So far we have not talked about Hell. And I have done this on purpose.
If you type in “heaven and hell” with quotes around it on Bible gateway, you wont find it. In most places it is “heaven and earth”. Hell is not the opposite of Heaven it is earth. The reason for the lack of Heaven and Hell in the bible is because the vision of reality in the scriptures is not even of heaven and earth as separate spaces but as overlapping spaces. The main storyline of the Bible is about heaven and earth interaction with each other. Which is not on most people's radar. And it's strange because it's actually what the story of the Bible is about.
If we go back to the beginning of the bible it talks about heaven and earth it does not talk about Hell. Hell is something that comes about because of sin. Our sin, Satan and his messengers sin
41 Then he will also say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed ones, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels!
The story of the Bible is about God wanting to get hell out our earth. The fall is about humans unleashing Hell on earth. God, Jesus hates hell. He hates that it is a path that leads to destruction of His good creation.
Let’s take a moment to think about that. I’ll use an example. Sexual abuse of children for money is wrong. It is a hell fire plague on humanity. We give it a more comfortable name called sex trafficking, so we don’t have to think about what it is.
We hate it and we want it gone. Jesus Hates it and he wants it gone. But he takes it more serious than we do. See Jesus wants to get ride of Lust from his world. The desire to use another human being for my personal gratification.
Hell fire started by small sparks like James 3 talks about.
As we take that path that leads to destruction. Hell on earth. It leads to a path that is in the intermediate state and beyond. There are arguments as to what hell looks like in the intermediate state.
Jesus in his love offers a redemption. He wants to get the Hell out of you.
As the New Heaven and New earth merge Hell is kicked out and those who choose that path will be outside of the city. Separated from God.
The hope of Jesus is moving from the living death and path of hell. Into an eternal life with Him.
The Bible talks a lot about life after life after death. We are often concerned with the life after death. Bible speaks the least about this. but speaks a great deal about the life after the life after death.
Hell is Real
Hell is Real
it is not a surprise at the end of the game it is the end result of an entire life trajectory of increasing separation from God.
Hell is real, and it is described by metaphor and imagery in the Bible. We take the images and the metaphor and we try to make since of it. and we can argue about exactly how it look and I am sure we will be right and we will be wrong. Because we have never been there.
The Greek word for Hell is Gehenna. Comes from a Hebrew gai-ben-hinnom, and Aramaic gai-hin-nam. The “valley of Hinnom” a valley in southwest Jerusalem.
1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in the Lord’s sight like his ancestor David, 2 for he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and made cast images of the Baals. 3 He burned incense in Ben Hinnom Valley and burned his children in the fire, imitating the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites.
A valley where child-burning sacrifices were performed by Israels’s apostate kings.
2 and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom, which is at the entrance of the Gate of the Potsherd, and proclaim there the words that I speak to you. 3 And you shall say, ‘Hear the word of Yahweh, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel: “Look, I am about to bring disaster upon this place so that everyone who hears it, his ears will ring. 4 Because they have forsaken me, and they have defaced this place, and they have made smoke offerings in it to other gods whom they have not known, they, nor their ancestors, nor the kings of Judah, and they have filled up this place with the blood of the innocent, 5 and they have built the high places of Baal, to burn their children in the fire, burnt offerings to Baal, which I commanded not, and I ordered not, and it did not come to my mind. 6 “Therefore look, days are about to come,” declares Yahweh, “when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of the Slaughter. 7 And I will lay waste the plans of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and I will bring them to ruin by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life, and I will give their dead bodies as food to the birds of heaven and to the animals of the earth.
Gehenna became a vivid metaphor in Judaism to describe the final judgement. This is what the Bible is picturing when it uses this word. Not some place of non-existences or some spiritual place that has no physical consequence.
They envision the place that they have defaced this place, and they have made smoke offerings in it to other gods whom they have not known, they, nor their ancestors, nor the kings of Judah, and they have filled up this place with the blood of the innocent, 5 and they have built the high places of Baal, to burn their children in the fire, burnt offerings to Baal
And lots of death
Used primarily by Jesus:
22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry at his brother will be subject to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, ‘Stupid fool!’ will be subject to the council, and whoever says, ‘Obstinate fool!’ will be subject to fiery hell.
29 And if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it from you! For it is better for you that one of your members be destroyed than your whole body be thrown into hell.
28 And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul, but instead be afraid of the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
33 Serpents! Offspring of vipers! How will you escape from the condemnation to hell?
8 And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it from you! It is better for you to enter into life crippled or lame than, having two hands or two feet, to be thrown into the eternal fire!
In Revelation Hell is described as Fire and sulphur
9 And another third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself also will drink of the wine of the anger of God that has been mixed full strength in the cup of his wrath, and will be tortured with fire and sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torture went up forever and ever, and those who worshiped the beast and his image did not have rest day and night, along with anyone who received the mark of his name. 12 Here is the patient endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith in Jesus.
and a Lake of Fire
12 And I saw the dead—the great and the small—standing before the throne, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and each one was judged according to their deeds. 14 And Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Which is taken from the image of fire coming from God’s throne in Daniel 7:9-11
Hell is referred to as Darkness
12 But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!”
and of weeping and gnashing teeth.
Paul Speaks of it as eternal relational separation from God
9 who will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his strength,
Destruction does not mean cessation of existence, but loss of purpose. to be ruined or lost. Shut out from the presence of Christ. For divine image to no longer have the chance to be divine image but torn down and shutout. What ever this reality looks like it is cut off from its purpose and shut off from relationship with the creator.
It is and eternal choice to be independent from God. Go back and read Luke 16:19- the end of the chapter the rich man does not want to leave hell. The only thing he wants is to bring others into hell with him to serve him. He exists in a state of eternal denial and blame shifting. He was in an eternal state of selfish desires.
Hell is Necessary
Hell is Necessary
Hell is a necessary possibility for creatures designed to experience their Creator’s eternal love. For love to exist, there must also exist the possibility of love being rejected. Hell is a necessary possibility for creatures who are given genuine freedom to choose good or evil. It is not mean or brutal of God to allow hell. It is of Love.
It is necessary, but he desires that no one choose this eternal death.
4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
9 The Lord is not delaying the promise, as some consider slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance.
God does not “send” anyone to hell. You are not being put there by God. God created humans to have fellowship with him and has provided humans the means in which we can be in relationship with him.
It is your choice to experience hell. It is the path that sin leads you down on.
If you really hate your neighbor don’t tell them about Jesus. Let them continue down this path.
If you want to be the image of God, ABC
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
Ingram, Chip, and Lance Witt. The Real Heaven: What the Bible Actually Says. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2016.
Alcorn, Randy.Heaven. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum, 2011.
Moody, D. L. Heaven: Where It Is, Its Inhabitants, and How to Get There. Chicago: Fleming H. Revell, 1884.
Hayes, Zachary J., Clark H. Pinnock, and John F. Walvoord. Four Views on Hell. Edited by Stanley N. Gundry and William Crockett. Zondervan Counterpoints Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996.