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Do you believe in Hell?

Posted on January 9th, 2012   //   7 Comments »

When was the last time you had a discussion or any thoughts about going to Hell? Maybe it’s an awkward topic that makes you uncomfortable; pondering the thought of yourself in Hell. As a result, you keep your ideas, feelings, or theories to yourself. I am actually comfortable talking about Hell, because I know I’m not going there when I die. I’m concerned for many members of my family, friends and acquaintances that are destined for Hell unless they make a commitment to Jesus Christ. There are many false ideas and mis-conceptions about Hell floating around. I felt called to post what the Word of God says about Hell. I’m encountering more people today that don’t believe in Hell. If that’s you and you feel less compelled to make a commitment to Jesus Christ as a result, this blog post about hell is for you.

So you don’t believe in Hell. Or you don’t believe God will send you to Hell. You say there is no Hell. “If there is a Hell, I’m not going there because I’m a good person.” Maybe you believe God only sends murderers, criminals and thieves to Hell. In no way am I here to judge or throw rocks at anybody reading my post about Hell. Where you stand in your relationship with God is your private business. I only hope and pray I can shed some light on the topic, helping you understand the basics of Hell and how to avoid this terrible place when you die. Let’s look at a few questions:

Why did God create Hell?
God created Hell for Satan and his angels (demons). Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:41, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Why is God sending people to Hell?
God does not send people to Hell. Rather, God wants us to be in Heaven with Him. Paul writes to Peter in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

Why do people go to Hell?
People go to Hell, because they choose by their own free will not to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and repent (confess) of their sins. God respects your decision to not accept Him, and has a place for you to go as a result. God never intended for people to go to Hell. By your own free will, you have two options to choose: (1) BELIEVE – accept by faith Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and repent of your sins or (2) DISBELIEVE or DOUBT – do not accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, placing your hope on own “feelings” or theories. People go to Hell and perish, because they choose to disbelieve or doubt God, the Father, or Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, which are One (the Trinity).

How do I know if Hell exists?
First, I believe by faith Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, who was hung (crucified) on a tree to die for my sins, and three days later rose from the grave. Second, I believe by faith the Bible is the inspired Word of God and is infallible, passed from generation to generation. Third, I believe in the Holy Spirit that dwells in me and each of us, interceding on my behalf and leading me in my walk with Jesus Christ. Now with that said in abbreviation, the word “Hell” is mentioned over 65 times, which may vary based on bible translations. Jesus Christ, Himself, spoke more about Hell than anyone else in the Bible, teaching us about the place, it’s membership, describing it’s weather, warning us, and explaining how not to go there.

Can you be a Christian and not believe in Hell?
To deny there is a Hell is to deny the very words of Jesus Christ. Compromising the words of Jesus Christ is to invalidate and rebuff the red biblical text spoken by the Lord your Savior. There is no middle or grey area in having a relationship with Jesus Christ. The words “maybe,” “perhaps,” “possibly,” or “perchance” does not exists in Jesus Christ’s dictionary. Jesus is either all or none to you. We are saved by God’s grace, and I believe we are called to understand the Truth from the biblical text. If you claim you’re a Christian and choose not to believe in hell, I question the depth of your Faith in Jesus Christ.

Why does God send “good people” to Hell?
God does not send good (or bad) people to Hell. Hell is a destination by our own free will – a freedom of choice.

Will murderers, thieves, and other criminals go to Hell?
If they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and confessed their sins to God, they will not go to Hell. That’s right. Remember, I said “If.” Hypothetically, if Adolf Hitler before his death asked Jesus Christ into his life and repented of his sins turning away from his evil committing himself to God, Adolf Hitler would be saved in the Kingdom of Heaven. Astonished? This is God’s amazing grace and love for each of us who sent down His own Son to be sacrificed for our own sins. There is nothing you and I can do to remove or makeup for our sins; there are no good works that will ever compare to the death and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. “Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can man be saved from sin’s penalty.”

Do “good people” go to Hell?
Yes. Unless a “good person” has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, repenting their sins, no matter how many good things they did throughout their life they will not see Heaven when they die. Period. If a person helped the needy and always donated his/her time to helping orphans, victims, the homeless, or anybody in need, but has not accepted Jesus Christ, they are destined for Hell. Doing good things (good works) is not enough to get you into Heaven. Jesus tell us in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Unless you are a Christian, your good deeds are empty to God’s eyes and carry no justification for your entry into Heaven. If a person reads the bible and claims they believe in Heaven, believe Jesus existed, but never repented their sins and confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, this person will perish in Hell. In Romans 10:9 we are told,”Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Who will go to Hell?
People that are not saved through Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches us who will go to hell. Revelation 20:15 warns “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” 2 Thessalonians 1:8b-9 also teaches us that those who die without believing in Christ will go to hell: “Them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.”

Where is Hell?
I don’t know. I haven’t been there and I’m not planning on visiting.  But I will say that several references are made in the Bible about Hell being a descension or “down” and not up or around.  Here are a few verses:  ”And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.” Matthew 11:23  And…. “They do not lie with the mighty Who are fallen of the uncircumcised, Who have gone down to hell with their weapons of war; They have laid their swords under their heads, But their iniquities will be on their bones, Because of the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.” Ezekiel 32:27  And lastly… Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?“ Ephesians 4:9

Will you (or I) go to Hell?
Unless you have placed all your trust in God, accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and repented your sins, you will perish into Hell when you die.

What will Hell be like if I go there?
I don’t think we can fully comprehend the pain and suffering in Hell. The Bible does tell us the “fire cannot be quenched” in Mark 9:48. In Matthew 25:30, Jesus tells there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Peter describes Hell in his Second Letter to Christians in Chapter 2 as a “pit of darkness” or “chains of darkness.” I suggest reading Luke 16:19-31 in your Bible, where Jesus tells us the story of Lazarus and the rich man. The rich man was in Hell and said, “send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” Hell is like a “garbage dump” of darkness, where people are fully conscious of their torment and suffering for forever. You can’t escape.

Did Jesus Christ go to Hell?
Yes. After Jesus died on the Cross (Luke 23:46) He descended into the “prison” (Hell referred to as “Hades” or “Gehenna”) to proclaim the truth of His Atonement (the reconciliation of God and humanity through Jesus Christ). Three days later, He rose from the grave. During these three days Jesus led the people that were living in “Abraham’s Bosom” to dwell with God in Heaven, leaving behind the “unsaved” in Hades. Sounds crazy? Let’s go back in history approximately 4,500 years to Noah’s flood. When God removed every human on the planet during the Flood (Except Noah and his family), everyone thereafter upon their death went to the grave (“sheol” from the Old Testament), which was divided in two separated parts: “Abraham’s Bosom” (the good part) and Hades (Hell). Although the Bible dors not hives the exact location, many believe these two places are located in the center of the earth. Before Jesus’s death, when a man or woman died, he or she went either to Hades (in anticipation of eternal punishment) or to “Abraham’s Bosom.” Let’s read from Peter’s first letter to Christians in Chapter 3 starting at verse 18: “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.”

Has anyone else visited Hell and returned?
No. Jesus Christ is the only person that went to Hell and returned through His resurrection from the grave by the power of God, the Father. There is no other person according to biblical text. If you asked me about the many books, news stories, and recorded events where a person claimed they have visited Hell and return, I respectfully would say the Bible supports no other person other than Jesus Christ who travelled to Hell and came back – this I know. Thus, I would not bother with any other story. God has ordained only one person for the round trip to Hell, and this is Jesus Christ. I don’t need to concern myself with anyone else.

Is Hell and the Lake of Fire the same?
No. Hell is where the unsaved goes now until God’s Great White Throne Judgement, which the Bible teaches us in Revelation 20. The Lake of Fire is the final destination for everyone already living in Hell today. Revelation 20:14 clearly makes it easy to understand: “Then Death and Hades were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire.”

Is Hell the final destination for the unsaved?
No. Hell is a temporary staging where the unsaved goes after their first physical death. Yes, there is a second death.

Will those in Hell die again a second death?
Yes. All those living in Hell today will be judged and thrown into the Lake of Fire along with Satan and his angels at the time of God’s Great White Throne Judgement. The unsaved will die twice. Let’s read about in the twentieth chapter of Revelation: “And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Conclusion
I’ve discovered the number of people who do not believe in the reality of Hell is huge. My Pastor, Greg Laurie, recently stated 82% of people believe in Heaven and only 70% believe in Hell. For millions of people around the world, Hell is a mystery or a fictional place.

Not believing in Hell let’s you live a life without a fear of God. And without a fear of God, you find your comfort zone and freedom in believing what best fits you – freedom of choice. What’s more damaging is that your own opinion and disbelief of Hell influences others, leading them to think the same. If you believe in Heaven, why would you doubt or disbelieve Hell is a real place?

Hell is a very real place, and I for one will never question nor doubt the words of Jesus Christ nor the Bible concerning it’s reality. It’s simple: I want to be in Heaven when I die. Think about it… let the reality of Hell marinate in your brain for a minute. Think about a pain and suffering that is beyond your comprehension. Life is short my friend, and I can guarantee you will die eventually. The question is, do you choose life or death when you die? If you choose Life through Jesus Christ, your last breadth on earth will be your first breadth in Heaven. Amen! But if you choose to deny or doubt Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will die the first physical death in Hell and second death in the Lake of Fire. And let me make this very clear to you: Salvation through Jesus Christ is not based on what you want to believe or feel is good or right. Salvation is 100% trust and 100% acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, surrendering, praying, confessing your sins, and turning away from your past to live for Him who made you as “new creation.” Amen.

Remember, any road you choose will lead you to God; whether you’re an Atheist, Muslim, Catholic, Mormon, a “good person,” Buddhist, Lutheran, Jehova Witness, or belong to any other form of religious group, I guarantee you will see God. But only one road will get you past Him into Heaven, and that is a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.

The bad news is Hell is real for the unsaved, but the good news is Heaven is real for those born again (saved) in Jesus Christ who has cleared a path for us to eternal life. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Why would anyone not want to go to Heaven? How hard of a decision is it after you compare the two options? Is your life today far more important than where you will live for eternity? Why is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior so difficult for you? What is holding you back from making the right decision?

If you would like to know more about becoming a Christian, lets get together and talk, (714) 988-3745 or email me at mail@erikrp.com. I also have a post on becoming a Christian: Excuse me, I’m drowning.


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  2. Erik Peterson on Jul 3, 2012

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  4. gary on Aug 29, 2013

    Does the Bible really say that the only way to be saved is by “accepting Jesus into your heart”? Where do Baptists and evangelicals find this concept in the Bible? Is “accepting Jesus” really the means by which God forgives sins and saves sinners? Did you know that this phrase is never used in the Scriptures? So why do these Christian denominations use this terminology? And why do Baptists and evangelicals have so many “problem” Bible passages that if read in their plain, simple rendering, contradict Baptist/evangelical doctrine?

    Lutherans do not need to twist and contort themselves into pretzels to explain “problem Bible verses” that do not agree with our doctrine, as do the Baptists and evangelicals. If the Bible says, “He that believes on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved”, we believe it. Believing is all that is necessary for salvation. And when the Bible says, “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins” or “Baptism now saves us” we believe those passages literally too. God, in very simple, plain language says the he forgives sins and saves in Holy Baptism, so we believe him.

    Baptists and evangelicals claim that infant baptism did not “appear” in the Church until the second or third century. They are wrong. Numerous historical documents demonstrate that infant baptism is of apostolic origin, as several early Church Fathers state in their writings and were willing to die for. If the “heresy” of infant baptism was contrary to apostolic teaching, and developed within the following 100-200 years after the last apostle died, where is evidence of the introduction of this “heresy” and the indignant outrage and uproar among the faithful “baptistic” believers? And… please don’t tell us that the “Catholics” destroyed all such evidence in a wholesale Baptistic-document burning because there is no evidence to support this old wives’ tale either.

    Baptist-like believers did not exist during the time of the Apostles, during the Early Church, nor for the next 800-1500 years!

    There is no evidence of a massive outcry against baptizing infants in the Early Church because no such “heresy” occurred. Infant baptism was taught by the Apostles. That is why there is ZERO evidence of a major controversy over baptizing the infants of believing parents in Christian or non-Christian historical documents from this time period. The practice of including infants and toddlers in “household conversions” continued uninterrupted from the Old Covenant into the New. This is why there is no explicit mention in the NT regarding infants being baptized…everyone in that era correctly assumed that infants are included in their parents’ conversion.

    Baptist/evangelical doctrine is an invention of sixteenth and seventeenth century western Europeans. No Christian in the first 800-1,500 years of Christianity ever heard of such an outrageous false teaching as that of adult-only, symbolic-only baptism. No one!

    When confronted with the overwhelming historical evidence that supports the orthodox Christian position on Baptismal Regeneration and Infant Baptism, most Baptists will fall back on their last line of defense: They will say, “For two thousand years, the Catholics have destroyed and covered up all evidence of these early Baptist-like believers who have existed since the Apostles. Catholics have even purposefully misinterpreted the Holy Bible in ALL translations, including the KJV and ESV, to hide the true (Baptist) doctrines that are so easily found in the original Greek Scriptures.”

    These are unfounded conspiracy theories dreamed up over the centuries to explain away the nagging problem with Baptist/evangelical theology: Why is there ZERO historical evidence that any early Christians believed in a Symbolic Baptism or that the only means of salvation is by an adult “decision for Christ”?

    These unfounded “Catholic” conspiracy theories are sheer ignorance, my friends. Wake up out of the trance that those who taught you these false teachings have placed you under! The Baptist/evangelical doctrine of Symbolic Baptism is NOT Scriptural! It is an assumption based on a false premise that salvation occurs when a sinner chooses to seek righteousness/seek God, referred to in evangelical/Baptist theology as a “decision for Christ”. God says in Romans chapter three that such a “decision” is impossible! Sinners do not choose God. God chooses sinners! That is why Baptists and evangelicals fail to understand how God can save the infants of believers in infant baptism. You demand that the infant make a decision just as you demand that an adult sinner make a decision. THAT is where you go off track! SINNERS CANNOT MAKE A DECISION FOR GOD, REGARDLESS OF THEIR AGE. God makes the decision for salvation, not the sinner.

    There is not a single passage of Scripture that states that Baptism is OUR public profession of faith. None.

  5. Erik Peterson on Sep 1, 2013

    Hi Gary,

    Do you believe in Jesus?

    Erik

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Thank you for visiting my blog. The purpose of this blog is to share my personal experiences, discoveries, and proclaim my Christian faith and the amazing grace of our God. If you have any questions or wish to discuss a topic in private, I would be pleased to so at your convenience.