What happens to those who die without Jesus?
When a man dies without Jesus Christ as his Savior, his soul goes immediately to hell. He will not be judged at that moment. In Luke 16, Christ gives us a picture of this when He described what happened to the rich man and the beggar man named Lazarus who both died. The rich man went to hell; Lazarus went to heaven.
“And in hell [the rich man] lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame” (Luke 16:23-24). In this passage, the Greek word for “hell” is different than the word that is translated “lake of fire.” Here, hell is defined more like a jail where the indicted criminal is retained until judgment. The lake of fire is the penitentiary.