Mennonite Articles of Faith (1766) - Article 36
XXXVI. Of Eternal Punishment.
Respecting the condition of those who in the final judgment will be condemned, we believe that it will be unhappy and terrible beyond all conception (Daniel 12:2), because the Holy Spirit represents it throughout in terms of all that is dreadful and insufferable (Hebrews 12:29; Isaiah 33:14), speaking of it now as hell (Matthew 10:28; 18:9; 2 Peter 2:4) or the valley of the children of Hinnom where the idolatrous Israelites formerly cast their children as an offering into the glowing arms of Moloch to be burned with fire; then as a furnace of fire (Matthew 13:50), a pit burning with fire and brimstone (Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 14, 15; 21:8) an outer darkness (Matthew 25: 30), the gnawing of a worm that death not (Mark 9:43-48) and fire that is not quenched (Matthew 3:12), and more of like import (Matthew 18:34). From all these dreadful representations we have every reason to assume that that condition will be one of utter perdition from God (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Matthew 7:23; Luke 13:27, 28), from all good, all comfort (Luke 16:24, 25), and all salvation, as also a realization of the insufferable wrath of almighty God (Revelation 6:16, 17) and His avenging justice (2 Thessalonians 1:8; Hebrews 10:30, 31), both as to soul and body, without any hope of escape or relief in all eternity. Matthew 25:46.
In their bodies, as we can conceive of it, the condemned will be standing without (Luke 13:25) when the blessed have been caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) when all the doors of hope and of escape both on earth and in heaven shall be shut (Matthew 25:10), when all the elements, kindled with fire, will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10-12), the bottomless abyss opening to engulf alive these unhappy ones as were in their time Korah, Dathan and Abiram (Numbers 16:32, 33) and the Sodomites, they being thus consumed with the earth and all that is upon it that they loved (2 Timothy 3:2-4; Psalms 17:14; Luke 17:26-30; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 Peter 3:7), yet their changed bodies being indestructible, they are not annihilated (Revelation 9:6) but will suffer the fire of eternal punishment.
Regarding the soul, they will not only, as said above, be separated by a great gulf from God and the blessed and from every sort of comfort, but will, moreover, be most painfully tormented, by the undying recollection of so many proffered means of grace (Matthew 21:20-24) opportunities (Matthew 11:28; 23:37; Isaiah 55), and convincing appeals to God's goodness (Acts 14:17; Romans 1:16-25; 2:1-24; Revelation 3:20), and the willful neglect and refusal of the same (Matthew 22:5; Hebrews 2:3; 10:29; Acts 13:40-46) as well as all manner of unrighteous deeds. This consciousness with the consequent belated repentance, chagrin, and despair (Genesis 4:13, 14; Matthew 27:3-5), will cause a torment far exceeding all our present conception.
All this will be aggravated by the exceeding terribleness of the company of the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41) together with all wicked sinners (Galatians 5.19-21; Ephesians 5:3-6; Jude 14-16; Revelation 22:15) and by the sound of their blasphemies against God and all that is good. Revelation 16:9, 11, 21. Moreover, that which makes this unhappy condition most desperately terrible is the fact that the Holy Scriptures do not give the least ground to expect a release from the same, but on the contrary they call it an eternal punishment, an everlasting fire, and unquenchable fire, a worm that dieth not, etc.
However, it is certain that there will be degrees in these punishments (Luke 12:47, 48) so that it will be more tolerable for them of Tyre and Sidon, and of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for such places and persons among whom the Lord has manifested Himself with especial means of knowledge and convicting power (Matthew 12:41, 42), such distinction being indeed a necessary part of the exercise of the most perfect justice, which will be manifested in this as in all other works of God. Galatians 6:7, 8.
May He give us grace, that in the right way we may flee from this wrath to come! Amen.
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