A Biblical Examination of Hell
By Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor
HERITAGE BAPTIST BIBLE CHURCH
P.O. Box 573| Walnut Grove, MN 56180 | Telephone (507) 859-2519
Let us now move to Diagram 5.
COMMENTARY ON DIAGRAM 5
The Lake of Fire
This diagram brings us down to the final end of this earth after man's existence of approximately 7,000 years. Remember, the Lake of Fire and Brimstone is the final eternal torment of all the lost. This also includes Satan, his angels, the Beast, the False Prophet, and the most wicked angels chained in Tartarus. I have marked the diagram with A, B, C, D and E. We shall examine each of these in order.
(Locate A). This is at the end of the 7-year Tribulation Period when Christ comes back with all the Saints (Old Testament and Church Age) to set the Kingdom up for 1,000 years. Just prior to the Kingdom being established, Christ judges the nations. In 2nd Timothy 4:1 we read:
"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick (Greek "zao," i.e. "the living") and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom."
At this judgment, the lost will be cast directly into the Lake of Fire. They do not go to torment in Hades, nor do they pass through the Great White Throne of Judgment. The account is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. In Chapter 25, verses 31-34 we read:
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he (Christ) sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep (saved) from the goats (lost): And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
The saved who are alive at the end of the Tribulation go right on into the Kingdom. These are the sheep on His right hand. The goats (lost), these are the ones who were deceived by the Anti-Christ, receiving his mark which is 666. Their plight is recorded in Matthew 25:41,
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
Their entire judgment is here, so there is no need to pass through the Great White Throne Judgment. Picture yourself, if you were lost, listening to the King of kings and Lord of lords thunder these devastating words, knowing the next second you would plunge into the everlasting Lake of Fire. How grateful we are for a Saviour Who loved us while we were a sinner.
This same judgment is also described in Matthew 24:39,40,41,
"...so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken (lost), and the other left (saved)."
These Verses many times are used in reference to the Rapture; but, in essence, has nothing to do with the Rapture at all. In fact, what takes place at the Rapture is exactly the opposite of what takes place here. A basic principle to remember is that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John always, without exception, refer to the Revelation of Christ to the earth, and never the Rapture. They knew nothing of the Rapture as this was a mystery, later revealed to the Apostle Paul. Notice in Verses 40 and 41, the ones left are the saved who are left to reign with Christ in the Kingdom. The ones taken are the lost, taken to judgment. These are the same ones which Christ cast into the everlasting fire in Matthew 25:41. As we have said, this is just the opposite of what happens at the Rapture. Notice in 1st Thessalonians 4:17, which is speaking of the Rapture:
"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
You see, at the Rapture, those taken go to Heaven, but in Matthew those taken go to everlasting fire. At the Rapture, those left go through the Tribulation judgment, whereas those left in Matthew go on into the Millennial Kingdom here on earth.
Other references to this judgment:
Joel 3:1-3;12-16; Zechariah 14:1-12; Revelation 19:11-21; 2nd Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 1:7; and 2nd Timothy 4:1.
A more terrifying account of those cast into the Lake of Fire is recorded in Zechariah 14:12. The whole Chapter is in reference to Christ's return and setting up the Kingdom. Now Verse 12...
"And this shall be the plague (plague is the Hebrew "maggephah," and by analogy means: defeat, slaughter, or stroke. In other words, those I am about to describe will be defeated, with a stroke in a great slaughter); wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their (lost) flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth."
Personally, from reading many accounts of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I can easily picture what literally occurred here. A very graphic description of the lost as they enter the Lake of Fire. This is a far cry from the jokes, laughter and sneers made about Hell today.
(Locate B and C). No saved are involved here, only the lost in torment of Hades. The line B runs from Torment to the Great White Throne of Judgment Seat and from there to the Lake of Fire. This judgment takes place at the end of the 1,000 Year Reign of Christ. The heavens and this old earth are about to flee away and a new heaven and earth established (Revelation 21:1). Now the record in Revelation 20:11...
"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them."
The Great White Throne is only for the lost, no saved ever appear here for judgment.
Here is where the lost receive their resurrected bodies before entering into the Lake of Fire. In Revelation 20:13 we read:
"And the sea gave up the dead (bodies) which were in it; and death (bodies in the grave) and hell (Hades - soul and spirit in Torment side) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell (Hades) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."
Those in Torment in Hades (their soul and spirit) unite with their resurrected body out of the grave and stand at the Great White Throne Judgment. This is what John was speaking about in John 5:29:
"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."
The reason for this being, that no physical body could ever withstand the literal fire of Hell without the body being consumed. God has provided a resurrected body for the lost that will suffer all the torment and flames of Hell, but will never be consumed. What a contrast! Our resurrected bodies will never see pain, sorrow or death again (Revelation 21:4), while the resurrected bodies of the lost will never cease from enduring the pains of Hell fire.
Years ago, when I was on the police department, I was called to investigate a tragic situation. A young boy, about 13, had taken a gas can and was stealing gas from a railroad truck. Some of the gas had saturated his clothing. They were a poor family, and some of you may remember the old coal pot-bellied stoves with the isinglass window in the front of it. These usually sat in the living room. This is what this family had. When the boy came home from the railroad yard he went right over to the stove and opened the door, then becoming a human torch! I recall them telling me at the hospital emergency room that there was nothing they could do to save him, and he would die very shortly. As I was standing beside his bed he suddenly let out a terrifying scream and then lapse back into unconsciousness. He did this several times before dying. In Hell there will never be a time of unconsciousness. The excruciating torment will be experiences every second of every minute of every hour, for all time and eternity!
Now, back to Verses 13 and 14...
When the lost are judged according to their works, it is not to determine if they go to Hell, but rather the degree of punishment in Hell for eternity. This judgment of works is to the lost what the Judgment Seat of Christ is to the Christian. The position of Heaven or Hell is determined by a person's acceptance or rejection of Christ as Saviour (Ephesians 2:8,9). Their rewards in Heaven or degree of punishment in Hell are determined by their works. Concerning the Christian being rewarded in heaven for his works, we are told in 2nd Corinthians 5:10:
"For we must all (the Christian) appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
Paul is speaking in 1st Corinthians 3:14,15 in reference to the Christian's being rewarded or suffering loss of rewards for his work.
"If any man's (Christian's) work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's (Christian's) work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
Now let us go back to Revelation 20:12 where we learn more about the lost being judged at the Great White Throne...
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books (plural), according to their works."
We are told there is the Book of Life and the books which will judge the lost. The books have recorded the deeds of every person from the time they were born until they die. Every thought, every opportunity they had to be saved, every curse word, every illegal act and etc. is recorded in the books. I have been asked why God waited clear until the end of the earth before having the judgment. I believe a satisfactory answer can be given. As a person passes through life, they have a tremendous influence upon others. Take an atheistic school teacher who has the influence over thousands of students during their teaching career. Many of those children will grow up rejecting Christ because of their teachings. Now, say those people teach their children what they had been taught and so on down the line. No one really knows how far the teachings of that school teacher will travel. That is the reason a lost person is not judged for his works when he dies. But at the Great White Throne Judgment at the end of this world, each person will receive their reward according to the influence of their life through all the generations and ages to come, then are cast into the Lake of Fire.
THE BOOK OF LIFE
The Book of Life has recorded in it the name of every person ever born. In other words, everyone has an equal opportunity. When a person receives Christ as Saviour, their name will remain in the Book of Life forever. When the lost die without Christ, their name is blotted out of the Book of Life. Therefore, the Book of Life is an indictment and conviction upon the lost that their sentence to the Lake of Fire is fair and justified. In Revelation 20:15 we are told:
"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
For those who may endorse predestination, i.e. that God predestinated these to be lost and others to be saved, may I draw your attention to Psalm 69:22-28. If you will take a moment to read Verses 25-27, you will find, unequivocally, this is speaking of the lost. Now concerning their fate, let me quote Verse 28,
"Let them (the lost) be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous."
In order to be blotted out of the book, they must be written in the Book. You see, "The Lord was not willing that any should perish..." (2nd Peter 3:9), so all names are recorded in the Book of the Living. When one dies without Christ, their name is then blotted out and this book stands as an everlasting record at the Great White Throne Judgment of their rejection of Christ.
WHAT ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN?
The Christian has been promised that his name will never be blotted out of the Book of Life. Notice in Revelation 3:5 where we are told...
"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."
Now in 1st John 5:5 we are told how we overcome:
"Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?"
What a security we have in Christ, a promise that our name will never be blotted out of the Book of Life. Now back to the lost.
Can you imagine the horrified look on the faces of the lost as they stand condemned, face to face with God. They had laughed at Him, made jokes about His Word, the Bible, used His name in vain, ridiculed Christians, but it all ended and they are now face to face with their Creator. No doubt they will bow and confess to God before they plunge into Hell. Here is the record in Romans 14:11, which is a quote from Isaiah 45:23:
"For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."
The Christian bows and confesses Christ willingly, but here the lost are made to do so. Christ wanted to be their Saviour, but they rejected Him. Now He stands at the Great White Throne to be their judge.
Some time ago Dr. Al Lacy told of a true story which I believe illustrates the situation at the great White Throne Judgment:
"The Bible is your friend or your judge. There was a man who had committed several crimes and each time the same attorney pulled some strings, and by a clever defense got the man off. He left town and was gone several years and then came back to his home town. He was in a bar and got into an argument. He left to get a gun and returned and shot the man while he was sitting on the bar stool. He couldn't find his previous attorney's name in the Yellow Pages and figured he had moved or died. He secured another attorney and was found guilty. When the judge had come out to try the case, it was the attorney who had represented him before. When he approached the bench for sentencing, the judge made this statement, 'I once was your friend and your attorney who got you off, but now I am not your friend, but your judge.' The judge sentenced him to die in the electric chair, and he did."
You see, Christ is your friend Who died on the cross to pardon your sins, but if you reject Him--He will be your judge at the Great White Throne Judgment.
(Locate A and D). Satan. It is imperative to understand some of Satan's last activities before his final doom. Take a moment and review Diagram 5. Reference the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the 1,000 Year Kingdom of Christ.
After the Rapture of the Church immediately begins a 7-Year Tribulation Period with the last 3-1/2 years known as the Great Tribulation. During this whole period of time, God is sending His judgments upon the earth. The minute details are all recorded in the Book of Revelation, from Chapter 6 to 19. After the Rapture, Satan, who has personally indwelt a human being, is known as the Antichrist. He seeks to counterfeit God and in the middle of the Tribulation Period (3-1/2 years after the Rapture), enters the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and declares himself to be God. The record is found in 2nd Thessalonians 2:4:
"Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."
The Antichrist now is worshipped as God and seeks to control this world for the last 3-1/2 years before Christ returns to the earth. He is the one-world ruler and demands all to receive his mark of 666 on their foreheads or right hand. If one refuses, they can neither buy or sell and without doubt will be exterminated. The record in Revelation 13:16,17,18 tells us:
"And he (Anti-Christ) causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name ... for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore (a score is 20) and six (666)."
During this time, the Christians will witness for Christ and refuse to join forces with the Antichrist by rejecting his mark of 666. Those the Antichrist can apprehend, he will put to death by decapitation. Here is the record in Revelation 20:4,
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were BEHEADED for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
Speaking of this time Christ said, "and except these days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake (Israel), those days shall be shortened."
Christ then returns to this earth to set up the Kingdom for 1,000 years. Revelation 20:1,2 substantiates this...
"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years."
Now, after the 1,000 years, Satan is let out of the pit and given his last chance to deceive whoever he can. The account is rendered in Revelation 20:7,8:
"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."
May I inject a question many times asked, and that is, "Where do these people come from?," as I thought those with Christ were all in their resurrected bodies. The answer is, No! It is true though, that at Christ's return to earth all the Old Testament Saints did receive their resurrected bodies, and will reign in the Kingdom with these bodies. But, you will recall when Christ judged the nations, the ones taken were cast into the Lake of Fire, BUT the ones left were left to reign in the Kingdom, in their physical bodies. These were all Christians and will bear children just as we do today. This will go on for a thousand years. The same occurs in the Millennium as it does today, not all the children of Christian parents become Christians. So, at the end of the Kingdom Age there will be many who have rejected Christ, just as we have today. In fact, the amount is staggering as illustrated by Verse 8:
"...the number of whom is as the sand of the Sea."
The end of those deceived by Satan in this short period of time is recorded in Verse 9. If you will recall in Verse 8, Satan gathers them together to go to battle. With his army of the lost, he makes his attack towards Jerusalem and then the end comes...
"And they (Satan's army) went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city (Jerusalem): and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them."
We have now reached the final end of Satan. In Revelation 20:10 we are told:
"And the devil (Satan) that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
(Locate E). See, 2nd Peter 2:4 and Jude 6,7. As you recall, this is the location (Tartarus) where the most wicked angels are chained awaiting their final judgment, then the Lake of Fire. We do not have a multiplicity of details concerning this as we do other things. We shall attempt to correlate what we are told.
We do know for certain that these angels will be taken out of Tartarus and placed in their final torment, the Lake of Fire. You will recall that Hell (Greek-"Gehenna") is the Lake of Fire. Matthew 25:41 lets us know that the Lake of Fire was originally prepared for Satan and his angels.
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
We learn from 1st Corinthians 6:3 that the Christians from this Church Age are going to judge them.
"Know ye not that we (Christians) shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?"
We are not told where this judgment takes place, but many scholars believe it will be at the Great White Throne Judgment. I, personally, believe this, because this is the final judgment before the creation of the new heavens and earth. It would seem logical that God would have everything disposed of concerning judgment before establishing the news heavens and earth.
The question naturally arises, "How would we be able to judge the angels exactly as God would?" If the Christian made this judgment now, in his human body, I doubt very much if we could. We would have to contend with the influences of our old nature, judging them as we do judging things concerning our own lives. As a Christian, one would dare not say he always, without exception, does what he should or makes the right decisions. But at the Great White Throne Judgment, the Christian will not be influenced by the old nature, because we will not have it. We will be in our resurrected bodies and will have the mind of Christ by the Holy Spirit with no influence to the contrary. We will look at the angels in judgment exactly as Christ would, therefore our judgment would be the same as Christ's.
Table of Contents | Next
Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor
HERITAGE BAPTIST BIBLE CHURCH
P.O. Box 573
Walnut Grove, MN 56180
Telephone (507) 859-2519
Am I Going to Heaven?
Books by Dr. Max D. Younce
100 Bible Questions and Answers