NThis is going to be my look at Hell and what I believe the Bible actually says about Hell. Hell is (pun intended) a hot topic right now because of a controversial book by ,as far as I can tell, a heretical pastor. So I'm going to start this off pretty straight forward and tell you what I believe about hell and then go in to scripture to support this. I believe, what I assume is a pretty traditional view of hell.
I believe that when you die you immediately go one of two places, heaven or hell. Heaven, to spend eternity in Gods new Eden or Hell to spend eternity bearing Gods wrath and judgment in torment flame and darkness. I believe they are both actual places in the afterlife and not just states of mind on in this life or the next. I believe they are both eternal.
So where to start in scripture? The easiest and most obvious place to start is Luke 16: 19-31;
19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in epurple and fine linen and fwho feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gategwas laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with hwhat fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by ithe angels jto Abraham's side.6 The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in kHades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and lsaw Abraham far off and Lazarus jat his side.24 And he called out, m‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and ncool my tongue, for oI am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that pyou in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house—28 for I have five brothers7—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’29 But Abraham said, ‘They have qMoses and the Prophets; rlet them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, sfather Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear qMoses and the Prophets, tneither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”
These verses , to me at least seem pretty self explanatory. You die you either go to a place of torment or a place of rest. Though I am seeing this debated and explained as a metaphor. My question is a metaphor for what? Jesus never gives an alternate explanation or goes on to say any different or indicates that it has some alternate meaning in any way. So why are we to say it means anything else than what it says?
To contrast this a little bit we have the parable of wheat and tares (weeds) in Matthew in 13: 24-30 and he goes on to explain this a little later in Matthew 13: 36-43
24 He put another parable before them, saying, w“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds3 among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants4 of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, x‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
36 Then he left the crowds and went into ithe house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one,39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 sand throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear
He doesn't do this in the parable from Luke. How ever we do see that these two parables are in agreement. Both are describing a fiery place filled with torment. Jesus doesn't explain this parable as bad times during life or even simply separation from God. It is a place of torment and you are sent there by God. Do I need to go on? These are parables from Jesus himself, not the apostles, not church fathers, not theologian.
I would think it would be fairly obvious that Jesus is talking about a place not a state of mind and from the parable in look it indicates a permanency in the chasm that neither side can cross over to the other. Lets go on in Revelation 20: 10-15
10 and the devil lwho had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Judgment Before the Great White Throne
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence on earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, the was thrown into the lake of fire.
Again here in the Revelation given to John by Jesus a description of Hell. A lake of fire where the inhabitants will be tormented day and night, forever and ever. The inhabitants being, Satan, his demons(Jude 1), the anti-Christ, the false prophet, Death, Hades, the fallen angels and all those whose name is not found in the book of life. Jesus underpins the seriousness of hell several places as well saying its better to pluck out your eye or cut off your hand if they are causing you to sin than GO TO hell (matt 5: 27-30) this to me doesn't sound like some temporary hell on earth or hell state of mind, because all things on this earth pass and if you cut off your hand that's it it's gone. So...from what I can tell these are some main places where Jesus talks about hell pretty specifically and I believe that hell is real. The scriptures point to that, Jesus points to that and that it is an eternal place of fire and torment! But there is some good news! Jesus Christ came to earth, lived a perfect life then went willingly to the cross, enduring torture and beatings before finally being crucified all for you. He did it taking the punishment we all deserve. Then he over came all the sin and death and wrath rising three days later so that all you have to do is believe in him will have everlasting life and not everlasting torment. Next...pt 2 the why of hell