William S. Cline
There are many false prophets who are abroad in the land and who have no regard for the Truth nor for the Giver of Truth. As Paul, by inspiration said, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18). Many teach that Hell is just a “figment of Jewish imagination” and that which results in a baseless fear unbecoming of the love of God. Even very religious people treat Hell as a joke, but God’s Word says, “Fools make a mock at sin” (Pro. 14:9). Satan rejoices when Hell becomes little more than a curse word in our thinking and vocabulary.
In 1942, L. R. Wilson took a poll of seven hundred denominational preachers concerning their beliefs about Hell. That poll, 80 years ago, revealed that 34% (238), rejected belief in Hell as a reality. In 1962, a Harris poll, involving hundreds of ministerial students in leading seminaries, revealed that 71% rejected belief in the reality of Hell. The most recent poll shows that only 27% of the people believe in Hell. In 1970, the major theological advisor to the Pope said that the Pope believed in Hell, but he never warned his people about the dangers of Hell (that sounds like many of “us”).
Today, there is little preaching done on Hell. The old sermons delivered by the pioneer preachers such as, “Hell And Who Is Going There,” and “The Dangers Of Hell,” have become unfashionable with those who preach a “feel good” religion. We must got back to studying the Bible, God’s Holy Word, and walk in reverence and awe of its teaching on Hell.
The Place of Hell
Hell is real. The reality of Hell is plainly taught in the Old Testament. Hell is shown to be the place of punishment of the wicked after death. “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psa. 9:17). Daniel 12:2 shows Hell to be the place where the resurrected wicked shall have everlasting shame and contempt: “And many of them that sloop in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” If one believes the Old Testament and the inspired men who penned these words, he must also believe in the reality of Hell.
Christ taught on the reality of Hell. The Greek word Gehenna occurs twelve times in the New Testament. Of the twelve times it appears, eleven of those occurrences are quotations of Jesus. James used it once in James 3:6. Notice these passages.
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the Judgment and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire (Mat. 5:22).
And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and end it from them for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell (Mat. 5:29).
And if thy right hand offend thee, cut if off, and cost it from thee for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell (Mat. 5.30).
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which in able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Mat. 10:28).
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire (Mat. 18:9).
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass we and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves (Mat. 28.15).
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? (Mat. 23:33).
And if thy hand offend thee, cut if 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 (Mark 9:43).
And if thy foot offend thee, cut if off: it in 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 (Mark 9:35).
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 (Mark 9:47).
But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him (Luke 12:5).
Jesus spoke of Hell as a “furnace of fire” in Matthew 13:41-42, “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
In His other descriptions of Hell, He called it a place of “outer darkness” (Mat. 25:30), “everlasting fire” (Mat. 25:41), “everlasting punishment!” (Mat. 25:46), and of the wicked being raised “unto the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28-29). If one believes in Jesus and His words, he must also believe in the reality of Hell which Jesus preached.
New Testament preachers taught on the reality of Hell. Hear what John the Baptizer said,
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Mat. 3:11-12).
Paul taught that Hell is real.
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power (2 The. 1:7-9).
Again, Paul spoke of the penalty for sin: that is, punishment in Hell: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
Peter preached believing in Hell.
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the, day of judgment to be punished” (2 Pet. 2:4-9).
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his own. vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire (2 Pet. 2:20-22).
Jude taught that Hell is a real place.
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire (Jude 6-7).
Likewise, John, in Revelation, said, “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” (Rev. 20:14, 16).
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all hare, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. which is the second death (Rev. 21:8).
If one believes the New Testament writers, he must also believe in Hell.
If hell is not real, Then What? If Hell is not real, David and Daniel lied about it for they taught that Hell is real. Not only David and Daniel, but John the Baptizer, Paul, Peter, Jude and John the apostle all lied about it. If Hell is not real, Jesus, the very Son of God, that is, God in the flesh, lied about it! So did God and the Holy Spirit who guided the inspired men to write the words which we have read—if Hell is not real. But these did not lie.
Hell is just as real as God, Christ, The Bible, and heaven. Do you believe in an eternal Heaven? Matthew 25:46 says, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Do you believe in an everlasting God? Romans 16:26 says, “But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.” Do you believe in the eternal Spirit? Hebrews 9-14 says, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” If you believe in these, how can you not believe in the reality of Hell? Certainly, no right-thinking man can accept the one without the other.
Hell is the place for the punishment of the wicked. Hell is a place of torment. Listen to Jesus, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Jesus stressed that Hell is such a place that it should be avoided at all costs.
And if thy hand offend thee, cut if 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 if 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 salt” (Mark 9-48-49).
The Persons of Hell
Who shall be in Hell? Those who never knew our Lord nor obeyed Him (2 The. 1:7-9). This passage should put marching shoes on every Christian that the lost might be reached with the saving gospel. The immoral shall be in Hell (Rev. 22:5). Our nation reeks with immoral filth. Cities are cesspools of filth and sewers of iniquity. Paul, in Romans 2:5-8, spoke of the destiny of disobedient men:
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immorality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath.
Hypocrites shall be in Hell. False religions are filled with hypocrites. Jesus condemned such in Matthew 7:21-23:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Such hypocrisy brought forth these stinging words from the Savior.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (Mat. 23:25-28).
Yes, hypocrites shall be in Hell.
Time would not permit the naming of all who shall be in Hell, but most will be there. The majority of people—friends, neighbors, perhaps even family members—shall be lost in this eternal place of punishment, Hell. Jesus said,
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Mat. 7:13-14).
The Christian who turned back to the world shall be the worst of all. Peter spoke of the condition of such a one:
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire (2 Pet. 2:20-22).
What a price to pay for a few moments of sin. Notice these verses.
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people (Heb. 10:26-30).
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame (Heb. 6:4-6).
The Punishment of Hell
Every time Hell is mentioned in the Bible, the horrors and punishment of Hell are stated. There is no joy there. Hell is described as a place of outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mat. 8:12; Luke 13:27-28). Hell in “where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48). Hell is a place where one is forever separated from the presence of God (2 The. 1:7-9). Hell is described as a “lake of fire and brimstone’‘ (Rev. 20:15). The human mind cannot really comprehend the horror of such a place.
Note the pain for the inhabitants of that terrible place. Those there shall cry for mercy (Luke 16:23-24). If in hades, the temporary abode of the departed spirit of man, the wicked suffer in such agony, how much sorer will the pain in gehenna be?
Hell is a place where there is no rest night and day (Rev. 14:8-11), but rather there is eternal torment. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev. 20:10).
Hell is such a horrible place of punishment—yet most of humanity is on a speeding roller coaster, Hell bound, and have little or no interest in the gospel!
Hell can be escaped by obedience to the Gospel and faithfully living the Christian life. God loves man. He has provided a means for man to escape Hell. God wrote a book. The writing of the book is seen:
And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way, that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin. Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book (Jer. 36:1-4).
The book is verbally inspired; therefore, men should reverence the Bible because of its origin (from God); its power (Heb. 4:12); and the consequences of being judged by it (John 11:48).
The reading of the book (Jer. 36:5-21). God’s Book must be understood and followed. It can be understood (Eph. 3:1-4). Man can know what God would have him to know (Rev. 1:3). God says: search the Word (Acts 17:11); study it (2 Tim. 2:15); understand it (Eph. 5:17); live by it (Acts 20:32); defend it (Phi. 1:17); contend earnestly for it (Jude 3); and preach it (Mark 16:16).
The rejection of the book (Jer. 36:22,23). Man may choose to reject God’s Word, but. man is accountable. By God’s Word, man shall be judged (John 12:48). Therefore, God’s Book must be followed and obeyed.
The reproduction of the book (Jer. 36:27-32). This shows that God’s Word shall stand no matter what.
God’s Word plainly declares that Hell is real. Hell is a real place in which real persons shall suffer the eternal punishment which is deserving of those who reject God and His love. God’s Word also plainly declares how one may escape such a destiny; that is, by faithful and loving obedience to God’s commands. Hell is just as real as Heaven. To which place are you now headed?