People don’t like to talk about hell these days. It’s not nice, it doesn’t feel good, and the thought of people being tormented and gnashing their teeth for eternity is unbearable to think about. Therefore, it is put out of our minds, and if we try hard enough, we can conveniently pretend it doesn’t exist.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, the Bible tells us that hell does exist. Right now, you’re probably feeling really uncomfortable even reading about hell. You may have already closed this page and moved on to something nicer, something that is more palatable and happy. But if you’re still here with me, hang around a while, I have the good news too.
What does the Bible say about hell and its existence?
Hell is downright awful and isn’t a place I would wish for anyone. Some descriptions we find about hell in the Bible are: that it is a place of eternal punishment; a blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth; a place where the fire never goes out; a fiery lake of burning sulfur.
A New Zealand politician, while completely insulting Biblical values, was recorded laughing off the idea of hell in parliament, saying that even if he were sent to hell, he would last in that kind of fire for only a moment. He didn’t realise that when you get to the point of being in hell, human physics no longer apply. It is not our bodies that pass to eternity, it is our soul and the soul is subject to God and God’s laws.
The most frightening thing about the references to hell is the word eternity. Eternity is a very long time—so long in fact, that our mere human brains cannot even fathom. We think our 80-100 years on earth is a long time (if we’re even given that long to live), but it’s not. It’s gone in the blink of an eye when you think of it in the scheme of eternity.
My dad used to explain life on earth to me as being like the title page of a very long book. And even then, a book that never ends. Perhaps it is like a drop in an ocean that has no shores? However it makes the most sense to you, eternity is an awfully long time to spend anywhere that isn’t with God. Hell is part of God’s great divide.
‘Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.’ (Revelation chapter 20 verse 15)
Now let’s look at the alternative
Some people, even Christians, don’t believe hell exists, and others believe that just being a good person will keep you from its flame. Still, a few believe that a loving God would not send anyone to hell. However, Adam and Eve chose sin instead of obedience, which brought sin into the world and set us all on a pathway to hell.
The truth is, God made us in his image to glorify him and doesn’t want to condemn us to hell, which is why he has gone to such lengths to redeem us from the wages of sin which is death.
Plastered on billboards and posters for decades has been the verse John 3:16. This would have to be one of the most famous and important verses in the Bible and the reason is simple. This one verse sums up the whole concept of how heaven has been opened to anyone who believes. You don’t have to be perfect—Jesus is perfect. This is why the fallacy of ‘all roads lead to heaven’ doesn’t work.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John chapter 3 verse 16)
An invitation like no other!
Throughout the Bible, God is constantly giving us an invitation to come back to him. He longs for his children to be with him and works all things in favour of that, yet in his loving way, he has given the choice into our hands.
His invitation is sincere.
John chapter 8 verse 12 says: ‘When Jesus came again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of light.”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew chapter 11 verse 28)
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John chapter 14 verse 3)
The awesomeness that awaits us
The Bible tells us that heaven is truly amazing. Sin will be destroyed once and for all and cannot exist in the heavenly realms. Revelations gives us a glimpse of what heaven looks like: Our Father God has the appearance of jasper and ruby. His throne is encircled by a rainbow that shines like an emerald, with flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder coming from it.
The Holy City, Jerusalem, comes down out of heaven shining with the glory of God, and its brilliance like that of a very precious jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. Every kind of precious stone adorns the foundations of the walls, the gates are made of single pearls, the great street of the city made of gold as pure as transparent glass.
Eden will be restored with the river of the water of life flowing as clear as crystal from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city with the tree of life brings healing to all the nations.
There will be multitudes of people from every race.
‘And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation chapter 21 verse 3)
Sounds pretty good don’t you think?
So how do we take up this offer of eternal life, to live forever with our loving heavenly father? Only through belief and acceptance of God’s son, Jesus.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John chapter 14 verse 6)
God longs to bring his people back. He longs to dwell with us, his bride again. He is not slow to bring these things about but instead, he is patiently waiting, giving time for everyone to have the opportunity to say yes and to be saved (paraphrased from 2 Peter chapter 3 verse 9).
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” (Luke chapter 12 verse 32)
Will you say yes, today?
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy chapter 30 verse 19).
So does hell exist? Yes it does. But do we have to go there? Hell? No, we won’t go! We choose Jesus and he is life, light and love.
Rebecca and her husband, have four children and live on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Rebecca writes for various publications including print, online and commercial. She has recently published her first book titled ‘First to Forty’ which is available on Amazon and Kindle. For more information: http://www.rebeccamoore.life
Rebecca Moore's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/rebecca-moore.html