Understanding Prophecy Begins September 23, 2019

Do You Believe in Hell?

Seriously, think about it…do you really think God would have any interest in seeing any of his children, even the most evil, burn for all eternity?  God is the sustainer of all life; he is constantly at work keeping things alive.  Why would a loving God care to keep evil people alive to torture for eternity?  I think he is more interested in spending eternity focusing on better, more enjoyable things like loving his children who love him.  This article will address and correct some commonly believed misconceptions about hell.

There really is no hell (not as most people imagine it anyway).

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (John 3:16 NKJ)

This is the most important promise stated in the Bible.  It states that believers will live eternally, not the wicked. 

The followers of Satan will not burn eternally, but they will join him in the flames where they will die a final death and sleep for eternity.  When a fire burns, it eventually goes out, leaving ash behind.  That is exactly what hellfire will do.

For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.  And the day which is coming shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, that will leave them neither root nor branch.  (Malachi 4:1 NKJ)

You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this, says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 4:3 NKJ)

In other words, God plans to destroy the evil forces, not put them in charge of an eternal firepit!  Satan and his angels will not be exalted, even in hell!

The devil who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are.  And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.  (Rev 21:10 NKJ)

Oops!  Did it say ‘day and night forever and ever’!  That could be why some people think hell is for real with eternal torture and burning for the wicked and evil!

There are several places in the Bible where the term “forever” is used to mean a time of indefinite duration where the beginning and ending of that time depend on the nature of the person, circumstance or thing to which it is implied.  Here is one example:

But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, ‘Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever.’  (Samuel 1:22 NJK)

Of course, we know that Samuel did not remain in the sanctuary forever.

Chapter 7 of the book of Jude indicates that the people of Sodom suffered the vengeance of “eternal fire.”  If this were meant literally, then Sodom would still be burning today!

There are also times when we use the term “forever” when it doesn’t really mean forever.  For example:  “This is going to take forever!” “I’ve been waiting forever to see you!”  “I want the job done now; I’m not going to wait forever to get it done.”

So, in describing hellfire the terms forever and eternal mean until the wicked are consumed.  It also means that the consequences of evil are eternal, just like the rewards of righteousness are eternal (as in eternal life).  When forever and eternal are used in reference to everlasting life, you can take it literally as promised by God. 

Where is hell and who is there?

Many people believe we go straight to heaven or hell right when we die.  That is another misconception and another article that I will be posting soon!  The Bible is clear as to when hell begins and where it is located.  Jesus speaks clearly when he says:

“So it will be at the end of the age.  The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire.  There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”  (Matthew 13:49-50 NKJ)

So, hell will not exist until the end of days and no one is there yet!  The dead are sleeping until Jesus returns.  I know it sounds nice to say “grandma is in heaven,” or “that wicked man is now burning in hell,” but is simply isn’t so.  This will be explained in an upcoming article about the state of the dead.

Bible expressions of forever and eternal, written according to the Hebrew language, can indicate utter and thorough destruction, or until death.  When speaking about hell, it means that judgment will be thorough.

When the Bible was written, it wasn’t intended to be confusing, but it was intended to make people hunger for the truth and give them the desire to study intently.  The Bible was written a long time ago, in an ancient language.  We are blessed to have access to the Word of God translated in our language. 

Read more Myths About Hell

Amazing Facts Study Guide:  Is the Devil in Charge of Hell?

Do You Believe in Hell?

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