The Good News About Hell, Pt. 1

The Good News About Hell, Pt. 1

Scripture: Romans 6:23, John 12:48, James 1:12-15
Date: 09/29/2012 
The traditional view of hell is not what is taught in the Old Testament, or the New Testament, or believed by the early Church. It has been distorted through the dark ages and exploited by the church to drive people by fear.

Is the Devil in Charge of Hell? - Paper or PDF Download

Is the Devil in Charge of Hell? - Paper or PDF Download
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Doug Batchelor: So, what's the hottest place on Earth? "Guinness World Records" lists the official winner as Death Valley, California. On July 10, 1913, the mercury there skyrocketed to 134 degrees Fahrenheit. Some parts of Death Valley have an average daily high of 115 degrees, but the ground temperature can get even more intense. In 1972, at a place called Furnace Creek, it registered a blistering 201 degrees, the hottest surface temperature ever recorded on the planet. Actually, there's a good chance there are other places in the deserts around the world that get even hotter, but most humans don't inhabit the hottest places on Earth, so there are no weather stations or sensors to record the extreme temperatures. The Bible tells us that the ultimate global warming is still in the future. It's the time when God will cleanse the world with fire. The scripture says, "In that day, the very elements will melt with fervent heat, and the earth and the things that are in it will be burned up." sounds scary? Well, it doesn't need to be. To find out more, join me now as we explore "The Good News about Hell."

>>The message for this morning is titled 'The Good News About Hell - part 1'. Now this is a very relevant thing for us to talk about because the Bible is pretty clear there are only two choices that every human faces. There are two destinies everyone around you is going to embrace. You can read in revelation 20, verse 15, "and anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." there are two choices - life or death - eternal life or the lake of fire, sometimes known as Hell. I always feel a little awkward saying that word in church. Most people don't use that word in the biblical sense, but it is a biblical word and just appreciate that's the way I’m using it.

And, kind of, the collective idea of Hell is that there's this molten place, typically down yonder somewhere, where the lost go as soon as they die and that they begin burning there but they're alive and conscious and they feel the burning and they don't burn for a second or two, but they burn in this molten fire and sulphur and brimstone agonizing second after second and minute after minute and hour after hour and day after day and week and month and year after year and millennium after millennium. All that time they're rolling and blistering and shrieking and crying for mercy and mercy never comes and after a billion years go by they manage to swim to the surface of this molten brimstone and they call 'Lord, how long?' and God says, 'You've only just begun.' and He pushes them under again.

This is what is believed. You're aware of that. This is what is believed by the typical Baptist and many Evangelicals about Hell. Some try to soften it a little bit and they simply call it eternal separation from God. But then you pin them down and say, 'Well, what are these lost souls experiencing?' 'Well, they're being tormented day and night forever and ever in fire and brimstone.' There are some difficult passages in the Bible that are frequently misunderstood and I’m going to take some time, specifically next week to talk about that. But in the presentation today I want to tell you what some of the good news is on this subject and try and clear up some of these misunderstandings because this typical traditional view of Hell is not what was taught in the Old Testament or the New Testament or believed by the early church. It has been distorted through the Dark Ages and exploited by the church to drive people by fear. Many, many people have been driven by fear regarding this subject and it distorts the picture of God - it paints God as a sadist. And I want you to understand what the Bible really teaches about the subject.

First of all, is anybody burning in Hell right now? What does the Bible teach about this? 2 Peter - we'll have scriptures on the screen, but I hope you'll also write them down so you'll have an outline in your hands. 2 Peter chapter 2, verse 9 "...the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust" - you've got two groups: the godly and the unjust - "under punishment for the day of judgment," - So when are the unjust punished? The day of judgment. That day is not the day of their death.

There is a great judgment day coming. John 12:48 Jesus said, "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him - the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." Christ is looking off into the future at that day of the Lord - that great judgment day - and He says 'That is the day when they will be judged by the word that I have spoken.' They are not judged yet. They are not receiving their reward yet. And then, if there's any doubt, it's really clear when you look at the parable that Jesus told - Matthew chapter 13, verse 40 - do you know the parable of the wheat and the tares? Here Jesus talks about a man had a field and some enemy came during the night and he sowed these tares - tares are like a weed. He sowed these weeds in among the wheat and it all grew up and the servants said, 'What shall we do? Shall we pull up all the weeds?' And the master said, 'No, let it grow together until the harvest and at the harvest then we'll gather the tares and burn them in bundles and we'll gather the wheat and put it in the barn.

And so Jesus, later, interpreting that parable for the disciples so there's no misunderstanding He said - and this is Matthew 13, verse 40, "Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels," - when Jesus comes - "and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness," - the wicked - the lost - "and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

Alright, well one thing we did learn - there is a furnace of fire but we also learned that they're not burning there yet because the judgment day has not happened. This harvest has not happened yet. The resurrection of the wicked has not happened yet. It is still in the future. So I hope that you find some good news right there - that nobody is burning in Hell right now.

So where are the lost now? Jesus answers that in John 4, verses 28 and 29, "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming" - future tense - "in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth -" - they haven't come forth yet - there's an hour coming when they'll come forth - those who have done good, to the resurrection of life," - that's first - dead in Christ rise first. Isn't that what the Bible says? - "and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." - or the resurrection of damnation - the resurrection of the lost spoken of also in Daniel chapter 12. Jesus said it's in the future.

You've got a resurrection of the saved - the dead in Christ rise first. That's in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. And then there's the resurrection of the lost that happens at the end of the one thousand years. The Bible tells us in Revelation 20, 'The rest of the dead do not live until the thousand years are finished.' If the dead in Christ rise first - all the dead who are saved rise first - who are the rest of the dead? The dead without Christ - the lost. That's the resurrection of damnation or condemnation the Bible speaks of - it's in the future - hasn't happened yet.

Alright, moving on with the next question: What is the end result of sin? Well, let's let the Bible speak for itself. James 1:15, "...Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." So there are two rewards that are offered: life or death. Moses said, before the Children of Israel entered the Promised Land there in Deuteronomy in chapter 30, he said, 'I set before you this day life and good and blessing or death and evil and cursing.' The options for everybody is if your name is in the book of life you live. If your name is not in the book of life you will be punished and you die.

The end result of sin is not eternal life in the fire. It doesn't say that in the Bible. The Bible doesn't say anywhere that you've got an immortal soul. I always stop and I just ask anybody - I mean, here we've got oh, six or seven hundred people, show me one verse in the Bible that says you have an immortal soul. God is immortal, but immortality is given at the resurrection. Nobody now possesses immortality. Matter of fact, our bodies are called mortal bodies. When Jesus comes, then this mortal puts on immortality. John 3:16 - actually I think I've got one in Romans first - let's do Romans 6:23. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life."

Everybody here - you've got two options. And I can promise you something: everybody here will receive one of those two options. And what are those two options? Death - He doesn't say 'The wages for sin is eternal life in the fire.' He says, 'The wages for sin is death.' The gift of God is eternal life. Now, did Jesus die for our sins? Did Jesus take the penalty for our sins? Did Jesus just fall over and die or did He suffer and die? So the penalty for sin is not just death, the ultimate penalty is death, but He suffered and died. So if we do not embrace the sacrifice Jesus made in our behalf, we will also suffer and die for our own sins if we do not accept Him as our replacement.

Does that make sense so far? John 3:16 - two options - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." There's only two options. One option is not eternal life in the fire - perish is the absence of life. They're going to perish or everlasting life. Jesus made that clear right there in John 3:16.

Okay, question #4: What happens to the wicked in Hellfire? Psalm 37, verse 10 and then I’m also going to read verse 20 - you ought to read the whole Psalm. What will happen to the wicked in Hellfire? Here we go. "For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yeah, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be."

They'll not be. I mean, what other term or words do you use to describe something ceasing to exist? They'll not be. 'The wicked shall perish and the enemies of the Lord will consume into smoke. They will consume away.' And I've heard some pastors say, 'Well, yeah, that's true. The bodies all burn up but the soul continues to burn forever.' Oh, but Jesus said 'The soul that sins it will die.' Actually, that's in Ezekiel - Jesus said, 'Fear not him who destroys the body' - Matthew chapter 10 - 'but cannot destroy the soul. Rather, fear him who destroys soul and body in Hell.' It's not just the body that burns up - the soul and body. Malachi 4, verse 1 - this was in our scripture reading - "'For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up.' says the Lord of hosts, 'that will leave them neither root nor branch.'" You think about the words that God is using here.

Let me give you one more and I'll just try and sum this thought up for you. Revelation 21, verses 7 and 8, "He who overcomes will inherit all things" - there's the good news, right? - "and I will be his God and he will be My son." - So on one side you've got a sheep - they get the everlasting life. They're saved. - "but" - this is verse 8 - Revelation 21, verse 8 - "the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Revelation 20, verse 9.

Where is Hell going to burn? At the end of the millennium when Satan marshals those lost forces against the city of God it says, "They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of Heaven and devoured them." That fire that rains down surrounding the New Jerusalem forms a lake of fire. It is on the Earth.

So where is Hell going to burn? On the Earth. I'll give you a few more verses. Proverbs 11, verse 31, "...The righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner." Everybody's going to get their reward in the very place of the crime - right here on the planet. 2 Peter chapter 3, verse 10, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up." So it's always focused - that judgment is right down here. Hell is not a cavern off in the cosmos somewhere - that's full of molten fire - Hell is not a cavern down in the earth somewhere, it's on the surface of the earth.

Doug: Don't go anywhere, friends, in just a moment we're going to return for the rest of today's presentation. Have you ever wondered: if God is love, if God is good, why would He make a devil? And furthermore, why would God want Satan to be the supervisor of Hell, measuring out his punishment on the sinners? Millions the world over believe these things, but what if I told you that you won't find this taught anywhere in the Bible. Would that change your picture of God? That's why I hope you'll let me send you a beautifully illustrated study guide called, "Is the Devil in Charge of Hell?" This powerful Bible resource will answer some big questions about the devil. It'll explain where the scriptures say he came from, and why God doesn't just snuff him out of existence.

To get your free copy, call the number on your screen and ask for offer 119, or visit the web address. And after you read this incredible resource, make sure and share it with a friend. Well, let's get back to the rest of today's presentation and learn some more amazing facts from the word of God.

>>It's important to know that because once you know where Hell is, it becomes clear that for God to make a new earth on this planet the two can't coexist together. That means the fires of Hell must go out.

Number 6 - This is one of the most important points that I think is actually good news. How long will the wicked suffer in the fire? Well, you know the Bible doesn't give us an exact time because it varies from person to person. Revelation 22:12, Jesus said - last chapter of the Bible - "And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be." Everyone is rewarded according to his work - meaning there are varying works out there and there are varying rewards. If everybody burns eternally then everybody gets the same reward. How can there be a variation? 'Well, some - it's hotter fire than for the others.' would be the answer. Come on, if you get everlasting fire and I get everlasting fire - and just think about how unjust that would be that you've got, you know, think of the biggest fiend you can think of from history - Pol Pot or Adolph Hitler - pick your fiend. Some people think that Stalin killed more than Hitler.

Pick your biggest fiend that you figure is lost and on the judgment day God says, 'Lost - lake of fire for you.' and the angels toss him off in the molten lake of fire. And then you've got that teenager. He's past the age of accountability - he's old enough to know better but he rejects God - takes his own life and the Lord says, 'Sorry, you can't be saved. You can go burn forever right next to Adolph or Stalin.' Is that justice? No, I just - it absolutely violates our reason. Well, the Bible is clear. It says there are varying degrees of punishment. And let me give you a few more verses on that. Matthew 10:28, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul:" - I think I quoted this already - "but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell." so in Hell the wicked are destroyed. Matthew 16, "...he'll reward every man" - 16:27 - "according to his works." Everybody. Then again, we're saved by what? Works or faith? We're saved by faith and grace but works are the only thing that's used in the judgment of the wicked.

Will the fire eventually go out? Isaiah 47:14, it says, "Behold, they shall be as stubble, the fire shall burn them;" - speaking of the wicked - "They shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame; it shall not be a coal to be warmed by, nor a fire to sit before." Not even a coal left. Malachi 4:3 makes it pretty clear, "'You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this,' says the Lord of Hosts."

So 'Blessed are the meek, they will inherit the earth.' We go forth from the new Jerusalem after the judgment of the wicked. They've all been burned, including the devil and his angels, according to what they deserve. And if anybody deserves to burn forever, who is it? It'd be Lucifer. The Bible even says in Ezekiel, 'I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee and it will devour thee and it will bring thee to ashes on the earth in the sight of them that behold thee. Thou shalt be a terror and never shalt thou be anymore.'

Never shalt thou be. You don't ever have to worry about Hitler escaping from prison - like Napoleon briefly did - and another rebellion rising up. He is going to be permanently dealt with. He will burn longer than anyone else - probably day and night. And I'll explain those verses in our next study. Again, Revelation 21, verses 4 and 5, "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death," - notice - "nor sorrow, nor crying." He doesn't say no more crying among the saved, He's talking about a world made new - a new Heaven, a new Earth - no more crying - no more crying anywhere. "There shall be no more pain."

How can you have this vast warehouse filled with people who are screaming and shrieking and God saying 'Good news. There's no more pain.' Well, there is pain, if, theoretically, the majority of the world is lost and if you've got multiplied billions of people that are writhing and shrieking in molten fire for eternity, for God to say, 'Good news, there's no more pain.' And wouldn't we have to all be brainwashed and not remember any of the people we knew in this life that didn't make it? And then we'd just, you know, God's going to brainwash us like that so we don't know what's going on - I wish he'd do it now, right? Just make me a saint right now and make me oblivious to all the suffering right now. But He's not. We're going to know. That's why He's got to dry away tears because there's going to be people that are lost and they're punished but they're going to be put out of their misery.

God is going to comfort us by saying, 'Good news. No more pain. They're not suffering anymore.' They are eternally separated from God, yes. They are destroyed with eternal destruction, yes. The fire that burns them is an eternal fire - they are burnt forever - gone - but they're not still burning. Matter of fact, if you want to know what happens to the wicked there's a story in the Bible that tells us exactly how it's going to end.

How many of you remember the story of Sodom and Gomorrah? And the Bible tells us there that - in Genesis 19:24 - I'll never forget, when I was 16 years old I lived on a sailboat and we sailed around the Mediterranean and one of the places they took us was the ruins of Pompeii. There, not far from the foot of Mount Vesuvius, the volcano blew up in about 79 A.D. and it showered the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum with ashes and brimstone. And some of the people escaped. Pliny the Elder, I think, talked about it in a letter to his cousin and some of the people actually made it out to the water and they were actually able to escape the cloud of gases and ash that came down and so many people in that - it was the Las Vegas of the Roman empire back then. You can tell from the frescos on the walls - they've got orgies painted on the walls and basic pornography that survived.

They found it in 1874. It had been buried under 20 feet of ash and they've been excavating it ever since. It's not even all excavated yet. And every now and then they came to a cavity and they thought, wait a second, there was something in here, and so they'd mix up plaster of Paris and they'd pour it in and they'd let it dry and then they'd take away the ash and they found what was in there, and these are some of the forms that they found. These ghostly shapes of people - real people who lived - that were basically incinerated - they died but it left a vacuum once their bodies decomposed in that chamber.

And it was just an awful destruction. Fire rained from Heaven, you might say, and burnt the city of Pompeii. That made a pretty deep impression on me when I saw that as a teenager and I kind of was worried about what my future was.

Well, you know, the Bible tells us that that's not that different from what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. Genesis 19:24, "Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens." and Jesus, describing the end of the world in Luke chapter 17:28-30, says it's going to be similar. "Likewise, as it was in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the son of man is revealed."

Now here's the question: Sodom and Gomorrah are set forth as an example of what this fire is. Are they still burning today? Let me give you one more: Jude 1:7, "As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner...given themselves over to sexual immorality" - boy, could it be much worse today than it was then? Could it have been much worse then than it is today? Could we share, as a world, in their fates? - "having gone after strange flesh," - you know what they mean by strange flesh? Not even natural sex - "are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of - notice this - "suffering" - they're an example of "suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Sodom and Gomorrah were burned up with eternal fire.

Why does God call it eternal fire? Because what that fire did to those cities was eternal. They have never been rebuilt. They are still ruins today. Are they still burning? No. And again, 2 Peter, 2:6, "and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;" What was the example? They were turned into ashes. They were burnt with eternal fire. They are not still burning today. We don't have to wonder what's going to happen to the wicked. God said, 'I've given you exhibit A'.

Let's go to that next slide. Let's look at what the good news is that we've learned about Hell. First of all, no one is burning in Hell right now. Can you say 'Amen'? That's good news for people who have been tormented by that idea. Secondly, no one is going to burn in Hell forever. There is a lake of fire. For my Baptist friends that may be watching and you think, 'You folks don't believe in fire. Don't believe in Hellfire.' My Hellfire is hotter than your hellfire because my Hellfire burns them up and your Hellfire just roasts them forever, right? And so, yes, we believe in Hellfire but it doesn't burn forever. We've seen that from the Bible.

Hellfire will put sinners out of their misery. You ever thought of that? Sinners are not happy - like an animal suffering some incurable disease - God is going to put sinners out of their misery. And, you know, that is actually an act of love and mercy. Even in the way He deals with the lost. Hellfire will purify the universe. There's no more going to be sin or sinners. All things are perfect and pure again.

And you don't need to go there. That's the good news. Yes, most of the world's going to make the wrong decision but there's no need for anyone to be lost because the suffering that Jesus took upon Himself was your suffering. But you must embrace that.

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Announcer: What if you could know the future? What would you do? What would you change? To see the future, you must understand the past. This intriguing documentary, hosted by Pastor Doug Batchelor, explores the most striking Bible prophecies that have been dramatically fulfilled throughout history. "Kingdoms in Time," for more information, visit kingdomsintime.com.

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