Pastor Gabriel Cochran
The Most Dreadful Thing About Hell
"Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.
Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.
And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:
But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness." (Isaiah 5:13-16)
I’ll come straight to the point: Hell is real.
The first thing you need to acknowledge about hell is that it’s there.
People don’t believe in hell anymore. The idea of it is too old-fashioned. The preachers don’t preach about it, sinners aren’t afraid of going there, the new Bible versions (or rather, Bible corruptions) have omitted it, and the Christians don’t want to think about it, because it would interrupt their routine. And yet, hell burns as hot today as it ever did.
In our text above, Bible speaks of hell "enlarging herself". It’s fuller today than it’s ever been. Do you realize that every two seconds, some soul goes out into eternity, and ends up in one of two places--heaven or hell? It’s a reality. Snap your fingers every two seconds and think about that.
Somebody said “It’s just not scientific to believe in hell.” The Bible says hell is a place of fire and brimstone (Isa. 34:9) straight down below your feet at the center of the earth. Tell me what science has found that disproves that?
Somebody said, “Hell is a contradiction---how could it be a lake of fire, and outer darkness at the same time?” That’s easy if you’re scientific. Do you know what happens when sulfur is ignited? It burns but has an invisible flame.
The Bertha Rodgers hole in Oklahoma was an oil-well drilling effort. It held the record for the deepest hole ever dug on earth at over 31,000 ft. That's six miles down. They had to stop digging when they hit molten sulfur and melted their drill bit. Sulfur has another name...it's known as brimstone in the Bible.
I suppose the most popular argument against hell is the argument that “A God of love would never send anyone to such an awful place, no matter what they had done.” This argument is put forth by people who don’t know anything about God, don’t know real love, and don’t understand the wickedness of sin. What they really mean is “I would never send anyone to such an awful place.” People are always confusing themselves with God.
The well-known British philosopher and logician Bertrand Russell said, “I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly human can believe in everlasting punishment.…I must say that I think all this doctrine, that hellfire is a punishment for sin, is a doctrine of cruelty.”
Russell made a slight miscalculation...God is not “profoundly human.” Russel's statement shows that human beings (read that "sinners") don’t understand that God is holy. You and I can’t understand that. We’re not holy. When a HOLY God is sinned against (and all sin is against God) the sin must be paid for. A Holy God would not tolerate sinfulness and wickedness. They don’t understand that God’s love was manifested at Calvary, in the Person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and if a sinner doesn't come to Christ at Calvary and receive His love, that sinner remains under God's wrath and condemnation (John 3:18). They don’t understand that their wretched, vile sins are what put Jesus Christ on the cross. The Holy One of God, the Lord Jesus, was made to BE sin for us (II Cor. 5:21). OUR SINS WERE TO BLAME.
"Light rejected becomes lightning." The pendulum which swings the strongest toward God’s love, will return with the most powerful outpouring of His judgment and wrath on anyone who would REJECT His love. This is because God's love was offered in the Person of His only begotten Son (John 3:16, 36; Rom. 1:18; Eph. 5:6). Rejecting God's Son is the only sin for which a man will go to hell.
After all is said and done, God doesn’t put people in hell anyway, they go there because they don’t choose to take the Way out (John 14:6).
"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him" (Heb. 2:3)
Hell was “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). God never intended for men to go there, but sin puts men on the road to hell, and that's where they end up when they don’t choose to get off that road.
Indeed, there must be a hell, or God would not be Holy. When a man commits a crime against another man, justice demands he pays for that crime by "doing time." He goes to jail or prison for his crime, and pays for it by losing his freedom and his time for the length of the sentence. If the crime is murder or some other capital offense, the man can pay for his crime by giving his life. Either he spends the rest of his life in prison, or is executed. That's what happens when a man sins against another man. But what happens when a man commits a crime against an Eternal Being? And in this case, the crime is DEICIDE---the murder of God's Son, who is God manifest in the flesh (I Tim. 3:16 if you have a King James Bible). To pay for a capital crime against an eternal God would demand an ETERNAL PAYMENT. Hell is not only a reality, but, in light of God's Justice and Holiness, hell is a necessity.
There is a hell, but as awful as it’s existence may seem, that’s not the most dreadful thing about it.
The 2010 World Census shows the following:
There are 6.9 billion people on planet earth.
23% = 1.65 billion of them are Muslims.
31% = 2 billion of them are nominal “Christians” (in other words, they call themselves Christians).
Of these "Christians", 1 billion are Roman Catholics; 240 million are Orthodox; and 80 million of them belong to various cult groups.
Now, we're going to state the truth here and "trigger" the modern, thin-skinned crowd, but facts are facts. If all of the religious people we just listed above actually believe what their religion teaches them about how to get to heaven when they die, they are ALL LOST and going to hell. All of the religions we just listed teach salvation by works, and the New Testament is clear that salvation is "NOT BY WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH WE HAVE DONE" (Titus 3:5), and "NOT OF WORKS LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST", (Eph. 2:8, 9) and "to him that WORKETH NOT, but BELIEVETH on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5).
That leaves 800 million Protestants worldwide. But they can’t all be saved because that number includes Methodists, Pentecostals, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians, and all of them teach that Acts 2:38 ("Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.") is the plan of salvation for this age. That is salvation by water baptism, and not the gospel of Jesus Christ (I Cor. 15:1-4; I Pet. 3:18; Acts 16:31). You’re going to have to cut that number in half to get close to the truth, and even then that’s probably being generous.
At the end of the day, there might be 400 million saved people worldwide. So let’s put it in simple terms. There are about 330 million people on this continent. If they were ALL saved, that would make up less than 5% of the world’s population. That means six billion, five hundred seventy million people are going to split hell wide open. That’s something like 95% of the population of the earth.
People look at that and say, “I don’t want to think about it.” and pretend and hope hell isn’t real.
Mat 7:13,14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Every two seconds some screaming, benighted, sin-cursed, misbegotten soul plunges into hell's depths. That soul could be someone you know...someone close to you. But it’s definitely the vast majority of everyone around you.
THE FACT THAT SO MANY ARE GOING TO HELL, IS A DREADFUL TRUTH. But that isn’t the most dreadful thing about hell.
Jesus Christ said, “What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
The Bible speaks of the soul as a bodily shape. In Luke 16, the rich man lift up his EYES in TORMENT and asked (with a VOICE, A THROAT, A MOUTH, A COHERENT MIND) for someone to dip a finger in water, and cool his TONGUE.
Hell is fire. It's third-degree burns for eternity. Jesus Christ Himself quotes Isa 66:24 more than any other verse in His entire recorded earthly ministry—He says, speaking of people going to hell, that “their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”
What’s that business about that worm? Well, a child of God gets a body like His Father in eternity (I John 3:2; Php. 3:21); why wouldn’t a lost man get a body like his father’s (John 8:44; Rev. 12:9)?
Marine scientists have discovered hydrothermal vents---cracks in the earth's crust on the ocean floor that spew out fire and hydrogen sulfide. The earth's crust can be as much as fifty miles thick on the surface; on the ocean floor it can be as little as one mile thick.
You know what else they’ve discovered? Creatures called riftia. They are LARGE, RED SNAKES about 6 to 8 feet long that live in and around those super-heated hydrothermal vents. If science stays with it, they might catch up with the Bible in a thousand years or so.
The new Bibles call it hades---Greek mythology “the underworld”; Billy Graham told Larry King it was "separation from God" (rejecting Psalm 139:7, 8 and disagreeing with King David in the process). But the Lord Jesus Christ said it was a place where people burn in a fire that never goes out.
One day, the soul of a man or woman who has never been born again will be raised up and given a spiritual body that can be burned, and yet never burn up. (John 5:26-29; Rev. 20:10-15)
A Jehovah witness (they don't believe in hell) said to me once, “If a soul goes to hell for eternity, that would mean that soul had eternal life!" He thought he had found a contradiction, but the Bible clearly states that eternity without Christ is ETERNAL DEATH (Rev. 20), not life.
That hell exists; that so many are going there; that it's a literal fire that never goes out---these are dreadful truths...but not the most dreadful thing about Hell.
Isaiah 38:18 (KJV) For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.
In hell, there is no hope for the truth. The soul in hell has heard the last truth it will ever hear. Dear reader, you are reading the truth right now, with the chance to act on it. That hope is gone, in hell. It'll be too late to act or believe.
Ephesians 2:12 tells you that if you are on your way to hell, the Bible says you are without hope in this life. All your optimism and planning for the future is vanity, because what is a few years on this earth compared to the backdrop of an eternity YOU'LL SPEND BURNING?
Finally, the Bible says if you're on your way to hell, you are without an eternal hope. If you go to hell in your sins, there is no getting out. EVER. It's ETERNAL PUNISHMENT (Matt. 25:46).
What a horrible thought, that this world and this life is all of heaven you would ever see. To leave the disappointments, pain, sickness, deaths, sorrows and travails of this life, and wake up in the flames of hell, BURNING. Can you imagine?
I submit to you that the most dreadful thing about hell, is that IT’S A PLACE WHERE ALL HOPE IS LOST.
Think of it. There have been men and women who have endured the most extreme tortures and imprisonments, and physical adversities for unbelievable amounts of time, all because they didn’t lose hope. While they drew breath, they had hope of rescue, hope of getting away, hope of seeing their families and friends, hope of returning to a normal life. In hell, there is no hope of any of that.
Jack Hyles related this story, when he was asked about his zeal in witnessing and winning souls:
"One night, I was awakened by this piercing scream from my sister. I ran upstairs to her bedroom, and there she was sweating and in hysterics. I shook her, and I couldn't get her attention, so I had to slap her. I said, 'What's wrong? You had a dream?' She said, 'No, no dream.' I said, 'You had a nightmare?' She said, 'No it was real.' I said, 'What happened?' She said, 'Jack, I just got back from hell. After a few miles of the glitter and lights and all of that which deceives mankind, there was nothing but desolation. It was a horrible situation. It's nothing but desolation and hopelessness. You walk towards the gates of hell knowing that you will never again be free. I got to the gates of hell and the keeper said, "Hold it." I stood outside hell, and I saw people whose faces were twisted and tongues were thick, eyes bulging and hands split, dropping blood. I said, "Sir, please let some air in." And he said, "No air in hell." Then I said, "Kind sir, let them have a drink of water." And he said, "No water in hell." Then I said, "If that's true, let 'em die." And he said, "No death in hell." She said, "My God, how long will they suffer?" And he said, "Forever and ever! Hell has no exit and there is no death."
"She said, 'Just as I turned to leave, he said, "Go back and tell the story." And just as I turned I saw Daddy.'" And I said, "Yep, our Daddy is in hell, because he never got around to doing the most important thing. He schooled us, he fed us, but he never got around to saying yes to Jesus Christ."
Hyles concluded by saying, "I win souls every day so that nobody else's daddy has to go to hell."
Hell is not a purgatory (which is not in the Bible), where you suffer for a while, and then get out. There is not one shred of an implication anywhere in the entire Bible, that one who goes to hell could ever get out.
In Hell, there is :
No hope for any future
Of seeing another sunrise,
Of tasting another meal,
Hearing the laughter of a child,
no hope of seeing a friend or loved one ever again,
no hope for light—for all is darkness,
no hope of any kind of pleasure, goodness, kindness, joy, or peace.
No hope for anything---but more torment, more pain, more burning, more depravity, screaming, weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
If you're a born-again child of God who has at one time or another trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, I write this to you because you know some people that are going to hell, and you haven’t done anything to stop it. You are their only hope to stay out of there.
If you DO NOT KNOW Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour and are not absolutely certain your sins are forgiven and you are on your way to heaven, I'm writing this to you to SCARE YOU INTO RUNNING TO JESUS CHRIST to save you from that awful place.
Will you trust Him today? Is it worth risking HELL to put it off? God help you!