The word “hell” itself is counted as a “bad word” by many. Others do see it as a word you should not use on other people. Meanwhile, “hell” as a reality based on what the Bible tells us uncovers a whole different and deeper meaning. One of the earliest queries about religion is answering the question “is Hell real?”. If we are immoral, do we really get eternally stuck to be tormented and burned in the Fires of Hell?
Moreover, is it true that constantly offending will lead to sadness and sorrow that lasts forever? Well, if we base it on the reality of God, then yes, it is absolutely true. In fact, Hell is as true as the Heavens. Basically, we have to realize that there are always two sides to a coin. If there’s good in this world, there also is evil. If there is a reward from Heaven, there is a wage from Hell. Therefore, since God’s Kingdom of eternal happiness exists, so is a place of eternal suffering which is no other than Hell.
God’s Commands of Morality
First, what does denying the existence of Hell even bring humans in the first place? Well, it takes away the responsibility of morality. Think about this, if people eliminated the acceptance of Hell or judgment after their earthly lives – Sin would be free. If people chose to ignore the existence of Hell, anyone can choose to live an immoral life and get away with it. But, that’s not the case because Hell is real but, why? Why does Hell have to exist?
Again, there are two sides to the coin. First off, God loves us. His love is beyond comparison to anything and everything. His Love is everlasting (1 John 4:16) and eternal. While His love is absolute, there’s another thing we are certain of. On the other side of the coin, God loves all except for wickedness or evil (Proverbs 6:16-19). “Hate” is an understatement, the Lord loathes evil and Heaven is not the destination for evil. This is why Hell exists because the heavens keep no trace of evil simply because God loathes it. Why would an owner of a household keep something he hates around his house, right?
God wants us to live with morality and kindness. He loves us but, He hates our sins. In our lifetime, we are given two options which are clearly depicted in the Bible. The first option is found in Matthew 25:33-34 where we are to inherit the Kingdom of God. Now, the other option is found in Matthew 25:41 where we are given to understand the consequences of not choosing Heaven. In this, God commands us to depart from Him and bathe in the lasting fire with the devil and his angels.
The Weight Of Our Choice
Previously, we understand that Hell and Heaven are two sides of the coin we choose from by our actions and how we live. But, why did God allow this to happen in the first place? Why can’t He just make everyone go to heaven, right? Actually, He can. He can do anything and everything. But, He wants us to choose Him over evil (Proverbs 3:7). God gave us the freedom to choose. So, whether or not our actions make Hell as our destination – It really isn’t a matter of how God loves us because He loves us more than we can ever measure. However, the measurement of where we go is dependent on our choices.
Going back, is hell real? Yes, it is real. But, what truly matters is if we allow our souls to make hell real for us or not. If we think about it, something won’t be real if it doesn’t apply. For instance, a warm summer does not exist in countries that experience snow every day. But, it still doesn’t take out the fact that warm summers exist. For the people who believe and follow God, hell is still real. It’s just that they don’t get to experience it.
Is Hell Real: Describing Hell
Truly, no one has ever experienced hell and returned to their earthly lives. However, the Bible has everything we’d like to know about what truly happens in Hell. In many sources, Hell can be described as this space of nothingness where the wicked is lost forever. Others depict “hell” as this fiery and violent place for eternal torment. While there is no absolute answer as to what hell is really like in the physical description, here are the characteristics of Hell we can get from the Bible.
Hell Is A Punishment
Often times, Hell is seen as a destination or a place where the wicked people end up to. But, it’s more than that. Instead of seeing it in this perspective, Hell is more of a punishment than an actual place. If a soul is directed to Hell for the evil it bears, it goes to Hell as a punishment. Revelation 20:15 makes this clear; if anyone’s name is not in the Book of Life then, this person is punished by being thrown into the lake of fire.
Hell Knows No Time
Unlike ordinary punishments, Hell does not have an end. For instance, if a bad student were to serve in community cleaning for its loitering offense, he won’t be cleaning forever. Maybe, the quota is for twelve hours a week but, after that duration, this student is free from his offense. This example does not apply to Hell.
Revelation 20:10 tells us about how people were thrown into the lake of fire oozing with sulfur in which people were tormented day and night for eternity (Revelation 14:11). Now, we see that Hell isn’t really just a place because if it were, people would be able to escape from it. But, since it is a punishment, the reality of hell for the wicked knows no time.
God Is Nowhere To Be Found
Among the many terrifying descriptions of Hell, this is the most fearsome one. In every second of our lives, God is present. Even if our hearts do not seek Him because of our flesh-driven desires, we can always count on God to be there. But, God is nowhere to be found in Hell and that’s something to be afraid about. See, if everything that is good comes from God, without God, nothing good will come. Now, Hell is the only place where God cannot be seen, and therefore, goodness cannot shine.
The Bible verse tells us that people in Hell suffer from eternal destruction where God’s presence is away(2 Thessalonians 1:9). If God is away, the worst is yet to come. Without the Almighty Father who stops violence with mercy, casts hate with love – we can expect nothing good. In fact, the absence of God in Hell is so prevalent to the point where the place is filled with fire and restless weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:50).
Sin And Its Weight
Hell is real and so are sins. In fact, sin is what makes it real. There is a famous saying that describes how God hates sin but, loves sinners. This is true. Committing sin does not automatically equate to punishment for eternity. But, what matters is the choices we make that either please or offend God.
To understand this, let’s use an example. Let’s say that a child loves her pet cat. She adores the idea of feeding her and giving her a warm home to stay on. But, this cat does everything in his own will to escape this child’s home. The cat would climb the walls, destroy the doors, and even scratch the child just to escape the house. Until one day, the child realized that she should just set the cat free if it doesn’t want to stay In the first place.
Taking this example, God wants us to stay close to His Words and Promises. Actually, God is doing marvelous things in our lives (i.e. blessing us with our families, friends, ambitions, etc.) for us to stay closer to Him. He blesses us constantly but just like the cat, we offend and hurt Him with sins. As a result of the freedom God has given us, He will let us go. And this is where Hell comes into place. Of course, if God lets us go, this then means we won’t be staying the His kingdom, Heaven. And if we are not staying in God’s Kingdom, it automatically means we are staying in its opposite direction, Hell.
The Sacrifice of Jesus
Truly, the existence of Hell is horrifying. Undeniably, the idea that something awaits us that’s either extremely good or bad can be a hard pill to swallow. However, Jesus has something to say about this. Scholars have pointed out that Jesus has mentioned Hell more than Heaven during his time on earth. So, what’s the connection between Jesus’ sacrifice versus our sins?
The role Jesus took for us is massive. Instead of presenting Hell in its violent and cruel form, Jesus presents it as a call. The sacrifice of Jesus has a core intention of saving us from Hell. This is what John 3:16 is about. Jesus lived so that we can live with Him and not be thrown in Hell. In order for this to happen, we have to accept Jesus.
See, God repels sin. He is completely sinless and loving. Of course, anything that’s the opposite of this cannot receive His Presence. Jesus helps us with this, we have to accept Him and His Words so that we can take our inheritance in Heaven. Why can’t Jesus just make everyone holy and sinless so that Hell can’t exist? Although God persuades and calls us to come to Him, it is our decision to make. God wants us but, we have to seek Him first. This is the way against Hell that’s made available for everyone by Jesus.
Is Hell Real: Is The Devil The Ruler of Hell?
A common assumption of Hell is that it is the Devil who sends wrath over those who are sent in in the depths of hell. To clarify this, no, the Devil has no power to do this. Actually, the Devil is being punished and sent to hell (Revelation 20:10). Only God has the power to impose His Verdict over who is sent to hell or not.
In Jude 1:6, we are given to understand the even angels have been sent into the fire by not staying in their proper position. Unlike the common belief surrounding Hell, this is not the place of which the Devil rules. The Devil rules over nothing but, he can deceive people which is emphasized in Revelation 20:10. So, it is basically a place of which punishment happens, it is not a place owned by the Devil.
Understanding Consequences: A Call To Change
Is hell real? It absolutely is. But, our chance to prove that we are worthy of God’s Kingdom is also real. Hopefully, we see its existence as a call to action to change and repent our old ways that offend the Lord. Also, we should remember something that’s a billion times bigger than our fear of being sent there. What’s this? God’s Mercy. God loves, forgives, and cares. We just have to seek Him.
We are not destined to be sent there, all thanks to Jesus. But, in the life we share today, we have to do whatever is in our power to avoid and reject the temptations and deceiving words that keep us away from God. Here’s what the Bible says about this.
Eliminating What Eliminates
Now, what can we do today to avoid hell tomorrow? Matthew 5:30 is suitable for answering this. The verse states that if our right hands make us stumble, we have to cut it off and throw it away. It also adds that it is better to lose a part of the body than the whole body to go to hell. But, wait – If this was the case then, should we literally be taking off our hands every time we sin?
What this verse is trying to communicate is how we should eliminate the things that eliminate our chances of receiving our inheritance in Heaven. For instance, if a person steals, should he literally cut his arm off? Not necessarily, this person should instead cut his tendency to steal rather than his actual arm.
Also, we have to confess our sins to God in order to take a spot in Heaven. 1 John 1:9 tells us about how God cleanses and forgives the sins of the sinners who confessed. It’s like this; we are vessels that sin taints. God cannot allow a soul that’s tainted in a Kingdom that does not tolerate sin. But, if we want this to virus-like contamination in our souls. Just like how a doctor asks his patient what the symptoms are, we need to confess all of these to God so He can start cleansing us in preparation for our arrival in Heaven.
The question isn’t really if hell is real or not, it is real. It exists and it awaits wickedness. However, the real question is how should we prepare ourselves to not be thrown in Hell. In our thoughts, minds, and actions, the life that we carry today is the ticket on whether or not we receive the inheritance of the Lord. Therefore, we should always keep in mind the importance of the weight of our actions. As long as we are living, it is never too late to pursue God and His Kingdom. Remember, the closer we are to God, the farther we are from Hell.