Have you ever had the lights go out in your house suddenly and without warning? If you have and were unprepared, you were faced with utter darkness. You are left groping for walls in search for a light. It’s a feeling of hopelessness and fear because you don’t know for sure what suddenly turned off the lights. Could it be a robber or a killer who has done this or perhaps an impending storm, is the house afire, or is it something as simple as a fuse? As bad as that may seem, consider hell and damnation where there shall be a burning fire, utter darkness, and weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Jesus tells of a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus who had two completely different lives and ending. Let us read of Jesus’ account:
“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then 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 in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, ‘or I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'” (Lk 16:19-31).
The rich man became a beggar in torments, while the poor man was comforted in paradise. Of all the passages regarding life after death, this is the clearest glimpse of what is in store for mankind after death. Now, consider that 99.9% of all mankind will have the rich man’s end. So, what will the eternal home of wicked be like?
Hell is Everlasting
Jesus said two possibilities exist for man: “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Mt 25:46). How long will the punishment be? If Hell only lasts a thousand years, then Heaven will cease then as well since the same word is used to describe both Heaven and Hell. If Hell is limited in duration, then God and the Spirit have a limited span of existence since the same word describes them. But if we acknowledge that God, the Spirit, and Heaven all have no end, then the punishment in Hell must be seen in the same light. Punishment in Hell will never end. Never!
Hell is Utter Darkness
“For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment” (2 Pet 2:4).
“These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (Jude 13).
“And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30).
Hell is described as a place of complete darkness. God is described as the Father of lights. (Jams 1:17). Or as John describes God, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (I Jn 1:5). By declaring that Hell is a place of darkness, the Bible is stating that God’s presence is not found in Hell. “Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thess 1:6-9).
Think about it. In Hell there won’t be a God to hear your repeated prayers for rescue from torment. There won’t be a God to listen to you scream and beg for mercy. No mercy will be possible because God will not be there.
Hell is A Furnace
Hell is an unquenchable fire (Mt 3:12). Hell is a furnace of fire. (Mt 13:41-42). Hell is an everlasting fire (Mt 25:41). It’s a place where the worm never dies and the fire is never put out. (Mk 9:43-48). “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev 20:10). “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).
Hell is a place of pain, intense ceaseless pain. That is why Jesus called it a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt 25:30). “But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out” (Lk 13:27-28).
Conclusion: There is nothing good about hell I can tell you. It’s not a place of rest. It’s not a place of comfort. It’s not a place to forget your worries. It is place of horror and torment that will have you crying day and night. The only good news I have to tell the living is that you still have hope. You can change your life to fulfill the will of God. Here is what you must do in order to evade eternal damnation. You must obey the gospel of Christ (1 Cor 15:1-4 ff; Jn 8:24; Rom 10:8-10; Lk 13:3; Acts 22:16). You must continue in the doctrine of Christ and his apostles (Acts 2:42 f; 2 Jn 9). You must remain faithful unto death (Rev 2:10). I won’t tell you that being a Christian is an easy life. In fact, it is a horrible life. You will be tried (Jam 1:12). You will suffer persecution (2 Tim 3:12). You must take up your cross and follow in the steps of the Savior (Lk 14:26 f; 1 Pet 2:20,21) The time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Pet 4:17) If this life is bad for the Christian, even as it was for Christ and his apostles, imagine how bad it will be for those to obey not the will of God. “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongs unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb 10:29-31). There is nothing greater to fear than the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell fire! (Mt 10:28).