The lake of fire, hell and the abyss, these are all terms used for the same event. At the end of the world, sin will be purged from this earth by fire. There is not one single soul in hell fire today. The Bible says that God reserves, or holds back, the wicked until the day of judgment to be punished. “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” (2 Peter 2:9).
The Great Judgement Day
Sinners will be cast into hell fire after the great Judgment Day at the end of the world–not when they die. God would not punish a person in the lake of fire until his case was tried and decided in the heavenly court at the judgment. Jesus said, “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” (Matthew 13:40-42). “The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).
Hell Will Not Be Forever
Nothing but ashes will be left when the fire goes out. “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” “And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 4:1, 3). In Psalms 37:10, 20, the Bible says the wicked will go up in smoke and be completely destroyed.
The scriptures teach that hell fire will go out and that there will not be left. “Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it” (Isaiah 47:14).
God Will Create a New Earth
In God’s new kingdom all “former things” will be passed away. Hell, being one of the former things, is included. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” “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: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:1, 4).
An eternal hell of torment would be hell for God also, who loves even the vilest sinner. The work of destroying the wicked in hell fire is so foreign to God’s nature that the Bible calls it His “strange act” (Isaiah 28:21).
For more on this topic, check out: The Fate of the Transgressor.
In His service,