The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 1


CHAPTER SEVEN: Eternal Destruction Is Decreed—Doom of Wicked

I. Utter Destruction Ultimate Fate of Intractably Wicked

We now come to the final phase of the tragic episode of sin—the ultimate and utter destruction of the unrepentant sinner if he willfully clings to his sin. According to the Inspired Word all such will be destroyed “root” and “branch.” This means Satan and his evil angels, together with all the incorrigibly wicked who have joined in the great rebellion against God and His government and law, and have spurned His proffered redemption and righteousness. Here is a typical passage from the last chapter of the last book of the Old Testament: CFF1 105.1

“For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch” (Malachi 4:1). CFF1 105.2

The writers of the Old Testament seem to have exhausted the resources of the language at their command—the Hebrew tongue—to affirm the complete destruction of the intractable sinner. The major Hebrew verb roots (such as destroy, perish, consume, cut off, burn up) are literal, and are used to signify the total extinction, or excision, of such animate beings. CFF1 105.3

Other expressions are figurative—couched in metaphor, simile, symbol, analogy, metonomy, synecdoche, comparison, and allegory. But they are all designed to further enforce this foundational emphasis. These must be noted in some detail, as we can only determine their real significance by surveying their over-all Biblical usage. CFF1 105.4

Picture 1: Destruction of Wicked:
The Ultimate and Utter Destruction of the Wicked Will Forever End the Terrors, Sorrows, and Memories of Sin. Then the Fires Will Go Out.
Page 106


The Old Testament uses some fifty verbs (along with their Greek equivalents in the Septuagint and the New Testament), signifying different aspects of destruction when setting forth the ultimate doom of the wicked. Many of them declare absolute cessation of existence. Others point strongly in that direction, and the clear must always explain the obscure. Together they constitute overwhelming testimony. Indeed, no stronger terms are to be found in any language than those employed in both the Old and the New Testament to connote ultimate total extinction of being for the wicked. Note the scope of the terms. CFF1 106.1


In order for us to get the over-all picture, here is an imposing list of English equivalents used in translating the Old Testament terms: Destroy, end, consume, devour, take away, tread down, burn, burn up, cut of, hew down, cut down, break in pieces, quench, go out, extinguish, slay, break down, overthrow, cast down, destroy utterly, sink down in a pit, beat down, melt away, die, mortify, put to death, strike, melt, pluck out, fall, dash in Pieces, scatter as dust, pass away, trample underfoot, root out, bring to nought. No loopholes are left. CFF1 106.2

Only God can dissipate the “breath,” efface the personality, and destroy the sinful ego, or entity, comprising man. And He has fully and irrevocably declared the fate of the incorrigibly wicked. Such is the witness of the literal depictions. CFF1 107.1


And here are some of the varied figurative or proverbial expressions that harmonize with, and consistently buttress, the nonfigurative literal declarations concerning the ultimate end of existence for persistent evildoers: They will be as a vessel broken to pieces, as ashes trodden underfoot, as smoke that vanisheth, as chaf carried away by the wind, as tow that is burned, as bundles of dry tares, as thorns and stubble, as vine branches pruned off, as wax that is melted, as the fat of sacrifices—all combustible and all destructible by fire. And all of these expressions, it, will be observed, likewise preclude the notion of sufferings infinitely prolonged. CFF1 107.2

Again, the wicked will pass like the morning cloud, like the early dew, like a dream when one awakens. Other figures in the Scripture symbolism are: the lost sheep, threatened with speedy death by hunger and thirst or the wolf’s jaws; the withered tree, without root or branch; the garment that is moth-eaten; the ax and the fire, and the leprosy that consumes the tissues. Everywhere and always the concept prevails of the decomposition, of the breaking up of the organism and final cessation of the existence of being—never that of immortal life in endless suffering. CFF1 107.3


A striking but typical example of Old Testament teaching is found in Psalm 37. Here are nine different expressions concentrated in the one Psalm, italicized to bring out the intent: CFF1 107.4

Or take the eighteenth chapter of Job, with seven declarations: CFF1 108.1

Job 18:5—“The light of the wicked shall be put out.”
Job 18:6—“His candle shall be put out with him.”
Job 18:12—“Destruction shall be ready at his side.”
Job 18:13—“It [destruction] shall devour the strength of his skin.”
Job 18:16—“His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off.”
Job 18:17—“His remembrance shall perish from the earth.”
Job 18:18—“He shall be ... chased out of the world.”
Job 20:9—“The eye ... shall see him no more.”

A wide range of individual declarations of similar intent and equal intensity is scattered all the way from Genesis to Malachi. CFF1 108.2