Punishment of the Wicked

by Gertrude Battle (Used by permission)

l. The Wages of Sin is Death

A. What is the wages of sin? Rom. 6:23

It is death! Death is not life anywhere, no more than black is white. They are two extreme opposites.

B. In whom only do we have eternal life? 1 John 5:12

Only in Christ. This life we have now is borrowed.

II. The Wicked Destroyed Completely

A. What happens to the wicked at the end of the Millennium or 1,000 years? Rev. 20:9, 10

These two texts apparently contradict one another. The ninth verse says the fire devours them, and the tenth verse that they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. How do we harmonize these? In putting a jig-saw puzzle together we sometimes have a number of pieces that belong in a certain place but we can't get them to fit. What do we need? We need some more pieces. So it is in studying the Bible. When we find two verses that seemingly contradict one another we need some more Scriptures to clarify and harmonize them.

B. What does the word `forever' mean in the Bible? Ex. 21:2-6

How does God use the word? The servant was to serve his master `forever', which could only mean his lifetime. 1 Sam.1:22 ; 1 Sam. 1:28 Another example is in Jonah 2:6

Here it means only three days. God uses this word as we do our words big and little, large and small, high and low, wide and narrow, et cetera. They are relative words. The usage of the word `forever' relates to indefinite periods. Its use depends upon to what it is referring. There is a big difference between a big diamond, a big elephant and a big building, but they are all big.

C. How completely will the wicked be destroyed? Mal. 4:1, 3

To sum up all these verses, they simply mean that as long as the wicked are alive they will suffer, some longer than others. Day and night indicates that this will take a few days at least. But they will finally be completely destroyed, leaving them ashes. Many people do not think this is enough punishment. But if a boy fifteen years old were to get drunk one Saturday night and get killed in an accident, do you think a God of love and mercy would cast that child into a fiery furnace and never, never stop burning him? The Bible is based on love and common sense. This would violate both of these principles. Even man, as wicked as he is, would not do that.

III. Eternal or Everlasting Fire

A. What does God mean by the words `eternal' or `everlasting fires'? Jude 7 ; Gen. 19:24 ; 2 Peter 2:6

The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed eternally never to be rebuilt. The Dead Sea flows over the place where they once were. The wicked will be destroyed eternally. The wages of sin is eternal death, not eternal life anywhere.

B. Will the righteous witness this act? Isa. 26:20, 21

Apparently not. God wants to spare His people from this sight. It will finally come to an end.

C. What does God call this? Isa. 28:21

A strange act on His part. Why? Because God is a God of love and mercy and He does not enjoy this and has done everything on His part to prevent it. See Eze. 18:29-32 ; Isa. 5:4 first part ; Ex. 34:6, 7

The question to be answered is, how is the suffering of God compared to the suffering of man? Man's suffering is limited to this life, ten years, seventy years, in some cases perhaps more. But God suffers infinitely, both in quality and in quantity. Everyone's sins He takes to heart. While man suffers according to his experience of love or hate, God's capacity is infinite.

Man sees evil deeds from the perspective of his own narrow, earthly life style, but God sees the wicked, even Lucifer, from His eternal vantage point. He sees Lucifer lost from the bliss of Paradise. Seeing Lucifer cut off from life and fellowship with God, the Lord misses the fallen angel, misses him in terms of eternity. It is in the far-reaching dimension that God suffers. Who can measure the staggering loss of one soul in eternity? God can and does!

God has been watching sin 24 hours a day from the beginning of sin, its suffering, corruption, heartaches and hatred. Man can sleep at night while God neither slumbers nor sleeps. Man can get only a glimpse of sin, but God sees the complete ugly picture of sin and every detail with its results. Man can turn off the news media and the earthly noises of sin, but can God turn it off? We think of the world of suffering, hunger, wars, innocent people killed or injured, those in prisons or other institutions. We ask, Why does the God of love permit such suffering of sin? Why did this same God of love choose to suffer in all of this?
Why did God send Christ to this sin-cursed earth? For two reasons: (1) for the salvation of man; and (2) to vindicate His own name before the universe.

We are told that `every knee shall bow.' Indeed until every knee bows, there will always be doubt of God and His government before the universe. So when all stand before God' Rev. 20:11, 12 , and each sees his own instant replay of those historic events, when they see the great controversy in panoramic view, every knee will bow. They will declare, All thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord, and Thy saints shall bless Thee.' Ps. 145:10 When this occurs, God's name and honor will never again be suspect.

IV. No Place for the Wicked

A. How final will the destruction of the wicked be? Ps. 37:20

Compare with Revelation 14:11.

B. Will they ever live any more? Ps. 37:10

They will cease to exist. There will be no place for them. They are on this earth surrounding the Holy City when they receive their final punishment. After their destruction the righteous will live on this newly created and purified earth.

C. Where do both the righteous and the wicked receive their rewards? Prov. 11:31
Both receive their rewards on this earth.

D. Where are the wicked dead now? Job 21:29-32 ; 2 Peter 2:9

In their graves awaiting the resurrection. They are reserved unto the day of judgment to be punished.(K.J.V. Translation)

E. When this is over what will God do? 2 Peter 3:10-13

He will create a new heaven and a new earth for His people to live in.

V. Satan and His Angels also Destroyed

A. What happens to Satan? Isa. 14:12-17

He was at one time called Lucifer, son of the morning. Because of his pride and vanity, he brought about a rebellion in heaven among the angels and influenced a third of them to fall with him when he was driven out of heaven. Rev. 12:4 first part Notice the number of I's" in the description of him in Isaiah 14:13,14.

B. What will be his final fate? Eze. 28:12-19

Under the characteristics of the kings of Babylon and Tyre, the Bible discloses the origin, original position, and ultimate destruction of Satan.

VI. Picture of the New Earth-No Place for Sin

A. In the description of the home of the saved there is no place for the wicked. All of God's creatures throughout the universe will be praising God forever. Rev. 5:13

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Updated 6/9/2006 by Dean Saunders