be sure to read the "23 minutes in hell" story found at   hell2

see also  Hell as eternal torment  ,   Hell's best kept secret 

Is hell simply termination of soul and spirit?

Hell is very real no matter which school of thought you choose to go with.
There are two schools of thought presented here for you to digest:

A. Hell is not yet, but will be a final burning up in the lake of fire at the end of the millenium period 
per Rev 20:14 at the time of the second resurrection for the unrighteous and the great white throne judgment; it will be final, permanent and not a forever and ever torment. But it WILL be by fire.
This first version is that God would never subject us to burning forever and ever. It is covered at 
An adventist perspective of hell. 
B. Hell is here and now and a place of darkness, pungent odors, demons, fire pits, torture chambers, burning, pain, and torment forever and ever - everlasting punishment just as Jesus states in Mathew 25:46
This second version is that God is a just judge, punishes sin, and if we jump out of the plane 
without putting on the parachute (accepting the salvation of Jesus as our savior) our sins send us 
directly to hell for everlasting punishment. We can't get to heaven of our own accord. 

B also has a variance. Hell exists today as place of tormet but will be annihilated in the lake of fire at 
the end of the millenium. Does "everlasting punishment" mean annihilation or termination 
forever instead of punishing forever? 

Check biblical references at www.justbible.com ; an online 1600's King James
An indepth study can also be found at  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07207a.htm

You should find this page an interesting read. 

Please know, Heaven is real and Hell is also real. These are not mythological places. Both realms exist today. We are comprised of spirit as well as flesh and blood. One minute after you die on this earth, your spirit will arrive at one of those two destinations and there is no changing travel plans once you arrive at the wrong destination. There is strong evidence to believe our spirit goes to heaven or hell when we die even though we do not have immortality at that point in time.  Our immortal resurrection body is not part of the package at the time of death if our death is prior to the first resurrection. Only God Himself has immortality at this point in time (1Timothy 6:16). 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 tells us when immortality is given to us; at the second coming, not at the end of physical life, unless the end of physical life occurs also at the second coming when we are ďchanged in the twinkle of an eyeĒ.   Others preach that body and spirit (soul) remain in the ground unseparated, knowing nothing until the second coming. I now seriously doubt that. My research has shown me otherwise. Although you will NOT have a resurrection body at the time of death when your spirit departs, you will have all five senses. You will be able to see, smell, hear, speak, touch and feel pain if you end up at the wrong destination. Your free will, your acceptance and belief in grace and salvation, and how you handle your life now and show that belief, especially regarding forgiving others and your treatment of others, determines your travel destination right here; right now, before death.  It is just as important to not get the ticket to hell as it is to get the ticket to heaven. Eternity is a long time. I am going to tell you outright how to make sure your journey at death takes you to the correct destination, see my page at SAVIOR.

Be sure to read the books regarding visitations to both heaven and hell at www.spiritlessons.com , a short version of the "23minutes in hell"  book can be found at my page hell2,  as well as the near death experiences posted at www.bibleprobe.com/nde.htm   which lend strong evidence to a Hell that exists today, deep within our own earth, has souls being tormented, tortured and burned there today, is receiving new occupants daily and is expanding everyday. In fact, just as the Bible states, MOST of the 150,000 people that die on this earth every day go to hell.   Why? Because these people did not accept or believe in Yahshua (Jesus) as their Savior. They jumped out of the plane without a parachute. They did not believe that Jesus IS God, that He came to earth in human form and died for our sins on a wooden cross, and was resurrected on the third day after death as was prophesied, and ascended back into heaven. These people are not covered by His shed blood. Their sins are not substituted by His righteousness. They do not understand the concept of what a savior does. Satan gets them by default. Contrary to popular opinion, there are not multiple paths to the Father and His Kingdom.  There is only one; via Yahshua (Jesus).  False religions like Buddahism, Hinduism, Islam, New Age Spiritism and false deities only take you via the wide road to hell. Read about a Buddhistís near death experience at www.bibleprobe.com/nde.htm  entitled "Back from the Dead".

The whole message of the good news of the Gospel is that our only pathway to Godís Kingdom is through Jesus.  Each one of us has broken every one of God's ten commandments; His law. You say, but I havenít murdered anyone; but the Bible says to have anger and hatred is akin to murder.  Ever been through a divorce or child support issue? You say I havenít committed adultery; but the Bible says to look at a person with lust is the same as the act. Have you not ever wished for something your neighbor had that you lacked? Have you not ever told a lie, no matter how small?  Have you not ever, even as a child, taken something, no matter how small that was not yours? Have you never cussed? The Bible says that if we break just one commandment it is the same as breaking them all. We cannot get to the kingdom on our own deeds.  God is a just judge. He is not a corrupt judge. He will not let sin go without just punishment. Thinking that your God will let you in with sin on your soul because you were basically a good old boy is worshipping a false God. The real Yahweh wonít do that. Someone has to pay for those sins; whether it be you; or someone who pays that price for you. No other alternatives. That's why we need a savior. Jesus paid the price for our sins for us with His own death on the cross, because we simply cannot keep Godís laws, all of them, no matter how hard we try. His righteousness is substituted for our sins in the eyes of the Father. Thatís what a savior does. He does for you what you cannot do for yourself. He paid for our ticket with His death on the cross. We just have to accept it, and show that we have accepted it by changed behavior reflected by our thoughts, actions, words and deeds.  

Our works, no matter how much we try to do good on our own, will never get us to heaven; grace is the only thing that gets us to heaven. Grace is the gift of God, undeserved by us because of our sinful nature.  But grace is not a ticket to freely sin. It is NOT a free ride. "Grace only" churches today are preparing people to go to hell. Backsliders after being initially saved still end up in hell. Accepting grace comes with responsibilities; repenting of our past sins, and being careful about committing new ones. We show our belief in Godís grace and our acceptance of the salvation of Jesus as our savior by our works; allowing the holy spirit to work within us. If the holy spirit is truly in us, our behavior changes. If no works or fruits of the holy spirit are shown, it means we do not really have the belief, we have not really accepted the offer of grace; and no belief, no salvation. Head knowledge doesnít cut it. Only knowing Jesus, allowing Him to be our Savior and work within us and following the narrow path leads us to heaven. And thereís more to it than just repenting our past sins, forgiving others  and accepting grace.  Full immersion baptism to be born again and witnessing our faith to others so they might be saved also is part of the package. This is all part of putting on the parachute before jumping out of the plane. If you don't have the Jesus chute on when you die, you will smack the ground right at the place called hell.

It is more important that you know Jesus than to know facts about Him! If you believe that Jesus is coming again, you will watch for His coming. If you earnestly watch for His coming you will purify yourself before Him by being obedient to His commandments, loving your neighbor, and witnessing your faith to others so that they might be saved also. You will commit some of your time and financial resources to that end also. The door the five wise virgins who carried extra oil for their lamps entered through is a symbol of the rapture. Remember five of the ten didn't get to enter. They weren't ready. The wedding banquet is the wedding feast of the Son of God and His Bride. Not all Christians get to go to this feast, therefore, not all Christians are part of the Bride of Christ. Only those that have taken the time to get to know Jesus will be allowed in. That is why he said, "I do not know you." These Christians will be left to be refined as gold during the great tribulation that is about to unfold instead of being protected by Yahweh by having His seal or mark during this time period.  Some Christians obey God; and some do all the things the world does, even the evil things. Those who obey now will be rewarded. The rest will discover they should have. If you are not praying, giving, and working in the "Harvest Fields" for Christ, YOU DON'T BELIEVE HE IS COMING, no matter what your Church doctrine teaches! If you believe there is a literal Hell, where men and  women go that do not know the forgiveness of sins, and you are not making some attempt to warn them, YOU don't believe He is coming back

The near death experience documentations found at www.spiritlesons.com and www.bibleprobe.com/nde.htm  support the concept that hell is a very real place; a place we donít ever want to go to. It also supports the glorious life that awaits us in heaven. http://bibleprobe.com/hell2.htm   has the videos interviewing these people. Modern medicine has reached a point where some people who are pronounced clinically dead; no heartbeat, no brain activity; can be brought back to life in a 4 to 6 minute period after true death.  And others have come back to life after even longer than that. The stories of where these people went and what they experienced show a different scenario of what happens to our souls at death than the soul sleep version being preached by churches who donít want you to step out of your comfort zone today.  I have to hold the distinct possibility that one minute after we die our souls or spirit will enter heaven or hell and once there, there is no changing travel plans.

One of the most intriguing realities to come out of studying the NDE cases is just how important our ability to forgive becomes in pleading our case. Preachers, men of God, who were dying and repenting of their sins as they were dying, did not have their prayers listened to because they harbored unresolved forgiveness issues. Once saved, always saved does not work.  It takes a daily walk with Jesus to stay on the narrow path to the kingdom.  I want to teach you the daily walk, either by blatantly showing you the realities of hell, or by showing you the incredible life that awaits us in heaven.

One of the strongest reasons for a Christian to believe in hell is that Jesus Himself believed in it, and taught about it strongly, clearly, and frequently. Jesus Himself talks about Hell over 70 of the 162 times it is mentioned in the New Testament. Free will is one of the most convincing reasons for the existence of hell. Jesus Himself, in Mathew 25:46,  tells us, in the same sentence, that the righteous will have life eternal and if you donít choose that door your other option is everlasting punishment; ď And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.Ē The question becomes: will hell be a permanent annihilation as some interpret Rev 20:14 to say or will it really be everlasting torment for eternity????  Do you want to wait until you die to find out?

Hell may not be a politically correct topic these days, as many churches sweep the issue under the rug, but many people enter hell everyday. Out of the 150,000 people that die everyday, most end up in hell. Hell is a real place despite the fact that people laugh and say that they want to go there. They simply don't understand how terrible hell is. Just because you've never seen hell doesn't mean it doesn't exist. If you only have time for one book, read Katherine Baxterís ďDivine Revelation of HellĒ or the "23 Minutes in hell" sermon version. Yahshua took her to hell 30 different times to make sure she got it right and that she explained it right for you. Hell is intricately described there in very blatant graphic detail.

Did you know that if you do not belong to Jesus Christ you belong to Satan, by default? You don't have to be a card carrying Satanist to serve Satan. You don't have to be a murderer, drunkard or drug addict, either. But youíve already broken all of Godís ten commandments and all you have to do is ignore Jesus Christ; or fail to have a relationship with Him and call upon Him to be your savior.  He isnít big on lip service.  If you don't have Jesus in your life and in your heart today, you are deceived and hell bound--you are a child of hell, a child of the devil.

How many times have we heard someone say, "A loving God wouldn't put His creatures in hell." Well, God doesn't put anyone in hell--their sins put them there. God is a just judge and sins require sentence. The Bible tells us all have sinned. ALL! Not ONE of us can get to heaven by our own accord. Satan gets you by default if you donít have a savior.  Know ye not that hell was not created for man? Hell was created for the devil and his angelsóbut it is also home to unrepentant sinners who have not called upon the shed blood of Jesus to save them. Thatís what we need to teach you.

Hell-fire & Purgatory
Will sinners burn forever in the fires of hell?
This is a question that has been on the minds of billions of souls since time began. Answers to this question vary, but here are some of the answers which you will hear were you to question a dozen or more people.

Answer One
'Yes, unbelievers and blatant sinners will burn in hell-fire for eternity. Isn't that what the Bible teaches? Doesn't it mention everlasting punishment, everlasting, eternal fire?'

Answer Two
'After death unbelieving sinners will go to hell to burn forever. But believers (all except the very good) are first purified in a place called 'Purgatory' and when their sins are purged away - possibly by fire in some cases - they will then be free to enter heaven.' The dictionary defines the word Purgatory as a Roman Catholic belief in a place or condition in which souls undergo purification by temporary punishment. The church has since recanted their stance on purgatory; it turns out that in the medieval ages it was established as a pure man's doctrine which was used to bring money into the church as people "bought" their way out of purgatory.

Answer Three
Yes, unbelievers and blatant sinners will burn in hell-fire, but it will not be for eternity. The Bible does not teach that anyone - including Satan - will burn for ever and ever and ever - endlessly!

Answer Four
Listen, there are no such places as hell, purgatory or even heaven. When people die, that is the end of them. There is no hereafter for us humans. All that Bible teaching about a God in heaven is also pure superstition! Many people hold this view.

You may of course come across other answers; but ones similar to the four above are the most frequent. We will only examine the first three answers. The fourth is that of an atheist who is entitled to his opinion.

ANSWER ONE - Everlasting Fire!
Bible texts which are given in support of Answer One are as follows:
Isa:66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
Matt:18:8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
Matt:25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Mark3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.
The words eternal and everlasting are dealt with under Answer Three.

ANSWER TWO - Purgatory!
Believe it or not, the word 'Purgatory' does not appear in the Bible. Nor is there any Scriptural backing for the belief that souls are purified by punishment, in any place, before they enter heaven. Believe it or not the doctrine concerning Purgatory is Pagan, a pure piece of Catholic dogma, a Catholic invention to take money from the people trying to buy their way out of purgatory.

In his famous book The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop says this about Purgatory on pages 167-168:
In Greece the doctrine of purgatory was inculcated by the very chief of the philosophers. Thus Plato, speaking of the future judgement of the dead, holds out the hope of final deliverance for all, but maintains that, of "those who are judged." "some" must first "proceed to a subterranean place of judgement, where they shall sustain the punishment they have deserved." (p 167)

In Egypt, substantially the same doctrine of purgatory was inculcated. But when once this doctrine of purgatory was admitted into the popular mind, then the door was opened for all manner of priestly extortions. Prayers for the dead ever go hand in hand with purgatory; but no prayers can be completely efficacious without the interposition of the priests; and no priestly functions can be rendered unless there be special pay for them. Therefore, in every land we find the Pagan priesthood "devouring widows' houses," and making merchandise of the tender feelings of sorrowing relatives, sensitively alive to the immortal happiness of the beloved deadÖ(p 168)

The doctrine of Purgatory is purely Pagan and cannot for a moment stand in the light of Scripture. For those who die in Christ no purgatory is, or can be, needed; for the "blood of Jesus Christ, God's son, cleanseth from ALL sin." If this be true where can there be any other need for cleansing? Ö Thus the whole doctrine of purgatory is a system of pure bare-faced Pagan imposture, dishonoring to God, deluding men who live in sin with the hope of atoning for it after death, and cheating them at once out of their property and their salvation. (p 169)

Since the word Purgatory doesn't even appear in the Bible and, more importantly, since it is a purely Pagan doctrine, we will not consider it any further.

ANSWER THREE - Everlasting Death!
Stewarton Bible School holds to this opinion;   that the effect of hell-fire is everlasting death. It is the 'death' that is everlasting, not the flames. The flames of hell will go out as soon as everything that can be burned is totally consumed. We base our belief on the following Scriptures:
Malachi 4: 1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branchÖ3: And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.

The phrases 'burn them up,' 'leave them neither root nor branch,' 'they shall be like ashes under the soles of your feet' etc. are terms meaning 'eternal death, eternal destruction, total annihilation.' They cannot possibly mean: eternal life in hell-fire! Why not? Because eternal life in eternal fire is still eternal life. It may not be comfortable life, but it is still eternal life. It is not death. It is simply very painful life.
Whereas the Bible plainly teaches that

"the wages of sin is death!" (Romans 6:23).

This cannot possibly mean eternal life in hell. The Scriptures also tell us in 
John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

That word perish means to destroy, to put out of the way entirely, to put to an end. Believe it or not even Satan, the most sinful being in the universe, will also perish. He will not live forever. He will be 'put out of the way entirely.' He will be reduced to ashes! He will die! Satan's eternal annihilation is foretold in these words.
Ezekiel 28:18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 19: All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.

We are told in Scripture that the ancient city of Sodom was burned with 'eternal fire,' which meant, Sodom was burned till there remained nothing left to burn. In other words, Sodom was burnt to ashes! I quote:
Jude:1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
2 Peter 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
Were you to visit the site of ancient Sodom, by the Dead Sea, you will not see any fires still burning there. Yet the fire that destroyed Sodom was described as 'eternal fire!' It's obvious that the term 'eternal,' in that context, meant that the effect of the fire was eternal, not the flames.

FOREVER is another word which must be used with regard to the context. We read in Scripture the following passage where the word forever is used to mean 'all his life' or 'until death'
Exodus 21:5 And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free. 6: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.

In other words, this slave was to serve his master 'all the remaining days of his life, not throughout eternity! So we can see that words such as 'eternal' and 'forever' must be understood with regard to the context in which they are used. Life can be eternal, love can be eternal, death can be eternal. But slavery cannot last throughout eternity. At most, slavery can continue till death.

Think about this
Could you, or any other true believer for that matter, enjoy eternal life in paradise, knowing all the while that many of your unbelieving friends and loved ones were burning eternally in hell-fire?
I should imagine that after a few minutes, perhaps hours or days and most certainly within a few years or millennia, we'd all be screaming at God Almighty to put an end to their suffering and allow us to enjoy paradise in peace. No, the God we serve is infinitely more merciful than we are and I am certain that:
Eternal life means eternal life
Eternal death means eternal death, and
Eternal fire, as in the case of Sodom and Gomorrha, means fire that will have an eternal effect; fire which cannot be put out as long as there remains in it something to burn!

Will sinners burn for ever in hell-fire?
The answer is:

No they will not. To be sure, after the Day of Judgement - they will be cast into hell-fire and be burned to ashes. But they will not burn forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. The effect of the flames (death) will be eternal; but no one is going to twist and turn in hell-fire for endless ages. Thank God that is what the Scriptures teach.
There is no such place or condition as Purgatory. As Alexander Hislop wrote at the beginning of this century: "The doctrine of purgatory is a system of pure bare-faced Pagan imposture, dishonoring to God, deluding men who live in sin with the hope of atoning for it after death, and cheating them at once out of their property and their salvation."

For further information concerning salvation and what happens after death see:

Faith   Death   The Resurrection   The Judgement   Immortality

To me, this annihilation version makes the most sense but does not answer issues such as those people supposedly that have been to hell and returned to tell about it; as is described further down on this page.  In the version presented above there  will not be an eternal burning in hell. Upon the second resurrection the wicked, judged unrighteous, will simply be thrown into the lake of fire, burned to ashes, and that will be the end of it. Actually the lake of fire comes to earth in one final cleansing.  II Peter 3:9 -12  Please note that this earth will be enveloped in flames--the atmosphere around it, the planet within it--all of it will "melt with fire," as Peter puts it. verse10."But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."  But then notice what happens to the earth--v. 13!  this place of hell fire becomes a brand new garden! Is that concept unique to Peter? No!--take a look at Revelation! Rev. 20  is the chapter in the Bible that describes the millennium. Look at Rev 20:14-15  two verses in this chapter that describe the same earth-enveloping fire that Peter describes that will cleanse the earth of sin and impurity. They contain the true Bible prophecy of hell . "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." No question here we are dealing with THE FIRES OF HELL! But just like Peter; look what Rev 21:1 describes next; a new heaven and a new earth. 
THIS IS A CRITICAL POINT TO NOTE--please understand what the Bible is teaching: THIS PLANET EARTH IS TO BE THE SITE OF GOD'S CLEANSING FIRES THAT WE AND THE SCRIPTURES HAVE CALLED "HELL."  HELL is not some distant place in the universe where the wicked go to burn forever--HELL IS THAT MOMENT IN TIME WHEN THE FIRES OF CLEANSING WILL DISSOLVE THIS ENTIRE PLANET-- AND ALL THOSE WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO DISCONNECT THEMSELVES FROM GOD'S LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEM--i.e. all who have willfully rejected the salvation Christ has offered us as Savior of the world. That is what HELL is--the final separation from God as the Source of all life--the awful annihilation of all who freely choose to live apart from God--which is of course an anomaly--since no one can live apart from God. But God honors the freedom of His children to say NO to Him, all the while knowing that by their saying NO they are shutting off their own LIFE SUPPORT system. The fires of hell at the end of the millenium are what burn up and cleanse away every trace of sin and sinner in the end. CONSISTENTLY and LOGICALLY that has to be the truth about hell--FOR, WHEN THE FIRES HAVE COMPLETED THEIR WORK, GOD CREATES A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH RIGHT HERE WHERE hell fires have been burning! Hell simply cannot be forever, simply by virtue of the fact that the fires burn on this very planet, and when they have completed their destruction, they are extinguished, and God creates a brand new earth, a brand new Garden of Eden!

Beleiving our God is a just judge, we conclude there is NO eternal torture for an infinity of time. The teaching of eternal hell fire and the damnation of the wicked to all eternity in the flames does not speak well of our Saviour and our Father, but transforms Him into the worst and most vile of despots ever conceivable, a Hitler times infinity. Talk about scared straight.  Always remember this maxim:  LOVE, to be LOVE, must be free. "Follow me or I'll torture you for eternity," is not freedom nor is it love.

Many theologians believe that we simply lay unconscious in a state of sleep in the grave until the resurrections (the first if you were judged righteous, the second at the end of a thousand years if you were judged unrighteous). I no longer believe that. See www.detailshere.com/death.htm . Even if we are judged unrighteous or righteous our "breath of life" goes nowhere except back to God until the first or second resurrection. The wages of sin is death, not eternal torment. But God, who alone is immortal, will grant eternal life to His redeemed at the time of the first resurrection for those that have died and at the rapture (the same time) for those righteous still living. New body, new breath of life(souls), = new life. The timing for this is at the end of the Tribulation period; 3 1/2 years after the antichrist becomes known. There is NO PRE TRIBULATION rapture.  See www.detailshere.com/rapture.htm   for that issue. Until that day of the second coming, death is an unconscious state for all people. When Christ, who is our life, appears, the resurrected dead that are righteous and the living righteous will be glorified and caught up to meet their Yahshua in the clouds. The second resurrection, the resurrection of the unrighteous, will take place a thousand years later. Those people will simply be tossed into the lake of fire and burned to ashes, not tormented forever and ever.  (Rom. 6:23; 1 Tim. 6:15, 16; Eccl. 9:5, 6; Ps. 146:3, 4; John 11:11-14; Col. 3:4; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; John 5:28, 29; Rev. 20:1-10.)

Here is a good explanation , with references, of what hell is from those that claim hell is an  "event " (the burning up of the wicked by the fires that come to earth at the end of the millenium period)  and not a place. The place is earth; the fires that envelope earth at that time to cleanse the earth make earth "hell" whether you wish to deem it an event or a place.

The wages of sin is death, not eternal punishing. Itís in the Bible, Romans 6:23, NIV. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

But what about Mathew 25:46 where Jesus Himself  calls it everlasting punishment?? Does this mean that the annihilation is everlasting?

The wicked will perish. Itís in the Bible, Psalm 37:20, NIV. "But the wicked will perish: The Lordís enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish--vanish like smoke."

The wicked will be burned up and nothing will remain. Itís in the Bible, Malachi 4:1, NIV. "Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire, says the Lord Almighty. Not a root or a branch will be left to them."

When Christ spoke of everlasting punishment he did not mean everlasting punishing. Itís in the Bible, Matthew 25:46, NIV. "Then they will go away to everlasting punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." The wicked will die once and for all and be no more. 

Sodom and Gomorrah suffered eternal fire but they are not burning today. Itís in the Bible, Jude 7, NIV. "In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire."

The fire will be unquenchable, but when there is nothing left to burn it will go out. Itís in the Bible, Matthew 3:12, NIV. "His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor, gathering the wheat into His barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Jeremiah 17:27, NIV says, "But if you do not obey Me to keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying any load as you come through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume her fortresses."

The entire earth will be cleansed by fire. Itís in the Bible, II Peter 3:10, RSV. "And then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up."

Who is destroyed in the lake of fire? Itís in the Bible, Revelation 20:15, NIV. "If anyoneís name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Basically it means those that were not on the first boat to heaven; the first resurrection or the rapture that occurred of the living at the same time immediately after the Tribulation. 

Hell is an event not a place, unless you consider earth the place and the fires that come down to cleanse it hell.  Itís in the Bible, Revelation 20:9, NIV. "But fire came down from heaven and devoured them."

Ah, but you exclaim, what do you do with the verses in the bible that describe these fires as burning forever?

A very fair and important question. Matthew 25:41 is a good example -- "everlasting fire." But take a very careful look at how the Bible uses that word "forever" or "eternal."

Jude 7 (p 1173)--Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with "eternal fire"--but does that mean that we can go there today and find the fires burning? Hardly, since S&G are now under the Dead Sea! Obviously, what the Bible means by eternal fires is that the results of the fire are to be ETERNAL, not the process of the burning itself! But didn't Jesus say something about a fire that could not be quenched? Yes, Mark 9:43  But notice how Christ is using those words--see Jeremiah 17:27 . Obviously, the fires of Jerusalem were eventually extinguished after Nebuchadnezzar sacked the city I was there myself this summer no fires burning in the gates--therefore, "not be quenched" means that nothing could put it out until the fire had completed its task.

 Jonah prays in the belly of the whale and says he was there "forever" --which actually was 3 days! Jonah 2:6

And the child Samuel was to abide in the temple "forever"--which meant for him as long as he was a child there.  It is imperative that you realize that the word "forever" does not always mean forever and ever--but means the duration until something is completed or has run its course. And that is what is meant by the fires of hell being forever--they will burn until they have run their course and completed their purpose with results that will last for eternity. There is NO SECOND CHANCE after hell--and hell is not a purgatory-like CLEANSING in preparation for another life. Hell means TOTAL AND FINAL ANNIHILATION INTO NON- EXISTENCE--severed from the life support system forever! But mark it clearly, ladies and gentlemen--HELL CANNOT MEAN THAT THE PROCESS IS FOREVER--nobody will burn forever and ever--the consequence of their being burned up will be forever and ever but not the process!.

That is why Malachi 4:1-3 is so clear!  In fact, read Ezekiel 28:18,19 if you'd like to know the eternal fate of Lucifer who plunged the universe and God and all of us into this awful, awful chapter!  ASHES and SHALL BE NO MORE FOREVER--how much more explicit could God be in rejecting the teaching of an everlasting hell?

It is no wonder that leading Bible scholars of many different denominations are returning to this profound truth!
John R. W. Stott, one of the most respected Christian scholars today, considers the concept of eternal consciousness in an eternal fire to be "intolerable" and does "not understand how people can live with it without either cauterizing their feelings or cracking under the strain."

John Wenham, Stott's fellow British theologian, agrees: "I believe that endless torment is a hideous and unscriptural doctrine which has been a terrible burden on the mind of the church for many centuries and a terrible blot on her presentation of the gospel."

Anglican archbishop William Temple once remarked: "One thing we can say with confidence: Everlasting torment is to be ruled out....It is the fire that is called aeonian [everlasting], not the life cast into it."

The influential Roman Catholic theologian Hans Kung asked: "What would we think of a human being who satisfied his thirst for revenge so implacably and insatiably?" "The idea not only of a lifelong, but even eternal punishment of body and soul, seems to many people absolutely monstrous."

And finally, the American theologian Clark Pinnock has written: "Everlasting torture is intolerable from a moral point of view because it pictures God acting like a bloodthirsty monster who maintains an everlasting Auschwitz for his enemies whom he does not even allow to die....I suppose one might be afraid of [a God like that], but could we love and respect him?...Antony Flew [an influential atheistic philosopher] was right to object that if Christians really believe that God created people with the full intention of torturing some of them in hell forever, they might s well give up the effort to defend Christianity."

You see, my friends, hell is not about the scorching of the fire....it is about separating from the Father. 
Not by the Father's choice, but by the choice of the rebel runaway child. LEAVE ME ALONE is a prayer every parent eventually answers. But when parents are written off....they are not ticked off....they are broken-hearted.  Which is why you can hear God sobbing in Scripture. 

Listen to Him weeping over His rebel children in Hosea 11:8-- "How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel?...My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred." Hear Him sobbing over His enemies in Isaiah 15 and 16: "My heart cries out over Moab....So I weep, O Heshbon, I drench you with My tears!...My heart laments for Moab like a harp, My inmost being laments." Listen to Jesus weeping over Jerusalem in Matthew 23: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who killed the prophets and stoned those I sent to you. How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." Like a mother weeping over her rebellious child, God and Jesus weep and sob.

My friend, if you think hell is about an angry God or a just and vengeful God who wants to get the last lick, then perhaps you need to gaze again at His portrait in this Book.
For you see, hell's darkest moment will surely be that moment when God finally accepts the decision of those who have rejected Him and have spurned His offer to love them and sustain them throughout eternity. Unrepentant to the end. Heartbroken, God slowly ascends to His throne. And with His face in His hands, He weeps uncontrollably. And all who chose to accept God's friendship and His offer to come be with Him for eternity...even they shall weep.... For at last in all its sublime and ineffable glory...they have seen the truth about God....  And it is the truth--GOD IS LOVE.

My Thoughts
I would like to believe in the above, that a real hell does not exist today, but is the cleansing of the wicked after the millenium in the lake of fire; but studies of near death experiences as well as cases where Jesus has taken people directly to hell so they might return and tell us about it dictate otherwise. I believe people's spirits today go to hell and suffer right at death if they don't have the Jesus parachute on.  I pray and hope that the interpretation of the everlasting punishment of hell means annihilation of all the wicked in the lake of fire at the end of the millenium after the great white throne judgment. Yes, it doesn't make sense to me that a just God would continue the punishment forever and ever. 

Near Death Experiences
There have been many, many "near death"  and "return to life after death" and "out of body" experiences  recorded such as the one described further down  where  the people state that they have been to hell and have described their experiences there.  Some are Satan's demons and evil spirits working on the mind from below, but others I believe really happened. See www.spiritlessons.com and www.bibleprobel/nde.htm  for some of these.
If you only have time for one book, read Katherine Baxterís ďDivine Revelation of HellĒ or the "23 Minutes in hell" sermon version. Yahshua took her to hell 30 different times to make sure she got it right and that she explained it right for you. Hell is intricately described there in very blatant graphic detail.

The NDE (near death experience) or OBE (out of body) phenomena are classified by some as sub-conscious brain activity, assisted or even induced by Satan.  Let's just hypothesize something for a moment: If your great grandfather appeared to you to give you advice "from the other side," but you came to understand that the Bible teaches that "the dead know not anything, nor do they have a portion any more in anything under the sun. . .their thoughts have perished," (see www.detailshere.com/death.htm  and www.detailshere.com/channeling.htm ) and the Bible teaches that they are deceiving spirits, would you still believe their fiction?  Would you still believe you live after you die and that it was great grandpa?  My point is: if the Bible says it, believe it.  If there is sensory evidence in the physical realm that would apparently contradict the Bible teaching, you have to chalk it up to the deceiver, who works all signs and lying wonders, to deceive, if possible, the very elect of God.
It is a high-stakes game.  The devil has an arsenal of deceptions and employs his full power and talent to achieve his own insane ends.  Misery loves company, and Satan wants lots of company.  He knows that he can hurt God the best by taking out His children.  That's his strategy.  He knows he won't win, but he still is twisted and a bitter and evil incarnate.  He is the destroyer and destroy he will.  As much as possible in the time he has left. 

To me, the above explanation no longer holds water. Not all NDE's are channeled from demons. Modern medicine has reached a point where some people who are pronounced clinically dead; no heartbeat, no brain activity; can be brought back to life in a 4 to 6 minute period after true death.  And others have come back to life after even longer than that. The stories of where these people went and what they experienced show a different scenario of what happens to our souls at death than the soul sleep version being preached by churches who donít want you to step out of your comfort zone today.  I have to hold the distinct possibility that one minute after we die our souls or spirit will enter heaven or hell and once there, there is no changing travel plans.

One of the most intriguing realities to come out of studying the NDE cases is just how important our ability to forgive becomes in pleading our case. Preachers, men of God, who were dying and repenting of their sins as they were dying, did not have their prayers listened to because they harbored unresolved forgiveness issues. Once saved, always saved does not work.  It takes a daily walk with Jesus, wearing His parachute all the time,  to stay on the narrow path to the kingdom.  

 HELL IS REAL - the 2nd version
I provide the "hellfire eternally punishing" version for your perusal below also. The information presented  either way should  change your priorities in life. Hell "is now" real or "will be" real, whichever version you ascribe to and in either version you burn by fire.  If you miss the boat to heaven on the day of Jesus' second coming, you will either be tormented forever and ever in the lake of fire or you will be burned up quickly with finality (and not be tormented forever and ever) at the end of the millenium period at the time of the second resurrection; which is the most logical assumption of a loving God. In the links section at the bottom of this page where the author is essentially showing all the verses that the bible is telling us we will suffer punishment by burning in hell forever and ever; most of the links refer to eternal punishment  where the proper interpretation may be as a "final" punishment, but that the punishing does not last forever. The most controversial  passage in the bible people use to support the "burning forever and ever concept" is the rich man and poor man, Lazarus , story  (Luke 16:19-31)  which is in fact a parable and not a true real life scenario. Go to here for a rather lengthy but extremely well explained treatise on why that is so. 
Another link that supports the fact this is a parable only story is at   http://www.saviour-of-all.org/RmanLazarus.html?source=overture
and yet more support can be found at 

Hellfire forever version - 
Check the following links out for more info on this fascinating subject from the 
Version 2 crowd that thinks hell is here and now and forever and ever.



http://av1611.org/hell.html    (hear actual voices from hell here recorded when     they drilled through the earth's crust and got a surprise - the link is halfway down the page you will be taken to - click on the green "listen" button)


48 Hours In HELL! from http://YourGoingToHell.com

One of the most interesting cases of resuscitation that ever came to my knowledge was that of George Lennox, a notorious horse thief of Jefferson County. He was serving his second term. Sedgwick County sent him to the prison the first time for a similar offense - stealing horses.

During the winter of 1887 and 1888 he worked in the coal mines. The place where he was laboring seemed dangerous to him. He reported the fact to the officer in charge, who made an examination, and deciding that the room was safe, ordered Lennox back to his work. The convict, obeying, had not continued his work more than an hour, when the roof fell in and completely buried him. He remained in this condition fully two hours.

Missed at dinnertime, a search was instituted for the missing convict, and he was found under this heap of rubbish. Life seemed extinct. He was taken to the top, and on examination by the prison physician, was pronounced dead. His remains were carried to the hospital where he was washed and dressed, preparatory for interment. His coffin was made and brought to the hospital. The chaplain had arrived to perform the last sad rites preparatory to burial. A couple of prisoners were ordered by the hospital steward to lift the corpse from the boards and carry it across the room and place it in the coffin. They obeyed, one at the head, and other at the feet and were about half way across the room when the one who was at the head accidentally stumbled over a cuspidor, lost his balance, and dropped the corpse. The head of the dead man struck the floor, and to the utter surprise and astonishment of all present, a deep groan was heard. Soon the eyes opened, and other appearances of life were manifested. The physician was immediately sent for, and by the time he arrived, some thirty minutes, the dead man had called for a cup of water, and was in the act of drinking when the physician arrived.

The coffin was at once removed and later on was used to bury another convict. His burial robes were also taken from him, and the prison garb substituted. On an examination he was found to have one of his legs broken in two places, and was otherwise bruised. He remained in the hospital some six months, and again went to work.

I learned of his peculiar experience while apparently dead soon after, from a fellow miner. Prompted by curiosity, I longed for an acquaintance with Lennox to get his experience from his own lips. This opportunity was not offered for several months. At last it came. After being removed from the mines I was detailed to one of the prison offices to make out some annual reports. The subject of this man's return to life was being discussed on e day, when he happened to pass by the office door and was pointed out to me. It was not long until I had a note in his hand, and asked him to come where I was at work. He did so, and here I got well acquainted with him, and from his own lips received his wonderful story. He is a young man, probably not over thirty years of age. He had been a hardened criminal; is possessed of a very good education, and naturally very bright.

The most wonderful part of his story was that during the time he was dead. Being a shorthand reporter, I took his story from dictation.

Said he, " I had a presentiment all the morning that something terrible was going to happen. I was so uneasy on account of my feelings that I went to my mining boss Mr. Grason, and told him how I felt, and asked him if he would not come and examine my coal room, the place where I was digging coal. He came and seemed to make a thorough examination, and ordered me back to work, saying there was no danger, and that he thought I was going, 'cranky'. I returned to my work, and had been digging away for something like an hour, when all of a sudden, it grew very dark. Then it seemed as if a great iron door swung open and I passed through it. The thought then came to my mind that I was dead and in another world. I could see no one, nor hear sound of any kind. From some cause unknown to myself, I started to move away from the doorway, and had traveled some distance when I came to the banks of a broad river. It was not dark, neither was it light. There was about as much light as on a bright, starlit night. I had not remained on the banks of this river very long until I could hear the sound of oars in the water, and soon a person in a boat rowed up to where I was standing.

"I was speechless. He looked at me for a moment, and then said that he had come for me, and told me to get into the boat and row across to the other side. I obeyed. Not a word was spoken. I longed to ask him who he was, and where I was. My tongue seemed to cling to the roof of my mouth. I could not say a word. Finally, we reached the opposite shore. I got out of the boat, and the boatman vanished out of sight.

"Thus left alone, I knew not what to do. Looking out before me, I saw two roads which led through a dark valley. One of these was a broad road and seemed to be well traveled. The other was a narrow path and led off in another direction. I instinctively followed the well-beaten road. I had not gone far when it seemed to grow darker. Ever and anon, however a light would flash up from the distance, and in this manner I was lighted on my journey.

"Presently I was met by a being that is utterly impossible for me to describe. I can only give you a faint idea of his dreadful appearance. He resembled a man somewhat, but was much larger than any human being I ever saw. He must have been at least ten feet high. He had great wings on his back. He was black as the coal I had been digging, and in a perfectly nude condition. He had a spear in his hand, the handle of which must have been fully fifteen feet in length. His eyes shone like balls of fire. His teeth, white as pearl, seemed fully an inch long. His nose, if you could call it a nose, was very large, broad and flat. His hair was very coarse, heavy and long. It hung down upon his massive shoulders. His voice sounded more like the growls of a lion in a menagerie than anything I can recall.

"It was during one of the flashes of light that I first saw him. I trembled like an aspen leaf at the sight. He had his spear raised as if to send it flying through me. I suddenly stopped. With that terrible voice I seem to hear yet, he bade me follow him; that he had been sent to guide me on my journey. I followed. What else could I do? After he had gone some distance a large mountain appeared to rise up before us. The part facing us seemed perpendicular, just as if a mountain had been cut in two and one part had been taken away. On this perpendicular wall, I could distinctly see these words, 'This is Hell.' My guide approached this perpendicular wall, and with his spear handle gave three loud rasps. A large massive door swung back and we passed in. I was then conducted on through what appeared to be a passage through this mountain.

"For some time we traveled in Egyptian darkness. I could hear the heavy footfalls of my guide and thus could follow him. All the way along I could hear deep groans as of some one dying. Further on, these groans increased, and I could distinctly hear the cry water, water, water. Coming now to another gateway, and, passing through, I could hear, it seemed, a million voices in the distance, and the cry was for water, water. Presently another large door opened at the knock of my guide, and I found that we had passed through the mountain, and now a broad plain lay before me.

"At this place my guide left me to direct other lost spirits to the same destination. I remained in this open plain for a time, when a being somewhat similar to the first one came to me; but instead of a spear he had a huge sword. He came to tell me of my future doom. He spoke with a voice that struck horror to my soul. 'Thou art in hell,' he said; 'for thee all hope is fled. As thou passed through the mountain on thy way hither, thou didst hear the groans and shrieks of the lost as they called for water to cool their parched tongues. Along that passage there is a door that opens into the lake of fire. This is soon to be thy doom. Before thou art conducted to this place of torment never more to emerge - for there is no hope for those who enter there - thou shalt be permitted to remain in this open plain, where it is granted to all the lost to behold what they might have enjoyed instead of what they must suffer.'

"With this I was left alone. Whether the result of the terrible fright through which I had passed I know not, but now I became stupified. A dull langour took full possession of my frame. My strength departed from me. My limbs refused to support my body longer. Overcome, I now sank down a helpless mess. Drowsiness now took control of me. Half awake, half asleep, I seemed to dream. Far above me, and in the distance, I saw the Beautiful City of which we read in the Bible. How wonderfully beautiful were its walls of jasper. Stretching out and away in the distance, I saw vast plains covered with beautiful flowers. I, too, beheld the river of life and the sea of glass. Vast multitudes of angels would pass in and out through the gates of the city, singing, oh, such beautiful songs. Among the number I saw my dear old mother, who died a few years ago of a broken heart because of my wickedness. She looked toward me and seemed to beckon me to her, but I could not move. There appeared to be a great weight upon me that held me down. Now a gentle breeze wafted the fragrance of those lovely flowers toward me, and I could now more plainly than ever, hear the sweet melody of angel voices, and I said, 'Oh, that I could be one of them.'

"As I was drinking from this cup of bliss it was suddenly dashed from my lips. I was aroused from my slumbers. I was brought back from happy dreamland by an inmate of my dark abode, who said that it was now time to enter upon my future career. He bade me follow him. Retracing my steps I again entered the dark passageway, and followed my guide for a time, when we came to a door that opened in the side of the passage, and going along this, we finally found ourselves passing through another door, and lo! I beheld the lake of fire.

"Just before me I could see, as far as the eye could reach, that literal lake of fire and brimstone. Huge billows of fire would roll over each other, and great waves of fiery flame would dash against each other and leap high in the air like the waves of the sea during a violent storm. On the crest of the waves I could see human beings rise, but soon to be carried down again to the lowest depths of this awful lake of fire. When borne on the crest of these awful billows for a time their curses against a just God would be appalling, and their pitiful cries for water would be heart-rending. This vast region of fire echoed and re-echoed with the wails of these lost spirits.

"Presently I turned my eyes to the door through which I had a few moments before entered, and I read these awful words, 'This is thy doom; Eternity never ends.' Shortly I began to feel the earth give way under my feet, and I soon found myself sinking down into the lake of fire. An indescribable thirst for water now seized upon me. And calling for water my eyes opened in the hospital prison.

"I have never told this experience of mine before for fear the prison officials would get hold of it, think me insane and lock me in the crankhouse. I passed through all of this, and I am as well satisfied as I am that I live, that there is a Heaven and there is a Hell, and a regular old-fashioned Hell, the kind the Bible tells about. But there is one thing certain, I am never going to that place any more.

"As soon as I opened my eyes in the hospital and found that I was alive and on earth once more, I immediately gave my heart to God and I am going to live and die a Christian. While the terrible sights of Hell can never be banished from my memory, neither can the beautiful things of Heaven I saw, I am going to meet my dear old mother after awhile. To be permitted to sit down on the banks of that beautiful river, to wander with those angels across the plains, through the vales and over the hills carpeted with fragrant flowers, the beauty of which far surpasses anything that mortal can imagine; to listen to the songs of the saved - all this will more than compensate me for living the life of a Christian here on earth, even if I have to forego many sensual pleasures in which I indulged before coming to the prison. I have abandoned my companions in crime, and am going to associate with good people when I am once more a free man."

We give this account to the reader just as we received it from Lennox.

It is one of the most wonderful experiences it has ever been our lot to read. May God bless this message from Mr. Lennox to the awakening of many lost souls. Oh, how can men doubt the existence of a real, literal burning Hell? Tell me, how can they, when we have the Word and remarkable revelation such as the above from time to time? Men and women, stop! Face about! Get a real Bible experience of a heart-felt salvation, lest you experience the reality of not only forty-eight hours, but an Eternity in Hell. 

Dr Rawlings work
What you're about to read is hard to believe. . . We're going to examine the place the Bible calls hell. We'll present documented evidence for a place called hell. Don't take what you're going to read lightly. If what you read is true - YOU COULD BE IN SERIOUS DANGER!

Several years ago a book was published, entitled Beyond Death's Door by Dr. Maurice Rawlings. Dr. Rawlings, a specialist in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease, resuscitated many people who had been clinically dead. Dr. Rawlings, a devout atheist, "considered all religion "hocus-pocus" and death nothing more than a painless extinction". But something happened in 1977 that brought a dramatic change in the life of Dr. Rawlings! He was resuscitating a man, terrified and screaming - descending down into the flames of hell: Each time he regained heartbeat and respiration, the patient screamed, "I am in hell!" He was terrified and pleaded with me to help him. I was scared to death. . . Then I noticed a genuinely alarmed look on his face. He had a terrified look worse than the expression seen in death! This patient had a grotesque grimace expressing sheer horror! His pupils were dilated, and he was perspiring and trembling - he looked as if his hair was "on end."

Then still another strange thing happened. He said,"Don't you understand? I am in hell. . . Don't let me go back to hell!" . . .the man was serious, and it finally occurred to me that he was indeed in trouble. He was in a panic like I had never seen before. (Maurice Rawlings, Beyond Death's Door,(Thomas Nelson Inc., 1979) p. 3). Dr. Rawlings said, no one, who could have heard his screams and saw the look of terror on his face could doubt for a single minute that he was actually in a place called hell!

The Bible continually warns of a place called hell. There are over 162 references in the New Testament alone which warns of hell. And over 70 of these references were uttered by the Lord Jesus Christ! In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus Christ gives a frightening picture of hell: 22 . . . the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 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. 25 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. 26 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. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. (Luke 16:22-28) HELL IS A PLACE OF FIRE

The man in Luke 16:24 cries: ". . .I am tormented in this FLAME." In Matthew 13:42, Jesus says: "And shall cast them into a FURNACE OF FIRE: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." In Matthew 25:41, Jesus says: "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting FIRE,. . ." Revelation 20:15 says, " And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the LAKE OF FIRE." THE BIBLE GIVES THE LOCATION OF HELL When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He descended into hell. In Acts 2, Peter is speaking, verse 31, " . . . seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in HELL" When Jesus Christ died His soul went into hell. And in Matthew 12:40, Jesus Christ says: "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly: so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the HEART OF THE EARTH. "The Bible is clear - Hell is inside the earth! Ephesians 4:9, says of Jesus: "Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the LOWER PARTS OF THE EARTH."

On page 85 of Beyond Death's Door, Dr. Rawlings said, patients who described hell said, ". . . this place seems to be UNDERGROUND or WITHIN THE EARTH in some way."

The Birmingham News, April 10, 1987 had an article entitled "Earth's Center Hotter Than Sun's Surface, Scientists Say". The article stated that scientists have recently discovered, "THE EARTH'S INNER CORE HAS A TEMPERATURE OF OVER 12,000 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT!" Have you seen pictures of a volcano erupting, spewing a lake of fire from inside the earth - consuming everything within miles just from the heat? When Mount St. Helens erupted in May 18, 1980, it was described by reporters, "when HELL surfaced upon the earth." The book, Volcanoes, Earth's Awakening (p.91) describes an erupting volcano as "descent into HELL". Thousands of years ago, the Bible described a place called hell in the heart of the earth that matches exactly what science is discovering. YES! THERE IS A PLACE CALLED HELL!

In Numbers 16, the Bible gives the account of people falling into hell alive! Numbers 16:32-33 says, "And THE EARTH OPENED HER MOUTH, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive INTO THE PIT, and the EARTH CLOSED UPON THEM:"

Inside this earth, this very moment, there are millions of lost, tormented souls - burning, weeping, wailing - without any hope whatsoever! In Mark 9:46, Jesus Christ says about hell: "Where THEIR WORM dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." Jesus said explicitly - THEIR worm - not a worm, or the worm - but THEIR worm. The Bible teaches that Christians will one day have a body like the Lord Jesus Christ. Could it be, as some Bible students teach - that men and women in hell take on the form of their father, Satan (John 8:44)? In Revelation 12:3, Satan is described as a red dragon. Could Jesus Christ be referring to the body lost men and women will have for eternity?

References in the bible relating to hell


Matt 7:19, 13:40, 25:41

"everlasting fire"

Matt 18:8, 25:41

"eternal damnation"

Mark 3:29

"hell fire"

Matt 5:22, 18:9, Mark 9:47


Matt 23:14, Mark 12:40, Luke 20:47

"damnation of hell"

Matt 23:33

"resurrection of damnation"

John 5:29

"furnace of fire"

Matt 13:42, 50

"the fire that never shall be quenched"

Mark 9:43, 45

"the fire is not quenched"

Mark 9:44, 46, 48

"Where their worm dieth not"

Mark 9:44, 46, 48

"wailing and gnashing of teeth"

Matt 13:42, 50

"weeping and gnashing of teeth"

Matt 8:12, 22:13, 25:30


Luke 16:23

"tormented in this flame"

Luke 16:24

"place of torment"

Luke 16:28

"outer darkness"

Matt 8:12, 22:13

"everlasting punishment"

Matt 25:46

Here's even another  rendition of hell; claiming a five compartment hell:

THE FIRST COMPARTMENT of hell is called Tartarus. It is where the fallen angels that sinned before and after the Flood are bound in chains. All those so called gods, like Zeus and Apollo and their giant and monstrous offspring are there.

THE SECOND PRISON section is called Hell. It was, still is, and will continue to be the place where all the wicked human souls from Cain to the end of the Millennium go. Then at that time, all the wicked souls will be liberated out of this prison and will be given immortal bodies and be judged after the Millennium at the Great White Throne judgment before being cast into the Lake of Fire forever (Revelations 20:11-15, 21;8) This will be after the Millennium 3000 A.D.

THE THIRD PRISON is the abyss or bottomless pit. It is the dwelling place of demons and certain angelic beings. No human being ever goes to the abyss. The Old Testament equivalent is Abaddon and is translated as Ďdestructioní in Job 26:5,6; 28:22; 31:12. The abyss is an immeasurable depth. It is a very deep chasm in the lower parts of the Earth. It is translated Ďdeepí in Luke 8:26-31; Romans 10:7, and Ďbottomless pití in Revelations 9:1-3, 11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:10. These Scriptures are further proofs that there are prisons in the lower parts of the Earth for departed spirits.

THE FOURTH PRISON is called the Lake of Fire. This department is the eternal hell and perdition of wicked men, demons, fallen angels, and all rebellious creatures who have ever rebelled against God. It is called the Gehenna of Fire and is always translated Ďhellí. (Matthew 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43; Luke 12:5; James 3:6).

Instead of the final state penitentiary, we might call it the final penitentiary of the universe. The sentence here is for all of eternity. There will be no pardons, appeals, or parole. There will be an opening from the first hell to the surface during the Millennium so all will be able to see what happens to rebels. One of the openings will be the original site of the city of Babylon. The opening will be changed to the Lake of Fire after the Great White Throne Judgment so that all will be able to view the fate of rebels throughout all eternity.

THE FIFTH COMPARTMENT is called Paradise (Luke 16:19-31, 23:43). It is a place of comfort, water, and bliss. It was where the righteous souls and spirits lived after leaving their bodies at physical death. All the righteous went into this prison and were held captive by the devil against their will (Hebrews 2:14,15; Ephesians 4:7-11). The devil had the power of death and of the underworld before Christ conquered him. (Colossians 2:14-17; Revelations 1:18) It was into this prison that the penitent thief and Jesus went on the day they died. Luke 23:43, Matthew 12:40, Ephesians 4:7-11 make it clear that Paradise is located in the heart and lower parts of the Earth. Christ not only went into his prison, but He also went into Tartarus and preached to the angels. In fact, He conquered death, hell and the grave during his crucifixion and during the three days He was in the underworld. He rescued all the righteous souls who were in Paradise and took them to Heaven when he ascended on high. He now has the keys of hell and death. Ever since that time, the righteous go directly to Heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8; Phillippians 1:21-35; Hebrews 12:23; and Revelations 6:9,11).

Is hell simply termination of soul and spirit?

What do you think happens to bad people when they die? Or maybe letís take morals out of the equation. What happens to people who arenít Christians after they die? Do they burn forever in a fiery hell?

Thatís what a lot of Christians assume. But think about it for a minute. Why would God punish people forever in hell like that? After all, lifeís pretty short. So is it fair that the penalty for a brief lifetime of misbehavior earns an eternity of torture and pain? Doesnít eternal, conscious torment in hellfire seem excessive? Why would a loving God do that?

If youíre a thinking person, you canít take it lightly. These and other questions about the doctrine of hell are puzzling to many Christians, and they must be answered. There are many incorrect ideas out there taught by Christian churches.

Did you know that the Bible says there is no hell as most people understand that term? Now before you put the magazine down in frustration, let me explain what I mean. The Bible does use the term "hell" in English translationsóbut not for an afterlife of unending torment. Scripture does teach that there will be judgment for every single human beingóand ultimate punishment for those who refuse to repent. But what is that ultimate punishment?

Letís explore key questions related to the concept of hell, examining what the Bible has to say about it and how it relates to the nature of God, and what lies ahead.

Does a traditional hell match Godís character?

Eternal torture. Endless agony. Infinite affliction. That is what so many believe about hell. But the Bible doesnít teach that! If thatís your view of hell, I hope youíll take the challenge and study what the Word of God truly says. Letís discover what Scripture actually teaches and realize itís something quite different from the traditional view of hell.

A recent poll has shown that a third of Americans believe that hell is "an actual place of torment and suffering where peopleís souls go after death." Many people have never taken the time to think more deeply about hell and to study Godís Word to compare what theyíve been taught to what the Bible really says. Have you accepted the challenge to do just that?

A common Bible-based Christian teaching is that God loves everybody. So why do so many think that a loving God has created an ever-burning hell? Some even believe that righteous, saved people will actually be able to observe the sufferings of the wicked forever.

Imagine that! By that kind of reasoning, parents would witness the unending suffering of their own children and delight in it. Husbands and wives would somehow feel joy in seeing their unbelieving spouses tortured forever. And hereís the worst part: This idea of hell depicts God as sadistic, cruel and merciless.

Can this concept of hell possibly be true? Letís remember something thatís critical as we consider the mistaken idea that unsaved people are tortured for all eternity.

The Bible proclaims that "God is love" (1 John 4:8; 1 John 4:16, emphasis added throughout). Thatís His character, His personality, His nature. It always has beenóand it always will be. We are consistently reminded of this throughout the Bible: "Because the Lord loves you Ö Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments" (Deuteronomy 7:8-9).

Centuries later the apostle Paul also wrote about the wonderful, distinctive qualities of the character of our Father: "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ" (Ephesians 2:4-5).

From the beginning of the Bible to its end, Godís essenceóHis very being of loveóis described repeatedly. At the beginning of the book of Revelation weíre told: "Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come Ö and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen" (Revelation 1:4-6).

Do these passages harmonize with the idea that a loving God will punish people in a hell of unceasing torture and misery? Does it seem reasonable that the penalty for a short lifetime of offense should be agonizing torment that is never-ending?

Why would a loving God send people to hell forever? Weíre told, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

That is the heart of GodóHe wants the best for everyone. He even tells us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). Yet the traditional view of hell would have us believe that God vengefully torments evil people for all time ónot just for a few decades or even a few centuries but for infinite time without end! The perception that God sentences people to eternal, ceaseless torture is so disgusting that it has even turned some away from belief in God.

Whatís the biblical view of hell?

Hereís a familiar passageóone that you may have memorized. Itís where Jesus Himself taught, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Is there something significant in this famous verse that you may have missed?

What happens to us without the sacrifice of Christ? Jesus said we die . We perish, we do not live forever. In fact, the word "perish" doesnít mean just to stop living, but to be destroyed, or "to come to nothing"óto cease to exist. Thatís a huge difference between what God says and what so many people believe. The Bible tells us that you donít automatically go on living forever, either in heaven or in hell. Jesus says that we do not have eternal life already in us but that we need to be given everlasting life.

Hereís another powerful passage that reveals this same great truth. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Did you notice the contrast described in this verse? The penalty for sin is death, not eternal life in hell. Death means cessation of lifeónot conscious separation from God, as many try to redefine it. Those who sin, or disobey God, donít earn continual torture. They donít earn unending pain. They donít earn everlasting agony. They earn death. Their life ends.

But on the other hand, to the repentant, God gives the gift of eternal life in the Kingdom of God through our Savior Jesus Christ. You see, we donít have eternal life naturally. We donít have an immortal soul. Eternal lifeóeternal conscious existenceóhas to be given to us. Thatís why we need to understand Godís plain teaching that "the wages of sin is death"ónot a life of ceaseless suffering.

Notice how plainly and consistently Scripture describes this fact: "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4). A few verses later, God repeats thisógiving it emphasis: "The soul who sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20).

This is significant! What a difference between what God says and what so many believe. God tells us that souls can die. Have you ever heard that before? Do you realize that the Bible teaches that souls stop living? Jesus Christ said: "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him [God] who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). So there is a "hell" of sortsóbut it results in total destruction of body and soul, not merely life in torment while forever separated from God.

Hereís the thing: God must sustain lifeóall life belongs to Him. Souls are actually what we are. According to His Word, we are living souls or beings. We donít have a soul that is somehow separate from our mind and body. Now what happens to the sinneróthe soulóthat will not repent? Again, the Bible plainly says that sinners donít automatically go on living forever in the punishment of hell. Instead, they die.

Godís justice is perfect

In recognizing that the biblical idea of hell isnít eternal conscious torment, we need to be cautious we donít fall into the other ditch of thinking there is no ultimate punishment for the wicked. Because God is love, does any kind of punishment at all contradict His character? Absolutely not. Unrepentant sinners will be punishedóbut fairly and impartially. And not in the kind of eternal hell in which most people believe.

The Bible foretells Godís judgment on the wicked. As punishment, the hardened, unrepentant sinner will be thrown into a lake of fire and will be burned up óno eternal torture, just a merciful, quick death penalty. This is the real hellfire. The unrepentant wicked will not burn forever in this fire. Instead, they will be totally and completely burned upódestroyed and reduced to ashes by the flames of the lake of fire.

Have you ever read this Bible passage? "ĎFor behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,í says the Lord of hosts, Ďthat will leave them neither root nor branch Ö You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this,í says the Lord of hosts" (Malachi 4:1-3).

Godís Word is clear: Those who ultimately choose not to repent of their wickedness and sin will be punished by fireóbut not the mythical hell of menís imagination. Itís not an ever-burning hellfire. Itís not eternal, conscious isolation from God. Itís not unending emotional, mental or physical torment. Itís not everlasting shame, regret or pain. It is final capital punishment that brings the end of life óin fact, the end of existence, utter annihilation, with conscious awareness never to return.

The truth about hell displays Godís mercy

God respects human choice. Because of His loving character and intent that we be like Him, He doesnít force belief on anyone. Instead He wants us to willingly choose His way. The desperately wicked will be punished not because God refuses to forgive them. It will be a conscious choice on their part to refuse Godís mercy and not repent. Since the wicked will not choose His way, they will be consumed by fire and be no more. They wonít be tortured for all eternity. In fact, God loves them so much He wants their suffering to end.

There is no contradiction. God is a God of mercy and love. He mercifully puts those who reject Him, the Source of all life and all goodness, out of their misery. God is the God of great wisdom, mercy and righteous judgment. When it comes to the topic of eternal punishment and hell, that is the most important thing to remember: God is a God of mercy and love.

Hell is a controversial and often misunderstood subject. Whatís the truth? Your Bible clearly states that the wicked will be consumedódestroyed by fire. They will no longer exist. They wonít suffer in eternal conscious torment. When Godís plan for humanity is complete, there will be no more crying, no more tears, no more sorrow, no more pain (Revelation 21:4). The final death of the hopelessly wicked in a lake of fire is a loving act of Godís justice and mercy.

We can all be thankful for His fairness and great plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Heís planned a wonderful future for those who love Him and accept His mercy. I hope youíll choose to learn more about it!

Four Different Words Translated "Hell" in English Bibles

None of the words translated "hell" in English Bibles refers to a conscious afterlife of endless torment. In fact, Scripture states that there is no conscious awareness in death, but that we must be raised to conscious existence in a future resurrection (see Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; Daniel 12:2; 1 Corinthians 15:6; 1 Corinthians 15:18; 1 Corinthians 15:20; 1 Corinthians 15:51; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). So what do these words translated "hell" mean?

First is the Old Testament Hebrew sheol, which is equivalent to the New Testament Greek term hades. Both these words are used in Scripture in reference to the graveóto burial in the earth.

Next is the Greek term tartaroo, which occurs in only one verse (2 Peter 2:4). It refers here to the present condition of demons, rebellious angels, being restrained or imprisoned on the earth.

Last is the word gehenna, the New Testament Greek form of the Hebrew Gai Hinnom, the Valley of Hinnom than ran along the west and south sides of Jerusalem. During biblical times of terrible apostasy people were burned here in pagan sacrificeóand it became a place to burn garbage. This term was used by Jesus in reference to future judgment in the lake of fire that will ultimately burn up the wicked. There is no sense here of a fire burning and torturing forever.

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