What is the truth about Hell? Where is Hell? Will the lost burn in hell forever? Would God allow people to burn in pain and agony for eternity? Let's see the Bible truth about hell.
The Truth About Hell
Let's start off with the creation of man:
Genesis 2:7 ...' And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.' ….. Was Adam GIVEN a soul when he was created? No, he BECAME a LIVING SOUL with the breath of God. Take away the breath of God, and you have what? DUST ! (See Genesis 3:19). So, from the start we see that we do not have a separate disembodied 'soul' that flies off somewhere when we die. While we have the breath of God in us, our very living being is our soul, and once we die, the breath of God goes back to Him, (See Psalm 104:29-30; Ecclesiastes 12:7).
Daniel 12:2 ...' And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.' …. Where are those who have died? Sleeping in the dust! As we saw above in Genesis, we return to the dust when we die, and there we will wait until that glorious day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Notice though, that only one group get everlasting LIFE. So does hell burn forever? Well, if the lost were to burn in 'hell' forever, then they would get everlasting life also. It would mean they would also be immortal. Now we know that the saved in Christ ONLY get immortality.
There are many more scripture verses that show we do not live on as a spirit after we die, but 'sleep' in the dust. See the study What happens when we die for those other verses.
1 John 5:12 ...' He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.' …. Think about it. If the lost burned in Hell forever, then they would have life eternal. It would be a horrid life, but the basic principle would be there, that they would LIVE FOREVER. But this verses says otherwise. It is only the people who follow Jesus that have life (life eternal), the wicked hath NOT life…ie., they don't live forever, they will be destroyed in the lake of fire.
2 Peter 2:9 ...' The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.' ….. Many believe and teach that the wicked go straight to 'Hell' when they die, but here we see clearly that God reserves them UNTIL the day of Judgment. When is the day of Judgment? When Jesus returns. THEN they will be punished.
John 5:28-29 ....' Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.' ….. Jesus is saying not to marvel at this. It's simple to understand. NOTICE, He doesn't say, those who are burning in 'Hell' and those who are in paradise will come forward for their rewards, BUT, all who are in the grave. THE GOOD AND THE BAD ARE IN THE SAME PLACE….THE GRAVE! All the dead come forth from the graves, but then they are separated, and ONLY those who have done good get eternal LIFE.
Luke 14:14 ….' And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.'
Matthew 16:27 ….' For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.'
Revelation 22:12 ….' And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.'
As the above verses show, we will be rewarded at the second coming, not before!
Isaiah 34:8-9 ....' For it is the day of the LORD's vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.'
Revelation 20:9 ....' And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.'
Revelation 20:15 ….' And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.' ….. As we can see from the above 3 verses, the fire of 'Hell' is ON EARTH. The Lord God reigns fire down onto the earth and turn 'the streams into pitch' and 'the dust into brimstone' and 'the land into burning pitch'. The wicked are on earth when fire comes down from heaven, and notice, they are DEVOURED! They are not sent down deep into the earth's core, like some fictional Hollywood film would suggest, but are destroyed ON THE EARTH.
Malachi 4:1-3 ...' For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.' ….. Sounds like a COMPLETE end to the wicked…. 'ashes', 'burned up', 'stubble'. The wicked will be 'ashes' under our feet. It doesn't mean we will literally be walking on ashes forever, it's symbolic of the wicked being destroyed. What does it mean when something turns into ashes? It means that all the substance and energy has been expelled and there's nothing left but dust!
NOTE: According to God's Word, the lost are burned "on the breadth of the earth" and we shall "trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under our feet." We cannot deny that some passages in the Bible say that hellfire will burn "for ever" (Revelation 14:11; 20:10). But logic alone tells us that if hell burns forever "on the breadth of the earth," and "under our feet" it would be impossible for God to create a NEW earth. And if God kept sinners alive to endure an eternal burning, He would not rid the world of sin.
Isaiah 47:14 ....' Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.' …… There we have it, the wicked shall be stubble, and the fire WILL go out.
Psalm 68:2 ...' As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.' ….. What happens to the wicked? They PERISH!
Luke 13:3 ....' I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.'
2 Peter 2:12 ...' But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption.'
We all know what perish means...... A COMPLETE END! And if 'perish' wasn't enough, then God is telling us that they will 'UTTERLY PERISH'. ie. Nothing left!
Matthew 13:37-43 ...'He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.' ….. When are the wicked burned? 'AT THE END OF THE WORLD'…. NOT BEFORE!! From verse 30 of this chapter we read that both the seed (righteous) and the tares (wicked) are left together UNTIL the end of the world. Jesus made it so clear. The wicked are not burning after they die the first death, they only get thrown into the fire AT THE END, when Jesus returns. It's at the harvest that the separation takes place, not before. ALL the dead now (saved and lost) are in the same state....in the grave/sheol. When Jesus returns, THEN AND ONLY THEN, will the separation take place.
Think of a decent person who lives a long life, always kind, loving, helping others, does volunteer work for many years helping the less fortunate. But they were never convicted that there was a God, never accepts Jesus and dies. We know they are lost. BUT, according to the 'eternal burning' theology, they get the same punishment as satan!! Now there's something badly wrong there. Thankfully, God's Word sheds light on this......
Matthew 16:27 …' For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.' ….. Each person will be rewarded according to their own works. Therefore, this shows we get different levels of rewards. Now compare this with the following verses:
Luke 12:46-48 …' The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.' ….. This parable deals with the second coming, because Jesus says..'when the Lord comes'. Both groups of people here are lost, and yet they receive different levels of punishment! I believe that the wicked will be cast into the lake of fire at the end, and will burn for different amounts of time, according to what they knew and what they did….. with satan burning the longest. But eventually ALL will be 'BURNED UP'.
Matthew 5:29-30 ….' And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.'…… Jesus teaches us here, that it is the WHOLE BODY that is cast into 'Hell fire', and NOT some disembodied 'spirit'.
1 Corinthians 15:53 ….' For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.' ……. The teaching of an everlasting 'soul' means that we are immortal beings, and if the wicked burn in 'hell' forever, then they also are immortal. BUT, God's Word clearly teaches that we are in a mortal state, and ONLY those who are saved in Christ Jesus will receive immortality.
1 Corinthians 15:54 ….' So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.' …… It isn't 'Hell' that is swallowed up in victory, but DEATH! The righteous receive life and the wicked receive death!
Revelation 21:4...' There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." ..... If the wicked are still burning forever, then the former things have not passed away, they are still present. BUT thankfully, it says the former things have passed away, including the wicked.
Then we have....
Revelation 21:5 ...' Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make ALL things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful.' ....... In order to make ALL things new, the wicked will have to be completely destroyed, and come to a complete END. And God makes a point that these words above are TRUE and FAITHFUL.
And then we have ....
Revelation 21:6-8 ... And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the SECOND DEATH." ......IT IS DONE....God is the Beginning and the END...He has brought an END to the wicked, they will be thrown into the lake of fire and DIE the second DEATH.
2 Peter 3:13 ….' Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.' …… How can the wicked still be burning, if the Heavens and the Earth have been renewed, and there ONLY dwells righteousness?
Friend, have a real good think about the above verses, because they confirm without doubt that the wicked are destroyed completely.
Note: Where are the wicked, after they've been utterly destroyed? Where is Hell? Well, as we've seen, God's Word says that hell is on earth, because the wicked are on the earth when God rains fire down to destroy them. And what does God then do with the earth? He renews it !!! So now where are the wicked? They are gone, destroyed, they have come to an end. The Word of God does not say that He transports them to another place to keep them burning.
The Word 'Forever'
The main issue with Christians believing that the wicked burn forever, is the fact that some verses (and only a couple) say 'forever', as in Revelation 14:11….' And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.'…… BUT, in light of the MULTITUDE of other evidence, this cannot mean a LITERAL forever. Let's look at some other forever words in the Bible:
1 Samuel 1:22 ….' But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.' …. Hannah pledged to God that she would take her infant son Samuel to serve in the temple at Shiloh, where he would abide "for ever". No one would take this to mean that he would remain in that temple for a LITERAL FOREVER. Hannah herself interpreted the statement in verse 28...... 'Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.'
Jonah 2:6 ...' I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.' ….. Jonah is saying here that he was in the belly of the fish FOREVER. Yet he was only in there 3 days.
Jude 1:7 ….' Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.' ….. Sodom and Gomorrha was destroyed, and is laid waste to this day, and yet the above verse says that it suffered ETERNAL fire.
So, the word forever in certain cases mean 'A period of time' or 'an unbroken age', as Strong's describes it. The fire from God to destroy the wicked will be a 'period of time' and an 'unbroken age' because no one will be able to put that fire out. It will keep burning UNTIL it has done its job. The EFFECT of the 'hell fire' is eternal, because it destroys the wicked FOREVER.
The Word of God tells us that "the wages of sin is DEATH", not eternal life in hellfire, but "death" (Romans 6:23)
Psalm 37:20 ....' But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.' ….. You cannot read this verse and then still hold to the doctrine of 'eternal hell fire'. This verse is very clear that the wicked shall come to a COMPLETE END!
Just remember how loving our God is, and then imagine just what this 'burn forever' teaching really means.....Imagine the scale of suffering. Just stop for one minute and imagine what this means... burning in agony for eternity!! Imagine holding your hand in a fire for say, 10 seconds...how awful would that be? Now imagine throwing your whole body into that fire, and staying there for eternity! That's what this 'eternal hell fire' doctrine teaches. I know God is a just God, but He isn't in the business of torturing people for a literal eternity. No loving God would allow this to happen to anyone.
Just as God cleansed the earth in noah's day with the flood, He is going to do it again, but this time with fire. And when God puts the fire out, all the wicked will be gone, as we have the following promise:
Revelation 21:4 ….' And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.'
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