Is Hell Real?

It is easier for people to generally believe in the reality of heaven while avoiding the contemplation of the pitfalls of a hellish realm of existence for departed souls. The hell factor is a controversial subject which people try to avoid discussing and it is often treated with skepticism when taken seriously. The negative aspect of viewing hell by avoiding a non personal view usually comes as a response of indifference due to the possibilities of our individual accountability therefore this reaction is a defensive mechanism of self preservation.

Some people deal with hell by playing the game of ignorance like Schultz on Hogan’s Heroes who would emphatically state “I know nothing” when it was his job to secure knowledge and yet by his statement he attempted to rid himself of responsibility by this claim of ignoring the obvious. This wouldn’t get him off  the hook with the commandant nor will it bring us innocence before an all knowing God likewise.

The other group perhaps they know but by silencing the static of judgement in tuning off or turning down any resources that represents  biblical christianity is only a way for them to cope temporarily by escaping in dealing with the inevitable. Just watch a group of guys squirm and how fast they change the channel if a religious program comes on that has any preaching about sin. You might think they were watching a “quick draw” western based on their efficiency in handling the remote.

Anyway when dealing with sin and judgment there are warning signals that have a clear and distinct alarm system that is to awaken our conscious towards God in alerting us to the danger of eternal punishment Romans 2:14-16, 1John 4:18.

Whether we try avoiding the  alarm by ignoring its erratic modulation’s or by throwing it across the room out of irritation, it still does not remove the fact that it is time to get up .

The alarm clock like the internal noise of our conscious resonates attempting to wake us up to our moral condition and eternal destiny. We may try to counter respond to these impulses through ignorance or resistance in trying to remove the annoyance of this persistent bong yet this chime     will not be completely silenced until we no longer wake up to this life.

People have  a difficult time in believing the biblical descriptions of hell as something that would accurately be portrayed as a horrendous place of eternal torment and condemnation and it has caused people to formulate their own reality to hell.

Individuals  have removed the concept of hell altogether by declaring its non-existence or by stating if it does exist then it occupants are Satan and his entourage of demons along with the Hitler’s of our societies.

Others downplay its horrific scenes as something to be desired like a  “big party.”

Some take  a less serious view of its recourse by seeing it as only a temporal realm of intermediacy such as a purgatorial existence or maybe as a flash fire of flesh such as annihilation.

I recently watched a documentary on this concept of heaven and hell as related to near death experiences and based on the testimony of some of these secular and religious researchers they agreed that these subjects that they viewed and interviewed where having real experiences based on their perception and this death event could not be conclusively explained by preconceived expectations of death or by the hallucinatory agents of brain chemicals.

One of the secular researchers ruled out psychological interference as well because he thought it was counterproductive to fantasize about hell when you were dying.

Most of these near death experiences are becoming more frequent now due to the technological advances of reviving people and it is said that there are about 12-15 million Americans alone who have had these experiences.

One commentator says that most people undergo a religious transformation after these close encounters with death and hallucinations alone can not account for for these kind of changes.

Another researcher had done his work internationally interviewing over 300 cases and his research had indicated a consistency of testimony of  both the hellish and the heavenly descriptions as one would find in the biblical text.

As we approach the pagan festival of Halloween many people treat death/hell like they treat this holiday. Sometimes people don’t understand or care to understand about the reality of the spiritual realm behind this Satanic celebration. For them it is just a harmless game of fun  and yet like death there can be a reality and a hidden demonic element that masks itself from our plain view and “tricks” us into being deceived by thinking that the realm of Satan, demons, and hell are only the inventions of Hollywood and preachers.

Hell becomes trivialized and commercialized and before to long it no longer haunts our minds but rather it morbidly becomes desirous in establishing these new evil role models making “Harry Potter” out to be a hero or a desirable character.

In spite of this there are some who want to seriously consider the knowledge of the after life or  at least they are curious about it and this has led to the releasing of the popular books, 90 minutes in heaven and 23 minutes in hell.

I personally know a couple of close friends that had a NDE in which they experienced heaven and one lady was so awestruck by the experience that she didn’t want to come back and I remember her telling me how that her husband could not understand why she didn’t want to return to her earthly life with him and this same testimony coincides with the other people that were being interviewed on this program likewise.

The other person that I know was a pastors wife who had visited  heaven and had seen and talked to Jesus.

In many of these spiritual encounters people have claimed to have seen things that were associated with the apocalyptical literature of both the Old and New Testaments.

One other bit of evidence that substantiates these Near Death Experiences is that these people are quite in touch to the details of what is going on around them in the room while they are in a  comatose state. They can even describe details of what is going on outside of the room as their spirit is leaving their bodies. Also they were seeing and experiencing things even beyond their own mindset and exceptions which was unexplainable as well.

The secular researchers were not conclusive in their findings on this matter as they were not able to explain or pinpoint  how these people had experienced these things when it went beyond their  human capacity for experience or perception. I believe this then leaves the door open to discuss the realm of the supernatural.

So in venturing forward on this quest of life after death lets see what the bible says about hell. The word for “hell” is the Hebrew word “sheol” as found in the Old Testament. This word can be used broadly and can generally apply to the grave, pit, and the natural realm of physical degradation. It can also be used to describe the abode of the dead or a shadowy or obscure kind of  existence.

More specifically what I am interested in describing to you is not just the physical process of death which we pretty much understand  but the spiritual plane which based on these researchers is a reality that is just as real for those who have experienced these NDE’s.

The Old Testament does not give us many clues as compared to the New Testament record which makes it more definable and descriptive in the way of terms.

The prophet Daniel sets the stage for the concept of the after life in Daniel 12:2 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

So this speaks of not just the afterlife but of the concept of the “physical resurrection” which is beyond the scope of this blog but was believed by Jews and Christians as evidenced by the ossuary boxes that you find in ancient Israel which would contain the bones of the deceased. The resurrection is to be the final act of salvation of which Jesus himself has already participated in as a type of first fruits from the dead. Somehow mysteriously these resurrected bodies will be apart of our fixture of being at a final point in the consummation of human  history which for the Christian is one of the concluding acts of redemption.

Anyway back to Daniel what begins to emerge here is the concept of “eternal” life versus “everlasting” contempt. It may be easy to visualize an eternal home of bliss but the rules must equally apply bilaterally with the synonymous words of eternal and everlasting otherwise this scripture becomes a contradiction of terms.

Under the old covenant economy the view for sheol is seen as a habitation of both the righteous and the ungodly that are held in a state of being with a chasm drawn between these two existence’s. One is referred to as Abraham’s bosom where the righteous dwell and the other is a place of torment. This is best displayed with the description Jesus gives to us in the gospel narratives which describes  to a limited extent these eternal holding places which we will discuss more about later.

We get some secondary clues from the OT/NT that show some indication of the afterlife as quoted by Jesus in Matthew 22:32 concerning Exodus 3:6  where God says that I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and Jesus concludes that He is the God of the living and not the dead which shows that there is a continued state of existence beyond the physical boundaries of this life.

Also in the Old Testament it refers to God gathering people to their fathers at the moment of death such as in 2kings 22:20.

We see the prophet Samuel as one who had come up from the ground to address Saul in 1Samuel 28:11-15

Also there are references to the “book of life” as those who will enter into eternal life and those who were not written or had been removed “blotted out”  which referred to eternal damnation. We see these references in both the Old and New Covenant passages such as found in Psalms 69:28, Exodus 32:33,  Phillipians 4:3, Revelation 3:5,13:8, 17:8, 20:12-15, 21:27.

Now the New Testament develops a fuller expression to the concept of hell and the righteous abode in which Jesus gives us a preview of these habitations as related to the story about the “Rich man and Lazarus” as found in Luke 16:19-31.

The rich man and Lazarus are dwelling in two conflicting environments with a gulf fixed between them as a barrier that could not be crossed. One location was contrasted with the other as it describes the rich man as being in torment, thirst, and in the agony of fire while Lazarus’ state of existence was a place of comfort.

Other descriptive words that Jesus and His apostles speak of when referring to hell, which according to the greek language of the New Testament would also include the use of the words hades or genna, are referred to in Matthew 3:12 as an unquenchable fire,  Mt 8:11 it describes outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth, Matthew 13:42 it is a fiery furnace, Mt 18:8 eternal fire, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 as everlasting destruction, Rev 14:10-11 as the torment that rises for ever and ever, Revelation 19:20 depicts a fiery lake of burning sulfur and in Revelation 20:10 they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

The concept of purgatory does not exist in any of the canonical books as recognized by Christians or Jews.

Nor does the bible speak of “reincarnation” as the scripture says that a man dies once and then he faces the  judgement Hebrews 9:27. Neither does the bible promote “soul sleep” which confuses the physical resurrection with the reality of a spiritual state at the moment of death 2 Corinthians 5:8 says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

These people in the NDE’s immediately went into a place or a presence as described as either heaven or hell rather than a state of nothingness and in addition to this they possessed a spirit type of body. Also these NDE’s say nothing about coming back in a reincarnated form either.

I think one of the main  problems we have in accepting the biblical references to Hell is that our God concept is mis-referenced. We reason that if there is a just God who is completely good then how can he allow people to suffer eternally which doesn’t seem logical or reasonable in making any kind of sense. Yet it is equally unbelievable to think of a person obtaining eternal life based on merely the mercy of God’s free gift of grace without merit in spite of our sinful but redeemed lives.

The original intent of this hellish habitation was to be an abode  for the Devil and his angels and it was never intended for human occupation but know it is given over to all of God’s avowed enemies in the afterlife Matthew 25:41. If God is unwilling to preserve the fallen angelic host, in which we are made a little lower than, then how will we fare if we rebel against God likewise.

If our personal goal to life is a Godless existence then shouldn’t we expect to get what we desire and shouldn’t this desire be consistent beyond the realm of  this life in experiencing the next.  Why should you want God to impose Himself on you in the sweet by and by when you don’t want his influence in the here and now.

One of the resounding themes off this semi-secular program on NDE’s is that you die like you live and I say that pretty much sums up the reality on the other side of the fence.

Satans domain is antithetical to  God’s rule. God is light and hell is darkness. Hell is sorrowful and in heaven sorrow is abolished. God is love while hell is full of hatred. In heaven there is peace while hell is filled with violence, suffering, and torment.

Its funny how we want the benefits of heaven without reciprocating thanks to Him as our creator Romans 1:21. Is God to be treated like a cosmic wh-re? Using Him for the benefit of our pleasure while avoiding the responsibility of a relationship or better yet maybe we feel God owes us one.

If a persons commitment here on planet earth is a Godless existence which is diametrically opposed  to God’s  heavenly rule and reign and presence then why should a person expect to have a heavenly outcome with a God that all of their lives they have purposely avoided. Why blame God for our own position and destination when we had a choice that was easily attainable.  In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

So what are these people like who will taste hell? Are they merely the dregs of society such as death row inmates, serial killers,rapists and pedophiles. Yes, but there is a much larger audience that  Jesus is addressing as  in Matthew 7:13,14 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it..

Rev 21:8 assigns hell to the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice the magic arts, the idolaters and all liars will have their place in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 gives an another list of hells inhabitants stating;Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

In spite of our transgressions this seemingly paradoxical situation involving sin and judgment has now evolved to the beautiful side of redemption which counteracts the effects of  these vile and wicked actions which ultimately would have earned them a spot  in the confines of hell but now these people have been gloriously translated by means of God’s forgiveness and a changed lifestyle apart from there previous way of life.

If you feel you haven’t crossed over the property line as trespassing on God’s righteousness then perhaps  we ought to look where we are standing as in Romans 6:23.

Sin is not categorized in this scripture and therefore sin is a common denominator in the equation of life as there are none who are righteous which seems to be pretty much an inclusive and universal statement.

We often trivialize our transgressions and therefore we underestimate the consequences of sin to be less than serious and critical and though everyone else’s mountain of sin may seem to dwarf our small pile of “mistakes”  your little stack may be insurmountable according to yet another person’s standard of trivial “accidents”.

Whether it is a little sin or a major sin it still carries the title of sin. Whether you steal a penny or a dollar it doesn’t matter because you are still a thief. Whether you tell one lie or million you are still a liar. We try to diminish our guilt by comparing ourselves to others.

Finally no matter what we do to showoff our “meritorious deeds” before a Holy God, He is the Judge of the universe as one who discerns mens hearts and thoughts. You can never earn justification through your acts alone and the bible compares our righteousness deeds to menstrual cloths as spoken of in Isaiah 64:6. Our works will never be good enough to keep from polluting God’s heavenly existence and dwelling. God has two realms for sin. One is the unregenerate earth and the other is hell and unless you are cleansed from sin you will in no way be allowed to hang your dirty laundry in heaven.

I don’t mean this disrespectfully but Jesus didn’t just die for the “H-ll” of it. His purpose for His incarnated state was to represent man by dieing on our behalf in taking the guilt and penalty of sin. If  we could of achieved it on our own merit by earning heaven then Christ died needlessly Galatians 2:21. A deeper look to the offense of condemnation is not only in our violation of God through sin but by shunning God’s redemptive work of salvation in the Messiah by rejecting His Son John 3:18.

One of the greatest crimes of all is to wave before God our works as a “morsel” offering versus the complete and efficacious offering of Jesus which fully satisfies God’s righteous requirements for a sacrificial offering and anything less is obscene in the eyes of a Holy God.

Remember it only took one “small” act of disobedience in the Garden to bring in a “great” flood of evil upon all of mankind thus bringing a curse to  all men. So how has your transgressions measured up to Adam’s “slip”. Are your transgressions “supersized” or “insignificant” in comparison. You be the judge.

Now getting back to the question of hell. Many people when they don’t agree or like the biblical text then they associate the content of scripture as being metaphoric thus trying to avoid its difficult application.

Yet Jesus speaks of hell in such a dramatic fashion that  He uses a hyperbole in trying to communicate to others its reality which should be avoided at all costs even if it would mean the extremes of dismemberment Matthew 5:27-30.

Based on the context of this scripture many would not take this literally nevertheless this shows a literal severity and seriousness towards the outcome of a spiritual state of existence that is more traumatic than the critical loss of even our physical components. Jesus would not say this flippantly as if there were not a hellish reality.

Finally I realize “Hell” should not be the motivation towards obedience or submission but rather “Love”.

There should be a sense of holy fear or respect for God with a balanced sense of  loving admiration.

One of the best analogies I can give you is that God is like a heavenly parent who sacrifices His  own life for the benefit of the child and even though the child is governed through the hand of correction it is for their well being and development that the “God” parent administers these actions.

Yet extending above these hands are the loving arms of God who embraces you to protect you and give you security. The hand and the arm work together to properly train the child and if done right the child should never see God’s hand as the enemy but as a means of bringing them salvation as a warning to stop.

A child who fully loves and trusts his parent understands this relationship and takes heed when the hand of God is raised knowing that it is done so only by the loving arms that are bearing its weight.

We would think it a crime for a parent to just nonchalantly just watch their child run out in the street in front of an oncoming car without saying or doing a thing. Yet would you despise a God who is trying to get your attention by yelling and pleading for your eternal soul . Would you see it as merely the fear factor or manipulation when he cries out to you “STOP” there is danger ahead.

A child would not question the urgency or the tone of a parental voice of concern and yet when God warns us about Hell then how do we take or respond to His entreaty for us to  repent.

God is calling and actually he is screaming to get our attention sometimes. Will you listen and learn to trust Him for He is a loving Father?

At the end of the blog I have a place on how to have a relationship with God and it will describe to you in fundamental terms on how to be saved and commit your life to God. It is simple process but is very profound in scope and application and it will be life changing .

Trust me I did this over 20 years ago and I will never go back to living a lie for the devil.

What life will you choose after death? Will you choice life after death or death after life?

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 6:23.

A sobering video on “To Hell and Back”


How to know God

Atheist and Agnostic Resources

English Articles on Atheism and Agnosticism

One Response to “Is Hell Real?”

  1. Floost says:

    In truth, immediately i didn’t understand the essence. But after re-reading all at once became clear.

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