The Debate and Issues Related to Hell
An essay donated by Carol Borders
Of all the tough things in the Holy Bible, an understanding of Hell has
certainly created some tough issues. How can a finite person be subject
to an infinite Hell for a few years of mistakes (sins)? How can a just
God be infinitely angry at His creation? How can we understand the words
of Jesus and argue with the very one who created everything? Does not a
just and merciful God have the sovereignty, the duty, and right to
protect His people from the ungodly? This debate rages, hoping for a
happy end in eternity. For believers who seek with an open mind and
willing heart, an understanding of what the Holy Bible teaches should
help clarify what is Hell.
Current trends in some churches seem to avoid the subject so as to not
frighten anyone or threaten them with a guilty conscience. This allows
the "enlightened preachers" of love to lead people to a loving god, even
though the name of Jesus Christ is not necessary—after all everyone
knows God is love.
Jesus Christ, however, warned that wolves would appear as sheep.
conflict arises as to what to believe.
To start with there have been about four major interpretations for
scholars who really seek to know what the Holy Bible has to teach us:
- Hell is only a holding pit, purgatory until its recipients can learn
their lessons, or be prayed out of there by the faithful.
- Hell is an annihilation of the wicked.
- Hell is what everyone will eventually be delivered from.
- Hell is forever, a never-ending fire, which is unquenchable
As each view is examined in light of scripture, hopefully, it will
become clear which view is the more biblically accurate.
View One: Hell is a Holding Pit--Purgatory:
This is not a scriptural concept and is only found in the Apocrypha,
which is not a part of the mainstream canon of the Protestant church. It
is only a historical position held by the Catholic Church—though even
today some believe this.
View Two: Hell is Annihilation:
||Obadiah 1:16: <http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/Oba/Oba001.html#16>
ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, [so] shall all the heathen drink
continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and
they shall be as though they had not been."
"For yet a little while, and the wicked [shall] not [be]: yea, thou
shalt diligently consider his place, and it [shall] not [be]."
||Psalm 73:27 "Indeed, those who are far from You will be destroyed; You
put an end to those who are false to You."
||Matthew 7:13 "Enter by the
narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to
destruction, and there are many who go in by it." Thus, the debater
finds the wicked is destroyed."
||Ezekiel 33:11: "Say to them, 'As surely as
I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of
the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn!
Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?'" Some
debaters believe that death has no knowledge.
||Ecclesiates 9:10 "Whatever
your hand finds to do, do with your might; for there is no work or
thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going."
"For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the
proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that
cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave
them neither root nor branch."
But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD [shall be] as
the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume
away." Truly this debtor believes God brings peace to His new earth
through the annihilation of unbelievers.
View Three: Hell is What Everyone Will be Delivered From:
||Ezra 9:13: <http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/Ezr/Ezr009.html#13>
after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great
trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our
iniquities [deserve], and hast given us [such] deliverance as this;"
Some would say that even in the Old testament, God punishes less that
sinners deserve and delivers them. Therefore, He will spare the sinner’s
life. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever; so He sent Jesus to
pay the ultimate price. The price was paid in full, and even if sinners
don’t know it, there will no bill be sent. After all, Philemon 2:11
every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of
God the Father." Would God throw someone into eternal fire, after they
have bowed to Him and acknowledged Him? Where would God find glory in
their condemnation after they have acknowledged Him?
||1 Corinthians 3:15: <http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/1Cr/1Cr003.html#15>
"If any man's
work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be
saved; yet so as by fire." So this debater will say that God will, in
fact, separate the work from the worker.
||2 Peter 3:9: <http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/2Pe/2Pe003.html#9>
"The Lord is not
slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is
longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that
/all /should come to repentance." The debater continues with his
question—If man and God should have a different "will," then who will
win this debate. Their answer would be—God, of course. This debater
would also camp long and hard on the word /ALL. /After all Jesus said in
Luke 12:34 "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are
doing." If Jesus asked the Father to forgive them, would He not also ask
that other sinners who put him on the cross be forgiven? Jesus, the one
to judge, does NOT condemn the very ones who crucified him." Jer. 31:34
"All, from the least to the greatest, shall know me, says the Lord, for
I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more."
||Ephesians 1:10: "To be put into effect when the times will have reached
fulfillment - to bring /all /things in heaven and on earth together
under one head, even Christ."
||Colossians 1:20: "And through Him [Christ] God was
pleased to reconcile to himself /all things/, whether on earth or in
heaven, by making peace through the blood of His cross."
View Four: Hell is a Never-ending Fire:
||Revelation 20:10: "And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into
of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were, and they
will be tormented day and night forever and ever." The Holy Bible
clearly teaches the "they" are the unbelievers.
||Matthew 25:41: "Then He will
also say to those on the left, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the
everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels."
||Revelation 21:8: "But the cowardly, unbelieving abominable, murders,
sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake
which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
||John 5:28-29: "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which
are in the graves will hear His voice and will come out - those who have
done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to
the resurrection of condemnation."
||Luke 13:27: "But He [God] will reply, 'I don't know you or where you
come from. Away from me, all you
||Revelation 14:11: "And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and
they have no rest day and night, who worship the beast and his image,
and whoever receives the mark of his name."
||Mark 9:44: <http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/Mar/Mar009.html#44>
"Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."
||Isaiah 33:12: <http://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/Isa/Isa033.html#12>
"And the people
shall be [as] the burnings of lime: [as] thorns cut up shall they be
burned in the fire."
||Revelaation 22:11 "Let the evildoer still do evil, and the
filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy
still be holy."
Originally posted: 2006-FEB-06
Latest update: 2006-FEB-06
Author: Carol Borders