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Temporary Hell

John Collins05/03/2014
Seek The Truth Blog

William Branham promoted an idea found in Charles Taze Russell's "Jehovah of the Watchtower (page 24)," concerning the idea of a temporary punishment -- one of the ideas from Russell's "cardinal doctrines of the Bible" that caused many to label him as a heretic. According to Russell, scriptures describing an "everlasting" or "eternal" hell were incorrect, and he challenged orthodox Christianity. 

I believe that this doctrine of eternal hell is a lie against man--is a lie against God, and sooner than preach it, I would let my tongue rot in my mouth.

As to the atrocious dogma of an eternal hell of inconceivable torment, does our "sensitive modern philosophy" imagine that it has outgrown the Scriptures?
Russell, 1891, "Watchman, What of the Night?"

There are many verses that describe the "eternal fire," though the King James translation sometimes uses the word "everlasting." Here are three examples:

Matthew 18:8:
And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. 

Matthew 25:41:
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 

Jude 1:7:
just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

The greek word "aionion" is used in the original translation for what we read here as "eternal." (Strongs 166). Ironically, it is the same word used for "eternal life." ( So if we follow Branham's teaching out to conclusion, by denying an eternal fire, he was also denying eternal life. This word is one and the same. 

Here are three examples of the same word being used to describe eternal life:

Matthew 19:29 Adj-AFS
NAS: and will inherit eternal life.
KJV: and shall inherit everlasting life.
INT: and life eternal will inherit

Matthew 25:46 Adj-AFS
NAS: but the righteous into eternal life.
KJV: into life eternal.
INT: into life eternal
Mark 10:17 Adj-AFS

NAS: shall I do to inherit eternal life?
KJV: that I may inherit eternal life?
INT: that life eternal I might inherit

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