Hell is a Literal Promise for Everyone who Rejects the Lord Jesus Christ
Hell is a literal place with fiery torment for everyone who rejects Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Certainly, hell isn't the most pleasant topic to look into and discuss. However, an after-this-life in hell, is something that we clearly want to warn others about. We know things aren't over at death. It only gets better in heaven for the redeemed and saved, or it gets worse in hell fire and torment for the wicked and unsaved. Are there levels of damnation and punishment in hell? Where is the lake of fire and the ultimate location of hell fire and punishment for the wicked and unsaved? Let us prayerfully look into God's Word, thanking Him for His grace to us.
By Dwight Davis
"So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame" (Luke 16:22-24).
First, We Must Rightly Divide the Judgments of the Saved and the Lost
As Paul declared in II Timothy 2:15, we must "rightly divide" the Word of truth. This is especially important concerning the topic of hell. Every saved person has their "name written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8). The saved will be rewarded at "the judgement seat of Christ" (II Cor. 5:10). Immediately following the death of Spirit rebirthed sons, they receive a glorified body and immediately enter the presence of the Lord (II Cor. 5:1-8). Before the foundation of the world, everyone's name was placed into the Book of Life of the Lamb who died for all. Spiritual rebirthed sons are the ones who are saved and who overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of their testimony (Rev. 12:11). As a result, their names remain in the Book of Life. However, those who reject Christ and end up being unsaved, will have their name blotted out of the Book of Life (Rev. 3:5). They will be judged out of the books of works, only to receive an eternal and fiery punishment in hell (Rev. 20:12-15).
Second, Hell has Various Degrees of Damnation and Punishment
There are various degrees of damnation for those sent to hell. The Old Testament saints who were not Spiritually rebirthed, but still trusted in God, were sent to Abraham's bosom. Abraham's bosom is paradise, an adjoining place to hell. There is no fiery torment there, only a separation. Other unprofitable servants are sent to a deeper abode where there is "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matt. 24:51). The tares are sons of the devil and unsaved. They are wicked and full of lawless works and will be "cast into the furnace of fire with wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matt. 13:41-42,49-50). There is a great fixed gulf between the non-tormented and the tormented levels in hell (Luke 16:26). The tormented ones can see the non-tormented ones but no one can cross this great fixed gulf to even help the ones tormented in the flames of hell fire. Jesus told the Pharisees that they would receive greater damnation (Matt. 23:14).
Third, Hell Fire as Described in the Word is in the Greek Verb Mood of Fact
From the words of Jesus, we find those in fiery torments of hell after death, could see Abraham and that they could talk back and forth across this fixed gulf. The righteous one's who died before Jesus paid for our sins on the cross were alive in this place called Abraham's bosom. They were together and comforted during their waiting period (Luke 16:25), unlike the wicked and the unrighteous who were being tormented in hell fire (Luke 16:25). In this Luke 16:19-31 passage describing hell, nearly half of the verbs are in the Greek indicative mood of fact.
Fourth, Hades or the Grave Has Torments and Flame of Fire for the Wicked
The Greek uses Hades for grave or death in the New Testament. This is the equivalent to Sheol used in the Old Testament. When Jesus was telling Peter that the gates of Hades shall not prevail against the church, He simply meant that death or the grave would never lock the church in from being or doing what it needed to be or do. This has been greatly overused as a warfare statement against Satan. However, there is a secondary meaning associated with Hades. That is of torment and punishment. For it was in Hades where the rich man was found to be in torments and in the flame of fire (Luke 16:23,24). There is no question that these are alive on the other side of death on earth in hell fire.
Fifth, Geenna is a Deeper Level of Damnation and Punishment for Some
The Greek word Geenna pronounced Gheh'-en-nah is hell that is defined as everlasting punishment. There is hell fire and fiery flame in Ghehennah. This appears to be a deeper level of damnation and punishment. This is certainly the one used by Jesus when discussing the Pharisees and the Scribes who were told they would receive greater damnation (Matt. 23:14; Mark 12:40; Luke 20:47). Jesus called them serpents, brood of vipers and let them know they would not escape the condemnation of the Geenna level for their hell (Matt. 23:33).
Sixth, The Lake of Fire is the Ultimate Hell and Judgement for the Unsaved
At the great white throne judgement of the unjust and the wicked, God will judge them (Rev. 20:11). They are already blotted out of the Lamb's Book of Life. So they will be judged according to their works out of the Books of Works (Rev. 20:12). Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were all judged according to his works (Rev. 20:13). Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death (Rev. 20:14). Anyone not found written in the Book of life was cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15). Where does this lake of fire come from or reside? Peter declares, "the day of the Lord will forever come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will forever pass away with a great noise, and the elements with ever burning heat shall forever be dissolved; both the earth and the works that are in it shall be forever burning down" (II Pet. 3:10), author's translation). Peter reaffirms, "Ever looking for and ever hastening the coming of the day of God, through which the heavens shall forever be dissolved being on fire, and the elements with ever burning heat shall forever be melting" (II Pet. 3:12, author's translation). From all indication, the lake of fire that Death and Hades were cast into is the ever burning old earth.
Seventh, Spiritually Rebirthed Sons Choose Christ and Life instead of Hell
Peter also declares, "For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to Tartaros (hell) and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgement" (II Pet. 2:4). Tartaros is the deepest abyss of Hades, prepared for the devil and his angels. It is used just in this one verse in the entire Word of God. Hell is not a pleasant after-this-life experience. There is weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth and eternal torment in fiery flame of hell fire. God sends no one to hell. One chooses hell by rejecting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Spiritually rebirthed sons retain their name in the Lamb's Book of Life. If one chooses this earth, flesh, or the devil as their God; then, one day all will burn together and forever in hell fire within this eternal earth lake of fire.