What Will Happen To The Unsaved Dead?
Consider the billions of people who have lived on this earth since the beginning of the human age. What did the Creator want for them? What did He plan for their future in the Kingdom, which will come after the human age is ended?
According to the Bible, every happening on earth has a purpose, whether we perceive it or not. The existence of every human being has a purpose, as we read in Ecclesiastes 3.
The Heavenly Father Yahweh desires to bring us, His creation, to Him as sons and daughters for His family! He said to Israel, "If you will obey my laws and my statutes, I will be your Elohim and you will be My people." Again, He has said, "Be faithful even to the point of death and I will give you the crown of life," (Revelation 2:10).
This crown and familial association have been available since the time of the Messiah to those who accept the offer of the Father. He has made this offer continually through the millennia. Has everyone accepted the offer? Certainly not! For what reason or reasons would people reject such an offer? Have all humans, civilized or uncivilized, heard the offer?
Have those who have heard the offer perceived the immensity or seriousness of it? Has the offer been distorted and presented by deceitful and ignorant messengers, thereby deceiving millions of innocent hearers whom Yahweh desires as His own?
Opportunities Differ for Everyone
Human life, in the broadest sense, is egalitarian. It is the same for everyone. We are born, we live, and then we die.
But in the strictest and most personal sense, life is different for everyone. Different opportunities, living conditions, family relationships, beginnings, geographical existences, religious or non-religious pressures, political situations, degrees of physical health, intellectual and perceptive abilities--all of these conditions can "happen" to anyone born into this world. This was true in the past and it is true in today's modern world.
Consider how differences in opportunity might affect the human being that has died without realizing the potential that Yahweh had meant for him or her. What happens then?
Most importantly, we must look at the question from a truly scriptural position. Let's let Yahweh show us from His Instruction Book, from the words of His appointed teachers and scribes, the truth about the unsaved dead.
Let's drop any rigid foregone conclusions, and possible false teachings, and consider Yahweh's plan for the unsaved dead and the way in which He will carry out that plan. We will examine the possibilities from Yahweh's word, as opposed to the probabilities as defined by today's major religions.
Many of today's "churched" individuals are jealous of their standing with their Creator. They see themselves as favored and in a unique position. They see the inferior and unsaved persons damned to an eternal burning in a sea of lava, poked and prodded by demons as they skip on hot rocks. They subscribe in a very narrow way to the 'once dead, always condemned' state of the dead, regardless of the poor souls' lack of opportunity or lack of understanding during their lifetime.
Certainly those who have accepted the Heavenly Father's message and Covenant are blessed beyond belief. But are those condemned forever who die without having accepted the message?
Yahweh Seeks Righteous for His Own
When Yahweh first created man and woman, He set up a plan by which mankind could enjoy His blessings.
Every plan has limits that must be observed to ensure its success; constraints that concentrate thrust in a positive direction for realization of the goal. (The goal gives the plan a reason to exist.) Yahweh defined the plan and set limits to man's action from the beginning. And man has defied those limits ever since, prodded by Satan's constant temptation, "You shall not surely die!" See Genesis 3:4.
Man's natural attitude toward his Creator has, from the beginning, been contrary to Yahweh's intent and Yahweh's promises for obedience. The Apostle Paul tells us, "The carnal mind is hostile to Yahweh. It does not submit to Yahweh's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the fleshly nature cannot please Yahweh," (Romans 8:7-8).
At a certain point Yahweh saw that man disregarded His directions and He decided to erase human existence from the earth. But He found one just man in the person of Noah (see Genesis 6) and again provided mankind with a chance for a right relationship with his Creator. He made a Covenant with man.
The offspring of Noah filled the earth from that time. But they soon erred, becoming rebellious, and did as they contrived in their human minds to do.
Yahweh took action. In Genesis 11 we see that He confounded man's speech.
He again found a righteous man in Abraham and made a promise to him regarding his progeny to come. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you...and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you," Genesis 12:1-3.
Yahweh reinforced this promise with many others and verified them all through the writers of the New Testament. Galatians 3:26 is an example: "You are all sons of Yahweh through faith in Yahshua the Messiah. . . .There is neither Jew nor Greek (Gentile) for you are all one in Yahshua the Messiah. If you belong to Messiah then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."
On and on through the Bible, in the Old and New Testaments alike, Yahweh's promises to man are reiterated.
Yahweh gave guidelines -- the Ten Commandments and His other laws -- by which to live.
Man's failure to adhere to Yahweh's rules (sin, 1 John 3:4) can be removed through Yahshua the Messiah, who was and is the perfect sacrifice to cover man's imperfections.
Yahweh cannot accept imperfection. As in the Old Covenant example, He accepts an unblemished and perfect sacrifice on our behalf.
The Creator Wants Man to Live
The message repeated throughout man's existence, as chronicled in the greatest book ever assembled, is that Yahweh desires man to live and to be a part of His family.
He desires that none should perish: "Yahweh is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance," 2 Peter 3:9.
The Bible teaches that mankind is mortal and does not yet have eternal life. Yahweh told Adam, after Adam had disobeyed, that he would return to dust. Yahweh's Word was fulfilled that Adam "would surely die" if he ate of the fruit of the tree.
In Genesis 3:19 Adam was told he would live only "until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." Adam ceased to exist at his death.
It is the same for the rest of mankind who follow him. But at the second resurrection, all who ever lived will be brought back to life, except for the small group that is known as the "firstfruits" to be raised in the first resurrection.
They will be raised from the dead and brought up from their graves for judgment. The Bible says in Revelation 20:12: "And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened."
From the time of Adam many millions who have lived and died have never heard of Yahweh's plan for mankind. They have never been told of Yahshua and His redeeming sacrifice, therefore living their entire lives without knowing that there was a way to be reconciled to Yahweh.
They did not know they could be saved from death for all eternity by believing on and following Yahweh's son, Yahshua. They died with their sins unforgiven. They are the unsaved dead!
In His day Yahshua spoke to the unbelieving Jews about this. "You are from below; I am from above, you are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins," John 8:24.
The Scriptures teach that all those who die in their sins will rise again in the second resurrection to be judged.
Justice Is Coming
In the past two thousand years there have been many who have heard this news of redemption but never really understood it. Their eyes were not opened to the truth so that they might become Yahweh's people during this age of man.
There is another group, those who were religious in their lifetime but who were deceived into living Satan's way, who went into false religions. They followed Satan into the way of lawlessness.
After death, these individuals wait for resurrection and the judgment of Yahweh. The Scriptures state, "...man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment," Hebrews 9:27.
This judgment is revealed to us in Revelation, "And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened [the Scriptures]; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds," Revelation 20:11-12. In other words, their deeds they had done were compared with what they should have done according to the Scriptures.
Verse 14 explains that after this judgment "death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire." After this time there will be "no more death," Revelation 21:4.
We see that some of the raised dead have their names in the book of life. Additionally, if a person did not have his name in this book he was eventually put into the lake of fire, there to suffer the "second death" to be burned up quickly and perish forever.
The ones who are to be put into the lake of fire had died once during their lifetime on earth. But because they will not repent of following their own ways, Yahweh's righteousness and justice demand that they be removed from His presence forever: "And if anyone's name was not found written in the Book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire," Revelation 20:15.
These verses clearly show that at this final time Yahweh will judge all who have ever lived -- not just to bring them to life again in order to send them to the lake of fire -- but for judgment of the many whose names are in the book of life.
At that time the truth will be revealed to them. Only those who will not repent and accept the truth will be punished. If this were not the case it would be better to let them sleep in the unknowing state of the first death, rather than to raise them to be tormented with a hopeless judgment. This will be a time of first opportunity for many to hear the forceful and untarnished presentation of the truth.
The scripture indicates that this time of judgment may be one hundred years of teaching and testing. "No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; For the child shall die one hundred years old, But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed," Isaiah 65:20. Even those who died as tiny babies will have a good opportunity to hear, understand and decide to obey Yahweh's truth.
A Chance for the Unsaved
This is the time of Yahweh's Last Great Day, the harvest of the earth! Paul tells us that some day "at the name of Yahshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Yahshua the Messiah is Master, to the glory of Yahweh the Father" (Philippians 2:10-11).
This could be understood to mean that all the unsaved dead are to be raised and given a final opportunity to kneel before the Messiah. This provision to accept Yahshua as Master could be what the Last Great Day is all about! Then many will be able to accept Yahshua as King!
This is the time of the great harvest of all humans who have ever lived.
Yahshua spoke about the last judgment in John 12:47-48: 'As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day."
Yahshua cried out to His people at the Feast in Jerusalem, "On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Yahshua stood and said in a loud voice, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink,'" John 7:37. This last day message comes after the Feast of Tabernacles (which is a type of the millennial rule of Yahshua).
This call will be for many who have never heard Yahshua's message, people like many of the Orientals, Africans, and Europeans since the time of Adam who lived on the earth but to whom the truth was not clearly presented.
The Last Day Feast is to show that Yahshua's sacrifice was for all of mankind who would accept Him. This is the closing service of the yearly feasts. The Feast of Tabernacles lasted seven days and was followed by a 'closing assembly' on the eighth day. The Last Day Judgment may occur in the interval between the end of the Millennium and the establishment of the "new heaven and new earth."
This marks the finishing up of Yahweh's redemptive plan. We are told about this in the Old Testament. In temple worship, the sacrificial system given to Moses was used.
The Last Great Day is described in Leviticus 23:36. "For seven days present offerings made to Yahweh by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly. Do no regular work."
Also we read in Numbers 29:35, "On the eighth day hold an assembly and do no regular work. Present an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to Yahweh."
The 38th verse adds the following about the offering: 'Include one male goat as a sin offering...."
The sin offering of the Last Great Day could be a type of the Messiah's sin offering when He died on Calvary. This could be a provision for the saving of all those who will be willing to repent when they appear at the Last Great Day.
At the Judgment, the influence of Satan and all his deception will cease. The Glad Tidings can be explained to those previously uninformed and also to those who were deluded and deceived.
Perhaps many will choose life and be willing to serve their Creator. At this time there could be the reunions of loved ones who will never again be parted.
At the establishment of the new earth, after the Judgment, never again will there be death or sorrow. We know this from the great promise of Revelation 21:3-4, "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of Yahweh is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people and Yahweh himself will be with them and be their Elohim. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'"
The past and unpleasant events of the former life will never again be remembered. It is the time of the end of the curse of Genesis 3:17-19.
We are told in Revelation 22:3, "No longer will there be any more curse. The throne of Yahweh and the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him."
But we are also told who will not be in that happy age. There will be those who will go into the lake of fire for the second and final death! Those individuals are enumerated in Revelation 21:8, "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
Ultimate punishment will come to all who will not repent at the Last Great Day Judgment.
Yahweh Is Merciful
The Scriptures show that the Creator of all, Yahweh Almighty, is forgiving and loving, always ready to receive back the repentant. The most poignant example of this was presented by our Savior Yahshua in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:20: "So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him; he ran to his son threw his arms around him and kissed him."
We see the reception by the father of the repentant son in verses 22-24: "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: Quick! Bring the fatted calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was lost and is found,' So they began to celebrate."
The love expressed by the father, as related by Yahshua, shows that the Heavenly Father wants all the "dead" to be "alive again."
Recall the incident of the man who was born blind who came in contact with Yahshua, who healed him. "Go," He told him, "wash in the pool of Siloam." So the man went and washed, and came home seeing, John 9:7. Only through Yahshua was he able to see.
Perhaps this is a type of those who were born blind to spiritual truth and never had opportunity to find enlightenment during their lifetime.
Isn't it possible to believe that many seeing Yahshua at the White Throne Judgment will then "see" their errors?
Then Yahshua heard they had thrown the man out of the synagogue because of what had happened, Yahshua said to him: "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
"Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him."
Yahshua responded, "You have now seen Him; in fact, He is the one speaking with you."
Then the man said, "Master, I believe!" and he worshiped Him.
The treatment of Nineveh as related in the Old Covenant is an example of how much Yahweh cares for His creation.
In Jonah 4:10-11 Yahweh speaks to Jonah about his concern over the loss of a shade vine: "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight. But Nineveh has more that a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"
Yahweh cared about the innocent and the young children of the city who were under the influence of religious teachers who did not teach the truth of Yahweh's Word.
These people have had no opportunity to hear what is true because of the priests, false teachers, and prophets who have led them astray. These are the "wolves in sheep's clothing" mentioned by Yahshua.
The world's governments and false social systems have kept many from knowing of Yahweh's requirements when they keep people poor and down-trodden. Class environment prevents many from searching for spiritual things.
The meager necessities of life are not easily obtained by the poor and miserable of the world. Long days and hard work block the chance of learning. They can only accept those crumbs of untruth thrown to them by the ruling elite and misguided relatives.
Yahweh Desires Right Choices
According to the Apostle Paul, Yahshua brings hope to mankind. He wrote in Romans 5:17-19, "For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive Yahweh's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Yahshua the Messiah.
"Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous."
Paul raises the possibility of "the many" having Yahshua's righteousness applied to them for justification. It is Yahweh's will that His creation be released from its bondage!
Paul understood this, because he wrote in Romans 8:19, "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of Yahweh to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of Yahweh."
There is the hope that the creation will attain salvation--be given life! Yahweh wants to bring mankind "into the glorious freedom" that He has prepared for them.
Paul taught that Israelites will be forgiven for rejecting the Messiah. Perhaps this forgiveness will also be given at the righteous judgment of others of Yahweh's creation who have taken the wrong path?
We see that Paul says that all will have mercy shown to them! "Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of Yahweh: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in His kindness.... And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for Yahweh is able to graft them in again.... Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in," Romans 11:22-25.
Paul explains the mercy of Yahweh further in verses 29-32, "For Yahweh's gift and His call are irrevocable. Just as you, who were at one time disobedient to Yahweh, have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of Yahweh's mercy to you. For Yahweh has bound all men over to disobedience so that He may have mercy on them all."
This last sentence seems to indicate that Yahweh will eventually extend mercy to all who will accept His gift of grace!
Final Reconciliation of Mankind
If Israel does not "continue in unbelief" Yahweh will show them mercy. Although Yahweh has shut up all in disobedience, it is "so that He may have mercy on them all."
At the Last Great Day, which is the "closing time ' just before the establishing of the age when all is made new, the opportunity is given to all who will repent and believe.
All those millions of people who never attained to their potential, to their purpose in life, will now have their time to serve a living Heavenly Father who desires none to perish.
The early believers were looking for the imminent return of Yahshua during the time of the Apostles. Peter explains why this event might not happen at that time as already mentioned in 2 Peter 3:9.
Yahweh's will, according to this verse, is that anyone who wishes to serve Him should not go into the lake of fire. This writing, however, is not addressed to those wicked who are always rebellious and who will not repent even at the White Throne Judgment.
Proverbs 11:21 says, "Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free." And the unsaved dead who repent can be made "righteous" in Yahshua the Messiah.
Many will not accept this view of hope for the unsaved dead because it goes against their teachings. They believe that the "soul" is already immortal, with no need to worry about the second death. Also, it is contrary to another widely held belief that the unsaved person burns in fire forever, from the moment of death.
Because Yahshua died for the world, the many will be able, in the Last Great Day, to repent and be made righteous.
Yahweh asks in Ezekiel 18:23, "'Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?' declares the Sovereign Master. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?' Then in the same chapter, verse 30, Yahweh is speaking to Israel: "I will judge you, each one according to his ways declares the Sovereign Yahweh, Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.
'Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel?"
Yahweh clearly states that He does not want anyone to die. Surely this shows the possibility that many will be shown mercy so they can repent at the Judgment Seat.
Daniel, in 12:2 is told concerning the resurrection, "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt." While this verse does not clearly state that this is the time of the last Judgment, it certainly refers to the "multitudes" of mankind who have lived on the earth since creation.
Mercy in the Last Great Day
Paul addresses the time of judgment: "You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother?'' For we will all stand before Yahweh's judgment seat. 'As surely as I live,' says Yahweh, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to Yahweh, '" Romans 14:10-11 (quoting from Isaiah 45:23).
The Apostle Paul had been a proud person and murderer. He had obtained mercy even though he did not believe previous to his vision of Yahshua.
After Paul saw the risen Messiah he repented. Paul admits this in 1 Timothy 1:13-14. "Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Master was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Messiah Yahshua."
Paul considered himself an example of the sinner who was saved by Yahweh's mercy. He reveals this in verse 15-16: "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Messiah Yahshua came into the world to save sinners -- of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Messiah Yahshua might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life."
We are told, "Everyone who calls on the Name of Yahweh will be saved," (Romans 10:13). But it is a fact of history that millions who have lived on earth have not heard the message and therefore could not call on the Name.
The Glad Tidings must be revealed to all if they are to have a chance at salvation. Paul contends this thought in Romans 10:14: "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent.' As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"
A footnote on this passage in the NIV says, "Paul, by means of a series of rhetorical questions, states in reverse order the conditions necessary to call on the Messiah and be saved: (1) A preacher sent from Yahweh, (2) proclamation of the message, (3) hearing the message, and (4) believing the message."
It cannot be denied that, of the many that have lived on this earth, not all have been exposed to these conditions. Are they then to be sent to the lake of fire without the opportunity to hear and to believe the Good News?
Paul replies that Yahweh will show His Creation mercy, because Paul had been shown mercy. He told Timothy, "Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy...," (1 Tim. 1:13).
In Proverbs 28:13 is written, "He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them, finds mercy."
Why should not this mercy be expected during the Judgment time as much as during any other time when man required it? They are the unsaved of this earth through the age of man, the truth having never been proclaimed to them.
Life Soon to Be Fair!
Why is there so much unfairness in life? This question is asked in Job 21:23-26: "One man dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease, his body well-nourished, his bones rich with marrow. Another man dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good. Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both."
To many observers, there doesn't seem to be much fairness or justice here. Job had said earlier that he had hope for himself and "the creature" Yahweh had made. He had hope that if he died he would see life again.
He says in Job 14:14-17, "If a man dies, will he live again?" "All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come. You will call and I will answer you; YOU will long for the creature your hands have made. Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin. My offenses will be sealed up in a bag: YOU will cover my sin."
Job was right. Yahshua's blood, shed on Calvary, will cover his sin! At the Judgment of the last resurrection, as described in Revelation, many will have their sins expiated by the sacrifice of the 'Lamb of Yahweh, who takes away the sin of the world." John 1:29.
Yahshua the Messiah tells us of the Father's mercy in Luke 6:36, "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." Yahweh is always revealed as merciful. Scriptures clearly show that at the Last Day Yahweh will be merciful to the repentant, to those who will confess Yahshua when they hear the true story for the first time.
HOW many times has a man said, especially when life has been too difficult for him, "Life is not fair?" At the Judgment and from then on into eternity, Yahweh will make life fair! Never again will an unjust situation exist for mankind. Satan will have been put away forever.
During our journey through life, death is a reality to all of us. Early or late in life we must face the cruel sadness of death. It has happened from the time of Adam to the present.
Sooner or later we all lose a loved one. Grandparents, parents, children, sisters, brothers, other family members and dear friends-all will go. Many times the very young are claimed by death. Babies and youngsters who have never had their fair share of life will die, never having the opportunity to hear the truth proclaimed to mankind by Yahweh.
Through the ages man has tried to comprehend death. In his ego he has conferred an eternal soul upon man. He has designed in his own mind what happens to this supposed "eternal soul" after death. He has assumed the role of judge and exacts judgment on those who have died. Man has misunderstood and polluted the purpose of his existence.
The Creator of the universe, this earth, and mankind, Yahweh Almighty, is the only one who has established the true purpose of our existence.
He has proclaimed His purpose by His prophets and apostles, through the Scriptures, to relatively few of the billions who have existed on earth.
At that Last Great Day Yahweh will make things right at last.
This will be the beginning of the endless Age of Perfection that Yahweh has promised to mankind in His Word. There is hope for the "unsaved" dead. Yahweh will make "all things new" and then there will always be, through endless eternity, everlasting love, joy and peace!