No minister enjoys preaching on the subject of Hell. He speaks upon this
theme because his God-given duty demands it. A minister is not at liberty
to dodge the unpleasant. Hell is a Bible subject, and it is a part of the
Scripture which is profitable for doctrine. To neglect this unpleasant
subject will not remove it from the pages of the Holy Book. A Bible-believing
minister must preach on the topic of Hell, for it is a part of the whole
counsel he is to preach. If preachers would preach more on Hell, there
would be less Hell in the world.
The word "Hell" occurs 11 times in the New Testament. Five of these times
it came from the lips of Jesus Christ. Our Lord was what the religious
world of today would have called "a Hell-fire preacher." Jesus Christ was
constantly warning men about the reality of Hell-fire. It was to Him a
grim fact. No minister can follow Christ without preaching on the subject
Eddism, Armstrong, and Russellism deny the existence of a literal, burning
Hell. Liberal ministers speak of it as a figure of speech, not a literal
fact. Professional preachers seldom if ever speak to their worldly-minded
members about this subject. Unsaved people seek to somehow remove the doctrine
of Hell from the minds of people by making it no more than a byword. Beware
of anyone who denies the reality of Hell. The denial of this truth is the
most attractive form of infidelity. Those who do not believe in a literal,
burning Hell will when they lift up their eyes in it.
THEORIES ABOUT HELL
The Devil has always tried to convince men that there is no Hell. He has
deluded them into believing sin will go unpunished. He whispers in their
itching ears: "Hell is a medieval superstition; it is a delusion to scare
little children. Even some preachers say it is merely the grave, or a figure
of speech. So don't be alarmed about this thing people call Hell."
If Satan cannot convince men that there is no Hell, then he will try to
get them to believe it is nothing more than a Sunday school picnic. He
whispers in the ears of his deceived children: "Those who are cast into
Hell will be burned up in a minute and the pain will be over." Sometimes
he says to them: "Those sent to Hell will be given another chance to be
saved. God is too good to allow men to burn forever in Hell-fire." But
all of the lies of Satan cannot put the fire out in Hell. Even if Satan
could succeed in removing from the minds of all men the reality of Hell,
it would in no sense lessen the eternal torments of Hell.
The grave is not Hell as some claim. There are two different words used
for Hell in the Greek New Testament, one to mean Hell and another the grave.
If Hell were the grave the Bible would have plainly said so. But suppose,
for the sake of argument Hell does mean the grave. I will now read a verse
and substitute the word "grave" for "Hell." In Luke 16:23 the Bible
would say: "In the grave he lift up his eyes, being in torment."
Have you ever known a man to lift up his eyes in the grave? Also notice
that the change of the word fails to do away with the torment.
The grave is where the body rests between death and the resurrection. The
rich man's body was in the grave on earth, but his soul was in torment
in Hell-fire. The rich man was not just in the grave when he cried out,
"I am tormented in this flame." He wanted his brothers to repent
"lest they also come to this place of torment" (Luke 16:28).
He wanted them to repent while they were still alive on earth (Luke
16:30). If one went back to his brothers he would have gone "unto
them from the dead" (Luke 16:30). Repentance would not have
kept his brothers from the grave (Hebrews 9:27), but it would have
kept them from Hell!
But somebody said that the word is hades in the Greek text,
and it does not refer to a place of torment. Very well, let us use the
Greek word in Luke 16:23: "In hades he lift up his eyes,
being in torment." Changing the name of the place does not do away
with the torment. It does not change the fact that the rich man after death
was tormented in Hell-fire. Hadessimply means what we mean
by the old-fashioned English word "Hell." The place of torment for the
disembodied spirits of the wicked.
Another says, "You can't prove anything by Luke 16 for it is a parable."
Who told you so? It is not called a parable in the inspired Word. The translators
did put a note at the beginning of the chapter saying it was a parable,
but this note was added by uninspired translators. The parables are generally
announced by some such expression as this, "He spake a parable unto
them," but we have no such expression here in Luke 16. Our Lord
never used proper names in His parables, but we have the names of two real
persons in Luke 16. Abraham and Lazarus. This is not a parable.
It is a historical incident.
But suppose it was a parable? Did Jesus Christ build a parable upon a falsehood?
If Luke 16 is figurative language, then the things symbolized must
be far worse than what He described in figures. This would not lessen the
horrors of Hell. Rather, it would make it a worse place than a place of
fire and torment.
I want to ask a question to those who say that Luke 16 is a parable:
What are these parabolic dogs who licked the parabolic sores of the parabolic
beggar as he lay on the parabolic steps of the parabolic rich man's parabolic
house, watching him eat his parabolic food? I await their answer.
NAMES FOR HELL
The word translated Hell in the Old Testament is the Hebrew
It occurs 65 times. It is translated 31 times
"grave," 31 times "Hell," and 3 times "pit." The general idea of the word
the place of the dead, or the unseen abode of the disembodied spirits.
means the place of punishment in the Old Testament. Psalm 9:17 says:
"The wicked shall be turned into Hell (sheol)." The
meaning cannot be merely grave. The wicked are not the only ones laid in
the grave, for the righteous who die are also laid in the grave. Being
turned into Hell must mean the peculiar portion wicked men suffer in Hell-fire
(Job 20:26,29; Psalms 11:6). Consider also Proverbs
15:24: "The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart
from Hell beneath." Wisdom will not keep a man from the grave; it will
deliver his soul from the fires of Hell. Only those wise unto salvation
are delivered from Hell.
the Greek New Testament is the equivalent of the Hebrew word sheol.
is found 11 times in the Greek New Testament. It is translated 10 times
"Hell" and 1 time "grave." Hades does not mean the grave
as I have already shown in my discussion on Luke 16. The grave is
a place of rest. Luke 16 speaks of Hell being a place of torment.
Hence they cannot be one and the same.
It matters very little what title we give to the place called Hell. One
may call it sheol or hades, or even
something else. The fact forever remains that Hell is Hell; Hell is a real
place. In Luke 16:28 it is called "a place of torment." Judas
is said at death to have gone "to his own place" (Acts 1:25).
Since Judas was "a devil" we understand it meant Judas went to Hell, for
the devil's place is in Hell. It is important that men know that Hell really
does exist. It is vital that they concern themselves with escaping this
awful place of torment.
Another name of Hell is Tophet. Isaiah 30:33 reads: "For Tophet
is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep
and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD,
like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it." In the Old Testament Tophet
was a place in the valley of the son of Hinnom, where the Israelites burnt
their children in the fire to Molech (I Kings 11:7). To drown out
the cry of the infant, drums were beaten upon during the sacrifice. Hence
they named the place "Toph," which means a drum (Jeremiah 7:31-32).
The place is used to describe the abode of the disembodied spirits of wicked
In the Greek New Testament we read of Gehenna, which
is the same place called Tophet in the Old Testament. The valley of Hinnom
was originally the place where rites of Molech were celebrated. It was
converted by King Josiah into a place of abominations, where dead bodies
were thrown and burnt (II Kings 23:13-14). In the time of Christ
this deep, narrow glen south of Jerusalem had become the city dump, a place
of ever- burning fires.
a popular expression for Hell. Jesus Christ chose to use this word to describe
Hell, the final home and condition of the unregenerate. In
trash of the city was burned. Hell is the place where the trash of the
world is burned. Gehenna is used 12 times in the New Testament,
and in 11 of these 12 times it is used by Jesus Christ. All reference to
it are associated with judgment and fire.
What is the difference in Gehenna and Hades?Are
they the same place? Hades is the present Hell to which unsaved
people go at death. It is a place of fire and torment according to Luke
Gehenna is yet unoccupied at present. It seems to
be synonymous with the lake of fire. Gehenna is the final
Hell. Hades, the present Hell, is finally cast into
the lake of fire. Revelation 20:14 tells us: "And death and hell
were cast into the lake of fire."
Allow me to illustrate the difference between Gehenna and
man is charged with a serious crime. He is placed in the county jail to
await judgment. After his trial and conviction he is sentenced to the penitentiary.
Even so, a lost sinner is kept under punishment in Hell until the day of
judgment. After the judgment of the great white throne he is cast into
God's jail; Gehennais God's penitentiary.
THE CREATOR OF HELL
Hell was prepared by God for the Devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41
declares: "Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, Depart from
me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
These words were spoken to the goat nations. They reveal that those who
serve Satan while they live in this life will be justly sentenced to spend
eternity with their old master. The wicked will inherit Hell because they
have the same character as the Devil and are therefore fitted to the same
place. God prepared Hell for rebellious angels and rebellious men. Just
as God prepared a kingdom for the righteous from the foundation of the
world (Matthew 25:34), He also prepared Hell for fallen angels and
God created Hell in eternity past. Isaiah said: "For Tophet is ordained
of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large
.... " God knew from all eternity that man would fall into sin. Hence He
ordained the condemnation of wicked men from eternity for their sins. Tophet
was ordained of old, and Jude speaks of "ungodly men" who were "before
of old ordained to this condemnation" (Jude 4). In Romans
9:22 Paul mentions "vessels of wrath fitted to destruction."
Why did God create a Hell? The existence of Hell is necessary because there
is a Heaven. If God did not send rebellious men and angels to Hell, there
could be no Heaven for God and the saved. Would Heaven be Heaven if Satan
were permitted to roam the golden streets? What if criminals and murderers
were there? If unsaved people went to Heaven there would be wars, crime,
sickness and death. A wise God has designed to keep sinners out of Heaven
by sending them to Hell. If lost people and fallen angels entered the place
of supreme happiness, Heaven would be Hell.
Some foolishly suppose that a loving God will not send a sinner to Hell.
This is a soul-destructive error. God did not create Hell without a purpose.
He made it a giant prison for fallen men and fallen angels. Those it was
prepared for shall most certainly be sent there. God allows people today
to go to the hospital for their sins. He permits criminals to be executed
for their crimes. He will without question allow all unsaved people to
go to Hell for their sins. Wicked men will suffer in Hell because they
deserve to suffer. They rebelled against God just like the Devil, and their
rebellion fitted them for Hell-fire.
There is no danger of Hell becoming over-populated. Hell was made by God
to accommodate all sinners. The Bible says that God "made it deep and
large" (Isaiah 30:33). Proverbs 27:20 says: "Hell
and destruction are never full." Generations upon generations have
gone down to Hell. Still it is not full. Isaiah 5:14 tells us that
"hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth with out measure
... " This broad mouth is still open wide to take care of all who walk
in the broad way that leads to destruction.
Dear unsaved friend, your sins kindle the very fires of Hell. God made
Hell for impenitent sinners. It is the worst sort of folly to continue
in sin and hope to escape Hell. It is about like a man drinking poison
and saying he shall not die. It is about as sensible as for a person to
jump off a great mountain and say the fall will not hurt him. It is about
like sticking a knife in your heart and saying it will do you no harm.
If a man drinks poison he might as well say that he is killing himself.
Likewise, any person who continues in sin and flees from the Saviour of
sinners has already bought for himself a one-way ticket to Hell fire. Flee,
sinner. Flee from the wrath to come.
CHARACTER OF HELL
According to Jesus Christ, there are two primary characteristics of Hell.
In Mark 9:46 He said it was a place "where the worm dieth not,
and the fire is not quenched." Men of earth cannot imagine anything
more painful than the gnawing of worms (Acts 12:23) and the burning
of fire upon the body of flesh. The teaching of Christ on Hell here is
in harmony with the teaching of Isaiah in the Old Testament. The prophet
wrote: "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men
that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither
shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."
(Isaiah 66:24). I, for one, do not view either the worms or the
fire here as metaphors. I take them in their literal sense.
The teaching of Christ on Hell is in harmony with the view of the ancient
Jews. This can be seen by some of the apocryphal writings. Judith 16:17
says: "Woe to the nation that rises up against my kindred; The Lord Almighty
will take vengeance of them in the day of judgment, putting fire and worms
in their flesh, and they shall feel them and weep for ever." Ecclesiasticus
7:16-17 says: "Number not thy self among the multitude of sinners, but
remember the wrath will not tarry long. Humble thy soul greatly, for the
vengeance of the ungodly is fire and worms." These verses are not inspired
by God, although they do reveal the views of the Jewish people.
Modern students of the Word have a hard time accepting the words of Christ
in their literal sense. They say these things just simply cannot be. They
would say to me, "Surely you do not believe in immortal worms eating away
at a man's fleshly body in a literal, burning Hell? Why no intelligent
theologian living today believes any such foolishness!"
I reply that I believe exactly what Jesus Christ said. When the plain sense
of the Scripture makes sense, I seek no other sense. It would be no more
of a problem for God to make an immortal worm than an immortal soul. What
could be more tormenting to a man in Hell, who still possesses his soul
and body, than maggots eating on his flesh day and night, always eating
and never devouring the body. If the undying worms are a metaphor as some
say, then it describes a greater misery than is felt by a living man who
feels his body eaten by maggots.
Jesus Christ not only said Hell was a place of undying worms, but He also
said it was a place of fire. I believe He meant literal, physical, material
fire. In Matthew 5:22 He declared: "... but whosoever shall say,
Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." In Matthew 18:9
He again made reference to "hell fire." In the historical incident
about the rich man, He disclosed that the rich man cried out: "I am
tormented in this flame." (Luke 16:24). In the parable of the
wheat and tares He said the children of the Devil are to be burned in "a
furnace of fire" (Matthew 13:42). Jesus Christ never told a
lie. If He said there is fire in Hell, then there is fire in Hell.
The other Bible writers often spoke about there being fire in Hell. Moses
wrote that Jehovah said: "For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall
burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase,
and set on fire the foundations of the mountains." The psalmist, speaking
of the wicked, declared: "Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire
and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their
cup." (Psalms 11:6). Isaiah wrote of "everlasting burnings"
(Isaiah 33:14). James mentioned the "fire of hell" (James
3:6). The Apostle John spoke in the Revelation of a "lake of fire"
(Revelation 19:20; 20:10,14-15; 21:8). Since
I believe the Bible is literally true I have no choice but to believe in
a literal, burning Hell.
"Come on, preacher, surely you do not think that people with literal bodies
will be cast into Hell, do you?" Yes, I most assuredly do. Matthew 10:28
tells us that both soul and body will be cast into Hell. In Mark 9:43-49
Jesus spoke of literal hands, literal feet, and literal eyes being in the
bodies of those cast into Hell. "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: Where their
worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee,
cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having
two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched.
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine
eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the
kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell
fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every
one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with
Please observe carefully the last words in the quote from Mark chapter
"Salted with fire." Fire to the wicked in Hell will be what salt
is to meat on earth. Salt on earth keeps meat from corruption. Even so,
the fire of Hell will torture and distress evil men, yet it will preserve
their being with all their powers and faculties. The fire of Hell, instead
of annihilating their bodies, will preserve them. The Divine wrath will
preserve them from annihilation in order that their punishment may continue.
The Bible speaks of a resurrection unto damnation, a resurrection of the
unjust. This means that the wicked shall have their bodies raised up again.
They will be raised up and made to endure the torture of Hell without consuming.
Did not God in mercy preserve the bodies of Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego
in the burning furnace of Nebuchadnezzar? And cannot His power do the same
thing under the influence of His justice as well as of His mercy? Does
not the Bible say that God will "show his wrath" and "make his
power known" upon "the vessels of wrath" (Romans 9:22)?
The God who kept the burning bush Moses saw from consuming itself can keep
alive bodies covered by worms and burning in the fires of Hell.
DESCRIPTION OF HELL
The Bible goes to great length to describe Hell. It is called a place of
darkness. With reference to the future suffering of false teachers, Jude
said: "... to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever"
(Jude 13). Bildad said of the wicked: "He shall be driven from
light into darkness, and chased out of the world" (Job 18:18).
20:20 reads: "Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall
be put out in obscure darkness." Ecclesiastes 6:4 tells how
a dying man departs "in darkness." Jesus Christ spoke of a place
of "outer darkness" where there was "weeping and gnashing of
teeth" (Matthew 22:13; 25:30).
Wicked men serve the Prince of Darkness; they engage in the works of darkness.
It is only fitting and right then that they be reserved to the darkness
of Hell. Those in Hell are eternally shut out of the kingdom of light and
deprived of the inheritance of the saints in light. They will spend their
eternity in a place of extreme darkness, darkness to the last degree, darkness
that can be felt, a darkness without the least ray of light or hope. How
uncomfortable and frightful is the dismal and dark dungeon God has prepared
for all unbelievers! How dreadful to contemplate an eternal existence in
"a land of darkness, as darkness itself," a place "where the
light is as darkness" (Job 10:22).
This doctrine of Hell is not to be taken lightly. Imagine stumbling and
falling in the darkness of Hell without intermission! Running into people
never knowing who they are! Hearing the cries and groans of millions of
suffering souls who gnash their teeth in pain. Then add to this the ever-eating
maggots in man's body and the anguish of his soul under the wrath of God!
Coupled with this terror is the voice of insulting pride and hellish joy
from thousands of demon spirits. These wicked spirits shall scoff at the
sinners in Hell as being eternal fools!
Hell is described as a place where people are ever dying but never dead!
The lake of fire, or Gehenna, is called "the second
death" in Revelation 21:8. Revelation 20:14-15 tells
us: "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the
second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was
cast into the lake of fire." The righteous are exempt from this second
death (Revelation 2:11; 20:6).
What is this second death? It is eternal separation from God. It is the
culmination and completion of spiritual death. The lives and actions of
the wicked on earth say in substance to God: "Depart from us, for we
desire not the knowledge of thy ways" (Job 21:14). The
second death is God's granting the wicked their request on earth and making
John called it the second death not because it in all respects resembles
the first, but because it has so many points of resemblance that it may
properly be called death. Physical death is the loss of the body; the second
death is the loss of both soul and body in eternal Hell fire. The second
death is eternal privation from God and all that is good. The Judge shall
say to the lost on the great day: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting
fire" (Matthew 25:41). II Thessalonians 1:9 speaks of
some "who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence
of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."
The Bible speaks of Hell being a place of destruction. "Hell and destruction"
are mentioned together in the Bible (Job 26:6; Proverbs 15:11;
It is a place where both body and soul are destroyed with everlasting destruction,
according to Matthew 10:28. This is not the extinction of soul and
body, for you cannot annihilate an immortal soul. It is not the cessation
of the body, for the bodies of the unsaved are to rise and suffer shame
and contempt (Daniel 12:2). The destruction of Hell is not a destruction
of being but of bliss. The unsaved in Hell are deprived of both joy and
To make Hell the extinction of being, as religious liberals often do, is
to make the teachings of Christ void. Jesus Christ said of Judas: "It
had been good for that man if he had not been born" (Matthew 26:24).
This verse makes no sense if Hell is the cessation of man's being. To be
in a state of none existence or to be unborn is the same. For a man to
be extinct is to be as if he were never born. Therefore no comparison can
be made between the two. However Christ did make a comparison between them,
and He indicated that after death Judas would be worse off than before
he was born. Judas would be worse off only if he would suffer in the fire
of Hell at death.
CONDITION OF THOSE IN HELL
First, in describing the awful condition which awaits a beast worshipper,
John penned these words: "... he shall be tormented with
fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence
of the Lamb" (Revelation 14:10). Then he speaks of "the smoke
of their torment" in verse 11. There is no reason to spiritualize
away the fire and brimstone any more than there is to spiritualize away
the angels mentioned in the same verse.
The Bible says in Luke 16:23-24: "And in hell he lift up his
eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his
bosom. 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." Then in verse 25 Abraham
answers back from Paradise: "Thou art tormented." The rich man was
promised no relief. This will add to the torment of the wicked and make
the flames hotter, for everything in Hell is tormenting.
Second, Hell is a place without rest. In describing the condition of the
wicked in Hell, John said: "They have no rest day nor night" (Revelation
14:11). Day and night is expressive of all time. The meaning is that
the fire of Divine wrath is never quenched. The lost in Hell will have
no rest from sin, Satan, and suffering; no intervals of terror, torment,
or tears. There are no coffee breaks, or vacations, or holidays in Hell.
Here on earth some rest comes to the sufferer. The prisoner sleeps in his
cell. The sick patient in the hospital is relieved of his pain by either
sleep or drugs. But it is not so in Hell. This luxury will be forever denied
to the inmates of Hell. No one ever can sleep or rest in the gloomy prison.
Third, the inhabitants of Hell are in a place of punishment. In Hell men
bear the punishment their sins deserve. Jesus said of the goat nations
in Matthew 25:46 that they would "go away into everlasting punishment."
Thessalonians 1:9 speaks of some being "punished with everlasting
destruction." An improved translation of II Peter 2:9 reads:
"The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to
keep the unrighteous under punishment." This last verse leaves no doubt
that the wicked are even now under punishment, and other Scripture makes
it plain they are awaiting a future punishment in Gehenna.
Fourth, the inmates of Hell have undying memory. In Luke 16:25 Abraham
said to the rich man: "Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst
thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted,
and thou art tormented." People in Hell are forever remembering their
sins. They will remember every sermon and song that they heard on earth.
They will remember every opportunity they had. Nothing will bring more
oil to the flames of Hell than, "Son, remember." I believe the undying
memory is one of the chief tormentors in Hell. On earth sinners are called
upon to remember their Creator, but they turn a deaf ear to this call.
In Hell the misery of these same people will arise from a "Son, remember,"
to which they cannot turn a deaf ear.
How dreadful the sound of a gnawing, burning memory on the inside and unquenchable
fire outside! No wonder there is no rest day nor night! No wonder it is
said that their eyes weep, their tongues are almost dried with long wailings
and outcries, their teeth gnashing with madness of thought. Nothing ever
comes to relieve their piercing grief, nothing comes to divert or amuse
this vexation of mind, nothing ever appears to soothe or ease this eternal
pain in the head.
Fifth, those in Hell have raging desires which are never satisfied. In
16 the rich man in Hell craved water. He could feel the sense of thirst.
Thus the very raging appetites of men on earth will accompany them to Hell.
The horror of Hell is that there is no possibility of gratifying these
desires. There will be eternal hunger with no bread to relieve it; eternal
thirst without a drop of water; eternal fatigue and weariness without power
to sleep, and eternal lust without any hope of gratification. Today the
drunkard cannot bear to pass the bar because of the crave for alcohol.
In Hell he will crave this same booze without ever tasting a drop from
the bottle. The drug addict and the adulterer will have all their bodily
desires yet they will never be gratified.
Hell is the center in which all the lines of sin and of misery meet. Infernal
fire is neither tolerable nor terminable. Impenitent sinners in Hell shall
have end without end, death without death, night without day, mourning
without mirth, sorrow without solace, and bondage without liberty. The
damned shall live as long in Hell as God Himself shall live in Heaven.
Their imprisonment in the dark dungeon is not an imprisonment during the
King's pleasure, but an imprisonment during the everlasting displeasure
of the King of kings.
Friend, please consider this easeless, endless state. There is not so much
as one day of release from your awful pain. No change of weather or hope
of clearing can be expected. There is nothing in Hell but a perpetual storm
of fire and brimstone. Thus the greatest miseries of this life are incomparably
less than the least torment in Hell. Never can you say that you are perfectly
miserable till you land in the jaws of the second death!
The locality of Hell is largely unknown. Thousands have traveled to it,
but none have returned to make a report of their journey. The location
of Hell can only be discovered by looking into the Bible. Divine revelation
discloses it is located in the center of the earth.
Hell in the Bible is said to be low (Deuteronomy 32:22) and deep
(Job 11:8; Proverbs 9:18). This indicates it must lie some
place deep in the bowels of the earth. Sometimes when a reference is made
to Hell in the Bible it is said to be down (Ezekiel 31:16-17; 32:27).
In Matthew 11:23 Jesus spoke of Capernaum being "brought down
to hell." In Proverbs 15:24 and Isaiah 14:9 there is
mention of "hell beneath." These two expressions put Hell some where
below us in the earth. Amos 9:2 tells how a man might dig down into
Hell, implying again it is under the crust of the earth's surface.
Ezekiel 31:14 is very helpful in locating Hell. It speaks of some
going down into "the nether parts of the earth." In verse 17
the same chapter they are said to have gone down to Hell. Hence Hell is
in "the nether parts of the earth." The Septuagint has "to the
depth of the earth" in Ezekiel 31:14.
Christ's soul at the death of His body on the cross made a descent into
the Paradise section (Luke 23:43) of Hades (Acts 2:31). Paul
wrote about this as Christ's descension "into the deep" (Romans
10:7). In Ephesians 4:9 the apostle mentioned how Christ between
His death and resurrection "descended first into the lower parts of
the earth." Speaking concerning His future descent into Hades, Christ
said: "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" (Matthew 12:40). We know from Luke 16:19-31
that the Paradise section was opposite from the Hell section, separated
by the great impassible gulf. This would prove that Hell again is in "the
heart of the earth."
There must be degrees of punishment in Hell. The Bible teaches that wicked
men are going to be judged according to their evil deeds. There is no need
for such a judgment unless this judgment is to determine the degree of
punishment in Hell. Consider a few verses: "Draw me not away with the
wicked. Give them according to their deed, and according to the wickedness
of their endeavours ..." (Psalms 28:3-4). Isaiah 59:18
declares: "According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury
to his adversaries ..." The Lord says in Jeremiah 25:14: "I
will recompense them according to their deed, and according to the works
of their own hands." Paul said of God: "Who shall render to every
man according to his deeds" (Romans 2:6). In Revelation 20:
13 John tells us that the wicked dead are judged "according to their
Some sin more than others; therefore, they deserve more punishment than
others. Surely a just God would not punish all the same when all have not
sinned the same against Him. A young child has not sinned as much as an
old reprobate, nor is a lost man deserving of as much punishment as the
Devil, who has sinned since the beginning of the world. Luke 12:47-48
speaks of one servant being "beaten with few stripes" and another
"with many stripes."
Some sins are greater than others in the eyes of God. Jesus Christ told
His enemies: "He that delivered me unto thee hath the GREATER sin"
(John 19:11). The greater the sin, the greater the punishment. Hypocrites
who devour widow's houses shall "receive the GREATER damnation"
(Matthew 12:25-32; 23:14). Thus we can see that "the greater sin"
deserves "the greater damnation."
There are some who have heard the preaching of the gospel week after week
and have despised it. This will add to their punishment in Hell, for "unto
whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required" (Luke 12:48).
Jesus said that it would be "more tolerable" for Tyre and Sidon
at the judgment than those cities which had heard Him preach and work miracles
DURATION OF HELL
First, the plain language of the Scripture pronounces the punishment of
Hell to be eternal. Isaiah 33:14 speaks of some people who "shall
dwell with everlasting burnings." Daniel 12:2 declares the wicked
are raised from the dead to suffer "shame and everlasting contempt."
25:46 informs us the wicked shall go into "everlasting punishment."
Thessalonians 1:9 reveals that those who "obey not the gospel"
shall be "punished with everlasting destruction." Jesus said Hell
is a place of "everlasting fire" (Matthew 25:41), and Jude
7 speaks of the "vengeance of eternal fire" being the portion
of the wicked in Hell. Mark 3:29 mentions "eternal damnation"
and Hebrews 6:2 "eternal judgment."
Comments upon such Scriptures are needless to any rational mind. Anyone
can see from such statements that there is eternal punishment. Those who
cannot see eternal punishment from these Scriptures, must admit that language
has lost all its meaning, and that there is no language in the Bible that
could express eternal punishment.
According to Matthew 25:41, the wicked are to be cast into the same
everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. If the punishment
of the Devil and his angels will endure to eternity and have no end, then
the punishment of the wicked will also endure for ever and have no end.
In Matthew 25:46 we read: "And these shall go away into eternal
punishment: but the righteous into eternal life" (ASV). Here the happiness
of the saints in Heaven is eternal. No one believes that the happiness
of the righteous ever ends; they contend it is eternal. But observe that
the same word is used to describe the punishment of the wicked in Hell.
The eternal punishment of the wicked can no more cease to be than the eternal
life of the righteous. If there is no eternal punishment for the wicked,
then there is no everlasting life for the righteous.
There are some rationalists and critics of the Bible who would have us
believe that the words "everlasting" and "eternal" mean only "age lasting"
or "a short period of time." This is verbal fallacy. These words are used
in the Bible to express the eternity of God (Genesis 21:33; Deuteronomy
33:27; Romans 1:20; 16:26). These same words are employed
to express the eternal life of the righteous (Daniel 12:2; Romans
6:23; John 3:15). To make everlasting and eternal mean age lasting,
or a short time, is to destroy the eternity of God and the everlasting
life of the righteous. Who but a religious infidel would dare to do any
thing like that?
Just for the sake of argument let me suppose that the words "eternal" and
"everlasting" have the limited meaning that religious liberals contend.
Still they must confess there are other expressions which are not liable
to such a meaning. Consider the words of Christ in Mark 9:44,46,48:
"Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." Revelation
14:11 remarks: "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." Jude
13 says "the blackness of darkness for ever" is reserved for
the wicked. These expressions certainly carry with them the perpetual continuance
of suffering and punishment of the wicked.
All who believe the Bible must believe in the perpetuity of the torment
suffered by the wicked in Hell. Their misery will run parallel with the
line of eternity. Their punishment is eternal because it is inflicted by
an eternal God, and "whatsoever God doeth, It shall be for ever"
(Ecclesiastes 3:14). Time cannot finish Hell, tears cannot wash
it away. The wicked abide forever in the fires of Hell and are not consumed.
After sinners have stayed there a million years, their punishment is as
far from ending as It was at the beginning. When millIons of ages are past
and gone, there will still be wrath to come.
Second, a sin committed agaInst an infinite God is itself infinite and
deserves infinite punishment. The guilt of sin is infinite because it is
measured, not by the powers of the offender, but by the majesty of God
against Whom it is committed. As God is infinite, offense against Him is
infinite. Because the creature cannot suffer infinite punishment in the
intenseness of pain, he must bear it to an infinite duration. When Divine
justice pronounces a sentence against a sinner, equal to the demerit of
sin, It must be eternal, and the sinner shall never be released from the
punishment until he has paid the utmost farthing. To deny this is to be
guilty of the crime of contradicting the Almighty.
Third, eternal sin demands eternal punishment. Since man by nature is totally
depraved, and since the damned in Hell are ever sinning against God, they
ever provoke the vengeance of God, and He must continue their punishment
for ever. The law of God that sanctions punishment for sin continues forever
in force even in Hell. That law pronounces a curse upon all who continue
not in all things it requires (Galatians 3:10). Every new sin demands
a new curse and punishment. God cannot cease to punish as long as the sinner
will not cease to offend. The sinner must be punished everlastingly because
he always maintains an everlasting enmity and rebellion against the law
Fourth, guilt is endless. It is indivisible and untransferable. A sin committed
in youth brings lifelong suffering. Regardless of how long the sinner may
be punished, he will never be ill-deserving. Justice gives to all their
deserts; therefore, justice cannot cease to punish. Since the reason for
punishment is endless, the punishment itself must be endless. Guilt once
incurred never ceases to be. All past sins involve an endless guilt to
which endless punishment is simply the inevitable correlation.
Fifth, the natural effects and consequences of sin living in the soul mean
torment as long as the soul lives. Since the soul lives forever, sin lives
in the lost soul forever. The soul of man never dies. Hence his passions,
his desires, his fears, and his sorrows never cease. The rich man in Hell
could feel and taste (Luke 16:24). How awful the pain and anguish
upon the soul abandoned by God. How dreadful his everlasting darkness and
despair, without a dawn of hope through all the ages of eternity! With
a view of God's unchangeable holiness, such a soul will ever be filled
with new fears and terrors without end (Romans 2:8-9).
INHABITANTS OF HELL
Who will live in Hell for all eternity? As we have already seen it is the
future home of fallen angels and fallen men. There is no salvation for
fallen angels, but there is for fallen men. Hence I shall spend my time
telling what the Bible says about the men who are going to Hell. A list
of the inhabitants of Hell can be seen in Revelation 21:8: "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."
First, in this list John mentions the fearful or cowardly. This means the
class of people who shirk from the conflict with sin.
They are afraid to confess Christ before the wicked world. They will not
identify themselves with the gospel of Christ. They are afraid the Bible
may not be true. They fear the blood of Christ may not be sufficient. They
are fearful of the self-surrender and cross bearing necessary to being
a Christian. All such fearful souls are Hell-bound.
Second, John names the unbelieving. This refers not merely to infidels
but to all unbelievers. It would include unbelieving hypocrites in the
church and out of the church. This is the most numerous class of any, and
it is found among all people and ranks. It points to every rejector of
Christ. The Bible says the unbeliever "is condemned already" (John
3:18), and ultimately that he "shall be damned" (Mark 16:16).
It is a fearful thing to set at nought the testimony of God concerning
His Son. All such people cannot "escape the damnation of Hell" (Matthew
Third, there is in the list the abominable. This denotes all who are morally,
religiously, and physically filthy. This is the people who defile themselves
with open and flagrant sin. These people are to every good work reprobates.
They are addicted to the worst crimes ever committed by ungodly men.
Fourth, the murderers are included. This class is greatly on the increase
due to lack of justice in the land. Murderers meddle with that which peculiarly
belongs to God; human life. Some of these have murdered the prophets, the
saints and the martyrs of Jesus. These are the brutes and butchers of the
children of God in all ages. This includes those who commit the overt act
and those guilty of the inward malice (I John 3:15).
Fifth in the list is whoremongers. This includes all impure lusts such
as fornication, rape, incest, adultery, etc. It also points to those who
make vows of celibacy and yet live in all forms of sexual impurity. It
includes the overt act as well as the desire of the heart (Matthew 5:28).
Sixth, there is mentioned by John sorceries. These people profess intercourse
with demon spirits. This includes necromancers, witches, wizards, fortune
tellers, drug abusers, Devil worshippers, and other forms of sorcery. The
lake of fire is God's appointed doom for all those who practice the black
arts and engage in spiritualism.
Seventh in the list is idolaters. This is all worshippers of false gods.
The millions of heathens in all ages who worship the gods of wood, silver
and gold are given over to eternal judgment. This includes those who worship
idols which are supposed to represent God and Christ. It also points to
those who put earthly things before Christ and His cause.
Eighth in the list is "all liars." Here are liars of every degree,
kind and character. This means religious liars and those who believe their
lies. The Devil is the father of liars, and both Satan and his lying children
are destined to the same abode.
Many of the sinners mentioned in Revelation 21:8 are prevalent in
modern society. Even the religious world tries to justify such sinners
as victims of a bad society. But God does not take sin and sinners lightly.
He will consign the fearful, unbelievers, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers,
idolaters, and all liars to the lake of fire. These people will suffer
there the part that their sins deserve in a fire which is never exhausted.
Don't be deceived about Hell! Hell is not the grave, or the cessation of
man's being, or a myth, or a byword. It is a real place; the only place
for lost sinners. There is no purgatory near Hell where men appease the
anger of God by their sufferings. There is no limbo where infants who die
without having received the sacrament go. There is only one place; the
Hell prepared by God; for all unsaved people.
Many of you who read this book are headed to this awful place as fast as
time can carry you. Some of you are going to Hell past the pulpit and the
Bible; going in the midst of warning and invitations. If you, dear friend,
die in an unregenerate, unholy, unpardoned state, the lake of fire is your
everlasting portion. Sinner, while your life remains, your hope remains.
As soon as the thread of life is broken, there immediately ensues endless
sorrow and pain in Hell.
Oh, foolish man! You are standing upon the slippery edge of a burning Hell
and playing about as a madman. Do you ever stop and consider your doom?
No, never! In spite of all the warnings of God and man, you go on in this
madness day after day, laughing and cheering down the broad road to the
everlasting bonfire. One day your foot is certain to slip, and you will
slide and vanish out of the sight of your companions and be lost for ever.
Then all hope will be gone. You will have plunged into the eternal regions
of death, despondency, and darkness.
In a mental vision I see you in the flames. I see the fire as it exhibits
a thousand fantastic forms. It is blazing in every conceivable hue and
color; it is roaring and shrieking and sputtering; it is hissing and thundering
and growling. I see you as you gnaw your tongue for pain. I see you as
you weep and gnash your teeth. Yes, there you go, dodging and stumbling,
running and falling; up again, on and on in ceaseless search for relief.
Your tongue is parched for one drop of cooling water. Torment haunts you
from every side. Years drag on; centuries move slowly past; millenniums
creep on, and still you have no less to mourn your fearful fate!
In your indescribable misery I hear you cry out: "I have brought nothing
here but myself. I stand here with a burning remorse which can never be
stilled; a greed of desire which can never be satisfied; an unquenchable
longing for things left behind, innumerable recollections of sins great
and small, causing insufferable anguish, all being equally bitter, equally
fraught with vain regret! I stand here as Satan's sucker!"
Oh, sinner, why continue in a life of sin on earth? Do you not know that
sin is the fatal spring of eternal torment? Surely there is nothing that
belongs to time that would tempt you to run the risk of the sorrows of
eternity. Don't risk your immortal welfare for these dangerous and deceitful
vanities on earth! It is a foolish bargain to trade the whole world for
a season for endless perdition. What are swelling titles and earth's treasures
when compared to the terrors, tears, and torments of Hell? What are fleshly
gratifications in comparison to eternal banishment from the face of God?
Jesus Christ came to save sinners from the fires of Hell. He suffered their
Hell for them in His body on the tree. He poured out His blood to wash
away the stain of sin. He rose to justify His people. He lives on High
to make intercession for them. So sleep no longer on the edge of endless
burnings. Never rest one moment until you flee to Christ by a sincere repentance
and a heartfelt faith.
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