As if some people couldn't get far enough away from them on earth, several verses in the Bible seem to indicate that there will be preachers even in Hell.

1 Peter 4:6 (ESV)
For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

Does this mean that there will be a chance to repent and believe even after if I do not do so in this life?

Note: This is not a duplicate of Will there be a second chance for salvation after the Rapture? which talk about people who are still living on earth after the rapture (if there is such a thing). I am also not asking about the eternal nature of Hell. Whether it is or not is not the same thing as whether there will be a way to repent and be saved from there, although it does make more sense if Hell is indeed enternal.

  • 1
    I've heard that He may come to you right before you die. I'd like to know where that comes from too.
    – Peter Turner
    Sep 2, 2011 at 14:18
  • @monocode: Yes I have. You can read my response in an open letter to Rob Bell.
    – Caleb
    Sep 26, 2011 at 10:59
  • @Caleb I'm short on time, but I've written a response similar to this before. Check out this verse in 2 Maccabees and my response to the question about whether Orthodox Christians are universalists.
    – Dan
    Nov 29, 2013 at 2:33
  • This old question is off-topic by today's site guidelines. I cannot think of a way to bring it within site guidelines. I've apparently voted to close it already some time in the past. I don't know why it is still open.
    – user3961
    Oct 29, 2014 at 20:06
  • There is a doctrinal answer to this question. In fact, the answer to this question is the very reason why Mormons do work for the dead in temples (see Salvation for the Dead). If the question were scoped to seek an LDS answer, then that would bring it within site guidelines.
    – ShemSeger
    Oct 29, 2014 at 20:59

6 Answers 6


John's revelation that he received while on the Isle of Patmos tells us that one day all of the dead that did not receive God while on earth must be judged according to their works.

REVELATION 20:11-15, KJV 11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

So what about the dead that did receive God while on earth? Jump back up to verse 4 to read that they will not be judged (Christ having already been judged in their stead), but judgment will be given to them.

REVELATION 20:4, KJV And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

So to answer your question by scripture, no, there are no second chances to believe God. You have one chance to accept grace, and if rejected you must be judged by your works, and not by grace.


The Orthodox teach that St. John the Baptist went to Hades and preached to the dead there, preceding the coming of Christ into Hades (The Descent into Hades after his death on the Cross.) This even occurred outside of time, so it is 'always happening' or, to those who die outside of Christ, they are ontologically prior to this occurrence, so there is a 'second chance' for them inasmuch as there could be. 'Being in Christ' means having already, in terms of 'being', died and been resurrected, since one's 'life is hid in Christ my God', who already died, conquered Hades, and rose again.

This belief is pretty old, AFAIK, and reflects what the Apostles preached and this particular teaching has been handed down to us, like the ever-virginity of Mary, from perhaps even the Apostolic age. It makes sense of some of the scriptures as well.

However, it does require a non-Nominalist approach to the faith.


The scripture from 1 Peter is pretty solid, there is also 1 Peter 3:19-20 (KJV)

19 By which also [Christ] went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffereing of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing, wherein few, that is eight souls were saved by water.

So according to this the people who were wicked during the days of Noah (almost everyone as you can see only 8 were saved) were given a second chance to hear the gospel from Christ.

You might also consider 1 Corinthians 15:29 (KJV)

"Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?"

He is talking about the resurrection for most of the chapter and the fact that because Christ was resurrected all men will be resurrected but here he talks about baptism for the dead like its an accepted practice of the time (I know there are a few other references in the Bible to baptism for the dead I just don't remember them off the top of my head.) So if people have no chance to be taught after they die but baptism is a saving ordnance of the kingdom why then would people be baptized for the dead?

Also it seems awfully strange to me that so many Christians believe that if you die with out knowledge of Christ then you are dammed for eternity. That does not seem like the doctrine of Christ in the New Testament who came "that all might live through Him". I think from these examples and others that people who have no chance to accept Christ in this life (which if you think about it is 90% of all the humans that have lived on this earth) will have a chance to hear the gospel in the next life and accept Christ as their savior.

  • I read I Corinthians 15:29 as "what's the point in baptizing anyone if there is no resurrection?". In other words, if there is no resurrection, then baptism is pointless.
    – Bob Black
    Sep 3, 2011 at 16:00
  • 2
    .....how can you take "which are baptized for the dead," in any other way then a question about people being baptized For The Dead. Plus the line "Why are they then baptized for the dead?" That's a direct question from Paul about baptism for the dead, the verse makes absolutely no sense any other way.
    – Ryan
    Sep 3, 2011 at 22:56

It's talking about all human beings on the planet. Even though these people that you speak with on a daily basis seem very alive, they are dead in their sins.

Colossians 2:13 NIV

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,

Ephesians 2:1

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,

And the key to this is here.

Ephesians 2:4-5

4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Now take a look at your verse again.

1 Peter 4:6

For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

You see, these people were once dead, but are now alive in God.


I think so. Because why would an infinitely-loving God damn someone to Hell because he never had a true revelation of his Son's forgiveness? Only the most truly rebellious souls go to Hell.

Those that reject Christ's sacrifice after death surely go to the lake of fire.

Which can be understood in a multi-dimensional context - those souls damned to eternal torment are confined in a spatial dimension different from our own. As those who inhabit heaven are as well. Those in heaven are infinitely far away from those souls in Hell, as are both from the physical plane in which we live.


No. If you die before the rapture and are in hell, you don't get a second chance. Like once your in heaven you don't get a second chance (like anybody would want a second chance in heaven). After the rapture, all the non-believers will be left on earth. Some will confert, others will still turn from him. They He will come a second time, and cast all the non-believers into the lake of fire, where they will burn forever (or they die a second time) I don't quite have that part grasped yet. And the converted people who aren't in heaven will live on the earth. But, the world will become like it is today again. Mud humans are sinful, we can't help it. So after the second coming, everyone will be Christian. They will love God. Then they'll have children, and as children are being born, they will fall away again. Out of wedlock children, gays, murders, stealing, hating God. And the devil won't even been leading us. He will be gone with all the non-believers. It's amazing, yet sad. Sad that we can't just love God. God knew this though. He gave us free will. I love God. I'm not ashamed.

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