The Unsaved After Death
By Radio Pastor Perry F. Rockwood
Published by The Peoples Gospel Hour
1. The Place Called Hell
Any series of messages on Hell will not be popular in this day when modern thinking is so anti-Bible. I might also add that such preaching will not even be accepted by most preachers of our nation for a sermon on Hell and Judgment is seldom heard from the pulpits of our day.
Our primary reason for preaching on this subject is that the Bible teaches the reality of Hell. Jesus spoke more about Hell than Heaven. If we want to be true to the Bible and true to Jesus we must in all honesty preach on Hell. People usually have one main argument against such preaching. “God is too good to send people to Hell”, they say.
The Lord is good, true! And in His great mercy He has provided a way of escape but people send themselves to Hell by rejecting His only way of salvation. It is important to sound forth the truth of Hell because the multitudes will never hear such preaching from our modem pulpits. God says we must warn people, “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; BUT HIS BLOOD WILL I REQUIRE AT THINE HAND” (Ezek. 3:17,18).
While it is true that the present generation has almost eliminated Hell from its vocabulary (except in profanity) and has tried to extinguish the fires of Hell with humanistic philosophy, yet the Bible remains the same. It is the unaltered Word of God.
“Hades” “Tartarus” “Gehenna”
In studying the word Hell in the Scriptures, we find three different Greek words translated “Hell”.
1. Luke 16:22,23, “…the rich man also died, and was buried; And in Hell (Hades)…”
2. Matthew 23:33, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Hell (Gehenna)?”
3. 2 Peter 2:4, “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hell (Tartarus)…”
These three different words which are three different places we find translated by the one word Hell. A study of these will help us to understand what God’s Word teaches about Hell.
First, the Greek word Tartarus is found only once in the New Testament. In 2 Peter 2:4 we read, “For if God spared the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (Tartarus) and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment
Let us also read Jude 6, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”
In Old Testament times and in the days of Christ’s ministry upon earth, the spirits of all the dead departed to a place known as Sheol in the Hebrew and Hades in the Greek. Sheol or Hades was divided into two sections — one for the saved called Abraham’s bosom and one for the unsaved which was the place of torments. These two places were separated by a great gulf so that one could not pass from one to the other.
Since Christ’s resurrection and ascension the righteous dead are no longer in Hades but are in Paradise. Today when the saved die they go directly into the presence of Christ which is far better (2 Cor. 5:8). But what about the unsaved dead? Their abode has not yet been changed. When an unsaved person dies he goes directly to Hades (Hell) which is the place of torment. The Bible makes it clear that all the unsaved dead go the Hell and remain there until they are resurrected to appear before God at the Great White Throne Judgment. In Revelation 20:13 we read, “…death (the grave) and Hell (Hades) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their worth.
Hades was the place for the unsaved dead in the time of Christ and still is. The Bible passage that best presents a picture of Hades (Hell) is Luke 16:19-31. “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dog came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said to Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.”
This Scripture passage is not a parable. When our Lord spoke In parables He always said something like this: “Hear ye therefore the parable…” or “Another parable put He forth unto them…” A few times He used the word “like” where a particular truth was compared to some familiar object or scene. In this passage Jesus mentions two specific persons, a rich man and the beggar Lazarus. Jesus did not say that this was a parable, neither did He say it was “like” some other Bible truth. Here Jesus speaks about two definite men and in order to prove the reality of Hell, He gives us this account of what happened to the unbelieving rich man. Some of you may say, “Well, I think this passage is just a myth.” Such an attitude, however, is a denial of the truth of God’s Word.
In the first part of Luke 16, Jesus speaks to the Pharisees about the danger of loving money unto the damnation of their souls. He then gives a definite account of what is going to happen to all who love their money more than they love the Lord. Many people, even today, seek to gain the things of this world at the expense of their souls. In Matthew 16:26 we read. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?.
Now notice Luke 16:19, There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously everyday.” Here Is a picture of a man of wealth living as if life would go on forevermore. I want you to notice this: there is one thing that riches cannot keep us from dying. I believe with all my heart this man was a good moral upright man. No doubt he obtained his money honestly, looked after his family, and was respected in the community. Perhaps he even gave money to charity.
In verses 22 and 23 we read, “the rich man also died, and was buried: And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments.” Neither his money nor his good works could keep him out of Hell. How surprised he was for he did not expect to go there.
I believe there will be many people like the rich man They live good respectable lives, but they do not care for their souls. They are more occupied now with living than with dying. But when they die they will be also occupied with living, for they will be alive in the torments of Hell forever.
In this passage we are clearly told that Hell is a definite place. “The rich man also died…And in hell he lift up his eyes.” In verse 28 we read that the rich man was anxious to warn his brothers. “lest they also come into this place…” Hell is a place just as real as Halifax or New York. It is not a “condition” here upon the earth. People are not passing through Hell now.
Hell is a place of torments. It is a place of terrible suffering and pain. In verse 24 the rich man cries, “I am tormented in this flame.” In verse 25 Abraham says to the rich man, “thou are tormented. In verse 28 we also read of “this place of torment.”
The grave is not Hell. Man is alive in Hell. In Rev. 14:11 we have the same truth, “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.”
Hell is a definite place of fire torments. Notice verse 24, “…send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”
Is there no hope of escape from Hell? None whatever! No one can get out of Hell once they arrive there. Verse 26, “And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot: neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” The gulf is fixed. I want you to notice another important fact. The rich man in Hell, prayed. People in Hell are praying today. Why? Because they have an interest In the eternal welfare of their loved ones who are left upon the earth. Verses 27 and 28, ‘Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment,”
I pray to God that we might have the same compassion for the souls of loved ones and for the lost multitudes. It is too late in Hell to warn men and women to flee from the wrath to come. But it is not too late now. I am so thankful that our radio and literature ministry is a soul-winning ministry. If God’s people were more concerned for the eternal welfare of souls we could do even more to reach the multitudes with the Gospel of Christ. Oh, beloved, let us arise and tell the nation that JESUS SAVES!
The key to the right understanding of this passage is verse 30,”…if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.”
The rich man went to Hell BECAUSE HE DID NOT REPENT OF HIS SINS. He is now concerned about his brothers and feels confident that if someone from Hell visited them. they would repent of their sins and escape God’s eternal Judgment. Men do not go to Hell for smoking or drinking whiskey or stealing. Men go to Hell because they will not repent of their sins and accept the Saviour. I know that many of you today are not born again Christians. You are not taking seriously the welfare of your immortal soul. I want to leave the following two verses of Scripture with you:
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only, begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”: and Revelation 20:14, 15, “And death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire..”
Which “whosoever” applies to YOU?
2. THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT
As we’ve seen from our previous chapter, the Scriptures plainly teach there is a place called Hell. While the reality of fire judgment seems to be the worst punishment, yet I want you to notice that in Hell they remember. Luke 16:25, “But Abraham said, Son, remember…” Memory can be a blessing or a curse. Here it will be a curse for the unsaved will remember eternally with no escape.
I read the other day about a famous picture in an art gallery in Brussels. This picture is entitled. “A View of Hell.” The central figure is a man with folded arms and a familiar cocked hat on his head. There is no name given, but there is no need, for he is at once identified as Napoleon Bonaparte. On the face of the Emperor there is a look of amazement and astonishment mingled with dread and fear. He looks about him and beholds an awful scene.
In the light of the flames burning about Napoleon, you can see back of him the ranks of the slain in battle. Little children stretch out clenched fists at the emperor. Mothers with agony on their countenance surround him. They are holding up the bleeding, amputated arms and legs of the slaughtered. One woman has the head of her husband in a sack, and another carries the torso of a dead and mangled body. A raw and bloody arm, severed at the shoulder, is thrust close to the face of Napoleon. At one side is a naked body, upheaved with a sword plunged into the abdomen. On the faces of the children, the wives, and the mothers are depicted rage, horror, anger, hate, and infinite pain and sorrow. It is a terrible picture. It represents Napoleon in Hell remembering the agony which he caused through a lifetime.
I feel constrained to say that if a man has no hope in Christ he has nothing. If you are outside of Christ, no matter who you are, you are facing eternity in a place called Hell.
General William Booth of the Salvation Army used to tell the story of a family in the city of London well known to Salvation Army workers. The members of this family were avowed enemies of the gospel and infidels concerning the faith. There were four members of the household – father, mother, son, and daughter. They were so positive in their antagonism to the gospel that they had publicly declared they did not want a Christian to enter their home at any time. But a young Salvation Army girl had a great yearning for the souls of these people and she was determined to try to enter their home and bear at least one testimony for Jesus Christ. And so one day, climbing up the stairs to where they lived, she came to the landing just below the open door of their apartment. As she paused for breath, she heard the tones of a man in mature years, strong, firm and confident, saying, “Hold on, my son, hold on! You are sick now. It may be you must even die, but we know there is nothing beyond. We have reasoned it all out. We have read all the books. We know all the arguments. We have exploded the Christian myth long ago. There is nothing but a step into the dark and then sleep, peaceful and permanent. Do not be afraid. Hold on! Hold on!”
Then there was a moment’s silence, after which the sobbing voice of a women cried in great and yearning tenderness: “O my precious boy! Mother’s heart breaks for you, but you must not be afraid. You will be going to sleep directly as gently as ever you did when a babe on Mother’s bosom. You remember that we investigated all the questions relating to any possible life beyond this. You know our faculties were all strong and vigorous when we reached the definite and deliberate conclusion that there is nothing beyond but darkness, and death is but a step into it, and then sleep. Son, hold on! Hold on!”
Again there was a heartbreaking pause. Then as the Salvation Army girl waited, she heard the voice of the boy’s sister as she said, “O my brother, do not falter now. All real knowledge, conviction, and understanding of life and death came to you in the days of health. Do you not remember the books we read, the arguments we made, and the conclusions to which we came? Just hold on now for a little while, then all will be over and you will sleep. There is nothing beyond; just hold on.”
And then wavering upon the air, a voice laden with great tragedy of despair, between choking gasps for breath. said, “Hold on? That is the trouble! There is nothing to hold on to! There is nothing to hold on to as I go out into the dark.” My friend, without Christ, there is nothing to hold on to. If you have not placed your hand in the nail-scarred hand of Jesus, then you have nothing to hold on to. Eternity will not only mean darkness but it will be full of suffering, torment, and everlasting woe for you.
Look to Jesus. Receive Him now as your Saviour. Believe in Him. He has said, “He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die” ( John 11:25,26).
THE RESURRECTION OF THE UNSAVED
In Revelation 20:13 we read, “Death (the grave) and Hell (Hades) delivered up the dead which were in them.” This is a picture of the unsaved dead being resurrected. You will recall in our previous chapter how we saw that only the spirits of the wicked dead are in Hades. The spirits of the righteous dead were taken up to Paradise with Christ and are now with Him.
The resurrection of the unsaved dead will take place one thousand years after the resurrection of the righteous, that is, one thousand years after the second coming of the Lord. This is inferred in Revelation 20:5, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” This event leads to the Great White Throne Judgment as described in Revelation 20: 11-15: “And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 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. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
God’s Word teaches that there is coming a day when men and women who have rejected Christ as their Saviour must stand before God in Judgment. While the world is primarily occupied with living – making money and having things – one day the activities will cease and each unsaved person will meet God. The first fact to notice about the Great White Throne Judgment is that no righteous people from among the dead will be there. Only the dead who have rejected Christ will stand before God at this judgment. What a scene it will be! Here will stand the king and servant, the rich and poor, the high and low. There will be no escape for them.
We read in verse 12 that “the books were opened.” These books will contain the names of the unsaved people of all ages as they stand before God. They will also contain the Divine record of the lives of each individual. Every sin, every evil thought, every rejection of Christ will be recorded and will be displayed on this Judgment Day. “And another book was opened, which is the book of life.” In this book the records of all of God’s people are kept. And if the names found in the other books are not recorded in this book then there is no hope for them. It will be Divine proof that they have rejected Christ and deserve God’s judgment. “And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” God knows every sin of every sinner and the record is now being kept. In that day the record will be revealed and each sinner will be judged according to his works. We may try to hide from God now. We may succeed in hiding our sin from others. But in that day nothing will be hidden from God. The wicked works of all the unsaved will be judged.
“And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them.” We know, of course, that death holds the bodies of the dead and Hell holds the spirits of the wicked dead. None of the wicked dead will be overlooked or forgotten. All must stand before God. “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. It is God’s guarantee that sin will never enter into His new creation.
“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Notice that God’s final Judgment upon men and women is a judgment that takes place because their names were not written in the book of life. Their names may have been written upon the church rolls but they were absent from the book of life. They had never been born again.
3. The Lake of Fire
In our previous chapter we saw that at the Great White Throne Judgment all whose names were not written in the book of life were cast into the lake of fire. The Greek word for the lake of fire is Gehenna and this is the final Hell. The first ones to be cast into this place will be the beast and the false prophet (Rev. 113:20). One thousand years later Satan and his angels will also be cast in (Rev. 20:10). Then, all the wicked deed will be delivered up from Hades (the present Hell) to stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgment after which they, too, will be cast into the lake of fire.
It is of Gehenna not Hades that our Lord spoke so frequently. Here are some of the passages where Jesus refers to this final Hell:
Matthew 5:22, “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire (Gehenna).”
Matthew 5:29, “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell (Gehenna).”
Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Gehenna).”
Matthew 18:9, “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire (Gehenna).”
Matthew 23:15, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold the child of hell (Gehenna) than yourselves.”
Matthew 23:33, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell (Gehenna)?”
Mark 9:43, “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell (Gehenna), into the fire that never shall be quenched.”
The Bible teaches clearly that this Gehenna, this final Hell, is a place of fire. Note also the following references: Rev. 20: 15, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Matt. 5:22, “Whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matt. 18:8, “to be cast into everlasting fire.” Matt. 18:9, “Hell fire.” Mark 9:43,45, “Fire that never shall be quenched.” Mark 9:44,46, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Rev. 21:8, The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
There are some who tell us that the fires of Hell are not literal but symbolic only of punishment. Certainly there is no reason to believe this but let us suppose it is true and that the fires are symbolic of the punishment of Hell. Would that make the punishment any easier to bear? Not at all! The reality would be greater than the symbol. Therefore the Punishment would be great and awful and terrible as represented by fire.
The Bible gives another true picture of Hell in Matt. 8: 12, “Cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Other verses are: Matt. 13:42,50; 22: 13; 24:51: 25:30; and Luke 13:28. Hell is a place of outer darkness and there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
There are those who teach that the wicked are annihilated at death, never to be brought back into existence.
The Jehovah Witnesses teach that the wicked are annihilated at death, then recreated to be given a second chance. But those who refuse this second chance for eternal life will be cast into the lake of fire and will be annihilated for good. They will cease to exist. They say that such words as destroy, destruction, perish, and consume, mean annihilation. One of their favourite texts to try to prove their point is 2 Thess 1:9, “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction.” Let us study some of these words in the Bible to see their true meaning. First, the word destroyed or destruction cannot be translated as annihilated or annihilation.
Job 19:20, “He hath destroyed me on every side.” He could not have been annihilated and still live to tell of it.
Job 21 :17, “How oft cometh their destruction upon them.” How could they be put out of existence many times?
Isaiah 34:2, “For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations…he hath utterly destroyed them.” The nations are not yet out of existence.
Hebrews 2:14, “That through death He (Christ) might destroy the devil.” The devil is not out of existence yet.
Now the passage in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 reads, -Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” Those who teach the annihilation theory say no one could go out of the presence of an OMNIPRESENT GOD without being put out of existence. Our reply Is that Cain went out from the presence of the Lord (Gen 4:16) without being put out of existence. Those who are banished from the presence of the Lord are banished from His presence in Heaven. The word destroy does not mean annihilate.
Second, the word perish never means annihilation. In John 3:16 we read, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish…” They use such verses as this to prove their theory that the wicked shall perish. To them the word perish means to go out of existence forever.
The Greek word for perish is apollumi and means “to render unfit for the intended use.” In Matthew 9:17 the bottles into which the new wine is put are said to break, “the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish.” This simply means that the bottles are rendered unfit for their intended use. They have not been put out of existence.
In Luke 15:17 we hear the prodigal son say, “I perish with hunger.” He was certainly not annihilated. And in 2 Peter 3:6 we read, “The world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” But the world was not put out of existence. Finally, the word consume does not mean annihilation.
Galatians 5:15, “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” Paul was not referring to them annihilating one another.
We can see therefore from the Bible that the words destroy, destruction, perish and consume do not mean annihilation or to put out of existence.
Some teachers believe that after the wicked have been punished in the lake of fire they will be taken out and transferred to Heaven. The main verse they use is Acts 3:21, “Whom (Christ) the Heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” Let us notice, however, that the restoration is to be for all things “which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets.” There is not one place in the Bible where it is taught that the wicked and Satan will be restored to Heaven after their punishment.
If we are going to believe the Bible as the inspired Word of God, there is no way to escape the truth of the lake of fire for all those who die in their sins. And yet, I do not know how it is possible for Christians to say they believe in the fire torments of Hell and do so little to rescue the perishing and care for the dying. It is because of the reality of the lake of fire that we broadcast the Gospel and send forth our printed literature. I believe the time is short and what we do to warn lost souls we must do quickly. If you are not saved, I plead with you in Jesus’ Name to turn from your sin and receive Christ as your own Saviour. He is waiting to impart unto you eternal life.
4. Some Questions Answered
Is Hell’s Punishment Forever?
There are many who say that while Heaven’s bliss is forever and ever, punishment in the lake of fire is not forever and ever. The Bible uses the same word, however, when it speaks of everlasting life and everlasting punishment. If the word means everlasting for Heaven then it must also mean everlasting when used in relation to Hell. In Matthew 25:46 we read: “And these (the wicked) shall go away into EVERLASTING punishment: but the righteous into life ETERNAL.” While this text refers primarily to the nations, it also applies to individuals.
Let us notice the two words EVERLASTING and ETERNAL. The punishment of the wicked is EVERLASTING and the life of the righteous is ETERNAL. When we look at the Greek we find that both words come from the same one in Greek, aionios. This Greek word is translated by two different words in this text and therefore both words have the same meaning – ETERNAL. In view of this fact we can say that the punishment in the lake of fire will be just as long as the life of the righteous. Christ Himself spoke this text and used the same Greek word in relation to the duration of time for both the wicked and the righteous.
Some would tell us that this word aionios only means age long or for a period and not forever and ever. Let us notice that in the New Testament this word is used at least seventy-one times and in all but four places it is translated as eternal or everlasting which means endless duration. No other meaning could be read into such texts.
The same Greek word is used when speaking of the existence of God in Romans 16:26: “…the commandment of the everlasting (aionios) God.” Here it certainly means endless duration and if it means that here it must mean the same when it is used to speak of the punishment of the wicked. If the punishment in the lake of fire can come to an end then it would be just as logical to believe that the existence of God will come to an end.
Another term found in the New Testament certainly proves the fact of endless punishment and endless bliss.
This phrase is used when speaking of the righteous in Rev. 22: 5, “They shall reign for ever and ever. ” Everyone agrees with that statement.
The same phrase is used of Christ in Rev. 1:1 8, “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore… Who will doubt that Christ is eternal?
The same phrase is used to describe the duration of the unrighteous followers of the Antichrist in Rev. 14:11, “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night.” It is used concerning Satan in Rev. 20:10, …and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Matthew 18:8, “…to be cast into EVERLASTING fire.” Matthew 25:46, “And these shall go away into EVERLASTING punishment.” 2 Thess. 1:8,9, “…them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:…shall be punished with EVERLASTING destruction.”
Nothing is more clearly taught in the Bible than the fact that the punishment of the wicked in the lake of fire is for eternity.
Will A God of Love Send People to Hell?
Not at all! God has provided a way of escape through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ who came into the world to save sinners. Full provision has been made for salvation, but those who refuse this salvation determine their own destiny and choose Hell instead of Heaven.
The following true story from American history is a good illustration of this. A man by the name of Wilson was sentenced to be hanged for murder. The Governor offered him a pardon which he refused. The Warden did not know what to do and submitted the case to the Supreme Court. The learned Judges considered all aspects and concluded that a pardon is only a pardon when it is received. Since Wilson refused the pardon he could not be freed. He had to be put to death. So it is with every sinner who refuses God’s pardon of salvation. He must die and be consigned to the lake of fire for all eternity.
How Can People be Happy in Heaven When They Know Some Loved Ones Suffer in Hell?
In Job 24:19,20 we read, “Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave (Sheol, abode of the spirits) those which have sinned. The womb shall forget him (the sinner)…he shall be no more remembered.” And in Isaiah 65:17 we read, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” The Bible teaches that after the unsaved are cast into the lake of fire their existence will be erased from the memories of the righteous in Heaven.
What Must A Person Do to Go to Hell?
We don’t have to do one thing to be lost. We are already lost until we are saved. We don’t have to wait until we die to be condemned. We are already condemned (John 3:18) and on the way to Hell if we have not experienced the new birth.
Is Heaven Closed to the Unsaved Dead?
In Revelation 22:11 we read, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still.: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still..” Let us also read John 8:21, “Then said Jesus again unto them, I go My way, and ye shall seek Me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come…”
There is no doubt that as we die, so we must remain throughout all eternity. Death does not change our character nor our relationship to the Lord.
How Can We Enter Heaven?
Jesus said in John 3:3, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” It is impossible for anyone to see the kingdom of God without being born again.
How Can We Be Born Again?
First, confess that you are a sinner and in need of being born again. “The scripture hath concluded all under sin” (Gal. 3:22). Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, realize that you cannot save yourself. Ephesians 2:8,9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Third, recognize that salvation depends upon a personal acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12). Fourth, turn from your sin and receive the Lord by faith into your life. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
If you will do this from your heart you will be born again and on the basis of God’s Word you will have, right now, EVERLASTING LIFE.