We can always hear the expression from people every day and everywhere that says, “Go to hell!” “What the hell!” “To hell with you!” They use this expression as a curse when they get angry or when they get excited. But do people realize the reality of hell? Whether we like it or not, time will come that we will die and whether we believe it or not there are only two places where our souls will go when we die.
An atheist may convince himself that there is no hell, nor heaven, but his unbelief can never make hell vanish. First I would like to explain what soul is. When God created man it was different from the way He created animals. God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul. (GENESIS 2:7) Our soul will live forever. It will not die.
Our soul has three functions. It is compose of our:
1. Intellect— the power of knowing, the power to understand, and the power to think.
2. Will –the power to choose.
3. Emotion— intense feeling as of love, hate or despair. The time when we feel happy, sad, or angry, those are emotions.
It is our soul that has senses. Try to pinch yourself; you can feel it because you are alive. It is our soul that can feel, hear, can smell, taste and see. When you’re dead those senses don’t function anymore because your soul is no longer there.
When a man dies immediately follows judgment:
(HEBREWS 9:27) “As it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”
“WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT HELL?”
HELL—the real existence of hell is irrefutably taught in Scripture as both a place of the wicked dead and a condition of retribution for unredeemed man.
(MATTHEW 18:9) “And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than having two eyes, to be cast into the fiery hell.”
(MARK 9:43-44) “And if your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than having you two hands to go into hell; into the unquenchable fire, where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.”
(II PETER 2:4) “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment.”
A certain denomination teaches that there is no literal hell. They cannot understand why a loving God can allow an unredeemed soul to be cast into hell. Whether I understand it or not, if the Bible says that there is hell then I believe it without question. This particular denomination says that the word “gnashing” of teeth in MATHEW 13:41-42 is anger because they say, “how a man can gnash his teeth when he died of old age and doesn’t have teeth anymore.” They don’t understand that when the unredeemed man becomes resurrected in the last days, they will be resurrected with complete set of teeth. Another thing is that they explained that when a man dies his soul will just sleep and they will quote a verse from ACTS 13:36, where it says, “For David after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay.” The word asleep was just a decent way of describing a man of God who dies. It says that David underwent decay. There is no compound word in the bible as soul-sleep. This denomination totally rejects what Jesus say about a literal hell. Besides, David’s soul didn’t go to hell but into Abraham’s bosom or paradise. There are some passages in the New Testament about those Christians who died and it says that they fall asleep. (1 Corinthians 4:13-15), (1 Thessalonians 4:13-15), (2 Peter 3:4), NIV translated died, NAS translated fell asleep. As I have just said it was just a decent way of describing a man of God who died.
One of the reasons that this denomination (The Advent) rejected the teaching of a literal hell is that cultic religions such as the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witness, and many other cults teaches literal hell. Cult religions become cult not because of literal hell teaching but because they don’t believe that Jesus is God and is the only Savior.
What happens after death? This church that I know teaches that all people await the final judgment both saved and unsaved. They say that when we die, the saved or the lost will sleep; this is called, “soul-asleep”. They say that we will all wait to be resurrected and to face the final judgment. But this teaching contradicts what the Bible teaches. When Jesus said to the criminal who was also hanging on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) The Lord did not say, “Your soul will first sleep and wait for the final judgment.” In Hebrews 9:27, The Word of God says, “As it is appointed for men to die once after this, comes judgment.” So those who teach “soul-asleep” are wrong.
LITERAL HELL IS BIBLICAL. At this time, where is hell?
(Luke 16:19 to 31)
“Now there was a certain rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, gaily living in splendor every day. And a certain poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip his finger in water and cool off my tongue; for I am in agony in this flame.’ “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things, but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, in order that those who wish to come over from here to you may not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us. “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, Father, that you send him to my father’s house for I have five brothers that he may warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them.’ “But he said, ‘No Father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.”
The story that Jesus told about the rich man and Lazarus is not a parable because a parable won’t mention a specific name. So this story that the Lord was telling actually, literally and geographically happened. In the NIV translation, the place of torment is called hell. In other translations it is called Hades.
“Where is Hades?”
(Matthew 12:38-40) “Some of the scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus, saying, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign, and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet, for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall be the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
(Ephesians 4:8-9) There it says, ‘When He ascended on high, He led captives a host of captives, and He gave gift to men.’ (Now this expression, ‘He ascended,” what does it means except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth.”
Hades or hell right now is in the heart of the earth. Scientists don’t have explanation why there are volcanoes. Volcano eruption is just the exhaust from the intense heat of the fire from the heart of the earth.
In the Old Testament times, before Jesus descended to the heart of the earth, there was a compartment called Abraham’s bosom. Why was it called Abraham’s bosom? Only the Abrahamic or the covenant people who had their hope for the coming Messiah were there. That compartment was the paradise at that time. When Abraham said,“They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them.” That means let them believe what Moses and the prophets was talking about. Who were they talking about? It was the Messiah. It was the Savior, the Christ. It was Jesus. (Luke 24:44), “Jesus said to them ‘these are my word which I spoke to you while I was still with you that all things which are written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Only the Abrahamic or the covenant people that believed and trusted the coming Messiah were the ones on that Paradise, with a few exceptions like Ruth, Rahab, and others who are not Abraham’s descendants but believed on the God of Abraham.
The rich man didn’t go to hell because he was rich, there is nothing wrong with being rich, but because hope for the coming Messiah was not in his heart.
This compartment is now empty or most probably no longer there. Jesus brought with Him those captives from Abraham’s bosom to Heaven. After that event anyone who dies in Christ he or she will directly go to Heaven. (2 Corinthians 5:8), Paul said, “To be absent from the body,”that means when a Christian dies, his or her soul “will be at home with the Lord in heaven.”
Innocent children when they die will go directly to heaven because the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 19:14, ”Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” And then there is what we call the age of accountability.
A man or a woman without Christ when they die will go directly to Hades their body will decay. At the end of the millennium reign of Christ on earth, they will be resurrected and face the final judgment. Let us read Revelation 20:11-31.
“And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 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 from the things, which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead, who were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them; and they were judged every one of them according to their deeds. And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire, this is the second death, the lake of fire, and if anyone’s name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire”.
(Verse 12) “And I saw the dead, the great and small.” This does not mean sizes or stature. Great means people who are well known, they may be Presidents, kings, rich and famous, historical figures. Small means people who are unknown, people who are no-body. They were standing before the Throne and Books were opened, (plural) each person has his book. And another Book was opened (singular) which is the book of life, and the dead were judged from the things, which were written in the books according to their deeds.
In the Lake of fire at the final Judgment, there will be degrees of punishment. It would be unfair if you will be sentenced and be doomed to the place where vicious criminals, rapist, murderers and terrorist are, when you have not committed such crimes. So your book will be checked. Since the time of your age of accountability, you’ll be judge according to what is written in your book.
There will be people who will reason out and will say, “But Lord I haven’t done wrong. I go to church every day. I give my money to the poor. I am a good person, why am I here?” The Lord will answer, “Let me see if your name is written in the book of life.” If anyone’s name was not found in the book of life he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Only an individual who by faith accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord in his life has his name be written in the book of life. Jesus with His Blood has erased every sin that has been written on his diary. (Hebrews 8:12), God said, “For I will be merciful to their iniquities and I will remember their sins no more.”
God said many times that there is LAKE OF FIRE. Jesus himself explains it. If you teach that there is no hell, you are taking away the word of God. If you say that gnashing of teeth is anger, you are adding to the word. You will be guilty of what God described in Revelation 22:18-19. “I warn everyone, who hears the words of the prophecy of this book; if anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the Holy City which are described in this book.”
An atheist may convince himself that there is no hell, nor heaven, but his unbelief can never make hell vanish nor can he escape judgment.