Heaven & Hell

QUESTION: Before Jesus did everyone go to hell? Where did they go? When the devil gets cast down into the lake of fire will he be getting punished? Or will he be reigning in it? Is he reigning currently in hell? What will happen to all the demons? WHo are the demons? Bad angels? Did Satan create them like God created man?
So the only way to heaven is through faith in Jesus? Right? So anyone who does not believe in Jesus or has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, will be sent to hell forever and forever? Right? Because I am worried about some of my friends. Everyone wants to go to heaven or some better place. No one wants to go to hell. So my friends who aren’t Christian, who are agnostic, they will go to hell. I feel like I am going to need to get out of my comfort zone and be bold with my friends, but I am scared. But I don’t want them to go to hell either. But I don’t really understand the whole heaven and hell thing.
When I die, I think I am supposed to go straight to heaven and stand before God. But what about in Revelation where it talks about “all the dead will rise”. Who are those people and where have they been?
Is hell really really forever and ever and ever? Even the decent people who just never knew what to believe? Is there a line between knowing about the Bible and being told about the Bible? What about the people who never grew up in church, but know about church (because everyone does) but because they didn’t grow up with it they never REALLY knew about it. Maybe no one ever came to them and said “Hey, do you know about Jesus.” They never heard it so they never got a chance to decide. Will they go to hell? Maybe I don’t want to talk to my friends because if I tell them, they won’t make the right choice and then they’ll go to hell. But if I don’t tell them and they never knew, then they won’t go to hell. Where would they go?
Where will the people go who have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel? ARe these just questions I will have to wait and ask God about?

RESPONSE: God intentionally limits how much answers He has given us.

Of punishment after death before and after Christ, scripture in Acts 17:30 says, “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent”

The book of Hebrews seems to indicate that God’s temple sacrifices only rolled back the people’s sins until Christ offered himself as a sacrifice.

In Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Lazarus went to “Abraham’s bosom,” and the rich man went to the place of torment.

Scriptures does not clearly define “Sheol” or “Paradise” or “Gehenna” (hell). For example, Sheol may be a state of unconscious existence, which, when you wake from it, it seems that no time has passed at all so that you went straight from death to God’s presence.

The “Lake of Fire” is reserved for Satan and his angels (that is: “demons” or “evil spirits”).

There is no indication that the “Lake of Fire” is about reigning.

It seems Satan is now reigning in the hearts of people who are not relying on Christ.

Satan, himself, is a created being. There is no indication that he can create other spirits or demons.

Many Christians believe that punishment after death is not long and one simply ceases to exist. The Bible does not clearly say that. Instead, about things after death the Bible uses words like “everlasting,” “eternal,” “forever,” “never ceasing.” I, for one, would not care to argue with the Bible on that.

Christ’s apostle Paul said that to be absent from the body (dead) is to be present with the Lord. “All the dead will rise” may refer to the bodily part of us. 1 Corinthians 15:42: “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable, it is raised an imperishable.”

Try to imagine that this planet is a great sinking ship. Nearby is a fully adequate life-boat called Jesus Christ. The only ones who will go down with the ship are those who refuse to get in to the lifeboat.

The big problems are: how to convince them that we really do have the credentials to declare that the ship really is sinking and that Jesus Christ really is the only lifeboat.

There may be degrees or levels of hell and degrees or levels of glory based on how much capacity people have to respond because Jesus said, “To whom much is given, much will be required.”

On the other hand, IGNORANCE about the presence of a severely crippling disease never protected anyone from getting that disease. Only by getting the vaccine (Christ) is anyone protected.

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