I want to start by taking a minute to talk about Hell.
You might be saying to yourself “I don’t like Hellfire preaching”, to which I would say, Jesus was a hellfire preacher. Not only did Jesus say more about Hell than everyone else in the Bible, but Jesus also said more about Hell than everyone else in the Bible combined.
You might also be asking yourself “why would an article about the Great Commission start by talking about hell?”, to which I would ask, how can you start a conversation about evangelism without talking about Hell? We’ve been so comfortable in the western world that the church has lost its urgency. People are more afraid of stepping out of their comfort zone or offending others than they are about preaching the entire word of God. We are more than happy to talk about how loving and caring God is (which is important), but we leave out how just and righteous He is. We talk about all of the gifts from God but never speak of the judgment of God for non-believers. We barely hear that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).
I also think it’s important to discuss Hell because it helps us realize how important sharing our faith is. It is very common for people to think of “reasons” why they won’t share their faith (I don’t know what to say, I might lose my job, I might lose a friend or family member, I might offend someone, it might be uncomfortable), but keeping in mind what happens to those who die without Jesus should help us get past those “reasons”, after all the discomforts of this world are temporary and Hell is forever (I know some of you may be annihilationists, which is fine, you’re free to believe what you want, but it isn’t Biblical, see Daniel 12:2, Matthew 25:46, Jude 1:7, and Revelation 14:11 as just a few examples, and stay tuned for a future article discussing the topic more in-depth).
With that out of the way, let’s begin.
I think the best place to start when talking about Hell is to look at what the Bible says Hell will be like.
Hell will be a horrible place. It is a place where God’s wrath will be poured out on sinners. It will be dark, hot, and filled with fire and the sounds of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 3:12, Matthew 8:12, Matthew 13:41-42, Matthew 13:50, Matthew 24:51, Matthew 25:41, Mark 9:43-48, Jude 1:7, Revelation 14:10-11. Revelation 20:10, Revelation 20:14, Revelation 20:15). It is a dry place where the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched (Isaiah 66). It is a place where all of those who rejected Christ will spend eternity away from God (Matthew 25:41, Matthew 25:46, Mark 9:43-48, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, Jude 1:7, Revelation 14:10-11, Revelation 19:20, Revelation 20:1-15).
Hell is so bad that Jesus warned His followers that it is better to lose a part of your body than to continue sinning and end up in Hell (Matthew 5:29-30, Matthew 18:8-9, Mark 9:45-47).
As Jesus said, we should not fear the people of this world, but fear Him who can send you to Hell (Matthew 10:28, Luke 12:5). Jesus also said the gates of Hell will never overcome the church (Matthew 16:18, Revelation 2:8-12).
Next, we should take some time to look at who the Bible says will be going to Hell. The Bible says the angry, the false prophets and false teachers, the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars will go to Hell (Psalm 9:17, Matthew 5:21-30, 2 Peter 2:1-10, Revelation 21:8). Those who deliberately continue sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth will also fall under judgment (Hebrews 10:26-31), as Jesus said, not everyone who calls Him Lord will be saved, but only those who do the will of His Father (Matthew 7:21-23) as the way to Heaven is narrow (Matthew 7:13-14). Everyone who rejects or disobeys Jesus will also find themselves in Hell (Mark 15, John 3:36, Romans 6:23, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, Jude 1, Revelation 3:15-16, Romans 2:6-16).
Another important thing we need to learn about Hell is when people will go there. People have this misconception that those who have passed away are in Hell and being ruled over by the devil. That isn’t what the Bible says. The Bible says beings are sent to Hell in this order (Revelation 20:1-15):
- The beast and the false prophet;
- Satan (after Christ’s 1,000-year rule);
- The dead who are not in the Book of Life during the final judgment.
I know talking about Hell can be depressing, it’s not a nice place. But the great news is there is hope for every single person who is alive today to not end up there. God knew Adam and Eve would fall and that we would never be able to live a sinless life so He had the perfect plan in place. Jesus paid the price for us and became our sacrifice so those who believe, repent, have put their faith in Him, and have been born again could be saved from their sin and from Hell (Isaiah 45:22, John 3:5-21, Acts 2:14-36 Romans 6:23).
Other verses about what happens when you die for reference: While reading through you will notice verses talking about the second death which is often used by annihilationists to say Hell isn’t permanent. The meaning of death is separation the first death separates our soul and body, the second separates us from God (this will be covered in a future article). You will also note verses that seem to indicate the dead are not in Heaven, most of those verses are either in the Old Testament or referencing the Old Testament before Jesus conquered sin and death. It seems like those who died with faith before Jesus came to earth were freed when Jesus was on the cross according to Matthew 27:51–52 (this will be covered in a future article). Verses: Matthew 23:33, Luke 16:19-31, Hebrews 9:27, 2 Peter 3:9, Psalm 145:20, Luke 23:43, John 5:29, Psalm 86:13, Ecclesiastes 9:5, John 5:28-29, Luke 3:17, Acts 4:12, Matthew 11:23, Ezekiel 31:17, Ezekiel 18:20, Isaiah 5:14, Ezekiel 18:4, Luke 16:24, Matthew 23:15, Ecclesiastes 9:10, John 5:28, Numbers 16:33, Isaiah 14:9, Jeremiah 7:31, Psalm 146:4, Isaiah 47:14, Acts 24:15, Psalm 37:20, 1 John, Proverbs 27:20, 2 Peter 2:17.