Life After Death

Chapter 12: The Final Destiny of the Wicked (Part 4)

In this Series on Life after Death we have been studying what the Bible teaches about the final destiny of the wicked - the Lake of Fire.   Why do we need to know about this subject? 
 
 1. For ourselves-we need to know if we are ready to meet God. 
 
 2. Sinners need to be warned where their sin is taking them, for they are heading into a Christless eternity. Hell is a reality. 
 
 3. It reveals the seriousness and terribleness of sin and the holiness of God, creating in us reverential fear/awe of God will keep us from sin and cause us to worship Him right: 
 
 Hebrews 12:28: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 
 v29 For our God is a consuming fire.” 
 
 4. It creates Gratitude in us when we know what we are saved from
Luke 10:20: “do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” 
 
 5. It motivates us for evangelism (burning house analogy)
James 5:19,20: “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from (eternal) death and cover a multitude of sin.” 
 Jude 22,23: “on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the FIRE.”
 
 The prophet who warned us most about Hell is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, so if we believe in Him we must also believe in Hell and what He says about it. Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. 
 
 Matthew 23:33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?
 Luke 12:5 “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! 
Matthew 10:8: “do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
 
 The Parable of the Tares. Matthew 13:24: “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” 36 And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 
 
 37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 
 
40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 
41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 

42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth (outward and inward punishment) 
 
 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.He who has ears to hear, let him hear! 
 
 The Parable of the Dragnet. 
Matthew 13:47-50: “the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth”
 
 Matthew 25 shows how, at the end of their earthly life, He separates men into 2 groups (the righteous and unrighteous),and releases them into 2 opposite destinies that are fixed forever (although it is a scene at the 2nd Coming of Christ, it equally (necessarily) applies to the judgement we will all face at death): 
 
 The 2 Groups: “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a Shepherd divides his SHEEP from the GOATS. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left (RIGHT v LEFT)” (v31-33).
 
 How does God decide? He separates them according to their nature -sheep or goat (righteous or unrighteous), which is obvious to the Shepherd. He knows His sheep. We are all born as goats (sinners, in sin) and only God can make us a sheep through faith in Christ, He makes us His child by the New Birth and then we show we are His by our changed life and good works. 
 
 This agrees with 2Timothy 2:19: “The Foundation of God stands having this seal; “The Lord KNOWS those who are His’ and ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ (claims to be His) depart from iniquity.” Do you know the Lord and does He know you? Do you belong to Him -have you given your life to Him? If so show it - by departing from sin and living for Him. 

THE 2 DESTINIES: 

1. v34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘COME, you BLESSED of My Father, inherit the KINGDOMprepared for you from the foundation of the world: 
 
 2. v41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘DEPART from Me, you CURSED, into the Everlasting FIREprepared for the devil and his angels (the twist: not ‘for you’).”  
 
 3 Contrasts: COME v DEPART, BLESSED v CURSED, KINGDOM v FIRE. The sheep are welcomed into His Presence where there is blessing.The goats are sent away from His Presence doomed to go to a place of cursing, which is described as EVERLASTING FIRE, the same place to which satan will go. They will have to join him.
 
 *The fire was prepared for satan not man. God’s will for man is eternal life. It is only with great sadness that He has to send the unsaved to hell, because they walked in satan’s way (spirit and philosophy = the LIE) wanting to believe they were their own god (evolved beings) - Isaiah 14, Genesis 3).
 
*Their appeal against His judgement is unsuccesful.
 Summary: v46 “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal (everlasting) life.” 
 *One group faces eternal death, the other eternal life.
The same word ‘everlasting’ is used for the righteous and wicked.
It denotes endless duration in the time-period (Age) under consideration, which in this case is the Age of eternity-future.
 
*Their everlasting punishment which involves fire begins immediately, but is in 2 stages. These people 
who have been condemned are those who survive the Tribulation, but are unrepentant. At this time they are killed, removed from the earth and their souls go down to a place of fiery punishment called Hades (Hell), the unseen realm under the earth. We know from Revelation 20 that they will not actually go into the Lake of Fire for another 1000 years (when they are resurrected after the Millennium). At this time they will go body and soul into the lake of fire. This will then be their final unchanging state. 
 
 In the Intermediate State, it is just a punishment of soul. 
In the Eternal State, it is a punishment of both body and soul. 
 
 Matthew 10:8: “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy 
both soul and body in hell (Gehenna).” 
 
 These unbelievers will be raised for the Great White Throne 1000 years later - so they face 2 judgements, just as all the unrighteous do (this is NOT the same as the Great White Throne Judgement).
 
 -1. First the judgement we have been reading about in Matthew 25, 
which corresponds with the end of their physical life, which determines forever their guilt or innocence before God and thus their final destiny (which depends on whether they have trusted in Christ (sheep), and shown the genuineness of their faith by their works of love, or not (goats) - and so are still in their sins.
 
 -2. Then, at the End of Time they are resurrected at the Great White Throne judgement and receive their final sentencing according to their works, and dismissal to the final place of punishment, the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15).
 
 But notice that their final destiny (to go into Everlasting-Fire) is already determined by the Lord at the time of their death. They have been found guilty and their doom is sealed. So at death they go immediately into everlasting punishment (v46), that is their everlasting punishment starts at death (which includes fire - v41, Luke 16), even though they only go into the Lake of Fire at their resurrection 1000 years later.
 
 Let us continue to see Jesus’ teaching on life after death.
 *Many will be surprised - many who expect to get in to heaven-deceived into thinking they qualify. Jesus describes some events at His 2nd Coming but they logically also apply/cprrespond to the judgement we will face at our death (like the sheep and goats). 
 
 Matthew 25:10-12: Door of the Kingdom shut on the foolish virgins: “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not KNOW you.’ 
 
YOU DO NOT BELONG TO ME. YOU NEVER OPENED YOUR HEART UP TO ME. WE DON’T HAVE A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP. DO YOU KNOW HIM AND HE YOU?


Matthew 7:21-23:  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (The will of God is is to receive Christ in your heart submitting to and trusting Him as lord and saviour - 
then He who has a genuine faith will show it in his actions) 

22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ (notice they trust in their works) 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

 
These are words spoken to unbelievers at death. Notice they were never born again and this is revealed in their lifestyle-practicing lawlessness. Just cos they knew and used the name of Jesus has power etc does not save, it is having a personal relationship.

 
Luke 13:25-28: “When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ 26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ 27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ 28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.  
 
*Jesus warned your sin if not dealt with can take you to hell.
 Take sin seriously, take radical action to cut it out of your life. stop sinning. ask God’s help because your sin has the power to take you to hell. Must come to Him for salvation, forgiveness and power over sin. 
 
 Mark 9:43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell , into the fire that shall never be quenched
 
 Mark 9:45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell , into the fire that shall never be quenched— 
 
 Mark 9:47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. 
It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire— 
 
 Matthew 5:21: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ v22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire (Gehenna).”
  
v28 “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than 
for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell(Gehenna). 
 
 Matthew 18:8,9: “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.”   
 
 There will be 2 resurrections and 2 judgements, one for the righteous (believers) and one for the unrighteous. Jesus said inJohn 5:28-29: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” 
 
 If we have received Christ then we already possess eternal life (John 6:47) and Heaven is our home when we die. The resurrection of the righteous (those who have been justified by faith) takes place at the Rapture and at the 2nd Coming of Christ. For believers there is no judgment for condemnation (Romans 8:1). However there will still be an exacting judgement of our works, and we will be rewarded accordingly, for the degree of eternal glory and authority that God gives us in the eternal state, will depend upon how faithful to the Lord we have been in this life. 
 
 The resurrection of the unrighteous will take place 1000 years later when they will be resurrected after the 1000 year reign of Christ: 
 
 Revelation 20:11-15: “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who 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 (spiritually) DEAD, small and great, standing(resurrected) before God and books (the record of their lives) were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life (God’s Family Album where He keeps the names of all His children). And the DEAD were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books... they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire.” 
 
As they rejected the Work of Christ for them, they have to be judged on the basis of their own works against the standard of God’s perfect law and they will all fail in this judgement and as a result they will all be thrown into the Lake of Fire.FINAL SENTENCING based on their works-rebellion. 

 
 After judgement the righteous will live eternally in a glorified body in heaven, and the wicked (God-rejecters) in the Lake of Fire.' Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.' How urgent it is that you trust in Christ as your Lord and Saviour!
 
Appeal: John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
(1) Flee to Christ-city of refuge
(2) Flee from sin-take u to hell
(3) Pray and seek the lost to pluck them from the fire 
 
 
GUILTY SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF AN ANGRY GOD.
 One of the most powerful sermons on hell ever delivered was preached by Jonathan Edwards on the afternoon of July 8, 1741, in Enfield, Connecticut. His text was Deuteronomy 32:35 :“their foot shall slide in due time.” Probably no other single sermon has had the effect of this one. It was interrupted by outcries from the congregation - men and women stood up and rolled on the floor, their cries often drowning out the voice of the preacher. Some are said to have laid hold on the pillars and braces of the church, apparently feeling that at that very moment their feet were sliding into hell. Through the night, Enfield was like a beleaguered city. In almost every house, men and women were heard crying out for God to save them. 
 
Some excerpts from this mighty message :God has laid Himself under no obligation, by any promise, to keep any natural man out of Hell one moment. God is under no manner of obligation to keep you a moment from eternal destruction. So it is that natural men are held in the hand of God over the pit of Hell. The devil is waiting for them; Hell is gaping for them; the flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay hold on them and swallow them up. This is the case of every one of you who are out of Christ. That world of misery, that Lake of burning brimstone is extended abroad under you. There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God. There is Hell’s wide gaping mouth open, and you have nothing between you and Hell but the air; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up. Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downward with great weight and pressure towards Hell. If God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf and your healthy constitution and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of Hell than a spider’s wed would have to stop a falling rock. 
 
“There are the black clouds of God’s wrath now hanging directly over your heads, full of the dreadful storm, and big with thunder; and were it not for the restraining hand of God it would immediately burst forth upon you. 
 
 The wrath of God is like great waters that are damned for the present. They increase more and more, and rise higher and higher, till an outlet is given. The longer the stream is stopped, the more rapid and mighty is its course, when once it is let loose. The waters are continually rising, and waxing more and more mighty; and there is nothing but the mere pleasure of God that holds the waters back, that are unwilling to be stopped, and press hard to go forward. If God should only withdraw His hand from the floodgate, it would immediately fly open, and the fiery floods of the fierceness and wrath of God would rush forth with omnipotent power. If your strength were 10,000 times greater of the stoutest, sturdiest devil in Hell, it would be nothing to withstand or endure it. 
 
The God that holds you over the pit of Hell , much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors your sin, and is dreadfully provoked. You have often offended Him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince, and yet it is nothing but His hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to Hell last night, that you were suffered to awake again in this world after you closed your eyes to sleep. There is no other reason to be given why you have not dropped into Hell since you arose in the morning, but that God’s hand has held you up. Yes, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into Hell. 
 
Consider the fearful danger you are in! It is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you as against many of the damned in Hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it and burn it asunder.”

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