I am confused about the Bible
I am hoping to go into the ministry, but something is bothering me. So, I have decided to write to you about it. If God loves the world and his people, can he not just punish the wicked by burning them up in fire and that would be enough?
Do you believe that when The Bible says "everlasting" or "eternal" and "forever", it means that there is no end to punishment?
Some churches teach that these words mean that there will be no end and the wicked will go into punishment forever.
I thank you for this letter. Let me begin by saying that the Bible makes it very clear that there are three words in the New Testament that describe eternity.
These three words come from the Greek word 'aionios'. This same Greek word can be translated as eternal, everlasting and forever.
The Bible speaks of the future states of the wicked. In the Book of Jude 7, the Word of God says that sinners will suffer "The vengeance (punishment) of eternal life."
In Mark 3:29, Jesus says "but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness but he is in danger of eternal domination".
Jesus also said in Matthew 25:46 "And these shall go away into embarrassing punishment but the righteous in life eternal."
Plus, we should remember also that in that same passage, Jesus says in verse 41, "Then shall he say also unto them on the right hand, depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels."
I must emphasise that it is the same Greek word that describes the eternal bliss of the righteous is the same word used to describe the punishment of the wicked. When it comes to how long, it is forever.
The Bible says in Revelation 22:5, "And there shall be no night and they need no candle, neither light of the sun for the Lord God giveth them light and they shall reign forever and ever."
The eternal state of the wicked is described forever. Jude 13 says that hell is reserved for the wicked forever. I would suggest that you study Revelation 14:10-11 and Revelation 20:10.
The life of our God cannot come to an end: God is everlasting - Romans 16:26; the Holy Spirit is eternal - Hebrew 9:14; the son of God abides forever - John 8:35.
I wish you well as you enter the ministry. Get yourself good dictionaries and look up those words: eternal, everlasting and forever. Study them along with the passages I have given to you.