The Reality of Hell

By David J. Stewart

The Rich Man Went to Hell and Was Punished

       We read of the rich man who went to hell in Luke 16:19-31. He died in his sins. Let’s read this factual account in the Scriptures . . .  

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And IN HELL he lift up his eyes, being in TORMENTS, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and COOL MY TONGUE; for I AM TORMENTED IN THIS FLAME. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art TORMENTED. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:  For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of TORMENT. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, IF THEY HEAR NOT MOSES AND THE PROPHETS, NEITHER WILL THEY BE PERSUADED, THOUGH ONE ROSE FROM THE DEAD.

Notice, Jesus did NOT say this was a parable; therefore, WE MUST ACCEPT IT AS LITERAL! Also notice that in all of Jesus’ parables, He always referred to a “certain man” or a “far off country.” Jesus never used specific names in His parables. Jesus used specific names in this account: Lazarus and Abraham. This is a factual account of something that happened. The word TORMENT(S) is found mentioned 3 times in verses 23, 25 and 28. Just as today, A MAN IS ONLY AS GOOD AS HIS WORD. We must believe then that JESUS SAID WHAT HE MEANT and MEANT WHAT HE SAID! The rich man was not a criminal, he was not a drug dealer, he was not a murderer, etc. What was it that kept the rich man from getting saved? Ready for this? He thought he had heaven on earth so he didn’t take the Word of God seriously. 

The rich man lived for himself.  He could have cared less about the poor—people such as Lazarus. Lazarus was very poor and diseased. The rich man was very rich and stingy. Lazarus ate the crumbs out of the garbage pail of the rich man. The rich man was selfish and self-centered but that’s not what sent him to hell. He went to hell because he never put his FAITH in Christ as Savior. He was guilty of the worst sin of all—UNBELIEF. He never stopped long enough to consider his ways and turn to God for the forgiveness of his sins. He probably thought the preacher was a quack and the Word of God was just another religious book. Unfortunately, hell became his new home because of his wealthy pride that blinded him in unbelief. 

Most Rich People Will Be Eternally Damned in the Lake of Fire

Oh how many rich people are sadly in hell right now. Go to now, YE RICH MEN, weep and howl for your MISERIES that shall come upon you” (James 5:1). For it is EASIER FOR A CAMEL TO GO THROUGH A NEEDLE’S EYE, than for a RICH MAN to enter into the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:25). For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the RICH MAN FADE AWAY IN HIS WAYS” (James 1:11). I’d like to add here, most people in the United States are rich and don’t realize it. These verses may indeed be speaking about you. The United States is a very rich nation. Even homeless people living on the streets have something here that immigrants are willing to risk their lives to have—opportunity. 

People are dying in the oceans and in box cars trying to escape the poverty stricken and communist lands they reluctantly call home. Surely we are a blessed people in the United States. However; along with this prosperity has arisen a stiff-necked people, full of pride. The rich man is Luke sixteen which we just read about had no color TV set—he had no refrigerator, no telephone, no electricity, no car, no plumbing, no washer or dryer, no modern medicine, no camera, no CD player, no radio, etc. By today’s standards he would be considered poor. Yet, he was called a “rich man” by God. I contend that we're all very  rich indeed and in danger of the same kind of fate that the rich man met—Eternal damnation in hell. Do you take the Word of God SERIOUSLY? Or do you take God’s Word lightly? 

Hell is a Place of Brutal Torment — Jesus Said that Hell Has Fire!

Let’s look at some more verses concerning hell. Jesus foretells of WEEPING and GNASHING OF TEETH, “...there shall be WEEPING and GNASHING OF TEETH” (Matthew 8:12).  Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH” (Matthew 22:13). And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH” (Matthew 24:51). And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH” (Matthew 25:30). There shall be WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out” (Luke 13:28). 

And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the FIRE THAT NEVER SHALL BE QUENCHED: Where their worm dieth not, and the FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the FIRE THAT NEVER SHALL BE QUENCHED: Where their worm dieth not, and the FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into HELL FIRE: Where their worm dieth not, and the FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED” (Mark 9:43-48). Hell has fire! 

The Wicked and the Righteous Cannot Go to the Same Grave

Do you really think Jesus would have spoken all these Words if hell didn’t have fire?  Let’s hear Jesus’ Words in John 14:2, “In my Father's house are many mansions: IF IT WERE NOT SO, I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU. Jesus said what He meant and meant what He said.  For anyone to deny that hell has fire is unbelief. When a man tells me he doesn’t believe that hell has fire, I know that he doesn’t believe the Bible. The Bible teaches that Hell is fire and eternal damnation. I’ve heard people contend that the word “hell” only means grave. In some places in the Bible this is true, but in most others it means hell fire and punishment. 

Psalm 9:17 is a good example of where “hell” CANNOT mean simply “grave.” ... THE WICKED SHALL BE TURNED INTO HELL, and all the nations that forget God.” Do not the righteous also go to the grave? If the word “hell” only means “grave,” then both the wicked and the righteous go to the same place. Only a fool would say such a thing. In most cases in the Bible, the word “hell” implies damnation and fire. The wicked go to hell-fire and punishment, the righteous go to Heaven for life everlasting. Don’t be foolish my friend in denying that hell is real. I can assure you that this world we live in is NOT hell. I believe the worst thing about hell won’t be the suffering and torment, it will be the constant realization that you could have been up in heaven serving a loving God for all eternity. 

Oh how bitter the bitterness which will be inflicted upon those suffering in Hell, an eternity to sulk in regrets and resentments. Perhaps this is the “worm that dieth not” which we read about several times in the Scriptures—the conscience. No one knows for sure what the “worms” are but whatever they are, I sure wouldn’t want to find out. The only safe place to be is in the everlasting arm of Jesus... The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are THE EVERLASTING ARMS” (Deuteronomy 33:27). Are you safe and secure in the Everlasting Arms? Only in Jesus Christ can any person find true salvation and security. 

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”  —Revelation 21:8

God Tells the Wicked to Fear Because Hell is Real

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather FEAR HIM which is able to DESTROY BOTH SOUL AND BODY IN HELL” (Matthew 10:28). God has the power to destroy both our soul as well as our body. If “hell” only refers to the grave, then why should we FEAR.  If the worst thing that can happen to me is to be annihilated (non-existent), then why in the world should I FEAR?  This is the erroneous teaching by the Jehovah Witnesses. They are dead wrong! I always say the same thing to a Jehovah’s Witness, “If your right about hell, I’ll just be dead and unconscious someday; But if the Bible is right about hell, you’ll burn in hell-fire for ALL ETERNITY.” So which road am I safer on, the Jehovah’s Witnesses road or the Bibles? I’ll take the Bible’s road any day! Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the DAMNATION OF HELL?” (Matthew 23:33). And these shall go away into EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:46). If there is no consciousness in the grave of the dead, then how can one’s punishment be everlasting? To “rightly divide” the Word of Truth, you simply CANNOT explain away the reality of hell. The Bible actually says more about hell than it does heaven, read it for yourself!

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