If you know the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, you will remember that the Lord sent two angels to Lot and told him to take his family and get out of the city. Lotís family didnít want to leave, the angels almost had to drag them out.
The angels took Lot, his wife and two daughters, and told them not to look back at the city. Unfortunately his wife didnít make it, she looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt. The Bible uses this story to explain what is going to happen to the wicked...
Matthew 10:15 "Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."
Jesus is saying here that Sodom and Gomorrha will be better off than some of the cities that He ministered in, because these cities rejected Him. 2 Peter further explains this...
2 Peter 2:6 "And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;"
Again the Bible is very clear - Sodom and Gomorrah are an example of whatís going to happen to the wicked.
Jude 7 "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."
Are Sodom and Gomorrah still burning today? No. But they suffered the vengeance of eternal fire. You see the punishment was eternal, not the punishing. If we get this point straight, then whole subject becomes clear, and we see that the punishment is final, it will never be again - it says this is the second death. The wicked will exist no more, it will be the end of them, they wonít be around, they will become like ashes.
There are many texts throughout the Bible that show that the wicked dead do not burn for eternity. Here are a few examples that show this very clearly.
Psalm 1:4-6 "4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish."
Psalm 11:6 "Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup."
Here it tells us that just like in Sodom and Gomorrah, God will rain down fire and brimstone - not that people will burn in it forever, but that they will be consumed by it until nothing is left.
Psalm 37:1-2 "1 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb."
Psalm 37:9-10 "9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be."
Psalm 37:20 "But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away."
Psalm 37:34-36 "34 Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. 35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. 36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found."
The wicked here could not be found because they had been completely consumed - turned to ashes.
Psalm 68:2 "As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God."
Psalm 94:23 "And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off."
The word of God is very clear. It says that at the end of time, God will burn this world. The wicked will at that time burn up with it, and that will be the end of Satan and all those who followed him - the wicked will exist no more.