What Jesus Really Said About Heaven and Hell
N one of us likes thinking about death, but there are times when we have little choice. The virus spreads, hospitals fill, and systems become overwhelmed. Our greatest concerns, personal and national, are for survival. But for many people – even the otherwise healthy — the crisis has unexpectedly raised the specter of death itself, our constant companion even if, most of the time, we do our best to ignore it. Or, in more normal times, try to laugh it off. The most recent and memorable effort was NBC’s smash hit comedy seriesThe Good Place; but the humor even there was rooted precisely in terror, as Eleanor Shellstrop and her companions desperately worked to avoid the afterlife they deserved in the Bad Place and its eternal torments.
The hero of the Epic of Gilgamesh writhes in agony at the prospect of spending eternity groveling in dust being eaten by worms.
Plenty, however, tremble before the possibility of eternal misery.
There are over two billion Christians in the world, the vast majority of whom believe in heaven and hell.
This is true even in the land of increasing “nones”: Americans continue to anticipate a version of the alternatives portrayed inThe Good Place: regardless of religious persuasion,72 percent believe in a literal heaven, 58 percent in a literal hell.
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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.
However, the flaws in that line of reasoning were immediately apparent: God’s own people Israel suffered repeatedly, brutally, and frustratingly as a result of natural disasters, political crises, and, most significantly, military defeat.
Some philosophers came up with a solution that described how God would bring about justice, but one that did not require eternal happiness in a paradise above or eternal pain in a hell below, as had previously been proposed.
In spite of the fact that God is the ultimate master of the universe, he has temporarily ceded authority of this planet for an unexplained cause.
Heaven and earth are about to be thrown into chaos when God intervenes to destroy everything and everyone who stands in his way, and to usher in a new kingdom for his loyal followers, the Kingdom of God, a paradise on earth.
Indeed, God will breathe life back into the dead, bringing them back to earthly existence, and God will bring all the dead back to life, not just the virtuous, to be with him forever.
The crowd who had stood in the path of God will also be raised.
During the time of Jesus, this notion of the impending resurrection dominated the outlook of Jewish thought in general.
The end of time is approaching quickly.
God will soon annihilate everything and everyone who stands in his way, and a new order will be established on the planet.
All of the others will be wiped out.
Unlike other Jewish leaders, Jesus preached that no one will inherit the glorious future kingdom by strictly adhering to all of the Jewish laws in their most minute details; or by meticulously following the rules of worship involving sacrifice, prayer, and the observance of holy days; or by pursuing one’s own purity by fleeing from the vile world and the tainting influence of sinful others.
- For the most part, this is placing God first in one’s life, despite personal difficulties, and dedicating one’s time and energy to the benefit of others, even when doing so is extremely difficult.
- (Leviticus 19:18).
- In the same way that the Good Samaritan helped anybody in need, genuine love includes assisting everyone in need, not just those in your chosen social circles, as depicted in the parable of the Good Samaritan.
- Only a small number of individuals are.
- It’s no surprise that it’s easier to get a camel through a needle than it is for the wealthy to get entry into the kingdom.
Although Jesus does not explicitly mention “Hell” in the Sermon on the Mount, standard English translations suggest that he does so sometimes — for example, in his cautions that anybody who labels another a fool, or who permits their right eye or hand to transgress, will be put into “hell” (Matthew 5:22, 29-30).
- However, the name does not allude to a perpetual tormenting region, but rather to an infamous valley just outside the walls of Jerusalem, which was widely considered by many Jews at the time to be the most unholy, god-forsaken area on earth.
- For anyone who died in the ancient world (whether they were Greek, Roman, or Jewish), being refused a proper burial was the harshest punishment they could get after death.
- Souls would not be tortured in that place, according to Jesus.
- The emphasis that Jesus places on the complete destruction of sinners may be found throughout his teachings.
- There are two paths to “life.” One is narrow and demands an arduous road, yet it leads to “life.” That is a route used by few.
- However, it results in “destruction.” It is an extremely essential term.
- In the same way, Jesus compares the coming kingdom to a fisherman who brings in a vast net of fish (Matthew 13:47-50).
He does not subject them to torture.
Alternatively, the kingdom might be compared to a person who collects the plants that have grown in his or her field (Matthew 13:36-43).
These do not burn indefinitely.
Other verses, on the other hand, may appear to imply that Jesus believed in the afterlife.
Some are referred to as sheep, while others are referred to as goats.
These are welcomed into the “kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” as the Bible states.
Upon first glance, that surely sounds like a hellish creation of the public imagination.
They are not “eternal joy” and “eternal misery,” as some people believe.
As a result, annihilation is the penalty.
This is due to the fact that the fire never goes out.
And what is the significance of the term “eternal” punishment?
These individuals will be exterminated for all time.
In this way, Jesus followed in the footsteps of a long line of respectable philosophers who have refused to accept the notion that a benevolent God would torture his beings for all eternity.
Yet neither Jesus nor his early Jewish disciples taught about the torments of hell; rather, they originated among later gentile converts who did not believe in the Jewish concept of a future resurrection of the dead, as did the apostle Paul.
A large number of Greek intellectuals, dating back at least to Socrates’ time, have advocated for the notion of the immortality of the soul.
Following the example of gentile Christians, later Christians who emerged from these groups embraced this viewpoint for themselves, reasoning that since souls are made to survive forever, their final destinies will do the same.
As a result of this innovation, an unsatisfactory combination of Jesus’ Jewish beliefs with those found in elements of the Greek intellectual tradition has resulted.
Nonetheless, in a fascinating and comforting sense, Jesus’ own beliefs on either eternal recompense or full destruction are similar to Greek notions that were taught more than four centuries before Jesus.
His “Apology” (that is, “Legal Defense”), which was recorded by his most famous pupil, Plato, is still available for reading today.
He is, on the contrary, energised by the prospect of going from this world to the next.
On the one hand, it may result in the deepest, most uninterrupted slumber that anyone could ever conceive.
It may, on the other hand, imply the presence of a conscious being.
It would mean continuing on with life and all of its joys while avoiding all of its suffering.
As a result, there are no poor options in the afterlife, just good ones.
Two thousand and four hundred years later, with all of our improvements in our knowledge of our world and human existence within it, certainly we can conclude that both Jesus and Socrates were correct about a great many things.
We should pay attention to what he has to say.
Of course, none of us can predict what will happen to us once we leave this realm of transience behind.
On the one hand, we may lose our consciousness because we will no longer be concerned about anything in this world.
Both scenarios result in the cessation of all suffering.
To that end, the greatest teacher of the Greeks and the father of Christianity agreed on the following: when we finally go from this earthly sphere, we may have something to look forward to, but we have absolutely nothing to be afraid of.
Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife, Ehrman’s latest book from which this article is taken, is available now. TIME Magazine has more must-read stories.
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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
The Uncomfortable Subject Jesus Addressed More than Anyone Else
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.
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.
There will be crying and gnashing of teeth at that location ” (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
Does Jesus talk about Hell more than Heaven?
Occasionally, I hear pastors and instructors argue that Jesus spoke more about hell than he did about heaven, and that we should do the same in our evangelization. In other words, it is frequently said that Jesus “frightened” individuals into entering the kingdom. In His evangelism, He threatened people with eternal punishment in hell if they didn’t believe in Him, and so in our evangelism, we are entirely right in employing threats of eternal punishment in hell and other similar fear tactics to entice people into the Kingdom of God.
It has been proclaimed from the pulpits of several evangelical congregations that are considered to be “reasonable.” This type of approach is also extremely widespread in some of the most prominent evangelical movements of our day, as well.
They are also taught that because one sin is enough to condemn us to hell, God is justified in sending us there if we do not trust in Jesus as our Savior and Lord for eternity.
According to tradition, Jesus spent more time preaching about hell than about heaven, and we should do the same.
Is it true that Jesus talks about hell more than heaven?
What the Bible teaches about hell will be included in a whole chapter of my book on the violence of God in the Bible, which will be posted here in its entirety. The great bulk of that chapter will be posted here on this site. Nonetheless, as a sneak peek (and because this month’s synchroblog is on the subject of hell), here are some of the primary issues I intend to cover in that chapter:
References to “fire” are usually not references to hell.
What the Bible teaches about hell will be included in a whole chapter of my book on the violence of God in the Bible, which will be posted here in its entirety. The great bulk of that chapter will be posted elsewhere on the internet. Here are some of the most important themes I will be writing about in that chapter, as a preview (and because the topic of this month’s synchroblog is hell).
References to “the outer darkness” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth” are not references to hell.
The book of Matthew has multiple references to “the outer darkness” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth” that Jesus makes (Matt 8:12; 13:42-50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30). Because these phrases are frequently employed in conjunction with fire, the majority of people believe they also relate to hell. However, this is not the case. A close examination of the context of the majority of these passages reveals that the image of “outer darkness” is a powerful metaphor of exclusion from blessing and honor, and that the image of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is a vivid picture of deep and profound regret and sorrow.
Again, thorough investigations are required to demonstrate this, and they will have to wait until the publication of my book.
References to “hades” and “gehenna” are not references to hell.
There are numerous allusions tohades andgehenna in the Greek New Testament, and unfortunately, most English translators render these terms as “hell.” However, whereas modern people think of hell as a place of permanent, conscious pain, this is not what first century Jewish Jews would have imagined when they heard the terms hades and gehenna in their minds. Hades, of course, is the ancient Greek deity of the underworld and death, and he is also known as the God of Death. In biblical contexts, it is frequently used as a Greek translation of the Hebrewsheol, which literally translates as “the pit” or “the grave.” Neither of these are allusions to hell, but rather are just allusions to the pit in the ground where the bodies of the deceased are buried (cf.
- And, of course, there is Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31, which appears to associate Hades with excruciating flames in a pit of torment.
- Finally, the term “Gehenna” relates to a real-life location that stood beyond the city walls of Jerusalem.
- This picture must be taken into consideration whenever Jesus refers to “hell fire” or uses the term Gehenna (cf.
- And do I really have to say it?
- When all of this is taken into consideration, we can conclude that Jesus did not speak more about hell than he did about heaven.
- As a result, I feel that scaring people with torment if they do not believe in Jesus for everlasting life is completely inappropriate.
- To assert that Jesus forewarned people about damnation and that we should do the same is just incorrect.
Jesus Really Didn’t Talk about Heaven that Much Either
However, even after all of this, Jesus didn’t say anything about what will happen in heaven. We shouldn’t try to entice someone into believing in Jesus in the same way that we shouldn’t terrify them into believing in Jesus. While Jesus speaks more about paradise than hell, none of these topics receives much attention in His teaching. As opposed to this, Jesus constantly speaks of everlasting life as well as life in the kingdom of God. While it is true that everlasting life begins the minute we place our faith in Jesus as our Savior, the more time we spend with Him, the more profound the experience of eternal life becomes.
- In order to evangelize and follow in Jesus and the apostles’ footsteps, you do not need to use threats or bribes to accomplish your goals.
- Joy, freedom, happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction are all part and parcel of living under the rule and dominion of the Almighty.
- It is a life that is free of bonds, enslavement, and addiction, among other things.
- This is the life that Jesus led, and this is the life that Jesus asked others to join him in living.
This article is a part of the May Synchroblog, which is focused on the subject of hell. The following is a list of the other bloggers that took part in this month’s challenge. Please take the time to read what they have to say about hell.
- Hell, some ideas on annihilationism from Wesley Rostoll In addition to Dark Christians, Angie Benjamin’s Hell Is For Real is a must-read. Paul Meier – Hell Is a Real Place – I’ve Been There and Done That – I’ve Been There and Done That
- Glenn Hager – Using Hell to his advantage
- The Virtual Abbess – What The Hell Is She Doing? Kimbery Klein –I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about
- Michael Donahoe –Hell Yes.or Hell No
- Michael Donahoe Liz Dyer –Hell, no
- This isn’t the case. The Hell No, I’m Not Going
- Margaret Boelman Anyim, Loveday – Why in the name of God do you believe in hell? In the case of Linda, the Y in the road
- We don’t know what the hell we don’t know, says Edwin Aldrich. What The Hell
- Mallory Pickering – The Time I Blogged About Hell
- Elaine – The Time I Blogged About Hell
Did Jesus speak more about Hell than about Heaven?
Is it possible that Jesus spoke more about Hell than he did about Heaven? 14th of January, 2015 Dan Wilkinson is a writer and producer based in New York City. In the opinion of certain well-known pastors, Jesus’ teachings are largely concerned with fire and brimstone, among other things. As an illustration: “. he himself speaks twice as much about hell as he does about heaven.” In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World, D.A. Carson argues that The Bible says that Jesus preached more about hell than he did about heaven.
- ‘Jesus preached more about hell than He did about heaven because He wanted to warn men about the truth of damnation,’ says the author.
- “Jesus spoke more about Hell than he did about Heaven.” In his book “Heaven and Hell,” Jerry Falwell says: “Obviously, I believe in the afterlife.
- “Jesus spoke more about hell than any other subject in his teachings.
- When you consider that there are 1,850 passages in the New Testament that record Jesus’ statements, 13 percent of them are concerned with the theme of everlasting judgment and damnation.
- Those are some very forceful and very explicit quantitative appraisals of Jesus’ teaching, and they are well worth considering.
- There are 1,944 verses in the four gospels that include Jesus’ words, according to my count (which was made possible by someBibleWorksmagic).
- Both explicitly and indirectly referring to hell are possible interpretations of these phrases.
As a result, Jesus did not preach more about hell than he did about heaven.
How did they get to a conclusion that was so diametrically opposed to the facts?
In the narrative of the wise and dumb builders, D.A.
“The rain poured, and the floods came, and the winds blew and battered on that house, and it fell — and tremendous was its fall!” in the words of William Shakespeare.
He also warns those who refuse to submit that the alternative to complete obedience, true righteousness, and life in the kingdom is rebellion, self-centeredness, and eternal damnation.
Carson, Matthew, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, D.A.
The gospels do include several references to judgement, and Jesus did mention a few places such asGehenna and Hades, which are typically interpreted as “hell,” on a couple of occasions.
Promoting that deception indefinitely jeopardizes Christ’s real teaching, which is the love of God and neighbor, which Jesus himself designated as the “Greatest Commandment.” Turning Jesus’ gospel of love into a “gospel” of fear, damnation, and retribution is either shockingly naïve or purposefully deceitful, depending on your point of view.
In either case, this is really bad news, and it must be stopped.
- In response to a request, here is a list of the scriptures that I utilized for my numbers: jesus-heaven-hell.pdf
Dan Wilkinson is a writer and producer based in New York City. Dan works as a writer, graphic designer, and information technology professional. He currently resides in Montana with his wife and two animals. He maintains a blog at CoolingTwilight.com.
Op-Ed: How Christians came to believe in heaven, hell and the immortal soul
A billion Christians throughout the world believe that on Easter, Jesus was risen from the grave and transported to heaven, where he will live with the Father in eternal bliss. Their belief is also that their own souls will be taken to heaven when they pass away. The big irony is that this is completely in opposition to what Jesus himself believed. Jesus did not believe that a person’s soul would continue to exist after death, either to enjoy happiness in the presence of God above or to be tormented in the fiery depths of hell under the surface of the earth.
It simply ceased to exist when the body was extinguished.
That is the point of view that has been brought down to us not from the Bible, but from ancient Greek thought, which is best known via the writings of Plato.
Once the body is no longer alive, the soul ceases to exist.
This “breath” did not exist as a separate entity (the “soul”) outside of the body, as was often believed.
That is why we are informed in the Old Testament that no one may worship God after they die, or when they are in the “grave,” the “pit,” or “Sheol” — all of which are used as synonyms — and that God no longer recognizes them.
It wasn’t until many, many years after the completion of the Old Testament, during the time of Jesus, that some Jews came to a different conclusion.
So, why is it that so many individuals who follow God are subjected to such suffering and anguish, while others who live godless lifestyles prosper?
Death cannot be the conclusion of the narrative.
These Jews eventually came to the conclusion that there is something beyond this life, but they did not believe, as the Greeks did, in an eternal soul that would continue to exist beyond the death of the physical body.
The life to come would entail both the body and the soul working together.
Human bodies would be brought back to life so that they might be rewarded or punished as appropriate.
This was the point of view held by a diverse group of Jews throughout Jesus’ time, including the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls, different apocalyptic prophets, the Pharisees, and ordinary citizens.
This teaching of physical resurrection served as the foundation for Jesus’ message about the future “Kingdom of God.” This world had descended into evil, but God was on the verge of bringing salvation to mankind by interfering in history and destroying the forces of darkness.
Despite the fact that humans had made a mess of things, God’s plans would not be derailed.
Not only would God’s divine justice be served to those who happened to be alive at the time, but it would also be served to all those who have stood by God throughout history.
In order to be prepared, Jesus urged people to repent.
The majority of them did not.
He was taken into custody.
And then there was Easter.
For them, this signaled the beginning of the resurrection he had predicted.
Only those who adhered to Jesus’ teachings would be saved.
By the end of the first century, the vast majority of Christian converts were descended from pagan rather than Jewish families.
This new generation of non-Jewish Christians held on to the belief that justice would be served after they had passed away.
According to them, eternal life comes to souls after death, when the body is no longer present.
In a short period of time, this viewpoint (which first appears in two late writings of the New Testament, Luke and John) rose to become the accepted belief throughout all of Christendom.
However, within a century, the vast majority of Christians held the belief that a soul would be judged after the body had passed away.
This is still the belief of billions of people around the world today. Professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bart D. Ehrman, is the author of “Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife,” which was published in 2012.