Saturday, January 29

What Did Jesus Say About Hell?

Too often, Hell is a subject - and a place - not seriously taken into consideration. Yet the Bible mentions this place many times, especially in the four gospels found in the New Testament. Hell is mentioned all throughout the Bible, and as we know that Jesus is God, we can ensure that what he tells us about Hell is true. What did Jesus say on this subject? (See entry: "Is Jesus Really God?". Photo credit to: UCB)

Hell itself is "the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41, NIV, see entry: "Why Was Hell Created?") However, when Satan fell, (Isaiah 14:12-20, Ezekiel 28:12-17, Luke 10:18, etc) he entered into the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve, our ancestors, dwelled. Disguising himself as a snake, Satan approached Eve and made her question God's command not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

This was before there was any sin. However, "when the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves." (Genesis 3:6-7) In that moment, God's perfect creation became corrupted by sin. (See entry: "Satan and the Origin of Evil")

Romans 6:23 tells us, "...the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." With each passing generation, sin has become more and more invasive. Once man sinned, this caused condemnation for all to eternal torment in Hell. Why? "...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:23) When Adam and Eve sinned, their sin required atonement for them to be cleansed of that sin: necessitating a Savior.

God the Son, who took the name of Jesus during his time on Earth around 2000 years ago, came to pay the penalty. When He died on a Roman cross on Golgotha, God the Father had to turn his face from Jesus, so that every sin, past, present and future of humanity, would be placed upon him, and He bore the iniquity of us all. We truly have all broken God's Commandments (see entry: "The Ten Commandments - Have We Followed Them All?"), and "whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." (James 2:10)

It is because of our sin that we are sentenced to Hell. God sends no one to Hell, we send ourselves there by the choices that we make, as we are all given free will. If we did not have free will, we would have no real choices, no real emotions, we would all effectively be robots. Without Christ, we are unable to enter into Heaven, and therefore we enter in Hell upon death. What exactly did Jesus tell us about this place? Is it real? Is the fire literal? The answer to both are yes.

Mark 9:43-48 says, "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." *Note: This does not mean go out and mutilate yourself.

Jesus indeed does say much about Hell. There are forty-six verses in which Jesus speaks on Hell, this is not counting any of the Old Testament nor the remainder of the New Testament, though not all will be presented here. "...anyone who says, 'You fool!" will be in danger of the fire of Hell." (Matthew 5:22) "For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14) "But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:12)

Jesus continues, "Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."Matthew 10:28) In hell, people are not merely there in spirit, but in bodily form. Their senses are greatly increased, there is a foul odor, screams, the heat is unbearable, the people are always thirsty, always hungry, their desires (sex, drugs, etc) are multiplied and never fulfilled, there is a pervading fear, you have no strength, no rest nor sleep, no mercy, no water, no life, you are naked, you do not have time to get lost in your thoughts, and there is no purpose - all is over, lost, gone.[1]

There are many other verses on Hell. "...and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:50) There are those who believe that people who end up in Hell are either annihilated (Annihilationism) or are eventually saved out of Hell, having served time. (Universalism) However, both views are not biblically sound. Even from the aforementioned verses, it is evident that Hell is eternal torment, not annihilation nor eventual rescue. This is why it is so important to be saved from Hell.

Consider Matthew 25:46, "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." John 10:28 makes it clear that life for followers of Christ is eternal, and Revelation 20:10 makes it clear that life in Hell is eternal, non-stop, never-ending. Revelation 20:15 is one of the saddest verses found in God's Word. "All whose names were not found written in the book of life were thrown into the lake of fire." Revelation 21:8 continues, "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars - they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur."

Jesus does tell us more in the Gospels. Time and time again He describes the "weeping and gnashing of teeth," the "eternal fire," the "outer darkness," the "worm [that] does not die, and the fire is not quenched." He also makes it clear that Hell is not temporal, but eternal. It is a hard concept to grasp, and indeed it is difficult to imagine eternal pain, yet it is occurring even as this is written, an eerie and terrible thought.

Mark 3:29 reveals, "But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin." In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus reveals not a parable but an account of a man named Lazarus, a Rich Man, and Abraham. Now, the general belief is that Hell is located either in the "heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40) or in another dimension. Those who have claimed to have been shown Hell and lived to tell the world about the truth of its existence claim that Hell is located in the core of the earth. There are 52 verses that refer to the location. (For more on this subject, see entry: "Location of Hell: Harrowing of Hell")[2]

Luke 16:19-31 gives the following account. "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. [This was at the paradise section, before Jesus died, no one could enter into Heaven.] The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades [Hell], where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire. But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.' He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' He said to them, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced if someone rises from the dead.'"

If we do not believe the Bible (Moses and the Prophets make up most of the Old Testament), how then will we ever believe? There are, as stated, many other verses on Hell. Ezekiel 26:20 for example, says, "When I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit, with the people of old time, and shall set thee in the low parts of the earth, in places desolate of old, with them that go down to the pit..." Psalm 140:10, "Let the burning coals fall upon them; let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they may not rise up again."

The point of this entry is not to cause resentment or similar feelings, but to show that Hell is not a mythological place. Many people who have been shown clinically dead and then revived describe experiences of Hell. (For example, the experience of Bill Wiese, see here.) Hell is truly a literal place, and an eternal destination, one which I would not recommend to anyone, no matter who you are or what you may have done.

The good news is that the Creator entered into His Creation to atone for our sins, for the darkness inside of us all. How then can we be saved from this eternal destination, and change our destination to Heaven? "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and if you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9) 1st John 1:9 continues, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 

According to Dave Hunt in Defense of Faith, "We may rest assured that no one will suffer in hell who could by any means have been won to Christ in this life. God leaves no stone unturned to rescue all who would respond to the convicting and wooing of the Holy Spirit. As for the fate of [the damned] being eternal, it could not be otherwise. Death is not the cessation of existence but the continuation of the eternal being with which God lovingly endowed man--but now in painful separation from God and all else in utter darkness and loneliness."[3]

Thank you for reading this entry of "The Truth." Feel free to email vexx801@yahoo.com or thetruth.ministryweb@gmail.com if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, comment below, (but please remain civil) visit the facebook page, or visit the Ministry homepage. Take care, and may God bless. Troy Hillman

Sources:
[1] Wiese, Bill. Hell: Separate Truth From Fiction And Get Your Toughest Questions Answered. 1st ed. 1. Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2008. 291-294. Print.
[2] Ibid. 303-306
[3] Hunt, Dave. In Defense of the Faith. 1st ed. Harvest House Publishers, 1996. Print.

25 comments:

  1. Hello, I new something like demons existed, was born a Roman Catholic and have always believed in Christ, however something made me open the door to hell, it was concern for someone whom had died, they sent a demon after me, but only the name of the Lord Jesus Christ repelled it. I know it sounds like hogwash.....but I was curious about my experience so when I went on YouTube to see if others had had hell like ex[eriences I was gobsmacked to find the current claims of Bill Weiss and the like, especially as they claim Jesus showed them these things, I have also had two very old figures in white appear to me and give me a personal message(you do not need to know what it was) at first it seemed like a hopeless message but when I hear the reallity of hell , I know it was a hopefull message, I first thought it was St. Peter and St Paul.....but I have had more the impression that its was Moses and his brother.....anyway, thought I'd share this with your'l..........Heaven and Hell, I believe and have good reason to do so, are Very Real

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    1. The reality of hell cannot be seen except that is found in Jesus' word the Bible. Do not let your feelings or concious or any others that does not come from the Bible. Only one passage is described about hell which is in Luke 16:19-31 and that is the truth how to describe hell and by imagining.

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    2. Tony,
      Indeed, hell is described in Luke 16:19-31, however it is not the only place in Scripture where hell is described. In the oldest manuscripts available, sheol appears around 65 times; the KJV translates sheol as "hell" 31 times, 31 times as "grave," and 3 times as "pit." Hell is described in Mark 9:43, "hell, where the fire never goes out" and 9:48, "where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched'" which is itself a quotation of Isaiah 66:24. We read about Hell (Tartarus) in 2nd Peter 2:4, "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment". Revelation depicts Hell as an abyss filled by flame, and when "death and Hades [are] thrown into the lake of fire" (21:14), the location is described as being in "the fiery lake of burning sulfur." There are numerous other instances in both the Old and New Testament, but this ought to suffice. Also, to say that the reality of Hell cannot be seen apart from Jesus' words is perhaps ruling out God. God may very well intervene in individual's lives and show them Hell itself, and said people may use such experiences to lead other to what Scripture says. There is nothing to gain by claiming to have seen hell, and while we should take such experiences with a grain of salt it is worth giving an ear to. Thank you again for taking the time to comment.

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  2. Quoting ¶ para.10 [...and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 10:50)] Matthew 10 has 42 verses. This must be a typo for MT 13:50.
    I discovered that typo because I am searching for "Jesus said" judgment comments. I did find this interesting thing about the Lazarus story though: http://twistingtruth.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/the-rich-man-and-lazarus-%E2%99%A6-part-1/

    (It is actually a two-parter.)

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  3. Anonymous,
    You are correct, thank you for pointing that out. I will be sure to correct that error. Thank you for your comment.
    God bless.
    -Troy Hillman-

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  4. What did Jesus say about heaven and hell?

    Jesus said the kingdom of God (or the kingdom of heaven) is within you. Paul wrote “In Him we live and move and have our being”.

    Jesus’ references to “hell” are referring to “gehenna” in reference to the destruction of the Jerusalem temple at the end of the old covenant age in AD70.

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  5. Jimmy,
    Having looked over your website, it is proper your respond to your claims. Your brief article states, "Jesus said the kingdom of God (or the kingdom of heaven) is within you. Paul wrote 'In Him we live and move and have our being'. Jesus’ references to 'hell' are referring to 'gehenna in reference to the destruction of the Jerusalem temple at the end of the old covenant age in AD 70. Since then, we are living in the new heavens and new earth, where God has become all in all. We are one with God – in fact, Jesus said we are gods. (Psalm 82) He has come to reveal our true identity in Him – Christ in us, the hope of glory. This is the mystery of Christ that ought to be preached to every man and woman on earth."

    We respectfully disagree. You state that Jesus says heaven is within us, yet proceed to quote - not Jesus, but Paul. On the same note, Paul simply states, "For in him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). First of all, Paul is quoting the Cretan philosopher Epimenides. Second, Paul later refers to the judgment of the dead (Acts 17:30-31). If sin does not exist, why would there need to be a judgment? Simply put, Paul is not stating that heaven is within us. Clearly, Paul considered heaven to be a literal place (2nd Corinthians 12:2-5). Hebrews 11:16 also refers to the heavenly country, where God "has prepared a city for them," and the author evidently also believed in a literal Heaven.

    Instead, by "in him we live and move and have our being," it harkens back to passages such as 1st John 5:11-12, "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." Also, all things were "created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:16-17). In other words, we must "live and move and have our being" in Jesus because without living "in him," we cannot have eternal life. He makes this clear (John 10:9; 14:6, etc.).

    As for the reference to Gehenna, the Greek word gehenna is used in the New Testament for hell and is derived from the Hebrew word hinnom. Originally Ge bene Hinnom ("the valley of the sons of Hinnom), Gehenna is a deep, narrow glen to the south of the city of Jerusalem. This is where idolatrous Jews offered their children as a sacrifice to Molech (2nd Chronicles 28:3; Jeremiah 7:31, etc). Afterward, the valley became the common place for all of the waste in the city. Dead bodies of criminals, dead animals, different kinds of filth, and other wastes were dumped here and were consumed by the fire that was always kept burning. Following this, it became a symbol for the place of eternal destruction. It was in this was that Jesus used it as a example of what Hell would be like. Gehenna was not in reference to the destruction of the Temple - this is referred t elsewhere. The references are made in citing examples of what Hell would be like. While you openly deny the existence of Hell on your website, it is a very real place. I do not wish it to exist anymore than you likely do. Another issue that then arises is - if Jesus was actually referring to the temple, what is meant by "the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41)?

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  6. You proceed to state that we now live in a new heavens and a new earth. However, the new heavens and the new earth described in passages such as Isaiah 65 and Revelation 21-22 are very dissimilar to the world we live in now. New Jerusalem has not descended to earth, there is no peace among the nations, God does not yet dwell with us (Zechariah 2:10-11, 14:4-19; Revelation 21:3), there is still a sea, contrary to the new heavens and new earth described in Revelation 21-22, we still need the sun and the moon to shine, contrary to the depiction in Revelation 21:23, there is no river of the water of life or street made of gold transparent glass, among other things. Evidently, we do not live in this golden age.

    Finally, you cite Psalm 82 which Jesus quotes in John 10:34, which says, “Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are ‘gods’’?” Examining the context, this is where Jesus claims to be God (10:30), and His audience understood that, saying, “you, a mere man, claim to be God” (10:33), and for this they wanted to stone him (10:31). But did Jesus actually mean that we are gods? According to GQ Ministries:

    “Let’s start with a look at Psalm 82, the psalm that Jesus quotes in John 10:34. The Hebrew word translated ‘gods’ in Psalm 82:6 is Elohim. It usually refers to the one true God, but it does have other uses. Psalm 82:1 says, ‘God presides in the great assembly; he gives judgment among the gods.’ It is clear from the next three verses that the word ‘gods’ refers to magistrates, judges, and other people who hold positions of authority and rule. Calling a human magistrate a ‘god’ indicates three things: 1) he has authority over other human beings, 2) the power he wields as a civil authority is to be feared, and 3) he derives his power and authority from God Himself, who is pictured as judging the whole earth in verse 8.

    This use of the word ‘gods’ to refer to humans is rare, but it is found elsewhere in the Old Testament. For example, when God sent Moses to Pharaoh, He said, ‘See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh’ (Exodus 7:1). This simply means that Moses, as the messenger of God, was speaking God’s words and would therefore be God’s representative to the king. The Hebrew word Elohim is translated ‘judges’ in Exodus 21:6 and 22:8, 9, and 28. [cont'd]

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  7. The whole point of Psalm 82 is that earthly judges must act with impartiality and true justice, because even judges must stand someday before the Judge. Verses 6 and 7 warn human magistrates that they, too, must be judged: ‘I said, `You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High.' But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler.’ This passage is saying that God has appointed men to positions of authority in which they are considered as gods among the people. They are to remember that, even though they are representing God in this world, they are mortal and must eventually give an account to God for how they used that authority.

    Now, let’s look at how Jesus uses this passage. Jesus had just claimed to be the Son of God (John 10:25-30). The unbelieving Jews respond by charging Jesus with blasphemy, since He claimed to be God (verse 33). Jesus then quotes Psalm 82:6, reminding the Jews that the Law refers to mere men—albeit men of authority and prestige—as ‘gods.’ Jesus’ point is this: you charge me with blasphemy based on my use of the title ‘Son of God’; yet your own Scriptures apply the same term to magistrates in general. If those who hold a divinely appointed office can be considered “gods,” how much more can the One whom God has chosen and sent (verses 34-36)?

    In contrast, we have the serpent’s lie to Eve in the Garden. His statement, ‘your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’ (Genesis 3:5), was a half-truth. Their eyes were opened (verse 7), but they did not become like God. In fact, they lost authority, rather than gaining it. Satan deceived Eve about her ability to become like the one true God, and so led her into a lie. Jesus defended His claim to be the Son of God on biblical and semantic grounds—there is a sense in which influential men can be thought of as gods; therefore, the Messiah can rightly apply the term to Himself. Human beings are not ‘gods’ or ‘little gods.’ We are not God. God is God, and we who know Christ are His children.”[1]

    Be careful not to fall into the same deceit by which our ancestors fell into. Satan himself tried to overthrow God and become “like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:15), our ancestors at Babel tried to do essentially the same thing (Genesis 11:4), and we continue to repeat this mistake to this day. New Age doctrine teaches that you can find “Christ consciousness,” Mormonism teaches that if you are devout enough, you can become a god over your own planet (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345-347, 354; D&C 132:20), and surprisingly, the Catholic Catechism appears to teach a similar concept to becoming gods (460:80-81).

    Thank you again for taking the time to comment, Jimmy. Take care, and my God bless you.

    [1] "What does the Bible mean by “you are gods” / "ye are gods" in Psalm 82:6 and John 10:34?." Got Questions.org. Got Questions Network, n.d. Web. 21 Dec 2011.

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  8. Troy in reference to Gehenna you state "it became a symbol for the place of eternal destruction" Yet I wonder if you fully understand the meaning of your own words? The very definition of destroy is "to put out of existence." If Jesus used Gehenna as an example of "hell" then it would NOT actually be eternal torment but a destruction of the body and soul. Those destined for hell then would just cease to exist. Also, John 3:16 says that those who believe in Christ "shall not perish, but have everlasting life." Again, perish would not be eternal torment. Even those in "hell" would have eternal life would they not? Therefore it makes more sense that those who believe in Christ will continue on to have everlasting eternal life with Him, while those who do not will perish and be thrown into the lake of fire ie Gehenna, the second death, and be destroyed completely.

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  9. Anonymous,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment. If you are Jimmy, I also appreciate the reply. However, citing my evidently poor wording does not prove your point. The definition of destroy can mean to put out of existence, but it can also mean "to reduce to useless fragments, a useless form; to render ineffective or useless."[1] Indeed, Jesus used Gehenna as a metaphor for hell (note that the fire in the valley was always kept lit). Contrary to the claims of some, the Bible is very clear that Hell is eternal, and that those in it are very aware. What you are proposing is Annihilationism, a concept not taught in Scripture.

    Sin, as taught by Scripture, requires an infinite payment. As finite beings, we cannot pay this, which is why the infinite being (God the Son) had to pay for our past, present and future sins. This is why those in hell are never able to pay in full for their sins, because the punishment is infinite and unattainable by finite beings, which we are. While you may believe that it "makes more sense," the teaching is on shaky foundations.

    Annihilationism is the teaching that those who have not accepted Jesus will cease to exist at death. If this teaching is correct, then it follows that men such as Herod the Great or Adolph Hitler, responsible for numerous deaths, will simply be punished by ceasing to exist. This, however, is not justice, but a cop-out. This teaching was initiated by John Scott, who admitted that he simply found the concept of an eternal hell "emotionally... intolerable." While Scott did not originate the concept, he ignited the modern concept. The view is also called conditional immorality or conditionalism.

    If people in hell simply cease to exist, why did Jesus die? What was He saving us from, if there is no suffering involved? According to R.T. Kendall, "When John the Baptist warned people to 'flee from the wrath' (Matt. 3:7) - arguably the first message of the New Testament, and eternal punishment was exactly what he meant – his warning made sense. I doubt people would run from coming wrath with much concern if they knew in advance it meant only annihilation.”[2] Matthew 25:36, often used in support of Annihilationism, says that the wicked will be in “everlasting punishment” and the “righteous into eternal life.” The same identical word is used for both everlasting and eternal, in Greek the word is aionios. If eternal life lasts forever, then it stands to reason that so too does everlasting, or eternal, punishment. It is inconsistent to accept one without the other. In fact, the word everlasting is used to describe the eternality of God in 1st Timothy 1:17, lending further credence to the notion that the Greek word means the same in each case. It should have been translated the same when it was translated into English. Matthew 25:41 calls hell the “eternal fire,” and Revelation 14:10-11 describes it as a place where “the smoke of their torment ascends for ever and ever” (see also Revelation 20:10-15).

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  10. The same word for eternal and everlasting is used of several other things in the New Testament. If the word does not mean eternal, then God would not be eternal. Hebrews 9:14 calls he Holy Spirit the “eternal spirit,” Mark 3:29 describes “eternal damnation,” Hebrews 6:2 describes “eternal judgment,” and Jude 7 describes “eternal fire.” Another verse often used in support of this fallacious doctrine is Matthew 10:28, which reads, “Fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body.” But as noted, destroy does not always mean annihilate. According to Walter Martin, “In Matthew 10:28, he coupled Gehenna with apolesai, which Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines as ‘to be delivered up to eternal misery. Gehenna, then, symbolizes eternal separation and conscious punishment for the spiritual nature of the unregenerate man.”[3] Then of course comes John 3:16, as you had already cited, which you stated meant that “perish would not be eternal torment.”

    “Regarding the Greek word apollumi, which is translated ‘perish’ in John 3:16, there is no use of the word in the New Testament that clearly indicates annihilation… If the New Testament writers wanted to make it clear that they meant annihilation they should have used the Greek word ekmedenisis *which clearly means ‘annihilation) or ekmedenizo (‘to annihilate’) – words that were in use then. Furthermore, there are times when apollumi (or the noun form, apoleia) could not mean ‘annihilation.’ For example, when some complained about the expensive perfume being poured on Jesus, they asked, ‘Why this waste?’ (apoleia, the noun form of apollumi). ‘The perfume is wasted,’ they said. That is hardly annihilation. A modern equivalent is when an insurance company regards a wrecked car as a write-off. It is now waste.”[4] In 2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9, another alleged “proof text,” the Greek word olethros clearly means “ruining,” and not annihilation. The destruction will indeed be everlasting, as the body is always dying, but never dead. One may burn up in the fire, but their flesh will grow back, and the process continues. The word used in Revelation 14:11 for forever is aion, meaning “eternity, age, time period.” If it does not mean forever, then verses such as “Christm and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15), “swore by Him who lives forever and ever” (Rev. 10:6), and others do not actually mean for “eternity.”

    Lastly, another text cited to support this doctrine is John 3:36. It mentions that “he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” However, the word for abides is the Greek word, menei. It appears elsewhere in the New Testament, denoting a continuous action (cf. John 1:33, 2:12, 8:31, 15:9). Now, physically, Annihilationism is not likely. The 1st Law of Thermodynamics essentially states that matter cannot be created or destroy (by natural, not supernatural means), something which some cite as evidence for the soul. If this is the case, your personality, or being, must go somewhere after death, and cannot be “destroyed” or “annihilated.” Why would God destroy something which He created? 1st Corinthians 5:5 says, “Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved.” Also, 1st Timothy 6:9 says, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” In other words, “destruction” is used in both passages, but it does not mean “to cease to exist; annihilate.” The word “everlasting,” used of hell in several places, is also used in 2nd Peter 2:11, “the everlasting kingdom of our Lord,” and John 6:40, “…and believes in Him may have everlasting life…” If the word does not mean eternal (and it indeed does in the Greek), then it would mean that “eternal life” is not actually eternal.

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  11. There are many other points we could examine and passages we could review, however, hopefully the point has been made. Jesus mentioned hell in forty-six verses, and hell is also clearly understood by the great church leaders and fathers to have been eternal. Augustine, for example, said, “Hence, because the eternal life of the saints will be endless, the eternal punishment also, for those condemned to it, will assuredly have no end.”[5] John Calvin, Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, and others accepted an eternal hell. According to Thomas Aquinas, “We set aside the error of those who say that the punishment of the wicked are to be ended at some time… Now a sin that is against God is infinite; the higher a person against whom it is committed, the graver the sin – it is more criminal to strike a head of state than a private citizen – and God is of infinite greatness. Therefore an infinite punishment is deserved for a sin committed against Him.”[6] As some have pointed out, Isaiah 14:9-10 says that those in Hell “shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou become weak as we?” How can a non-existent being “speak” or “say anything if they have ceased to exist? From Ezekiel 32:21-27, we can glean that those “in the midst of hell” can speak, bare shame, “put in the midst of them” (signifying existence), and still has their bones. Clearly, if they no longer existed, this would not be possible. In Luke 16:22-30, Abraham, who was in paradise, spoke to the rich man in Sheol. The rich man was aware of his suffering, and remembered his life and family, and also said “I am tormented in this flame” (16:24). If he had ceased to exist, how could he speak, remember, and be tormented?

    If Luke 16 was actually a parable, as some claim, it is the only parable in which a character is named. As Jesus spoke more about hell than he did heaven, it would be wise of us to pay heed to what he said and attempt to save as many people as we can while we remain on the earth. To be clear, I do not like the doctrine of hell any more than anyone else, but I must concede that, as said by Dr. Bruce W. Dunn, "Fire burns. Gravity kills. Water drowns. And you can say, "God is love, God is love, God is love," until you're blue in the face. But water will still drown you, fire will burn you, and gravity will kill you, and sin will damn you no matter how much you say about a loving God. God just set up life that way. He set up the rules. He set up the laws by which we are to live. And if we break those laws, they break us, and we pay the consequences."[7] If God is a good, fair God, as taught in the Bible, then we would expect Him to enact justice.

    As put by Chuck Colson, "In a sense, the concept of hell gives meaning to our lives. It tells us that the moral choices we make day by day have eternal significance, that our behavior has consequences lasting to eternity, that God Himself takes our choices seriously. The doctrine of hell is not just some dusty theological holdover from the Middle Ages. It has significant social consequences. Without a conviction of ultimate justice, people's sense of moral obligation dissolves, and social bonds are broke. Of course, these considerations are not the most important reason to believe in hell. Jesus repeatedly issued warnings that if we turn away from God in this life, we will be alienated from God eternally. And yet, although "the wages of sin is death," Paul also says that "the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). While breath remains, it is never too late to turn to God in repentance, and when we ask for forgiveness, God eagerly grants it."[8]

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  12. Lastly, the infamous writer and apologist C.S. Lewis once said, “I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside. All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened. And yourself, in a dark hour, may will [a grumbling] mood, embrace it. Ye can repent and come out of it again. But there may come a day when you can do that no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood...”[9] Thank you again for taking the time to comment, but it is the belief of The Truth Ministries that the Bible teaches that the soul will exist in either one of two destinations in eternity: heaven or hell. If someone were to accept God’s love but not His justice, then that individual would essentially be breaking the second commandment, by creating for themself an image of God which fits what they want Him to be. But God is a god of love, and He is a just, righteous God. Heaven and Hell are very real, and it could also be argued by some that alleged NDE’s are “evidence” of this fact, with some having claimed to have been shown Hell, but that is an entirely different discussion. Since Hell exists, we should feel the urge to share truth with others, because as someone once put, “we are not on a pleasure cruise going to Heaven, but on a battleship at the gates of Hell trying to prevent anyone from going there.” Thank you again, and may God bless you.

    [1] "destroy." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 27 Dec. 2011.
    [2] Kendall, R.T.. Out of Your Comfort Zone. 84. Print.
    [3] Martin, Walter. The Kingdom of the Cults. 582. Print.
    [4] Ibid, [2]. 81.
    [5] As quoted in Peterson. Hell on Trial. 107. Print.
    [6] Ibid, 108-109.
    [7] Dunn, Bruce W. "HELL - How can a God of love send anybody to Hell?." Christian Answers Network. Christian Answers Network, 1999. Web. 23 Jan 2011.
    [8] Colson, Chuck. Answers to Your Kids' Questions. Prison Fellowship Ministries, 2000. Print.
    [9] Lewis, C.S. The Quotable Lewis. 1st ed. Tyndale, 1989. Print.

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  13. Oh when will you Christians give up this silly, silly nonsense?

    No one knows if hell exists. NO ONE. Christianity came about during the bronze age. I think it's time to come to terms with the fact that it doesnt know what happens in the afterlife any more than the Greeks or Romans or Native Americans or Eskimos or ancient Chinese or Mayans did.

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  14. Adam,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment. Feel free to disagree, is that is your individual belief, but not necessarily truth, though conversely, the same could be said of myself. However, simply because belief about truth is different does not change truth itself. If Hell does exist, then your belief about it does not negate its existence. If however, as you claim, it does not exist, then your belief agrees with the truth. But your personal belief does not affect truth any more than a belief in a flat world would change the truth that it is round (or an oblate spheroid, to be precise).

    You stated, "No one knows if hell exists." Well, if no one knows, then by calling it "silly nonsense" and essentially implying that there is no afterlife is self-defeating. Why? Because by implying that no one knows, you are indirectly implying that you must know something about it, in which case your claim would be self-defeating. Second, your history is incorrect. Christianity did not come about in the Bronze Age, which would have been, by simple geography, the Near-East area(c.4000 BC-1200 BC).

    Christianity began with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, which was during the 1st century AD. The Native Americans, Mayans, Eskimos and Chinese are of Asian descent, and the Greeks and Romans shared a common nationality. If you stated that "there is no afterlife," you would then be stating a universal negative, requiring all of the knowledge in the universe to make that statement. It would, conversely, require all the knowledge in the universe to state as a fact that there is an afterlife, but to imply that we can learn nothing of it is misrepresented and fallacious at best.

    Not also that appealing to emotion, a potential fallacy i.e. "silly, silly nonsense" is simply a manipulation of my emotions rather than an appeal to logic. There are several lines of reasoning where we may demonstrate an existence of an afterlife, which, if you'd like, we could engage in privately, as it would depend on your personal beliefs which would be better discussed in private. If not, there is also no issue. Now, one potential point that some have pointed out is physical/material nature and its relation to "being." Plato had his Platonic forms, Solomon spoke of the soul, and if I recollect correctly, so did Homer. While the following dips into a bit of Platonic Dualism, it is useful in the contention:

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  15. Derived from theologyweb: "I want you to consider the question I asked an angry student when I gave a lecture at a local college. He completely rejected the idea that any religious claims could ever be justified--including the existence of the soul--because they weren't scientific, so I asked him when he was born. '1975.' 'What day?' 'May 1.' 'So you were born on May 1, 1975?' 'That's right.' Then I asked my follow-up question. 'Is the body you possess today the same body you had on May 1, 1975?' He balked at first, but it's clear that his physical body was quite a bit larger now, had a different appearance, and many other different qualities. More to the point, it was made up of different physical stuff. The molecules in our bodies are almost completely exchanged every seven years or so. At age 21, this young man had had at least three entirely different physical bodies. Just like my deck, his body was not the same body anymore, even though its parts had been replaced piece by piece.

    I then pointed out the conclusion that was beginning to dawn on everyone in the gallery, including him. 'If you were born on May 1, 1975, and the physical body in front of me right now did not even exist as a physical body in 1975, then you are not your physical body, are you?' What is it about human beings that allows us to maintain our identity over time--such that we can say we're still ourselves--even when we go through such radical physical changes that we can have entirely different bodies over a period of years? It can't be anything physical. Why? Our bodies are changing constantly. All our physical parts are replaced piece by piece over the years. If this student can possess completely different bodies (physically speaking) over time and still be himself, then his real self cannot be physical. It isn't my memory, either. I don't remember being conceived or being born. My first recollection is of my second birthday when I got bumped by a pick-up truck and broke my leg. But my existence didn't begin on my second birthday when my memories began. Further, if I lost my memory tomorrow, would I cease to exist? If I had a Vulcan mind-meld and got your memories, would I be you? If so, then who would you be? Our souls are the non-physical things that sustain our identities over time, even though our physical bodies grow up and grow old. Here's the important point: If there is no soul, then you aren't the same one who was born on your birthday. There is a different you at every moment, with every change of your physical body. But you know you've been the same self for your entire lifetime. Therefore, you must be a soul and not a body."[1]

    Indeed, the discussion can be carried on further if necessary. Shall we continue, then?

    [1] Koukl, Greg. "Evidence for the Soul." theologyweb. Stand to Reason, 19 Nov 2004. Web. 6 Jan 2012.

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  16. *To note, while it is true that Judaism began B.C., and Christianity has its roots in Judaism, Christianity itself did not begin until the 1st century AD, and not in the "Bronze Age."

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  17. ....I read your background on the bottom of this page. You said that thinking about God everyday wouldn't save you. What will save me? I came across this because I'm worried about the final destination of my soul. I believe in Jesus and his purpose but I do things I know are wrong, all the time. My mom saw a video of a psychic being overtaken by the spirit of a Korean celebrity who committed suicide. The spirit spoke through the psychic, hysterically, long enough to warn us that she made a huge mistake by taking her life and ended up in Hell. It bothered me alot! I never worried about my salvation until that. My pastor told me I shouldn't worry if I believe in Christ and his fulfilled, Earthly purpose. Even if I truly believe, will my sin send my soul to Hell anyway? The celebrity was known to be a Christian, not the textbook Christian but one nonetheless.

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  18. "Scared,"
    Thank you for taking the time to comment. Allow me to clarify on my past frame of mind: I was in a position where I had never truly been saved, though I called myself a Christian. I never doubted that God was real and that Jesus was resurrected, but I had never actually accepted that gift. I did things that I knew I should not have done, which led me to question whether or not I would be sent to hell - a question that weighed heavy on my mind several years ago when this transpired.

    Having clarified that, you wish to know about the assurance of salvation. First of all, I will note that as Christians, associating ourselves with psychics or trusting their word actually goes against what God has told us. Consider a few passages from Scripture:
    - “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:31).
    - "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium [psychic] or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD..." (Deuteronomy 18:10-12a).
    - According to 2nd Corinthians 11:14-15, these "spirits" are essentially demonic spirits. It would be very easy for a demonic spirit to speak through a psychic - channeling demonic energy whether aware of it or not - and give a false report. This occurs frequently.

    In other words, simply because your Mom viewed a video where a spirit spoke through a psychic should not make you fear your salvation. Now, the subject of suicide is debated among Christians, but that is not necessarily what we are talking about. With this in mind - that God tells us in the above passages and elsewhere not to have anything to do with psychics, mediums and related spiritists. In other words, just be careful with such things.

    Now, onto the real question. How can you be assured of your salvation?

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  19. (Continued)
    In one of the most (if not the most) famous passages in the Bible we read, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Verses 17-18 continue, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believe in the name of the one and only Son of God."

    We read in Romans 10:9, "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dad, you will be saved." Why? "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved" (Romans 10:10). We also read in Joel 2:32 that "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." That's it.

    Faith is essentially trust. By trusting in His death and resurrection and confessing that "Jesus is Lord" (which is also likely one of the earliest credal formulas in the early church), you will be saved. Baptism does not save, good deeds do not save, just trusting in Jesus. But what if you don't feel saved, and what if that forgiveness does not stay? ell, salvation is more than a mere feeling of security. It is God's work in us, we become a "new creation" once we are saved (2 Cor. 5:17). In other words, our salvation is not dependent on how "good" we are one day or the next, nor is it dependent on how we feel about it. We may not feel saved, but our salvation is based on the historical fact of Jesus' death and resurrection.

    In fact, Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" There are various other passages in Scripture that essentially convey this message: do not trust your feelings, trust facts, particularly when it comes to salvation. Salvation is not something you merely possess, it is also about who you are. It is like shining a light in the darkness. It transforms you to the very core of your being and makes you different than you were before.

    As a result, we can sum the aforementioned considerations as such: feelings and good deeds do not save us, to be sure, but trust does. How do you know if you have genuine trust in Jesus? Well, aside from what John and Romans tells us, that everyone is welcome to salvation in Jesus and that by confessing that He is Lord and trusting in Him we are saved, good deeds then come into play. Let me be clear: good deeds do not save you, but you are justified by good deeds.

    Justified and saved are two different things, but also interconnected. Plainly spoken, good deeds or good works cannot save you, but good deeds and works are the outward evidence of inward faith in God. If you truly believe in God, you would expect to see evidence of that in your life, and good works is one such evidence. As Proverbs 27:19 says, "As water reflects the face, so one's life reflects the heart." Your salvation is based on the fact of Jesus' death and resurrection, and your trust in Him. Your salvation will also be seen through your life. I hope this helps, and has not been a mere theological detailing.

    Thank you again for taking the time to comment, and may God bless you!

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  20. Thank you so much for this wonderful article and comment stream. I very recently became aware of one of my closest friend's belief that salvation comes half through Christ and half through being a good person—or works righteousness, and I've been collecting verses about sin, redemption, justification, etc. before I talk to her more about it. Your article is logical, scripturally sound, and, frankly, refreshing. You've said everything I want to tell her in better words than I could. Thank you thank you thank you.

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  21. scared "2"
    Hey troy thank you so much for this page it has really helped me a lot in terms of my place in Christ and all as I too am someone who is highly terrified about my imperfections and was insecure about my place in Christ until I read this. But also one thing I do not understand is that if there is nothing we can do to that will take us to hell after accepting Christ why then did he teach about things like "if you look at someone with lust, you will go to hell" and "But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin." and "...anyone who says, 'You fool!" will be in danger of the fire of Hell." if anyways after believing in him none of that wouldn't matter because the sin will easily be hidden under the blood so if it hidden why would we go to hell for it? I don't understand. Or is it that not everything is hidden under the blood, there are just some things that are not forgivable like the one's mentioned above?

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  22. All of us have falling short of the Glory of God. Wages of Sin is DEATH. First of all let us understand , This Death that the Bible talk Is it Physical Death? or is it SPIRITUAL DEATH. According to what I understand after reading the bible It is SPRITUAL DEATH, which is being SEPERATION FROM GOD. Also called HELL. JESUS paid that wages of SIN once and for all for all Human Being by that Spritual Death, being seperated from God the father, that is in Hell. On the 3rd day Jesus rose from Hell (Spitual death). In fact Jesus does not allow Mary to get hold of Him because He had not accended to the father as yet.In fact in what I understand when reading the Bible, Jesus had ALSO Preach to the Abode of the dead Souls(Sheol) Souls of dead. That meams Jesus has being to TWO DIFFERENT realm. And the Souls of who Jesus wanted to Saved were also risen from Sheol after Jesus was Rison from Hell. Jesus Paid the wages of Sin in Hell. I may be wrong but this is what I am being able to understand after reading only from the Bible. Its is not written anywhere in the bible that Jesus Paid the Price of Sin in Hell. After all we are talking about Salvation from Hell. Jesus Is the only one who Preach about the Kingdom of God, and He is the only one who preach of Hell. Jesus is the only one who has being to hell. No Mankind has being to hell Yet.I would even go to the extreme of saying if Jesus did not go to Hell then NO Mankind would have Salvation from Hell.

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  23. I lost my job and income would like more sales growth for all of my books at www.lulu.com/spotlight/nessa212 and also my poetry blog at www.poeticous.com/janessa-jordan thank you and have a nice day.

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