What Does Hell Look Like
When we think about Hell, the image of a fiery pit with horned creatures walking around while carrying their pitchforks will immediately come to mind. And these images have made people shiver in fear throughout history. However, the impression of Hell has changed over the years. Today, it is common for people to make a joke about Hell, the Devil, and being cast into it. Authors, movie creators, and others have even created fictional stories of devils falling in love or acting funny. We can even hear people saying that they might rule alongside Satan as if Hell is just another city with another set of norms. We have disregarded what the Bible says of how horrible life in Hell can be.
Going back to our first question, what does hell look like? Is it the same as what we have been taught, or is it more horrifying than what the mainstream beliefs tell us?
Objections To The Biblical View Of Hell
A loving God would not send people to a horrible hell.
Response: God is just .
- God has provided the way of salvation to all .
- Even those who havent heard of Christ are accountable for Gods revelation in nature . God will seek those who seek Him .
- Therefore God doesnt send people to hell, they choose it .
Hell is too severe a punishment for mans sin.
Response: God is holy-perfect .
- Sin is willful opposition to God our creator .
- Our sin does merit hell .
- What is unfair and amazing is that Christ died for our sin and freely offers salvation to all .
What Is Hades In The Bible
In Acts 2:29-31, Peter spoke of Jesus soul not being abandoned to Hades, nor His body decaying, quoting from Davids prophecy in Psalm 16:10. Peter uses the Greek word Hades, when quoting from Psalm 16:10, where the Hebrew word Sheol is used.
Jesus used the word Hades when telling the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. It is a place of torment from flames of fire. However, it is a temporary place of punishment before final judgment in the lake of fire. In Revelation 20:13-14, death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
Hades may be the same places as the Abyss, a place of imprisonment and punishment for Satan and the demons. When Jesus was casting the legion of demons out of the man in Luke 8:31, they were begging Him not to order them sent to the Abyss.
Satan is bound and thrown into the Abyss for 1000 years in Revelation 20:3. When the Abyss was opened in Revelation 9:2, smoke rose up from the pit like from a great furnace. However, in the Bible, the word Abyss isnt used in association with humans, so it may be a different place of imprisonment for fallen angels.
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According To Jesus There Will Be More Souls In Hell Than In Heaven
8. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
9. And someone said to him, Lord, will those who are saved be few? And he said to them, Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
But Lets Assume Im Wrong
Lets just assume, for the sake of argument, that Jesus is using Gehenna as a reference to death and the afterlife. While each of the references to Gehenna can be easily interpreted via our new historical lens, there are a few verses where an argument can conceivably be made otherwise.
Do not fear 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 Gehenna.
Lets assume here that Jesus is using Gehenna to mean Hell. In this case, we dont see a picture of eternal torment. Jesus is saying to His audience that they should be more concerned about a God who CAN permanently destroy their body and soul.
Lets look at that word destroy.
apollumi ap-ol-loo-mee From G575 and the base of G3639 to destroy fully , literally or figuratively: destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.
Thats a word of finality. Its not a word of perpetual torment. The entire idea of perpetual fire comes from the imagery of Gehenna. Even if we interpret Jesus to be figuratively referencing Hell, wheres the eternal suffering of unbelieving humans? Where is that narrative?
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Weeping And Gnashing Of Teeth
Gnashing of teeth appears several times in the Old Testament, including three mentions in Psalms, one in Job and one in Lamentations. Lamentations says, of the Babylonian occupiers of Jerusalem, ” ,” “They hiss and gnash their teeth”. In all OT cases except Psalms 112:10, the gnashing appears to be an act of persecution and not suffering.
The phrase ” weeping and gnashing of teeth” appears seven times in the New Testament as a description on the fate of the unrighteous ones at the conclusion of the age. It is thought to derive from a logion in the hypothetical Q source, which yielded Matthew 8:12 and Luke 13:28. The other five occurrences are all within the context of parables and are widely held to be redactional additions by Matthew. Others, however, believe redactional theories of the parables are speculative at best, and offer little explanation as to the meaning of this phrase, and only speculate as to why Matthew and Luke included this apparently familiar saying.
The phrase “gnash the teeth” is found in Acts 7:54, in the story of the stoning of Stephen. The phrase was an expression of anger of the Sanhedrin towards Stephen before the stoning.
The phrase is also found as an idiomatic expression in colloquial English.
Myths And Misconception About Hell
As Christians, we believe that the Bible is the basis of all facts about spiritual things. And to make our beliefs firm, we should know how the Bible describes hell rather than settling to popular beliefs. The way we perceive heaven and hell sets us apart from other religions as we base everything on the word of God. Very few have noticed how historic beliefs such as those of ancient Roman and Greek philosophy have influenced Christianitys perception of hell. And it is not just a simple matter. For example, the Greek religion Hellenism is a pagan religion in which the Bible detests. Listed below are some common myths and misconceptions about hell.
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What The Bible Says About Hell
Jesus plainly taught the existence of hell. He spoke of hell more often than he did of heaven. With so many references to hell in the Bible, any serious Christian must come to terms with the doctrine. The passages below are grouped in sections to help you understand what the Bible has to say about hell.
Punishment in hell is eternal:
“And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”
Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace.
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands.
And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.
“And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Hell is a place of separation from God:
They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power.
Hell is a place of fire:
Hell Is Under The Earth
Here are some of the verses skeptics cite to “prove” their point that the Bible says hell refers to a place under the earth:
- It is as high as heaven what canst thou do? deeper than hell what canst thou know?
- For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
- But he knoweth not that the dead are there and that her guests are in the depths of hell.
- The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
- Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
- I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth.
- Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:
- If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
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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?
The Apostles Creed Why Does It Say Jesus Descended Into Hell
Part of the Apostles Creed of the Roman Catholic Church, in its latest translation of texts, states that Jesus . . . was crucified, died and was buried he descended into hell on the third day he rose again from the dead. . . .
For about fifteen hundred years the Apostles Creed stated Jesus had visited hell for a short time after his death. Could this be correct? If it is, then why did he go there? Our study will explore this portion of the creed, and from where this thought of a visit to hell came from, so we can better understand what it all meant.
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What Does God Say About Dogs
Revelation 22:15: For without dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. Philippians 3:2: Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. Proverbs 26:11: As a dog returneth to his vomit, a fool returneth to his folly.
What Happens After Death
We know from Romans 3:23 that everyone has sinned and therefore stand condemned before a holy God. But John 3:16-17 tells us that because of Gods great love for the whole world, he stepped in to rescue people from this helpless trajectory, if they only trust in Christ Jesus the Messiah , God incarnate . This rescue is not forced but received by grace through faith. And should someone die without faith in God, the Bible says their sin has condemned them to hell.
The Bible does not indicate further opportunity to receive salvation after a person dies . Jesus told a parable illustrating this in Luke 16:19-31. Verse 26 describes a great chasm between heaven and hades that is set in place, so that no one can cross from one side to the other.
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Where Is Hell Is Located
Actually, the Bible does not tell us where Hell is located. In 2 Pet. 2:4, the statement, cast them into hell, has been translated by some as cast down to hell, but the Greek actually means, cast into tartarus, a place of torment and confinement. Others have sought to use Eph. 4:9, (Now this expression, He ascended, what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? to indicate that hell was in the center of the earth, but this is questionable because the passage is talking about the grave, not hell. Compare the comment below from the Bible Knowledge Commentary.
In essence, we can simply know that hell, both the temporary location of all unbelievers until the Great White Throne Judgment of Rev. 20, and the final place called the lake of fire are somewhere in Gods boundless universe.
Description Of Hell In The Bible
Almost every description of hell in the Bible is hell is like and not hell is The Bible refrains from telling us exactly what hell is. Anyone that gives absolutes about hell has to input a hefty dose of their own opinions. Rather, the Bible paints a picture and tells a parable. But it never breaks down in detail what hell is.
That doesnt mean we know nothing about hell. Theres still plenty of truth about hell in the Bible. Heres 7 truths we can know about hell.
1. Hell Is Separation From God
The most basic principle the Bible teaches about hell is that it is separation from God. Hell is a place where people who refuse to follow God are separated from those who choose to follow him.
This truth about hell in the Bible is found in almost every instance Jesus talked about hell. His parables and illustrations of what hell is like often contain this imagery of separating the good from the bad. The Bible is clear that hell means separation from God.
What does the Bible say about hell? Hell is separate, removed.
2. Hell Is Outside, Not Underneath
I think this is an important distinction. Death in the Bible is often portrayed as below, but hell is portrayed as outside. Again the Bible never gives anything concrete, but this is what the majority of passages point to.
This imagery is brought on strongest by the New Testament, and Jesus word of choice for hell: Gehenna. A literal place where people went to practice idolatry. To worship things other than God.
4. Hell Is Our Choice
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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.