From the time that we were young children we’ve heard about hell. It was the place where your mother told you that you would go if you didn’t obey God or them. Then when we went to church we were told that if you didn’t obey God that you would go to hell which was a place where you would burn forever. You were told that the devil, his angels and all the bad people who die live in hell. You were told that hell was a place where there is constant fire. You were always told that hell was somewhere down there in the middle of the earth.
In the Old Testament, the word translated “hell” is Sheol which is also translated as “pit” and “grave.”; in the New Testament, it’s Hades (meaning “unseen”) and Gehenna (“the Valley of Hinnom”). Sheol is Both Sheol and Hades refer to a temporary place of the dead before judgment
Psalm 9:17 (NLT) The wicked will go down to the grave. This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God.
Revelation 1:18 (NLT) I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.
Gehenna refers to an eternal state of punishment for the wicked dead
Mark 9:43 (NLT) If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands.
There have been a number of theories put forth about the location of hell. Some say that hell is a “black hole” in space. The traditional view is that hell is in the center of the earth.
The Bible gives little detailed information about hell or its location, but as believers, we know that hell is very real. Hell is real but it is still a confusing notion. Descriptions of hell are dark and scary. While it’s not easy to wrap our minds around it, as Christians we have to fully understand it to understand God and His love for us. Here are four things about hell that we learn from scripture.
You may be surprised how many believers don’t believe or accept that hell exists. For those who doubt it, God has given us substantial evidence that Hell does exist.
Consider these words from Jesus:
Luke 12:4-5 NLT “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.
If you don’t believe hell exists, you don’t trust God’s Word or truth.
Jesus talked about hell more than anyone else in the Bible. In fact, Jesus talked about hell more often than He talked about heaven.
Matthew 5:22 NLT But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.
There is a misconception that God only talked about hell in the Old Testament but not in the New Testament, since the New Testament is the Good News.
Yes, Jesus spoke about love and compassion, but that doesn’t mean that He didn’t address hell. Hell is very real and it was important that Jesus spoke on this often.
Matthew 25:41 NLT “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.
Mark 9:43, 45, 47-48 NLT If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands. If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one foot than to be thrown into hell with two feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, ‘where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out.’
Hell is Not a Result of a Flaw in God’s Love
Jesus spoke a lot about hell because He wanted us to understand what He was going to experience on the cross on our behalf.
Jesus had to endure great physical and mental pain, including being separated from God during His crucifixion and taking on the hell of our sin into His body to fulfill this truth. For those who think that hell is a great blemish or flaw in God’s love, they are greatly mistaken.
1 Peter 2:23-25 NIV When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Hell is Not Temporary
Just as heaven is eternal, hell is eternal. As Christians, we believe that the righteous will inherit the kingdom they have been citizens of during life on earth, and the unrighteous will be told to depart from Jesus.
Matthew 25:46 NLT “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
What will the truth of your life be? Whatever the verdict at the time of judgment is, there will be two options, and they are both eternal, not temporary.
For those of you who believe that you are destined for hell with no hope, you are missing God’s message of grace. God gives us what we don’t deserve. It is His will that we are saved – that we repent and turn to Jesus to receive forgiveness of our sins. These facts are sobering reminders of what awaits those who do not believe. Suffering in hell is intense anguish. People in hell will be isolated from everything else. They will realize that they have been permanently cut off from God and everything good. But there is hope with God. The beauty of God’s love is that we can all be saved. Don’t allow Satan to keep you away from God’s love.