27 Jun Is God Present or Absent in Hell?
Major Bible students request sober issues about challenging texts. That’s what I really like about this podcast and our listeners. Sober issues about really hard texts get requested and answered in this article. That will be specially real for the subsequent two months as we narrow our awareness to three difficult Bible thoughts from you associated to eschatology, inquiries on the first two chapters of 2 Thessalonians. We have 3 of them.
Namely, is God existing or is he absent in his everlasting judgment? 2nd Thessalonians 1:9 would seem to say he’s absent. Which is currently. Then many of you have asked about the gentleman of lawlessness in chapter 2. Who is it? That’s on Friday in APJ 1803. And then a query about God sending strong delusions into the planet. Does he do that nowadays? How so? Which is a query on 2 Thessalonians 2:11. And that will be on the desk two Fridays from now in APJ 1806.
So these days, we have sober inquiries on the character of God’s judgment. A listener named David writes us, “Pastor John, thank you for using my issue. It is a severe a person. Specifically, is the presence of God in hell? Second Thessalonians 1:9 appears to be to say no. Is that suitable?” And Josiah writes us this: “Pastor John, hello there. I read that hell involves the presence of God, for each Revelation 14:10. Or is it away from the existence of God, for every 2 Thessalonians 1:9? Can you help me recognize which is correct?”
Any time I am questioned a issue about hell, I usually come to feel the need to have to choose a deep breath, so to talk, and phase back and make absolutely sure that we are not managing this fact in a breezy, uncomplicated, superficial, cavalier way. So, let me say a few factors by way of preface so that we can come to feel the acceptable bodyweight of the query.
Pondering About Hell Much too Tiny
It’s feasible, I consider, to feel about hell way too small and as well considerably. To believe about hell far too little would signify that it hardly ever comes into your head and consequently has very little result on your lifestyle. But the Bible’s teaching on hell is not just for the sake of random, occasional curiosity. It’s for the sake of sober-mindedness, to continue to keep us from imagining that distrusting God and disobeying God are issues of tiny consequence.
“The biblical teaching on hell is a reflection of the infinite worthy of of God and the outrage of scorning it.”
The awareness of hell is supposed to support us feel the moral outrage of preferring God’s creation about God, which is, I feel, the essence of sin. The biblical teaching on hell is a reflection of the infinite truly worth of God and the outrage of scorning it.
The reason hell is everlasting is not since the sin that sends us there was eternal, but due to the fact the offense against an infinitely deserving God is an infinite offense. So when we assume of hell too tiny, we most likely really don’t tremble at the majesty and justice of God the way we really should. Hell has a way of making existence more really serious, and considering of hell as well minimal will possibly outcome in a moral and emotional daily life that is not in sync with the greatness, and the splendor, and the really worth, and the justice, and the knowledge, and the grace of God.
Considering About Hell As well A great deal
But it is also possible to feel of hell, I feel, as well substantially. Hell really is a terrible truth. Think about the descriptions of it in the mouth of Jesus: “unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:43), a location of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:51), a put “where their worm does not die” (Mark 9:48), a area of “outer darkness” (Matthew 25:30), a put of “anguish” (Luke 16:24), a put of “eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46).
Or as Paul calls it in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, a position of “eternal destruction,” with “wrath and fury” (Romans 2:8). Or as John describes it in Revelation 14:11, “The smoke of their torment goes up for good and at any time, and they have no relaxation, working day or evening.”
These descriptions are horrible over and above words and phrases. But some persons consider to soften the horror by declaring, “Well, terms like fireplace and darkness are symbols.” And I want to say that the problem with that is, if they are symbols, they are symbols of some thing, and it is not much less. I signify, symbols are an exertion to place into text the unspeakable. That is what symbols are for. To get in touch with one thing a symbol of fireplace means it is worse, not greater. Realities correspond to symbols.
It is doable, on the other hand, to believe about this reality also a lot. I really don’t think the human mind and heart are equipped in this fallen earth to feel for long intervals of time on the fact of hell. God has a intellect and a heart that can hold this truth in focus and in proportion to other realities so that it has no ill effect on him. I don’t imagine our minds and our hearts, in this age, can correctly ponder these types of horrors for really long. We have to have glimpses — yes, we do. We want reminders, certainly, but we really do not need continual consciousness of sufferings as well terrific to endure.
Is God Current or Absent?
Now, David and Josiah in their thoughts both questioned, extra or considerably less, about the existence of God in hell. And they issue to two extremely appropriate texts. Revelation 14:10, which gives the perception that the Lamb of God may be current in hell, states that these who worship the beast “will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.” And the other text is 2 Thessalonians 1:9: “They will go through the punishment of eternal destruction, absent from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his may possibly.”
So, initially, a phrase about Revelation 14:10. When it refers to the torments of hell in the presence of the Lamb, the time period “in the presence of” indicates “in the sight of,” not “in the identical room as.” The Greek term made use of pretty much is “just before the Lamb” they will be tormented “before the Lamb.” The exact word is used in Revelation 3:2 like this: “I have not uncovered your operates full in the sight of my God.” That’s the exact precise development: “in the sight of my God,” “in the existence of my God.” He can see. It is in advance of him in that sense.
So when we say that a thing transpires “in the sight of God” or “in the sight of the Lamb,” we don’t essentially suggest that God or the Lamb is in the similar room of what they are observing. So, I believe Revelation 14:10 does not say that God or Jesus or the Lamb has some form of ongoing home in hell. But they can and do see hell.
Now, when 2 Thessalonians 1:9 suggests that the punishments of hell will be “away from the presence of the Lord,” the phrase for presence there is facial area, “away from the encounter of the Lord.” In other phrases, hell is a fulfillment of the threat in Ezekiel 7:22, for example, exactly where God states, “I will flip my facial area from them.” It is the correct reverse of the blessing in Quantities 6:24–26:
The Lord bless you and continue to keep you
the Lord make his confront to shine on you and be gracious to you
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
“There is in hell an everlasting frown of disapproving justice.”
Which is the precise reverse of what transpires in hell. That does not occur in hell. The gracious countenance of God does not glow on them. And there is in hell an eternal frown of disapproving justice.
Righteous Judgment Forever
So what shall we say, then, about the concern whether God’s presence is in hell? I suppose you could say there are two senses in which God is “present.” Initial, he upholds almost everything by the word of his electricity by way of Jesus (Hebrews 1:3). So, hell would have no existence if God had been not preserving it in existence. And second, hell is explained as punishment and judgment — as not just consequence, but punishment. And so there will be an consciousness of all those in hell of God’s righteous disapproval present. His disapproval, his judgment, his punishment — that will be present to their minds without end.
But neither of individuals two means of wondering about God’s existence suggests his personalized presence. So, we can say that God is not present in this perception: His attractiveness will not be viewed or recognised. His fellowship will not be loved. His reduction and his mercy will not be seasoned. If there is any perception in which God’s existence is felt as an upholding drive, it will be the existence of his righteous judgment and wrath.
Hell is a actuality to be avoided at all costs. And Jesus Christ, God’s Son, himself bore the greatest price by starting to be a curse for us on the cross (Galatians 3:13) — for everybody who would believe (John 3:16). Jesus turned our deserved hell, and I urge every person in the sound of my voice to fly to Jesus as your only hope of escaping these torments.