Someone Cares Series
Information Brochure No. 16
Would a God of Love
Burn Sinners Forever?
In the last lesson we learned that the dead sleep in their
graves until Jesus resurrects them. When the righteous are
resurrected they will go to heaven, and when the wicked are
resurrected they will go to the lake of "everlasting
fire." Yet, how could a God of LOVE torture sinners? It
seems inconsistent with His character!
1. How does the Bible describe God?
"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God;
and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He
that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love" (1 John
The qualities which it is essential for all to possess are
those which marked the completeness of Christ's
character—His love, His patience, His unselfishness and His
goodness. These attributes are gained by doing kindly actions
with a kindly heart.
It is the greatest and most fatal deception to suppose that a
man can have faith unto life eternal without possessing
Christlike love for his brethren. He who loves God and his
neighbor is filled with light and love. God is in him and all
around him. Christians love those for whom Christ has died. There
is no such thing as a loveless Christian.
2. Will God's love excuse those who neglect or refuse to let
Jesus take away their guilt?
"The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving
iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty,
visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the
third and fourth generation" (Numbers 14:18).
The neglect of Eli is brought plainly before every father and
mother in the land. As a result of his unsanctified affection or
his unwillingness to do a disagreeable duty, he reaped a harvest
of iniquity in his perverse sons. Both the parents who allowed
the wickedness and the children who practiced it were guilty
before God, and He would accept no sacrifice or offering for
3. When and how will the wicked be punished for their deeds?
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the
holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his
glory: ... Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand,
Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for
the devil and his angels: ... And these shall go away into
everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal"
(Matthew 25:31, 41, 46).
Through a rift in the clouds there beams a star whose
brilliancy is increased fourfold in contrast with the darkness.
It speaks hope and joy to the faithful, but severity and wrath to
the transgressors of God's Law. Those who have sacrificed all for
Christ are now secure, hidden as in the secret of the Lord's
pavilion. They are covered by His grace and protected by His
angels. It is impossible to describe the horror and despair of
those who have trampled upon God's holy requirements. The Lord
gave them His law; they might have compared their characters with
it and learned their defects while there was yet opportunity for
repentance and reform; but in order to secure the favor of the
world they set aside its precepts and taught others to
4. Thus the wicked will be cast into hell after the judgment
of the last days. Some people, not comparing Scripture with
Scripture, misinterpret 1 Peter 3:18-20 that says that Jesus was
"put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by
whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who
formerly were disobedient ... in the days of Noah." What is
a "spirit [or soul] in prison?"
"I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will
hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant
of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind
eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that
sit in darkness out of the prison house" (Isaiah 42:6, 7).
The Pharisees sought distinction by their scrupulous
ceremonialism and the ostentation of their worship and their
charities. In marked contrast to all this was the life of Jesus.
In that life no noisy disputation, no ostentatious worship, no
act to gain applause was ever witnessed. The Sun of Righteousness
did not burst upon the world in splendor to dazzle the senses
with His glory. It is written of Christ, "His going forth is
prepared as the morning" (Hosea 6:3). Quietly and gently the
daylight breaks upon the earth, dispelling the darkness and
waking the world to life. So did the Sun of Righteousness arise
"with healing in His wings" (Malachi 4:2). The kingdom
of God comes not with outward show. It comes through the
gentleness of the inspiration of His Word, through the inward
working of His Spirit, the fellowship of the soul with Him who is
5. When did Jesus preach with the power of the Spirit to the
souls who were prisoners of sin in Noah's day?
"And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive
with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an
hundred and twenty years" (Genesis 6:3).
In the days of Noah God granted the people one hundred and
twenty years of probation (time to make things right with God)
and during that time preached to them through Methuselah, Noah
and many others of His servants. Had they listened to the
testimony of these faithful witnesses, had they repented and
returned to their loyalty, God would not have destroyed them.
6. When the wicked are cast into hell will there be any rest
during the time they are burning, and will their smoke or memory
of anything about them ever return to earth again?
"And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and
ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast
and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name"
When cast into the fires of destruction the wicked will
suffer, and when the smoke ascends it disperses into the
atmosphere and there will be nothing left, just as when you or I
burn a piece of paper the fire completes its work, and the smoke
is scattered into the air. Only ashes remain.
7. Who has already suffered "eternal fire" as an
example of the hell fire in the last day?
"Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in
like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going
after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the
vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 7).
Eternal or everlasting fire was a common Hebrew expression for
a fire that could not be put out but burned until everything was
consumed. Even today, if we say a fire could not be put out, it
does not mean that it continues to burn even after everything has
been reduced to ashes. As a result of their impenitence the
inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. The fires went
out when all was completely burned. There are no fires burning
today. How utterly revolting is the belief that as soon as the
breath leaves the body the soul of the impenitent is consigned to
the flames of hell.
8. What will be left when the fire is through burning?
"For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;
and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be
stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the
LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
... And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes
under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this,
saith the LORD of hosts" (Malachi 4:1, 3).
The whole work of the father of lies is recorded in the
statute books of heaven, and those who lend themselves to the
service of Satan, to put forth and present to men the lies of
Satan by precept and practice, will receive according to their
deeds. Root and branch will be destroyed by the fires of the last
days. Satan, the great general in apostasy, is the root, and all
his workers, who teach his lies in regard to the law of God, are
the branches. The end will come. God will vindicate His law and
deliver His people. Satan and all who have joined him in
rebellion will be cut off. All are punished according to their
9. Is man immortal?
"Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and
only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only
hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach
unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and
power everlasting. Amen" (1 Timothy 6:15, 16).
All created beings live by the will and power of God. They are
the recipients of the life of the Son of God. However able and
talented, however large their capacities, they are replenished
with life from the source of all life. His is the spring, the
fountain of all life. Only He who alone hath immortality,
dwelling in light and life, could say, I have power to lay down
my life, and I have power to take it again.
In his present state man is mortal and subject to death. It is
not until the righteous dead are called forth from the grave that
they receive immortality, and the righteous living put on
immortality at thee same time (1 Corinthians 15:51-54). Only God
has immortality at this present time. God, by the gift of His
Son, brings life and immortality within their reach.
10. What will happen to the "soul" of the unrepentant person?
"Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father,
so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it
shall die. ... The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall
not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father
bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous
shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon
him" (Ezekiel 18:4, 20).
The sinner is not immortal. God has said, the soul that
sinneth it shall die. Man is only mortal, and while he feels
himself too wise to accept Jesus, he will remain only mortal,
subject to death. While the Lord is longsuffering and not willing
that any shall perish, He will by no means clear the guilty. Only
the believer in Christ can receive life everlasting.
11. How will the soul be destroyed?
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able
to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy
both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).
Real peace can never be secured by compromising principle, and
no man can be true to principle without exciting opposition.
Those who are true to God need not fear the power of men nor the
enmity of Satan. In Christ their eternal life is secure. Their
only fear should be lest they surrender the truth, and thus
betray the trust with which God has honored them The wicked are
destroyed in the fires of destruction.
12. What is death in hell called?
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God;
and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is
the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things
which were written in the books, according to their works. And
the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell
delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged
every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast
into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever
was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake
of fire" (Revelation 20:12-15).
The death of the wicked is called the second death. When the
flood of waters was at its height upon the earth it had the
appearance of a boundless lake of water. When God finally
purifies the earth it will appear like a boundless lake of fire.
As God preserved the ark amid the commotions of the flood,
because it contained eight righteous persons, He will preserve
the New Jerusalem containing the faithful of all ages, from
righteous Abel down to the last saint which lived. Although the
whole earth, with the exception of that portion where the holy
city rests, will be wrapped in a sea of liquid fire, yet the city
will be preserved as was the ark, but a miracle of Almighty
power. It will stand unharmed amid the devouring elements.
13. Will every sinner receive the same punishment?
"But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord
delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and
maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of
that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and
at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and
will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that
servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself,
neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many
stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of
stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever
much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men
have committed much, of him they will ask the more" (Luke
"Who will render to every man according to his
deeds:" (Romans 2:6).
The choice we make in this life will be our choice through all
eternity. We shall receive either eternal life or eternal death.
There is no middle ground, no second probation. We are called
upon to overcome in this life as Christ overcame, and to set down
with Him on His throne. All selfishness must be cut out by the
roots. All are punished according to their deeds.
14. What will happen to Satan in the fire of hell?
"Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of
thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will
I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour
thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight
of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the
people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and
never shalt thou be any more" (Ezekiel 28:18, 19).
God declares: "I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth,
and never shalt thou be anymore." The whole universe will
have become witnesses to the nature and results of sin. And its
utter extermination, which in the beginning would have brought
fear to the angels and dishonor to God, will now vindicate His
love and establish His honor before the universe of beings who
delight to do His will and in whose heart is His law. Never will
evil again be manifest. "Afflictions shall not rise up again
the second time" (Nahum 1:9).
15. After the wicked are through burning, where will they be
"For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon
the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while,
and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider
his place, and it shall not be" (Psalm 37:9, 10).
Every man will be tested. Obedience or disobedience is the
question to be decided by the whole world. All will be called to
choose between the law of God and the laws of men. There will be
two classes, and all will show whether they have chosen the side
of loyalty or that of rebellion. Then the end will come. Satan
and all who have joined him in rebellion will be cut off. Sin and
sinners will perish, root and branch, Satan the root and his
followers the branches. They shall not be found.
16. What is the wages of sin?
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is
eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
The law reveals to man his sins, but it provides no remedy.
While it promises life to the obedient, it declares that death is
the portion of the transgressor. God has given in His Word
decisive evidence that He will punish the transgressors of His
law. Those who flatter themselves that He is too merciful to
execute justice upon the sinner have only to look to the cross of
Calvary. The death of the spotless Son of God testifies that
"the wages of sin is death," that every violation of
God's law must receive its retribution. Christ the sinless became
sin for man. He bore the guilt of transgression. All this
sacrifice was made that sinners might see the penalty of sin. And
every soul that refuses to become a partaker of the atonement
provided at such a cost must bear in his own person the guilt and
punishment of transgression.
17. If we believe in Jesus, from what will we be saved?
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
Without the cross man could have no connection with the
Father. On it hangs our very hope. When the sinner reaches the
cross and looks up to the One who died to save him, he may
rejoice with fullness of joy; for his sins are pardoned. Kneeling
at the cross he has reached the highest place to which man can
attain. The words of pardon are spoken. Through the cross we
learn that our heavenly Father loves us with an infinite and
everlasting love. If sinners can be led to give one earnest look
at the cross, if they can obtain a full view of the crucified
Saviour, they will realize the depth of God's compassion and the
sinfulness of sin. With the relenting compassion of a father's
love He looks upon the suffering that His Son endured in order to
save the race from eternal death, and accepts us in the Beloved.
Isaiah 28:9, 10 says that anyone who clings to a preconceived
interpretation of an isolated text, without comparing everything
else the Bible says on the subject, cannot be taught truth! As we
compare ALL that the Bible says on hell, it is evident that a God
of love will not burn people forever. Satan has slandered and
misrepresented the character of God! Aren't you glad that you can
enjoy heaven, without worrying about one of your relatives being
tortured throughout eternal ages while you are trying to be happy
regardless? Does this wonderful truth help you to understand
God's love more? Will you respond to that love by accepting
Christ as your Saviour?