Is hell real?

Hell isn’t very popular in our day.  Oh, sure, the word gets used a lot, but not in the sense of a place of eternal torment.

In fact, many are denying the existence of hell completely.  Others say it exists but is only temporary.  These may sound like nice ideas – after all, who would truly wish an eternal lake of fire on anyone?  But our wishes and opinions don’t determine whether or not hell is real.  It is only the Bible, God’s Word, that can tell us the facts about hell.

So let’s briefly consider just a few passages of Scripture that address the subject.  Warning:  these are not “nice” verses – but they are the very words of God from the Bible.

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  (Matt. 10:28)

You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?  (Matt. 23:33)

Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  (Matt. 25:30)

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;… (2 Peter 2:4)

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.  (Rev. 20:14-15)

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.  (Rev. 21:8)

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.”  (Rev. 14:11)

Hell is real, not because we want it to be, but because the Bible is very clear on the subject.  In fact, Jesus spoke about hell more than anyone else.  He even spoke more about hell than He did about heaven.

What is hell like?  The Bible tells us that hell has these characteristics:

      • hell is punitive, not remedial
      • cast out / cast away
      • a place of torment & agony
      • weeping
      • gnashing of teeth (the idea of pain and anger)
      • outer darkness
      • prison house
      • the worm does not die
      • no rest day or night, no relief, no respite, no sleep or unconsciousness
      • lake of fire, where the fire is never quenched
      • smoke of torment goes up forever and ever
      • fullness of the wrath of God, undiluted, unrestrained, undimished
      • eternal, never ending, forever and ever, no hope, no relief, no escape

Hell is not a place where you party with all your friends, except without air conditioning.  Hell is the place of eternal torment for all who don’t turn to Jesus Christ for salvation.

Does that concern you?  It certainly should!

The good news is that you can avoid the eternal flames of hell.  Just as hell is real, so heaven is real, and God has made a way by which we can find complete forgiveness of sins and be made perfectly righteous before God, allowing us to have assurance of heaven.

We implore you — take a bit of time, ask God to give you a soft heart, and consider your eternal destiny!  Please see our other pages (links above) for details on how to find salvation and have a right relationship with your Creator.

Shown below are some quotes by men of God on the subject of hell:

All the language that strikes terror into our hearts – weeping and gnashing of teeth, outer darkness, the worm, the fire, gehenna, the great gulf fixed – is all directly taken from our Lord’s teaching. It is from Jesus Christ that we learn the doctrine of eternal punishment. – J.I. Packer

An endless hell can no more be removed from the New Testament than an endless heaven can be. – J.I. Packer

To say that life eternal shall be endless, [but that] punishment eternal shall come to an end is the height of absurdity. – Augustine

The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions. – A.W. Tozer

There will be many in the Lake of Fire who commenced life with good intentions, honest resolutions and exalted ideals – those who were just in their dealings, fair in their transactions and charitable in all their ways; men who prided themselves in their integrity but who sought to justify themselves before God by their own righteousness; men who were moral, merciful and magnanimous, but who never saw themselves as guilty, lost, hell-deserving sinners needing a Saviour. – A.W. Pink

The hell of hells will be the thought that is forever. The soul sees written over its head, “You are damned forever.” It hears howlings that are to be perpetual; it sees flames which are unquenchable; it knows pains that are unmitigated. – Charles Spurgeon

Wicked men will hereafter earnestly wish to be turned to nothing and forever cease to be that they may escape the wrath of God. – Jonathan Edwards

The subject of hell is horrible.  The idea of being judged by a holy God is frightening.  The thought of countless human beings consciously exposed to the undiluted fury of God’s wrath drains our emotions, dislocates our logic and defies our imagination — and nothing crushes us with greater force than the fact that hell is endless, because endlessness is beyond our ability to grasp.  – John Blanchard in “Whatever Happened to Hell?”

There is no way to describe hell. Nothing on earth can compare with it. No living person has any real idea of it. No madman in wildest flights of insanity ever beheld its horror. No man in delirium ever pictured a place so utterly terrible as this. No nightmare racing across a fevered mind ever produces a terror to match that of the mildest hell. No murder scene with splattered blood and mutilated bodies could ever suggest the revulsion that one glimpse of hell could suggest; and our Lord saw that…and He was moved…to reach out to people. – John MacArthur

Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just; a God who is all love, but not holy; a God who has a heaven for everybody, but a hell for none; a God who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and broad in eternity. Such a God is an idol of your own, as truly an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible, there is no God at all. – JC Ryle, in Fire. Fire!

I know that many wiser and better Christians than I in these days do not like to mention heaven and hell even in a pulpit. I know, too, that nearly all the references to this subject in the New Testament come from a single source. But then that source is Our Lord Himself… These overwhelming doctrines… are not really removable from the teaching of Christ or of His Church. If we do not believe them our presence in this church is great tomfoolery. If we do, we must sometime overcome our spiritual prudery and mention them. – CS Lewis

The fiery oven is ignited merely by the unbearable appearance of God and endures eternally. For the Day of Judgment will not last for a moment only but will stand throughout eternity and will thereafter never come to an end. Constantly the damned will be judged, constantly they will suffer pain, and constantly they will be a fiery oven, that is, they will be tortured within by supreme distress and tribulation. – Martin Luther

Now, because no description can deal adequately with the gravity of God’s vengeance against the wicked, their torments and tortures are figuratively expressed to us by physical things, that is, by darkness, weeping, and gnashing of teeth (Mt. 8:12; 22:13), unquenchable fire (Mt. 3:12; Mk. 9:43; Isa. 66:24), an undying worm gnawing at the heart (Isa. 66:24). By such expressions the Holy Spirit certainly intended to confound all our senses with dread. – John Calvin

Do you believe the Bible? Then depend upon it, hell is eternal. It must be eternal, or words have no meaning at all. “Forever and ever,” “everlasting,” “unquenchable,” “never-dying” all these are expressions used about hell, and expressions that cannot be explained away. It must be eternal, or the very foundations of heaven are cast down. If hell has an end, heaven has an end too. They both stand or fall together. It must be eternal, or every doctrine of the gospel is undermined. – JC Ryle

Such, in brief, is the portion awaiting the lost – eternal separation from the Fount of all goodness; everlasting punishment; torment of soul and body; endless existence in the Lake of Fire, in association with the vilest of the vile; every ray of hope excluded; utterly crushed and overwhelmed by the wrath of a sin-avenging God! – AW Pink

You and I can never imagine all the depths of hell. Shut out from us by a black veil of darkness, we cannot tell the horrors of that dismal dungeon of lost souls. Happily, the wailings of the damned have never startled us, for a thousand tempests were but a maidens whisper, compared with one wail of a damned spirit. It is not possible for us to see the tortures of those souls who dwell eternally within an anguish that knows no alleviation. These eyes would become sightless balls of darkness if they were permitted for an instant to look into that ghastly shrine of torment. Hell is horrible, for we may say of it, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive the horrors which God hath prepared for them that hate Him. – Charles Spurgeon

Some talk of it as an unreasonable thing to fright persons to heaven, but I think it is a reasonable thing to endeavor to fright persons away from hell. They stand upon its brink, and are just ready to fall into it, and are senseless of their danger. Is it not a reasonable thing to fright a person out of a house of fire? Or is it not the duty of a parent to warn their child running toward the edge of a cliff? – Jonathan Edwards

If I never spoke of hell, I should think I had kept back something that was profitable, and should look on myself as an accomplice of the devil. – JC Ryle

It is as reasonable for preachers to warn against hell as it would be for a sentinel to warn of an approaching army or a weatherman an approaching tornado. – RC Sproul

What would you say of the man who saw his neighbor’s house in danger of being burned down, and never raised the cry of “fire?” What ought to be said of us as ministers if we call ourselves watchmen for souls, and yet see fires of hell raging in distance, and never give the alarm? Call it bad taste, if you like, to speak of hell. Call it charity to make things pleasant, and speak of smoothly, and soothe men with constant lullaby of peace. I have not read my Bible. My notion of charity is to warn men plainly of danger. My notion of taste in the ministerial office is to declare all the counsel of God. – JC Ryle, in Fire. Fire!

There will at the last be goats upon the left hand as well as sheep on the right, tares to be burned as well as wheat to be garnered, chaff to be blown away as well as corn to be preserved. There will be a dreadful hell as well as a glorious heaven, and there is no decree to the contrary. – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

If God really is good, he has no option but wrath. A just, holy judge who winks at evil and refuses to punish it is not a just, holy judge. That sort of judge wouldn’t be worth respecting. He wouldn’t be consistent to the law or what he believed to be right. A judge without judgment would not be a real judge. That wouldn’t be truth. Truth demands consistent holiness from a holy God. – RC Sproul

After all this, if you cannot wrap your intellect or emotions around the doctrine of an eternal hell, remember these two things:  2) We do not and cannot comprehend the sinfulness of sin, and 1) we do not and cannot comprehend the pure and utter holiness of God.  When thinking of hell, remember these two things, and it will remind you that God’s view of hell is correct, even if we can’t really grasp it. – DD