When we think of hell, we think of a guy in a red suit with horns and a pitch fork, running after those departed souls to poke them time and time again with the pitch fork. But this is not a true rendering of hell. There is no guy in a red suit, no horns, no pitch fork and there is nothing funny about hell. Many people do not think that Hell is a real place. They do not believe that a loving God would send someone to such a place. In 2014, a Pew Research Center poll found that twenty-nine percent of Catholics, eleven percent of Evangelical Protestants, and 40 percent of mainline Protestants said they didn’t believe in the existence of hell and I believe that seven years later that this percentage has increased significantly. So what is this place called hell? Let’s start from the beginning. Genesis 1:1-5 tells us, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was a formless and desolate emptiness, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness He called “night.” And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”
God is everywhere, but when He pulled back a part of Himself so that He could create the universe, and all that is in it, we see that the separation of God only left darkness. 1 John 1:5 tells us, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” Heaven and Hell represent two kingdoms, the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness, and with every kingdom there is a king. The Kingdom of Light has King Yeshua and the kingdom of darkness has king Satan, a fallen angel who led many others to fall with him on the day of his rebellion. Colossians 1:13-14 tells us, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” We also see in Ephesians 6: 12 that these two kingdoms are in a spiritual battle, a battle that has come down to us. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
So what is hell exactly and why would God send anyone there? Well, we know that hell is the eternal separation from God due to a sinful unrepentant life on earth and repentant in its true meaning is to walk away from sin and come back to the Word of God. In Genesis 3:24 we see from the start when Adam and Eve sinned that God separated Himself from them by driving them out of the Garden. In Isaiah 59:2 it says, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” And Galatians 5:19-21 also tells us, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
People say that Yeshua died for our sins, so we do not need to repent for He has paid the price for any sin that we may commit. Romans 6:1-13 says, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? Far from it! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Messiah Yeshua have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that, just as Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for the one who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Messiah, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Messiah, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all time; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. So you too, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Messiah Yeshua. Therefore sin is not to reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the parts of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead, and your body’s parts as instruments of righteousness for God.”
We are to die to sin as Matthew 16:24 tells us, “Then Yeshua said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” And also in Philippians 3: 17-21, “Brothers and sisters, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even as I weep, that they are the enemies of the cross of Messiah, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who have their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Messiah Yeshua; who will transform the body of our lowly condition into conformity with His glorious body, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” Galatians 5:24 goes on to say, “Now those who belong to Messiah Yeshua crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” If we do not die to ourselves, how can we be born again? John 3:1-3 says, “Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Yeshua at night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Yeshua responded and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Yes, our unrepentant flesh causes us to sin, and sin separates us from God, and that separation leads to death, and if we die in our sins, that death sends us to hell. Yeshua says this figuratively in Matthew 5:31-30, but the point is very true, “Now if your right eye is causing you to sin, tear it out and throw it away from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand is causing you to sin, cut it off and throw it away from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. Many of the Parables tell us what happens when we are left to our sins.
We are going to look at the end of a few of these parables. Matthew 13:24-30, The Wheat and the Tares, “Where then did the weeds come from?’ “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
Matthew 13:47-50, The Net, “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Mathew 22:1-14 The Great Banquet, “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 24:45-51,The Wicked Servant, “The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 25:14-30, Ten Talents, “So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
We have seen just in these few parables that there will be those who will be thrown into the fire, or what we call hell. Many people think that the parables are for the unbeliever but that is not true for the unbeliever already is going to die in their sins as John 8:24 tells us, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins.” No, the parables are for the believer to speak to them about their ways. Revelation 20: 8-10 first tells us this about the final last days, “When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” And it continues to tell us this in Revelation 20:11-15, “ Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them; and they were judged, each one of them according to their deeds. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
Hell is a real place, a place of darkness, a place separated from God, and it is so real, and so dreadful, that Yeshua actually sweated blood just at the thought of Him going to hell, Luke 22:40-44, and that He was going to be separated from the Father, all because He was going to die with all of our sins upon Him. But thanks be to God who gave us the victory in the Messiah Yeshua. We now can be with God forever if we walk in the newness of life that the Holy Spirit gives, and not according to our flesh. Next we want to answer the question is there a heaven?