IS THERE A BURNING HELL?
1. Most people would hope not.
2. Many religions teach that there is no such place.
3. The idea of 'no burning hell' is comforting to those that are not preparing to go to heaven.
4. But in spite of what people hope for, what they teach, or what comforts them, we are compelled to show that the idea of an eternal burning hell is a teaching of the Bible.
5. After we show such, it will be left up to the hearers to accept or reject it.
A. The word HELL comes from the Greek word GEHENNA.
1. This is the only word that should be rendered hell, a permanent place of punishment, in the New Testament.
2. It is used 12 times in the New Testament, 11 of these times by the Lord Himself in the gospel accounts. Jas. 3:6.
B. the word HADES should never be rendered hell, as it is so done in the KJV.
1. Because it by no means refers to the same place that the word Gehenna does.
a. Look at the descriptive terms mentioned in: Matt. 13:42; 25:46; Phil. 3:19; 2 Thes. 1:9; Heb. 10:39; 2 Pet. 2:17; Rev. 21:8.
C. It is sometimes urged that the word GEHENNA simply means "The Valley of Hinnom."
1. Lest any be deceived by such idea, I would like to read a brief explanation of the Valley of Hinnom from the pen of brother J.W. McGarvey, who was one time the president of the College of the Bible of the University of Kentucky.
a. "The Valley of Hinnom was a deep, narrow valley southeast of Jerusalem, and lying immediately to the south of Mt. Zion. The Greek word GEHENNA is first found applied to it in the Septuagint translation of Jos. 18:16. (For a history of the valley see the following passages of scripture: Jos. 15:8; 2 Chron. 28:3; 33:6; Jer. 7:31; 19:1-5; 2 Kgs. 23:10-14; 2 Chron. 34:4,5.b. "The only fire certainly known to have been kindled there was the fire in which children were sacrificed to the god Moloch. This worship was entirely destroyed by King Josiah who polluted the entire valley, so as to make it an unfit plae for even heathen to worship. There is not the slightest authenic evidence that in the days of Jesus any fire was kept burning there; nor is there any evidence at all that casting a criminal into fire there was ever employed by the Jews as a punishment. It was the fire of idolatrous worship in the offerning of human sacrifice which had given the valley its bad notoriety. This caused it to be associated in the mind of the Jews with sin and suffering, and led to the application of its name, in the Greek form of it, to the place of final and eternal punishment. When the conception of such a place was formed it was necessary to give it a name, and there was no word in the Jewish language more appropriate for the purpose than the name of this hideous valley."
II. WHAT ABOUT "ETERNAL PUNISHMENT"?
A. Taking a look at some passages of scripture.
1. First, let us consider Matt. 10:28. "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
a. This passage clearly teaches that when your body has been killed that your SOUL has not been killed.
b. Your soul lives on AFTER your body has been killed!
c. When your body is dead your soul is NOT DEAD.
d. But many times people will call our attention to the word 'destroy' in the latter part of the verse, "fear him which is able to DESTROY both soul and body in hell."
e. Some think that this teaches that one's soul will be extinguished or annihilated, and therefore cannot be "cast into hell fire."
f. But the Greek word which our Savior used here for "destroy" is the very same Greek word that He used in Lk. 15:4 when referring to the sheep which is "lost".
g. In other words, the Greek word translated "destroy in Matt. 10:28, is the very same Greek word that is translated "lost" in Lk. 15:4, and we know that in Lk. 15, the lost sheep was not annihilated or extinguished for it was "found" and brought home.
h. So, that which was lost or destroyed was found and brought home.
i. Hence the word "destroy" used in Matt. 10:28 regarding the soul of man being cast into hell does NOT teach that the soul is annihilated or extinguished or ceased to exist.
2. Second, let's consider Mk. 9:43-48. This passage speaks of being "cast into hell fire, where their worm deith not and the fire is not quenched."
a. In this passage, the corruption of the soul is compared with the corruption of the body.
b. In the case of the BODY, it is eaten with worms until it is consumed and then the worm dies; but in the case of the SOUL "their worm dieth not." Hence the soul is never consumed. Acts 12:23.
c. This teaches the eternal existence of the soul.
d. This passage clearly teaches that the disobedient will be cast into hell fire and that the fire is never quenched and that the soul never ceases to be -- never dies -- but exists eternally.
3. Next, I invite your attention to Heb. 10:28,29. "He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?"
a. This passage speaks of a punishment inflicted upon the sinner that is SORER THAN DEATH WITHOUT MERCY.
b. This would not be mere physical death or extinction of life for it is to be worse than death.
c. Now let's raise the question: What kind of a punishment is SORER than death without mercy?
4. Let's now turn our attention to Lk.1619-31.
a. Some people refuse to believe the plain, simple facts that the Lord Jesus Christ sets forth in this discourse by claiming that this is a parable.
b. I do not believe that this is a parable, but if I were to grant that it is, I fail to see how that this would change the facts in the case.
c. A parable is simply taking facts that are already well known and understood and using them to illustrate something that is not understood.
d. Take the parable of the sower for instance. The facts of sowing and reaping were true facts and already well known and understood by the people.
e. Jesus then used these well known and understood facts to illustrate other facts which they did not know or understand.
f. So, if this is a parable, the facts in the case are still true facts, well known and understood by both the speaker and the people; and if it is not a parable, then it is an account of true facts which the Lord Jesus is making known in terms too plain to be misunderstood.
g. And let me add that the fact that the word 'hell' in this passage is from the word 'hades' does not change these facts in the least.
5. Let us now look at some of the facts of this particular case:
a. Jesus here represents to an audience of people how that a man, after he had died and was buried -- after his lifetime was over, how he LIFTED UP his eyes (he moved).
b. He SEETH (he could see) Abraham and Lazarus (men who were dead but still existed).
c. He CRIED and SAID (he could talk), I am TORMENTED IN THIS FLAME (he could feel and he said that the feeling was "torment in flames.").
d. And Abraham said (he could hear and carry on a conversation).
e. And Abraham said, Son REMEMBER (he could remember) that thou in thy lifetime -- this was after his lifetime was over and he could remember back in his lifetime.
f. He remembered his father and brothers and their manner of life back in his lifetime and was conscious of the fact that if they continued in that manner of life that they would, after death, come to this place of torment.
g. How could language be plainer than this?
h. Jesus here teaches tht the unrighteous will be punished after death from this lifetime, and describes the character of that punishment as being tormented in flames.
i. He also suggests that the duration of the punishment will be everlasting, by saying: "neither can they (those in torment) pass to us."
6. Let's now notice Daniel 12:2. God has Daniel to say: "Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt."
a. Observe here that there are TWO classes to be rewarded at the resurrection, one to EVERLASTING LIFE, and the other to EVERLASTING SHAME AND CONTEMPT.
b. The life of the one, and the contempt of the other are EQUAL in duration, each being everlasting.
c. Hence, as long as the righteous live, the wicked will suffer everlasting shame and contempt.
7. In this very connection, the Lord Jesus said in Jno. 5:28,29, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done GOOD, unto the RESURRECTION OF LIFE and they that have done EVIL, unto the RESURRECTION OF DAMNATION."
8. Now read with me 2 Thes. 1;7-10; follow this with Rom. 2:8,9.
a. We see from these passages, that "destruction" when referring to the punishment of the wicked, means "tribulation and anguish."
b. How long will they suffer "tribulation and anguish?"
c. Let's let Paul answer: "Punished with everlasting destruction" or substituting his own meaning of the term, it is "everlasting tribulation and anguish."
1. I have shown you that the Bible clearly teaches that the will be punished after death from this lifetime, and that the character of that punishment is described as being "tormented in flames" and that the duration of that punishment will be everlasting -- never ending.
2. To close your minds to these facts will not help you escape.
3. You need not be lost.
4. Jesus said; "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to ever creature he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Mk. 16:15,16.
5. The apostle Peter said, "Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins." Acts 2;38
A. Jude tells of all kinds of wicked ones and their ultimate end if they did not change.
6. Do not go to this place of torment that we have been talking about, but rather turn to the Lord in humble obedience to His will, and He will save you in heaven at last.
7. Truly, there is a burning hell, and I am sure that you do not want to go there. Won't you come to Jesus even today?
by Jim Sasser
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