I heard a preacher lately say that "Hell is the holding place until judgement; and then all of hell (including everyone in it) will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. So, they are two different things". I always thought they were the same. His references were from Proverbs 29 and Revelation 20. Is this correct?
Post by Mike Miller on Mar 14, 2018 9:17:19 GMT -5
Well, sort of but not exactly. However, I will say that Scripture isn't as clear as we'd like it to be when it comes to some of the terminology. Here's what we do know: When people die, though our bodies are dead, we continue to live spiritually. Those who die in Christ are immediately in the presence of Christ, while non-Christians who die are immediately in torment (Luke 16:19-31; 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Philippians 1:21-26; Revelation 6:9-11). We also know that after the final judgment, Christians will live forever in the presence of God with no more pain, sickness, tears, death, or sin, while non-Christians will suffer unimaginable torment forever (Matthew 25; Revelation 20-22). The question is what happens between death and the resurrection/final judgment? Where do the wicked go? Are they in hell? This is where we have to do the best we can with the information we have.
It seems that the place of suffering that follows physical death, but precedes the final judgment is what is called Hades (Matthew 11:23; Luke 16:23; Revelation 1:18; 20:13-14). When Jesus returns, He will resurrect the dead, and His own (who had been in His presence spiritually) will receive their imperishable bodies and will dwell with Him in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21-22). He will also resurrect the lost (who had been in torment in Hades). He will judge them for all their works as recorded in books, and He will cast them into the lake of fire, which is the second death, where they will be tormented forever.
Now, generally, we use the term "Heaven" to describe the place where Jesus is, whether before or after the final judgment, and we use the term "Hell" to describe the place of torment for unbelievers, both before and after the final judgment. This is why we don't want to get too hung up on the terminology to the point that we split hairs. The bottom line is that when you die, you go to one of two places (one wonderful, and the other horrible--heaven/paradise or hell/Hades). Then, when Jesus returns, you will go to your eternal dwelling--the eternal city or the eternal fire (heaven or hell).