We do not hear too much about the future of unsaved people. Probably it is not considered politically correct or kind to talk of eternal retribution. The word Hell is heard a thousand times more on the street as a slang word than in the pulpits of our churches. However, its neglect does not diminish the truth or the awfulness of it.
Some do not think about Hell because they believe that a loving God would not condemn people to a place like Hell. God condemned the angels that sinned against him to a place of torment. Some are reserved right now in a place similar to Hell. Second Peter 2:4 “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;” Verse 9 “9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:” The place of torment for the angels that sinned is called Hell in the King James Version, but it is a different Greek word. It is “tartaroo”, meaning the lowest part of Hades.
Some hold false views about Hell. There are those who believe that God is far too gracious and loving to condemn the unsaved to a place of everlasting punishment. Instead, they believe that He blots them out forever. This is called annihilationism. They believe that the unsaved cease to exist in any form, material or spiritual. The story that our Savior taught about the rich man and Lazarus leaves no room for this theory. Luke 16:19-24 ¶ There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”
Others believe in restorationism. Their view of God is that He is so loving and kind, that no matter how long it might take, He will restore all creation, including mankind, to Himself. A branch of this theory would include those who believe in reincarnation and various karma. The Bible does not teach this, however. Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
Another view is presentism. This view teaches that whatever Heaven or Hell a person is to receive is experienced in this life only, that reward or retribution is meted out here and now on earth. Jesus taught otherwise: In the Sermon on the Mount, our Savior taught: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21. Now, if all of the rewards we are to receive are in this lifetime, why would He teach otherwise? So, rewards and retribution are still in the future for living persons.
There is a place called Hell. 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:” It is a prepared place which will endure forever. Matthew 25:46 “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Revelation 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.”
Hell is a place of extreme suffering. Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” That suffering involves burning forever in a lake of fire. Revelation 20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 14:10 speaks of unbelievers that die during the tribulation, having worshipped the false god that is the beast. “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.”
Who all will be in that place of torment called Hell? The first two occupants will be the beast and the false prophet. Revelation 19:20 “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” This comes as the Savior returns to earth to put an end to the Battle of Armageddon. Not long after these first two are cast alive into Hell, God demonstrates His power over Satan by casting him into Hell. Revelation 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.” Just remember, if someone should tell you to go to that place, tell them it is not open for business as of yet! There is a temporary holding cell for those who die without accepting Christ. It is called Hades in the Greek and Sheol in the Hebrew. But the eternal lake of fire has not been opened or occupied to this point.
The fallen angels will be there. We have already looked at Second Peter 2:4. In addition, all of the wicked that have ever lived will be in Hell. Psalm 9:16 & 17 “The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Can you imagine living forever in the same place with every foul and evil person that has ever lived? To be suffering in eternal darkness and fire must be the absolute worst fate possible. Someone said there should be a sign over the door to Hell that reads, “All who enter here, abandon all hope.”
Hell is the exact opposite of Heaven. In Heaven there will be no sickness or crying. In Hell eternal suffering and crying are without end or relief. All occupants of Heaven enjoy eternal bliss and joy, but in Hell every occupant will be unhappy and discontented. No sin will enter Heaven, but in Hell sin abounds and the evil ideas of mankind will have nothing to hinder their fulfillment, except the suffering of the person having the thoughts. Memory will also plague the occupants of Hell. The rich man in Hades, “But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.” It may be that someone listening to this lesson has had opportunities to accept Christ. You will remember every one of those opportunities in Hell and gnash your teeth about rejecting the Savior. Someone in Hell will hear “Just as I Am” over and over in their mind, realizing that had they come to the Savior just as they were, He would have saved them from this punishment, but now it is too late!
There are but two places to spend all of eternity. Heaven is reserved for those who have trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. God said that when you make His suffering on the cross the payment for your sin, He would be satisfied. Otherwise, Hell is your only other option. There is no middle ground. If you have not received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, right now, where you are, admit you are a sinner deserving to be sent to Hell for your sins. Ask God to allow the death of Jesus Christ to be the payment for your sins. He suffered, the Just for the unjust, that you might be saved. Pray this prayer, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner, and save me for Jesus’ sake. Forgive all my sins and give me eternal life as You have promised in the Bible. I right now receive Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord.”
If you prayed that prayer please see the following to get you started in your walk with God: About Being Saved