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Reimar A.C. Schultze

Past Issues of the Call To Obedience

"Jesus' Teaching on Hell"

by Pastor Reimar A. C. Schultze

 Jesus talked more about hell than any other writer of the Bible.   He talked more about hell than heaven.  The question how and where you spend the next 20 or 30 years is important, but it pales in comparison to the question of where you will spend eternity.

Today let us consider what the Bible teaches about hell.  Let us begin with the story, not a parable that Jesus told about the rich man who neglected the needs of the poor saint Lazarus at his gate. Finally the rich man died and here is Jesus’ account as to what happened next:  

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom. 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. 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. 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 (Luke 16:23 -26).

This story teaches us that 1. Hell is a real place, 2. Hell is a final destination,   3. Hell is a place of torment,   4. Hell is the place of many,   5. Hell is a place beyond God's mercy. 

1.  Hell is a real place.

We see here, we shall see there.  We crave water here, the rich man craved water there.  In this life we can talk, ask, think, feel and remember.   In hell the rich man talked, he asked, he thought, he felt and he remembered his father and his brothers.  This rich man died, was buried and lifted up his eyes in hell. That is the sequence. There was no place of transition, of soul rest, before he reached his final destination. As Jesus died he said to the dying thief next to him, Today you shall be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43 ).  Stephen, when martyred, saw heaven opened for him, and the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, before he breathed his last breath (Acts 7:55 ).  Paul said that when Christians are absent in the body, they are present with the Lord (1 Cor. 5:8).  We go from here to our permanent residence in the moment of the twinkling of the eye.    

2.  Hell is a final destination.

Hell has no exits.   When in hell, a man can never plan on having served half of his time.   Abraham told the rich man:   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 (Luke 16:26 ). You cannot repent, you cannot pray, you cannot work your way out of it. Your promises to live a better life will not get you out of hell.  Over and over again, the Bible reconfirms that hell is forever.  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire (Matt. 25:41).

3. Hell is a place of torment.

It says the rich man was in torment, in anguish.   He said, “I am tormented in this flame.”   Hell as a place of fire is mentioned often. As air is the atmosphere of the earth, fire is the atmosphere of hell.  People will forever burn without being consumed.   Jesus said that hell is a place where the worm (maggot) dieth not and the fire is not quenched.   There the wicked will also drink of the cup of God's wrath (Rev. 14:10).   They will be in fire and be made to drink fire.  Hell is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 13:42 ).

4. Hell is a place of "many."

The rich man had five brothers, all hell-bound.   Perhaps all his family was destined for hell.  This is average because Jesus said:    Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matt. 7:13 -14). Many are called, but few are chosen (Matt. 22:14 ).

5. Hell is a place beyond God's mercy.

There was no mercy for the rich man.  God's love, care, and compassion end at the gate of hell.  Many say God's love is everlasting.  But that refers to those who keep His commandments (Ps.103:17-18).   At the gates of hell His love is replaced with wrath.  On earth the souls of men are most precious, but when a man enters hell, having wasted the gift of life on himself, he is considered rubbish. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness (Matt. 22:13). Neither kindness nor mercy is found here but utter disgust.  Mercy will be replaced by wrath.

Who will be cast into hell?

People have said that there will be many surprises on Judgment Day, that we cannot know for sure who will get in or who will be kept out. For those who do not follow Jesus, there will indeed be many tragic surprises, but not for those who read their Bibles. Jesus in His mercy has let us know who will and who will not go to hell. The rich man in hell did not seem to know that he was going to hell. Abraham told him that he should have read his Bible and his brothers should read their Bibles to find out about their destiny (Luke 16:29 ). We need to read our Bibles.

In the Gospels Jesus is depicted as the meek Lamb of God. But when we meet Him at the end of life, we meet Him as the great Judge out of whose mouth proceeds a two-edged sword: and His countenance will be as the sun shining in his strength... Whose eyes are as flames of fire (Rev. 1:13-16). So here are some samples of scriptures that help us to know who goes to hell.

1. Those who do not obey God.    In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:  (2 Thes. 1:8).   Faith reconciles us to God, but if obedience does not follow, accompanying that faith, our faith is dead.   It cannot get us to heaven.    Everyone who does not do the will of God will go to hell.  Jesus said:  Not everyone 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  (Matt. 7:21). John said: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever(1 John 2:17)

2. Those who are unprofitable: those who are not fully engaged in the things of God will go to hell.  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth  (Matt. 25:30). We are not called to seek our profit but His.  There will be a day of accountability. 

3.  Those who do not abide in Christ will be cast into the eternal flames.    If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned (John 15:6).

 4. Those who deny Jesus, that is those who do not identify themselves as Jesus' people.   But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God (Luke 12:9).

5. Those who do not receive God's ministersHe that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me (Matt. 10:40 ).   He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me (Luke 10:16 ). Despising God's messengers and despising God is the same. Either one will close heaven for us.

6. Those who do not endure to the end. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved  (Matt. 10:22 ). You may start well, but if you don't finish well, how you started does not matter (1 Cor. 9:24 ).

7.  Those who do not overcome sin and self.  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels (Rev 3:5).  Whether our name shall be blotted out of the book of life depends on whether we overcome, that is whether we are victorious over sin and self.

8. Those who are lukewarm. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth ( Rev 3: 15 , 16).

9. Most rich people.  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God (Matt. 19:24).

10. Those who live unholy will go to hell. All liars, fornicators, adulterers, idolaters, murderers etc. shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death  (1 Cor. 6:8-10, Rev 21:8). Without holiness no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14 ).

Other scriptures could be added, but suffice it to say that whether we go to heaven or hell is not decided by lottery. We can examine our hearts by these Scriptures and know our destination. To simplify matters, if we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves we shall safely and happily arrive at heaven’s shores, for perfect love casteth  out fear of judgment and then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matt. 13:43 , 22:37 and 1 John 4:18 ).