People incorrectly assume that when we die, if we do not achieve holiness or justification, then we will simply perish into non-existence. Allow me but a moment to dispel that a bit.
The KJV says: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
The RSV says: They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,
Premise: The simple idea is that the Lord will judge those who received Him not and banish them, from his immediate presence.
Gill: As soon as the Lord appears, they will perish at his presence like wax before the fire; and so awful will be his appearance, they will flee from it with the utmost terror, and call to the rocks and mountains to hide them from the face of the Lord, and to screen them from his wrath:
Barnes: That is, a part of their punishment will consist in being banished from the immediate presence of the Lord. There is a sense in which God is everywhere present, and in that sense he will be in the world where the wicked will dwell, to punish them. But the phrase is also used to denote his more immediate presence; the place where are the symbols of his majesty and glory; the home of the holy and the blessed
Here we have the Apostle Paul telling the Church at Thessaloníki that those who fail to receive Christ and hold to His dear name will indeed still see God, and will catch a glimpse of Heaven, but on the cusp, as if standing on the sea shore, of the eternal home, they are ripped from it, to face eternal destruction. What can also be seen is that their is indeed a final and eternal separation between the righteous and those who are not.
Genesis 3:8 – example of standing in the presence of God, literally.
Matthew 7:22-23 – Speaking about that day, before God, claiming the name
Revelation 20:12 – The dead, the small and the great, standing before God.