The Bible has many different words for the same place we know as, “Hell.”
Hades – Luke 16:19, Jesus’ parable about Lazarus and the rich man.
Gehenna – Jesus used this word 11 times. Gehenna was where some of Judah’s kings sacrificed their children by fire. It was outside the city, a place of bones and also a smoldering garbage dump.
Lake of Fire – Used 4 times in Revelation, hell related in the most bleakest terms possible, pretty self-explanatory.
Second Death – Revelation 20:14 & 21:8, In the Bible, death always speaks of separation and not cessation of existence.
Everlasting Punishment – Matthew 25:46, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” It is worthy to note that the Greek word for “everlasting” and “eternal” are the same word.
In my way of thinking, all these expressions of hell shout to me that this is a place that I want to avoid at all costs. People have many opinions or theories about hell. Some think that hell is like some sort of scaled down Disneyland where all the pleasures of sin are readily at hand. Others like the evolution followers, insist that “when you’re dead, you’re dead.” But they have no way of really knowing if that is true. There are a lot of rumors of another life and lots of near death experiences shared on You-Tube. Another category are those who think that they are basically good enough and God would not reject them. But their self examined goodness is all relative. Our state of righteousness is directly related to those we compare with. I used to work with convicted felons who were serving their time in a fire camp. Compared to them, I was pretty squeaky clean in the area of my righteousness but when I compared myself with what I understand abut the righteousness of God, suddenly I didn’t look so pristine. All of us at one time or another have lied, stolen or lusted showing that we are stained with sin. The frank truth is that when it comes to my transgressions or salvation, my opinion is not worth a plug nickel. Our Creator has not left us in the dark on these important issues. He has given us His Word, the Bible, to educate us on the purpose of life, the road ahead and to make known His edicts. He is the Creator and therefore, it is His prerogative to make and enforce His rules.
Some ask: Why is God so mean that He would torment and torture people forever? Don’t we here on earth punish people with a life sentence for certain heinous crimes? In those cases do we consider the Judge mean? Of course not, we are glad that criminals are off the street and out of our neighborhoods. Likewise, God doesn’t want rebellious people in His eternal neighborhood, His kingdom. Why would He? Apparently, living forever (whether in heaven or hell) is just the nature of our souls. I don’t know why that is but it is OK with me. Why is hell such a bad place? Because being devoid of God, it is also devoid of anything good. God made light and called it good, hence, no light in hell. Jesus said He was the “Light of the World.” No Jesus, no light. Far from some tolerable abode, here is what potential citizens of hell can expect:
A place of unquenchable fire – Matthew 3:12, 13:41-42, Mark 9:43
A place of memory and remorse – Luke 16:19-31
A place of thirst – Luke 16:24
A place of misery and pain – Revelation 14:10 & 11
A place of frustration and anger – Matthew 13:42, 24:51
A place of separation – Revelation 2:11, 20:6
A place originally designed for Satan and his hosts – Matthew 25:41
A place created for all eternity – Daniel 12:2, Matthew 25:46, Jude 7
A place that God does not want you to go to – Ezekiel 33:11 “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways!”
Jesus stands in the pathway to hell and you have to go around Him to get there.
Considering the seriousness of this eternal destination, I hope you will put a priority on investigating the claims of Christ and His offer of salvation. None of us can be 100 percent sure that by this time tomorrow we will still be breathing. Today is the day of salvation! Please don’t let the many distractions of life (or your own pride) keep you from working out your salvation “God’s way.” Here’s how. Salvation – (If you are willing)