The truth about hell
Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
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In Matthew 10:28 the body and soul are in view. The body is easy it is our fleshly body, and can be destroyed by any man and God as well. The soul is different…the Greek word for soul: psuché, means life. Our soul therefore is what makes us “us”. The soul cannot be destroyed by man but by God alone. Our soul is eternal the body can be kept alive with or without the soul as evidenced by todays machines. But no soul; no you.
Notice that in Matthew 10:28 Jesus says “able” to destroy both body and soul, not will. When we see passages that seem to conflict with each other we must then look to other passages to seek the meaning as well as reading in context.
There are many places in the Bible that speak of eternal punishment.
Isaiah 66:22-24 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23 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. 24 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.
It is important to note here the wording used: the NEW heavens and the NEW earth…eternity is in view here
(Revelation 21). This gives us a clue to this phrase:
for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched–permanent, not stopping.
Daniel 12:1-2 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
“Many” may refer to the Jews, but much more likely it refers to all people that have died. Other places in Scripture “many” is used to convey a great multitude, not to mean some of all. As well, we know from the Word that all will stand before Christ at the end; therefore all will be raised from the dust not just some. All will face judgment before Christ but not for the same reasons. The Saints will be judged according to what they have done with that which God gave them, and unbelievers will be judged for their sins. The “book” (Revelation 20:15) mentioned in verse 1 is the book of life.
(2 Corinthians 5:10, Romans 14:10-12, Revelation 20:12-15)
Matthew 18:6-9 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! 8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. 9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
Obviously Jesus is speaking using parabole, similitude, or comparison when He says to cut off your hand or pluck out your eye to avoid sinning. Note verse 8 speaks of “everlastingfire”;this then is the comparison we need to see here, in other words sin is very serious and has an eternal consequence: hell.
Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Everlasting and eternal…self-explanatory.
2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed ) in that day.
Note the wording of verse 9 “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” everlasting destruction…meaning without end. The destruction of the body and soul does not end it continues eternally. The second clue to note here is the word ”from”. Meaning that those who are placed in hell will be separated from God forever, this is the second death and the one truly in view when death is spoken of in (Romans 6:23) and supported by Revelation 20:14-15
Revelation 20:10; 14-15 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire
Forever and ever…self-explanatory.
Then there are passages used to deny the truth of hell and the inerrancy of the Bible:
Luke 16:22-26 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
This would seem to be a parable at first glance a warning to get our attention, but lets take a closer look at it. First when Jesus is speaking in parables we see in the text that He is noted as speaking using a parable or that He uses terms such as “likened”, or something is “like” this or that (Matthew 13 has some good examples of this). Second when Jesus spoke in parables He NEVER used real names. Later in the text Abraham is using the name of Moses and refers to the prophets. The rich man asks for a drop of water to cool his tongue which seems improbable, but the rich man knows full well that IF he were to have this relief it would only be momentary as evidenced by his request (Luke 16:27-31) for Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers that they would not wind up in this place of torment.
Psalm 145:20 The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy
It needs to be noted here that this verse is pulled from a Psalm that’s main theme is praising the Lord. In the preceding verse the psalmist is reflecting on the fact that God will hear the cry of those who fear Him and will save them and satisfy them. We can infer then that “destroy” likely means the death of those who appose God and His design and at the most eternal destruction may be in view but likely the former. This does not refer to God destroying anyone permanently. God did indeed destroy many who apposed Him by killing them. Israel made war on many and was victorious through the blessing of God in the Old Testament.
Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
This verse does NOT represent a second chance to accept Jesus. Once we die, there are NO second chances. We all must choose to serve and accept Christ in this life.
Lets look at the preceding verses so that we can see this in context:
Matthew 25:31-46 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
I know this is a long set of verses, but there is an important point to be made here.
First we see the Lord will sit upon His throne and separate the nations, this implies judgment; keep this in mind for a moment. The nations will be divided into 2 groups: the sheep and the goats. To make this distinction, Jesus needs a basis for His decision. If there were a second chance after death or even if you were yet alive at the return of Jesus, presuming a person had not accepted Jesus as Lord…what would Jesus base his judgment on? Jesus in fact tells us what He bases His judgment on: those that helped the poor, had compassion on others etc. will inherit the Kingdom of God, love thy neighbor as thyself should come into view here. Those who did not do these things thereby disobeying the commandment love thy neighbor as thyself will go into everlasting punishment. In other words, the decision is based upon how we lived out our life here on earth, not a last second decision to accept Christ when those who stand before Him realize that they made a huge mistake in not doing so in life. All people will be resurrected and live eternally, but not all will live with God spiritually alive, some will be spiritually dead (separated from God for eternity) and will spend eternity in hell.
This is why we need to understand the truth of Scripture and realize what will happen if we choose NOT to accept Jesus.
The reality of salvation
It is said as well that all we need to do is accept Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9) and we will be saved. This is both true, and misleading but let me explain that. It is important to note here that people are mislead NOT because of God or the Bible but rather because their own perception of God and the Bible is incorrect.
I could site many verses to back this up but will use only one set.
James 2:14-18 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
In other words if we are truly saved, there is more to it than a simple confession. Yes believing in Jesus Christ saves us, at the same time if we are truly saved then our life will show forth the fruit of the spirit, and we will do good works. Many are those who miss this truth or simply choose to dismiss it to their own peril. Works cannot save us only Christ can, yet if our life bears no fruit are we really saved?
This applies as well to the living in sin arguments and once saved always saved. If a person is truly saved are they always saved? Yes I believe so but there is a “but”.
Consider the person who accepts Jesus but falls away for a time into sinful living but at some point returns to the fold repenting of what they have done are they saved? I would say yes. Now how about the person who accepts Christ (supposedly) and falls away into a sinful lifestyle never to repent of their sin and showing no fruit are they saved? No I do not believe they were ever saved to begin with and that is the whole point.
Matthew 7:19-23 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Verse 19 describes what will happen to bad trees, (unbelievers) they are destined for hell. Verse 20 describes good trees as they produce fruit (Believers). The rest of these verses 21-23 describe those who think they are saved but are not.
The above passage is serious and frightening…it describes many today that say they are saved and yet live lives that say otherwise. Only God knows for sure who is saved and who is not, still the Bible does make it clear how the blessed ones of God will behave. Praying a prayer in and of itself does not save you. The guy that says he is saved because he prayed a prayer, but drinks like a fish and cares not a rip for the less fortunate is not saved. We will behave in the manner prescribed by God if we are truly His son or daughter, not the way of the world living always for self.
The time for truthful self-reflection is now, today. Christ is coming soon and we need to be ready for Him or risk being left behind. We can choose to ignore what the Bible says to our own peril, in so doing we fool only ourselves not the Lord.
No one that takes God seriously is going to look at His Word and say that some parts of it are not true. That attitude speaks of someone who is unsaved, or honestly very ignorant and that perception will change in time and relatively soon. Choosing what parts of God’s Word are true or not is opening a door for Satan to walk through…very dangerous.
If you do not agree with what the Bible says, change your opinion. The Bible is right and you are wrong, it’s that simple. Understand that the Bible contrary to popular belief was NOT written by men, the Bible was written by the Holy Spirit operating through those men. Men can be wrong, God cannot.
Choose Jesus while there is yet time and choose life, God looks after His own.