By: Jimmy Lathan
Hell is a place seldom preached on in these last days. If you would ask most Christians today if they believe in a place called Hell they would render a resounding “YES and AMEN.” If you were to ask if they believed in the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they would of course say “YES.” However I find it disturbing and somewhat alarming that in our gospel presentation, there is almost no mention of this place called Hell much less the Lake of fire and brimstone. If Hell or the Lake of fire doesn’t exist, then there cannot be a Gospel at all. The fact that there is a Gospel demands the existence of a place called Hell and the Lake of fire. The term “Gospel” is understood as “good news” the good news of salvation through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. However if there is “good news” to proclaim then it is logically reasonable to proclaim the “bad news” or else our so-called good news would be totally irrelevant. The “good news” would simply be “news” and wouldn’t be anymore valuable or relevant than any other news. But if there is a Gospel, a true gospel namely salvation though the precious blood of Jesus, then this demands the existence of a place called Hell. So if we in fact say we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and do not warn men concerning the damnation of Hell, then we have not truly preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Until we are ready to warn men about the dangers of Hellfire and fleeing the Wrath to come, then we can never preach the Gospel of Christ to anyone. There is an awesome reality that we as Christians must understand and that is; when a Sinner is saved, he or she is not saved from the Devil; the World; Sin; Sickness, etc. As much as he or she is saved from the Wrath of God to come. The Wrath to come ultimately being eternally separated from God, and the glory of his power, and being tormented with fire and brimstone forever and ever. Everyone that is in this place called Hell now will be thrown into the place called the lake of fire for eternal incarceration. Isaiah 66:23-24 says
“And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”
To everyone that is outside of Christ, the Wrath of God abideth on him (St. John 3:36). We cannot have a Gospel without a place called Hell and the Lake of fire. So true salvation is to be delivered from eternal damnation. The greatest example of the preaching of the Gospel is none other than the Gospel himself; the Lord Jesus. He warned of the danger and the reality of Hellfire, and the radical removal of anything that would cause one to be sent to eternal fire where there shall be weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. If eternal life can only be obtained through the Cross of our precious Lord Jesus Christ, then eternal damnation must be justly administered by the revelation of the righteous judgment of God upon all those who reject such a great salvation. Which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord Himself, and was Confirmed by them that heard Him. God also bearing them witness both by signs and wonder, and divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost. Woe unto the man or woman who neglects or reject so great a salvation, but even a greater woe unto those who knowing the truth of eternal fire, and not do what they possibly can to lead men to Christ to escape eternal damnation of which we all deserve. “For the wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”Every living soul has a final destination. So where one spends eternity should be the No.#1 concern of every one living. There will be no second opportunities after physical death has occured, “For it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment.”
There is a place called Hell, and a Lake of fire; and most of humanity will finally be lost and sentenced to everlasting fire. God’s will is that all be saved and spend there eternity with him, but the warning is quite clear in the gospel of the very real danger of eternal damnation. The cries of the damned are real, and they will echo in chambers of horror through out the countless ages of eternity.
Text: The word Hell derived from a Saxon word that means to cover, or to hide, hence the unseen world of departed spirits. Where the dead await the Judgment.
In Scripture there are three words so rendered; Sheol, Hades, and Gehenna.
(1) Sheol, occurring in the Old Testament sixty-five times. This word Sheol derived from a root-word meaning to ask, to demand hence insatiableness (Prov. 30:15,16). It is rendered “grave” thirty-one times (Gen. 37:35; 42:38; 44:29, 31; 1Sam. 2:6, etc.) In many of these places where it was translated “grave” it should have been translated “Hell”. In thirty-one cases in the Authorized Version this word is rendered “Hell” the place of departed Spirits. The inhabitants of Sheol are called “The congregation of the dead” (Prov.21: 16). It is the abode of the wicked dead after death has occurred; a temporary holding place (jail) to await the Great White Throne Judgment of Rev.20.
Descriptions of Hell
According to the Holy Bible the place where the wicked go to await the Judgment; is a horrible, terrifying, experience. The Scriptures also give us a vivid look into Hell as one of the deterrence to going to such a place. The Holy Bible also describes this place so that we may know that it is a very real place. A very real experience presently being endured by departed Spirits. These will continue to suffer in Hell until the resurrection of there bodies to stand before the Great White Throne.
1. A Deep place. Job 11:8; Psalms 28:1; 88:3,4; 55:23; Isa.58: 18, etc. Ezekiel also mentions in his writings of nations that are in the “Nether parts of the earth” and those who “go down to the sides of the pit”
2. A Place of darkness. Job 10:21,22; Eccless.12: 1,2,3,7etc. In direct contrast to the light of Gods love that awaits the righteous at death, the gloominess of darkness awaits the wicked.
3. A Place that has bars and gates. Job 17:16; Jon.2: 6; Matt.16: 18. A place of utter and infinite captivity where there is no escape.
4. A Place of fiery torment. Luke 16:24; this rich man lifted up his eyes in Hell to his amazement he was being tormented in “flame." He also saw and recognized Lazarus afar off and desired for Abraham to send him to his five brothers to warn then to escape the damnation of Hell. Here is the wish and testimony of someone who is deceased. The Church and preachers of the gospel in particular, ought to take heed as to what is really at stake and what really ultimately matters. We are not here to see how rich God can make us, we are not here to build big church buildings, we are not here to be pampered, pedicure, or manicured. We are not here to establish our own little kingdoms, and monuments to our achievements. We are here to bear witness to the Lord Jesus to a lost and dying world that he is the way, the truth, and the life. The only hope of being saved from eternal damnation.
· What is it the most important concern we as the Church should have when it comes to the lost?
· Should we continue to preach a “Gospel” without a Hell that is not the Gospel at all?
· Should preachers or Pastors of Churches continue to be more concerned with keeping everyone smiling or not offending the people who tithe the most by not preaching on Hell?
· What shall be the end of those who believe not the Gospel of Jesus Christ; Your friends, families, and loved ones?
· Is there some sort of back door to Heaven; does everyone at funerals realize that there are no second chances after death once one has died? No purgatory, no repentance, no hope.
· Why did John the Baptist warned at his baptism to flee the Wrath to come?
· Can you remember the last time you have heard a message on Hell or the Lake of fire?
The New Testament word for the Hebrew “Sheol” is the Greek term “Hades” and has the same scope of signification. It is a place of temporary incarceration and torment. There is also another term used in the Greek New Testament, and that is “Gehenna." This word for Hell seems to be used of the eternal place of torment namely the Lake of fire. It is the place of the lost, a place of the rotting carcasses. Unlike Hell the Lake of fire is eternal in duration while Hell is only a temporary holding place a “jail” as opposed to a “prison”
(a)Gehenna is the Greek contraction of the Hebrew “hinnom." The place the Jews referred to was a deep, narrow ravine separating Mt. Zion from the so-called “Hill of evil counsel." It took its name from “some ancient hero, the son of hinnom.” It is first mentioned in Josh.15:8. It had been the place where the idolatrous Jews burned their children to the pagan gods of the Canaanites, to Moloch, and Baal. A particular part of this valley was called Tophet or the “fire stove,” where the children were burned. After the exile, in order to show their abhorrence of the locality, the Jews made this valley the receptacle of the offal of the city, for the destruction of which a fire was kept constantly burning there. The Jews associated with this valley these two ideas;
#1) A constant reminder of the victims that were sacrificed there; and
#2) A Place of filth and corruption.
It became thus to the popular mind a symbol of the abode of the wicked hereafter. It came to signify Hell as the place of the wicked. It is also relevant to mention that in the time of Christ; the Greek word “Gehenna” was never used in any other sense. It denoted the future place of torment. We know this place to be the Lake of fire and brimstone.
Description of the “Gehenna” of fire
1. A Place of “outer darkness.” Matt.8: 11,12; 22:11-13; 25:30, etc.
2. A Place where there is “weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.” These same passages above describe a place of excruciating pain so much as to gnash the teeth.
3. A Place of great gloom. 2Pet.2: 17; Jude 13. Gk. word in these passages of scriptures for “darkness” describes the very atmosphere of the Lake of fire. The Greek word is “zophos”- Gloom, a shrouding of a dark, ominous cloud. this is what is reserved for the Damned.
4. A place of worms. Mark 9:43-49 offers us a graphic description by Jesus concerning the literal worms of this place. It is also figurative of the conscience of men that will forever eat at them for not doing what ever it took to avoid such an awesome, horrific, crushing judgment. The prophet Isaiah preach the same message as did Jesus in Isaiah 66:23,24; “where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched.”
5. A Place where Death and Hell will be thrown. Rev.20: 14. This place is pictured as a far greater place of judgment since even death and hell itself will be thrown there. It is a place where its victims will not only know that they are forgotten, but they will actually experience the feeling of being forgotten to its infinite degree.
6. A Place where Satan and all spirit rebels will be eternally confined to be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the Lamb and of the holy angels.
With the reality of Hell and the lake of fire, the great commission should be the heartbeat of every blood-bought believer. Jesus said, “Say not ye four months then cometh harvest, but I say unto you lift up your eyes upon the fields for they are white and falling to the ground.” That means that Hell has grown bigger than ever with the souls of men. The bigger Hell gets, the bigger it should be preached. Men and women need to understand that God loves them and has sent his only begotten Son into the world to save them from sin and the Wrath to come. The Cross gives salvation to “whosoever” wills. It also guarantees the damnation of all those who reject it. Eternity waits for no one; today is the day of salvation. St. john 5:28-29 ‘Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the 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.
Three more places described in the nether world.
1. The bottomless pit, the abyss, Gk. wd. abussos; Rev. 9:1-2; 20:1-3
2. Gk. wd. “Tataroo” or “tatarus” it is the deepest pits of the underworld. A place where some of the most hardened, insidious, criminals of the universe have been incarcerated. This particular group of angels “kept not their first estate," but were guilty of sexual immorality. These having been chained with literal chains of a substance unknown to us. They were then cast down to this place of deep pits where they will remain keep away from society until the judgment of the great day. 2 Pet.2: 4; Jude 6
3. Abraham’s bosom, and also called paradise. This place is where all the righteous dead were carried at physical death by angels before the resurrection of Christ. This place is now empty and possibly made apart of the torment side of hell. Luke 16:22; 23:43
The dying testimonies of infamous infidels.
(1)Sir Francis Newport was trained in early life to understand the great truths of the gospel, and while in early manhood it was hoped that he would become an ornament and a blessing to his family and the nation, the result was far otherwise. He fell into company that corrupted his principles and morals. He became an avowed infidel, and a life of dissipation brought on a disease that was incurable. When he felt he must die.... He exclaimed as follows: ‘Whence this war in my heart? What argument is there to assist me against matters of fact? Do I assert that there is no Hell, when I fell one in my bosom? ...Wretch that I am, wither shall I flee from this breast? An infidel companion tried to dispel his thoughts, to whom he replied, “That there is a God I know, because I continually fell the affects of his wrath; that there is a Hell I am equally certain, having received an earnest of my inheritance there already in my breast; that there is a natural conscience I now feel with horror and amazement, being continually upbraided by it with my impieties, and all my iniquities and all my sins brought to my remembrance ....O that I was to lie upon the fires that never is quenched a thousand years, to purchase the favor of God, and be reunited to him again! But it is a fruitless wish. Millions of millions of years will bring me no nearer to the end of my torments than one poor hour. O eternity, eternity! Who can discover the abyss of eternity? Who can paraphrase upon these words--- forever and ever?” As his mental distress and bodily disease were hurrying him into eternity he was asked if he would have prayers offered in his behalf. He turned his face and exclaimed, “Tigers and Monsters! Are ye also become devils to torment me? Would you give me prospect of Heaven to make my Hell more intolerable?” Soon after his voice was failing, and uttering a groan of inexpressible horror, he cried out, “Oh, the insufferable pangs of Hell!” and died at once, dropping into the very woe of which God gave him such an earnest, to be a constant warning to multitudes of careless sinners.
(2)The infidel, Voltaire, feeling the stroke that he realized must terminate in death, was overpowered with remorse. He at once sent for the priest and wanted to be reconciled to the church. His infidel flatterers hastened to his chamber to prevent his recantation, but it was only to witness his ignominy and there own. He curse them to their faces; and, as his distress was increased by their presence, he repeatedly and loudly exclaimed, “Begone! It is you who have brought me to my present condition. Leave me, I say, begone!” Hoping to ally his anguish by a written recantation, he had it prepared, signed it and saw it witnessed, but it was all unavailing. For two months he was tortured with such an agony as led him at times to gnash his teeth in impotent rage against God and man. At other times in plaintive accents, he would plead, “O Christ! O Lord Jesus!” Then turning his face he would cry out, “I must die----abandoned of God and men!” As his end drew near, his condition became so frightful that his infidel associates were afraid to approach his bedside. Still they guarded the door, that others might not know how awfully an infidel was compelled to die. Even his nurse repeatedly said, “For all the wealth of Europe I would never see another infidel die. It was a seen of horror that lies beyond all exaggeration.”
(3)Tom Paine was born at Thedford, England, in 1737. He is widely known by his connection with the American and French revolutions and by his infidel writings. During a session of the French convention, Paine composed his infidel work, “Age of Reason” by which his name has gained an unenviable notoriety, and after the alteration of political circumstances in France he returned to America and there dragged out a miserable existence, indebted in last illness for his acts of charity to disciples of the very religion that he had opposed. Bishop fenwick says: “A short time before Paine died I was sent for by him. A decent elderly looking woman showed us in the parlor. ‘Gentlemen,’ said the lady, ‘I really wish you may succeed with Mr. Paine, for he is laboring under great distress of mind, ever since he was told by his physician that he could not possibly live and must die shortly. He is truly to be pitied. His cries, when left alone, are heart-rending. “O Lord help me!” he will exclaim during his paroxysms of distress; “God help me! Jesus Christ help me!”----Repeating these same expressions in a tone of voice that would alarm the house. Sometimes he would say, “O God! What have I done to suffer so much?” Then shortly after, “but there is no God”; and then again, “Yet if there be, what will become of me in the hereafter?” Thus he would continue for some time, when on a sudden he will scream as if in terror and agony, and call for me by my name. On one accession I inquired what he wanted. “Stay with me,” he replied, “ for God sake! for I cannot bear to be left alone.” Then said he, when I told him I could not always be in the room, “Send even a child to stay with me, for it is Hell to be left alone.” I never saw a more unhappy, a more forsaken man.’” Among the last utterances that fell upon the ears of the attendants of the dying infidel, and which have been recorded in history, were the words, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?”
(4)David Hume, the deistic philosopher and historian, was born in Edinburgh in 1762 he published his work, Natural Religion. Much of his time was spent in France, where he found many kindred spirits as vile and depraved as himself. He died in Edinburgh in 1776, aged 65 years. The follow report was published in Edinburgh where he died. About the end of 1776, a few months after the historians death, a respectable looking woman, dressed in black, got into to the Haddington stagecoach while passing through Edinburgh. The conversation among the passengers, which had been interrupted for a few minutes, was speedily resumed, which the lady found to be regarding the state of mind that persons were in at the prospect of death. A reference was made, in defense of infidels, to the death of Hume as not only tranquil, but mingled with gaiety and humor. To this the lady said, “Sir, you know nothing about it; I could tell you another tale. Sir, I was Mr. Hume’s housekeeper for many years, I was with him in his last moments; and mourning I now wear is a present from his relatives for my attention to him on his death bed; and happy would I have been if I could bear my testimony to the mistaken opinion that has gone abroad of his peaceful and composed end. I have, sir, never till this hour, opened my mouth on this subject but I think it a pity the world should be kept in the dark on so interesting a topic. It is true, sir, that when Mr. Hume’s friends were with him, he was cheerful and seemed quite unconcerned about his approaching fate; nay, frequently spoke of it to them in a jocular and playful way; but when he was alone, the scene was very different; he was anything but composed, his mental agitation was so great at times as to occasion the whole bed to shake. And he would not allow the candles to be put out during the night, nor would he be left alone for a minute, as I had to ring a bell for one of the servants to be in the room before he would allow me to leave it. He struggled hard to appear composed, even before me, but to one who attended his bedside for many days and nights, and witnessed his disturbed workings---who frequently heard his involuntary breathings of remorse and frightful startings, it was no difficult matter to determine that all was not right within. This continued and increased until he became insensible. I hope to God I shall never witness a similar scene.”
(5)The infidel Altamont’s frightful death has been recorded by Dr. Young as follows: “The sad evening before the death of the noble youth, I was with him. No one was present but his physician and an intimate friend whom he loved and whom he had ruined. At my coming in he said, ‘You and the physician are come too late. I have neither life nor hope. You both aim at miracles. You would raise the dead! ... I have been too strong for omnipotence! I have plucked down ruin!’ I said, ‘The blessed redeemer----.’ ‘Hold, hold! You would me! That is the rock on which I split---I denied his name!’ “Soon after, I proposed prayer---’Pray, you that can. I never prayed. I cannot pray---nor need I. Is not Heaven on my side already? It closes with my conscience. Its severest strokes but second my own.’ Observing that his friend was much touched at this, even to tears, with a most affectionate look, Altamont said: ‘Keep those tears for thyself, I have undone thee---dost thou weep for me? That is cruel. What can pain me more?’ “Here his friend, to much affected, would have left him. ‘No stay---that thou mayest hope: therefore hear me. How madly have I walked! How madly thou hast listened and believed. But look on my present state, as a full answer to thee and to myself. This body is all weakness and pain; but my soul, as if stung up by torment to greater strength and spirit, is full powerful to reason, full might to offer. And that which thus triumphs within the jaws of immortality is, doubtless, immortal. And as for a deity, nothing less than an Almighty could inflict what I feel. “‘I have not long to speak, my much injured friend; my soul, as my body, lies in ruin, in scattered fragments of broken thought. Remorse for the past throws my thought on the future. Worse dread of the future strikes it back on the past. I turn and turn and find no ray. Didst thou feel half the mountain that is on me, thou would struggle with the martyr for his sake, and bless Heaven for the flames; that is not an everlasting flame; that is not an unquenchable fire.’ “With what an eye of distraction, what a face of despair, he cried out, my principles have poisoned my friend; my extravagances have beggared my boys; my unkindness has murdered my wife! And is there another Hell? Oh! Thou blasphemed, yet indulged, Lord God, Hell itself is a refuge, if it hide me from thy frown!’ “Soon after his understanding failed, his terrified imagination uttered horrors not to be repeated, or ever forgotten.”
In conclusion of this brief study on Hell and the Lake of fire, I believe with most certainty that after hearing the testimonies of these dying men, we should be ever more convinced of the eternal importance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Moreover we should have an better understanding as to what is really at stake and what really matters. Its certainly not the Champaign wishes, and Cadillac dreams we hear preached to us day-in and day-out. Maybe that preacher is rich; maybe he does live in a 1.5 million dollar home; maybe he owns five Mercedes and has a personal chauffeur to whisk him of to his meetings. Maybe he has cronies guarding his body. And when he smiles, maybe his teeth do sparkle. But if he is not willing to preach the real Gospel with a heavenly vision to see men saved from sin and the wrath to come, then he is a sorry excuse for a preacher and should do the church a favor and get out of the pulpit. The things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are unseen are eternal. Should we then labor for the meats that perish, or for that which endures unto eternal life, Should we seek for the wealth of the wicked to be transferred to us, Or should we seek to transfer the world out of darkness into the kingdom of light of God’s dear Son. The simple truth is: It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the Judgment. In light of this reality let us pray that God would help us bear witness unto his precious Son in this world to lead men to the love of God in Christ Jesus. Only in Christ alone can one escape eternal damnation.