What Jesus Really Said About Heaven and Hell
Everyone dislikes thinking about death, yet there are moments when we have no option but to confront it. As the infection spreads, hospitals become overcrowded, and systems become overburdened. Survival is the most pressing of our concerns, both personally and nationally. Many individuals – including the apparently healthy – have, however, found themselves confronted with the shadow of death itself, which has become our daily companion, despite our best efforts to ignore it the majority of the time.
While NBC’s huge hit comedy seriesThe Good Place was the most recent and most memorable effort, the humor even there was founded exactly in horror, as Eleanor Shellstrop and her pals desperately tried to avoid the eternity they earned in the Bad Place and its unending torments.
After learning he will spend forever groveling in dust and being devoured by worms, Gilgamesh writhes with misery in the epic poem The Epic of Gilgamesh.
The prospect of endless sorrow, on the other hand, makes many people shiver.
In the globe, there are more than two billion Christians, with the great majority of them believing in the existence of a heaven and a hell.
In spite of an increasing number of “nones,” Americans continue to expect a version of the options shown in The Good Place: independent of religious affiliation, 72 percent believe in a genuine paradise and 58 percent believe in a literal hell, according to the Pew Research Center.
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The great majority of these individuals understandably believe that this is what Jesus personally told them. However, this is not the case. Neither Jesus nor the Hebrew Bible, which he translated, supported the notion that departed souls went to either paradise or everlasting punishment. Ancient Jews, in contrast to the majority of Greeks, historically did not think that the soul could exist independently of the body. The opposite was true for them; they saw the soul as more like “breath.” Adam, the first human being God created, began as a lump of clay, then God “breathed” life into him after that (Genesis 2: 7).
- Afterwards, everything was reduced to dust and ashes.
- It is not true that when we cease breathing, our breath does not leave our body.
- In the same way, the “soul” does not continue to exist outside of the body, where it may experience postmortem joy or anguish.
- It is assumed by the Hebrew Bible itself that the deceased are simply dead—that their corpse rests in the grave and that they will never regain awareness again.
- However, in the majority of cases, the term “Sheol” is just a synonym for “tomb” or “grave.” It’s not a location where people really go to hang out.
- The fact that there was no life at all, and so no family, friends, talks, food, drink – and even communion with God – made death so depressing: nothing could make an afterlife existence more pleasant since there was no life at all, and hence no wonderful afterlife existence.
- To be honest, the most one could aspire for was an enjoyable and exceptionally long life in the here and now.
The belief that there was something beyond death—a form of justice to come—began to spread among Jewish philosophers some two hundred years before the birth of the Messiah.
But the issues with that reasoning were palpable: God’s own people Israel continuously, brutally, and frustratingly suffered, from natural catastrophe, political turmoil, and, most significantly, military defeat.
Some philosophers came up with a solution that described how God would bring about justice, but again one that didn’t include endless happiness in a paradise above or continuous pain in a hell below.
Even though God is the ultimate ruler over everything, he has temporarily abandoned sovereignty of this planet for some inexplicable reason.
God is soon to intervene in earthly affairs to destroy everything and everyone that opposes him and to bring in a new realm for his true followers, a Kingdom of God, a paradise on earth.
Indeed, God will breathe life back into the dead, restoring them to an earthly existence.
The multitude who had been opposed to God will also be raised, but for a different reason: to see the errors of their ways and be judged.
This view of the coming resurrection dominated the view of Jewish thought in the days of Jesus.
The end of time is coming soon.
Those who enter this kingdom will enjoy a utopian existence for all time.
But Jesus put his own twist on the idea.
Instead, for Jesus, the earthly utopia will come to those who are fully dedicated to the most pervasive and dominant teachings of God’s law.
People who have not been living lives of complete unselfish love need to repent and return to the two “greatest commandments” of Jewish Scripture: deep love of God (Deuteronomy 6:4-6) and committed love of neighbor (Leviticus 19:18).
This may be simple, but it is not easy.
Jesus was concerned principally for the poor, the outcasts, the foreigners, the marginalized, and even the most hated enemies.
Especially those with good lives and abundant resources.
Most people today would be surprised to learn that Jesus believed in a bodily eternal life here on earth, instead of eternal bliss for souls, but even more that he did not believe in hell as a place of eternal torment.
(Matthew 5:22, 29-30).
It was where, according to the Old Testament, ancient Israelites practiced child sacrifice to foreign gods.
In the ancient world (whether Greek, Roman, or Jewish), the worst punishment a person could experience after death was to be denied a decent burial.
Jesus did not say souls would be tortured there.
Jesus’ stress on the absolute annihilation of sinners appears throughout his teachings.
The other is broad and easy, and therefore commonly taken.
The wrong path does not lead to torture.
He doesn’t torture them.
Or the kingdom is like a person who gathers up the plants that have grown in his field (Matthew 13:36-43).
He keeps the good grain, but tosses the weeds into a fiery furnace.
They are consumed by fire and then are no more.
Most notably Jesus speaks of all nations coming for the last judgment (Matthew 25:31-46).
Some are said to be sheep, and the others goats.
These are welcomed into the “kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” The (wicked) goats, however, have refused to help those in need, and so are sent to “eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” At first blush, that certainly sounds like the hell of popular imagination.
- So the punishment is annihilation.
- Because the fire never goes out.
- And why is the punishment called “eternal”?
- These people will be annihilated forever.
- And so, Jesus stood in a very long line of serious thinkers who have refused to believe that a good God would torture his creatures for eternity.
- But the torments of hell were not preached by either Jesus or his original Jewish followers; they emerged among later gentile converts who did not hold to the Jewish notion of a future resurrection of the dead.
- From at least the time of Socrates, many Greek thinkers had subscribed to the idea of the immortality of the soul.
Later Christians who came out of gentile circles adopted this view for themselves, and reasoned that if souls are built to last forever, their ultimate fates will do so as well.
This innovation represents an unhappy amalgamation of Jesus’ Jewish views and those found in parts of the Greek philosophical tradition.
Still, in one interesting and comforting way, Jesus’ own views of either eternal reward or complete annihilation do resemble Greek notions propagated over four centuries earlier.
His “Apology” (that is, “Legal Defense”) can still be read today, recorded by his most famous pupil, Plato.
On the contrary, he is rather energized by the idea of passing on from this life.
On one hand, it may entail the longest, most untroubled, deep sleep that could be imagined.
On the other hand, it may involve a conscious existence.
It would mean carrying on with life and all its pleasures but none of its pain.
And so the afterlife presents no bad choices, only good ones.
Twenty-four centuries later, with all our advances in understanding our world and human life within it, surely we can think that that both Jesus and Socrates had a lot of things right.
We should listen to him.
None of us, of course, knows what will happen when we pass from this world of transience.
On one hand, we may lose our consciousness with no longer a worry in this world.
In either scenario, there will be no more pain.
And so, in this, the greatest teacher of the Greeks and the founder of Christianity agreed to this extent: when, in the end, we pass from this earthly realm, we may indeed have something to hope for, but we have absolutely nothing to fear.
Ehrman’s new book, from which this essay is adapted, isHeaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife. Contact [email protected].
The Truth about hell
|“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments.” Luke 16:23What you’re about to read is hard to believe.We’re going to examine the place the Bible calls hell. We’ll present documented evidence for a place called hell. Don’t take what you’re going to read lightly. YOU COULD BE IN SERIOUS DANGER!The Bible continually warns of a place called hell. There are over 162 references in the New Testament alone which warns of hell. And over 70 of these references were uttered by the Lord Jesus Christ!In Luke 16, Jesus Christ gives a frightening picture of hell:22. the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, Father, that Thou would send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. (Luke 16:22-28)HELL IS A PLACE OF FIREThe man in Luke 16:24 cries: “.I am tormented in this FLAME.”In Matthew 13:42, Jesus says: “And shall cast them into a FURNACE OF FIRE: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”In Matthew 25:41, Jesus says: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting FIRE,.”Revelation 20:15 says, ” And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the LAKE OF FIRE.”THE BIBLE GIVES THE LOCATION OF HELLWhen Jesus Christ died on the cross, He descended into hell. In Acts 2, Peter is speaking, verse 31, “. seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in HELL”When Jesus Christ died His soul went into hell.And in Matthew 12:40, Jesus Christ says: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly: so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the HEART OF THE EARTH. “The Bible is clear — Hell is inside the earth!Ephesians 4:9, says of Jesus: “Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the LOWER PARTS OF THE EARTH.”On page 85 of Beyond Death’s Door, Dr. Rawlings said, patients who described hell said, “. this place seems to be UNDERGROUND or WITHIN THE EARTH in some way.”The Birmingham News, April 10, 1987 had an article entitled “Earth’s Center Hotter Than Sun’s Surface, Scientists Say”. The article stated that scientists have recently discovered, “THE EARTH’S INNER CORE HAS A TEMPERATURE OF OVER 12,000 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT!”Have you seen pictures of a volcano erupting, spewing a lake of fire from inside the earth — consuming everything within miles just from the heat? When Mount St. Helens erupted in May 18, 1980, it was described by reporters, “when HELL surfaced upon the earth.” The book, Volcanoes, Earth’s Awakening (p.91) describes an erupting volcano as “descent into HELL”.Thousands of years ago, the Bible described a place called hell in the heart of the earth that matches exactly what science is discovering.YES! THERE IS A PLACE CALLED HELL!In Numbers 16, the Bible gives the account of people falling into hell alive! Numbers 16:32-33 says, “And THE EARTH OPENED HER MOUTH, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive INTO THE PIT, and the EARTH CLOSED UPON THEM:”Inside this earth, this very moment, there are millions of lost, tormented souls — burning, weeping, wailing — without any hope whatsoever!In Mark 9:46, Jesus Christ says about hell: “Where THEIR WORM dies not, and the fire is not quenched.”Jesus said explicitly — THEIR worm — not a worm, or the worm — but THEIR worm.And Jesus Christ said, “Where THEIR WORM dies not, and the fire is not quenched.”Revelation 14:10 says, “. and He shall be tormented with fire and BRIMSTONE.” And Job 18 describes the “. PLACE of him that knows not God” (vs 21), in verse 15 as, “. BRIMSTONE shall be scattered upon his habitation.” Do you know what brimstone is? It’s sulfur. And do you know where sulfur or brimstone is found? INSIDE THIS EARTH! According to the book Volcanoes by Pierre Kohler (p. 43), when Mt. St Helens erupted in 1980 — 150,000 tons of sulfurous gas was ejected! Job is the oldest book in the Bible, written over 3,000 years ago, and yet Job knew what science wouldn’t know for years — inside this earth is brimstone!HELL IS A PLACE OF TORMENTJesus says of the man in Luke 16:23 “And in hell He lift up his eyes, being in TORMENTS. ” 24 “. for I am TORMENTED in this flame.” 28 “.PLACE OF TORMENT.”It is humanly impossible to comprehend the Bible description of hell. Nothing on earth can compare with it. No nightmare could produce a terror to match that of hell. No horror movie could describe it’s fright. No crime scene with all it’s blood and gore could begin to match it’s horror.You’ll see HELL. You’ll smell HELL. You’ll breathe HELL. You’ll hear HELL. You’ll feel HELL.It’ll be beyond anything humanly imaginable!The Bible describes it as),weeping (Matt 8:12), wailing (Matt 13:42), gnashing of teeth (Matt 13:50), darkness (Matt 25:30), flames (Luke 16:24), burning (Isa 33:14), torments (Luke 16:23 everlasting punishment! Jesus Christ says in Matthew 25:41, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into EVERLASTING FIRE, prepared for the devil and his angels.”In Matthew 13:42, Jesus says: “And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”HELL IS FOREVER!All who enter hell — abandon all hope!The horror of hell — for even one second is unbearable — but FOREVER!Jesus says in Matthew 25:41: “. Depart from me, ye cursed, into EVERLASTING fire,.”Rev. 14:11: “The smoke of their TORMENT ascends up for EVER AND EVER: and they have NO REST DAY NOR NIGHT.”What could possibly be worth eternity in hell? No wonder Jesus Christ warned so much about hell! No wonder Jesus said in Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and LOSE HIS OWN SOUL?”Jesus Christ took hell very serious.Jesus Christ says in Mark 9:43-47,43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:Jesus Christ took hell so serious — He could say without the slightest hesitation — to remove your eye, cut off your hand or foot, if that would keep you out of hell!Jesus Christ knew exactly what He was talking about!How did Jesus describe hell?Jesus Christ spoke more on hell than any other subject. Just look at how Jesus described hell:WHAT JESUS CHRIST SAYS ABOUT HELL! “fire”Matt 7:19, 13:40, 25:41” everlasting fire”Matt 18:8, 25:41″eternal damnation”Mark 3:29″hell fire”Matt 5:22, 18:9, Mark 9:47 “damnation”Matt 23:14, Mark 12:40, Luke 20:47″shall be damned “Mark 16:16″damnation of hell”Matt 23:33″resurrection of damnation”John 5:29” furnace of fire”Matt 13:42, 50″the fire that never shall be quenched”Mark 9:43, 45 “the fire is not quenched”Mark 9:44, 46, 48″Where their worm dies not”Mark 9:44, 46, 48″wailing and gnashing of teeth”Matt 13:42, 50″weeping and gnashing of teeth “Matt 8:12, 22:13, 25:30″torments”Luke 16:23″tormented in this flame”Luke 16:24 “place of torment”Luke 16:28″outer darkness”Matt 8:12, 22:13″everlasting punishment”Matt 25:46WHAT IF JESUS IS RIGHT?Hebrews 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this THE JUDGEMENT:”it is appointed unto man once to die. and one day — YOU will die.And in hell He lift up his eyes, being in torments.As you leave your body — you realize something is happening. You hear a sound. getting louder and louder. screaming.weeping. wailing. Terror and fear beyond anything you could imagine overtakes you. “This can’t be happening!” you scream. Your nostrils are filling with the awful stench of burning souls. Your face ignites from the heat. Flames are now blazing from your eyes, nostrils, ears, mouth — every opening in your body, flames are roaring out. Your body is sizzling and crackling from the flames.Your body is now madly thrashing and convulsing from the horrible pain. “Why don’t I die?”, you scream. You begin weeping and gnashing your teeth with the millions. “When will this pain stop?” But you know it will never stop.The darkness is so terrifying, it begins engulfing you. You feel something moving in the darkness. something horrible is happening. “No! No! This can’t be happening” you scream — as your worm is emerging.You begin cursing the day you were born. You scream — “Oh God, why didn’t you warn me?”— but you remember the preacher pleading with you to receive Jesus Christ. You remember reading that gospel tract. You cry — “God don’t you care?” — but you remember John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son,.” “God is a God of love — He won’t allow this”, you cry — but you remember John 3:36, “. he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.”And you soon realize, that Jesus Christ was right — there is a place called hell.AND YOU ARE THERE — FOREVER!But God is a God of LOVE. Why would a GOD OF LOVE send me to hell? Yes, God is a GOD OF LOVE — but God is also a HOLY GOD. A HOLY GOD demands payment for sin. Otherwise God would NOT and could NOT be HOLY.Because God is holy sin MUST be condemned. Joshua 24:19 says, “. He is a HOLY GOD;. He will NOT forgive your transgressions nor your sins.”BUT FRIEND I HAVE GOOD NEWS!God does NOT want you in hellHell was not made for man. Matthew 25:41 says, hell was, “. prepared for the devil and his angels:”Because God is a GOD OF LOVE, and He LOVED YOU so much, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to die a cruel death on a cross to pay the price a HOLY GOD demands for your sins.Romans 5:8 says, “But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”God does not send someone to hell. You choose hell when you reject Jesus Christ. When you refuse God’s love gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ.YOU CHOOSE HELL!Millionaire Ted Turner, said in an interview, “I’m looking forward to dying and being cast into Hell. That’s where I belong.” You say — he’s a fool! But friend, when you say “No”; to Jesus Christ and His payment for your sin — you are saying the same thing! You’re telling God — I don’t need Jesus Christ — I’ll pay for my sins in hell!If you reject God’s gift of eternal life through Jesus ChristONE DAY YOU WILL BE IN HELL! What could possibly be worth eternity in hell?No wonder Jesus Christ said in Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”God has something far better than words can describe for those who love Him. I Corinthians 2:9 says, “. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”Friend, there is a place called hell! And, if you continually refuse God’s gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ — just as sure as you live and breathe, ONE DAY YOUWILL WAKE UP IN HELL!Don’t wait until you die to find out the truth about Hell! Tomorrow may be too late! Proverbs 27:1 says, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow: for you do not know what tomorrow holds.”Three people die every second, 180 every minute, since you started reading this — 2000 more people have gone into eternity! An automobile accident. A heart attack., A stroke.One thing is CERTAIN — you will DIE — today. tomorrow. a week. a month. a year. 5 years. 10 years. 20 years. 50 years — ONE THING IS CERTAIN —”.it is appointed unto man once TO DIE.”DON’T BE CAUGHT DEAD WITHOUT JESUS!You may have made some terrible mistakes in your life. There may be some things in your life you would give anything to be able to change. But friend, I assure you — if you die without Jesus Christ — it’ll be the worst mistake you could possibly make!Has there ever come a time and a place in your life, when you received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?If not, you are on the way to hell!Don’t let anyone convince you that when you die it will be all over! The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this THE JUDGMENT.” Revelation 20:15 says, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the LAKE OF FIRE.”If you’ve never received Jesus Christ as your Savior, bow your head this minute and ask the Lord Jesus Christ to save you.Don’t put it off another second!NOTHING IS WORTH TAKING THE CHANCE!It’s simple to be saved.Realize you are a sinner.”As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” Romans 3:10″. for there is no difference. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23Realize you CAN NOT save yourself.”But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags;.” Isaiah 64:6″Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy He saved us,.” Titus 3:5Realize that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for your sins.”Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,.” 1 Peter 2:24″. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,” Revelation 1:5Simply by faith receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.”But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” John 1:12″.Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”” Acts 16:30,31″For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE SAVED? Pray this prayer, and mean it with all your heart.Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and unless You save me I am lost forever. I thank You for dying for me on the cross. I come to You now, Lord the best way I know how, and ask You to save me. I now receive You as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus Name, Amen.Home-Eternity-How you can be saved-Why Drink?-Read the Bible-Additional Resources|
Did Jesus Say There is a Hell?
Many individuals nowadays believe that the notion of hell is out of date, that it is a remnant of the past that has fulfilled its function and can now be safely abandoned. Hell, on the other hand, cannot be disregarded so lightly by people who are interested in what Jesus taught. In fact, no other biblical character mentions hell more frequently than Jesus Christ does in his teachings. Jesus Christ, as the one who was God manifested in human flesh, is the only one who truly understands hell. In order to better understand hell, let us first examine the many terminology and imagery that Jesus employs to depict it, and then consider what he really says about it.
Definition of Hell in the Bible
Hell is commonly referred to by the terms hades and gehnna, respectively. Even while Hades is the Greek term for the land of the dead, in Luke 16:23, Jesus uses it more explicitly in reference to a region of torture that is the polar opposite of paradise (Matt 11:23). Originally, the term gehnna refers to the Hinnom Valley, south of Jerusalem, where child sacrifice had been performed for ages (2 Kings 23:10;Jeremiah 7:32). Gehnawas a depiction of hell by the time of Jesus, such that Jesus advises, “fear him who may kill both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
Thus it conveys the dreadful atmosphere, as in Matthew 5:22, where Jesus cautions that “anyone says, ‘You idiot!’ will be subject to the hellish fire.” Imagery of DarknessAnother popular representation of hell is that of complete darkness.
In that area there will be crying and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 8:12).
What Did Jesus Actually Teach about Hell?
For the sake of simplicity, we might say that hell is a realm of conscious, perpetual agony where people are punished by God as a result of their wrongdoing. While it is true that hell is “the eternal fire reserved for the devil and his angels” (Matt 25:41), it is also true that hell is “the eternal fire prepared for those who join them in their rebellion against God” (Matt 11:20 –24). The torment of hell is severe that Jesus declares, “I will not go there.” “If you find that your hand is causing you to sin, chop it off.
- Those who do not walk through the small door of faith and repentance in Jesus (Luke 13:24) will find themselves in a region of crying and gnashing of teeth (Revelation 21:8).
- People from all walks of life will stand before Jesus Christ at the end of human history, and he will separate humanity into two groups: the “sheep” (those who exhibit their faith in Jesus via their good acts) and the “goats” (those who did not trust in Jesus Christ).
- Because hell is a real and unspeakably dreadful place, Jesus employs harsh words to describe it.
- The Lord Jesus Christ lived a life of perfect obedience, died on the cross as a sacrificial offering for our sins, and rose from the grave to destroy sin, death, and the devil.
Rather than the eternal punishment that everyone deserves for their wrongdoing, he encourages everyone to place their confidence in him in order to receive eternal life (John 3:16-17).
Is the Bible’s Language about Hell Literal or Metaphorical?
For those who believe in hell, “there’s some doubt,” according to seminary lecturer Andy Naselli (who may be heard in the video below). “I’m not certain if it’s a literal or metaphorical interpretation — there are compelling reasons for both. “The analogies that the Bible use to depict hell convey a reality that we cannot readily identify to here on earth.” Photo courtesy of Unsplash
What did Jesus say about hell?
Vance Havner related a tale of a church member who was dissatisfied with the hell-themed sermons that he gave. One of his audience members advised him to “preach about the meek and lowly Jesus.” As for Havner’s response, he said, “That’s where I received my information about hell.” It’s true—a lot of what we know about hell comes from Jesus’ own words on the subject. In fact, Jesus spoke more about hell than any other biblical character, including Moses and the prophets. In the end, He is the source of all of our knowledge of hell.
Hell is a real place.
“Do not be afraid of those who murder the body,” Jesus said, “but rather be afraid of Him who is capable of destroying both the soul and the body in hell” (Matt 10:28; see also 5:29-30; 23:15,33; Luke 10:15; 16:23). John Broadus said in his commentary on Jesus’ teaching regarding “everlasting punishment” (Matt. 25:46) that “it is to the last degree impossible that the Profound Teacher would have employed a word so obviously implying a great doctrine he did not want to teach.” Hell, according to Jesus, is a real place.
Hell is a place of judgment.
A ultimate judgment, as well as the separation of the righteous from the unjust, were taught by Jesus in a number of parables, all of which were plain and powerful. The wicked will be sent to a land of scorching fire and complete darkness, where they will wail and gnash their teeth in agony. (See Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50, 22:1-14, and 25:14-46 for more information.) This location was described by Jesus as “the eternal fire reserved for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). Rather than being a location where people are tormented by the devil as some believe, Hell is a place where those who reject God will share the same fate as the devil and his demons.
Hell is forever.
“Everlasting fire” and “eternal torment” were the terms used by Jesus to describe hell in Matthew 25:41. (Matt. 25:46). For example, in Matthew 25:46, the same word—forever—is used to denote both eternal life for the righteous and eternal torment in hell for the unrighteous, respectively. Hell, according to Jesus, will be an endless place.
Hell is more terrible than we can imagine.
In the Bible, imagery of fire (Matt. 25:41), darkness (Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30), “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:42,50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28), and being chopped into pieces depict the terror that awaits those who enter hell. Is it possible that these vivid pictures of Jesus in hell are actual or figurative? If they are supposed to be figurative, then the imagery is going in a direction that is beyond the reach of human discourse. As a result, hell—if it is not a genuine fire and a literal darkness—is immensely worse than those visions, and inexpressibly worse than anything we can imagine or articulate in any language.
In the eyes of believers, the actuality of hell serves as a spur for evangelism and missions; it serves as a reminder of what is at risk when we proclaim the gospel.
Praise God that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” I hope we will follow in the footsteps of Charles Spurgeon, who stated, “If sinners are condemned, at the very least let them leap to hell over our bodies.” If they are going to die, let them die with our arms wrapped around their knees.
“No one should go there without first being warned and then praying for them.” Mike Livingstone works as a content editor for the Explore the Bible products offered by Lifeway.
R. C. Sproul was recently asked which concept he finds the most difficult to reconcile with his own beliefs. He responded with, “Hell.” It’s reassuring to know that a theological giant like R.C. Sproul is still wrestling with something with which I’ve wrestled my whole Christian life. The notion of hell is uncomfortably familiar to the majority of people. Our idea of hell, on the other hand, impacts our perspective of the gospel, God’s holiness, and our own sinfulness. If we refuse to acknowledge the existence of hell, we will be unable to appreciate the full significance of the gospel.
Reality of Hell
The Gospels include no mention of hell, therefore I was challenged by a friend to show her where Jesus mentions it. Even a casual reading of the Bible reveals that Jesus talked about it a lot. As a matter of fact, Jesus mentioned hell more than any other individual in the whole Bible. The apostle Luke depicts a vast divide over which “no one can cross from there to us” (Luke 16:19). As recorded in Matthew 25, Jesus describes a day when mankind would be divided into two groups, with one group entering his presence and the other being sent into “everlasting fire.” Jesus speaks more about hell than he does about paradise, and he explains it more clearly as a result.
- Not only does Jesus make reference to hell, but he also explains it in great detail.
- 13:42), and a place from which there is no return, not even to warn loved ones (Luke 16:19–31).
- 25:30), and compares it to the “Gehenna” (Matt.
- Jesus speaks more about hell than he does about paradise, and he explains it more clearly as a result.
Reason for Hell
Jesus needs to speak about hell since it is the destination that awaits everyone else, including himself. We are all guilty as a result of Adam’s transgression, and we all deserve God’s eternal wrath. Contrary to common opinion, hell is not a specific punishment reserved for individuals who have done particularly horrible things; rather, it is our default destiny. We are in desperate need of a saviour, or we will be condemned. Consequently, we are left with just two options: continue in our condition of depravity and risk everlasting punishment, or bow to the Savior and accept his offer of salvation.
Goodness of God
My acceptance of the justice of Hell is based on the unquestionable certainty of God’s kindness, which is the only fact that I can embrace. While the concept of damnation is difficult for me to comprehend, Jesus (with his nail-scarred hands) is someone in whom I can place my whole faith. His goodness leads me to look to the cross rather than to damnation in the final analysis. My acceptance of the justice of Hell is based on the unquestionable certainty of God’s kindness, which is the only fact that I can embrace.
- Because of his magnificence, we are moved to prostrate ourselves before him, scream out in amazement and astonishment, and dread him.
- His kindness, on the other hand, compels us to rise up in unending worship, thankful for the gift of a Savior in Jesus Christ.
- For this reason, we might have a relationship with him as a kid who has been rescued from the fires of hell by his mother and father.
- Because God is the Judge, justice will be served.” (143).
- All of God’s methods will appear to us to be right, even the manifestation of his eternal justice.
She is a member of the Grace Baptist Church. She and her husband, Steve, are the parents of three adult children and have six grandkids between them. Elle blogs at leslieschmucker.com and may be followed on Twitter @leslieschmucker.
Hell Bible Verses
What does the Bible have to say about the afterlife? – The Best Scripture Sayings “Murderers, sexually immoral people, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, on the other hand, will have their lot in the lake of fire and sulfur, which is known as the second death. Revelation 21:8 (New International Version) “In addition, do not be afraid of those who can murder the body but are unable to kill the soul. Instead, be afraid of the demon in hell who has the ability to kill both soul and body.” – Matthew 10:28 (NASB) “And they will be cast into eternal torment, whilst the righteous will be cast into eternal life,” says Paul.
Because it is not a place that anybody would want to spend eternally, it is critical for Christians to be familiar with the passages in the Bible that describe this dreadful location.
More Bible passages regarding hell may be found in the following collection of scripture quotations: Credit: Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez for the photo.
What Did Jesus Teach about Hell?
Part of the What Did Jesus Teach? series, this essay explores the teachings of Jesus.
Jesus: The Great Theologian of Hell
Despite the fact that no other Bible spokesperson lays greater emphasis on hell as the ultimate outcome of God’s judgment of condemnation than Jesus, this is true. The great theologian of hell was none other than God’s Son. The Christian, on the other hand, should not find it unusual that Christ had more to say about hell than any other human being. When Jesus made the comparison between hell and the Valley of Hinnom near Jerusalem (also known as “Gehenna”), which was a massive public waste dump where dead corpses and debris were burnt in constantly burning flames, the term “Gehenna” became widely accepted as a name for hell.
He was the one who compared hell to “a fire” at least twenty times in his writings.
Lazarus and the Rich Fool
Luke 16:19–31 is a classic passage from Jesus’ own voice that speaks about damnation. The misuse of wealth serves as the broader framework for its instruction. However, while explaining the other-worldly environment in which this teaching took place, Christ widened the scope of the notion of hell. The text tells the story of a wealthy man who made the ultimate fool of himself by luxuriating in his money while disregarding real faith in God and devotion to mankind, eventually ending up in hell as a result of his godless greed.
Although Jesus’ primary aim in writing this discourse was not to depict the afterlife of unbelievers, the Lord does end up providing us an insider’s view of hell, condensing significant features of what is taught on this subject elsewhere.
No Exit Door
One of the most fundamental principles Jesus taught in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus was that there is no way out of hell. “Between us and you, a wide gap has been fixed, in order that anyone who would pass from here to you may not be able to, and none may cross from there to us,” Father Abraham explains to the writhing victim of his predicament (Luke 16:26). In God’s eternal decree, the distinction between eternal paradise and everlasting hell is established as a matter of course. The term “fixed” in Luke 16:26 roughly corresponds to the meaning of the phrase “cast in concrete” in English.
As Luke 16 demonstrates, when an unbeliever becomes conscious of this tragic reality immediately after his own death, it is already too late for him to humble himself before the gospel of Christ and the cross, which he has rejected hundreds or thousands of times; it is too late for him to confess Jesus as Lord; and it is too late for him to beg for divine mercy.
“. not desiring that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” says the Lord in 2 Peter 3:9, demonstrating his immense patience. People, on the other hand, will die after they have gone through the threshold of death and have not come to know Christ.
Another point stated by Jesus in Luke 16:27–30 is that God’s Word provides ample warning to people about how to avoid hell’s punishment. When the cure was no longer able to personally assist him, the rich guy realized what he needed to do. In his request for a messenger to alert his family so that they could avoid his predicament, he experienced his first-ever altruistic urge, which he described as “amazing.” He is informed, however, that testimony from “Moses and the Prophets” are displayed in front of all living men (v.
- God’s revealed Word has all of the information we need to understand our sin and the grace of a Redeemer.
- There is a big irony in this situation, so pay attention.
- He even went so far as to anticipate the specific form of miracle that would communicate better than God’s written Word: the resurrection of a person from the dead, which would gain massive public attention.
- After presenting this gospel lesson, the same Jesus who is recounted in Luke 16arose from the tomb a short time later.
- The Lord Jesus Christ was received as their living Lord by a small group of individuals in the local vicinity of Jerusalem.
What Happens After I Die?
What Happens After I Die is a helpful guidebook that answers one of humanity’s most fundamental questions: what happens after I die. Provides a succinct summary of biblical teaching on the nature of death, the wonders of heaven, and the reality of hell. Unbelief resolutely rejects all historical evidence of Christ’s existence. The very One who had been told that a family would undoubtedly respond to the supernatural wonder of a messenger from the grave turned out to be the miraculous messenger himself.
All Bad News?
Assume that the Bible didn’t tell us anything about hell. Could the Scriptures truly become more “kind” or compassionate if we did this? Is it true that suppressing painful truths demonstrates that you genuinely care more about the fates of others? Luke 16 reveals that the one and only representative who most insistently presented a horrible alternative to gracious divinely authored redemption is the same glorious Lord who died and rose again to save us from eternal damnation. Scripture is unwavering in its assertion that there is no way out of damnation.
“Truly, truly, I tell to you, whomever hears my word and trusts in him who sent me has everlasting life,” Jesus said in John 5:24.
However, Jesus was unequivocal in his declaration that you may only pass from death to life in this life before entering an irrevocable chamber of unimaginable agony.
Michael Allen Rogers (DMin, Westminster Theological Seminary) has served as senior pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, since 1994. He is the author of Baptism and the Covenant of Grace and is a member of the Presbyterian Church in America.
Popular Articles in This Series
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What the Bible Says About Hell
(1) Everyone will continue to exist indefinitely, either in paradise or in hell (Daniel 12:2,3; Matthew 25:46; John 5:28; Revelation 20:14,15). (2) Everyone has just one life in which they may make decisions about their future (Hebrews 9:27). (3) Whether or not a person believes (puts their confidence) in Christ alone to save them determines whether or not they will go to heaven (John 3:16, 36, etc.).
Key Passages About Hell
(1) Hell was initially intended for Satan and his demons, and it remains so today (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10). (2) Those who reject Christ will likewise be punished in Hell for their wrongdoing (Matthew 13:41,50; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8). (3) Hell is an experience of conscious pain.
- It says in Matthew 13:50 that they are in a “furnace of fire.weeping and gnashing of teeth”
- It says in Mark 9:48 that their “worm does not die, and the fire does not go out.” “He will be tortured with fire and brimstone,” according to Revelation 14:10.
(4) Hell is an everlasting and irrevocable state of being.
- As stated in Revelation 14:11, “the smoke of their torture rises forever and ever, and they have no rest day or night”
- Revelation 20:14, “This is the second death, the lake of fire”
- And Revelation 21:1, “This is the lake of fire”
- “If anyone’s name was not found recorded in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire,” says the Bible in Revelation 20:15.
Erroneous Views of Hell
After death, there is still a route out of hell according to the second chance perspective. According to the Bible, “It is allotted unto mankind once to die, and after that comes the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). (2) Universalism holds that everyone will be redeemed in the end. This belief denies the reality of redemption via Christ, which means that a person must choose between trusting in Christ and rejecting Christ, resulting in eternal punishment in hell (John 3:16;3:36). (3) Annihilationism — Hell is defined as a state of being in which a human dies like an animal and ceases to exist.
It asserts that there is no conscious agony (see above).
Objections to the Biblical View of Hell
One would expect a loving God to refrain from sending people to a dreadful hell. God, on the other hand, is just (Romans 2:11).
- God has made a way of salvation available to everyone (John 3:16,17
- 2 Corinthians 5:14,15
- 1 Timothy 2:6
- Titus 2:11
- 2 Peter 3:9). Even those who have not heard of Christ are responsible for God’s revelation in nature (John 3:16,17
- 2 Peter 3:9). (Romans 1:20). According to Matthew 7:7 and Luke 19:10, God will pursue those who seek Him
- As a result, God does not send anyone to hell
- Rather, they choose to go there (Romans 1:18,21,25).
(2) Hell is an excessively harsh retribution for man’s transgression. God’s response: He is holy and without flaw (1 Peter 1:14,15).
- Sin is a deliberate act of rebellion against God, our creator (Romans 1:18-32)
- Our transgression deserves to be punished in hell (Romans 1:32
- 2:2,5,6). In spite of the fact that Christ died for our sins, it is astonishing that He freely provides salvation to everybody (Romans 2 and 3:22-24
- 4 and 5:8
- And 6 and 9).
Biblical Terms Describing Where the Dead Are
- Although the Hebrew word sheol simply means “the grave” or “death,” it does not relate to “hell” in any specific sense. (Luke 10:15
- Luke 16:23, and so on.) Hades is a Greek phrase that commonly alludes to hell — a region of suffering. In the Bible, the following terms are used to refer to hell: “Hell” (derived from a literal burning dump near Jerusalem), “Lake of Fire,” “Abraham’s bosom,” “Paradise,” and “Abraham’s bosom.” In the Bible, the following terms are used to refer to hell: “Hell,” “Lake of Fire,” and “Lake of Fire” (Revelation 20:14,15)
- In the Bible, the term “Lake of Fire” is “With the Lord” is a key phrase that describes where church age believers will be after death (Philippians 1:23, 1 Thessalonians 4:17, 2 Corinthians 5:8)
- “New heavens and earth” is a key phrase that describes where believers will be after they are resurrected (Revelation 20:4-6
- “new heavens and earth” is a key phrase that describes where believers will be after they are resurrected (Philippians 1:23, 1
The terminology and passages of the Bible do not totally satisfy our curiosity concerning the final resting place of the deceased. What we do know is that after death, all individuals will either suffer endless pain in hell or eternal delight in paradise, depending on whether they trust in Christ’s atonement for their sins or reject Christ’s payment for their sins.