Hell, Pt. 3

Scripture: 2 Peter 2:5, Revelation 20:9, Zechariah 13:6
When does hellfire burn? At the end of the world or is it burning now? Where is hell? What does the Bible say? This program takes a look at some of the original Greek and Hebrews words for hell in Scripture. We discover that fire will in the end purify the world of sin.
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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 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's Word.

John Bradshaw: Hi everyone, and welcome again to Bible Talk. This is John Bradshaw. With me is Gary Gibbs. And today Gary and I have a great program as we discuss the subject of hell fire. We've learned some things our last couple of visits on Bible Talk.

Gary Gibbs: We have, John. We've looked at the common idea about hell, is that when you die you go right to the burning mass in the center of the Earth and you start being tortured for ever and ever by God because of your sins. But what we've learned is that hell fire is a fire that is so hot it reduces the wicked to ashes.

John: Also sin dispensed with, eradicated. I remember reading recently that the disease polio is down dramatically on the Earth, just down to a few hundred cases where it was tens and tens of thousands of cases just a few years ago. Great progress! People will rejoice when polio goes the way of smallpox and is eradicated. Won't it be a time for rejoicing when sin is eradicated, and God blocks it out from the face of the Earth, and the flames of Hell deal with and dispense with all that sin and all that wickedness?

Gary: And we're looking forward to that day. In fact, in our last Bible Talk program, we saw that hell fire isn't taking place now, but it's reserved for the final day of judgment at the end of this world's history.

John: OK. So we know about when hell fire's going to take place. It's not going on right now. It's going to take place, according to Matthew 13, in the end of the world. But what about where it's going to take place? You, like me, had to have been taught that hell burns in the center of the Earth. Someone mentioned recently hell is somewhere beneath the Bermuda Triangle. There's all kinds of ideas. Matter of fact, I know you've been to hell.

Gary: You know, I have. And, in fact, I wouldn't want to put this on my return address, but there are a number of cities named hell. There's a hell, Michigan. It actually snows there in the winter. But then there's a hell that's probably more appropriately named in the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. I've been to hell. They have a post office with little pictures of demons on the post office there.

John: And from what you've told me about the Cayman Islands, you'd be eager to return to hell anytime.

Gary: I'm looking forward to going back there.

John: OK. [laughs] Well, I'm sure that's not the Hell the Bible talks about, although it would sure be interesting to get a letter postmarked hell, wouldn't it? We want to find out just where it is. I think if we even think about that word "hell" we might be able to clear up some misconceptions about Hell. I understand that when you read the word "hell" in the Bible, it's not always talking about that hot place where sinners are going to receive punishment.

Gary: It's not. In fact, there are several words in the original language, either the Greek or the Hebrew will talk about, that are translated into the single English word for hell. And this is where, John, it's really helpful to have a Bible that has what we call marginal readings. So it kind of gives you an idea of what was intended by the original author in the original language. And so you have the Hebrew word "Sheol" that's often translated into our English word "hell". And that word "sheol" simply means the grave.

John: So I could be reading the Bible, reading about somebody who's in Hell, but it's not talking about a place of flames and fire. It's talking about...

Gary: The grave, yeah. It could saying somebody dies, and they were in Hell. And it's simply saying they died and they were placed in the grave.

John: OK, so that's sheol in the Hebrew in the Old Testament.

Gary: And then in the New Testament, there's the Greek word "Hades", and that simply means the grave as well. And so there you have to look. Somebody dies and they are placed in Hell. They're placed in the grave.

Then there's another word, "Gehenna." And that's the word that we typically think of when we think about Hell. It was a literal place outside of the city of Jerusalem, just on the outskirts of Jerusalem. And it was in the Valley of Hinnom and it was called Gehenna. And it was actually, John, the garbage pit. It's where they took their garbage and they burned it. And there might be in that garbage pit the carcasses of dead animals. In fact, they would even take criminals or beggars who had nobody give them a proper burial, and they would throw them on that garbage pit. And there were fires constantly kept burning there to consume the garbage.

John: So that's the origin of the word "Gehenna". That's the hot Hell that you read about in Scripture.

Gary: And that's the Hell that Jesus is referring to in Matthew five where he talks about your whole body will be cast into Hell. In fact, I can imagine, as He was telling about this, He actually pointed over to the smoke that was ascending out of the Valley of Hinnom there.

John: So most of the time when we read our Bible and we read the word "Hell", in the majority of instances, it isn't even referring to Hell.

Gary: It's referring to the grave. But when it talks about the fire and when it talks about the Judgment, then it's talking about the hell fire that you and I normally think of when we read the word "Hell".

John: Now, what we want to do today is focus specifically on where Hell is going to take place. Lately on Bible Talk we've talked about when, we've talked about the how. We know that no one is going to burn forever and ever and ever. The Bible is too clear. It talks about people being reduced to ashes. But where will this take place? I need you to show me that in the Bible.

Gary: OK. First thing you have to do is recap, very quickly, when. Hell fire takes place at the very end of this Earth's history. And then, at the end of this Earth's history, something special happens. We can talk about this in a future program, the millennium or the 1,000 years. There's this 1,000 year period in which this Earth is in a desolate state.

And at the end of that time, the Bible says in Revelation 20 that all the wicked are resurrected. This is what is referred to when it says, "Satan will be loosed out of his prison" in Revelation 20:7. And then we're told that Satan will deceive the wicked, and they will all go up and surround the City of God, the New Jerusalem, because it has come down out of Heaven and has landed on this planet. So you have the picture, John?

City of God comes down. All the saints, all the righteous people are in there. God's throne is there. It comes down, lands on this planet. All the wicked are resurrected. And Satan says, "Let's take the city." And they go up and surround the city. Do you know what happens next?

John: Tell us, Gary.

Gary: The Bible says in Verse nine that "they went up on the breadth of the earth, surrounded the camp of the saints in the beloved city: and fire comes down from God out of heaven, and devours them.Then the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.

John: Now.

Gary: And so the fire of brimstone happens on the face of planet, at the end of the thousand years.

John: So when, when we think of where hell is going to be, it is actually going to be here on the earth.

Gary: Definitely, on the face of the earth.

John: The Bible talks about the earth becoming a lake of fire.So, so that is it, it takes place here on the earth.Why on the earth rather than in the center of the earth?What is God trying to achieve here?What is the purpose of this?

Gary: He is cleansing the earth of all the sin .All traces of sin. In fact if you continue reading revelation, Revelation 20 and Revelation 21 just kind of flow chronologically together. And you come to Revelation 21 after it says that hell fire has done it's work of destroying the wicked. "I saw a new heaven and new earth, for the first heaven and first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea. So the hell fire burns up all the traces of wickedness."

John: The wickedness is gone, the sin is gone, the sinners are gone and then, well, we will probably talk a little later about what happens then because we know that God goes ahead and creates the earth and makes it new. We have referred to this. The Bible calls it the second death because the people in hell are reduced to nothing. They are reduced to ashes. Now there is a text that I want you to have a look at if you would in two Peter 2, which deals with the subject that expanse upon a little more. Will you look at that?

Gary: Now John, it talks about a tale of the destruction of the wicked in the last days. It was previewed, we might say, by what happened in Noah's day, when god destroyed the wicked then.

John: Let me jump in here and say something because often what we look forward to in a scripture. What is coming in the end of time has already been previewed by something that is happened early in bible histories. Isn't that right?

Gary: It is, and God has uses those as example on a local literal scale to show what is going to happen worldwide one day.

John: OK, what is the example for hell fire?

Gary: Well, he uses the destruction of the wicked during Noah's day and let me just read it to you. Here he says in verse five of two Peter 2, and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly, and he turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemning them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly. So he uses Sodom and Gomorrah and Noah as an example of what is going to happen of the wicked.

John: Sodom and Gomorrah, you had a cities full of wicked inhabitants that were wiped out and were destroyed. That fire burned them up. Actually as a matter of fire you think of fire, many times in the scripture, god has send fire from heaven, many times. Every time he did it, it burned up whatever it came in contact with.

Gary: Yeah, you do not see Sodom and Gomorrah burning today.

John: No, they are an example of what's going to happen in hell in the end.

Gary: Yeah, and the bible says that they were consumed in the ashes.

John: Noah's flood or the flood of Noah's day, another example of what is going to take place.What did we have in Noah's day, wicked earth full of wicked people, take it from there.

Gary: And God had races of Noah, to provide a way of salvation and it requires repentance and belief in the word of God. And those who were repentant and believed in the word of God entered into the ark of safety and God saved them there. But all those who didn't follow God were destroyed and wiped out by the waters that covered the whole of earth. And after the waters were receded, the earth, of course, sprung forth with life again. And the righteous people who were in the ark, they repopulated the earth. Now, in the end time, God will destroy the earth with fire and the those who have been sealed by the spirit of God, those who are guaranteed not to sin again, they will go out and live on the earth.

John: Now, something that fascinates me and I wonder whether you can explain this. This is, the Bible says in the two Peter 3, that the heavens and the earth. You have talked about hell taking place here on the earth and the earth burning up. But it says that the heavens too are kept in store reserved unto fire. What is that about?

Gary: Well, when you look up at the heaven there is all sorts of junk up there.It is called space junk.You know, satellites floating around up there and We have left our prints way out there in the outer space.

John: Buggy on the surface of Mars that did not.

Gary: Yeah.

John: You know, do its job.

Gary: You know, we have planned, well I will be flying in the new earth, you know. God tells us we are going to be able to fly. I don't want to bump into some satellites as I am flying around the universe. Do you?

John: Then there is all the smog and all the pollution and all of that.God is going to take care of all that?

Gary: It is all going to be cleaned up.

John: And burn it up. The sin will be gone, the effects of sin will be gone, sinners will be gone and then God will start again. Recreate the earth. It will be populated again, full of people who will not sin, who have given themselves wholly and completely to Jesus Christ.

Gary: After all there would be only one trace of sin left. Do you know what that is? It is the wounds in Jesus' hands. They will always bear that. You know our bodies will be changed. We will have eternal lives, eternal bodies, all the traces of sin on this planet will be destroyed. But, Jesus forever will bear the marks of his crucifixion. You will read that in Zachariah 13:6.

John: Our Savior will remind us forever of what he has done for us. And we will never forget it throughout eternity. But friends lets never forget it now.And remember hell fire was created for the devil and his angels, not for anyone of us. It has been a good study. We will look at it again next time, the same subject. Join us again on Bible talk.

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