Hell And Heaven Matthew Jay Krachunis May 2000 Hell The idea of heaven entices and encourages believers and non-believers alike. It is enjoyable to envision a place of eternal rest and relaxation, in the presence of God and loved ones. Heaven does exist according to the Bible, and is the destination of the believer in Jesus Christ at the completion of life on this earth. What is not encouraging is the fact that there is a place for those whom God chooses will not inherit everlasting life. This place is commonly referred to in the English language as hell. It is not metaphorical nor is it mythological, it is real in every sense of the word; a true literal hell.
It is a time as Guthrie says in New Testament Theology, to inquire about the state of the lost, a subject which tends to be neglected or else glossed over…the final state of those who are not in the book of life (Guthrie p. 887). This will be the focus of this discussion, the eternal state of those individuals whose name will not be found in the book of life. To fully understand the implications of the declaration of a place of eternal damnation, one must first understand what that place is. The common use of the word Hell is considered colloquial and comical to some.
In the bible, the idea of the term hell is expressed in more ways than one. The terms Gehenna (Matthew 5:22), Hades (Matthew 11:23), and Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15) are terms that have been interpreted to believe as hell. The term Gehenna occurs twelve times in the King James version of the bible. It occurs in all three of the synoptic gospels, but most notably in the book of Matthew in which it occurs seven times. Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible defines Gehenna as A name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment:-hell (Strongs p.
19). Jesus Christ spoke of Gehenna and warned people of it. Jesus said in Matthew chapter five verse thirty, for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go to hell. It is as Guthrie says, There is no way of avoiding the conclusion that Jesus firmly accepted that there was a counterpart to heaven for those who were condemned before God (Guthrie p.888). It is clear that Guthrie believes that there is an eternal and literal hell.
Therefore, because Jesus stated it, and Guthrie supported it, shows that it must have a certain importance about it. In Mark chapter nine verses forty-two through fifty, Jesus is talking about the importance of understanding of the implications of a sinful life and where it will lead. In the following passage, the usage of the word hell is interpreted as the Greek word Gehenna and Jesus says, If your hand causes you to sin, 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 (Mark 9:43). It can be construed from this statement that Jesus is adamant about the reality of the conditions in hell.
It can be assumed that Jesus is not advocating the actual removal of the hand, but is speaking about the horrifying reality of hell. He is admonishing those who are listening to understand that theoretically, not having one of your hands would be better than spending eternity in hell. As Stamps says in the notes of the Full Life Study Bible, the place of unquenchable fire is so terrible that every influence of sin must be opposed and rejected no matter what the cost (Stamps p. 1497). Clearly, hell is an eternal existence that would be far worse than a missing limb.
Next, Stagg states in The Broadman Bible Commentary that Gehenna was a term that came to symbolize the place of judgment for the wicked (Stagg p. 109). Furthermore, Stagg declares that Gehenna is derived from Hinnom, a valley west of Jerusalem, where the garbage was burned from the city (Stagg p. 109). The aforementioned passages reinforce the idea that hell is not a rhetorical or spiritual existence but a real place.
It is not a heap of figurative burning garbage or a place of eternal rest, it is hell. It is as Finis Dake in Gods Plan for man states, There is no statement in Scripture that even hints of a spiritual fire that will torment people; so even to question the reality and literalness of Hell is showing opposition to the Bible (Dake p. 185). Hell does exist according to the bible. Stamps says, Jesus teaches that there is a place of eternal punishment for those condemned before God (Stamps p.
1425). In many passages in the synoptics, Jesus states the reality about hell and describes it. It is a terrifying reality to think about a place that has a Fire that never goes out (Mark 9:43), with weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mark 13:42, 50). Hell cannot be understood to be a place for the proverbial horned man with the hoofed feet, red body and trident staff. Neither Satan nor his demons rule hell, or perform any acts of destruction from there.
It is a place of eternal torment, where souls and demons reside in an eternal fire. There is no end or rest to the horrific torment they receive. It is as Guthrie states, the message is unmistakable that hell and torment are inseparable (Guthrie p. 889). The terms Gehenna and hell are not an idea of annihilation, either spiritual or physical.
Hell was not intended to be understood as a complete end to existence for the non-believer. Guthrie states, those who dislike the whole idea of eternal punishment either regard both heaven and hell as mythological or else dismiss the sayings by assigning them to church tradition (Guthrie p. 888).For support, Matthew chapter twenty-five verse forty-one states Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Furthermore, Jesus says that those who are not accepted by the Lord will be condemned to an eternal fire. In addition, in verse forty-six, he states, They will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. It can be concluded from the reading of these two verses that the term eternal is meant as such.
Also, Jesus speaks about those who are condemned to the fire, and that their existence is eternal. He continues to say that the dispensation of the believer, who has eternal life, is the same. Strongs definition is the same for both verses. Eternal is defined as eternal, forever, everlasting (Strongs p. 3), which reinforces the fact that hell is not a temporary existence, but an eternal one.
In the book Kingdom of the Cults, Walter Martin is refuting the Jehovahs Witnesss idea of the non-existence of eternal damnation. Martin says, Death is not extinction, hell is not an illusion, and everlasting conscious punishment is a terrifying reality of Gods infinite justice upon the souls of unbelieving men (Martin p.92). There is no end to hell or the existence thereof. It is as Guthrie says an undeniable fact that judgment is eternal (Guthrie p. 892). Furthermore, Stamps says, The wicked will not be allowed to enter Christs kingdom, but will go into eternal punishment (Stamps p. 1461). To reiterate the point further, Finis Dake in Gods Plan for Man, says that The argument that Hell is not eternal and that it will come to an end is a mere invention of demons and of humanity (Dake p.
111). Theologians and the text of the synoptics agree that hell is an eternal and continual torment for those who are sentenced to reside there. Hell does exist and is a place of eternal torment and misery. From the above discussion, it is clear that Jesus believed in a literal hell. He spoke on it, and discussed it with his followers. Also, The apostle Paul discusses the truth about hell. Guthrie says, The apostle is specific when he says that they will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction(Guthrie p.
890). Paul is very clear about the state of the wicked when they perish from this earth. In Philippians 3:19 Paul said, Their destiny is their destruction. It is as Guthrie says, There is no doubt that he (Paul) recognized the certainty and seriousness of the coming judgment, although he did not dwell on the details (Guthrie p. 891).
Richards says in the Complete Bible Handbook, There is no attempt to obscure the fact that wrath and fury …