You Can Know You Have Eternal Life
720 – The Divine Mystery Revealed (27)

by Jim Mettenbrink

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     Three questions which every one has are:  (1) Where did I come from?  (2) Why am I here (purpose in life)?  (3) Where am I going?  Ultimately, what happens when I die?  Last week we considered the two parts of Hades, the place of departed spirits when folks die (Luke 16:19-31).  Does anything happen after that and if so, what, where and when?  This is not clearly stated in the Old Testament, but is part of the mystery revealed in the New Testament.

     Jesus must have shockingly startled the Jews, revealing part of the mystery beyond the grave, that “
…the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28, 29).  This declaration tells us a person simply does not die and become non-existent.  First, let’s address the “resurrection of condemnation.

     When leaving the temple just three days before His crucifixion, Jesus also declared to His disciples regarding the destiny of the condemned — “
And these will go away into everlasting punishment…” (Matthew 25:46).  Two points:  (1) Eternal existence is ahead, which begins with the resurrection.  (2) The punishment of the condemned is eternal — never ends.  Where is the residence of punishment, once the evil person resurrected?

     Jesus said it was an “
outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12).  Since it is darkness and God is light, God is not present in the outer darkness.  In that Matthew 25 speech, Jesus said it is the same place as for the devil and his demons (Matthew 25:41).  The apostle John refers to it as a lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).  Imagine a lake of fire where it is dark.  Jesus called this place hell — “Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell…” (Luke 12:5).  Note, the power to cast a person into hell, refers to the resurrection of condemnation.

     Hell is the word “gehenna” (Greek) which was the valley south of the temple which was a perpetually burning garbage dump.  Jesus coined “hell” to show the burning never ends — eternal.  This dark hot place is hell, not of this world.

     What is the punishment in hell?  The mystery continues to unfold!

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      © Jim Mettenbrink; used by permission. rev.170416
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