Is there really a place of eternal judgement? Does a loving God really send people to the Lake of fire? Why was it created, who will be there? These are a few of the questions people ask about eternal judgement and in this study we will answer these questions according to the word of God rightly divided by following the principles of 2 Timothy 2:15.
2 Tim 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Since we are living in the dispensation of the grace of God, we will look first at what the apostle Paul the apostle to the Gentiles, has to say on the subject. To do this we will first ask a commonly asked question and then answer with scripture.
Question: Is there really a place of eternal judgement or damnation or is it just a scare tactic?
VERSE: 2 Th 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
Answer: Yes there really is a place of eternal judgement. In verse # 8 Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, uses the term, “in flaming fire”. This is a reference to the second coming of Christ which follows the “catching away” of the church the body of Christ. This catching away of believers is spelled out in detail in the following passage.
1 Th 4:13 But I would not have you to beignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 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. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Once the body of Christ is gone God will begin again working on, with and through Israel. (See our study on Romans 11 for more detail http://www.bereanbiblechurch.com/studies/study63.html ).
Continuing in verse 8 above we see the causal relationship between eternal judgement versus obedience to the gospel. Mankind has a choice. He can choose to believe the gospel of grace (obedience) or he can choose to be an unbeliever (disobedient). The result of the choice is either everlasting conscious blessedness with God in Christ in the heavens or everlasting conscious torments in the Lake of Fire.
Paul here in verse 9 says, 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
Definition: punishment ( Webster’s 1828: PUN’ISHMENT, n. Any pain or suffering inflicted on a person for a crime or offense, by the authority to which the offender is subject, either by the constitution of God or of civil society. … The right of punishment belongs only to persons clothed with authority. Pain, loss or evil willfully inflicted on another for his crimes or offenses by a private unauthorized person, is revenge rather than punishment.)
This punishment, according to the verse is:
Everlasting – i.e. it lasts forever which is contrary of course to those who teach annihilation.
Destruction – i.e. “rendered useless for the purpose intended”. The unbeliever will never know all that God had planned for him. Never know his love. Never know freedom from guilt. Never experience all spiritual blessings.
from the presence of the Lord – i.e. the unbeliever will never enjoy the sweet presence of the Lord. Never hear his gracious voice, nor witness all that God is.
from the glory of his power – i.e. total doom and darkness. No glory, no light, no hope, no mercy and no more grace. Grace has run out. The dispensation of the grace of God has come to a close and the unbeliever will experience more than just torment of body but of soul and spirit as he begins to understand his error in choosing this present evil world system in the face of Calvary!!!!
Continuing now with verse 10 of our text we read: 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
When he shall come – He is coming again. It makes no difference whether you and I believe it or not, it is a moot point. Lack of planning on your part will not constitute more grace on God’s part. He has already done all that he is going to do to keep the unbeliever from Eternal Judgement.
to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe – the unbeliever knows nothing of this expectancy! As the song says… “And I shall see Him face to face – and tell the story Saved By Grace”!
because our testimony among you was believed – here is this issue.
It is not good works
It is not water baptism
It is not the law of Moses
It is not speaking in tongues
It is the belief of the truth!
2 Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
2 Th 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
Question: Does a loving God really send people to the Lake of fire?
Answer: This is like asking, “Does having policemen cause banks to be robbed?” The answer is, of course not. Man is a free moral agent. If he decides he wants to end up in the Lake of Fire he will, but he will do so after breaking down the barricades that a loving, gracious, merciful God has erected to stop him. Some of these barricades are:
The love of God demonstrated at Calvary – Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
One day I walked into the kitchen belonging to very dear friends of mine. Sitting there in her high chair, covered from head to toe with chocolate cake and icing was one of their children. She held her arms out to me, wanting me to pick her up… when I hesitated to do so the above verse came to mind. God did not love us because we are such wonderful, moral, loving people. He loved us while we were yet sinners! This is the difference between religion (religion here is to be defined as doing something that God never asked you to do) and grace. The grace of God accepts us just as we are. If you are going to go to the lake of fire you will have to do so in spite of the love of God demonstrated at Calvary for YOU! …… And yes, I did pick her up… mess and all!
Full forgiveness of sin right now – 2 Cor 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
If you go to the Lake of Fire you will have to bust through this barricade of grace! (we have only listed a few of them) God is not, in this current dispensation of the grace of God, charging you for your sins! He offers to you and me eternal life as a free gift. All you need do is believe it and receive it.
Notice: 2 Tim 1:12 … for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Does a loving God really send people to the Lake of fire? – Unequivocally NO! The sinner must willingly choose to break through the barricades of God’s mercy and grace to plummet into that horrible pit.
Question: Why was it created, who will be there?
VERSE: Mat 25:41… Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: – Rev 20:10 And the devil 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. – Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Answer: It is clear from scripture that eternal judgement was prepared for the devil and his angels. Who will be there? Satan, the fallen angels, the beast, the false prophet and YOU if you have never believed the gospel of salvation.
And what is the gospel that saves when believed? It is Paul’s gospel, where he says in 1 Cor. 15:3, 4 that Christ died FOR our sins according to the scriptures and that he was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
Can you believe the bible when it says that you are a sinner? This simply means you are not perfect you are not like God – that’s what sin is.. the lack of perfection.
Can you believe that Christ died FOR your sins according to the scriptures? He did not pay for his own sins, he didn’t have any. And the fact that the perfect, sinless, holy son of God had to die is indicative of our inability to save ourselves. Christ died FOR you. He died in your place. He paid for your sins. And he did it freely and willingly so that you could miss eternal judgement and gain eternal life.
Can you agree with the scriptures when it says that Christ rose again the third day? He rose as the author and finisher of eternal life. He rose again to prove that he had paid for all sin for all men for all time.
Do you desire to have eternal life and miss eternal judgement? Then why not tell God that right now? Why not thank Him who loved you enough to provide eternal life for you as a free gift?
The RIGHTEOUSNESS that God REQUIRES is the RIGHTEOUSNESS he SUPPLIES.
~ Conclusion ~
Is there really a place of eternal torments? Yes! Does God send the lost there? No.. they choose to go there, but you do not have to. Believe the word of God today. Eternal life is unto all and upon all that believe.