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Expository Bible Studies

In this study, we will explore the Afterlife. In other words, what happens after you die?  The Bible holds the answers to that question. We will first take a look at Hell.  In the New Testament, the word Gehenna (“γέεννα“) is often translated “Hell.” So, when I use the word “Hell” below, I mean the Greek word Gehenna (“γέεννα“),  and it only appears twelve times in the New Testament. Some translations have confused this word Gehenna and Hell with other words for the destination of some wicked beings. Based upon the New Testament usage of the term “Hell,” we can learn about Hell and use the Bible to correct some common misunderstandings.

Please recall that God breathed out the words of the Bible, and so the words in the original autographs make a difference. When God used different words, we must take note of those different words. Verbal inspiration means that God inspired the words, not just the thoughts of the human authors. Rather than delve into the writings and customs of pagans and their mythologies regarding Hell and the Afterlife, I will focus solely upon the material in the New Testament. God breathed out those words and they describe very vivid pictures of Hell and the Afterlife. I use the term Afterlife to describe existence after your physical body dies on earth.

Section One

Frequently Asked Questions about Hell

As we begin this study of Hell, let us start with some frequently asked questions about Hell. I am going to capitalize Hell because it refers to a specific place, not just  a general idea.

1.1 Place. Where is Hell? In the New Testament, the people in Hell experience the fire (“τοῦ πυρός“). Jesus described that fire as unquenchable, using the root word related to asbestos (“ἄσβεστον“) (Luke 3:17; Mark 9:43). So, we know that Hell is a place of quenchable fire.

1.2. Going to Hell. How do you go to Hell? Jesus preached that people go to Hell because their eye, hand, or other part of their body made them stumble (“σκανδαλίζει“) spiritually (Matthew 5:29-30). Jesus meant two things by His saying: (a) that any spiritual stumble will be enough to send you to Hell; and (b) Hell is so bad that you should remove important body parts to avoid going there. Jesus taught that even uttering an evil phrase stands sufficient to send you to Hell. Jesus said: “Whoever says, ‘You fool,'” shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery Hell (“τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός“)”(Matthew 5:21; compare James 3:6).   As will see below, people go to Hell because they stumble and reject the free gift of eternal life offered by Jesus Christ to all who have saving faith in Him.

1.3. Body and Soul. What is in Hell? Both the body and the soul of unbelievers go to Hell (Matthew 10:28; 5:29).  Jesus explained that we should fear God, Who alone has the authority to destroy both body and soul in Hell after death (Matthew 10:28). Notice too that only God has the authority to send people to Hell. In contrast, believers must never fear anyone who lacks such final authority. Finally, Jesus commanded people to pluck out their right eye and lose one of their body parts, than to have their “whole body” (“ὅλον τὸ σῶμά“) thrown into Hell. Jesus described physical body parts (eyes and hands) while living and those same body parts appeared in Hell. He contrasted the right eye (one of the members of your body (“τῶν μελῶν σου“) ) v. the whole body (“ὅλον τὸ σῶμά“) (Matthew 5:29; same construction in Matthew 5:30). Therefore, we know that people in Hell have some kind of body directly related to their body on earth. You may also recall that the rich man in Hades recognized Lazarus in Abraham’s Bosom (Luke 16:23-24). Likewise, the body of the rich man suffered thirst and agony (“ὀδυνᾶσαι“)  (Luke 16:25).  The rich man’s body also had a tongue (“γλῶσσάν“) (Luke 16:24) and Lazarus had fingers (“δακτύλου”) (Luke 16:24).  The bodies of people in Hades and Abraham’s bosom both have detailed anatomical features. Therefore, people in Hades and in Hell both have bodies with eyes, hands, feet, and tongues.

1.4 Destruction. Do unbelievers cease to exist in Hell? In Hell, God exercises His power to destroy both body and soul there (Matthew 10:28). The destruction does not end, but continues because their worm does not die (Mark 9:45; Isaiah 66:24).  Therefore, we know that people in Hell do not experience annihilation, but rather continuous suffering without being consumed. The gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many people enter through it. In contrast, the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and only a few people find it (Matthew 7:13-14). Notice that the path you follow while alive on earth leads either to life or destruction, and the destination seems connected to the time of death.

1.5 What is Hades? Hades functions like a jail holding prisoners (dead unbelievers) awaiting trial, which will take place at the Great White Throne Judgment in the future.

1.6 Are Hades and the Lake of Fire the Same Place? No. Hades has a limited life span and it ends up in the Lake of Fire; on the other hand, the Lake of Fire continues to eternity. So, we can be sure that Hades and the Lake of Fire are not the same place. See Revelation 20:13-14, where Hades and death are  thrown into the Lake of Fire. Because they are separate places, they cannot be the same place.  No believer appears before the Great White Throne (John 4:24), but Hades and Death give up their dead and then they are cast into the Lake of Fire. Therefore, we know that Hades and Death are not the Lake of Fire, but separate destinations for unbelievers. No believer goes to Hades (see the article on Hades). See also Revelation 6:8, where Death rode an Ashen Horse and Hades followed; both of them received authority to kill a fourth of the earth.  Hades and death are not the same places, but Hades follows death. Some people do not realize that the eternal fire describes both punishment in Hades and also punishment in the Lake of Fire.

1.7 Time. When do people go to Hell?  People who never accepted the free gift of eternal life while alive on earth go to Hell after their bodies die on earth (Matthew 10:28).  Jesus repeatedly warned people to pluck out their eyes, cut off their hands, or take other severe bodily action to avoid departing into Hell (Matthew 5:29; 18:8-9; Mark 9:43). Jesus proclaimed that it was better to enter eternal life with one eye or crippled rather than entering Hell with a whole body. To understand the timing of events, we need to compare a few other passages about eternal fire (“πυρὸς αἰωνίου”).  In Matthew 18:8-9, Jesus equated eternal fire (“πυρὸς αἰωνίου“) with fiery Hell (“τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός“). He said that it was better to enter life crippled than to enter eternal fire with two hands. Then Jesus continued: pluck out your eye because it is better to enter life with one eye, than to be cast into fiery Hell with two eyes. Fiery Hell seems to be the same as the place of eternal fire. 

 

Section Two

Chronology of the Afterlife

The New Testament provides many details about the Afterlife. A chronology of events may help us understand how certain events relate to one another in time. In this section, we are only fixing a basic timeline of events. Later sections will develop certain topics in more detail.

Hades

At the moment of physical death on earth, unbelievers go to the Hades (“τῷ ᾅδῃ“). Consider the rich man in Hades, with his conscious suffering in heated torment (Luke 16:19-31).

Paradise

At the moment of physical death on earth, believers go to the Paradise (“τῷ παραδείσῳ“) (Luke 23:43). Concerning believers, Paul explained that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-9).

The Clouds Resurrection

Although Jesus provided many signs concerning the end of this present age (Matthew 24:4-14), we know that one day Jesus will return to the clouds of earth. Jesus will bring with Him all those believers who have fallen asleep (died) in Him. Then He will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God. The dead in Christ will rise first. Then, those believers still alive on earth will be snatched up into the air to meet Jesus. So they always be with Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). At this point, the believers are resurrected and given glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:1-58).

The Tribulation

Immediately after the Clouds Resurrection, the Tribulation starts. The Tribulation consists of seven years of God’s wrath poured out in specific judgments upon the earth and its inhabitants (Daniel 9:24-27; Revelation 5-19). During that time, the beast, the false prophet  and the anti-Christ come to power and rule the nations. Unbelievers receive the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-18). The Lord Jesus shortened that time period, or no life would have been saved (Matthew 24:22). The seven year period of Tribulation ends with Jesus returning to slay His enemies, with the armies of heaven following Him (Revelation 19:11-19). At that time, Jesus will return in glory to the very place where He left earth and ascended to heaven. He will set His feet upon the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:3; Acts 1:9-11). Whereupon, Jesus begins His thousand-year reign upon earth, called the Millennial Reign of Christ, or Millennium (Revelation 20).  

The Millennial Throne of Christ

Immediately after the Tribulation ends, the devil is thrown into the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3). Jesus will sit upon His throne, and all the nations will be gathered before Him for judgment (Matthew 25:31-46; see also  Luke 19:22). Then, thrones will be set up and judgment was given to those on the thrones (“κρίμα ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς“) (Revelation 20:4). John saw the souls (“τὰς ψυχὰς “)  of those beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not received the mark on their forehead and their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for  a thousand years (Revelation 20:4; compare the innumerable multitude of Revelation 7:9-17 and the souls under the altar in Revelation 6:9-11). We also know that all believers, from every tribe, tongue and people and nation will reign with Christ on earth, because He has made them a kingdom of priests to God (Revelation 5:9-10; 2 Timothy 2:12; ). As part of Christ reigning on earth, the saints receive the kingdom and possess it for all ages to come (Daniel 7:18;). After the court sits in judgment, the world-wide dominion of the fourth beast (anti-Christ and his evil empire) ends. The sovereignty (“מַלְכוּתָ֨ה“), dominion (“שָׁלְטָנָ֜א“) and the greatness of the kingdoms (“רְבוּתָ֗א דִּ֚י מַלְכְוָת֙“) under the whole heaven will be given to the saints of the Highest One (Daniel 7:27–notice the Aramaic).  Apparently, at this time, the saints shall judge the world (1 Corinthians 6:2; compare James 4:12) as God appointed human judges in the Old Testament (Exodus 18:26; Deuteronomy 16:18-20; Psalm 82). The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed.

The First Resurrection

At the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Christ, believers who died during the Tribulation are raised from the dead to reign with Christ on earth (Revelation 20:4). Jesus called that “the  First Resurrection” (Relation 20:4). John was very specific that those believers died during the Tribulation. Please keep in mind that seven years before the start of the Millennial Reign of Christ, Jesus came to the clouds of earth and caught up all believers from the earth (the Clouds Resurrection). At the Clouds Resurrection, the dead in Christ came with Jesus to the clouds of earth. They received resurrection first, meaning they were given glorified bodies like Jesus.  Then those alive on earth received their glorified bodies (resurrection) as they ascended to the clouds to be with Jesus forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Jesus saved those believers from the wrath of the Tribulation (1 Thessalonians 5:9).  Blessed is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has not power (Revelation 20:4; Revelation 14:13).

 

The Judgment Seat of Christ

In the last chapter  of the Bible, Jesus promised that He would return to earth and bring His reward with Him. When He returns, Jesus will sit upon His judgment seat (2 Corinthians 5:10). At the Resurrection of the Righteous, believers will be repaid for inviting the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind to lunch (Luke 14:12-14). Fire will try each man’s works done on earth (1 Corinthians 3:10-15) and God will judge the secrets of men through Jesus Christ (Romans 2:16: Matthew 6:18 ). God will disclose the motives of men’s hearts and each man’s praise will come to him from God (1 Corinthians 4:5). As the fire tries each believer’s work, some works may be burned up as wood hay and stubble, and so the believer suffers loss of rewards. Jesus promised that some acts do not lose their reward (e.g., cup of cold water given in the name of Jesus–Matthew 10:42; Mark 9:41).

 

The Final Rebellion

At the completion of the thousand year reign of Christ on earth, Satan will be released from the abyss. He will deceive the nations and gather the armies of the earth together for a final assault on Jerusalem.  Fire will come down from heaven and devour them. The the devil will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, where he joins the beast and the false prophet, and they will be tormented night and day forever (Revelation 19:20; 20:10).

The Great White Throne Judgment

After the Final Rebellion, Judge Jesus sits on His Great White Throne. Heaven and earth have fled away from His presence. Then the great and the small from earth, all unbelievers, are judged according to their deeds, recorded in books. The sea, Hades and death give up the dead which are in them. Then death and Hades are cast into the Lake of Fire. Then all the unbelievers are cast into the Lake of Fire, because their names were not written in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:11-15). Please recall that everyone at the Great White Throne Judgment  will be judged according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 2:15-16), and they will be found guilty of unbelief in that Gospel. Those unbelievers will be assigned punishment commensurate with their deeds (Revelation 20:13). Then they will be  thrown into the Lake of Fire. Please recall that Jesus promised that every believer will never come into judgment concerning eternal life, because they passed out of death into life at the moment of salvation on earth (John 5:24).

The Lake of Fire

After the Great White Throne Judgment, the Lake of Fire holds Hades, death, the beast, the false prophet, the devil, and all unbelievers who ever lived on earth. In the Lake of Fire, their torment continues day and night forever and ever (Revelation 19:20; 20:13-15).

The New Heavens and the New Earth

The Bible concludes with a description of the new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 22:1-9). The Lord Jesus reigns in glory from the New Jerusalem on that new earth (Revelation 21:1-27). All the believers from all ages live there with Jesus, and His name shall be on their foreheads. They reign forever with Him (Revelation 22:1-6).

 

 

Section Three

Hades

At the moment of physical death, unbelievers, and only unbelievers, go to Hades and begin to suffer in agony.

3.1 The Place of Torment. Jesus told the story of a rich man and Lazarus. While alive on earth, the rich man lived in joyous luxury and Lazarus laid at his gate, covered in sores, longing to eat the crumbs falling from the table of the rich man. When the rich man died, he went to Hades and there lifted up His eyes in torment (“ὑπάρχων ἐν βασάνοις“) and saw “Father Abraham” and Lazarus in his bosom. The rich man cried out and asked for Abraham to send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and cool off his tongue, because he was in agony because of this flame (“ὀδυνῶμαι ἐν τῇ φλογὶ ταύτῃ“). Abraham replied, that (a) Lazarus now received good things and the rich man received agony (“ὀδυνᾶσα“); and (b) a great chasm is fixed (“χάσμα μέγα ἐστήρικται“) between them. The rich man also begged Abraham to send someone to warn his brothers not to come this place of torment  (Luke 16:19-31). 

     • Jesus taught that unbelievers go to Hades after they die on earth. 

     • In Hades, unbelievers experience conscious torment, longing for a drop of water to cool their tongues.

     • In Hades, unbelievers worry that their relatives will join them in that place of torment.

     • In Hades, unbelievers await final judgment

3.2 The Gates of The Afterlife. God revealed several gates that relate to different places in the afterlife.

3.2.1 The Gates of Hades. Jesus promised to build His church and the gates of Hades (“πύλαι ἅ|δου“) would not prevail against it (“οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς“) (Matthew 16:18; see also Luke 21:36 (strength to run away (“κατισχύσητε ἐκφυγεῖν“); Luke 23:3 (prevailing voices (“κατίσχυον αἱ φωναὶ αὐτῶν“). In what sense do the gates of Hades prevail against Jesus building His church? Every believer was once in the domain of darkness (“τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ σκότους “), but God rescued us (“ἐρρύσατο ἡμᾶς“) and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). When God rescued us (2 Timothy 3:11; 2 Peter 2:7) , He had bound the strong man (the devil) and plundered his house (the domain of darkness). People who die without rescue from the domain of darkness go to Hades. So, the gates of Hades cannot prevail against Jesus rescuing people from the domain of darkness. The gates of Hades cannot keep Jesus out and they cannot  stop Jesus from entering and rescuing His elect. To be clear, Jesus never rescues people who have suffered physical death from Hades.

3.2.2 The Gates of Death. God spoke to Job about the Gates of Death (“שַׁעֲרֵי־מָ֑וֶת“) (Job 38:17). David knew that Yahweh lifted him up from the Gates of Death (“מִשַּׁ֥עֲרֵי מָֽוֶת“) (Psalm 9:13; Psalm 107:18),

3.2.3  The Gates of  Darkness. Job also spoke about The Gates of Deep Darkness (וְשַׁעֲרֵ֖י צַלְמָ֣וֶת“) (Job 38:17).  

3.2.4 The Gates of Righteousness. Yahweh opens the gates of righteousness (“שַׁעֲרֵי־צֶ֑דֶק“) for believers (Psalm 118:19; Proverbs 14:19). 

3.2.5 The Gates of Sheol. King Hezekiah lamented that, in middle of life, he was to enter the gates of Sheol (“בְּשַׁעֲרֵ֣י שְׁאֹ֑ול“) and be deprived of the rest of his years (Isaiah 38:10).

3.2.6 The Gates Leading to Destruction. Jesus described a wide gate (“πλατεῖα  πύλη“) leading to the destruction (“τὴν ἀπώλειαν“), and many people enter through it (Mathew 7:13). Although this use may describe present action before death, it may also describe the gate many people enter at or after death.

3.2.7 The Narrow Gate. Jesus contrasted the wide gate leading to destruction with the narrow gate (“τῆς στενῆς πύλης“) leading to eternal life (Mathew 7:13). Jesus commanded everyone to enter through the narrow gate.

3.3 The Keys of the Afterlife. God revealed various keys related to the afterlife.

3.3.1 The Key of David. God set the Key of the House of David on the shoulder of Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah. When Eliakim opens, no one shuts; when he shuts, no one will open (Isaiah 22:22).  Likewise, Jesus is holy and true and has the key of David and what He opens no one will shut, and what He shuts no one opens.  Jesus also referred to an open door which no one can shut, because the church of Philadelphia had a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied the name of Jesus. Apparently, the open door permitted the church of Philadelphia to escape the hour of testing which was coming upon the whole earth (Revelation 3:7-10).

3.3.2 The Key to the Shaft of the Abyss. In Revelation 9:1-2, a star from heaven fell to earth and the key  (“ἡ κλεὶς“) of the shaft of the abyss (“τοῦ φρέατος τῆς ἀβύσσου“) was given to him. The Shaft of the Abyss (“τοῦ φρέατος τῆς ἀβύσσου“–translated by NASB as “bottomless pit”) appears only in Revelation 9:1-2.  The star, probably an angel, opened the Shaft of the Abyss, and smoke went up out of the shaft (“τοῦ φρέατος“), like the smoke of a great furnace. The smoke darkened the sun and the air and locusts came out of the smoke (Revelation 9:2).  Those locusts came upon the earth and power was given to them, as scorpions of the earth have power (Revelation 9:3).Based upon other passages, I chose the translation “shaft of the abyss.” Let me review those passages briefly.

3.3.2.1 Pit. Jesus described a sheep falling into a pit (“βόθυνον“) on the Sabbath. Note that a man could take hold of the sheep in the pit and lift it out (Luke 12:11).  Jesus also described a blind man leading a blind man so that both fall into a pit (“βόθυνον“) (Matthew 15:14; Luke 6:39). Therefore, we know that a pit can hold animals and men. It does not necessarily mean a well nor something so deep a man could not reach in and lift a sheep out of it. The pit trapped the animals and the blind men. Without urgent help from outside, the pit posed a serious danger to them.

3.3.2.2 Shaft or Well?  Jesus spoke about a son or an ox falling into a shaft (“φρέαρ“) on the Sabbath (Luke 14:5). The question here turns upon the word “shaft” (“φρέαρ“). The shaft posed a serious, urgent danger to the son and the ox because they could not escape it without outside help. The New American Standard Bible chose the translation of “fall into a well” (“εἰς φρέαρ πεσεῖται“). Calling the opening a well does not comport with the other uses of terms for “well” (“πηγὴ“). For example, the woman had a flow of blood (“ἡ πηγὴ τοῦ αἵματος“), focusing upon the liquid. James also used the term well (“πηγὴ“) to describe the water it produces (James 3:11). Jesus will lead His sheep to springs of the water of life (“ζωῆς πηγὰς ὑδάτων“)(Revelation 7:17).  The burning star fell from heaven fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters (“τὰς πηγὰς τῶν ὑδάτων“).  Jesus also deserves worship and glory because He made the earth, and sea and springs of waters (“πηγὰς ὑδάτων“)(Revelation 14:7). An angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters (“τὰς πηγὰς τῶν ὑδάτων“) and they became  blood (Revelation 16:4).  Jesus is also the Alpha and the Omega, Who gives the thirsty from the spring of the water of life (“τῆς πηγῆς τοῦ ὕδατος τῆς ζωῆς“) without cost (Revelation 21:6). Peter also described evil men as springs without water (“πηγαὶ ἄνυδρο“) (2 Peters 2:17). In all those uses of the term πηγὴ, the liquid itself is at issue. Therefore, to focus upon the liquid, the New Testament writers used the term πηγὴ.

10.7.2.3 Jacob’s Well near Sychar. Near Sychar, Jesus met a Samaritan women at the well of Jacob (“πηγὴ τοῦ Ἰακώβ“). The woman at the well told Jesus that the shaft was deep (“τὸ φρέαρ ἐστὶν βαθύ”)(Jon 4:11). Significantly, Jacob gave the shaft (φρέαρ“) to the people of Sychar (the water was already there, buried below the surface), and his sons and cattle all drank from it (John 14:12). John seemed to draw a distinction between the term for “well” (“πηγὴ“), referring to the liquid, and the shaft (“φρέαρ“) leading to the liquid (water).  Therefore, the same term in Revelation 9:1-2 should not be translated well or pit, but shaft which leads to something else, namely the abyss.  In summary, the term for well (“πηγὴ) should not be confused with the word for shaft (“φρέαρ“).

 

Section Four

Destruction in the Afterlife

Some people claim that after you die, you cease to exist. No suffering, no problems, no judgment. In fact, some people even deny the existence of heaven and Hell. I frequently hear people tell me about their experiences after they claim to  have died at some point in the past. They tell me that they saw a light, or they felt warm, or they saw their friends and loved ones. Jesus said that we die once, and then comes the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Therefore, no matter how much people believe they died on earth, and then came back to life to tell us about the afterlife, I know they have been deceived or are actively lying about the truth. Based upon the Bible, I know they have never died, because they are standing right before me. Some people also claim that after they died, nothing happened and it was just blackness. Other people make claims that we are annihilated after death and cease to exist based upon their reading of the Bible and other religious traditions of men. Jesus warned people about eternal punishment, with conscious, continuous suffering to eternity. Some people read verses about destruction in the Bible and think that means you cease to exist. So, let us look at the concept of destruction in the Afterlife. I define Afterlife to mean existence after your body dies on earth.  

 

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Destruction Defined

4.2 The Term “To Destroy” (“ἀπολέσαι”). In Matthew 10:28, Jesus taught that Hell is the place to destroy both body and soul. Other uses of the term “to destroy”(“ἀπολέσαι“) help us understand its meaning and the timing of such destruction. If we can see when God destroys body and soul in Hell, then we may be able to see if it is at the same time of the Lake of Fire or of Hades. Remember, Hades has a limited lifespan, and Hades ends by being thrown into the Lake of Fire. The Lake of Fire continues to eternity. So, further study of the concept of “destroy” seems in order.

• In Hell, God destroys both body and soul.

• In Hell, unbelievers have bodies.

• In Hell, unbelievers have souls. 

4.3 Demons and Destruction. The demons were very concerned that Jesus  had come to destroy (“ἀπολέσαι“) them. So, the destruction of those demons had not yet occurred, but they knew and feared Jesus and His ability to destroy them (Mark 1:24; see also Luke 4:34 and Luke 13:33). 

• The demons know that Jesus will destroy them one day.

• The demons fear that day of destruction.

4.4 Save and Destroy. The religious leaders objected to Jesus healing the withered hand of man on the Sabbath. Jesus asked them  if it is lawful on the Sabbath to do good (“ἀγαθοποιῆσαι“)  or to do harm (“κακοποιῆσαι“), or to save a soul (“ψυχὴν σῶσαι“) or to destroy (“ἀπολέσαι“) (Luke 6:9). Notice that the power to save and to destroy took place on that Sabbath, in that synagogue, and not at a future time. Jesus contrasted saving a soul with destroying a soul. James pointed out that  God is the only Lawgiver and Judge (“κριτὴς“), the only One with the power to save (“σῶσαι“) and to destroy (“ἀπολέσαι“) (James 4:12).  Peter revealed that God is not willing for any  to be destroyed (“ἀπολέσθαι”), but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). 

• Jesus contrasted saving a soul with the destruction of a soul.

• As God, only Jesus has the power to save souls from eternal destruction.

• God is not willing for any to be destroyed, but for all to come to repentance.

4.5 Parables of Destruction. In the parable of the vineyard owner, when the Landowner returns, He will destroy (“ἀπολέσει”) the evil workers. Notice that the destruction takes place upon His return to the vineyard (Matthew 21:41; Mark 12:9; Luke 20:16). Jesus applied that parable to Himself as the Stone which the builders rejected, and its effect upon men spiritually (Luke 20:17-18; 2 Peter 3:9), implying more than physical death. Therefore, this parable offers some insight that “destruction” (perhaps physical death here) takes place at the return of Christ to earth. Yet, this passage may also provide support for the view that spiritual destruction begins when Christ returns. Please recall that in Hell body and soul are destroyed. Therefore, the timing of destruction becomes helpful to understand the place of destruction, Hell. If unbelievers undergo destruction before the Lake of Fire, then Hell is not the same (necessarily) as the the Lake of Fire.

4.5 Physical Destruction. At times, Matthew, Mark, and Luke used the term destroy to mean physical death (Matthew 2:13; Luke 19:47; see also Matthew 27:20, Mark 3:6, and Mark 11:18).

• The New Testament writers used the term “to destroy” (“ἀπολέσαι”) to refer to both physical destruction and spiritual death.

4.6 Matthew 10:28. Matthew provided key information about destruction in Hell. God has the power to destroy (“ἀπολέσαι“) both  soul (“ψυχὴν“) and body (“σῶμα“) in Hell (“γεέννῃ“) (Matthew 10:28).  At first glace, it appears that the Hell must mean the Lake of fire, because you may think that destruction of the body only happens after resurrection to judgment. But, if people have bodies in Hades, and they are destroyed there, then we must realize that souls and bodies can be destroyed in Hades as well as the Lake of Fire. Physical death includes the soul (“ψυχὴν“) leaving the body, upon demand (Luke 12:20).  Referring to Jesus, God the Father said that He is my beloved (“ὁ ἀγαπητός μου“) and in Him My soul (“ἡ ψυχή μου“) is well pleased (Matthew 12:18). Therefore, we know that God the Father has a soul and it can experiences pleasure. As we try to understand what constitutes a person, we know that one part of a person is the soul. Matthew also helped us understand the soul of God the Father is not the same as the spirit of God the Father (“ὸ πνεῦμά“). God the Father does not put His soul into Jesus, but He said I will place (“θήσω”) My spirit (“τὸ πνεῦμά μου“) upon Jesus. (Matthew 10:28). Interestingly, this quotation from the Old Testament helps us understand that the  New Testament word for soul (“ψυχή“) translates the Hebrew word for my soul (“נַפְשִׁ֑י“) and likewise the New Testament word for spirit (“πνεῦμά“) translates the Hebrew word for my spirit (“רוּחִי֙”). I prefer the “in” translation because God places His Spirit in us. Regarding my love for God, I must love the Lord my God (“ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου“–“אָ֣הַבְתָּ֔ אֵ֖ת יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ“) in  (“ἐν plus dative)  in all my heart (“ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ καρδίᾳ σου“–“בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֥“) and in all my soul (“ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου“–“וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ֖”) and in all my mind (‘ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου”–“וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶֽךָ”(Matthew 22:37 –Deuteronomy 6:5). Therefore, I know that the New Testament word “heart” (“καρδίᾳ“) translates the Hebrew word (“לְבָבְ“) and likewise “soul” (“ψυχῇ“) (“נַפְשְׁ“) and “mind” (“διανοίᾳ“) (“מְאֹדֶֽ“).

 

4.6 Summary of Destroy. At times, the term to destroy  (“ἀπολέσαι”) refers to physical death. At other times, the same term “to destroy” referred to spiritual death. Therefore, we know that after your body is destroyed on earth, you still continue to suffer in bodily form after physical death. 

 

Section Five

Suffering in the Afterlife

Jesus provided sobering details of the suffering experienced by unbelievers after death on earth. The New Testament contains vivid descriptions of torment and pain in the afterlife. Jesus takes no pleasure in the suffering of the unbelievers, but offers the free gift of salvation to everyone who repents from sin and turns to Him. Jesus loves us and died and suffered so that we may escape the penalty we all deserve as sinners. By faith in Jesus as Savior, we receive the free gift of salvation and no longer fear death. A simple review of suffering in the afterlife should cause everyone to turn to Jesus for salvation. Repent and believe today to avoid suffering eternally. 

 

Fire and Flame

5.1 Word Study: Fire and Flame. In the New Testament, God used different words to describe fire (“πυρός“) and flame (“φλόγα“). 

5.1.2 Fire.  Jesus used the term fire in connection with Gehenna (“τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός“) (Matthew 5:22, 18:9).   Jesus referred to a furnace of fire, where unbelievers go and experience weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:42 and 13:50).

5.1.2.1 Pentecost. At Pentecost, the apostles experienced tongues as of fire (“γλῶσσαι ὡσεὶ πυρός“) distributing themselves and resting upon each one (Acts 2:3).

5.1.2.3 Stephen. Stephen preached about an angel appearing to Moses in the flame (“φλογὶ“) of fire (“πυρὸς“) at the burning bush (Acts 7:30; Exodus 3:2).

5.2.2.4 Paul. Paul spoke about heaping coals of fire (“ἄνθρακας πυρὸς“) upon an enemy’s head by helping him (Romans 12:20). Paul also described a man being saved as through fire (“ὡς διὰ πυρός“) if his work is burned up (1 Corinthians 3:5).

5.2.2.5 Hebrews. In Hebrews we learn that (a) God’s angels are a flame of fire (“πυρὸς φλόγα“);  and (b)  unbelievers face a terrifying expectation of judgment (“κρίσεως“) and zealous fire (“πυρὸς ζῆλος“–“קִנְאַת“) about to consume the adversaries (“ἐσθίειν μέλλοντος τοὺς ὑπεναντίους–אֵ֖שׁ צָרֶ֥יךָ תֹאכְלֵֽם“) (Hebrews 10:27; Isaiah 26:11; see also the use of Acts 24:25 with coming (“μέλλοντος“) judgment and 2 Timothy 4: 1 with infinitive); and (c) Old Testament saints quenched the power of fire (“δύναμιν πυρός“) (Hebrews 11:34). Peter described our faith as tested by fire (“πυρὸς “) (1 Peter 1:7).

5.2.2.5 Jude. Jude (a) revealed that Sodom and Gomorrah are exhibited as examples in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire (“πυρὸς αἰωνίου“) (Jude 1:7); and (b) urged saving others, “snatching them out of fire” (“ἐκ πυρὸς ἁρπάζοντες“) (Jude 1:23).

5.2.2.6 Revelation.  The Book of Revelation contains many references to fire: (a) eyes like a flame of fire (“φλὸξ πυρός“) (Revelation 1:14, 1912 and 2:18 (“φλόγα πυρός“); (b) gold refined by fire (“πυρὸς“); (c) lamps of fire (“λαμπάδες πυρὸς“); (d) fire of the altar (“τοῦ πυρὸς τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου); (e) the fire (“τοῦ πυρὸς“) from the mouth (Revelation 9:18); (f) feet like pillars of fire (“στῦλοι πυρός“); (g) power over fire (“τοῦ πυρός“); (h) Lake of Fire (“τὴν λίμνην τοῦ πυρὸς“) (Revelation 19:20, 20:10,14,15).

Unquenchable Fire

5.1 The Means of Suffering Unquenchable fire describes the means of suffering awaiting every unbeliever. 

5.1.1 The Wheat and The Chaff. John the Baptist prophesied that Jesus: (a) had His winnowing fork in His hand; and (b) He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and (c) He will  gather His wheat into His barn; and (2) He will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire (“τὸ ἄχυρον κατακαύσει πυρὶ ἀσβέστῳ.“) (Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17). From this verse, we know that about the activity of Jesus before and after death.

Jesus begins the work of separating the wheat (believers) from the chaff (unbelievers) immediately.

• Jesus will winnow every person on earth.

• Jesus will gather His people into His place of safe keeping.

• Jesus will burn up the unbelievers with unquenchable fire, and the unbelievers never enter the safe place.

5.1.2  Your Hand and Stumbling. Jesus taught that people must take all necessary measures to avoid going to Hell, and into its unquenchable fire (“εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ ἄσβεστον“)(Mark 9:43). In contrast to John the Baptist’s  focus upon the activity of Jesus in sending people to safety or to unquenchable fire, Jesus Himself warned people how to avoid the unquenchable fire of Hell. Jesus made it personal and individual. If your hand causes you  to stumble (“σκανδαλίζῃ“), then it is better to enter life crippled, that than to have two hands and go into hell, with its unquenchable fire. 

• Jesus described a likely future event: your hand will make you stumble. Because you will likely stumble, you must appreciate the certain outcome of unquenchable fire. Your only hope lies in Jesus saving you from the unquenchable fire.

• Jesus warned that you should cut off your hand to avoid the unquenchable fire of Hell.

• Jesus meant that it would be better to be crippled and enter life, than have your whole body go into Hell. 

• Notice here that people enter into (“εἰσελθεῖν“) the life (“τὴν ζωὴν“), and they go (“ἀπελθεῖν“) into Hell. Here, they are not cast into Hell (compare Mark 9:45). The term “go” (“ἀπελθεῖν“) often means to go away from, and so here it implies that the unbeliever goes away to Hell and the unquenchable fire. The time of departure to Hell seems the moment of death, with no intermediate stop before reaching Hell. Jesus denounced the scribes and Pharisees for hindering people who are entering the kingdom of heaven right them. Therefore, we know that believers enter the kingdom of heaven during their lifetime on earth (see Violence and the Kingdom of Heaven) (Matthew 23:13).

Jesus emphasized personal responsibility for avoiding hell, by taking drastic action while alive to avoid stumbling into Hell.

5.1.3 Summary of Unquenchable Fire.  Hell has unquenchable fire, but unquenchable fire also describes the means of suffering and a place where the chaff is burned up, which may not be Hell.

 

Eternal Fire

5.2 Punishment. The phrase “eternal fire” also describes another means of punishment of the wicked.

5.2.1 Sodom and Gomorrah. At the time Jude wrote his New Testament book, Sodom and Gomorrah are exhibited (“πρόκεινται”–present passive indicative) as undergoing (“ὑπέχουσαι“–present active participle) the punishment (“δίκην“) of eternal fire (“πυρὸς αἰωνίου“) (Jude 1:7). Therefore, piecing the chronology together, we know that Sodom and Gomorrah suffer eternal fire (“πυρὸς αἰωνίου“) already, even (a) before Jesus separates the sheep and the goats at the beginning of His Millennial Reign upon earth;  and (b) before the Great White Throne Judgment;  and (c) before Death and Hades are thrown into the Lake of Fire.

• The unbelievers from Sodom and Gomorrah experience “eternal fire” today.

The unbelievers from Sodom and Gomorrah serve as an example of punishment today.

5.2.2 StumblingJesus taught that it is better to enter life crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into “the eternal fire (“τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον“) (Matthew 18:8).

• People make decisions about eternal life and “eternal fire”  while living on earth.

• “Eternal fire” is so terrible that people should take severe action to avoid experiencing “eternal fire.”

5.2.3 The Devil and His AngelsJesus taught that “the eternal fire” has been prepared for the devil and his angels.  In the future, Jesus will separate the sheep (believers) from the goats (unbelievers) when He sits on His Millennial Throne on earth.  Jesus described the unbelievers as “accursed one” (“οἱ κατηραμένοι“) who must depart from Me (“πορεύεσθε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ“)  into the “eternal fire” (“εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον“) prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).

• The “eternal fire” was prepared for the devil and his angels.

• Unbelievers go into “eternal fire” as the “accursed ones.”

• Unbelievers go into the “eternal fire” at the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth.

5.2.4 Conclusion. When Jesus sits upon His Millennial Throne on earth, He will separate the sheep from the goats. The goats enter the “eternal fire” at least a thousand years before the Great White Judgment. We also know that Hades burns with “eternal fire” today, because Sodom and Gomorrah serve as present examples of suffering in “eternal fire,” and they are in Hades today.

 

Furnace  of Fire

5.3 Place of Punishment. Jesus described a furnace of fire (“τὴν κάμινον τοῦ πυρός“) as a place of punishment of the wicked. Notice this furnace of fire does not annihilate its prisoners, but rather they undergo weeping and gnashing of teeth with conscious punishment.

5.3.1 Gathering Out. When Jesus returns to earth to begin His Millennial Reign at the end of the age (“τῇ συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος“), He will send forth His angels to gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness. They angels will throw them into the furnace of fire (“εἰς τὴν κάμινον τοῦ πυρός“), and in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:40-50).

• At the end of the age, Jesus sends angels.

• The angels gather up the stumbling blocks and lawless people and deliver them to the furnace of fire.

• The furnace of fire is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 The righteous remain and shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of the Father.

5.3.2 Summary of the Furnace of FireThe furnace of fire describes a place where the unbelievers go and experience weeping and gnashing of teeth. At the time the angels gather out of the Millennial Kingdom of Christ all stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness, the saints inhabit the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. The time here suggests as the Millennial Kingdom starts, the unbelievers are cast into the furnace of fire, at lease a thousand years before the Great White Throne judgment. Therefore, we know that Hades must contain the furnace of fire because unbelievers go to Hades before they go to the  Great White Judgment. Furthermore, the rich man was buried and went to Hades, where he suffered in flame (“τῇ φλογὶ“) (Luke 16:24), which seems very similar to the furnace of fire. 

 

Outer Darkness

5.4 Environment. Jesus described a place of  outer darkness for the wicked.

5.4.1 Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth. Jesus described a place of outer darkness (“τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον“), and it is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

5.4.2 Sons of the Kingdom.  Jesus explained that people from east and west will come and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. At that time, the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness (“ἐκβληθήσονται εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον“); in that place there will be (“ἔσται“) weeping and gnashing of teeth (“ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων“) (Matthew 8:12).

• The phrase “outer darkness” only occurs with the phrase “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

• The phrase “weeping and gnashing of teeth” occurs with “furnace of fire” and the place of the hypocrites.

• The phrase “outer darkness” is only used in connection return of Christ to begin His Millennial Reign on earth.

• The unbelievers, including the sons of the kingdom, on earth leave the kingdom of heaven and are cast into the “outer darkness,” the place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 

5.4.3 The Improperly Attired. Jesus said that many are called (“κλητοί“), but few are chosen (“ἐκλεκτοί“). He meant that people invited to the wedding feast must be dressed appropriately. Mere attendance is not enough. If you attend the wedding feast after being compelled to come, you still must wear appropriate wedding clothes. If not, then the king will command the servants (“τοῖς διακόνοι“) to bind you hand and foot (“δήσαντες αὐτοῦ πόδας καὶ χεῖρας“), and throw (“ἐκβάλετε“) you into the outer darkness (“εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον“).  In that place, there will be (“ἔσται“) weeping and gnashing of teeth (“ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων“)  (Matthew 22:13). See Many Are Called, Few Chosen.

Entering the place of “outer darkness” means you were called, but not chosen, to enter the wedding feast.

People entering the “outer darkness” go there with bodies, including hands and feet.

• At the command of the Son of God, His angles “throw” the unbelievers into the “outer darkness.”

5.4.4 The Worthless Slave. A Master went on a journey and left His slaves various amounts of money. When He returned, He received an accounting from each of His slaves entrusted with His money. One of the slaves who knew His master’s rules for investing and ignored them and buried the money in the ground. The Master then confronted the worthless slave for His disobedience. The Master said to the worthless slave, “By the words of  your mouth, I will judge (“κρινῶ“) you” (Luke 19:22). Then the Master ordered his servants: Throw out (” ἐκβάλετε“) the worthless slave (“τὸν ἀχρεῖον δοῦλον“) into the outer darkness (“εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον“); in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (“ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων“)  (Matthew 25:30).

People only enter  into the “outer darkness” by being cast there.

• Disobedience to the Master and ignoring His rules leads to being cast into the outer darkness, with weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

5.5 Sorrow and Suffering. Jesus also described the sorrow and suffering of the wicked as weeping and gnashing of teeth.

5.5.1 The Sons of the Kingdom In the future, many will come from east and west and recline with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. In contrast, the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out of the kingdom and cast into the outer darkness (“ἐκβληθήσονται εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον“); in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (“ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων“) (Matthew 8:12; Luke 13:22).

• In the future, the sons of the kingdom who did not believe in Jesus will be cast into the outer darkness.

• The outer darkness is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

5.5.2 The Tares. Jesus used parables to describe many important doctrines. Jesus talked about the wheat (believers) and the tares (unbelievers). The wheat and the tares grow together in a field (the world). When harvest comes, then the angels remove the tares and throw them into the furnace of fire. In the furnace of fire, there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. With the tares gone, the believers shine forth in the kingdom of God (Matthew 13:42, 50).

• The furnace of fire is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Unbelievers in the furnace of fire have teeth.

• Unbelievers go to the furnace of fire when the believers shine in the kingdom of God.

5.5.3 The Parable of  the Wedding Feast. Jesus said that many are called, but few are chosen. He means that people invited to the wedding feast must be dressed appropriately. Mere attendance is not enough. If you attend the wedding feast after being compelled to come, you still must wear appropriate wedding clothes. If not, then the King will bind you hand and foot, and throw you into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:13). The parable apparently describes the people of Israel rejecting Jesus as Messiah, and then God compelling gentiles to come into the kingdom, but even the gentiles must have faith to be saved. See Many Are Called, Few Chosen.

• The King sends some people into the outer darkness bound hand and foot. 

• Unbelievers have hands and feet in the outer darkness.

Unbelievers have hands and feet as they are weeping and gnashing their teeth.

5.5.4 The Unfaithful SlaveThe Master left His slave to run His house while He was away. That slave beat His fellow slaves and ate and drank with drunkards. When the Master returned on a day and hour the slave did not expect, the Master cut that slave in pieces and assigned him a place with the hypocrites. In that place of the hypocrites, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 24:51).  The context here concerns the Son of Man coming at an hour no one expects (Matthew 24:44). Therefore, when the Master (Jesus) returns (Millennial Kingdom), Jesus will deal with that  unfaithful slave. The passage applies to the world, just as the flood judgment came upon the world in Noah’s day (Matthew 24:38-39). Unbelievers will be cut to pieces for beating their fellow slaves, and eating and drinking with drunkards.

• Having cut unfaithful slaves into pieces, He then assigns them a place with the hypocrites. 

• In that place of the hypocrites, there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

5.5.5 The Parable of the TalentsAs above, a Master went on a journey and left His slaves various amounts of money. When He returned, He received an accounting from each of His slaves entrusted with His money. One of the slaves who knew His master rules for investing ignored them and buried the money in the ground. The Master then confronted the worthless slave for His disobedience. The Master said He would judge the worthless slave by His own words. Then the Master ordered his servants: Throw out (” ἐκβάλετε“) the worthless slave (“τὸν ἀχρεῖον δοῦλον“) into the outer darkness (“εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον“); in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (“ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων“)  (Matthew 25:30). This parable describes rewards for the faithful and the punishment of the wicked when Jesus starts His Millennial Reign upon the Earth. The unfaithful people all over the world will be cast out into the outer darkness, the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

5.5.6 The Parable of the  Dragnet. Jesus likened the kingdom of heaven to a dragnet. The catch was separated into good and bad fish. Similarly, at the end of the age, the angels will come forth and take out the wicked among the righteous. The wicked will be thrown into the furnace of fire, the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:47-52). The dragnet moves through the whole world and God will separate the wicked and the righteous. The dragnet sweeps continuously through the world, with believers entering the kingdom.

5.5.7 The Narrow DoorJesus warned His contemporaries to enter through the narrow door. Once the Lord of the House closes the door, those people outside beg to be let in, claiming they ate and drank with him, and listened to His teaching in their streets. Then the Lord will say to them: “Depart from me, all you evildoers.” In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when they see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. People from east and west, north and south will recline with them in the kingdom of God. Some who are first will be last and the last shall be first (Matthew 13:22-30). The Jewish contemporaries of Jesus mostly rejected Him, but people from all over the world (Gentiles) will receive Him as Savior and spend time in the Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the prophets in the Kingdom of God. Just as the rich man saw Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham, so also these contemporaries will see the patriarchs and prophets of Israel enjoying the kingdom of God with Gentiles. 

5.6 The New Covenant the Conversion of the Remnant of Israel. In Zechariah 12, shortly before Messiah returns to the Mount of Olives to slay His enemies and establish His Millennial Kingdom, God will pour out the Spirit of grace and of supplication upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Zechariah also revealed that only one third of Israel will survive the Tribulation (Zechariah 13:8). When Jesus returns, then all of surviving Israel, from the least of them to the greatest of them will be saved, and enjoy the blessing of the New Covenant with the house of Israel (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:7-13). Therefore, we know that the people of Israel alive when Jesus returns to earth will all be saved and will not be removed from the kingdom. They will not be unfaithful, but faithful when Jesus returns, from the least of them to greatest of them.  As we interpret parables and stories in the Bible, we should be careful to remember that all of the survivors of Israel will be saved when Jesus returns to earth for His Millennial Reign.

Jesus demands obedience to His commands.

• Jesus requires fiduciaries to follow His investing rules.

• Jesus orders worthless slaves to be cast into the outer darkness.

• The outer darkness is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

• Unbelievers go into the outer darkness at the time they are judged by Jesus as He returns after His journey. 

5.5.6 Summary of Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth. The sorrow and suffering of weeping and gnashing of teeth occurs in connection with the outer darkness and the furnace of fire and the place of the hypocrites..

 

Thrown into Fire

5.6 Thrown. Some unbelievers are thrown into the fire, including some thrown into the furnace of fire. 

5.6.1 The Axe. John the Baptist looked upon the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him for baptism. John the Baptist warned them that “the axe is already laid (“ἤδη  κεῖται“) at the root of the trees.” Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down (“ἐκκόπτεται“) and thrown (“βάλλεται“) into fire (“εἰς πῦρ“) (Matthew 3:10; Luke 3:9). 

  • People who do not bear good fruit are cut down.
  • After being cut down (death), then they are thrown into the fire.

4.6.2 Good Fruit. Jesus warned against false prophets who do not bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down (“ἐκκόπτεται“) and thrown into fire (“εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται“)(Matthew 7:19; Luke 3:9; see also Luke 13:6-9: John 15:6). 

  • False prophets are cut down (death) because they do not bear good fruit.
  • After being cut down, false prophets are thrown into the fire.

5.6.3 Gathering Out. When Jesus returns to earth to begin His Millennial Reign at the end of the age (“τῇ συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος“), He will send forth His angels to gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness. The angels will throw them into the furnace of fire (“εἰς τὴν κάμινον τοῦ πυρός“), and in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:40-50).

  • At the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Christ, King Jesus will send forth His angels to gather out of His kingdom all unbelievers, including stumbling block and those who commit lawlessness.
  • Having been cast out, they are thrown into the furnace of fire.
  • The furnace of fire is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

5.6.4 StumblingJesus taught that it is better to enter life crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into “the eternal fire (“τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον“) (Matthew 18:8).

  • People who stumble spiritually are thrown with bodies (hands and feet)  into the eternal fire.

5.6.5  Your Hand and Stumbling. Jesus taught that people must take all necessary measures to avoid going to Hell, and into its unquenchable fire (“εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ ἄσβεστον“)(Mark 9:43-48). If you hand causes you to stumble spiritually, then cut it off now. Once you die, you will go to Hell, where your worm will not die. 

  • People who stumble spiritually are cast into Hell.
  • People go to Hell because they have failed and stumbled.
  • Hell is a place of unquenchable fire.
  • People in Hell continue to suffer into eternity, because their worm does not die and the fire is unquenchable.

5.6.6 The Wheat and The Chaff. John the Baptist prophesied that Jesus: (a) had His winnowing fork in His hand; and (b) He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and (c) He will  gather His wheat into His barn; and (2) He will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire (“τὸ ἄχυρον κατακαύσει πυρὶ ἀσβέστῳ.“) (Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17).

  • Jesus has already begun to remove the unbelievers from the believers.
  • Jesus will remove all the unbelievers.
  • The unbelievers never go into the safe place (barn) of Jesus.
  • Jesus will burn the chaff (unbelievers) with unquenchable fire.

5.6.7 Branches. Jesus said: If anyone does not abide in Me (“ἐὰν μή τις μένῃ ἐν ἐμοί“), He is thrown away (“ἐβλήθη ἔξω“) as a branch and dries up (“ἐξηράνθη”); and they gather (“συνάγουσιν “) them, and cast them (“βάλλουσιν”) into the fire (“εἰς τὸ πῦρ“) and they are burned up (“καίεται”) (John 15:6). 

• All people who do not abide in Jesus (unbelievers) are thrown away.

• After they have been thrown out, they are cast into the fire and gathered together and burned.

5.6.8 The Mark of the Beast. Everyone who receives the Mark of the Beast and worships his image shall be tormented (“βασανισθήσεται“) with fire and brimstone (“ἐν πυρὶ καὶ θείῳ“) in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb (Revelation 14:10-11; compare 2 Thessalonians 1:5). And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever (“εἰς αἰῶνας αἰώνων ἀναβαίνει“) and they have no rest, day and night. The phrase “day and night” occurs in Revelation 4:8; 7:15; 8:12; 12:10; 14:11; 20:10–“day and night” may be a symbolic use of the phrase to mean continuous). Brimstone (“θείῳ“) occurs in Revelation 14:10; 19:20; and 221:8–all referring to the Lake of Fire. Notably, with the Sixth Trumpet, three plagues issue forth, and fire and brimstone proceed from the mount of the horses (Revelation 14:17-18; see also the destruction of Sodom, when fire and brimstone rained from heaven and destroyed them all (Luke 17:29).

• All people receiving the Mark of the Beast and worshiping his image shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb.

• This special torment seems similar to the fire and brimstone of the Lake of Fire, but this torment has a special audience. Perhaps the holy angels and the Lamb looked upon the Lake of Fire with these people there. Please recall that the unbelievers go to Hades first, and then they are judged at the Great White Throne, and then cast into the Lake of Fire.

• These people have no rest day or night (“οὐκ ἔχουσιν ἀνάπαυσιν ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτὸς“). This may be a clue that they are not in the Lake of Fire when they experience this suffering, but see Revelation 20:10, where people suffer in the Lake of Fire “day and night,” and heaven and earth have already fled away.

 

Cut Down and Thrown into Fire

5.7 God expects every human being to produce good fruit. He cuts down every tree that does not and casts them into fire.

5.7.1 The Axe. John the Baptist looked upon the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him for baptism. John the Baptist warned them that “the axe is already laid (“ἤδη  κεῖται“) at the root of the trees.” Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down (“ἐκκόπτεται“) and thrown (“βάλλεται“) into fire (“εἰς πῦρ“) (Matthew 3:10).

• The lack of good fruit causes the axe to cut down the tree. 

• The cutting down takes place immediately.

• Once cut down, the trees go straight into the fire.

The unbelievers are thrown into the fire.

5.7.2 Good Fruit. Jesus warned against false prophets who do not bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down (“ἐκκόπτεται“) and thrown into fire (“εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται“)(Matthew 7:19; Luke 3:9; see also Luke 13:6-9: John 15:6). 

• Jesus expects every tree to bear good fruit.

• Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down.

• Once cut down, the tree is thrown into fire.

5.7.3 The Example of Sodom and Gomorrah. Peter indicated the Lord keeps the unbelievers of Sodom and Gomorrah under punishment for the day of judgment. Notice that even before the future Day of  Judgment (“εἰς ἡμέραν κρίσεως“), the unbelievers of Sodom and Gomorrah were kept under punishment (“κολαζομένους τηρεῖν“) in the “eternal fire” as they await the Day of Judgment in the future. While those unbelievers wait for the Day of Judgment, they suffer the punishment of eternal flames. Peter also described Sodom and Gomorrah as examples of punishment. In 2 Peter 2:6, God condemned (“κατέκρινεν“) Sodom and Gomorrah  to destruction (“καταστροφῇ“) by reducing them to ashes (“τεφρώσας“), having made an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter. Notice that those unbelievers have already been reduced to ashes on earth (2 Peter 2:6), but after death on earth they continue their existence with bodies in a place of punishment, suffering eternal fire. Where is this place of punishment in eternal flames where unbelievers go after death while they wait for the future day of judgment? Jesus provided clear teaching concerning the place where unbelievers go as they await judgment. Jesus also taught that it would be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than any city that rejected His chosen messengers (Matthew 10:15). Within that same context of sending out His messengers, Jesus explained that they should not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell (Matthew 10:28).  

• Sodom and Gomorrah serve as examples of sin producing suffering after death.

Although God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah centuries ago, they  experience eternal fire today.

• The eternal fire burns in Hades today.

• The unbelievers of Sodom and Gomorrah wait the Day of Judgment, yet future from today.

5.7.4 Summary of Suffering.  Therefore, putting the evidence together, we know that both the cities of Capernaum and Sodom descended into Hades, where they suffered punishment before the future Day of Judgment. If Sodom suffered the punishment of eternal flames, so also must Capernaum who faced a greater judgment for its greater evil deeds. We also know that a reference to eternal fire (“πυρὸς αἰωνίου“) does not always mean the Lake of Fire; Hades also burns with eternal fire because of Jude 1:7 combined with Matthew 11:24-25. Hades is the place where all unbelievers go to await the day of judgment.  So, putting all that information together, although God condemned Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes and earthly destruction, they still faced a future judgment. While the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah and Capernaum waited for the Day of Judgment to arrive (they are still waiting today), they suffer the punishment of eternal flames in Hades.  Because Sodom and Gomorrah awaited future judgment while kept in the punishment of eternal flames, it seems likely that Capernaum facing a greater judgment would suffer likewise in eternal flames. In passing, we must note that the Lake of Fire only receives inhabitants in the Book of Revelation. In Revelation 19, when the Lord Jesus returns to earth, the beast and the false prophet are seized and thrown into the Lake of Fire, which burns with brimstone (Revelation 19:20). After the Millennial Reign of Christ, and after the Final Rebellion instigated by Satan after he was let loose from the bottomless pit, Satan was thrown into the the Lake of Fire and brimstone (Revelation 20:10), where he will be tormented day and night forever. At that point, the only beings known to be in the Lake of Fire are the beast, the false prophet, and Satan. Only after heaven and earth have fled away, unsaved humanity appears before the Great White Throne for judgment. At that time, Death and Hades give up the dead which are in them and they appear before Jesus as He sits on the Great White Throne. Only unbelievers appear there, and they are all sentenced to the Lake of Fire (John 4:24; Revelation 20:11-15). 

Section Six

The Resurrection to Life and the Resurrection to Judgment

Have you ever asked yourself: If I have eternal life, why would I need resurrection? After Lazarus died, Jesus explained to his sister Martha  how eternal life relates to resurrection. Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Jesus told Martha: “I AM the resurrection and the life.” Jesus then defined the terms “resurrection” and “life” (John 11:25). Jesus declared that everyone will be resurrected. The believers will go to the Resurrection of Life and the unbelievers will go to the Resurrection of Judgment. Both the righteous and the wicked will be resurrected. He provided details on timing and substance. Jesus also defined the terms resurrection and life.  Often Jesus discussed theology in the context of specific events in the lives and deaths of specific people.

6.1 The Healing of Pallet Man. Jesus healed Pallet Man on the Sabbath (John 5:1-9). The Jews then sought to kill Jesus, because He healed on the Sabbath and made Himself equal to God. Jesus explained to them that He is God and that they must believe that the Father sent Jesus to avoid eternal death.

6.1.1 Word of Jesus. Everyone who hears the word of Jesus (“ὁ τὸν λόγον μου ἀκούων“) and believes (καὶ πιστεύων (notice the participles)) in the One Who Sent Him has (“ἔχει“–present active indicative) eternal life and will not bring himself into judgment (“καὶ εἰς κρίσιν οὐκ ἔρχεται“), but has passed (“μεταβέβηκεν“–perfect active indicative–past act, continuing result) out of death (“ἐκ τοῦ θανάτου“) into life (“εἰς τὴν ζωήν“) (John 5:24).

  • Today some people hear the word of Jesus and live.
  • Today everyone who hears and believes the word of Jesus will never come into judgment concerning eternal life.
  • Today believers hear the word of  Jesus and will never appear before the Great White Throne for Judgment.
  • Today believers have passed out of judgment and into life.
  • Today believers are no longer dead.

6.1.2 The Voice of Jesus.  Jesus said that the hour is coming and now is, when the dead (“οἱ νεκροὶ“) will hear the voice of the Son of God (“οἱ ἀκούσουσιν τῆς φωνῆς τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ“), and those who hear will live (“ζήσουσιν“) (John 5:25; Matthew 13:43; Ephesians 2:1-10).

  • Today and continuing into the future, the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God (Jesus).
  • The voice of the Son of God goes out to dead people continually, throughout the generations.
  • Jesus speaks to spiritually dead people.
  • Every one who hears, will live.
  • Only some dead people hear His voice.

6.1.3 Life in Himself. God the Father gave to God the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:26).

  • Just as God the Father has life in Himself, so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself.
  • Like God the Father, Jesus is eternal God.

6.1.4 Jesus and Judgment.  God the Father gave God the Son to do judgment (“κρίσιν ποιεῖν“), because He is the Son of Man (John 5:27).  

  • Jesus does judgment.
  • Jesus received the authority to do judgment because He is the Son of Man.
  • Never forget believers never come into judgment of life and death.
  • At the moment of salvation by faith alone, the believer leaves death behind and enters into life.  

6.1.5 People in the Tombs. In contrast to those dead people who hear the voice of Jesus and live today, Jesus spoke of a future hour when everyone in the tombs will hear His voice (John 5:28). Many people do not understand that an hour is coming when everyone will be resurrected (Daniel 12:2).  Jesus described two very different resurrections for people in the tombs (these people have died physically) (John 5:28). Several passages indicate that the resurrection of the Old Testament Jews will take place after time of greatest distress for the nation Israel (the Tribulation) (Daniel 12:1–Book of Rescue; Revelation 20:4). Yet, nothing in those passages precludes the resurrection of the Old Testament saints at the rapture before the Tribulation. We know that many people will be resurrected at the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Christ (who died during the Tribulation) so that they may reign with Jesus on earth (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:4-6). 

  • At some future hour, everyone in the tombs will hear the voice of Jesus.
  • In the future, Jesus will call forth people in the tombs  to resurrection.

6.1.6 The Resurrection to Life and the Resurrection to Judgment. After their bodies die on earth, all people will be resurrected, both the righteous and the wicked (Acts 24:15). Jesus explained that all people will go to one of two resurrections: (1) the Resurrection of Life (“ἀνάστασιν ζωῆς“); or (2) the Resurrection of Judgment (“ἀνάστασιν κρίσεως“) (John 5:29). 

6.1.6.1 Resurrection to Life Defined.  Jesus said that “resurrection” means “he who believes (“ὁ πιστεύων“) in Me will live (“ζήσεται–future, indicative, middle voice”) even if he dies (“κἂν ἀποθάνῃ“) (John 11:26.”  Therefore, we know that resurrection means that all believers will live forever, even if they die on earth. We may distinguish different resurrection events in the Bible.

6.2  Paradise Resurrection. At the moment of death, each believer goes to the Paradise (“τῷ παραδείσῳ“) to be with Jesus. Those believers will also eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God (“τῷ παραδείσῳ τοῦ θεοῦ“) (Revelation 2:7).  Believers are raised from the dead to enter the Paradise. Their bodies remain in tombs on the earth, awaiting bodily resurrection later (Matthew 27:52-53). As a side note, while living, Paul was caught up into the Paradise and heard inexpressible words (2 Corinthians 12:4). 

 6.2.1 The Thief on the Cross. Jesus was crucified between two thieves. One of them believed in Jesus while haning on the cross. Jesus told that thief that today they would be together in the Paradise (Luke 23:43). 

6.2.2 Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Another example of Paradise resurrection concerns Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The Sadducees denied the afterlife and resurrection and challenged Jesus about resurrection. Jesus used the Old Testament (Exodus in the Torah)  to prove the resurrection of the dead. Jesus quoted God speaking to Moses at the Burning Bush:  “I AM the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6).  Jesus declared that God is not the God of the dead (“νεκρῶν“), but of the living (ζώντων–present active participle) (Matthew 22:32). Therefore, Jesus revealed that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had already been resurrected from the dead at the time Jesus was speaking those words to the Sadducees. Although the bodies of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were still in earthly tombs undergoing decay, the were spiritually alive in Paradise already.   I would include the resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as examples of the Paradise Resurrection, meaning that believers are raised from the dead immediately, to be with Jesus in Paradise. Their bodies, however, are still in the tombs, awaiting bodily resurrection at a later date. 

6.2.3 The Rich Man and Lazarus. In the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, we see another example of Paradise Resurrection. At death, Lazarus was carried by angels to the bosom Abraham. We know from Jesus that Abraham already had been resurrected from dead. Therefore, Lazarus  was also resurrected to be with Abraham in Paradise. The bodies of Abraham and Lazarus were both in their tombs on earth. Yet, Jesus indicated that Abraham had a bosom, Lazarus had a finger, and the Rich man in Hades had a tongue.  Although their physical bodies were in tombs, they had some sort of physical body, as they awaited later bodily resurrection. They both had bodies, based upon the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus; both the saved and unsaved have some sort of temporary body after death(Luke 16:19-31).

6.2.4 Like Angels.  Jesus also revealed that when (“ὅταν“) the believers are resurrected from the dead, they neither marry nor are given marriage, but are like the angels (Mark 12:25).

6.3 Clouds Resurrection. Paul  described  the Clouds Resurrection, a snatching away of believers to the clouds. Paul told the Thessalonians that he did not want them to grieve as those people who have no hope, but to comfort one another with the truths of resurrection. When Christ returns to the clouds of earth, He will bring with Him all those believers who have fallen asleep in Christ. They will receive their resurrected bodies first, and then those believers alive on earth will receive their resurrected bodies as they are caught up to the clouds to be with Jesus forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

6.4 The Tribulation Resurrection. John described a “First Resurrection” in Revelation 20:5.  Before the “first resurrection” of Revelation 20:5, believers were snatched away from earth and given resurrected bodies, along with those who died before Jesus came to the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). During the Tribulation, we see that heaven already has a multitude of believers from every nation, tribe, people and tongue standing in heaven, clothed in white robes, holding palm branches in their hands, and crying out: “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9).  It appears they have already been raised  and given resurrected bodies when Jesus returned to the clouds, just before the Tribulation. The “First Resurrection” refers to the martyrs from the Tribulation who came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years (the Millennial Reign of Christ) (Revelation 20:5). Compare Mary confessing her belief that her brother Lazarus would be raised in the resurrection on the last day (“ἀναστήσεται ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει ἐν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ“). Jesus replied that He is the resurrection and life today (John 11:25-26). 

6.4.1 Luke 20:35-37. Jesus spoke about being “considered worthy to attain to that age” (“τοῦ αἰῶνος“) and the resurrection out of the  dead (“ῆς ἀναστάσεως τῆς ἐκ νεκρῶν“). Therefore, we know that in a future age, their will be a resurrection of “ones considered worthy” (“οἱ καταξιωθέντες“). Jesus separated the worthy from the unworthy. Having been resurrected, the ones considered worthy will be like the angels, and sons of God (“υἱοί εἰσιν θεοῦ“), being sons of the resurrection (“τῆς ἀναστάσεως υἱοὶ ὄντες) (Luke 20:36). God is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to Him (Luke 20:38).

  • Believers die on earth. See Lazarus in the tomb.
  • Believers in Jesus will live into the future, even after they die physically on earth.
  • Because Jesus is the I AM God of the Old Testament, He is the resurrection and the life.
  • Jesus also explained to the Sadducees (who denied the resurrection) that God spoke of the Resurrection of the Dead (“τῆς ἀναστάσεως τῶν νεκρῶν“; compare Mark 12:25) and applied the truth of resurrection of the dead to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

 6.5 Back to Life Resurrection: Lazarus. Jesus also raised Lazarus and others in the New Testament. Those people would eventually die again. Those resurrections concerned bringing a dead person back to life, but not a change in their bodies from mortal to immortal. The resurrection change in body would take place later, at the end of the age (John 11:24; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; 2 Timothy 2:18).

6.5.1 Life Defined. Jesus then defined “the life” as “everyone who lives and believes (“ὁ ζῶν καὶ πιστεύων“) in Me will never die.” Notice that you must be both “one who lives” and “one who believes” to avoid dying.

  • Unbelievers die in the future, even after they have died physically on earth.
  • Believers never face the second death and they have eternal life.

6.6 The Resurrection to Life. The righteous go to the resurrection of life, because they have passed out of judgment in to life at the moment of salvation by grace through faith (John 5:24). This resurrection for believers happens at different times.

6.6.1 Jesus the First Fruits. Paul declared that Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep (1 Corinthians 15:20). 

6.6.2 The Order of Resurrection Paul also gave the order of resurrection: “Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Corinthians 15:23). 

6.6.3 The Resurrection to Life Contrast. As above, John described two resurrections: the resurrection to life for believers, and the resurrection to judgment for unbelievers (John 5:25-32). The first resurrection take place in stages and precedes the resurrection to judgment.

6.7 The Resurrection of Judgment. John described a resurrection of Judgment (“ἀνάστασιν κρίσεως“) for unbelievers. The Resurrection of Judgment begins withe voice of Jesus calling the unbelievers in their tombs to stand before Him  for the Resurrection of Judgment (John 5:26-27). After Jesus calls the unbelievers from their tombs, heaven and earth flee away. Then we see Jesus sitting upon a Great White Throne ( (Revelation 20:11). Pursuant to call of His voice, the dead, both the small and the great , stand before Him to be judged according to their deeds (John 5:29), recorded in the books (see Books of Life).     Those deeds will determine their degree of punishment in the Lake of Fire.

6.8 The Second Death. The Second Death follows the Resurrection to Judgment. The Second Death is Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14). 

6.9 Conclusion About The Two Resurrections. Jesus taught that everyone will be resurrected.  The unbelievers go the Resurrection of Judgment, where they will judged according to their evil deeds.  The believers go to the Resurrection of Life, where they will be rewarded for their good deeds. 

  • In the future, when Jesus call forth the people in the tombs, they will all come forth.
  • When Jesus summons dead  people and they come forth from the tombs, they are resurrected.
  • The believers did good deeds and go to the Resurrection of Life.
  • At the Resurrection of Life, the believers are rewarded according to their good works.
  • The unbelievers did evil deeds and  go the Resurrection of Judgment.
  • At the Resurrection of Judgment, the unbelievers are punished according to their evil deeds.
  • Only faith in Jesus saves you. Your good deeds do not save you, but demonstrate your faith (John 5:24; Ephesians 2:8-10).

Section Seven

The Day of Judgment

The New Testament writers revealed a day of judgment. They used the phrase “day of judgment” in different ways. So, let us review how God inspired various New Testament authors to reveal complex truths about the day of judgment. I limit the references below to the exact phrase “day of judgment” (“ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως” or similar Greek phrase). I am not considering every reference to judgment, because I intend only to survey that specific phrase. Please keep in mind that believers never face judgment for sins, and never go to the resurrection of judgment, because they have passed out of death into life (John 5:24-29). 

7.1 Matthew and the Day of Judgment. Matthew described a “Day of Judgment” (“ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως“)  that would be more tolerable for some than others. On the Day of Judgment, everyone will give account of every careless word they spoke (Matthew 10:15; 11:22-24;  12:36-42; 1 Peter 4:5).  Furthermore, witnesses will testify about matters of unbelief. In Matthew, the “Day of Judgment” refers to the time of the Great White Throne Judgment, and includes only unbelievers.  Jesus warned the Pharisees:  “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will condemned” (Matthew 12:37).

7.2 Luke and the Day of Judgment Luke also used the term “judgment” to  describe the “Day of Judgment” mentioned by Matthew (Luke 10:14; 11:31-32).  Likewise, Luke used the term “Day of Judgment” to refer to the Great White Throne Judgment.

7.3 Paul and the Day of WrathPaul warned people to avoid storing up for themselves wrath in the day of wrath (“ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ὀργῆς“) and revelation of the righteous judgment (“δικαιοκρισίας“) of God (Romans 2:5).  Paul described that “day of wrath” as the day of the revelation of Jesus Christ. The wrath of God dominates the judgment of unbelievers and abides even now upon all people disobedient to Christ (John 3:36).  Paul described believers as eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, indicating His return to earth in glory (1 Corinthians 1:7; see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4). Paul also described a day of judgment for believers, where they will receive praise from God (1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Paul plainly linked the day of wrath and judgment with the start of the Millennial Reign of Christ, and not the Great White Throne Judgment. Paul also taught that Jesus is to judge the living and the dead (“κρίνειν ζῶντας καὶ νεκρού“)  (2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5). Paul also wrote about the Judgment Seat of Christ, where only believers appear to receive rewards  (Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

7.4 Hebrews and Day of Judgment. The writer of Hebrews notes that basic Christian instruction concerns “the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment” (Hebrews 6:2). Likewise, it has been appointed for men to die once (“ἀπόκειται τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἅπαξ ἀποθανεῖν“) and after that comes the judgment” (“μετὰ δὲ τοῦτο κρίσις“) (Hebrews 9:27–from the context, apparently believers are primarily in view here, appearing before the Judgment Seat of Christ). Jesus also described a terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of fire which will consume the adversaries (Hebrews 10:27). 

7.5 Peter and the Day of Judgment. Peter declared that God knows how to keep the unrighteous under punishment (“κολαζομνου“) for the day of judgment (“μραν κρσεως“) (2 Peter 2:9).  Peter also declared that the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:7). Peter used the phrase “Day of Judgment” to refer to the Great White Throne Judgment. 

7.6 John and the Day of Judgment.  John disclosed that the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son (John 5:22; 5:30; 8:16). John also distinguished the “day of judgment” from the judgment that Jesus brought upon the world, and the devil in particular (John 9:39; 12:31; 16:8-11). John also wrote that believers may have confidence in “the day of judgment” (“τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῆς κρίσεως”) (1 John 4:17). As above, believers appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and not at the Great White Throne Judgment (John 5:24; 5:27; Revelation 20:10). At the Judgment Seat of Christ, fire will test the works of believers. Even if the fire consumes all the works of a believer, that believer will still be saved, as if by fire (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Believers who teach will incur a stricter judgment (James 3:1).  John also wrote about “the hour of His judgment” (“ἡ ὥρα τῆς κρίσεως αὐτοῦ“), referring to the specific time of judgment starting with Babylon and proceeding to the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 2:4). John used the phrase “Hour of Judgment” to refer to a period starting with the physical destruction of Babylon (Revelation 18:8).

7.7 Jude and the Day of Judgment. Jude wrote that God keeps some angels imprisoned in eternal bonds under darkness to await the judgment of the great day (“κρίσιν μεγάλης ἡμέρας“) (Jude 1:6). Jude the phrase “Judgement of the Great Day” to refer to the Great White Throne Judgment.

7.8 Summary. We may summarize “the day of judgment” as referring most often to the Great White Throne Judgment, where unbelievers  face the evidence, witnesses speak, and Jesus sentences unbelievers to the Lake of Fire. After death, unbelievers go to the resurrection of judgment (John 5:24-29). Please note that part of the Great White Throne Judgment concerns degrees of punishment, but every unbeliever goes from the Great White Throne Judgment to the Lake of Fire because of unbelief; their names were never written in the Book of Life. At the Great White Throne Judgment, unbelievers are assigned degrees of punishment they experience in the Lake of Fire, where they suffer for all eternity.

 

 

Section Eight

The Sentence of Hell

Jesus used the phrase “the sentence of Hell.” What did Jesus mean by using that particular phrase? When will that sentence of Hell be imposed, or had it already been imposed? Answers to those questions affect the chronology of other events in the Afterlife. We have seen that the “Day of Judgment” most frequently applies to the Great White Throne Judgment. Please keep in mind that a sentence may be imposed one day, but the sentence may be carried out much later. For example, you may be sentenced to death one day, but you will not be executed until years later.

8.1 The Sentence of Hell. Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees that they were a brood vipers. He asked them how did they expected to escape the sentence of Hell (“τῆς κρίσεως τῆς γεέννης“) (Matthew 23:33). This phrase “the sentence of Hell” requires further examination. Paul, for example, used the phrase the sentence of death (“τὸ ἀπόκριμα τοῦ θανάτου“) to refer to physical death (2 Corinthians 1:9). Was Jesus talking about physical death or something else?

8.2 Unpacking  The Phrase “Escape Sentence of Hell.” The Greek phrase “Sentence of Hell” (“φύγητε ἀπὸ τῆς κρίσεως τῆς γεέννης“) forms a starting point. We must also focus upon the word “escape” (“φύγητε“–aorist subjunctive) from the sentence of Hell and the prepositional phrase following it. Let us start with a look at another occurrence of the verb “escape” plus the preposition “from” followed by the genitive case.

8.2.1 Escape the Ship.  In Acts 27:30, the sailors tried to escape from the ship in the storm (“φυγεῖν ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου“). Notice that they were already in the ship, and were trying to leave.

8.2.2 Escape the Wrath To ComeIn Matthew 3:7 and Luke 3:7, John the Baptist asked the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism: “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come” (“φυγεῖν ἀπὸ τῆς μελλούσης ὀργῆς”). Notice that the the text makes plain that the wrath is still future, but they can flee from it now by turning to Jesus the Messiah.  It also has the same structure of the verb “flee” followed by the preposition “from”  followed by the genitive. 

8.3 Sons of Hell. Jesus described the Pharisees as sons of Hell, and their converts become twice as much a son of Hell as they were (Matthew 23:15). Jesus meant that the Pharisees produced disciples who were twice as evil as they were, and implied they would receive a greater judgment. Jesus also identified the lineage of Pharisees: they were sons of Hell. Jesus also described unbelievers as sons of their father, the devil, who is a liar and the father lies (John 8:44). Jesus linked evil conduct with the influence of the devil in their lives. Notice that the Pharisees were already sons of Hell. 

Therefore, we may conclude that the verb “flee” with the preposition  may speak of a present time, or a future time. The only escape  from the future time of wrath was explicit in the text Matthew 3:7. So, we may say that it is not definitive that the judgment of Hell is certainly future based on the verb, preposition, or genitive construction. If it is future, then the “sentence of Hell” occurs at the Great White Throne Judgment and Hell is the same place as the Lake of Fire or exists in the Lake of Fire. In the alternative, the “escape” means that “the judgment of Hell” has already occurred. If it has already occurred, then they were under that judgment long before the Great White Throne Judgment and would be like sailors leaving the ship. So, if the sentence of Hell has already been passed, then Matthew 23:33 does not support the claim that Hell means the Lake of Fire. We can also review other evidence associated with present judgment.

8.4  The Holy Spirit.  In John 16:8, Jesus taught that the Holy Spirit will come and convict the world concerning judgment (“κρίσεως“).  Jesus explained the ruler of this world (the devil) has been judged (“κέκριται“–perfect passive). Therefore, we know that the the devil has been judged already, and his sentence is the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20: 10). Notably, John 16:11, concerning judgment,  described the devil as having been judged (“κέκριται“) already. Therefore, if the claim is that the sentence of Hell always means a future judgment, then the judgment of the devil provides an exception to that rule.

8.5 Judgment and Retribution. In 2 Thessalonians 1:5, we see God’s righteous judgment (“τῆς δικαίας κρίσεως τοῦ θεοῦ”) at work. The Thessalonian believers suffered persecutions and afflictions, and show God’s righteous judgment that they are worthy of the kingdom of God. When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angles and with fire, He will deal out retribution to those who do not obey the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. Those disobedient people, including the afflicters and persecutors of the Thessalonians, will pay the penalty of eternal destruction (“ὄλεθρον αἰώνιον“), away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His presence. That penalty will be imposed in the future when Jesus comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed.  Notice the time these people pay the penalty of eternal destruction: when Jesus comes in His glory with His angels. Jesus returns to earth in His glory and with His angels to establish His millennial reign upon earth. Therefore, the “penalty” (“δίκην“) occurs at the same time believers enter eternal life (compare Jude 1:7 “penalty” of eternal fire). Therefore, the unbelievers suffer the penalty at least a thousand years before the Great White Throne. We will see this same theme below with several parables and the account of the sheep and the goats. 

8.6  Unbelievers Judged Already. Jesus taught that He who believes in Him is not judged (“οὐ κρίνεται”–present passive indicative).  God did not send His son into the world to judge (“κρίνῃ“) the world, because everyone who does not believe has been judged already (“κέκριται–perfect passive indicative). Therefore, we know that believers are no longer judged regarding salvation, but have passed into life (John 5:25). Unbelievers have already been judged in the past, and their judgment continues.  So, the idea of escaping from the justice of hell may refer back to previous judgment. You escape from something already imprisoning you, like the sailors above. In my view, the evidence favors the “sentence of Hell” has already been passed upon the Pharisees and Sadducees because the devil has already been judged, just like everyone who has not believed in the Jesus had already been judged before He appeared in the flesh.

Section Nine

Depart from Me

9.1 Eternal Punishment. In the future, Jesus will come back to earth and reign for a thousand years (“the Millennial Reign of Christ”) (Revelation 20:1-6). At the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Christ, Jesus sits upon His Millennial Throne. King Jesus will remove all unbelievers on earth from the Millennial Kingdom. Angels gather living unbelievers from all over the world and bring them before King Jesus.  As King Jesus sits on His Millennial Throne on earth, He allows believers to enter the Millennial Kingdom and He sends unbelievers away (Matthew 25:35-46). 

9.2 Depart from Me. At the Millennial Throne, Jesus had stern words for the unbelievers (goats): “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). The unbelievers go away into eternal punishment (“κόλασιν αἰώνιον“). At the same time, the righteous (“οἱ δίκαιοι“) enter eternal life (“ζωὴν αἰώνιον“)” (Matthew 25:46; see Luke 18:30). 

• Jesus will return to the earth to reign for a thousand years (“Millennial Reign of Christ).

• At the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Christ, King Jesus will send His angels to gather unbelievers from all over the earth.

• At the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Christ, King Jesus orders the unbelievers to depart from Him and go into eternal punishment.

9.3 Depart from Me Comparisons. At the Millennial Throne, Jesus commands the unbelievers: “Depart from Me” (“ἀποχωρεῖτε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ“). This same phrase, “Depart from Me,” appears in Matthew 7:23, where unbelievers cite all their works as their claim for entering kingdom of heaven. Jesus said to them, “Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.”  It also appears in Luke 13:27, where people ask the Lord if just a few are being saved. Jesus commanded them to strive to  enter through the narrow door.  Once Jesus  (the Head of the house) shuts the door, it will be too late. The people outside claim that they ate with Jesus and He taught in their streets. As they stand outside, they say: “Lord, open up to us!’ Then Jesus will answer:  “I do not know where you are from;  depart from Me, all you evil-doers.” Jesus meant that merely eating with Him and listening to His teachings does not mean you ever knew Him as Savior.   The context of Matthew 25:41, Matthew 7:23, and Luke 13:27 all show that unbelievers want to be with Jesus, but it is too late for them. Despite their pleas to join Him as He begins His Millennial Reign, He identifies them as evil-doers, accursed ones, and lawless people. In all of those examples, unbelievers rejected Jesus during their lifetimes on earth, but then sought to enter His Millennial Kingdom. Therefore, we know that when Jesus commands people to depart from Him, they are not going to the Lake of Fire, but to Hades; the Lake of Fire remains at least a thousand years after the start of the Millennial Kingdom.

• When King Jesus sits on His Millennial Throne, unbelievers want to join King Jesus in the Millennial  Kingdom.

• King Jesus will allow only believers into the Millennial Kingdom, and all unbelievers will hear Him say: “Depart from Me.”

 

 

Section Ten

The Kingdom of Heaven and the Afterlife

Do people live in the Kingdom of Heaven forever? Jesus spoke to the people of Israel in parables. He explained many spiritual truths to them, including the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven intersects with the Afterlife in several different ways, and provides a point of separation for believers and unbelievers.

10.1 Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus described a day in the future when some people will seek to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but will be denied entrance. They will claim they did many good works on earth, and seek to enter the Kingdom of God on that basis. On that future day, Jesus will declare that He never knew them, and will dismiss them with sobering words: “I never knew you (“οὐδέποτε ἔγνων ὑμᾶς”). Depart from Me (“ἀποχωρεῖτε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ”), you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23).  In that context, not entering the kingdom means you will be cast out into the outer darkness, a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (as above). This departure coincides with the time the believers enter the Kingdom of Heaven and aligns with the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Christ; that reign begins at least a thousand years before the Great White Throne Judgment.

 Doing good in the name of Jesus will not get you into Kingdom of Heaven.

• If you practice lawlessness, then Jesus will not let you into the Kingdom of Heaven. 

• In the future, Jesus will sit on His Millennial Throne, and tell many people trusting in their claims of good works to depart from Him.

• Those people will depart from Jesus and will be cast into the outer darkness.

• The outer darkness is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

10.2 Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When many people come from east and west to recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven, at that same time the sons of the kingdom will be cast into “the outer darkness” (“ἐκβληθήσονται εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον“) (Matthew 8:10-12). In that place of outer darkness, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The people coming from east and west to recline at table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven pictures the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth. At that time, the sons of the kingdom will be cast into a place of outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Notice that this place of outer darkness is not the place of the Lake of Fire, because the Great White Throne judgment remains at least one thousand years in the future.  

• In the future, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will eat in the Kingdom of Heaven.

• People from east and west will eat with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven.

• While many people enter the Kingdom of Heaven, the sons of the kingdom will be cast into the outer darkness.

• The outer darkness is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

10.3 The Parable of the Tares and Wheat. At the end of the age (“τῇ συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος“), Jesus will send forth His angels and gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness (Matthew 7:12), and will throw them (“βαλοῦσιν αὐτοὺς“) into the furnace of fire (“εἰς τὴν κάμινον τοῦ πυρός·“); in that place there will weeping and gnashing of teeth (“ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων.“). So we know that the Lake of Fire is distinct from the furnace of fire, the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth because unbelievers go there at the end of the age, when Christ begins His reign upon earth. Therefore, the Lake of Fire is still a thousand years in the future. Notice the timing of Matthew 13:43: “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”  While the believers shine in the Kingdom of their Father, the unbelievers are already in the furnace of fire and the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

• In the future, at the end of the age, Jesus will send forth His angels.

• Those angels will gather out of His Millennial Kingdom all stumbling blocks and the people who commit lawlessness.

• Those evil people will be thrown into the furnace of fire.

• The furnace of fire is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

10.4 The Parable of the DragnetJesus also likened the kingdom of heaven to a net thrown into the sea (Matthew 13:47-50). At the end of the age (“ἐν τῇ συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος“), the angels will come forth and take out (“ἀφοριοῦσιν“) the wicked from among the righteous and throw  (“βαλοῦσιν“) them  into the furnace of fire (“εἰς τὴν κάμινον τοῦ πυρός“); in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of  teeth.  Notice the timing again. The wicked here are thrown into the furnace of fire at beginning of the Millennial Reign of Christ, at least a thousand years before the Great White Throne Judgment. 

• In the future, at the end of the age, Jesus will send forth His angels.

• Those angels will take out the wicked from the Kingdom of Heaven.

• Those wicked people will be cast into the furnace of fire.

• The furnace of fire is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

10.5 The Parable of the Wedding FeastJesus told the parable of the king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He called many people to the feast, but they rejected his invitation. Finally, the wedding hall was filled with evil and good people. The king came and found a man lacking wedding clothes. The king said to his servants: “Bind him hand and foot and throw him (“δήσαντες αὐτοῦ πόδας καὶ χεῖρας ἐκβάλετε αὐτὸ“) into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:1-14; see also Matthew 24:51).  The time again makes a difference here. The people removed from the wedding feast go to a place of outer darkness, with weeping and gnashing of teeth.  See Many Are Called, Few Chosen.

• Many people are called to feast with the King, but do rejected the invitation.

• Some people called to the feast attend, but do not dress appropriately.

• Failing to dress properly results in the King removing you from the feast.

• The King orders His servants to bind hand and foot the disobedient guest and throw into the outer darkness; there will be and gnashing of teeth.

• Many are called to attend to the feast, but few are chosen. Mere attendance is never enough.

10.6 The Parable of the Talents.  Jesus told the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27). A man went on a journey, and entrusted his slaves with varying amounts of his money (called talents). He later returned and requested an accounting from each slave. Two slaves invested the money wisely, obeying the directives of the master. The master then rewarded each slave and commanded those two slaves to enter his joy. The third slave thought of his master as a hard man with important investing rules. The third slave disobeyed those investing rules. The master then judged the third slave according to the third’s slaves own words. Instead of burying the master’s money, the third slave should have earned interest on the money. The master called the third slave the worthless slave. The master commanded that the worthless slave be thrown out into the outer darkness (“καὶ τὸν ἀχρεῖον δοῦλον ἐκβάλετε εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον”). In that place, there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (“ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων”).

10.6.1 Judgment. Significantly, we know that when the Master returns,  “By the words of your mouth I will judge you” (“Ἐκ τοῦ στόματός σου κρίνω σε“) (Luke 19:22). Therefore, we know that Jesus will render judgment at the time Jesus returns to start His Millennial Reign. The judgment concerning unbelievers at the start of the Millennial Reign of Christ concerns the destiny of the unbelievers, but not the final trial, which will occur at the Great White Throne Judgment. This Millennial Throne Judgement stands separate from the Great White Throne Judgment, where degrees of punishment will be imposed and punishment meted out in the Lake of Fire. The Millennial Throne Judgment amounts to Judge Jesus assigning unfaithful slaves a place with the unbelievers (Luke 12:46). In the future, after that Millennial Throne Judgment, at the Great White Throne Judgement, Judge Jesus will examine each unbeliever’s deeds, knowledge and motives, and then and impose specific amount of punishment commensurate with the individual’s guilt (Luke 12:47-48).

  • Failing to follow the Master’s orders today brings judgment when the Master returns.
  • Slaves must give an accounting when the Master returns.
  • Disobedience to the Master results in removal from the Master.
  • When the Master returns, faithful slaves enter into the joy of their Master.
  • When the Master returns, the Master commands that the disobedient slaves are thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

10.7  The Sheep and The GoatsIn the future, Jesus will return in glory to earth, sit on His glorious throne, and begin His Millennial Reign. All the nations shall be gathered before Him, and He will separate the sheep from the goats. During their lifetimes on earth, the sheep did the will of God and the goats neglected the will of God. Jesus will place the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. Jesus will command the sheep, blessed by God the Father, to come and inherit the Kingdom of prepared for them from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34). In contrast, Jesus commands the goats: Depart from me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). The goats will go away into eternal punishment (“κόλασιν αἰώνιον”), but the righteous to eternal life (“ζωὴν αἰώνιον”) (Matthew 25:46).

9.8 The Kingdom of God. The Psalmist revealed that Jesus would reign until all things are put in subjection under His feet (Psalm 110:1).  When will that day arrive? After the Final Rebellion, and after all evil beings have been cast into the Lake of Fire, then we see that the day has arrived where the enemies of Jesus have been put under His feet. At that point, all things will be subjected to Jesus and He will subject Himself to the Father, so that God will be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:25-28).

Section Eleven

The Judgment Seat of Christ

Long ago, God promised Abraham a very great reward (“שְׂכָרְךָ֖ הַרְבֵּ֥ה מְאֹֽד“) (Genesis 15:1). Later, Boaz spoke to Ruth about the LORD rewarding her work and paying her full wages (Ruth 2:12). When David spared the life of Saul, Saul asked the LORD to reward David with good in return (1 Samuel 24:19). Throughout the Bible we see that God rewards people who seek Him with saving faith (Hebrews 11:6).

11.1 Lifetime Rewards.  God rewards people during their lifetime on earth (Psalm 18:20;  2 Samuel 2:21;  Proverbs 12:21; Psalm 127:3; Proverbs 11:18,31, 13:21, 22:4; Ecclesiastes 5:19; Ecclesiastes 9:9; Hebrews 10:35) and judges people on earth (Psalm 58:11; Ezekiel 36:19; 1 Corinthians 11:27-32; 1 Peter 4:6).  Indeed, God commanded His people to honor their fathers and mothers, with the promise that it may be well with you, and and that your may live long in the land given to them (Exodus 20:13; Ephesians 6:1-3; compare Psalm 1; John 15–abiding in Christ). In contrast, unbelievers have been judged already for unbelief and their love of darkness (John 3:17-21). 

11.2 Great Rewards.  God also speaks of great rewards ( Genesis 15:1;Psalm 19:11;  Jeremiah 31:16; Matthew 5:12; Luke 6:32, 35; Hebrews 10:35).

11.3 The Bematos of Christ. When Jesus returns to earth, He brings His reward with Him, and He will render to each man according to his works (Isaiah 40:19; 62:11; Revelation 22:12). Therefore, we should live for Jesus today (James 2:12; compare 1 Peter 3:10-18). Paul described Jesus sitting upon the judgment seat, called the “bematos of Christ ” (“τοῦ βήματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ“), where each believer shall be recompensed (“κομίσηται“) for their deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (“εἴτε ἀγαθὸν εἴτε φαῦλον“) (2 Corinthians 5:10).

11.3.1 Fire. At that Bematos of Christ, fire will test the quality of each person’s works. If anyone built upon the foundation of Christ with gold, silver, precious stones, they will rewarded. If anyone built upon the foundation of Christ with wood, hay, and stubble, then their works will be burned up (“κατακαήσεται“); even so, he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (“αὐτὸς δὲ σωθήσεται, οὕτως δὲ ὡς διὰ πυρός“)(1 Corinthians 3:10-15). Jesus will come and bring to light the things hidden in darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God (1 Corinthians 4:5).

11.4 Basis for Rewards.  When Jesus returns to earth to vanquish His enemies, He slaughters His foes and removes all unbelievers from His kingdom (Matthew 25:31-46; Matthew 13:24-30). Jesus brings brings His reward with Him, and He will render to each man according to his works (Isaiah 40:19; 62:11; Revelation 22:12). The Father will reward deeds done in secret (Matthew 6:4 (giving); Matthew 6:6 (prayer) Matthew 6:18 (fasting). Believers will also be rewarded for receiving a righteous man (Matthew 6:41; 10:41), giving water (Matthew 10:42), enduring persecution (great reward–Matthew 5:12; Luke 6:23), loving people who do not love you (Matthew 5:46), loving your enemies, doing good, lending (expecting nothing in return–great reward)(Luke 6:35), fearing the commandment of God (Proverbs 13:13), sowing righteousness (Proverbs 11:18), being humble and fearing and fear of the LORD; God has set a date to reward His bond-servants the prophets and those who fear His name, the small and the great (Revelation 11:18). God also rewards faithful stewardship (Luke 19:11-27; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5).

11.5 The Prophet’s Reward. He who receives prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward (Matthew 10:41).

11.6 The Righteous Man’s RewardHe who receives a righteous man in the name of righteousness shall receive a righteous man’s reward (Matthew 10:41).

11.7 The Reward of Inheritance. As believers work heartily for the Lord, rather than for men, they will receive the reward of inheritance, for they serve the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:24).

11.5 Crowns of Reward. God revealed various crowns associated with rewards.

11.5.1 Crown of Righteousness. In the future, Jesus, the Lord and Righteous Judge, will award the crown of righteousness (“ὁ τῆς δικαιοσύνης στέφανος“) to Paul and all people who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8).

11.5.2 Crown of Life. After persevering under trial, a man will be approved and he will receive the crown of life (“τὸν στέφανον τῆς ζωῆς “) which the Lord promised to those believers who love him (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10).

11.5.3 Unfading Crown of Glory. Elders who serve well shepherding the flock as examples for them will receive the unfading crown of glory (“τὸν ἀμαράντινον τῆς δόξης στέφανον“) when the Chief Shepherd appears (1 Peter 5:4). 

11.5.4 Golden Crowns. Although the identity of the twenty four elders may be angels, some other beings, or believers, they wear golden crowns (“στεφάνους χρυσοῦς“) (Revelation 4:4) and cast them before the throne of God (Revelation 4:10). 

10.6 Account Each believer must give an account (“λόγον δώσει“) to God for his action on earth (Romans 14:10-13). 

 

Section Twelve

Satan, Demons and the Future

What happens to the devil and his demons in the future? As Jesus confronted demons living in people, they feared Him and recognized Him immediately. They applied divine titles to Jesus and recognized His power to judge them and destroy them. They knew that great torment awaited them.

12. 1  The Fall of SatanIn Ezekiel 28, God spoke of the King of Tyre as present in Eden, the garden of God (Ezekiel 28:13). Therefore, we know that the devil was actually described there because the physical King of Tyre was not living in the Garden of Eden. At some point before the Garden of Eden, God created the devil and made him a covering cherub (“כְּרוּב הַסּוֹכֵךְ“), adorned with every precious stone (Ezekiel 28:13).  The devil was on the holy mountain of God  (“בְּהַר קֹדֶשׁ אֱלֹהִים“) and walked the midst of the stones of fire (“בְּתוֹךְ אַבְנֵי-אֵשׁ הִתְהַלָּכְתָּ“). One day the devil sinned. God cast him as profane from the holy mountain of God and God destroyed him, the covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire (Ezekiel 28:16). In passing, please note the devil has demonic wisdom and was “wiser” (James 3:15) than Daniel (Ezekiel 28:3), in that no secret was hidden from him (compare Daniel 1:17).  Jesus proclaimed that the Lake of Fire had been prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). After his fall from heaven, the devil roamed the world and appeared before God in heaven to accuse men on earth (Job 1:6-12; compare Revelation 12:10 and 1 Peter 5:8). The devil rules the world (Ephesians 2:2) and established his domain of darkness upon it (Colossians 1:13). He holds men as captive slaves by their fear of death (Hebrews 2:15).  The devil and his demons indwell men and animals (Mark 1:23; Matthew 8:32). They cause physical deformities (Luke 13:11), deafness and muteness (Mark 9:25), and illness (Matthew 17:15).  In the future, Michael will wage war with superior strength against the devil and his angels, who will lose the war and they will be thrown down to earth. A third of the angels were thrown down to earth with him, because they followed him in heaven. No longer will a place be found for them in heaven (Revelation 12:7-8). Knowing his time is short upon the earth, the devil waged war against Israel and the saints (Revelation 12:10-13-18).  

12.2 Satan, Demons and Judgment. Sometime before his appearance in the Garden of Eden, the devil sinned as the covering cherub, and God destroyed (“וָֽאַבֶּדְךָ֙“) the covering cherub (Ezekiel 28:16). This destruction came with consequences, but it was not the final judgment for the devil. The devil sinned again in the Garden of Eden, and God cursed the devil for deceiving Eve so that she sinned (Genesis 3:14-15). Later, during the incarnate ministry of Jesus, He commissioned the disciples to preach the kingdom of God to various Jewish cities. After their missionary journey, the disciples returned, bearing the joyous news of their ministry. Jesus told them that He was “watching satan fall from heaven like lightening” (Luke 10:18). Jesus also spoke about plundering the house of the devil and freeing people harmed by the devil (Matthew 12:29; Ephesians 6:10-12; ). Likewise, as Jesus spoke about His impending death, He taught that “judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out” (John 12:31). Jesus linked the judgment upon the devil with His death on the cross (John 12:20-36; Ephesians 1:20-21; Hebrews 2:8). As Jesus prepared His disciples for His death on the cross, Jesus prophesied about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus revealed that when He sends the Holy Spirit from the Father, the Holy Spirit will convict the world regarding judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged (“κέκριται”) (John 15:26, 16:11). So, we have seen a series of judgments upon the devil for his evil acts, but a final judgment awaits him and he will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20, 20:10). Jesus helps the descendants of Abraham, but not the devil and his angels (Hebrews 2:16).

12.3  Demons and Torment. Demons torment the lives of people on earth. Those same demons feared Jesus when they met Him.  Particularly, they feared His power to torment them. We can learn about torment for them by what they said to Jesus. One day Jesus met demons in the country of the Gadarenes. Seeing Jesus, they said to Him: “What business do we have with each other, Son of God?” From this first statement, we need to understand that those demons: (a) knew that Jesus was there for a purpose involving them; and (b) that Jesus was the Son of God. The demons then continued: “Have you come here to torment us before the time (“ἦλθες ὧδε πρὸ καιροῦ βασανίσαι ἡμᾶς“)?  Two more observations: (a) the demons recognized that Jesus had already set a time to torment (“βασανίσαι”) them in the future (Matthew 8:29; see also Mark 5:7 and Luke 8:28); and (b) Jesus would cause them to suffer torment at some point in the future. Please note that this “torment” (“βασανίσαι”) in other forms describes the pain of child birth (Revelation 12:2); a boat battered by waves (Matthew 14:24); paralyzing sickness (Mathew 8:6); straining at the oars of a boat (Mark 6:48). So, we know that these demons were inhabiting two men on earth, and they knew a time of torment awaited them, set by Jesus, the Son of God. Speaking as one, the demons begged: “I implore you by God, do not torment me!” (Mark 5:7). 

12.4 The Mark of the BeastDuring the future Tribulation, the Sea Beast rises to power (Revelation 13:1-11). The Earth Beast also comes and causes all people, great and small, to receive the mark of the Sea Beast so that they can buy or sell (Revelation 13:11-18). God pronounces judgment upon each person bearing the mark of the beast. Each of them will drink of wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in foul strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the present of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.  The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name (Revelation 14:9-11).

12.5 Human Death and Demons. Please remember that Jesus said that we should never fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28). Satan controls the domain of darkness, which operates on earth to enslave men through the fear of death during their lifetime on earth (Luke 4:6; Revelation 13:2; John 16:11; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 2:15). Unbelievers have the devil as their father (John 8:44) and the commander of their lives (Ephesians 2:1-3). The devil and his angels also cause believers and unbelievers great problems and tempts them to sin (Matthew 4:1-11; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; Hebrews 4:15, 11:37; James 1:13-14, 4:7, 5:8-11). 

12.5.1 Eve.   The devil deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden and Eve sinned (Genesis 3:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:14). Although Adam was not deceived, Adam still sinned and sin entered the world and death through sin, so that death spread to all men—because all sinned (Romans 5:12).

12.5.2 Judas Iscariot. Judas Iscariot fell into the grasp of the devil. First, the devil put into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus (John 13:2). Then the devil entered into Judas Iscariot after Jesus identified Judas Iscariot as the one who would betray Him (John 13:27). We know that the devil directly influences the lives of people on earth, and the devil entered Judas to betray Jesus. Jesus understood that Judas Iscariot would betray Him, and called Judas Iscariot  the son of destruction (“ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας“), knowing that the Scripture must be fulfilled (John 17:12).

12.5.3 PeterAt Caesarea Phillippi, Peter had a great day. He declared that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus told Peter that flesh and blood had not revealed that truth to him, but the Father of Jesus had revealed that Jesus was the Christ. Jesus then explained that He must go to Jerusalem, where He would be betrayed and killed, and raised on the third day. Peter immediately objected: “Mercy to you, Lord. This shall never happen to you.” Jesus then rebuked Peter: “Get behind Me, Satan” (“Υπαγε ὀπίσω μου, Σατανᾶ“–compare Matthew 4:10 “Go, satan (“Υπαγε, Σατανᾶ“))! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interest, but man’s (Matthew 16:13-23). Even after we have great times in Jesus, Satan can satan can still speak through us, when we set our mind on man’s interest, and not God’s.

12.5.4 The NationsAfter the Millennial Reign of Christ, the devil  will be released from the abyss, and will deceive the nations. Then nations will assemble on the broad plain of the earth and surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city (Revelation 20:7-8). Then fire will come down from heaven and destroy those armies; the devil who deceived them was thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:9-10).

12.6 Tartarus. Peter used  the term Tartarus (“ταρταρώσας”–actually an aorist participle), and not Hell, to describe the prison for the angels who sinned (2 Peter 2:4). Tartarus had chains of darkness, where those beings, not humans, were kept awaiting future judgment (2 Peter 2:4; 1 Peter 3:19). When you compare Jude 1:7 with 2 Peter 2:4, it seems clear that fallen angels are jailed in the abyss as they await the time of their judgment. Likewise, after Babylon has fallen, it becomes a dwelling place of demons and a prison for every unclean spirit (Revelation 18:2).

12.7 The Abyss. The term “abyss” appears nine times in the New Testament. It apparently refers to a spiritual prison (Revelation 20:7–“τῆς φυλακῆς“) for evil spirits with a spiritual shaft on earth leading to a place below of intense burning, with smoke arising from it as a furnace. The spiritual shaft leading to the abyss requires a key to open it, and may be locked and sealed (Luke 8:31; Romans 10:7; Revelation 9:1-2; 9:11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1). 

12.7.1 Demons, the Devil and the Abyss. Demons implored Jesus not to send them away into the abyss (“εἰς τὴν ἄβυσσον ἀπελθεῖν“) (Luke 8:31).  During the Tribulation, the key to the abyss was given to the star which fell from heaven (probably an angel) and he opened the shaft of the  abyss (“ἤνοιξεν τὸ φρέαρ τῆς ἀβύσσου“). Great smoke arose from the shaft (“τοῦ φρέατος“) and darkened the sun and the air by the smoke of the shaft (“τοῦ φρέατος“) (Revelation 9:2). Locusts (probably demons) arose from the smoke and plagued the the men who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads (Revelation 9:4). At the time that Christ descends to earth and slays His enemies, an angel descended from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the devil, bound him for a thousand years, and threw the devil into the abyss, shut it, and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed, whereupon he would be released for a short time (Revelation 20:1-3).

12.7.3 The  King of the Abyss. The angel of abyss (“τὸν ἄγγελον τῆς ἀβύσσου“) is the king of the locusts plaguing the earth, which arose from the smoke of the shaft of the abyss. In Hebrew, his name is Abaddon (“Ἀβαδδών“) and in Greek he has the name Apollyon (“Ἀπολλύων“) (Revelation 9:11).

12.7.4 The Beast of the Abyss. After the two witnesses finish their testimony during the Tribulation, the beast (“τὸ θηρίον“) who comes up out of the abyss, makes war with the two witnesses, overcomes them and kill them (Revelation 11:7; see Revelation 13:1ff.). That beast was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and goes to destruction (“ἀπώλειαν“) (Revelation 17:8). Notice that the destruction of the beast happens after the Tribulation, when the beast and the false prophet are thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20). 

12.7.5 The Key to the AbyssThe beast that was, is not, and will be comes up from the abyss only emerges from the abyss when the star fallen from heaven unlocks and opens the Shaft of the Abyss (Revelation 9:2). Because this beast was, this fact apparently means that he was loosed on earth before, and now has been imprisoned in the abyss until the time of Revelation 9:2, during the Tribulation. Therefore, the abyss serves as a holding jail for evil spirits, kept under lock and key (see Jude 1:7).  Apollyon rules over the abyss, but he is kept under lock and key from leaving the abyss (Revelation 9:1-2; Revelation 20:1). When Christ appears and slays His enemies,  two events take place: (a) the beast and the false prophet are sent directly to the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20); and (b) an angel comes down from heaven holding the key to the abyss, lays hold of the devil, binds him for a thousand years, and throws him into the abyss and shut and sealed it (Revelation 20:1-3). Notice that the devil is not destroyed in the abyss, because he is released at the end of the Millennial Reign of Christ and deceives the nations again (Revelation 20:11). During the Tribulation, the devil will cast believers into prison on earth, but when Christ returns, the devil will be imprisoned (Revelation 20:1-3). 

12.8 Summary of Demons, the Devil and the Future.

     • Satan fell into sin because of pride.

     • Although God cast satan down, satan still appeared in heaven to accuse the brethren and seek permission from God to tempt people and to afflict people.

     • Satan stands before God, accusing believers night and day.

     • Satan deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden.

     • Satan controlled the King of Tyre.

     • Satan entered into Judas Iscariot and spoke through Peter.

     • Satan has been judged and one day will be thrown into the abyss, chained there during the Millennial Reign of Christ.

     • Satan will be released from the abyss, and then thrown into the Lake of Fire, where he will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

     • Demons feared the day of judgment, and knew that torment also awaited them in the Lake of Fire.

     • Today, some demons have been confined to pits of darkness in Tartarus, but they will later be judged and thrown in the Lake of Fire.

 

 

Section Thirteen

The Great White Throne

What happens at the Great White Judgment? After the Millennial Reign of Christ, and after the Final Rebellion, the devil will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. Heaven and earth have fled away Revelation 20:11; Psalm 102:25-26; Isaiah 65:17; Hebrews 1:12; 1 Peter 3:10-13; 1 John 2:17) , and the great and the small appear at the Great White Throne Judgment.

13.1. Beast, False Prophet FirstAs we saw above, when Christ commences His Millennial Reign, the Beast and the False Prophet are seized and thrown alive into the Lake of Fire which burns with brimstone (Revelation 19:20). Jesus taught that the eternal fire, burning both in Gehenna and in the Lake of Fire, has been prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). The beast and the false prophet appear to be the first inhabitants of the Lake of Fire.

13.2 Satan SecondAfter the Final Rebellion, the devil is thrown into the Lake of Fire and brimstone (Revelation 20:10). Just as the demons feared when they stood before Christ on earth, the devil, the beast and the false prophet experience torment in the Lake of Fire day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:10).

13.3 Death, Hades and the Sea At the Great White Throne Judgment, the sea, Hades and death gave up (“ἔδωκεν“) the dead in them (“τοὺς νεκροὺς τοὺς ἐν αὐτῇ“) (Revelation 20:13). The dead were judged (“ἐκρίθησαν“) according to their works  (“κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν“) (Revelation 20:13; Revelation 11:18; 21:8,14;  1 Corinthians 15:21, 54 ).  Jesus finally abolishes all rule and all authority and power  (“πᾶσαν ἀρχὴν καὶ πᾶσαν ἐξουσίαν καὶ δύναμιν“), including all the power, the world forces of this darkness, and the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).  Finally, death itself shall be abolished (1 Corinthians 15:25; Revelation 20:14). All the people resurrected to judgment shall stand before the Great White Throne and will be sentenced to the Lake of Fire. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:11).

     • Three places give up the dead in them: the sea, Hades and death.

     • The sea was part of the earth that fled away from the presence of Jesus as He sat on the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11). 

     • The dead from those three places appear before the Great White Throne Judgment.

     • Because death and Hades are thrown into the Lake of Fire, they are different places than the Lake of Fire.

13.3 Humans Great and Small. Heaven and earth have fled away from the presence of Jesus sitting upon the Great White Throne for judgment. Jesus revealed that all judgment had been given to Him by His Father (John 5:22-23). At the Great White Thrown, unbelievers come forth to a resurrection of judgment (John 5: 29). 

13.4 The Great White Throne Trial. Jesus vividly described the trial of the wicked standing before the Great White Throne Judgment.

13.4.1 Great White Throne Witnesses. At the Great White Throne Judgment, witnesses will stand and provide testimony about specific groups of people.

13.4.1.1 The Men of Nineveh. At the Great White Throne Judgment, the men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment and testify that they repented at the preaching of Jonah, but the generation hearing the preaching of Jesus (something greater than Jonah) failed to repent (Matthew 12:41; Luke 11:32).

13.4.1.2 The Queen of the South. Likewise, the Queen of the South will rise up with that generation seeing Jesus in the flesh and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, but the present generation failed to receive Jesus as Messiah, who is greater than Solomon (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31).

13.4.1.3 Personal Testimony. At the Great White Throne Trial, each unbeliever will give an accounting for every careless word that person spoken; by the words spoken you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned, for those words come from the heart (Matthew 12:34-37; Matthew 5:22; 1 Peter 4:5). The New American Standard Bible translates Matthew 5:22 as “guilty before the court” (“τῇ κρίσει“). I prefer the translation to “in the judgment.” Every other use of the same Greek phrase (“τῇ κρίσει“) is always translated as “the judgment” (Matthew 12:41, 42; Luke 10:14, 11:31, 11:32).  Furthermore, also in Matthew 5:22, I prefer the translation “the Sanhedrin” (“τῷ συνεδρίῳ“) (“and not “supreme court”) because every other uses of the term τῷ συνεδρίῳ always refers to the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem on earth (Acts 5:27, 34; 6:15; 23:1, 6, 15; see also Matthew 10:17 and Mark 13:9 where the plural refers to local courts and further references to the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem– Matthew 25:59; Mark 14:55, 15:1,43; Luke 22:66; 23:50; John 11:47; Acts 4:15; 5:21, 27, 34, 41; 6:12, 15; 22:5, 30; 23:1, 6, 15, 20, 28; 24:20 ).  While I appreciate the parallelism between ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει  and ἔνοχος ἔσται τῷ συνεδρίῳ in Matthew 5:22 supporting the comparison between human courts, the other uses of the term settles the matter for me. Furthermore, the phrase in every other occurrence references the Great White Throne Judgment, and particularly the witnesses appearing there. Therefore, in Matthew 5:22, the words spoken by each unbeliever will condemn them at “the judgment” related to the  Great White Throne. Words will also condemn them on earth before the Sanhedrin (“τῷ συνεδρίῳ“) in Mathew 5:22.  Furthermore, Jesus means that being angry with your brother makes you guilty in the judgment, and your own words condemn you both on earth before the Sanhedrin and at the Great White Throne (see also 1 John 2:9, 11; 3:15; 4;20).  Notice in Matthew 5:22, properly translated, that Jesus linked evil words spoken on earth with the Great White Throne Judgment and then the sentence to Hell. In Matthew 5:24-26, Jesus explained further that guilty parties lose in court, the judge hands you over to the officer, and then you are thrown into prison. Notice further that you will not get out of that prison until you have paid the last cent to the judgment creditor (Matthew 5;26). As discussed below, this sequence favors Hell as the place you go after the Great White Throne Judgment. 

13.5 The Books. In addition to the witnesses, certain books were opened (“βιβλία ἠνοίχθησαν”). We know that one book is the Book of Life (“ὅ ἐστιν τῆς ζωῆς,”)  and the dead were judged (“ἐκρίθησαν οἱ νεκροὶ”) from the things written in the books according to their deeds. Therefore, we know that God keeps a record not only of saved individuals, but also the deeds of unbelievers (see the Books of Life). Of course, as omniscient God, He knows all things and does not need books to recollect anything. Jesus proclaimed that He would judge in righteousness (John 5:30), and not by appearance (John 7:24). According to His Gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus (Romans 2:16). 

13.6 The Sentences Imposed. Everyone appearing at the Great White Throne Judgment will be sentenced to the Lake of Fire. But, within the Lake of Fire, different degrees of torment will be assigned by Judge Jesus, according to their works. They will all be condemned for rejecting Jesus as Messiah, and then they will be punished according to their deeds. A few examples highlight the concept of punishment fitting the bad deeds.

13.6.1  The Parable of the Master Returns. As Jesus illustrated in the parable of  The Master Returns, Jesus indicated that every slave that knew his master’s will and did not act in obedience to that will or get ready will receive many lashes (“δαρήσεται πολλάς“). In contrast, the slave who did not know his mater’s will and committed deeds worthy of a flogging (“πληγῶν“), will receive only a few lashes (“δαρήσεται ὀλίγας“).  The degree of punishment (“lashes”) imposed varied with the slave’s knowledge of the Master’s will and the acts of the slave.  Everyone appearing for judgment at the Great White throne Trial will be sentenced to the Lake of Fire, but the degree of punishment depends upon personal knowledge and personal evil acts.

13.6.1 Chorazin and BethsaidaJesus pronounced woe upon Chorazin and Bethsaida. He performed great miracles there, and those cities rejected Him as Savior. Jesus proclaimed that Tyre and Sidon would have repented long ago if they saw the miracles of Jesus, and would have put on sackcloth and ashes. (Matthew 11:22). Jesus knows all possible futures.

13.6.2 CapernaumAt the Great White Throne judgment, Capernaum, where Jesus did so many miracles, will also incur great wrath. Jesus noted that Sodom would have repented at the miracles of Jesus, but Capernaum did not. So Capernaum will suffer greater judgment than Sodom in the day of judgment (Matthew 11:24). Jesus holds people accountable for the miracles they saw and the light shone upon them. He judges them for loving darkness and rejecting Him as the Light of the world (John 3:16-21).

13.6.3 Knowing God’s Will. Jesus also described greater punishment for those people who know the Master’s will, but did get ready and act in accordance with the Master’s will. They will receive many lashes. In contrast, those people who did not know the Master’s will, but committed deeds worthy of a flogging, shall receive only a few lashes (Luke 12:47-48).

13.7 Make Friends. Jesus taught that if you know someone has something against you, then you should leave your offering at the altar and first be reconciled to your brother ( πρῶτον διαλλάγηθι τῷ ἀδελφῷ σου“). Otherwise, you will be brought to trial and put in prison. Once imprisoned, you will not get out until you have paid the last cent (Mt 5:23-26). God is not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance today (2 Peter 3:9).  Torment awaits everyone sentenced to the Lake of Fire. Make friends with Jesus and receive the free gift of salvation today and no torment tomorrow. 

 

 

Section Fourteen

The Lake of Fire

 When do people go into the Lake of Fire? The phrase “The Lake of Fire” only occurs four times in the New Testament.  Let us look at each one of them.

14.1  Revelation 19:20.  When Christ returns to Earth and slays the wicked with the sword from His mouth, and just before He begins His millennial Reign on Earth, the beast and the false prophet are seized and thrown alive into the Lake of Fire burning with brimstone (Revelation 19;20).  Notice that this first use of the term “Lake of Fire” shows that the first named inhabitants of the Lake of Fire are the beast and the false prophet–evil angels. Please recall that Jesus said that the “eternal fire” was prepared for the devil and his angels, but warns that accursed humans will go to that same “eternal fire” (“πυρὸς αἰωνίου“) (Matthew 25:41).  As we have seen, Hades is also a place of “eternal fire.” Jesus did not name the place of eternal fire, because He left room for unbelievers to go to Hell at death, and then later at the Great White Throne Trial to be sentenced  to the Lake of Fire. As above, eternal fire burns in Hades, Hell, and the Lake of Fire.

14.2 Revelation 20:10.  After the Millennial Reign of Christ and after the final rebellion, the devil will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, to join the beast and the false prophet.  There, they will tormented day an night forever and ever (“καὶ βασανισθήσονται ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων“). Before anyone appears at Great White Throne Judgment, the devil, the false prophet and the beast have all been thrown into the Lake of Fire. We have no record that anyone else is in the Lake of Fire at that point in time, which is still in the far future from today.

14.3 Revelation 20:14. Peter described the burning destruction of Earth and the heavens (2 Peter 3:10). Before they are destroyed, Jesus will sit upon the Great White Throne. At that time, Earth and heaven fled away (“ἔφυγεν”), and no place was found for them (“τόπος οὐχ εὑρέθη αὐτοῖς“) (Revelation 20:11).  All the dead will be gathered before Him. Then,  death and Hades will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. Therefore, Hades and the Lake of Fire are not the same place. 

14.4 Revelation 20:15. After death and Hades have been thrown into the Lake of Fire, all the dead people standing before the Great White Throne will be judged according to their deeds, which are written in books. If their names are not written in the Book of Life, then they are thrown into the Lake of Fire. All of the dead, the small and the great, appear before the Great White Throne for judgment. Let me emphasize that everyone, from the great to the small, all appear before that Great White Throne. As they stand before that throne, then the books will opened and their deeds recounted. Everyone who appears before the Great White Throne goes into the Lake of Fire because no believer goes to judgment concerning eternal life. At the moment of salvation on Earth, the believer passed out of judgment into life (John 4:24). Therefore, the dead, from all ages and all walks of life who died without saving faith in Jesus as Savior, go the Great White Throne Judgment. Furthermore, because their names are not written in the Book of Life, they suffer the second death and are thrown into the Lake of Fire. The judgement meted out at the Great White Throne concerns the severity of punishment based upon the acts of the unbeliever done on earth, and recorded in the books opened at the Great White throne. Some people will suffer many stripes, and some just a few (Luke 12:48; Mathew 10:15).  

14.5 The Second Death. After the devil, death and Hades have all been cast into the Lake of Fire, John revealed that the Lake of Fire is the Second Death (“ὁ θάνατος ὁ δεύτερός“)  (Revelation 20:14). All believers have been resurrected by the time that all unbelievers appear before the Great White Throne Judgment. 

 14.6 Summary. The Lake of Fire represents the final abode of the wicked beings opposed to God. The ungodly will be tormented there in eternal fire day and night forever and ever. 

     • Jesus disclosed that the “eternal fire” was prepared for the devil and his angels.

     • The first beings explicitly thrown into the Lake of Fire are the devil and two of his angels.

     • The devil and his angels suffer torment day and night forever and ever.

     • The Lake of fire is the final destination of the devil and his angels.

      •  Everyone resurrected to judgement at the Great White Throne will sentenced to torment in the Lake of Fire.

    • The Lake of Fire is the second death (“ὁ θάνατος ὁ δεύτερό“).

    • Unbelievers went body and soul into Hades at the time of their physical death on earth. Then all the unbelievers left Hades and appeared at the Great White Throne Judgment. 

      Having been judged, according to their works, they are then cast into the Lake of Fire, the Second Death, where they are kept for ever in torment.   

 

Section Fifteen

The New Heavens and the New Earth

What happens to believers after unbelievers have been cast into the Lake of Fire? Having been resurrected to life, believers reign with Christ during His Millennial Reign on earth (2 Timothy 2:22; Revelation 20:6).

15.1 The Final Rebellion and the Lake of Fire. After the Millennial Reign of Christ, the devil incites a final rebellion on earth and the enemies of Christ are killed on earth.  The devil and his followers have been sent to the Lake of Fire.

15.2 Heaven and Earth Pass Away At this point, we read about a new heaven and new earth, because the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and there is no sea (Revelation 21:1). 

15.3 The New Jerusalem. The holy city, the New Jerusalem, comes down from heaven, and the tabernacle of God is among men.

15.4 God and His People. God will dwell among them and they will be His people. He will wipe away every tear and death will be no longer. God will make all things new.

15.5 The New Jerusalem Features. The New Jerusalem has a high wall with twelve gates, with an angel at each gate. The length, breadth and height of the city were fifteen hundred miles each. No temple exists there, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. In that city, it will be always daytime , without sun or moon. Only those people whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life come into that city (Revelation 21). A river of water, clear as crystal, comes from the throne of God and of the Lamb. The bond-servants of God serve Him night and day, and the Lord God will illumine them forever, and they will reign forever and ever (Revelation 22:1-5).

      Believers spend eternity not in heaven, but in the New Jerusalem.

      The New Jerusalem comes down to the new heaven and the new earth, after the first earth and the first heaven are no longer.  

      All unbelievers have been thrown into the Lake of Fire.

     • Only believers live in the New Jerusalem.

      God dwells among His people in the New Jerusalem, and illumines them night and day.

      The New Jerusalem has no temple, no moon, and no sun.

      God wipes away every tear from there eyes, and there will be no mourning, no crying, no pain, and no death there.

      All things have become new in the New Jerusalem.

      All the bond-servants of God shall have His name of their forehead and shall serve Him night and day.

      The bond-servants of God shall reign with Him forever and ever. 

 

Appendix One

The New Testament Verses Describing Gehenna

In the English Bible translations of the Greek New Testament, the word “gehenna” is translated in various ways. Therefore, I have listed below all of he times that the Greek word “gehenna” appears in the New Testament, which I will translate as “Hell.”

1. Matthew 5:22. “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, “You good-for-nothing,” shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, “You fool,” shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”

2. Matthew 5:29. “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”

3. Matthew 5:30. “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.”

4. Matthew 10:28. “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

5. Matthew 18:19. “If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for your to be enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.”

6.  Matthew 23:33. “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?”

7.  Mark 9:43. “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire,” 

8. Mark 9:45. “If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell,”

9. Mark 9:47. “If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell,”

10. Luke 12:5. “But I warn you who to fear: fear the One Who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!”

11. James 3:6. “And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and set on fire the court of our life, and is set on fire by hell.”

Appendix One

Are Gehenna and the Lake of the Fire the Same Place?

 

I often hear people say that Hell and the Lake of Fire are the same place. I had questions about whether Scripture equates Hell and the Lake of Fire. Therefore, I began this study of the afterlife. In order to answer the question from Scripture about whether Hell (gehenna) is the same as the Lake of Fire, I began by reviewing the most obvious options. Please keep in mind that Hades is not the Lake of Fire, because Hades is thrown into the Lake of Fire. Furthermore, both Hades and the Lake of Fire burn with eternal fire (see above). I am using the term “Hell” to refer only to the term “gehenna” as described in Scripture.

1. Are Hell and the Lake of Fire the Same Place? Four Options.  Questions about the relationship of Hell to the Lake of Fire require deeper study. At the outset, at least four obvious options come to mind.

Option One–Hell and the Lake of Fire are the Same Place.

Option Two–Hell and the Lake of Fire are Different Places.

Option Three–Hell Is Not a Specific Place, But a General Concept of Pain and Suffering.

Option Four–Hell exists in both Hades and the Lake of Fire.

2.1 Hell Real Place. Because of the verses described above, Option Three does not deserve any more attention here. Hell is a real place where unbelievers go with body and soul and experience torment.

2.2 Mutually Exclusive. Options One and Two may exclude each other, so an answer to one may be the answer to the other. Of course, Hell could refer to the both Hades and the Lake of Fire.  In passing, we should also consider whether Hades is the place where unbelievers go before the Great White Thrown Judgment, and Hell is the place where they go after the Great White Throne Judgment. Let us consider the following arguments that Hell is a separate place from the Lake of Fire.

Hell Separate from the Lake of Fire: Arguments

3. Arguments for Hell being a Separate Place from the Lake of Fire. At the outset, I do not find the evidence in Scripture to be overwhelming for any answer to the remaining questions at issue. These arguments do not settle the matter in my mind, but illustrate how Hell may be separate from the Lake of Fire.

The Timeline Argument

3.1. The Timeline Argument. The timeline argument rests upon the beginning and endpoint of unbelievers in Hades.

3.2 Start to Finish. All unbelievers at death go straight to Hades (Luke 16:23), and finally all  the occupants of Hades leave Hades to stand before the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:12) for judgment (Revelation 20:13).

3.3 Great White Throne. Hades “gave up the dead” (“ὁ ᾅδης ἔδωκαν τοὺς νεκροὺς”) and they were judged (Revelation 20:13).

3.4  The Lake of Fire. From standing before the Great White Throne, the unbelievers are thrown into the Lake of Fire. Likewise, after the judgement of unbelievers at the Great White Throne, Hades is thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14). Therefore, we know the first and last points of unbelievers in Hades.

3.5  Three Timeline Options. The Timeline Argument narrows the choices as follows: (a) Hades and Hell are the same place; or (b) the Lake of Fire and Hell are the same place; or (c) Hell exists in Hades and the Lake of Fire. Hell must be another name for Hades or the Lake of Fire or Hell exists in both Hades and the Lake of Fire. Remember, as above, Hades, Hell, and the Lake of Fire all burn with eternal fire.

3.6 Summary of Timeline Argument. Apparently unbelievers only leave Hades to go to the Great White Throne Judgment, after which Hades is thrown into the Lake of Fire, followed by the unbelievers thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15). The timeline of Hades starts with the unbeliever’s death and ends with the unbeliever leaving Hades to stand at the Great White Throne Judgment. From there, the unbelievers go to the Lake of Fire as their final destination.  Therefore, if Gehenna is a different place from Hades, then it must be a place unbelievers go either before or after Hades, or unbelievers simultaneously inhabit two different places (Hades and Gehenna).  The Timeline Argument narrows the choices as follows: (a) Hades and Hell are the same place; or (b) the Lake of Fire and Hell are the same place; or (c) Hell exists in both Hades or and the Lake of Fire. Hell may be another name for Hades or the Lake of Fire, or Hell exists in both Hades and the Lake of Fire. Remember, as above, Hades, Hell, and the Lake of Fire all burn with eternal fire.

The Millennial Throne Separation Argument

3.2 Millennial Throne Separation Argument. In the future, when Jesus begins His thousand-year reign upon earth (the Millennial Reign of Christ), He sits on His glorious throne and all the nations are gathered before Him. At that future time, Jesus separates the sheep from the goats; the believers are the sheep and the goats are the unbelievers.  We must take a careful look at that passage for crucial information concerning Hell. This judgment takes place on earth where Christ sits upon His Millennial Throne.

3.2.1 Millennial Judgment MentionedWhen Jesus separates the sheep from the goats, Jesus renders judgment upon the nations.  He sends the unbelievers to begin suffering “eternal fire” in Hades. Because Matthew 24-25 is chronological, this separation of the sheep and the goats takes place at the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth (Revelation 20:4). Do not confuse it the Great White Throne Judgment that takes place more than one thousand years later, after heaven and earth have fled away and have been burned up (Revelation 20:11-15).  Therefore, we know that the separation of the sheep and the goats takes place at least a thousand years before the Great White Throne judgment. Furthermore, we know that Hades lasts through the Millennial Reign of Christ on earth in His kingdom, because it will be cast into the Lake of Fire, at the Great White Throne Judgment. Notice the contrast that Jesus drew here. The kingdom was prepared before the foundation of the world; the eternal fire was prepared for the devil and his angels.   

3.2.2 No Place Mentioned.  Notice that Jesus did not name the place where the goats go, but described the punishment: “eternal fire” (Mathew 24:41).  As above, we must be careful to distinguish different judgments in the Bible. The Sheep and Goats Separation takes place at the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Christ upon the earth, long before the Great White Throne Judgment which takes place after heaven and earth have fled away. The unbelievers enter into eternal fire, and we know that Hades burns with eternal fire from Jude 1:7, as described below. The Lake of Fire also burns with eternal fire (Revelation 19:20; 20:10). While Jesus order unbelievers to depart from him, it does not indicate that final judgment has been passed upon them. They are excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven, but not yet judged and thrown into the Lake of Fire.

3.2. Summary. Nothing about the Millennial Separation requires that the unbelievers are thrown into Hell at that point. They certainly are not cast into the Lake of Fire at that time, but more than a thousand years later they will face the Great White Throne Judgment and then thrown in the Lake of Fire. Therefore, the Millennial Separation argues for Hades being separate from the Lake of Fire, and nothing about the Millennial Separation excludes Hades from being another name for Hell.

3.3 The Tares Argument. Jesus taught that believers shine forth in the kingdom at the same time that the unbelievers suffer in the furnace of fire, with weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:36-43). The timing here indicates that unbelievers experience the furnace of fire, with weeping and gnashing of teeth, at least a thousand years before the Great White Throne Judgment and the Lake of Fire. 

3.4 The Furnace of Fire ArgumentAs above, unbelievers are thrown into the furnace of fire at least a thousand years before they are thrown into the Lake of Fire (Matthew 13:42; 13:50). Notice that, at the end of the age (“ἐν τῇ συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος“), the angels take the unbelievers from the earth directly to the furnace of fire (Matthew 13:50). We know that unbelievers go directly to Hades, and now we know that Hades has the furnace of fire (compare Revelation 9:2; Matthew 13:42, 50; Luke 16:24;). Because the furnace of fire in Hades awaits every unbeliever at the moment of death, as they await judgment at the Great White Throne, the furnace of fire argument provides a timeline of punishment before the Lake of Fire.

Hell Means the Lake Fire: Arguments

4. Arguments for Hell Referring to the Lake of Fire. Several passages indicate that Hell refers to the Lake of Fire.

4.1. Speaking Evil Words Argument. In my mind, Matthew 5:21-26 provides the strongest argument for identifying “Hell” as referring to the Lake of Fire. First, Jesus explained that a murder deserves the death penalty, but so does hating your brother (see Mathew 5:21 and 1 John 1 John 2:9, 11; 3:15; 4;20). When a person speaks evil words against a brother, then he is guilty enough to go to Hell.

4.1.1 . Thrown into Prison  Immediately after proclaiming that speaking evil words will send you to fiery Hell, Jesus used the word “Therefore” (“οὖν“) to illustrate His teaching about avoiding court.

4.1.1.1 Court.  Because you have spoken evil words, you will have to go to court. Jesus illustrated the process of guilty people going to court: the Judge (“ὁ κριτὴς“) convicts you, delivers you to the officer (“τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ“), and the officer throws you into prison (“φυλακὴν“). Jesus revealed that you stay in prison until you have paid the last cent. (Matthew 5:23-26). 

4.1.1.2 Great White Throne. Therefore, Jesus meant that sin during your lifetime on earth leads to judgment at the Great White Throne judgment, and then delivery to the Lake of Fire.  The only trial for sinners after death occurs at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-16). Jesus indicated that evil words send you to “fiery Hell” (“τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός“) (Matthew 5:22). Jesus illustrated that you end up in fiery Hell because the judge found you guilty in court for speaking evil words. The judge ordered you to be cast into fiery hell (Matthew 5:25).

4.1.1.3 Reconciliation. The only alternative to Hell is to be reconciled with your opponent on the way to court, so you avoid trial altogether, where you would lose before the judge and be sentenced to fiery Hell. So, Jesus preached in essence that we should be reconciled to our brothers through saving faith in Jesus Christ. We believe Jesus has condemned our sin in His flesh. By faith alone we are declared righteous. Jesus becomes our Advocate and we avoid trial altogether (1 John 2:2; Romans 8:1; John 5:24). By His death, the demands of righteousness and justice have been fully satisfied by the vicarious death of Jesus (Romans 5:8). Jesus then expanded upon h0w to avoid Hell (Matthew 5:29-30). In that passage, Jesus described removing body parts that cause you to sin so that you do not go to Hell with your whole body (Matthew 5:29-30). 

4.1.2 Weakness. One major weakness of this argument is that Jesus indicated you go to fiery Hell for speaking the word “fool,” but He did not explicitly say that you go to “fiery Hell” only after judgment. His teaching fits equally well with going to fiery Hell immediately upon death, and before trail at the Great White Throne. Furthermore, Jesus did not explicitly say that the prison was the Lake of Fire or Hell. Even so, the context and the similarity to the process of guilt, trial, convection, and prison all fit the Great White Throne process.

4.2 Satan Never in Hell ArgumentSatan holds great power, but princely power limited  in every way by God, the supreme sovereign. 

4.2.1 Satan’s Domain.  Satan has power over the inhabitants of the earth and is called prince of the power of the air   (Ephesians 2:2) and the ruler of this world (John 12:31, 16:11). He exercises his power over the domain of darkness (Colossians 1:3;), where he enslaves his offspring (John 8:44)  through the fear of death (Hebrews 2:5).

4.2.2 Satan the Lake of Fire. Yet, Satan only appears in the Lake of Fire only after the Final Rebellion (20:10). Compare the Pharisees making proselytes that are twice as much sons of Hell as themselves (Matthew 23:15). Apparently, just as the devil is the Father of liars (John 8:44), so also he has sons of Hell, who vary by degree. Some sons of Hell are twice as evil than others. The point is that satan’s domain is here upon earth, as an evil  spiritual kingdom, and then only for a limited time, with limited powers (Colossians 1:13-14; Ephesians 2:1; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Matthew 10:28). 

4.2.3 The Binding of Satan.  Jesus spoke about binding the strong man (Matthew 12:29; Mark 3:27; Luke 11:21). Jesus explained that the strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, and his possessions are undisturbed (Luke 11:21).  When someone stronger that the strongman attacks him and overpowers him, the victor takes away from all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder (Luke 11:22). Therefore, we may glean that the devil is the strongman, and Jesus with divine strength, attacks the devil, overpowers the devil, takes away all his armor upon which he relied, and distributes his plunder (all the things and people the devil treasured). Jesus contrasted the power of the Kingdom of God, epitomized in Him,  with power of demons and the domain of darkness. The devil and his demons possessed unbelievers and controlled them, but they were not match for Jesus. Notice that satan never appears in Hell, but is cast into the Lake of Fire. 

Hell May Refer to Both Hades and the Lake of Fire

5. Arguments for Hell Referring to Both Hades and Lake of Fire. Hell may a term that refers to the eternal fire and the furnace of fire. Just because destruction or eternal fire exists in the Lake of Fire does not mean destruction and eternal fire cannot also exist in Hades.

The Capernaum Argument

5.1 The Capernaum Argument. This argument focuses upon the future of Capernaum.

5.1.1 Matthew 11:20. The people of Capernaum witnessed the miracles of Jesus, but did not repent and believe in Him (Matthew 11:20; 10:15).

5.1.2 Matthew 11:23.  Jesus taught that Capernaum will descend into Hades (Matthew 11:23). Therefore, they descend into Hades at death. In contrast, Jesus warned that Sodom would have remained to that present day if the people of Sodom had witnessed the miracles of Jesus performed in Capernaum (Matthew 11:23). The men of Nineveh who heard the preaching of Jonah will rise up to condemn (“κατακρινοῦσιν“) the generation who rejected Jesus and His preaching (Matthew 12:41). Likewise the Queen of the South will and condemn the same generation for rejecting the preaching of Jesus (Matthew 12:42)). 

5.2.3 Matthew 11:24. Please notice that Jesus described the city of Capernaum as descending into Hades, and in Hades Capernaum awaits the future Day of Judgment (“ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως“) (Matthew 11:24).  Therefore, we know that cities like Capernaum descended into Hades and there await the Day of Judgment (Luke 10:12).

5.2.4 Luke 16:23. Furthermore, we know that Hades burns with agonizing fire (Luke 16:23). 

5.2.5 Jude 1:7. In fact, because Sodom and Gomorrah serve as present examples of suffering eternal fire, we know that Hades has eternal fire there.

5.2.6 Summary of  the Capernaum Argument. Hell may refer to the eternal fire burning in Hades (Jude 1:7; Matthew 11:20) and that same eternal fire burns in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10). The New Testament never explicitly indicates that angels enter Hades, but they do go to the Lake of Fire. The Capernaum argument means that unbelievers go to Hades at death, experience eternal fire there, and so showed that Hell may be in Hades and Hades may be another name for Hades, or Hell exists in Hades. The Capernaum argument doe snot settle the issue, but limits the choices.

The Destruction Argument

5.2 The Destruction Argument. The timeline of destruction of both body and soul in Hell helps to understand when unbelievers go to Hell and sheds further light upon the place of Hell.

5.2.1 Matthew 10:28. In Matthew 10:28, Jesus taught that God alone is able to destroy (“ἀπολέσαι“) both body and soul in Hell. As above, the term “destroy” speaks of eternal punishment when applied to the afterlife.

5.2.2 2 Peter 3:7. In 2 Peter 3:7, God revealed that the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire (“τεθησαυρισμένοι εἰσὶν πυρὶ“), kept (“τηρούμενοι“) for the day of judgment (“ἡμέραν κρίσεως“) and destruction (“ἀπωλείας “) of unGodly men (“τῶν ἀσεβῶν ἀνθρώπων“).

5.2.3 Revelation 20:11. Notice that heaven and earth flee away from the presence of the Lord Jesus in Revelation 20:11, but based upon other uses of the word for “fled” (“ἔφυγεν“), they were not necessarily destroyed at that instant (Mark 14:52; Acts 7:29; Revelation 12:6; see also Revelation 12:8).

5.2.4 Peter 3:10. Peter wrote that when the day of the Lord comes like a thief, the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).

5.2.5 Revelation 17:8. A beast who was, is not, and will be, will come up out of the abyss (“τῆς ἀβύσσου“) and go to destruction (“ἀπώλειαν“) (Revelation 17:8). After causing wonder on earth, that beast will suffer  final destruction in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20).

5.2.5 Timing of Destruction Argument.  The timing of destruction argument joins Revelation 20:11 and 2 Peter 3:10 together. The time of destruction of unGodly men takes place at the same time or later than the destruction of the present heavens and earth. Therefore, because Hell is the place of destruction of both the bodies and souls of men, and that destruction takes place after the destruction of the present heavens and earth, Hell must refer to the Lake of Fire, because Hades will be thrown into the Lake of Fire after the Great White Judgment. Regarding the timing of that destruction, we know it occurs before the appearance of the new heaven and the new earth, because the first heaven and first earth no longer exist (“οὐκ ἔστιν ἔτι“) by that time (Revelation 21:1). Therefore, the timing here indicates that destruction in Hell occurs at or after the Great White Judgment, which could only mean that destruction happens in the Lake of Fire. Therefore, the place of destruction is Hell and the time of that destruction means Lake of Fire, and so Hell is the Lake of Fire or Hell is in the Lake of Fire. This argument does not exclude the possibility that Hell exists both in Hades and the Lake of Fire.

5.2.6 Limit of Timing of Destruction. Nothing about timing of destruction in the Lake of Fire precludes destruction in Hades before destruction of the Lake of  Fire. In other words, destruction of body and soul does not mean annihilation, and so destruction could begin in Hades and continue in the Lake of Fire as the permanent destination of unbelievers.

The Satan Argument

5.3 The Satan Argument. Satan never appears in Hades, but was removed from the mountain of God (Ezekiel 28:16). Today, the devil roams the earth and walks upon it (Job 1:7). He is the ruler of the world (John 16:11), and particularly the domain of  darkness (Colossians 1:13: Ephesians 2:2). He prowls about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).  Today the devil accuses believers before God day and night (Revelation 12:10). When Christ establishes His Millennial Throne upon earth,  the devil will be bound in the abyss for  a thousand years (Revelation 20:2-3).  At the end of the thousand years, the devil will be released, vanquished, and finally thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:7; 10). Based upon Matthew 25:41, we know that when Jesus sits upon His Millennial Throne, He orders unbelievers to depart from Him, accursed ones, into the eternal fire (“ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον“), prepared for the devil and his angles. Therefore, we know that the unbelievers went to Hades, the place of eternal fire (Jude 1:7), but the eternal fire was prepared for the devil and his angels. So, the eternal fire, not the Lake of Fire, was prepared for the devil and his angels. The eternal fire burns both in Hades and the Lake of Fire. In conclusion, we know that a reference to eternal fire includes Hades, the Lake of Fire, one or both. If Hell primarily refers to a place of eternal fire, then the term “Hell” may include both Hades and the Lake of Fire.

The Outer Darkness Argument

5.4 The Outer Darkness ArgumentThe outer darkness describes a particular place and time where unbelievers go and experience weeping and gnashing of teeth. The outer darkness is only mentioned in three passages. 

5.4.1 The Centurion’s Great Faith. Jesus witnessed such great faith (“τοσαύτην πίστιν“) of the centurion that He marveled because He had not found such faith in Israel. Jesus elaborated that many people from east and west will recline with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. At that same time (δὲ ),  the sons of he kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place (“ἐκεῖ“) of outer darkness, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mathew 8:10-12).  Therefore, we know that the outer darkness is a place of great suffering inhabited by unbelievers at the time believers from all over the world recline with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. Because Lazarus was in the  bosom of Abraham long before the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, we know that gentiles, like the centurion, will be in the kingdom of heaven before the Millennial reign of Christ. Furthermore, the sons of the kingdom (Israel) will be cast into the outer darkness at the time that gentiles are with Abraham, apparently at death, as was shown in the Lazarus story. Please recall that the rich man begged Abraham to send a special messenger to warn the rich man’s brothers to avoid the agony the rich man was experiencing in Hades. The timing indicated that Jesus had not yet died on the cross at time that Lazarus was in paradise with Abraham and the rich man was begging for the life of his brothers still alive on earth.

5.4.2 The Wedding Feast. Jesus described a wedding feast to which many were called, but few were chosen. The penalty for being called, but not wearing proper wedding clothes, included being bound hand and foot and thrown into the outer darkness; in that place there  will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:13). The wedding feast appears to be the time of Christ returning to earth to establish His Millennial Kingdom, but some people are not properly attired and so suffer the consequences at that time. Notice that both Jews and Gentiles were invited to the wedding feast. The improperly attired go directly to the place of the outer darkness, with weeping and gnashing of teeth. As with the Centurion, the called, but not chosen, go to the place of great suffering at the time of the wedding feast of the Master.

5.4.3 The Worthless Slave.  Jesus told a parable about a worthless slave entrusted with his master’s possessions. When the master returned from the journey, he called the worthless slave to account and the worthless slave was judged guilty of disobedience to the Master. Whereupon, the master had his servants throw the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30). When the master returned (the Millennial Reign of Christ), the master judged the worthless slave and had him thrown into the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, the outer darkness. The outer darkness seems distinct from the Lake of Fire, but it describes Hades because unbelievers go to Hades at death and begin immediate suffering. 

5.4.4 The Summary of the Outer Darkness Argument. Jesus spoke about the outer darkness only three times. Those three instances show that only unbelievers alive at the time when Jesus establishes His Millennial Reign upon earth.   The unbelieving people will be thrown into the outer darkness, a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. The timing of the judgment indicates it precedes the Great White Judgment by at least  thousand years, and Lazarus was with Abraham before the crucifixion of Jesus. Therefore, we know those unbelievers went to Hades, to await final judgment at the Great White Throne Judgment. Hades not only has eternal fire, but it also is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth in the outer darkness. The point is that Hades has many different features to it. The only people mentioned as going to the outer darkness are the people alive and unprepared to meet Jesus when He returns to earth. They include the people of Israel, His own who did not receive Him and did not want Him to be king over them.  Therefore, the outer darkness argument indicates that the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth must be within Hades. Therefore, Hades has different places within it. 

The Sodom and Gomorrah Argument

5.5 Eternal Fire and  Sodom and Gomorrah.  Jude described Sodom and Gomorrah as present examples of suffering. Therefore we know that Sodom and Gomorrah can help us with the timeline of punishment and suffering.

5.5.1  Jude. Jude explained that Sodom and Gomorrah serve as present exhibits of  the punishment of eternal fire (Jude 1:7).  This eternal fire is not in the Lake of Fire, but in Hades. Of course, the Lake of Fire  also burns with fire and its torment last day and night forever and ever (Revelation  20:10). 

5.5.2 Sodom and Gomorrah. At the time Jude wrote his New Testament book, Sodom and Gomorrah are exhibited (“πρόκεινται”–present passive indicative) as undergoing (“ὑπέχουσαι“–present active participle) the punishment (“δίκην“) of eternal fire (“πυρὸς αἰωνίου“) (Jude 1:7). Therefore, piecing the chronology together, we know that Sodom and Gomorrah suffer eternal fire (“πυρὸς αἰωνίου“) already, even (a) before Jesus separates the sheep and the goats at the beginning of His Millennial Reign upon earth;  and (b) before the Great White Throne Judgment;  and (c) before Death and Hades are thrown into the Lake of Fire.

5.5.3 The Devil and His AngelsJesus taught that “the eternal fire” has been prepared for the devil and his angels.  In the future, Jesus will separate the sheep (believers) from the goats (unbelievers) when He sits on His Millennial Throne on earth.  Jesus described the unbelievers as “accursed one” (“οἱ κατηραμένοι“) who must depart from Me (“πορεύεσθε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ“)  into the “eternal fire” (“εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον“) prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). Again, the timing of that departure to eternal fire precedes the Great White Throne Judgment by at least  thousand years, with the subsequent casting into the Lake of Fire. So, the eternal fire was prepared for the devil and his angels, but that eternal fire burns in Hades and in the Lake of Fire.

5.5.4 Eternal Fire. Anyone arguing that eternal fire only burns in the Lake of Fire overlooks Jude 1:7. Apparently, Hades has eternal fire burning in it, because the unsaved inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah went to Hades at death. They will not enter the Lake of Fire until after the Great White Throne judgment. Moreover, at the Great White Throne Judgment, different degrees of punishment will be pronounced upon unbelievers in proportion to their deeds and rejection of Jesus. The cities where Jesus did great miracles will be held to special account for their rejection of Jesus (Matthew 11:21-27). So, because Sodom and Gomorrah suffer the punishment of eternal fire in Hades today, we know that the cities who witnessed the miracles of Jesus and then rejected Him will face a greater judgment. Therefore, within the eternal fire of Hades, people are suffering today. When some people in Hades today are  judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, they will experience eternal fire in the Lake of Fire, but their suffering will be greater in the Lake of Fire.

5.5.4 Summary of the The Sodom and Gomorrah Argument. Eternal fire burns the inhabitant of Sodom and Gomorrah even today. As above, eternal fire burns in both Hades and the Lake of Fire. We know that the eternal fire was prepared for the devil and his angels. Unbelievers go the eternal fire at death. They remain there until they go to the Great White Throne Judgment and then  are cast into the Lake of Fire. Because the eternal fire burns in both Hades and the Lake of Fire, Hell represents a place which burns with eternal fire. Therefore, Hell may a place unbelievers suffer  in both Hades and the Lake of Fire. 

The Resurrection To Judgment Argument

5.6 The Resurrection to Judgment. Jesus described two resurrections: (a) the resurrection to life; and (b) the resurrection to judgment (John 5:29).

5.6.1 The Resurrection to Life. The righteous go to the resurrection of life, because they have passed out of judgment in to life at the moment of salvation by grace through faith (John 5:24). This resurrection for believers happens at different times.

5.6.1.1 Jesus the First Fruits. Paul declared that Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep (1 Corinthians 15:20). 

5.6.1.2 The Order of Resurrection Paul also gave the order of resurrection: “Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Corinthians 15:23). 

5.6.1.2.1 The Resurrection to Life. As above, John described two resurrections: the resurrection to life for believers, and the resurrection to judgment for unbelievers (John 5:25-32). The first resurrection takes place in stages and precedes the resurrection to judgment.

5.6.1.2.1.1 The Clouds ResurrectionPaul also described  the Clouds Resurrection, a snatching away of believers to the clouds. Paul told the Thessalonians that he did not want them to grieve as those people who have no hope, but to comfort one another with the truths of resurrection. When Christ returns to the clouds of earth, He will bring with Him all those believers who have fallen asleep in Christ. They will receive their resurrected bodies first, and then those believers alive on earth will receive their resurrected bodies as they are caught up to the clouds to be with Jesus forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

5.6.1.2.2 The Tribulation Resurrection. John described a “First Resurrection” in Revelation 20:5.  Before the “first resurrection” of Revelation 20:5, believers were snatched away from earth and given resurrected bodies, along with those who died before Jesus came to the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). During the Tribulation, we see that heaven already has a multitude of believers from every nation, tribe, people and tongue standing in heaven, clothed in white robes, holding palm branches in their hands, and crying out: “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9).  It appears they have already been raised  and given resurrected bodies when Jesus returned to the clouds, just before the Tribulation. The “First Resurrection” refers to the martyrs from the Tribulation who came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years (the Millennial Reign of Christ) (Revelation 20:5).

5.6.1.2.2 The Resurrection of Judgment. John described a Resurrection of Judgment for unbelievers. The Resurrection of Judgment begins withe voice of Jesus calling the unbelievers in their tombs to stand before Him  for the Resurrection of Judgment (John 5:26-27). After Jesus calls the unbelievers from their tombs, heaven and earth flee away. Then we see Jesus sitting upon a Great White Throne ( (Revelation 20:11). Pursuant to the call of His voice, the dead, both the small and the great, stand before Him to be judged according to their deeds (John 5:29), recorded in the books (see Books of Life).     Those deeds will determine their degree of punishment in the Lake of Fire.

5.6.2 The Second Death. The Second Death follows the Resurrection to Judgment. The Second Death is the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14).  Both believers and unbelievers will be resurrected. But they go to very different resurrections. Believers go to  a resurrection of Life and the unbelievers go to  a resurrection of Judgement. As part of the Resurrection to Judgment, unbelievers stand for the Great White Throne Judgment. 

5.6.2.1 The Time of the Second Death. The Tribulation and the Final Rebellion have ended on earth. Heaven and earth have fled away. Jesus will render judgment upon unbelievers at the Great White Throne Judgment

5.6.2.2 The Second Death and the Resurrection.  John wrote that unbelievers go to the Resurrection of Judgment (John 5:29). That Resurrection of Judgment occurs at the Great White Throne judgment, immediately before the Second Death. Only unbelievers experience the Second Death. Therefore, it first appears the unbelievers are not cast body and soul into Hell until after the Great White Throne Judgment. Notice the unbelievers “stand” before the Great White Throne for judgment, thus fulfilling the Resurrection to Judgment. At this point, they are no longer in Hades, but standing before the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:13). Apparently they leave Hades and go to the Resurrection of Judgment.  So, the Resurrection to Judgment begins with the unbelievers in the tombs hearing the voice of Jesus calling them to the Resurrection of Judgement. The Resurrection of Judgement coincides with the resurrection of the unbelievers to stand before the Great White Throne and they experience the Second Death by being thrown in to the Lake of Fire. Revelation 20:5 shows that all those people not raised in the First Resurrection go to the the Second Death. The Second Death wields the power over the unbelievers (Revelation 20:6). Therefore, Jesus throws body and soul into Hell, and not into Hades. Notice however that Hell is in the Lake of Fire at this point. Hades had already been thrown into the Lake of Fire. If Hell is a place of eternal fire, and it certainly exists in the Lake of  Fire, what precludes Hell from existing previously in Hades? Several verse above indicate that destruction of body and soul begin before the Lake of Fire, and therefore must begin in Hades.

5.6.3 Summary of the Resurrection to Judgment Argument.  Unbelievers hear the voice of Jesus and arise to the Resurrection of Judgment at the Great White Throne. Witnesses arise to testify against the unbeliever, such as the Queen of the South and the people of Nineveh who repented. After Jesus pronounces judgment and determines the exact punishment imposed, the unbeliever will be cast body and soul into hell.  The Lake of Fire is the Second Death. 

 

 

  are emptied into the s