Copyright c by Joe Crews.
All rights reserved.
One of the most theologically confused subjects in the Bible is
that of hell. It has been fumbled by the clergy and distorted
by the laity until the word has become best known as a common
vulgarism and expletive. Everywhere people are asking the same
questions: What and where is hell? What is the fate of the
wicked? Will a God of love torture people throughout eternity?
Will the fire of hell ever burn the wickedness out of sinners?
These are questions which deserve sound Bible answers, and the
controversy surrounding the subject should not discourage us
from exposing all the truth as it is in Christ. First of all,
we need to understand that there is a heaven to win and a hell
to shun. Jesus taught that every soul will be either saved or
lost. There is no neutral place, and there are no second
prizes. "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they
shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, And them
which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire:
there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the
righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their
Father." Matthew 13:41-43.
In view of these two ultimate destinies for all who have ever
been born, how earnest we should be in seeking to find the right
way. Christ said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." The
only absolute safety for anyone is to take exactly what Jesus
taught about hell. His doctrine is the only one which is wholly
dependable and true. He said some will be cast into the fire,
and some will shine forth in the kingdom.
Strangely enough, Christ has been charged by many religious
leaders with teaching a falsehood on this subject. They have
accused Him of teaching that an immortal soul flies away from
the body at death to either heaven or hell. This is not what
Jesus taught at all. He never gave the least intimation that
some disembodied soul separates from the body at the time of
death. And surely He did not ever give the impression that the
wicked suffer an eternal torment as soon as they die.
Now let's get a sample of what Jesus really taught on the
subject of hell. "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it
is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two
hands to go into hell ..." Mark 9:43. These words of the Master
prove beyond any shadow of doubt that it is the body which goes
into the fire, and not some mystical soul. In Matthew 5:30 He
spoke of the "whole body" being cast into hell. That means
hands, feet, eyes, and all the other members of the physical
In contrast to the doctrine of Christ, modern pulpits resound
with dramatic portrayals of imaginary souls leaving the body at
death--souls that have neither substance nor shape. This view,
popular though it may be, is totally contrary to what Jesus
taught. Mark it well, for the great Master Teacher spelled it
out repeatedly in the gospels--those who are cast into the fire
of hell will go there with hands, feet, eyes, and all the
physical features of the body. They will not go in some
ethereal state of formless spirit or soul.
Now we are prepared to examine four great facts from the Bible
which will illuminate most of the questions which have been
asked about the fate of the wicked.
The first important fact about hell is this: The unsaved do not
go to any place of punishment as soon as they die, but are
reserved in the grave until the day of judgment to be punished.
Christ explicitly taught this truth in the well-known parable of
the wheat and the tares. After the householder had sown the
wheat in the field, his servant came to report that tares were
growing among the grain. His question was whether he should
pull up the weeds while they were still very small. The
householder's answer was, "Nay; lest while ye gather up the
tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow
together until the harvest: and in the time of the harvest I
will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and
bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my
barn." Matthew 13:29, 30.
Now follow the words of Christ as He explains the meaning of the
parable: "He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The
field is the world; the good seed are the children of the
kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The
enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of
the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the
tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the
end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels,
and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend,
and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace
of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
No one can simplify the parable by enlarging on what Jesus said.
It is so clear that a child can understand it. He said the
tares represented the wicked people, and that they would be cast
into the fire "at the end of the world." It was in the harvest
that the separation would take place, and He plainly stated,
"The harvest is the end of the world." How can anyone
misconstrue these words of Christ? The whole idea of the wicked
going into the fire at the time of death contradicts our Lord's
specific teaching that they would be cast into the fire at the
end of the world.
Since the judgment also takes place after Christ comes we can
see how impossible it would be for anyone to be punished before
that time. Justice demands that a person be brought into
judgment before being punished. Peter declared, "The Lord
knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to
reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished." 2
Peter 2:9. That certainly makes sense, doesn't it? Suppose a
man should be brought into the court accused of stealing, and
the judge said, "Put him away for ten years; then we'll try his
case." Listen, even a human judge would not be that unfair! He
would be impeached for such an action. Surely God would not be
guilty of such a farce.
If we let the Bible mean what it says, there can be no doubt on
this point. The wicked are "reserved" until when? Until the
"day of judgment." To be what? "To be punished"! This means
they cannot be punished before that judgment day. Does the Bible
tell where they are reserved until then? Christ Himself said,
"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that
are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth;
they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and
they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."
John 5:28, 29.
How plain! Jesus said that both good and bad will come forth
from their graves to receive either life or damnation. This
proves that from the time of death until they come forth in the
resurrection they are not receiving any recompense or
punishment. It all happens after they come forth. They are
reserved until that day just as Peter indicated, but Christ
spelled out where they will be reserved--"in the graves."
If plainer words are needed, listen to Jesus speaking in Luke
14:14, "Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the
just." Or hear Him again in Matthew 16:27, "For the Son of man
shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then
he shall reward every man according to his works." When is
"then"? When He comes with His angels. No reward or recompense
is handed out until the resurrection of the just, when He comes
with all the angels. These verses are beyond controversy.
Taken in their context, they contain no ambiguity or hidden
Again Christ is quoted in the very last chapter of the Bible,
"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give
every man according as his work shall be." Revelation 22:12.
Here He reminds us that "every man"--every person--will receive
his just reward when Christ returns to this earth. Job declares
"that the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction. They
shall be brought forth to the day of wrath." Daniel wrote that
they which "sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to
everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."
Can there be any doubt where the wicked are reserved before
facing resurrection, judgment, and punishment? We have the
testimony of Peter, Daniel, Job and the Master Himself. There is
no room to quibble. They are reserved in the grave.
Now we come to the second great fact about hell: None of the
unsaved will be cast into hell-fire until after the second
coming of Jesus at the end of the world. Although we have
already seen substantial evidence on this point, let's look even
more. Describing the punishment of the wicked, John wrote:
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and
murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters and
all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with
fire and brimstone: which is the second death." Revelation 21:
No Second Death
Before the Resurrection
Here the lost are pictured in the fires of hell, suffering the
punishment for their sins. And what is that punishment? "The
second death," says John. Do you realize what this proves about
the wicked? It proves they will not be cast into the lake of
fire until after the resurrection takes place. These people die
the second death in the fire, but they cannot suffer a second
death until they get a second life. They lived the first life in
this world and died the first death, going into the grave.
Before they can die a second death they must be resurrected--
they must be given a second life. This, of course, is what
happens at the end of the world. Jesus said, "All that are in
the graves shall come forth."
Now after getting that second life in the resurrection, the
wicked will be punished for their sins in hell-fire, "which is
the second death." By the way, that second death is the final,
eternal death from which there will be no resurrection. But the
point to be noted is the time of this hell-fire punishment--it
is after the resurrection at the end of the world. It does not
take place at the time of the first death as so many have been
led to believe.
Does the Bible tell us how the wicked will be cast into the lake
of fire? Yes, it does. John describes the dramatic events that
take place at the close of the millennium. "And when the
thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his
prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the
four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them
together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the
sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and
compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city:
and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them."
Here at the end of the millennium all the wicked people who have
ever lived will come forth in the second resurrection. After
describing how the righteous would come to life and reign with
Christ during the thousand years, John wrote, "But the rest of
the dead lived not again until the thousand years were
finished." Revelation 20:5.
The rest of the dead, of course, had to be the wicked, and their
resurrection will provide opportunity for Satan to take up his
continuing battle against God and the saints. He goes out to
gather the host of lost ones, who have been raised from the
dead. He has people to deceive once more, and he convinces them
that they can prevail against the New Jerusalem which has
descended from God out of heaven (Revelation 21:2). As they
march up and encompass the city, the wicked are suddenly cut
down by the devouring fire which rains upon them from heaven.
This is the hell-fire which is the final punishment for sin.
Location of Hell
The Bible clearly asserts that this fire devours the wicked
right here on "the breadth of the earth." Every Bible writer
who speaks on the subject of hell adds new insight on this
second death of the wicked. Peter states: "But the heavens and
the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store,
reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of
ungodly men." 2 Peter 3:7. Then he goes on to describe the
day of the Lord which will melt the very elements with fervent
The language of Peter is very explicit about the place of
punishment for the ungodly. He says this earth is reserved
for that fire which will bring judgment
and perdition to the wicked. Their punishment will be in this
earth. Isaiah declared, "For it is the day of the Lord's
vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of
Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into brimstone,
land thereof shall become burning pitch." Isaiah 34:8, 9.
The prophet portrays the entire planet enveloped in the
destroying fire. Even the streams and dust are transformed into
an exploding combustion of pitch and brimstone. Isaiah says
this is God's vengeance and "recompense" at the end of the
David adds to the testimony with these words, "Upon the wicked
he shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible
tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup." Psalm 11:6.
Notice that he uses almost the same words as John and Peter in
describing the fate of the wicked. All agree as to the place of
the punishment (the earth) and the agent of punishment (fire).
This brings us to the third great fact about the subject of
hell. Hell as a place of punishment will be this earth turned
into a lake of fire at the Day of Judgment. But this also
raises some other very interesting questions about the fate of
the lost. One of the most intriguing and puzzling has to do with
the length of punishment. How long will the wicked continue to
live and suffer in that fire?
No one can answer that question precisely because the Bible says
they will be punished according to their works. This means there
will be degrees of punishment. Some will suffer longer than
others. But one thing we can say with certainty--the wicked
won't live in that fire throughout eternity.
Hell-Fire Not Endless
There are several reasons for being so sure on this point.
First of all, this earth is also declared to be the final home
for the righteous. Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek: For they
shall inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5. Peter, after describing
this earth exploding and burning with a great noise, saw a new
earth filled with righteousness. "Nevertheless we, according to
his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein
dwelleth righteousness." 2 Peter 3:13.
The wicked cannot continue to live in this planet because it has
been specifically promised, in its entirety, to Abraham's
spiritual seed (Romans 4:13). After being purged of all the
curse of sin, it will revert to the first dominion, and to God's
original plan for it. It will be finally what God intended it
to be--a perfect home for a perfect people.
In the second place, the wicked cannot continue to live in this
earth because they have never trusted Christ for eternal life.
It is only the righteous who receive the gift of eternal life.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish. ..." John
3:16. But what about those who don't believe in him? They
surely will perish. The Bible says, "The wages of sin is
death." Romans 6:23. Please don't miss the pointed simplicity
of these verses. The wicked are never promised life. They are
promised death--eternal death. Only the righteous are promised
But there is only one way to get life without end, and that is
through faith in Jesus. John describes it this way: "And this
is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this
life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that
hath not the Son of God hath not life." 1 John 5:11, 12. Let
me ask you a question: Do those wicked ones in the lake of fire
have the Son of God? Of course not. Then how could they have
life? John says, "Ye know that no murderer hath eternal life
abiding in him." 1 John 3:15. Will those murderers in hell-
fire continue to have life for eternity? Never.
It would be the rankest heresy to believe that eternal life
could be obtained from some other source than Jesus. Where
would the wicked get it? Paul declares that Jesus Christ "hath
brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." 2
Timothy 1:10. Inspiration reveals no other source of
immortality except through the gospel of Christ. Where is a
text in the Bible which describes the conferring of immortality
upon the wicked? You can read often about the righteous
receiving it, but never the unbeliever.
Paul said, "Behold I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep,
but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an
eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the
dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal
must put on immortality." 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.
This text speaks of a certain point in time when the righteous
will be instantly changed into immortal beings. That time is
still future. It occurs when Jesus returns, at the last trumpet
sound, when the resurrection takes place. Nowhere in the Bible
do we read of the wicked being changed in this manner. And it
is precisely because they never receive this gift of eternal
life that they are unable to keep living in the lake of fire.
It is inconceivable and unreasonable to fabricate such an event.
It is contrary to the Bible and repugnant to the senses.
Ezekiel declared, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."
Ezekiel 18:4. No matter what we understand a soul to be, let's
accept the simple Bible fact that it can die and will die as a
result of sin.
If the wicked live eternally in the fire, then they have the
same thing as the righteous except in a different place. Who
could give them eternal life but Christ? John 3:16 settles this
issue so clearly and simply. Those who do not believe in the
only begotten Son will perish. They will die. They will die
the second death--an eternal death from which they will never be
raised. That death will never end. It is an endless, eternal
punishment, because it is an endless, eternal death.
Someone may raise this question: What about the unquenchable
fire that burns the wicked? Doesn't that mean it will never go
out? Of course, it doesn't. To quench means to extinguish or
put out. No one will be able to put out the fire of hell. That
is the strange fire of God. No one will be able to escape from
it by extinguishing it. Isaiah says of that fire, "Behold, they
shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not
deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not
be a coal to warm at, nor a fire to sit before it." Isaiah
47:14. After it has accomplished its work of destruction, that
fire will go out. No one can deliver themselves from its flame
by putting it out, but finally not a coal will be left. So say
Jeremiah prophesied that Jerusalem would burn with a fire that
could not be quenched (Jeremiah 17:27), but it burned down to
ashes (2 Chronicles 36:19-21). Read those verses and see how
the Bible uses the word "quench." It does not mean fire that
will never go out. It only means what it says, "unquenchable."
It can't be quenched.
And what can we say about the expressions "eternal" and
"everlasting" which are used to describe the fires of hell?
There is absolutely no confusion or contradiction when we allow
the Bible to supply its own definition of terms. Many make the
mistake of applying modern definitions to those biblical words
without reference to their ancient contextual usage. This
violates one of the most fundamental rules of interpretation.
The fact is that eternal fire does not mean a fire that will
never go out. The same expression is used in Jude 7 concerning
the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha. "Even as Sodom and
Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving
themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh,
are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal
It is quite obvious that Sodom is not still burning today. The
Dead Sea rolls over the place where those ancient cities once
stood. Yet they burned with "eternal fire," and we are told
that it was an example of something. What is it an example of?
"And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes
condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto
those that after should live ungodly." 2 Peter 2:6.
There it is! That eternal fire which brought Sodom to ashes is
an example of what will finally happen to the wicked. If this
text is true, the same kind of fire that destroyed Sodom and
Gomorrha will also burn the wicked in the lake of fire. It will
have to be eternal fire. Does that mean it will also burn the
wicked to ashes? The Bible says Yes. "For behold, the day
cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and
all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh
shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave
them neither root nor branch ... And ye shall tread down the
wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in
the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts." Malachi
No words of any language could make it more forceful or clear.
This eternal fire burns up eternally. Even Satan, the root, is
finally consumed. How consistent the whole picture appears as
we let the Bible explain its own terms. What devious
manipulation of words would be required to evade the obvious
meaning of these words. Yet those who have been prejudiced by a
lifetime of tradition can read those words "burn them up ...
they shall be ashes" and still insist that the wicked are alive
Admittedly, there are some ambiguous verses on this subject, but
we are finding that they all harmonize when the context is
considered, and the Bible is allowed to be its own commentary.
Even Christ's words in Matthew 25:46 are not confusing when we
take the obvious meaning. "And these shall go away into
everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
Many are troubled over the expression, "everlasting punishment,"
but notice that it does not say "everlasting punishing."
Whatever the punishment is, it will last eternally. Does the
Bible tell us what the punishment is? Of course. "The wages of
sin is death." Romans 6:23. So Jesus was simply saying that
the death would be everlasting. It would never end. It would
never be broken by a resurrection.
Paul simplifies it further with these words: "In flaming fire
taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not
the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished ...
" Now, listen, Paul is going to tell us what the punishment is.
"Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the
presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." 2
Thessalonians 1:8, 9. So the punishment is everlasting
destruction -- a destruction that is everlasting. From it there
will be no resurrection or hope of life.
But what about that worm which dieth not? Many have read the
words of Jesus about hell, "Where their worm dieth not and the
fire is not quenched." Mark 9:45, 46. Some have interpreted
the worm to be the soul. Is that what Jesus meant? Nowhere in
the Bible is there any allusion to the soul as a worm.
In this instance Jesus used the word "Gehenna" for the word
"hell." It so happened that Gehenna was an actual place of
burning just outside the walls of Jerusalem. No doubt, Christ's
listeners could see the smoke curling up from the Valley of
Gehenna, where dead bodies and garbage were constantly being
burned. If anything fell outside the destructive flames, it was
quickly consumed by maggots or worms. With the vivid scenes of
utter extinction before their eyes, Jesus used the Gehenna fire
as an example of the complete destruction of hell-fire. The
fire was never quenched, and the worms were constantly at work
upon the bodies--a picture of total destruction.
Perhaps the most easily misconstrued text about hell is John's
allusion to the smoke ascending "for ever and ever." For those
who are unfamiliar with other uses of this phrase in the Bible,
it can be very confusing indeed. But a comparison of verses in
both Old and New Testaments reveal that the words "for ever" are
used 57 times in the Bible in reference to something that has
already come to an end. In other words, "for ever" does not
always mean "without end."
Many notable examples could be cited, but two or three are
noteworthy. In Exodus 21, the conditions are laid down
concerning the law of servitude. If a servant chose to continue
serving the master he loved rather than his freedom when it came
due, then his ear was to be pierced with an awl and the
Scripture declares, "He shall serve him for ever." Verse 6.
But how long would that servant serve his human master? Only as
long as he lived, of course. So the words "for ever" did not
mean without end.
Hannah took her son Samuel to God's temple, where he would
"there abide for ever." 1 Samuel 1:22. Yet in verse 28 we are
plainly told, "As long as he liveth he shall be lent to the
Lord." The original meaning of the term "for ever" indicates an
indefinite period of time. Generally it defines the period of
time in which something can continue to exist under the
circumstances prevailing. Even Jonah's stay in the whale's
belly is described by him as "for ever." Jonah 2:6.
Someone may object that this could also limit the life of the
righteous in heaven, because they are described as glorifying
God forever. The terms are the same for both the saved and the
lost. But there is one tremendous difference in the
circumstances involved. The saints have received the gift of
immortality. Their life now measures with the life of God.
Immortality means "not subject to death." The words "for ever"
used in reference to them could only mean "without end," because
they are immortal subjects already. But when "for ever" is used
to describe the wicked, we are talking about mortal creatures
who can die and must die. Their "for ever" is only as long as
their mortal nature can survive in the fire which punishes them
according to their works.
Soul and Body Destroyed
This brings us to the final fact concerning the fate of the
wicked. After the unsaved are punished according to their sins,
they will be wiped out of existence, both body and soul. Jesus
states it very simply, "And fear not them which kill the body
... but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and
body in hell." Matthew 10:28.
In the light of this statement, how can anyone continue to claim
immortality for the wicked? Jesus, the only One who can bestow
the gift of life, rejects the possibility that those in hell can
continue to live in any form whatsoever. The life will be
snuffed out for eternity, and the body will be annihilated in
The psalmist wrote: "But the wicked shall perish, and the
enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall
consume; into smoke shall they consume away." Psalm 37:20. "For
yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou
shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be."
The most powerful, definitive words in human language are used
to describe the destruction in hell, but people still insist
that the writers do not really mean what their words express.
"Destroy," "consume," "burn up," "devour," "death"--do these
words have some mysterious, opposite meaning in the Bible than
they have in other books? We have no reason to think so. The
fact is that theology has made an ogre out of our great God of
love. He has been portrayed as more cruel than Hitler. Even
though Hitler tortured people and experimented with them,
finally he allowed them to die. But God will keep these
deathless souls alive for the purpose of seeing them writhe and
scream throughout eternity, so the theologians claim.
God's Justice Vindicated
Not only is such a picture misrep-resentative of God's love, it
also distorts His justice. Think for a moment about the
implications of a doctrine that would consign every lost soul to
an immediate, never-ending hell at the time of death. Suppose a
man died 5,000 years ago with one cherished sin in his life.
His soul would go instantly into the fire to be tormented for
eternity. Then picture another death; that of Adolph Hitler,
who supervised the deaths of millions of people. According to
the popular doctrine, his soul also would immediately enter hell
to suffer eternally. But the man who was lost because of only
one sin, will burn 5,000 years longer than Hitler. How could
that be just? Would God deal in such a manner? It would
contradict the Bible statement that each one must be punished
according to his works.
There are two extreme views in current circulation concerning
the punishment of the wicked. One is Universalism, which
contends that God is too good to allow anyone to be lost. The
other is the awful doctrine of endless torment which would
perpetuate for all eternity a dark abyss of anguish and
suffering. Both are wrong. The truth lies in between. God
will punish the wicked according to their works, but He will not
immortalize evil in the process.
I truly believe that many honest souls have been turned away
from God because of their revulsion at this misrepresentation of
His character. They can't love someone who would arbitrarily
keep evil people in endless torment with no purpose in view. No
rehabilitation is possible. Only a vindictive spirit of revenge
could be served by such an unspeakable arrangement. Is God like
that? After hearing the Bible truth about hell, a bank
president threw his arms around my shoulders and said, "Joe, I'm
a believer again. For years I've been an agnostic because I had
been taught that God would torture the wicked eternally."
No More Pain Or Death
Someday soon God will have a clean universe. All the effects of
sin will be banished forever. There will be no sin, no sinners
and no devil to tempt. It will be just exactly like God planned
it in the beginning.
John described that future home in these words, "And God shall
wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more
death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any
more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation
Can you find any room in those precious words for any suffering
on the part of anybody in the whole recreated universe? God
said crying and pain would be no more. Do you believe His Word
or do you choose to believe man's surmising? Just four verses
before writing this promise, John described how the wicked would
be cast into the lake of fire. "And whosoever was not found
written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. And
I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the
first earth were passed away." Revelation 20:15; 21:1.
That lake of fire is right here on planet earth according to
Revelation 20:9. But please notice that this place where the
wicked burn will pass away, and God will re-create the new earth
in its stead. Then Revelation 21:2, 3 describe the New
Jerusalem descending, and verse four says there will be no more
sorrow, pain, crying, or death.
In order for no more pain to exist, there can be no eternal hell
existing either. The two things are mutually exclusive of each
other. We should thank God every day that His plan will finally
bring an end to suffering. Satan will not be here to cause
pain, and God promises that His new kingdom will not even
contain a shadow of a pain.
Hell Not Intended For Us
Finally, we should rejoice that hell was never intended for you
and me. Jesus said it was "prepared for the devil and his
angels." Matthew 25:41. If we stumble into that fire, it will
be the most colossal blunder we could ever make. You would have
to go there over the broken body of Jesus Christ and in spite of
the Father's love, the Holy Spirit's pleading, and the heavenly
influence of a million angels. The most unanswerable question
in the whole world is this: "How shall we escape if we neglect
so great a salvation?" There is no answer because there is no
escape except through Christ and His cross.
No one will be lost because he sinned, because everyone has
sinned. No one will be left out of heaven because he lied,
stole, or committed adultery. The only reason anyone will be
lost is because he refuses to turn away from his sin into the
arms of a loving Saviour who stands ready to pardon and cleanse
from all unrighteousness. "For God so loved the world that he
gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
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