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Revelation Twenty

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

 

 

 

   
     

 

REVELATION TWENTY
by L.R. Shelton, Jr.

 

Chapter 5


What a scene comes before us as we contemplate the last verses of this 20th chapter of Revelation! The Son of Man, Christ Jesus the Lord, has returned in His glorious second coming to sit upon the Great White Throne as the Judge of the Universe, with all men before Him-from Adam to the last man, both small and great; and at His coming all that are in the graves have come forth, the righteous unto the resurrection of life, and the wicked unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29). The sea and death and hell have delivered up the dead which were in them, and the earth and heaven have fled away, so there is no place for the wicked to hide-no place to stand except before God as He begins to judge in the Person of the Mediator, the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Books have been opened, and every man judged out of those things that were written in the books, according to their works.

The Book of Nature was opened, and every man was judged according to the light given from nature (Psa. 19 and Rom. 1); the Book of Conscience was opened (Rom. 2:14-16); the Book of the Gospel (Rom. 2:16; and 3,4,5); the Book of Godís Providence (Acts 17:26; Psa. 139:1-5) and the Book of Memory, as God has brought to light the hidden things of darkness and made manifest the counsels of the hearts (I Cor. 4:5). Time is no more and eternity has begun; the BOOK OF LIFE has been opened and God acknowledges His own (Matt. 10:32; 25:34-40; Heb. 2:13); the judgment of all men has been finished: the final separation of the righteous and the wicked has come!


Dear friend, picture the scene with me! The righteous Judge of all men, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, is to pass sentence to which there can never be any repeal! On His right hand stand those who were redeemed by His marvelous grace. On His left hand stand those who have died in their sins, who had neglected so great salvation offered in the gospel, and who had not obeyed the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 25:31-46). It is the time of Rev. 11:18: "Öthy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets and to the saints and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth."


Do you see the scene? Listen closely, and you will hear the sentence passed, for you and I will be there, and our ears shall hear the same thing that all of Adamís race shall hear. We hear it today, and we shall hear it then; will you listen? To those on His right hand, whose names are written in the Lambís BOOK OF LIFE, and who by the grace of God have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, the King-their precious Lord-shall say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 25:34); for these in time were brought by the Holy Spirit to repentance and faith, and by His grace turned their backs upon the world, sin and self and followed the Lamb unto death.

 

They have been absolved from all their sins because of the eternal work of redemption performed for them by the Lord Jesus Christ, so they cry with a loud voice, "ÖSalvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earthÖGreat and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Therefore, let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready" (Rev. 7:10; 5:9,10; 15:3; 19:7).



THE ETERNAL ABODE OF
THE WICKED


And what about those on His left hand? This brings us to the verses of Rev. 20 that picture the eternal abode of all those who die outside of Godís provided Refuge for sinners, Who is the Person of the One and only Mediator between God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus.  Read the last two verses of Rev. 20, verses 14 and 15, and then verse 8 of chapter 21 with me, for they go together: "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fireÖBut the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."  Now here we have a scene so solemn that we are told the wicked of the earth will cry to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come; And who shall be able to stand?" (Rev. 6:16-17).

For here are all the wicked sinners who have never bowed to the scepter of mercy once held out to them in the day of grace, nor would they have "this man"-the God-man, Christ Jesus the LORD-to rule over them (Luke 19:14); and who had despised the free offer of grace in salvation in time-can you see them? There they stand, naked before God and naked before the world in all their sins and shame, having been judged according to their deeds and now awaiting their sentence.


None shall escape hearing his sentence passed on that day, and there will be no appeal from that court, when the highest tribunal, the highest Judge of all the Universe, God Himself in the Person of His Son, the Lamb, shall pass sentence-listen! "Then 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" (Matt. 25:41); "Depart from me, ye that work iniquity, I never knew you" (Matt. 7:23). What a word of damnation! What words of judgment, of woe and despair!  Brother Paul vividly pictures this scene for us in Rom. 2:5-11.

Listen for your life, for youíre going to be there, and you donít want to miss a word given now about this last great scene, when the final separation of the righteous and the wicked shall take place! "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God."


You see, just as the ark was the only refuge when Godís judgment by water fell upon men in Noahís day, so the Lord Jesus Christ, the One Who bore our sins in His own body upon the tree, shall be the only Refuge when Godís judgment by fire falls on the wicked in the day of His wrath after the Great White Throne Judgment. For they will be confined to the lake of fire forever and forever, when Godís righteous sentence will be carried out against them.

Godís Gracious Warnings


My friend, did you know that our God has never judged until He came down first? Yes, He came down to see the tower of Babel in Gen. 11:5; and again in Gen. 18:20 and 21 He said, "Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know." So He Who sits upon this throne of judgment and tells the wicked to depart from Him into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels, is the same One Who loved sinners so much that He came from heavenís heights to earthís depths to tell us of the wrath from God that would surely fall upon the wicked. More than any other speaker of the Bible, He came and declared the awful judgment that awaits the sinner who dies outside the great grace and mercy of God.

And God tells us that in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son (Heb. 1:2), and "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven" (Heb. 12:25). He spoke in that day and He still speaks from heaven; we must hear His voice!


Listen to the way He warns over and over again of the final doom of the wicked! Speaking at the close of His sermon on the Mount in Matt. 7:13-14, I believe He cried out from the depths of His soul to His hearers: "Enter ye in at the strait gate". Why? "For wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat." Oh my friend, enter in at the strait gate because "strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and FEW there be that fine it." Destruction awaits those who follow the broad way!


Then in that same chapter, He warns those who build a religious life upon the wrong foundation, anything other than Himself. He tells them to look for a great fall and a great destruction in hell, for "every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it"! (Matt. 7:26- 27). And so will be the fall and destruction of every soul who builds his religious life upon the sinking sand and does not know the Lord Jesus Christ in true saving faith.


Oh my friend, do you know Him? On which side will you be in that day, on the right hand or on the left? You canít escape it; you are going to be there for "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Heb. 9:27). Will you be in Christ, washed by faith in His blood, clothed in His righteousness, so you will hear those blessed, blessed words: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Or will you be with those on the left, standing there in all of your sins, naked before Him and before the world, to hear those awful words: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels"? Oh that you would face this solemn scene today and make your calling and election sure! (II Pet. 1:10). Oh that you would cry to God in Christ for true repentance and true saving faith-which He alone was exalted to give (Acts 5:31)-falling at His feet in obedience, with purpose of heart to follow Him all the days of your life!


Again a bold warning falls from the lips of Him Who loved sinners with such a love that He died for them, but Who will sit upon that judgment throne that day: "I warned you, I told you not to fear them which can kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul, but rather to fear Him Who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell!" (Matt. 10:28). Listen to His Word in Luke 12:5: "But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear:  Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you Fear him"!
 

Then listen to His warning of the coming judgment and eternal punishment to the nations and cities of those around Him, for their not repenting when He preached the gospel to them: "Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein the most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which are exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee" (Matt. 11:20-24). What was He saying here? My friend, Heís telling them that the punishment for sin in hell will be a lot less for those who have had only the light of nature to go by than it will be for those cities wherein walked the Light of the world; and the same applies to the inhabitants of the United States who have had the light of Godís Word to go by, and have turned from it to go their own way (Rom. 2:1-16).


But letís make this even more personal: It will be more tolerable for the world in that day than it will be for those who are members of Mt. Zion Bible Church here in Pensacola who have not repented, because I know you have sat under the whole counsel of God which by the grace of God has been preached to you these many years. It will be more tolerable for those who sit under false preachers than it will be for you, if you do not turn unto God and come to know Christ in the forgiveness of your sins!  Again in Matt. 13:40-43 the Lord tells us what will happen when the wicked shall be separated from the righteous in the day of judgment: "As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The 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; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." Oh dear friend there in radio land, do you have ears to hear? The same One Who pronounces these awful words at that day of judgment is here speaking to us, to warn us of the wrath to come!


Then in Luke 16:19-31, our Lord opens the door and lets us look into the other world, that world of eternal punishment, where we may see and hear a soul damned forever because of sin. In verses 22 and 23 we read, "The rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments." Dear friend, the rich man did not go to hell because he was rich, but because he lived and died without God and apart from His Christ Who had come to die for sinners. If we will follow this rich man, we will know that he had not ceased to exist, but had found out what the wisest man on earth who is outside of Christ has never learned: that death does not end it all; and be sure your sins will find you out (Num. 32:23). We find here that the rich man was far from ceasing to exist, for our Lord said, "And in hell, he lift up his eyes, being in torments." So our Lord Jesus never failed to warn us, did He? Here we have a conscious being, a conscious person, in a definite place; and he was there suffering, for he was in torments So great was his anguish, that he begged for one to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue. He was conscious, because the verse is clear that he could feel, he could see, he could think, he could hear and he could remember his five brethren that were still on earth; he didnít want them to come to this place of judgment and eternal damnation and woe with him, for he knew he had set the wrong example before them; he remembered!

Oh, do you understand what it means for a soul to go to hell? Just think of the preacher who is in hell right now! He deceived his own soul and his congregation by living for self and not for God! Heís in hell right now, begging the Lord to send somebody to tell them not to come there and add to his torment!  Thanks be unto God for leaving us this message of warning! And I could give you Scripture after Scripture from the four gospels to show you that the very One Who sits upon the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20 and says to the wicked after they have been judged out of the books, "Depart from me, ye coursed" is the One Who came Himself to warn sinners over and over of this coming judgment and punishment in hell, during His days upon the earth. Did you know that He spoke of this judgment in hell over 50 times in the four gospels? So my friend, you and I are without excuse! Instead of turning away in unbelief and prejudice, we should hear this message and flee to Christ from the wrath to come, crying like the jailer in Acts 16, "What must I do to be saved?" or like the publican in the temple, "God be merciful to me, a sinner"! (Luke 18:13). For we neglect these warnings to our own peril!

Hell


One of the most searching warnings given by our blessed Lord, Who is the eternal Word come down from heaven to declare unto us a holy, sin-hating God, is Mark 9:43-49. Listen to His Word! "If thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, that having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt."  The word "hell" here is GEHENNA, the name of a ravine starting from the northwest of Jerusalem, which sweeps around the southwest angle of the city then meets the brook Cedron below the pool of Siloam. this valley is the traditional site of the fire worship which began in the reign of King Ahaz; and after its desecration by King Josiah, it became a common receptacle for the refuse of the city. Later in Jewish thought, it became a symbol of the place of future punishment. So our Lord used this place-the city dump, where worms gnawed and fires burned continually-as a vivid picture of everlasting punishment, because the people of His day knew about this place.


Also GEHENNA is the word used in the New Testament to designate the place of the final abode of the wicked dead, which is the Lake of fire of Rev. 21:8! You see, the worm, like the fire, is undying and is the conscience of the inhabitants of hell! Their consciences will be revived to gnaw at them for eternity because of their foolishness for neglecting Godís so great salvation and spending their time here on earth in sin and pleasure when they should have been preparing themselves for eternity by bowing at the feet of the holy God!  Also, in the expression "salted with fire" (Mk. 9:49), our Lord gives us the clue as to how the bodies and souls of men in hell shall be preserved. Salt is a preservative; therefore when we are told that "every one" who is cast into Gehenna shall be "salted with fire", we learn that the very fire itself so far from consuming, shall preserve. If it be asked, "how can this be?" we answer, "because that fire is prepared by God Himself." We read this in Matt. 25:41: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." He Who kept the burning bush from being consumed before Moses, and He Who kept the three Hebrew children from dying in the fiery furnace of King Nebuchadnezzar can also keep the bodies of those in hell from being destroyed!


So you see, our Lord faithfully warned us of the consequences of yielding our bodily members as members of unrighteousness, of the yielding of our bodily members to sin. Let those who dare deny these words of our Lord give answer to Him. I dare not refuse them, soften them, tone them down or explain them away; but must faithfully declare unto you these solemn words: that if you die without Christ, you shall live without Christ in a never- ending eternity of suffering and woe! For I would not be true to my charge before God to preach the whole counsel of God if I did not preach on this subject; nor would I be true to your souls if I did not tell you there awaits a lake of fire and an unending eternity for all those who die in their sins.  Even with the promise in John 3:36 is the warning: "he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." But what a promise, what a blessing He has given us in that first part: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." To those who hear His warning and come to Him, casting themselves upon Him and turning from their way, believing, trusting and relying upon Him, what a deliverance! Oh my friend, will you come to Him today? For it is only to those that the Lord will say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

The "Lake of Fire"


We are told in our text that "Death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire". How do the Scriptures describe this lake of fire into which the wicked will be cast after their sentence has been passed? I want you to listen!  First of all, my friend, hell, the lake of fire, and the second death are places of banishment from Godís presence; that is, the wicked will be forever excluded from enjoying the radiance of the face of the God of all grace, and the Father of all comforts. They will be banished from ever seeing the blessed face of the One Whom God has provided as a Substitute for poor sinners, because they never repented. Instead, they will hear these awful words of banishment from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself: "Depart from me, ye that work iniquity, I never knew you as my own " (Matt. 7:23); and "depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41). And what must they do then? He tells us in verse 46: "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment". Oh beloved, these are not my words! They are the words of the Lamb of God Who shall sit upon that throne as Judge in that day! And Iíve cried to

God to give me a broken heart that I could deliver this in the pathos of my soul, for I love you!
Again, see this same truth brought out in very graphic words that cannot be misunderstood in II Thess. 1:7-9: "Öwhen the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." And we see in this that the lake of fire, which is the second death, is not only the place of banishment from Godís presence, but also from the glory of His power for ever and ever; that is, banishment from the glory of His grace, the glory of His mercy, and the availability of His power to save precious souls. For once you have been banished from His presence, He will not exercise that power of salvation. And though you will be banished from the presence and glory of His grace and mercy, and the power of His availability to save, you will not be banished from the presence of His holiness, nor the power of His wrath to punish you forever and ever!


Oh my friend, this is very, very solemn, sober and serious to my soul, to think of knowing nothing but the banishment from Godís grace and mercy, banishment from His power to save, and that forever and ever; and then to have the knowledge of the hopelessness and helplessness of it all, that this banishment from the presence of God will never end! And there will never be one ray of hope or one light of Godís grace and mercy, and not one word of encouragement to seek the face of God in repentance and to cast your soul upon Christ in faith. that day will be gone, and gone forever!

God punishes Nothing but SIN


Why will sinners be banished from the favor and love of God, to suffer in the lake of fire for ever and ever? Are the woes of hell a species of undeserved suffering, that God, having certain helpless and innocent creatures in His power, visits them with His wrath and the exercise of an arbitrary sovereignty, as some teach? Or that this is a willful and capricious infliction on the part of God? Oh no, my friend! This was not the teaching or doctrine of our Lord Jesus, nor is it taught anywhere in the Bible! You see, God punishes nothing but SIN! There is no suffering inflicted in this life or in the life to come upon anything but unrepented sin. So if you die without Christ, the only reason you will be banished from the favor and love of God forever and suffering in the lake of fire, is because you are a sinner; the principle source and well-spring of all your future torment will be your sins.  What saith the Scripture? Think with me now! I must declare unto you the eternal wrath of our sin-hating, righteous God, Who must punish sinners for their sins, for He declares in His Word that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), which is the second death in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14).

These wages will be paid to you because of sin-your sin, not somebody elseís sin-because you did not repent, you did not seek Godís Substitute for sinners! The Bible also declares that what a man takes into eternity with him will either be the source of his everlasting damnation and suffering, or the source of his everlasting joy and peace with the Lord. Listen to Godís Word! "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy let him be holy still" (Rev. 22:11).

What Will You Take into Eternity?


So if you take a new heart and a new nature which loves God and His holiness into eternity, you will stay in that righteous and holy state forever and ever, because you love God and His holiness. This will be your state of joy and happiness and peace as you behold this holy and righteous God in Christ forever. But oh dear friend, if you go into eternity without a new heart and a new nature, and without love for God and His holiness, you will stay in your filthy, vile, wretched and miserable state forever! The source of your suffering and pain, and your gnashing of teeth will come from your own wicked heart as you behold God in His holiness and in His righteous wrath forever and for ever. And since you never took time to seek the Lord, and come to know and love Him and His holiness here on earth, you will find nothing within you or outside of you to love Him and His holiness there in hell; your unrepentant state of misery and woe is fixed forever and for ever.


Oh listen to me, my friend! Because all of the misery of hell will spring from your own soul, entirely from your own sin, therefore you will have no one but yourself to blame in hell. Why? because for the first time in your life, you, the sinful creature, will be compelled to look at yourself and to know your sin in the same manner that it is known by the sin- hating God of the universe. Youíll hate yourself and youíll hate God! and there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. I ask, "Is there any injustice in this?" NO! for God is just and righteous in all that He does.


You see, a man cannot think of a holy God and enjoy sin, so he shuts Him out of his thoughts down here. So if a sinful being cannot bear the sight of himself and a holy God, how could it be-as some teach-that this holy Deity could step in between this sinful man and his sins so as to ignore them and so that man could be happy in his sins forever? Away with such folly and wickedness! For it is the height of wickedness to desire that some method should be invented and introduced into the universe of God whereby the wages of sin should be life and joy, and whereby a sinner could look into his own wicked heart and be happy. He cannot do it, here or in eternity, unless the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, Godís Son, cleanses from all sin, which can only happen in time as you, the sinner, cast down your arms of rebellion in repentance and seek the face of Christ in mercy!

Why are the Wicked in this Place?


Now let us again read Rev. 21:8 and notice the eight classes of sinners who shall be there in the lake of fire: "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." And why are they there? They are all there because they are sinners, and they are suffering for nothing but sin, UNREPENTANT SIN! And if you are among this number who die unrepentant, my friend, you shall know that you are cast into this lake of fire and are suffering the second death because of sin, your sin! Yes, then shall you know, even as you are now known by the righteous and holy God of the universe (I Cor. 13:12).  You see, no man shall ever escape the knowledge of sin and the effects it has had upon God and upon man. Every man, from Adam to the last man, shall come to acknowledge his sin-either in this life by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, or in eternity when it will be forever too late and there is no more covering for sin. Either he will hate and repent of his sins now, confessing and turning from them, or forever he will hate himself and God because of his sin.  Oh what hope there is for you who turn and repent of your sins, fleeing from and mourning over them in this life, my friend! Yes, youíll hate yourself now because of them, but then by faith you will be enabled to rest your sinful soul in the hands of Godís Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, Who will cleanse you by His blood and justify you before God in His righteousness, thereby setting you free from the power and penalty of sin, and making you a righteous man, to walk in a righteous way.


But for those of you who refuse to turn from your sins in this life, there will never be any covering for your never-dying soul! Forever in eternity you will know what sin is, but you will never be able to get away from it! With all the pathos of my soul I warn you, oh listen to me! It will be pure living torture as you view your sins (which you covered while on earth) in the light of Godís holiness! For you will be compelled to look at the wickedness of your heart, your character, your nature and your acts of sin, and all you will see, hear and experience is the awfulness of your sins against the holy God Who inhabits eternity! Oh my friend, this is the reason I am pouring out my heart to you today, that peradventure God, in His great grace and mercy, will open your heart and give you repentance to the acknowledging of the truth about yourself now, so as you see your sinnership, you will cry unto Him to cover your sins by the blood of Christ that they will not appear before you in eternity! I pray that God by His Holy Spirit will be pleased to take this home to your heart before itís forever too late!

THE ABODE OF THE WICKED DESCRIBED


How do the Scriptures describe this awful place wherein the wicked will suffer eternally for their sins against God? We are given a graphic description of the intermediate state of suffering and woe in hell, wherein the wicked will remain until death and hell are cast into the lake of fire which is their final abode. And my friend, their agony and suffering will not be lessened in the lake of fire, for as weíve told you before, when a man dies, his state is fixed forever (Rev. 22:11; Eccl. 11:3). Listen now to Godís Word! II Pet. 2:4 tells us that the wicked angels were cast down to hell and delivered into "chains of darkness", so we gather from this that the final abode of the wicked is a dark imprisonment and a place of bondage. And our Lord confirms this truth in Matt. 22:13 with the parable of the man who came to the wedding without a wedding garment: "Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." So we see from this that this place of banishment from Godís presence is not only a dark imprisonment, but it is a place of outer darkness, a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth! And why are these in this awful place of darkness and misery? because they never repented of their sins against God; they were never clothed by faith in the garment of Christís righteousness; and never having submitted themselves to the righteousness of God, they came to knock at the door and endeavor to enter by their own works.

A Place of Darkness


You see, these precious souls have lived in the inner spiritual darkness of their souls, so they are now cast out into outer darkness, that is away from Godís presence. All the while they lived on this earth, there was the possibility of hope, the possibility of the light of Godís grace shining into their souls, but they remained in the inner darkness of their souls, and are now cast out where there is no hope! Just think, ALL HOPE GONE! Thereís darkness within the soul and darkness without, and theyíre forever banished from the presence of a good and gracious God. It is like a blind man who can neither hear nor speak, but is shut up within the darkness of his own self, and all he has is his mind, which works constantly. So it is with the sinner who is cast forever into this dark imprisonment and place of bondage; no wonder it will be a place of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth!

A Place of Burning


Also many places in the Scriptures tell us that the final abode of the wicked will be a place of everlasting burning and devouring of fire. Listen to Isa. 33:14: "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" And in Mark 9:44 our Lord warns us that it is a place "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." What is the one thing that kindles the fire of hell and keeps that fire burning, from which the wicked shall never be free? It is their sin against God! And my dear friend, let wiser theologians than your speaker figure out if this place is actually fire and brimstone, or if this is only symbolic; but I do know this: what our Lord is teaching us in all of this is that the guilt of one sin upon a manís conscience is like one drop of fire burning in his conscience and soul! Certainly there is a fire for the soul if there were no fire for the body, for when a man is made to face sin and it consequences, there is that guilt, and that burning, that horror and that suffering, that mental anguish; THIS IS HELL ITSELF, as the man is devoured in his guiltiness before God forever and ever as he sees his sins. And his sins and sin nature burn within him, keeping the fires of hell going continually!

A Place of Torment


Then we can see from the example our Lord gave in Luke 16:23 that the final abode of the wicked is a place of torment, for He said of the rich man who died: "And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torment"; And his torment was so great, in verse 24 we hear him crying, "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." Oh what a fire there was in his soul! so much so that he didnít want his five brothers to come to this place and accuse him. My friend, I know what a little sin does to my conscience now! I canít rest until I come in confession and repentance to the Lord, applying the blood of Christ by faith to my soul and my heart. But if a man dies in his sins, he takes hell into hell with him, and THATíS TORMENT!

A Place of No Rest


You see, this place which is prepared for the devil and his angels and those who die unrepentant, is a place where there will be no rest for the wicked day nor night forever and for ever. Listen to Rev. 14:9-11: "ÖIf any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the 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: and 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."

A Place of Unrepentant Sinners
and Their Description


Now remember, these wicked who suffer in this place of torment forever are there ONLY because they refused to lay down their arms of rebellion against their Creator and their God. They refused to give allegiance to the King of glory and bow in submission to the Lord Jesus Christ. They refused to turn from their wicked ways and seek Godís face in repentance so they could find rest in the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who alone is Godís Substitute for sinners. They are there ONLY because they are sinners who would not heed the gospel call of salvation to their souls. They are suffering ONLY because of their unrepentant sin, the essence of which is "the right to do with my life as I please, when and where and how I please, so I will not have this Man to rule over me!" (Luke 19:14).  But we have been warned! For it is clearly stated in Rom. 1:18-19: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them."

Oh my friend, do you see that? The righteous wrath of God is revealed from heaven against you the sinner, because of your ungodliness and your unrighteousness! Because of your vertical sin (against God), your sin of ungodliness, you will be punished in the lake of fire in your own body. And you ask, "What sin is that?" Listen to Mark 12:30: "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." You have not loved God supremely, and that is the greatest of all sins! You have SELF on the throne of your heart, and youíve worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, Who is blessed forever (Rom. 1:25).


Also because of your horizontal sin of unrighteousness-that which is against your neighbor-you abide under Godís righteous judgment and wrath. You have not loved your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31), but you always put SELF first; therefore you have sinned against God and your neighbor. You hold the truth in unrighteousness-you depress or hold it down; you will not walk in the light of it. In other words, you know more than you perform, so you stand guilty before God; you are without excuse, because God can be known by you , but you have not sought Him nor glorified Him by trusting and obeying Him. Therefore your sin is nothing less than war on God and demands condemnation! That is the reason you will be punished in the lake of fire in your own body.  You see, either you, the sinner, are justified in setting up your will against Godís will, or God is justified in condemning you, the sinner, for committing such an outrage and bringing your defiance unto eternal defeat. And since Godís honor is at stake in the attack of your sin upon Him, He must and will punish you for your sin in the lake of fire. You will be among those eight classes of sinners listed in Rev. 21:8 who "have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

Listen as I describe them in the love and pathos of my soul!  "THE FEARFUL" - Here are those who were afraid, fainthearrted, cowards, for they would not face the requirements of the gospel, repentance and faith. Nor would they face the requirements of the strait gate and the narrow way, or the requirements of a life of holiness and purity in a climate of ridicule and persecution from family and friends. They would not face the much tribulation that is required for a soul to enter into the kingdom of heaven, as those in John 12:42: "Öbut because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue", they were just fearful to trust the Lord with their never-dying souls!


"THE UNBELIEVING" - These are those who were skeptical, doubters, disbelievers, who were suspicious of God. they were not willing to believe that God would not accept their works and righteousness, their "good" life and "good deeds" for salvation, but went about seeking to establish their own righteousness; so they would not submit themselves unto the righteousness of God. They would not believe that Christ is the only righteousness that God would accept for their salvation. So my friend, these morally upright, proud sinners, who would not bow to the authority of Christ, will be in the lake of fire, right along with the abominable, those who live in the most loathsome, vile, disgusting and nasty sins!


"THE ABOMINABLE" - These individuals are described in I Cor. 6:9: those who participated in homosexuality and lesbianism, who abused themselves with mankind or practiced sodomy. The Amplified Bible describes these loathsome sins and sinners like this: "Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their own hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonouring of their own bodies among themselves, abandoning them to the degrading power of sin. For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them unto vile affections and degrading passions. For their women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one; and the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze-burned out, consumed-with lust for one another, men committing shameful acts with men and suffering in their own bodies and personalities the inevitable consequences and penalty of their wrong doing and going astray, which was their fitting retribution. And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome" (Rom. 1:24,26,27,28).


"THE MURDERERS" - These are the hateful, the violent, the brutal, and slayers of mankind. Oh what blood will be upon the hands of millions and millions in that day when the wicked shall pay for their sins in hell and the lake of fire! Just think of the women and teenage girls who have premeditatively had their babies killed in their wombs! Think of the midwives and the nurses and doctors who have had a part in these murderous acts! Think of the judges on the Supreme Court who have given consent to such butchery! Yes, all of these shall be in the lake of fire, paying for their sins of murder and hatred because they didnít turn to God in repentance and confession of these sins before it was everlasting too late.


"THE WHOREMONGERS" - This class of sinners includes all the fornicators, whores and prostitutes who have died in their sins, along with all those who have taken the members of their bodies which were meant to be used for the glory of God, and have yielded them as members of unrighteousness to satisfy their lustful desires. Now they are in a place where no sin is ever satisfied-forever!
 

"THE SORCERERS" - Here are all the cults and spiritists, the miracle workers and magicians; and all who have tried to pry into the future but have not believed Godís Word. Even the drug addicts, rock musicians and their rocking fans are included in this class of sinners, who have changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator (Rom. 1:25).
 

"THE IDOLATERS" - These too have worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, Who is blessed forever, for they have set up themselves or someone or something else as an idol to worship; and they did not make God in Christ their only refuge.
 

"And ALL LIARS" - This covers every man who has died in his sins, for all men are by nature born liars (Psa. 58:3; 116:11).


So we see all kinds of unrepentant sinners righteously sentenced to that place of darkness in the lake of fire, to be punished forever and ever because of their sin against the most high and holy God. All of these lived and died without Christ, in rebellion against God and His authority. Like the rich man in Luke 16, they have not ceased to exist but have now experienced the truth that death does not end it all. They are not annihilated, but they are conscious. They still have their senses, for they can feel the pain and torment in the flames. They can think and remember, and their conscience continually accuses them-"their worm dieth not"! They have an eternity to remember all the opportunities they had to turn to God, for the Books have been opened and they have had to agree that all things written therein are true, but now their soul is eternally separated from God, so itís forever TOO LATE!

BIBLE CHARACTERS IN THE
ABODE OF THE DAMNED


Now in our mindís eye, let us walk down the corridors of this abode of the wicked, based upon the Biblical description of the characters who died in their sins. Let us hear them speak and tell us why they are there and what opportunities they had to escape such a place. Think with me now!

Balaam the False Prophet


The first man we meet is Balaam, who turned out to be a false prophet. The Scriptures in Numbers 22, 23 and 24 tell us of his marvelous prophecies, his blessings upon Israel, and his great promise that "God is not a man that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19). We also hear him crying, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!" (23:10). But did he die the death of the righteous? Let us listen as Balaam himself answers! "Oh no, I did not die the death of the righteous; I died the death of the wicked. I came to this place of never-ending torment because I loved the wages of unrighteousness! (II Pet. 2:15). I loved my own way, and used my gifts as prophet to feather my own nest and to get rich. This was my error (Jude 11); I ran greedily after reward and did not care for the souls of men. I was only concerned for the applause and popularity my position would bring me, and the authority I would have over the people of God. And as if that was not enough, Iím here in this place of torment because I led people astray!

You see, I caused the people of Israel to corrupt themselves with the women of Moab, which brought the curse of God down upon them and upon myself as well (Rev. 2:14). I preached and practiced the "carnal Christian" theory; and I know it was just a theory, it was not the truth of Godís Word! So I came here myself and brought all my followers down to hell with me."


My dear friend, as we hear Balaam the preacher talking, I wonder how many such preachers will be in hell with their congregations whom they have deceived? I wonder how many preachers there are like Balaam, and Diotrephes there in III John 9-10, who are using their gifts to bring people under their control and authority, and who are using their position as a cloak under which to hide their sins of pride and lust and covetousness, and of hatred and unbelief? I wonder how many preachers will be in hell because while they preached to others, they themselves became castaways (I Cor. 9:27), for they did not keep their bodies, their lusts and their pride under control? Yes, this is sobering, my friend! For if youíre like Diotrephes who loved to have the preeminence, my dear fellow preacher, though you exalt yourself as the eagle and set your nest among the stars, saying in your heart, "Who shall bring me down to the ground?" (Obadiah 3), if you die in this state, you too will find, to your shame and confusion like Balaam, that God will bring you down to the pit where you will be shut up to everlasting burnings forever and ever! And like Balaam, you too will walk the corridors of the pit with your congregation, crying, "Woe is me! I am undone! for I loved the wages of sin, the popularity and the applause of men instead of God and His holiness, so I wasnít true to the Word of God nor to the souls of men! And here my sin has found me out (Num. 32:23). Though I had a desire to die the death of the righteous, I find that the Word of God is true: THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH! (Rom. 6:23) - ETERNAL DEATH, always dying and yet fully conscious!"

Judas the False Apostle


But as we move on through the corridors of the abode of the wicked, we see another character whose name is Judas. Let us hear him speak! "I was numbered with the twelve (Acts 1:17), and daily I walked and talked with the Lord, and listened to Him teach. I had many opportunities to believe and trust Him; even when He washed my feet the night I betrayed Him I had an opportunity to turn to Him in repentance, but my covetous heart brought me to this place of torment. Even though I went back to the priests and told them I had sinned and betrayed innocent blood, and then gave back the money, it was too late; I had passed the line of no return, so I went out and hung myself in despair (Matt. 27:3-5). Now I am experiencing the truth of Heb. 12:29: "For our God is a consuming fire", apart from His mercy in Christ Jesus the Lord!


And I must ask you who are listening to me today, how many of you are numbered among the people of God as was Judas, but your heart is far from Him? How many of you are like those described in Ezek. 33:31-32? "And they came unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not." For you love your sin, your way, your lusts and your money more than your God! And shall you not fall into perdition along with Judas?

King Herod and his Mistress


Then as we walk a little further, we see two more characters in the corridors of the wicked. These two individuals heard the gospel from the lips of John the Baptist of whom our Lord said, "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater" (Matt. 11:11). But they hated this messenger and his message because he was true to their souls: he had told them "It is not lawful for you to live in adultery; it is not right for you to live in sin!" (Mark 6:18). Their love of sin, as well as hatred and revenge drove them to murder, although Herod had heard John gladly (6:20). Yes, they had opportunity to repent upon hearing Johnís message, but they preferred their pound of flesh, so now they are in the torment of this awful place, abiding under the wrath of God. Herodious got her revenge, she got the head of John the Baptist on a dinner plate, but it cost her and her lover their souls! Hear them as they weep and wail and gnash upon each other with their teeth, and still curse God and His messenger because they could not have their sin and get away with it! Theyíve found out now that "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" in your sins, unrepentant enemies of God and of His Christ! My friend, vengeance belongs to God, He will recompense! (Heb. 10:30,31). And this you too will find to be true, if you donít repent and turn to Him while it is yet the day of grace!

Lotís Wife


Let us go further, and we see a signpost placed on the way to hell to warn us: "Remember Lotís Wife"! (Luke 17:32). "Mrs. Lot, why are you here?" Listen as she speaks! "Because my heart was still in Sodom! I seemed to be fleeing, but I really wanted no part of a life of separation from the world, or of self denial. My heart was still in the world; I loved it, even though I knew we are told to "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (I John 2:15). Yes, I had the opportunity to escape-God took me bodily out of Sodom-no man made me turn back; I just had to have one more fling of the world, and I got caught in the judgment. Oh woe is me, for I am without hope and without God forever!" And in Luke 9:62 our Lord warns us: "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Oh, my friend, "Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts"! (Heb. 3:7-8).


Is there a man listening to me today who says, "I have to have this woman; Iím going to live with her and have my fling, no matter what!"? My friend, I warn you, you are going to get caught in the overflow! I remember sitting beside the bed of a man one night and telling him, "Brother, you are living in sin; the woman youíre living with is not your wife; youíre living in adultery!" But he laughed at me and said, "If I go to hell, Iím gonna have her!" And this is where he went, for he died unrepentant! Oh my friend, is it worth it? Just think, youíll walk the corridors of the damned forever, eaten up with lust and yet never satisfied!

Demas, the Friend of Paul


Then we hear another voice with the same cry as Lotís wife. His name is Demas. Listen to him as he weeps and wails! "I came as far as a man can possibly go, for I went to hell from the very gates of heaven! I was the companion of the great apostle Paul for years; I saw the great work of God manifested in place after place in the Roman empire. I suffered hardships right along with Paul, and even stayed with him to his last days on earth; I heard him preach his last sermon. But I left him, having loved this present world (II Tim. 4:10). I apostatized so greatly that I became a priest in a heathen temple! Oh how hot and how great is my punishment, for all the light that I had in the Word of God, and here I am, an apostate! Woe is me, for I am undone!"  Yes, my friend, what John Bunyan said is true, men do go to hell from the very gates of heaven, because they do not know Christ. They only have a name to live but are still spiritually dead (Rev. 3:1), and they, like the five foolish virgins, fail to make their calling and election sure (II Pet. 1:10). Oh, dear friend, God has left us many warnings in His Word against apostasy; will you heed them?

Esau the Profane Man


But who is that, weeping over there? He seems to find no place for repentance. I know his name, it is Esau, the brother of Jacob and the son of Isaac. Again our God warns us, that we be not like him and our last end be like his! Listen to Godís Word! "Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears" (Heb. 12:16-17). We see here that since he lost the opportunity for repentance and mercy, he could find no place for it on earth or in hell! For in hell there is no repentance; there is nothing there but darkness, where the wicked will gnaw their tongues for pain and blaspheme the God of heaven because of their pain and their sores, yet they "repented not of their deeds" (Rev. 16:10,11).

Unbelieving Israelites


As we walk a little ways further, we see thousands upon tens of thousands there in the corridors of the wicked, and they look like they all came from one period of this worldís history. Who are they? They are that generation of Israelites who came out of Egypt with Moses but did not enter into Godís rest because of unbelief. Listen to their mournful cry! "We saw Godís work for 40 years, but we were fearful and unbelieving and would not enter into that land God had promised us, even though we had the fruit of the land in our hands! We saw the miracles in Egypt; we saw the Red Sea held back by Godís power while we walked across on dry land; we saw the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night; we saw manna fall from heaven for bread; quails came in on an east wind for us to kill for meat; we saw the rock that followed us every day in the wilderness, from which gushed forth the water that kept us alive; and yet for all this we still would not believe! Our hearts were hard and then harder, so we perished in the wilderness; and now we are in this place of misery and woe where there will never be any rest! Oh unbelief, bitter unbelief, that brought us to this place!"


Oh my friend, will your end be like Balaamís or Judasí, or King Herod and his mistressí? like Lotís wifeís or Demasí or the unbelieving Israelitesí? Will you go on in your sins and deny your never-dying soul the opportunity of closing in with Christ in repentance and faith before it is everlastingly too late? I wonder how many of you to whom I am speaking today will not yet believe the Word of God?-especially you of Mt. Zion Bible Church, who have seen the precious works of God in our midst and in your homes! For it is not my word that I have brought before you in these messages-it is Godís Word! Are not some of you like the chief rulers in John 12:43 who loved the praises of men more than the praise of God? You go on in your unbelief, and wonder and will perish eternally! (Acts 13:41). Are there not some of you, like the Pharisee in the temple, justifying yourself before God and still saying that you are not as other men? Yet you will drop into hell and the second death in the lake of fire because of your unbelief!


Maybe Iím speaking to some who are like Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5? You are lying about your never-dying souls when you tell yourself you are all right, for if Mr. or Miss so and so who does not walk uprightly makes it to heaven, you will too. But oh no, my friend, you shall both drop into hell because of your unbelief! And you will suffer for your sins forever under the righteous judgment and wrath of God!
Oh that you will heed Isa. 55:6 and 7! "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD; and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." I pray that you have heard Godís Word today by the hearing of faith and by Godís Holy Spirit, and that He will convince you of your sin and your need of turning to Godís only way of deliverance from hell and the second death-the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh that you would turn to Him, that you may repent and believe; for HE ALONE is the deliverer of your precious, never-dying soul!

DAY OF JUDGMENT

- Matt. 12:36; 25:31-46


Day of judgment, day of wonders! Hark! the trumpetís awful sound, Louder than a thousand thunders, Shakes the vast creation round! How the summons Will the sinnerís heart confound!
 

See the Judge our nature wearing, Clothed in Majesty divine You who long for his appearing, Then shall say, "This God is mine!" Gracious Saviour, Own me in that day for thine.
 

Under sorrows and reproaches May this thought our courage raise; Swiftly Godís great day approaches; Sighs shall then be changed to praise! We shall triumph When the world is in a blaze.
 

by Newton

COMING OF CHRIST TO JUDGMENT
 

- MATT. 25:31-46


Lo! he comes, arrayed in vengeance, Riding down the heavenly road; Floods of fury roll before him; Who can meet an angry God? Tremble, sinners; Who can stand before his rod?


Lo! he comes in glory shining; Saints, arise and meet your King! "Glorious Captain of Salvation, Welcome, welcome," hear them sing! Shouts of triumph Make the heavens with echoes ring.


Now, despisers, look and wonder! Hear the dreadful sound, "Depart!" Rattling like a peal of thunder, Through each guilty rebelís heart! Lost for ever! Hope and sinners here must part.


Still they hear the dreadful sentence; Hell resounds the dreadful roar; While their heart-strings rend with anguish, Trembling on the burning shore; Justice seals it; Down they sink to rise no more.


How they shrink with horror, viewing Hellís deep caverns opening wide; Guilty thoughts, like ghosts, pursuing, Plunge them down the rolling tide! Now consider, Ye who scorn the Lamb that died.


Hark! ten thousand harps resounding! Formed in bright and grand array; See the glorious armies rising, While their Captain leads the way; Heaven before them, Opens an eternal day.


by Swain


(Click Here For Chapter 6 on Revelation Twenty)

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