by Fred C. Rochester, Pastor. Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved.
I know, the title is serious but many sinners and carnal Christians use this word in the wrong manner as illustrated in my title. The improper use of this word is downright wrong. If you are going to use the word “hell,” you might as well understand the true meaning of hell. In the right sense, you want to avoid this place at all cost.
Preachers and believers in Christ must warn people about this place. All who pass through it’s portals must abandon all hope.
Many have said, “Yeah. Don’t tell me. I know I’m going to hell.”
Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
So because of their sins, they already know they are destined for hell.
But you do not have to go there when Someone went there for you to pay your debt.
The NLT of verse 25 says,
“For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed His blood, sacrificing His life for us.”
There are many “church growth specialist” that are more concerned about filling church seats than warning people about the worst place imagined. Church growth specialist are more concerned about not intimidating or using “scare tactics” to get them to come into the church.
Hell is not a scare tactic. Hell is a real place. Just as heaven is a real place but there is only One Way to get into heaven.
This is where the calling of God on my life, and many other ministers, surpass the doctrine of church growth and look to save souls from the region of the damned and the lake of fire to come.
After all, this is what Jesus ultimately died for. This is what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about. To save us from our sins and to pay the price for sin so we will not have to spend eternity separated from the presence of the Lord forever in hell.
HOW SHALL WE ESCAPE?
In the news, three 20 year olds lost their lives because they ignored the purpose of the guard rail and posted signs. They jumped over the guard rail to pose for a picture on the slippery rock and lost their lives in a fast moving river in Yosemite National Park.
The man and his wife were posing for a picture. When she slipped, her husband grabbed her and they both fell in. Another man also jumped in to attempt to rescue them. The people on shore that watched in horror could only scream as the couple were holding on to each other for the last time alive, as all three fell over the waterfall. Never to be seen alive again.
I can’t help but think of the Scripture in Hebrews chapter 2 and verse 3.
“…how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation…”
The well posted signs and barricade were intended to save a person from doing the unthinkable thing. This is neglect of the highest order. Over the course of time, well over 400 persons have lost their lives in Yosemite because they ignored the saving grace of wisdom, signs, and barricades.
They underestimated the slippery rock and the power of the water. While it would be fool hearty of me to determine their eternal fate, the wisdom of this story is twofold. When you see a sign that warns of impending danger, to neglect its wisdom and to intentionally ignore these signs of wisdom, it demands that a price be paid.
Before you die is the time to accept the provisions for salvation, not after. There is no salvation after you die.
Hebrews 9:27 tells us,
“It is appointed unto men once to die, after this the judgment.”
No one will miss this appointment.
Ignore as you walk past the Christian church at your own peril. Neglect the Christian tract at your own risk. Just remember. You’ve been warned.
It is sad that many people ignore the Christian church, its preaching, and warnings about a place called hell.
In Matthew 7:13-14, the Lord Jesus said,
“Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Over the course of time, many things have been said about the abode of the damned or condemned. It is not surprising that we use the word “hell” to express troubling times in this life or when we are experiencing extreme heat on earth.
But the trouble we are experiencing in life or the heat we may be complaining about is in no comparison to what the departed condemned of this life is presently experiencing.
WHAT IS THE DESCRIPTION OF HELL?
In the natural, the closest word that we can come up with to describes hell is the word Gehenna. In studying out this word, if you study the history of the city of Jerusalem, according to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary,
“…the Valley of Hinnom was used as the garbage dump for the city of Jerusalem. Refuse, waste material, and dead animals were burned here. Fires continually smoldered, and smoke from the burning debris rose day and night. Hinnom thus became a graphic symbol of woe (doom) and judgment and of the place of eternal punishment called hell.
Translated into Greek, the Hebrew “Valley of Hinnom” becomes “gehenna,” which is used 12 times in the NT (eleven times by Jesus and once by James).
In the OT, parents sacrificed their children as a burnt offering to the pagan god Molech (See 2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6).”
OUT OF WOMB ABORTION?
As a side issue, this is what I would call, “out of womb abortion.” In other words, sexual immorality would be committed and they would sacrifice the child by tossing the child into the fire alive.
According to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary, Gehenna was also called “Tophet” (see 2 Kings 23:10).
According to Fausett’s Bible Dictionary, “…toph, [means] the “drums,” [they were] beaten to drown the shrieks of the children made to pass through the fire to Molech;”
Why would drums be necessary? To drown out the cries of the children to make the worship of Molech tolerable. For the cry of a child will pull on the mother to rescue her child from experiencing any pain. The drums of “Pro-Choice” continue to be loud over the cries of the unborn child to make the worship of Molech tolerable.
While this is a side issue, we need to see the origins and seamless connections of the worship of Molech in the past and sexual immorality, children conceived and born out of wedlock, and abortion raging throughout the world today.
Therefore, the Valley of Hinnom describes the horrors of hell after physical death.
A PARTY IN HELL? WHAT A LIE!
Hell is not a party. It is not good times. It is not a celebration for sins committed. It is not a club. It is not pretty. If this natural description is horrible, then the real place is no walk in the park.
Imagine burning day and night. Imagine smelling smoke night and day. No rest. No breaks. No water. No air conditioning. No fan. No wind. No ice. No comfort. No ease. Just torment forever.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THIS PLACE?
First, hell was prepared for the devil and his angels (see Matthew 25:44).
As told by the Lord in Matthew chapter 25, there will be a separation. The Lord will sit upon the throne of His glory. The nations will be gathered before Him. He will separate the righteous to stand on His right and the unrighteous to stand on His left.
The righteous will, “inherit the kingdom prepared…from the foundation of the world.”
The unrighteous will enter, “into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Second, after people die physically, and their names are not found written in the Book of Life, God sends to hell those that refused already to accept the terms or conditions of salvation.
Sinners are condemned to hell by their choice in this life according to John 3:18-19.
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
ARE YOU WILLING TO TAKE A CHANCE?
Many of you do or do not believe that hell exists but are you willing to take a chance that it doesn’t exist? Knowing that hell exists but refusing to accept the terms is fool hearty risky.
I pray that you are not any of them.
IS THERE A WAY OUT?
There is the only Way out.
John 14:6 says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.”
Acts 4:12 says, “Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”
Just in case you do not know Who “the Way, Truth, and the Life is.” Just in case you do not know Who the “…Name under heaven…” is. His Name is Jesus.
DIFFERENT RENDERING OF HELL
There is different renderings of hell in the Bible. We’ve used Gehenna as one description. The description given by Nelson’s Bible Dictionary is clear that it is a fire that smolders and the smoke ascends day and night.
The graphic depiction and use of Gehenna in Matthew 25:41 mirrors Revelation 20:11-15. Please take time to read both accounts.
Hades, in the Book of Revelation, is defined as the “region of departed spirits of the lost,” according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words. “It corresponds with the word “Sheol” in the the OT.
However, according to Vine’s, “It never denotes the grave (where human remains are interred), nor is it the permanent region of the lost; in point of time it is, for such, intermediate between decease and the doom of Gehenna.” Parenthesis are mine.
In other words, the lost must be held in Hades, “the region of departed spirits of the lost” until the consummation of the ages according to Luke 16:19-31 and Ephesians 1:10.
Luke 16:19-31 is the account of the rich man and Lazarus, the beggar at the gate of the rich man. Lazarus was carried into Abraham’s bosom (just another term for the bliss side of Hades), and the rich man lifted his eyes in the torment side of Hades.
Hades, before the Lord Jesus paid the price for sin, was separated into two places with a large gulf fixed between the two. Those that lived righteous lives before the law of Moses and those that followed the law, when they died, they entered into Abraham’s bosom. Those the lived evil lives, when they died, they lifted their eyes in the torment side of Hades.
When Jesus died and was resurrected from the dead, He “led captivity captive…” according to Ephesians 4:7-10 and Hebrews 2:14-18.
Hades is not purgatory either. The error of purgatory gives the lost a glimmer of hope to escape if someone prays for their soul to be released. Sort of like parole. But with sin and unrighteousness, there is no parole if you die in your sins according to Luke 13:1-5 and John 8:24.
Why would a loving God send people He created to hell? The answer is simple. Sin. Sin is inconsistent with the nature and characteristic of the Holy God. Sin is defiance of God. Sin hates righteousness, peace, and holiness. Sin and righteousness are never compatible.
Sin was paid for by the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus appeased or satisfied the conditions of the Father that sin must be paid for by the sinless life of another human. The conditions are simple. All we need to do is believe and accept the terms of salvation.
At the judgment, death and hades (the region of departed spirits of the lost), will be cast into the lake of fire.
Lake of fire?
There was a tour guide showing some tourist people places where volcanoes erupted. In one location, there was lava that looked like a lake. I couldn’t help but use this as the ultimate illustration of what the lake of fire is like. In the natural, anything that drops into it would instantly vaporize. Nothing would be left. Life would be snuffed out in less than a second.
But just image being thrown into an eternal lake of fire alive? Remember when Adam was created an eternal being. When sin came into the world, physical death came. But spiritual death came first. Spiritual death is separation from the presence of the Lord because of sin.
If anyone died or was killed, their body was to be buried. But when the judgment comes, their bodies will be resurrected. Will you be at the resurrection of the just or the unjust is your choice to make.
If you choose to be a part of the resurrection of the unjust, all of your faculties will be present.
The only thing that will not happen when you are cast into the lake of fire is that you will not burn up. You will feel the torment day and night. Smoke ascending up, day and night. Now, if the devil, the false prophet, and the beast will experience torment day and night, the unsaved will also.
Revelation 14:11 says, “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.”
Hades, the region of departed spirits of the lost, is torment. The lake of fire is torment continued. If you have ever went swimming in water, you know what wet is, but imagine swimming in fire without burning up or a chance to take a break.
You do not want to go there.
To be saved from hell, all you need to do is repent of all sin, receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior today. The next moment is not promised to anyone.
Please go to our website at www.prevailingwordbiblechurch.org and click the Sinner’s Prayer. At our website is all the information you need, based on the Word of God, to be saved.
If you are saved, you have a responsibility to warn the wicked. Email and blogging is a part of it. Pass this blog along. You may be responsible for starting a chain reaction of people getting saved from the torment of hell.
Do it today.
“Time is always moving and it will not wait for you.”