What are four commonly held myths that some people believe about hell?
I’ll Just Join My Friends There
I heard one man say that he won’t mind going to hell if hell exists because he knows that all of his friends will be there. Yes, his friends will be there, but there won’t be a beer-drinking, football-watching party with his friends there. Each one who rejects Christ will be in total isolation with no end. Hell will consist of unending darkness (Matt 25:46). By the way, another myth is that only bad people go to hell, when the fact is none of us are good people (Rom 3:10-13, 23; Rom 6:23), but bad people can be made righteous by Christ alone (2 Cor 5:21). Sadly, there will be a lot of self-proclaiming “good people” in hell because they never trusted in Christ, but trusted in their own goodness (Eph 2:8-9).
God Sends People to Hell
God doesn’t send anyone to hell because we know God is “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Pet 3:9) and “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). God gives us all free choice and says, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live” (Deut 30:19). Hell was originally created for Satan and his demons (Matt 25:41), but by rejecting Jesus Christ, people reject their only escape from the wrath of God (John 3:36b), and that wrath will finally be felt right after they die (Heb 9:27).
Satan Reigns in Hell
You’ve probably seen an image of Satan with his horns, red suit, and pitchfork in his hand, laughing in delight over tormenting people, but the fact is that Satan and his demons will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:10) into a bottomless pit, and the Devil and his demons won’t be around those who are in hell. He won’t be tormenting anyone. He will be too busy being in torment himself. Just like the fallen angels that were cast into eternal darkness, which is described as utter despair (Jude 1:6, 13), their day of judgment is yet to come.
Hell is Annihilation
Some believe that they will be burned up in hell and will cease to exist, but Jesus’ own words say differently: “It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched’” (Mark9:44-45), the torment never ends (Rev 14:11), and in this fiery furnace, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth forever (Matt 13:42). The same Greek word used for eternal life, “Aionios” or “aiōnios,” as an adjective means “without end, will never cease” and “everlasting,” so if someone believes that eternal punishment is only temporary, then they must believe eternal life is only temporary because Jesus uses the very same word for both eternal life and eternal torment, suffering, fire, etc. You can’t have one be forever and the other be temporary or, as the annihilist’s like to believe without Scriptural support, say they will be burned up and cease to exist.
Hell is so much worse that even human words can describe. No wonder Jesus spoke much more about hell than heaven. He didn’t want anyone to go there, and neither should we. That’s all the more reason to tell people to repent of their sins and put their trust in Christ. They can either have the wrath placed on Christ, which already was at Calvary, or they can take it upon themselves. The bad news is that even in eternity, they will never pay off that wrath, for it’s unending.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman[ssba]
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