After the 1,000 years following the second coming of Jesus, hell will exist on this earth. Many believe hell is a place where the wicked burn in eternal torment forever and ever but the Bible tells us that this is not so. The wicked will burn to ashes (total destruction) and cease to exist forever, and then hell (the fires that destroy the wicked) itself will cease.
01. What will be the fate of those who reject God?
But rebels and sinners will be completely destroyed, and those who desert the LORD will be consumed.
Notice the language "completely destroyed" and "consumed". Right from the beginning the Bible highlights that Hell in no way burns for eternity, but rather burns only until it's task is completed.
02. (Part 1) What will be the ultimate fate of the wicked?
Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone.
03. (Part 2) What will be the ultimate fate of the wicked?
But the wicked will die. The LORD’s enemies are like flowers in a field; they will disappear like smoke.
04. Will there be any escape from this destruction?
But they are like straw burning in a fire; they cannot save themselves from the flame. You will get no help from them at all; their hearth is no place to sit for warmth.
Why are you scheming against the LORD? He will destroy you with one blow; he won’t need to strike twice!
05. How complete will this destruction by fire be?
The LORD of Heaven’s Armies says, “The day of judgement is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all.
06. Will this fire that destroy the wicked burn for eternity?
Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.
07. Who will be the ones that will suffer this eternal destruction?
The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behaviour, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness.
08. How does God feel about the everlasting destruction of the wicked?
As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?
09. Should we be concerned about these events?
Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell [greek:ghenna].
Ghenna references a place called the Valley of Hinnom which was found just outside Jerusalem. In Jesus day the Valley of Hinnom acquired a bad reputation because it was the place where pagan (i.e. human) sacrifices were traditionally offered. For the Jews, to go to ghenna was another way of saying "to go and meet God's final judgement".
10. When will the separation of the righteous and the wicked occur?
40 Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world.
41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.
42 And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The context of these verses in the Bible suggest these events will occur at the second coming of Jesus (Matthew 13:36-43).
11. Who is going to be performing the judgement of the righteous and the wicked?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.
12. What can we do today to avoid this eternal destruction in the lake of fire?
But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgement by the truth I have spoken.
13. What did it cost God to provide for us a way of escape from this eternal destruction?
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
14. On the weight of what evidence will the judgement be carried out?
John 5:28, 29
28 Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son,
29 and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgement.
15. I'm a bit confused. Can this be explained more simply?
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Note in this verse the words that are used. Wages are earned and therefore deserved. But a Gift is given freely - neither earned nor deserved.
16. Are there any examples in the Bible of a judgement and destruction by fire?
as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (NKJV)
Even though Sodom and Gomorrah suffered the vengeance of "eternal fire" we know for certainty they do not continue to burn today!
The task of the eternal fire was therefore to destroy these cities and their sinfulness for all eternity.
17. What was the result of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah?
2 Peter 2:6
Later, God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people.
18. When will the last day judgement and the eternal destruction by fire happen?
And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city. But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them.
19. What characterises the people who will suffer eternal destruction by fire?
“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshippers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death.”
20. What will happen after the fires of eternal destruction have completed their work?
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone.
God in His mercy has seen fit to inform us of what is going to happen in the future to those who insist on rejecting His longsuffering offer of mercy. This information also happens to be a dire warning. Friend, wont you today reconsider your relationship with Jesus and confirm your commitment to Him so you too can look forward to an eternity in the new heaven and the new earth with Him?