Questions and answers about hell
1) Is hell real or just metaphorical?
2) Why did God make hell?
3) Why would a loving God send people to hell forever?
4) How to avoid hell?
Answer 1. Yes hell is real and it is not metaphorical
Hell was not created for bad people. It was created for Satan who led a rebellion in heaven after convincing 1/3 of the angels who also had free will, to join him. (Revelation 12:3-9). Once evicted from heaven, these angels became demons (unclean spirits) who attempt to influence you and I through suggestion. See Genesis 3:1-7, Mark 5:1-20
These temptations exploit our vulnerabilities and base tendencies to plant the idea to act out all manner of abuses against self and fellow humanity as acts of worship to Satan (Matthew 4:5-8) who directs his followers to drag as many people as they can to hell with them as a way to hurt God who loves everyone He created.
To stop a second rebellion from ever happening again in heaven, God will not allow anyone who rejects Him as God to enter heaven. So as a loving father, God seeks to protect some of children from the rebellious evil child that will lead the others astray. It is the sin of unbelief that prevents you from entering paradise (John 3:18 Luke 23:39-43)
Revelation 9:2 states that there arose a great smoke out of the pit and that “the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit.” How could a metaphorical fire produce smoke that darkened the sky?
The rich man who had been sent to hell said he wanted a drop of water to cool his tongue because he was “tormented in this flame” (Luke 16:24). If it were only mental anguish or something other than real fire that tormented him, then why would water suffice?
The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary notes that the parable of the tares in Matthew 13, which discusses eternal judgement, includes the Son of Man, the world, children of the kingdom, children of the wicked one, the devil, the angels—all literal figures. Holman then states: “It is then natural to conclude that the burning of the tares should also be taken literally.”
If you take the Word of God literally, then it is easy to arrive at an interpretation of a literal fire. I understand that there are metaphors and idioms; but it’s obvious when they are being applied, such as when Jesus said He was the bread of life (see John 6:48). His Word is representative of bread, and He is the Word.
To say that all the verses in question are allegorical would require some proof. Jesus mentioned hell in 46 verses, and 18 spoke of the fires of hell. The word He uses for hell in 11 instances is Gehenna. Gehenna was the Jerusalem city dump, and it burned continually. The unclaimed dead bodies were thrown into that fire, and the wild dogs and maggots ate the flesh.
This is a graphic picture Jesus wanted the people hearing Him to see so they would recognize He was giving them a severe, sobering warning. Why would He compare hell with a place where bodies burned if the fire of hell was something quite different like simply being absent from His presence? Here is an extract from the book of Revelation.
The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
The Great White Throne Judgment
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Answer 2. Why did God make hell ?
Just as prisons have been constructed to protect the innocent from those who break the law, hell has been prepared for the offenders of God’s law. Would you say that our governmental leaders are mean for constructing prisons? No—especially when you realize you don’t have to go there. If you do go, it’s your choice (see Deut. 30:19; Ps. 9:17; 86:5; 2 Pet. 2:9). While the justice systems may be flawed, such mistakes do not occur with God.
Besides, hell was not prepared for man but for the devil and his angels (see Matt. 25:41). God never intended for men and women to go there. By contrast, He is preparing a place for us in heaven (see John 14:2). It is only by our stubborn will that we reject the provision He has made for our access into heaven. It is arrogant of us to desire to go to heaven yet demand our own terms of access. If you want to live in God’s house, you come by His way and not your own (see Luke 13:3; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Tim. 2:4-6). If you want nothing to do with God, then there is a place prepared that has nothing to do with His goodness.
Salvation is a free gift, but we must receive it in order to be saved. God loves you and is a good Father. God is trying to keep you out of hell and to divert you from your misguided course. Nevertheless, hell exists—and it will be your own fault if you go there.
Answer 3) God does not want to send anyone to hell.
God is not sending anyone to hell. He sent His Son to keep us from going to hell (see John 3:16; 6:40; 12:47).
All of us are on the road to hell automatically (see Matt. 7:13-14; John 3:17-18) because we all are born in sin and already condemned (see Matt. 18:3; 19:14; Ps. 51:5).
If Jesus had not come to die in our place, we all would end up in hell. Because we are sinners, we cannot live in His perfect kingdom as we are. We must be given a new heart and spirit.
We become new creatures in Christ (see 2 Cor. 5:17) when we trust in His Son and His shed blood for our sins (see Rom. 5:8; 1 John 1:7). He will not let sinful humanity into heaven, as we would corrupt or defile heaven just as we have the earth (see Rev. 21:27).
Answer 4) Will those who enter hell endure the same experience?
No. There seems to be degrees of punishment in the next world. Jesus spoke of different levels of judgment of certain cities that rejected Him. Matthew 11:20-24.
Furthermore there is a principle in Scripture that those who have more truth revealed to them will be judged more harshly. Amos 3:2 James 3:1
Consequently, the suffering in hell will be proportionate to the light (understanding) people have received. As the Scripture says, “To whom much is given, much is required.” Luke 12:36
Answer 5) The path that leads you away from hell.
Here is the simple prayer that leads to salvation and access to heaven. Will you pray now? Where ever you are, God will hear you pray it.
I am sorry for the wrongs that I have done in thoughts and deeds.
Please forgive all my sins.
I accept your free gift of salvation that was purchased for me by the shedding of the blood of your son Jesus Christ and I ask you to send me your Holy Spirit to help me live the rest of my life in a way that better pleases you.
Amen (So shall it be)
The witness and writings of Peter in the Holy Bible. 2Peter 2
2 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does[a] not slumber.
Doom of False Teachers
4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.
Depravity of False Teachers
12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. 15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.
17 These are wells without water, clouds[b] carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.[c]
Deceptions of False Teachers
18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped[d] from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,”[e] and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
Pray now and seek to be reconciled to God
One more opportunity here to secure your home in heaven. Simply pray the following:
I am sorry for the wrongs that I have done in thoughts and deeds.
Please forgive all my sins.
I accept your free gift of salvation that was purchased for me by the shedding of the blood of your son Jesus Christ and ask you to send me your Holy Spirit to help me live the rest of my life in a way that better pleases you.
Amen (So shall it be)
Tell someone that you prayed the prayer, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can rejoice with you and find a good Church to teach you more.