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Wordwise Insight, Issue #089
January 14, 2012

WORDWISE INSIGHT is the free monthly newsletter of


BIBLE INSIGHTS (and Reader Q & A): Clearing up some misconceptions about eternal punishment

WORDWISE HYMNS: My Blog called Wordwise Hymns for you to check out!

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Eternal Punishment

(About the Destiny of Sinners)

(In September I wrote an article about "Abraham's Bosom" (Luke 16:19-31). I gave a number of reasons why I believe this is an account of actual events, rather than simply a parable (a made-up story). One reader took issue with me. Here are his comments, and my responses.)

QUESTION: Doesn't the story of the rich man and Lazarus make more sense as a story about Israel's rejection of Christ than it does as a story about eternal reward and punishment?

The story doesn't say anything about either the rich man's or Lazarus' faith. According to the story the rich man is tormented simply because he is rich, while Lazarus is blessed simply because he was a beggar his whole life. If this story is about eternal reward and punishment, doesn't it nullify salvation by faith alone?

And why would God bother to put sinners in fiery torment immediately when they die only to resurrect them later, judge them and then send them to the lake of fire? Why take someone out of one fire pit just to put them into another?

And why are sinners punished unequally-Cain suffers more than someone who dies today, simply because Cain died at an earlier date, and thus has to spend more time in torment while waiting his resurrection?

I will not recognize or worship any God that is not just. Subjecting someone to an eternity of hellfire for a mere lifetime of sin is unjust.

Nobody is going to serve God simply because they are afraid of eternal torment in a lake of fire....Preachers that use eternal hellfire to threaten people into repentance are false preachers.

ANSWER: Thanks for your thoughtful response. You raise some interesting questions. I realize there are some who see this passage simply as another of the Lord's parables. But I think there's sufficient reason to believe it is describing actual happenings. Let me see if I can offer a few comments on what you've said.

1) You ask, "Doesn't the story of the rich man and Lazarus make more sense as a story about Israel's rejection of Christ?"
No, I don't think it does. Nothing is ...

For the rest of this article, click on Eternal Punishment.


Come and Pay Us a Visit!

I have developed a blog that is called Wordwise Hymns. As the title suggests, it is about hymns, and church music in general.

But as many of you will know, a blog is especially designed to facilitate a conversation on its particular subject. Readers can easily post comments about what they see, and I'm able to reply. I hope you will take part in the discussion!

Through 2010, almanac entries dealt with what happened in hymn history on each day of the year. Beginning in 2011, I hope to analyze hymns from a biblical standpoint, linking to the material that has come before.

My hope is that the blog will add to the value of the website and this newsletter, and promote some profitable exchanges on the subject of sacred music.

What happened on this day in hymnology? To find out, click Wordwise Hymns.

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