TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

II. The Afterlife

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Chapter 15  Part II

The Afterlife

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The believer’s hope is largely based on God’s wonderful promises for his people concerning the afterlife, the life begun by their resurrection from death. At the center of these promises is the final, everlasting phase of God’s relationship with his people. In contrast to these wonderful promises are the teachings about the horrific eternity that the ungodly face.

The New Creation

The Bible speaks of the present heavens and earth passing away. Correspondingly, the Bible says that God will create new heavens and a new earth – a key part of which appears to be the new Jerusalem, where God and Jesus Christ will dwell with their people. In association, God will renew all things. See also the introductory comments below on: . . . The devastation of the heavens and earth in association with God’s judgment of the wicked; and God’s people will live in the new Jerusalem.

The present heavens and earth will pass away . . .

See also:

Matt 5:18  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. ▤ 

Matt 24:35  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. ▤ 

1Cor 7:31b  For the present form of this world is passing away. ▤ 

Note that possibly this is referring primarily to the material and transitory things of this world passing away, rather than referring in particular to the earth itself. (See also the comments on 1 John 2:17 and Revelation 21:4 below.)

Heb 1:10-12  And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, 12like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed.h But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” ▤ 

h Some manuscripts omit like a garment

Heb 12:26-27  At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. ▤ 

Note that “the things that cannot be shaken” alludes to God’s kingdom – the “kingdom that cannot be shaken” (v. 28).

1Jn 2:17  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. ▤ 

Here “the world” may here be primarily a reference to the realm of sin, but arguably it is also inclusive of the physical world; it is at least applicable to it.

Rev 20:11  Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. ▤ 

This may not necessarily be referring to heaven and earth passing away, but it does seem the most likely meaning.

Rev 21:1, 4  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. ▤ 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. ▤ 

Some commentators consider that “the sea was no more” (v. 1) to allude to the absence of evil. The latter part of v. 4 indicates that the “old world and its evils” (NLT) will be gone.

Isa 51:6  Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;i but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed. ▤ 

i Or will die like gnats

. . . The devastation of the heavens and earth in association with God’s judgment of the wicked

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Quite possibly the removal of the old heavens and earth can be correlated with their devastation in association with God’s eschatological judgment of the wicked, as discussed here. However this is debatable. Note also that not all of the following references are necessarily meaning that the earth will be completely destroyed. (See also the comment at the start of the following subsection.)

2Pet 3:7, 10-12  But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. ▤ 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodiesj will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.k 11Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! ▤ 

j Or elements; also verse 12

k Greek found; some manuscripts will be burned up

The phrase “be exposed” (v. 10) either refers to being exposed “for what they are” (CEV; cf. NRSV) and “exposed to judgment” (NLT; cf. NIrV), or to being emptied, with everything being “burned up” (AMP, NASB, NCV, NIV text note, NKJV).

Isa 13:9-13  Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it. 10For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light. 11I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless. 12I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir. 13Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the Lord of hosts in the day of his fierce anger. ▤ 

Isa 24:1-6, 19-20  Behold, the Lord will empty the earthl and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants. 2And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor. 3The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the Lord has spoken this word. 4The earth mourns and withers; the world languishes and withers; the highest people of the earth languish. 5The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. 6Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left. ▤ 19The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken. 20The earth staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again. ▤ 

l Or land; also throughout this chapter

Note that possibilities for the meaning of “the everlasting covenant” (v. 5) include the covenant made through Noah (cf. Gen 9:16) or that made with David (cf. 2Sam 23:5), both of which have applications to all mankind.

Isa 34:1-5  Draw near, O nations, to hear, and give attention, O peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that fills it; the world, and all that comes from it. 2For the Lord is enraged against all the nations, and furious against all their host; he has devoted them to destruction,m has given them over for slaughter. 3Their slain shall be cast out, and the stench of their corpses shall rise; the mountains shall flow with their blood. 4All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall fall, as leaves fall from the vine, like leaves falling from the fig tree. 5For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; behold, it descends for judgment upon Edom, upon the people I have devoted to destruction. ▤ 

m That is, set apart (devoted) as an offering to the Lord (for destruction); also verse 5

Some commentators consider “Edom” (v. 5) to be symbolic of all the enemies of God’s people.

Joel 3:15-16  The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. 16The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the Lord is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. ▤ 

Mic 7:13  But the earth will be desolate because of its inhabitants, for the fruit of their deeds. ▤ 

Zeph 1:2-3, 18  “I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord. 3“I will sweep away man and beast; I will sweep away the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, and the rubblen with the wicked. I will cut off mankind from the face of the earth,” declares the Lord. ▤ 18Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them on the day of the wrath of the Lord. In the fire of his jealousy, all the earth shall be consumed; for a full and sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth. ▤ 

n Or stumbling blocks (that is, idols)

Being followed by what appears to be a prophecy of the Babylonian destruction of Judah, it is somewhat debatable as to whether vv. 2-3 refers to God’s eschatological definitive judgment of the wicked. But its universal scope and the latter description of the “great day of the Lord” (vv. 14-18) make it likely to be the case, or at the very least applicable to it.

  • A further reference to God’s eschatological judgment of the wicked:

Isa 66:15-16  For behold, the Lord will come in fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16For by fire will the Lord enter into judgment, and by his sword, with all flesh; and those slain by the Lord shall be many. ▤ 

God will create new heavens and a new earth

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Commentators differ on whether the verses in this subsection refer to the creation of an entirely different heaven and earth, or a renewal of the old heaven and earth. The former seems the more likely, with the previous subsections seemingly supporting this view. However some verses in the following subsection could be interpreted to support the latter. In either case, this new creation will be free of any corruption – moral or otherwise – and will exist in harmony with God.

2Pet 3:13  But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. ▤ 

Righteousness will characterize the new heavens and earth and all who are there – to the exclusion of everything that is not righteous.

Isa 65:17  For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. ▤ 

Isa 66:22  For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain. ▤ 

Rev 21:1  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. ▤ 

  • The meek will inherit “the earth”:

Matt 5:5  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. ▤ 

Here “the earth” appears to be speaking of a new or renewed earth at the consummation of the messianic kingdom. This is quite possibly also the meaning of “the world” in Romans 4:13, which refers to “… the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world …”

God will renew all things

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Matt 19:28  Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world,o when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. ▤ 

o Greek in the regeneration

As the text note indicates, the Greek speaks of “the regeneration” (NASB, NKJV), i.e. “the renewal of all things” (NIV®, NRSV).

Acts 3:21  … whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. ▤ 

This tells of the time when God will make “all things new” (CEV, cf. GNT). The prophecies referred to in the latter part of the verse may well include the prophecies given in the verses from Isaiah in the previous subsection and the numerous OT prophecies referring primarily to the restoration of Israel (cf. Return to the Land).

Rom 8:19-22  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. ▤ 

The “freedom” (v. 21) would appear to encompass freedom from decay and anything harmful. It is also very much applicable to – and may even have largely in view – freedom from sin, sin’s consequences and all evil influences.

Rev 21:5  And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” ▤ 

  • God will unite all creation in Christ:

Eph 1:9-10  … making knownp to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. ▤ 

p Or he lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight, making known . . .

Here “heaven” may well denote “the heavens” (NASB) – rather than referring to or being limited to the spiritual realm of heaven. In conjunction with this, “all things” appears to refer to “all creation” (GNT). At the end of the age God will “unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ” (AMP). To what extent this includes aspects of creation other than people is open to conjecture.

God’s people will live in the new Jerusalem

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The new Jerusalem is associated with the new heaven and new earth in Revelation 21:1-2 (cf. Isa 65:17-18). It is the central aspect of the domain of the kingdom of God in its final form. It is spoken of as “coming down out of heaven” (Rev 3:12 ; Rev 21:2 , Rev 21:10 ) but also appears to be closely connected with heaven, perhaps in some sense a manifestation of it. For like heaven, it is said to be the dwelling place of God and where his people will dwell with him and Jesus Christ throughout eternity.

Rev 3:12  The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. ▤ 

Writing on believers “the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem” implies that Jesus Christ will mark believers as belonging to the new Jerusalem, in effect citizens of it.

Rev 21:1-3, 7, 27  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling placeq of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,r and God himself will be with them as their God. ▤ 7The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. ▤ 27But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. ▤ 

q Or tabernacle

r Some manuscripts peoples

s Some manuscripts omit as their God

Verses 2-3 suggest that God’s people will dwell with God in the new Jerusalem. In v. 7, presumably “this heritage” encompasses the new Jerusalem, reflecting that God’s people will dwell there – in contrast to the ungodly (cf. vv. 8, 27). Note that with the likening of the new Jerusalem to a bride (v. 2) – “the Bride, the wife of the Lamb” (v. 9 ) – some see a correlation between it and the church or God’s people, spoken of as Jesus Christ’s or God’s bride a number of times elsewhere in Scripture.

Rev 22:14  Blessed are those who wash their robes,t so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. ▤ 

t Some manuscripts do his commandments

Gal 4:26  But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. ▤ 

The heavenly Jerusalem is the “mother” of believers in at least two senses. Firstly, they are born again of what she represents – a faith that is free of slavery to the law (cf. vv. 24-25). Secondly, they belong to her. This second point is indicative of the heavenly Jerusalem being where believers belong – their ultimate home.

Heb 11:10, 16  For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. ▤ 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. ▤ 

Heb 12:22  But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, … ▤ 

In a spiritual, positional sense, believers now partake in the heavenly Jerusalem and what it signifies, assured of the realization of this.

Heb 13:14  For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. ▤ 

Description of the new Jerusalem

Rev 21:9-26  Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia.u Its length and width and height are equal. 17He also measured its wall, 144 cubitsv by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. 18The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. 19The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. 22And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. ▤ 

u About 1,380 miles; a stadion was about 607 feet or 185 meters

v A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters

Possibly “the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel” (v. 12) and “the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (v. 14) allude to the new Jerusalem of the afterlife being inclusive of both the people of God throughout the OT and the NT church. There will be no need for any temple, signifying God’s presence amidst unholy people, for not only will there will be no impurity but God and Jesus Christ will themselves be present (v. 22). “By its light will the nations walk” (v. 24) may be speaking of the nations being drawn to it (cf. Isa 60:3 ).

Rev 22:1-5  Then the angelw showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of lifex with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servantsy will worship him. 4They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. ▤ 

w Greek he

x Or the Lamb. In the midst of the street of the city, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life

y Greek bondservants; also verse 6

The “tree of life” (v. 2) probably parallels the tree of life in Genesis 2, and likewise the mention of things having been “accursed” (v. 3) alludes to the curse pronounced in Genesis 3:14-19. These verses imply that the relationship between God and his people will be restored in a sense to what it was like before the fall (cf. Rev 2:7 ). The “healing of the nations” (v. 2b) appears to speak of the renewal of all peoples who share in God’s kingdom, with the removal of all that is harmful and/or evil.

  • God’s people will be restored to an Eden-like paradise:

Rev 2:7  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. ▤ 

The Greek word for “paradise” comes from a Persian word meaning “park” or “garden”. As such, particularly with the reference to the tree of life, this appears to allude to the Garden of Eden. Jesus similarly speaks of being in “paradise” after death, in saying to the repentant thief on the cross: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Note that Paul also uses the term in reference to heaven, speaking of being “caught up into paradise” (2Cor 12:3).

Note: The new Jerusalem is linked with the renewed Jerusalem prophesied in the OT . . .

The relationship of the new Jerusalem of the afterlife (primarily depicted in Revelation 21 and 22) and the renewed Jerusalem prophesied in the OT is the subject of no small debate. A good number of commentators see them as separate things, but often differ as to the degree and to the ways in which they are associated. Some of these commentators see the renewed Jerusalem prophesied in the OT as literal, something of an archetype of and leading into the new Jerusalem of the eternal state. Other commentators see it as symbolic of the new Jerusalem. See also the introductory comment on God’s Plans for Israel.

The references in this and the following subsection are arranged in pairs. The first of each pair is a reference from Revelation 21 or 22 speaking of the new Jerusalem. The second of each pair is from one of the OT prophets, speaking of the future renewed Jerusalem. Each pair demonstrates at least one thing common to the two cities. The fact that there are so many striking parallels suggests a correlation between the two cities.

Rev 21:3  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling placez of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,a and God himself will be with them as their God.b ▤ 

z Or tabernacle

a Some manuscripts peoples

b Some manuscripts omit as their God

Zec 2:10  Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. ▤ 

Rev 21:4  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. ▤ 

Isa 25:7-8  And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. 8He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. ▤ 

The “mountain” (v. 7) is Mount Zion and the “covering” or “veil” (v. 7) is death (v. 8a). Note that similar to v. 8b and also paralleling Revelation 21:4 above, 65:19b says of Jerusalem: “… no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.”

Rev 21:24, 26  By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, ▤ 26They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. ▤ 

Isa 60:3, 5  And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. ▤ 5Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult,c because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. ▤ 

c Hebrew your heart shall tremble and grow wide

Rev 21:25  … and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. ▤ 

Isa 60:11  Your gates shall be open continually; day and night they shall not be shut, that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. ▤ 

Rev 21:27  But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. ▤ 

Isa 52:1  Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean. ▤ 

Rev 22:3  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servantsd will worship him. ▤ 

d Greek bondservants; also verse 6

Zec 14:11  And it shall be inhabited, for there shall never again be a decree of utter destruction.e Jerusalem shall dwell in security. ▤ 

e The Hebrew term rendered decree of utter destruction refers to things devoted (or set apart) to the Lord (or by the Lord) for destruction

The Hebrew of the second clause can be rendered as “there will no longer be a curse” (NASB; cf. AMP), reflecting what Revelation 22:3a above says of the new Jerusalem.

. . . This association is seen in the descriptions of the two cities

Rev 21:2  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. ▤ 

This parallels Isaiah 52:1a below in both describing Jerusalem as the holy city and speaking of its splendor.

Isa 52:1a  Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city … ▤ 

Rev 21:11  … having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. ▤ 

Isa 60:1-2  Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. 2For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. ▤ 

Rev 21:12  It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed ▤ 

Ezek 48:30-34  These shall be the exits of the city: On the north side, which is to be 4,500 cubits by measure, 31three gates, the gate of Reuben, the gate of Judah, and the gate of Levi, the gates of the city being named after the tribes of Israel. 32On the east side, which is to be 4,500 cubits, three gates, the gate of Joseph, the gate of Benjamin, and the gate of Dan. 33On the south side, which is to be 4,500 cubits by measure, three gates, the gate of Simeon, the gate of Issachar, and the gate of Zebulun. 34On the west side, which is to be 4,500 cubits, three gates,f the gate of Gad, the gate of Asher, and the gate of Naphtali. ▤ 

f One Hebrew manuscript, Syriac (compare Septuagint); most Hebrew manuscripts their gates three

Rev 21:18-21  The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. 19The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. ▤ 

Isa 54:11-12  O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.g 12I will make your pinnacles of agate,h your gates of carbuncles,i and all your wall of precious stones. ▤ 

g Or lapis lazuli

h Or jasper, or ruby

i Or crystal

Rev 21:23  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. ▤ 

Isa 60:19  The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light;j but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.k ▤ 

j Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint, Targum add by night

k Or your beauty

Rev 22:1-2  Then the angell showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of lifem with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. ▤ 

l Greek he

m Or the Lamb. In the midst of the street of the city, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life

Ezek 47:1, 5-9, 12  Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. ▤ 5Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. 6And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” Then he led me back to the bank of the river. 7As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. 8And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea;n when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh.o 9And wherever the river goes,p every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the seaq may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. ▤ 12And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.” ▤ 

n That is, the Dead Sea

o Hebrew will be healed; also verses 9, 11

p Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, Targum; Hebrew the two rivers go

q Hebrew lacks the waters of the sea

The river beginning from the temple (v. 1) parallels the river of Revelation 22:1-2 beginning from the throne, with both the temple and the throne being indicative of God’s presence. Note that Zechariah 14:8 speaks of a river flowing out from Jerusalem – “On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter.”

  • In the new Jerusalem there will be no temple:

Rev 21:22  And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. ▤ 

In the new Jerusalem, God’s presence amongst his people will be such that there will be no temple. This appears to be a difference between the new Jerusalem and the renewed Jerusalem prophesied in the OT (cf. Ezek 47:1 ; Note: References to a temple of God in Jerusalem in the future).

Pray for persecuted Christians

Eternal Life

See also:

As God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, God will also raise his people

See also:

Rom 8:11  If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. ▤ 

1Cor 6:14  And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. ▤ 

2Cor 4:14  … knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. ▤ 

By referring to believers being raised “with Jesus”, Paul may have in view Jesus Christ’s resurrection as the prototype and guarantee of their resurrection (cf. 1Cor 15:20-23 ). He could also or alternatively have in view each believer’s union with Jesus Christ, they being “in him” (cf. 1Cor 15:22 ; 1Thes 4:14, 16 ).

1Cor 15:12-13, 15-16, 20-23, 29-32  Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. ▤ 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. ▤ 20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. ▤ 29Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30Why are we in danger every hour? 31I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” ▤ 

The “firstfruits” (vv. 20, 23) alludes to the firstfruits of the harvest which were offered to God. As well as preceding the rest of the harvest, they were viewed as a confirmation that the rest of the harvest would come to fruition. Here the term is applied to Christ as, like the firstfruits of the harvest, his resurrection precedes and is an assurance of the resurrection of all believers. In vv. 29-32 Paul gives further reasons to support his argument for the resurrection of the dead. These are: the practice of baptizing people for the dead (v. 29), of which little is known or understood; and Paul and his companions frequently exposing themselves to death in their ministry (vv. 30-32), attesting to their utmost confidence that the dead will be raised.

1Thes 4:13-17  But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,r that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. ▤ 

r Or by the word of the Lord

Acts 26:23  … that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles. ▤ 

This suggests that the “light” – the “light of salvation” (GNT) – which Jesus Christ would proclaim as “the first to rise from the dead”, would involve the hope of resurrection in the light of his own resurrection.

Ps 49:15  But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Selah ▤ 

Isa 26:19  Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. ▤ 

This appears to speak of the resurrection of the dead, primarily that of God’s people, in the context of the future restoration of Israel. Note that in speaking of God raising the dead, the last statement refers to the moisture of the morning dew giving life.

On Jesus Christ’s return, their bodies will be made imperishable, glorious and spiritual – like Christ

See also:

Note that the above cross references to verses in the previous subsection have been included as the verses make reference to God’s people being raised on Jesus Christ’s return. But the verses do not speak of their resurrection bodies.

Rom 8:29  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. ▤ 

Being “conformed to the image of his Son” would appear to include, in addition to a moral conformity, the bodies of believers being conformed to the likeness of the body of the risen Christ.

1Cor 15:35-38, 42-54  But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. ▤ 42So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”;s the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shallt also bear the image of the man of heaven. 50I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” ▤ 

s Greek a living soul

t Some manuscripts let us

In vv. 36-41 Paul lays a foundation for his description of the resurrection bodies of believers. In vv. 36-38 he draws a parallel between the dead being resurrected with a different body and how a seed dies before it comes to life as a plant, the different body that God has determined for it. Then in vv. 39-41 Paul gives examples of how God gives different things different bodies – before arguing that the case is the same with the resurrection of the dead (v. 42). In v. 45 Jesus Christ is described as “the life-giving Spirit” for as from Adam (a natural, living being) came natural bodies, from Jesus Christ (a heavenly, spiritual being) will come spiritual bodies (vv. 45-49). The changing of our bodies will take place on his return, heralded by the sounding of the trumpet (vv. 51-52).

2Cor 5:1, 4  For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. ▤ 4For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. ▤ 

In v. 1, the earthly “tent” denotes the earthly body, whereas the “building from God … eternal in the heavens” appears to refer to the believer’s imperishable resurrection body – which is in view in v. 4b. The use of “life” (v. 4b) alludes to the imperishable nature of this future body – and possibly also its spiritual nature.

Phil 3:20-21  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. ▤ 

1Jn 3:2  Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appearsu we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. ▤ 

u Or when it appears

The phrase “we shall be like him” is probably referring to our beings being like Christ’s, but could also be referring to our characters – or both. The last clause seems to be saying that it will be through seeing him (on his return) that we shall become like him. Alternatively in the final sentence John may simply be meaning that we will see that we have become like him when we actually see him.

  • Believers will experience the “redemption” of their bodies:

Rom 8:23  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. ▤ 

Believers will in effect experience the redemption of their bodies in gaining their new or renewed bodies.

God’s people will be given eternal life

Matt 19:29  And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfoldv and will inherit eternal life. ▤ 

v Some manuscripts manifold

John 6:40  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. ▤ 

Acts 13:48  And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. ▤ 

Titus 1:1-2  Paul, a servantw of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, 2in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages beganx … ▤ 

w Or slave; Greek bondservant

x Greek before times eternal

Titus 3:7  … so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. ▤ 

Regarding “heirs”, Paul may be saying that believers have the hope of eternal life, a hope which involves the promise of being heirs of God. Alternatively, he may have in view that believers will inherit eternal life (cf. AMP, GNT, NLT; Matt 19:29 ; 1Pet 3:7 ), the object of their hope.

Jude 1:21  … keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. ▤ 

1Pet 3:7  Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with youy of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. ▤ 

y Some manuscripts since you are joint heirs

The eternal life to come appears to be in view (cf. GNT, NIrV), particularly with “life” being spoken of as something which believers are heirs to.

1Thes 4:17  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. ▤ 

Ps 23:6  Surelyz goodness and mercya shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwellb in the house of the Lord forever.c ▤ 

z Or Only

a Or steadfast love

b Or shall return to dwell

c Hebrew for length of days

The latter part of this verse is possibly referring to living forever, although “forever” may instead have the sense “as long as I live” (GNT).

Ps 133:3  It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore. ▤ 

This is not necessarily referring to eternal life, though presumably at least an application can be made to it.

Eternal life transcends physical death and precludes eternal spiritual death . . .

See also:

In the above heading, “eternal spiritual death” refers to conclusive separation from God in hell. It appears to be spoken of below in: John 11:26; John 8:51; 10:28; Rev 2:11.

John 11:25-26  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.d Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” ▤ 

d Some manuscripts omit and the life

In v. 25 “die” refers to physical death, whereas in v. 26 “never die” speaks of never being subject to eternal spiritual death.

Ps 16:9-11  Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole beinge rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.f 11You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. ▤ 

e Hebrew my glory

f Or see the pit

Although v. 10 is spoken of in Acts as being consummately fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s resurrection (cf. Acts 2:24-32; 13:35-37), David appears to initially be speaking of himself. With the references to “life” and “eternal pleasures” in v. 11, David is possibly speaking of eternal life following physical death, with God not leaving him in the grave (cf. CEV, NCV, NLT, NIrV). Alternatively he may simply be speaking of God protecting him in the face of the threat of death.

1Cor 15:36b, 42  What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. ▤ 42So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. ▤ 

God’s people who have died physically will be raised to life – eternal life, with them being imperishable.

1Pet 4:6  For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. ▤ 

This is appears to be referring either to Jesus Christ preaching to the dead (cf. 3:19-20) or to the gospel being preached to believers who had since died (cf. CEV text note). Particularly if the second interpretation is correct, the latter part probably means that God’s people will be judged like all people in that their physical bodies will die, but they will live like God does in their spiritual existence (cf. GNT, NCV, NLT).

John 8:51  Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death. ▤ 

John 10:28  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. ▤ 

Rev 2:11  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death. ▤ 

. . . There will be no more death for God’s people

Luke 20:35-36  … but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, 36for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sonsg of the resurrection. ▤ 

g Greek huioi; see Preface

Rev 21:4  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. ▤ 

Isa 25:7-8  And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. 8He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. ▤ 

As noted earlier, the “mountain” (v. 7) is Mount Zion and the “covering” or “veil” (v. 7) probably signify death (v. 8a).

1Cor 15:26, 54-55  The last enemy to be destroyed is death. ▤ 54When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” ▤ 

Rev 20:14  Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. ▤ 

God’s people will have the right to the tree of life and the water of life

The “tree of life” was one of the trees in the Garden of Eden from which Adam and Eve could eat. But after their fall into sin, they were banished from the garden so that they could not eat from the tree and so live forever (cf. Gen 3:22-24). That God’s people are said to be given access to this tree (cf. Rev 2:7 ; Rev 22:2, 14 ) signifies them being given life forever. As referred to below, being enabled to drink from “the water of life” (cf. Rev 7:17 ; Rev 21:6 ; Rev 22:17 ) likewise signifies being given eternal life.

Rev 2:7  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. ▤ 

Rev 7:16-17  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. 17For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. ▤ 

The “springs of living water” (v. 17; cf. Rev 21:6 ) are “springs of the water of life” (NASB, NRSV).

Rev 21:6  And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. ▤ 

Rev 22:1-2, 14, 17  Then the angelh showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of lifei with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. ▤ 14Blessed are those who wash their robes,j so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. ▤ 17The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. ▤ 

h Greek he

i Or the Lamb. In the midst of the street of the city, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life

j Some manuscripts do his commandments

  • The life-giving river in Ezekiel’s vision:

Ezek 47:9, 12  And wherever the river goes,k every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the seal may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. ▤ 12And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing. ▤ 

k Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, Targum; Hebrew the two rivers go

l Hebrew lacks the waters of the sea

Some scholars raise the possibility of this life-giving river being associated with the river of Revelation 22 (cf. . . . This association is seen in the descriptions of the two cities), pointing to similarities between the two rivers. Another interpretation is that the temple in Ezekiel’s vision (ch. 40-48) most likely refers to a Millennium temple, the river then also being of the Millennium. It remains open to debate as to whether the temple and this river are symbolic or actual.

God’s people will have accompanying eternal blessings

See also:

Luke 12:33  Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. ▤ 

Luke 16:9  And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth,m so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings. ▤ 

m Greek mammon, a Semitic word for money or possessions; also verse 11; rendered money in verse 13

1Cor 9:25  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. ▤ 

The “wreath” is likely a metaphor for the wonderful blessings that will be bestowed on believers.

2Tim 2:10  Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. ▤ 

Heb 5:9  And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, … ▤ 

Heb 9:15  Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.n ▤ 

n The Greek word means both covenant and will; also verses 16, 17

Heb 10:34  For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. ▤ 

The “better possession” may denote all that God’s people have or will have. Being an “abiding” one, it is a lasting one; it will last forever (cf. CEV, GNT).

Heb 12:28  Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, … ▤ 

That which “cannot be shaken” will remain forever (cf. v. 27).

1Pet 1:3-4  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, … ▤ 

1Pet 5:4  And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. ▤ 

As with “wreath” (cf. 1Cor 9:25 ), the “crowns” spoken of in the NT as being rewards for believers are probably symbolic, metaphors for the wonderful blessings that will be bestowed on believers.

Rev 3:12  The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. ▤ 

Being made “a pillar in the temple of my God” appears to point to the permanence of the believer’s place in the new Jerusalem or God’s kingdom – which they never will leave.

Ps 16:11  You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

The Heavenly State of God’s People

See also:

God’s people will enter the kingdom of God . . .

See also:

Similar to the concept of the coming of the kingdom of God, entering and receiving the kingdom of God have both a present (cf. Col 1:13) and a future dimension – the latter being shown in this and the following subsection. See also the above cross references. Note also the introductory comment to the following subsection, which is also pertinent here.

Matt 13:43  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. ▤ 

The afterlife is in view here.

Acts 14:22  … strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. ▤ 

1Thes 2:12  … we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. ▤ 

The coupling of “kingdom” with “glory” suggests that the future consummate form of the kingdom is being referred to here.

2Thes 1:5  This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— ▤ 

Note that although this may be speaking of being counted worthy “to enter God’s kingdom” (NIrV®), it can also be applied to being counted worthy of inheriting God’s kingdom (as per the following subsection).

2Tim 4:18  The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. ▤ 

2Pet 1:10-11  Therefore, brothers,o be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. ▤ 

o Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God’s family, the church

. . . and God’s people will inherit the kingdom

See also:

Believers will inherit the kingdom of God. As such they will partake of it (as reflected in the previous subsection) in a fuller sense than they do now, and it will be their domain.

Matt 5:3, 10  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ▤ 10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ▤ 

The expression “theirs is the kingdom of heaven” quite probably refers primarily to future inheritance of the kingdom. However there may also be a present application intended, to sharing in the blessings of the kingdom in its present form.

Matt 25:34  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ▤ 

Luke 12:32  Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. ▤ 

Jesus appears to be speaking of his vulnerable “little flock” of disciples inheriting the future form of the kingdom.

Luke 22:28-30  You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, 29and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, 30that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. ▤ 

Some consider that Jesus is principally speaking of passing on to his disciples the privilege and responsibility of building the kingdom, but the context (v. 28 and particularly v. 30) arguably suggest that the future form of the kingdom is primarily in view. Moreover, some translations indicate that Jesus may more specifically be speaking of conferring the right to do what he subsequently refers to in v. 30 (cf. AMP, NASB, NLT). What Jesus says here to his disciples is largely applicable to all believers.

1Cor 15:50  I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. ▤ 

Believers will be changed and raised imperishable (cf. vv. 51-52) to inherit the kingdom of God.

Heb 12:28  Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, … ▤ 

Note that this could be speaking of receiving the kingdom in a present sense (cf. CEV).

James 2:5  Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? ▤ 

Dan 7:18  But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever. ▤ 

God’s kingdom in its final form may be in view here, although some think a millennial earthly kingdom is the subject. With the second possibility, “the saints of the Most High” would not necessarily refer to believers in general.

Rev 21:7  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. ▤ 

This “heritage” refers in part at least to the new heavenly Jerusalem, the prime domain of the future form of God’s kingdom.

  • The meek will inherit “the earth”:

Matt 5:5  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. ▤ 

As noted earlier, this appears to be speaking of the new or renewed earth at the consummation of the messianic kingdom, as quite possibly is also the case in Romans 4:13 which speaks of: “… the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world …”

God’s people will be in heaven . . .

See also:

As discussed earlier, God’s people will live in the new Jerusalem. Although this is spoken of as “coming down out of heaven” (Rev 3:12; 21:2, 10) it also appears to be closely connected with heaven, perhaps in some sense a manifestation of it. For the verses in this and the following subsection would appear to indicate that in the afterlife God’s people will be in heaven.

John 14:2-3  In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?p 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. ▤ 

p Or In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you

In v. 2, “my Father’s house” is generally understood to be a reference to heaven.

2Cor 5:1  For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. ▤ 

The phrase “the heavens” presumably can be correlated with “heaven” (CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV, NLT). Note that the use of “house” is different here to John 14:2 above. Here it refers to the believer’s spiritual resurrection body.

Luke 10:20  Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. ▤ 

Like Hebrews 12:23 below, this suggests that believers are “registered as citizens of heaven” (NLT; cf. Phil 3:20 ).

Phil 3:14, 20  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ▤ 20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, … ▤ 

In v. 14 Paul seems to refer to “the prize of being called to heaven” (CEV). In v. 20 he appears to indicate that even now believers have citizenship of heaven. As such it suggests that heaven is believers’ ultimate place of residency.

Heb 3:1  Therefore, holy brothers,q you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, … ▤ 

q Or brothers and sisters; also verse 12

The “heavenly calling” may have in view a call to heaven (cf. NLT; Phil 3:14 ) – hence the verse’s inclusion here. Alternatively it may simply mean a call from God in heaven (cf. GNT, NCV) to follow him.

Heb 12:22-23  But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23and to the assemblyr of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, … ▤ 

r Or church

. . . Heaven is where their reward is kept

In saying that believers’ reward/s are in heaven, the suggestion is that their rewards will be obtained through the believers being taken into heaven.

Matt 5:12  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. ▤ 

Matt 6:20  … but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. ▤ 

As indicated in Luke 12:33 below, rewards for righteous acts are in view.

Luke 12:33  Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. ▤ 

Eph 2:6-7  … and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. ▤ 

In v. 6, what is true of Christ now, is applied to believers in a secondary, spiritual sense. Being “in him” they participate with him in his risen life and are in a sense positioned with him in heaven (cf. CEV). The consummation of this will take place in the future (v. 7) when “in Christ” they will experience the “immeasurable riches” of God’s grace – which the context suggests will be in heaven. Note that “seated us with him” (v. 6) is generally understood to be speaking of Jesus Christ rather than God (cf. CEV).

Col 1:5  … because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, … ▤ 

Here “the hope” is that for which we hope for – the blessings waiting for believers in heaven (cf. AMP).

1Pet 1:3-4  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, … ▤ 

  • The unparalleled, inconceivable reward for God’s people:

1Cor 2:9  But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” ▤ 

Note that the phrase “what God has prepared” is probably inclusive of – or at least applicable to – blessings of both the present and future ages (cf. NSB).

God’s people will be made perfect

1Cor 13:9-10  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. ▤ 

Quite likely “when the perfect comes” refers to the perfection of believers in the afterlife – or at least encompasses it; but there are also other interpretations.

Phil 3:12  Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. ▤ 

This implies that believers will be made perfect.

Heb 11:39-40  And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. ▤ 

All faithful people of God, of all eras, will together share in the sinless perfection of the afterlife. Possibly the perfection of their resurrection bodies may also be in view.

Heb 12:23  … and to the assemblys of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, … ▤ 

s Or church

The last clause refers to the spirits of righteous people who had died (cf. NLT), pointing to the assertion that God’s people will be made perfect in the afterlife. Note that some commentators think that it may refer in particular to people of God from OT times, whose righteousness is now complete following Jesus Christ’s death.

God’s people will have glory

See also:

Rom 2:9-10  There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. ▤ 

Rom 8:30  And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. ▤ 

The use of the past tense in referring to the glorification of believers, is generally understood to be indicative of the certainty of their glorification, as if it had already taken place.

Rom 9:22-23  What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory ▤ 

Verse 23 suggests that the glory that will be bestowed upon believers will be a product of the riches of God’s own glory.

1Cor 15:42-43  So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. ▤ 

2Cor 4:17  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, … ▤ 

1Pet 1:7  … so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ▤ 

1Pet 5:1, 4  So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: ▤ 4And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. ▤ 

Ps 73:24  You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. ▤ 

The final clause can be translated “receive me with honor” (GNT, NRSV; cf. NCV, NLT). The use of “with” would suggest that it is speaking of the honor or glory to be bestowed upon God’s people.

Dan 12:2-3  And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above;t and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. ▤ 

t Hebrew the expanse; compare Genesis 1:6-8

Shining “like the brightness of the sky above … like the stars” (cf. Matt 13:43 ) depicts or evidences the glory that believers will have.

Matt 13:43  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. ▤ 

John 12:26  If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. ▤ 

This probably refers primarily to honor given in the afterlife, associated with the glory to be received.

Rom 8:20-21  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. ▤ 

  • God’s “glorious inheritance in the saints”:

Eph 1:18  … having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, … ▤ 

The expression “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” probably refers to the glorious inheritance that God has for his people (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT), which presumably involves the glory to be theirs. Alternatively it could instead be speaking of the saints as God’s own glorious inheritance – which also alludes to the glory of believers.

God’s people will have great joy . . .

See also:

Jude 1:24  Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, … ▤ 

Matt 25:21  His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.u You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master. ▤ 

u Greek bondservant; also verses 23, 26, 30

Heb 12:22  But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, … ▤ 

One can infer from this verse that believers will share in this “joyful assembly” (NIV®, NLT).

1Pet 4:13  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. ▤ 

Ps 16:11  You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. ▤ 

The final clause suggests that this verse has an application to the afterlife.

. . . There will be no more sorrow

See also:

Isa 65:17, 19  For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. ▤ 19I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress. ▤ 

The “former things” (v. 17) encompasses all that arouses weeping and crying (v. 19). Note that Premillennialists see these verses as primarily referring to a Millennium kingdom, as well as being applicable to the afterlife. Some Premillennialists, but not all, have a similar view of 25:8 below.

Rev 7:16-17  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. 17For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. ▤ 

Note that v. 16 points to the fact that in heaven believers will not lack anything, nor will there be anything to cause concern or trouble.

Rev 21:4  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. ▤ 

Isa 25:8  He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. ▤ 

  • Promise of rest:

Heb 4:1-3, 9-11  Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.v 3For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. ▤ 9So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. 11Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. ▤ 

v Some manuscripts it did not meet with faith in the hearers

The “rest” spoken of here is primarily the eternal rest that believers will have in heaven, paralleled with God’s rest on the seventh day following six days of creative work. Verse 3a may possibly be meaning that believers in one sense experience this rest now. The phrase “his works” (v. 10) probably refers to good works done in Christ, although some think it may refer instead to or be inclusive of attempts to work for salvation, from which believers are “at rest”. Note that Revelation 14:13b also speaks of rest for God’s people in the afterlife: “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

Note: The salvation and redemption of God’s people will be fully realized

See also:

In accordance with the teachings in the subsections above and in the previous section – Eternal Life – it is apparent that the salvation and redemption of God’s people will come to fulfillment in the afterlife, at the end of this age. The following section – Being with God – further reflects on what will be involved in this.

Heb 9:28  … so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. ▤ 

1Pet 1:5, 8-9  … who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ▤ 8Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. ▤ 

Rom 13:11  Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. ▤ 

This implies that the salvation of God’s people will be fully realized at the end of the age.

Phil 1:28  … and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. ▤ 

Heb 1:14  Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? ▤ 

Luke 21:28  Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. ▤ 

Eph 4:30  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. ▤ 

Eph 1:14  … who is the guaranteew of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,x to the praise of his glory. ▤ 

w Or down payment

x Or until God redeems his possession

The alternative rendering in the second text note speaks of the consummation of the redemption of God’s people and is strongly supported by other translations (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV).

  • The salvation of God’s people is eternal:

Heb 5:9  And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, … ▤ 

Note that similarly 9:12 refers to Jesus having secured “an eternal redemption”.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Being with God

God will dwell with his people

See also:

Rev 21:3, 22  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling placey of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,z and God himself will be with them as their God. ▤ 22And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. ▤ 

y Or tabernacle

z Some manuscripts peoples

a Some manuscripts omit as their God

The fact that God and Jesus Christ are the city’s temple (v. 22) is indicative of their presence being in the city (cf. Rev 2:3 ), the new Jerusalem. With them being with their people, in a consummate sense, there will be no need for a temple. Note that v. 3b speaks of the ultimate fulfillment of one of the fundamental aspects or aims of God’s relationship with his people throughout history – that they be his people and he be their God.

Rev 22:3  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servantsb will worship him. ▤ 

b Greek bondservants; also verse 6

God’s and Jesus Christ’s presence with believers in the new Jerusalem is referred to here with the reference to their throne.

Rev 7:15  Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. ▤ 

Note that this is speaking of believers who have come out of the “great tribulation” (v. 14). Although not speaking of life in the new Jerusalem, the presence of God with these believers appears to reflect the reality of God dwelling with his people throughout the afterlife.

Ps 23:6  Surelyc goodness and mercyd shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwelle in the house of the Lord forever.f ▤ 

c Or Only

d Or steadfast love

e Or shall return to dwell

f Hebrew for length of days

More likely David is speaking of experiencing God’s presence at the earthly temple in Jerusalem throughout his life, but possibly this also alludes to – or at least can be applied to – dwelling with God in the afterlife.

Ps 49:15  But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Selah ▤ 

God’s people will see God

See also:

Job 19:26-27  And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet ing my flesh I shall see God, 27whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! ▤ 

g Or without

The text note further suggests that the afterlife is in view.

Ps 11:7  For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face. ▤ 

The phrase “shall behold his face” is often understood to mean “live in his presence” (GNT), but some commentators think it may also refer to actually seeing God’s face in the afterlife – the reason for the verse’s inclusion here.

Ps 17:15  As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness. ▤ 

The phrase “when I awake” may simply denote waking from sleep, but it is seen by a number of scholars to be referring to resurrection. Such an interpretation more comfortably matches the literal meaning of the surrounding phrases that speak of seeing God.

Matt 5:8  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. ▤ 

The final phrase may have a spiritual application to the believer’s life of faith in the present, but it would appear that seeing God in the age to come is the primary reference.

1Cor 13:12  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. ▤ 

In saying “then I shall know fully” Paul is speaking of fully knowing God, being in fellowship with him in his presence and seeing him “face to face”.

Heb 12:14  Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. ▤ 

The implication here is that God’s holy people will see the Lord. Note that here “Lord” may be referring to God rather than to Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:24  Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, … ▤ 

Presumably being presented before his glorious presence will mean that one will be able to see God.

Rev 22:4  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. ▤ 

God is in view here.

God’s people will be with Jesus Christ

See also:

The Bible speaks of believers living with Jesus Christ both during this life and in the afterlife following his return. But the verses in this subsection (and in the following one) generally indicate that in the afterlife they will be with him in a deeper, more tangible sense.

John 12:26  If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. ▤ 

In saying “where I am, there will my servant be also” Jesus may be alluding to believers being with him in the afterlife – hence the verse’s inclusion here – as well as to following him in their lives on earth.

John 14:2-3  In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?h 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. ▤ 

h Or In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you

John 17:24  Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. ▤ 

Jesus is speaking of his followers being with him in the afterlife, where they will see his glory.

Rom 6:5, 8  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. ▤ 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. ▤ 

Some commentators point to the future tenses as meaning that these verses are referring to the believer’s resurrection and life with Christ following the end of the age. However others claim that the context indicates that one’s spiritual resurrection and life on becoming a believer is in view, with a future tense only used to indicate certainty. The latter view appears more plausible, although one could still claim that as such the verses are also applicable to believers being with Jesus Christ in the afterlife.

Col 3:4  When Christ who is youri life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. ▤ 

i Some manuscripts our

1Thes 4:16-17  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. ▤ 

2Tim 2:11  The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; … ▤ 

Similar to Romans 6:5, 8 above, commentators differ on whether “we will also live with him” refers to living with Christ in heaven (cf. vv. 10, 12) or to the Christian’s life in him now.

Rev 3:4  Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. ▤ 

  • God’s people shall see Jesus Christ:

1Jn 3:2  Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appearsj we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. ▤ 

j Or when it appears

On Jesus Christ’s return all people will see him, but this verse may be implying that believers will in some sense see him more clearly.

God’s people will have God’s and Jesus Christ’s names written on them

See also:

Having God’s and Jesus Christ’s names written on them will identify believers as belonging to God and Jesus Christ – forever. As such, it is also indicative of the fact that believers will forever be with God and Jesus Christ.

Rev 3:12  The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. ▤ 

Rev 14:1  Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. ▤ 

Rev 22:4  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. ▤ 

  • They will be God’s – his treasured possession:

Mal 3:17  They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. ▤ 

God’s people will share in God’s and Jesus Christ’s glory

See also:

1Thes 2:12  … we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. ▤ 

Heb 2:10  For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. ▤ 

This appears to speak of God bringing believers “to share in his glory” (CEV, NIrV; cf. GNT, NCV), usually understood as referring to the age to come.

1Pet 5:10  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. ▤ 

2Thes 2:14  To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. ▤ 

Rom 8:17-18  … and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. ▤ 

Particularly in light of the final clause of v. 17, the final clause of v. 18 may well refer to “the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!” (AMP; cf. NIV, NLT).

Col 1:27  To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. ▤ 

Jesus Christ’s indwelling of his people gives them the hope of glory. Quite possibly it is sharing in his glory that is in view. Note that the relationship between “the riches of the glory of this mystery” of God and the “hope of glory” for the believer appears similar to that between “the riches of his glory” and the latter occurrence of “glory” in Romans 9:23. See Rom 9:22-23 and the comment on it in God’s people will have glory.

Col 3:4  When Christ who is yourk life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. ▤ 

k Some manuscripts our

Probably “appear with him in glory” refers to – or at least involves – sharing in his glory (cf. GNT, NCV, NLT).

Phil 3:21  … who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. ▤ 

This points to believers sharing in Jesus Christ’s glory – or at least a glory that mirrors his.

1Pet 4:13  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. ▤ 

Particularly with the earlier reference to sharing in the sufferings of Jesus Christ, in the second half of the verse Peter may have in view “the wonderful joy of sharing his glory” (NLT).

  • Even in the present believers increasingly share in Christ’s glory:

2Cor 3:18  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,l are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. ▤ 

l Or reflecting the glory of the Lord

Believers reflect Jesus Christ’s glory, with their characters being transformed into his likeness, increasingly reflecting (cf. text note) even manifesting Christ’s glory. Note that John 17:22 speaks of the disciples being given Jesus Christ’s glory – “The glory that you have given me I have given to them …” This possibly refers to eternal glory that will be consummated in heaven, but alternatively the present life could be in view, or partially in view.

God’s people will praise God – and serve him

The examples in the following verses of people praising God in his presence are largely in response to events at the end of this age and the beginning of the new. Presumably such praise of God and Jesus Christ will continue throughout eternity.

Rev 5:13  And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” ▤ 

Rev 7:10  … and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” ▤ 

Those praising God and Jesus Christ are believers who have come out of “the great tribulation” (v. 14; cf. v. 15 ; Rev 19:1-3, 5-7 ) of the end times.

Rev 15:2-4  And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire—and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. 3And they sing the song of Moses, the servantm of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!n 4Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” ▤ 

m Greek bondservant

n Some manuscripts the ages

Rev 19:1-3, 5-7  After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, 2for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”o 3Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.” ▤ 5And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.” 6Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 7Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; … ▤ 

o Greek bondservants; also verse 5

The “great multitude” (v. 1) could denote primarily angelic beings, but more likely believers – as appears to be the case in v. 6 – possibly in particular those who had come out of the great tribulation (cf. chs 7, 14).

Rev 22:3  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servantsp will worship him. ▤ 

p Greek bondservants; also verse 6

Rev 5:10  … and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth. ▤ 

“You” refers to “the Lamb” (v. 8), Jesus Christ. As “priests to our God”, God’s people will “serve God as priests” (CEV; cf. GNT, NIV, NRSV).

Rev 7:15  Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. ▤ 

Note: The feast in the kingdom of God

The Bible speaks of a feast that will take place in the consummated kingdom of God, often referred to as the messianic “banquet” or “marriage supper” (cf. Rev 19:9 ). This feast or banquet is generally understood to be symbolic of the wonderful existence and blessings that believers will enjoy in the afterlife, in the presence of God and Jesus Christ.

Luke 13:29  And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. ▤ 

The “feast” (GNT, NIV; cf. AMP, CEV) of the afterlife appears to be in view.

Luke 14:15  When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” ▤ 

Luke 22:15-16, 29-30  And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16For I tell you I will not eat itq until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” ▤ 29and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, 30that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. ▤ 

q Some manuscripts never eat it again

Particularly in light of v. 30, vv. 15-16 possibly imply that the celebration of the Passover meal will be fulfilled in the messianic feast in the consummated kingdom of God.

Rev 19:7-9  Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; 8it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. 9And the angel saidr to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” ▤ 

r Greek he said

The “Lamb” is Jesus Christ, and the “Bride” may represent God’s people – “the saints” (v. 8b). As such this looks forward to the consummation of Jesus Christ’s relationship or union with his people – associated with the consummation of their salvation – at the “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (v. 9).

Isa 25:6  On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. ▤ 

Some think that the setting for this is the Millennium rather than the afterlife. But even so, it still could allude to such a feast in the afterlife.

Rev 2:17  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it. ▤ 

Some commentators see here a reference to the feast to come in the kingdom.

  • The parable of the wedding feast:

Matt 22:1-3, 8-10  And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3and sent his servantss to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. ▤ 8Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. ▤ 

s Greek bondservants; also verses 4, 6, 8, 10

Although this is only a parable illustrating aspects of the kingdom, with it Jesus is quite possibly referring or alluding to a feast in the consummated kingdom.

Pray for persecuted Christians

The Punishment for the Ungodly

The ungodly face God’s wrath . . .

See also:

Matt 3:7  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? ▤ 

Hardly subtly, John the Baptist refers to the wickedness of the Pharisees and Sadducees – and the wrath of God that they faced as a result of their wickedness.

John 3:36  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. ▤ 

Because of their sin every person is under God’s wrath. Those who believe in Jesus Christ are saved from God’s wrath. But for those who reject him, God’s wrath remains and will be manifested conclusively in the afterlife.

Rom 2:5, 8  But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. ▤ 8but for those who are self-seekingt and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. ▤ 

t Or contentious

Col 3:5-6  Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:u sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming.v ▤ 

u Greek therefore your members that are on the earth

v Some manuscripts add upon the sons of disobedience

This probably primarily refers to the wrath of God associated with the final judgment.

Rev 11:18  The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants,w the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth. ▤ 

w Greek bondservants

Rev 14:17-20  Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18And another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over the fire, and he called with a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, “Put in your sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” 19So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia.x ▤ 

x About 184 miles; a stadion was about 607 feet or 185 meters

This is probably speaking of the final judgment and the consequences of God’s wrath, although some suggest that it may have in view the earlier judgments of the end times.

. . . The ungodly face destruction

See also:

Rom 9:22  What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, … ▤ 

For comment on the phrase “prepared for destruction” see Rom 9:10-24 – under Note: God’s mercy and people’s destiny.

Gal 6:8  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. ▤ 

The stating of corruption as the outcome of pleasing one’s sinful nature and the contrast of corruption with eternal life, suggest that the corruption in view is the eternal destruction of the ungodly – associated with spiritual “death” (AMP, GNT, NLT).

Phil 1:28  … and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. ▤ 

Phil 3:18-19  For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. ▤ 

1Thes 5:2-3  For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. ▤ 

2Thes 1:9a  They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction … ▤ 

2Thes 2:10  … and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. ▤ 

This is speaking of those who have been deceived by and have succumbed to evil – the ungodly, who refuse to “love the truth”. They are “perishing” – “on their way to destruction” (NLT). 1 Corinthians 1:18 likewise refers to “those who are perishing”.

2Pet 3:7  But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. ▤ 

Matt 7:13  Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easyy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. ▤ 

y Some manuscripts For the way is wide and easy

The ungodly are not specifically mentioned, but it is clear that they are in view.

Matt 10:28  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.z ▤ 

z Greek Gehenna

Also in alluding to God’s destruction of the ungodly, James 4:12 somewhat similarly says of God: “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy.”

John 17:12  While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. ▤ 

Here Jesus refers to Judas as “the one doomed to destruction” (NIV®).

The ungodly will be separated from God and Jesus Christ – shut out from the holy city

See also:

2Thes 1:9  They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away froma the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, … ▤ 

a Or destruction that comes from

Matt 7:21-23  Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ ▤ 

Matt 22:13  Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ▤ 

This is from the parable of the wedding banquet, which portrays aspects of the consummation of the kingdom and where the king represents God or Christ. Those not worthy will be thrown “out into the outer darkness” (NLT).

Matt 25:41, 46  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. ▤ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ▤ 

Luke 13:24-28  Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!28In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. ▤ 

Unrepentant Jews are being addressed here by Jesus – as v. 28 suggests – but the warning is applicable to all.

Luke 16:26  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us. ▤ 

Here Abraham is depicted as speaking to a rich man who was in hell, the scene having been set in the preceding verses (cf. Luke 16:23-25, 27-28 below in There will be darkness and torment). Abraham may well be in heaven, but many understand that “Abraham’s side” (cf. v. 22) denotes a place where the righteous who have died reside before their final vindication.

Rev 21:27  But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. ▤ 

As with the following reference, this is clearly referring to the Holy City, the new Jerusalem. It – or at least heaven – also appears to be in view in a number of the above verses.

Rev 22:14-15  Blessed are those who wash their robes,b so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. ▤ 

b Some manuscripts do his commandments

The ungodly will be thrown into fire

See also:

Matt 3:12  His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. ▤ 

John the Baptist is speaking figuratively of Jesus Christ assigning the ungodly to “unquenchable fire”.

Matt 13:40-42, 47-50  Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. 41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ▤ 47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ▤ 

Matt 25:41  Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. ▤ 

Heb 10:26-27  For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. ▤ 

2Pet 2:6  … if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;c … ▤ 

c Some manuscripts an example to those who were to be ungodly

2Pet 3:7  But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. ▤ 

Jude 1:7  … just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,d serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. ▤ 

d Greek other flesh

Rev 20:14-15  Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. ▤ 

The “second death” (cf. Rev 21:8 ) is eternal “death” – final destruction for the ungodly, the outcome of God’s judgment.

Rev 21:8  But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. ▤ 

Heb 6:8  But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. ▤ 

This is quite likely speaking of “worthless” people being “burned” in the fire of hell. Alternatively, some understand it to refer to a temporal judgment or a judgment of works.

Isa 33:14  The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: “Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?” ▤ 

The “consuming fire” is probably referring to God in his judgment, rather than to the fire of hell. But parallels can be drawn between the fire of hell and the “consuming fire”, along with the concept of “everlasting burnings”.

  • A warning of the punishment of the fire of hell:

Matt 5:22  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brothere will be liable to judgment; whoever insultsf his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hellg of fire. ▤ 

e Some manuscripts insert without cause

f Greek says Raca to (a term of abuse)

g Greek Gehenna; also verses 29, 30

“You fool!” (v. 22) appears to be an insult spoken in anger.

There will be darkness and torment

See also:

Matt 22:13  Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ▤ 

In Matthew’s gospel, on six occasions Jesus speaks of the punishment of the ungodly using the expression, “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” (cf. Matt 13:42, 50 ; Matt 25:30 ). This repetition underlines the prevalence of such torment.

Matt 25:30  And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ▤ 

2Pet 2:17  These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. ▤ 

Luke 16:23-25, 27-28  … and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. ▤ 27And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28for I have five brothersh—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ ▤ 

h Or brothers and sisters

Rev 14:9-11  And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” ▤ 

Similarly Revelation 20:10 says of the devil, the beast and the false prophet: “… they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” The reference in both of these verses to “day and night” points to the fact that the punishment is also constant.

Isa 50:11  Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches! Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled! This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment. ▤ 

Quite possibly this refers to the self-sufficient who live by their own “light”, rather than trusting in God (cf. v. 10). Their end will be torment. This might not be speaking directly of the experience of hell, but even so, it is very much applicable to it.

  • There will be trouble and distress:

Rom 2:9  There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, … ▤ 

The punishment is eternal

See also:

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

Isa 33:14  The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: “Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?” ▤ 

Matt 25:41, 46  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. ▤ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ▤ 

2Thes 1:9  They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away fromi the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, … ▤ 

i Or destruction that comes from

Heb 6:2  … and of instruction about washings,j the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. ▤ 

j Or baptisms (that is, cleansing rites)

Jude 1:7  … just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,k serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. ▤ 

k Greek other flesh

Jude 1:12-13  These are hidden reefsl at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. ▤ 

l Or are blemishes

Mark 9:43, 47-48  And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell,m to the unquenchable fire. ▤ 47And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ ▤ 

m Greek Gehenna; also verse 47

n Some manuscripts add verses 44 and 46 (which are identical with verse 48)

The fact that the fire of hell will be unquenchable (cf. Luke 3:17 ) suggests that the punishment is eternal.

Luke 3:17  His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. ▤ 

Note: There will be varying degrees of punishment

See also:

Matt 11:20-24  Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.” ▤ 

Mark 12:40  … who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation. ▤ 

The implication is that such men will be punished more severely than most others will be punished (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV, NLT).

Luke 12:45-48  But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. 47And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. ▤ 

The use of “servant” in the context (cf. vv. 35-44) points to supposed believers, primarily leaders. It would appear that as they do not prove faithful they will be condemned “with the unfaithful” (v. 46). Particularly in the light of the above references, this also appears to support the assertion that there will be varying degrees of punishment of the ungodly.

Pray for persecuted Christians