Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come to mind”
The Lake of Fire, not Hades, will be the final destination of sinners condemned by Jesus in the Final Judgment. In Revelation, the Lake of Fire is called “the second death”, a place of unspeakable, endless pain and terror. One of the horrors of the Lake of Fire is the thick blackness that is there. No one who is cast into the Lake of Fire will ever see anything again.
This is not to say, however, that souls in torment will never be seen. On the contrary, although they will not be aware of it, they will be on eternal display as they scream in anguish. John wrote in Revelation 14:10 that the damned will be forever “tortured by fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb.” In addition, Isaiah reveals to us that on the appointed days of worship, when the children of God come to where the Lamb and holy angels are (that is, in God’s presence), they, too, will see the damned in the agonies of their torment and will fear. Speaking to His Son, the Father first makes him this promise: “For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me, says the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.” And then the Father adds, “And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, says the LORD. And they shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men who have transgressed against me, for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring to all flesh” (Isa. 66:22-24).
The saints who see those poor souls in torment will not know who those tormented people are. If you are saved in the end and given a portion on the new earth, you will look into that Lake of Fire whenever you go up to the New Jerusalem to worship God, and you will see again and again the damned in their awful agonies; but even if one of the screaming people you see happens to be your own earthly mother, you will not recognize her. God has declared that He will wipe the memories of this wicked earth and its sorrows from the minds of every one of His children. Isaiah prophesied of this incredible grace when he said, “The former troubles are forgotten and . . . they are hidden from my eyes. For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come to mind” (Isa. 65:16b-17). If in the end you are saved and given a place on the New Earth, you will not remember this earth, nor will you remember any of your loved ones or acquaintances who are lost: not your unbelieving parents, your unbelieving children, unbelieving friends, your unbelieving husband or wife, nor anyone else who will be condemned in the Final Judgment. As sad as that is to consider now, it will be a blessing for our Father to remove their memories from us, for how could you possibly enjoy the blessings of eternity if you could remember those dear people and knew where they were?
To be damned and to be forgotten by everyone who knows you. What a fearful curse! But God has promised that He will wipe out the memory of the wicked, and He will do it. “The memory of the just is blessed,” Solomon said, “but the name of the wicked shall rot” Prov. 10:7). Isaiah described it this way: “LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have wrought all our works in us. O LORD our God, other lords besides you have had dominion over us, but by you only will we make mention of your name. They are dead; they shall not live. They are deceased; they shall not rise. Therefore you have visited and destroyed them, and you have made all their memory to perish” (Isa. 26:12-14).
My dear friend, you do not want to be cast into the Lake of Fire and forgotten by everyone whom you ever knew. Nobody wants that.
There is one more element concerning memory in the Lake of Fire that should be noted. Late in the night not long before my aged father died, an angel visited him. The messenger of the Lord stood at the foot of my father’s bed and began to sing a plaintiff song. It was the Song of the Damned, and in it were these sorrowful words, and the angel sang it as though it was coming from the mouths of tormented souls: “We can’t forget the ones who told us of the Savior, Christ the Lord!”
While those who are “bound hand and foot” and thrown into the Lake of Fire will be forgotten, they themselves will never be allowed to forget. They will never be able to forget the ones who told them about Jesus the Savior; they will never forget the missed opportunities they had to repent of their unbelief and to do the will of God. They will never forget the bright days of life on earth that they wasted in vain pursuits. They will never forget being able to see. They will understand at last (and too late!) how empty this life was without Jesus, how worthless earthly fame was, how vain were the titles and positions granted by men to each other, how foolish it was to strive to be rich or popular among sinners, and how petty were the disputes and feuds they engaged in.
May God give us the grace to see the truth about life on earth while we are living it, while seeing the truth can still benefit our souls. Oh, God! Let the entrance of the truth give us light while we can still change our ways and be saved from the coming wrath of the Creator against all unrighteousness. In the Lake of Fire, the truth will be perfectly understood by people whose horrible conditions will never be improved by that understanding.