The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
H. Boyce Taylor
The final abode of the wicked is Gehenna. Several things are taught in the New Testament about it.
First, it is a prepared place. "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" (Matt. 25:41). "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev. 20:10). Prepared for the most depraved and dangerous prisoners—the devil and his messengers.
Second, for a fitted people. "What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction" (Rom. 9:32). Gehenna is a specially prepared place for vessels of wrath specially fined for perdition. The word translated destruction in Romans 9:22 is translated perdition in 1 Timothy 6:9, 2 Peter 3:7, and Revelation 17:8-11. It never means annihilation. "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh" (Isa. 66:24). "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt" (Dan. 12:2). These teach that a part of the preparation of the lost for Hell is in their resurrected bodies. These bodies if any thing like the bodies of the saints will be flesh and bones (Luke. 24:39). They will also be indestructible if like the saints (1 Cor. 15:53). They shall be such as to bring shame to the wicked and awake everlasting contempt and abhorring to all beholders (Isa. 66:24).
Thirdly, Gehenna is a place where the damned are tormented by fire and brimstone by day and night forever and ever. "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 receiveth the mark of his name" (Rev. 14:11).
Fourth, this fire will be unquenchable. "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:43-48). Think of it! Imperishable bodies of flesh in unquenchable fire.
Fifth, an undying conscience. "But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented" (Lk.16:25). Always an accusing conscience—a worm that dieth not. A gnawing, burning conscience on the inside and unquenchable fire on the outside. No wonder God says they have no rest day nor night forever and forever (Rev. 14:11).
Sixthly, the wicked live in Gehenna as long as God lives. The strongest expression in the Bible for that which never ends is "forever and ever." That expression is found twelve times in Revelation. Eight times it is used of God "who liveth forever and ever," etc. Once (22:5) it is used of the righteous. Three times it is used of the conscious suffering of the wicked (14:11; 19:3; 20:10). As long as God lives, that long will the wicked suffer.
Seventh, but some man says, I do not see any justice in that. Well, note that the righteous in Heaven shout over God 's justice in His judgments (Rev. 19:16). They see it whether you do or not. Again, a man in one minute kills his fellowman. He goes to the prison for a life sentence. Suppose he lives 50 years. His offense was committed in one minute; he is punished over 26 million minutes for one minute's sin. That, too, for only one offense. Multiply that by an innumerable number of offenses, not against depraved man, but against Holy God, and you see that even from the viewpoint of earthly courts the wicked ought to suffer eternally (Rev. 22:11), and you will know in part the way of eternal punishment. Down here it is given to us to know only in part (1 Cor. 13:9).
Eighthly, who goes to Gehenna? "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8). The unbeliever as well as the great sinners. How shall you escape the damnation of Gehenna, if you reject Jesus Christ, man's only Savior (Acts 4:12; Heb. 9:22)? "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).
There is life for a look at the crucified,
There is life at this moment for thee.
Eternal, non-forfeitable, unending non-losable life is offered thee just now, O sinner, if you but receive Christ (John 1:12; 6:37; 10:27-29).