Suffering: What is worse than the suffering that God allows? Part 4

This is Part 4 of 4 parts answering the question, “What is worse than the suffering that God allows?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?”  

The Worst Suffering a Person Can Experience (cont.)

Fourthly, it is described as torments. Torments is only the beginning as this was the holding “tank” prior to the Lake of Fire in the account Jesus foretold of Lazarus and the rich man. This temporary situation was only the beginning of the eternal pain,

23 “And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 “Then he cried and said, `Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'(Luke 16:23-24 NKJ)

Fifthly, it is described as a Lake of Fire. What could be worse than an eternity drowning in a Lake of Fire. John described it,

11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.(Rev. 20:11-15 NKJ)

All unbelievers (and fallen angels) will end up in this lake of fire. Arnold Fruchtenbaum clarifies the meaning of this everlasting destruction,

The punishment includes both the soul and the body. Both death and Hades are cast into the lake of fire. Death refers to the material part of man, the body; Hades refers to the immaterial part of man, the soul and spirit. The lake of fire is a punishment for both of these.2

Certainly, no one will want this, even those who joke about it now. Everyone will regret their rejection of God’s grace and gift extended to them in Jesus Christ. May the Lord be merciful and extend the time for all to have that opportunity to believe. Praise God that He is sovereign and always just.

Discussion Questions:

1) What was the worst suffering you have experienced?

2) How would you describe suffering related to separation from  a person? Is that really that painful?

3) People that are abused are happy to be separated from their abuser. How would you disciple someone who has been abused that separation from God would be painful?

4) Can you relate to the different forms of suffering that people will experience in hell? Would darkness really be that bad?

5) How should this impact our lives today? Is there someone that you should talk with so they can avoid this kind of death in eternity?

1,897885,898287 cited on June 25, 2014.

2Fruchtenbaum, Arnold,  MBS 107 “The Place of the Dead,” p. 13.


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