Statement of Fundamental Beliefs -
THE "LAST JUDGMENT"
The Resurrection of Judgment
Will judgment take place immediately after you draw your last breath, or will it occur at some future time before the end of our present world? Notice what Jesus Christ said: "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation [judgment]" (John 5:28–29).
Yes, there will come a judgment for every human being. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10). Yes, all human beings must stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Each of us will receive either reward or punishment. And, as we shall see, a lake of fire will be the ultimate punishment for unrepentant sinners.
What happens in that lake of fire? Most people have the idea that souls in the lake of fire will writhe in agony for all eternity. As a minister, I have seen the distress felt by people who spend their whole lives saddened by the belief that the soul of a friend or relative is right now suffering in agony, and will suffer forevermore. I have also seen the self-righteous pleasure that some people take, believing that the soul of someone they dislike—maybe a member of a different denomination—is suffering eternal torment.
Would it shock you to learn that the souls of your dead friends and loved ones are not suffering, because they are not immortal? Contrary to much popular opinion, the Bible does not teach that human beings have immortal souls. The phrase "immortal soul" never appears in your Bible! Certainly there is a "spirit in man" which sets us apart from the animals (1 Corinthians 2:11). That human spirit, and human brain, constitute the human mind. But this is not an immortal soul; it can be destroyed. Remember what Jesus warned us: "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). God can destroy the soul. The "soul" is not immortal!
If you would like to receive more information or have any questions please call our Canadian Regional Office toll free at 1-800-932-4262, or (905)814-1094 within Toronto, and ask to speak with a minister.