What the Bible Says About Hell

What the Bible Says About Hell

Sid Litke , Th.M.

Key Facts About Eternity

(1) Everyone will exist eternally either in heaven or hell (Daniel 12:2,3; Matthew 25:46; John 5:28; Revelation 20:14,15).

(2) Everyone has only one life in which to determine their destiny (Hebrews 9:27).

(3) Heaven or hell is determined by whether a person believes (puts their trust) in Christ alone to save them (John 3:16, 36, etc.).

Key Passages About Hell

(1) Hell was designed originally for Satan and his demons (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).

(2) Hell will also punish the sin of those who reject Christ (Matthew 13:41,50; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8).

(3) Hell is conscious torment.

Matthew 13:50 “furnace of fire…weeping and gnashing of teeth”

Mark 9:48 “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched”

Revelation 14:10 “he will be tormented with fire and brimstone”

(4) 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 anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire”

Erroneous Views of Hell

(1) The second chance view – After death there is still a way to escape hell.

Answer: “It is appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

(2) Universalism – All are eternally saved.

Answer: It denies the truth of salvation through Christ which means that a person decides to either trust in Christ or else he/she rejects Christ and goes to hell (John 3:16;3:36).

(3) Annihilationism – Hell means a person dies like an animal – ceases to exist.

Answer: It denies the resurrection of the unsaved (John 5:28, etc. – see above). It denies conscious torment (see above).

Objections to the Biblical View of Hell

(1) A loving God would not send people to a horrible hell.

Response: God is just (Romans 2:11).

God has provided the way of salvation to all (John 3:16,17; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15; 1 Timothy 2:6; 4:10; Titus 2:11; 2 Peter 3:9).

Even those who haven’t heard of Christ are accountable for God’s revelation in nature (Romans 1:20). God will seek those who seek Him (Matthew 7:7; Luke 19:10).

Therefore God doesn’t send people to hell, they choose it (Romans 1:18,21,25).

(2) Hell is too severe a punishment for man’s sin.

Response: God is holy-perfect (1 Peter 1:14,15).

Sin is willful opposition to God our creator (Romans 1:18-32).

Our sin does merit hell (Romans 1:32; 2:2,5,6).

What is unfair and amazing is that Christ died for our sin and freely offers salvation to all (Romans 2:4; 3:22-24; 4:7,8; 5:8,9).

Biblical Terms Describing Where the Dead Are

Sheol – a Hebrew term simply describing “the grave” or “death” – Does not refer to “hell” specifically

Hades – A Greek term that usually refers to hell – a place of torment (Luke 10:15; 16:23, etc.)

Gehenna – A Greek term (borrowed from a literal burning dump near Jerusalem) that always refers to hell – a place of torment (Matthew 5:30; 23:33)

Lake of fire”- the final abode of unbelievers after they are resurrected (Revelation 20:14,15)

Abraham’s bosom” – (Luke 16:22) a place of eternal comfort

Paradise” – (Luke 23:43) a place of eternal comfort

With the Lord” – a key phrase describes where church age believers are after death (Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 2 Corinthians 5:8)

New heavens and earth” – where believers will be after they are resurrected (Revelation 20:4-6; 21:1-4)


Our curiosity about the abode of the dead is not completely satisfied by biblical terms or verses. What we do know is that either eternal torment in hell or eternal joy in heaven awaits all people after death, based on whether they trust in Christ’s payment for sin or reject Christ.

Does Hell Exist – What does the Old Testament say?
Does Hell exist? A proper biblical worldview includes a belief in a real, eternal, and physical hell. What do you believe?

It is very interesting to discover that there are more Bible verses about Hell than there are about Heaven. Here are a few verses in the Old Testament about Hell. Daniel 12:2 proclaims, “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life,
others to shame and everlasting contempt.” Hell is described here as everlasting. Isaiah 66:24 declares, “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.” In this Scripture, hell is described as a place where the fire is not quenched. Deuteronomy 32:22 portrays hell as a place where God pours out His wrath, “For a fire is kindled in My anger, and shall burn to the lowest hell; It shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.” Psalms 55:15 illustrates hell as a realm of the wicked, “Let death seize them; Let them go down alive into hell, for wickedness is in their dwellings and among them.”

Does Hell Exist – What does the New Testament say?
Does Hell Exist? If the clear teaching of the Old Testament is not enough, the New Testament has much to say as well. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 tells us, “These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” Revelation 14:10-11, speaking of the antichrist, teaches us, “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 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 lake of burning fire, as described in Revelation 20:14-15, “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Does Hell Exist – What did Jesus say?
Some who argue that hell does not exist do so on the basis of their belief that Jesus taught love, peace, and forgiveness – and that He did not teach about an eternal place of fiery punishment for non-believers. However, the exact opposite is true. Jesus taught more about hell than anyone else in the Word of God. Jesus described hell as an unquenchable fire (Matthew 3:12), a place of eternal fire, (Matthew 25:41) eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46), and as a place of torment, fire, and agony (Luke 16:23-24). Jesus taught specifically about hell many times in His ministry (Matthew 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15,33; Mark 9:43-47; Luke 12:6; 16:23).

Does Hell Exist – How is an eternity in Hell fair?
If Hell does exist, how can it be fair? Why would a loving God punish a person for eternity, when their sins only took place for 70-80 years? The answer is that all sin is ultimately against God, who is infinite (Psalm 51:4). So, since God is an eternal and infinite Being, all sin is worthy of an infinite punishment.

Yes, God loves us (John 3:16) and wants all people to be saved (2 Peter 3:9). However, God is also just and righteous – He will not allow sin to go unpunished. That is why God sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins. Jesus Christ’s death was an infinite death, paying our infinite sin debt – so that we would not have to pay it in Hell for eternity (2 Corinthians 5:21). All we have to do is put our faith in Him and we are forgiven and promised an eternal home in heaven. God loved us so much to provide for our salvation. If we reject His gift of eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ, we will face the eternal consequences of that decision – an eternity in a fiery hell.

If you were to die today do you know with 100% certainty that you are going to heaven? Know for sure today!

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