What is Hell Like?
Before going on a trip, people like to have a description of where they’re going. This morning, we are going to look at God’s description of hell.
Although it is unpleasant, it is appropriate to talk about hell, for the majority of people will spend eternity there (Matt 7:13-14). Paul talked about the coming judgment to Felix, and Felix was alarmed (Acts 24:25).
There really isn’t any difference, as far as I can tell, between Gehenna and Tartarsus, except that Gehenna (Hell) is eternal and Tartarsus (Torment) is temporary.
Hell is a Place of Punishment
Matthew 23:33. Jesus wondered how the scribes and Pharisees would escape being sentenced to hell. The fact that they would be sentenced there implies punishment.
In hell, people are punished for their unfaithfulness—such shows the ugliness of sin.
Hell is a Place of Darkness
Scripture affirms this truth:
- 2 Peter 2:4—“Deepest darkness.”
- Matthew 8:12—“Outer darkness.”
- Matthew 22:13—“Outer darkness.”
- Matthew 25:30—“Outer darkness.”
We tend to be afraid of the dark.
Hell is a Place of Fire
The Scriptures affirm this. Matthew 3:12. Matthew 13:40-42, 50.
I don’t know that the fire and darkness are literal. Man has never experienced hell, and God is attempting to describe hell in terms we can understand. Hell is far worse than we can imagine.
Hell is a Place Where God is Not
2 Thessalonians 1:9.
This is what makes hell so horrible—God will not be there to hear your prayers; he will not be there to hear your pleas for mercy.
If there is any reason why I want to avoid hell, this is it.
Hell is an Eternal Place
The Scriptures affirm this. 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Matthew 25:41, 46. If hell isn’t eternal, neither is heaven.
Hell is not a place you go to see if you like it. Once you’re there, you’re stuck.
An eternity in hell means you have no hope. In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the inscription above hell read, “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.”
That’s an accurate description of hell—throughout all eternity, there is no hope.
Hell is a Place of Pain
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus describes hell as a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 8:12. Matthew 22:13.
That’s a description of people in pain.
Hell is a Place of No Rest
Those who are in hell will never rest.
Hell is a Wore Place for Some than Others
The Scriptures affirm this. Luke 12:47-48. 2 Peter 2:20-21.
These Scriptures teach nothing other than degrees of punishment.
The Christian who is unfaithful will be worse off than one who never knew the truth.
Hell is a Place of Consciousness
The rich man knew what was going on (Lk. 16)—he existed.
Those in hell will know what’s going on.
Hell is a Place of Remembrance
The parable of the rich man and Lazarus teaches this. The rich man could remember what went on in his lifetime (Lk. 16:25). He remembered that he had five brothers (Lk. 16:28).
Throughout eternity you will be able to remember your life. You will remember all the invitation hymns you heard. You will remember all the admonitions to do right. That will be part of the horror of hell.
Hell is a Place of Broken Families
The rich man wanted his family to be broken (Lk. 16:28).
If you have loved ones in hell, they never want to see your face again.
One woman said that she wanted to go to hell because that’s where her family was, but they don’t want her there!
Hell is Not a Place for You
Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels, not for you.