Hell is a horrible place. We don’t like to think about it, talk about it, and we certainly don’t want to think about our families going there.
The only place to learn about Hell is in the Bible. Human experience does not go beyond the grave. Everything we know about life after death is learned from the pages of the Bible. No man has ever journeyed to hell and returned. Everything that lies after death can only be learned in the pages of the scriptures. Heaven, hell, rewards, punishment, happiness and sorrow beyond the grave can only be learned by reading the Bible. It is the only authority on such matters.
One of the greatest stories we have given to us in the Bible concerning Hell, is found in Luke 16. It is the story of the “rich man and Lazarus.” When Jesus spoke these words, He spoke words of history, not fiction. No where does the Bible say that these verses are a parable. These verses do not have the marks of a parable. Abraham is mentioned by name along with Lazarus. There are no fictional characters. No doubt the rich man would have been given a name as well, but God in his mercy did not mention his name, maybe to protect the family.
Because the thought of hell is so terrible many have tried to explain it away, or explain away its suffering. There are many fables concerning hell.
From the Garden of Eden until today the devil has been busy leading men to rebel against God. The best way that he does this is to convince man that there will be no punishment for sin committed.
When the serpent spoke to Eve in the garden he asked her why she did not eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. Eve replied and told him that God said, “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” To which the devil answered, “Ye shall not surely die.”
The devil would like nothing more than for you to believe that God will not punish sin. If he can get you to believe that there is no hell, that hell is the grave, in hell you will be burnt up without much pain or that you will have another chance to be saved once you get to hell, then he has accomplished his goal. In fact the great lie that the devil tells people today is that God is “too loving” to send anyone to hell.
Let me quickly list some of the most popular myths about Hell
Hell is not a real place – Looking at the story in Luke 16 this rich man certainly believed Hell was a real place. For over 2,000 years this man has been suffering in Hell. He certainly did not want his brothers to come to this terrible place of torment.
Limbo or Purgatory – Some believe that a person will have another change to repent after death. The problem is that this is not supported by one verse of scripture. This man died and immediately opened his eyes in Hell. His soul did not sleep. He immediately went to Hell.
We are just spirits in Hell – This man was more that a spirit. He was suffering in a body. He had a mind. He remembered his brothers. He remembered that he had not repented and wanted his brothers to repent.
Let me also point out that in hell this rich man was the same man, with the same desires as he was when he was upon this earth. There is no indication in these scriptures that this man desired, or wanted to do right any more than he did while alive. He cared for his brothers and did not want them to come to hell, but he did not care for God any more than he did while alive. His nature did not change.
There is no real fire in Hell - We have seen that hell is a real place, where real people dwell in real bodies. The next question will be if there is real fire in hell. We can see the answer to this question in this chapter. The rich man cried “I am tormented in this flame.”
In the book of Revelation we are told that there is a literal lake that burns with fire. If we believe the word of God, then we must believe that hell is a place that burns with literal fire.
I’m sure that most of you have heard at least one of these myths concerning Hell. Keep in mind that these are just myths and are not supported by the Bible. I wish these things were true. I don’t want anyone to have to suffer in this horrible place. The fact is that the majority of the world will one day open their eyes in Hell. Are you ready to face God? If today was your last day on this earth, where would you be tomorrow?
In my next blog I will talk about the fact that the punishment of hell is an eternal punishment.