Commentary By: Gordon King
As Christians we believe in heaven. Most of us believe that it’s a time of eternal life with God Almighty. But what about Hell? Many Christians do not believe that there is actually a place called Hell, or if they do that it is only temporary and not eternal. That when God judges the lost they will be cast into the “lake of fire” and be annihilated forever. Completely gone. Is this what the bible tells us is the truth?
This is a very serious subject which we should all be concerned with, both the unsaved and the saved.
For the unsaved, if you are told that Hell is not eternal, that you will be burned up and nonexistent afterwards, then there is not too much to fear. But what if Hell is eternal and you are told that it is not? What then? You will live for eternity in Hell! You will have been told a lie and you will be the one paying the price forever. That’s an awfully long time!
For the saved, if you preach the gospel to the lost, which we should all be doing, and you do not preach about Hell then you are not preaching the whole gospel. You must tell the lost what they will suffer for not accepting Christ as their Savior. If you tell them that they will be burned up after judgement, and that they will no longer exist, what if you are wrong? What if they then choose not to accept Christ by what you have told them and they go on to exist forever in Hell? How will you then be judged by Christ? You will have misled the lost into believing a lie, and perhaps have caused them to not accept Christ as their Savior!
However, if you preach to the lost that Hell is eternal, and they do not accept Christ, then they have made that decision knowing the consequences. If it turns out that Hell is not eternal, then they will be spared eternal punishment. How shall you then be judged by Christ?
4 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!”
If this verse is true, and I believe all of scripture to be true, then we need to fear being cast into Hell! How much fear should we have if we are burned up and completely annihilated?!
You see, we must tell the lost about Hell when leading others to Christ, for in not doing so we are misleading and misguiding. I for one do not want to be a part of that!
I have been placed into the position that I am in, as a teacher I suppose, by the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore, I am and will be judged by God at a higher level. More weight has been placed on my shoulders and if I mislead, twist the truth, or lie about God and His word then He will judge me for it.
47 “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”
Therefore I must follow what I believe to be the truth of God’s word. I must follow the Holy Spirit in direction and truth. He shall lead me, He is my guide and my discernment.
The word of God is not meant to distract, to confuse. That is the work of Satan, the father of confusion. We must take scripture for what it tells us and not for our own interpretation of it. We must keep scripture in context and not pull verses to meet our own will, but for the will of our Father in heaven.
For the record, I do believe that Hell is an eternal punishment. For one, that is what the bible tells me to be the truth. If the bible is wrong about this then why should I even read it? I should just put it away and forget about it. Close the churches, lock the doors, and throw away the keys!
I have enough proof to believe in an eternal Hell. I am convicted by the Spirit of God to believe this. However, like I said before, there are many Christians who do not.
There seems to be much controversy over whether or not Hell is eternal. I am not writing this to condemn anyone. For me, I believe what the word of God says, that Hell is an eternal punishment. It is written, it is easy to understand, not confusing, and in context with scripture. Remember, we must keep these verses in line with the context they are written in.
Many Christians say that God is one of love, peace, forgiveness, and mercy. That such a God would not allow His creation to suffer in Hell for eternity. This is their argument, without any scripture to back it up. I am sorry but this is not an argument. Sure, He is a God of love, peace, forgiveness, and mercy. But He is also a God of wrath and judgement. We need to look at all sides of God, not just one side. This would be omitting the whole truth. Just read the bible and you will see that God is a God of wrath and judgement, I will not quote scriptures here, there are so many, just open the bible and read it! From Sodom and Gomorrah, Noah, Egypt, the Israelites, Jonah, etc.
God is a wrathful God, a jealous God, a fair God, a loving God, a forgiving God, and a peaceful God. Yet He is just and righteous. His ways are true and pure. His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts.
8 ‘ “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.’
Therefore we must not second guess God nor His ways. We do not know all of God’s thoughts or His ways. They are perfect. He is perfect. He is mighty and more intelligent than any other being! After all, He created the universe and all things, and holds them all together.
There are many verses in the bible referring to “Eternal Hell”.
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels”
10 “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
13 “The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
2 Thessalonians 1:9
9 “These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,”
7 “as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
2 Peter 2:17
17 “These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”
41 “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.“
As Matthew 13:42 says, “there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth”. If the lost are cast into the lake of fire and are burned up, totally annihilated, then why would there be any wailing and gnashing of teeth?
46 “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
There are many, many more verses of scripture, not taken out of context, have the meaning of “eternal” punishment. But what does eternal, forever and ever, and everlasting really mean? The original scriptures of the New Testament were written in Greek. Lets take a look.
The words “eternal”, “forever and ever”, and “everlasting” in Hebrew according to “hebrew4christians.com”:
The Hebrew word used is “Olam“
(oh-LAHM) n. Eternity; world. Also: everlastingness.
Original Word: עוֹלָם
Part of Speech: Noun Masculine
Phonetic Spelling: (o-lawm’)
Short Definition: forever
The Greek word used is “Aionios“.
Original Word: αἰώνιος, ία, ιον
Part of Speech: Adjective
Phonetic Spelling: (ahee-o’-nee-os)
Short Definition: eternal, unending
Definition: age-long, and therefore: practically eternal, unending; partaking of the character of that which lasts for an age, as contrasted with that which is brief and fleeting.
Strong’s Concordance and Hebrew4Christians both agree that the word used in the bible for “eternity”, “everlasting”, and “forever and ever” mean the same thing: forever, eternal, unending, eternity, everlasting.
Don’t believe me then look them up for yourself.
The point is that we must take the words and place them in the context of scripture to get the full meaning of the word. We must rightly divide the word of God.
2 Timothy 2:15
15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Jesus is telling us throughout the new testament that those who are not saved shall be cast into the lake of fire, have eternal punishment, and be separated from God forever. This is the theme of the new testament. Repent, accept Jesus Christ as Lord, or reap eternal punishment. It is the theme of Revelation as well. That’s what it’s all about, right, wrong, belief, unbelief, being with God, being without God, accepting Him or rejecting Him, obeying Him or rebelling against Him. Our universe has principles, universal principles, opposing principles: right and wrong, good and evil, love and hate, weak and strong, humble and proud, male and female, life and death, eternal heaven and eternal hell.
We have a choice to make, eternal life with God, or eternal hell without God.
There are many more bible verses using the word “aionios / aionion” or “eternal”, “everlasting”, and “forever and ever”, many of which pertain to the existence of God and our eternal life. This is the same word used in describing hell as eternal.
- John 6:47, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal (aionion) life.”
- John 10:28, “and I give eternal (aionion) life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.”
- Acts 13:48, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal (aionion) life believed.”
- Romans 2:7, “to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal (aionion) life.”
- Romans 5:21, “that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal (aionion) life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
- Rom. 16:26, ” but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal (aionion) God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith.”
- Gal. 6:8, “For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal (aionion) life.”
- 1 Tim. 6:16, “who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal (aionion) dominion! Amen.”
- 1 John 1:2, “and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal (aionion) life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us–“
- 1 John 5:11, “And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal (aionion) life, and this life is in His Son.”
Jesus also tells us of a story of Lazarus and the rich man. The rich man was sent to Hades and was tormented with fire, yet was not burned up. Think this is merely a fable? I don’t think so, I believe this to be a true story, that is why names are mentioned. Why else would He mention Lazarus by name?
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ “
Tormented with the flame, cool my tongue, sounds like what Hell would be like to me. A place of torment, separated from God, forever.
We are composed of a body, a soul, and a spirit. When the body dies the spirit is returned to God. This does not mean that we are no longer, but that we (our spirit) shall be judged by God. For God shall judge the righteous and the wicked.
7 “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
And the spirit will return to God who gave it.”
Why would Jesus Himself go to great lengths to inform us of Hell if it were not so? Why would He tell us that it is a place of eternal punishment if He did not want us to believe it? Why would the apostles tell us about Hell and warn us to fear Him who could send us their forever?! Why if it were not true?
I do not want to believe that Hell is a real place or that it is a place of eternal punishment. I cannot understand why God would do such a thing. But He tells me that it is and I believe Him. I do not know all of His ways, nor all of His thoughts. I do not second guess Him, nor will I. Mine is to trust in Him, to believe what He tells me. For His ways are greater than mine, His thoughts are higher than mine.
I know that God is the creator of all. That He is the smartest, the most powerful, the most loving, the most fair, the most forgiving, the most understanding of all that ever was or ever will be.
For us to say that God would not send someone to Hell for eternity because He is loving, peaceful, forgiving, and merciful, is no basis for not believing in Hell. Where are the scriptures that say otherwise? Where in the bible does it say that Hell is not eternal? Where in the bible does it say that God will not punish the wicked?
If the scriptures are flawed, if I cannot believe what the bible tells me, than what do I have? What else do I have to study in order to learn God’s ways? If the bible is not 100% accurate than I am just wasting my time. But I believe with all of my heart that it is true, 100%! I believe that my discernment of the scriptures regarding Hell is true also.
Believe what you will. Study the scriptures and ask God for discernment and enlightenment. Test what I have written against God’s word. See for yourself what God has to say about Hell.
We all have a journey to take. We all have choices to make. Making the right choice, believing what is true and what is not can make an eternity of difference, not only to us but to those who are lost.
God is not out to confuse us, but to inform us of what is coming, what is and what will be. If we are saved then we are His children and He wants us to be informed. If someone can prove to me that Hell is not real or that it is not eternal then God bless them! But I must stand on my convictions, on the word of God, and follow where the Holy Spirit leads me.
Let us not use scripture to meet our own will. Let us take scripture at its word and in context. This is most important. Please do not use the argument that because God is loving and kind that He could not send anyone to Hell for eternal punishment! That is your own opinion speaking, your own will.
Believe it or not, eternal Hell or not, if we are saved then we are all children of the most high God! Love one another, stay true to the faith, and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ! If you are saved then you should have no worries about Hell, on the other hand if you are unsaved you have a whole lot to worry about!
God Bless my friends, until next time!