One cannot help but notice that the bulk of teaching on the doctrine of Hell comes from the very lips of the Lord Jesus Christ. In-fact, He taught on Hell more than He spoke about Heaven1. This then reveals the seriousness of this important subject. The Old Testament makes reference to the punishment of the wicked (Isaiah 66:24 and Daniel 12:2) and there are a number of references in the rest of the New Testament (1 Thess. 1:10; 2 Thess. 1:9; Heb. 9:27; Jude 7; Rev. 14:9-11; Rev. 19:20; Rev. 20:15; Rev. 21:8) that do the same. Hell is a topic that ought to create a sense of sensitivity and sorrow to any listener. It is not an easy topic to talk about because of the horror related to it. Nonetheless, it is in the word of God and must be addressed.
The Reality of Hell
Hell is real. Despite the modern usage of hell as a reference to a state or condition of difficulty and discomfort – the Scriptures teach that it is a real place created by God for the purpose of punishing those outside of Christ (Matt. 25:41). Our Lord described it as follows: a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 8:12), a fiery furnace (Matt. 13:42), outer darkness (Matt.22:13), unquenchable fire (Mark 9:48) and everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46). Hell is certainly a horrible, terrifying and real place.
The Occupants of Hell
Who will go to Hell? Hell was “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41) and will be the abode of all who are unconverted (Rev. 20:15). The occupants of Hell are all “workers of lawlessness” (Matt. 7:23).
The Duration of Hell
What does the Scripture say concerning the duration of hell? Some have suggested that it will be limited as the Lord will simply annihilate His enemies. However, it will be my argument in a later post that the Scriptures teach an eternal conscious punishment of the wicked. The Scripture says Hell is “unquenchable fire” (Matt. 3:12; Mark 9:43), a place where “the worm does not die” (Mark 9:47-48), a place where there “will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 8:12), a place of “eternal fire” (Matt. 18:8; Matt. 25:41) and “eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46). Hell is everlasting.
The Grace of God
By God’s grace, not all will go to Hell. Why? Because He has made provision for the forgiveness of sins found exclusively in Jesus Christ.
Hell is a horrifying but real doctrine. In my next few posts I will elaborate on the main points raised in this post.
1Editor’s Note: Readers interested in this statement may wish to read this article.