And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:6-8).
I’m going to spend a couple of days addressing a subject not mentioned often today. Hell is a real place. Jesus frequently mentioned hell as He taught, and warned people about this horrible place of eternal suffering. So the question is, why would a loving God allow people to go to a place of untold agony and suffering? Let’s talk about it.
A truth that is rarely mentioned is the doctrine of eternal retribution. This is the belief found in scripture that there is a place called hell and the lake of fire for those who leave this life without embracing the forgiveness for sin offered them by God through Jesus Christ.
Every human faces judgment after death. Hebrews 9:27 reveals: And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. Those who die without being born again will face the Great White Throne judgment. This is only for unbelievers, as no believers are found here. At another time and place, believers will stand before Jesus at the Judgment (rewards) Seat of Christ (See 1 Corinthians 3).
Let me give you the why and how of what happens to unbelievers at death. To understand hell, you must understand the purity and holiness of God. God cannot come near impurity or sin. His very presence would annihilate it! In the Old Testament the presence of God was only found in a place called the Holy of Holies in the Jewish temple. The average Old Testament believer had no access to the presence of God in the Holy of Holies because they were still sinners. Only the high priest could go into the presence of God and then under great precaution lest he be struck dead by the holiness of God’s presence. A man named Uzza died when he touched the Ark of the Covenant. He was a sinner touching God’s purity.
There has to be a place of confinement for eternal spirit rebels. Those who leave this life without being born again are impure because of sin and cannot enter heaven. If God allowed them to wander around the universe unrestrained, they would demoralize and corrupt the universe.
Hell was created as a place of eternal confinement for Satan and fallen angels after they sinned and rebelled against God. The Lake of Fire is the final resting place for Satan. Since humanity yielded to sin, humanity faces the same fate as Satan since humans too are eternal spirit rebels that never cease to exist after death.
At death the unsaved go immediately to the eternal county jail called hell to await the trial for their sin called the Great White Throne Judgment. Once judged for their rejection of Jesus, they are cast into the federal penitentiary of eternity called the Lake of Fire. There the unsaved will suffer the agonies of the being burned by fire for eternity. Once there, no one ever gets out. It’s eternal. Spirit beings don’t burn up, they just keep existing. This is a terrible end for any living thing.
The reason we preach the gospel (good news) is because of our belief in this terrible place. We know that Jesus cleanses sin, and has provided a clear path to heaven for those that will embrace His forgiveness. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17). Jesus is God’s antidote to hell!
I’ll share more on this tomorrow. I’ll leave you with the passage from Revelation 20 which clearly shows the trial and sentencing for eternal spirit rebels, those that die in their sin without Jesus. Every person you meet today will either spend eternity with God in heaven and then later in the new heavens and new earth if they have been born again, or they will spend eternity hell and then the lake of fire if they die without Jesus.
We have the responsibility today to share the good news with them! No person has to go to hell unless they choose to reject Jesus’ payment for their sins. You have the responsibility today to share the gospel –the good news- with every person you meet!
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).