Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there is no Hell or that nobody is going to go there because the scriptures make it quite clear that the most wicked “shall have their part in the Lake which burneth with Fire & Brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8). The very worst – the wicked who are just horrible & have slaughtered millions & destroyed nations & killed babies & innocent women & children – Hell could hardy be bad enough for some of those people, & It’ll be plenty bad! But don’t worry; it will be bad enough, God will see to that! So I do believe in Hell! I just don’t believe that Hell is for everybody, nor is it forever! But that it’s just for the worst, the most rebellious & defiant & disobedient & wicked & cruel & horrible, like the Antichrist & his False Prophet & the Devil & his angels. They’re all going to go to the Lake of Fire but not everybody! But those whose works were extremely evil and extremely bad, who were so wicked that their names were “Blotted out of the Book of the Living and not written with the righteous.” (Psalm 69:28), they will deserve Hellfire and extreme punishment!
I don’t know how long they’ll have to stay there, maybe forever! Or maybe He’ll have mercy on them one of these Millenniums, if they ever repent! But even for some of those, I think Hell is going to be a purgatory! I think even some of those will be purged from their rebelliousness and their unbelief and their hardness & rejection, & just like a child being punished to repent & have some kind of restoration & restitution – if not actual salvation, at least some kind of eventual reconciliation (1 Colossians 1:20).
So the time is definitely coming when they’re going to be tormented, punished & chastised for their wickedness & their trouble making, until maybe they’ll learn. What’s the use of punishing people if it’s totally impossible to ever teach them anything & they’ll never change, never regenerate, never learn? It looks to me like Hell would be a totally useless waste of time if it’s used for nothing but just to give people eternal suffering – which I think hardly anybody deserves!
The last two chapters of the book of Revelation talk about a Heavenly City & the New Heaven & New Earth and this gives hope for everybody! After all, when they finally see the Truth & know the Truth, even the renegades who rebelled again at the end of the Millennium are bound to wake up eventually & realise that they were wrong! There are going to be some people living outside of the Heavenly City on the beautiful New Earth who sound exactly like the people who were earlier cast into the Lake of Fire! (Rev. 21:8; 22:14,15).
But what about some of the verses like Revelation 14:11 that say that the very wicked, Devil-worshipping, Mark-of-the-Beast-receiving people will be “tormented with fire & brimstone, & the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever & ever: & they have no rest day nor night”? This sounds like an eternal, perpetual, never-ending punishment! – Is it?
Well, you’ve got to know the meaning of this word “Forever”, because the original word used here in the Greek is “aeon”, literally meaning “for an age” which no doubt is for a long time, but does not necessarily mean eternal! And “forever & ever” in the Greek means “for an age & an age”. This Greek word “aeon” is also used in the other New Testament references to “everlasting” & “eternal” punishment, which again implies that it will be “age-lasting” or “for an age”.
So where it says “Forever” or “Everlasting” or “Forever & ever”, remember, it doesn’t mean what forever or everlasting means to us! In a couple of places in our New Testament the English translators did actually translate this Greek word “aeon” as “age”, such as in Ephesians 2:7 & Colossians 1:26, which speak of “the ages to come”. However in virtually every reference to future punishment they used the words “forever”, “everlasting” & even “eternal”. And I strongly suspect that this was probably influenced by the Church & their interpretation. They didn’t want to give people the idea that there was ever going to be any end to Hell or that they were ever going to have any chance of getting out. They wanted to scare’m into going to their Church with the fear of death & eternal, everlasting punishment in Hell if they didn’t! But thank God, so-called eternal punishment, eternal Hell, everlasting punishment, Hell-fire forever & ever, is NOT going to be forever & is not going to be everlasting & is certainly not going to be eternal! It would be a horrible travesty on the judgement of God & His justice much less His Love & mercy, if He would allow His creations, both man & even angels, to suffer literally forever! It would be a far grater credit to the justice & the Love & the Mercy of God if, after they have suffered sufficiently for their sins & been punished enough to pay for their wickedness & served their term, so to speak, paid their debt to His society, that they should then be released in some way & their punishment come to an end.
Even in this life according to man’s law, virtually all punishment has some kind of an end! There comes a time when the offender has paid for his crimes with his imprisonment or with fines or even with his life! This satisfies the laws of man, why not the laws of God? Perhaps some people will pay for their own sins, since they wouldn’t believe in Christ & wouldn’t believe in His death! – So they will have to suffer the prescribed punishment pronounced upon sin, which is death (Rom. 6: 23; Rev. 21:8). But whatever the sins and however guilty the party may be, they will receive a just, fair punishment. And whether they receive “few stripes” or “many stripes” (Luke 12;47,48), they will all come to an end! A few is a number & many is a number, & whether few or many, they will come to an end when they have received enough to have accomplished God’s purpose to cause them to repent, to see the Light & be sorry & turn away & change! They will eventually be released from their prisons & their punishments & the worst cases from their torments, whatever they may be.
I’m convinced that God is not a monster who’s going to keep people in flames eternally! I guess I’m a little more inclined to believe the good old Catholic doctrine of Purgatory as far as Hell’s concerned. That they’re not going to be in the Lake of Fire forever, but they’re only going to stay there until they’ve paid for their sins. God is just, God is loving, God is pure, God is Holy, God is perfect, & everything will work out perfectly in the long run. There will be perfect judgement & punishment for the wicked, & perfect reward for the righteous & the believer & the ones who obeyed the Lord. So although the guilty will be punished for their sins, when their punishment is over & they’ve learned their lessons, they’ll be released! And that’s the whole idea. – Released by the grace of God & the forgiveness of God just like everybody else! – PTL!