What is eternal death? Is it forever?

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By BibleAsk Team


Eternal Death

Eternal death, also known as the second death, is a state of final separation from God and the consequences of sin. The concept of eternal death finds its origin in the Genesis narrative, where God warns Adam and Eve of the consequences of disobedience: “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17, NKJV). The ultimate cause of eternal death is sin—the rebellion against God’s authority and the rejection of his offer of salvation through Jesus Christ (Romans 3:23; 6:23).

Throughout the Old and New Testaments, various passages refer to eternal death as a consequence of sin and rebellion against God (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:14; 21:8). Jesus himself speaks of eternal death, warning of its reality and urging repentance and faith as the means to escape its judgment (Matthew 10:28; Luke 13:3; John 3:36). While physical death is a universal experience for all humanity, eternal death is a consequence reserved for those who reject God’s offer of salvation through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:27; Romans 5:12).

The good news of the gospel is that eternal death is not the inevitable fate of humanity. God, in his mercy and grace, offers redemption and salvation through Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Romans 6:23). God desires that all people come to repentance and salvation, but he honors the freedom of individuals to accept or reject his offer of grace (2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 22:17). Ultimately, the promise of eternal life in Christ gives believers hope and confidence, knowing that nothing can separate them from the love of God and the inheritance awaiting them in heaven (John 10:28-29; Romans 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:1).

Does Eternal Death Mean Hell Is Forever?

The Bible says that God holds back, the wicked until the day of judgment to be punished (2 Peter 2:9). The sinners will be cast into hellfire after the final judgment at the end of the world—not when they die. God would not punish a person in fire until his or her case was tried and decided in court at the end of the world (Matthew 13:40–42; John 12:48).

So, there is not one single person in hellfire today. Both the unsaved and the saved who have died are in their graves “sleeping” until the resurrection day (see The Intermediate Death).

Hell is not forever. The wages for sin is death (Romans 6:23), not everlasting life in hellfire. The wicked “perish,” or receive “death.” The righteous receive “everlasting life” (James 1:15). The wicked die the second death in hellfire (Revelation 20:14; 21:8).

If the sinners lived forever being tortured in hell, they would be immortal. But this goes against the Scriptures because the Bible says God “alone has immortality” (1 Timothy 6:16). When Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden, an angel guarded the tree of life so that sinners would not eat of the tree and “live forever” (Genesis 3:22–24). The teaching that the lost will be immortal in hell originated with the devil and is false. God prevented this when sin entered this earth by guarding the tree of life.

The Scriptures teach that the Lord will send hellfire. After the holy city comes down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2), the wicked will try to capture it. At that time, God will rain down fire from heaven upon the earth, and it will destroy the sinners.

The Scriptures do not tell us how long the sinners will be punished before receiving death in the fire. However, the Lord does say that all will be punished according to their deeds. This means some will receive longer punishments than others, based upon their sins (Revelation 22:12; Matthew 16:27; Luke 12:47, 48).

The Word of God says that hellfire will go out—that there will not be left “a coal to be warmed by, nor a fire to sit before” (Isaiah 47:14). The Scriptures also teach that in God’s new kingdom all “former things” will have passed away (Revelation 21:1, 4). Hell, being one of the former things, is included. The wicked will burn “up” (Malachi 4:1, 3). Nothing but ashes will be left when the fire goes out. Psalm 37:10, 20 teaches that the sinners will go up in smoke and be fully destroyed. An eternal hell of torment would perpetuate sin.

The eternal hell of torment theory is a slander against the loving character of God. The devil delights to see our loving heavnely Father portrayed as a monstrous tyrant. The act of destroying the sinners in hellfire is so strange to God’s character that the Bible calls it His “unusual act” (Isaiah 28:21). If God tortured the sinners in a hell fire throughout eternity, He would be more cruel than men have ever been.

The truth is that an eternal hell of torment would be hell for God, who loves even the vilest sinner unto death. God’s great heart will be pained by the destruction of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). The heavenly Father works earnestly to save men! But if men reject His love and cling to sin, God will have no choice but to leave them to the destiny they chose when He purifies the universe by fire of the malignant growth of “sin.”

For more information on this topic, check: https://bibleask.org/is-hell-forever/

Conclusion

Eternal death is a separation of the soul from God, resulting in spiritual and deadly consequences (Matthew 10:28; Luke 16:22-23). Those who persist in unbelief and refuse to repent of their sins face the judgment of sure death, as they remain spiritually dead in their trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-3; Hebrews 10:26-27). Sinners will not be punished for their sins forever in hell fire. They will receive their punishments according to their sins and then cease to exist. Thus, God will blot out completely any trace of sin from the Universe.

The good new is that Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross atoned for the sins of humanity, offering forgiveness, reconciliation, and the gift of eternal life to all who believe in him (John 5:24; Romans 5:8; 1 John 5:11-12). Those who repent of their sins, place their faith in Jesus Christ, and accept him as their Lord and Savior are granted the assurance of eternal life and escape from the judgment of eternal death (John 11:25-26; Romans 10:9-10; 1 John 5:13).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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