Is Hell A Place of Eternal Torment or Death by Annihilation?

NOTE: You may read this entire teaching below or listen to the audio recorded version (recommended) of the teaching which includes additional explanation of the Scriptures listed. 


I rarely take the time to address a doctrinal difference such as this, or to get caught up in arguing about words.  In this case the words are, death, eternal fire, everlasting destruction, blackest darkness forever and ever, etc.

Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.  (2Ti 2:14)

However, much like the doctrine of eternal security (once saved, always saved), I feel this is a very critical subject to be right about and it’s my contention that it is the devil himself who has planted this lie.  If so, he has done so for a very good reason and he knows it will have a deadly result with some.  He knows it will be effective in robbing God’s children of life in some way and ultimately the Father of His glory.

The Bible is once again crystal clear for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, but if you don’t love the truth and you don’t humble yourself as a little child, you can easily be deceived, especially if you’re not already walking in the light that you’ve received up to this point (Phi 3:16).  God reveals truth to babes, not to the clever and intelligent.  Let us humbly accept what God’s word clearly and simply says, without twisting the Scriptures to our destruction.

He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. (2Pe 3:16)

There are many, many people who have all of their doctrines correct, but who will never make it to heaven because they don’t know God and God doesn’t know them.  The Pharisees are the best example of those who have all of the doctrines and law absolutely correct and yet who never made it to heaven.  They were absolutely certain that they were the children of God and that they knew God.  How deceived they were.  They could have avoided the shock of discovering they were not the children of God if they would have applied one teaching to themselves.

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Mat 7:16-20)

You see, they could have known the truth if they would have recognized and measured the fruit in their lives and hearts against the fruit of righteousness in Christ.

Paraphrase of Email I received:

“Michael, I appreciate your teachings, but I wanted to point out a doctrinal error you are teaching about the soul never dying even in hell.  The Bible says the soul that sins shall die, but you are teaching that the soul will live forever even in hell.  This is an error and misinterpretation of the Scripture.”

The Seventh Day Adventist cult, along with others, teach that we have all wrongly interpreted the idea that hell is a place of eternal punishment.  Instead, they teach annihilationism and total destruction of the body, soul, and spirit such that it no longer exists in eternity in any form, not even in hell.

I am going to show you with Scripture that this is absolutely NOT true but first I want to show you the craftiness of this lie and see if you recognize who it really is coming from.

In the garden of Eden, Satan creates doubt about what God has clearly said, by asking Eve, “Did God REALLY say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?” – Gen 3:1

Now, through this false teaching, Satan asks a new but same crafty type of question, “Did God REALLY say you shall be tormented FOREVER if you die in your sins?”  

Satan’s actual reply to Eve was, “You will not surely die…” – Gen 3:4

So when you and I answer Satan back on this question of eternal hell fire, by saying, “Yes, the Lord has told us that the punishment of hell fire is forever and ever.”

I might imagine Satan’s reply to us, “You will not surely be tormented by fire forever, but you rather you will simply cease to exist.  It’s more a state of permanent sleep than painful destruction.  Do not worry if you cannot take the narrow path.  In the end, everyone dies in peace just like it says on their tombstones.”

But What Does God's Word Say?

Eze 3:18-19  When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.

Dan 12:2  Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

Mat 13:42  They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Mat 18:8  If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.

Mat 22:13  "Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

Mat 25:30  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

Mat 25:41  "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Mat 25:46  "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Mar 9:47-48  And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48  where "'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'

Luk 13:28  "There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.
In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.' "He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' "'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'" (Luk 16:23-31)

Joh 8:21  Once more Jesus said to them, "I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come."

Joh 5:29  and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

2Th 1:9  They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 

2Pe 2:17  These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 

Jud 1:13  They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.

Rev 14:11  And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name."

Rev 20:10  And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 

Rev 21:8  But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place WILL BE in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." 

Rev 22:15  Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

When God Says the Soul that Sins Will Die.  He means it will be spiritually dead, as in eternally separated from Him, not as in anhialated and no longer in existence.  There are many who live now that God already considers DEAD.

Mat 8:22  But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (Joh 5:24-29)

Mat 23:27  "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.

Luk 15:24  For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.

Joh 12:40  "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them."

Rom 4:17  As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. 

Rom 5:12  Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—

Rom 6:13  Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

Rom 7:10-11  I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11  For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 

Rom 7:24  What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 

Rom 8:6  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 

Rom 11:15  For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 

Eph 2:1  As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 

Eph 2:5  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 

Eph 5:14  for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."

Col 1:18  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

1Ti 5:6  But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.

2Ti 4:1  In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:

Jas 2:17  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 

Jas 1:14  but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

Jas 1:15  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 

Jas 2:17  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Jas 2:26  As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Jud 1:12  These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 

Rev 3:1  "To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.


When Jesus entered the ruler's house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, he said, "Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep." But they laughed at him. (Mat 9:23-24)
After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, 
(Joh 11:11-14)