ETERNAL PUNISHMENT: IN THE VERY WORDS OF ITS ADVOCATES
C H A P T E R VII.
OTHER MEANS OF TORTURE.
Without for a moment forgetting the power of fire to inflict the most intense pain upon sensitive natures, the advocates of endless punishment find many other sources of exquisite torment, and sources fitted to every sense, and indeed every faculty, of our being.
“Who,” exclaims Jeremy Taylor, “can express the number and greatness of their torments, since all their powers and senses, soul and body, shall suffer in the most violent manner! Besides this, every sense, from its particular object, shall receive a particular punishment.”
|Let’s take a moment to review the orthodoxy’s torments of hell. It is a real place. It is a place created by God as a means to exact punishment for people who have refused to believe He is God and that Jesus is His Son. It is an eternal place and is maintained by God. It is a place wherein the saved with Christ will look down to watch the unbelievers suffer unimaginable torments.
Hell’s fire is greater than any fire any man could produce. The fire is without light, yet it’s flames cut body and soul. Not only do the flames of hell cut they also heal so as to cause eternal torment to the flesh of the unrepentant sinner.
Ice is in hell. The unrepentant sinner will be cast from intense heat to intense cold and back again. The rebel’s senses are heightened by pain of fire and of ice.
The most hellish people are placed in special restraints so as to not allow them to torment others excessively. There are special places of torments within hell.
The rebel’s senses are punished to the degree he abused them.
These comments barely uncover the orthodoxy’s view of hell. Burning by fire and by ice is insufficient torment. Tormenting the senses is not enough. Having no hope is not enough. There are still other miseries to suffer according to some of the orthodoxy.
Rev. Christopher Love goes still further, and assures us that, as to the variety of these torments:
…there is not one way, but a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand ways to torment you. Indeed, were you sick here, it may be you should have but one kind of disease upon you at once; it may be stone, it may be plague, or some other disease, but you have not variety. But in hell there is not one kind, but variety to torment you; there is unquenchable fire to burn you, a lake of brimstone to choke you, eternal chains to tie you, utter darkness to affright you, and a worm of conscience to gnaw you: variety of torments hath the Lord made to meet upon one man; and this makes the torments of hell to be dismal indeed.
There is not only variety, but universality of torments, not only many kinds, but these torments shall universally afflict both body and soul, all the parts of the body, and all the powers of the soul; and this makes the torments of hell more dreadful.
Under this head Jeremy Taylor is particularly full and explicit. He describes the various tortures fitted to affect our several senses of sight, hearing, tasting, and smelling, and generally illustrates his subject by examples drawn from history, in which tyrants, and human monsters, the most revengeful and cruel of our race, have exhibited their ingenuity and their barbarities and injustice by devising and inflicting the most horrible torments on their fellow-creatures; and what is most amazing, he does not hesitate to compare these torments with those God is about to inflict in hell, and in every case to show that God will infinitely outdo them all!
|Not much has changed since 1879 when Dr. Sawyer put the words of the advocates of eternal punishment to paper.
James L. Melton was a church’s Pastor when he prepared and published an article entitled “When A Sinner Goes To Hell.” Pastor Melton tells us that hell is a real place.
The last statement above is particularly damning. According to Pastor Melton the souls tormented in hell have not yet been judged. The unbelieving souls are tormented ostensibly from the moment of their respective deaths.
According to Pastor Melton our souls “…may be less than twenty miles from the burning fires of Hell!” Pastor Melton has softened the degree of the fire of hell by declaring the lake of fire is actually “flaming hot lava.” Lava, according to Pastor Melton, may have some healing powers attached to it because in that “flaming hot lava” a sinner’s body and soul will burn in eternity.
It is not my purpose to expose Pastor Melton’s theology of eternal conscious torment. However, his description of hell is not far removed from the orthodoxy’s doctrine of eternal conscious torment.
Pastor Melton goes on to describe the elements of torment in hell.
Think of what Pastor Melton is writing. Sovereign God causes the rebel to remember his “earthly life.” Family and friends will constantly be in the unrepentant sinners thoughts. Pastor Melton uses the parable of the rich man and Lazarus to prove his assertion. The rich man looks across a great divide to see Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham. Ostensibly, Lazarus and Abraham can look back at the rich man.
Pastor Melton believes the rebel in hell will see his family and his children from his place in eternal torment. Not only that, but the orthodoxy believes the unrepentant sinner’s family will look down on him. His family, no matter how much they loved him, can do nothing to soften the rebel’s torments. The gulf is too wide and cannot be crossed.
Worst of all the man condemned to hell will always know the day and time he rejected Christ as Lord.
This is not all that Pastor Melton describes as the torments of hell. The rebel will no longer hear the pleasant sounds of life, but will only hear the screams of misery. The sounds of children playing and laughing will not be heard because as Pastor Melton describes hell “…there are no children in Hell.”
According to Pastor Melton the sight of hell is awful and is terrifying. He preaches, “Imagine seeing someone’s FACE in those flames! There are no smiling faces in Hell, only the faces of pain, agony and sorrow. You’ll remember all of the pretty, smiling faces that you once knew, but you’ll never see them again. You’ll never see your children again. You’ll never see your family again. In Hell, friend, you’ll see nothing except weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth forever!”
Not only are senses of hearing and sight tormented so, too, is the society of hell a torment to the unrepentant sinner. Pastor Melton asks us to think of who will be in hell with the rebel. Pastor Melton writes this about the society of hell:
One of the most shocking things that you will discover in Hell is the fact that you will be an INFERIOR being. The Bible says that man was made LOWER THAN THE ANGELS, and Jesus Himself said that Hell was originally prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). Friend, in Hell you will be RULED over by Satan and his evil forces! You will be inferior to the supernatural forces of evil. Your new home will be made up of demons, fallen angels, principalities, powers, spiritual wickedness, and even Satan himself, and YOU will be at the bottom of the guest list!
It strikes me odd that Satan’s power in hell is not abated. He remains ruler over those in hell and the newest member of that society in hell will be the least of all.
Lastly, Pastor Melton describes the shame the rebel feels for having been consigned to hell. “What is the shame of Hell? Well, friend, the shame of Hell is the fact that, if you go there, you will eventually come to grips with one unforgettable truth: YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO GO! Imagine that! Imagine spending ETERNITY with that on your mind!”
Again Dr. Melton is not the subject, but eternal conscious torment is. Pastor Melton’s words are used only to describe what many believe about the orthodoxy’s view of the destiny of unrepentant sinners.
Thus the eye is not only tormented with the heat and smoke of hell, but vision is made a means of special anguish and torture. “Many…,” says Jeremy Taylor:
…are affrighted very much, passing through a churchyard, only for fear of seeing a phantasm; in what a fright will be a miserable damned soul, which shall see so many, and of so many horrid shapes!
Their sight shall also be tormented with beholding the punishment of their friends and kindred.
Hegesippus writes that Alexander, the son of Hyrcanus, resolving to punish certain persons with exemplary rigor, caused eight hundred to be crucified, and, whilst they were yet alive, caused their wives and children to be murdered before their eyes, that so they might die not once, but many deaths. This rigor shall not be wanting in hell, where fathers shall see their sons, and brothers their brothers, tormented.
The torment of the eyes shall be also very great, in regard that those which have given others scandal, and made others fall into sin, shall see themselves and those others in that abyss of torments.
To the sight of those dreadful apparitions shall be added the horrors and fearful darkness of the place. The darkness of Egypt was said to be horrible, because there the Egyptians beheld fearful figures and phantasms, which terrified them. In the like manner, in that infernal darkness the eyes shall be tormented with the monstrous figures of the wicked spirits, which shall appear much more dreadful by reason of the obscurity of that eternal night.
“The eye,” says Rev. Christopher Love, “it shall be tormented with the sight of devils.”
|Dave Dailey was a Pastor of a Pentecostal Church in Racine, Ohio. He died in 2014. His wife and family are honoring his memory by maintaining a website from which many of Pastor Dailey’s thoughts and sermons can be viewed. It is truly admirable that Pastor Dailey’s family works to advance the Gospel of Christ through the work done by Pastor Dailey.
These are serious consequences to suffer because one does not believe. The torments and sufferings of the unrepentant rebel are far more deleterious than what is imaginable. Yet, they are imagined by good men and preached as fact.
St. Theresa, to whom I have before appealed in respect to these matters, tells us that while in hell all is the thickest and blackest darkness, “yet somehow or other, I know not how, you see there whatever is dreadful and terrible. God did not allow me to see more of hell at that time, but afterwards he let me see other much more frightful torments for particular sins. I could not understand in what manner these things were seen by me.”
|Excuse this interruption. It strikes me as unfathomable even unreasonable to think that darkness is so dark that nothing can be seen, yet God let’s Sister Theresa “see.” Not only did Sister Theresa “see” hell, but she was able to recall “frightful torments for particular sins.”|
Neither Jeremy Taylor, nor any one of our Protestant authors, gives us any description of the devils. That they are of very horrid and frightful shapes, appears certain, but beyond this they do not assume to go. Our Catholic neighbors are better informed, as members of the true Church have a right to be, and are also more communicative.
Father Furniss gratifies our curiosity to some extent. After giving some very definite information about hell, its location, fire, and other circumstances, he takes his children, for whom he wrote, to see the Devil! Father Furniss writes:
Our journey lies across that great sea of fire. We must go on till we come to the middle of hell. There we shall see the most horrible sight that ever was or will be – the great devil, chained down in the middle of hell.
We will set off on our journey. Now we are coming near the dwelling-place of Satan! The darkness gets thicker. You see a great number of devils moving about in thick darkness. They come to get the orders of their great chief.
Already you hear the rattling of the tremendous chains of the great monster! See! there he is – the most horrid and abominable of all monsters, the devil. His size is immense. St. Francis saw him. He was sitting on a long beam which passed through the middle of hell. His feet went down into the lowest depths of hell. They rested on the floor of hell. They were fastened with great, heavy iron chains. These chains were fixed to an immense ring in the floor, and his hands were chained up to the roof. One of his hands was turned up against heaven, to blaspheme God, and the saints who dwell there. His other hand was stretched out, pointing to the lowest hell. His tremendous and horrible head was raised up on high, and touched the roof. From his head came two immense horns. From each horn smaller horns, without number, branched out, which, like chimneys, sent out fire and smoke. His enormous mouth was wide open. Out of it there was running a river of fire, which gave no light, but a most abominable smell. Round his neck was a collar of red-hot iron. A burning chain tied him about the middle. The ugliness of his face was such that no man or devil could bear it. It was the most deformed, horrible, frightful thing that ever was or will be.
His great, fierce eyes were filled with pride, and anger, and rage, and spite, and blood, and fire, and savage cruelty. There was something else in those eyes for which there is no name, but it made those on whom the devil’s eyes were fixed tremble and shake as if they were dying. One of the saints who saw the devil said she would rather be burnt for a thousand years than look at the devil for one moment.
For the education of Christian children, toward the close of the nineteenth century of grace, this I think not a little remarkable. For a church boasting itself to be the ground and pillar of the truth, inspired, and blessed with an infallible Head, it is profoundly amazing and profoundly humiliating. What interest of truth and righteousness, of piety or virtue, is to be subserved by such ineffable folly and falsehood, it is impossible to imagine. It is a disgrace to our common Christianity and the age.
|Terry Watkins provided interesting analyses of hell at a website called “Dial the Truth Ministries.” He prepared an article that describes hell. It is similar to the descriptions provided by Pastors Melton and Dailey. He prepared an article entitled “The Truth About Hell.”
Mr. Watkins presents the testimonies of a physician and of an unbelieving Russian scientist. Mr. Watkins is convinced hell is a physical place and declares hell is the center of the earth. He goes so far as to also declare that scientists report the temperature of the earth at its core is 12,000 degrees Farenheit.
Brimstone is pure sulfur and when on fire brimstone has a very high temperature. There is also the stench of sulfur that is unpleasing to the senses. In Mr. Watkins words, “Nature magazine recently discovered (July 2002) what the Bible knew over 3,000 years ago. Inside this earth is “fire and brimstone”:
“Volcanoes may be more like hell than anyone realized. Eruptions disgorge streams of molten sulphur, the brimstone of evangelical preachers, which burns up before it can be preserved for posterity, new research in the journal Geology shows”. (Nature, Science Update, July 22, 2002)
But our poets on this point are quite as strong and clear as the divines themselves. Milton calls the darkness of hell “darkness visible,” and represents it as fit only
To discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell.
In matters of orthodox theology Rev. Dr. Trapp is more in his proper element than even Milton, as will appear in the following lines: –
For all that mass of fire projects no light,
But darkness visible, and glaring night;
Which to the eye serves only to reveal
Sad scenes of woe, and add affright to hell.
Pale phantoms, hideous spectres, shapes which scare
The damned themselves, and terrify despair;
“Gorgons and Harpys, and Chimeras dire,”
And swarms of twisted serpents hissing fire.
“The ear in like manner…,” says Jeremy Taylor:
…shall not only be afflicted by an intolerable pain caused by that ever burning and penetrating fire, but also with the fearful and amazing noises of thunders, howlings, clamors, groans, curses, and blasphemies.
Sylla, being dictator, caused six thousand persons to be enclosed in the circus, and then appointing the senate to meet in a temple close by, where he intended to speak unto them about his own affairs, and make them know he was their master, he gave order that so soon as he began his oration, the soldiers should kill this multitude of people, which was effected; upon which were heard such lamentations, outcries, groans, clashing of armor, and blows of those merciless homicides, that the senate could not hear a word, but stood amazed with terror of so horrid a fact.
What shall be the harmony of hell, where the ears shall be deafened with the cries and complaints of the damned! What confusion and horror shall it breed, to hear all lament, all complain, all curse, all blaspheme through the bitterness of the torments which they suffer! But the damned shall principally be affrighted, and shall quake to hear the thunder-clap of the wrath of God, which shall continually resound in their ears.
So Christopher Love says: “The ear shall be tormented with the yellings, and hideous outcries of the damned in flames.”
In like manner Dr. Trapp hears nothing in hell but:
Clattering of iron, and the clank of chains,
The clang of lashing whips, shrill shrieks and groans;
Loud ceaseless howlings, cries and piercing moans.
In like manner Dr. Young makes the damned in hell speak of it as a place
Where shrieks, the roaring flame, the rattling chain,
And all the dreadful eloquence of pain
Our only good.
|Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr. is an advocate for world missions. He appears to be a member of an Independent Fundamental Baptist denomination. His passion for missions is clearly seen in his work for the cause of evangelical missions. Dr. Hymers is a proponent of and supporter of Louisiana Baptist University and Theological Seminary (LBU). LBU advocates eternal conscious torment for the unbelieving. From the LBU Statement of Faith: (LBU believes) “In the everlasting, conscious reward for the saved and the everlasting, conscious punishment of the lost.”
Dr. Hymers provides a website that includes many of his sermons in his effort to lead the world to know Christ. He speaks about “Hell A Pit of Noise.”
First Dr. Hymers declares there “will be the noise of those weeping in hell. He points to scripture verses supporting his personal theology of eternal conscious torment in Matthew 8, 22, 24 and 25. The “wailing and gnashing of teeth” symbolizes and expresses that noise. From this sermon Dr. Hymers states:
These verses indeed produce a picture of the “horrible noise, rushing, and tumult” that will take place among those who are cast into Hell. This is no laughing matter. If you are unconverted when you die you will go to a horrifying place, filled with the rushing tumult of those who scream and gnash their teeth loudly, and weep and cry uncontrollably because of the dreadful physical pain in that place of eternal torment.
Second, Dr. Hymers declares “this noise will be produced by the intense physical agony experienced by those who enter hell.” He says, “The intense pain caused by being cast into the Lake of Fire will produce great physical agony and doubtlessly lead many of the doomed to cry out, and scream in the unbearable flames.” He says in his sermon:
It is difficult for me to understand how a theology as vengeful as eternal conscious torment could be derived by any man from a parable. A parable is a story with a moral conclusion. In Dr. Hymers’ exposition the parable is an actual event.
A. E. Knoch explains that using this parable as an actual event is wrong doctrine.
Hades is an unseen place. It is the pit. It is a grave. Dr. Hymers’ view suggests the rich man is currently being punished, but he has yet to be judged for his body has yet to be resurrected. And how does Dr. Hymers explain this away.
“You have heard, perhaps, a horrible scream in the dead of night,” says Father Furniss,“but listen now, – listen to the tremendous, the horrible uproar of millions and millions and millions of tormented creatures mad with the fury of hell. Oh, the screams of fear, the groanings of horror, the yells of rage, the cries of pain, the shouts of agony, the shrieks of despair, from millions on millions. There you hear them roaring like lions, hissing like serpents, howling like dogs, and wailing like dragons. There you hear the gnashing of teeth, and the fearful blasphemies of the devils. Above all you hear the roaring of the thunders of God’s anger, which shakes hell to its foundations.”
In a similar way the sense of taste is to be offended and tormented. “What shall I say of the tongue,” asks Jeremy Taylor, “which is the instrument of so many ways of sinning, flattery, lying, murmuring, calumniating, gluttony, and drunkenness? Who can express the bitterness which the damned shall suffer, greater than that of aloes and wormwood? The Scripture tells us the gall of dragons shall be their wine; and they shall taste the poison of asps for all eternity, unto which shall be joined an intolerable thirst and a dog-like hunger. Famine is the most pressing of all necessities, and most deformed of all evils; plagues and war are happiness to it. If hunger be so terrible a mischief in this life, how will it afflict the damned in the other! Without all doubt the damned would rather tear themselves in pieces than suffer it; all the most horrible famines that Scripture histories propose unto us are but weak pictures to that which the damned suffer in this unfortunate residence of eternal miseries; neither shall thirst torment them less.”
Drexelius thus describes the change in the condition of the rich man: “How strangely is his condition altered! Instead of a lofty bed of down, on which he was wont to repose himself, he now lies frying in the flames; his sparkling wine and delicious dainties are taken from him; he is burnt up with thirst, and has nothing for his food but smoke and sulphur!”
“The beggar,” says St. Augustine, “purchased blessedness by his poverty, the rich man bought punishment with his wealth. The former was raised by angels to Abraham’s bosom, the latter was taken to the depths of hell. The whole body of the rich man was burned in the flames of hell, but his tongue alone beyond doubt was more especially tormented; because by this he had spoken proudly and contemned the beggar. For that tongue, which had been unwilling to command that alms should be given to the beggar, is now severely tortured in the flames of Gehenna. O Dives, with what face canst thou ask for a drop of water, who wert unwilling to give a crumb? If thou hadst given, justly mightest thou require.”
|As St. Augustine would have us believe the rich man was selfish and a hoarder of wealth. The rich man saw poverty and did nothing to alleviate it. The rich man lived lavishly all the while knowing others less fortunate were suffering.
The poor man, according to St. Augustine, is blessed because he is impoverished. The poor man’s hell is played out in life and therefore will not suffer ongoing anguish in the orthodoxy’s hell.
The rich man physically suffers the pains of torment. The poor man enjoys the riches of a loving Savior. The rich man is continually dying of thirst, but the poor man has Living Water.
It is an easy task to see the hypocrisy in St. Augustine’s description. St. Augustine would not be considered impoverished. I doubt he lacked anything while he was living. I’d further venture that St. Augustine walked by at least one poor man in his life. I acknowledge I am not remotely a scholar of St. Augustine’s life. I do not know how he gave of himself. History tells us he was the hierarchy of the Catholic church in Hippo. I venture to say there were orphans and widows around him, that were not served.
More importantly it is clear that Christ was speaking in a parable. It was not a lesson gleaned from an actual event. To make it such is to take away from the parable’s instruction and it diminishes Christ.
Finally, we come to the sense of smell.
“The nostrils,” says Christopher Love, “shall be smothered with brimstone to choke you.”
The sense of smell, says Jeremy Taylor:
…shall be tormented with the most pestilential stink. Horrible was that torment used by Mezentius, to tie a living body to a dead and then to leave them until the infection and putrified exhalations of the dead killed the living! What can be more abominable than for a living man to have his mouth laid close to that of a dead one, full of grubs and worms, where the living must receive all those pestilential vapors breathed forth from a corrupt carcass, and suffer such loathsomeness and abominable stink?
But what is this in respect to hell, where each body of the damned is more loathsome and unsavory than a million of dead dogs, and all these pressed and crowded together in so strait a compass? Bonaventure goes so far as to say that if only one of the damned were brought into this world, it were sufficient to infect the whole earth!
Neither do the devils send forth a better smell. Hell is the world’s sink, and the receptacle of all the filth in this great frame, and withal a deep dungeon, where the air hath no access. How great must the stink and infection needs be of so many corruptions heaped one upon another! and oh, how insufferable the smell of that infernal brimstone mixed with so many corrupted matters! O gulf of horrors! O infernal grave! without vent or breathing place!
Milton, it may be remembered, also speaks of the stench and smoke of hell.
St. Theresa, who often had the opportunity of going personally to hell, tells us that “the entrance to hell seemed like a long narrow passage, or a low dark oven. The floor was very filthy, and the smell which came from it was abominable.”
“What is the smell of death in hell?” asks Father Furniss. “St. Bonaventure says that if one single body was taken out of hell, and laid on the earth, in that same moment every living creature on the earth would sicken and die. Such is the smell of death from one body in hell. What then will be the smell of death from countless millions and millions of bodies laid in hell as sheep! How will the horrible smell of all these bodies be, after it has been getting worse and worse for ten thousand years?”
|John MacArthur is a very well known Pastor and Preacher. He has written books and preached sermons on Christian subjects for the better part of four or even five decades. Mr. MacArthur is a Pastor’s son. At his website Mr. MacArthur provides hundreds perhaps thousands of reference material, sermons, articles and resources. It is required to say the Mr. MacArthur is indeed a preeminent modern Christian scholar. He declares that he teaches God’s Word “one verse at a time.”
Tommy Clayton provides an article regarding the torments of hell. Mr. Clayton is described as the Content Editor and Broadcast Developer for Mr. MacArthur’s website “Grace To You.”
First Mr. Clayton’s rhetoric declares Christ speaks in “frighteningly graphic metaphors.” Are metaphors descriptions of reality? Is it real that Christ would declare “hell is a place so bad that you should be willing to cut off sensitive, irreplaceable parts of your body to avoid it?” I have to ask did Jesus really want His children to pluck out their eyes because they lusted? Would we not have world full of blind men with no eyes?
Some of you may think I am being flippant. I am not.
Would the sense of smell in hell be so horrendous that one would cut off his nose to avoid it?
The orthodoxy goes to great lengths to spell out the consequences of failing to believe in Christ Jesus.
The orthodoxy seems to revel in the frights they assert as truth. They can deny it and probably will. But the truth remains the orthodoxy has spent centuries describing a God of Love Who is actually a God of great hate. Argue that God’s justice requires such wrath as the orthodoxy advances. I choose to argue He is much more loving than the orthodoxy is willing to believe. The orthodoxy needs hell in order they be elevated. They’ll deny that, too. But, if they are honest with themselves before God they will confess their fault.
It’s a personal theology; my relationship with Christ. What I believe or what the member of the orthodoxy believes is not really significant. It is Christ and Him crucified for the sins of the world.