When Jesus spoke of everlasting punishment He said the lake of fire was prepared for the devil and his angels. Where there is sin and iniquity there is a need to separate the holy from the defiled. God only consigned sinful man to a place of eternal punishment when Adam and Eve sinned in disobedience.
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:41, 42).
The lake of fire is described as causing its inhabitants to wail and gnash their teeth. Brimstone is an old term meaning burning sulfur which smells like rotten eggs. Jesus said there would be conscience in that place so the tormented would remember his sins continuously forever. Jesus related that the rich man who was in hell begged Abraham to send someone to warn his brothers to prepare to meet God, (Luke 16:19-31) suggesting that memory still is active in that place of torment.
Such descriptions of hell and the lake of fire are terrifying to think about so the topic is avoided, but it’s part of the Gospel and needs to be taught. Denial does not make it go away!
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
When the unsaved rich man died he went to Hell, and cried: “I am tormented in this flame” (Luke 16:24).
See these additional references: 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Hebrews 6:2
The natural and inevitable consequence of sin is punishment. Sin condemns just as surely as fire burns, and God is justified in putting into effect the immortal law that “whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:8).
Hell is not the grave
When the unsaved rich man died he went to Hell, and cried: “I am tormented in this flame” (Luke 16:24). Certainly he was not merely in the grave. He had five brothers whom he desired to be saved lest they also should come to that place of torment. If his five brothers had repented and become saved, their conversion could not have kept them from dying, for “it is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27). Repentance and conversion will keep one from Hell but not from the grave. Hell is not the grave. The body of the rich man was dead, but he knew that his soul was in a literal place and not merely in a spiritual state.
Notice the use of the word “fire.” The fire of Hell is as literal as the place itself. Repeatedly our Lord and the apostles spoke of the fire of Hell.
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb (Revelation 14:10).
Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judges her (Revelation 18:8).
And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone (Revelation 19:20).
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Revelation 20:10).
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14, 15).
Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
These are not my words; they are God’s words! Notice the short list of those who will populate the lake of fire. The fearful and unbelieving are an offense to the Lord. Those who spill human blood (abortionists as well as other types of murderers), the sexually immoral, shamans and witches, satan worshipers, and those who worship any other substitute for the Lord such as your pet dog or cat, your best friend, some material item such as your car, etc. One that may surprise you is that ALL liars will populate the lake of fire. Lying is a way of life to very many people and even nations. There won’t be any liars in Heaven.
Revelation 22:18-19 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this Book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the Book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this Book.
Repentance and living for Jesus is a choice. But the result of your choice is not negotiable. If you plant brambles, you will not reap corn. Please consider what you are planting in your life. If you have planted evil seed, it is not too late to confess and forsake your sins and ask Jesus to help you to begin planting good seed that bears much fruit. It is NEVER too late. Remember the thief on the cross beside Jesus? He repented and was with Jesus that same day in Paradise!