You Can Know You Have Eternal Life
721 – The Divine Mystery Revealed (28)

by Jim Mettenbrink

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     Jesus 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. Who will be condemned?

     Part of the mystery revealed in the New Testament regarding how God redeemed the sinner who would become a Christian, is what happens to those who will be “
resurrected for condemnation.”  The apostle Paul’s earliest epistles were to the newly established congregation at Thessalonica. In them he revealed something of eternity. In the first epistle, he referred to Jesus return to conduct judgment day and admonished the Christians how to live in order to be prepared (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11).

     In the second epistle, he revealed who will go to hell — “
…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord…” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). In short, the condemned are folks who don’t become Christians or are unfaithful Christians when they die. What is the nature of their suffering?

     Previously, we considered their eternal residence (hell) would be “
outer darkness” (where God is not) (Matthew 8:12). That Paul refers to the punishment as “flaming fire,” and John, a “lake of fire” (2 Thessalonians 1:8; Rev 20:10) indicates it is a place of perpetual unrelenting anguish of the spirit. This eternal pain is further emphasized by Jesus — “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:41, 42). The mental anguish in the person’s spirit will be eternal. What is this anguish like?

     The short description — it is a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, like being in a deep, dark hole, seeing the way out, but can’t. A friend who was dying of cancer told me, she suffered many serious diseases in life, but nothing compared to the anguish of depression — a taste of hell on earth. In hell one will not even see the way out, because there is none!  Total mental anguish forever. The “
resurrection of condemnation”!  What is the “resurrection of life”?  The mystery continues to unfold!

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      © Jim Mettenbrink; used by permission. rev.170416
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