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AN EXPLANATION OF HELL FROM THE SCRIPTURES
What Does The Bible Really Say About That Place And Those Who Will Wind Up There?
Have you noticed how many programs concerning the subjects of heaven and hell, salvation and punishment, etc. are now appearing on TV? The fact that they are being aired in such numbers indicates a high degree of public interest—otherwise the tremendous amount of money and effort necessary would not be expended by those who produce them. But without exception they are carefully constructed to give the impression of a fair and objective analysis—while casting doubt upon the validity of God’s Word.
The format is that a panel of experts, both pro and con, discusses the subject at length and viewers are left to draw their own conclusions. But what is not readily apparent to the average viewer is the extreme liberal bias of those who appear to defend the subject from a biblical perspective. For instance, the “religious scholar” Elaine Pagels is often a regular on such programs and is quite adept at injecting an occult point of view through her comments. (Pagels is the author of the book, The Gnostic Gospels—an unabashed attempt to legitimize various Gnostic writings rejected by the early Church as being non-canonical. In other words, those writings failed the tests necessary to be counted a legitimate part of the Scriptures). So while some of the panelists offer thinly disguised ridicule, the others engage in “damning by faint praise!” And the net result is in fact a very slanted presentation of the subject at hand.
A recent program about hell was a good example. For the better part of an hour the viewer was subjected to medieval works of art depicting the horrors of that place of torment while the various points of view were presented. But if one is thoroughly familiar with what the Bible actually says, it will be noted that such artworks are often inaccurate. (A case in point is the recurring depiction of the devil and his angels torturing the inhabitants of hell. But according to the Bible, those evil entities have not yet been consigned to hell and when they do wind up there, they will be on the receiving end of the torture along with everyone else). Also ancient legends from many religions concerning a place of torment were presented during the program that most today perceive as being ridiculous—something also designed to cause serious doubts as to the validity of the concept itself.
So is there life after death with eternal bliss for the redeemed in heaven and eternal torment in the flames of hell for the rest of humanity? The very Son of God, Jesus Christ, said there is and for professed believers—such as some of the panel members on the program—to insinuate otherwise is to contradict His teaching.
According to my dictionary the word history for the word “hell” indicates it has existed since Old English times as a name for the abode of the dead—both Christian and pagan. It was derived from an Indo-European form that probably had the basic sense of “hide,” or “conceal.” And the Old Norse word “hel” not only indicated the abode of the dead, but also the goddess who ruled it. Then it goes on to say that a related Latin word occulere, “to cover over,” is the word from which the English “occult” (hidden) is derived.
The Hebrew word sheol in the Old Testament is sometimes translated as “hell” in our English Bibles. It occurs 65 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and is translated “hell” 31 times, “grave” 31 times, and “the pit” 3 times in the King James Version, whereas 3 Greek words, hades, gehenna, and tartaroo are usually translated as “hell” in the New Testament. (12 times for gehenna, 10 times for hades, 1 time for tartaroo—while hades is rendered as “the grave” one time).
Like all other points of doctrine, we must carefully analyze everything the Bible has to say about hell to keep from reaching the wrong conclusion. The concept was not fully developed in the Old Testament and while punishment for sin was taught, it was generally thought to be in this life only. But when the New Testament was written it became clear that God’s punishment for sin was both in “the here and now” and the hereafter!
Contrary to the wisdom of men concerning such a place, Jesus Christ is the authority and He said hell was originally prepared for Satan and the angels because they rebelled against a Holy God:
So when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and became sinners, both they and all their depraved offspring became liable for that very same fate after death. And only genuine faith in the shed blood of God’s own Son (John 3:16) has ever, or will ever, spare a lost soul from going to that horrible place.
And where hell-denying (and/or hell mitigating) “preachers” are concerned, I have nothing but contempt for them because they intentionally disregard clear and unambiguous teaching by the Lord Jesus Christ on the subject. Like the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult, Charles Taze Russell, they show disdain for the concept by denying it altogether or attempting to greatly lessen the severity of its punishment. Quite often those of this ilk who do admit to its reality claim that hell is eternal separation from God and no fire is involved. But in Matthew 25:41 (above) the Lord said it is “everlasting fire.” Then in the following passage, He tells us the rich man in hell made the following comment:
“And 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” Luke 1624 (KJV, emphasis mine).
The Greek word translated as “flame” is phlox and was consistently rendered as such by all the English Bibles up through the 1611 King James Version, as well as “flame” or “fire” by the vast majority of those done afterwards. So in light of Matthew 25:41 and several other passages corroborating the concept (which we will cite next), why so you suppose anyone claiming belief in Christ would be so audacious as to claim otherwise?
“And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” Rev.19:20 (KJV, emphasis mine).
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” Rev.20:10 (KJV).
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that 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, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” Rev.20:11-15 (KJV, emphasis mine).
Honestly now, how can anyone read these passages and believe punishment in hell—then ultimately the lake of fire—involves eternal separation from God and nothing more?
A favorite argument they use against the concept of literal fire goes something like this: “Jesus referred to the place of punishment as being ‘outer darkness’ (Matt.8:12; 22:13; and 25:30). So how can fire and darkness coexist?” The point being that everyone knows fire gives off light and therefore it and total darkness are mutually exclusive. But this otherwise reasonable argument is based upon the belief that the laws of physics are immutable. And while that may be true for this present sphere of reality, why should anyone assume that an Omnipotent God cannot change them if He chooses to do so? Or that the lake of fire will not be in an entirely different realm where such physical laws do not apply? Please be advised that all such attempts at using human logic to explain away the supernatural are unwise, to say the least.
Hell is a place of unquenchable fire:
“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” Matt.3:7-12 (KJV).
“The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” Matt.13:41-42 (KJV).
“And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched” Mark 9:43 (KJV).
Hell is a place of misery and pain:
“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and 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 ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” Rev.14:10-11 (KJV).
Hell was created for all eternity:
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” Daniel 12:1-2 (KJV).
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” Matt.25:46 (KJV).
”And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” Jude 1:6-7 (KJV).
The occupants of hell:
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” Rev.21:8 (KJV, emphasis mine).
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order Kingdom of Antichrist in their daily news.
Finally, we would love to hear from you. You can write us at:
Cutting Edge Ministries, C/O Pastor Ron Riffe
P.O. Box 26
Gordo, AL 35466
You can also E-Mail Pastor Ronald Riffe regarding questions or comments about this article.
God bless you