Hell is a Real Place (Part 2)

In stories or movies you will come across many places that are not real. Of course, we may allow our imaginations to treat it as real while we engage in the story, but at the end of the day, we know that they are simply fictional. Unlike the places of fiction like Oz, the 100 Acre Wood and Willy Wonker’s Chocolate Factory – hell is not something that occurs in fictional literature and therefore is to be dismissed. Nor is it a mere metaphor for discomfort and difficulty. Hell is a real place. Of course if we are going to obtain a right understanding of what it is like we must go to the one authority we can count on, and that is the word of God. In the Scriptures there are numerous names and images used to describe hell. Of these, I will consider the most common ones found in the New Testament.

Hades
The word hades appears ten times in the NT (; 16:18 ; ). It is used in two ways, a place of punishment (in my opinion the word hell is an appropriate translation) and secondly as the state of death (the transliteration hades is helpful). In reference to it being the place of punishment, it refers to the temporary torment of the wicked (cf. ). Though we may refer it it as hell, it is not the final hell.

Gehenna
Gehenna comes from the Hebrew Ge Hinnom which is a reference to the Valley of Hinnom (located at the south end of Jerusalem). The depraved action of sacrificing infants in the fire to the god of Molech occurred in this valley (; ). It later on became a place where refuse, waste, the dead bodies of criminals and animals were burned. When referring to the place of punishment and condemnation for the wicked, our Lord referred to it as Gehenna (; ; ). Such a name was a vivid picture in the minds of our Lord’s listeners.

Fire
Linked with the word hell is the word fire. It is called the “lake of fire” (), “unquenchable fire” (; ), “fiery furnace” () and “eternal fire” (). It is unknown what this actual fire will be like, it is clear that it is horrifying.

These terms help us identify the reality of hell as an actual place. It is not an illustration nor is it a fictional place – it is real. In my next post I will discuss in greater detail the occupants and the duration of hell. Then I will conclude the series with a post on God’s wonderful grace to all who are in Christ.

23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

15 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.

Luke 16:23

23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.

Acts 2:31

31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.

18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

Revelation 6:8

And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

Revelation 20:13

13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.

Revelation 20:14

14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even burned his son as an offering, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel.

2 Kings 17:17

17 And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings and used divination and omens and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.

2 Kings 21:6

And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.

and he made offerings in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom and burned his sons as an offering, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel.

2 Chronicles 33:6

And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.

22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

Matthew 5:29

29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.

Matthew 5:30

30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Matthew 10:28

28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 18:9

And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Matthew 23:15

15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

Matthew 23:33

33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?

43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.

Mark 9:45

45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.

Mark 9:47

47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,

But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

Revelation 20:10

10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Revelation 20:14

14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:15

15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.

Mark 9:45-47

45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,

Mark 9:48

48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’

42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 13:50

50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Published by

Andrew Courtis

Andrew Courtis

ANDREW - Serves as Pastor of Hills Bible Church. I am married to Dianne and we have three children (Kate, Emma and Jack). I was born and raised in Melbourne, moved to Adelaide to undertake theological studies (BMin.), and have completed additional studies with the Australian College of Theology (MATh.). I have served in pastoral ministry in both Melbourne and Sydney and am a qualified school teacher. I am committed to expository preaching and making the word of God known and understood.

2 thoughts on “Hell is a Real Place (Part 2)”

  1. God is love and love never fails. His love and mercy endures forever. Does it really endure forever or only in this finite life? He says to repay evil with good and to love our enemies, will He not do the same? Does evil win out in the end or does God get what He wants?

    – This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.

    – This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.

    1. Thanks for your comment Jackson. You have asked a number of questions, so I’ll look at them separately. It is true (as you said) that God is love () and that His love never fails (). You asked if His love endures forever or is it finite in this life only. The answer is that it endures forever (read ). Also, you noted that He calls for us to do good and love our enemies, which is true (; ). You then asked, does He do the same? My reply is yes He does (). In answer to your final question (does evil win out in the end or does God get what He wants?), I respond by saying, God gets what He wants (). The Bible tells us that God is holy () and hates sin (; ). Yet in His grace, He throughout the ages held off final judgment and has shown great mercy and love towards the lost (they get to breathe and enjoy many benefits of life). However, no one is to presume upon this forbearance, for the unbelieving are storing up wrath for themselves in the day of judgment (). The Lord has been merciful and gracious to mankind, but He will bring final judgment to all the unbelieving.

      Those verses from 1 Timothy (2:3-6 and 4:10) do not teach a final salvation of all mankind (universalism), as such a conclusion will contradict other references within the same letter (). What do they teach? The reference to God desiring “all people to be saved” () needs to be read in the full context. The “all people” means that salvation is not limited to one kind of group in society (ethnic, male, female, rich, poor etc.), however God desires that those from all kinds of groups will be saved (see for this use of all).

      The second reference again is not teaching the error of universalism. The word “Saviour” in 4:10 is used in two ways (the verse makes a distinction between all people and those that believe). The Lord is a Saviour to all in the sense of showing them common grace (), but He is a Saviour to those who believe in a special way – He provides them with salvation! Do a word study on the word saviour and discover that various uses it has in Scripture. Always compare Scripture with Scripture and allow it to be your final authority.

Comments are closed.