The good news about hell is that it’s not forever. Further, there is not one single soul in hellfire today. Unlike popular belief, people will receive their rewards and punishments at the Resurrection Day at the end of the world–not when they die.
God would not burn a murderer who died 3,000 years ago 3,000 years longer than one who dies and deserves punishment for the same sin today. That would not be fair.
“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 5:28, 29.)
Both the wicked and the righteous that have died are in their graves “sleeping” until the resurrection (John 11:11-13.)
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12.)
Sinners will receive punishment according to their works. That certainly would not be forever. If God tortured the sinners throughout eternity, He would be more heartless than men have ever been. The truth is that an eternal hell of torment would be hell for God also who loved humans to the point of sacrificing His Son to save them. “Eternal hell fire” is such a horrible theory and a slander against our loving Father’s character.
The devil will also come to an end:
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:10). “I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. … And never shall thou be any more.” (Ezekiel 28:18, 19.)
The work of God has always been to save rather than destroy. The work of destroying the wicked in hellfire is so foreign to God’s nature that the Bible calls it His “strange act” (Isaiah 28:21.)
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.” (Revelation 21: 4.)
But some say the Bible talks of “everlasting fire” for the wicked. What does that mean? Let’s allow the Bible to explain itself:
The term “for ever,” as used in the Bible, means simply a period of time, limited or unlimited. It is used 56 times in the Bible in connection with things that have already ended. It is like the word “tall,” which means something different in describing men, trees, or mountains.
In Jonah 2:6, “for ever” means “three days and nights” (Jonah 1:17.) In Deuteronomy 23:3, “for ever” means “10 generations.” In the case of man, “for ever” means “as long as he lives” or “until death.” (1 Samuel 1:22, 28; Exodus 21:6; Psalm 48:14.)
Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with everlasting, or eternal, fire (Jude 7,) and that fire turned them “into ashes” as a warning to “those that after should live ungodly,” (2 Peter 2:6.) These cities are not burning today. The fire went out after everything was burned out. Likewise, everlasting fire will go out after it has turned the wicked to ashes (Malachi 4:3.) The effects of the fire are everlasting, but not the burning itself.
Also, Jeremiah 17:27 says Jerusalem was to be destroyed with unquenchable fire, and in 2 Chronicles 36:19-21 the Bible says this fire burned the city “to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah” and left it desolate. Yet we know this fire went out, because Jerusalem is not burning today. To quench means to extinguish or put out. No one will be able to put out the fire of hell.
So the wicked will burn in the fire as long as they live, or until death. This fiery punishment for sin will vary according to the degree of sins for each individual, but after the punishment, the fire will go out.