What do Christians Believe About Hell?

By: Abu Atallah; ©2000
In his last article, Abu Atallah explained what the Scriptures taught about Heaven. Now he turns his attention to the biblical descriptions of hell.

Dear Friend

In the last article I shared with you about Heaven so, let us see what the Bible says about Hell. There is a sense in which people are judged already in this present life, by the response they make to the Messiah (Masieh in Arabic). The Bible says in John 3:18: “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.” Already now, in other words, a divine judgement rests on those who refuse to believe in the Messiah (Masieh).

If the most important part of heaven is to be with God, then the most horrible thing is to be turned away from the presence of the Lord. The Bible describes a life without God is an empty life—it is death, a spiritual death. Without God we are like fish without water. The Bible stated this fact in John 3:16-17: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” It is God’s desire that you and me may live not die.

The Bible describes hell in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9: “and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.”

The Bible also says in Matthew 22:13: “ and cast the worthless servant into outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth”, “Outer darkness” suggests the terrible isolation of the lost, and their eternal separation from the fellowship of God.

Now you may ask, “How about the physical nature of Hell?” This is what the Bible says in Matthew 13:41-43: “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

Revelation 14:7,10,11 also describes hell as follows: “He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgement has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water… he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”

Jesus shared this story to show how the consequences of our actions on earth would affect our future in heaven or hell. (Luke 16:19-25)

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. So 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.”

Believe me there is nothing like being in the presence of God, the maker of heaven and earth. There is nothing like worshipping God and enjoying fellowship with him forever. Here is what Jesus said in Revelation 3:20: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” I hope as you read this you may give Jesus a chance. At least read about what he said and did. Open the door and let him enter your life.

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