1. On Death and Hades. “Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:14, ESV).
“A powerful preacher was reported to have explained that not everyone who thinks they will, will get into heaven. [Luke 13:28, “”There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out” (NKJV)] Some people will be locked out and destined for eternal torment in Hell where, he said, “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”
One smart elderly lady shouted out and said, “Well my teeth won’t be gnashing because I haven’t got any.” The preacher in his powerful preaching voice replied, ‘Madam, teeth will be provided!’”
Jesus said that there will be gnashing of teeth. In those days in the Roman empire, masters sometimes keep their slaves in dungeons underground. There, the slaves would weep with grief and gnash their teeth with anger.
Jesus indicated that in Hades, people there will show deep remorse, anguish, and concern for the people left on earth (Lk. 16:27-30). I believe many there will weep because of deep regrets for rejecting Christ here on earth. Maybe they’ll be gnashing their teeth because of deep regrets for their sins, missed opportunities, etc. But on the Final Judgment Day, there will be no more time for regrets. It will be too late.
Death and Hades will be the first to be cast into the lake of fire. Now “Death” (Gk. thanatos), is “the condition” of the dead; the separation of the soul and body. “Hades” (Gk. hades), is “the place of the dead.” Let me repeat, “hades” is not “hell” (KJV). Hades is where the dead are now. Hell is the lake of fire. In the NT, all the dead in Christ immediately go to paradise. All the dead in Adam and without Christ immediately go to Hades. This means that no dead person is yet in hell right now. Hell is yet uninhabited today.
But after the Great White Throne Judgment, the Bible says Death and Hades will be cast into hell, the lake of fire. This is the second Death. The adjective, “this” (Gk. outos), is singular in number. It refers to only one thing—not death or hades, but the lake of fire. The first Death is Hades. The second Death is Hell, the lake of fire. This is the second Death.
The first Death is physical and temporal. The second Death is spiritual and eternal. The first Death is the death of man. The second Death is the death of death itself. The first Death is a cutting off of temporal pain. The second Death is a continuing of eternal pain.
Paul said, “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26, NKJV). After the Great White Throne, death is destroyed! There will be no more death after this Final Judgment. Death will be no more!
2. On Those Unrecorded In the Book of Life. “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15, ESV).
I read about a man who had a dream. He dies and goes to hell! While in hell the man notices there are many tables full of food. However, starving people are sitting all around the great tables. There is hot food of all taste on the table. While all this food is right before them, each person is starving to death. Then the man noticed that each person has a six feet long fork in his left hand, and a six feet long spoon in the other hand.
The people in Hell cannot get to the delicious food, because the forks reach beyond their mouth!
By this time, Death and Hades are already empty. Death will have given up its dead bodies. Hades will have given up its dead spirits.
What will happen to all the dead now standing before the Great White Throne? Read Rev. 20:15 again. The verb, “written,” here is in the perfect tense. The perfect tense refers to completed action in the past, with results continuing in the present. John is saying, “Anyone not found already written, and anyone not found still written on the Final Judgment day, was cast into the lake of fire.” Is your name already written in the Book of Life today? Then you can be sure that it will be found still written on that Final Day. But if it’s unwritten in the Book of Life, you can be sure that it will be found still unwritten on that day.
Now let me repeat what I said last Sunday. The dead without Christ will not stand there to be condemned. They shall stand before the throne because they are condemned already. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already” (John 3:18, ESV). They are not there to wait for the decision. Rather, they are there to wait for the sentence of that decision.
A rich man dies and arrives at the gates of heaven and St Peter says, “Sorry, you have no place here – you are due in the other place – through the door and down the stairs – mind how you go, it’s hot.”
The man says that there must be a mistake. He says “Tell God it’s ME, I was the one that put hundreds of pounds in the building fund, I put notes in the collection every week – no coins – God has made a mistake – go and tell him.”
St Peter disappears and then comes back. He says, “Yes you are right, I pointed out just how much money you gave over the years and God has admitted that he made a mistake. He says here’s your money back. Through the door and down the stairs – mind how you go, it’s hot.”
Friends, you cannot buy your way to heaven, either by your religiosity or by your goodness. God cannot be mistaken. What He has ordained in eternity past is true for eternity future. Receiving God’s forgiveness is still by His grace (undeserved favor) through faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9, NKJV). You can only be saved by the grace of God in Christ, not by your good works. Your good works cannot buy your way to heaven.
If you insist on your religiosity or good works to earn your way to heaven, then you will be judged by your works. But if you come to Christ with nothing but your destitute sinful soul repenting of your sin, and receive God’s grace in Christ, then you will not be judged.
And so God offers you a choice. You can either choose the mercy of God in Christ today. Or you can choose the judgment of God on that day. If you choose the Judgment of God, then all you have to do is to reject Christ today. But if you want to choose the mercy and grace of God in Christ, come to Christ today!
Receive Him today as your personal Lord and Savior. Admit before God that you have sinned against Him. And He will forgive you your sin. He will abundantly pardon you in Christ. He shall give you eternal life!