Often times, whenever we share that we do not believe in an eternal, ongoing burning inferno, then others assume that we are Universalists. We are definitely not Universalists, and we do believe in a judgment and a punishment.
We were able to prove through our in-depth study in the Bible that the wicked will be burned up by God, but that the fire does go out after it consumes them. We are able to show that the eternal fire is not its duration, but its finality. We are able to show that hell, 94% of the time in the Bible, refers to the grave. The rest of hell translates as Gehenna, which is a valley in Jerusalem. Only one instance refers to Tartaroos, which is a holding place for fallen angels to be reserved unto judgment.
If you haven't checked out our hell studies, then please click "hell" on our right column under "labels" or click HERE. Be sure to check out our four part study on hell called "The Biblical Truth About Hell" where we try to cover every instance of hell listed in both the OT and the NT.
We also believe in the elect since we are able to find it scripturally. But how does there not being a "hell" work for those who also believe in the elect?
Well, once we put these pieces together by scripture, it does flow together perfectly.
First, one cannot help but be humbled that God chose us before the foundation of the world as His elect. We are also thankful since it was not by any merit of what we have done, or any importance of who we are because it was by God's mercy alone. It could have easily been the next guy instead. As Paul wrote in Galatians 1, "It was the father's good pleasure to separate me from my mother's womb and to reveal His Son in me."
Secondly, since God raises up vessels fitted unto destruction and vessels unto mercy (Rom 9) by His own will before we have ever done anything yet.. then why would God punish those who were created that way by burning them forever and ever in the utmost agony possible? I am not writing this by my own emotion and rationalizing, but what I am able to defend scripturally.
The Bible shows that God, whom we all will praise for being a just and merciful judge, gives everlasting life to us through Jesus Christ His Son. This gift is a gift, which is exclusive and not everyone gets it. That is what makes it a gift, and it is only possible through Christ. Those without Christ do not get everlasting life. Instead, they will die because the wages of sin is death (the second death).
We all will die because we were born unto Adam in the flesh but to God, this is only sleep since we will all be raised up again. But after this, God's elect will inherit everlasting life and live forever with Christ when He comes back to redeem them from the grave. Those who did not die in Christ will be brought up again after the thousand years are over, and they will face the second death. The second death is the one that they will NOT come back from. They will die.. forever. They will miss out on the gift of God. They will miss out on life, on being glorified, and they will miss out in living forever in Paradise with God.
It is so simple and clear once we find this. The elect of God will be given life. The wicked will not have life, but they will die and perish forever. After we have studied this, it has helped us understand God's character more and His plan for us.
But don't just take our word for it either. Check out the links to the scriptures we have found. Check your Bible. Use your concordances, and the Greek and Hebrew translations (E-sword.net is an excellent free tool to have all these at once). Most important of all, ask God to guide you into His truth, to give you discernment also, and wisdom which He has promised to give liberally to all who ask for it.