At death, what will be the eternal state of the lost, (all unbelievers)?

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Answers to Bible Questions

Scriptures are from the KJV of the Bible

(Q)  At death, what will be the eternal state of the lost, (all unbelievers)?


(A)  This is a subject which brings sadness to my heart when I write about the eternal state of the lost. My job is to help the lost come to know Christ who is the Saviour of the world, to know Him before they die so they will not perish in the eternal lake of fire. So my purpose through this article is to show all unbelievers what their fate will be as stated in God’s Word the Holy Bible. 11 Peter 3:9  say’s God in not willing that any should perish: 9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  This is also my desire!

Will the lost be conscious after they die? Let’s find out from scripture. Matthew 13:41-43: 41The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Wailing and gnashing of teeth describe torment and pain, not unconsciousness.

Will the lost be eternally in a conscious state and in torment?  Revelation 14:9-11:  9And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. This passage speaks of literal torment and clearly shows that this suffering will be forever and ever with no end. Matthew 25:41,46 also shows this punishment will be forever:  41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:   46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

So far we see the state of the lost as being fully conscious and in an eternal state of torment. This is not something that I would wish on anyone!

The story in the  Bible about “The Rich Man and Lazarus” will help to confirm what we have learned about the state of the dead, Luke 16:19-31: 19There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24And 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. 25But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Being true-to-life, whether it is historical or parable, this story is based on truths from which we can learn certain facts about the state of those who have experienced physical death. This is true even though teaching these things was not the main purpose the Lord had in telling it. Being based on truth, the facts learned from the experience of the Rich Man and Lazarus are consistent with what is found in other places in Scriptures. From this passage we know that:

1. After physical death, individuals continue to exist in a state of personal consciousness (verses 22- 25; compare with Revelation 6:9-10).

2. Having experienced physical death, the individual’s destiny is sealed. There is no opportunity to cross over from the place of utter hopelessness to a place of hope after physical death (verses 25-26).

3. Hades (Hell) is not a figure of speech but a real place of suffering to which the unsaved go to await the final judgment (verses 23-24). They will stay there until the time of the resurrection to condemnation when they will be consigned to the Lake of Fire forever (compare with Rev. 20: 11-15).

4. There is a place, referred to here as Abraham’s Bosom, which is a place of comfort and joy (verse 25). The saved go there until the time of their resurrection unto life. This place is also referred to as “Paradise” in the Scriptures (see Luke 23:39-43). Originally it was a partitioned section of Hades but was moved to heaven after Christ’s resurrection. Paul speaks of being “caught up into paradise” (II Cor. 12:4). This implies that Grace saints and Kingdom saints may jointly occupy Paradise until the time of their respective resurrections.

5. After physical death, unsaved individuals will have regretful memories of the past and knowledge of their hopeless future; (verses 25-28).

6. After having died, individuals go to Hades (Hell) or Paradise and are not able to return or send back messages to those who are still living (verses 26-28). Samuel, Moses, and Elijah are exceptions, having been sent by God as special envoys. No one can return by an act of their own will or be summoned to return from beyond the grave by mediums, channelers, etc. The Scriptures leave no possibility for reincarnation and spiritism.

7. Neither the saved or the lost will ever cease to exist, nor will they exist without form between physical death and the resurrection. Both have a temporary form of some kind that enables them to see, speak, hear and feel (verses 22-25). While this form is of a spiritual nature and substance, it is still a tangible form with a recognizable human likeness.

 We learn from the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus that it is only in this life that any man or woman has the opportunity to be reconciled to God. For those who die in unbelief, there is no second chance and there is no one to intervene on their behalf. To die without Christ is to be separated from God forever, first in the torments of Hades (Hell) and finally in the Lake of Fire. As believers, this should move us with compassion for the lost and stimulate us to use every means available to proclaim the Gospel of Grace as far and wide as possible.

We also learn from this story that believers immediately enter into a better place when they leave this life at the time of physical death. Knowing that this is true provides hope and comfort both to believers who are facing death and to those they leave behind in this life.

The Lord Jesus’ purpose in telling this story was to warn the self-righteous money-loving Pharisees about the consequences of trusting in the traditions of man and worldly riches rather than in the Word of God (compare Mark 7:5-13; and Luke 12:16-21). ‘He also made it clear that people cannot be convinced of the truth through miracles such as someone being raised from the dead, but are to be convicted of the truth through the agency of God’s Word (see Romans 10:17; 1 Corinthians 1:18). Those who foolishly reject the message of salvation through the Cross will die without hope, while those who accept the Gospel as true and place their faith in Christ are reconciled to God and receive the gift of eternal life. “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to Save them that believe” (I Corinthians 1:21). There is no one greater than “our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13-14); there is no greater message than that of “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (I Corinthians 2: 1-5); there is no greater calling than to “the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25-27).

As I quoted earlier in this article the Lake of Fire, and Hell, are a literal place of ever-lasting fire that was originally created by God as a ,place of punishment for Satan and the angels that followed him in his rebellion against God (Mat. 25:41): 41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart fromme, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:Because it is referred to as the place of “outer darkness”  we believe that it is most probably located at the farthest reaches of the creation. (Mat. 8:12; 25:30),   12But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  30And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Also Jude 4,13:  4For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. 13Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.  Jude 4 & 13 above gives us another glimpse into what this place will be like by saying that unto the lost is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. We can scarcely imagine how awful this place will be, but each individual will be alone in his own confinement of the blackness of darkness, completely separated from God and in the torment of fire, forever!

While the Lake of Fire was created for Satan and the other fallen angels, the unsaved of humanity from all ages will be with them in this place of torment where “there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth”This is the “everlasting reward” of all that die in their sins.

While there is no one in the Lake of Fire at this time, it will one-day hold a vast multitude. The first residents of this place of righteous retribution will be the Beast (Antichrist) and the False Prophet who, at the end of the Tribulation, will be “cast alive into a lake burning with brimstone” (Rev. 19: 19-20). Joining them will be the unsaved of the nations who survive the Tribulation (Mat. 25:31-32,41-46). Also, at Jesus Christ’s return to earth, the rebel Israelites, unbelieving Jews, who survive the Tribulation, will be denied entrance into the Millennial Kingdom, no doubt to join their Gentile counterparts in the: “place of everlasting fire”(Ezekiel 20:33-38; Mat. 7:21-23;  Mat. 24:29-31, 45-51). Then, at the end of the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ, Satan will be “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever(Rev. 20:10). And finally, the unsaved dead of all ages will be raised and judged at the Great White Throne by Jesus Christ and then cast into the Lake of Fire (see Rev. 20: 11-15).

I hope anyone who reads this article will take it seriously; this is not fantasy,  but everyone has been given free will to make up their own mind about these things. God who will not, and cannot lie, say’s we need to believe all things in His word by Faith: Titus 1:1-3:  1Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; 2In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; 3But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour; Romans 3:3-4: 3For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? 4God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.Hebrews 11:6: 6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

You need to put your trust and believe in God “NOW! If you wait until you die to see if these things are true or not, it will be too late to change your mind and you will experience the fate of the lost described in this article. 2 Corinthians 6:1-2:  1We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Before I close, I want you to understand that the one and only way to salvation and eternal life is through Christ our Lord and savior: I Cor. 15:1-4, verse 3 & 4, ” … Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

Eph. 2:8- 9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Rom. 3 :24, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” It was the blood of Christ that was shed on Calvary’s cross that allowed God to be just in justifying sinners like you and me.

 Heb. 9:22 ” … and without shedding of blood is no remission”. Eph. 1:7 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”

God’s gospel is clear and simple. It is a gospel of grace. Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again. God does all the saving and you do the believing. Salvation is a gift because it is provided freely for man by the grace of God. Salvation cannot be earned by anything you do. Salvation is not of works lest any man would boast. God is able to forgive your sin and save you because His Son paid the penalty for your sin when He died on Calvary’s cross. God is now free to save those who believe the gospel message.

Rom. 3 :24, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Grace is a marvelous word and a wonderful way for God to deal with His creation. Grace can be described as unmerited favor-in the face of demerit. Grace is God’s kindness to undeserving sinners.

Eternity in Heaven, or Eternity in the Lake of Fire? Choose life, not eternal death!

Maranatha (Lord come)












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