doctrine

Is Punishment in Hell Eternal?

January 4, 2011
Pastor Hammond 

Recently, I was asked to comment on a verse in the Gospel of Matthew, where the Bible says, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).  The question regarded the phrase, "...able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Some understand that phrase as a reference to so-called annihilationism - or the idea that, in hell,  the LORD will end the conscious existence of the unrepentant rather punish them eternally.  

I approached my response to this question like any other Bible question: (1) I compare scripture with scripture and (2) I look at the meaning of the underlying words.

When we compare Mathew 10:28 with other relevant passages, we see clearly that both hell and punishment in hell are "everlasting."  

  • Matthew 25:46  "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal"
     
  •  2 Thessalonians 1:8-9  8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:  9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;  

Given the clarity of the above verses, we must conclude that annihilationism is inconsistent with scripture.  

Further, when we examine the Greek word that's translated "destroy" (
apollymi)  in Mathew 10:28, we make observations that lend further support to our conclusion.  Apollymi appears at least 91 times in the Greek text that underlies our King James Bible.  In 31 times of those instances, apollymi is translated "lose," "be lost," or "lost." Vine's dictionary notes that the idea of apollymi "is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of well-being."   This is key to understanding Mathew 10:28, i.e. to "destroy both soul and body in hell" doesn't refer to a literal end of one's conscious existence.  Rather, it refers to a conscious state of loss (of the presence of God and reward in heaven). 

Given all of the above observations, we must conclude that both hell and punishment in hell are eternal. But, praise God that hell will be avoided by everyone who has repented of sin and placed their faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16, 1 John 5:13).  The reality of both heaven and hell should be strong motivators for believers to share the Gospel message - including a warning of the reality of eternal punishment for those who reject Christ.


Does the Bible Permit the Theory of Evolution?

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Pastor Robert Hammond    (Revised July 6, 2018)

The Theory of Evolution proposes that that over millions of years, relatively complex life forms (including man) evolved from simpler forms of life. While this is an intriguing scientific theory, the Bible does not permit this possibility.  Rather, the Bible teaches that the LORD created all forms of life as distinct, fully-developed life-forms during a literal six-day creation week.  

The very first verse of the Bible identifies God as the creator of all things.  Genesis1:1 states, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." The balance of that chapter details the order in which God created all things. 

The language of Genesis chapter one speaks of six literal days of creation.  Six times, the Bible describes the days of the creation week as being composed of an “evening and morning.” This is how Jewish people defined a single day.  The LORD used this very literal language in order to rule out the possibility that he was referring to longer periods of time (i.e. millions or billions of years).  This truth is plainly stated in Exodus 20:11, where we read, "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is ..."

In Genesis chapter 1, the Bible says that all forms of life were created  “after his kind.”  In Genesis chapter 1, the Bible asserts eight times that God made each distinct form of life "after his kind."   This phrase refutes the possibility of evolution because it refutes the possibility that one life form evolved into “another kind” of life.  Rather, the Bible clearly states that each form of life was created distinctly “after his kind.” 

It is worth noting that those who argue for the theory of evolution cannot point to single "change in kind," i.e. an example of one kind of  animal evolving into a different kind of animal.  Rather, they can only point to examples of a certain kind of animal adaptating to its environment through so-called natural selection.   That's not evolution.  Rather, it's the process by which specific genetic traits are amplified within a population because they help an animal to survive.  For example, in snowy climates, young harp seals have snowy white coats.  This genetic trait has been amplified over other colors because it helps the young seals to hide from preditors.  Because more white seals survive, the genes that convey a white coat become amplified in the seal population.  Note that the resulting seals are still seals!  The process of natural selection has not changed the seal into another kind of animal.  So, natural selection is not evolution.  

In Genesis 1:26-28, the Bible teaches that the LORD created man separately from animals.  We have an origin that is distinct and separate from the origin of plants, sea life and animals.   Man was created at a distinct point in time (Gen. 1:26-27).  And man was created separately from animals (Gen. 1:24-25) and separately from sea life and birds (fifth day of creation).  And the Bible is clear that only man was created “in the image of God.” (1:26).   The literal language of Genesis 1 excludes the possibility that man evolved from other forms of life.

The Bible is clear that death entered the world as a result of sin (Rom. 5:12).  Therefore, if the theory of evolution is true, nothing could have died for millions (or billions) of years, i.e. nothing could have died until man evolved “far enough to sin.”  This isn’t possible because the earth isn’t large enough to accommodate all of the animals that would have been produced over the millions or billions of years that evolutionist claim were required for man to evolve (i.e. to evolve to point at which he would have the capactity to form the volition to sin against God).

The Bible timeline only permits the earth to be 5,000 – 6,000 years-old.   Even if we interpret the Bible timeline rather loosely, the Earth cannot be more than 10,000-years-old.    Because millions of years would be required for man to evolve from simpler forms of life, scientists who endorse the theory of evolution argue that the earth must be millions (or billions) of years old. The Bible timeline simply does not permit this possibility.  (And the so-called “Gap theory” is refuted by Rom. 5:12).   Also note that global flood descrived in Genesis 6 - 8 explains geological observations that argue for a very old Earth.  A catastrophic global flood could easily cause the earth to appear to be much older than its actual age. 

keywords:  creation, creationism, intelligent design

Is it Biblical For Christians to Speak in Tongues Today?

Pastor Bob Hammond

At Long Hill Baptist Church, we believe that Christians must learn to yield to the Holy Spirit as we seek to conform our lives to the words of God.  Indeed,  in Ephesians 3:16,  Paul reminds us that the Christian walk is dependent upon our being "strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." 

We humbly acknowledge that we are fully dependent upon the LORD and the spiritual gifts that he imparts to us "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."

However, as careful Bible students, we must reject the teaching that the LORD is commonly using the sign gift of tongues today.   When tongues are experienced, we should be reminded to test our experience against the clear teaching of Scripture.

1 Corinthians 12 lists tongues among the so-called sign gifts:

1 Corinthians 12:8-11   "8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;  9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;  10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."

However, the Bible clearly teaches that tongues were intended as a sign to unbelieving Jewish people:

  1. Isaiah prophesied tongues as a sign to the Jewish people (and their rejection of tongues)
     
    Isaiah 28:11-12   "11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.  12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear."

  2.  The Bible specifically indicates that tongues are not for believers:

1 Corinthians 14:20-22   "20 ¶ Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.  21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe."

Just as the Bible predicted the beginning of tongues, the Bible predicted the cessation of  tongues

  1. Paul indicated that the sign gifts would cease when their purpose was completed.

    1 Corinthians 13:8-10   "8 ¶ Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."
     
  2. Tongues are not mentioned in Scripture after Acts 19

How are the tongues spoken in the contemporary Pentecostal-Charistmatic movements different than Biblical tongues?

  1. Biblical tongues were heard as an actually earthly language (not as unintelligible language)

Acts 2:6-11  (Pentecost)  "6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.  7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?  8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?  9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,  10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,  11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God."

The same Greek word used for tongues in Acts 2 (glossa) is the word that’s used for tongues in 1 Corinthians 12-14.  There’s no reason to think that the tongues that we hear at Pentecost are any different that the tongues that Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians. (D. Cloud). 
 

2.  The Biblical use of tongues was accompanied by an interpreter 

1 Corinthians 12:10   "10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:"

1 Corinthians 14:27-28  "If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God."