In the account of Lazarus and the rich man, Jesus reveals more about afterlife for the unsaved.
Once again, we see torment– not annihilation.
In Part I, I pointed out that Nebuchadnezzar’s man-made fire (in Daniel Chapter 3) killed strong soldiers who merely got close to it, but the God-made fire Jesus warns us about (in Matthew Chapter 13) has the wicked alive inside of it. This God-made fire burns upon the wicked, tormenting them, without decomposing them. As an example of this fire that burns without decomposing, I pointed out the burning bush.
But in another passage of Scripture, Jesus elaborates upon the experience of the wicked inside this God-made fire. That is, he describes the scene beyond his previous comments that I mentioned, the ones in which he describes weeping and gnashing of teeth. In the Gospel of Luke, we see an actual conversation involving someone inside this God-made fire.
These are the words of Jesus Christ, Luke 16:19-31
“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments [not “being annihilated”] in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
“Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame [not “I am annihilated in this flame”].’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented [not “you are annihilated”]. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
“Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him,’They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him,’If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'”
~ Luke 16:19-31
Yet again, we see here that the wicked will be alive inside this fire to suffer torment. The experience of torment gives the rich man the motivation he needs to want to warn his brothers to repent.
Likewise, the prospect of eternal torment has given many a living human being the motivation they needed to repent. God is well aware of our nature. That is why he applies two motivational methods in his pursuit of us– the carrot and the stick.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. ~ Jesus Christ, John 3:16
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. ~ Jesus Christ, John 3:18
Verse 16 is the carrot. Verse 18 is the stick. (Props to a friend of mine for pointing out the dualistic motivating nature of these two verses.) If the stick is merely annihilation, it is not much of a stick at all. However, when in the account of Lazarus and the rich man Jesus tells us that the rich man is alive and aware as he is being tormented (not annihilated) in the flames, and when Jesus tells us that people are alive (not annihilated) inside the fiery furnace to weep and gnash teeth, and when John tells us in Revelation that anyone who takes the mark of the beast will be tormented (not annihilated) and will get no rest day or night, we clearly see that the stick is not merely annihilation– it is torment!
Now, since torment is such a powerful motivating factor toward repentance, is it any wonder why so many “Christians” want to convince themselves and others that this motivating factor does not exist? By “Christians,” I mean the Leftists cloaking their anti-God political activism in Christianese language in order to deceive true Christians into following them. I am not saying that every Annihilationist is a Leftist wolf in Christian sheeps’ clothing. However, I am absolutely saying that a disproportionately large number of these Leftist “Christians” tend to be Annihilationists. These “Christians” agitate to divide God’s land and create a Palestinian state– putting themselves directly in the Bible in the crosshairs of God’s wrath.
I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land. ~ Joel 3:2
If you advocate dividing God’s land (Israel) to create a Palestinian state, you show that the true condition of your soul is unsaved. You are on the side of Christ’s enemies, and you are going to the hell that you deny exists. If I knew that my actions proved I was going to suffer for all eternity, I might be pretty motivated to convince myself and others that suffering for all eternity was not an option after all– hence the preponderance of Annihilationists among those who advocate dividing God’s land.
The unannihilated rich man suffering inside the unannihilating flame is motivated by torment (not annihilation) to want to warn his brothers to repent.
I will continue annihilating Annihilationism in my next post.