Many times us Christians will tell people that “you will go to hell for eternity if you do not repent of your sins.” I myself have written this on my blog at times. This is close enough to the truth, but it is not technically correct.
Technically speaking, those who reject God’s loving offer of grace and mercy do not go to hell for eternity; they are only there temporarily. Eventually they are sent to the Lake of Fire which is much worse, and it is there that they will spend eternity. Our loving God, of course, does not wish to send anyone there (II Peter 3:9), but He will if they do not repent of their sins and choose to love Him more than they love themselves.
The first people in history to experience the Lake of Fire, as far as I can tell, are the Antichrist and the false prophet. These are two great leaders who will arise to deceive the Earth during the coming tribulation period. They will be defeated at the battle of Armaggeddon in front of the gates of Jerusalem, and “cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20).
The Devil will not be cast into the lake of fire, or hell, but into a separate holding area (Revelation 20:2). He will be released from this holding area after a thousand year period of peace takes place on Earth. He will then lead a second army against Jerusalem, only to be once again defeated. This time he tool will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity:
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur,where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)
Shortly after this takes place all unbelieving humans, who had rejected God’s gracious offer of forgiveness, will be taken out of hell and cast into the lake of fire for eternity, to be permanently punished alongside the Antichrist, the false prophet, and the Devil (Revelation 20:11-15)