Do you really know that your soul, THE VERY REAL YOU, is as eternal as eternity, and that it is as immortal as immortality? Do you really know that your soul shall live forever, and that it will either enter eternal union with God which excludes Satan and anything of the devil, or eternal union with Satan which excludes God and anything God and godliness? Do you also know therefore that the soul will never be extinguished at some future day but that it is really immortal and will dwell somewhere (either of two places) eternally? Do you know!
And now, do you really know that your soul is priceless and that there is nothing in the universe that can be used to exchange it (Mark 8: 36)? Then how is your soul right now? How ready it is if the eternal summon is today? If your soul is positively ready for its Creator then it enters eternity with God. But if not ready it drops into eternity (for such shall be cast into The of Fire and Brimstone) with Satan.
AWESOME OR AWFUL ETERNITY
To enter eternity or drop into it as the case may be, the soul (yours and mine) shall require a spiritual body that will not perish but survive eternity: “For this corruptible must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15: 53), and of the sinners God said: “And they (those who accept and live by God’s provision in Jesus Christ) shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against Me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh” (Isaiah 66: 24).
So then: for some eternity will be awesome and blissful and for others awful and damnable. Eternity is ahead. Where will you spend it? This question comes to you and me.
Actually, sin is the huge obstacle to being in eternity with God. God cannot behold sin for a second here in ‘time’, let alone in eternity (to abide with it forever). No! Sin originated with Satan and it is his nature; and sin, wherever it is found (whether with men or angels), shall stay with him (Satan) forever .It is a divine sentence. And now we have all sinned! And so the Bible says we have not only come short of the glory of God (Romans 3: 23) but that he that sows iniquity shall reap vanity (Proverbs 16: 6). There is no greater vanity (that is, worthlessness or uselessness) than The of Fire and Brimstone.
In that eternal fire man exists; but it is a useless existence, a perfectly worthless existence; a vain existence throughout eternity and living without the Source of life and all that pertain to life: without God and all that He represents that is. Since the sinner has now made himself vain, worthless and useless to God (except he repents and reconciles with God through the God-Man and God-man mediator: Jesus Christ, he is given vanity, worthlessness and uselessness. There is no greater and more enduring vanity than that eternal fire. He has reaped what he sowed! It is a choice.
In eternity there are two types of existence. We have just said that some will exist (never burnt up) in eternal fire forever. We would hear the Savior, Jesus Christ Himself: “Verily, verily, I say unto you. The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the Voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live … Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His Voice. 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” (John 5: 25-29).
The first part of this scripture tells of the dead hearing the Voice of the Son of God and that all that hear shall LIVE. The middle portion repeats a part of this, and indeed said that ALL shall hear His Voice. The last part speaks of a coming forth (having heard) unto either of two types of resurrection: life and condemnation. Both groups didn’t only hear the Voice, and came forth but are said to LIVE. It means there is no extinction in The Lake of Fire and Brimstone. It is a case of those in Heaven being LIVING LIVES and those damned LIVING DEAD if you like. While in ‘time’ or now the sinner is dead while living; in eternity, in that his damnable place he is living while dead.
So, there shall be a separation of humanity into two, the saved and the damned, forever, and they shall so abide eternally. The joy and the pain that will be the portion of the saved and damned respectively cannot be described in the superlatives for superlatives weakens into nothing in the face of what is ahead, whether good or bad. And before the damned will finally get to the eternal fire of The Lake of Fire and Brimstone, there must necessarily be The Great White Throne Judgment and the ‘trial’ by an ALL-Wise and Omniscient God is PERFECT. And this will be overwhelmingly clear to the sinner that he would see God as perfectly unjust and unrighteous if He spares him (the sinner) that eternal fire.
The sinner will unquestionably accept his grossly damning fate eternally! And, indeed, the only remaining truth that will be the sinner’s in that accursed place is this: God is True, Just and Perfect; but that will be truth too late, yet knowledge forever! And what an eternal consciousness in an eternal damnation! And so, God would have been free and seen to be fare forever! It is actually more of a judgment than trial. ‘Trial’ entails possibilities of acquittal. God is too omniscient to allow for such possibility.
This is judgment. But the two-fold thing about it is that it is only needed to acquaint the sinner why he should be eternally separated with Satan unto that place originally prepared for Satan, and so that God would be seen as righteous and just even in their eternal damnation. But there is first ‘custody’: a stopover prison called hell in the separation process which comes before the judgment. Because the ways of God are equal (Ezekiel 18: 25, 29) it is not only disobedient men that have this sad fate. And what follows therefore, is very instructive in our estimation.
PRISON-STAGES IN THE SEPARATION PROCESS
It is clear so far that unrepentant men will stop over in Hell (Sheol or Hades, which is Hebrews and Greek for Hell respectively) before being emptied into The Lake of Fire and Brimstone. See Mathew 16: 18, Luke 16: 19-31. It is the torment compartment of Sheol-Hades accommodating wicked souls until after the millennial reign of Christ on earth and after the judgment when The Lake of Fire and Brimstone receives them eternally.
Like men who disobey God, disobedient angels have a stopover in the prison-stages of eternal separation from God. While disobedient man stops over in hell awaiting the final judgment, fallen angels who sinned before the flood have their stopover in Tartarus, their special prison called ‘prison’ and ‘hell’ in 1Peter 3:19 and 2Peter 2:4 in the English version of the Bible. In 2Peter 2: 4, they are not only cast down there but God DELIVERED THEM INTO CHAINS OF DARKNESS, TO BE RESERVED UNTO JUDGEMENT at the end. That is their first prison and after their judgment at the end of time, then they will be emptied into The Lake of Fire and Brimstone, which is the final and eternal prison of all disobedience and all the disobedient.
Then there is the Abyss or bottomless pit and sometimes called the Deep (Luke 8: 26-31; Revelation 9: 1-3, 11; 11: 7; 17: 8; 20: 1- 10), the abode of demons and some fallen angels, and which is going to be the abode of the Anti-Christ, the False Prophet and Satan during the millennial rule of Christ here on earth; after which Satan will be loosed awhile until he finally end up in The Lake of Fire and Brimstone. Satan is the third creature to go to The Lake of Fire and Brimstone after his beast (the Anti-Christ) and his False Prophet.
Then, of course, there is Paradise. This is a compartment with a mighty and impassable gulf separating it from Hell (Sheol or Hades) and is the place of the righteous men in Christ (since Abel) who are or were kept (depending on your doctrinal leaning) until the time appointed to transfer them to be with Christ forever. Well, Christendom is divided on whether they are still there or have been so transferred. Whatever it is, it is a stopover point (not prison but paradise) en route the final eternal glory with God and His Christ.
There is a stopover prison for all who spurn the purpose of being created. The Lake of Fire and Brimstone is the eternal abode of every failed purpose of God’s intelligent creatures whether they are men or angels. Indeed: If angels why not men! The ways of God are equal (see Ezekiel 18: 25). So do not be deceived by false preachers.
Let’s put it this way. Men, remember, are originally created a little lower than the angels. So, if Satan and his follower co-fallen angels have stopover places of confinement and torture before they are cast into the final place of eternal confinement and condemnation, who is that man of a lower composition that would excuse himself of the same fate if he fails to achieve the purpose of his or her creation? Is it not even more fearful that IT IS ONLY MAN that have grace (of redemption) provided for him because it is man that Jesus took his nature including blood, and when He shared His Blood (for without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sin) salvation only went to man.
How we must agree with the Psalmist: “What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that Thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalms 8: 4, 5). And how gracious therefore to read that: For God so love the world (that is man) that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3: 16). How mindful is God of man! Shall we neglect all that and expect not to share the same fate with disobedient angels? You must be left without doubt: ‘How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation (Hebrews 2: 3). There’s a great day coming. W. L. Thompson captures it this way in a hymn:
1. There’s a great day coming, a great day coming,
There’s a great day coming by and by;
When the saints and sinners shall be parted right and left
Are you ready for that day to come?
Are you ready? Are you ready?
Are you ready for the judgment day?
Are you ready? Are you ready
For the judgment day?
2. There’s a bright day coming, a bright day coming,
There’s a bright day coming by and by;
But its brightness shall only come to them that love the Lord,
Are you ready for that day to come?
3. There’s a sad day coming, a sad day coming,
There’s a sad day coming by and by;
When the sinner shall hear his doom “Depart, I know you not”,
Are you ready for that day to come?
There is hell and there is the Lake of Fire. It is originally prepared by God for Satan and other fallen angels. But humans who choose to follow Satan will end up in the same place with him. To stop that God gave One to rescue man: Jesus Christ! He paid untold sacrifice, vicarious sacrifice: He died in our place, that we may live. God cannot now prevent any man from reaching the same eternal end with Satan who scorns Jesus Christ and the redemption He represent.
STILL ALIVE TO RECEIVE THE GOOD NEWS!
Thanks to God for providing grace in Jesus : The wonderful path to a great destiny for those who still have their breath intact on this side of eternity and will come to Him today for the salvation of their souls! Whereas eternal bondage and damnation was the unquestionable lot of us all because we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), Christ came in the “ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD” (Isaiah 49: 8; 61: 1-3) to set us free. And when He proclaimed: ‘IT IS FINISHED’, hope was restored to humanity.
The good tiding is that you will no more be forever damned but eternally blessed and secured in God if you can but settle your account with God: and that is by heartily and simply recognizing before Him that you are a sinner; acknowledging before Him that for your sins Jesus bled and died; asking Him to forgive you all your sins, to wash your soul with the Blood of Jesus Christ, make you His child, and give you grace to both continue with Him and serve Him acceptably all the days of your life. And He certainly would do exactly that!
This is the only God’s way of escape; the only way we can say we are really getting prepared for eternity with God. Everything is by His grace. Just do your part right now. Doing your part is the guarantee for eternity with God; and not to do it is simply signing to be part of eternal wrath. The way we take The Cross of Calvary today determines whether it will be awesome eternity or awful eternity in the coming great separation.
There is a day of separation ahead. The day is great: indescribably great blessedness and brightness for the saved or indescribably great misery and darkness for the unsaved, and it is all eternal. The choice of our place there is made on this side of eternity. And the choice which is certainly TODAY is yours! Eternity: How ready are you?
Igho writes from Warri.
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