We cannot discuss God’s feelings toward sinners until we first understand the Biblical concept of hell.
The word “hell” in the Bible is a translation of four words: Sheol, Hades, Gehenna and Geber. Sheol (Strong’s H7585) and its Greek equivalent Hades (Strongs G86) are translated as grave, hell, and pit. “Gehenna” the garbage dump outside of Jerusalem, had both fires and worms to completely consume the refuse; while Geber is a grave, tomb. All people go to sheol (a state of unconsciousness, Ecclesiastes 9:5,10). Whenever a good man would die, the translators translated sheol as “grave.” However, when bad people died, this same word was translated as “hell.” That was purposefully deceptive. Sheol and hades are the condition of death. Death was the result of Adam’s sin and was passed on to all mankind: “For the wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23) – not eternal torture. A torturous hell does not exist. Will sinners, therefore, go to the Biblical hell, meaning the grave, the state of death? Yes.
In the resurrection, what will happen to sinners?
After this world’s last days (this world passeth away, 1 Corinthians 7:31) will come the resurrection of mankind (John 5:28, 29). God guarantees this: “Who (God) will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth,” 1 Timothy 2:4.
What feelings will God have for people, who in their past life were sinners? “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” Luke 15: 7.
How then should we understand Matthew 25:46?
Matthew 25:31-46, the parable of the sheep and the goats, shows the activity of the Son of Man in the kingdom of Christ ( “in his glory” Matthew 25:31, John 18:36) during His thousand year reign (Revelation 20:6). The goats (those unwilling to obey Christ) will go into eternal punishment i.e., eternal death from which there is no resurrection.
When do these events occur? Verse 32 says that the Lord shall gather all nations. Has such a momentous event in the history of the world ever taken place? No, so it must be in the future. Verse 34 teaches that the sheep – people who learn to love and obey the divine order inherit eternal life, while the goats will go into second death (Revelation 21:8). This occurs at the end of Christ’s thousand year reign.
“God is love” and “righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne…” (1 John 4:8, Psalm 89:14) Justice could never require eternal torture for wicked deeds. No, God plainly teaches the consequence of sin is death, ceasing to exist.