I am continuing to look at what the Bible says about hell (see part 3).
New Testament letters and Book of Revelations teachings on hell
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 And to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
Hebrews 9:27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,
2 Peter 2:9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,
Jude 1:6-7 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.
Jude 1:12-13 These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.
Revelation 14:10-11 He also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Revelation 20:10 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.
Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 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. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 21:8 “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
The following are some of the ways the Bible describes hell: 1) fire (Matt: 13:42, 50; 18:8, 9); 2) darkness (Matt. 25:30; Jude 13); 3) punishment (Rev. 14:10-11); 4) exclusion from God’s presence (Matt. 7:23; 25:41; 2 Thess. 1:9); 5) restlessness (Rev. 14:11); 6) second death (Rev. 2:11, 20:6, 14); and 7) weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 13:42; 50; 22:12-13).
Christian theologians differ on how literally to take these descriptions. How do you have fire and darkness simultaneously? Many take them metaphorically but that doesn’t decrease the severity of hell. Metaphors teach a literal truth.
The Bible also teaches hell is everlasting. Jesus said Matthew 25:46 “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” If Jesus says heaven is everlasting, then so is hell. This teaching for many calls into question the justice of God. I will be addressing this issue later.
The horrific descriptions of hell, the length of punishment, and the fact Jesus spoke about it more than anyone else makes it an important topic.