This page on the Doctrine of Hell Fire, and the following ones, discuss the reasons and theology of the eternal judgment known also as the Lake of Fire, or the Second Death. Our attempt here is twofold: 1) to set forth the clear teaching of the Scriptures, 2) and to refute the false notion known as "Annihilation". The doctrine of Hell Fire is closely related to issues of Reconciliation, Justification by Faith, and Grace; since it stands in opposition to those who receive the gift of eternal life. To alter the punishment of God's enemies, is to alter the God of Scripture. This is not a light matter, but one that should be approached seriously and carefully by anyone who is claiming to embrace the Savior, and be a student of Scripture, accurately handling the word of Truth.
Many SDA members believe that Hell is a temporary punishment which will only last a brief moment, which will annihilate the wicked, and the wicked will be no more. This view is promoted with the idea that God would not perpetually torment any creature forever and ever, without end, since this idea is deemed “revolting”, and does not appear to be consistent with a “Loving and Merciful God”, as understood by SDA members. This idea is very similar to the one promoted by Jehovah Witnesses of the WatchTower. This should not be surprising, since both groups were born out of the same movement of the 1840’s, the Millerite Movement.
Scripture (which cannot be broken), however, paints a considerably different picture of the punishment of sinners, the wicked and unbelieving. We are told in Scripture to ponder and consider “the kindness and the severity of God” (Rom.11:22). Most people are willing to consider the kindness of God, but very few are willing to consider the severity of God, because that could prove to be disturbing! It could even result in repentance from dead works, and faith toward God!
The writer of Hebrews asked us to consider that “if the word spoken by angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Heb.2:2,3)
Later, in this great epistle, the writer points out that, “anyone who sets aside the Law of Moses, dies without mercy, on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think he will deserve to be punished who has trampled under foot the Son of God, by regarding as common the blood of the covenant, which sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of Grace? For we know Him who said, ’It is mine to avenge, I will repay’” (Heb.10:28-30). The correlation here is very simple: Those who deliberately violate the commands of Moses, will be put to death, on the basis of the testimony of the two or three witness, but those who trample the Son of God under foot, and regard the blood of the covenant as common (unholy, profane), and insult the Spirit of Grace, will be punished in a more severe manner than those under Moses, who were only put to death. The big question here is: in what manner will the Most High God inflict punishment upon the wicked? Will they be tormented and in anguish in flames forever and ever?