We teach that, after the second resurrection, Jesus Christ will gather everyone and judge them according to their works. He will destroy those not listed in the book of life by a second death in the lake of fire. Then, God will dwell with His people forever in a new heaven and a new earth.
Every human being has an appointment with Jesus Christ on Judgment Day (Matt. 25:31-46). In 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
Judgment Day will occur after the second general resurrection. Revelation 20:11-12 says, “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. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.”
Those who follow Jesus have nothing to fear on Judgment Day, but those who reject Him are destined for fiery destruction. Malachi 4:1, says, “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.”
Ultimately, everyone will either live forever in the kingdom of God or be destroyed in the lake of fire. Revelation 20:13-15 says, “And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
God will not torment people for eternity in the lake of fire; the wicked will die and cease to exist. In Matthew 10:28, Jesus said, “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.” People don’t have immortal souls; death is the cessation of life, and the second death in the lake of fire will destroy the wicked forever.
The lake of fire will incinerate the physical universe, and God will create a new heaven and a new earth. 2 Peter 3:11-13 says, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (NIV).
After Judgment Day, God will dwell with His people for eternity. In Revelation 21:1-3, John wrote, “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. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.’”
So, the Bible teaches that, after the second resurrection, Jesus Christ will gather everyone and judge them according to their works. He will destroy those not listed in the book of life by a second death in the lake of fire. Then, God will create a new heaven and a new earth and dwell with His people for eternity.
Scriptures are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.