Oh Hell, it is real!

Posted on April 29, 2011

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Hell, the fiery debate rages on. This is not a new debate, it’s been raging for a long time. People arguing over the eternity of hell, or even its very existence. Jehovah’s Witnesses deny it, many liberal theologians deny it, and recently the well known false teacher Rob Bell has denied it. I’ve often wondered about the motives of the person who denies hell. The Bible is so clear on its existence, that you can’t make a Biblical case against it. I can only guess that the people who teach that hell doesn’t exist simply don’t believe the Word of God. In Rob Bell’s case, I am sure that is true. He even teaches universalism, by stating that everyone will go to heaven whether they profess Christ or not. And why wouldn’t you believe that if you don’t believe in hell? Where else are you going to go? Universalism is the logical progression from a denial of hell. And if there is no need to profess Christ, then why did He die? hopefully, by now, you can see where this type of teaching leads. While it may make people feel good to believe that God’s love will not send people to hell, its simply not the truth. While it may be common for Christians to say “God doesn’t send people to hell, we send ourselves there.” That is not what Scripture says. Hell is real, and God does send people there.

Revelation 20:15 (NKJV)

“And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Notice that these people are cast into the lake of fire, they are not jumping in on their own. Certainly people make the decision to reject Christ, and therefore accept the consequences of hell. Just as a criminal willfully breaks the law, his fate is not sealed until the judge sentances him to prison. At that point, the criminal does not willingly drive himself to the prison and check himself in. No. . . he is handcuffed and taken away. In the same manner, a sinner’s fate is not sealed until God pronounces judgment. At that point, they are cast into the lake of fire. Yes, God does send people to hell.

Let’s go ahead and look at an overview of the Biblical case for hell. First, understand that this was a very important topic for Jesus. 13% of the 1850 verses that record the words of Jesus, deal with the subject of eternal judgment and Hell. Almost 8% of His teaching centered on this topic. Hell is not a word we need to avoid. Jude tells us that we need to pull people out of the fire.

Jude 23 (NKJV)

“but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.”

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus talks about a literal and and eternal hell.

Mark 9:43–44 (NKJV)

43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched—

44 where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’

Mark 9:46 (NKJV)

46 where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’

Mark 9:48 (NKJV)

48 where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’

Matthew 25:46 (NKJV)

“And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Notice that Jesus says that the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. It is a place where the body never burns up, and the fire never burns out! What’s more, Jesus was actually quoting the Prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 66:24 (NKJV)

“And they shall go forth and look Upon the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, And their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

Daniel speaks of eternal punishment.

Daniel 12:2 (NKJV)

“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

In Revelation, John speaks of eternal torment.

Revelation 14:9–11 (NKJV)

9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand,

10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

As you can see, the Bible speaks very clearly about a place of eternal torment and punishment. Some People actually teach that hell is real, but  the soul is annihilated. The preceding verses, however, clearly teach that the soul is eternal. Another teaching is that people in hell will eventually repent, though the preceding verses should be enough to refute that idea, the Bible has more to say on that.

Matthew 13:41–42 (NKJV)

41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,

42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

This term “wailing and gnashing of teeth,” in the Greek, literally gives a picture of someone who is in a fit of anger and rage, not sorry and repentant. People in hell will simply be angry and blaming God, not repentant. Take the story of the Rich man and Lazarus. We see the rich man in hell, but he was not repentant, he still viewed Lazarus as a servant. Notice that in verse 24 that he wanted Lazarus to bring him some water. This man’s attitude had not changed one bit!

Luke 16:19–31 (NKJV)

19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.

20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,

21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.

23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 “Then 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 in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.

26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house,

28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’

29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’

30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’

31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”

Yes, the Bible makes it very clear that hell is real, and that anyone whose name is not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:11–15 (NKJV)

11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.

14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Without faith in Jesus Christ, and acceptance of the sacrifice that He made on your behalf, your name will not be recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and that is the only thing we should truly fear.

Matthew 10:28 (NKJV)

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Luke 12:4–5 (NKJV)

4 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.

5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!

Hebrews 10:31 (NKJV)

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

The thought of hell may be fearful, but God’s amazing love shines through. He gave us the escape that we didn’t deserve, and “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” He took the punishment that we deserved, when He could have simply turned His back. Instead. God turned His back on Jesus, so that He would never have to turn His back on us. The acceptance of God’s grace couldn’t be easier.

Romans 10:9 (NKJV)

“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

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