THE REALITY OF HELL
I once met a nun who said "Oh no. There is no such thing as Hell. He is a loving God. He is full of mercy. He would never do anything like that".
Many have no fear of hell because they think its just a place where there is an absence of God. So what, they ask. We don't care for God anyway. Who would miss him? ACDC had a song with lyrics that celebrated that they would have a party in hell.
Some of my neighbours think that when they die they will just decay like leaf litter and their consciousness will cease for ever as if they have never existed. At funerals it is abhorrent to include, especially upon the death of an unsaved, non- Christian, that they will now cease from their physical sufferings and enter into peace. There is nothing further from the truth and we should not deliberately LIE to those who are left behind!!!
I am concerned that, if by any means we have intentionally or unintentionally pacified people (Christians or not) about hell not being a place of eternal torment then, in the eyes of the Holy Spirit, we have done them a grave disservice. Let us not be politically correct but truthful in a diplomatic round-about loving way! The problem is that the world loves and cares about relatives, but Jesus reminded us that it is not by godly love. This is exemplified when the rich man who found himself in Hades suddenly became concerned about the future fate of his brothers.
We also need to remember that scripture teaches two separate and literal places often translated as hell. (Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, grave and Lake of Fire). See below.
So let us repent and make restitution, wherever possible, if we have done that in any form.
Hell - A Literal Place of Torment
According to the apostle Paul it is a place to be greatly feared. Consider also the other scriptures:
All of these arguments are attempts to circumvent the Scriptures. People don't want to face reality. Why would Jesus have said narrow is the gate to life and broad is the gate to destruction and there are many who go in by it (Matthew 7:13)? Jesus repeated Himself three times about the horrors of hell,
'And if your hand offends you, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than to have two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched. And if your foot offends you, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life lame than to have two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched. And if your eye offends you, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes to be cast into hell fire where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched' (Mark 9:43-48).
The apostle Paul warned,
'Behold then the kindness, and the severity of God; on those having fallen, severity; but on you, kindness, if you continue in the kindness. Otherwise you also will be cut off' (Romans 11:22).
'Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh' (Jude 1:21-23).
'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).
'And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom. ……. For I have five brethren that he may testify unto them lest they also come into this place of torment' (Luke 16:23-28). Note that even in hell people can exhibit care, except that this has been forced upon them because of circumstances. This is not a parable. Jesus mentions real people by name!
'And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name' (Revelation 14:11).
'Just as weeds are gathered up and burned in the fire so will it happen at the end of this world. The Son of Man will send out his angels and they will uproot from the kingdom everything that is spoiling it, and all those who live in defiance of its laws, and will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be tears and bitter regret' (Matthew 13:24-43, J. B. Phillips).
'And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire…where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched' (Mark 9:43, 48-49)
'And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life' (Matthew 25:46).
'If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name. The smoke from her goes up forever and ever' (Revelation 14:9-11; 19:3).
And what does the Old Testament have to say?
'And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt' (Daniel 12:2 ESV).
The OT prophets repeatedly speak of a time when the Holy One would have His “day” — a day of justice in which He would express His anger toward sin and visit judgment on sinners. They referred to this as “The Day of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6, 9; Ezekiel 13:5, 30:3; Joel 1:15, 2:1,11,31; 3:14; Amos 5:18,20; Obadiah 15; Zephaniah 1:7,14; Zechariah 14:1; Malachi. 4:5).
The Psalmist also refers to this day as one of wrath and judgment:“The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath” (Psalm 110:5 ESV) [Taken from http://www.apologeticsindex.org/3024-hell-in-the-old-testament].
Hell, Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, the Grave, Abraham's Bosom, The Lake of Fire
In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word used to describe the realm of the dead is Sheol. It simply means “the place of the dead” or “the place of departed souls/spirits.” The New Testament Greek equivalent to Sheol is Hades, which is also a general reference to “the place of the dead.” The Greek word Gehenna is used in the New Testament for “Hell” and is derived from the Hebrew word Hinnom. Other Scriptures in the New Testament indicated that Sheol/Hades is a temporary place where souls are kept as they await the final resurrection. The souls of the righteous, at death, go directly into the presence of God—the part of Sheol called “Heaven,” “Paradise,” or “Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23).
The lake of fire, mentioned only in Revelation 19:20 and 20:10, 14-15, is the final hell, the place of eternal punishment for all unrepentant rebels, both angelic and human (Matthew 25:41). It is described as a place of burning sulphur, and those in it experience eternal, unspeakable agony of an unrelenting nature (Luke 16:24; Mark 9:45-46). Those who have rejected Christ and are in the temporary abode of the dead in Hades/Sheol have the lake of fire as their final destination.
But those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life should have no fear of this terrible fate. If we have faith in Christ and His blood shed on the cross for our sins, we are destined to live eternally in the presence of God. Nevertheless we are warned not to be lawless Christians who presume to bear his name.
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (Matthew 7:21-23).