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The Bible Describes Hell

While it is true that God is love (1 John 4:8), He is also just (Nehemiah 9:32, 33; 2 Thessalonians 1:6) and eternal (Psalm 90:2;1 Timothy 1:17). God will therefore punish the evil doer (Isaiah 13:11) and this punishment will be eternal. It will be conscious. It is a place of "torment." We tend to forget what pain is like when we don't have it. can you imagines how terrible it would be to be in agony, with no hope of relief? Many human beings go insane if they are merely isolated for a long time from other people. Imagine how terrible it would be if God simply withdrew all the things we hold so dear -- friendship, love, color, light, peace, joy, laughter. Hell isn't just a place with an absence of God's blessings; it is punishment for sin. It is literal torment, forever. That's why the Bible warns that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. The fate of the unsaved is described below...


There are three words translated “Hell” in Scripture:
Gehenna (Greek): The place of punishment (Matthew 5:22,29; 10:28; and James 3:6)
Hades (Greek): The abode of the dead (Matthew 11:23; 16:18; Luke 16:23; Acts 2:27)
Sheol (Hebrew): The grave (Psalm 9:17; 16:10)


There are those who accept that Hell is a place of punishment, but believe that the punishment is to be annihilated—to cease conscious existence. They can’t conceive that the punishment of the wicked will be conscious and eternal. If they are correct, then a man like Adolph Hitler, who was responsible for the deaths of millions, is being “punished” merely with eternal sleep. His fate is simply to return to the non-existent state he was in before he was born, where he doesn’t even know that he is being punished.

Some who are enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season will brush off thoughts of God's eternal justice by joking, " I don't mind going to hell. All my friends will be there." Obviously, those who flippantly say such things don't believe in the biblical concept of hell. They are like a slow-witted criminal who thinks that the electric chair is a place to put up his feet for a while and relax. Their understanding of the nature of God is erroneous, so it may be wise to speak for a few moments about the reasonableness of hell. Explain that God will punish murderers and rapists, and the place of punishment -- the "prison" God will send them to --is a place called "hell." However, God is so good, He will also punish thieves, liars, adulterers, fornicators, and blasphemers. He will even punish those who desire to murder and rape but never took the opportunity. He warns that if we hate someone, we commit murder in our hearts. If we list, we commit adultery in the heart, etc. All are sins that will send us to hell. Scripture is quite clear: hell is a real place. It is not mere unconsciousness. It is not temporal, and it is not a place that you can party.

However, Scripture paints a different story. The rich man who found himself in Hell (Luke 16:19-31) was conscious. He was able to feel pain, to thirst, and to experience remorse. He wasn’t asleep in the grave; he was in a place of “torment.” If Hell is a place of knowing nothing or a reference to the grave into which we go at death, Jesus’ statements about Hell make no sense. 

He said that if your hand, foot, or eye causes you to sin, it would be better to remove it than to “go into Hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:43-48).

The Bible refers to the fate of the unsaved with such fearful words as the following:

Revelation 14:10,11 tells us the final, eternal destiny of the sinner: “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone...the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night."

Jesus said that if your hand, foot or eye causes you to sin, it would be better to remove it than to "go into hell,  into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:43-48). Jesus spoke more of hell than of heaven and spent much time warning people not to go there. After all, if people just stopped existing, why did He warn them? 

Here's some good news. If there is no hell: You won't know a thing after you die. It will be the end. No heaven, no hell. Just nothing. You won't even realize that it's good news. Here's some bad news. If the Bible is right and there is eternal justice: You will find yourself standing before the judgment throne of a holy and just God. Think of it. A holy and perfect Creator has seen your thought-life and every secret sin you have ever committed. You have a multitude of sins, and God must by nature carry out justice. Ask Him to remind you of the sins of your youth. Ask Him to bring to remembrance your secret sexual sins, the lies, the gossip, and other idle words. You may have forgotten your past sins, but God hasn't. hell will be your just dessert (exactly what you deserve), and you will have no one to blame but yourself. This is the claim of the Bible. If you don't believe it, it is still true. It will still happen.

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