The Bible tells us that everyone will exist eternally either in heaven or hell. While heaven is a place of perfect peace, hell is a place of everlasting punishment. Hell is mentioned in the Bible numerous times including in Matthew 8:12, which says, “The children of the kingdom will be driven out into the darkness where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth". Hell is also mentioned related to internal destruction in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 which says, “These will pay the penalty of eternal ruin, separated from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power”. Hell is also described in great detail in Revelation 14:11 which says, “The smoke of the fire that torments them will rise forever and ever, and there will be no relief day or night for those who worship the beast or its image or accept the mark of its name”. From these verses, we see that the Bible gives a number of descriptions of hell, or that place of final judgment. As believers, we know that hell is very 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 six things I wish everyone knew about hell:
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 in His infallible message to us. If you don’t believe hell exists, consider these words from Jesus: “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him” (Luke 12:4-5). If you don’t believe hell exists, you don’t trust God’s Word or truth.
Jesus Talked About Hell
There is a common misconception that Jesus didn’t talk about hell which is completely untrue. Jesus talked about hell more than anyone else in the Bible. In fact, Jesus talked about hell more often than He talked about heaven. There is also a notion that God only talked about hell in the Old Testament but not in the New Testament, being that the New Testament is the Good News. It’s time to open up our Bibles, folks. 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 speak on this often.
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. John 3:16 is a great reminder of how greatly God loves us: “For God so love the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”. 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.
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. This is what Jesus told the apostles, when He said, “Then [the unrighteous] will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25:46). 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.
God Sends You to Hell When He’s Upset
Hell is not a place that God sends you when He’s upset with you, or turned off by something you’ve done. There’s a common misconception that God sends people to hell. This is wrong. People send themselves to hell when they reject Christ. Yes, those who do not accept Jesus will go to hell but that’s because of their own choosing. Our God is a God of love. When we are born again through the waters of baptism and make Christ the center of our lives, we have no place in hell.
Hell is All About Suffering
Popular media often depicts hell in movies, books and music as a place similar to that on earth today, with people running around killing and committing evil acts. If you think hell is anything like this, you’ve got the story very twisted. Hell was designed as a place of horror, torment and torture. That’s why it is repeatedly referred to as a lake of fire and brimstone. The Bible warns that we not make light of this evil. The Bible tells us, “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them” (Proverbs 1:32). The only concern in hell is how bad the pain is. Scripture is clear that hell is all about suffering.
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 reminder of 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 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.