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Jack Kelley

The Case For Eternal Punishment

This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley

“And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.” (Isaiah 66:24)


Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)

Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Matt. 25:41,46)

If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:15)

For most of mankind’s existence the belief that punishment for unbelievers is eternal was taken for granted.  The above verses were the basis for what’s become known as the traditional view of hell.

But recently an alternative, called the conditional view, has come on the scene. This view is based primarily on Rev. 20:12 which says the unsaved dead will be judged according to their works. Proponents of the conditional view interpret this verse to mean that while no unbeliever can go to heaven, their punishment in hell will be based on the quality of their lives while on Earth. They contend that those who’ve led meritorious lives on Earth but aren’t believers will receive less severe punishment for a shorter period of time than say a Hitler or Stalin before being destroyed altogether. They claim that this view makes more sense because it shows God to be fair, making the punishment fit the crime so to speak, before mercifully ending their existence altogether.

On the surface it seems to make sense and some people are more comfortable with this view than the traditional one that appears excessively harsh to them and serves no purpose other than making people suffer. But is the conditional view the result of greater enlightenment in our understanding of Scripture or just another in a long line of attempts to re-cast God’s word into a kinder gentler document as it pertains to those who’ve rejected Him?

My Ways Are Not Your Ways

A closer look reveals that the idea of a conditional hell is decidedly biased toward the world view of unbelievers. Conditional hell proponents say, “All they did is not believe that Jesus died for them.  Other than that many unbelievers  tried to live a good life and helped a fair amount of people along the way. What did they do to deserve eternal punishment?”

What these people don’t realize of course is that unbelievers will have failed to do the only thing God required of them. Since the cross, God has only asked one thing of us.

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”


Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29)

If God is going to judge unbelievers by how they’ve done the work He requires of them, it’ll all be over pretty quickly because without belief in Jesus even the good they might have accomplished is considered evil in God’s sight. How do I know that?  Read the Lord’s own words;

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matt. 7:22-23)

So much for the value of a meritorious life!

Unbelievers don’t think rejecting the Lord is a big deal because they don’t realize that their rejection of His sacrifice for their sins has eternal consequences. Because of their unbelief they’re only thinking in terms of a 70-80 year lifespan, not an eternal existence.  So let’s take a look at this from the eternal perspective and try to understand how different it is.

First let’s understand that the man who is executed or given life in prison for taking someone’s life is not being taught that murder is wrong. He’s suffering the consequence of his crime by forfeiting the balance of his physical life . It’s an adaptation of the Biblical injunction, a life for a life (Lev. 24:17).  On Earth we’re in a physical environment so it’s a physical life for a physical life.

But a person who rejects the pardon God provided for him has in effect murdered his own soul and spirit.  Both are eternal, so there has to be an eternal consequence to fit the crime. Our physical bodies are only intended to serve a temporary purpose, and that’s to house the eternal part of us for a little while. Compared to our eternal existence, putting our physical existence to death is a minor infraction.  Refusing to accept the Lord’s completed work on the cross as payment in full for our sins is a crime against our eternal life and therefore the only just punishment is eternal punishment.

And That’s Not All

But there’s an even more powerful legal argument for eternal punishment that for centuries was modeled in human existence as well.  Until the mid 19th Century it was common practice in many parts of the world to incarcerate a person for failure to pay his or her debts.  Jail time was not an alternative method of repayment, it was the consequence they suffered for their inability to pay their debt.  No matter how long they were locked up they still owed as much of their debt as they did on their first day behind bars. They could only be freed by repaying the money they owed.  Jesus referred to this practice in His parable of the unmerciful servant (Matt. 18:23-35).

It’s the same with our sins.  Punishment is not an alternative method unbelievers can use to pay the penalty for their sins, it’s the consequence they’ll suffer for their inability to pay the penalty.  No matter how long a person suffers in eternity, they will still owe the same penalty as they did on day one. The only acceptable payment for sin is the blood of an innocent person, and nothing else will suffice.  Hebrews 9:22 explains that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  Therefore no one can “work off” his or her penalty through suffering.

This is the fatal flaw in the Catholic concept of purgatory.  It calls for a person who dies with certain unconfessed sins  to “work off” the penalty for those sins through their suffering and the intercessory prayers of living relatives in order to qualify for entry into heaven.  But there’s only one way  for humans to qualify for entry into heaven and that’s by accepting the blood of Jesus as payment for our sins (John 3:3).  Once we do that  all of our sins are covered (Colossians 2:13-14).  But we have to do it before we die (Hebr. 9:27) or else it’s too late.

It’s also the flaw in the conditional view of hell.  If the blood of Jesus is the only way to be released from the penalty for our sins, then there’s no escape for those who reject it.  No matter how numerous or noteworthy, the “good works” unbelievers perform during their lifetime can’t be applied to reduce their sentence and neither can the “time served” after they die, so they’ll always owe the same penalty as they did on day one of their incarceration.

The bottom line is the only acceptable payment for our sins is the blood of a sinless man, and the only sinless man is Jesus. He died for all the sins of mankind (John 1:29) but only those who choose to accept His death as payment for their sins can be forgiven. The refusal to accept it leaves everyone else unable to pay and requires that they be incarcerated.  Since they’re eternal beings and since they’ll never be able to pay, they’ll have to remain incarcerated forever. Selah 06-25-11


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26 June 2011

Israel warns media over latest Gaza flotilla  

Aljazeera.net - David Poort - ‎1 hour ago‎
Israel may ban journalists aboard planned aid flotilla for 10 years and also seize their equipment, official says. Israel has warned journalists that they could be banned from entering the country for 10 years if they travel aboard an aid flotilla ...

Israel's Vatican envoy backs off praise of WWII-era Pope Pius XII, says ...  

Washington Post - ‎3 hours ago‎
Israel's ambassador to the Vatican has backed off his praise of Pope Pius XII, the World War II-era pope blamed by some Jews for having failed to speak out enough against the Holocaust.

Israel begins rerouting barrier at protest site  

AFP - ‎15 minutes ago‎
BILIN, Palestinian Territories - Israel on Sunday began rerouting the fence around the West Bank village of Bilin, the focus of protests against Israel's controversial separation barrier, the military said. The barrier's route in the area will be ...

Israel Accepts Mediator Deal on Shalit  

Arutz Sheva - Chana Ya'ar - ‎22 minutes ago‎
by Chana Ya'ar Israel has accepted a proposal by the German mediator to free kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Saturday, June 25 was the fifth anniversary of Shalit's abduction during his army service near Gaza by terrorists belonging to Hamas, ...

Israel approves economic sanctions against Iran  

CNN - ‎2 hours ago‎
Among the sanctions is an amendment to Israel's money laundering law that allows for more oversight and control over those trading with Iran.
Slave to Israel Intifada Palestine 

In the World | Philadelphia Inquirer | 2011-06-26  

Philadelphia Inquirer - ‎8 hours ago‎
The man, 60, and woman, 57, who were not identified, were detained Friday at Krakow airport on their way to Israel after border guards found a few old items, including knives, scissors, and spoons, inside a plastic bag in their luggage, ...

Ahmadinejad, Mansour: Israel is major source of terror 

Jerusalem Post - ‎6 hours ago‎
COM STAFF On sidelines of Tehran terrorism conference, Iranian president, Lebanese FM discuss Israel's "threat to region," and Lebanon's new gov't.

Wilders, Israel and the Jews 

Ynetnews - Manfred Gerstenfeld - ‎5 hours ago‎
Concerning Israel, the Jews and what may be said about them in The Netherlands, this judgment could invite very problematic consequences.

Nasrallah: CIA spies found in Hezbollah 

Jewish Telegraphic Agency - ‎16 minutes ago‎
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Change brings whale to Israel 

The Australian - ‎56 minutes ago‎
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Arab athletes join Israel's Special Olympics team for first time 

Ha'aretz - ‎1 hour ago‎
The Israel Tennis Center, under whose auspices Kunbar and Tawil have trained for the last five years, declared it an honor that the sport would be part of such a historical moment.

WZO to gov't: Don't reinstate religion clause on Israeli ID 

Jerusalem Post - Gil Shefler - ‎14 hours ago‎
If the State of Israel wants to continue being the state of the Jewish people, then it must treat the world's Jews with respect.
The Issue of a Nuclear Israel Wall Street Journal

Apologizing to Turkey is in Israel's interest 

Ha'aretz - Zvi Bar'el - ‎9 hours ago‎
In the past year, and with greater intensity in recent weeks, people of goodwill from Israel and Turkey have been trying to rehabilitate relations between the two countries.

Queers Should Focus on Arab World and Iran, Not Israel 

Gay City News - Benjamin Weinthal - ‎3 hours ago‎
Meanwhile, Siegebusters - whose membership appears to overlap with QAIA's –– are raising funds to sponsor a flotilla to violate Israel's legal naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The alliance between Hamas and Siege Busters/ QAIA is ...

Coalition to test Greens' unity on Israel 

The Australian - Matthew FranklinJoe Kelly - ‎1 hour ago‎
THE Coalition will seek to expose divisions within the Greens over proposed boycotts on Israel when the new Senate sits for the first time next week.

Egypt extends remand of accused spy Ilan Grapel 

Jewish Telegraphic Agency - ‎27 minutes ago‎
Egyptian security forces reportedly were continuing their interrogation of Grapel, as part of an investigation into accusations that he was spying for Israel's Mossad. Grapel is being interrogated without the assistance of an interpreter because he ...

Israel rates expected to stay steady 

MarketWatch - Robert Daniel - ‎4 hours ago‎
TEL AVIV (MarketWatch) - Analysts expect no change in the Bank of Israel's 3.25% benchmark interest rate for July, citing factors including calming inflation expectations and continued low US rates.

Moussa: Israel gas deal was 'political trick' 

Al-Masry Al-Youm - ‎39 minutes ago‎
Potential presidential candidate Amr Moussa on Sunday defended his decision to approve natural gas exports to Israel while he was foreign minister during the reign of former president Hosni Mubarak.

Delek, Koor, Israel Corp, Hot: Israeli Equity Preview 

Bloomberg - Sharon Wrobel - ‎8 hours ago‎
Delek Drilling-LP (DEDRL IT): Israel's Infrastructures Ministry granted Noble Energy Inc., the energy explorer's partner in the Leviathan natural gas field, permission to drill at the Leviathan 3 site.

Newark's IDT looks to Israel, Colorado for shale oil venture 

The Star-Ledger - NJ.com - Eliot Caroom - ‎3 hours ago‎

In 2008, after IDT founder Howard Jonas took an extended sabbatical in Israel, he told Forbes magazine t


Israel's gay community applauds New York same-sex marriage law 

Ha'aretz - Ilan Lior - ‎13 hours ago‎
Representatives of the gay community say it will take avery long time for a similar law to be passed in Israel. By Ilan Lior Representatives of Israel's gay community yesterday welcomed New York's passage Friday of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, ...

Say NO to Israel's new solicitations 

Tehran Times - ‎Jun 24, 2011‎
At least nine Turks were murdered in cold blood in the gruesome massacre for which Israel is yet to apologize. Some Orthodox rabbinic authorities don't recognize non-Jews as fully human and see their lives as having no sanctity, especially in ...

Egypt: Border guards kill 4 Sudanese migrants 

msnbc.com - Ashraf Sweilam - ‎3 hours ago‎
AP RAFAH, Egypt — An Egyptian security official says border guards have killed four Sudanese migrants trying to cross illegally into Israel. The official said the migrants refused to surrender after guards fired warning shots to stop...

Prideful Shabbat at Temple Israel New Rochelle Hail Marriage Equality 

Patch.com - Juan DeJesus - ‎Jun 25, 2011‎
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Instability in Israel sparks growing exodus from Promised Land 

Salem-News.Com - ‎12 hours ago‎
Every year more Jews leave Israel for Europe and the United States than the other way around. One in five Soviet Jews has already returned home. (MOSCOW RT) - Israel was a state created for Jewish people from all over the world to call their home. ...

Message to American Jews: 'Support peace, true peace' 

Los Angeles Times - ‎1 hour ago‎
This is what Israelis sang on Jerusalem Day, to the horror of many including Hagit Borer, and Israeli Jewish American, born in Israel -- when Jerusalem was a very different place. In Sunday's Op-Ed pages, she recalls her childhood and the dramatic ...

Israel PM's son accused of anti-Islamic comments 

Reuters - Allyn Fisher-IlanCrispian Balmer - ‎Jun 24, 2011‎
Shimron also said the younger Netanyahu had "expressed himself in an informal virtual forum" and that he "respects all people and is ready to live in peace in Israel with people of all identities." Amongst other comments Netanyahu was said to have ...

Sharpshooter Folau a natural kick: Sheedy 

ABC Online - ‎5 hours ago‎
Greater Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy is confident star recruit Israel Folau has the makings of a dead-eye dick in front of goal. Folau's productive spell in the Giants' forward line continued on Saturday with a career-best five goals in a ...

Israel "determined" to stop new Gaza-bound flotilla: UN envoy 

Xinhua - Mu Xuequan - ‎Jun 23, 2011‎
UNITED NATIONS, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor said here Thursday that his country "is determined to" stop a flotilla seeking to break Israel's naval blockade to the Gaza strip. "Israel is determined to stop this flotilla," Prosor ...

US Affairs: The GOP and Israel 

Jerusalem Post - Hilary Leila Krieger - ‎Jun 24, 2011‎
Either way, the debate could have profound implications for American involvement in the Middle East, and thus forIsrael. Democratic defenders of Israel see in the Republican posturing an opening to attack the opposition and warn Jewish voters of dire ...

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