New Defender's Study Bible Notes
20:15 book of life. Assuming that the names of all who begin physical life are initially inscribed in the book of life, their retention there depends on whether they accept Christ as personal Savior after they become conscious and accountable sinners and before they die. Otherwise their names will be blotted out of the book of life (see on Revelation 3:5; 22:19).
20:15 lake of fire. The lake of fire is obviously not located on this present earth, for this present earth will have burned up and “fled away” (Revelation 20:11) by this time; yet the lake of fire will have been burning continuously for more than a thousand years (Revelation 19:20). Neither will it be on the new earth, for that will be the home of “the Lord God Almighty” (Revelation 21:22), whereas “[they] that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power” (II Thessalonians 1:8-9).
The word “destruction” does not mean annihilation, but “ruin.” Thus, the unsaved will be moved far, far away from the presence of the Lord, and there they will remain forever. They may well be translated to a far distant dark star, for a star is itself a lake of fire, and the lost are said to be like “wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 13). There they must continue in their sinful state, hating God, never resting, without light, without love, without peace, without anything that speaks of the presence or power of God, forever.
Lest anyone think this fate too severe, there are several factors to remember. In the first place, those who have rejected God’s presence in their lives while they were on earth will be less miserable in hell than if they were forced to be in His presence in heaven forever. Secondly, only infinite punishment is fitting for those who have rejected or ignored the infinite love and infinite suffering of the Son of God for them. Finally, they must exist forever somewhere, since they had been created in God’s image, which by definition is eternal.