The reality of Hell

In our modern day society hell is not topic that you will hear preached or talked about very often because many people today want to pretend that it doesn’t exist. In fact some religions groups such as the Jehovah Witnesses deny that Hell even exists. The reason why some don’t want believe in the horrible place called hell is because they cannot see how a loving God could send people to such a place. However, no matter how much people want Hell to be myth the Bible makes it very clear that this place does exist and those who are outside of Christ will find themselves there. Have you considered the fact that the Bible talks about punishment and hell around 5 times more than it does about rewards and heaven. Even Jesus himself spoke more about Hell than he did about heaven.

Since the Word of God emphasizes this place many times don’t you think that it important that we learn as much as we can about this horrible place and how to avoid it?

Now the first thing I want to do is to point out some different Greek words that are translated as hell or hades within our Bibles and to learn difference in words.

Now the Greek Word hades – mean the place of the unseen dead. When the Bible speaks of this place it talking about the waiting place that the soul goes to when a person dies. This place consist of 2 areas that are divided by impassible gulf. One area is described as Abraham Bosom or Paradise where the righteous will wait for the final judgment. The other place is described by the Greek word Tartaros where the wicked waits for their final judgment. I believe these 2 areas are a foretaste of what heaven will be like and what hell itself will be like. To help us gain a better understanding of what I am talking about in regards to this temporary waiting place known as Hades. We need to examine the story  of the rich man and Lazarus. 

Luke 16:19 " There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.  20 "But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,  21 "desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  22 "So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.  23 "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  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.'  25 "But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.  26 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'  27 "Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house,  28 'for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.'  29 "Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.'  30 "And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'  31 "But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.' "


The first thing we learn is that there was a rich man who was just living life to it fullest. He had everything a worldly man could want and we also that he was very self centered and only cared about himself. Then we also learn about this poor man named Lazarus. He did not have any worldly riches. In fact he was destitute and all he could do to survive to beg for help from others. We see that he was at the gate of this rich man just hoping that he would share some of the crumbs from his table but apparently this rich man was even to greedy to this. We see that Lazarus was in bad shape and had sores on his body. He must have been struggling with strength because allowed these dogs to come and lick his wounds.


So while living on the earth the rich man had it good and the poor man had it bad. But we learn from this story that is much more to life than what we live here on this earth. As the story continues on we learn that rich man and Lazarus dies. You no matter how rich or how poor you are we will face death on day and this story teaches us that everyone after they die there soul will be separated from the body and they will go to one or two place. The first place we see from our story is that the angels take Lazarus to this place called Abraham bosom and it tells us that the rich finds himself Hades as well but he is in a different area where he is being tormented. In fact he describes it as place full of flames.


I don’t know of any worse pain than that of being burned or any worse torment of being surrounded by unending fire. Now we to keep in mind that God can burn something without destroying it. For example, when the Angel of the Lord spoke to Moses out of the burning bush one of thing that Moses observed in Exodus 2:2 was that the bush was full of flames yet the bush was not consumed or burned up. Then you add the fact that a person soul never dies shows us how a person can continually be tormented forever.


We also learn from our text that in this waiting place that we are conscience. We can see just as the rich was able to see Abraham and Lazarus. We also learn that we communicate as the rich man cried to Abraham. We learn that all our senses our working as the rich man was experience the torment of flames and how he desired to have his tongue cooled by a drop of water from Lazarus. We also learn that Lazarus was able to experience what true comfort felt like after the hard life he lived while on the earth. Here we see a role reversal because now the rich men is begging for just a drop of water just like Lazarus had begged for the crumbs from rich man table. The difference is that Lazarus cannot give the rich man  anything because there is a great gulf that separates them.


Another thing that we learn from Abraham is that the rich man is going to have to think about he lived his life for the rest of eternity. Can you even begin to imagine how it would make you feel if you realized that you could of done things differently while you lived on the earth that would have kept from being in that awful place. Those who have made poor choices are all going to have plenty of time to think about those mistakes they made.


One last thing we learn from our story is that the rich man also can remember his family that this left behind on the earth and because he now knows the reality of his situation he desperately wants his family to know the truth about God so that they don’t have to come that horrible place. However learn that from Abraham that no one is one is going to come back alive from the dead to go warn his family and if that did happen they most likely would not believe that person. He concludes by basically saying that they have word God and that should be enough to persuade them because if it won’t nothing else will. So we learn from our story that when a person dies their soul either goes to Abraham’s bosom or this or place of torment where we will all wait for our finally judgment as either go to heaven or to hell.


Now real quickly I want to show where I get the idea that these 2 places in Hades are also called Paradise and tartaros.


First lets deal with the term Paradise. When Jesus was on the cross and the thief asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom Jesus responded to him and said,


Luke 23:43…"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."


You see when Jesus died his soul left his body and his soul went to Hades. Surely no one would every think that he went to the place of torment. So, from this I conclude that the place the Lazarus went to is also called Paradise.


Now lets look at the word tartaros.


2 Peter 2:4  For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;


This is the only time this Greek word is used in the Bible as we see translated as hell. Notice this also the place where the angels who have sinned are held until the day of judgment. So this is why I conclude that place where the rich man is also called tartaros. This passage also shows that this realm called Hades is a waiting place until the day of judgment occurs. Please note the following passage.


Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.  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.



You see at the day of Judgment Hades will give up the dead. Those who are written in the book of life will go to heaven and those not found in that book will be cast in the lake of fire which is the finally destination of all those who are wicked and have not obeyed the will of God. Please notice the words of John

John 5:28 "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice  29 "and come forth -- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.


According to Paul in 1 Cor. 15 it is at this time that we will receive or immortal bodies that will last throughout eternity and Mat. 25 Jesus says at this time that there will be a division between the righteous and the righteous and that there eternal destination will be sealed at that time.


Matthew 25:46"And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."


Now I want you to think about this for a minute. If the waiting place know as Hades was full of torment and it was just a preview of what was going to happen in the final place called hell then can you even begin to imagine how much worse actually hell will be or to even begin to imagine spending eternity there. Now that we have examined the waiting place now let take a look at what the Bible says about hell itself.


Now the Greek Word used to describe this place is Gehenna. This word is found twelve times in the Greek New Testament and  Jesus himself uses this word 11 times. It interesting to note that Jesus spoke of “hell” more frequently than he did of  “heaven.”

The word Gehenna comes from an Old Testament Hebrew expression, “the valley of Hinnom,” which was used to describe  a ravine on the southern side of Jerusalem. This valley was used by certain apostate Hebrews as a place where their children were offered into the fiery arms of the pagan god Molech (2 Chron. 28:3; 33:6; 2Kings 28:3). It was deemed  an area of suffering and weeping. When Josiah the king started going around and destroying the false idols this valley was considered as a site of dreadful abomination (2 Kgs. 23:10-14). It finally became the garbage dump of Jerusalem where there was a continual burning of waste.

When  Jesus would teach people about things such as heaven or hell he always used something that they could relate to in the 1st century and so he used this term Ghenna to describe where the sinner would end up and horrible it would be. Now of course mere words can only come close to describing how dark and terrifying hell will be. Now one will now the true horrors of Hell until they get there and hopeful none of will find our way there.


Now lets take a look at some more passages that talk about this horrible place called hell. Fist note what Jesus said.

Matthew 5:29 "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.  30 "And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.


Now Jesus is not literally saying that we should cut parts of our body but he makes this statement to show how important it is for us to get the sin out our life no matter what the cost because no sin is worth the Horrors of Hell. This teaches us that we must take sin very serious and not allow it to drag us down to the pits of hell. In another place where Jesus was teaching the parable about tares and the wheat he conclude by saying.


Matthew 13:41 "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.


Now this idea of wailing and gnashing of teeth is something that happens when someone is great discomfort and the only thing they can do from torment they are is to cry and gnash there teeth in pain. Again notice another point that Jesus makes about hell.


Mark 9:43 "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched --  44 "where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.'  45 "And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched --  46 "where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.'  47 "And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire --  48 "where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.'


Here we see Jesus is describing this awful place where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. This teaches us that those who find themselves in this place will never die but will have remain in this fire that can never be quenched. I cant even begin to imagine of the pain of being burned or exposed to fire over and over again with no end in sight. You some people who struggle with the health and feel miserable they long to leave this world so no longer will suffer the pain they are going through right now. But just try to imagine being tormented in hell a never being able to escape the suffering that will be there.


Mat. 25:30 describes hell as place of outer darkness

Mat. 25:46 say that is a place of everlasting punishment.

Rev. 21:8 describes it as lake burns with fire and brimstone.


Finally take a look at what,


Revelation 14:10 "he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.  11 "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."


You see there is no rest in horrible place. Those who are opposed to God will be tormented fire and brimstone and notice it says the smoke of their torment ascends for every and ever. So, please realize the Hell is a reality and no one should want to go there but unfortunately many will.


Matthew 7:13 " 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.


We learned last week that heaven is a prepared for a prepared people. We in the same vain Hell is prepared place for unprepared people.


Matthew 25:41 "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:


So not only is Hell prepared for the devil and his angels it prepared for all those who do not choose to obey God.


2 Thessalonians 1:7 when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,  8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,


Every single person who disobeys God word will go to this horrible place. Paul gives us an general list of those who will end up in hell in,


Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,  20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,  21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 


There will even be a great number of people who claim to be religious there because they have never fully obeyed God’s word.


Matthew 7:21 " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'  23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'


We also learn from the Bible that there will be Christians the end up in this bad place if they are not living faithfully to God and they lukewarm in their Christianity.


Revelation 3:15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.  16 "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.


Here Jesus was writing to a church and he wanted them to know the being Lukewarm is not acceptable to God and unless they repent he will vomit them out of his mouth. So this teaches us that we must not become lazy in our Christianity because Jesus promises us a crown of righteous only if we are faithful until the end.


Revelation 2:10 "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.


This tells us that we must be very careful to stay committed to the Lord and serving him. This is why I believe Paus tells us,


Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;


1 Corinthians 9:27  But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.


In this lesson this morning we have learned a great deal about this place called hell and how horrible it is. We have learned how important it is  that we must be faithful Christians in order to avoid the pits of hell.


Now one last point I want to make is that knowing about the reality of hell should motivate us to teach the lost of God saving Grace so that they can have the opportunity to escape the torments of hell. This was something that certainly motivated Paul.


2 Corinthians 5:9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.  10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;


Paul and the rest of the apostles knew full well that everyone will be judged and those who are not of God will have to face the terrors of the Lord and this is one of the reasons that motivated them to share the good news to those around them and to warn them that if they do not choose to serve God they will face that horrible place called hell. Every Christian should be motivated by this. When we start feeling scared about trying to talk to someone about God and what they may think about us we need to overcome our fears by thinking of where these people are going to go if they do not obey Gods will.


It important that they understand that they must first become Christians first before they every begin to hope to escape the torments of hell. They need to know that must believe that Jesus is the son God. They must be willing repent of their life style and start living their living their life for God. They must confess Jesus as the Lord. Then finally in order for a person to become a Christians and have sins washed away they must be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of their sins. It only when they do all of these things and understand that they will become a Christian. Then they need to be taught that once they become a child of God their journey has just begun because as we talked about earlier we must remain faithful and committed to God until the day we die overcome the torments of hell.


I hope this lesson has shown you without a doubt the hell is real and that if we want to avoid it we must obey the will of God.