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Eschatology

By UFG8R Jun 23, 2011 925 Words
Short Essay on Eschatology

Any conversation about condemnation to hell is unsettling. The Bible serves as our guide so that we know how to be saved from eternal punishment in hell. In the Bible, Jesus urges us to follow His example and share His message with others so that they may be saved. In regards to an unsaved person, there are differing thoughts about what happens to their soul after they die. People argue that God sentences the unsaved to eternal punishment, others believe in annihilationism, and still others support the idea of universalism. Eternal punishment is the concept of unending misery in everlasting fire. Annihilationism is the belief that those who are not saved will perish and not suffer eternal misery. Universalism is the belief that all people will eventually be reconciled to God. My understanding is that the final destiny of the unsaved is eternal punishment. The Bible is repeatedly clear that the punishment of the wicked is eternal. Jesus says that people will either experience “everlasting punishment” or “eternal life." Jesus also says that “he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." The Bible tells us that unbelievers “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” These passages from the Bible show that if a person is not saved then they will suffer forever. One objection to my view on eternal punishment is annihilationism. Those with this point of view understand certain scriptures to mean that there is an end to the existence of an unsaved person’s soul. The biblical statements of “the wages of sin is death” and “broad is the way that leads to destruction” are interpreted to mean that there is a final end. My response to those who support the concept of annihilationism is that the Bible mentions “everlasting punishment” and “everlasting destruction.” These Scriptures do not support the idea that there will be an end, or that one’s soul will perish. Also, if according to Scripture the wrath of God abides upon the unbeliever, then it implies that there is no end. Another objection to my view is universalism. Those with this point share Charles Pinock’s opinion that condemnation to everlasting torture is incompatible with the character of an all loving God. Universalists believe that all people will eventually be granted God’s grace and will be saved. Those with this view interpret the Bible to mean that salvation is “for the whole world.” Universalists also understand that God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” I believe that describes God’s desire but that He allows for us to have a will, which is either in line with His or it is not. In response to the beliefs of universalists, I rely upon Jesus’ words that He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” I also understand the Parable of the Ten Virgins to mean that there is finality once we meet with Jesus. Jesus talks about those who were unprepared for the groom and it says that to them “the door was shut.” In the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, we are told that there is no passage for one to get from hell to heaven or vice versa. The doctrine of eternal punishment is difficult for many who understand God to be loving and graceful. It does not seem fair for anyone to go to hell but it also does not seem fair that Jesus suffered and died on the cross as He did. God loves mankind and has provided the way for salvation through Jesus. He desires for all to be saved but He gives us the ability to make the choice that determines our eternity. God is just and although He does not desire for anyone to be sent to hell, the Bible says that we are either blessed with “eternal life” through faith in Jesus, or condemned to “everlasting punishment” as a consequence for rejecting Him. With an understanding of the severe consequences of not knowing Jesus, I feel more of an urgency to share the Gospel with others. I also realize the need for me to be a light among the darkness and to pray that God empowers me to reflect His love and grace. Having a better understanding of hell makes me realize the incredible need to keep myself firmly bonded to Christ and to reach out to others to lead them to Him so that they may be saved and blessed with the gift of eternal life. Word Count: 768

Bibliography
Elwell, Walter A., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition, Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids,
MI, 2001.

The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1982.

--------------------------------------------
[ 1 ]. Matthew 25:41, NKJV.
[ 2 ]. Elwell, Walter A., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition, (Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids,
MI, 2001), 64.
[ 3 ]. Ibid., 1232.
[ 4 ]. Matthew 25:46.
[ 5 ]. Matthew 25:46.
[ 6 ]. John 3:36.
[ 7 ]. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9.
[ 8 ]. Romans 6:23.
[ 9 ]. Matthew 7:13.
[ 10 ]. Matthew 25:46.
[ 11 ]. 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9.
[ 12 ]. John 3:36.
[ 13 ]. Ibid., 1232.
[ 14 ]. 1 John 2:2.
[ 15 ]. 2 Peter 3:9.
[ 16 ]. John 14:6.
[ 17 ]. Matthew 25:10.
[ 18 ]. Luke 19:26.
[ 19 ]. John 3:16.
[ 20 ]. John 14:6.
[ 21 ]. 2 Peter 3:9.
[ 22 ]. Matthew 25:46.
[ 23 ]. Matthew 25:46.

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