Hell, Pt. 2

Scripture: 2 Peter 2:9, John 5:28, Job 21:29-30
What is hell? Is it a real place or just a state of mental anguish? Will people burn forever or burn up? How does this depict God?
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our hosts, Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw, speakers for the Amazing Facts Ministry, as they now open the Bible and discuss themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned because the next fifteen minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hello everyone, and welcome again to Bible Talk. I am John Bradshaw and with me is Gary Gibbs. Gary, we are studying a fascinating subject. At the moment, we are talking about hellfire and last time we studied together, we learned something interesting. In fact, we found out just how hot hell really is.

Gary Gibbs: In fact John, what we covered probably was quite shocking to a number of people. I would imagine some would think that we don't even believe in hellfire.

John: Well, let's go to the Bible very quickly and review a little of what we look at last time. The Bible is clear, there was a hell.

Gary: Yeah, Jesus said in Mathew 10:28, he says, "Don't fear those who can kill the body but fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." So, Jesus taught definitely, there is a hellfire.

John: Sure, he did and I believe another verse he used was Mathew, Chapter 5. Would you like to go over that again?

Gary: Verse 31, he talks about your whole body will be cast in hell.

John: Now, contrary to popular belief - and in fact let me mention this, I read recently there are two large schools, and this surprised me, two large schools of thought on this. There is one camp of people who hellfire is going to burn forever and ever and ever. Very real place and it burns without ceasing, and another camp of people who believe that hell is in fact an anguished state of existence separated from God and I think this gained a lot of, this movement gained some momentum after, the pope recently wrote a statement on this suggesting that that's what hell was or perhaps that's where the body of opinion came that believes that.

There is the two main groups, we want to find out whether either of them are right or just what the truth of the matter is. We found out that hell, when we studied last time is so hot - hotter than most people think - so hot that it eventually turns sinners into...

Gary: ... ashes. Malachi 4, Verses 1-3, talks about the day of the lord when all the wicked will be burned up and it says that they would actually become "ashes under the souls of the feet of the righteous." "In fact, it's so hot to Satan himself," - according to Ezekiel 28:18 - "will be turned into ashes upon the face of the earth." So, hell is very hot, hot enough to consume even super natural beings and to turn them into ashes.

John: When you stop and think about this, a lot of people believe in a hell that is hot enough to burn you but not enough to burn you up. And I have never been able to figure out how you can have something burning forever without it actually being reduced to nothing. You would have to say that God is supernaturally intervening to keep people in a form whereby he can continually torture them. What does that say about God?

Gary: Yeah, that is the type of God that has frightened a lot of people off from Christianity. Some of my friends who teach the eternal tormenting of hell, they believe it actually helps them convert people to Christianity because they are using the fear factor. You don't want to burn in hell so you better rush to Jesus and get your fire insurance protection right away. But, there is a whole vast group of people that they are not even tuning into, who are being turned off to Christianity and turned off to a God who could torture people like this through the ceaseless ages of eternity.

John: Isn't there a greater motivation that people have to be saved? Doesn't the Bible say "We love God because he first loved us."

Gary: That is the motivation, that's why we should serve him.

John: I can understand that being an incentive to avoid hellfire, but I am not so sure, Gary, that that ought to be somebody's primary motivation to serve God. That could lead to a form of spiritual slavery too scared not to serve God and so that's why you are a Christian.

Gary: John, the topic of hell is one you have to take all the verses in the Bible on it to really get a picture of what God intents when he tells us about hellfire, because there are a couple of texts that talk about burning forever and ever and ever, that would lead you to think that well, when hellfire does take place, you are just going to be in as best as supernaturally sustained so that you can be tortured forever and ever and ever.

But, there are many, many other texts, scores of them that tell us that hellfire reduces the wicked to ashes. So, today, why don't we talk about "Where is hell?" "Is it a real place?" and "Where is it?" "Is it existing right now?"

John: Well, we need to find that out. I was taught as a kid, hell is burning right now in the middle of the earth. I tell you, I have watched in an old black and white movie when I was a kid called the "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" and I was fascinated because I was sure that they were going to show what hell was like because...

Gary: Turn the corner down there and run into the devil with the video camera, huh.

John: Right, exactly and it made me wonder as a child, if hell is in the center of the earth and what one the oil companies were sent down, an oil shaft or a oil welled deep enough, not as it's fair enough sort of a thought to have, isn't it.

Gary: You might hear a few screams coming up through that oil well.

John: There would be some hot stuff come up out of the ground. OK, so where is it if it isn't in the centre of the earth? What does the Bible tell us?

Gary: Well, I think first, we need to look inside, is anyone in hell today? If it is in the centre of the earth and people are burning there, that must be mentioned in scripture but actually you find the opposite of that.

In II Peter 2, Verse 9, you read "the lord knows how to deliver the Godly out of the temptation." So, God knows how to deliver a set of temptation and then notice, and to reserve the unjust, unto the Day of Judgment to be punished. So, what is God doing with the wicked? He is reserving them unto the Day of Judgment to be punished. So, until then, they are being reserved.

John: Two questions I have got for you then, Gary, one is "Where are they being reserved?" and "When are they being reserved until?"

Gary: Great questions. Job 21, Verse 29, I believe it is, it says, "Do you not know" - Verse 30 - "that the wicked is reserved" - the same wording we just read, John, in II Peter two - "that the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction, they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath." OK, so it's talking about the same thing we just read in II Peter 2.

But then, Verse 32: "the wicked shall be brought to the grave and shall remain in the tomb." So, they are reserved in the tomb unto the Day of Judgment. When the Day of Judgment comes, they will be brought forth to receive the final judgment and that's when they are casting the hellfire.

John: Now, a couple of thoughts here, this takes us all the way back to the subject that being, the subject of death when a person dies, they sleep until the resurrection. That's just what that passage was saying right there.

Gary: It is, definitely.

John: But there's more than one resurrection, right? Some are going to be raised when Jesus returns. The wicked, it would appear, are not going to be raised at that time. I wonder if you can look at that with us.

Gary: In John, Chapter 5, Jesus talks about two resurrections. Verse 28, "Marvel not at this for the hour's coming in which all that are in the grave shall hear His voice." There's going to come a day when everybody who's in the grave will hear Jesus' voice. Verse 29 says "And they shall come forth. They that have done good come unto the resurrection of life."

And if you look at that, John, in I Thessalonians 4: 16 and 17, that's referring to the resurrection of life. It takes place at Jesus' second coming. Then He goes on in Verse 29 of John 5, "They that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation." And that's talking about the wicked. They're going to be raised in a special resurrection, just for them, where they are going to receive the judgment. That's what it's saying. They're going to be reserved in the grave unto the day of destruction.

John: Now, as far as I know, that resurrection has not yet taken place which would indicate then that there are not many people burning in Hell right now.

Gary: In fact, none are burning in Hell right now. Hellfire takes place at the very end of time. There are lost of texts to indicate that. If you look at Matthew, Chapter 13, Verse 24, Jesus says "The Kingdom of Heaven is like onto a man who sowed good seed in his field." And then He goes on and He talks about how, even though they had sowed good seeds, there were tares, there were weeds that sprung up and brought forth fruit.

And so then the servants come to Jesus in Verse 27 and they ask him "Where did the tares come from?" And He tells them in verse 28 "An enemy hath done this." Then it comes down, He works through the parable and He talks about the rebirths and the harvest. How the tares and the wheat are separated and then He tells us later in the parable that the tares are cast into the fire and burnt.

John: Right, sure. That's going to represent hellfire, right? The destruction and the punishment of the wicked.

Gary: That's right. And we come down to Verse 40 or actually Verse 39. He says the enemy that sowed the tares is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the world. And the reapers are the angels. "As, therefore, the tares are gathered and burnt in the fire, so shalt thee in the end of this world."

John: Now, let's dwell on that for a moment because that's profound! The idea is that Uncle Larry, who never came to Jesus, died last week and went to Hell. But, clearly the Bible indicates that no one is there right now and won't be there until the end of the world!

Gary: Resting in the grave, reserved unto the Day of Judgment.

John: Very, very, clear.

Gary: And then at the end of the world, they'll all be brought forth and they'll be punished at the same time.

John: I want to talk for a moment about this idea of God raising people in the end, they will receive their punishment and they'll be destroyed. Does that tell us something about the character of God? The idea that God would take a wicked person, OK, that person has sinned against God, but then torture that person and burn that person and fry that person without mercy for ever and ever and ever. What kind of picture of God does that paint for us?

Gary: Yeah, John, if you look at it this way. Say there's a person that lived way back in the Old Testament days, maybe right after Adam. And he was a sheep stealer. All he did was steal one sheep one day. And he never repents that, he never gives his life to God and he dies. Now, according to the common teachings he would begin to burn in Hell right then. So, he burns for, say 6000 years here, let's say 5000 years he's been burning.

And then you come down to our day and you find people who are war-criminals who were responsible for killing millions of people. We go back to World War II. People who were responsible for killing millions. And they die and they start burning in Hell. Who is always being punished more? Is it the sheep stealer or maybe the Nazi? The Nazi is always burning 5000 years less than the sheep stealer.

John: No, there's no justice there.

Gary: No justice in that. So, that depicts a God who is not fair, a God who's not just. But, if everybody rest in the grave until the resurrection for the judgment, then people go into Hellfire at the same time.

John: Also, too, the idea that God would burn people mercilessly for ever and ever and ever and ever. That would make God a worse criminal than Idi Amin and Paul Potts and Joseph Stalin. That would have to just about make God the most wicked man that ever lived.

Gary: Because he would have to sustain their lives as they were burning in hellfire. Supernaturally sustain them and allow them to just be tortured over and over again. And just imagine if He were hearing the cries "Please, let me out of this! Please, I confess, let me out!" How He could just steel His heart against that, He would have to be a very coldhearted God.

John: And imagine those saved people in Heaven who would no doubt hear those same screams throughout eternity. That would put a damper on the joys of Heaven somewhat, wouldn't it?

Gary: It would. The Bible says that this is a strange act of God; He does not delight in the death of the wicked.

John: We'll talk more about this, there's so much more to cover. This is a fascinating subject and a blessed subject when we understand more about God, more about His character and more about the truth of His Word. Join us next time when we'll find out just where Hell takes place. We'll talk about it here, join us on Bible Talk.

Announcer: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible Study Guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject, including information you'll want to know.

To receive this free informative Bible Study Guide, simply call, write or email and ask for BT111, "Is the Devil in Charge of Hell?"

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