October 11, 1989
Many folks don’t believe in a place called HELL. Some insist the only hell is this life and death is an escape from it. Others think hell is not a real place but a state of mind. And some claim that hell is where they would like to wind up because they think that’s where all their friends will be and they expect one big eternal party.
Those who claim that hell is non-existent often base their belief on a conviction that hell is not taught in the Bible, that it is simply a scare tactic used by unscrupulous preachers. But fire and brimstone does have scriptural basis despite how it might be insensitively preached. Isaiah speaks of “everlasting burnings” and a place where “their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched...”
John the Baptist said that Christ would, “gather his wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” And Jesus Himself spoke many times of “everlasting fire” and “eternal punishment.”
The Apostle Paul described hell this way: “...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 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
If hell were this life and death an escape from it, God would not have said, “The wages of sin is death...” or that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Thus death, according to the Word of God, is not the end but entrance into an eternal existence in either of two places. Jesus affirmed an actual location when He said “... to a PLACE God has prepared for the devil and his angels.” And He described hell’s alternative when He told His disciples, “I go to prepare a PLACE for you... in My Fathers’ house there are many rooms... (John 14).
Is hell one big party? Doesn’t sound like it so far. Note that it is a place where the unrepentant will be separated from God and His Son forever. That means if the sense of God’s presence is not in hell, then all the things that describe Him will not be there either. For instance, Jesus is the light of the world and His glory will illuminate heaven. Hell will be dark. Jesus is truth. Hell will be filled with lies. Jesus is love. Hell will be unimaginable hate. Jesus is merciful and kind. There is no compassion in hell.
Jesus Christ is called the solid rock, a firm foundation. There will be nothing firm to stand on in hell, perhaps even a sense of continual unstableness, even falling. Jesus called Himself the Bread of Life. There will be eternal, unsatisfied hunger in hell. Christ is our peace. Hell will have no quiet, no tranquility, and no peace.
Those who enjoy their sin think hell might be a place to enjoy it forever, but even sin becomes boring, tedious. Perhaps hell includes not being able to stop sinning, like riding a merry-go-round that at first is fun but the blasted thing won’t stop and you can’t get off. I can’t imagine eternal pleasure in that.
No, we haven’t been given coordinates for hell’s location, nor is there an address or a thorough description. Words like “lake of fire” might be figures of speech. But descriptions like “everlasting destruction” are good enough for me. I don’t have any desire for even a brief visit.