Are hell and lake of fire real and should they be taken seriously?

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Firstly, great emphasis is given that the contents of this series are intended to give Biblical information and insights on some of its contents. They are not intended to scare or offend anyone. It is one’s prerogative to read and never be shoved into one’s throat.

This piece is a simple sharing of bible passages. It doesn’t endorse any specific faith, religion, denomination, system of beliefs or theology aside from those in the bible.

It is in the “exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference” as provided by The Philippine Constitution that this article was made.

If you find them scary, intimidating or offensive, please feel free to take them with a grain of salt and regard them like a badly written movie script.

Hell and Lake of fire are real and should be taken seriously

Let’s start this discussion by making this point: What exactly is at stake that Jesus died for man’s sake? Not just simply die, He suffered probably one of the most gruesome death ever experienced and was made in front of the public.

One of  the logical reasons that comes to mind is hell and the lake of fire. The place that subjects humans to the extreme worst conditions in the afterlife is, pardon the pun, one hell of a reason why Jesus should give up his life for sake of others.

It was Jesus, Himself, who taught about the subject of hell/lake of fire more than any other biblical teachers. It wouldn’t be surprising that He showed what God’s justice is all about and proceeded to give a way out of this horrible consequence by lying his life as a ransom for others.

Hell is one of the good reasons why one should prove the bible for its truthfulness. It is a good reason why one should truly search if God is a real entity.

See related topics:
Presence of spirits, unexplainable events prove God and the bible
Medical claims by the bible confirmed by science
Logical evidences that prove God and the bible

Jesus’ love leads to warning shots fired

Jesus laid the template by giving the warning about hell/lake of fire. He has taken lots of flack for preaching repentance and sinning no more because He knows what sin leads to. This simply shows how He loved humans. A true friend would warn you of a danger coming if he knows it is really coming.

If you still doubt it, just look at the fruits of His actions, spreading the good news costed millions of believing disciples, preachers, missionaries, and laymen their lives so unbelievers could have a chance to avoid consequence of sin: being thrown to hell.

Clear and straightforward

The bible and Jesus never played with words when describing hell. They were as straightforward as they possibly can. It was clearly no going around the bush or joking around when it comes to this topic.

Here’s how Jesus emphasized seriousness when dealing with hell:

43If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. 45And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48where ‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ Mark 9:43-49, NIV

Jesus may have spoke these using a figure of speech but His message is nothing but clear, hell is to be avoided at all costs.

Here is a sample of what the bible says about hell:

41The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:41-42, NKJV

Here are what Jesus and other writers of the bible say about hell (click to go straight to specific topic):

Hell and lake of fire refer to a place
The lake of fire was made for the devil and his demons
Some humans will join the demons in the lake of fire
Lazarus and the Rich Man shows conditions in hell
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in hell

Hell and lake of fire refer to a place

The first essential characteristic that is desired to be established is hell is a place where humans can end up. The bible makes this very, very clear. It’s not a state of mind, a state of being, a condition, nor a metaphor.

There’s no such thing as “one’s own hell”, like someone could create their own hell.

The Hebrew and Greek words translated as hell are “sheol”, “hades”, “gehenna”, and “tartarus”.

According to scholars, the English translation of these words pertain to grave, pit, lake of fire, and place where beings are confined or judged.

All translations clearly points hell as a place.

Here are some samples of the verses pertaining to hell and lake of fire as a place:

18But he does not know that the dead are there, That her guests are in the depths of hell. Proverbs 9:18, NKJV

15Let death seize them; Let them go down alive into hell, For wickedness is in their dwellings and among them. Psalm 55:15, NKJV

5But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! Luke 12:5, NKJV

4For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment 2 Peter 2:4, NKJV

8But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. Revelation 21:8, NKJV
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The lake of fire was made for the devil and his demons

41“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels Matthew 25:41, NKJV

4For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 2 Peter 2:4, NKJV

10and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Revelation 20:10, ESV

Hell was not intended for man. Its the rebellious powerful beings that this place was made for.
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Some humans will join the demons in the lake of fire

Some humans, however, will accompany the demons in this place. God  promised punishment and retribution against those who trouble believers when he comes back.

31When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:31-33, 41 ESV

6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and 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. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, NIV

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Lazarus and the Rich Man shows conditions in hell

This particular story of the Lord was labeled as a parable. This most likely not. Jesus identifies the beggar by name and refers to a real men, except the one going to hell. Abraham and Moses were also by named. These situations are a clear deviation from the a usually fictitious, generic characteristic of a parable.

This also cleared some misconceptions about hell.

19“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24So 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.’

25“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. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31“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.’” Luke 16, 19-31, NIV

The story tells us that (1) humans thrown to hell will retain their thoughts, feelings, senses and memories while there; (2) humans who are there will be longing for some kind of rescue from humans in heaven but such rescue will not be available; (3) the Word of God, as told by Moses and the prophets in the bible, will enable humans to avoid hell; and (4) not even miracles, like someone rising from the dead, can change some of the unbelievers’ opinion.
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There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in hell

41The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:41-42, NKJV

28There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. Luke 13:28, NKJV

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Purpose of the bible

The bible made clear what kind of book is it. It is intended for those who want eternal life. It is not a medical, science, logic or history book. Many tend to forget this.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. John 5:39-40, New King James Version

It also made its theme clear. While there are many tales narrated by the bible, one thing remains clear from start to finish: Humans caught in a crossfire between powerful adversaries and one of them, a loving God, is offering redemption/salvation.

The bible says the devil rebelled and continues to rebel against God and dragged humans along to be involved in this godly battle he started.

7And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. Revelation 12:7-8, NKJV

…she [Eve] took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband [Adam] with her, and he ate…  And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the Lord God said to the serpent…I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed…. Genesis 3: 6, 14-15, NKJV

12Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Luke 8:12, NIV

God’s love and the danger posed prompted Jesus to come to earth and provided everyone a way to get out of the mess.

16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16, NKJV

8He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8, NKJV

These verses encapsulates what the new testament is for. If you are encourage by these verses, you are invited to search the bible deeper and find out more about Jesus and his teachings.

Conservative approach

The presence of spirits and unexplainable events and multiple scientific, medical, and logical reasons that supports the bible and its authors’ credibility project a possibility that God do exists. If you are still unconvinced of the existence of God despite these proofs, being conservative might be the best alternative here.

Accountants describe conservatism as selecting the option that would show the worst possible financial standing of a business entity when two or more unproven alternatives are available. This is to remove the user of the account’s output be exposed to a bigger risk in case the worst possible scenario happens.

As it stands, the risk of not believing in and obeying God far outweighs the benefits of doubting his existence. It might be best to act conservatively, believe what the bible says, until you have absolutely proven that there is indeed no God nor hell.

By: Armando M. Bolislis
If you are inspired and want to give Jesus a try, continue a deeper search of the bible, especially the New Testament. This will show you how to become his disciple. Always ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in your search.

If you feel the want or need to belong to a Christian church or organization, find one that preaches the Word of God and will help you improve your relationship with Christ and lead you to his eternal promises.

The theologies and doctrines about faith contained in this article are solely from God through the bible. The author is just an instrument used to spread the word for the glory of God. The personal opinions and suggestions on issues outside of biblical coverage from the author doesn’t necessarily reflect the stance of Baguio Herald Express management and staff.

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