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The Destiny of the Wicked

What Does the Bible Teach about Hell?

Many faiths believe in some form of afterlife where the saints are given a wonderful reward and the wicked are given some form of punishment. But for Christians the issue is "what does the Bible say?" This page will summarize the Bible statements on the subject of hell, or as John calls it - the lake of fire.

The Bible tells us that, "the wages of sin is death" in Romans 6:23. In Revelation 20:4-5 we are told that the second death takes place after the millennium. John calls it the "Lake of Fire" in Rev 20:10, 14, 15. And in Rev 14:9-11 we are told that the wicked suffer and are "tormented with fire and brimstone" in the presence of the Lamb and of His Holy Angels.

In Ezek 18:4 we find that the "the soul that sins it shall die". But in Ezek 18:21-35 we are told the righteous do not die - only the wicked die. It is clear then from the chapter that this death in Ezek 18:4 is the second death of Rev 20:14-15. For as Paul notes in the case of the first death - "death passed upon all men" Rom 5:12 since the time of Adam.

Is Hell Real?

In 2Pet 3:10-13 we are told that the earth and all its works will be burned up and a new heaven and new earth will take its place just as John states in Rev 21:1-2. Peter informs us in 2Pet 3:407 that this will be just as real as was the flood of Genesis 7.

Christ states in Matt 24:37-39 that the surprise ending of this world will find mankind just as unaware as was the case in Genesis 6 and 7.

In Rev 14:9-11 the real torment of the wicked takes place in the real presence of the Lamb and of His holy Angels. And in Rev 14:1-5 we are told that the saints are with the Lamb wherever He goes (in the case of the 144,000).

The saints are real, the Lamb of God is Jesus Christ and He is real, so also are the angels, so also are the wicked real. And so also is the fire and brimstone real as mentioned in Rev 14 and Rev 20.

Conclusion: Hell is what John calls the real "lake of fire" in Revelation 20 and it takes place upon this real earth after the real 1000 years of Rev 20 are completed.

What is the Purpose of Hell?

Matt 10:28 states that Christ is able to "destroy both body and soul in hell". And the word for hell in that case means "fiery hell" - it is what John calls the "lake of fire". This is where the wicked are not only tormented in the presence of Christ and the Angels as we see in Rev 14:9-11 but in that fire they are eventually "devoured" Rev 20:9 after some time of torment.

Jude 7 states that Sodom and Gomorrah were given as examples of undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. And in 2Pet 2:6 we are informed that in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah the fire of God "reduced them to ashes". Sin and sinners are consumed from off the face of the earth.

This is no unending torment with the Lamb of God and the holy Angels stuck at the brink of hell for all eternity. Rather "the wages of sin is death" Rom 6:23 and the lake of fire ultimately reduces the wicked to ashes just as was done in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah.

In Luke 12:45-53 Christ says that each wicked person is punished according to their deeds and how much they knew about God and His will for them. Those who knew little are tormented less and will be consumed more quickly - reduced to ashes. Those who knew more will incur "a stricter judgment" and as Luke reports "will receive many lashes" (torment). This same teaching about full payment being made on that ultimate day of judgment is repeated by Christ in Matt 18:26-35. The "torment" described in Rev 14:10-11 is the form that the suffering described in Luke 12 and Matt 18 will take place in the lake of fire and brimstone according to the book of Revelation.

This then is the "debt that is owed" as a result of sin. The second death differs from the first death in that it includes the suffering of Matt 18 and Luke 12 measured out according to their deeds - prior the moment of death where "both body and soul" are fully and finally destroyed Matt 10:28. Each sinner pays for his own sin-debt in the lake of fire. This is what is called the second death in the book of Revelation chapter 20 at the end of the 1000 years. (The thousand years of Rev 20 is commonly called "the millennium").

In Colossians 2:13-14 we find that our "certificate of debt" (NASB) was nailed to the cross. Christ paid our sin-debt - the wages of sin for each one of us. As John says in 1John 2:2 Jesus Christ is the "atoning sacrifice for our sins and not for our sins only but for the sins of the whole world". (NIV). For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosever believes on Him might not perish but have everlasting life. This is the blessing each of us may have through the Gospel if we accept it.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

In Luke 15 Christ begins a string of parables that concludes in Luke 16 with the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. In that parable we find prayers to the dead and Abraham being in sovereign control over all the dead saints and also appealed to as if he is in control of who may be raised from the dead and who may not. Because there is no appeal to God in that parable and because of a number of other inconsistencies with real life as described in the Bible, scholars such as R.C Sproul and many others have concluded that this parable is not a real life event.

As in the case with all parables - the important detail is the conclusion that is drawn from it. In the case of Luke 16 Christ says that the point of the parable is "if they do not listen to Moses they will not listen though one rises from the dead."


1. Rom. 6:23
2. Ezek. 18:4
3. Jude 7
4. 2Pet 3:10-13
5. Matt. 10:28
6. Rev. 20:7-10
7. Rev. 20:11-15
8. Rev. 14:9-11
9. Rev. 14:17-20
10. Matt. 25:31-46
11. Luke 12:45-53
12. Ezek 18:20-27
13. Matt 18: 21-35
See Also

See Also

The Punishment of the Wicked


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