Question: Doug Batchelor, the Seventh day Adventist teacher with the Amazing Facts prophecy seminars, has tried to say that the word "everlasting" (Matthew:25:46), as in the "everlasting" punishment of hell, doesn't necessarily mean "forever." He says the only thing everlasting is the finality of the Lord's judgment. Is he correct?
Response: The "everlasting punishment" of the wicked and the "life eternal" of the righteous parallel each other. Both involve duration (i.e. "everlasting), but with a vast difference in experience. Further, "eternal" and "everlasting" are both translated from the word aión. Batchelor is arbitrarily assigning meaning to Scripture based upon his preconceived ideas.
The same argument that Batchelor uses to discredit the idea of an everlasting hell can also be used to argue against an everlasting heaven. In contrast, Revelation:20:10 clearly tells us, "The devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." Literally, their torment is everlasting. The phrase "day and night" denotes a passage of time and certainly does not refer to a one-time annihilation.
Concerning the saints, those taken alive into heaven at the Rapture will "...ever be with the Lord" (1 Thes 4:17). Those saved who die before the Rapture, "...know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2 Cor:5:1).
Hell and heaven are both everlasting.