In my last blog I began to write about the horrible place we know as hell. The story recorded in Luke 16 of “The rich man and Lazarus” is one of the best in the Bible on this topic.
If a person who rejected Christ while on earth were to die and be blotted out forever, cease to be, that would be a terrible punishment. If a lost person died and they missed out of the wonders of Heaven, that would be a terrible punishment. If a sinner were to die and suffer for a little while in Hell, until he could not endure the punishment any further, then mercifully just cease to be, that would be terrible. In fact ten minutes in hell would be a horrible punishment.
The problem is that none of these things are true. The bible teaches that hell is a place of eternal punishment. The rich man in these verses is burning in hell as I speak. He has had no relief for over 2,000 years now.
When the rich man died, he immediately went to hell. As long as his body is in the grave he will remain in hell. There will come a time however, when the rich man will be called out of hell, reunited with this body, judged and then cast into the lake of fire.
“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. 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, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15
At this time, the rich man, with millions of others in hell know that one day they will face God in judgment. Their ashes will form together; they will come out of hell, bow their knees before Jesus, confess that He is Lord, and then enter the suffering of the lake of fire.
Judgment of the lost
Just as the saved will stand before God and give an account for the deeds done in their body, so will the lost.
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all who are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28-29
Torment is forever
As I have said, if every sinner could suffer for just a short period, maybe a couple hundred years, in hell then that would be terrible. Just to stand before God in judgment will be a terrible punishment. But the bible is careful to teach us that the punishment of hell is eternal, and that it continues on in the lake of fire.
“But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.” Mark 3:29
“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:10-11
Jesus warns that hell is a place “where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”