All scripture contained in this podcast is from the King James Bible (Authorized Version)
June 9, 2022

Is There A Literal Hell?


We all have heard the expression before, usually by someone angry who says, "Go to Hell!" For some it's just an off color expression. But is there a real literal Hell, the kind that burns with fire and brimstone? Is it a real literal place? What does the Bible say about it? Do you know? Join us for this important topic as Pastor Scott Strobel opens the Bible and we discover what the Bible actually says about Hell. You might be surprised, don't skip this one!

Transcript

Is There a Literal Hell?

Today I’m going to bring you a Bible study on a neglected subject that is indeed in the Bible.  And that is the subject of hell.

There is no question that hell is in the Bible...  The word shows up over 50 times in the Bible.  And if you happen to have a book that claims to be a Bible or Scriptures, and hell is not in it, then you don’t have a genuine Bible.

And on this podcast when we speak of the Bible in the English lan-guage, we are speaking of the old King James Bible, first published in 1611.  

All right, hell is in the Bible, but what is it?  

  • Is it a state of mind?
  • Is it separation from God?
  • Is it just the grave?
  • Is it a fictional place invented to scare people?
  • Is it a literal place where lost people go and spend eternity?

There are many varying opinions.  

But when it comes to what the truth is, we are not interested in the opinion of a man, a group, or a religion...  We are interested in what the Bible says.  So...  What saith the Scriptures?

Let’s start with Ps. 9:17.  It says➔  The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

The testimony of the Bible is that wicked people go to hell, along with nations that forget God.

Hell, then, must be more than just the grave, like the Jehovah’s Wit-nesses teach. 

-From Jehovah’s Witness position from www.jw.org

Is Hell Real? What Is Hell According to the Bible?

The Bible’s answer

 Various older English Bible translations, such as the King James Version, use the word “hell” in some verses. *(Yeah, 54 verses, to be exact!) But is that what the Bible teaches?  *(If you want to know what the Bible teaches, you have to know what the Bible says!)

Is hell a place of eternal suffering?

  •  No. The original words translated as “hell” in some older Bible translations (Hebrew, “Sheol”; Greek, “Hades”) basically refer to “the Grave,” that is, the common grave of mankind. 

So if that is true, what’s the point of Ps. 9:17?  Do only wicked people & nations that forget God go to the grave?  Of course not.  Not even a Jehovah’s Witness believes that.  But in their zeal to eliminate hell, they create a false theological system that makes their doctrine out to be foolishness.

Is there a literal hell?  Yes?  How do we know?  Because that is what the Bible says, and the Bible gets it right every time.

Pope John Paul II

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Wednesday 28 July 1999

Redemption nevertheless remains an offer of salvation which it is up to people to accept freely. This is why they will all be judged “by what they [have done]” (Rv 20:13). By using images, the New Testament presents the place destined for evildoers as a fiery furnace, where people will “weep and gnash their teeth” (Mt 13:42; cf. 25:30, 41), or like Gehenna with its “unquenchable fire”  (Mk 9:43). All this is narrated in the parable of the rich man, which explains that hell is a place of eternal suffering, with no possibility of return, nor of the alleviation of pain (cf. Lk 16:19-31).

The Book of Revelation also figuratively portrays in a “pool of fire” those who exclude themselves from the book of life, thus meeting with a “second death” (Rv 20:13f.). Whoever continues to be closed to the Gospel is therefore preparing for “eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thes 1:9).

3. The images of hell that Sacred Scripture presents to us must be correctly interpreted. They show the complete frustration and emptiness of life without God. Rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy. This is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes the truths of faith on this subject: “To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called ‘hell’” (n. 1033).

Of Angels, Devils and Messages From God

By Richard N. Ostling, Billy GrahamMonday, Nov. 15, 1993 

ON HELL. “The only thing I could say for sure is that hell means separation from God. We are separated from his light, from his fellowship. That is going to be hell. When it comes to a literal fire, I don't preach it because I'm not sure about it. When the Scripture uses fire concerning hell, that is possibly an illustration of how terrible it's going to be -- not fire but something worse, a thirst for God that cannot be quenched.”  Billy Graham

That’s not what Billy Graham preached earlier in his life...  when he had it right!

There is a literal hell, where wicked people literally go.

The thought of this may be distasteful...  

The thought of this may be repugnant...  

The thought of this may enrage you...

But that does not mean there is no hell.  

Some folks try to make religion more appealing by eliminating the idea of hell...

Some people who are on their way to hell, try to eliminate the thought of a literal hell because they don’t want to repent of their ways, nor do they want to entertain the thought that it might be real.

None of these things have any bearing on the truth...  What saith the Scriptures?  

There is a hell.  And I don’t get any sadistic pleasure in saying that, but there is a hell according to the word of God, and Jesus, praying to the Father in John 17:17 said➔ Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Since the Jehovah’s Witnesses, do not believe in a literal hell as described in the Bible, they have systematically removed every reference to the word “hell” from their New World Translation.  

But, one should not rewrite the Bible in order to conform to his doctrine...  One should learn to rewrite his doctrine, if necessary, to conform to the Bible!  

One of the most descriptive passages on hell in the Bible is in Luke chapter 16.  

The standard way of dismissing the truth of this passage is to call it a parable.  But check Luke 16 carefully...  You will find that there is absolutely no reference to the word parable in the chapter!

Still, they claim that this is a parable and not to be taken literally.  

In the Old Testament, Ezekiel ran into the same objections when trying to warn people of unquenchable fire.➔ 

Ezekiel 20:45-49  Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 

{46} Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop thy word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field; 

{47} And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein. 

{48} And all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it: it shall not be quenched. 

{49} Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?

We’ll now at some things about hell as they are found in Luke 16...

1. Hell is a Place of Torment

The first thing you find out in Luke 16 about hell is that it is a place of torment. 

The word “torment” is defined as meaning “extreme pain or anguish of body or mind”.  This is abundantly obvious from the context of its usage in the previously referenced verses.

Luke 16:19-25  There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 

{20} And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 

{21} And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. {22} And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 

{23} And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 

{24} And 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 thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

Luke 16:28  For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

2. Hell is a Place of Fire

The rich man says he is “tormented in this flame” in Luke 16:24.  

Jesus referred to hell as a “furnace of fire” in Matt. 13:41-42 & 49-50.  

In Mark 9:43 Jesus declares hell as “the fire that never shall be quenched”.  

3. Hell is a Place of Remembrance

The memory of the individual is intact when he gets to hell.

Luke 16:25  But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

Notice he also remembers his family.  He is also concerned that his brothers don’t wind up there.

Luke 16:27-28  Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 

{28} For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

In hell you will remember what you’ve done against God and be ashamed forever.  

You will also remember all of the opportunities you had to get saved, but neglected.  

And your remembrances will be filled with regret.

 4. Hell Burns Forever

In Matt. 25:41 Jesus referred to hell as “everlasting fire”.  

Rev. 14:11 says “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night...”  

When a person goes to hell, all hope is gone.  Forever!  This is why Jesus said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).  

Who in their right mind would neglect their eternal soul and risk winding up in hell?!

5. Hell is the Eternal Home of the Lost

Unsaved people go to hell when they die.  

They stay in hell until the Great White Throne Judgment. After the Great White Throne Judgment the unsaved, along with hell itself, are cast into the lake of fire.  

For all practical purposes, the lake of fire becomes hell.  This is where the unsaved spend eternity.  

It is the madhouse of the universe.  

There will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.  

The unsaved will burn, but they will not burn up.  

Rev. 19:20  And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

1000 years later, at the end of the millennium

Rev. 20:7-10  And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 

{8} And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 

{9} And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 

{10} And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Matt. 25:41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Ezek. 33:11  Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

II Pet. 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Rev. 20:11-15  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 

{12} And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 

{13} And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 

{14} And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 

{15} And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Suffice it to say at this point, that you will not want to end up in hell!

6. In Addition To All Of These Things, In Hell You Will Not Be Able To Satisfy Your Bodily Cravings Or Discomforts  

The rich man could not even get a drop of water to cool his tongue. 

Luke 16:24-26  And 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 thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 

{26} And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

*Hell will be a place of eternal withdrawal from whatever sins you 

  used to indulge in.  

How bad is hell?

See Matt. 5:29-30 where Jesus teaches a person that hell is so bad, you’d be better off plucking out your eye or cutting off your hand if either of them kept you from getting saved.  

Matt. 5:29-30  And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 

{30} And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Mark 9:43-48  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: 

{44} Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. {45} 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: 

{46} Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. {47} 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: 

{48} Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Don’t toy around with your eternity.  Settle it NOW.  

...behold now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.  II Cor. 6:2  

Call upon the name of the Lord Jesus with a heart of “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”