Monday, March 7, 2011

"I Don't Believe in Hell"

This statement is frequently heard. Is my reader of the same conviction? It is quite easy for a person who has not received the divine nature by being born again to embrace such a thought, though the evidence is all against it.

Not to believe in hell is to deny the truth of the Bible and the words of the Lord Jesus Himself. In fact, it acually brands the Son of God as a liar!

In the Gospels we learn that the Lord Jesus spoke more often of hell than He did of heaven. Eleven times the word hell is found. See Matt. 5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15,33; Mark 9:43,45,47; Luke 12:5. It is also found in James 3:6. The word in each reference is Gehenna. It is the Greek equivalent of two Hebrew words meaning "Valley of Hinnom." This was a place south of Jerusalem where at one time pagan worshipers offered their children by fire to the heathen god Molech (2 Chron. 28:3; 33:6). However, in the reign of Josiah, the place was turned into the city dump where fires burned constantly to consume the worm-infested garbage.

The Lord Jesus used this place to illustrate the place called hell. Three times He said it is a place of "fire that never shall be quenched," no doubt referring to the external torment of the judgment of God; also, "where their worm dieth not," speaking of the internal, unending gnawing of the conscience of one who had despised and rejected the salvation of God in Christ.

That it is a place of eternal punishment we can plainly see from references in Matthew 3:12--"unquenchable fire"; 18:8--"everlasting fire"; 25:41--"everlasting fire"; Jude 7--vengeance of eternal fire."

Another character of hell is found in Jude 13--"the blackness of darkness for ever"; and in Matt. 22:13--"outer darkness." Whether "fire," a symbol of God's penetrating judgment, or "darkness," suggesting the total absence of God who is Light, the punishment in hell is eternal.

In Revelation 20 we read of "the lake of fire." The beast and the false prophet, cast into the lake of fire at the coming of Christ to judge the world (Rev. 19:20), are still there 1000 years later, at the end of the millennial reign of Christ, "tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev. 20:10).

How solemn to read in Revelation 20:15, "Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." This refers to the judgment of the Great White Throne. The bodies of the unsaved dead will be raised, united with their souls which had been tormented in "hades" (the condition of disembodiment), and then cast--body, soul and spirit--into the lake of fire forever.

Will this be because they had sinned? No! for "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). It will be because they did not accept the provision God made for their sins in the death and shed blood of Christ on their behalf. They had not been born again into God's family and consequently are not inscribed in the family register of heaven.

Whether one believes in hell or not does not change the truth of its existence, nor the eternal consequences of unbelief. If one does not believe in hell, he does not believe the Son of God. God says: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36). When one repents, there is cleansing from all sins of the deepest dye through the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7).

If one does not believe God as to the revealed truth concerning hell, he will most surely soon find out that it is a fact. But, alas, it will be too late to "escape the damnation of hell" (Matt. 23:33). I urge any unbeliever to:

"Turn and believe this very hour,
Trust in the Saviour's love and power;
Then shall your final answer be--
SAVED through a long eternity."

Source: MWTB

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