Doctrine of HellQUESTION: What is the doctrine of hell?ANSWER:
The doctrine of hell can be summarized as a place of future punishment for the unrighteous - those to reject Jesus Christ.
"Hell as a place of punishment translates Gehenna, the Greek form of the Hebrew word that means 'the vale of Hinnom' - a valley just south of Jerusalem...In the time of Jesus the Valley of Hinnom was used as the garbage dump of Jerusalem. Into it were thrown all the filth and garbage of the city, including the dead bodies of animals and executed criminals. To consume all this, fires burned constantly...Jesus used this awful scene as a symbol of hell. In effect he said, 'Do you want to know what hell is like? Look at the valley of Gehenna.' So hell may be described as God's 'cosmic garbage dump.' All that is unfit for heaven will be thrown into hell."1
There are 1,850 verses in the New Testament that contain Jesus speaking. In thirteen percent of those verses, Jesus speaks regarding eternal judgment and hell. Jesus spoke more about hell than about heaven!2
Jesus taught that hell is an actual, literal place and He described it as a place of eternal suffering. Consider these verses:
Matthew 13:49-50 says, "This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Luke 16:22-24 describes hell: "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'"
2 Thessalonians 1:9 tells us, "These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power." Revelation 14:10-11, speaking of the antichrist, teaches us, "He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." Hell is a lake of burning fire, as described in Revelation 20:14-15, "Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."