When a Christian, one who is a follower of Christ, one who is obedient will at some point find life in time ending. For some it happens in old age. For some at the end of the struggle with disease. For some in sudden end of life as the result of accident, war or violence.
For every person, there will come a day when your last breath is taken, your spirit leaves your body. Your body becomes an empty shell.
For the Christian when that moment comes, there is a glorious transformation. Time ends and suddenly the believer finds him or herself alive and awake in the presence of the Lord. What happens is in reality a leaving of the dimension known as time and entering a new dimension we call eternity.
It's always with us. Jesus lives there. He's always with us. BUT he never leaves or forsakes us. He doesn't because he lives right here. As close as the air that surrounds us. If an angel appears as happens often they are allowed to leave eternity to enter time to intervene as part of the angel armies. Jesus can even appear... as he enters time occasionally to manifest himself as he did often in the old testament, after his resurrection and even in our day. He steps from eternity into time.
Yet when the believer enters eternity, he cannot see back nor can he come back from eternity into time. In fact.. all memories are made conscience of only those in the kingdom. We will know each other as we are known, but we won't know of those who "Didn't make it". That would cause grief. All tears are washed away in heaven. So knowledge of one who isn't there isn't possible.
Once we are in eternity in the presence of the Lord our joy will be full. Unspeakable. Full of glory. Without anything but living in the fullness of the presence of the throne. Sea of Glass.
Heaven is instantaneous and wonderful. Paul the Apostle talked of it. I won't address time at all... because the idea of soul sleep is involved in time. Understanding eternity is hard for people who live in time. Just be certain that it is.... and you will enter it... and as a Christian it will be GLORIOUS.
Now what of the unbeliever? What of that we call hell? What is damnation? What happens when an unbeliever dies?
When that day comes... they go to the grave. They are living the result of their choice. They are without God.. dead. Gone. Perished. Separated forever from the Glory of God. So what of the Rich Man in Jesus story... of a certain rich man and a poor man named Lazarus. Now in eternity there is no time... but in the grave time is. There comes a day... to a person who died a thousand years ago or yesterday when they are brought from the grave in the spirit to stand before a Holy Just God in Judgement. God will not that ANY perish. Jesus stands as defense attorney. He will come to the Father and if there is a question will say, "I shed blood for that one and he entered into it".
It will be many fewer than you think. Those who wilfully stepped away from or ignored the wooing of the Holy Spirit (the unpardonable sin), will be condemned to the second death. No eternal life.
This then becomes a difficult thing to define critically. Lots of scriptural "Interpretation" as to what it is. The lake of FIRE is reserved for the antichrist and the beast. It seems to be a particularly horrid place.
Here is one last thought. Jesus spoke of levels of punishment.
Luke 12:I can't prove it, but here's what I know for sure. Those who reject Christ, many will simply die... absent of eternal life. In the grave. Those who were more rebellious.... will suffer a greater fate.
42The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.47“The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Hell is real. It is reserved for the devil, his demons and those who are part of HIS kingdom. For those who are simply ignorant of Jesus and his redemption. Will die. Alone. In the grave.