Hell is the knowing, everlasting deprivation of God’s grace. The image of a lake of fire that comes to mind for most people is a biblical one. There will be teeth gnashing and lashings or scorpions or total darkness in hell, according to the Bible. There is more than one depiction of hell in the Bible. Extreme suffering occurs in Hell because the soul is cut off from God’s grace and mercy.
Is Hell Just?
That seems to be the question we never get any clearer answers to. The answer to that one is more complex. Theologians have explained this away in many ways, but one explanation is that “people get what they deserve,” and that’s fair. God eventually concedes that if they do not wish to be with him, they can live without him.
Now, pride prohibits you from needing God around, and hell, if represented not only by visuals but by theological understanding, is entire conscious perpetual isolation from the blessings of God; and in a sense, hell is people receiving exactly what they want, (they say) “I didn’t want God.”
God eventually responds, “All right, I’ve shown you my kindness and compassion, and you do not want that. What you want is what you get. The Bible says that will hurt like hell. Being without God is a terrible test of the spirit. But eventually God gives in and says, “Okay, I’ll give you what you want.”
Those who seek me find me. That right there is Heaven. If someone doesn’t want me, they won’t have me. When broken down to its core concept, it means that they are successful in obtaining their desired outcome.
Is There Really a Place Called Hell?
Is Jesus Christ’s message true? If Jesus Christ is Lord, then I must adhere to his teachings in their entirety. If we begin with that principle, we cannot just cut out the difficult bits. We must rely on his word. The most compassionate person to ever live was not shy in describing hell for what it is: horrible.
What Is the Distinction Between Gehenna, Sheol, and Hades?
Hell is derived from the Greek word Gehenna, which is a translation of the Hebrew phrase “Valley of Hinnom” (Strong’s 1067). In the New Testament, this phrase is translated into English as “hell.”
This is a location to the south-west of Jerusalem wherein pagan worship of Molek, which included the sacrifice of children, took place many years before the Jews settled the land that is now Israel (Leviticus 18:21; Leviticus 20:2-5; Deuteronomy 12:31).
This was a site outside of Jerusalem’s boundaries that was desecrated by worship of Molech and the sacrifice of human beings, and as a result, it was turned into a landfill where garbage and refuse were burned. The blazing fires and writhing worms provided it a vivid and powerful illustration of the plight of the damned.
The King James Version interprets שְׁאוֹל as hell in the Old Testament, but most other editions translate it as Sheol, which means “underworld” or “place to which people descend at death” (Strong’s 7585).
This word is translated into Greek as hades in the New Testament, and hades is another name for the place where the dead are laid to rest.
“In Hades, where he was in torment…he called, ‘…I am in agony in this flame’” (Luke 16:23-24).
We come across the word hades in this section of the Bible. According to Strong’s definition (86), hades is the “invisible world of the dead.” According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary, the use of Hades in the New Testament draws on its Hebrew analog, Sheol, which was the chosen translation of the Hebrew word in the Septuagint.
How Does The Bible Describe Hell?
There will be darkness, gnashing of teeth, fire, and eternal estrangement from God, the Bible says.
There will be darkness.
Darkness is always connected with hell, from Job, the oldest book of the Bible, all the way to Revelation, the last book of the Bible.
A “land of deepest night, of utter darkness and disorder” (Job 10:21–22); a “realm of darkness” (Job 17:13); and a “day of darkness” (Job 15:23) are all places Job describes (Job 17:13). A few further examples of Bible references are:
|“realm of darkness”||Nahum 1:8|
|“Thrown outside into the darkness”||Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 25:30|
|“Blackest darkness”||Jude 1:13|
|“Plunged into darkness”||Revelation 16:10|
A resounding gnashing of teeth.
Jesus, who discussed hell more than any other individual in the Bible, used this statement to express the severe torment that residents of hell must endure. Strong’s 1030 explains that the word “gnashing” can indicate either “grinding” or “binding.”
Jesus gave his warning to the people about the realm “where there will be gnashing of teeth” in the following verses: Matthew 8:12; Matthew 13:41-43; Matthew 13:50; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 24:51; Matthew 25:30; and Luke 13:28.
A realm of fire.
In hell, “the fire that burns them will not be quenched,” as the Old Testament prophet Isaiah said (Isaiah 66:24). Mark 9:43 and 9:48 make mention of this insatiable blaze as well. Other mentions include:
|“Blazing furnace”||Matthew 13:42; Matthew 13:50|
|“Fire of hell”||Matthew 5:22; Matthew 18:9|
|“Eternal fire”||Matthew 18:8; Matthew 25:41|
|“Tormented with fire and brimstone”||Revelation 14:10|
Isolation from God’s grace.
God’s gifts are experienced by the redeemed and the unrepentant alike, often without either group realizing it (Matthew 5:45; Luke 6:35; Romans 2:4). However, in hell, one will spend all eternity cut off from God’s grace and love.
Bible verses that describe hell as eternal separation from God are as follows:
|“Shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might”||2 Thessalonians 1:9|
|“‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’”||Matthew 25:41|
|“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”||Matthew 25:46|
Now that we’ve pondered about what Hell might be like, it’s important to clarify what it isn’t. It is a common misconception that Satan is the “king” of Hell and has absolute control over people doomed to spend eternity there. Nothing could be further from the truth.
After the judgment, Satan and his followers will be cast into this land of eternal damnation. It is not command, but punishment.
However, as long as we grasp how horrible Hell is, whether the lake of fire is literal or figurative is of secondary importance. Our society has a propensity to become obsessed with these things, so it’s vital that we keep our hearts protected from the same.
The only reason we even bring up the topic of hell is to give thanks to the One who delivered us from it and then sent us out to make more disciples so that others would be spared the same fate. Hell is real, and that sobering reality ought to spur us on to spread the gospel wherever we go.