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Nowhere in Scripture is everlasting torment set forth as the wages of sin. The nearest approach to such a declaration is in Matt. 25:46. „These shall go away into everlasting punishment.” What the punishment is, is not shown in this connection, except in the symbol „fire” (verse 41). The fire is as much a symbol as the other features of the parable, sheep, goats, etc. Fire is always a symbol of destruction, never a symbol of preservation. The nature of the punishment for willful sin, which is to last forever, is elsewhere stated plainly and explicitly to be death—destruction. „Who shall be punished with [or by] everlasting destruction [i.e. a destruction from which there shall be no recovery—no resurrection] from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thes. 1:9.) „The wages of sin is death” everlasting,—not life in torment everlasting.
Consider well the fact, that our Lord Jesus took the place of sinners under the first condemnation for sin (Adam’s). Had the penalty for sin been „everlasting torment,” he, in paying our penalty, would have been compelled to suffer whatever the sinners were condemned to suffer as sin’s penalty. It is written, Jehovah hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all. He bore our sins in his own body on the tree. He died the just one for the unjust. He gave himself a ransom—a corresponding price for all.
„He died for our sins,” but he did not suffer everlasting torment for our sins. Hence if there was no other evidence on the subject, this alone would prove that „The wages of sin is death” and not everlasting torment.
We have heretofore examined in these columns various figurative passages of the Bible, which from the prejudiced standpoint of early education, seem at first glance to favor everlasting torment. We refer new readers to the following articles in the October, 1886, issue: viz., „Undying Worms and Quenchless Fires,” „Turned into Hell,” and „The Lake of Fire and Brimstone.” See also March, 1886, issue, „As the Serpent Beguiled Eve.”
— April, 1887 —