- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Questions about Eternity, Heaven and Hell
- Published on Tuesday, 08 February 2011 09:33
Do Scriptures such as Luke 12:47-48 and Revelaion 20:12 teach that there are degrees in punishment for the wicked dead?
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Luke 12:47-48 And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
These scriptures certainly do teach degrees of punishment. The former passage especially lays down what is doubtless a general principle of God’s dealings in judgment, namely, that the punishment varies, not so much according to the amount of evil inherent in the act itself, as according to the amount of knowledge of right and wrong possessed by the sinner. It is worthy of note that “the servant which knew” is beaten with many stripes, merely for not doing things he should have done, i.e. for sins of omission; while “he that knew not” gets his few stripes for wrong things done by him, i.e. for sins of commission. Another passage in which the same principle is strongly emphasised is Matthew 11:20-24, where Christ pronounces woes on the cities in which He had preached most, and in doing so says that it shall be more tolerable for Tyre, Sidon, and even Sodom in the day of judgment than for them.