The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love (Psa. 103:8, NIV).We should all rejoice in this fact about God, while we serve him with fear (Psa. 2:11). Yet there is another side of him that many refuse to acknowledge:
The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished (Nah.1:2,3, NIV).God is jealous for our love and commitment to him. He will not tolerate any gods before him (Exo. 20:3). Strange as it may sound, his name is Jealous:
For thou shalt worship no other God: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (Exo. 34:14, KJV).Similarly, in the New Testament we read:
But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil ...(Rom. 2:8,9, NIV).
... raging fire that will consume the enemies of God (Heb. 10:27, NIV).
He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power (2 Thess. 1:8,9, NIV).In other words, people who die unsaved will face an angry God filled with wrath, then eternal trouble and distress will be their inheritance. They will experience this special, God-designed fire that is eternal (Mt. 18:8), unquenchable (Mk. 9:48; Lk. 3:17) and raging (Heb. 10:27), and that was originally prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt. 25:41).
In Lk. 16:19-31, Jesus taught of a man who died and went to the fire of Hades. The Lord's teaching showed he:
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever (NIV).According to Rev. 19:20, the beast and the false prophet will be thrown into "the fiery lake of burning sulfur" before the Millennium:
But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur (NIV).This means that for at least 1,000 years, yet in the future, these two men will be tormented in this unusual fire, prepared for spirit beings, without being annihilated.
Furthermore, those men will be thrown into this fiery lake with the kind of bodies we have now. This clearly proves that that fire is not the kind of fire we are familiar with, for if it was, their bodies would be burnt to ashes in just a fraction of that time.
Also, since the devil is a spirit and he will be tormented by this fire, it can't be the kind of fire with which we are accustomed. In other words, the fire God has in store for those who die in an unsaved condition can torment spirits. Their torment will never cease in the final place for them, the lake of fire.
Besides people, even death and Hades will one day be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14).
The continual sounds heard there will be pleading for mercy, weeping, cursing God and agonizing, regretful groans caused by their pain. This will be their lot forever, because they chose to be self-seeking, reject the truth and follow evil (Rom. 2:8) during their time of testing in this life.
All who spend their eternity in the lake of burning sulfur will be thrown into it -- the devil (Rev. 20:10), the Antichrist and false prophet (Rev. 19:20) and all other humans who died in an unsaved spiritual condition (Mt. 13:42; Rev. 20:15). Billions of people will be thrown into these fires.
Many that we personally know and some we presently go to "church" with will be of this number! Shame and everlasting contempt (Dan. 12:2) is in their future also, besides being forgotten by their families and friends who go to heaven (Isa. 65:17).
The damned will think about God forever then, though now, in this present life, some "think it not worthy to retain the knowledge of God" (Rom. 1:28).
All people in hell exhibited goat-like rebellion to God's will (Matthew 25:31-46; Lk. 19:27). Therefore, they will experience this fiery furnace the Lord said exists (Mt. 13:42,50) and the blackest darkness that both Peter and Jude wrote of (2 Pet. 2:17; Jude 13). There will be no party there, according to the Bible. Some who refuse to repent and trust Jesus 100% for their soul's salvation say, "I'll take my chances." But they really aren't. It's a sure thing that they will be thrown into this lake of burning sulfur. There is no chance they will escape (Lk. 13:3; Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12).
Perhaps for those who were once saved, but afterwards ...
Jesus also taught:
At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other (Mt. 24:10, NIV).Though painful to admit, you potentially can still end up in eternal fire, even if you are a Christian at this moment! To believe otherwise is to be misinformed about the Biblical record.
This paradise environment where joy, love, peace and godly music abides is, however, reserved only for the called, chosen and faithful followers of Christ (Rev. 17:14) or those described elsewhere as the ones who denied themselves, took up their crosses daily and followed Jesus unashamedly (Lk. 9:23-26). The same were faithful to God to the point of death (Rev. 2:10,11) sowed to please the Spirit not their sinful natures (Gal. 6:8,9) and endured to the end of their lives for salvation's sake (Mt. 10:22). In Mt. 5:8, the same are described as the pure in heart.
To enter the holy city, the New Jerusalem, will mean to enter the city whose architect and builder is God himself (Heb. 11:10). The New Jerusalem is made of pure gold, is approximately 1,400 to 1,500 miles high, long and wide, has walls of jasper, streets of gold, and gates of pearl that are never shut (Rev. 21:15-27). There is no need for the sun or moon to shine on it for the Lamb is its lamp (Rev. 21:23; 22:5). The river of the water of life, the tree of life, and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city (Rev. 22:1-5).
Who will be excluded from New Jerusalem?
Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life (Rev. 21:27, NIV).God's kingdom is prepared for those who love God (Jam. 2:5) or for the righteous (Mt. 25:34-40).
You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (NKJV).For such worthy people, physical death is gain and better by far compared to this life (Phil. 1:21,23).
In a negative sense, Jesus spoke of those not worthy of himself:
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it (Mt. 10:37-39, NKJV).To be not worthy of Jesus is to be unable to enter God's kingdom, which means one will enter through the wide gate that leads to destruction. Dear reader, if you are Biblically unsaved at this moment, repent of your sins now while you still can. People in eternal fire would give anything for the chance you still have to repent and place your faith in Jesus (Acts 20:21). Remember, final salvation is as important as eternity is long. Do not go to this place called Hell.