What happens to the lost? This issue we have not yet addressed.
We’ve spoken of the redeemed. They receive immortality at the glorious coming of Christ.
We’ve seen that 1 Corinthians 15, and 1 Thessalonians 4 speak of those who inherit the kingdom of God. Verses such as 1 Corinthians 15:50, and 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 make it quite clear that these passages relate specifically to the resurrection of the saved.
But — what happens to the lost?
Resurrection to life — Resurrection to damnation
Jesus taught that all will be resurrected from the dead — there is a resurrection unto life, and a resurrection unto damnation.
John 5:28, 29
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Paul believed as did his Lord. That which Jesus taught, Paul taught. Paul clearly stated his belief in the resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. (Acts 24:15)
… there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
In The Revelation of Jesus Christ in chapter 20, we are given considerable detail.
A period of 1,000 years separates the two resurrections.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them… and they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 (But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.)
This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that has a part in the first resurrection. On such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
First Resurrection — the just
Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. They will come to life and reign with Christ a thousand years. They will be priests of God and of Christ. The second death has no power over them. (Revelation 20:4-6)
First Resurrection — the Just
|The Just||Revelation 20||verse|
|The Just are resurrected at the beginning of the 1,000 years||"Blessed and holy is he that has a part in the first resurrection." / "they lived... with Christ for a thousand years"||6, 4|
|They are blessed and holy||"Blessed and holy is he that has a part in the first resurrection."||6|
|They will reign with Christ||"they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years" / "[they] shall reign with him a thousand years"||4, 6|
|They will be priests of God and of Christ||"they shall be priests of God and of Christ"||6|
|They will not die||"On such the second death has no power"||6|
Second Resurrection — the unjust
The rest of the dead do not come to life until the thousand years are ended. (Revelation 20:5)
These are not blessed and holy. This is inferred because ‘blessed and holy’ are those who have part in the first resurrection. (Revelation 20:6)
The second death does have power over them. This is inferred because ‘the second death’ does not have power over those who have part in the first resurrection. (Revelation 20:6)
Second Resurrection — the Unjust
|The Unjust||Revelation 20||verse|
|The Unjust are resurrected at the end of the 1,000 years||"the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished"||5|
|The Unjust 'are not blessed and holy' [Their experience is the very opposite of the righteous]||[Concerning the righteous] "Blessed and holy is he that has a part in the first resurrection."||6|
|The Unjust 'will die' [Their experience is the very opposite of the righteous]||[Concerning the righteous] "On such the second death has no power"||6|
The resurrection of the just
The first resurrection is ‘the resurrection unto life.’
It has been amply covered earlier in the book. To revisit this topic go back to the heading ‘The Gift of Immortality’ and read through to ‘Glorious Victory’ at the conclusion of the page entitled ‘Human or Divine definition of death.’
The resurrection of the unjust
The second resurrection is ‘the resurrection unto damnation.’
Regarding this, we have already looked at Revelation 20:5 which clearly said of the wicked, “(But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.)”
In Revelation 20:7-10, there is a description of their final activities. When the thousand years are over, the wicked again give their allegiance to Satan and come under his control. Verse 9 describes their final destruction, it says, “But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.”
Revelation 20:15 makes it clear who receives damnation — ‘anyone whose name is not written in the book of life.’
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Note that at the time the King James Version was translated the meaning of the word ‘hell’ was a hole in the ground — as a grave. Hell, for instance, was a place you would store your potatoes — a cellar. Thus hell in Revelation 20:13, 14 is the grave.
The sea, death, and the grave delivered up the dead which were in them (v13).
Death and the grave were cast into the lake of fire (v14). Death and the grave cease to exist once cast into the lake of fire.
Hell is not fiery and hot. Hell is simply the grave. Usually hell is dark, damp and cold. The lake of fire is probably the place to be feared. Anyone whose name is not written in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).
Lake of fire
The lake of fire is not hell for Revelation 20:14 states that hell is cast into the lake of fire.
The lost are thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).
Hence the lake of fire is the second death (Revelation 20:14).
What more are we told about the lake of fire?
In 2 Peter 3, Peter gives this description. The heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:7).
Peter’s use of the word fire is in the same context as the lake of fire in Revelation 20. The ‘fire’ and ‘lake of fire’ perform the same task — the destruction of the ungodly (compare 2 Peter 3:7 and Revelation 20:15).
Picking up the narrative back at 2 Peter 3:5, Peter reminds us that it is by God’s Word the world was created, and by God’s Word that it was destroyed by the waters of the flood, and by God’s same Word it is now reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:5-7).
By the Word of God
- the world was created
- the world was destroyed by the waters of the flood
- the world is now reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men
The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar. The elements will be destroyed by fire. The earth and everything in it will be burned up. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the extreme heat (2 Peter 3:10, 12).
Seeing everything is to be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought we to be? Peter asks this question, and he also answers it. He admonishes that we ought to live holy and godly lives as we wait eagerly for the day of God to come (2 Peter 3:11, 12).
Peter points out that while the Lord may appear slow in keeping His promise; He is motivated by patience. He is patient with us. He does not want anyone to perish. He wants everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).