Summary: This doctrine seems to be in limbo in recent times. What did Jesus teach?
DOES HELL EXIST?
In today’s world, it might be difficult to find people who believe in Hell. There are several reasons, I think, why people do not want to believe in Hell. First, they feel that Hell is barbaric and an ancient idea. Hell belongs with myths and other stories from the past that shows the worst side of man. Second, others feel that Hell is not possible given that we have such a loving God. A loving God would not send people to Hell because He loves them too much. Third, some feel that the Bible does not teach that Hell is a real place or something that will happen. Fourth, they deny the existence of any afterlife and so Heaven and Hell are not possible. I am sure that there are more reasons than I know, but these four will give you a good overview of why Hell is doubted.
In an effort to help us understand that Hell is indeed a real place and it will happen, we should read what Jesus had to say about the subject (Bible Study Textbook Series: Revelation by James D. Strauss). I want to look at the teachings of Jesus only. I hope that you would agree that if Jesus taught it, then it is true. After all, He is God.
A. This particular passage does not assert the existence of Hell
B. It does establish two groups of people at the judgment
a) Some will enter the Kingdom of Heaven
b) Where does the other group go?
C. God’s judgment will be severe
A. Establishes that man is made up of more than just the physical body. There is the soul aspect as well. This soul is the eternal part of a person.
B. There is a force, Satan, which is able to affect one’s soul. The result of this is going to hell. “Gehenna” is the word used here.
A. I think this passage shows us a contrast between Heaven and Hell. They are two separate places and have different purposes and atmospheres.
B. Hell is the reward (if you can call it that) for being unrepentant and evil. The city of Sodom and Capernaum are similar in that they ignored God.
A. Why would Jesus use this imagery if there is no Hell?
B. What do we learn about Hell?
a) “furnace of fire”
b) Hell is full of those who do iniquity/unrepentant
c) Hell is far from pleasant
A. Here again we see a contrast between two destinations when the Judgment Day comes. Jesus contrasts the punishment with life.
B. Note the “eternal” aspect of it. Eternity = endless time
C. Eternal life is offered to believers and the others are told that eternal punishment is the result.
A. Very poetic language
B. The poetic language does cause some concern about these verses, but there is no reason to think that Jesus is not speaking the Truth.
C. Hell is seen as a fiery place where the fire is never quenched
A. This is a parable taught by Jesus.
B. Do we have any evidence or doubt that the content of this parable is fake in any way. No! It is a parable, but it teaches much about the after life.