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Hell: Not a place you want to spend eternity!

I. The Nature Of Hell Is Spiritual Not Physical


1. God used physical symbols to describe by representation something that is otherwise impossible

2. How do we teach our children what a cow is? We point it out and say, "look cow!"

B. God employed 6 word pictures to describe heaven: Click here for photo gallery of heaven and hell



A beautiful city: Heb 11:16; 13:14; Rev 21

The garbage dump of City: Mk 9:43-48 (Hell=Gehenna=Valley of Hinnom=Dump)

Eternal day: Rev 21:25 + 22:5

Eternal night, black darkness: Mt 22:13; 25:30; Jude 13; 2 Pet 2:17

Sabbath rest: Heb 3:12-4:11; Rev 14:13

The second death: Rev 2:11; 20:6,14

New heavens & earth: 2 Pet 3:3-13; Rev 21:1

Exiled & banished away from God's new kingdom: 2 Thes 1:9; Mt 22:13; Rev 22:15

A garden paradise: Rev 2:7; 22:2-3

Beaten & tortured while shackled in prison: Lk 12:47-48; Mt 22:13; 18:34; 24:51

Holy place in Jewish tabernacle: Heb 9:11,24

Eternal fire: Mt 25:41; 13:42; Jude 7


C. Heaven and hell are of the same nature:

1. Not of this world, realm or creation: Jn 18:36; Heb 9:11,24; Rev 20:11=2 Pe 3:10


A. Hell=Greek, "Gehenna": "SENTENCE OF GEHENNA": MT 23:33

1. Used 13x in NT: Mt 5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:8,9; 23:15,33; Mk 9:43,45,47; Lk 12:5; Jas 3:6

2. Deep narrow valley outside Jerusalem: Valley of Hinnon, Josh 15:8, see MAP next page

3. Why did Jesus choose the valley of hinnon as the ultimate picture of hell?

a) Human sacrifices offered to Baal & Moleck: 2 Chr 28:3; 33:6; 2 Ki 23:10; Jer 7:31; 19:2-6; 32:35

b) Some have speculated it was the garbage dump of Jerusalem at the time of Christ:

(1) filth, dead animals and bodies of executed criminals

(2) Some suggest that fires were stoked to burn and sanitize

(3) Barnes, "...It was the place where to throw all the dead carcasses and filth of the city; and wan frequently the place of executions. The sight was horrible, the air was polluted and to preserve it in any manner of purity, it was necessary to keep fires continually burning there. The Jew's extreme loathsomeness of the place, the filth and putrefaction, the corruption of the atmosphere, and the lurid fires blazing by day and night, made it one of the most appalling symbols with which a Jew was acquainted."

4. Penalty for the sons of Gehenna: Mt 23:15,33

5. Purpose: Body and soul will be destroyed: Mt 10:28

6. Duration of Gehenna: Eternal: Mt 18:8,9 (Eternal fire = Gehenna fire)

a) Some think Gehenna depicts annihililation, yet the fire itself is described as eternal

7. Only two elements directly mentioned with Gehenna:

a) Unquenchable, eternal fire: Mk 9:43,45,47; Mt 5:22,29,30; 18:8,9; Jas 3:6

b) Eternal worms: Mk 9:48

B. Wicked cast into eternal fire: Mt 25:41 (3 FIGURES EXCLUDING GEHENNA FIRE)

1. Unquenchable fire of Gehenna: Mk 9:43,45,47; Mt 5:22,29,30; 18:8,9; Jas 3:6

2. Furnace of fire

a) Burn chaff with unquenchable fire Mt 3:12; Lk 3:17

b) Burn tares in furnace of fire: Mt 13:42,50

3. Rain of fire and brimstone:

a) Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah: Gen 19:24,28; (antitype of hell: Jude 7)

4. Lake of fire which burns with brimstone (sulfur): Rev 19:20; 20:10; 21:8

a) "Once a brimstone (sulfur) deposit ignites, it would melt & run in burning streams down the ravines spreading everywhere suffocating fumes the ordinary match" ISBE

b) "Torrents of brimstone" (fast moving flows): Isa 30:33

c) "Lake of fire" could also be a reference to lava from a volcano

C. Exiled & banished from God's kingdom:

1. "Away from God's presence": 2 Th 1:9; cast into outer darkness: Mt 22:13

D. Eternal night:

1. "outer darkness": Mt 22:13; 25:30; black darkness, Jude 13; 2 Pe 2:17

2. Counterpart: Heaven likened unto eternal day: Rev 21:25; 22:5

E. The second death: Rev 2:11; 20:6,14

F. A scourging, shackled torturing in prison:

1. Scourge: "lashes, cut in pieces" Lk 12:47-48; Mt 24:51

2. Shackled: "bind hand & foot" Mt 22:13

3. Tortured: "handed over to torturer: Mt 18:34

G. Worse than drowned in sea with millstone hung around neck: Mt 18:6


A. A place of everlasting destruction: 2 Th 1:9; Phil 3:19; Heb 10:39

B. A place of conscious punishment

1. Both the rich man and Lazarus were fully conscious: Lk 16:19-31

2. "away from the presence of God": 2 Th 1:9

a) indicates conscious existence in exile not annihilation

3. A place of suffering, affliction and retribution: 2 Th 1:5-8

4. Weeping and gnashing of teeth: Mt 13:42,50; 25:30

C. Duration of punishment is forever, eternity

1. The same words that describe hell also describe God and duration of heaven

a) forever: Rev 14:11; 20:10

b) black darkness forever: Jude 13

c) Eternal: Mt 25:46 (heaven and hell alike)

2. Eternal day of Christians is same duration as eternal night of lost

3. The undying worm, everlastingly consuming an unconsumable body

4. No second chance:

a) Appointed to die once then comes judgement: Heb 9:27

b) Great gulf fixed between good and bad: Lk 16

5. Annihilation is a false doctrine:

Based fundamentally upon the false doctrine that rejects the dichotomous nature of man. Eternal punishment is likened unto setting fire to dry leaf. The leaf is destroyed forever, it ceases to exist and the fire goes out although nothing could extinguish the fire before the leaf was fully consumed. "Carnalists" believe the Bible teaches "eternal destruction" (destroyed forever) rather than "eternal punishment" (conscious pain forever). The Bible mentions a punishment worse than physical death: Heb 10:28-29 What is it if not hell?

D. Hell is a demonstration of God's justice: 2 Th 1:5-10

1. The "carnalist" type groups who teach annihilation argue that God would not be just to punish a man forever.

2. Just as no one can actually understand the logic behind God's mercy in saving us through Christ dying on the cross, we probably can't understand God's justice with hell.

E. Degrees of punishment in hell

1. Proof texts:

a) Many and few lashes: Lk 12:47-48

b) Both lost but one judgement more tolerable than other: Mt 11:24

c) Hypocrites will receive "greater condemnation": Mk 12:40

d) Better for them if they had never been Christians: 2 Pe 2:20-21

2. The basis of the degree of punishment is not the frequency or magnitude of sin, but rather how accountable the individual was to God: (teachers- stricter judgement Jas 3:1)

a) The elder who runs off with another women will be punished more severely than any of the recent mass murder-rapists.

b) It is not a matter of how bad they sinned but the degree they knew it was sin.

3. Danger of those who reject degrees of punishment and reward:

a) It directly contradicts scripture: Lk 12:47-48; Mt 11:24; Mk 12:40; 2 Pe 2:20-21

b) It violates that there are in fact, as everyone recognizes, varying degrees of sin in a practical way.

c) It violates everything the Old Testament law taught about varying degrees of punishment for varying sins.

d) It violates the principle of every civil/criminal code in the world by punishing all crimes identically. (Remember that most civil codes were built upon Judeo-Christian principles, the rest upon common sense.)

e) It violates everything human parents understand in raising children, (just try disciplining children the identical way for varying sins.)

f) It is patterned after "communism", where all get the same thing in spite of personal effort. It gives no incentive to excel. And no discouragement to sin the more!

g) It allows men to get the same reward for minimum effort. It condones, legislates and entrenches a mindset of mediocrity in the church. Statements like, "Hey what do we pay the preacher for!" is the fruit of this false doctrine! As one brother said, "This doctrine poisons the well-springs of zeal!"

h) It encourages Ketchersidism for if all men get the same reward, regardless of the extent of sin in each of their personal lives, then any one can see the close connection between, "We all get to heaven, regardless of our varying degrees of personal sin" AND "All the denominations get to heaven regardless of their varying degrees of doctrinal sin." (No one believes we are saved by either moral or doctrinal perfection!)

i) It is a gospel of Calvinism, where there is no grey, only black and white. Christians get to heaven, in spite of their degree of sin and are essentially, in a practical sense, eternally secure.

j) It is a gospel of Calvinism, because it makes God an unjust judge. Just as Calvinists have sinners paying for sins, they had no choice but to commit, so too this doctrine has sinners paying for sins

k) It encourages the unrighteous to sin more. If a criminal accepts he is going to hell, this doctrine gives him no reason to not go all the way and become a mass murder! Why not sin the more! Hell will not be any hotter!

l) It makes God a respector of persons for punishing all men identically, in spite of varying degrees of sin.

4. Degrees of punishment and reward:

a) It does not dismiss the fact that, one sin, any sin, the first sin, separates God and man for eternity in Hell.

b) It agrees with the witness of common sense, Old Testament, civil code and parenting.

c) It is patterned after "monarchy" (kingdom, Jesus is king), where the king bestows special favours for valiant efforts and extraordinary punishments upon exceeding wicked men.

d) It creates an incentive of reward directly proportionate to effort, according to the wisdom in the book of proverbs and after "if a man won't work, neither let him eat".

IV. The 10 Descriptions Are Symbolic

A. Physical garbage dump outside of Jerusalem

B. 4 Different figures of fire: (INCLUDING GEHENNA)

1. Fire of Gehenna

2. furnace of fire

3. rain storm of fire and brimstone

4. lake of fire and brimstone

a) huge furnace with lake of fire inside, raining fire located in valley of hinnon in Jerusalem?

b) Or 4 different figures to depict the spiritual counterpart

C. Exile and banishment

D. Eternal night

E. A bottomless pit (Hades)

F. Scourged, while shacked in a prison

G. Worse than drowned in sea with millstone hung around neck: Mt 18:6

V. CONCLUSION: Not A Pretty Place

A. Touch: pain from burning fire

B. Taste: dry mouth, extreme thirst, blood from gnashing teeth

C. Smell: rotting garbage-Gehenna; rotten eggs-brimstone

D. Sight: smoke-fire; corruption-Gehenna or black darkness

E. Sound: moaning, weeping, crying, screaming

 Facts About Heaven

Facts About Hell

Duration is forever, eternity: Mt 25:46; Rev 22:11

Duration is forever, eternity: Mt 25:46; Rev 14:11; 20:10; Jude 13. No 2nd chance: Heb 9:27; Never to enter heaven: Lk 16:26

Conscious reward: Mt 5:11. Comfort from sufferings: Rom 8:18; 2 Cor 4:17-18

Conscious punishment: Lk 16:19-31; 2 Th 1:5-8; Mt 13:42,50; 25:30

Physical & emotional healing: Rev 7:16; 21:4

Destruction: 2 Th 1:9; Phil 3:19; Mt 10:28

Reward for obeying: 2 Pe 1:10-11

Punishment for bad conduct: Rom 2:5-11

Better than our wildest imagination: Eph 3:20

Worse than any known fear and horror

Click here for photo gallery of heaven and hell

Steve Rudd

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