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The Lake Of Fire Or Heaven?

All Christians agree that God will judge the entire human race.  Those who have died will be resurrected and judged alongside those who were alive at the return of Jesus.  The unGodly have many hopes that they can pass through this judgment unscathed based on their good works [which they hope will outweigh their bad], God’s loving nature [God won’t sentence anyone to the Lake of Fire/Hell] or just plain blind luck.  The fact is that no one deserves Heaven; we all deserve the Lake of Fire.  The only ones who will get a “good” verdict at this judgment are the ones who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.  Only because Jesus has already paid the price of their sins will they be declared innocent and allowed into heaven.  

Bible in Forest With Sunlight

Who Gets Rewards?

Although The Book Of Signs correctly understands the nature of this judgment, it confuses the matter by having two judgments.

In the end times there will actually be two altogether separate judgments occurring at different times and being tried in different courts. The first is called the judgment seat of Christ; the second is the Great White Throne Judgment.  Jeremiah, David. The Book of Signs (p. 379). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

The Great White Throne And The Lake Of Fire

The Book Of Signs presents the dispensational idea that Christians will be raptured and face a “judgment” where they will be given their rewards.  After which, there will be a seven-year Tribulation, and then Jesus will come again [the third time called the Second Coming!].  The unGodly will then face the Great White Throne judgment, where the level of their punishment in the Lake of Fire is determined.  

So Christians are rewarded at the rapture, but what about those saved during the supposed Tribulation?  Do they not get rewards?  Or is it only Jews who are saved during the Tribulation and they don’t get rewards?  Or is there another judgment where they get rewards?  And the Christians who get rewards at the Rapture don’t seem to be able to enjoy them until the Millennium?

Two Judgments?

Dr. David Jeremiah quotes the following verses:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.  2 Cor. 5:10-11, NKJV

Do not marvel at this; for 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, NKJV

Read through these verses carefully.  In these verses, the Book Of Signs sees two different judgments separated by seven years.  I don’t see it.  I see two different aspects of the same judgment.  We all stand before God to be judged.  For some, it will become a celebration; for others, it will be eternal agony in the Lake of Fire.  [Dr. David Jeremiah correctly rejects the idea that the unGodly pass into non-existence.  We are eternal beings and will exist somewhere for eternity - and at death, we are locked into the destiny we have chosen.]

The first resurrection, which Jesus calls the “resurrection of life” (John 5:29), will occur in two stages. The first will be simultaneous with the Rapture when the saved of the present age are raised to meet Christ along with those who are raptured. The second stage will occur seven years later when the saints martyred during the Tribulation period are resurrected to enter the Millennium. The Old Testament saints will also be raised in this second stage (Dan. 12:1–2; Isa. 26:19).  Jeremiah, David. The Book of Signs (p. 380). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

Please reread the verses above, particularly the words of Jesus in John 5.  Does that teach two stages separated by seven years?

“At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Everyone who is found written in the book.

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.  Dan. 12:1-2, NKJV

Your dead shall live; Together with my dead body they shall arise.
Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; For your dew is like the dew of herbs, And the earth shall cast out the dead. Is. 26:19, NKJV

Do you see anything in these ‘proof texts’ that implies two judgments, let alone two judgments separated by seven years?  

Death And Resurrection

The Book Of Signs has two different physical deaths and two different physical resurrections in Revelation 20.  Laying aside other issues, let’s look at another possible explanation for these deaths and resurrections.

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.  Rev. 20:4-6, NKJV

Scripture teaches us that we are all dead in sins and trespasses [Eph. 2:5]; therefore, the first death we all experience is spiritual death - separation from God.  The first resurrection is then when we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour [a spiritual resurrection to combat a spiritual death].  The second death [physical death] has no power over those who have experienced the first resurrection [1 Cor. 15:55-57].  The second resurrection is then the physical resurrection that all experience [some to Heaven and some to Hell] at the single Judgment when Jesus returns.

Dr. David Jeremiah then describes what these Books of judgment are.  He lists them as The Book Of Law, The Book Of Works, The Book Of Secrets, The Book Of Words, The Book Of Conscience and The Book Of Life.  Maybe he is right; I don’t know.  To me, it doesn’t seem that important.  What is important is that your name is written in the Lamb’s Book Of Life.  Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour is the only way to get there.  That has to happen before death, or it will be too late.

The Lake Of Fire

In an age which asserts that everyone has a right to live by his own choices without consequence, the doctrine of hell is highly unpopular and often rejected, even among many Christians. But Scripture consistently affirms the existence of hell.  Jeremiah, David. The Book of Signs (p. 388). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

The Book Of Signs is right about this.  The Lake of Fire is real and the eternal destination of anyone who does not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.  Some people imagine Hell as a party where all their friends will be.  Hell is the absence of God, of anything good.  There are no friends in Hell, only seething hatred and loneliness.  There is no health in Hell, only constant sickness and pain.  There is no light in Hell, only unpenetrable darkness.  There is no hope in Hell, only a hopelessness that this is your existence forever and the knowledge that it is precisely what you and I deserve.  I urge you to throw yourself on the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ before it is too late.  He will never refuse anyone who comes to Him.

Additional Reading

Hell: The Justice Of God

Is Your Name In The Book Of Life And Can It Be Removed?

What Is A Christian?

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