So many people refute the very existence of Hell today. I read one report which states that 7 out of 10 adults today do not believe in a literal Hell. But what does the Bible say about Hell, and in particular, what is the teaching of Jesus on this subject?
There are two main descriptions of Hell in the Bible. One is linked to burning. Jesus often used the word 'Gehenna' to describe Hell. The Jews at the time would have known about Gehenna. This was the dump on the southern outskirts of Jerusalem where fire was always present, burning the rubbish. Also, maggots and worms were fed continually on the corpses of dead animals, criminals and vagrants from the city.
Whether there will be literal fire and worms in Hell, we don't know, but we are left in no doubt that it will be a horrendous place. Jesus repeated His description of Hell as a place "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" three times in Mark 9. Everything Jesus said as recorded in God's Word is important. In repeating this description of Hell and then repeating it again, I believe Jesus wants us all to be aware of how awful a place Hell is.
Jesus also linked Hell with darkness.
Matthew 8:12 and Matthew 22:13 speak about being "cast out into outer darkness" and that in that terrible place "there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth". Here the image is one of terrible loneliness. Man will be completely separated from God. (Just remember when Jesus was fully separated from God the Father for the very first time, He uttered those agonising words from the cross "why hast Thou forsaken Me?"). Those who are consigned to Hell will be in the total blackness of eternity, with nobody to turn to, nobody to talk to, and they will be constantly alone. A conscious eternity alone with only your thoughts of 'what could have been', is a very scary thought indeed!
Is it any wonder that Jesus taught more about Hell than any other subject! The Bible speaks of a 'lake of fire' reserved for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). Man was never intended to go into Hell. But those who freely choose to reject God in this life WILL one day follow Satan into Hell.
Luke 16:19-25 gives an account of a man who went to Hell:
"There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 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. But Abraham said, 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. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence"
From this and other passages we learn that there will be no exit from hell, no way out, no second chance.
That is why it is so important in this life to receive the pardon that God extends to all men through the cross of Jesus Christ.
Please consider this warning.
Hell IS real but so is the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Are you SURE that you have your place booked in Heaven? Read this if you're not!