A Place Called HELL


A Place Called HELL

Is There Really A Place Of Eternal Punishment?

hell fireThe concept of a fiery hell awaiting those who reject God during their lifetime has been a controversial topic for thousands of years. While the days of “fire and brimstone preaching” have mostly ceased, the relevancy of hell remains a hot topic. Many people have reasoned that a loving God would not sentence people to be eternally tormented in hell, it just doesn’t seem possible. However, when we look at the Scriptures we see that is precisely what awaits all who reject the only Lord and Savior of the world, Jesus. Consider the words of Jesus: 

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 12:5 NIV)

The Greek word “geenna” or “Gehenna” is used 12 times in the New Testament (11 times by Jesus) to represent a place called hell. The “Gehenna of Fire” was originally the valley of Hinnom outside of Jerusalem where the city’s debris was burned. Dr. R. K. Tardo in his publication What The Bible Says About Hell comments on Jesus usage of Gehenna to describe hell:

He, (Jesus) likened hell to a stinking garbage dump; a place of perpetual fires where maggots and other repulsive loathsome creatures live in all the decaying, putrid refuse…”

If there is no hell, there can be no heaven or eternal life. If there is no hell, Jesus was not telling the truth. It is illogical to believe Jesus told us the truth about heaven, eternal life and his return to gather all the believers unto Himself while refusing to believe His teaching about a literal hell. We cannot pick and choose what we want to believe. The evidence of a literal hell where people suffer in an eternal fire cannot be ignored. How can we place any confidence in the words of Jesus if He lied about a place called hell? Consider Jesus words on hell:

The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41-42 NIV)

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46 NIV)

The Greek word “Tartaroo” is translated “hell” and mentioned only once in 2 Peter 2:4 as the place of confinement for fallen angels. It is thought to be the deepest abyss of Hades.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment; (2 Peter 2:4 NIV)

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for hell is “Sheol.” The Greek equivalent in the New Testament is “Hades.” Both words mean “the realm of the dead.” In the Old Testament where the context warrants, Sheol is also translated “grave or pit.” It is clear in some passages that Sheol can only mean “grave” without any reference to punishment or suffering as in Genesis 37:35. However, in other places “Sheol” is viewed as a place of judgment for the wicked as in Psalm 9:17.

In the New Testament, Hades, like Sheol is translated “grave or hell” where appropriate. Jesus spoke of Hades in Luke 16, which provides us some insight into the afterworld. According to the story, Lazarus, a sick beggar, and a nameless rich man who had no compassion for Lazarus, both die. Lazarus is taken by angels to a place of refreshing and comfort—Abraham’s bosom. However, the rich man, much to his surprise, discovers he has entered a place eternal torment. Across the gulf of separation the rich man can see and shout out to Abraham for help, saying, “send Lazarus that he may dip his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.”

Jesus told the story to serve as a reminder that the ungodly will not escape the judgment fires of a place called hell. Abraham and Lazarus are  pictured as being in a distant place of comfort and happiness. Most likely Abraham and Lazarus are in the same place that Jesus promised to take the thief who repented while dying on the cross, “today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” The Greek “paradeisos” means a place of future reward, figuratively heaven.

Sheol or Hades, as best we can understand is the spiritual realm where the ungodly dead are sent to suffer while awaiting the final judgment of Revelations 20:13. In Revelation 20:14-15 death, Hades and all whose names are not recorded in the “book of life” were “cast into the lake of fire.”

Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14-15 NIV)

Hades and Paradise are two separate locations in the invisible dimension were disembodied spirits are sent to receive either punishment or reward. Hades is an intermediate state of punishment.  Revelation 20:13-15 reveals that the inhabitants of Hades will be resurrected, judged and condemned to the eternal “lake of fire” which is called the “second death.” This is the final abode for Satan, the wicked, and all mankind who practiced religion instead of having a genuine relationship with the Lord (see Matthew 7:21-23).  

How To Get To Heaven

John 3:16 is possibly the most well known verse of scripture expressing the infinite magnitude of God’s love for mankind.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

From this verse we understand that God’s love for us is why He sent His Son Jesus to die in our place on the cross and anyone who believes Christ died for our sins and believes He is the Savior of the world will possess eternal life. However, there is a dark side to this verse that is often overlooked. Those believing and accepting Jesus as their Savior are escaping a very bad outcome—eternal separation from God in a place called hell. The words “shall not perish” is an unmistakable reference to a fiery hell. Either we choose the way of escape, salvation through Jesus, or we will remain condemned by our sins to an eternal punishment in hell. Consider verses 17 and 18:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18 NIV)

Jesus came to “save the world” that “stands condemned already” from “perishing” in a place called hell. The “condemnation” mentioned is the present state of all unbelievers: “whoever does not believe stands condemned already.”

The writer of Hebrews 2:3 ask, “how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?” The fact is, we won’t. All who ignore God’s call to repentance and forgiveness through His Son Jesus will remain in their current state of condemnation and face an eternal darkness in a fiery hell.

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 12:5 NIV)

Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14-15 NIV)

The “good news” is, no one needs to end up in hell. God has provided a way of escape through Jesus. That being said, we are not simply advocating you should believe in Jesus to avoid going to hell. God is not trying to drive us to Himself with the fear of hell. He wants to draw us to Himself with His marvelous, infinite, matchless love and grace that is so undeserved. Let me explain…

Everyone is born with a sinful nature and is attracted to sin and loves to sin. If you follow your sinful nature instead of turning to God, which is your right, you remain under God’s condemnation. “Whoever does not believe stands condemned already.” However, if we choose to turn to God in genuine repentance we will be saved from our sins and the consequences of sin—eternal death and separation from God. This is all possible because Jesus died for our sins on the cross and made a way for us to receive forgiveness and turn to God. The fact that we are all corrupt sinners should come as no surprise to anyone:

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23-24 NIV)

How can we say no to Jesus who suffered our punishment for all our sins and was crucified on what should have been our cross? How can we just casually walk away from the Savior and lock Him out of our lives? How can we say no to His amazing love?

Isn’t it time to turn your life over to Jesus?

Have you been born again?  If not, you can stop right now and begin talking to God. Ask Him to forgive you for being a sinner and the life you have been living outside of His love. Surrender your life to Him, unconditionally. Call Him Lord and make Him Lord over every thought, attitude and action. You can say, Lord Jesus forgive me for all my sins and come into my heart and take full control of my life. I am your child from this day forward. Change my heart and mind to be Christ-like in every way. I confess Jesus is my Lord and Savior forever.

If you you prayed that prayer we would love to hear back from you.

READ THIS:  5 Facts That Will Change Your Life Forever

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One Response to A Place Called HELL

  1. Lori says:

    What a great truth. I will share this one with everyone.

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