Hellfire And Brimstone (Part 2)
By bro Jose Cardoza
What the Bible teaches about Hell
As we can see there are quite a few different beliefs and teachings out there about hell. Let us consider what the Bible teaches about hell.
1. Jesus speaks of the existence of hell as a real place (Luke 12: 4-5).
2. It is a place of “eternal and unquenchable fire” (Matthew 25: 41 and Mark 9: 43-44).
3. It is a place of “shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12: 2).
4. It is a place of “torment” (Luke 16: 23-24).
5. It is a place of burning Sulphur (Revelation 14: 10-11) (brimstone meaning sulphur).
6. It is a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 13: 41-42).
7. It is a place of no escape (Luke 16-26).
8. And lastly it is a place for all sinners, unbelievers & devils (1 Cor 6: 9-10; Rev 21: 8; 2 Thess 1: 8-9; & Matt 25: 41).
Hell is a horrible place and many will spend eternity there. If we take criminals serving a sentence of 20 years, for example, they can mark their calendars and there will be some optimism that they can be released at a certain date. Even if they are serving life sentences, it will also come to an end one day when they die but imagine if we were to go to hell, there is completely no more hope at all. I would like us to also consider the two words – “everlasting” and “eternal” - in Matt 25: 44-46. Notice that everlasting and eternal are the same Greek word – aionios (ahee-o’-nee-os), meaning perpetual. Therefore, if the reward of life is never ending, then so also must be the punishment of hell.
Is Scripture profitable for “hellfire and brimstone preaching”?
Firstly, the gospel we are to share includes speaking about hell. Many in this world do not know the truth or they believe in lies which will bring them through the wide gate as we see in Matthew 7:13: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” If we don’t speak on hell, we are not preaching the whole counsel of God.
We read in Acts 20:20 that Paul kept back nothing, preaching in public faithfully and fearlessly. Similarly, we read in Acts 20: 26-27 “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” Verse 27 shows why Paul regarded himself as innocent if they should be lost, as he did not disguise, withdraw or keep away any truth. Likewise, we should not avoid sharing the punishments that await those who do not obey the gospel.
Aren’t we ourselves sometimes motivated by reward or punishment? Let’s say if parents were to tell their child that if he gets good results, he will get a reward, maybe a new toy which he had wanted. But when the child fails or does very badly and the parent took away the child’s Xbox or PlayStation games without warning, that would not be very fair, would it? Perhaps the child may feel that if he had been warned about the punishment, he might have put in more effort so as to avoid the punishment, in this case, not having his Xbox or PlayStation taken away from him.
Secondly, if a Christian neglects to warn, then the sinner’s blood is on his hands (Ezekiel 3:17-21). We can see that not teaching about Hell, judgment, and eternal damnation means we are leaving out something people need to hear and understand. If we fail to warn others, their blood is on our hands.
Thirdly we are commanded as Christians to teach and preach the word. 2 Tim 4: 1-5 reads:
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
In the same way, we read in 2 Timothy 2: 2, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
Lastly, we also read from the Bible that Jesus Himself spoke about hell during his ministry. Evidently Jesus spoke and taught about hell, warning everyone about it. He is our master teacher and as his disciples, we should follow His example and teach about hell. Jesus warns us to avoid hell at all costs! In Matt 5:29-30, Jesus says: If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
From the verses we have read, we can see that not only is there a place for teaching about the fire of hell and the way to avoid it, but true preaching of the gospel of Christ is not complete without it.
In conclusion, it is clear that we should not avoid preaching, sharing and warning our friends and loved ones about the horrible place of hell, and that the only way to avoid it is through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 5:9 reads, “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him”.
God hasn't changed and has made it very clear in His Word that He never has and never will. Because He is just, He will indeed punish those who reject Him. We cannot teach about salvation without warning about the reality and suffering of Hell. Suppose you had a pain in your side. Is it cruel for the doctor to tell you that you have appendicitis and that you need emergency surgery, otherwise you will die? Why would the doctor want to scare you with such things? Why, because he wants to save your life!
According to the Scriptures, hell is a real placewhether we believe in it or not. The Bible teaches us that we are all accountable on the Day of Judgement and we should persuade men to be prepared to stand before the judgement seat. 2 Corinthians 5: 9-11: Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.”