Question Text: Here is a question that has been asked to me and I haven`t had an answer, so maybe you can help me. The Bible says repeatedly that `his mercy endures forever`. Does this just apply to those who put their trust in him or everyone? If it is for everyone, then what about the people in hell?`
Answer Text: Webster defines mercy as “that benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being. The Lord is long-suffering and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty. Num 14”.
Following is a part of a Bible Dictionary definition of the word mercy. “Mercy is an essential character of God and it is associated with forgiveness (Exo_34:7; Num_14:18; 1Ti_1:13, 1Ti_1:16); with His forbearance (Psa_145:8, “Yahweh is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great lovingkindness”; compare Roman Psa_2:4; Psa_11:1-7 :32); and with His covenant (1Ki_8:23; Neh_1:5), with His justice (Psa_101:1), with His faithfulness (Psa_89:24), with His truth (Psa_108:4); mercy and truth are united in Pro_3:3; Pro_14:22, etc. (in Psa_85:10 we have “Mercy and truth are met together”)”.
Many Bible scholars think it is best to translate the Hebrew word “chesed” as “covenant love” rather than “mercy” as it is usually done. The Bible is very clear that hell is not prepared for man (Mt.25:41). But those who reject God’s love and His forgiveness reach there as there is no other place for them to go. Till man’s last breath on this earth, the Lord is waiting for him to come to Him. God will accept the final “no” of man with tears as He is rejected by him. That is why through Ezekiel God would say, “”Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? “(Eze 33:11).
God is helpless when some one rejects His love and forgiveness. That is why He would say, “why should my people die?” Read the last few verses of Eze.18.
People go to hell because God does NOT want to force any one to accept Him and His ways. Thus hell is the negative result of the mercy and love of God. Let us never be guilty of rejecting the love of an all loving God. It hurts Him more than it hurts the one who rejects Him. I hope this understanding of the mercy of God helps. God bless!