The wicked will be annihilated, and they will be as if they had never existed




Many sects teach that the wicked will be annihilated, that is to say, they will be condemned to extinction (which is the second death). Therefore, according to their teaching, the ultimate end of the wicked is annihilation or extinction of being.

Seventh-Day Adventist Church: ‘The wicked will be raised at the end of the millennium; at this time Christ, accompanied by all the saints, will descend to earth again. He will command all the wicked dead to arise. After the unbelieving dead are brought back to life, they begin to spread over the earth. Then Satan will deceive the risen wicked into thinking that they can take the city of God by force. So he will gather his hosts into battle array for a final assault upon the ‘camp of the saints’, that is, the New Jerusalem which has just descended with Christ from heaven. This great battle will end in Satan’s final defeat. Fire will come down from God out of heaven and will annihilate Satan, his evil angels, and all the wicked. This annihilation is called the second death. However, before the annihilation there will be gradations of suffering, depending upon the guilt of the person or demon involved. ‘The universe will thus be freed of sin and sinners forever.’ (Fundamental Beliefs, Article 26)

Jehovah’s Witnesses. Total annihilation is the doom of the ‘goats’ (that is, the enemies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) at the battle of Armageddon (cf. Let God Be True, page 97); of all those who will not be raised during the millennium, such as Adam, Eve, Cain, those who died in the flood, the people of Sodom, Judas Iscariot, and the religions hypocrites of Jesus’ day (cf. Paradise Lost, page 236; You May Survive Armageddon, page 354); of all those who, though living on the new earth during the millennium, refuse to obey God’s kingdom (cf. Paradise Lost, page 237; You May Survive Armageddon, page 356); and of all who follow Satan in his final battle (cf. Let God Be True, page 270). Gehenna, ‘second death,’ and the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, all stand for total annihilation (cf. The Truth Shall Make You Free, page 364). As you can see, according to Jehovah’s Witnesses, not all the wicked will rise again, for some people have already ceased to exist (since they deny that man has an immortal soul which continues to exist consciously after death, those who will not be risen again have been plunged by death into the condition of non-existence).

The followers of Herbert Armstrong: ‘Now back to Revelation 20. Verses 13 to 15 indicate that there will then be a last, final resurrection of the incorrigible who have rejected the eternal salvation offered them. They, with any such living at the end of the Millennium, will then die the second death – utter extinction – in the lake of fire …’ (Herbert W. Armstrong, The Incredible Human Potential, Pasadena, California, 1978, page 164)

The Way International. Death for the believer is referred to as falling asleep because in sleep there is an awakening point. But for the unbeliever, the Christ rejector, the ungodly, their resurrection is temporary for they shall meet a second and final death (Wierwille, Are the Dead Alive Now?, p. 98).

The Christadelphian Church: ‘The hell fire of the Bible is the destruction of everything which is displeasing in God's sight at a time of judgment. It is also called the "everlasting fire" and the "lake of fire’ (

Even some people who are regarded as Evangelicals – such as Clark Pinnock, John Wenham, Philip Hughes, and Stephen Travis [1] - teach ‘annihilationism.’






The wicked will be tormented forever, that is, they will suffer unspeakable torments for all eternity. That’s what the Scripture teaches about the final destiny of the wicked.

Let us look at the passages of the Scripture which attest what I have just said.

● Jesus said about those who on that day will be put on His left: “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46).

● Paul says to the Thessalonians: “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-9).

● John wrote these words in the book of Revelation: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).

Please note this expression “and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever” which indicates that their torment will be without end; and note also this other expression “they have no rest day and night” which indicates that those people will have no rest for all eternity, unlike those who will live forever with the Lord about whom the Scripture says that they will rest from their labours.

● John wrote in the book of Revelation that the false prophet and the beast and the devil will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone where they “shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). Obviously, since the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters and all liars will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, it follows that they also will be tormented forever and ever (Revelation 21:8).

● Jesus said: “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell [gehenna] fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:47-48).

I want to point out that in Gehenna (or the lake of fire) the worm of the wicked does not die and the fire is not quenched, which indicates that their torment will be continuous, endless.

● Jude said about Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns: “… giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7).

That means that when the inhabitants of those wicked towns rise again on that day, they will be sentenced to everlasting torment and will be cast into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. However, at the present time the inhabitants of those towns are being tormented by fire because they are in a place of torment called Hades (Greek word which means ‘unseen world’ and which is translated ‘hell’ ten times in the King James Version).

As you can see, the above mentioned passages in one way or another speak about an everlasting punishment which will be inflicted on the wicked, which will be an everlasting torment into an everlasting fire. I would like to point out that the everlasting fire is a fire that will last for an endless time, I say this because I know that some assert that one day this fire will end! But – I ask – if one day it will end how could it be defined everlasting?

Let no one deceive you with empty words, the fire prepared for the devil and his angels into which the wicked will be cast on the day of judgement is everlasting and all the wicked will be tormented forever into it.






[1] Clark Pinnock, "The Destruction of the Finally Impenitent"; "Fire, Then Nothing," Christianity Today, 20 March 1987, 40-41; John Wenham, The Goodness of God (London: Inter-Varsity, 1974), 27-41; Philip Hughes, The True Image (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989), 398 ff.; and Stephen Travis, I Believe in the Second Coming of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), 196-99.