” 11"But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Matt.22:13 has the same truth for us .
"Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Matt.25:30 also warns the wicked of the awful punishment awaiting them.
"And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
What did this convey to our Lord's hearers? If we can come to the understanding that they would have had then we will know what our Lord was telling us here. In those days in which this was spoken it was common to hold banquets in rooms that were brilliantly lighted. Those who were excluded from the banquet were said to be "in outer darkness". They were excluded from the privilege of those within the banquet room. They were not permitted to enjoy the fine things within the room and within the light. Those who will be cast into hell will also be cast out into outer darkness. They will be excluded from the privileges of heaven and the privilege of approaching directly to God. They will be cut off from the fellowship with the redeemed forever.
II Peter 2:17 tells of this.
"These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever."
Jude 1:13 also reminds of this terrible darkness of hell.
"Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness for ever."
What is the results of this being cast into "outer darkness"?
Matt.8:12 speaks of the torment there.
"But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
"And the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever recieveth the mark of his name."
At the very best this will not be a pleasant place or time for those who are cast into this place of punishment. Matthew tells us that there will be something in this outer darkness that will inflict pain of a greater than ordinary sort that will cause them to weep and gnash their teeth. The Apostle John in the Revelation tells us that there will be torment and that there will be no rest from that torment. This is how it will be in that awful place.
Matt. 17:5 tells us to hear Jesus Christ. Hear Him. There is such a place or the Lord was deceiving His hearers.
Not only is this a place of outer darkness it also is a place of fire. It is a furnace of fire. Matt. 13:24-30 warns us that our Lord will separate the tares and cast them into the fire.
24 "Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:"
25 "But while he slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way."
26 "But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also."
27 "So the servants of the house holder came and said unto Him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?"
28 "He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto Him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?"
29 "But He said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them."
30 "Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."
You may want to argue that Christ was here speaking of tares and not of wicked people, but lets notice verse twenty four,
"The kingdom of heaven is likened unto.." This means that since the man here wanted his servants to burn the tares, in like manner God will cast the wicked into hell to burn forever.
In Matt. 13:36-42 Jesus explains the parable of the tares unto His disciples.
36 "Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and his disciples came unto Him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field."
37 "He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seeds is the Son of man;"
38 "The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;"
39 "The enemy that soweth them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels."
40 "As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world."
41 "The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;"
42 "And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
You have no right to say that there is no such thing or place as hell, when Jesus himself here very clearly teaches us that there most certainly is such a place. Not only does He teach that such a place does exist,
He also tells us that all that do iniquity deserve to go there. Matt.18:8 declares the punishment of those who are cast into hell as being eternal or everlasting.
"Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire."
Matt.25:41 tells us the same thing.
"Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"
What is our Lord talking about here in these verses when He speaks of such things as everlasting fire?
Matt. 18:9 shows us that this fire is the same fire that we call hell.
"And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire."
Jesus used the Greek word "gehenia" here. The Jews in that day took this to mean the future punishment of the wicked.
Matt.5:21-22 shows us that they thought that was what that word meant.
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:"
"But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."
Jesus used the same word here that He uses later in chapter eighteen verse nine. Yet when it came to a doctrine that the Jews were wrong about our Lord took care to correct them.
Matt.5:27-28 is an example of such a case.
27 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:"
28 "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
When they were wrong, He said to them, Ye have heard that it was said, but I say unto thee. Then He would go on to explain how they were wrong.
Now that we see what this meant to the people that our Lord spoke unto, just what is the significance of this for us?
Fire is the symbol of the active movement of the wrath of God. In Gen. 19:24 we see the wrath of God being displayed by fire.
"Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven:"
In this place it was for the terrible sin of homosexuality that our Lord was showing His wrath .
Numbers 11:1 shows us however, that He is also displeased with the sin of arguing with Him, or complaining against Him.
"And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it: and His anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp."
So we can see that to even disagree with God's method of judging the wicked is a terrible sin.
Rev. 19:15 though not mentioning fire, gives us a look at the wrath of God.
"And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."
Rev.19:20 shows us God's wrath in casting the beast, and false prophet into the lake of fire.
"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."
Matt.13:49-50 makes it very clear that this is the wicked people that He is punishing in Hell.
49 "So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,"
50 "And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
If only one in a million would go to hell, you need to ask yourself am I that one?
II Peter 1:10 urges us to make our calling and election sure.
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give all diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"
II Cor. 13:5 warns us to not take our salvation for granted.
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"
Ask yourself do I have biblical grounds to claim to be a child of God.
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Will you right now trust Christ as your own savior?