Understanding The Bible
STUDY REFERENCE
Clarence E. Mason's "ESCHATOLOGY 3"
SECTION XII - THE ETERNAL STATE

 

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BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
1970

Edited by Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.


SECTION XII
THE ETERNAL STATE

  1. ETERNAL DESTINY OF WICKED (Unsaved) Revelation 20:14-15; 14:9-11 Five words are to be considered in this study:
    1. Sheol
      This is the Old Testament word. It is used 65 times, translated variously as:
      Hell, 31 times - Dt. 32:22; Ps. 9:17; 18:5; Isa. 14:9
      Grave, 31 times - 1 Sam. 2:6; Job 7:9; 14:13
      Pit, 3 times - Num. 16:30, 33; Job 17:16

      This is the abode of the dead. It is not just a state of being, but a PLACE where beings are, which also involves a certain state of being. It is a state of conscious existence, Dt. 18:11; 1 Sam. 28:11-15; Isa. 14:9.

      God is sovereign over sheol, not the Devil, Dt. 32:22; Job 26:6. The Devil
      is simply the most notorious inmate of that place, Public Enemy No. 1.

      It is regarded as temporary.

      Old Testament saints looked beyond it to the Kingdom Age. The righteous
      will be resurrected to enjoy the promised blessing, Job 14:13-14; 19;25, 27;
      Ps. 16:9-11; 17:15; 49:15; 73:24.
       
    2. Hades
      This is practically the New Testament equivalent of sheol, It is translated Hell in every instance but one, where it is translated grave (1 Cor. 15:55). Hades generally speaks of the unsaved dead, since the resurrection of Christ. The word is never used of the eternal state, Mt. 11:23; 16:18; Acts 2:27,31; Rev. 1:18; 6:8; 20:13-14.

      Also consider: Paradise, Lk. 23:43
      Abraham's bosom, Lk. 16:22

      Although some hold other views, most PCB teachers accept "the two compartment theory" suggested by Dr. C. I. Scofield in a note on Lk. 16:19-31, at verse 23. This view says that until our Lord's resurrection, the spirits of all the dead, righteous and wicked, at death went to sheo]/hades; that sheol/hades was in two divisions or compartments, separated by a great gulf (v.26). the righteous being in bliss in the upper part called Paradise or Abraham's bosom (Lk. 16:23-24; 23:43), and the wicked dead in "lowest hell, " called Tartarus by the old Greeks (cp, 4, below). After Christ's resurrection and ascension to heaven; the righteous spirits were transported to the "third heaven, " now called Paradise (2 Cor. 12:4).
       
    3. Gehenna
      Mt. 5:22,29-30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15,33: Mk. 9:43,45,47; Lk. 12:5; James 3:6

      This is a geographical term, especially in the 0. T. In the N. T. tne final judgment of the unrepentant is usually also in view, cp. 4 and 5.

      In the Old Testament it is a place of idol worship. Children were burned there as a sacrifice to gods, 1 Chron. 33:6, hence a place of fire. It is a place of judgment because it was overthrown by Josiah, 2 Ki. 23:10; Jer. 7:32. It became a dumping ground for filth, the bodies of animals, and occasionally some human body, like the body of a criminal. Hence it was associated with the idea of uncleanness. Also, rubbish was continually burning there, so it became an apt illustration of eternal fire.
       
    4. Tartarus
      This is the place of judgment on wicked angels. It seems to be identical to Gehenna as to ultimate place, 2 Pet. 2:4. See 3 and 5.
       
    5. Lake of Fire
      This is the place of the eternal destiny of the unsaved. Rev. 19:20; 20:10, 14-15; 21:8. It is a place of eternal, conscious suffering. Cp. 3 and 4.
       
  2. THE ETERNAL DESTINY OF THE RIGHTEOUS (Saved)
    Key scriptures on this point are:
    Rev. 21:9-22:5; Jn. 14:1-3; 2 Cor. 5:1-10; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Eph. 3:21; 2 Pet. 3:13; Heb. 3:4; Rev. 21:1-8; Jn. 17:34.

    The Lord indicated (Jn. 14:1-3) that He has gone to prepare a ptace for the believer. Since our Lord's ascension, believers are taken to that place immediately at death (2 Cor. 5:6-8). At the resurrection of the Church, the believer's body will be united with his spirit and soul in that prepared place. This place becomes the abode of the Bride until at the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. He will bring His Bride with Him.

    Many expositors understand that, during the millennium. Rev. 21:9-22:5 describes the New Jerusalem, the abode of the saved, in its relation to the earth. Ironside used the illustration of the New Jerusalem hanging over the earth like a gigantic chandelier, brought into proximity to the earth. The nations walk in the light of it (Rev. 21:23-24, where "light" of v.23 is better rendered "lamp").

    It would appear that Old Testament saints, who will have been raised at the second advent of Christ, will be brought into this place and join the Bridegroom and the Bride (Heb. 12:22-24).

    In Scripture the emphasis is not put so much on the place we shall occupy for eternity, but upon the fact that we will be WITH HIM. This enjoyment of His presence constitutes the believer's blessing and expectancy.

    Presumptively the New Heavens of Rev. 21 will be the site of the Church's eternal home and the new earth of Israel's eternal abode. Cp. Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1. The new heavens and the new earth are not viewed as two separate places but as two parts within the eternal state in which the redeemed live in His presence forever.
     
  3. THE DELIVERANCE OF THE KINGDOM BY THE SON TO THE FATHER
    In Lk. 19:12 Christ, in parabolic teaching, represents Himself as "receiving" the Kingdom. This pictures the beginning scene of the millennium.

    In 1 Cor. 15:24 we are told that Christ "delivers up" the Kingdom. This describes the scene at the end of the 1000 years after the Great White Throne judgment. This deliverance of the Kingdom will be made when all enemies including death have been defeated. It is the completion of the plan of redemption and by it the Son's stewardship and self-imposed subjection to the Father will be consumated. He then delivers the Kingdom to the Father "that God (the Godhead) may be all in all."

    The millennium is the subject of counsel and prophecy. This period will be administered in perfection by Christ the Second Man, after everything God had committed to man, whether Jew or Gentile, will have been "sinned away" by the failure of the First Man (Adam) and his progeny.

    "The eternal state is not the subject of promise nor prophecy; it is nowhere revealed in the Old Testament, but is the fruit of what God is in Him self--'Light' and 'Love.'

    "The fullest and most comprehensive statement as to the everlasting and absolutely perfect condition succeeding the millennium is in chapter 21:1-5 of the Revelation. All time distinctions are gone. We have passed into eternity."
     
  4. THE BELIEVERS' OCCUPATION
    It is most certain that we shall not get bored twiddling our thumbs as we sit on a cloudbank thrumming a harp. Since our Beloved is an exhaustless, limitless Person, we shall ever go on knowing Him more and more, better and better. Not only love, but faith and hope abide forever (1 Cor. 13:13). Thus heaven will be an expanding, growing, satisfying experience, and increasingly so. For one of the most challenging expositions of this viewpoint on eternity, it is suggested that the student read the climactic chapter of Dr. W. Graham Scroggie's book, The Love Life, on 1 Cor. 13.


CONCLUSION
It has been a long way from the purpose of God in (past) eternity and the first announcement of the Redeemer in Gen. 3:15 till we come to the end of time and the beginning of (future) eternity, when the Son delivers up the Kingdom to the Father, having fully completed redemption's last chapter.

As we contemplate the meaning of all this to us personally, our hearts will certainly be constrained to join the heart song of that dear saint of God, William R. Newell:

"Oh, the love that drew salvation's plan
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span At Calvary!

"Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty, At Calvary!"

Throughout the endless ages we shall join our voices with countless numbers of angels and redeemed men as they sing with "a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing!" Rev. 5:12.


 

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