This is my second submission to our local paper.
Last week I introduced the topic of Hell. I shared that even though I may not enjoy writing about Hell and you may not enjoy reading about Hell it is necessary to do so.
While we often do not want to talk or think about Hell Jesus had no such problem talking about Hell. In fact, He did it a lot. As I write this my goal is not to share my opinions on Hell. My goal is not to convince you to believe what I do about Hell. However, my goal is to clearly communicate what Jesus thinks of and has taught about Hell. I will do this as faithfully and honestly as I am able. My prayer is that your beliefs and feelings regarding Hell would be derived from God’s Word as found in the Bible and specifically what Jesus has taught us about Hell.
So what has Jesus taught us about Hell?
Jesus said in Matthew 25:46, ‘Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.’ Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, ‘Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear God who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’ Jesus said in Matthew 5:30, ‘It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.’
First, Jesus clearly teaches that Hell is a real place. The belief of 1st century Judaism was that Hell was a real place of punishment some people went to after death and Jesus affirms this teaching.
Second, Jesus clearly teaches that Hell is eternal. This means there is no end. Jesus describes Hell as ‘eternal punishment’ in Matthew 25:46 not temporary punishment.
Third, Jesus clearly teaches that a person’s eternal condition is set upon death. There is no evidence anyone will have a second chance to avoid Hell after death.
Fourth, Jesus clearly teaches that Hell is a place of pain and suffering. In Matthew 8:12 Jesus describes Hell as a place of complete darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth. In Matthew 13:40-42 Jesus uses imagery of fire to describe Hell. It is clear that Hell will not be the party AC/DC describes in the song Highway to Hell; no matter how great the guitar riff in that song may be.
Fifth, Jesus clearly teaches that some people will go to Hell. It may not be a popular message but it is the message of Jesus Christ regarding Hell.
If you have read up to this point please do me a favor. Please read next week’s column. What I shared this week is not the whole story. There is more to come. See, Jesus not only taught us about the realities of Hell. He did something about it. We will expound on that next week. May Jesus Christ give you grace and peace today and at all times.