What Is Hell, Where Is It & Who Goes There?
Question: Can you describe hell?
Answer: Hell is eternal damnation. Hell is most terrible and most awful and the thought of it should strike terror in our hearts. The Bible uses many different phrases and sentences in order to give us an idea of the awfulness of hell.
No one has ever been in the place called hell (gehanna) because it has not yet come into existence. The Bible is our guide, and God speaks of hell as a lake of fire, a place of outer darkness, a place where the worm does not die, and where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Read Deuteronomy 28, from verse 15 to the end of the chapter, and you will see expression after expression of things that happen on this earth which are used to develop a picture of the awfulness of hell. Hell is the reason why we are so eager to share the Gospel. The only antidote for hell is the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot be happier than when someone becomes saved.
Question: Can you give some verses to prove that if someone remains unsaved, there is no hope for him, and he will go to hell?
Answer: This is a terrible truth, and we might not like it, but it is true, and that is why the Bible says in Hebrews 2:3:
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.
We read in Hebrews 9:27:
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
So, judgment and hell are altogether certain for the unsaved.
God is talking about the end of the world in John 5:28-29, where we read:
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
The only people who have done good in God’s sight are those who have received the righteousness of Christ; while they were still living on earth, they became saved.
It is an awful thing to contemplate, but if we die unsaved, there is no hope and no possibility of salvation.
God gives us the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. The rich man died and was in hell, and he asked Abraham to send a drop of water to cool his tongue. Abraham said there is a great chasm, and he could not send anyone. This is a dramatic picture of someone who hopes there might be a little mercy or a little Gospel after he dies, but there is none. If he dies unsaved, hell is a certainty.
These verses are God’s Word to us, and we better listen very carefully. In our finite minds, which are very tiny compared with the infinite wisdom of God, we do not like what the Bible says, and we decide that there must be another way. Then, we try to design our own plan and that means we are not listening to God.
Frankly, I would not trust my mind for anything. I can trust only what God has to say in His Word, the Bible.
Question: Will you comment on Luke 12:47-48?
Answer: There we read:
And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
Salvation is a gift. The same gift of eternal life is given to every believer. Hell is payment for sin.
We read in Romans 6:23:
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The punishment has to be in proportion to the sin. Any sin is sufficient to put us in hell, and hell is enormously terrible even at best. Those who have known the Gospel, for example, and they have knowledge of the will of God and the law of God, are more guilty, and they will be punished more than those who have never heard the Gospel. Thus, there are different degrees of punishment, but even the least punishment is super, super terrible.
There is no comfort in this. God underscores that sin brings payment, which is enduring the wrath of God.
Question: Where is hell located?
Answer: Hell is the condition of being under the wrath of God.
On the last day, there will be an official arraignment, an official trial, of all the peoples of the world to discover if they have sinned. Of course, everyone who stands for trial will be found guilty of sin, and then they must endure the wrath of God forever.
But God has other plans for this present universe. It is going to be destroyed by fire and re-created a new universe, a new heaven and a new earth, where Christ will dwell eternally with all the believers, which means He has to find another place for the unsaved who are under the wrath of God forever. Wherever that is, we do not know. God has to make that place, and it will be called hell forever.
Hell will be outside the new heaven and the new earth. The unsaved can never have identification with the new heavens and the new earth. Hell will be a place of super-terrible torment. The language of hell is ugly.
We read in Revelation 14:11:
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night.
Matthew 8:12 tells us:
But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness [hell]: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
God speaks of hell as a lake of fire in Revelation 20:10:
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.
Question: Does the word “hell” mean “grave”?
Answer: The word “hell” in the original Hebrew of the Old Testament and the original Greek of the New Testament can mean the “grave,” but the definition depends on the context. If the context is about something that is for evermore, then it is talking about being under the wrath of God forever in hell.
Hell is also called “a lake of fire” (Revelation Chapters 19 and 20), a place of “outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12, Matthew 22:13, Matthew 25:30), and a place where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30, Luke 13:28).
The Bible also talks about the “grave,” and normally, the context will indicate which word is in view, but, occasionally, the usage and the context of the word do not tell us whether God is talking about the grave or eternal damnation.
We know that the grave is associated with hell in the sense that if we die unsaved, we will be resurrected to stand for judgment, and we will be cast into hell. Thus, there is a very intimate relationship between the grave and hell.
When unbelievers die before this great judgement they go down to the pit, which is what the bible calls a place of silence.