The Duration Of Hell -- A Question

A querist asks, “Of what duration is that state to which the Scriptures assign the devil and his angels?”

To answer the querist’s question, we might ask this question: “Of what duration is God?” In Romans 1:20, His power and deity are said to be “aidios“— eternal, or everlasting. In 1 Timothy 1:17, God is called King eternal (aion) and His honor and glory is forever and ever (“aion”). In Revelation 20:10 the Devil is cast into the lake of fire and tormented forever (“aion”).

Of what duration is eternal life? While this term can refer to the quality of life in Christ, the etymology of the word “eternal” is that of duration — “an unbroken perpetuity of time.” In John 10:28, Christ relates eternal (“aion”) life with time, saying:

…. and they shall never perish neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” It is this same word (“aionios”) that is used to describe the fire and destruction of Matthew 18:8, Jude 1:7, 2 Thessalonians 1:9. The text in Matthew 25:46, assigns certain ones to punishment eternal (aionios) and others to life eternal (aionios).

What is the duration of hell (“gehenna“)? The same duration as heaven.

Being time-bound, mankind has time-bound concepts and terminology. He has had to adapt his words, by special usage (i.e., “ages of the ages” – 1 Timothy 1:17 YLT) to express perpetuity. When God wished to describe to man His eternal nature, He used terms man would understand. The Bible terms that describe the unbounded limits of the punishment that awaits those who rebel against God, are exactly the same terms used there to define the limitlessness of God, Christ, and of the heavenly home of saints.

Beloved, since we now know that the duration of hell will be exactly the same as that of heaven, let us now carefully consider where we will spend an unending eternity.

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets

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