March 20, 2013

Unquenchable Fire & A Maggot That Never Dies, Part I

Hell. Not a nice place. It probably goes without saying but I'm going to say it anyway. All of it. So hold on and pray you don't have a weak stomach.

Since many are focused on the good that comes with salvation in Heaven and on Earth, eternal damnation is often glanced over or trivialized. This has become so commonplace in today's culture that there is now a growing trend to lead people to believe that Hell is not permanent or eternal. The bigger lie that is now being pushed is that it might not even exist. Let's get this straight. Jesus spoke of Hell and alluded to the fact that it was's real. If its real, people should understand just how much of a dreadful thing it truly is. Modern horror movie portrayal of it is a Sunday picnic compared to what people can expect if they die in unrepentant sins and go there. Personally, I believe that Hell is not preached or talked about enough. Many have not idea just how much they have been spared the eternal wrath of God if they repent and seek Christ. The grace of God is lost on many because the idea of sin and Hell is almost absent from the public forum and the pulpit today. John Stott is wrong, man's soul will not be annihilated. Rob Bell and his postmodern doublespeak is also wrong, God's love does not win and eventually pull people back out of Hell. The Scripture never states these things so we should not begin to belief these man-made myths.

First off, whatever can be said about Hell it must be compounded with the fact that it is permanent or an unending state. It isn't going to be like the 10 minutes your spend watching a portrayal of it on a screen in movies like Hellraiser or Constantine where the protagonist usually gets a second change to live happily-ever-after. It will be a reality, permanent and the person involved will live tormented-ever-after.

A Furnace of Fire

Anyone that has stuck their face near a fireplace or stood too close to a bonfire knows what it is like to have the hair singed off their face and how intolerable the heat is. Now think of immersing yourself in said heat and turn up the thermostat and do so for eternity. It will be painful enough to grind your teeth over.

Matthew 13:41-42 ~ “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Those who make sin their stock and trade will be chucked into a furnace of fire which won’t actually destroy them but rather torment them forever and make them lament and gnash or grind their teeth in discomfort. Straining and grinding against the pain and discomfort.

A Bottomless Pit

The Devil is the messenger or angel of the Abyss or bottomless pit.

Revelation 9:11 ~ “They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).”


Hell is referred to in the Bible as a prison. Hell is set out for what is repugnant and disgusting and in violation of what is proper.

Matthew 5:25 ~ “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 

Prisons are horrible places to live in. A person must always watch their backs and keep an eye over their shoulders and there is constant anxiety and unease. Hell is worse than all prisons put together.

The Lake the Burns with Fire and Sulfur

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Those condemned to this lot will be at least head above the surface so that they will not drowned in a lake of fire and brimstone. Strangely, they will be like the bush on Mt. Sinai. They will be immersed or burnt with fire but they will not be consumed.

The Absolute & Outer Darkness

It is interesting to note that Hell will burn but will be dark. The flames of Hell will apply heat to the tormented but apparently not light, at least not in the same context. There will again be a grinding of teeth.

Matthew 22:13 ~ “Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

The assumption that can be made about being bound is that there will be no resistance possible as the person will be bound in the darkness. It is here we really start to get the “feel” of hopelessness. It might be that the darkness itself is what binds.

2 Peter 2:4 ~ “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment..."

We all know this fear. The blackness of pitch black suffocates a person and there is a feeling of utter helplessness in this absolute darkness. Jude accurately calls it the (v.6) ζόφον /blackness and (v.13) ζόφος τοῦ σκότους / the blackness of darkness. I’m not sure about you but this sounds dreadful compounded with all the other elements mentioned earlier.

Jude 6 ~ “And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day…”

Jude 13 ~ “Wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.


Hell is destruction. Specifically it is moral destruction and a destroying of man’s well-being. Unrepentant sinners will be punished with everlasting destruction removed from the presence of the Lord. It might be that it would’ve been better that these people had not been born. To live unrepentant and be banished from the possibility of being in the presence of God forever which to me is a fate worse than death.

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 ~ “…in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might…”

Wrath, Punishment & Damnation

Hell is a state of eternal punishment, or more properly (based on what we understand from the descriptions above) it is damnation. A permanent tormented state facing the wrath of God for eternity. No one can truly understand its dreadful awfulness until they enter that punishment. It becomes so dreadful for some that towards the end of their lives they start to hope for annihilation but that would only be a gift in lieu of the punishment. It sounds terrible because it is terrible. We know how traumatic God’s punishment can be when it is uncorked even a little in our lives…can we even remotely imagine the restraints pulled out and His cup of wrath being dumped out on us fully? I suspect we cannot properly imagine that. Damnation is therefore literally a second death. It will be an odd death in a really bad way as it will be a live death or living death. People will be resurrected to physical bodies only to have these resurrection bodies tormented in eternity. It will be a death that never really dies. For me this is where Hell really scares the living-daylights out of me. They will live this death and suffer it forever for rejecting God deliberately or inadvertently. Spooky stuff if you ask me. The kind of stuff that makes my skin crawl. As we can see in the verse below, Hell will also be an eternal state of shame and contempt.

Daniel 12:2-3 ~ “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.


Hell is a curse and accursed. To be in Hell is to be in an accursed state, under the curse of God.

Matthew 25:41 ~“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

All these punishments will be of a severity and intensity that I believe words cannot convey well in this lifetime. There will be no relief from them. The punishment to come will make the strongest cower. It will be enough that when God comes in judgment on His great day of wrath, people will run for the hills in Revelation 6:15-17.

“Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,  for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Great men will cower like children and they’ll hide in the rocks and say ask that the mountains fall on them. The sad fact of the matter is that in this premeditated suicide attempt, they will only hasten their arrival at a similar fate in eternity. Just like the Great Day of the Lord, the wrath will be expended and it will be merciless and pitiless. 

In all these elements of Hell we ironically see a lot of what Jesus Christ already suffered in His life here on earth in some form, mostly in the last week of his life: Shame, contempt, pain, suffering, punishment, etc. It is therefore paradoxical that He Himself who did not deserve such a fate would suffer these things so that we that did deserve such a fate…would not have to. It is the story of the Gospel

The other thing I think of is this. It would take someone really hating someone else to wish this fate on another human being, yet this is what we allow or subject people to if we do not make the effort to preach the Gospel to them. If we do not preach the Gospel, it just shows how much we really hate people and frankly...that just isn't Biblical.

So what of the specific torments? More in the next post…this was enough wrath to stomach in one post. I think I will now need to vomit knowing people are being lost to this place hand-over-fist. Sorry for the dark brooding nature of these next two posts but truth is truth and people need to know or some will be condemned, totally oblivious to what is coming...

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