Life After Death

Chapter 10: The Final Destiny of the Wicked (Part 1)

We are generally so caught up with the challenges and experiences of this life that we hardly spend a thought for the after-life. Yet one of the main things that mark a believer in God (Theist) v an agnostic or atheist, is that we believe in life after death. 
 Believing that after death is annihilation v eternity will make all the difference in how you live now. Believers live life and make their decisions in the light of eternity, knowing that all men will one day give an account to God and be punished or rewarded. They know that everything that they do will affect their eternal future. They live on the basis that this life is just the preparartion for the real thing-eternity - which means they can sacrifice things in this life if necessary (even their life) for they have eternity ahead. Everything in their life has an ultimate purpose in God. Unbelievers live as if this life was it and so ultimately everything is futile, vanity, so you might as well live selfishly as u like-for there are no consequences.
 The Bible says that such a person is a fool, for God has put eternity and the knowledge of Himself in man’s heart. At death we are all going on an amazing journey, but those who make no preparations for it will almost certainly end up at the wrong destination.
 God wants us to be ready for this journey and does not want us to perish, so He has given us His Word, which contains much revelation about the after-life, which we are giving in this Series. It is good for us to meditate on these things. It will give us wisdom in how we think and decide and give value to things in this life.The Bible gives us much information about the future.  There are 3 phases of our existance: 1. This Present Life ending at physical death and separation. 

2. Intermediate State ending with physical resurrection and final judgement (sentencing). 

3. The Eternal State. 
 We have seen that God divides all mankind into two groups: 
the righteous and wicked who have completely opposite destinies which are determined at death. At death the real ‘us’, the spirit-soul leaves the body and faces an immediate judgement before/by God, when God will send Him either down to a place of punishment (Hades) if he died in his sins (guilty) or up to Heaven, if he died in the Lord. 
 So upon death, the righteous go up to be with their Lord in Heaven. But the wicked go down to Hades, under the earth, a place of punishment and torment, sometimes also called Hell. 
 Many scriptures talk about God sending the wicked down to Hell at death. The word for hell here is translated from ‘Sheol’ the place of departed spirits under the earth:
 Deuteronomy 32:22,23: For a fire is kindled in My anger, 
and shall burn to the lowest Hell....I will heap disasters on them; I will spend My arrows on them.” 
 Psalm 9:17: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” 
 Psalm 55:15: “Let death seize them; let them go down alive into Hell, for wickedness is in their dwellings and among them.” 
 However this disembodied state is only temporary waiting for the time of resurrection and judgement when we enter the eternal state, either of eternal glory in heaven or eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire. So the righteous have a positive expectation of life after death-heaven as spirit and then even better in a glorified body.

But the wicked can only have a fearful expection of punishment in Hell - This powerful english word has 2 meanings (used for 2 places): (1) upon death in Hades, torments as a spirit (temporal) and the (2) upon resurrection in the Lake of Fire (eternal). 

 The Judgement of the Sheep and Goats (believers and unbelievers) in Matthew 25 shows that all mankind is divided into 2 groups at death, and it gives the words He says to each group: 
 EITHER: Matthew 25:34: Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” They will go immediately to heaven upon death. 
 OR: v41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 
‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the EVERLASTING FIRE 
prepared for the devil and his angels.” 
 At this point of death they immediately go to a place of fiery punishment for the soul under the earth (Hades) awaiting the resurrection of their body, when they will go body and soul onto the Lake of Fire after the 1000 year reign of Christ is over. Although this place of punishment was made for satan, men who follow satan in his rebellion must also share his punishment.
 v46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal (everlasting) life.”
 *Notice the punishment of unbelievers is everlasting and it starts immediately at death when their souls go down to hades. It will  later be intensified when they are resurrected and thrown body and soul into the Lake of Fire at the Great White Throne Judgement. 
 *In v46 the same word ‘everlasting’ is used for life and death. It denotes endless duration for the age in question (in this case eternity). If believers have an everlasting conscious life that will never end, it follows that the wicked have an everlasting conscious punishment that will also be endless. The end-result of rebellion against God and rejection of His infinite grace and mercy in Christ is endless punishment, for ever and ever. 
 In the next few programmes in this Series we are going to see what Christ has saved us from with His Blood which will cause us to give thanks, that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (written in His Blood), and motivate us to persuade the lost to put their trust in Christ. 
 The Bible is clear: Without Christ we all stand as guilty sinners under the wrath of God, destined for the Lake of Fire. Thank God He died for our sins and provided a way out for us, so that we could have everlasting life instead of everlasting destruction! 
 At the end of the Bible we see what will ultimately happen to all man-kind. In Revelation 21,22 we see the Redeemed in Heaven and in Revelation 20, we see that the end of those who reject Christ and His Salvation is the Lake of Fire: 
 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 dead (all unbelievers), small and great, standing before God, and books were opened (of their lives). And another book was opened, which is the (Lamb’s)Book of Life (which has the names of all those who have been saved by the Blood of the Lamb). 

And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the 2nd death. Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire.”

 *Propitiation - The Heart of the Gospel. 
If anyone goes to Hell it is not because God wants it. He does not want anyone to perish, but rather that they come to repentance of their rebellion and rejection of God (2Peter 3:9), for God wants all men to be saved (1Timothy 2:4). It is only with great sadness that He has to send them to the Lake of Fire, because in His love for them He did everything He could to provide salvation for them, even in sending His own Son to die for them. The heart of the Gospel is that although man is a sinner under the wrath and judgement of God, God Himself (not man) has provided His Son to be a propitiationfor our sins (Jesus) through His sacrificial death. 
 1John 2:2: “And He Himself is the PROPITIATION for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
 1John 4:8-10: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the PROPITIATION for our sins.” 
 What does PROPITIATION mean? God in His Justice must punish our sin. But God’s righteous anger and judgement against our sin has been averted from us by Christ’s offering on our behalf. He died in our place as our substitute and took the full punishment that our sins deserved, satisfying the justice of God, so that God is now free to be merciful to us and pour out all His blessings of grace upon us. He took the anger of of God upon Himself (which is why He cried: “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?”).
 John says this is the ultimate revelation of God’s love for us, that He would send His Son to take the punishment for our sins in his place. God offered Himself to bear the penalty for our sins, not because He had to but as a free act of love. This was not God unjustly punishing His Son (child abuse) for Christ, out of His love for us, voluntarily gave up His life for us and bore our sins.
 This was the main reason the eternal Christ had to become a man.
Hebrews 2:17: “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make PROPITIATION for the sins of the people.”
 *Some reject this teaching, but they rejecting the heart of the Gospel. It is the supreme revelation of the LOVE and JUSTICE of God. At the Cross the two meet. Seeing God punish our sins upon Christ reveals His both His justice (that He must punish sin) and His amazing love (that He is willing to save us by taking the punishment upon Himself). 
 Propitiation manifests God’s Righteousness. When we sin, but God delays His judgement makes God appear unrighteous,because righeousness and Justice demand sin must be punished. But when God punished all our sin on Christ, He not only provided forgiveness for us but demonstrated His unyielding righteousness.
v21,22 “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 

22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 
 Romans 3:23-26: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a PROPITIATION by His blood (Propitiation was made through the blood of Christ), through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just (righteous) and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
 *Pictures of propitiation
*1. Animal sacrifices were given by God to teach mankind that we can only be forgiven through the shedding of Blood of a substitute. The sin was transferred to the innocent animal who died in the place of the sinner. With justice satisfied the sinner could be forgiven. Likewise Jesus died as the Lamb of God and His shed blood provided a propitiation for us so that with God’s justice satisfied we could be forgiven and have eternal life. 
 On the Day of Atonement the High-priest entered into the Holy of holies and put the sacrificial blood on the golden Mercy-Seat (the earthly Throne of God where He was present in His Glory). Within the Ark under the Seat was the 10 Commandments representing the Law of God, broken by man. God looks down from His Throne and sees man’s sin. His holiness means He is angry with that sin, and His justice requires it must be judged and punished, resulting in destruction for the people. This would make it a throne of judgement. But God made provision for it to be transformed into a Throne of Grace. 
 On the Day of Atonement the High-Priest sacrificed a male, innocent, perfect (unblemished) animal and brought the blood into the Holy-of-Holies and sprinkled it on the Seat. The blood represents the perfect blood of Christ, who died in our place, taking God’s judgement upon our sin that we deserved. When it was sprinkled on the Seat, God now looked down and saw the Blood that declared: ‘the price is paid.’ Justice was satisfied and God was Propitiated - that is: His righteous anger is now turned away from us because it was fully poured out upon the substitutionary sacrifice (Christ). So now, He is free to (justly) pour out His mercy and grace (every blessing) upon us. Hence the Seat can now be called the Mercy Seat(literally: ‘the place of Propitiation’), because when the blood was presented to God, His Justice was satisfied (the sin had been punished), so He was propitiated and so was free to show His mercy and forgive them and bless them. 
 It now becomes a Throne of Grace which we can approach boldly in Jesus Christ (with no fear of condemnation) to receive mercy. Grace now radiates from the throne by the Holy-Spirit. Once a year the High-Priest made this atonement for the sins of Israel (it was only effective for a year, for mere animal blood could not atone, it was only a picture), but now Jesus, our High-Priest has made atonement once and for all with His own Blood (which is effective for us for time).
 Picture 2. Noah’s Ark is another picture of propitiation. 
The Flood was God’s Judgement on man’s sin, but in His judgement He also provided a way of salvation/escape (the Ark).God was angry at the evil filling the earth and decided to judge it by a Flood of water from above. But in His mercy He first provided a way of salvation: the Ark- a picture of Christ. 
 It took time for Noah (a type of believers) to build the Ark. Likewise it took God 4000 years to prepare the way for God’s Ark (Christ) to be manifested.
 Noah preached the Gospel to all, the same message we preach: 
(1) God’s Judgement on sin was coming down, but 
(2) God has provided salvation in the Ark (Jesus Christ).
 All who believed went into the Ark and were saved from judgment. The waters of judgement fell upon all, but those in the Ark went into a new life, for it provided safety from God’s wrath. It provided Atonement (Covering) for them. The Ark was water-proofed and covered with pitch (a red-resin). God told Noah: “Cover or pitch it with pitch” (Genesis 6:14). The word ‘Pitch’ means ‘Covering’ or ‘Atonement’ It is the first time the word ‘Atonement’ is used in the Bible and it is a picture of Christ and His Atonement. 
 The wooden Ark with its covering of pitch speaks of His humanity covered in Blood. God’s wrath is upon the whole sinful human race, but He has provided a ‘judgement-proof’ place of safety, sealed by Blood. Those who believe the Gospel are put into Christ, and are covered by His Blood; they come under His Atonement. 

Salvation from judgement is through believing the Gospel and trusting in God’s Ark (Christ). In Christ we are protected from all judgement, for we are covered by His blood, and the judgement falls on Him instead of on us. We are safe in Him.

The Ark (covered by pitch) took the full force of the judgement instead of those within. Likewise Christ, covered by Blood, bore the full force of God’s wrath on our sin. In Christ, we are covered by the Blood, and so are saved from God’s judgement.

When the Ark rested on the land they walked into a new earth and a new life (picture of resurrection). God’s wrath was satisfied, so that now He was free to be abundantly merciful and gracious to man. He enacted this by entering into a NEW EVERLASTING COVENANT of Grace with Noah, where He promised to never destroy the world by a Flood again.

 The sign of this New Covenant and new relationship of God with man (based on the Propitiation accomplished by the Ark through the Flood was the RAINBOW: “God said: "This is the SIGN of the (everlasting) COVENANT which I make between Me and you...for perpetual generations: I set MY RAINBOW in the cloud and it shall be for the SIGN of the COVENANT between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the RAINBOW shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My COVENANT (of mercy) between Me and you...the waters (of judgement) shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The RAINBOW shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the EVERLASTING COVENANT between God and every living creature...on the earth." And God said to Noah, "This is the SIGN of the COVENANT which I have established between Me and all flesh on the earth" (Genesis 9:12-17).
 Likewise, when Jesus rose from the dead having accomplished propitiation for our sins, He mediated a New Covenant of grace, mercy and forgiveness with believers through (based upon) His Blood, and the sign before God is again a rainbow as we shall see. 
In Isaiah 53 and 54 we see this was prophesied:

(1) Propitiation: “Surely He (the Messiah, Jesus) has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6).
 (2) The resulting everlasting New-Covenant: "For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you," says the LORD, your Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:7,8).
 God’s wrath has been permanently turned away from us because of the atoning work of the Redeemer (the Lord Himself!) described in chapter 53. Now we are in the eternal life and grace of God.
 “For this is like the waters of Noah to Me (this shows that the events of Noah’s Flood form a Picture of Christ’s Propitiation). For as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed" says the LORD, who has mercy on you” (Isaiah 54:9-10). This is a prophecy of the everlasting New-Covenant of mercy, grace and forgiveness based on the sacrifice of Christ for us (bearing our sin and judgement, so that his anger is forever turned away from us).
 This is why God’s Throne is now a Throne of Grace not Judgement for us so that we can come boldly to it to receive mercy, grace and help at any time (Hebrews 4:12). 
 Let’s now look at the Throne in Heaven for wonderful confirmation that propitiation has been made through Christ:
 Revelation 4:1-3: “I (the apostle John) looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here, 
and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a Throne set in heaven, and One sat on the Throne. 
 And He who sat there was like: 
(1) a JASPER (transparent DIAMOND) and
(2) a SARDIUS stone (RED) in appearance and
(3) there was a RAINBOW around the Throne,
in appearance like an EMERALD (GREEN).” 
 With all the glory, energy and light shining around the Throne he found it hard to describe. The best way he could describe God was as precious sparkling stones, shining with God’s glory. Two were on the Throne (‘the Throne of God and the Lamb’ - Rev 22:1), and the third surrounded the Throne as an emerald Rainbow. 

This is a wonderful representation of the Trinity:

 1. The pure white (holy) DIAMOND shining with the glory of God represents GOD, the FATHER.
 2. The blood red sparkling SARDIUS stone represents GOD, the SON, the sacrificial Lamb slain.
 3. The green EMERALD RAINBOW, is GOD, the HOLY-SPIRIT Who is not on the Throne but is centred on it and radiates out from it. This Rainbow forms a complete circle signifying God’s eternal covenant of love and grace towards man, based on the propitiation of Christ (natural rainbows are also full circles when seen from high up- from God’s viewpoint). Green is the colour of grace and life. The many colours show the multi-faceted grace of Christ (healing, victory, joy, love, wisdom, peace..) given to us in the Holy-Spirit flowing from the throne based on the Propitiation. Thus the Spirit radiates out from the Father and Son as the Spirit of Grace. So we see the Throne in Heaven is a Throne of Grace. 
 *As Noah’s rainbow was the sign of God’s grace and mercy to man as a result of propitiation having been accomplished (judgement poured out and justice satisfied at the Flood), so the rainbow round the throne signifies Christ has made propitiation for man’s sins and now God is free to forgive and bless mankind. The Rainbow’s 7 primary colours are the perfection of holiness (God’s character) given to us in the Covenant, as revealed in the 7 Covenant (‘I Am’) Names of the Lord.
 God’s glory originates in the pure white love and holiness of the Father (the Diamond), but if it came to us direct, it would destroy us. So, it comes through the Son, filtered through the red blood of the Lamb (propitiation), radiating out to us from the Throne in the Holy-Spirit in the many different colours of grace. This is the true Rainbow of which Noah’s was just a shadow. 
Now God’s Water (Rain) from Heaven does not represent judgement, but His life-giving Word (Is 55). A Rainbow (the Spirit of Grace) is brought forth from the white light of the Sun (the Father) shining through Rain (the Word/Son). Luke 18:9-14“Be merciful (propitiated) to me, a sinner.” (v13,14). 9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 If we can see this we can join in with those who are singing before the Throne, who realise that the reason they are under grace rather than judgement is the Blood of the Lamb who made propitiation:
 Revelation 5:9-12: They sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was 10,000 times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing! 
 *Appeal: Somebody has to pay the price for your sins. You can either pay it it yourself, or let someone else. Jesus has done it, He has made a propitiation for you, so that God can freely forgive you. You just have to trust in Christ and His blood, and come to God, asking His forgiveness and receive His salvation. But if you refuse His offer to take the penalty for your sins, you will have to pay it yourself, and you will be eternally paying it in the Lake of Fire!
Why refuse such a wonderful offer! 




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