Eschatology Essential to the Faith:
The Resurrection of the Dead and Eternal Judgment

 
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about baptisms and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. - Hebrews 6:1-2


By Marshall "Rusty" Entrekin
   

What is eschatology? The word eschatology comes from the Greek words eschatos, meaning “last,” and logia, meaning a “collection” of teachings. Thus, eschatology is the study of the biblical doctrines of the last days. Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines eschatology as “a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of mankind.”  

Why Eschatology is Important

Typically, when we think of eschatology, we think of the various positions regarding the 1000 year reign of Christ described in Revelation chapter 20, such as premillennialism, amillennialism and postmillenniallism.  But there is much more to eschatology than the millennium, and it is some of the other aspects of eschatology – particularly those that are basic or foundational to the Christian faith - that I invite you to consider with me.

Eschatology concerns the ultimate purpose and direction of all of human life.  As such, it has the power to invoke confidence and hope in those who love and serve God, but fear of impending judgment in those living in rebellion against Him. Let us make no mistake: hope and fear are powerful states of the soul that can profoundly influence our actions.

Eschatology is Important Because it Inspires Hope

The scriptures confirm this observation, for they lay great stress upon the importance of hope in the lives of those who have placed their faith in Christ. Hebrews 6:11-20, in fact, teaches us that our hope is something that we must diligently keep. Lets take a few minutes to examine this passage, because it has great relevance to Christian Eschatology. Verse 11 begins,

11  And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,

In this verse, we are told that we should exhibit diligence in maintaining our hope. We are to maintain our hope in two ways: 

  1. By being fully assured of what we hope for,

  2. By keeping that full assurance until the end, that is, until the end of our lives. 

Verse 12 goes on to say,

12  that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Hope prevents us from becoming sluggish and despondent through discouragement.  Through faith and patience, we will inherit God’s promises. Abraham is an example of this, the next verse teaches us:

13  For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,
14  saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you."
15  And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

Do you see the importance that hope played in Abraham’s life? Because he kept his hope, he was able to patiently endure until he obtained God’s promise. God had sworn an oath to Abraham, and Abraham believed God.  As verse 16 tells us,

16  For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute.

When men need to trust firmly in the words of another, such as when a witness bears testimony in a court of law, we swear an oath. And we likewise should trust in God’s promises to us, our inspired writer goes on to say, not only because it is impossible for God to lie, but because God has confirmed His promises to us with an oath. As we read in verse 17,

17  Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath,
18  that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

The word immutable means unchangeable. We have as our strong consolation two things: 

1. God’s counsel or plans, which are immutable, or unchangeable, and 

2. The fact that he has confirmed his plans with an oath.

And so our hope rests upon the trustworthiness of God and His words. 

We should not be surprised then, to discover that almost invariably, those who embrace doctrines of despair, such as denial of the bodily resurrection or the visible return of Christ, do not completely trust in some of the promises of God found in the scriptures.

Notice the imagery in verse 18. It tells us that we have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. Many commentators believe that the Old Testament cities of refuge are being alluded to here. If a man had accidentally killed someone, and was being pursued by someone who wanted to avenge that death, he could flee to a city of refuge and take hold of the horns of the altar. Likewise, this verse tells us, we have fled for refuge from death and destruction, to take hold of the hope that is set before us.

As we read on, we see that this hope that is set before us is an anchor for the soul.

19  This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,

20  where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

An anchor, we know, is something that keeps a boat from drifting away. The “hope that is set before us” is a “sure and steadfast” anchor, one that holds us securely and does not give loose during the storms of life. The hope of being present with the Lord at death, of a future resurrection, and of rewards for faithful service, helps to sustain us not only during times of trial and suffering, but also during the tedium of our everyday lives.

Now you may be wondering, what is the oath by which God has confirmed His promises to us? We find it in chapter seven verse 20:

20  And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath
21  (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: "The LORD has sworn And will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek’"),
22  by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.
23  Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing.
24  But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.
25  Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Interestingly, the oath that our hope is confirmed by is not what we might expect. It is the one that God the Father swore to God the Son: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek!”

The word Melchizedek means “King of Righteousness.” This brings to mind the the words of the song,

“My hope is built on nothing less then Jesus blood and righteousness”?

And so it is through the oath that God the Father swore to Jesus, that He will be a priest forever, that we are assured of the hope that is set before us!

Our salvation, past present and future, is in Christ and his priesthood!

Now we are able to see why eschatology is so important. It is because hope is a vital ingredient of the Christian life.  The promises of God that we hope for, which sustain us, and not only enable us to patiently endure,  but to work with enthusiasm for God, are the most basic teachings of eschatology. And so we must not neglect to teach them! What are they? Read on to find out.

Eschatology is Important Because it Evokes Fear of Eternal Punishment

But eschatology isn't just important for the believer. It is important for the unbeliever as well. Those who disobey God need to be warned of the future consequences of their actions, in hope that this will lead them to repent and thereby escape destruction. Peter issued just such a warning when he told the Jews and Jewish proselytes who had come to Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost, “Save yourselves from this perverse generation.”

Likewise, those who are on the verge of falling away also need to be warned of the consequences of this, just as the writer to the Hebrews warned here in chapter Six. I am not going to discuss in this article the question of whether or not those who fall away were saved or not saved. But suffice it to say that fear plays a role in the life of the believer, too, because however we classify those who fall away, one thing is certain: we don’t want to be one of them!


In modern times it seems popular to consider men who preach on the dangers of God’s judgment as harsh and unloving. But how can it be unloving to warn a man that he is headed for destruction? It is unloving not to warn him! Fear of destruction has caused many a person to turn and accept Christ. Likewise, the promise of eternal life can be a powerful motivator to the unbeliever as well.


Our hope even has an effect on those who reject the gospel. In 2 Corinthians 2: 15-16, the apostle Paul wrote,  “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.”

And so we see that two aspects of Christian eschatology – hope and fear of judgment – play vital – and I do mean vital - roles in the hearts of men. Perhaps this helps us to understand why Hebrews 6:1-2 teaches us that two eschatological doctrines, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment, are foundational doctrines of the faith. Please have a look with me at these two important verses:

Heb 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
2  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

When our inspired writer speaks of “leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ,” He does not mean that we should abandon these beliefs, as some have taught.  Instead, just like a builder leaves working on the foundation of a building to work on the structure built on it, or a math teacher leaves addition and subtraction to teach on multiplication, the writer to the Hebrews wanted them to go on to maturity, so that they would not need to have the basic doctrines of Christianity taught to them all over again. In the verses above this passage, he said that they were still spiritual babes, only able to handle milk: the basic principles of the doctrine of Christ. He wanted them to grow up so that they could handle meat: more advanced teachings.

The word translated “principles” in verse 1 means the first thing in a series, and refers to the basics of a teaching. Notice that these are not principles of the Old Testament, or principles of the law. Instead, they are principles of the doctrine or word of Christ. In other words, these are basic, elementary doctrines of Christianity that the writer is speaking of.

Not only are they basic, but the writer tells us that they are foundational. The other doctrines of Christianity are built upon them. Since they are foundational, it follows that if these foundations are eroded or destroyed in our minds by false teaching, error or doubt, then the structures built on them are in danger of collapsing. We will discuss this more later.

Psalm 11:3 says, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Notice that two of these 6 basic doctrines of the Christian Faith are eschatological: The resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 

And so we see that eschatology is not only important, but foundational to the Christian faith. It we neglect to teach the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment, then we are failing to teach two basic, essential doctrines of the Christian faith!  

The Resurrection of The Dead

In Hebrews 6:2, the word translated “dead” here, nekron, is plural in the Greek, and literally means, “the resurrection of dead ones.” Thus, not only is the resurrection of Christ a foundational doctrine of the faith, but so is the resurrection of mankind.

There are two kinds of resurrections that apply to believers: the resurrection of the spirit, and the resurrection of the body. When we read about the resurrection of the dead in scripture, it is important to distinguish which of these two kinds of resurrection is being referred to. Let’s look at the resurrection of the spirit first.

The Resurrection of The Spirit

To understand the resurrection of the spirit, we need to understand the nature of spiritual death. In the scriptures, death involves separation.

Genesis 2:7  tells us, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

When God first formed man out of the dust of the earth, he was lifeless. But when God breathed the spirit of life into him, be became a living soul.

Ecclesiastes 12:7  teaches us that at death, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”

We see here that death involves the separation of the body from the spirit. This is why we read in Luke 23:46:

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Likewise at his death, Acts 7:59 tells us regarding Stephen:

 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

And so we see that physical death involves the separation of the spirit from the body. Likewise, spiritual death involves the separation of God from the spirit of man.

 In Genesis 2:17 we read, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

In the day that Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, they did not die physically, but they must have died in some way.

Concerning this verse, a footnote in the 1599 Geneva Bible, which contains commentary by prominent Protestant scholars such as John Calvin, John Knox, and Miles Coverdale reads, “By death he means the separation of man from God, who is our life and chief happiness: and also that our disobedience is the cause of it.”

In the day that they ate of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve died inwardly, in their spirits, for they became separated from God as a result of sin.

And so it follows that when the spirit of man is resurrected, he is no longer separated from God. Scripture teaches us that the resurrection of the spirit occurs when we place our faith in Christ. It is at this time that we receive eternal spiritual life:

John 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 6:47  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

John 11:26  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Likewise, the scriptures speak of believers as having already been resurrected:

Ephesian 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Colossians 2:12  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

The resurrection passage in John chapter 5 is particularly important to our study, because it speaks of both the resurrection of the Spirit and the future resurrection of the body. Beginning in verse 24 we read:

John 5:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Notice in this passage, Jesus says that the person who believes “has” or now possesses everlasting life. He has already, past tense, passed from death into life, and will not come into condemnation.

25  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

Notice that Jesus spoke of two hours here; one which had already come, and of another which is coming. When Jesus said “now is,” he was speaking of the hour which had already come, in which men were being raised spiritually from the dead upon belief in Him.  But a few verses later, he speaks of the hour which is to come:

26  For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
27  And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
28  Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29  And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

This regards the resurrection of the body, for in verse 28, the word translated grave is the Greek word mnemeion . In all of the 42 places in the NT in which this word occurs, it literally means a grave, a tomb or a grave monument. Not once in the NT is this word used to refer to the spiritual abode of the dead. In the AV, it is translated sepulchre 29 times, grave 8 times, and tomb 5 times.

This is the same word that is used in Luke 24:2, where we read,  “And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher.

It is the same word used in John 12:17, where we also read, “The people therefore that were with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave and raised him from the dead, bare record.”

And so when Jesus says here that “all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth,” he can be speaking of nothing else but resurrected bodies coming forth from the graves.

The scriptures therefore speak of a physical resurrection of the body. What do the scriptures teach us regarding this resurrection of the body?

First of all, since the passage that we have just looked at undeniably teaches that our bodies will be raised, we know that there will be some continuity between our mortal bodies and our resurrection bodies. 


Our new resurrection bodies will be our old ones raised and completely transformed, like the body of a butterfly is actually the body of a caterpillar that has been transformed. You will still be you, but you will be a glorious and transformed you !


Secondly, our resurrection will be a simultaneous corporate resurrection, not a “one at a time” resurrection.

Romans 8:23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

The Greek word translated “Body” here is singular. The apostle Paul did not say, “the redemption of our bodies.” Rather, he said “the redemption of our body” referring to the simultaneous resurrection of all of those in the body of Christ.

Philippians 3:21  has similar language:

Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Here again, the word translated “body” is singular.

Secondly, our resurrection will be patterned after Christ’s glorious resurrection body. The verse that we just read teaches, “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body”

1 Corinthians 15:49  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

1 John 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

What was His glorious body like following His resurrection? It was tangible, and could be touched, for John 20:27 reads,

Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

It was not an incorporeal spirit. It contained flesh and bones, for Luke 24:36 -39 reads,

 36 And as they thus spoke, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them and said unto them, "Peace be unto you."
37  But they were terrified and afraid, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
38  And He said unto them, "Why are ye troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
39  Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me to have."

But although the resurrection body of Christ contained flesh, it was a different kind of flesh, an incorruptible kind, for 1 Corinthians 15:50  teaches:

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Likewise 1 Cor 14: 42 tells us,

42  So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

Christ’s resurrection body did not have the limitations ours does, for he appeared suddenly in a room with closed doors:

John 20:26  And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

Our resurrection body will be glorious and powerful:

43  It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:

It will also be a spiritual body:

44  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

What does the term spiritual body mean? As we have already seen, this does not indicate that it will be intangible. This refers to the different nature of the resurrection body, which distinguishes it from corruptible flesh. One aspect of this, pointed out by the Church Father Irenaeus, is that our resurrection bodies will be completely subject to our spirits. Our current bodies lust and make war against our spirits; they try to dominate us. But our new bodies will be in complete harmony with our spirits.

There will be no more pain, no more sorrow, no more death. No more weakness, no more sickness. No more struggles with sin; no more thoughts to bring under subjection; no more unruly minds to be conformed; no more bad habits to overcome! Oh, how glorious it will be! Brothers and sisters,

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him”! (1 Corinthians 2:9)

 

Eternal Judgment

Now let’s look at the other basic doctrine of the Christian faith mentioned in Hebrews 6:2 which is eschatological, eternal judgment. There are several important observations regarding God’s judgment that we can make:

First of all, eternal judgment does not mean that the process of God judging will last forever, but rather that the consequences of his judgment will be eternal.

The Greek word translated "eternal" here is the word aioniou (ahee -o’ -nee-ou), and according to Thayer’s Lexicon, means "without end, never to cease, everlasting."

This same word is used twice in Matthew 25:46, in the account of the sheep and the goats:

Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting <Strong’s 166> punishment: but the righteous into life eternal <Strong’s 166>.

If the everlasting punishment described in Matthew 25:46 will have an end, then the eternal life mentioned in the last half of this verse would also have an end, for the very same Greek word is used. The implications of this for Hebrews 6:2 are unmistakable: The term "eternal judgment" means that the consequences of God’s judgment will be everlasting.

In a human court of law there is always the possibility that a conviction may be vacated, appealed or reversed because of human error. But when God will judge each who stands before Him, there will be no possibility of error with Him. His judgment will be eternal.

Why will it be eternal?

We could not expect that a God of love, holiness and righteousness would be willing to endure evil forever.

Genesis 6:3 indicates that God is in fact unwilling to strive with each man for more than a limited period of time, for it records:

And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

Later, Psalms 90:10 records that this time limit was reduced, for most men, by a further 50 years:

The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

70- 80 years is the average lifespan of most men and women. I recently read that even if most of the diseases that kill men and women in their old age could be prevented, the absolute upper genetic limit of the human lifespan is regarded to be around 120 years. A Frenchwoman named Jeanne Calment is the only documented case of a modern human living beyond 120 years. She did not live far beyond it at all. She died in 1997 at 122 years. So we find that both of these scriptural figures are true.

Lastly, some men are resolute and stubborn in their sins and rebellion against God. The scripture speaks of these men: it describes them variously as men who are "brute beasts," whose consciences have been "seared with a hot iron," who have been given over to "reprobate minds." There comes a point at which God gives up on such men, to leave them forever in the reprobate mental state that they so stubbornly cling to. One of the last verses in the New Testament, Revelation 22:11, indicates that the wicked will be left in this state for all eternity:

11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

In this sense, as CS Lewis wrote in his book, The Problem of Pain, "the doors of hell are locked from the inside."

The second observation that we can make regarding God’s Eternal Judgment is that it will include all of mankind.

John 5: 28- 29, which we looked at earlier, tells us that "…ALL that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."

Jude 1:14-15 likewise teaches:

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon ALL, and to convince ALL that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of ALL, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

1 Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to EVERY man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged EVERY man according to their works.

The third observation we can make regarding eternal judgment is that like the resurrection, God’s judgment of mankind will take place in one great "day" that immediately follows the resurrection.

The scriptures speak of an hour or day in which God will judge the world:

John 5:28-29: Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Acts 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Romans 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

If the premillennial position is correct, then we must make room for two resurrections and judgments, one to take place at Christ’s coming, and another to take place before the eternal age begins, for 2 Timothy 4:1 reads,

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

Revelation 11:18 likewise says,

And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

Most premillennialists believe that Christians will undergo a simultaneous, corporate physical resurrection and judgment before the beginning of the millennium. This is based on Revelation 20:4-6:

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Many who are not millennialists hold that this first resurrection is a resurrection of the spirit, the spiritual rebirth that occurs at salvation. Premillennialists, on the other hand, hold that this is a physical resurrection of the body. However, premillennialists still believe that there will be a universal resurrection and judgment of the remaining dead following the millennium.

All of the major orthodox millennial views hold to a universal resurrection of all of the unresurrected dead before the eternal age begins.

The fourth observation that we can make regarding God’s eternal judgment, is that it will result in all of mankind being divided into two great camps: those who receive everlasting life, and those who receive everlasting damnation.

John 5:28-teaches:

28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Matthew 25:46 also teaches:

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

 

What happens to the Dead prior to the Judgment Day?

There are three terms in scripture which are used to describe the places where the wicked are kept until the day of judgment. Two of these, the Abyss and Tartarus, are where fallen angels are kept.

Hades, the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament term Sheol, is where the spirits of men are kept until the Day of Judgment. This word occurs 11 times in the New Testament. 10 times it is translated "hell," and once it is translated "grave."

In the account of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus agrees with the rabbinical teaching of his time that Sheol or Hades contained two regions: a place of torment where the wicked are kept until the Day of Judgment, and a paradise where the righteous await the resurrection, called "Abraham’s Bosom."

That this was not just a parable, and that the spirit of Abraham was alive and living in this paradise, is evident by Jesus’ words in Mark 12:27-28, in which he rebuked the Pharisees for disbelieving in the Resurrection:

26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?

27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

 

The Fate of those Who will Receive Everlasting Punishment

Unlike Hades, the other word most commonly translated "hell" in the New Testament, Gehenna, is not a neutral term. It clearly designates the final destination of the wicked.

This word refers to the "Valley of Hinnom."  This valley lies just outside Jerusalem's walls. In New Testament times, it was used as a trash dump. It is said that even dead bodies were sometimes dumped there. The worms had a continual feast there, and fires were constantly burning. It is therefore no wonder that Jesus used this term to describe the final destination of the wicked. The word Gehenna (Strong's 1067) is used 12 times in the New Testament. It may surprise you to realize that in all but one of those occurrences, the word was used by Jesus himself! No one can deny that Jesus warned repeatedly of the existence of such a place:

Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell <1067> fire.

Matthew 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell <1067>.

Matthew 5:30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell <1067>.

Matthew 10:28 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 <1067>.

Matthew 18:9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell <1067> fire.

Matthew 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell <1067> than yourselves.

Matthew 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell <1067>?

Mark 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell <1067>, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Mark 9:45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell <1067>, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Mark 9:47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell <1067> fire:

Luke 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell <1067>; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

The scriptures teach us that Gehenna is a place of torment. Matthew 25:46, which I quoted earlier, reads,

And these shall go away into everlasting <166> punishment: but the righteous into life eternal <166>.

The word translated "punishment" here is used only one other time in the New Testament, where it means torment:

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment <2851>. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

This makes it very clear that by "eternal punishment," torment, or conscious anguish, is the idea being expressed.

We would expect that if the wicked will suffer the fate of eternal torment, then love would compel Jesus and the apostles to frequently warn of this. In fact we do find many more warnings than the ones we have already mentioned. The metaphor of fire is often used:

Matthew 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Matthew 13:40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 13:47-50: Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Mark 9:45-46: And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Jude 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Revelation 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Since those who will be thrown into this fire will wail and gnash their teeth, it would be very difficult to deny that they are experiencing torment.

Another term, darkness, is also used to refer to the eternal state of the wicked in the New Testament. 

Matthew 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

2 Peter 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

Jude 1:13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

Lastly, Gehenna is spoken of in the scriptures as a place of destruction:

2 Thessalonians 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

2 Peter 2:3 And through covetousness they will use you for gain with well-turned words; for whom judgment from of old does not linger, and their destruction does not sleep.

There is more to the terms "outer darkness" and "lake of fire" than mere descriptions of a place. The phrase "outer darkness," conveys to us the loneliness and isolation of eternal separation from God and His people. Likewise, the words "lake of fire" communicate to us the conscious torment and destruction that will accompany that separation.

The Eternal Destiny of the Righteous

After considering the gloomy subject of the eternal judgment of the wicked, we now have a much brighter one to look at, God’s judgment of the righteous. The scriptures teach that after death, those who have placed their faith in Christ will not be judged in the sense of being condemned.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

However, severe judgments leading even to mortal sickness may occur prior to death.

1 John 5:16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

Revelation 2:22 "Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.

The scriptures teach that this severe discipline is given so that the soul of an erring Christian will be saved.

1 Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

But the Bible does plainly teach that after death or the rapture, we will all be judged for the deeds done in the body.

Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Christians will not be exempt from this. Although they will not be condemned, they may suffer a loss of reward:

1 Corinthians 3:13 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

 

What are the rewards that Christians will receive for their deeds?

Every good deed that we do with good motives will be rewarded:

Matthew 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

Matthew 10:41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.

Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

The scriptures speak of various crowns that we will be rewarded with:

The soul winner's crown:

1 Thessalonians 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

The crown of righteousness promised to all who love His appearing:

2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

The crown of life for those who endure temptation:

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

The faithful pastor’s crown of glory:

1 Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

 

The book of Revelation promises many rewards to him that overcomes:

Revelation 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Revelation 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Revelation 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

By the way, I am a premillennialist, and this last verse (Rev 2:27) is a powerful indicator, I believe, that there will be literal millennium. What need will there be for us to rule the nations with a rod of iron and "break them to shivers" if there is no millenium, and our rule over the nations takes place in the final eternal state, where all men will be sinless? Instead, I believe that verse 27 will be fulfilled prior to that, when we Christians will be resurrected and living in our new sinless, immortal bodies, ruling over nations of mortal men who will still be capable of sinning.

Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

What an incentive we have to work faithfully for our Lord! The things that we do now will bear fruit for all eternity for us.

Lastly, the greatest reward will be had by all: enjoying and fellowshipping with the Lord.

Rev 22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

 

And so we see that the scriptures are very clear regarding these two eschatological doctrines that scripture calls foundational and basic doctrines of the faith, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.

The Testimony of the Early Creeds and Church Fathers Concerning the Resurrection of the Body and Eternal Judgment

Some of the teach that the early Christians did not believe in the resurrection of the dead or  eternal judgment. However, It is plain from the early councils of the church that both were regarded as essential elements of orthodoxy or sound doctrine.

Each of the doctrines found in the Apostle’s Creed can be traced to statements often taught in the apostolic period. This important creed states "He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead, I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting."

The Nicean Creed written in AD 325, states that Jesus will come "again with glory to judge living and dead, of whose kingdom there shall be no end," and "We look for a resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come."

The Creed of the Council of Constantinople, written in AD 381, states that Jesus "is coming again with glory to judge living and dead; or whose Kingdom there will be no end," and it also states, "We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come."

There are many statements in the Father’s affirming these two doctrines:

Clement, writing about AD 100, wrote:

Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection, of which He has rendered the Lord Jesus Christ the first-fruits by raising Him from the dead. (Chapter 24)

In The Epistle of Barnabus, written in AD 100, we read:

"On this account there will be a resurrection, on this account a retribution." Justin Martyr In the first apology of Justin Martyr, written between AD 110 and 165, we read that He was looking forward to a future Resurrection: "...we expect to receive again our own bodies, though they be dead and cast into the earth, for we maintain that with God nothing is impossible." (Chapter 18)

In the Dialogue of Justin Martyr with the Jew Trypho, also written between AD 110 and 165, it is evident that he contended with some who denied the bodily resurrection, claiming that souls only go to heaven:

For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians... (Chapter 81)

Justin Martyr also wrote an entire book concerning the resurrection. Only portions of it have survived the ravages of time. In it, he goes to great lengths to prove the resurrection of the flesh from the grave. Here are some quotes from the fragments:
 

They who maintain the wrong opinion say that there is no resurrection of the flesh; giving as their reason that it is impossible that what is corrupted and dissolved should be restored to the same as it had been. ...By these and such like arguments, they attempt to distract men from the faith.(Chapter 2)
 

And shall not God be able to collect again the decomposed members of the flesh, and make the same body as was formerly produced by Him? (Chapter 6)
 

But the proof of the possibility of the resurrection of the flesh I have sufficiently demonstrated, in answer to men of the world. And if the resurrection of the flesh is not found impossible on the principles even of unbelievers, how much more will it be found in accordance with the mind of believers! (Chapter 7)

The resurrection is a resurrection of the flesh which died. For the spirit dies not; the soul is in the body, and without a soul it cannot live. The body, when the soul forsakes it, is not. For the body is the house of the soul; and the soul the house of the spirit. These three, in all those who cherish a sincere hope and unquestioning faith in God, will be saved. (Chapter 10)

Irenaeus, a fighter for the faith, writing around 180 AD, stated in Against Heresies:
 

And then the doctrine concerning the resurrection of bodies which we believe, will emerge true and certain since, God, when He resuscitates our mortal bodies which preserved righteousness, will render them incorruptible and immortal. (Book 3, Chapter 29)

Regarding Eternal judgment, Justin Martyr wrote,

…each man goes to everlasting punishment or salvation according to the value of his actions. For if all men knew this, no one would choose wickedness even for a little, knowing that he goes to the everlasting punishment of fire; but would by all means restrain himself, and adorn himself with virtue, that he might obtain the good gifts of God, and escape the punishments. (Chap XII. First Apology)

Irenaeus wrote in Against Heresies Book 4:

It is therefore one and the same God the Father who has prepared good things with Himself for those who desire His fellowship, and who remain in subjection to Him; and who has the eternal fire for the ringleader of the apostasy, the devil, and those who revolted with him, into which [fire] the Lord(5) has declared those men shall be sent who have been set apart by themselves on His left hand.

In The Epistle Concerning the Martyrdom of Polycarp, we read regarding the Christian martyrs,

And, looking to the grace of Christ, they despised all the torments of this world, redeeming themselves from eternal punishment by [the suffering of] a single hour.

 

Concluding Thoughts 

Satan’s Threefold Strategy

Satan, our enemy and accuser, is well aware of the importance of belief in the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. For this reason, he and the fallen angels who follow him have historically employed the following threefold strategy against us. They have sought…

…to undermine our trust in the reliability of God's word. Once they have achieved this, they have the needed leverage to accomplish their next two aims:

…to cause us to doubt God's wonderful promise of a bodily resurrection to immortality, in which we will be rewarded for our work for Him, given to all who trust in Christ.

…to cause us to doubt God's promise of everlasting punishment for those who willingly reject Christ.

Once men begin to doubt or disbelieve in the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment, they become prone to laziness and complacency, and unbelievers may become so emboldened as to openly parade their sin, as we commonly see happening today.

 

How Should We Respond to Those Who deny the Foundational Eschatological Doctrines?

The question arises, what of those who deny these basic doctrines of the faith, claiming that the body will be left in the grave for all time, or asserting that the God’s condemnation of the reprobate on judgment day is only temporary discipline?

We have an example in 2 Timothy 2:15 of the apostle Paul’s reaction to someone who denied one of these doctrines:

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Since Hymenaeus and Philetus believed that the resurrection was past, the obvious fact that the bodies of Christians were still in the graves would have forced them to either deny a universal resurrection of all saints, or to deny the resurrection of the material body. Since their concept of the nature or extent of the resurrection was derived from their timing of it, to challenge the timing of the resurrection was to also challenge the nature or extent of the resurrection.

However, Hymenaeus and Philetus may not have denied the resurrection of the body. They may have claimed that the raising of many saints along with Christ, described in Matthew 27:52-53, was the last resurrection:

And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Teaching that this limited resurrection was the last resurrection could have overthrown the faith of some who were expecting a universal resurrection.

We also read of Hymenaeus in I Timothy 1:18:

8 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Paul had already concluded the final act of church discipline with Hymenaeus by the time he wrote I Timothy. We don't know for certain what blasphemy Paul was referring to. It seems likely that it was the erroneous teaching that the resurrection had already occurred, since this is the only false doctrine mentioned in connection with Hymenaeus. This likelihood is further increased by the fact that Paul refers to this error as an example of "profane babblings" in 2 Timothy 2:15. The likelihood of this is strengthened even more by a look at NT usage of the Greek word blasphemos. Its meaning was not limited to speaking slanderously against a person. It could also refer to speaking evil (sometimes erroneously- see I Timothy 1:13) of a true doctrine or even of a place (Acts 6:13). If this error regarding the resurrection was the blasphemy Paul was referring to, there was no need to repeat the arguments against it to Timothy, since Timothy would have already heard them in great detail when the case of the unrepentant Hymenaeus was presented to the church. Timothy would have also heard this argument in his personal conversations with Paul.

And so we have an apostolic example here of how the apostle Paul treated someone who refused to repent of adamantly denying a foundational eschatological doctrine of the faith. I believe that we should imitate that example, which was not carried out in malice or anger, but reluctantly, in love, like a responsible parent sadly and lovingly disciplining his child.

There are probably as many variations in the non-essential eschatological views as there are men who have studied what the scriptures have to say about the last days. We must not divide over issues unessential to the faith. If we do, we will splinter into innumerable sects, each with it’s own kind of unique intolerance. Is Christ divided?

But then again, we cannot consider any belief to be a Christian belief, or it will become meaningless to be a Christian. What would then distinguish a Christian from a Hindu or a Muslim? We must preserve and protect the core of essential doctrines. Again, is Christ divided?

The Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote, "a plurality that cannot be integrated into unity is chaos; unity unrelated to plurality is tyranny." As difficult as it may be, we must tolerate those who disagree with us on issues unessential to the faith, but like the apostle Paul, be lovingly and wisely intolerant of views which deny or erode the very essence of our faith.

Where questions of heresy and orthodoxy are concerned, St. Augustine's Rule, I believe, should be closely followed: "In doubtful questions, liberty; in essentials, unity; in all things, love."

~

Copyright 2012 Marshall “Rusty” Entrekin
Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this document for free distribution, provided it is not altered in any way, and a link is provided to this website so that readers my read the latest revisions.

Rusty Entrekin is a theology graduate of Louisiana College. He and his wife Julie have seven children, with four still at home, and four grandchildren. Currently, he resides in Kennesaw, GA. He writes apologetic and theological articles to help people come to know Christ and grow closer to the Lord. If this article has blessed you, and you would like to free him up to write more, you may make a donation below.

Rusty previously decided not to apply for 501c3 ministry status, so that he can write about political matters without worrying about government interference. Because of this, your gifts will not be tax deductible. However, you will receive a far greater reward for your donation:  treasure in heaven!