Monday, November 27, 2006

The resurrection of the wicked

Human beings sin against God while “in the body”. As a result, we must give an account to him for “the things done in the body…whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10.) On this basis the Bible teaches that the wicked will be raised from the dead to face the eternal concequences of their actions. The first indication that the wicked are to be raised from the dead is Daniel 12:2, “And many of those who sleep I the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Jesus confirmed this. All who are in the graves will hear his voice, “those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation.” (John 5:29.) According to Luke, Paul also believed “that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.” (Acts 24:15.) The apostle does not explicitly teach this in his epistles. But the focus of his letters is on the resurrection of believers, rather than the general resurrection.
John describes the judgement day, “The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works”. (Revelation 20:13.) Those not found written in the book of life were “cast into the lake of fire.” (20:15.)
The fate of the resurrected wicked will be to suffer eternally in the lake of fire for the sins they committed in the body against the holy God who made them. The Bible does not teach that the souls of the wicked will be annihilated at death. They will be resurrected to face their eternal conscious punishment. (See here for Jonathan Edwards on eternal punishment).
For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.(1 Thessalonians 1:9 & 10)

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