( From Chapter Six (Part 1 – Introduction): The Judgment of God from Life, Death and Destiny)
It is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Having discussed the question of death and resurrection, it is time to deal with that of God’s judgment and its implications for those whom God may reject. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead has left us in no doubt that an everlasting destiny is available to us. God is real and His Kingdom is real. We find ourselves on the threshold of immortality. But, by the same token, we find ourselves accountable for our present life. God is not undiscriminating in His gift of eternal life. As yet, only one person has been raised – and Him we had crucified. Therefore we can be in no doubt that God “has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness, by a man whom he has appointed,” for “of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”1
Of course, the word “judgment” can bear two meanings which must be carefully distinguished: (1) examination; (2) condemnation and sentence. The Bible teaches that all will face the judgment of God, in the sense of examination, and that there will be some who will be judged in the second sense, condemned and sentenced. Jesus Himself is particularly clear about this.
What will happen to those condemned? In my view, it is the clear and consistent teaching of the Bible that they will be finally and literally destroyed, that is, put out of existence forever. This is not a denial of “hell”. The question is: what is the nature and function of hell? It is clear from Scripture, that hell is neither remedial, nor a place of everlasting torment. Rather, it is a means of annihilation. This point will be discussed at length in this and the next two chapters.
- Acts 17:31