Hell is a big deal. It is one of, if not the most sensitive topic discussed in the Bible. The idea of an entire world devoted to nothing but pain and torment is at best unthinkable to us mere humans, but it is something we need to understand.
This is the first installment of what is going to be a three-part series on hell. I have so much information on this subject that I am going to make it much easier on the reader by chopping it up into smaller pieces. If I feel I have even more to write about, I’ll extend it to fourth or even fifth articles.
Before I begin, I am going to go ahead and put up a DISCLAIMER: This article is going to contain sensitive information. Not everyone is going to agree with me on this subject, and I would love feedback, but I am making my argument based solely on what the Bible says about hell, and I will not apologize for that. I would not be doing my job as a Christian if I did not warn you about hell, and my ministry would be incomplete if I didn’t firmly include this. It is an uncomfortable subject, and I will do my best to present it in a loving way, but at the same time expressing its severity.
Each preacher has their own way of delivering this message. I have done my best to cook up what I can to tell you about this topic, and I have also included a few things I have heard from others. I’d like to specifically thank my wonderful Uncle Andy for preaching a message on hell several years ago that acted as my first founding education of the subject. Aside from the Bible itself, it is his sermon that has influenced how I have decided to approach this subject most of all.
Father, please help me to write this as You would have it written. Speak through me and do not allow my earthly nature to get in the way of Your Word. But rather, allow me to warn people about this horrible place, and furthermore tell them why they should not only fear a world of torment, but also fear a life without You. Amen.
What is Hell?
Hell is the residing place of the unsaved dead, the people who die having not been Christian and accepting Jesus as their Savior. Those lost go there after death, rather than Heaven. It is described thoroughly in the Bible as being a “furnace”, a “place of torment” and a “lake of fire”. Tons of passages describe its darkness, cruelty, and savage nature. I am going to use this first article to describe why there is a hell, and the second one to talk about what is found in hell.
Does Hell Exist?
I think perhaps the greatest reason for the disbelief in the reality of hell is due to what it represents on a personal level. When a loved one dies we would prefer to think that they ventured onto heaven. It is a way in which we take comfort. After all, wouldn’t you like the assurance that they are still okay? But to those who have family members who pass away having not known Christ, the concept of hell is hard to deal with. In order to comfort themselves, people fashion doctrines which distort what the Bible says about hell. There are various odd beliefs. One of the most common is annihilationism, which is the belief that all souls that don’t go to heaven are simply destroyed. Another common belief is reconciliationism, which argues that all souls are purified in hell, but then brought back to the Father, to enter heaven.
Both of these doctrines, however, are false. Annihilationist views tend to create a doctrine from Matthew 10:28, taking it completely out of context.
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
Another belief prevalent in today’s churches is universalism: the belief that all souls go to heaven regardless of one’s life on earth. All sinners, believers and non-believers, go to heaven. No matter who or what you worship, or how you live your life, you go to heaven. This, of course, is a false doctrine and easily disproved when you consider John 14:6:
“Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” ” (John 14:6 KJV)
We must accept hell as a place that does exist. Not only is it real, but it is what the Bible says it is: a place of punishment and torment. Using the Bible as our reference, we can argue against every single claim about hell being anything different. Hell is mentioned directly or indirectly by Jesus 51 times in the New Testament. In fact, He preaches on it more than He does heaven, or any other subject at all. If we were to deny hell after knowing this, we would be denying the majority of Jesus’ teachings, and thus discredit Him of His legitimacy and unerring perfection, which He has whether we like it or not. Furthermore, hell is mentioned throughout the Bible as a whole closer to one hundred times. Would we say that the Bible is flawed or incorrect?
The Logic of Hell
So then why is hell necessary? Since it is real, why was it made? And what logic supports it?
God is a just God – We know that God is perfect. And in order for perfection to be what it is, it must include a sense of justice. Therefore, God is just (Romans 2). Hardships fall on us all, but we know quite well that not all evil is given its due on Earth. You can flip on the television and see billionaire after billionaire indulging in the worst activities, crimes, and profiting from the misery of others. Yet they only seem to gain and gain, never lose. Hell exists to tip the scales back in the favor of those good people who were dealt cruelly by the hands of these flourishing sinners
Not only this, but God has promised us a final victory and triumph over all perceivable evils and sufferings. And in order for God to keep this promise to us, hell must exist in order to fulfill it. (Revelation 22)
God is a pure God – Again, we know that God is perfect. However, we sometimes do not understand the expansiveness of that perfection. God is perfect from His skin to His core. He is infinitely untainted, spotless, and clean. His perfection prevents Him from being mixed with imperfection, or even being in its presence. In fact, I can imagine anything imperfect that approaches Him is immediately disintegrated, annihilated, destroyed, or perhaps inflicted with great pain.
When we are saved, our souls are made perfect in Christ (Hebrews 10:14). This way, we can be with Him in Heaven. This is why our bodies die and pass to the grave, while our souls go to be with the Father. Our soul is made perfect in Christ, and thus can stand in the presence of God. Our body, while imperfect, cannot stand before God. Imperfection must be separated from God, because the Lord is so perfect that anything tainted or dark is completely obliterated in His presence.
If something is not purified through rebirth of the soul, it must be separated from God. And in order for God to keep His promises of a world of everlasting bliss and paradise as a prize for His children, He must keep that world clean of unfairly added sinners.
God is a loving God – God loves us enough that He would give us the gift of free will. God would allow us to choose whether or not we will love Him. However, we are not freed from the product of that choice. I often heard one of my preacher friends say during sermons, “God is a gentleman”. And it is abundantly true. God will not force you to love Him. He would probably enjoy forcing everyone to go to Heaven, but He allows us to make our own decisions in life. Besides, the story of humanity itself would be aimless if God decided our every move for us. If we want to be separate from God, God will keep us separate from Him.
Purpose of the Cross – If hell did not exist, what would we be “saved” from? What is the purpose of calling someone “saved” if there is nothing endangering them? The entire purpose of Jesus’ crucifixion was to save our souls from hell. “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) Why would Jesus have cast Himself into such a grotesque bloodletting if it were not to save us from this? What’s the point of the crucifixion? It loses all meaning if you take away the aspect of hell.
Why would a loving God send people to Hell?
We have often heard atheists and nonbelievers tell us that a loving God would never send His children to hell. They say that a God who does that is barbaric, evil, etc. But this argument is destroyed with one simple sentence: God doesn’t send us to hell, we send ourselves. God’s love for His creation is so infinite that He would not restrict it to a robotic nature. He allows us to choose whether or not to love Him. If we do not love Him and accept Him in our hearts, we will not be with Him. We must be separated from Him. And we have the choice of whether or not to be separated.
The Parable of The Wheat and The Tares
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” (Matthew 13:24-30)
One of the greatest tragedies is a soul that is unwilling to accept God’s love. As C.S. Lewis writes in his book, The Great Divorce, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.'”
With the Bible so easily accessible to us, and with millions of churches all around us, millions of Christians witnessing to us every day, we have absolutely no excuse.
Hell was not designed for humans.
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41)
Hell is a plane of existence designed only to avenge God from Satan’s rebellion in Heaven. It is not meant for any human residents. Hell is filled with all of the wrath God planned to be received by the devil. It is justice against demons and originally intended as only that. However, when we rebelled against God, we opened ourselves up to the same wrath. However, the difference is that we have an escape.
That escape is Jesus.
Be sure to continue reading the following parts as they come out!