Is hell endless?

Question:

My friend tells me that hell is not endless and that only the righteous people will rise again on the last day while the wicked people will be thrown in hell. Is hell endless? My friend believes we are like a book that burns until it consumes itself.

Ecclesiastes writes in chapter 3:

There is a season for everything, and a time for every event under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was planted (v.1-2)

 The book of Hebrews says that:

Indeed, just as people are destined to die once and after that to be judged (9:27)

Death has its time. This is a reality that cannot be neglected. Each person will face it when God decides it. Death means nothing else than the separation of the soul from the body. The flesh goes back into the dust, and the soul returns to its Creator. The author of the Epistle of Hebrews says that death is followed by judgement. What happens after the judgement? Where does the soul of the righteous go after the judgement? What about the wicked ones?

Luke 16:19-26 describes an example that Jesus presented to His disciples about what happens to the man’s soul after death:

If your brothers do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded, even if someone were to rise from the dead.’”

Please, note that God Himself, Lord Jesus presented this story of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man chose to live his life in gaiety and in the brightness of this world’s pleasures which is considered “good” and “valuable” by the world we live in, while Lazarus chose the worst things from this world’s perspective. He chose to listen to Moses and the prophets. “Moses and the Prophets” is a reference to the Old Testament. In Jesus’ times, there were no New Testament writings.

“Hades” refers to the places of the wicked people. It is the temporary place where the souls of the nonbelievers are kept and are in torture from the moment of death until the day of judgement.

Lazarus went to Abraham’s side, a place where the souls of those who believed were kept until the death and resurrection of Lord Jesus. After His resurrection, all those who repent go into the presence of God.

We are confident, then, and would prefer to be away from this body and to live with the Lord.(2 Corinthians 5:1-8)

While in prison in Rome, because of the Gospel, the apostle Paul wrote to Philippians:

For to me, to go on living is the Messiah, and to die is gain. Now if I continue living, fruitful labor is the result, so I do not know which I would prefer. Indeed, I cannot decide between the two. I have the desire to leave this life and be with the Messiah, for that is far better. But for your sake it is better that I remain alive.(1:21-24)

As we see, death is not the end. The believer goes into the presence of God after his death to be with Christ for eternity, while the nonbeliever will present himself before God for judgement on the resurrection day.

The book of Revelation says that all those who did not believe and lived a life of disobedience to the Gospel will present themselves before the white, big throne of judgement of God.

Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.(Revelation 20:11-15)

So whoever was not found written in the book of the Lamb was thrown into the lake of fire which is the second death. Those who did not believe in Lord Jesus did not pass from death to life, they have never experienced the life that is in Jesus Christ by faith in Him. Therefore, the lake of fire is the second death for them, the first is the death of their body and the second is the death of their soul. The lake of fire was not made for man, it was made for satan who deceives the whole world. After the Millennial Kingdom, satan and his followers will be thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where they will be tortured day and night for eternity.

…and the Devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were. They will be tortured day and night forever and ever.(Revelation 20:10)

For the righteous people God made new heavens and a new earth:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and the sea was gone. I also saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “See, the tent of God is among humans! He will make his home with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won’t be death anymore. There won’t be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared. The one sitting on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new!”  He said, “Write this: ‘These words are trustworthy and true.’”  Then he told me, “It has happened! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give a drink from the spring of the water of life to the one who is thirsty. The person who overcomes will inherit these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son.”( Revelation 21:1-7)

My beloved, heaven, hell and life after death are a reality. Believe in Jesus Christ today and you will receive the gift of eternal life and the guarantee of eternity. I recommend the following Precept Bible studies that will help you better understand this subject: Philippians, Revelation part I, II, III, IV.