Posted on January 3, 2011

The word “Hell” is one of the most often used words in our society, yet is one of the most misunderstood words. Many people do not really consider Hell a real place because God is “too loving” to ever have created such an abode. Others would say that Hell exists only “on earth” with reference to some particular place or situation. The question is, “Is there really a place of torment called Hell?”

Hell is clearly taught in the Bible. In fact, it was Jesus who taught more on the subject than anyone else in the entire Scriptures!

Hell was originally created for angels who had sinned. Jesus said in Matthew 25:41, when referring to the judgment of the wicked, “. . .Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire (Hell) prepared for the devil and his angels.” In the book of 2nd Peter, Chapter 2, Verse 4 we read that, “. . .God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but sent them to Hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment.”

Hell, therefore, was originally created for the first sinners in the universe, Satan and his angels, rather than for man. But since hell was designed as a place for “sinners,” man became eligible when he joined the fallen angels in sin. Hell is the place of punishment where sinning men and angels go to pay for their offenses (sins) against the Holy God of the Universe. This procedure is similar to the penalty/payment requirements of our own prison systems. Among men when someone offends the authorities by violating the laws and is found guilty, he is put into prison to pay for his crimes. If the offense is serious then he can receive a “life term,” meaning that no amount of time can ever repay the harm to society. In the case of God and man, even the smallest infraction offends our Holy and Pure God, which calls for a life sentence (with no hope of parole).

1) Hell is a place of actual fire and burning.

In the words of Jesus, “. . .if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into the fire of Hell.” (Mat 18:9). Notice His reference to the “fire” of Hell here and also in Mark 9:43 where He says, “. . .if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into Hell, where the fire never goes out.” Not only is Hell a place of burning fire but it is also an eternal fire. (see also: Mat 5:22,29,30;10:28;Luke 12:5;Jude 1:7).

2) Hell is a place of torment.

Here are the words of a person actually speaking from hell. Jesus quotes the “rich man” who had died and been sent to hell. Listen to the words from hell, “I am in agony in this fire.” (Luke 16:24). Isaiah 66:24; Mark 9:44,46,48 all mention one kind of suffering experienced in hell, “their worm will not die [similar to the gnawing of maggots], nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

Hell also is a place where the unsaved will receive “blows” [beatings]. Luke 12:48 states that unsaved men who willfully disobey God’s commands will receive many blows, but those who in ignorance do not obey, will receive fewer blows. Hell is also a place where both body and soul are destroyed. (Matt 10:28).

3) Hell is a place of darkness.

In the Old Testament we read that, “. . .the wicked will be silenced in darkness.” (1Samuel 2:9) Today the wicked are often very loud in their sin and rebellion against God but the day is coming when they will be stilled in darkness. Jesus refers to those excluded from heaven being, “thrown outside into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt 8:12). In parables about the coming judgments, Jesus often refers to those who reject Him as being, “thrown into the outer darkness.” (Matt 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).

4) Hell is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Many references in the New Testament refer to the “weeping and gnashing” of teeth in hell. (Matt 8:12;13:42,50;22:13;24:51;25:30; Luke 13:28). The word weeping is best translated “shrieking” and the word gnashing as “grinding.” In hell man will have a literal body with “teeth” and will scream and grind his teeth in anger and pain.

Hell is a place of burning torment created for the Devil and his angels, but now also serves as a place of punishment for sinful man. Man deserves to go there for his many sins against a Holy and Pure God, yet God’s great love and mercy has provided for a “way out” of the fires of hell. Jesus Christ went to the Cross and suffered the punishment of hell for the sins of all men. Therefore, God offers freedom from sin and its judgments to those who will humble themselves before Him and repent of their sins by accepting Jesus as the sovereign authority over them in all matters.

The offer from God is simple; sin must be paid for, either by Jesus on the cross, or by the individual in the eternal fires of hell. The choice is up to us. Do we humble ourselves before Jesus and repent and ask for forgiveness and let Him pay for our sins? Or do we remain proud and stubborn and go into the fires of hell, to spend an eternity trying to pay for our many sins against God?

This article originally appeared here at Bible Bulletin Board