The Truth About… Hell

The Truth About… Hell


This is a production of World Video
Bible School. To God be the glory. In 2009, USA Today ran
an article that stated that “only 59% of Americans
believe in hell, compared with 74% who
believe in heaven…” The article goes on to
tell about a workshop for preachers that
dealt with the topic, “What ever happened to Hell?”
The man leading the workshop asked how
many of the preachers in attendance had ever
preached on Hell.” None The answer? None
of them had. It went on to
offer this quote, preachers “do shy away from
the topic of everlasting damnation…It’s pressure from the
culture to not speak anything negative. I think we’ve begun to deny
hell.” Very interesting quote In this study, we’re
going to talk about Hell. And we’re going to do it by
answering three questions: 1. What is Hell?
2. What is Hell not? 3. What is Hell going to be
like for those who go there? Now, we’re going to let the Bible
describe for us this horrible place. Alright, point
#1. What is Hell? You know, there’s a great deal
of misunderstanding about Hell. For some people, their
knowledge of Hell doesn’t extend beyond cartoons
that they viewed as children. They envision Hell as the house
of the devil, where he sits with a red boiling pot and a pitch fork. Other
people think that “Hell” is merely a term that is used figuratively
in the Bible. Still others think of Hell as
a brief stint of suffering until person is burned up
and he ceases to exist. So, in light of all of the
misunderstanding, let’s answer the question, “What is Hell?”
First, Hell is a real place. Matthew 5:29 – Jesus says, “If your right eye causes you
to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you
that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” Jesus
speaks of Hell as a real place. What is Hell? Secondly, Hell is a
place of torment and suffering. In Matthew 10:28,
Jesus said, “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.” Revelation 14:11 describes the suffering of those who go
there with this language, “And the smoke of
their torment ascends forever and ever; and
they have no rest day or night…” And so Hell is going to be an terrible
place of torment and suffering. What is Hell? Thirdly, the
Bible tells us that Hell is a place specifically prepared
for the devil. Matthew 25:41, “Then He (Jesus) 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.” Fourthly, I also learn from this
verse, that Hell will not only be the eternal dwelling
place of the devil but it will also be the place
to which God will send all above wicked
mankind. Friends, hell is a real place and it’s a
place that will be worse than the most intense suffering that we have ever
known in this life. Now, before we move on to our
next point, “What Hell is not.” I want to address an objection
that is sometimes made. sometimes someone will make an argument that go something like this: they will say, “It’s not fair. It’s
unjust to punish someone eternally for something that
he did in just a short time on this earth. It isn’t fair to
punish a few years of sin with an eternity
of suffering. Friends, we understand that the
punishment for crime almost always lasts longer
then the crime. You know, we understand on this earth. If
a man walks into a place a business and he shoots and kills an employee, he might
be sentenced to jail for the rest of his life for crime
that took him two minutes to commit.
Now, why is the sentence so much longer than the
crime? And the answer is because the severity of the crime is not
measured by the length of time that it takes to
commit it. You see, we understand
that, and we agreed to this on this earth. And when
a person admits this, his argument about Hell being
too long becomes self-defeating. Secondly, it’s interesting that people
will argue that it’s unjust to punish someone for ever for sins
committed in just a short time but no one ever argues that
it’s unjust to reward men forever. You see,
the argument is an emotional one. And
it really doesn’t deal fairly with the subject. Heaven
and Hell must stand and fall together because both
are based on the justice and mercy of God. And when someone says, I just can’t follow a God who would send
men to Hell eternally. He’s forgetting the
extreme links that God went to to prevent this. God sent His Son, a member of the Godhead,
himself, died. He was crucified at the hands of his own creation
to try to keep men out of hell. But you know, even with all of that,
God doesn’t force men to go to heaven. In the final analysis,
he allows men to choose. Sadly
some choose hell. Alright, point
number two, What hell is not.
The word hell actually appears 23 times
in the King James Version of the Bible. Unfortunately,
those 23 occurrences are not all talking about the place
that we are studying in this lesson. The King James translators took
three different Greek words and translated all of them
with one English word, hell. Now, their choice to do that has caused a great
deal confusion. And so, I wanna list for you these three words
and then we’ll briefly talk about each one and what it means.
First, their is the word “Hades.” The Greek word “Hades”
is translated hell ten times in the King James
Version. Now, hades is not, however, the eternal
place of punishment. Hades is the place
we’re all men go when they die. The righteous
who die go to hades, the wicked who die
go to hades. Hades is simply a holding area
for disembodied spirits until the day of judgment.
Now, because of this, hades is sometimes used
interchangeably to refer to death. It’s where men go
when they die. For example, in Matthew 16:18, when Jesus
promised to build his church he said that the gates of Hell, (the King
James uses the word hell) the gates of hell would not prevail
against it. Now, the word in the original language is not the word
for hell but rather it is hades. The gates of hades
would not prevail against it. It means that death
would not prevent or stop his kingdom from
coming. In Acts 2:31, in the King James Version,
the Bible speaks of Christ after his death,
as being in hell. Now, again, this is not the
place of eternal punishment. Instead it’s the
Greek word hades. When Jesus died, his spirit went into hades; specifically the
area of hades known as paradise.
Luke 23:43. Secondly, there is
another word. The word “Tartarus.” Now, a former of this
word appears in 2 Peter 2:4. That text says, “For if God did
not spare the angels who sinned, but cashed them down to
hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to
be reserved for judgment.” Now, the word hell in this verse,
once again, is not the word for eternal punishment. Many people
believe this to be the place in hades where the wicked go to
await the day of judgement. This would be the place called
torments in Luke chapter 16. Now, other people believe that
this is a special waiting place for the angels
who sinned and were cast down. Either way it’s not
a reference to the eternal fires of hell, Gehenna. I believe the first
view is the correct answer. That it is a reference to the
compartment of hades where the wicked go to await the day of
judgement. The place Luke 16 refers to as a place of torment.
But it is not the place of eternal punishment.
Alright, then there is the word Gehenna. This is the place
that we are studying in this lesson. This is the
place of eternal punishment. This is the place
properly called hell. Now, the word gehenna is used
12 times in the New Testament. 11 of those times it is
used by Jesus himself. Alright, let’s move to the
third question: What is hell going to be like? To help us get an
appreciation for this horrible place, I want us to examine
seven horrors of hell. Number
one, the horror of darkness. June verse 13 talks about
people who live away from Christ and he says that they are
like “raging waves of the sea falling out on their own shame; they’re
like wondering stars, for whom he says (now watch this because this is
important) he says for whom the is the blackness of
darkness forever.” Isn’t that interesting?
In Matthew 25:30, the master in dealing with his
unprofitable servant says that he is to be cast into
outer darkness. Now, you see how this
intensifies? It’s not simply darkness but is the
blackness of darkness. It’s not simply the blackness
of darkness but it is outer darkness.
You see, hell is the place farthest removed
from the source of light. I heard a preacher say that he used to
wonder why hell had to be dark. now maybe it’s because
first John 15 says “God is the light and in
him is no darkness at all.” James 1:17 calls God
the “Father of lights.” But you see, God
won’t be in hell. He won’t be there to listen
to your constant pleading in torment. He won’t be
there as you scream and beg for mercy. You know, it seems
like men are born with an almost innate fear
of darkness. Children, almost from the beginning,
are afraid to be in darkness. Loneliness is intensified,
depression increases, and hell is a place
of darkness. In Matthew, three different
times, hell is described as outer darkness. Matthew 8:12,
Matthew 22:13, and Matthew 25:30. But in every
case were it says that hell is outer darkness, it adds this.
“Where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Friends,
it’s going to be miserable there. Number two, a second
horror of hell is fire. Hell is
burning with fire. And so Matthew 25, we have a
glimpse into the judgment day and the Lord divides mankind
to his right hand into his left. And to those on his left
he says, Matthew 25:41, “Depart from me, ye cursed,
into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his
angels. A second horror hell is the horror up burning
eternally with fire. Now, some people have
put forth the idea that hell is simply the idea
being burned up and that you cease to exist.
This idea is called annihilationism. It means that
you are annihilated by fire and then you are just
gone. You no longer exist. Now, friends, the bible
does not teach this. Listen to this passage
from Mark 9:43. “It is better for you t
enter into life maimed, rather than having
two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that
shall never be quenched where ‘Their worm does
not die and the fire is not quenched.'” Hell is described as the place
where the worm does not die. Now, what does that mean? You know,
normally when a person dies they bury the body in the worms
come and consume the body and then the process of
destruction is ultimately over. But that’s not the case in hell.
There is consumption that never ends. The
thought here means it never ends. You are burned with
fire but the consumption process never ceases. And repeatedly
in this chapter the Lord refers to hell as
the place where the fire is not quenched. Dear friend,
one of the great horrors of hell is that it’s occupants
will burn in fire. You know, there are numerous times in
your New Testament when hell is connected with fire but there’s
not one of those times when it is spoken of as being metaphorical
or just in a figurative sense. Now, you’ll have other times in the Bible
were uses terminology such as “like as a fire”
or “as fire.” But it’s not used that
way in reference to hell. It’s always simply fire and so Revelation 21:8, “But the
cowardly, the unbelieving, the abominable, the murderers, the
sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part
in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which
is the second death.” The seven horrors
of hell: darkness, fire. Horror number three,
I wanna list for you things that will not be there. Now, I know
we can make a rather long list of things that will not
be in hell. I just want to mention
two or three right now. Number one, there
will be no mercy in hell. You know, mercy is
such a wonderful thought. Titus 3:5 says, “Not by works of righteousness that we have done (that saves us is the
idea) but by his mercy we are saved.”
And if any of us are going to be in heaven,
it will be by the mercy of God. And so, there’s no mercy in hell.
And that makes sense because who would offer it? You
realize that everyone in hell is in the same situation. Who
could turn to you in hell and say, “Let me help you!” They
don’t have the means to do it. And so, there’s no mercy in hell. You
know, there’s a period of time in which God extends
his mercy. and that period of time is right
now, while you and I are alive. He extends his mercy to
us through Christ Jesus. That he gave us His Church that we can
be members of that church and only in that institution
can we be saved from hell. But that
mercy will not exist for those who leave this life
unprepared, for those who go to hell.
Secondly, there will be no hope in hell. I mean, suppose
that you were in hell but after a thousand years there
would be another judgment day in which you might get a second chance.
You know, maybe you could get paroled. Maybe there would be some sort of
relief, but it’s not going to be that way. I have a friend who says
that hell wouldn’t be so bad if it only lasted a million years. Now,
you may say what kinda crazy statement is that? Hell wouldn’t be so bad
if it only lasted a million years? His point is because after
the first year you could say, “Only 999,999
more years to go and I’ll be outta this awful
place!” What’s his point? The point is, there would be hope.
But you see there’s no hope in hell. The day of hope will
be gone and so one of the horrors of hell has to
be the things that will not be there. There’ll be no mercy, there’ll
be no hope, there’ll be no laughter of little
children there. Horror number four. I want
to suggest you the word memory. In Luke 16 we read
the account of a rich man and a poor beggar whose name is Lazarus. Lazarus was faithful to God but the rich man dies
in a lost condition. Now, I wanna read to you this text and then we’re going to make an observation related to memory.
Luke 16:19 says, there was a
certain rich man who was clothed in purple and
fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a
certain beggar named Lazarus full of sores, who was laid at his gate,
desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich
man’s table. Moreover the dogs came
and licked his sores. So it was that the bigger died
and was carried by the Angels to abraham’s bosom.
The rich man also died and was buried and being in hades (the
King James uses the word hell here but it’s the word hades) being in hades, he
lifted up his eyes and he saw abraham a
far-off and Lazarus in his bosom. 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.’ 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.'” Now here we
have an account a man who dies in a lost condition. He breathed
his last breath in this world and he opened his
eyes in hades. Specifically in torment,
in tartarus. Now, he hasn’t gone to hell yet. That’s
not going to happen until the day of judgement when God
judges all of mankind, but he’s already begun his suffering.
He already has a poor taste of hell to come. And what
I want you to notice is that he’s already crying
for mercy. He’s begging for some relief. He says
that he’s being tormented in the flames. Clearly this
experience in torment is similar to if not
the same as hell. One difference however
is that torment is temporary. It’s just until
the day of judgement Hell, on the
other hand, will be eternal. You know, I think
sometimes about the atheist who spends his life denying
the existence of God and then he dies, and he lifts up his eyes in torment, and realizes he was wrong. But, you know, at that point it’s too late and he suffering then and
he’s in fire – he’s burning in fire and and he’s in misery and
there’s nothing that he can do about it. But here’s the point now watching it
right now. One of the horrors of hell is memory. When the
rich man asked for mercy Abraham responded,
“Son remember that in your lifetime you received good
things and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted
and you are tormented.” but he uses the
word remember. What kind of things did he remember?
In fact, there’s a better way to ask this because we need to get a grip on
the fact that this rich man that we read about and Luke 16,
he is still in torment today. he’s there right now. It isn’t as if this
occurred back when Jesus was walking on the earth and now he’s out of there. He
is there right now and so I think a better way to ask
this is what kind of things does he remember today?
I suspect he remembers his physical prosperity. The
Bible calls him a rich man. I suspect he remembers
people around him and how he could have blessed them with
that prosperity, but he didn’t do it. I suspect he remembers
his selfishness, I suspect he remembers the
knowledge he had at the time about how to obey God but he was too busy. You
know, there were other things in life and I suspect he remembers people
around him who were righteous and who from time to time
would encourage him and how he felt
about them. I suspect he remembers, in fact,
I know he remembers his brothers because as he continues his
conversation with Abraham. He says, “Please send Lazarus to my
brothers.” He says in essence because I don’t want to have happen to
them what has happened to me. Friends, that’s why I
have often time said if live me in knew what dead men know,
the whole world would be Christians. Dear friend,
I want you to ponder with me what it would be like to die
lost and to be burning in fire and suffering in torment
and all the while having your memories
of this life. Imagine being able to remember all the
opportunities that you had to make your life right and that you
turn them down. Is they’re going to be memory in hell? Yes. Do you suppose you’ll
remember this video? Alright, horror
number five. I want you to consider with me
the repulsive population of hell. Now, you got to understand that
not everyone in Hell will be what you and I would consider
to be repulsive. because not everyone in hell is what
we think of as being wicked people. Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God and so there’s going to be people
there who we think I’m as good moral people.
But they’re people who simply never made the
decision to obey the gospel. they never became New
Testament christians. They never decided to
serve Jesus Christ. They were good neighbors,
they were good civic workers, but they were Christians. They
weren’t in Christ, and they’ll be in hell. Friends, if people could have been
saved just by being good, moral people Then the cross of Jesus
Christ was a colossal mistake. You see, people could have
been good moral people without the cross. The fact is, that isn’t
enough. That wasn’t enough. And that’s why Jesus had to die.
And only people who make contact with the blood of Christ by
obeying the gospel- only they will not be there. And the Lord says that
there will be religious people there. Jesus says this is
Matthew 7:21. He said, “Not everyone who
says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he
who does the will of my Father in Heaven. Many will say to
me in that day (he’s talking about the day of judgement)
many will say to me in that day, “Lord, Lord have we not
prophesied in your name, and cast out demons in your
name, and done many wonders in your name?’ (now listen)
And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;
depart from me you who practice
lawlessness!'” and so There are people today who are
choosing the religions of men rather than the church of the New Testament because they like it better. They’re gonna be there.
There will be people there who had good intentions about
one day obeying the gospel- people who had heard the
truth, who knew the truth, who planned one day to
make their life right with God. You know, Acts 24:35
Felix said Paul, “Go away now; when I have a convenient
time I will call for you.” But, you
know, for a lot of people that convenient season
never comes. Friends, not all the people in Hell are
going to be what you and I would consider wicked people. but the wicked people-
they are going to be there. One-time there was a
teenager who was older. She was about to leave her teenage
years and she was quite rebellious. But her parents were
faithful Christians, but she didn’t want to obey the gospel. She
she wasn’t interested in those kind of things, you know. She saw hypocrites
in the church sometimes and you know, it just wasn’t
her thing. You know, I don’t wanna talk about it just leave
me alone. I don’t want to discuss it. That was her
attitude. Anyway, her family happened to live
close to the church building, and one night they were walking
to the assembly, and this car passed by them very slowly.
It was a junky heap of a car and the windows were rolled
down and it was full of men and they were drunken. And they saw this
girl and they made obscene gestures toward her and they shouted obscenities toward
her as they went by and you know, she didn’t even know
them. When they were out of sight, she was disgusted by it. She thought
it was repulsive, she loathed it. And she expressed to her
parents how much she loath people who were like
that and who acted like that. And her father, who was
a wise Christian man, said, “Honey if you don’t get
your life right with the Lord, you will spend eternity with
them. Who’s gonna be there? The Jezebels and Ahabs will be there.
the Annanias and Saphrias will be there. The Diotrephes and the Neros
and the Hitlers. They will be there. The murderers and the
rapist and the liars- they’re all gonna be there. And
so we must include in the list the seven horrors of
hell, its occupants. those who will be there.
Okay, horror number six is the word eternity. You know, eternity
is not a bad concept in and of itself. In fact, in a different discussion,
it’s a wonderful concept. But, you know, in the context
we’re discussing it right now, it is one of the horrors of hell. In 2 Thessalonians 1:7 the Bible says, “And to give you who
are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus
is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,” And so the
first part the verse is promising rest to faithful Christians, but
then listen to the second part, “When the Lord Jesus is revealed
from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking
vengeance on those who do not know
God, and on those who do not obey the gospel
of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished
with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord
and from the glory of His power. You know, sometimes uncomfortable things happen to us and we’ll ask the question, “Well
how long is this going to take?” because we’re looking forward to the end.
You know, if we can see the end coming, it makes it more bearable. You know,
sometimes a student in school might think, “Just four years. If I can
make it four years it will be okay. A man in prison might be marking
off the days on his calendar thinking “Twenty years and I’ll be out of
here.” But, you know, eternity has no end. I know you can’t comprehend
that- none of us can because we’ve never experienced that.
Everything that we know in this world has a beginning and
it has an end. But think about this.
Torment without the end Friends, I have got to
tell you that the thought of dying lost and knowing
that I would have tomorrow and the next day and the next year
and the next one million years, in fact, for ever and ever and
torment without end. It makes me sick to
my stomach. Friends, it makes me think that I
will do anything I have to do to make my life right with the
Lord. You know, if I die I lost there will be no changing
it. There will be no do over and in light of that what
could possibly hold you back from making your
life right? Alright, horror number seven. I want
to suggest you the concept that you won’t be alone. Horror number
seven is that you won’t be alone. Now, somebody says, “How can
that be one of the horrors of hell? That I won’t be alone? Haven’t
you heard the old saying that misery
loves company?” Friend, can you imagine with me
what it would be like to be in hell and have people around you and
to hear the screams behind you and you realize that its someone
over whom you had influence. That’s my child. That’s my
son that I raised to adulthood but I raised him to believe that the
world and the things in this world were more important than
the afterlife. That material things were more
important than spiritual things. Can you imagine what it
would be like to not be alone and know that during
your life you used it to bring your loved ones to
this place instead of heaven. Those are the 7
horrors of hell. And in view of these things there
is one penetrating question, Mark 8:36, “For what
will it profit a man if he gains the whole
world and loses his own soul or
what will a man give in exchange for his
soul?” Powerful isn’t it? You know, I deserve to go to
hell and you deserve to go to hell Romans 3:23 says,
“All have sinned and and fall short of the glory of God.”
And so we all have earned hell. But, you know, it doesn’t have to be that
way because the Lord has provided a way for us to escape
that. By His grace he gave his son and he extends
to us the gospel plan of salvation Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace
you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves:
is the gift of God.” Now, the question is, how do
I avail myself of the blessing of that grace? And the answer
is: you do that by obeying the gospel plan
of salvation and be coming a member
of the body of Christ, which is the Church of
Christ. Ephesians 1:22-23. Now, the gospel plan of salvation
teaches that a man must hear and believe the gospel.
Mark 16:16 the Lord said, “He who believes and is
baptized will be saved; but he who does not
believe will be condemned.” John 8:24 Jesus said, “If you
do not believe that I am he, you will die in your
sins. Secondly, after man has heard the gospel
and he believes it, he must repent. In Acts 2:38 Peter told the
people on the day of Pentecost, “Repent and be baptized
everyone of you for the remission
of sins.” Acts 17:30, “Truly these times of
ignorance God overlooked, but now commands
all men everywhere to repent.” Thirdly, a man must
confess his faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Just
as the Ethiopian did in Acts 8:37 when he said,
“I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
Romans 10:9, “With the mouth confession
is made unto salvation.” Finally, a man must
be baptized in water for the remission his
sins. 1 Peter 3:20-21 says, “There
is also an antitype which
now saves us – baptism (not to removal
of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good
conscience toward God), through the resurrection
Jesus Christ.” Now friends, at that point God will
add you to his church, Acts 2:47. And if you live faithfully
for the rest of your days, you will find a home in heaven. And you
will be able to lay your head on your pillow tonight
and rest in ease, knowing that the
fires of hell are not in your future.
For deeper study on what you must do to be saved. I
encourage you to visit www.being saved.org.

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