Closing Thoughts About Hell In The Bible
I think Tim Kellersums hell in the Bible concisely Hell, then, is the trajectory of a soul, living a self-absorbed, self-centered life, going on and on forever In short, hell is simply ones freely chosen identity apart from God on a trajectory into infinity.
The Bible gives us a picture of hell thats much different than what is commonly held in churches across the country. We should let the Word direct our view of hell and not what culture tells us.
Lets hear from you! What do you think about this teaching of hell in the Bible?
Hell In The Old Testament
The Old Testament doesnt give us many concrete details about hell. Rather it talks about death and a few vague references to what happens to the wicked after death.
The word the Old Testament uses for hell is sheol and is used 65 times. This is where the difficulty comes in. This word translates as the grave,death, destruction, the pit, and sometimes hell. At very least sheol is referring to death. At most sheol may refer to some sort of afterlife human existence for the wicked.
Ezekiel 32:17-32 offers us the longest description of the afterlife for the wicked in the Old Testament. Ezekiel offers a few glimpses, but nothing solid. The picture he paints is one of separation for the wicked and judgment for their deeds. There are hints that the wicked feel shame, but also that they are comforted.
Ezekiel isnt the only example. Daniel 12:2 says the wicked will be resurrected and punished. Jude 1:7 compares hell to what Sodom and Gomorrah faced. The psalmist in Psalm 16:10 thanks God for not abandoning his soul to sheol. Numbers 16:33 states that those who go to sheol perish. And a variety of poetry mentions sheol in similar ways.
The Old Testament offers a few glimpses of hell, but nothing concrete. In some passages, hell seems to be portrayed as eternal and in others extinction. Many times sheol isnt even referring to eternal consequences, but rather physical death for wickedness.
Jesus Preached On Hell
On multiple occasions, Jesus preached on hell. In Matthew 5, Jesus preached that anger and calling someone a derogatory name is deserving of judgment and even hell: But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be answerable to the court and whoever says to his brother, You good-for-nothing, shall be answerable to the supreme court and whoever says, You fool, shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell .
A few verses later, Jesus warned against lust and adultery, saying that if ones eye was causing them to sin, it would be better to gouge out the eye, rather than ones whole body going to hell. He said the same about ones hand: And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off it is better for you to enter life maimed, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire .
In Matthew 10:28, Jesus told His disciples not to fear their persecutors, but to fear God: And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Jesus condemned the people of Capernaum for their unbelief, despite witnessing multiple healings and miracles: And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades! For if the miracles that occurred in you had occurred in Sodom, it would have remained to this day .
8. Matthew 23:33 You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
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19. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
20. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
21. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
22. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgmentthen the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. .
Hell Is An Overreaction
The first objection is that hell is an overreaction.
Often heard like this: Why cant God simply forgive? How can any sin deserve everlasting destruction?
The problem here is that sin is far more serious than we realize. We get glimpses of its seriousness when we see its consequences. Its why we get so upset when we watch shows like When They See Us.
But we get desensitized to sin too. Remember the outrage and shock and horror of Columbine? The entire nation seemed to shut down for weeks. Now weve got school shootings every week or so, and we just press on.
God doesnt. God cant and wont just look the other way at wickedness. Because the heinousness of sin is not measured by the sin itself but by the value and dignity of the one being sinned against. Which makes it a very big deal.
Every emotional reaction you and I have to the doctrine of hell is a direct reflection of our view of Gods holiness and glory. Well only believe hell to be an overreaction if we have a small view of God. The more we know the depth of our sin, the more well appreciate the wrath of God against it.
Imagine walking out of this building passed a little boy sitting on the curb pulling the legs off of a grasshopper. What would you do? Itd be strange and bizarre.
Now imagine if you walked out of the building and the same little boy were pulling the legs off of a frog, that would be a bit more disturbing.
Now imagine if it were a bird, you would scold him and go find his parents.
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Gehenna Literal Place Of Perpetual Burning
Gehenna accounts for 12 of the 13 Hell mentions, and most importantly, it comprises 100% of Jesus alleged references to Hell.
So what is Gehenna?
Its a valley. A literal valley. A physical, geographic location. The Valley of Hinom. In fact, heres what this valley looks like today.
There it is. And look, passing right through the middle of it is Gey Ben Hinom St.
The typical response here is that Jesus was using the valley of Hinom figuratively to mean our modern concept of Hell. But figurative to who?
It really doesnt matter what this valley means to us today. Jesus wasnt speaking to us. He was speaking to Jews who lived 2,000 years ago.
So the real question is, what did Gehenna mean to the Jews of Jesus day?
The section of this valley referred to as Gehenna was well known throughout Israel as an evil and dark place, used for a variety of evil acts throughout Israels history. In the time of Hosea, the rebellious Israelites committed child sacrifice there to honor the pagan god Molech , as seen in 2 Chron 28:3.
Moreover, he burned incense in the valley of Ben-hinnom and burned his sons in fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had driven out before the sons of Israel.
Later, in 2 Kings 23:10, it says that King Josiah desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice their son or daughter in the fire to Molek.
Continued Life Of The Soul
Jesus told His disciples not to fear for their lives eternal life is infinitely more valuable than one’s earthly life:
Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
In his Letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul looked forward to the time he could leave this earthly life behind and be with Christ:
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
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What Happens In Hell
In Matthew 25:41 the Bible says, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. The original purpose of hell and its fire was for the ultimate destruction of Satan, sin, and his angels. Hell is also for the people who chose not to follow Christ and accept them in their hearts. Romans 2:8, But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. On the other hand, Matthew 25:33-34 points out that those who choose Christ will inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Revelation 20:10, 15, describes what will happen in hell, saying And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever…Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
We can be assured that hell is a terrible, terrifying place. Some punishments in hell the Bible describe include: smoke of their torment, no rest day or night, weeping and gnashing of teeth, tormented, death, and destruction.
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Salvation From Life In Hell Through Burnt Offerings
The Book of Genesis tells the story of what happened the last time people committed too much sin. God permitted them to all be drowned in a great flood. After the flood, God promised humanity that He will never again destroy the earth with water. But what will God to the people who continuously sin? Would He just let them be? Of course not. Our God is the God of perfect justice. Being a race of sinners, nothing can redeem us from the fiery pits of hell. Yet, as what is written in John 3:16, God loves us that He gave us His Son to redeem us.
As the Book of Revelation unveils, described in its fifth chapter about a slain lamb that will open the scroll. And we all know that it symbolizes Jesus. As we know, sheep were precious property for the people. That is why it was worthy for people to sacrifice it for their sins to be forgiven. When Jesus made His sacrifice for us, He became the sacrificial lamb for the sin of all the generations of humanity. His blood was enough to pay for our sins. It made salvation available for anyone who seeks it, sparing us from paying for our sins and eternal life in hell. Making Jesus the biggest burnt offering.
Key Passages About Hell
Hell was designed originally for Satan and his demons .
Hell will also punish the sin of those who reject Christ .
Hell is conscious torment.
- Matthew 13:50 furnace of fireweeping and gnashing of teeth
- Revelation 14:10 he will be tormented with fire and brimstone
Hell is eternal and irreversible.
- Revelation 14:11 the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever and they have no rest day and night
- Revelation 20:14 This is the second death, the lake of fire
- Revelation 20:15 If anyones name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire
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What Is Gehenna In The Bible
Gehenna was originally a valley south of Jerusalem where the Jews once sacrificed their children in the fire to Molech .
Later, the righteous King Josiah defiled the valley, to prevent the horrible child sacrifice . It became a sort of garbage dump, an enormous deep pit, kept constantly burning, where bodies of dead animals and criminals were thrown . It was known as a place of judgement and death, of putrid smoke, like sulfur.
In New Testament times, Gehenna was synonymous with hell. When Jesus spoke of Gehenna it was a place of eternal punishment of both body and soul .
What Jesus Really Said About Heaven And Hell
None of us likes thinking about death, but there are times when we have little choice. The virus spreads, hospitals fill, and systems become overwhelmed. Our greatest concerns, personal and national, are for survival. But for many people even the otherwise healthy the crisis has unexpectedly raised the specter of death itself, our constant companion even if, most of the time, we do our best to ignore it. Or, in more normal times, try to laugh it off. The most recent and memorable effort was NBCs smash hit comedy series The Good Place but the humor even there was rooted precisely in terror, as Eleanor Shellstrop and her companions desperately worked to avoid the afterlife they deserved in the Bad Place and its eternal torments.
The fear is as ancient as civilizations oldest surviving records. The hero of the Epic of Gilgamesh writhes in agony at the prospect of spending eternity groveling in dust being eaten by worms. Few people today may share Gilgameshs terror of consciously living forever in the dirt. Plenty, however, tremble before the possibility of eternal misery. Possibly this is a good time to help people realize that it simply will not be that way.
The vast majority of these people naturally assume this is what Jesus himself taught. But that is not true. Neither Jesus, nor the Hebrew Bible he interpreted, endorsed the view that departed souls go to paradise or everlasting pain.
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Where Is Hell Located And How Did It Begin
Although we cant be sure exactly where hell is at, we can be sure it does exist. In Matthew 12:40, Jesus Christ says: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly: so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the HEART OF THE EARTH.” Other passages such as 1 Samuel 28:13-15, that the medium of Endor sees the spirit of Samuel, coming up out of the ground. Other passages like Ephesians 4:9 state that before Jesus ascended into heaven, He descended into hell. However, Revelations causes us to speculate that the earth itself is hell once it is turned into a lake of fire . We may not have the exact physical location, but we do know that hell is a literal place of real torment.
From what we can gather from Scripture, Hell was created for the rebellion of Satan and the angels that followed him . Scriptures indicate God never intended Hell and the lake of fire for mankind but that is where all will go who choose not to put their faith in Jesus Christ. The most important question is not where hell is or even when it was created but how to avoid going to hell. We avoid hell when we choose to believe in Jesus Christthe One who died to pay for your sins and all who choose to put their trust in Him.