Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God! Exposing The Eisegesis Of Jonathan Edwards
Updated: Aug 2
In the introduction to Jonathan Edwards’ sermon ‘Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God’, I'm speaking of the first of the two videos posted in my blog ‘Where The Church Went Wrong! ~ Part 2’, R.C. Sproul said that Jonathan Edwards drew his concept of hell from the Bible. Is that true? Listed below is every verse that Jonathan Edwards used in his sermon, let’s examine them and see for ourselves if any of them support a present day place of fiery, eternal torment called hell, or whether I was correct in saying... "No, Jonathan Edwards got his sense of hell from the Puritan Protestant Reformation theology that he was indoctrinated with as he grew up, being the child of a Puritan Protestant Reformation pastor. That childhood indoctrination was then solidified once he got to a Protestant Reformation university such as Yale which was immersed in Calvinistic doctrine. All of which led to a total Calvinistic Protestant Reformation interpretation, or better yet, misinterpretation of Scripture. It is eisigesis on the grandest of scales!" Literally every verse Jonathan Edwards uses in his sermon is either taken out of context or wildly misconstrued according to his denominational indoctrination! Not a single verse should ever have been used to substantiate a place of fiery eternal torment called hell! 'Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God' is unrestrained Calvinism!" Verses referenced or alluded to in Jonathan Edwards’ sermon ‘Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God’... To me belongs vengeance, I will repay; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.
Deuteronomy 32:35 is from the Song of Moses written just before Moses dies and Israel enters into The Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua. It is a prophecy of a judgment that will fall on the nation of Israel for their lawlessness. This judgment has been fulfilled in temporal time via the Jewish Wars against the Roman Empire most vividly fulfilled in 70 A.D. and 135 A.D. when Israel was crushed to the point of extinction as they were driven out of The Promised Land. This judgment does not say one word about an eternal punishment, eternal torment or any such thing as a fiery place called hell! 18 Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. 19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors.
This destruction is temporal; it has no relationship to eternal destruction whatsoever. Furthermore there is no mention of eternal punishment, eternal torment or any such thing as a fiery place called hell! Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
The judgment in Luke 13:7 is left unsettled! The tree remained for at least another year as the gardener nurtured it further. But even if the tree were eventually cut down the judgment would have been temporal having nothing whatsoever to do with eternity! Furthermore there is no mention of eternal punishment, eternal torment or any such thing as a fiery place called hell! "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
The context of John 3:18 includes John 3:16, the most familiar verse in Scripture which tells us that Yahuah so loved the world He sent His only begotten Son. Isn’t it interesting how Jonathan Edwards cherry picks John 3:18 out of the context to do his bidding and ignores John 3:17 which says, “For Elohim did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”The judgment spoken of in John 3:18 is defined in verses 19-20 as the judgment between light and darkness, good and evil. There is no mention of eternal punishment, eternal torment or any such thing as a fiery place called hell! What is no doubt in play in this verse is the judgment between those of the 1stand 2ndResurrection. Those of Jonathan Edwards’ ilk believe the 2ndResurrection to result in eternal torment through their total lack of understanding regarding The Lake of Fire, which is NEVER called “hell”. Understanding The Lake of Fire through the lens of Proverbs 17:3 could open the minds of men and the error of their ways. Pro 17:3 A refining pot is for silver and a furnace for gold, But יהוה tries the hearts.The Lake of Fire is a metaphor proclaiming the restoration of those who did not have their names written in The Lamb’s Book of Life. It is a time when the people of the 2ndResurrection live in the refining presence of Messiah Yahusha who is a “consuming fire” that consumes the rebellion within the sinner, not the sinner themselves. Messiah Yahusha is also referenced in Malachi 3:2... Mal 3:2 “And who is able to bear the day of His coming, and who is able to stand when He appears? For He is like the fire of a refiner, and like the soap of a launderer.”A refiner’s fire purifies the metal of gold and silver, it does not destroy the metal and a launderer’s soap cleanses the clothes, it does not destroy them! The free will of those cast into The Lake of Fire eventually yields to the will of The Almighty and they will of their own accord bend the knee and confess with the tongue a faith in Messiah Yahusha as their Master and they will become obedient to His ways and have their names written into The Lamb’s Book of Life! But the wicked are like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
Do you see anything there that reflects a place of fiery, eternal torment called hell? Neither do I. What I do see though is that Isaiah 57:20 is preceded by what can in no otherwise be interpreted as anything but a context that speaks of remedial punishment that heals the wicked! Isa 57:14 And one shall say, “Heap it up! Heap it up! Prepare the way, take the stumbling-block out of the way of My people.” Isa 57:15 For thus declares the high and exalted One who dwells forever, whose Name is set-apart, “I dwell in the high and set-apart place, with him who has a bruised and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of bruised ones. Isa 57:16 “For I would not strive forever, nor am I wroth forever, for the spirit would grow faint before Me, even the beings I have made. Isa 57:17 “For the crookedness of his unfair gain I was wroth and I struck him. I hid Myself and was wroth, and he went on backsliding in the way of his heart. Isa 57:18 “I have seen his ways, but now I heal him, and I lead him, and restore comforts to him and to his mourners, Isa 57:19 creating the fruit of the lips: peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,” said יהוה, “and I shall heal him.” How dishonest is it then for Jonathan Edwards to cherry pick verse 20 and make a big deal of it as though this somehow speaks of eternal torment in a fiery place called hell? It doesn’t! For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
1 Thessalonians 5:3
The Partial Preterist view of 1 Thessalonians 5:3, of which I’m one, is that this is a dual fulfillment prophecy. This prophecy initially warns the people of Israel of the coming onslaught that took place in 70 A.D. but then also secondly warns those who live just prior to the 2ndComing of Messiah Yahusha of the wrath of Yahuah that will be poured out during The Great Tribulation of 3.5 years followed immediately by Messiah’s return. But whether you’re a Preterist, Partial Preterist or Futurist this destruction takes place in temporal time, it is not a judgment that continues on in to eternity! The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provokes him to anger sins against his own soul.
This of course speaks of death being the consequence of our sin that has provoked The Almighty, it is an analogy but it falls short of the will of The Almighty who is capable of resurrecting the dead and restoring them to righteous behavior. Furthermore there is no mention of eternal punishment, eternal torment or any such thing as a fiery place called hell! 4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
The first thing to address here is which “hell” is this verse speaking of? In this case it’s talking about Gehenna, the garbage dump just south of Jerusalem where criminals who were put to death for their crimes were thrown and consumed by fires that were set and the worms that lived off the remains. During the Millennial Reign Messiah Yahusha will reign with a rod of iron and certain violations of His Torah will once again be adjudicated through capitol punishment where the criminal will be put to death and then Messiah Yahusha will have their bodies cast into Gehenna, the garbage dump of Jerusalem, denying them of a proper burial. This was the fear that they were to have, no one should want to be exposed to the humiliation of such an end to their life. Furthermore there is no mention of eternal punishment, eternal torment or any such thing as a fiery place called hell! He will repay his enemies for their evil deeds. His fury will fall on his foes. He will pay them back even to the ends of the earth.
Isaiah 59:18, NLT
This verse is talking about the enemies of Israel, not Israel itself. The verse has nothing whatsoever to do with believers or even pseudo-believers; it only references the enemies of Israel and therefore His enemies. This verse has nothing whatsoever to do with eternal punishment, eternal torment or any such thing as a fiery place called hell! For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.
Isaiah 66:15 is a prophecy proclaiming The Great Tribulation when Messiah Yahusha, Son of Yahuah pours out His wrath on the entire planet. Billions of people will lose their lives; large portions of the earth will be razed with fire. However, this takes place in temporal time, it is a judgment that does not carry over into eternity, there is no mention of eternal punishment, eternal torment of a fiery place called hell. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Revelation 19:15, NKJV
Revelation 19:15 is speaking of Messiah’s reign over the nations during the Millennial Reign, it does not speak of any judgment carrying over into eternity. One of the key words in the verse is being here translated as “rule”, here is another translation from The Scriptures 2009 Version that gives the verse an entirely different tone... Rev 19:15 “And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations. And He shall shepherd them with a rod of iron.And He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Ěl Shaddai.”Once again, there is no mention of eternal punishment, eternal torment or a fiery place called hell. "Therefore I also will act in fury. My eye will not spare nor will I have pity; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them."
This vision given to Ezekiel took place sometime between 593 and 565 B.C during his time in Babylonian exile. When the events within the vision actually took place I’m not certain, nevertheless Yahuah’s response to what was taking place within the Temple, whenever that happened, has nothing to do with eternal torment, eternal punishment or a fiery place called hell. His rejection of those doing creepy things within His Temple takes place during temporal time and does not carry over into eternity, that should be clear. 25 Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes,
The “calamity” and “terror” comes in 70 A.D., i.e. in temporal time. It has nothing whatsoever to do with eternity, eternal punishment, eternal torment or a fiery place called hell. I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
Whatever this trampling of the winepress is talking about it involves the land of Edom and the town of Bozrah. This would have taken place long ago and has nothing to do with any judgment extending into eternity. There is no mention of eternal punishment, eternal torment or any such thing as a fiery place called hell. What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
Who were the ones that Yahuah “endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction”? Wouldn’t that be the Jews? But what are we told in Roman’s 11:26? Rom 11:26 And so all Yisra’ěl shall be saved, as it has been written, “The Deliverer shall come out of Tsiyon, and He shall turn away wickedness from Ya‛aqoḇ,Rom 11:27 and this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” Which is a quote from Isaiah 59:20-21. So this “destruction” most certainly isn’t eternal!!! This “destruction” is temporal and does not extend into eternity. There is no mention here of eternal punishment, eternal torment or eternal destruction and there is no mention of a fiery place called hell! 12 And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire. 13 Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might.
Isaiah 33 refers to the only Assyrian invasion of Judah and siege of Jerusalem: that undertaken by Sennacherib in 701. This once again has nothing to say about any judgment that carries over into eternity, this all took place in temporal time. There is no mention of eternal torment, eternal punishment or any fiery place called hell. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Matthew 3:10 is another reference to the Roman Empire’s campaign of destruction that wipes out Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D., not to mention a half million Jews! This should be realized according to verse 7 which says, “And seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his immersion, he said to them, “Brood of adders! Who has warned you to flee from the coming wrath?”That judgment of Yahuah’s wrath was fulfilled in temporal time and it does not extend into eternity. There is yet again no mention of eternal punishment, eternal torment or any fiery place called hell. The overwhelming evidence here is that not a single verse Jonathan Edwards used in his sermon ‘Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God’ says anything about a present day place of fiery, eternal torment called hell! When judgments are sited each and everyone of them take place temporally, none of them carry over into eternity. Not one! This then leaves the remainder of Jonathan Edwards' sermon 'Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God' to be nothing more than the wickedly vivid imagination of a highly indoctrinated man. Intelligent as he undoubtedly was, Jonathan Edwards was brainwashed into believing the very lies Messiah Yahusha adamantly proclaimed victory over in saying to Peter, "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."