February 13, 2017
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
What The Hell…? It is often thoughtlessly used as a cuss to question the validity of something. But I use it here to emphasize the existence of hell and what it is like! The condensed version of Mark 9:43 through 48 is as follows:
…if your hand makes you sin, cut it off….if your foot makes you sin, cut
it off…if your eye makes you sin, pluck it out….It is better for you to enter
into life maimed…lame…with one eye…than having two hands…two feet
…two eyes, to be cast into hell fire — where their worm does not die and
the fire is not quenched.
The Bible says a lot more about hell than it does about heaven – perhaps because we need to be warned of the danger and conditions of that place! We will start a series of blogs from different Scriptures about hell, to get a better understanding of just what it is. Our featured Scripture gives us quite a bit of information:
• The reality of hell – While the Lord does not argue here for the existence of hell, Jesus talks about it firmly assuming it’s reality! Hell is mentioned 54 times by that name in the Bible, and 22 times in the New Testament alone (King James Version). But often, especially in the Old Testament, hell means the grave or the realm of the dead. In the New, three Greek words are translated as hell:
✞ γέεννα (gheh’-en-nah – occurs 11 times in the Greek New Testament) – According to James Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, geenna is the “…valley of (the son of) Hinnon; gehenna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everylasting punishment….”
✞ ᾳʽ́δης (hah́-dace – occurs 10 times in the Greek New Testament) – Strong: hades means “…properly unseen, that is Hades or the place (state) of departed souls….”
✞ ταρταρόω (tar-tar-o’-o – occurs only once in II Peter 2:4) – Strong: tartarus means “…(the deepest abyss of Hades), to incarcerate in eternal torment….”
But, in referring to hell, “…the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death…” (Revelation 21:8) is mentioned in various forms in other passages in Revelation as well as in the gospels. It is real, and it is eternal! And it is a place to avoid at all costs!
• It is thought that when Jesus said, “…where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched…,” He was outside the walls of Jerusalem near where waste was dumped and burned in the valley of Hinnon, mentioned above. Worms would have continually crawled through the garbage, and fires would have smoldered there. Whether worms in hell are figurative or actual, the fires of that place are very real!
✞ Hades, as discussed above, is in Luke 16 the waiting place of the dead who are headed for judgment before being cast into the final hell ! In verses 19 through 31, the story of the rich man and Lazarus is recorded. It is most often called a parable. But if it is a parable, it is the only parable in which Jesus uses proper names – Lazarus and Abraham! Some Bible scholars think this is an actual happening that the Lord – in His omniscience – knew about. In any case, in verse 24, the rich man, finding himself in Hades, cried out to Abraham across “…the great gulf fixed…” (verse 26), “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.” Hades is a place of torment in flames!
✞ Hell, also called the second death (see Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8), is said to burn…with fire and brimstone (see Revelation 14:10; 19:20; 20:10; 21:8). Brimstone is an antiquated name for sulfur – a yellowish element, solid at room temperature, it melts at around 240o F and can be ignited at 330o F. When burning, it produces sulphur dioxide, an powerful irritant to breathing, and it smells like rotten eggs.
• In hell, the experience of suffering in “…the lake which burns with fire and brimstone…” (Revelation 21:8) goes on forever! (See Matthew 26:46). As Jesus said in our featured Scripture, “…the fire is not quenched.” But the physical body of the damned does not burn up! It says in Revelation 14:9 through 11 of anyone who…
…worships the beast and his image, and receive his mark on his forehead
or…hand …shall be tormented with fire and brimstone….And the smoke of
their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night….
We are designed from the beginning to be eternal creatures. Sin infecting the human race has not changed that! Being condemned to hell does not change that! We will exit somewhere forever! God forbid that anyone experience eternity in hell, when Jesus Christ has made the way to experience eternity in heaven! (See Matthew 25:46; John 10:28; Romans 6:23; I John 5:11-13).
More on What The Hell…? in the next blog.