Most people fear death and as a result they strive for ways to prolong their lives. However, the Bible clearly tells us, that even though “the death rate is still one per person,” and all of us will eventually die, the absolute truth is: You are going to live forever. Christ Jesus does tell us in the Gospels that the soul of man indeed lives on past death. The only question that remains is, “Where..?”

You Are Going To Live Forever…Somewhere…

Christian journalist Nick Harrison makes this important comment about the life of the Christian:

My wife is a skilled seamstress. She quickly restores garments that need mending, giving them many months of extra use, whereas they would otherwise be ready for the trash. In our own unique ways we all have talents given to us by God to help mend torn people. Some may help financially, others may pray diligently still others may be called to daily hands-on involvement. But whatever our gifts, the mending pile of humanity grows daily.

I think it’s good sometimes to be reminded that, although God is sickened by the sin in this world, He still loves people in it. And the reason He has chosen to delay the Second Coming of Christ is because God the Father is patient…not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance – (2 Peter 3:9). But, alas the sad truth is that there are many who will not make it. And, in the end, that is the result their choices. You see, when God made man He could have “programmed” us to obey Him, but the Lord was willing to risk man having free will and to allow him to make the choice to love God, or to make the choice to reject Him. And God, Who is love, knew that people can’t be forced to love because that would no longer be love, rather, it would be an obligation.

You’ve no doubt heard the old saying along the lines of: If you love someone set them free; if they love you they’ll return. In the case of our Creator, that’s exactly what He did with His cherished creation mankind. However, because sin has now warped our perceptions about God, and with much help from Satan, we are incapable of returning to Him unless the Lord draws us to Himself. And even then we must still make the choice to come to Him. God knew what the cost would be for mankind to be able to live with Him, our Creator Himself would have to come into His Own world and die for us. The Lamb that was slain from the creation of the [universe] (Revelation 13:8) is what the Bible calls Jesus of Nazareth. However, there is that “other side of the Good News” as Dr. Larry Dixon has pointed out, which is that all who die apart from the Lamb, and whose name was not found written in the book of life, [will be] thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).

In point of fact, this lake of fire actually being a literal place Jesus Himself called Hell. It is a very sobering thought, and rightly so, as the Bible says that man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment – Hebrews 9:27. The truth is that every person will have to account for how he lived the life that was given to him by God–and you only have this one lifetime to seal your fate–and that for eternity. Some have said: “Well, I didn’t ask to be born.” As has been well stated elsewhere: Yeah, and if we took a vote, we might not want you anyway!

We are about to see that God doesn’t so much “send” people to Hell, He simply honors their choice to go there. For that is the cost of loving your own ways above the better ways of the One Who created you. You see, that “freedom of choice” that so many people worship today comes with a price. As Jesus wept over His beloved Jerusalem He said – how often did I desire to gather together in one place your children, even as a hen gathers her own brood under her wings, and you did not desire it (Luke 13:34, Wuest, The New Testament: An Expanded Translation). Dr. Walter Martin stated the truth when he said: We must face the fact that the vast majority of mankind will not make it to Heaven, as they just will not repent. It is true that John 3:16, perhaps the most recognized verse in the Bible, does say – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

However it’s also important to keep in mind that John 3:18 reads – Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the Name of God’s one and only Son – [Jesus Christ of Nazareth]. The Bible clearly teaches that we are already condemned to Hell because of our sinful nature. And John 3:36 informs us – Whoever believes. The Greek word used for believe in each of these verses is pisteuo. A word that means “to place full confidence in, to trust fully,” and not just to acknowledge a fact as it means in our culture. Whoever believes – [totally trusts in] – believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on Him. And as previously pointed out that choice to remain “condemned” to suffer God’s full anger or to accept the Lord’s free gift of salvation does belong to the individual person. And today as we hear people in our arrogant self-centered culture talk about how they pride themselves for their independence–freedom of choice and all that–why we wouldn’t want it any other way.

In his classic book All The Teachings Of Jesus Dr. Herbert Lockyer writes these sobering words:

From the [historical] records of our Lord’s ministry among men we discover that some of the most solemn utterances about the eternal [horror] of the lost fell from the lips of Him Who died that men might not perish. No matter how men try to do away with hell, it is still in existence and was a grim reality to Jesus who constantly warned His hearers of its terrors. While some of His descriptions of the place of final punishment might be figurative, they yet indicate a dreadful reality. The words He used all imply utter and hopeless ruin and reveal how candid He was when speaking of the eternal destiny of those rejecting Him and His witness. We cannot explain away the revelation He gave men of eternal punishment. It was the Savior who came as personification of divine love who spoke of:

“The broad way that leadeth to destruction” (Matt. 7:13).

“Lose your eternal soul” (Matt. 16:26; see Matt. 19:23).

“Eternal punishment” (Matt. 25:46, RV).

“Outer darkness” (Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).

“Unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:43, 44).

“Wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:42, 50).

“Thy whole body cast hell” (Matt. 5:29-30).

“Everlasting fire” (Matt. 25:41, 46).

“Where there worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:46-48).

“Eternal sin” (Mark 3:29, RV). (p. 274)

This fact can never be escaped, it was the most loving Person Who ever walked this earth, the Lord Jesus Himself Who warned: [God] will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire [of hell] – Matthew 25:41.

The Truth Of A Parable

We turn now to Luke 16:19. Sometimes called the parable of Dives and Lazarus – dives coming from the Latin for “rich“ or “wealthy”. The rich man and Lazarus:

There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. He called to him, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.” But Abraham replied, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.” He answered, “Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.” “No, father Abraham,” he said, “but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.” He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

Another time we’ll return to look at this passage in more detail because there is a wealth of information here but for now I’d just like to highlight a few of the verses. Here, it is important to come to grips with the fact that–like it or not–Jesus tells us: You Are Going To Live Forever. As one very well respected Bible teacher recently pointed out: “Every one of us must face the question of where we are going to spend eternity. Although the greatest theologians can not understand or fully explain it, we are all destined to live forever, [and] that is a mind-boggling thought. By the way we choose [to live our lives while here on earth] we make a ‘reservation’ for one of two eternal locations–Heaven, or Hell.”

Within the scholarly community there is much debate about whether this passage of Luke is a parable or not, as if that really matters. What they seem to miss during their discussions is that Jesus said: I Am the Truth – so it would logically follow that whatever He teaches is true, parable or not. And in this passage of Scripture we can see some important truths from the Creator of life. 1) When these men died they went immediately to their appointed destinations. 2) They remain conscious and remember who they are. And 3) They cannot leave the place they are at. So as we take this glimpse beyond the grave it would serve us well to keep in mind this comment from Pastor and writer Clovis Chappel from Classic Sermons On Heaven and Hell:

While so much is being said about the afterlife, so much that is false, so much that is misleading and bewildering, it seems to me altogether wise to learn something of what is said by him who speaks with authority. The story I just read to you fell from the lips of Jesus Christ our Lord. It was uttered by him “who came from God and who went to God.” It is altogether wise to remember this. Philosophers, scholars, and wise men may speculate – [Jesus] knows. He is equally at home in the realm of the seen and of the unseen. [Jesus] is as familiar with [what’s to come] as he is with the here and now.

Let’s look at a couple of the key verses in this parable of “the rich man and Lazarus” here in chapter 16 of Luke‘s Gospel. Verse 22 – The time came when the beggar – [Lazarus] – died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. This is a reference to the paradise that Jesus mentions to the thief on the cross in Luke 23:45. Dr. Lewis Foster further points out – “The Talmud – [a Jewish commentary on the Old Testament Scriptures] – mentions both paradise (see 23:43) and Abraham’s side (traditionally [the] ’bosom’ [of Abraham]) as the home of the righteous. Abraham’s side [here] refers to the place of blessedness to which the righteous dead go to await future vindication.” And now the b part of verse 22 – The rich man also died and was buried.

Verse 23 – In hell, where he was in torment. The word in Greek here that Luke uses is hades. There are 2 primary words translated as “hell” – hades and gehenna. We’ll look at gehenna further as we go along, but here we have the word hades in the text. Hades is used in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Old Testament for sheol – “the abode of the dead.” From Vines Complete Expository Dictionary we see that hades refers to “the region of departed spirits of the lost… The word is used four times in the Gospels, and always by the Lord.” And it should also be pointed out that each time Jesus uses this word it is in the context of a place of eternal conscious torment. It is at this point that one should keep in mind that Christ Jesus is the only One Who knows for sure what this place is actually like. I tell you the truth, all the mere speculations by men will never change this fact: Jesus is the Stone that causes men to stumble and the Lord is still standing long after each foolish theory falls. So don’t be afraid to lift Jesus up as you witness to people about the very real and present danger of the eternal flames of Hell as the one who trusts in Him – [Christ] – will never be put to shame (Rom. 9:33).

In verse 24, here in Luke 16, the rich man–who had never shown any pity to Lazarus while they were alive–now wants Lazarus to give him some water to ease his agony in this fire. Then in verse 25 Abraham tells him – “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. At this point it is a good idea to reflect on the fact that Jesus is the truth, and what He has just told us here is that Hades is a real place of fire, torment and agony. Later in the Book of Revelation we learn that Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire… And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15). We’ll focus our attention on this below.

The Absolute Certainty Of Hell

This lake of fire is another actual place–one also called Hell by Jesus of Nazareth–as we shall see. Some might say: Oh come now pastor Silva, don’t tell me that you actually believe in Hell? I most assuredly do, and furthermore, I agree with A. W. Tozer here as he warns – “The vague and tenuous[ly weak] hope that God is [somehow] too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions”. Called by many a 20th century prophet, brother Tozer speaks the truth that this false hope of avoiding Hell is numbing millions in our generation into the very real danger of spending an eternity there. And sadly, even once orthodox theologians are succumbing to this absurd hope and hedging now in their own teachings concerning Hell.

The trouble is however, that too many of us who would profess to be Christians today act as if there is no such place as Hell. These high-handed days we rarely, if ever, even hear sermons about this horrible fate that awaits those who die apart from a saving relationship with Christ Jesus the Lord. And we as His Church need to continually remind people that Jesus is Lord and Savior of His universe whether they accept Him or not. They must be made to understand that to ignore the truth will never make it go away, rather, it only serves to deceive people. It truly is as the evangelist Billy Sunday used to say: “If there were more hell preached in our churches, there would be less hell practiced in our streets.”

Where Are You Going To Live Forever?

Next we open our Bibles to Revelation 20 and verse 11. We’re going to the scary part of the Bible and we’re going to see that there is a place called the lake of fire. Furthermore this lake of fire is another actual place, one which is also called Hell by Jesus of Nazareth as we will clearly see here. And even though more and more people today–trained as they have been to think with their emotions–do not believe in Hell, let me just share again what Tozer has said: The vague and tenuous[ly weak] hope that God is [somehow] too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions.

As I pointed out, today people think with their hearts and not with their heads. As in: I feel this thing is true; where another will then respond; Well, I guess that’s true for you, but I feel that way and so that is what’s true for me. However, something is either true–or it isn’t–based on the actual evidence itself. How someone may feel about that truth doesn’t make any difference at all. And the fact is that Tozer really is speaking the truth–based on God’s Word–that this false hope of avoiding Hell has been numbing millions in our generation to the very real danger of spending an eternity there. And sadly, even once orthodox theologians are now succumbing to this thinking with their emotions, and they too are hedging in their teachings concerning Hell.

This brings us to Revelation 20:11 and what God the Holy Spirit Himself tells us about Hell through the eyes of His Apostle John:

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life.The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

An Evangelical Charade

O it is such a sad state of affairs in the contemporary Evangelical church today. A growing horde of Christians so-called following Rick Warren the pied piper of Purpose Driven, and the growing alternative “Christian” Emergent Church Movement seeking to reinterpret Scripture to blend into this repugnant pagan society. Today there are huge groups of Evangelicals using terminology which makes them sound like Christians, when all the time their real goal is nothing more than to blend into American culture, to have their spiritual cake and eat it too. But truthfully, how much longer can the true Church sit idly by while these phony “disciples” of Christ Jesus pass themselves off as Evangelicals?

Tozer also correctly pointed out:

Apostasy always begins with the conduct. First there is a wrong orientation of the life, a facing toward the lost world with yearning and enjoyment; later there comes a gradual surrender of the truth itself and a slipping back into unbelief. That has happened to individuals and denominations and it can happen to the whole present evangelical communion if it is not checked before it is too late… The church’s mightiest influence is felt when she is different from the world in which she lives. Her power lies in her being different, rises with the degree in which she differs and sinks as the difference diminishes… This is so fully and clearly taught in the Scriptures and so well illustrated in Church history that it is hard to see how we can miss it. But miss it we do, for we hear constantly that the Church must try to be as much like the world as possible, excepting, of course, where the world is too, too sinful…(The Set Of The Sail, Facing Both Ways).

This is such a true statement. The reason there are so many living in such blatant rebellion against a Being so powerful that they would literally disintegrate in His presence is because we in the Church don’t want to deal with this doctrine of Hell. I’ve been studying this issue for years now and I am convinced that most Christians struggle with believing that the majority of mankind will be lost to an eternity in this horrible place. However, it was not always this way, as in the past there were many great preachers of God who painted frightening word pictures about Hell. Space allows just one example. Let us consider these frightening words from the “Prince of Preachers,” the great C.H. Spurgeon.

First, notice, they are to be cast out. They are not said to go; but, when they come to heaven’s gates, they are to be cast out. As soon as hypocrites arrive at the gates of heaven, Justice will say, “There he comes! there he comes! He spurned a father’s prayers, and mocked a mother’s tears. He has forced his way downward against all the advantages mercy has supplied. And now, there he comes. “Gabriel, take the man.” The angel, binding you hand and foot, holds you one single moment over the mouth of the chasm. He bids you look down—down—down. There is no bottom; and you hear coming up from the abyss, sullen moans, and hollow groans, and screams of tortured ghosts. You quiver, your bones melt like wax, and your marrow quakes within you. Where is now thy might? and where thy boasting and bragging? Ye shriek and cry, ye beg for mercy; but the angel, with one tremendous grasp, seizes you fast, and then hurls you down, with the cry, “Away, away!” And down you go to the pit that is bottomless, and roll for ever downward—downward—downward—ne’er to find a resting-place for the soles of your feet. Ye shall be cast out.

And where are you to be cast to? Ye are to be cast “into outer darkness;” ye are to be put in the place where there will be no hope. For, by “light,” in Scripture, we understand “hope;” and you are to be put “into outer darkness,” where there is no light—no hope. Is there a man here who has no hope? I cannot suppose such a person. One of you, perhaps, says, “I am thirty pounds in debt, and shall be sold up by-and-by; but I have a hope that I may get a loan, and so escape my difficulty.” Says another, “My business is ruined, but things may take a turn yet—I have a hope.” Says another, “I am in great distress, but I hope that God will provide for me.” Another says, “I am fifty pounds in debt; I am sorry for it; but I will set these strong hands to work, and do my best to get out of it.” One of you thinks a friend is dying, but you have a hope that, perhaps, the fever may take a turn—that he may yet live. But, in hell, there is no hope. They have not even the hope of dying—the hope of being annihilated. They are for ever—for ever—for ever—lost! On every chain in hell, there is written “for ever.” In the fires, there blaze out the words, “for ever.” Up above their heads, they read “for ever.” Their eyes are galled, and their hearts are pained with the thought that it is “for ever.” Oh! if I could tell you to-night that hell would one day be burned out, and that those who were lost might be saved, there would be a jubilee in hell at the very thought of it. But it cannot be — It is “for ever” they are “cast into utter darkness”(

The God-haters—You and Me.

And a quick note about the phrase “cast into utter darkness,” we will find this reference in the Bible, and those being the Words of Jesus of Nazareth. But the subjects of the [wicked] kingdom will be thrown outside [the Kingdom of Heaven], into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth – Matthew 8:12. We shall to the Gospel of Matthew, but first, it’s important that you understand the weeping and gnashing of teeth is a actually a common first century Jewish expression for contempt. Those thrown into Hell won’t be feeling anguish or remorse. No, their true human nature will be fully revealed–apart from the restraint from God’s presence in this world now–and the weeping and gnashing of teeth represents their absolute hatred of God.

Men and women, such is the sinful nature of all of us who are human when left to our own lives apart from Christ. Contrary to the Norman Vincent Peale clone Robert Schuller’s destructive disciples of syrupy sentimentality, by our selfish sinful human nature we prove that apart from regeneration by God the Holy Spirit we actually hate God. Now just think for a moment, in Hell this will be left unchecked throughout the eons of eternity. And as we share these truths about the nature of man and the certainty of Hell–as our brothers and sisters before us used to–we are likely to incur the anger of those we are trying to reach. And yes, it is true that many of these ministers ended up being labeled “hell fire and brimstone” preachers.

You will soon see however, the King of all “hell fire and brimstone preachers” is the Jesus of Nazareth Himself. If our Lord–the Master Teacher–warned people of the danger of being cast into Hell, as well as warning of the indescribable horrors of this lake of fire, then where do we get off never speaking of it at all? Do you think that God is just going to slough-off our being afraid to share this controversial doctrine? Well, know this, He most certainly won’t, and especially not after so many in our generation end up doomed to an agonizing eternity of suffering because we just won’t confront this arrogant and complacent people we live among in this pagan nation with the absolute truth that all people who die without a personal relationship with Christ will be cast into Hell–and that, forever.

Should We Be Concerned About Hell?

In The Terrors Of Hell, William Nichols asks – “Why should we be so concerned about hell? Why should we spend so much time reading about hell?” These are good questions. However, the truth is that we don’t. People today don’t give Hell so much as a fleeting thought, let alone read about it. And the problem can be traced right back to the Christian Church who has just stopped warning people about Hell. This is then coupled with our over-emphasis on God’s love–at the expense of His holy justice and His perfect hatred of sin–and: Viola! We now have a world just full of “fools.” Now before anyone gets all up in arms, and you begin to reach for the tar and feathers, I use the term fool in the same way the Bible does. In Scripture a “fool” is a person who is morally bankrupt because he continues to live in willful sin thereby rejecting the ways of God, and not seeking the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord.

Nichols goes on to say:

There are several reasons why it is profitable to [discuss the subject of Hell]: 1) Hearing about the terrors of hell may shock your conscience and awaken you out of your false security. 2) Hearing about hell helps to deter men from committing sin. Both the godly and the ungodly are persuaded not to sin as much when they are regularly reminded of the terrors of hell. 3) Hearing about the terrors of hell may help to awaken those among us who may think they are saved because they believe in Christ or the facts of the gospel, but who are not really saved and are on their way to hell, but don’t know it. 4) Preaching the doctrine of hell is profitable to both the godly and the ungodly alike…”

But I say, right now we are reaping the terrible consequences that come from not preaching a balanced doctrine about Who God really is, and as a result, we’ve lost our fear of the Lord. And this is exactly the reason that our once great nation is dying right before our very eyes.

Let me show you from the Scriptures how it is that people become fools as they lose their fear of God. And as we look at this, we’ll see what happens to our world when there is no fear of God before their eyes (Rom. 3:18). The Bible says:

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. The words of his mouth are mischief and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good. He plots mischief while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he spurns not evil (Psalm 36:1-4, RSV).

The Bible further says – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline (Proverbs 1:7) and Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint (Proverbs 29:18).

The Degradation Of Mankind

Next we turn to chapter 1 of the Book of Romans, and verse 28. Many times we joke about the many people we run in to each day that appear to be “clueless.” I’ll show you this came to be. Romans 1:28 – Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. Are you starting to see the country you live in? Now, stop and think about too many of the people you have dealings with each day–it gets worse. Verse 29 – They have become filled with every kind of kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. Do you recognize the world today? Well, keep in mind this was written nearly two thousand years ago. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; – [if we are honest with ourselves we have to admit we are seeing this everyday now–and it gets even worse] – they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Actually the King James Version better captures the original Greek here as it reads – have pleasure in them that do them. The word picture you’d get when reading this in the original language is that these people are not only sinning themselves, but are encouraging others to sin and then applauding as they do. Now stop and think about the conduct and life-styles of many so-called celebrities–as well as other public figures that our sin-sick society throws up as role models. We need to pray that these people will heed this warning from Jesus before it’s too late for them – “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin” – Luke 17:1-2.

When you keep in mind that these Words I just quoted came from the only begotten Son of the one true and living God –Christ Jesus of Nazareth–they should be cause for great concern. And this brings us to the heart of the matter. Men and women, the time has come for those of us who would dare call ourselves Christians to begin to live as fully as we can to the glory of our wonderful Lord Jesus. You may notice I spend a great amount of time teaching about Jesus of Nazareth as being the Creator and Savior and Lord of this universe. There is a simple reason for that. There is no subject that is more important than our wonderful Creator. And God the Father has chosen to place all things in the hands of God the Son, Who in turn, sent God the Holy Spirit to dwell within those who would surrender to Christ as their Lord and Savior. Unfortunately, our Lord’s Church has dropped the ball, and has for too long now been allowing Satan to conform it to his sick world system.

It may not be pleasant to hear, and oftentimes the truth isn’t pleasant, but that doesn’t stop it from being true. And the fact is, that Jesus not only came to save us from our sins, but to also warn us of the consequences for that sin. And as His teacher, I’m going to show you from the Bible just what it is that Jesus told us about this place that He called hell. For too long now we’ve been trying to entice people to accept Christ as Savior by talking about how much He loves us. Without a doubt He does! However, let’s never forget that awful price Jesus had to pay in demonstrating that love–that horrifyingly humiliating death on a bloody Roman cross. Now consider this, God so loved the world that He sacrificed His Own Son, allowing Him to be so brutally tortured in order to make the way for mankind to be saved from our own debt of sin. Do you really think that someone making a further mockery of His love by rejecting this sacrifice will go unpunished? This is what Jesus will warn us of as we read on.

As has been very well stated elsewhere: There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch–every split second is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan. And, as Dr. Larry Dixon further points out in his book The Other Side Of The Good News – “Man is not spiritually neutral; he is on his way to a horrific place and needs to be rescued. One who is rapidly approaching a deadly waterfall needs to be warned of imminent danger and rescued from certain death!” (p.174)

Christ Jesus Speaks On Hell

So, let’s begin by looking in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 5 beginning at verse 22 and we’ll see for ourselves what Jesus of Nazareth has to say about the subject of Hell. It must be emphasized that the doctrine of Hell as we know it today was not taught until our Lord warned man of its horrors. But I tell that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, “Raca”, is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell. The word that Jesus uses here for Hell is gehenna, and we also see He uses the imagery of fire as well. And whenever Jesus uses this word gehenna it is always in the context of the place of eternal separation from God–Hell.

In the New International Bible Commentary Dr. H.L. Ellison informs us that gehenna is “short for Ge-ben-Hinnom, the Valley of (the son of Hinnom” and refers to a deep ravine south of Jerusalem which had become a perpetually burning garbage dump. During Old Testament times it was place actually used for detestable child sacrifices. This abomination is recorded for us in the Book of Jeremiah – They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire… They built high places for Baal [there] in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech (Jeremiah 7:11; 32:35). There people had built a huge bronze image of the pagan god Molech, and after it had been heated to a glowing red hot furnace, they would drop their infants onto it as a sacrifice. Don’t be deceived, the LORD God Almighty remembers this loathsome practice only all too well and uses this very place to remind us of the degradation to which evil mankind can sink.

Now let’s look a little further down here in Matthew 5, the b part of verse 29 – It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Here we see that Jesus speaks of Hell as an actual place–a place you can be thrown into. Modern man likes to think that this place doesn’t exist, but you see, there is something that we need to make abundantly clear to everyone we speak to concerning this subject. And that is, people need to be made to understand that if they wish to do away with Hell, they will have to do away with the very Words of Christ Himself.

The unsolvable problem they face however is that Jesus clearly tells us – Heaven and earth will pass away, but my Words will never pass away (Matthew 24:35). And Holy Scripture also says – Your Word, O Lord, is eternal (Psalm 119:89). Men and women, it is so important that we use Jesus when we witness to others. Always be sure to tell people what He has said, and let them go argue with Him. And, for those who wish to do that, good luck arguing with an infinite intelligence. For this inalterable fact concerning Hell is brought to light from the highly respected Bible commentator Dr. Leon Morris:

Why does anyone believe in hell in these enlightened days? Because Jesus plainly taught its existence. He spoke more about hell then he did about heaven. We cannot get around this fact… He said plainly that some people will spend eternity in hell… He spoke plainly about hell as well as about heaven, about damnation as well as about salvation (“The Dreadful Harvest,” Christianity Today, 27 May, 1991, p.34).

And this brings us to our next verse in Matthew, chapter 10 and verse 28. Here Jesus will attempt to put the fear of God into us. Does anyone still remember that old phrase? O how we need to recapture it! A whole lot of the fear of God put into them is exactly what people need today. The b part of Matthew 10:28 – Rather, be afraid of the One – [God] – Who can destroy both soul and body in Hell. We need to “fear” God, and Jesus Himself wasn‘t above using so-called “scare-tactics” in an attempt to arouse man from his deathly slumber. The believer should have a reverent fear of the Lord–His awesome Power and majesty–and of His perfect and holy character because we know Him. While on the other hand the unbeliever should be trembling in absolute fright before their perfectly just Creator. As it is written: it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31). In you are not sure that you are in Christ, you had best know this: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction (Galatians 6:7-8a).

And now we come to our final verse in our quick look at what Christ Jesus–our Creator Himself in human form–teaches about Hell from the Apostle Matthew’s eyewitness deposition. Near the end of the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, verse 41 – Then [God] will say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” First of all, here we see that man was never supposed to go to Hell. If one still ends up there, then it is by his own choice. In his textbook Christian Theology Dr. Millard Erickson, Professor of Theology at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary, points out that those who wish to deny the [eternal] existence of Hell have a:

problem that arises from the fact that Scripture speaks not merely of eternal death…but of eternal fire, eternal punishment, and eternal torment as well… C.S Lewis has put it, [that] sin is the human being saying to God throughout life, “Go away and leave me alone.” Hell is God’s finally saying to the human, “You may have your wish.” It is God’s leaving the person to [themselves, just] as that individual has chosen. (pp.1246,7)

There’s a couple of last points to be made here as we look at what our Lord taught us about the horrors of Hell. For these we’ll go the next Book in the New Testament Gospel of Mark chapter 9 and verse 43. As we look at the b part of verse 43, let point out that this is kind of a parallel passage to Matthew 5:29-30. Mark 9:43b – It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands go to hell, where the fire never goes out. We’ve already seen that Jesus always taught Hell is a real place, and it is eternal. Again we see Jesus uses the imagery of fire–an eternal fire that never goes out. Now, some get hung up here as to whether this is a literal fire, and as you share your faith in what the Bible literally says you’ll find this is actually a quite common view today. It should be noted however, that we do see from Exodus 3–in the eyewitness account from Moses of “the burning bush” which initially caught his attention–that God has given us an example in this dimension itself that He can certainly make something burn and then not be consumed by the flames. If you are an unbeliever, I suggest you consider this fact quite seriously, for you never know when your time is up.

Now let’s move along a couple of verses here in Mark 9 to verse 47. Again I draw your attention to the second part of this verse of Holy Scripture. Mark 9:47b – It is better for you to enter the Kingdom of God – [Heaven] – with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into Hell, where “their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” The imagery Christ uses here would be readily apparent to those to whom Jesus was talking to as Ge-ben-hinnom was constantly burning right outside Jerusalem. His hearers would have noticed the continually burning fires with the ever-present smoke rising into the air. And due to the waste that was dumped there, as well as the human carcasses of crucified criminals being thrown into the fire, it was a violently disgusting place teeming with maggots and worms. Dr. John Grassmick shares this insight about these two passages in Mark’s Gospel:

Fires burned continually to consume regular deposits of worm-infested garbage. In Jewish thought the imagery of fire and worms vividly portrayed the place of future punishment for the wicked (cf. the apocryphal Judith 16:17 and Ecclesiasticus 7:17). Jesus used the word geenna (sic) in 11 of its 12 New Testament occurrences (the one exception is James 3:6).

Where the fire never goes out is probably Mark’s explanation of Gehenna to his Roman readers. The worm (internal torment) and the unquenchable fire (eternal torment) (quoted from the [Greek Septuagint translation] of Isaiah 66:24) vividly portray the unending, conscious punishment that await all who refuse God’s salvation. The essence of hell is unending torment and eternal exclusion from His presence (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, NT, p.147, bold in original).

While it is true that none of us really like to talk about this certain–and horrific fate of all who die without accepting the free gift of salvation found only in the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth–the time has come when we must speak up. I tell you in the Lord that if we don’t begin to warn people of the very real dangers of Hell, then we will be held responsible before the Lord for their perishing, and their blood will be on our hands:

then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.’ (Ezekiel 33:4b-6).

There Is No Excuse To Avoid Confrontation

Just because so many within the Lord’s Church don’t like to confront the evil world system, with their false ideas about tolerance and absolute truth, this will not excuse us before Jesus. As nowhere in Scripture do you find any excuse for not being willing to go anywhere the Master may send you. And you will look in vain for any excuse for this generation’s not telling people exactly what happens to all who reject their only chance to escape the eternal wrath of God. A certain fate which results in a final guilty verdict for their sins before Almighty God and His banishing them forever to eternal, conscious torment in the lake of fire described earlier in Revelation 20:14-15.

If you study the rich history of the Church in America you will see that there were 3 Great Awakenings–real Revivals–where entire cities were changed through the preaching of the true Gospel. During the First Great Awakening there was a powerful man of God named Jonathan Edwards who was mightily used by the Lord in Massachusetts and Connecticut, not far from Connecticut River Baptist Church, the little rural church where I am currently pastor. In one to the true classic sermons of the ages, Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God, Edwards calmly read these words from his prepared text:

But the foolish children of men miserably delude themselves in their own schemes, and in confidence in their own strength and wisdom; they trust to nothing but a shadow. The greater part of those who heretofore have lived under the same means of grace, and are now dead, are undoubtedly gone to hell; and it was not because they were not as wise as those who are now alive: it was not because they did not lay out matters as well for themselves to secure their own escape. If we could speak with them, and inquire of them, one by one, whether they expected, when alive, and when they used to hear about hell, ever to be the subjects of misery: we doubtless, should hear one and another reply, “No, I never intended to come here: I had laid out matters otherwise in my mind; I thought I should contrive well for myself — I thought my scheme good. I intended to take effectual care; but it came upon me unexpected; I did not look for it at that time, and in that manner; it came as a thief — Death outwitted me: God’s wrath was too quick for me. Oh, my cursed foolishness! I was flattering myself, and pleasing myself with vain dreams of what I would do hereafter; and when I was saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction came upon me”…

So that, thus it is that natural men are held in the hand of God, over the pit of hell; they have deserved the fiery pit, and are already sentenced to it; and God is dreadfully provoked, his anger is as great towards them as to those that are actually suffering the executions of the fierceness of his wrath in hell, and they have done nothing in the least to appease or abate that anger, neither is God in the least bound by any promise to hold them up one moment; the devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay hold on them, and swallow them up; the fire pent up in their own hearts is struggling to break out: and they have no interest in any Mediator, there are no means within reach that can be any security to them. In short, they have no refuge, nothing to take hold of; all that preserves them every moment is the mere arbitrary will, and uncovenanted, unobliged forbearance of an incensed God.

Men and women, you need to know in the Spirit that we are at the end of an age–we stand squarely at a crossroads–and the time has come to bring balance back to our preaching about the true God the Bible. While He is longsuffering and loving, He is also a God of justice, Who punished His Own Son in our place–and for our sins. Do you not think that there will literally be Hell to pay for those who stand before this purely holy LORD God Almighty–the very Creator of the heavens and the earth–un-forgiven? If we love our fellow man, then let us not shrink back from our task of calling them to repentance and faith in Christ. We must consistently inform them that the Lord has done all He is going to do to save men.

Let me encourage you to look at it–please–from the perspective of our awesome Lord Jesus: I gave men life and they betrayed me. But I am merciful towards them, and I understand that they powerless to stop sinning, and cannot save themselves. So I’ll come into this world and live the perfect life for them, and I’ll pay their debt to satisfy the perfect justice of a Holy God. What is more, in doing so I’ll allow them to treat Me cruelly to help them see that My love is nothing like their shallow lusts. And all they have to do to avoid eternal separation from Me is to believe this, and I‘ll lovingly place them into this perfect life. Men and women, I’d dare say that is way more than we would ever do for anyone. If you listen carefully; He calls to you now–will you come?

And Sometimes You Do Get What You Want

I close now with these insightful words from Dr. Charles Stanley. Think about this for a moment. This teaching on Hell is so clear in the Bible that even those on the “soft” side of Evangelicalism can see it. Now that we have looked closely at what Jesus Himself taught about the horrific place known as Hell, you will be able to see the truth of these words:

There is no way the human mind can conceive of being eternally doomed to the darkness and loneliness of perpetual exile from God. Here there is no hope, no mercy, no help, and no relief. Many people say there’s no way they believe that a loving God would ever do that to anybody. These people forget that God does not consign people to Hell against their wishes. He only confirms their choice. Every day we are making decisions to include God–or reject Him. When people choose not to give the Lord a place in their lives, He will at some point give them exactly what they have requested. When you choose to live separate from God here on earth, you are also making the choice to be separated from Him for eternity. In the long run, we all get what we insist on. How could God be more fair, what more could He do to save you than He has already done? He gave you a Bible to read, and people have knocked on your door, and shared tracts. You’ve heard the Gospel again, and again. My dear friend, listen carefully: When you stand in the Great White Throne judgment after telling God all your life, to leave you alone, you will have your wish. His final words will be, “Depart from Me.”

And you may consider yourself warned: If you were to hear those dreadful words, your final destination will be Hell, the eternal lake of fire–forever…