Friday, July 20, 2012

Hell is for real

Many have raised the question and discussed the existence of a literal place called Hell. Is Hell for real? I believe that it is, in fact Jesus Himself spoke more about the literal existence of Hell than anybody else in the Bible. Another word for Hell is the lake of fire mentioned four times in the book of Revelation. What is that place and where is it?  
 I don't think that anyone really knows for sure. 
There are some that believe that hell is in the center of the earth, while others believe that it may be far out in the universe i.e. the outer darkness Jesus spoke off. "And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Mat 25:30. This phrase was used by the Lord  three times in the gospel of Matthew. 
The word Hell appears 32 times in all of the Bible. In the Hebrew the word hell is Sheol. According to the concordance the word Sheol can mean:  underworld, grave, hell, pit. The OT designation for the abode of the dead or: 1) place of no return 2) without praise of God.  3) wicked sent there for punishment.  4) righteous not abandoned to it.  5) of the place of exile.  6) of extreme degradation in sin.
In the New Testament which was written in the Greek the word Hell/Sheol is translated as Gehenna. Here is what the concordance list as to what it means: 1) Hell is the place of the future punishment call "Gehenna" or "Gehenna of fire". This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction.
The Apostle Peter in his second epistle uses the word tartaroo to describe Hell. Concordance: 1) the name of the subterranean region, doleful and dark, regarded by the ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, where they suffer punishment for their evil deeds; it answers to Gehenna of the Jews. 2) to thrust down to Tartarus, to hold captive in Tartarus.
I believe that Peter used this word because he was writing to a Greek audience and they knew what he meant by the word Tartaroo.
There are many even within Christendom that either flat-out deny the existence of Hell or fail to speak about from the pulpit. Just as many deny the existence of Satan i.e. the Devil. Universalism teaches that there is no Hell and that eventually everybody will be saved. Then there are those that would say, if God is so loving, why does He sent people to Hell? 
First of all, God does not send people to Hell, they send themselves there by rejecting His free gift of salvation which is through His Son Christ Jesus. He did not come into the world to send people to Hell, He came to set people free from sin and the white throne judgment of God that all of those who reject Jesus will have to face one day.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed." John 3:16-20.
Many people know John 3:16, but many forget to read the other verses to get the full context of what Jesus was saying.  God loves us and he demonstrated His love by giving His only begotten Son, but many do not want to believe, do not care or simply reject Him. All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God (Rom 3:23).  All of us have broken God's divine laws and we deserve punishment.
God by His Mercy and Grace has provided a way to avoid that judgment and that is through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Those who believe by faith will be saved and inherit eternal life. Those who reject will have a different destiny; Hell or eternal separation from God.
Some may say that God does not exist, therefore Hell does not exist. Can they really be sure? Can they be sure hat there is nothing after death?  I may not be able to proof the existence of God or Hell to an unbeliever or someone who rejects God completely, but I know that I know that God is for real, heaven is for real and unfortunately Hell is for real.
God does not want anybody to end up in Hell and I believe that He makes every effort to save people from that place. He does this through His word and the witness of others that share the gospel. People have to really harden their hearts before God let's them go, just as Pharaoh did. It is not God that hardens the hearts of people. God gave Pharaoh many chances to listen to Him, but Pharaoh hardened his heart each time and rejected,  until God finally let him go.
I hope that there are many out there that have a soft heart that hear the call and the voice of God. This world as we know it is coming to an end. I don't know the day or the hour, we are on God's prophetic time clock. Looking at the world today, it's a few seconds before midnight.
I'm no expert on Hell either, neither do I want to be, I never wanna see or be at that place wherever it may be. I hope that if you are an unbeliever and read this, not to laugh it off, but to at least think about what Jesus said and what He did. Jesus did for us what we could not do ourselves. He died for you and me, taking our deserved punishment so that we can spend eternity with Him. Eternity is a long time and there are only two destinations; Heaven or Hell. Which one will you choose?
"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6.

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