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097 Hell – and how to avoid being sent there

‘And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal’     Matthew 25:46

Key Verse:

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”    (Revelation 20:15)

(Luke 16)

The Holy Scripture says: “But the fearful, and the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, 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) “(They) shall be cast out into outer darkness … into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 8:12; 25:41) “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal” (Matt. 25:46)

Hell!

No one likes to talk about it! We don’t even want to think about it! Nevertheless, the subject of hell is what we plan to study, because God has much to say about it. In the Holy Scriptures, God has given hundreds of warnings so that people might not go there. In this lesson and in the next lesson, we plan to learn what the Scriptures teach concerning hell and heaven, and how we can be sure that we will go to heaven and not be sent to hell. Many people think that no one can know what will happen in the hereafter, or where they will spend eternity. They think that way because they do not know the way of salvation which God has established, nor the wonderful promises of God, which give a confident assurance. Does the Word of God tell us how we can know for sure that we will go to Heaven?

Absolutely!

God’s Word says: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God”       (1 John 5:13)

Friend, do you have the eternal life that the Word of God tells you about? On the day that you die, do you know where you will go? Are you sure that you will enter Heaven and not be sent to hell? If you do not have that assurance, this lesson should be of great interest to you.

As we have seen in the Gospel, when Jesus the Savior was on earth, He often taught people about the place called

Heaven

and the place called

Hell.

However, Jesus taught more about hell than He did about heaven, because He knows about the horrible punishment of hell, and does not want anyone to go there. Now then, let us return to the Gospel, and hear how Jesus taught the crowds about hell. Listen to this true story about two people who died. Jesus spoke to the crowd, saying: (Luke 16:19-23) “There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who 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 lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom”.

Let us pause here. Did you understand what happened to the rich man and the beggar, Lazarus? Where did the beggar go when he died? Instantly, he went to Paradise, in the presence of God, where the prophet of God Abraham had been for a long time. And the rich man, where did he go? Instantly,

he went to hell,

where he was in torment.

Why did the beggar, Lazarus, go to Paradise and the rich man go to hell? First, know that being poor does not mean you will be saved, and having great riches does not mean that you will perish! Lazarus, the poor man, went to Paradise because

he paid attention to the way of salvation

which God announced in the Holy Scriptures. As for the rich man,

he ignored the Word of God.

That rich man was like many people today who are outwardly religious. They know that there is one God and that the Holy Scriptures exist, but they are on the path to hell, because they have never believed the way of salvation of which all of God’s prophets testify in the Scriptures. Like the rich man in our story, having a good time and getting wealth is more important to them than listening to the Word of Truth, which can save their souls.

Let us continue with the story and hear how God allowed the rich man, who was in hell, to converse briefly with the prophet Abraham, who was in Paradise. God wants us to get insight from the words spoken by this man in hell. The Lord Jesus continued the story saying, (Luke 16:23-31) “And in hell he lifted 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 who would pass from here to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from there. 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”.

This is where the story of the rich man and Lazarus ends. Truly, the place called Hell is a horrible place, where

there is no mercy.

The rich man in hell was in torment and no one could relieve his suffering by giving him even a drop of water! Even more awful, this same rich man is still there today! He is in hell awaiting the Day of Judgement when both his soul and body will be thrown into the place called

the lake of fire.

There he will be forever with everyone who refused to obey the message of the prophets—the Good News of Jesus the Messiah. That is what the Scripture declares when it says: “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire … tormented with fire and brimstone … and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night” (Rev. 20:15; 14:10,11)

Think about it!

Everyone who ignores the righteous way of salvation that God has established and enters hell, will never die (cease to exist), will never get out, and the fire will never be quenched! NeverNever! Forever!

Some think that after sinners have suffered for a time in hell they will get out and go to Paradise. But that idea is not in accordance with the Word of God which describes hell as

“eternal punishment.”

(Matthew 25:46) Consequently, there are no prayers for the dead in the Holy Scriptures. Praying for the dead comes purely from man’s traditions, but not from God’s Word which says, “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgement!” (Heb. 9:27) Praying for the dead cannot relieve the sufferings of those in hell, nor can it save them in the Day of Judgement. Concerning those who are in heaven, they do not need our prayers, because they are in the presence of God and in perfect bliss!

Dear Friend,

do not allow anyone to deceive you

Some people say, “Ah, God is good! He would not create people and then burn them! He will have mercy on us all and receive us into Heaven!” However, those who talk this way have no basis for their thoughts. They only say this to appease their consciences since they are wilfully ignoring the way of salvation which God has established. If they do not turn from their wrong ideas, turn to God and believe the way of righteousness which He has opened for them, one day they will know that there really is a hell! But then

it will be too late to repent!

Did you hear what the rich man asked of Abraham? He asked him to send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn his five brothers who had not yet died, “so that they will not also come to this place of torment!”

How did Abraham respond to him?

He told him, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them!” But the rich man 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”.

Do you know the Good News of God’s prophets which can save you from hell? That Good News is the message you have been reading in your lesson The Way of Righteousness. In summary, we have seen that the good news of the prophets is the Good News about the holy Redeemer, whom God sent down to die on a cross in order to pay for your sins, and to rise from the dead on the third day so that

if you believe in Him

in your heart, you will not go to hell! That is the Good News which can save you from God’s righteous judgement.

As we discovered in our first lessons, God did not create hell for man, but for Satan and his evil angels. However, the sin of our ancestor Adam is the reason we have all been born far from God, outside the earthly Garden of Paradise (Eden), in the kingdom of Satan, on the wide path

that leads to hell.

Surely the sinful nature which is in us would cause us to perish forever, if God had not provided for us a remedy, because the payment for sin is death and eternal hell. In our own strength, we have no way of escaping hell! However, we thank God for designing a plan by which He can forgive us our sins!

What is that plan?

It is the death of the holy Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. On the cross, God laid on Jesus Christ the punishment of our sins, once for all time. As it is written: “For he hath made him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21)

We have seen how people tortured Jesus, flogging Him, putting a crown of thorns on His head, insulting Him, striking Him on the face, spitting on Him, and nailing Him to a cross! God allowed people to mistreat His Beloved Son in such a way, in order to display the punishment which our sins deserved. Everything that people did to Jesus–

we deserve because of our sins.

But God, because of His great love for us, laid the punishment for our sin on the holy Saviour, His Beloved Son. And remember, the sufferings of Jesus on the cross were not limited to what men did to Him. The Scriptures show us that when Jesus was suffering on the cross, God Himself laid on Him a pain that the human mind cannot comprehend. God laid on Jesus the payment of our sin, that is,

our hell!

The prophet Job foretold the intense sufferings that the Messiah would endure from God when he wrote, “God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked … He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me; he gnasheth upon me in his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me” (Job 16:11,9)

The payment for sin is to die and to face God’s wrath and to enter the darkness of hell, where God sends all who refuse to believe the Gospel! However,

Jesus endured God’s wrath for us,

so that we might receive God’s grace. As we have read, when Jesus was dying on the cross the whole land became pitch-dark–just like hell—from noon until three o’clock. During those hours, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?!” Why did God forsake the Messiah, His beloved, on the cross?

You and I are the reason!

Our sins are the reason! While Jesus was on the cross, God placed on Him the punishment for our sin, our hell! This is a profound truth which our minds cannot totally understand. How-ever, what is absolutely certain is that if you truly believe in the Lord Jesus,

you will be saved,

and you will never go to hell, because you will have accepted the sacrifice of the Redeemer which God provided to take your place. Like the sacrificial sheep, which redeemed Abraham’s son from death, Jesus, the Son of God, died to redeem you from the death which will never end in the place called hell!

God placed your hell on Jesus Christ.

Do you believe this?

Do you believe that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, paid for you your debt of sin? Or will you go to hell to pay your own debt of sin throughout eternity? It is up to you. What do you choose? Heaven? Or hell?

In the next lesson, God willing, we will study about the wonderful place called Heaven.

God bless you. We conclude with these solemn words from the Lord Jesus: 

“Enter in at the narrow gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in that way. Because narrow is the gate, and hard is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13,14)

We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have

Lesson Content