Yasser Arafat was courted by U.S. presidents and European dignitaries. In addition, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. However, by strict definition, he was also a murderer. Evidence was recently surfaced showing that Arafat was personally responsible for the murder of two U.S. diplomats, Ambassador Cleo Noel and U.S. deputy chief of mission George Curtis Moore in 1973. Furthermore, he was responsible for more than two thousand deaths of his own people, as well as 164 deaths of innocent Israeli citizens via the intifada he launched in 1987 (which extended until 1993).
It just does not seem fair, does it, that a man is lauded by the global community who is a common murderer? In actuality, it is not fair. However, the good news is that God will make all things right. For example, according to Romans 12:19, God guarantees He will repay; He will bring vengeance on evildoers. In addition, Galatians 6:7, in a generic promise, announces that "whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." Furthermore, Jesus announces in Matthew 23:14 (the Majority Text); Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:46-47; etc. that certain religious leaders will experience a greater condemnation than that of other unbelievers because of their behavior in their positions of power and influence. Other passages indicate that all people will be judged by their works (see Psalm 62:12; Proverbs 24:12; Ecclesiastes 12:14; also note Revelation 20:12-13), which indicates that their eternal experience will be dependent, in some way, on their works.
This means that where a person spends eternity is dependent entirely on whether that person ever believed Jesus Christ for eternal life (cf. John 3:18), the individual's experience in either God's eternal kingdom or in the lake of fire results from their works. That is clearly what the above passages tell us. Some unbelievers will have a worse experience in the lake of fire than will other unbelievers.
For example, Joe Goodneighbor, who was a moral, seemingly kind person—but who never believed in Jesus for his eternal destiny, will not have the same eternal experience as will an Idi Amin, a Joseph Stalin, and Adolph Hitler, and, yes, a Yasser Arafat (provided none of them ever believed in Jesus for eternal life). Though they will all reside in the lake of fire if they never believed Jesus' guarantee of everlasting life, their various works will provide varying experiences—a greater punishment for some than for others.
This, of course, is also true for those who will live in God's kingdom. While kingdom entrance is a free gift, received solely by believing Jesus for eternal life, the experiences of believers in Christ will vary. Each believer will be assessed at the Judgment Seat of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:10; also see Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; etc.), which will determine his or her eternal reward, or lack of it. The Bible reveals that eternal reward is all about an enhanced experience. While every believer in Christ will have a much greater experience than they are experiencing her and now, some believers will experience greater joy (Matthew 25:21, 23), greater intimacy with Christ (cf. Revelation 3:21), greater privileges (Matthew 25:21, 23; Luke 12:37; etc.), greater honor (Matthew 25:21, 23; Luke 12:8; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21), greater fulfillment (compare, for example, the fact that we were created to rule the earth according to Genesis 1:28; Psalm 8; Hebrews 2:5-8 with the offer to faithful believers to rule in God's kingdom in Matthew 25:21, 23; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21; etc.), etc.
Therefore, just as unbelievers will get their "due," based on what they have done, so believers will have an eternal experience that is based on what they have done—at least, what they have done since believing in Christ. We know this, for example, because the apostle Paul reveals in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 that the assessment of a Christian's life for eternal reward is based on how the individual "built" upon the foundation of Christ; that is, what the person did from the point at which he or she believed in Christ for their eternal destiny. (Even with this, God will be gracious, as indicated by Matthew 25:21, in which the Assessor announces to the faithful, "you were faithful over a FEW things, I will make you ruler over MANY things." Note that faithfulness with a "few" obtains the reward of "many". That's grace!)
This means that God will bring true justice one day—and forever! Thus, while we may be tormented by the injustice we see in the world today, or, perhaps, by injustice we have personally experienced, we can be comforted by the fact that God will, one day and eternally, make everything right.
That can bring us great comfort; however, what can comfort us can also bring us discomfort. After all, this discussion also shows that every one of us will be assessed based on our lives.
This Biblical information is meant to motivate us—to live for Christ and to finish well. If we do, we will be eternally glad that we did. It will be well worth any sacrifice we made here, and any choice to defer gratification in this life, in order to obtain the ultimate fulfilled experience forever!
[John Claeys serves with John Claeys Ministries through writing, speaking, and radio ministries and is the author of Apocalypse 2012: The Ticking of the End Time Clock—What Does the Bible Say?, a riveting look of the events leading up to the return of Christ. See www.JohnClaeys.com for more information.]