Hell – Fact or Fiction
By Dennis Huebshman
When considering God’s personal letter to us (Bible), we should take note of anything He has told us. After all, 2 Timothy 3:16 says that Every Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good deed. It has also been said that if He repeats something, it means He really wants to impress an idea in our minds.
Therefore, if something is repeated over 50 times in the Bible, you might think it’s really a solid post. (Reference material Strong’s Concordance.) That’s taking into account the uses of Hell, Hades, Outer Darkness, Sheol, Lake of Fire and any other reference to this place of torment. God initially made hell for satan (future) and the angels (demons) who sinned (2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6) and has reserved the Lake of Fire for the final and complete place for all who are condemned since before the beginning of the creation of the earth to the very last day of the millennium.
This may seem like a dumb question for a true Bible reader, but how could anyone think God would not keep His word about something as important as this? God cannot lie. (Titus 1:2) and He is a just God.
The reason I ask this is because of a movement that started a few years ago, and seems to be gaining momentum even among some so-called “evangelical” circles. It’s being said there really is no hell, and if anyone is to be punished at all, it will be for a specified time and afterward the person will be taken to Heaven to spend eternity there because, “they paid for their sins.” They also are saying there’s many ways to Heaven. More on that later.
There is a popular book today about a shack, and also a person named Bell that has given a concept called Universalism. Their question, and the basis for their belief is, “How can a Loving God only save a few while letting a majority of His creation suffer in such an awful place?” It’s as if anyone who gets into hell did nothing to deserve where they end up.
First, let me direct you to 2 Peter 3:9 which tells us the Lord does not wish for ANYONE to perish, but wants EVERYONE to come to repentance. (emphasis mine) He even sent His own Son to be a sacrifice on our behalf, so we would have a way to avoid the Lake of Fire. (John 3:16 and Romans 5:8)
God has not made this an exclusive club for only a few and then created all others to be cast away. He really does love His creation in a way we can never understand because if He didn’t we would’ve all been destroyed by now. We’re all sinners, and God cannot tolerate any sin. He is a patient God, but His patience doesn’t last forever.
Even Jesus knew He would be giving Himself for the benefit of a few. (Matthew 7:14) However, He was willing to do so for any and all who would accept Him. The hardest part for the majority is to let go of what earth has to offer – namely a very short life followed by destruction; but to seek what Heaven has to offer which is an eternal life with Him. To accept only this earth is to accept hell.
To clarify, God does not send anyone to hell. Any and all that will end up there have chosen this for themselves starting with the chief sinner satan. Isaiah 14 tells of his fall and Revelation 12:4 tells about the fall of about 1/3 of the “stars in heaven” (angels).
Jesus died for everyone, the Jew and the Greek (gentiles) – EVERYONE. All that He asks is for all of us who are willing to accept His sacrifice and ask Him to forgive our sins and be our Savior. We do nothing for our salvation except to believe in Jesus and accept His gift. Ephesians 2: 8-9 tells us that by GRACE we’re saved through FAITH and not from our works. So, this blows away the theory “we pay for our own sins”.
By accepting Jesus, our appearance will be at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). This is a judgment is for believers to receive or lose rewards for what they did during their lifetime here on earth, but not to be cast into punishment. From here, we will be with Him forever.
The only other alternative is the Great White Throne Judgment. From this one, all who have not accepted God (pre-cross) or Jesus (post Calvary) will not escape. At the end of the 7-year tribulation and just before the start of the 1000-year reign of Jesus on earth, the anti-christ and false prophet are the first people that are thrown into the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 19:20) Up to this point this location is unoccupied as unbelievers are in a tormented holding place. (Luke 16:19) At the end of the 1000-year reign, there is a Great White Throne Judgment where ALL who are brought before it are condemned. (Revelation 20: 11-15) All who have been suffering in their holding areas (Hades, Sheol or whatever) are brought before the Throne to receive final judgment and along with satan are cast into the Lake of Fire – now hear this – FOREVER! Universalism doesn’t work here, and there’s no escape – period!
Anyone who has not accepted Jesus as their Savior and say they’re not afraid of hell, should be very afraid! They will not be going to “party” with friends and it’s not a joking matter. First of all, there is absolutely no light there which is why Jesus often referred to it as the “Outer Darkness”. The darkness will be like none anyone has ever experienced on this earth. The Light is Jesus Himself and He will be in Heaven with all believers from all time. Those in the darkness will be shown every minute of eternity just why they are there and how they could have avoided it. That applies to satan as well, and all who are there have chosen to be there.
Now, in case I have your attention, there are verses you’ve probably seen many times. Please consider them again. John 14:6 – Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. NO ONE comes to the Father except by Me. (Straight and Narrow – Matthew 7:14)
Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13 – ALL who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Those who refuse to call out to Him are given a reserved position at the White Throne.)
If you have Jesus and have sinned, follow the instructions in 1 John 1: 8-10. Confess and be forgiven – it’s a promise from the Father.
Finally, it’s a package deal. There are those who say you can have God but don’t have to accept Jesus and there are many ways to Heaven. John 3:18, John 3:36, John 5:23, John 10: 14-15 and 1 John 5: 10-12 are just a few verses that disputes this entirely. To put it simply, if you have Jesus, you have the Father and Holy Spirit. If you do not have Jesus, you have the Lake of Fire to look forward to.
Reserve your place at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and now would be a good time. We are not guaranteed to make it through today much less tomorrow. Having worked in Emergency Rooms and in Law Enforcement off and on over the past 4 decades has proved to me just how fragile this life is. Start a relationship with the Savior today if you haven’t already. It will be the wisest and most important decision you will ever make.
Amen – Come Lord Jesus! (Maranatha)