Friday, May 6, 2011

FHCO: Your Future in Heaven (Part 5)

Future Hope Conference Online
Your Future in the:
Bible - Tribulation - Rapture - Millennial Kingdom - Heaven - Q&A


Nathan Jones
Nathan Jones
Evangelist & Web Minister
Lamb & Lion Ministries


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Timeline of the Unsaved

As good as the path that leads us to eternal life in Heaven, there is also the path that goes to Hell. I would be remiss if I didn't share what happens to those people who die without accepting Jesus as their Savior and who continue on that path to their judgment. What is going to happen to them? Remember John 3:36's warning, "God's wrath remains on him." Those people who continue to live on that straight road without accepting Jesus' rescue have a different destination from Heaven entirely. They are going to die in their rebellion, and they have no hope whatsoever. The following is what's going to happen to them after they die.

After an unsaved person dies, they go to a place called Hades. The Bible also calls it Sheol or Torments. You can read all about it in Luke 16. Hades is a holding place for the dead, a prison. It at one time had two compartments, a place called Paradise and a place called Torments. The Old Testament Saints used to go to the Paradise part as they couldn't go to Heaven yet because Jesus' blood hadn't yet been shed to cover their sins. By faith they were there as Hebrews explains, but Jesus' blood finally allowed their freedom and Paradise was taken up to Heaven with Jesus after His crucifixion. What we have in Hades now is just what is left — Torments — a place of torment.

At the end of Jesus' Millennial Kingdom, there will be the Great White Throne Judgment. That's a special name basically for the Resurrection of the Unjust. We can read about this final judgment in Revelation 20:11-13, "Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it and earth and sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead great and small standing before the throne and the books were opened. And another book was opened which is the book of life, the dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in them and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them and each person was judged according to what he had done."

Those from Hades are going to be judged just like the just were judged. They are going to be judged based on their works, but without the saving work of Jesus Christ — the only work that matters, they will be found wanting. God's the perfect litmus test, and so those no matter how good our works just cannot add up. Everyone who tells you that you have to work your way to Heaven is lying to you, because the Bible says otherwise. Jesus' work on the cross is the only work that matters, and our response in faith.

When they are all found guilty, their next and final destination is a place called Hell. Revelation 20:14-15 explains that awful sentence of condemnation, "Then death and Hades were thrown into the Lake of Fire." The Lake of Fire is called the Second Death. If anyone's name was not found written in the Books of Life, they will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.


Misconceptions About Hell

A lot of people have some really false ideas about what Hell is like. There are as many misconceptions about Hell as there is Heaven.

One misconception about Hell for instance is that Satan is down there stoking the fires, that he's already there waiting to punish and torment people with pitchforks. No, Satan doesn't rule Hell. There are no demons waiting to torment us in Hell.

Actually, believe or not, there is not a single person in Hell right now. Hell is the punishment created for Satan and his demons. Matthew 25:41 says Hell was created for them when they rebelled against God. When we rebelled in sin, that same punishment fell upon us. Hell was never meant for us, but when we sinned, we fell under the same judgment as Satan and his followers.


Hell Described

What is Hell actually like? We can read all about it in the Bible.

Is Hell a place where we party down? Is it a place where it is just a little too warm, but where we hang out with our old friends? No, Matthew 25:46 tells us it is a place of punishment for rebellion. Punishment is not good. Hell is not a good place.

Hell is where the wrath of God is finally fulfilled. In John 3:36, we read about the wrath of God. The wrath of God is whenever God judges the earth in its entirety. We saw it with the Flood. We will see it poured out at the Tribulation. God will judge all who have rejected Him at the Second Death. These are demonstrations of God's wrath.

Hell is called the Second Death in Revelation 21:8. It is also called Eternal Destruction in 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Look at the word "eternal." Eternal means just that —forever destroyed.

With Hell, there is just no escape. Luke 16 says there is no way out of it. It's not like there can be some fancy Star Trek episode escape where they hitch a few wires and the doors open and they always escape. No, it's not like that in Hell. There is absolutely no way to escape from Hell.

What is Hell physically like? Matthew 25:41 and Revelation 20:15 describe it as a Lake of Fire. Some people speculate that maybe it is located in the underworld of our planet, as we see lava flows from a volcano like a lake. I tend to think Hell is a star. If you ever get a good close picture of a star, you will see superheated energy plasma boiling and rolling like lakes. It could be in a star, but the Bible doesn't tell us. But, it is described as a place of flames. It's a place of burning.

With all that fire, one would think it would be a very bright place, but Matthew 8:12 tells us it is a place of utter darkness. There is no light. No one will get to see in Hell.

And, the stench of it! Luke 16 tells us that Hell stinks. It has a bad smell to it.

The people who are sentenced there will be conscious. They will not be knocked out. They won't be driven so mad that they won't think about the horrible reality crushing them. They will have to exist with a conscious existence as Deuteronomy 18:11 demonstrates, and what they are consciously aware of is that they chose to separate themselves from the Father, as Luke 16 relays. God says to us all with no exception, "I love you. Come to me." You can choose to respond to that, or you can reply with, "No, way!" Those who rejected God's love will spend eternity regretting that decision.

Being separated from God has other consequences, for God is life, and without Him the universe doesn't hold together. You may hear about physicists trying to find the God particle or the String Theory. Well, in part they are correct. The underlining force that holds everything together is God. Jesus says it is Him. He is the bread and the life. He's what holding us together.

Without God there is only loneliness and separation. There's just you being convicted by your memories filled with regret and despair.

Luke 16 says in Hell you thirst. In Hell there is nothing to quench one's awful, mind-burning thirst.

Another reason I believe Hell may be a star or some other place with plasma energy, is that Revelation 9:2 tells us that it's bottomless. There is no ground to put your feet on. It is a place of continual falling and falling and never landing.

Because of all the agony and destruction that you feel in Hell, it says in Matthew 8:12 that there is gnashing of teeth. There will be nothing from you but weeping and crying with no comfort and no water to supply your tears.

Hell is truly a place of torment, as Revelation 14 describes. It's an awful place of torment where you are alone with yourself forever. You wanted God to leave you along and so you didn't accept Jesus' salvation, and well, you got what you wanted.


Living With an Eternal Perspective

Our forever destination is why we need to think about something bigger than just our life here on earth. Where the road ends is why we need to have an eternal perspective, because our life on this earth is really very short, isn't it? It's just like a breath. And so, it makes sense that we need to look at the bigger picture in life. You need to know where you are going.

You can't just live for the now, because if you die this very minute without preparing for the next minute, then where will that get you? A good friend of mine from high school had this happen to him. While his mother was making him dinner she slipped on some water on the floor. While she was making something as innocent as dinner, she fell and banged her head against the cabinet. The fall snapped her neck and she died instantly. One minute she is making the meatballs, the next minute she is dead with her son standing over his dead mother. Life happens that way. We don't think it can happen to us, especially the younger we are. We think life doesn't end so suddenly, but it will. Death will catch up to us usually when we are unaware.

Death is inevitable, unless you are raptured, so live with an eternal perspective. If you live with an eternal perspective, then everything else in life will make sense. Life will have purpose.

What happens to you upon death is told to you in the Bible. It's all described in God's word, and it's not a hard concept. Don't listen to what the silly cartoons and the movies are telling you about Heaven and Hell. Read for yourself in the Bible what you final destiny will be.


Resources

If you want people to help make studying this topic easy for you to understand, I recommend Dr. David Reagan's book Eternity. Dr. Ron Rhodes's book The Wonder of Heaven is an excellent book which will give you many more details above and beyond what I can cover in my short time here. My kids and I have been going through Heaven for Kids by Randy Alcorn, which makes the knowledge about Heaven real easy for kids to understand. These resources are out there for you to feed you.


Your Eternal Decision

Now you know where your destiny lies. So, have you made the choice for Jesus? Have you asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins and be your Savior? Have you cried, "Rescue me please, I want to live with you forever."

An amazing, wonderful, awesome future lay ahead of us! So, what on earth are you doing that's just so important that you won't grab hold of that future? What sins are you committing that are so temporarily enjoyable that you wish to stay here, when you've got so much better ahead of you? Turn to Jesus right now and ask Him to forgive you of your sins and be your Savior.

Think of the future that you have. Don't write Hell off as not a real place. The God of the Universe who is outside of time and who knows what is beyond here has told us in the Bible exactly what our afterlife will be like. In the Bible we can know our future.

You have a decision to make today. Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior, or have you not? Will you be rescued from judgment and Hell, or will you be saved for Heaven by placing your trust in Jesus Christ? You need to make that decision before you die.


11 comments:

Child of God said...

Nathan,

This is what I believe, except for the star part, never thought of that.

Eternal separation from God who is love, what a nightmare that will be. What really saddens me is that there will be more people in hell than in heaven. Oh how this must break our Father's heart.

Blessings,
<><

DrNofog said...

Nathan said... "...Luke 16 tells us that in Hell you fall."

Nathan, I don't see anything in Luke or elsewhere that mentions "falling". Are you using some new, strange version??...
;)

Nathan Jones said...

It's that stargate I went through, DrNoFog, it got my references jumbled. :) Should be Rev. 9:2... IF the Bottomless Pit is also related to Hell or the Chasm in Hades. I'm not dogmatic about that point. Corrected in the text above. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

You are not saved this way: "Have you made the choice for Jesus? Have you asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins and be your Savior? Have you cried, "Jesus, forgive me of my sins and be my savior!"

One is saved by placing his "faith" in the gospel message and not by asking Jesus to forgive or asking him to be your savior.

One is saved by faith that Jesus died on the cross paying our sin debt in full and rose from the tomb for our justification. (1 Cor. 15:1-4; 1 Thes. 4:14; romans 4:25.

The Bible tells us 150 time salvation is received by believing or faith. 135 times believing and 35 times faith."O" times from asking Jesus to forgive us and asking him to be our savior.

Gwen KIircher said...

Nathan what are the scriptures which say Paradise was taken up into Heaven with Christ. I knew the unsaved go to Hades but did not know Paradise was no longer there. In that case were do the saved who died after Christ go till the rapture.

Angela said...

Nathan,

That was really good, except for the fact that you did not mention anything about "repentance" and "faith". Repentance is more than asking Jesus for forgiveness of sins.
You should also mention the ten comendments, because the Bible says that most people would proclaim their own goodness. God's law is like a miror, it is the only way someone would be convicted that he is a sinner, had broken God's holy law, and he is in need of his mercy. That will make them cry out to God, and will appreciate the cure(Jesus's sacrifice on the cross) for their disease(sin). Otherwise, the Bible says that:"the cross is foolishness for those who are perishing", in other words, the cross doesn't make sense if they think they are good enough to earn their way to heaven.

Linda4Jesus said...

To Nathan,

What is your opinion of people like Bill Weiss who say they have been to Hell and their description of the demons torturing them, lake of fire full of bodies, etc - if no one is there yet ?

Steve C. said...

The article is excellent except Nathan seems to disagree with Dr. Reagan who, in his book on Heaven and Hell, describes the punishment in Hell for the unbeliever as temporary. That is, the punishment will be commensurate with the person's sins and after that amount of punishment is endured, "soul death" will occur and that person will no longer exist. While non-existence is certainly eternal punishment (compared to the glory of an existence in Heaven), it does not seem to Dr. Reagan to be eternal conscious misery as Nathan describes. Do the two disagree on this point?

Dan R. said...

Some of you sound like straight-laced Baptists, nitpicking on Nathan!

I know, because I used to be one. I recognize that familiar "..it has to be those certain words ... the 'correct' formula ... or it's Wrong, it won't work!", constantly quibbling about how each person "leads", or "mis-leads" someone else to the Lord, or to a "false salvation"!!!

--As in here ... mis-leads, wrong "choice of words"!!

As a former RC back in the early 70s, I already knew and believed that Jesus is God, the 2nd Person of the Trinity.

What I did not know, until someone showed me the "Roman Road", was that we ARE allowed, even encouraged, to read and understand the Bible for ourselves, without you so-called 'Priests', and that His Word shows us *exactly* how to be saved AND KNOW IT!

Romans 10:9-10, 13.

9 That if you shall confess [agree] with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. [NOT maybe, might be.]

10 For with the heart man believes [Trusts] unto righteousness; and with the mouth [that] confession [that agreement] is made unto salvation.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. [NOT hope to be, eventually, but fully NOW AND for eternity!]

---

Well, that thoroughly, and *ABSOLUTELY* changed my 'concept' of how things were 'sposed to be!!!

Con't Part2

Dan R. said...

Part2:

Now it also seems the "straight-laced sector" of Baptists also have somewhat of a skewed concept of "repentance", in that it seems to be more of a consciousness of 'Oh! What a horrible sinner I am' and then making a very conscious 'effort' to not sin, - "...abstain from all appearance of evil",
and "...I don't drink, smoke, or chew, and I don't run with girls that do..." kinda stuff!!

Luke 23:42
"And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

Well, I can't see him "repenting" in 'clean living' in that short amount of time.

But what I do see is *True* 'metanoia'! A complete "change of mind", a complete "change of 'concept'" as to who Jesus really is!! ... AND ... the "trustworthiness" of His every single Holy Word!!!

THAT is what Jesus & His disciples were saying when they said: "Repent ['metanoia'], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand..."

"Turn around the direction of your thinking, change your total 'concept', for the kingdom of heaven is already here around you.


AND that "change of concept" still seems to be working for me...and even tho I am wont to resist it occasionally, over all these years, His 'security' works much better than mine!--
Eternally!!!

Want to take me up on any challenges on it???
;)

Richard said...

Luke 16
The Rich Man and Lazarus
19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”