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A Biblical Defense of Conditional Immortality

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Chapter 8

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Why Traditional Theology is Biblically Wrong About the First Century Phrase "gnashing of teeth."

A simple review of a few of the texts which have this phrase will clearly show that the traditional way of thinking of it as a statement of pain and suffering will be unwarranted. Our language and idioms simply are not the same as the biblical ones. Case in point....

Job 16:9 - He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me. (Obviously, the one doing the "gnashing of teeth" has great ANGER towards the other.)

Psalm 37:12 - The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. (Obviously, the wicked are ANGRY with the just and are "gnashing" their teeth at them.)

Lament 2:16 - ll thine enemies have opened their mouth against thee: they hiss and gnash the teeth: they say, We have swallowed her up: (Obviously, Israel's enemies are ANGRY and have attacked Israel. They are "gnashing" their teeth at Israel.)

Acts 7:54 - When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. (Obviously, Stephen's accusers were ANGRY with Stephen and have attacked him. They are "gnashing" their teeth at him in ANGER.)

So from the hermeneutical principle that "scripture interprets scripture," we can see very clearly that when Jesus (Yeshua) say's:

"There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out." Luke 13:28

He means on that day –

1) there will be many sad people 'weeping' at the realization that they have just lost the chance for immortality and will soon be put to death forever.

2) and there will be many very ANGRY people gnashing their teeth at God. It is they who will probably be cursing at God (i.e. gnashing their teeth) all the way to their last breath before being destroyed.

There is nothing more than "weeping and anger" that is being said in this ancient phrase "weeping and gnashing of teeth" which has been misinterpreted by tradition. The evangelical conditionalist position is biblically correct. Proper hermeneutics demands we compare scripture with scripture. This is a prime example of the help that comparison provides.

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Comments (4)

Topic: Conditional Immortality: Gnashing of Teeth
0/5 (0)
William West says...
A Resurrection to Immortality
One of the most complete web pages on immortality, resurrection, hell, and "weeping and gnashing of teeth"
9th December 2014 7:37am
Greg Whitsett says...
I was very impressed with everything I've listened to on this site, until you side stepped the verse where the rich man lifted his eyes from hell and tried to get some water to cool his tongue. Just the fact that he was carrying on in a conversation while there shows he was being tormented, and yet without being consumed. I was very disappointed with the way you stated that, Therefore, technically speaking, this scripture has no bearing on this doctrine. surely you can come up with a better explanation than that. these were the words of Christ, they definitely have some bearing on the doctrine of eternal torment.
9th December 2014 7:39am
James - webmaster says...
In response to Greg
I think what the author is saying is that even if you take Luke 16 literally, rather than a parable, the rich man was in Hades, which, as most would agree, is speaking of the intermediate state of the soul wherein it awaits the final judgment, resulting in the verdict of its ultimate fate. In other words, the intermediate state of the soul and the final state of the soul are entirely separate issues. Therefore the subject of hades in Luke 16, which is a temporary place, is not relevant to the argument as to whether or not the soul suffers eternally.
9th December 2014 7:41am
Josh says...
In response to Greg and James
I am a believer in conditional immortality, and I generally agree with the conclusions that most of my fellow annihilationists make about the story of Lazarus and the rich man. However, I believe that one of the reasons why people who either possibly considering conditional immortality, or who outright oppose it have such a hard time with our explaination(s) of this parable is because we miss one very important key point. Read here:
9th December 2014 7:42am
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