I received the following question:
There has been quite a bit of talk among some folk here about number of resurrections and questions about “if death is the wages of sin then what about different levels of judgement?” Obviously Sellers hadn’t mentioned it and I have not studied out this aspect of our future but some of my friends are interested so I thought that I would throw it out there to you.
When every man stands before God in judgment, He will do what is right in regard to each of them. The ultimate punishment will always be death, but whether or not there might be other penalties exacted before the final one, it is hard to say. Certainly, in regard to the men who follow the anti-Christ, they are kept alive for five months and tormented. Revelation 9:4-6. “They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.” These men, who knowingly reject the Kingdom and choose the anti-Christ instead, are the worst imaginable of sinners, and God sees fit to torment them five months, not allowing them to die. This seems to be about the worst judgment He ever metes out Biblically, that I can see, that doesn’t involve death, but rather torment before death. It is a far cry from eternal, conscious torment, certainly, but still is quite a punishment! I can imagine that, though there may never have been a group of men on earth quite as wicked as these men, that there have been individuals throughout the ages that have been nearly as wicked. That these might receive some punishment prior to death in the future seems possible.
Then consider Matthew 26:24, speaking of Judas. “The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” If all that happened to Judas was the anguish he felt for betraying Christ and his subsequent suicide, then it seems that Christ’s words are an exaggeration here. This would seem to strongly suggest some future, worse punishment for Judas.
Then, there is the statement following the “Rich Man and Lazarus” story in Luke 17:1-2. “Then He said to the disciples, ‘It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.’” We know of men who get away with offending little ones, all the way from deceiving them to physical abuse to child molestation, and seem to get away with it in this life. Nothing happens to them worse than a millstone around the neck and being thrown into the sea. Some do get a measure of payback for their deeds, but certainly not all. This too, I think, suggests a grim future for them when they face God in judgment. Something perhaps worse than just an immediate death. What form that punishment might take, I cannot say. I can only point out my fullest confidence that, when God says these things, He does not exaggerate.