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Judgment: An Old Idea
In many religions there is a day of judgment, scales of Justice, a lake of fire, and hell. In this paper we are going to learn what the Bible says about judgment and hell. Is there a hell, and will people go to hell? Because of much confusion on these ideas, we will take a close look at these subjects.
nm1031» Before we see what the Bible says about the Judgment we will briefly examine some other ideas about it. We ourselves have heard various legends pertaining to hell and the judgment of the dead so we will recognize some of the following ideas. But the only ideas that count are the ones actually taught in the Bible, not the ideas that are alleged to be in the Bible.
Day of Judgment: An Old Idea
nm1032» The idea of the day of judgment has existed in most religions at least as far back as ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. One book by S. Brandon, called The Judgment of the Dead, finds the idea of the judgment in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Greco-Roman culture, among Hebrews, among Christians, among Islamites, among Iranians, among Hindus and Buddhists, and among those in China and in Japan. Brandon believes that, "it is in Egypt that the earliest evidence is found of the idea that judgment awaited a man after death" (p. 6).
nm1033» Actually, this idea can be traced from the Biblical statement about not eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, "for in the day that you eat thereof, in dying, you will die" (see Hebrew text). Thus, If you sin, then when you die, you will really be dead, for you will be part of those called the "dead" in the Bible. The idea of the judgment of the dead is indeed very old, and not new.
nm1034» Brandon after expounding for pages about various ancient Egyptian writings about the weighing of good deeds and bad deeds of people at death writes about the tale of Senosiris, "Those whose misdeeds outweigh their good deeds are delivered to Amait, the bitch belonging to the lord of Amentit, so that their bodies and souls are utterly destroyed. Those who pass the awful test are conducted to heaven. The man, whose good and bad deeds equally balance, is placed among the dead furnished with amulets who serve Sokarosiris." Brandon goes on, "Belief in a judgment after death, symbolized by the balance or scales, can be traced on into the Roman period of Egyptian religion, and, as the curious History of Joseph the Carpenter shows, it passed in turn unto Coptic Christianity. The idea of weighing the deeds of men had already been adopted into Jewish apocryphal literature, and the variant concept of the weighing of souls had entered into Greek thought, as we shall see. Ultimately the idea found expression in mediaeval Christian art, with the archangel Michael assuming the role of 'Master of the Balance' which Thoth had held in ancient Egypt."(p . 45,
nm1035» "In the Amduat, which purports to describe the underworld, these 'enemies,' represented either in human form or by hieroglyphs denoting 'shadows' or 'souls,' are shown in pits of fire" (p. 46). In the Book of the Dead it speaks of the " double Lake of Fire" (p. 186, 342 in Budge's Dover ed.).
nm1036» In The Legends of the Jews, Louis Ginzberg writes about what Enoch saw in hell, "He saw there all sorts of tortures, and impenetrable gloom, and there is no light there, but a gloomy fire is always burning. And all that place has fire on all sides, and on all sides cold and ice, thus it burns and freezes. And the angels, terrible and without pity, carry savage weapons, and their torture is unmerciful" (Vol. I, p. 132). In Ginzberg's books there are about 60 or more sections that speak about the Jewish legends concerning hell.
nm1037» The Apocalypse of Peter, a once popular book, which dates from approximately the early second century, shows the horrors of hell: "hanging by their tongues, and those were they that blasphemed the way of righteousness, and under them was laid fire flaming and tormenting them ... And in another place were gravel-stones sharper than swords or any spit, heated with fire, and men and women clad in filthy rags rolled upon them in torment" (Brandon, p. 116-117). These and other torments were to last forever, for the sinners, "shall be tormented eternally, for God willeth it so" (Brandon, p. 117).
nm1038» "With these indications of the perpetual torments of the damned must also be set the idea of 'second death,' about which concern is shown in the Book of the Dead. From this conflict of eschatological imagery we can, accordingly, only safely deduce that the Egyptians believed that some awful fate awaited those whose hearts were found to be not right with Maat in the judgment after death" (p. 46-47). In the Book of the Dead, there are sections that deal with what one must do to escape the second death. These sections start out with the phrase, "chapter of not dying a second time [second death] in the netherworld." (p. 105, 184, 341 in Budge's Dover ed.)
nm1039» Greek Thought. In Brandon's opinion, "there was a significant body of opinion which affirmed that after death men would be judged on their conduct here. This belief was authorized by the poetry of Homer, which was truly the 'Bible of the Greeks.'" (p. 87) From Plato's Republic we see Socrates fearing what may come after his death. At one time Socrates "laughed at the tales about those in Hades, of punishment to be suffered there by him who here has done injustice. But now his soul is tormented by the thought that these may be true" (P. 87).
Are the above descriptions of a forever torture in a hell fire, and others tales even worse, really what hell is all about?
nm1040» Among the Greeks, if Plato's writings are any indication, was the idea of the judgment or trial of the souls after death: The souls are "on the termination of their first life, brought to trial; and, according to their sentence, some go to the prison-houses beneath the earth, to suffer for their sins, while others, by virtue, of their trial, are borne lightly upwards to some celestial spot, where they pass their days in a manner worthy of the life they have lived in their mortal form. But in the thousandth year both divisions come back again to share and choose their second life, and they select that which they severally please" (Plato,
Notice that the idea of the millennium was also in Greek thought in Plato's time. And notice that after 1000 years both divisions would come back again (are resurrected) and do as they please.
nm1041» In the Islamic holy book, the Koran, the tales of hell and judgment are told. "The sinners will be in punishment of hell, to dwell therein" (Sura 43:74). At the end of the world, "when the earth will be shaken to its depths, and the mountains shall crumble to atoms" there will be those on the right and left of God, those on the right have "fruits in abundance" they are given "shade," "thrones," and virgin companions, but those on the left go off into "the midst of a fierce blast of fire and in boiling water" (Sura 56:4, 8, 27ff, 41ff).
nm1042» Not all shared in the idea of the forever judgement to hell. The great Alexandrian scholar Origen (about 185-254 AD) believed in universal salvation. "According to his doctrine of apokatastasis, in the end all souls, and even the demons, would be purified and reunited with God. Although Origen's views greatly influenced many Eastern Christians, Christians generally found it easier, and, it would seem, more congenial, to believe in both a Purgatory and a Hell where sinners would suffer physically the most horrible and revolting tortures that a morbid imagination could devise" (Brandon, p. 118).
nm1043» In Ginzberg's books on the legends of the Jews, he relates the legends of how God revealed to Enoch "that the duration of the world will be seven thousand years, and the eighth millennium will be a time when there is no computation, no end, neither years, nor months, nor weeks, nor days, nor hours" (Vol. I, p. 135).
nm1044» In some forms of Zoroastrianism all men are saved after the Good ultimately prevails over the Evil, "and all men become immortal for ever and everlasting" (Brandon, p. 163).
nm1045» Hosea Ballou in his book, The Ancient History of Universalism (1) attempts to show the belief in universal salvation from Titus Flavius Clemens (190 AD) to Origen (230 AD) and those who agreed with him , and onto the other traces of it in history to about 1498 AD. So the belief in universal salvation is not new. Some today who believe in it are called universalist. Ballou was pastor of the Universalist Church in Roxbury in the early 1800's.
nm1046» The popular Christian belief concerning the judgment of the dead is not new and can be stated as follows:
nm1047» Is there a judgment of the dead? What is the judgment of the dead? Does this judgment last forever? Is there a hell fire? Who goes into the hell fire? Are people tortured forever? Can people's flesh burn forever? Will people be tortured? When is the Judgment? What happens to Satan and his angels? Is there a heaven?
nm1048» In order to understand the real last judgment mentioned in the Bible you must know three things.
nm1049» There is Biblical doctrine pertaining to the resurrection and judgment (Heb 6:2).
nm1050» So in John 5 we have scripture that says the Father gave the authority to Christ ("Son of Man") to execute judgment. Remember the Father gave Christ all the power (Mat 28:18). One of these powers was to execute judgment and to give life to "whomever he wishes." In other words, Christ has the power to resurrect people. In verse 29 it speaks about the resurrection of life and the resurrection of judgment. Those who have done good will be in the resurrection of life, but those who have done evil will be in the resurrection of judgment. To be resurrected, you must have first died. So in the book of Acts 24:15 we see Paul saying "I have a hope in God - a hope that they themselves also accept - that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous." Paul called this the resurrection of the dead (Acts 24:21; 1Cor 15:21). Jesus Christ himself was resurrected from the dead by the Father (1Pet 1:3; see GP 5). Daniel spoke about the resurrection of the dead, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to life of olam, and some to shame and contempt of olam." (Dan 12:2).
Two Groups; Two Destinies
nm1051» Notice that there are two groups or divisions: one of the just and good, and one of the unjust and evil (Dan 12:2; John 5:29; Acts 24:15).
One group, the just, at Christ's right hand, is given the kingdom, the other group on the left hand side is sent to the aeonian fire.
nm1052» Notice in the book of Revelation, 20:11-15:
nm1053» Those not written in the book of life are thrown into the lake of fire, and this is the second death - the lake of fire (Rev 20:14). Notice that all were judged according to their works (Rev 20:13; see NM 12). Those who overcome evil "shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone [lake of fire], which is the second death" (Rev 21:7-8). Thus the lake of fire is the second death.
nm1054» As we have just seen in the book of Revelation, chapters 20-21, there is going to be a "lake of fire," and the lake of fire is the second death. The lake of fire is not a myth. This is not a myth. But at the beginning of this paper we wrote about the mythical Book of the Dead wherein a lake of fire is also mentioned. Also in many of the "myths" of ancient civilizations, pits of fire, hell of fire, lakes of fire, and other such descriptions are mentioned in connection with the fate of those judged evil in the day of judgement, or at the last judgment. There seems to be a collective-subconscious idea about some fiery fate for those who are evil, or for those who do not do enough good works while they are on earth. These myths are not the truth; they only have some aspects of the truth. The spirits of this age know something about a future judgment for them (Mat 8:28-29). Do they somehow project this subconsciously to mankind? (See, "Old Mind" paper [NM 21])
nm1055» The following verses, through type and antitype (BP4; NM15; Nm16; PR1; etc.), in their higher meaning all point to the real last judgment:
nm1056» The scriptures above and others point to the great fire, great earthquake, great hailstones, great wind, great thunder, great lightning, thus, a great tribulation. This is the Last War. I write about in the "Last War and God's Wrath" paper [PR5]. See an outline of scripture concerning this Last War in "God's Wrath, An Outline" [PR6]. This Last War has to do with a great atomic war with a massive fiery wind storm caused by the abundance of weapons going off in close proximity to each other.
nm1057» There is a lake of fire, but who is it for? Is the fire for humans? Myths say that humans in bodily form will be tortured in a hell fire forever and ever for the evil they committed on earth. Does the Bible teach this?
Jesus Christ said that the fire of hell was prepared or made for the devil and his angels. In the book of Revelation it prophesies about the Devil (Satan that old serpent) being sent to a pit of fire for one thousand years.
nm1058» Peter and Jude also wrote about Satan and his angels being reserved unto the day of judgment.
And In Proverbs, "The Lord has made all things for a purpose, Yes, even the wicked for the day of evil" (Prov 16:4).
nm1059» This is much like the heavens and earth being kept in store for the day of judgment:
nm1060» And this day of judgment will be with fire so hot the elements will melt:
nm1061» A day will come when God will Judge the world. Various phrases are used in the Bible to describe it.
There are many places in the Bible where it speaks about the day of judgment for the enemies of physical Israel. But in the Spiritual view or higher meaning they pertain to the Last War, and the Last Judgment against the enemies of Spiritual Israel.
nm1062» The next question is, when will this Judgment begin? "Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom" (2Tim 4:1). At the appearance of his kingdom Christ will judge the living and the dead.
nm1064» This judgement of the right and left side occurs when Christ comes with his angels at the last trumpet,
When are those on the right and left separated? When is the last trumpet, when the angels help gather the elect, when immortality is given, when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of God?
nm1065» The Bible mentions the day of the Lord, the day of wrath, the day of anger, the day of judgment. And the Bible also mentions the last day:
nm1066» What happens on this last day? There is a resurrection for those who are drawn Spiritually, who see Spiritually, and believe Spiritually. But those who reject Christ are judged by the words Christ spoke (Hos 6:5; John 12:48).
nm1067» When is this resurrection? From the "last trumpet" section above we see that the resurrection is at the last trumpet, just as the kingdom of God begins its reign on earth. "Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom" (2Tim 4:1).
nm1068» At Christ coming in his kingdom he will judge (2Tim 4:1). He will let his words be the judge (Hos 6:5; John 12:48). One is judged according to their works (See NM 12). He judges righteously (PR4). Note the books (Bible) being opened in Rev 20:12, "and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." In other words, those who are "just" according to their works and are on the right are given the kingdom and aeonian life (Mat 25:33-34,46); those who are "unjust" according to their works and are on the left are sent away from the glory of the kingdom and given aeonian punishment (Mat 25:41,46). This is the righteous judgment, you are judged according to your works. The evil other-minds will be destroyed in the lake of fire of their own creation - the results of the Last War (see "Last War and God's Wrath" paper [PR5]).
nm1069» The judgment and the resurrection occur at the very time Christ comes with the power of his kingdom.
nm1070» This in context with Dan 7:12-14,21-22, pictures the time when Christ and his saints take the kingdom away from Satan, and when the judgment is set to happen, which is at the time the Beast and its kingdom are destroyed (See
nm1071» There are patterns in the Bible. One of them is the cycle of seven: Six similar units; the seventh different (See NM 15). In the beginning was the pattern of the week: six days of work; one day of rest (Gen 1:1-2:3; Exod 20:8-11). There is type and antitype in the Bible ("Duality Paper" [BP 4]). As Paul made much of the scriptures about Adam and Eve and Christ being the second Adam and the Church being the second Eve (3) (1Cor 15:45; Eph 5:23-32; etc), I will also make a great deal about the antitypical week of creation, in which each "day" equals 1000 years. When Peter was talking about the judgment, he wrote about a day for the Lord is as a thousand years (2Pet 3:7-8). Rev 20:2-5 speaks about a rest from Satan lasting for 1000 years. Putting this together and knowing about type and antitype, we conclude that the "last day" Christ was speaking about in the book of John pertaining to the resurrection and judgment is the "day" of one-thousand years as mentioned in the book of Revelation.
When the Beast system is destroyed is when the judgment occurs, and when the kingdom of God takes over. This is also the time of the gathering of the nations to fight against Christ and his saints.
nm1072» The following pertain to the time of the gathering of nations, Gog and Magog:
nm1073 » Gathered Against Christ. Here we have Gog and Magog, with the gathered nations and their armies going against Christ and his "army." Christ's army is, "And the armies which [are] in the heaven followed him upon white horses, clad in white, pure, fine linen" (Rev 19:14).
Thus, those clothed in white are the saints (Rev 3:5,18, 6:11). They came out of the great tribulation.
nm1075» There are two senses to this tribulation: (1) The greatest and last tribulation at the very end, and (2) the whole tribulation since the time of Adam (cf. Rom 8:22; 2Cor 7:4; 1Thess 3:4; Rev 1:9; ). By reading our newspapers and by reading history, we know that the whole world has been in tribulation: and we know this is the result of sin.
To review. We see that the time of the last judgment is right at the time Christ comes to take over the kingdom or rulership from Satan. Christ does not destroy the world, the world destroys itself, for Christ comes to save not destroy (see God's Wrath papers [PR4, PR5, PR6]).
nm1076» We know by various scriptures that the hell-fire will be for Satan and his angels (Mat 25:41; Rev 20:2-3,10). But according to myth some of mankind will suffer in a fire forever for their sins. How can this be since physical bodies will burn-up in a fire? This whole idea is nonsense. They make God out to be sadistic. But our God is Love. (The Parable of Lazarus is logically explained in the "All Saved" paper [NM 13]) Yet Augustine in his book called, the City of God, quotes from Mat 13:41-43; John 5:29, and Mat 25:46 as proof of "the perpetual punishment of those condemned with the devil." In Augustine's answer to the question "whether bodies can survive in a burning fire," he says, "what proof then can I offer to convince unbelievers that it is possible for human bodies, endowed with soul and life, not merely never to be decomposed by death, but also to outlast the torments of eternal flames? They refuse to accept from us an appeal to the power of the Almighty, but press us to cite a precedent by way of argument. We can reply that there are animals, which are certainly liable to destruction, since they are mortal, but still survive in the midst of flames" (Book 21.1). This animal Augustine is speaking about is the so-called "fire-salamander" which never existed, except in myth. Later Augustine goes on and says, "we say that there will be living human bodies which will always burn and suffer, yet will never die" ( 21.5, Loeb Classical Lib, p. 31). He goes on about this, "In many things it is unclear to us what His will is. This [human bodies in hell, never dying], however, is very certain, that none of the things which He has willed is impossible, and we believe His predictions since we cannot question either his strength or his truth" (Loeb Lib, p. 31).
nm1077» God's Will. Augustine tries to argue with things in nature, but fails, so he falls back on his corrupt idea of God's will. But what is God's will? "God our Savior, who wishes all to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1Tim 2:3-4). And the Lord is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2Pet 3:9). Because Christ does his Father's will (John 6:38; Heb 10:7), then what Christ wills is also what God wills. As shown in the paper called "All Saved" [NM 13], God willed that all will eventually be saved, and He will make this happen, irrespective if Augustine or you or anyone else believes otherwise. See "All Saved" paper [NM13] for details.
nm1078» By his own arguments, we can see that Augustine knew that the word translated into "forever" in many Bibles can mean an "age" or "long period of time" and not an eternal period of time. In order to disprove that the Greek word aionios or the Latin word aeternus means forever and not aeonian, Augustine agues thus,
(See "Context Argument Two in the "Age Paper" [NM 7] for a fuller explanation of this.)
nm1079» What Augustine does here is mix-up two things: (1) Christians are given immortal life when they are resurrected at Christ's coming; and (2), they are given aeonian life in the same age that the "dead" and Satan are given their aeonian punishment.
nm1080» Notice that Paul in the so-called resurrection chapter in the first book of Corinthians, mentions Christian's immortality:
Thus Christians will receive immortality as a gift. There is a difference between immortal life and aeonian life (NM11).
nm1081» Three Orders: This resurrection chapter is also talking about the sequential order in which mankind will be given immortal life.
This thus pictures the three times that mankind will be resurrected from the dead and given immortal life. This fulfills the typical three times physical Israel was ordered by God to stand before him (See NM 16).
Christ was resurrected from the dead by the power of his Father (Rom 1:4; 1Pet 1:3; GP 5). He was first, "If then you see the Son of man ascending up where he was the first?" (John 6:62; see Greek text) Christ was the "beginning of the creation of God" or the new creation of God (Gal 6:15; Rev 3:14), "the first born of all creation" (Col 1:15), thus "first born of the dead" "who is the beginning" (Col 1:18) "He is the first-born among many brethren" (Rom 8:29).
nm1083» The second time mankind will be resurrected to immortal life is at Christ's coming (1Cor 15:23). This is the resurrection of life (John 5:29). This is the group on Christ's right at his coming who are given the kingdom and rule during the 1000 years (Rev 20:1-6). Satan and his angels, on the left side, are counted as unjust, and are put into the bottomless pit for 1000 years (2Thess 1:9; Rev 20:2-3,11-15, 21:8). Those counted as good are given immortal life and also the 1000 year aeonian life (Num; Rom 2:7 11). We explain the difference between the immortal life and the aeonian life in our paper called "Reward for Christians." [NM 11] They will rule with Christ during the 1000 years (Dan 7:27; Rev 2:26, 3:21, 5:10). This is the first of the last two resurrections to immortal life (Rev 20:5b).
nm1084» But the others "will suffer the punishment of aeonian destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power" (2Thess 1:9). While the "just" are enjoying the wonders of the kingdom during the 1000 years, the "unjust" will be taken from the kingdom for 1000 years. It is at the "end," after the 1000 years, when the "unjust" are resurrected (Rev 20:5a; 1Cor 15:24). This is the resurrection of the dead (John 5:29).
nm1085» The "just" are given immortal life and given the 1000 year aeonian life, but the "unjust" go for the 1000 year aeonian punishment (Mat 25:46 w/ Rev 20:1-5). This is the aeonian judgment (Heb 6:2). The judgment for sin is death (Gen 2:17; Ezek 18:11-13; Rom 6:23). "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is aeonian life, through Jesus Christ" (Rom 6:23). What God said in Gen 2:17 was that if they ate from the forbidden tree they would in dying, be dead: "in dying, you will die" or "in dying, you will be dead" (see Hebrew text or BCB). What God was doing was projecting to us the group called the "dead" in the Bible (Luke 9:60; 2Tim 4:1; 1Pet 4:6).
nm1086» Those who overcome will inherit all things (1Cor 3:21-22; 2Pet 1:3; Rev 20:7). Those who don't overcome or are unjust or are evil are sent to the lake of fire to be destroyed from the presence of the Lord and his glory (Mat 13:41-42, 25:41; 2Thess 1:9; 1Pet 3:7,10-11; Rev 20:10,15, 21:8), for the 1000 years (Rev 20:4-5). Those who overcome eat from the tree of life, are not hurt by any second death, given a new Name, rule over nations in the 1000 years, will not be taken out of the book of life, will have God's Name, and will sit in/on Christ's throne ( cf. 21:8). But after the 1000 year judgment there will be the coming together of all, so that God will be all in all (1Cor 15:28; NM15; NM16; GP6).
nm1087» Christians will also judge, so to speak, the angels and the world at Christ's coming (Dan 7:26-27; 1Cor 6:2-3). Their good works judge-down the evil works of the world, Satan, and his angels.
1. Published in Boston, 1828
2. Strong's # 126 (from #104) =
always, continual, perpetual, not necessarily
"forever." See NM 24.
1. Published in Boston, 1828
2. Strong's # 126 (from #104) = always, continual, perpetual, not necessarily "forever." See NM 24.
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