What Does the Bible Say About
Eternal Judgment?

by Norman Scott Edwards

August 2000 (revised title page and table of contents, new appendices added)

What happens to people after they die? What will happen to those who believe in God?
What will happen to those who don’t? What about people who have never heard of God?
What about people who claim to “know God”, but do evil?
Do the things that we do in this life make any difference?

Yes they do! These questions are answered in the Bible. Many hundreds of Bible verses teach us about this subject. Unfortunately, they are not too often read—myths and fables are taught instead. But all of us should know the purpose for our life now, and understand how we will be judged for it later.

A few hours may be required to read this paper—which consists mostly of quotations from the Bible. But it may be one of the most significant few hours that you ever spend—whether you are just beginning to study the Bible or have studied it all your life. The important part of the message is contained in the first pages. The appendices contain material for more extensive study and to answer specific questions.

I encourage you to read all of the Bible quotations as you go through—even if you are familiar with them. It is so easy for us to assume that we know what the Bible says on a certain subject—and then to read right over words that actually say something else. I have put some of the Bible words in boldface type to draw attention to words that are too often passed over too quickly. Because Bible translators have a variety of opinions on eternal judgment and related doctrines, their translations differ significantly on some related verses. I have chosen other translations when I believe they better represent the original Greek and Hebrew texts.

Be ready for some surprises. Many traditional Christian teachings come from the Bible, but some do not—they come from Greek philosophy or other religions. When studying a particular doctrine, it is always important to ask: "Where is this doctrine actually taught in the Bible?" Are there any scriptures that actually establish the doctrine? Or are there only scriptures that are compatible with the doctrine? In other words, can the doctrine be taught simply by reading scriptures? Or does someone have to teach the doctrine first and then read scriptures that go along with it, but do not teach it?

This paper may be copied and distributed free of charge.
Bible quotations are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.
Other Bible abbreviations: Darby (The Darby Bible), KJV (King James Version), NAB (New American Bible), NASB (New American Standard Bible), NJB (New Jerusalem Bible), NKJV (New King James Version), NRSV (New Revised Standard Version), and YLT (Young’s Literal Translation)
Words enclosed in brackets [ ] within Bible quotations are explanatory notes added by this author.

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Contents

Facing the Issue
Judgment for all Men
Doesn’t Jesus Save Christians from All Judgment?
How Was David Delivered From Sin?
Is David in Heaven?
What About Hell?
Judgment of All Nations Historically
Two Resurrections and Judgments
First Resurrection
Second Resurrection
Table of Bible Order of Judgments
Judgment After Second Resurrection Will Take Many Years
Each Individual Judged by What They Individually Know
Judgment for Believers: Both Now and Later
Table Summarizing Various Classes of People in Judgment
Effect of Various Christian “Eternal-Destiny” Doctrines If They Were True
Minimizing Our Own Judgment—Loving Our Neighbors as Ourselves
Minimizing Our Own Judgment—Loving God with All Our Heart
The “Unpardonable Sin”
The Purpose of God
God Provides the Strength We Need
Summary

 

Appendices

The appendices cover specific issues and do not necessarily need to be read in order. They were published several months after the first 40 pages. The first two appendices contain some significant new information which should have been in the main section.
Judgment After Second Resurrection Will Take Many Years (continued)
Scriptures About Punishment for Sin
Is Sin Really So Bad?
“Universal Salvation” and “Predestination”
Verses Seeming to Support “Universal Salvation”
Verses Clearly Refuting “Universal Salvation”
Verses Seeming to Support “Predestination”
Verses Clearly Refuting “Predestination”
Conclusion on Universal Salvation and Predestination
Does the Bible Teach a “Rapture”?
Are There “Go To Heaven” Verses?
Fire is a Symbol of Judgment
Verses Mentioning “Hell”
Other Words for “Places” or “States” of Trial and Punishment
Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man
God’s “Book of Life” and Other Books
Angels Judged Also
Situations Where We Must Judge Now
Why Does God Allow People to Believe So Many Different Things?

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