Category Archives: Eschatology

San Francisco False Prophecies Oct 3rd

False Prophecies Oct 3rd San Francisco

My friends, nearly every day I hear of some prophecy of some sort…maybe because I am interested in matching every day events with the prophecies of Scripture…and whilst this seems to be quite exciting it is a hobby that has very little value!  Some people, however, seem to make prophecy their life’s work and that, my friends, if you are a Christian, is a waste of the resources God has given to bring Good News to our generation.  ALL Scripture is given, not just the roughly 25% given to prophecies.  So, a ¼ of our time should be spent in our studies within this subject and ¾ to the rest.  Do not ignore (biblical) prophecies for fulfilled prophecy proves that the unfulfilled will happen and that God keeps His Word.

There has been a spate of prophecies of late concerning San Francisco especially of a catastrophic earthquake (of about 9.7 on the Richter scale) that was meant to happen on the 3rd of October.  Today is the 4th.  And many ‘big names’ were in on it though some may not have been so bold as to name the day.  But, friends, even if it HAD happened yesterday the seismologists have been telling us this for a very long time that the BIG one is due.  Now, it would have been different if, say the prophecy had been about New York…but San Francisco is an easy target!

Scripture has a lot to say about prophets and their prophecies…especially ones that do not come to pass…for it is evident that God did not tell them and therefore they (the Prophets) should not be feared.

There was a doom and gloom prophet whose prophecies did not come to pass.  His name was Jonah. But God ALWAYS relents when people repent.  Nineveh, though, was overthrown some years later when they obviously returned to their old ways.

Now I am hearing this used as an excuse for the prophecies not coming to pass.  Oh come on!  If there is mass repentance in San Francisco then Praise God!  But, I can guarantee you there is not.

What, for me, is sadder is that so many Christians have been duped by all this going on being deceived and deceiving.  But what is sadder still is that they relish the thought of hundreds, thousands, millions dying without Christ just so Christians could go ‘aha!’  Shouldn’t our hearts yearn for the lost?  God’s does.  God has NO pleasure in the death of the wicked – and so should we?  Is it not enough that they will stand before God one day to give an account?  Should we not pity them, should we not preach to them the Good News?  Yes, perhaps they will reject the message, perhaps they will reject you…is this not the lot of the Christian?  If they hated Jesus will they not also hate you?  However, we are NOT called to hate in return.

God does warn people and sometimes about earthly disasters.  This is mercy BEFORE judgment. And so we also should be merciful as God is to us every day.

I have read about those who claim they ‘got it right’ with the Boston Marathon or the Japanese earthquake in 2011.  So what?  What good did it do?  What was it that they did that helped them?  There are many people in the world who are not Christians who claim these things too but again it made no difference except to boost them in the eyes of others…so there you have it…false prophets are all about self-glorification and ego even when done in the name of Jesus.  The true prophets are there on the ground making a difference in the lives of those they meet by talking about and being like Jesus.

Let us return to Scripture and learn to test prophecies.  Let us turn to Scripture to see what IT has to say about the future.  Let us remind ourselves of those amazing prophecies that have come to pass word-for-word.  Let us test people according to the Words of Scripture for this is what we are called to do.  Let us not get caught up in a plethora of prophecies that appear to be saying the same thing and reckon it must be God…a confirmed prophecy is only in its fulfilment.  And friends, the San Francisco one was a false prophecy.

Eschatology ES01 An Introduction

Eschatology: ES01 An Introduction

Eschatology (Greek: G2274 ἔσχατος eschatos = last – The word appears about 50 times in the New Testament) is the study of the last times.  Whilst most studies look at last times only, our studies will include all prophecy that has been fulfilled and all prophecy that has yet to be fulfilled.  All fulfilled prophecies were future when they were written in Scripture and became history!  And as such unfulfilled prophecy shall also become history.  God has acted in history and will also, in history, fulfil it.  Eschatology has been described as the: “systematic study of eventualities.”1

It is a fact that we are all curious about our own destiny and the destiny of others.  There is not a tribe or nation or tongue that does not have an idea about things beyond death.  However it is in Christianity that we find the answers to our questions and so find that as there is a beginning there will also be an end, a consummation.  The greatest event we are waiting for is the 2nd Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  With this will come the Judgment and the final destiny of individuals and the human race.  It will be the end of what we know as time and eternity will be instead which is timeless.

Now I know that many fanatics are also interested in prophecy trying their very hardest with many theories to predict how certain things shall come to pass.  There are others who also, with healthy scepticism, read the signs of the times.  How do we tell the difference between those who are mad and those who are sane?  It is by their level of biblical literacy.

So, in our studies on Eschatology that are going to be comprehensive (for that is what is meant by ‘Systematic’).  We are going to take in the whole field from the first syllable to the last in Scripture to get a balanced view.

I do not promise, however, to be systematic in the order that I present the subject!  I think that some events may overtake us such as those things that are happening in the Middle East even as I write.  Such questions inevitably arise such as: Will Isaiah 17.1 be fulfilled right now where Damascus ceases to be a City and remain uninhabited?  Such dramatic times we live in!  It is ‘watch this space’ time! But we have to exercise caution for it may not be now…but it will be one day!  God has not revealed the timetable for such events; only it is one that is yet to be fulfilled.  And we have the guarantee that it will be fulfilled because we know about all the other fulfilled prophecies.  It is proof that God keeps His Word.

We have to take this subject seriously taking to heart what is said in:

2 Timothy 2:15 — 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Don’t put your reputation on the line by saying with certitude that something is going to happen at this time or on such and such a date.  But put your reputation on the line by saying that what God says will happen will definitely happen for He is never wrong and never lies.

There are some who think that we should not bother with the subject of prophecy because they have no bearing upon our lives, which, by the way, is a fallacy.  However since prophecies take up 20% of our Bibles and 25% of the books of the Bible are expressly prophetic in nature we are doing a great disservice to God’s Word.  And what becomes of such verses as:

2 Timothy 3:16–17 — 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

All Scripture…even those relating to end times are profitable.

It is also evident that Old Testament Prophets thought prophecy to be so important:

1 Peter 1:10–11 — 10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.

This searching is of the sort that indicates that they barely rested from this task, so vital and central did they think it was.

On top of this is the fact that Jesus and the Apostle Paul taught prophecy as something very important:

John 16:13 — 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

Jesus indicating here that one of the main roles of the Holy Spirit is to reveal things that are to come.

The Apostle John declared that Jesus Himself did the same:

Revelation 1:1 — 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place.

2 Thessalonians 2:1–5 — 1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?

How long was Paul with them to teach them so many things about the future and put such an emphasis upon these things as well as teaching other essentials?  It was for a very short time indeed; probably less than a month.  He urges them to remember what was taught.

There are many out there who are making their presence known in Academia, on YouTube, Websites and in Pulpits who should be ashamed.  I mentioned Academia and Pulpits on purpose for either they neglect prophecy altogether or they come up with radical alternative understandings ranging from the liberal to the deranged.  Let us make sure we do not become as one of those by getting a proper grasp of Scripture neither ignoring nor being consumed by prophecies.  The latter is incredibly easy to do and many Christians have got derailed along the way for it is an exciting subject but we ought to be more excited by our Lord Jesus Christ and all that He has done and all that He will do.  All is grace and mercy.

Prophecy is in Scripture to reveal our God who both knows and understands history and the future and is in control of it and who is faithful in bringing to pass all that He says.  Prophecy is the answer to the liberals who reject God’s Word.  Fulfilled prophecies are verifiable and is the reason why these Scriptures are attacked so vehemently as ‘written after the fact’.  But it is impossible to overcome some of these prophecies as they have been fulfilled since the canon was put together!

Elsewhere we have looked at hermeneutics (interpretation).  However we make clear that prophecies in their plain language are how they are to be read and understood.  Where symbols are used these are also plain and indicated and either interpreted within the passage or elsewhere in the pages of Scripture; such is the unity of Scripture.  There are few exceptions to this.  That is not to say that there are not complications but these often become clearer just before or just after a prophecy has been fulfilled; the complications then are understood in ways we often could not have expected.  The proof of this is in the plain statements to His disciples when Jesus was explaining what was going to happen to Him in His death and resurrection.  Though it was very clear from our perspective it was only afterwards the disiples understood.  If, as many are inclined to do, they try to put other interpretations to Scripture then what it leads to is confusion for who is to say whose interpretation is right?!

On top of this there are other rules of interpretation such as what is called the ‘Law of Double Reference’.  There are many times throughout the Old Testament, for instance, where Jesus’ coming is predicted but the verses are speaking about His 1st and 2nd Advent.  For example in:

Zechariah 9:9–10 — 9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; The battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.’

Verse 9 relates only to His first coming; verse 10 only to His second.  But it is not obvious that there is a time gap between verse 9 and 10 but history shows that there is.

And as well as other rules of interpretation that follow on from the first is the law of context.  It is too easy to take verses out of context and give them a meaning that would not be possible otherwise.  The Bible can mean whatever you want it to mean but only if you disobey the above rules.

There are some who think that these rules are a new thing somehow carved out by fundamentalists in our present day but even Irenaeus says: These things are such as fall [plainly] under our observation, and are clearly and unambiguously in express terms set forth in the Sacred Scriptures…But to apply expressions which are not clear or evident to interpretations…such as everyone discovers for himself as inclination leads him, is absurd. For in this way no one will possess the rule of truth; but in accordance with the number of persons who explain…will be found the various systems of truth, in mutual opposition to each other, and setting forth antagonistic doctrines,[1]

Whilst he is speaking of parables it is obvious that he would have included prophecy too.

And this is very clearly the case in Academia and in Churches today with their innumerable interpretations.  No one seems to have the truth leading to the ridiculous saying today that; ‘You have my truth. Fine and good!  I have mine!’

God has purposely revealed to us the future and because He has decided to do that we should make sure we are aware of what is written.  Because God fulfills prophecy we can also be sure that the promises He has made concerning our future and the future of the world will come to pass as assuredly as you are reading or listening to these words.

As well as all this it is a subject that is contemporary with all the fears and worries that the world has today about its future whether it be chemical, biological or nuclear weapons or accidents and natural and other man-made disasters whether floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, fires, climate change and so on.  Scripture gives hope to those who are God’s and fear to those who are not.  It is easy even as God’s people to be fearful but time and time again we are told not to be consumed by worry but to put our trust in God who knows all things before they even come to pass.

God has seen it fit to reveal many things but not everything has been revealed.  There are gaps in our knowledge and in formulating a systematic theology we have to be careful not to speculate wildly but within the confines of what has been revealed.  We are not able to predict the future with any level of certainty but what God has revealed will surely come to pass.

However when speaking of prophecies fulfilled and unfulfilled it has an effect upon us to make sure that we ourselves are ready; that we are holy as He is holy.  Prophecy has a sanctifying affect upon us.  And so throughout our studies the end game is to become like Jesus and to know Him all the more till at last we shall indeed, in a twinkling of an eye, be like Him and know Him as we are known.

Eschatology will cover such subjects as Israel and its place, the death of the individual, the Intermediate State, the 2nd Coming, the resurrection, the judgment, and the destinies of all peoples.  We will also be looking at the differences found between theologians (we are all theologians) in approaching this subject and will cover such topics such as the millennium and the tribulation.  As I have said already; it will be comprehensive.

So, concerning things to come we are not to avoid this subject but instead:

1 Thessalonians 4:18 — 18 comfort one another with these words.

Is it Heaven we look forward to?  Is it the pleasures forevermore?  Yes, and more.  We can look forward to these ‘things’ but really the whole of Eschatology is centred upon Jesus.  It is Jesus we are looking forward to seeing.  It is Jesus we are yearning for.  It is Jesus, the All in all.  He is the One who is coming for His own.  Indeed, let your Kingdom come!

Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

Feedback and discussion points are welcome either here or on Twitter: @pastorianthomas

Do share this article as the reason for writing is to lay biblical foundations in the Christian’s life which are grossly lacking today.


Berkhof, L. (1938). Systematic theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing co.

Berkouwer, G. C. (1972). The Return of Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Boice, J. M. (1986). Foundations of the Christian faith: a comprehensive & readable theology. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Chafer, L. S. (1993). Systematic theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.

Culver, R. D. (2005). Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical. Ross-shire, UK: Mentor.

Erickson, M. J. (1998). Christian theology. (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (2003). The footsteps of the Messiah : a study of the sequence of prophetic events (Rev. ed.). Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries.

Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.

Hodge, C. (1997). Systematic theology. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Horton, M. (2011). The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Irenaeus of Lyons. (1885). Irenæus against Heresies. (A. Roberts, J. Donaldson, & A. C. Coxe, Eds.)The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume I: The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company.

McCune, R. (2010). A Systematic Theology of Biblical Christianity: The Doctrines of Salvation, the Church, and Last Things (Vol. 3). Allen Park, MI: Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.

Miley, J. (1893). Systematic theology, volume 2. New York: Hunt & Eaton.

Pope, W. B. (1879). A Compendium of Christian Theology: being analytical outlines of a course of theological study, biblical, dogmatic, historical, volumes 1-3. London: Beveridge and Co.

Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. (1999). Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth. Chicago, IL: Moody Press.

Strong, A. H. (1907). Systematic theology. Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society.

Torrey, R. A., Feinberg, C. L., & Wiersbe, W. W. (2005). The Fundamentals: the famous sourcebook of foundational biblical truths. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Van Kampen, R. (2000). The sign (3rd rev. ed.). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

1 J. Oliver Buswell Jr., A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1963), 2:295.

[1] Irenaeus of Lyons. (1885). Irenæus against Heresies. (A. Roberts, J. Donaldson, & A. C. Coxe, Eds.)The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume I: The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus (p. 398). Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company.

Hell and everlasting punishment

hellClick here for recording of Ian Thomas preaching on Hell and Everlasting Punishment

Today’s subject is a solemn one, the most solemn that you will ever hear from me but for us to have revival we need to wake up out of our slumber and focus our energies upon the most important things of life.  The reason Christians today are without backbones are because these truths are no longer heard nor believed.  I said previously that revival comes when old Scriptural truths are regained and the topic for today is one that needs to come back.  It maybe as a result of hearing this that revival will come because we will actually push forward with the preaching of the Gospel.  Perhaps we should not be so much praying for revival but that God will send labourers into His harvest field.  I will say again – unless there is a return to the truths of Scripture we will not see revival.  So today’s topic is the Bible truth about hell and everlasting punishment.  There is much in Scripture especially through what Jesus has to say on this.

John 3:18 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:36 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

What needs to be set forth is the awfulness of it, the hopelessness of it, the unendurableness of it, the endlessness of it.  To keep quiet about it or to ignore it is just about as irresponsible as one can be. 1 Peter 4:17–18 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” It is our duty to warn people to flee from the wrath that is to come. Revelation 6:17 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

There are many arguments today made against this doctrine believing that God’s character could not possibly send people to hell.  There are people who actively go round today espousing the opposite – a guy called Rob Bell is one who was Pastor of Mars Hill – he now goes round universities undoing this doctrine.  I had tutors at Uni who also believed that there was no such thing, even saying Jesus didn’t even preach it.  And many taught by them follow this line of thought.  I’m not sure how this is justified for Jesus says in Matthew 25:41 41 “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”.

God has sent throughout Scripture punishment regularly as we read in 2 Peter 2:4–9 ‘4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.’  It is no wonder that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom.  It is just inescapable that God will judge and bring people to punishment.  God is love but it is not the sentimental kind but is holy and hates evil.  It is not a love that simply lets people of the hook. Psalm 5:5 ‘The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity.’  How often we find that God is angry and full of wrath.  He did not create humankind for them to do their own thing though he has given them freedom to choose – but people in their rebellion have shook the fist at God but there will be a day of recompense.  God in His mercy has made a way of escape, if we would have it.  Mercy is always shown before judgment.  But if it is spurned, as it often is, then judgment will come.

Some say that God is unjust to sentence people to an eternity in hell.  But who are we to judge? The awfulness of sin is glossed over not realising that God cannot bear it nor look at it and will not put up with it.  Those of us who have been saved realize just how much we deserve eternal punishment.

Some say that the punishment won’t go on forever for God will destroy people in the lake of fire, that is, make them cease to exist.  But the word for destroy in Scripture never means to annihilate for the Greek word for destroy is elsewhere translated lost – as for instance the lost sheep of Israel – but Israel still exist!  If death is annihilation, or should be translated as such, how then are we resurrected again to come before the Judgement Seat?  Scripture speaks only of punishment and torment – and it does not have an end.  Scripture speaks in Isaiah 33:14 ‘14The sinners in Zion are afraid; Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” will there be in eternity.’  It says here people will live with the fire forever.  Time and again in 13 places Scripture records Jesus as saying there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Sin is ultimately punished two ways: either by the blood of Jesus or the fires of Hell. The fires of Hell and the blood of Jesus in a sense go together: they are the two final ways God chose to deal with sin. The fires of Hell do not truly satisfy the justice of God. This is the reason why Hell is eternal. If the fires of Hell satisfied the justice of God we could be sure that Hell would not last forever. But only the blood of Christ completely satisfies God’s justice.[1]

Hebrews 9:27 27 ‘And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.’  Ecclesiastes 11:9 ‘Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment.’  When I see the party goers on Fridays and Saturdays, yes, they have permission to go and enjoy – but, be warned, judgment will be passed on their actions.

Acts 17:31 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”   And this day is described in Revelation 20:11–15 11 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. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 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. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

I cannot read this without being afraid for the people of this world.  For so broad is the way to destruction that almost all 7.1 billion are on their way to judgment day without Jesus being their Saviour. Romans 3:10–12: “As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.””

There is no escape when we die.  John 8:21 Then Jesus said to them [His enemies] again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.” Once they died in their sins, it was impossible for them to go to heaven and be with Jesus. In John 13:36: “Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.”” Peter will go to Heaven – His enemies will not.

In this passage we read at the beginning about Lazarus and the rich man we gain many insights into what happens to the unbelievers: Luke 16:19–31 19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”

This holding place of the dead has two compartments – one for the wicked and one for the righteous.  Scripture plainly declares that the only ones that are righteous are the ones who have been justified by faith (Rom 5.1).  Between them there is no going from one compartment to the other. The rich man is being tormented in a flame.  As confirmation of this: Matthew 13:37–42 37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

There they remain until the judgment, when they shall be resurrected will be brought before the Great White Throne to receive their final sentence that we have also already read in Rev 20 where if their name is not written in the book of life the lake of fire is the last destination, forever, in a conscious torment, remembering as did the Rich Man in our original passage the life he led and regretting it.

For believers who have died and for those who will friends, let us be clear: 1 Thessalonians 4:13 13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

We were those who at one time had no hope too: Ephesians 2:12–13 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Now we, 1 Thessalonians 1:10 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

John 5:24: ““Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

There are many, many other Scriptures I can mention in relation to this subject but even though this is not an exhaustive study I still think that the point has been made.

1)    The first response to all this is surely to make sure that we are Christians.  Let us make sure we have the way of escape.

2)    Second we have to be eternally grateful that Jesus has made a way of escape where we are now a people of hope.

3)    Third, we have to use all our means, all our prayers, all our efforts to make known the Good News that there is a great Salvation to be had.  We need to be aware of the plight of the 7.1 billion souls on this planet.  A day should not go by that when we look upon our friends, our family, our neighbours, the people whom we meet, our colleagues, those we see on TV, our politicians and so on we will remember that one day before God they will stand.

A prayer:

Lord, wake us up to the plight of the billions on this planet and make every effort to bring them into your Kingdom.  Move us with the same compassion that you had for you came to seek and save the lost.  Fill us with you Holy Spirit and empower us.  Send workers into your harvest field, Lord, and bring in the sheaves to honour and glorify you.  Thank you that the invitation is still open.  Thank you for your patience.  Have patience with us too as we seek to do your will and disciple the nations baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

[1] Kendall, R. T. (2004). The Judgment Seat of Christ (16). Fearn, UK: Christian Focus.

All Scripture is quoted from the NKJV