We know from the Bible the lake of fire means eternal separation from Christ’s eternal kingdom.
At the end of the seven-year Tribulation period, the Antichrist and False Prophet are eternally separated from God as a punishment for their rebellion:
“I saw the Beast and, assembled with him, earth’s kings and their armies, ready to make war against the One on the horse and his army. The Beast was taken, and with him, his puppet, the False Prophet, who used signs to dazzle and deceive those who had taken the mark of the Beast and worshiped his image.
They were thrown alive, those two, into Lake Fire and Brimstone. The rest were killed by the sword of the One on the horse, the sword that comes from his mouth. All the birds held a feast on their flesh.” (Revelation 19: 19-21 MSG)
And Jesus has a separate plan for Satan:
“I saw an angel descending out of heaven. He carried the key to the Abyss and a chain—a huge chain. He grabbed the Dragon, that old Snake—the very Devil, Satan himself!—chained him up for a thousand years, dumped him into the Abyss, slammed it shut and sealed it tight. No more trouble out of him, deceiving the nations—until the thousand years are up. After that he has to be let loose briefly.” (Revelation 20: 1-3, MSG).
After 1,000 years millennial kingdom… the final judgment of mankind is takes place at the Great White Throne. God will sentence mankind in the following way:
“I saw a Great White Throne and the One Enthroned. Nothing could stand before or against the Presence, nothing in Heaven, nothing on earth. And then I saw all the dead, great and small, standing there—before the Throne! And books were opened
Then another book was opened: the Book of Life. The dead were judged by what was written in the books, by the way they had lived. Sea released its dead, Death and Hell turned in their dead. Each man and woman was judged by the way he or she had lived.
Then Death and Hell were hurled into a lake of fire and brimstone. This is the second death—lake fire and brimstone. Anyone whose name was not found inscribed in the Book of Life was hurled into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15 MSG)
I love Luke 16 for so many different reasons … one of which … is the vivid picture that the gospel writer paints about Hades (where the souls of unbelievers are until the White Throne Judgment).
I think Luke’s account also paints a very accurate picture of hell … or the lake of fire. And it is a very, very real place:
“There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man’s table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores. Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham.”
“The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I’m in agony in this fire.’”
But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It’s not like that here. Here he’s consoled and you’re tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.”
The rich man said, ‘Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won’t end up here in this place of torment. “Abraham answered, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.
“‘I know, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but they’re not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.’:
Abraham replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they’re not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead’” (Luke 16: 19-31 MSG).
Current events create a demographic of spiritual urgency. We are taught that if you choose Jesus, you will live eternally in heaven. For those who reject Jesus as Lord choose the lake of fire as their eternal destination. Our urgency is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to those around us. May the Lord be our courage.