Hell – Eternal Punishment – Lake of Fire : Matthew 25 : Bible Study


Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels:

Matthew 25:41 ASV

We approach the study of this passage with an overwhelming sense of melancholy and the deepest feelings of sorrow for the awful fate of the wicked.

Alas, the doctrine of hell is a prominent teaching of the Son of God.

The sophistry of our generation has tended to ameliorate, or completely reject Jesus’s teaching on this subject, (such as the guys at The Bible Project) but such a tendency is profoundly sinful and foolish.

A little reflection will suggest the most logical reasons why such a thing as hell is not only just and reasonable but also actually necessary.

No industrial concern ever operated without some means of waste disposal, and no well-managed kitchen ever existed without a garbage pail or its equivalent.

How then, in all reason, could God Almighty be expected to operate a complex as large and diverse as the universe without some means of destroying those portions of it which, if permitted, would circumvent and countermand his benevolent purpose for the entire creation?

Hell is God’s cosmic disposal unit; yet it is not prepared for men but for Satan and his angels, and the only persons who will be finally lost in hell are those who elect to follow the influence of Satan and must also partake of his destiny. Christ spread wide his bleeding hands upon the cross in order to woo men and to save them, and redeem them from the power of the evil one.

Men who rush past the warning signals can ultimately blame no one except themselves.

Who can think of a better way to deal with Satan than by his being cast into hell which God has prepared, or may be in the process of preparing, for the evil one?

(At the projected time of the scene presented in this chapter, hell will have been prepared; but, since Christ is now preparing the place for the righteous (John 14:1-6), it does not appear illogical to suppose that the place of containment for the host of Satan is likewise currently in a state of preparation also).

What would YOU do, if you were God? Would you permit Satan to continue unabated for all eternity with license to rob, rape, plunder, seduce, destroy, and deceive, corrupt, wound, and slay forever?

Whatever YOU might fancy you would do, God has revealed his will in his announced purpose to overwhelm Satan and the fallen angels in the “lake of fire that burneth with brimstone.”

In a certain fearful sense, one may thank God for hell. It is the place where the great enemy of mankind shall at last be destroyed.

Since such a place actually exists, or is in state of being made ready, and since there is the dreadful certainty that men following the lead of Satan shall unwittingly partake of his overthrow, what a benign and holy purpose is seen in the blessed words of the Lord who revealed this astounding fact and warned men how they might escape such an awful fate!

Those who have been deceived into thinking of hell as some kind of torture arrangement which God, through peevishness or caprice, has devised for naughty children of men, have failed to comprehend the scope and power of the mighty spiritual conflict which has opened a seam in the nature of every person ever born on earth, nor have they taken account of the vicious destructiveness of man’s arch-enemy, Satan.

A number of years ago, a flood carried away one of the bridges over the Brown River near Vicksburg, Mississippi. A salesman, taken unaware, was able to halt his car only on the last few feet of pavement that remained.

In a state of shock, he got out of his car and stood a few moments transfixed by the boiling flood he had so narrowly escaped.

Approaching headlights warned him of the danger to others, and he frantically tried to halt the drivers as several cars, one after another, ignored his desperate signals and plunged to destruction.

A total of eight persons lost their lives before he could turn his car and blockade the road.

Now was that salesman to be blamed for the death of those motorists who ignored his warnings and plunged into the river?

No!

And in exactly the same way, God cannot be blamed for the eternal punishment men shall certainly incur who ignore the divine warnings, reject the Saviour’s sacrifice, and plunge headlong into eternal death.

Let the Saviour’s words be viewed in such a light, and men will avoid the temptation to “humanize” the gospel.

There are dark and terrible realities confronting the race of Adam, and no blind and prejudiced rejection of the divine Saviour’s admonitions will remove them. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!”

As to the speculation of what hell will be like, it is safe to assert that we do not know. It has not even entered into the heart of man what wonderful things God has prepared for the redeemed (1 Corinthians 2:9); and it may safely be assumed that man’s mind has not fully conceived what may be the details of eternal punishment.

The very figures used in Scripture such as “lake of fire” and “outer darkness” are not such as lend themselves to building a clear mental image of what hell will be. Enough that men have been adequately warned. May none who read these lines ever know what it will really be!

The devil and his angels … indicates that some of the angels, in a sense, belong to Satan. Why? Because they kept not their first estate but elected to follow Satan in a course of rebellion and disobedience of God’s will. 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:1:6 shed additional light upon the status of Satan’s angels.

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