From “How to become a Christian”: Chapter 6 – The bad news first – sin and its consequences.
1Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. 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. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.Revelation: 20: 11-15 (NIV)
That is a grim passage, but there are many others like it in the Bible where Jesus Himself speaks about the Lake of Fire and tells us what it will be. He warns us of it very clearly and directly, because it is a terrible place and He doesn’t want us to ignore or underestimate it.
Verses where Jesus Himself speaks about the judgment for non-Christians and the Lake of Fire:
Please read all the following verses carefully and remember that all of these were spoken by Jesus personally. I have included a lot of examples because many people have a mental blockage about this. They are unable or unwilling to see Jesus as a person who will judge or punish us, or send anybody to Hell or to the Lake of Fire. But He will do all these things, as these passages show:
4I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. 5But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!Luke 12:4-5 (NASB)
40As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.Matthew 13:40-43 (NIV)
49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.Matthew 13:49-50 (NIV)
31When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.Matthew 25:31-34 (NIV)
Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.Matthew 25:46 (NIV)
(NB The phrase ‘Son of Man’ in the above passages means Jesus Himself. It is one of His many titles)
Many people are surprised when they realise that Jesus Himself said all these things (and more). It doesn’t fit in with the public’s image of Jesus. Yet, He really did say these things. Perhaps you need to change your view of Jesus and who He really is, the future Judge of all mankind. We need to consider very seriously what to do about that.
Verses where the apostles Peter or Paul refer to the drastic nature of God’s judgment
If that series of verses spoken by Jesus Himself doesn’t convince you that judgment is coming, look at some more verses from the writings of Paul and Peter. These prove that they too preached about judgment and the Lake of Fire, and very clearly. These passages also show that what Jesus had said earlier was not just for the Jewish people or for the time of the Old Testament. In these passages which follow, Peter and Paul are speaking in the New Testament. They are speaking to us:
8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 (NIV)
4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; 5if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8(for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.2 Peter 2:4-9 (NIV)
By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.2 Peter 3:7 (NIV)
I have not included every reference to Hell and the Lake of Fire, as there are very many more. But I have included several, to show that Hell and the Lake of Fire are consistent and major themes. Moreover, they show that the references to the Lake of Fire are mainly in the New Testament, rather than the Old Testament. I have lost count of how many people have misguidedly said to me comments like: “The God of the Old Testament was all about judgment, but Jesus and the New Testament are all about God’s love.”
In fact, God is exactly the same in the Old and New Testaments. He does not change at all. We must therefore abandon any idea that judgment, Hell and the Lake of Fire no longer apply.