What is the Justice of God?
What is justice?
Justice at its fundamental level is a balancing that happens between two people.
The easiest way to understand justice is to picture everything that belongs to one person being placed in one side of a set of scales, and everything that belongs to the other person placed in the other side. When I say everything, I mean absolutely everything, things material and immaterial. Immaterial things like peace, happiness, freedom, comfort, and life. Then picture the effect that interactions between those two people have on the balance of the scales. If the interactions are just and fair, then balance is maintained. If the interactions are unjust and unfair, then the scales become unbalanced. When they become unbalanced that creates the need for justice.
What is injustice?
Injustice at its fundamental level is an unbalancing that happens between two people. There are two possible ways that someone can create an imbalance.
One way is by taking from another person. This happens when someone causes loss, injury, or suffering to another person without doing anything to restore the balance. Theft, assault, fraud, vandalism, rape and murder are the kind of things that fall into this category. This kind of unbalancing is what human systems of justice try to prevent and remedy.
The other way to create an imbalance is by giving to another person. This form of injustice is not generally acknowledged as injustice by human systems of justice. Most human beings do innately know that giving creates an imbalance that needs to be addressed. You can easily test this by giving to another person something substantial, and more often than not they will try to repay you in some way.
How is balance achieved?
There are three possible ways to achieve balance, restoration, compensation, or vengeance.
Where possible, restoration is the preferred form of justice. If I am responsible for the damage of your property, then justice demands that I restore what I have damaged to its original condition. If that is not possible, then justice demands that I compensate you by giving you something that is of equal value to the thing that I damaged. If that is also not possible, then the only thing remaining to achieve balance is vengeance. Vengeance is the least desirable form of justice, because the victim of the injustice receives no relief, and they must continue to live with the consequences of the loss, injury, or suffering.
Vengeance can come in two forms. In its first form, vengeance subjects the perpetrator to the exact same loss, injury, or suffering as the victim. In its other form, the perpetrator receives a different kind of loss, injury, or suffering that is equal to that of the victim.
Why is the woman holding the scales blindfolded?
The lady in the picture sometimes referred to, as “Lady Justice” originally was known as “Justitia the goddess of Justice.” She was a late addition to the Roman pantheon added by emperor Augustus. The statue has various features that represent different aspects of justice, and I am including this, in my article about the justice of God, only because it is such a good visual tool for understanding what justice is and does. There are various interpretations of what different parts of the statue represent. What follows is my interpretation.
The woman is blindfolded because justice is impartial. Justice does not care who or what you are, it treats everyone the same.
The scales represent the function of justice, to maintain a fair balance between all people, as written in the book of the law.
The sword represents the power and authority to balance the scales, even to the point of taking a life.
The snake represents evil or injustice, and the woman’s foot on the head of the snake represents justice keeping evil suppressed. When justice is consistently enforced evil is suppressed. Notice also that the snake's head is captured between the foot of justice and the book of the law, for it is justice that stands on the law that suppresses evil.
Justice of Mankind
Generally speaking, mankind aspires to achieve the ideal of justice, and to gain the stability that it provides to society. However mankind has miserably failed in that endeavour. The human systems of justice are not impartially enforced. Not everyone who is guilty of breaking the law is convicted, and sometimes the innocent are wrongfully convicted. Punishments can be excessive, or overly lenient. Governments sometimes create unjust laws that actually cause the very thing (loss, injury, suffering) that justice is supposed to prevent.
When justice is enforced consistently and impartially, then criminal activity is suppressed. So the amount of crime in a society is an indication of how consistently and impartially that society is enforcing justice. A less just society has more crime. A more just society has less crime.
Justice of God
The justice of God is not like the justice of mankind. The justice of God is enforced consistently and impartially. Some people think that God does not consistently enforce justice, because God does not do it immediately. That kind of thinking is a mistake. God is not like men who tell lies. When God says that He will do something He does it, and He never fails to do it.
God’s Promise of Justice
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.””
(Romans 12:19 ESV)
God says that vengeance belongs to Him, and promises that He will execute justice.
Timing of God’s Justice
The timing of God’s justice varies widely. Sometimes He repays those who do wrong very quickly, like He did with Uzzah.
“And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.”
(2 Samuel 6:6–7 ESV)
Sometimes God waits years before He executes justice, but the bulk of God’s justice will come on a specific day. This day is referred to as the “Day of Judgment.”
“because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
(Acts 17:31 ESV)
“on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”
(Romans 2:16 ESV)
“then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,”
(2 Peter 2:9 ESV)
When is the Day of Judgment?
What follows is a chain of events that leads to the Day of Judgment. They are presented in reverse order begin with the Day of Judgment and working back to the event, that has at the time of this writing not yet happened, that will begin that chain.
- Day of Judgment.
- Second resurrection.
- Jesus Christ rules in Israel for 1,000 years.
- Jesus Christ rescues the survivors of Israel and liberates the land of Israel from their enemies.
- First resurrection.
- Jesus returns to our world.
- Nation of Israel falls to its enemies.
- Gospel (good news) proclaimed to the whole world.
Jesus Christ gave the proclaiming of the gospel as a sign of the end of the age coming.
“As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?””
(Matthew 24:3 ESV)
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
(Matthew 24:14 ESV)
Why is God right when He says that vengeance belongs to Him?
“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…”
(Psalm 51:4 ESV)
To clarify what is being said; David is speaking to God in this text, so the word “you” is referring to God. David is saying that all of his sins are sins against God. How can it be that if I sin against my neighbour, I am actually sinning against God?
God owns everything in the universe because He made everything in the universe. The maker of a thing is also the owner of that thing.
“Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.”
(Job 41:11 ESV)
When we look at the scales of justice, everything in those scales came one way or another from God and belongs to God. When someone causes loss, injury, or suffering to his neighbour, he is causing loss, injury, or suffering to the property of God. When you understand this, then you can also understand why God has the right to say, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” Vengeance belongs to God because the perpetrator has transgressed against the property of God.
What form of justice does God use?
The predominant form of justice that God practices is vengeance. Vengeance is the punishment or retribution inflicted on someone because of the wrong that they have done.
When God executes justice using vengeance, the vengeance is never excessive. Unlike human beings, God always has and always will judge and punish people in righteousness. His judgments are true and fair. His punishments are only what the perpetrator deserves, no more, no less.
I have said earlier in this article that, “Vengeance is the least desirable form of justice, because the victim of the injustice receives no relief, and they must continue to live with the consequences of the loss, injury, or suffering.” With humans this is absolutely true, because once vengeance has been executed and the balance restored, there remains no human way to restore or compensate for the loss, injury, or suffering, without creating an imbalance for someone else. However, when God executes vengeance this matter of balance no longer applies. For God is the owner of all things and therefore He has the right to give and take as he pleases. The truth is, when we consider interactions between humans and God, there has never been a balance, for no-one has ever repaid God for what God has given to them. With what would they repay? Everything that they have was fist given to them by God.
How does the justice of God function?
How God’s Justice functions can be found in a number of places in the bible. We will begin with the parable of the talents. This parable emphasizes that we will be judged based on what we have done with what we have been given.
The Parable of the Talents“For it is just like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted them with his possessions. To one he gave five talents, to another two talents, and to another one talent—each according to his own ability. And he went on his journey.
The servant who had received the five talents went at once and put them to work and gained five more. Likewise, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the servant who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.
After a long time the master of those servants returned to settle accounts with them. The servant who had received the five talents came and presented five more. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’
His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!’
The servant who had received the two talents also came and said, ‘Master, you entrusted me with two talents. See, I have gained two more.’
His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!’
Finally, the servant who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Master, I knew that you are a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what belongs to you.’
‘You wicked, lazy servant!’ replied his master. ‘You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed. Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received it back with interest.
Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. And throw that worthless servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
(Matthew 25:14–30 BEREAN)
In context, this parable is teaching how Jesus will judge people after He returns. Jesus is like the man in the parable, who is going on a journey. Like the man’s servants everyone has been given certain things that belong to the man. Jesus is able to do this because God, the owner of all things, has given Jesus everything.
“All things have been handed over to me by my Father,…”
(Matthew 11:27 ESV)
Like the servants in the parable, some of us have been given much and some little. After the owner returns, everyone will have to give an account of what they have done, with what they have been given. Everything will be weighed in the balance of God’s justice. Not only what you did with the physical things that God provided for you, but also the non-physical (spiritual) things that God has given you, such as the knowledge of His will.
“That servant who knows his master’s will but does not get ready or follow his instructions will be beaten with many blows. But the one who unknowingly does things worthy of punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and from him who has been entrusted with much, even more will be demanded.”
(Luke 12:47–48 BEREAN)
The scales of justice become unbalanced when someone causes loss, injury, or suffering to another person. What God is communicating in the parable of the talents is that it is not enough to simply refrain from doing damage to others. When God gave you everything that you have He created an imbalance between you and Him. He does not require you to restore balance by giving those things back to Him, for that would leave you with nothing, not even your life. He does require you to exercise mercy, as seen in the following text.
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.
Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’
Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’
And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’
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. For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
And they too will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’
Then the King will answer, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.’”
(Matthew 25:31–45 BEREAN)
Whatever good you do to another person, Jesus counts that as good done to Himself. Rightly so, for that other person is owned by him. If I make some improvement to someone’s property, then the owner of that property benefits from what I have done.
Those who have done good, to people in need, will be given the kingdom of God as an inheritance. As was said in the parable of the talents, “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.”
Those who have not done good, to people in need, will be thrown into the fire of that age, the one prepared for the devil and his angels. As was said in the parable of the talents, “But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. And throw that worthless servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
When Jesus says, “For everyone who has will be given more,” and when He says, “But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him,” what is it that the one has and that the other does not have? If we look at what those who have are given more of, then we can know what it is that they had in the first place. Those who have are given the kingdom of God as an inheritance. So they must have had some of the kingdom of God to begin with.
In what way can someone have some of the kingdom of God? The kingdoms of this world are currently all ruled by men. People in this world, who submit to the rule of God, are subjects and citizens of the kingdom of God. They now live, as foreigners, in a world that is not subject to the kingdom of God, so they do not yet have the kingdom of God in its fullness. This is why sometimes you will hear a Christian say, “This is not my home.” It is in this sense that someone can have some of the kingdom of God.
All of the acts of mercy, mentioned in the preceding text, involved giving some of what we have to someone in need. Those things can be physical like the food, drink, shelter, and clothing, or they can be nonphysical like time, encouragement, and companionship. There is another kind of mercy that God also requires us to practice, as seen in the following text.
“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
(Matthew 18:23–35 ESV)
In this text, the servant is in debt to the king. All mankind is in debt with God, because God gave them everything that they have, and they have repaid Him for none of it. God, like the king, is willing to forgive that debt, but only if you do the same to your fellow human beings. If you do not forgive, whoever you encounter in your life, then you will not be forgiven by God. If you do not have mercy on, whoever you encounter in your life, then you will not receive mercy from God.
Paul gives a good summery of how the justice of God operates.
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
(Galatians 6:7 ESV)
If you do evil, evil you will receive. If good, then good. If mercy, then mercy. If forgiveness, then forgiveness. If you give generously, then generously it will be given to you.
What is the vengeance of God?
We see the vengeance of God described in various ways. It is described in the parable of the talents as:
“…But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
(Matthew 25:29–30 ESV)
Jesus says that everything the person has will be taken away from them. God gave us everything that we have, and we paid Him for none of it, so He has the right to take it away because He still owns it. Everything is taken away except the life and body of the person. We know that their body and life are not taken away, because when they are thrown into outer darkness they are able to cry and gnash their teeth. Neither of these things are possible without a living body.
They are in outer darkness because their access to the universe has been taken away, and they are outside of the universe. Light is part of the universe. They are not in the light because they are not in the universe. The universe was made for the King of the kingdom of God.
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”
(Colossians 1:16 ESV)
Only people who are submissive to the will of the King are permitted to become citizens of the kingdom of God. No-one will be permitted into the kingdom of God unless they are subject to the King.
The fact that they are crying and gnashing their teeth tells us that they are suffering in that place. The nature of the suffering can be found in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. Lazarus, Hebrew Eleazar, meaning (God Has Helped).
“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”
(Luke 16:19–31 ESV)
In this story the rich man, having failed to exercise mercy by helping the poor, finds himself experiencing the vengeance of God. The rich man describes what he is experiencing as a flame that he is suffering in. It causes a very uncomfortable burning sensation; he begs for mercy and asks for a drop of water to cool his tongue.
The rich man receives no mercy. The vengeance of God is a vengeance without mercy. The rich man did not show mercy to the poor, and God repays him by taking vengeance without mercy as the bible says.
“Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.”
(Proverbs 21:13 ESV)
“For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
(James 2:13 ESV)
When God repays the guilty with vengeance, He takes away everything that He has given them, except for their body and their life, by putting them outside of the universe that He has made. In the darkness He then, without mercy, punishes them with fire. This fire is unlike any fire that we are familiar with, for it gives no light and it does not consume the body.
How long does the vengeance of God last?
“And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
(Matthew 18:34–35 ESV)
The use of the word “until” in this text shows us that the vengeance of God is limited. It has an end. When the debt is fully paid the vengeance stops. I know that this is not what is taught by the vast majority of Christian teachers. Remember the many warnings given in the bible about false teachers, prophets, and apostles (Mat. 7:15-20, Acts 20:29-31, Rom. 16:17-18, 2Cor. 11:3-20, Phi. 3:18-19, 1Tim. 4:1-3, 2Tim. 3:1-9, 13, 4:3-4, 2Pet. 2:1-22, 1John 3:7, 2John 9-11, 3John 9-10, Jude 4-19, Rev. 2:2, 6, 14-15, 20-24). We also have the warning of Jesus in Mat. 24:4-5 that many would come in His name, asserting that Jesus is the messiah, and lead many astray. (It is those who call themselves Christians who come in the name of Jesus the Christ.) Should believers be surprised that this has happened?
The teaching that God will torture unbelieving humans forever in Hell is a lie. It slanders the character of God, and those who teach this are blaspheming God. Those who do so will not be forgiven, for Jesus has said:
“Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”
(Matthew 12:31–32 ESV)
Much of the belief in eternal torture in hell is based on a mistranslation of the Hebrew and Greek words that mean “age.” An age is a simple period of time. What I mean by saying simple is that when I use the word age it tells you nothing about the period of time; it does not tell you how long it is, and it does not tell you what it is that defines that period of time, it simply tells you that it is a period of time. All other information, regarding the age spoken of, may, or may not, be supplied by the context. Sometimes the context does not supply any additional information. When this is the case to translate the word and add information about the age is dishonest.
Many translators have translated those words selectively and nonsensically as “forever.” I say selectively because sometimes they do translate the word correctly, like in the verse above where Jesus says, “…either in this age or the age to come.” I say nonsensically because the use of the word “forever,” when parsed correctly, turns the text into nonsense. One such verse is:
“…they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
(Revelation 20:10 ESV)
The first Greek word translated “forever” is a plural, accusative, noun. So because it is plural, in English, it needs an “s” on the end, and because it is an accusative noun the “forevers” are the things that they are tormented into.
The second Greek word translated “ever” is a plural, genitive, noun. The first problem here is that the word “ever” is not a noun. It is an adverb that means either (at any time) or (at all times) depending on the context. It is plural so in English it needs an “s” on the end. The genitive case denotes source or origin, or kind or possession. As such the word in English would be preceded by the word “from” or the word “of.”
So, even if we ignore the fact that the second word is translated to an adverb when it should have been a noun, taking into account the proper parsing the verse would read:
“…they will be tormented day and night into the forevers from the evers,…” or possibly “…they will be tormented day and night into forevers of evers,…” Neither of these make any sense.
It is possible that the translators were not attempting a word for word translation here, but a meaning for meaning translation. It is possible and probable that they understood that text to mean that the torture was unending, because that is the teaching of the dominant Christian denomination and its offspring.
The torture for eternity interpretation of the text creates major problems with many other texts in the bible. Any one of these problems demonstrates that the eternal torture interpretation is incorrect. For God is true in everything He says throughout the scripture. If you find one thing that He has said to be in conflict with some other thing that He has said, then your understanding of one or maybe both things is flawed, and needs to be corrected. There are many, but I will mention just a few problems that are created by holding to the eternal torture interpretation.
Peter speaks of the restoring of all things about which God spoke:
“whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.”
(Acts 3:21 ESV)
This restoring includes:
“You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’”
(Acts 3:25 ESV)(emphasis mine)
If the eternal torture interpretation is true, then how can it be said of the families being tortured forever, that they are blessed?
The Angel of the Lord used these words when announcing the birth of the Christ:
“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
(Luke 2:10 ESV)(emphasis mine)
If the eternal torture interpretation is true, then how can it be said that the arrival of the Christ is good news of great joy that will be for all the people?
I know that those who are fully committed to the eternal torture interpretation will accuse me of misunderstanding Acts 3:25 and Luke 2:10. They will say that both, the blessing and the good news of great joy, are offered to all the families, and all the people. It is because they have rejected that offer that they will be forever tortured.
What kind of God do you worship? When a shepherd has a sheep that falls into a pit, does he offer to lift it out? When a father’s child is drowning, does he offer to save? What human loving father tortures his disobedient children as long as they live? Isn’t our heavenly Father more loving and more righteous than them?
God has already told us what He wants and what He will do, and He has done so in no uncertain terms.
“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess.’
“Only in the LORD”, it shall be said of me, “are righteousness and strength;” to him (Jesus) shall come and be ashamed all who were angry toward him (Jesus).”
(Isaiah 45:22–24 ESV)(my corrections and clarifications in bold)
Paul refers to that text in the book of Romans:
“for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.””
(Romans 14:11 ESV)
Paul uses very similar language in Philippians but this time applies it to Jesus:
“Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
(Philippians 2:9–11 BEREAN)(emphasis mine)
Notice: everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
With that in mind, now hear what Paul has to say about how to be saved:
“But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
(Romans 10:8–9 BEREAN)(emphasis mine)
What do you think? When everyone confesses that Jesus is Lord (present tense), will they also believe that God raised Him from the dead? If they do, then they will be saved.
This portion of Revelation 20:10 should be translated:
“…they will be tormented day and night into the ages of the ages.”
What does “the ages of the ages” mean?
Ages is the plural of age, so ages is a group of more than one age. This first group of ages is what they will be tormented into. By saying “of the ages” we are saying that the first group of ages comes out of, or belongs to, the second group of ages. Why would we ever want to make that kind of distinction? We would do it only if there was something else that it did not come out of, or belong to. There is an age, yet to come, that is not like the ages that come before it, and because it is different it does not belong to that group of ages. It is unlike any of the ages that come before it, because it is unending.
Revelation 20:10 “…they will be tormented day and night into the ages of the ages.” Does not mean that the torment will be unlimited, but that it will be limited to the ages of the ages. Eternity does not belong to the ages of the ages.
It is also worth noting that if God wanted to communicate that their torment was unending there are Greek words that are able to do that.
Christian teachers, you need to be very, very, careful when you teach. If you are a Christian teacher who truly believes the Word of God, and you have been teaching this slanderous and blasphemous doctrine of eternal torment in ignorance, then you need to stop.
“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
(James 3:1 ESV)(emphasis mine)
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
(Hebrews 10:31 ESV)
This is a work in progress. Please come back soon.If you have any questions or comments.