Is There A Hell And Who Will Be There?

If you want to start a controversy, write about hell and who will be there and people will come out of the wood-work to make opposing remarks.  There is probably little else that will stimulate philosophical debate than this subject.

A recent survey stated that 10% of Americans did not believe there was life after death and 9% were not sure.  It shouldn’t surprise us to know that there are thousands of false teachers who are continually trying to persuade those who have never studied the Bible that they are teaching the truth when they say there is no Hell.  But are they correct?  The Bible states that when a person dies they will either go to Heaven or Hell.  But if you don’t believe the Bible you may believe anything.  For unbelievers, wouldn’t it be great if there was no punishment after death?  You could then be justified for living with no moral compass to guide you.  But if there is—then what?

We are told in I John 3:10 – “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”  Scripture says that to go to heaven we must be a child of God.  It also teaches the children of the devil, unbelievers in Christ, will go to Hell.  One of my favorite verses!  I John 3:24 – “Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.”

When Christ was crucified He went from the cross to Sheol or Hell.  Matthew 12:40 – “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”  Those who died under the Old Covenant could not enter Heaven because the sacrificed blood of animals could not forgive their sins.  Sinners, not having been forgiven, could not enter the presence of God.

Christ, taking the thief on the cross beside Him went to Paradise where God’s people were being held.  All those who had been waiting temporarily in Paradise were forgiven of their sins by Christ and then ascended to Heaven.  Acts 2:34 – “For David did not ascend to heaven” John 3:13 – “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.”  Ephesians 4:8 & 9 – “This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men. (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?”

Paradise is no longer nor is there a Purgatory.  The Old Testament saints were sent to Heaven by Christ.  We believe Scripture says that Jesus descended into Paradise to release those saints who were waiting to enter God’s presence.  He then gave the gift of salvation to those still alive by grace through faith.  After Pentecost those having received the Holy Spirit, at death, goes to join those Old Testament saints in Heaven where Christ remains until His second coming.

We believe Hell will be filled with people who were never actively opposed to Jesus but who simply neglected the gospel.  They know the truth, they believe the truth and they acknowledge it and righteousness.  They understand the purpose of salvation but are not willing to commit their lives to Christ.  Most people are unaware and not intentionally do they realize they are headed for Hell.

John 5:39 & 40 _ “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” To reject Christ is to reject God.  Rejecting God is to reject the reason for our existence.  Life is to be lived as a test.  Those who accept God’s salvation will live with Him forever.  Those who reject receive God’s punishment.

In the Old Testament, angels brought to Moses laws that were binding and had to be obeyed.  Under these Old Testament laws a man who picked up wood on the Sabbath and deliberately defied the law of God could be punished with death.  (Numbers 15:30 – 36)  The more knowledgeable we are of the gospel the greater will be our punishment at the Day of Judgment if we deliberately defy our God and not commit our lives to Christ.  (Matthew 11:20 – 24)

Everyone who has been given much shall much be required and to those who have been entrusted with much, all the more will be required.  The person who knows and understands and believes the gospel, but drifts away from it, will experience greater punishment.  (Luke 12:46 – 48)

Those who will not go to Hell are those who have accepted Christ as their personal Savior and live in obedience to His teachings.  The Scripture makes it very clear: If you do not meet this requirement you will miss Heaven.

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