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Does the Bible Teach Eternal Punishment?

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Does the Bible Teach Eternal Punishment?

Table of Contents

Introduction

God is Love

What is the Fear of God?

Is Death the Wage of Sin?

The Judgment Day

Passages that Teach Eternal Torment

When Does Eternal Fire Not Mean Eternal Fire?

Whom Will God Torment Forever?

Conclusion

Notes:

  • You can freely use all or part of this study, as the Lord leads you, to witness.
  • Any Witness is free to correct me if he feels that I have misrepresented any Watchtower Society doctrine. If I agree, I will fix my error; if I disagree, I will post what you think I have misrepresented with a link from the place you believe the error to be.
  • Unless noted, all bold emphasis is mine and all words in [brackets] are mine.

Introduction

Witnesses believe that all people will spend eternity in one of four different groups:

This study primarily addresses the last point that there is no Judgment Day for the wicked. In a sense, this study continues the study on Soul-Sleep . In that study, we looked at Scripture to see if Christians who are absent from the body are present with the Lord. This study will show that everyone will stand before God on Judgment Day and that there is a conscious punishment for the wicked. For those who deserve it, this punishment will be everlasting. The doctrine of eternal punishment is important because what we believe effects the way we behave. If we believe that we are going to be punished for a certain behavior, this belief will act as a deterrent. In the book of Ecclesiastes we read:

Because sentence against a bad work has not been executed speedily, that is why the heart of the sons of men has become fully set in them to do bad. - Ecclesiastes 8:11 NWT

Would not everyone who literally believes Matthew 13:24 repent of their wickedness?

and they [the Son of Man shall send His angels who] will pitch them into the fiery furnace. There is where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth will be - Matthew 13:42 NWT

God is Love

Could a loving God cast a person, especially one who has never heard the Gospel into an eternal fire? I remember one person who was angry at Christians for preaching this to children, feeling that such fear tactics did irreparable psychological harm. I am not sure it causes irreparable psychological harm, but I agree, and I think that the Bible does not teach this doctrine. In studying the Bible, we see that God is love. Yet, can he be love without compromising His righteous character?

Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth, preserving loving-kindness for thousands, pardoning error and transgression and sin, but by no means will he give exemption from punishment.
- Exodus 34:6b-7a NWT

So how can a loving God punish people? The answer is simple: At great personal cost, He willingly took the punishment for our sins upon His own self. If you reject this gift, do not expect him to compromise His righteous standard.

For if we practice sin willfully a after having received the accurate knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins left, but there is a certain fearful expectation of judgment and there is a fiery jealousy that is going to consume those in opposition. Any man that has disregarded the law of Moses dies without compassion, upon the testimony of two or three. Of how much more severe a punishment, do YOU think, will the man be counted worthy who has trampled upon the Son of God and who has esteemed as of ordinary value the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has outraged the spirit of undeserved kindness with contempt? For we know him that said: ''Vengeance is mine; I will recompense''; and again: ''Jehovah will judge his people.'' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. - Hebrews 10:26-31 NWT

On the Day of Judgment, we will see not only God's vengeance toward the wicked, but also His love towards His own.

[''You have said, '...]And at present we are pronouncing presumptuous [proud] people happy. Also, the doers of wickedness have been built up. Also, they have tested God out and keep getting away.' '' At that time those in fear of Jehovah spoke with one another, each one with his companion, and Jehovah kept paying attention and listening. And a book of remembrance began to be written up before him for those in fear of Jehovah and for those thinking upon his name. ''And they will certainly become mine,'' Jehovah of armies has said, ''at the day when I am producing a special property [treasure]. And I will show compassion upon them, just as a man shows compassion upon his son who is serving him. And YOU people will again certainly see the distinction between a righteous one and a wicked one, between one serving God and one who has not served him.'' - Malachi 3:15-18 NWT

What is the Fear of God?

Wherefore, seeing that we are to receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us continue to have undeserved kindness, through which we may acceptably render God sacred service with godly fear and awe. For our God is also a consuming fire. - Hebrews 12:28-29 NWT

Since Malachi said that those who fear God will be His, it is important to understand what it means to fear the Lord. Does the fear of God mean we are to reverence Him, or does He expect us to really fear him? To answer this question, let us examine what the prophets and apostles taught.

From the dread of you my flesh has had a creepy feeling; And because of your judicial decisions I have been afraid. - Psalms 119:120 NWT

It is common for a doctor to ask a patient if he feels any pain. He asks his patient to answer this question with a number from one (the least pain) to ten (the most pain). If you look up the words translated dread, creepy feeling and afraid in a lexicon, using a scale from one (meaning reverence) and ten (meaning terror), you will see that the above passage is a ten for teaching the fear of the Lord.

Let's look at some more passages.

''Now all these things my own hand has made, so that all these came to be,'' is the utterance of Jehovah. ''To this one, then, I shall look, to the one afflicted and contrite in spirit and trembling at my word.'' - Isaiah 66:2 NWT

AND

Jehovah of armies—he is the One whom YOU should treat as holy, and he should be the object of YOUR fear, and he should be the One causing YOU to tremble. - Isaiah 8:13 NWT

AND

'Do YOU not fear even me,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'or are YOU in no severe pains even because of me, who have set the sand as the boundary for the sea, an indefinitely lasting regulation that it cannot pass over? Although its waves toss themselves, still they cannot prevail; and although they do become boisterous, still they cannot pass over it.'
- Jeremiah 5:22 NWT

You can look up the words used to teach fear of the Lord in the Scripture. If you look up passages with tremble, fear and dread in a Strong's Concordance, you will see that these verses are also a ten in teaching the fear of the Lord. But it is not just in individual words that we learn what it means to fear God. Fear of the Lord is taught from the beginning when Jehovah first dealt with Israel. In the book of Deuteronomy, we see Israel's response when God first spoke to them.

And now why should we die, for this great fire may consume us? If we are again hearing the voice of Jehovah our God any further, we are also certain to die. - Deuteronomy 5:25 NWT

What was God's response to these words?

If only they would develop this heart of theirs to fear me and to keep all my commandments always, in order that it might go well with them and their sons to time indefinite!
- Deuteronomy 5:29 NWT

The fear of God only makes sense if the fate of the wicked is real punishment, and if we realize that all men are sinners. If the punishment of the wicked is eternal soul-sleep, we do not have much to fear. Many who are addicted to sin and believe this do not repent. Yet Jesus warned us,

And do not become fearful of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be in fear of him that can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.  - Matthew 10:28 NWT

This passage becomes meaningless  if the wicked do not face a Judgment Day.

Some believe that you cannot love and fear someone at the same time. But this is untrue; God expects us to both love Him and fear Him.

''And now, O Israel, what is Jehovah your God asking of you but to fear Jehovah your God, so as to walk in all his ways and to love him and to serve Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul.  - Deuteronomy 10:12 NWT

This is a strange paradox: those who do not fear the Lord will face His wrath; those who fear the Lord will escape it.

Is Death the Wage of Sin?

Look! All the souls-to me they belong. As the soul of the father so likewise the soul of the son-to me they belong. The soul that is sinning-it itself will die.  - Ezekiel 18:4 NWT

The main argument Witnesses use against a punishment after death is that death itself is the punishment.

For the wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 6:23 NWT

If the above were the only verses on this topic, the Watchtower Society might have an argument, yet the following verse plainly contradicts them.

And as it is reserved for men to die once for all time, but after this a judgment.
- Hebrews 9:27 NWT

The highlighted words for all time are not found in any Greek manuscript, rather they were added by the translators. Even so the New World Translation teaches there is a judgment day after we die.

Even without Hebrews 9:27, using the above verses to teach the only wages for sin is death is a poor argument. Why? One ordinance in our law states that whoever commits a felony cannot vote. However, such a statute does not nullify the other punishments for felons. Does the Bible mention any other punishments for sin? Yes. Moses said,

Fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; the same sort of defect he may cause in the man, that is what should be caused in him - Leviticus 24:20 NWT

If we read Exodus through Deuteronomy carefully, we find that there are many different punishments for different types of transgressions, and only the worst transgressions merited a death penalty. This, the worst punishment that man can mete to a transgressor, allows God Himself to decide the eternal punishment on Judgment Day. Since God is righteous, He fits the punishment to the crime, rather than a one size fits all. Jesus Himself said:

Then that slave that understood the will of his master but did not get ready or do in line with his will will be beaten with many strokes. But the one that did not understand and so did things deserving of strokes will be beaten with few. Indeed, everyone to whom much was given, much will be demanded of him; and the one whom people put in charge of much, they will demand more than usual of him. - Luke 12:47-48 NWT

There are other passages that teach that the punishment will fit the crime:

I [Jesus] tell YOU that every unprofitable [idol] saying that men speak, they will render an account concerning it on Judgment Day. - Matthew 12:36 NWT

AND

for with what judgment YOU are judging, YOU will be judged; and with the measure that YOU are measuring out, they will measure out to YOU. - Matthew 7:2 NWT

While we may not be able to agree on what each verdict will look like on the Judgment Day, both the evil and the just will see God's verdicts, and everyone will agree: God is righteousness.

Psalms 97 KJV
The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.
Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.
A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about.

His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled.
The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.
Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.
Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD.
For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.
Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

The Judgment Day

When I asked a Witness about the Judgment Day, he said that there was no need for one. He said that God has already condemned the wicked, so there is no point in bringing them back to life just to kill them again. But what does the Bible teach about the Day of Judgment? Let's start with the prophet Malachi, who gives a graphic description.

''Look! I am rebuking on YOUR account the sown seed, and I will scatter dung upon YOUR faces, the dung of YOUR festivals; and someone will actually carry YOU away to [with] it. And YOU will have to know that I have sent to YOU this commandment, in order that my covenant with Levi may continue,'' Jehovah of armies has said.- Malachi 2:3-4 NWT

This context in Malachi is the Judgment Day.

''And I will come near to YOU people for the judgment, and I will become a speedy witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against those swearing falsely, and against those acting fraudulently with the wages of a wage worker, with the widow and with the fatherless boy, and those turning away the alien resident, while they have not feared me,'' Jehovah of armies has said - Malachi 3:5

God is bringing sinners back to life to punish them, not just to kill them again. Again, Malachi says:

At that time those in fear of Jehovah spoke with one another, each one with his companion, and Jehovah kept paying attention and listening. And a book of remembrance began to be written up before him for those in fear of Jehovah and for those thinking upon his name.

''And they will certainly become mine,'' Jehovah of armies has said, ''at the day when I am producing a special property. And I will show compassion upon them, just as a man shows compassion upon his son who is serving him. And YOU people will again certainly see the distinction between a righteous one and a wicked one, between one serving God and one who has not served him.'' - Malachi 3:16-18 NWT

The purpose of Judgment Day is not just to kill the sinners again, One purpose is to show them what they missed out on. Many who teach a false gospel and refuse to hear correction will discern between the righteous and the wicked in that day. Jesus also taught this:

Look! I will give those from the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews, and yet they are not but are lying-look! I will make them come and do obeisance before your feet and make them know I have loved you. - Revelation 3:9 NWT

AND

There is where YOUR weeping and the gnashing of YOUR teeth will be, when YOU see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves thrown outside. - Luke 13:28 NWT

On the Judgment Day, the wicked will have to be conscious in order to see what they are missing before they are thrust out. They will not be thrust back into soul-sleep; rather, Jesus said that they will be thrust to where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. It is worth noting that Jesus warned there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth seven different times.

And throw the good-for-nothing slave out into the darkness outside. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be. - Matthew 25:30 NWT

I suspect that one trait of an unprofitable slave is that he teaches false doctrine. In light of this, how can anybody teach that the wicked are not punished?

That is how it will be in the conclusion of the system of things: the angels will go out and separate the wicked from among the righteous and will cast them into the fiery furnace. There is where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth will be. - Matthew 13:49-50 NWT

The writer of Hebrews says that those who willfully sin after receiving the truth do not die, but, rather, have a fate worse than death!

For if we practice sin willfully after having received the accurate knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins left, but there is a certain fearful expectation of judgment and there is a fiery jealousy that is going to consume those in opposition. Any man that has disregarded the law of Moses dies without compassion, upon the testimony of two or three. Of how much more severe a punishment, do YOU think, will the man be counted worthy who has trampled upon the Son of God and who has esteemed as of ordinary value the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has outraged the spirit of undeserved kindness with contempt? For we know him that said: ''Vengeance is mine; I will recompense''; and again: ''Jehovah will judge his people.'' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. - Hebrews 10:26-31 NWT

By definition, a punishment that is much more severe than death cannot be soul-sleep. Since the Witnesses' governing body eisegete these verses, the apostle John writes one verse especially for them:

I am bearing witness to everyone that hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone makes an additions to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this scroll.  - Revelation 22:18 NWT

The Book of Revelation mentions many plagues; the only one missing is soul-sleep. If talking about the punishment of the wicked on the Day of Judgment offends you, then don't talk about it. But be careful that what you do teach does not contradict the Word of God.

I [Jesus] tell YOU that every unprofitable [idol] saying that men speak, they will render an account concerning it on Judgment Day. - Matthew 12:36 NWT

Passages that Teach Eternal Torment

Since verses that teach that the fire itself is everlasting are the least controversial, let's start by looking at them.

And if ever your hand makes you stumble, cut it off; it is finer for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go off into Gehenna, into the fire that cannot be put out. 44 —— And if your foot makes you stumble, cut it off; it is finer for you to enter into life lame than with two feet to be pitched into Gehenna. 46 —— And if your eye makes you stumble, throw it away; it is finer for you to enter one-eyed into the kingdom of God than with two eyes to be pitched into Gehenna, where their maggot does not die and the fire is not put out. - Mark 9:43-48 NWT

In playing down this passage, many mistakenly believe that Jesus was talking about a garbage dump outside of Jerusalem. Not very familiar with the scriptures they fail to realize that Jesus was quoting, as He often did, from Isaiah:

''For just as the new heavens and the new earth that I am making are standing before me,'' is the utterance of Jehovah, ''so the offspring of YOU people and the name of YOU people will keep standing.''

''And it will certainly occur that from new moon to new moon and from sabbath to sabbath all flesh will come in to bow down before me,'' Jehovah has said. ''And they will actually go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that were transgressing against me; for the very worms upon them will not die and their fire itself will not be extinguished, and they must become something repulsive to all flesh.'' - Isaiah 66:22-24 NWT

However, just because a fire burns forever does not mean that people will be tormented forever. How would God have to speak of some people spending eternity in torment in order for us to believe Him? How about this passage?

If anyone worships the wild beast and its image, and receives a mark on his forehead or upon his hand, he will also drink of the wine of the anger of God that is poured out undiluted into the cup of his wrath, and he shall be tormented with fire and sulphur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever, and day and night they have no rest, those who worship the wild beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name. - Revelation 14:9b-11 NWT

If you do not believe that this verse teaches eternal torment, what could God possibly say to make you believe? How can you claim to be a witness for Jehovah if you will not believe or teach His Word? Here is another verse that teaches eternal torment:

And these will depart into everlasting cutting-off [κόλασις or punishment], but the righteous ones into everlasting life.''- Matthew 25:46 NWT

Unfortunately, the New World Translation mistakenly translates κόλασις as cutting-off, the definition is punishment. If you read this verse in context, you will know that Jesus is not speaking of eternal unconsciousness because a few verses earlier He said that they will be gnashing their teeth.

And throw the good-for-nothing slave out into the darkness outside. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be.  - Matthew 25:30 NWT

So there will be everlasting punishment (Mt 25:46), the unprofitable servants will be conscious, that is they will be weeping and gnashing their teeth (Mt 25:30), and finally, they will be gnashing their teeth because the everlasting punishment is an everlasting fire.

''Then he will say, in turn, to those on his left, 'Be on YOUR way from me, YOU who have been cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. 
- Matthew 25:41 NWT

If you believe these verses as they are written, it is much easier to believe Daniel 12:2.

And there will be many of those asleep in the ground of dust who will wake up, these to indefinitely lasting life and those to reproaches and to indefinitely lasting abhorrence.
- Daniel 12:2 NWT

There are not only verses talking about an everlasting fire, there are also verses talking about being alive in fire. For example, Lazarus and the rich man. Since most are familiar with the story, we will only need a small excerpt:

And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, he existing in torments, [...] 'I am in anguish in this blazing fire.' - Luke 16:23a, & 24a NWT

Do not dismiss this as only a parable, either there is anguishing in fire or Jesus is teaching false doctrine. Revelation also speaks in the clearest words about being tormented in fire forever.

And the wild beast was caught, and along with it the false prophet that performed in front of it the signs with which he misled those who received the mark of the wild beast and those who render worship to its image. While still alive, they both were hurled into the fiery lake that burns with sulphur. - Revelation 19:20 NWT

AND

And the Devil who was misleading them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulphur, where both the wild beast and the false prophet already were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever - Revelation 20:10 NWT

Unfortunately, the Watchtower Society has redefined many of these words. Thus this passage means something different to a person who uses the Watchtower Society to judge the Bible than it does to a person who uses the Bible to judge the Watchtower Society. However, a Witness who really hungers for the truth can see that, when all these verses are put together, the Bible teaches there will be eternal torment.

When Does Eternal Fire Not Mean Eternal Fire?

As an example of how the Watchtower Society redefines words, when Witnesses are shown verses that teach eternal punishment, they will be quick to point out the following verse in Jude:

So too Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them, after they in the same manner as the foregoing ones had committed fornication excessively and gone out after flesh for unnatural use, are placed before us as a warning example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire. - Jude 1:7 NWT

Since this everlasting fire of Sodom and Gomorrah is no longer burning, the Witnesses reason that other passages teaching eternal fire refer to fires that will also burn out. But let's look at what Jude really said in the last half of the verse: (My literal translation, of the words in question, is under the Greek)

σαρκὸς   ἑτέρας     πρόκεινται         δεῖγμα,     πυρὸς    αἰωνίου       δίκην        ὑπέχουσαι

  flesh   different  (they) set before   example  of fire   of eternal  punishment   held under

This reads quite different from the New World Translation.

...flesh for unnatural use, are placed before us as a warning example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire

The words translated example and punishment are in the accusative case, so they are the objects of the sentence. The words translated of fire and of eternal are in the genitive case. The genitive is often viewed as the possessive case. Technically, a noun in the genitive case helps to qualify another noun. Thus, the genitive functions adjectivally to limit a noun by describing, defining, qualifying or modifying it. In Jude, the words of fire and of eternal are each adjectivally limiting the words example or punishment. Jude is a little vague here. If we did not know his context, the words in question could also be understood as:

Thus, the word of eternal does not appear to be an adjective of fire. Those who don't understand Greek, but who are honestly seeking the truth, will also conclude that the example, rather than the fire, is eternal because the example of Sodom still existed when Jude wrote his letter, even though the fire had gone out.

The Watchtower Society makes two mistakes when they use Jude to teach that there is no eternal fire. First, they bear false witness by reading into Jude something he never taught: that there will be no eternal punishment. They would be much wiser to read Jude for what he says; he is trying to warn them about a coming fiery judgment. Second, by undermining the word eternal, do they not also undermine verses that teach that God's kingdom is eternal? On the Day of Judgment, their error of redefining words will revisit them.

and if anyone takes anything away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take his portion away from the trees of life and out of the holy city, things which are written about in this scroll.  - Revelation 22:19 NWT

Though seven million Witnesses have been taught that Jude proves that the fire of hell will go out, they have not taken the time to read the letter of Jude for themselves. If you wish to make sure that your name is written in the Book of Life, take our Two question test and see.

Whom Will God Torment Forever?

The Roman Catholic Church and many protestant denominations teach that you will be in either the Kingdom of God or eternal Hell Fire. Thus, all people unreached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ will burn forever in Hell. Believing that a merciful God could not act so cruelly, the Witnesses and a few other denominations take the opposite position; that is, there will be no conscious punishment. Yet my study of the Scriptures has lead me to a third conclusion: those, and only those, who deserve it will be tormented forever. When we read about judgments or punishments of God, we see that the Bible also states the crime of the person subjected to it. Here are some examples:

In case a man should steal a bull or a sheep and he does slaughter it or sell it, he is to compensate with five of the herd for the bull and four of the flock for the sheep.
- Exodus 22:1 NWT

AND

Fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; the same sort of defect he may cause in the man, that is what should be caused in him. - Leviticus 24:20 NWT

Who will suffer the eternal torment mentioned in Revelation 14?

If anyone worships the wild beast and its image, and receives a mark on his forehead or upon his hand, he will also drink of the wine of the anger of God that is poured out undiluted into the cup of his wrath, and he shall be tormented with fire and sulphur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever, and day and night they have no rest, those who worship the wild beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name. - Revelation 14:9b-11 NWT

What must these people do in order to deserve eternal torment?

The Scriptures plainly warned that those who do those things are going to be punished forever. They have only themselves to blame for not believing.

While we are not the judges (that is, we cannot pass judgment on individuals), we do know that we serve an unchanging God. Therefore, other equally wicked people should expect the same punishment.

For I am Jehovah, I change not. Because of this you sons of Jacob are not destroyed.
- Malachi 3:6 NWT

In the earlier example of Judgment Day, we saw Malachi name the guilty before he declared their punishment.

''And now this commandment is to YOU, O priests. If YOU will not listen, and if YOU will not lay it to heart to give glory to my name,'' Jehovah of armies has said, ''I shall also certainly send upon YOU the curse, and I will curse YOUR blessings. Yes, I have even cursed the blessing, because YOU are not laying it to heart.'' ''Look! I am rebuking on YOUR account the sown seed, and I will scatter dung upon YOUR faces, the dung of YOUR festivals; and someone will actually carry YOU away to it,'' - Malachi 2:1-3 NWT

In all passages on punishment, the type of person, or the type of sin they are guilty of, are always mentioned. In this passage, God's anger was directed toward His governing body. If the Bible is inerrant, unless they repent the punishment will happen. God was angry with His priests in that day because, as Malachi said,

For the lips of a priest are the ones that should keep knowledge, and the law is what people should seek from his mouth; for he is the messenger of Jehovah of armies.

''But YOU men—YOU have turned aside from the way. YOU have caused many to stumble in the law. YOU have ruined the covenant of Levi,'' Jehovah of armies has said.
- Malachi 2:7-8 NWT

If God was angry then with His governing body for departing out of the way, He will be angry with those who cause many to stumble today. We can see from these passages that the punishment on the Day of Judgment will be according to the sin. This is also what Jesus taught.

Then that slave that understood the will of his master but did not get ready or do in line with his will will be beaten with many strokes. But the one that did not understand and so [the word so is not in the Greek] did things deserving of strokes will be beaten with few.
- Luke 12:47-48a NWT

We can see that God has expectations of even those who have never heard the Gospel.

And he said to them: ''Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. He that believes and is baptized will be saved, but he that does not believe will be condemned.'' - Mark 16:15-16 NWT

God expects those who have had the Gospel preached to them to repent and believe. Those who have heard the Gospel will have far more required of them than those who have not.

Not many of YOU should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment. - James 3:1 NWT

Since teachers have the stricter judgment, teachers who put stumbling blocks in the way of God's people will receive the greater wrath.

Conclusion

The title of this study is Does the Bible Teach Eternal Punishment? Using the scriptures, we have seen that those who have heard the Gospel and still serve Satan will receive eternal torment. The false prophets and false teachers who mislead God's people will be close behind. Those reading this study have heard of the Gospel of Jesus; those who reject Him or blaspheme the Holy Spirit are also damned.

My reason is that certain men have slipped in who have long ago been appointed by the Scriptures to this judgment, ungodly men, turning the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for loose [shameless] conduct and proving false to our only Owner and Lord, Jesus Christ. - Jude 1:4 NWT

AND

However, whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit has no forgiveness forever, but is guilty of everlasting sin. - Mark 3:29

There are many other passages in scripture that warn of God's eternal wrath against the wicked, but those who eisegete the passages in this study will eisegete those also. How much fuller would a Witness's life be if he was not always playing down Scripture or replacing it with booklet studies! May the Lord Jehovah bless those who come to fear Him and believe His Word.

Authored by Jeff Barnes


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Jesus taught:

But a certain man was rich, and he used to deck himself with purple and linen, enjoying himself from day to day with magnificence. But a certain beggar named Lazarus used to be put at his gate, full of ulcers and desiring to be filled with the things dropping from the table of the rich man. Yes, too, the dogs would come and lick his ulcers. Now in course of time the beggar died and he was carried off by the angels to the bosom position of Abraham.

Also, the rich man died and was buried. And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, he existing in torments, and he saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in the bosom position with him. So he called and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish in this blazing fire. ' But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that you received in full your good things in your lifetime, but Lazarus correspondingly the injurious things. Now, however, he is having comfort here but you are in anguish. And besides all these things, a great chasm has been fixed between us and YOU people, so that those wanting to go over from here to YOU people cannot, neither may people cross over from there to us.' Then he said, 'In that event I ask you, father, to send him to the house of my father, for I have five brothers, in order that he may give them a thorough witness, that they also should not get into this place of torment. ' But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to these.' Then he said, 'No, indeed, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them they will repent.' But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.' - Luke 16:19-31 NWT

Jesus was teaching there is a place of torment. Either Jesus is teaching false doctrine or the Watchtower Society (by saying there is no such place) is teaching false doctrine. Under whose wing will you trust? If you are still in doubt prayerfully read the last sentence again.