Preachers say all sinners who die before repentance and faith in Jesus will go to Hell to consciously burn for all time to come. Is that so?Hitler and my beloved grandma will thus both go to Hell to burn for all time to come. Right? No. Would it be fair in your estimation, that everyone will get the same hideous punishment regardless of the severity, duration and volume of the sins committed over the course of this short stint on here on Earth.
And is there any hope for those who have already died without Christ? Are they lost forever? Is this the only day of salvation? What will happen if they repent before God on the Day of Judgment?
Will God say ‘Sorry, too bad for you! It’s too late! You made your bed, so lay in it for all eternity! Is that what God is really like? Didn’t Jesus say we should forgive ‘til seventy times seven? Is he holding us to a standard he himself won’t observe? Is he a hypocrite? No, of course not!
My take on the following passage from the lips of Jesus make this clear. There are apparently degrees of punishment according to Luke 12:42-48 and I quote:
42 And the Lord said, ‘Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing.
44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he has. 45 But and if that servant say in his heart, ‘My lord delays his coming.’ and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looks not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him asunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
47 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. 48 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.
God does not change. (Malachi 3:6 ‘For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.’) He cannot lie. (Titus 1:2 ‘In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;) Jesus is God, as the Son of his Father God; thus he also does not change and neither can he lie.
My point is that God will not punish all unrepentant sinners alike. If there are degrees of punishment, how can the ‘one punishment fits all’ of eternal conscious torture in Hell be real?
To some whose sins were relatively minor, he will judge them worthy of a few lashes and because they did not know better. But to the wicked, because they knew better but did it anyway, he will inflict more lashes.
Even so, he won’t punish them in Hell for all time to come. Both of these types are punished in accordance with the severity of their sins in hopes they will produce the repentant heart he is looking for.
But some will refuse to be corrected, even at the cost of everything they had, including life itself. They are incorrigible and unredeemable by their own choice. These will be punished with permanent death.
Some will choose death over life, to God’s disappointment, but he will grant there request and allow them to die permanently and stay unconscious for all time to come.
Jeremiah 51:39 and 57 say so, along with many other passages already covered: 39 ‘In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, says the LORD.
Verse 57: And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, says the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.
This is our Great God, spelling it out for all to see in his own words. How more plain could he make it? This is clearly annihilation, not eternal conscious torment in the flames of Hell. May we all trust God enough to take him at his word and do away with myths and traditions foisted off on us by well-meaning but error-ridden theologians?