The reality of hell should affect the way people live. — The importance of making the right choice. Yes, hell is real. Yes, hell is a place of torment and punishment that lasts forever and ever, with no end. I get to choose the outcome. I choose Jesus and life! Praise God that, through Jesus, we can escape this eternal fate.
Can I choose not to go to hell? The punishment of the wicked in hell is as never ending as the bliss of the righteous in heaven. Jesus Himself indicates that punishment in hell is just as everlasting as life in heaven. The wicked are forever subject to the fury and the wrath of God. I want heaven, not hell. I get to choose! Now that is some EXCEPTIONALLY good news!
Those in hell will acknowledge the perfect justice of God. Those who are in hell will know that their punishment is just and that they alone are to blame.
If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.
Hell is a place of eternal conscious punishment for the wicked. Scripture teaches in several passages that there is such a place. At the end of the parable of the talents, the master says, “Cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25:30).
- This is one among several indications that there will be consciousness of punishment after the final judgment. Similarly, at the judgment the king will say to some, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41).
- Jesus says that those thus condemned “will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:46). In this text, the parallel between “eternal life” and “eternal punishment” indicates that both states will be without end.
Jesus refers to hell as “the unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:43) and says that hell is a place “where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48).
- The story of the rich man and Lazarus also indicates a horrible consciousness of punishment: “The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
- And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame’ ” (Luke 16:22–24).
- He then begs Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house, “for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment” (Luke 16:28).
Let’s dig deeper:
- Matthew 11:20–24 — 20 Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 “Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. 24 “Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”
- Matthew 23:33 — 33 “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?
- Matthew 25:41–46 — 41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Master, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45 “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”