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If God’s people with everlasting life are the only ones who can go to hell, you might ask, why are there no examples in the Bible of God’s people going to hell? And you’d feel pretty safe asking that question because if there were examples in the Bible someone would be preaching them...wouldn’t they? Well, you are about to get a big lesson in how tradition makes the word of God of none effect because there are plenty of examples of Christians going to hell: Let’s answer the question, WHO ARE THE WICKED?
Ps 9:17: “The wicked” – this verse tells us – are the people who go to hell. But who are they? The verse continues with “and all the nations that forget God.” You cannot “forget” something if you never knew it, therefore this verse says the wicked who go to hell are God’s people (Je 13:25) who turn their backs on Him. Is 55:7 supports this because it says the “wicked” should return to God. Remember, the prodigal son was a son who left, but then repented and returned. And the lost sheep are members of the flock who strayed. The shepherd then tries to get them back.
1 Co 5:11-13: Bad Christians are the “wicked” who must be put away.
Ps 50:16,17,22: The “wicked” are those who preach His word, eat His covenant (Je 15:16), and then despise the word, cast it away, and forget God. How can any Christian forget God? Well, in one of our discussions about carnality we defined it as ignoring God. In a practical way and from God’s perspective I’m sure you can see why He might consider a Christian’s use of the carnal mind to be forgetting and forsaking Him.
Ps 119:53: The “wicked” are those who “forsake” God’s law. Forsake means to withdraw from a previous relationship, to desert, to abandon.
Ps 55:3,12-15: The “wicked” that David is praying will die and go to hell are his fellow churchgoers. Note: About now a few of our well-intentioned brethren usually say, “But personally I think these people were professors, not possessors of the faith; they were not true believers, they were never really born again because they never truly repented.” And they will mention something like He 3:19 and its companion verse Jude 5, and will insist 2 Ti 3:7 is speaking about the unsaved. What they are really trying to defend is the idea that only the unsaved go to hell, which in turn requires not just the immortality of the unregenerate soul (thoroughly covered in chapter D27), but a second, immortal body (which we discussed in chapter D7). Remember, never let the traditionalists get away with trying to ignore the second body, without which a person is not qualified to enter everlasting hell. The guy in 2 Ti 3:7 is a Christian who has failed part two of salvation, which is the second part of 1 Ti 2:4 – becoming fruitful, a doer, obedient; it is the Christian walk. When a person gets saved he knows almost nothing about the Bible because he has just been birthed; he is a spiritual baby in Christ. Next comes the growing up part, the Christian walk, the pilgrim’s progress, the growing in knowledge of the truth in order to know how to be obedient, to be a doer of the word. If a Christian fails to become a knowledgeable and obedient doer he will, just like God’s people in He 3:19 and Jude 5, be sent to hell for unbelief (see SYNONYMS on page H1-2). To suggest that the people in Jude 5 were not God’s people (Nu 14&16) who were saved out of the world is absurd.
Notice in Jude 6, while we’re on the subject of who goes to hell, that it’s God’s people who get everlasting punishment. And now pay particular attention to the fact that Jude 7 is not an example of pagans going to hell. The people in Sodom and Gomorrha, like all the rest of the adults in the world who were contemporary with Abraham, were Christian descendants of Noah who had gone bad and been cast away. Remember, the human race was not divided into saints and dogs until the call of Abraham as an adult. When Abraham was called, all of his fellow saints on earth (the entire population) were booted from God’s house (like Lucifer and his fellow rebels had been), lost their inheritance, and would split hell wide open when they died (He 6:4-8; 10:26-29; 12:13-17; Ro 11:21; Ps 51:11). That’s how Lot found it so easy to move to Sodom, rear his family, and go to church; Sodom was full of people who were just like many Christians today – angels who had fallen, possessors of everlasting life who were destined for everlasting fire. Now you know why the Bible says Lot was vexed with the filthy conversation of “the wicked” (2 Pe 2:7); they were damned Christians. That verse shows Lot felt the same way about his “wicked” brethren as did David in Ps 55:3,12-15; Paul in 1 Co 5:11-13; Peter in 2 Pe 2; and the spiritual application of the Lord’s statement in Mt 10:36, which was also David’s problem in Ps 119:53,139.
Ps 139:19,20; Pv 30:9: “The wicked” are Christians who take God’s name in vain. Notice, these verses do not say “use God’s name in vain” and neither does the Commandment (Ex 20:7). Why does God say “take”? Because in marriage a bride symbolizes her faithfulness to and unity with her husband by losing her identity and taking her husband’s name upon herself. That’s why Christ’s brides do everything in Jesus’ name. Christians who are “the wicked” are those who are put away by Christ and thrown into hell – that is, they took His name upon themselves but it turned out to be in vain.
Ps 106:12-21,40: A good review of “the wicked.” It shows God’s wrath (“fire” and “flame”) is directed at His people who “forgat God.”
Ezek 3:17-21: A warning to the wicked, God’s people gone bad. Notice that verses 18 and 20 say the same thing using slightly different words: In v.18 the person is called “the wicked” and “the wicked man.” Then v.20 starts out with “Again” indicating that God is repeating Himself, and in this verse the person is clearly identified as “a righteous man” (saved) who turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity.
These verses in Ezek 3 help clear up any confusion about whom the “righteous” and the “wicked” are in Ezek 18:20,21 and Ezek 33:12-20. If you mentally add the word Christian after both “righteous” and “wicked” when reading the texts, it will become clear that the subject is God’s people; the unsaved are neither present nor are they mentioned. To verify that the verses do deal with God’s people without having to mentally add the word Christian, read Ezek 3:1,4-9,11,17. Also notice in Ezek 33:2-9 that God is setting the stage; He’s giving the reasons for, and the importance of, His order to Ezekiel, which begins in v.10 and starts with “Therefore” in reference to verses 2-9, which show the subject is in fact God’s people.
Is 5:11-25: This passage, like Ezek 3, is a warning to “the wicked.” God’s people have turned aside rather than grow in the knowledge of the truth (v.13). They have done it by letting their carnal minds rule (v.21) so that evil has become good and good has become evil (v.20). These sins justify the punishment of God’s wicked people because they cause Christ’s righteousness to be taken away from His righteous people (v.23). Because God’s people have angered Him (v.25), they will descend into a ready and waiting hell (v.14). In the Bible it is always God’s people who go to hell – never the unqualified unregenerate.
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Mt 5:29: The wicked members of Christ’s body, like limbs with gangrene or cancer, are cut off and cast into hell so the rest of the body doesn’t end up there also. See also Jn 15:2,6: the wicked “in me” are cut off and cast into hell.
Mt 23:15: Without knowing it, God’s people had gone blind to the truth through tradition and their carnal minds. And they went out soul winning and dragged their converts into hell with them. I’m not saying the Christians Christ rebuked by pointing out their lack of expertise about the Bible weren’t nice people; they were very nice, honest, and decent. But they were carnal. Because they didn’t consult the Scriptures about everything in their lives they had to invent lots of little ways to make their dependency on their carnal minds look “Christian.” One of their methods to avoid the Bible and exalt that which was right in their own eyes was to run around chirping, “WWJD?” It stands for “What would Jesus do?” Then they’d consult tradition and Reason and assume the Lord would go along with their carnal logic. WWJD? – He’d publicly rebuke them for not going by the Scriptures.
Mt 7:21-23: Even when God’s people are mighty enough in the Spirit to cast out devils in Jesus’ name, they can still “lose it.”
Mt 13:49,50: “The wicked”, like members of Christ’s body that offend, are severed from among the just and cast into hell.
Mt 25:41-46: Verse 41 says the everlasting fire was created for God’s spirit children with everlasting life who go bad. Verses 42-45 are important because they show that at Judgment God had expected these goats on His left to please rather than disappoint Him! But a quick review of Ro 8:7-9 and 1 Co 2:14 shows that God would never expect the unsaved to please Him. These goats are Christians who received the everlasting spirit body through salvation, were therefore expected to please God, did not, and “shall go away to everlasting punishment” (v.46).
Now we can see why verses like 2 Pe 2:20-22 mean exactly what they say. And we begin to see why there is not a single example in the Bible of anyone who is not one of God’s people ever going to hell – because they can’t! The doctrine claiming the unregenerate can and do go to hell is simply not in the Bible. Therefore the doctrine did not come from God. It came from philosophy. It is called the leaven of the Pharisees, the doctrine of devils. The devils are – like the Devil himself – sons of God. That’s why Satan is called “that wicked one” (1 Jn 3:12). Only the wicked children of God – who have everlasting spirit life – are qualified for hell.
Once we dump our human pride and our faith in men by realizing much of what we’ve been taught and believed for generations has not been in the Bible (!), we will gain a better appreciation for Ec 1 (history repeats itself), because today just before the Second Coming we are no less blind, Scripturally ignorant, and bound by traditional doctrine than were God’s people at the First Coming. And if we don’t let the Bible straighten us out we, too, will despise Christ at His coming, reject His doctrines, and prefer the traditional, philosophy-based morals and values of the Antichrist. Once it sinks in that the wicked are Christians, and that our enemies really are they of our own Household (Mt 10:36), maybe we’ll get serious about our Bible study and Christian walk, become dedicated soldiers fighting for the cause of Christ by recognizing and doing something about carnal Christians who act like puking dogs, and maybe we’ll stop being politically active, effeminate conservatives who waste time trying to convince a secular society of dogs to stop barking, humping, and vomiting.
Note: The word wicked is not always used in conjunction with people who have everlasting life. Wicked is also used to describe the unsaved because it happens to be a generic word. However, tradition has incorrectly given the Bible word wicked a meaning that applies only to the unsaved. Do not think I am here trying to do just the opposite by always defining wicked as evil saints. Wicked is just a word that means bad. When God’s people had dominion, for example, they had problems with foreign countries warring against Israel. The Bible variously refers to these foreigners as wicked, enemies, heathen, and strangers. Therefore, don’t assume its use in the Bible always applies exclusively to saints or always applies exclusively to dogs; let the context in the Bible establish the meaning of the word and your doctrine – not tradition.
The important thing to notice about the wicked is that whenever they are mentioned in conjunction with going to hell the Bible makes it clear it is talking about God’s people – never the unregenerate.