Pr Edi Giudetti
Scripture Luke 16:19-31
The account given above by Christ has within it several understandings of the nature of Hell.
Many biblical themes can be derived directly from the passage here in Luke 16.
- That the rich man is fully aware of where he is. Completely conscious that he is in hell even though his body is buried in a grave.
- That the man is in fiery torment
- That the man is not in disagreement as to the state he finds himself, though he is in no doubt surprised to have been so suddenly cast down.
- That the man requests no company of family. A recognition that hell is not a corporate abode.
- The Bible indeed teaches that every person in hell is perfectly isolated for all eternity. There is no fellowship, no company, no distraction, no relief.
- That the man’s name is not mentioned identifies the scriptural teaching that the names of the wicked shall rot and also that the former things shall not be remembered nor come into mind (Prov 10:7, Isaiah 65:17)
Though there are many more, my desire this morning is to bring out only three fundamental pictures of Hell that also incredibly have its characteristics confirmed in the nature of God, of Sin, of the Atonement, Of Salvation and of Heaven.
Three pictures of Hell that reference three fundamental aspects of each of those five natures.
Though there are indeed those who are fascinated with the subject, the more you indeed deal with it and study it the more it sickens and depletes your energy in the consideration of it.
Hell is the Place of Eternal Punishment
So many are the errors that have been taught through the years respecting the Biblical doctrine of hell that it is often impossible to know where to begin this consideration.
I take a note of one anecdote and it is simply that of the lowly bank teller who is given the range of genuine bank notes to study to be aware of forgeries.
She notices that those notes that are given her are all legal tender, none of them are an example of a forgery. She raises an objection to her employer telling him he should supply her with all the forgeries known so that she might identify them when they come across her path.
He employer said to her, “madam, study and learn the true article, turn it over and over in great consideration, know its colour and shades, learn its lines and texture, and when one, of a potential infinite number of forgeries come, you will know which is the true and which is the false”
And so it is beloved when it comes to Biblical truth. If your desire is to know the truth of a matter, learn from the source of truth, the Bible, study and learn the true article, turn it over and over in great consideration, know is meanings and shades of meaning, learn its precepts and see the character of its author, and you will quickly identify any deviation from the truth of all it teaches.
We can choose to believe whatever it is that we want to believe, but can I ask you to what end? What is the point of believing an untruth?
Hell is by far the single most hated doctrine in the entire Bible. Yet, for the sake of our eternal safety it is difficult to see anything more important to know the truth of.
We will in no doubt touch on some error as we make our way through this study, but most important is to simply see what it is the scriptures plainly teach respecting it. In spite of all the claims against the concept of Hell, what we will find this morning is the incredible clarity in which it is presented.
Just as warning signs along the road are incredibly clear respecting any danger ahead, so too is the warning respecting the danger of hell.
The first consideration for us to understand is, that hell the place of Eternal Punishment.
Notably, just as heaven is the dwelling place of God, s we also see Hell as the final end of the Devil.
Turn to Matthew 25:40–46
Jesus first gives the account of a king who praises those who have fed, quenched the thirst of, took in and clothed his brethren.
He says that what was done to them was effectively done also to him.
In the next portion we have an interesting testimony as to the purpose and creation of hell.
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
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: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did itnot to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Several items are worthy of note here.
- The first is that Hell is the place of everlasting punishment of Satan and his angels for whom it was originally created.
- The second is that the wicked will share in that end.
The devils know that their final end is in hell, but the scriptures teach plainly that that time is not yet.
In the book of Job Satan is described as having his present abode walking too and fro on the earth and walking up and down in it Job 1 and 2.
In the New testament, several times we see Jesus casting out devils who’s response acknowledged that they were set for destruction, but also that that their time was not yet ready.
29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
So, the final end of Satan is not yet, but it will come.
Hell was originally created for the devil and his angels.
They, being already in an immortal state, cannot now change from fallen to unfallen. Their state is permanent and cannot be changed. There is no Gospel ever preached to the devil, they all made their conscious choice.
The fall of man however and his sin, places him in the same condemnation as the devil. And hell as his potential end BUT, man was blessed in that he would die prior to entering that immortal state.
What does this mean?
Man was given grace by God, in that he has his entire life to turn to God before God would grant to him that final end for which he lived.
His immortal end would be evidenced by desiring God and believing Christ died for his sin. Or his hatred of God and punishment of sin, just as Satan and his angles.
The important item to understand is;
- Hell is a place of everlasting punishment not a place of discipline.
Leads me to one of the first errors evident today;
Nothing is more pervasive than the denial of the Biblical teaching of hell, than the idea of a Post Mortem second chance, or the purging of sin in a temporary place known as Purgatory.
The second chance is given man through his ability to choose life all his life. Immortality was stripped from him so his first choice to turn away from God might have opportunity to be changed BEFORE he slipped into that immortal state through death.
There is reason for this that I don’t have time to get into, but suffice to say that man is the purpose for all of creation, and this is why God had given him opportunity to turn back to him and not end up into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels
Hell is written about by every New Testament author and it was Jesus who spoke directly of hell more than every other single individual in the Bible.
Hell is indeed the Place of Eternal Punishment. Satan and all the wicked who have not desired the Lord, shall have their end there.
Four quick considerations Respecting Punishment:
- Hell is a place of Deserved Punishment: It is retributive, it is the penal consequences of sin. It is not designed for reform but is the wages due for sin. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Mt 25:46)
Daniel wrote in Daniel 12:2 saying of the end;
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
- Hell is a place of Eternal Punishment. We can see through the plain reading of those two passages alone that the punishment of hell is eternal “Everlasting”. This we will revisit as we go on as the theme continues with consistency.
But there is no hope in hell, there is no end even though it seems to remain time bound.
If every grain of sand in an hourglass was itself and hourglass, you would still have hope of coming to the end of it.
If all the grains of sand in all the beaches of the world were an hourglass filled with sand, you would yet have hope of and end.
But not so in hell.
Hell is an Eternal Punishment.
- Hell is a place of Conscious Punishment. We can see in the account of the rich man that he was perfectly aware of his torment. His temporal desire to cool a parched tongue was a conscious desire.
If it were ever to be considered a place of unconscious torment, it can never be considered a place to fear.
5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
There is no need to fear a torment to which one is unconscious of suffering!
Hell is a place of Conscious Punishment.
Lastly for this point;
- Hell is a place of Suffering: Those in hell suffer intense and excruciating pain- Emotional, spiritual and physical.
So great is the pain that Jesus referred to it as a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matt 8:12, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30. Luke 13:28
Worst of all the suffering never ends, there is no relief. You cannot voluntarily exit hell as you can life.
Writing of those who worship the beast in Revelation 14:11, the apostle writes;
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they haveno rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
[interesting, there is day and night identified in hell]
The intensity of the suffering, the sorrow, the remorse seems to be in line with the wickedness of the life lived. A just recompense of their evil in the eyes of God.
5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
So, Hell is the Place of Eternal Punishment;
- Deserved Punishment
- Eternal Punishment
- Conscious Punishment
- Eternal Suffering
Hell is the place of Eternal Destruction.
The rich man in our text is literally destroyed in hell.
Paul writes in Romans 6:23 saying
For the wages of sin is death
Death is destruction.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, 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.
Beloved the destruction in hell is spoken of specifically by Jesus Christ in the most famous scripture verse in the world,
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.
There are some who believe an idea commonly called annihilationism, that is, that the destruction referred to in the Bible speaks of people ceasing to exist.
This belief is commonly held by most atheists and that is in line with their material world view. It is their perfect preference to escape accountability in this life. They despise the idea of being held to account for a godless life and have motives for the world to have no meaning, purpose or God.
Aldous Huxley, the famous atheist philosopher wrote;
I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption … For myself, as no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation.”
Thomas Nagel, professor of Philosophy wrote;
“I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”
“The Last Word” by Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press: 1997
Individuals like this have not the love of the truth that they might be saved, they choose to believe a lie because that is their preference. But truth is a stubborn thing and will have its way in spite of them.
Paul wrote of the return of Christ and how he will destroy satan with the brightness of his coming;
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
Hell is the place of eternal destruction:
Destruction in the Bible does not refer to ceasing to exist, there is no annihilation.
New Testament Scholar Douglas Moo writes that when the Bible speaks of destruction it most often “refers to the situation of a person or object that has lost the essence of its nature or function”
Destruction in the Bible can refer to a desolate land (Jer 4:20), an attack upon a city (Isa 15:5), the poverty of the poor (Prov 10:15) carrying away in captivity of the jews (Lam 3:48), death itself (1 Cor 5:5).
Theologian Christopher Morgan writes;
“Destruction is a graphic picture showing that those in hell have failed to embrace the meaning of life and have wasted it. Trying to find life in themselves and in sin, they forfeited true life. Only ruin remains” 
Hell is the Place of Eternal Destruction
Hell Is the Place of Eternal Banishment
Turn back to our original text in Luke 16;
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.
Abraham speaks of the everlasting “NOW”. This is the permanent end of both Men, one comforted with in the place where God dwells, the other banished from his presence for ever.
There is today in China an ongoing and deliberate effort to ban all religions from the nation. And where the people will not refrain from their practices, the Chinese Government remove them from society, banish them either to slavery in work camps or to imprisonment.
There is an overt desire today in the United States, and even governments in difference parts of the world, to remove men and women of faith from roles in Government.
Many atheists desire to be separated from those who love God, they do not want any reminder of God in them and prefer they not be a part of their society.
We see such separation even in some relationships today.
Best friends now separated because the atheist does not desire company with those who love God. Family members the same. Work colleagues the same.
The position is not universal, nevertheless it is quite obvious when you watch people draw away from you.
In Short, those who hate God desire no company with those who remind them of God!
Those who desire God are effectively banished from those who do not.
Turn to Matthew 13
In Mathew chapter 13 Jesus is speaking of a number of parables. He speaks of the sower that went forth to sow, he speaks of the tares sown among the wheat, he speaks about the kingdom of heaven.
Parables are ‘parallels’ that refer directly to a specific truth. The truth of a thing is likened to the objects in the parable.
You see it in how Christ begins the account; “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto…” (mt 13:24)
“The kingdom of heaven is like…” (Mt 13:31)
Sometimes Jesus just goes directly into a parable saying “Behold a sower went forth to sow…” and he is gracious enough to explain some of them for those who ask him. We learn from that the nature of the parable.
Verse 37 Jesus explains the parable of the one who is the sower that goes forth to sow saying;
37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Verse 47 he gives another parable saying;
47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
The concept of eternal separation, eternal banishment is seen evident in these passages.
- The wicked severed from among the just
- The angles gathering out of the kingdom all that offend and do iniquity.
Some he gathered into his barns, into vessels to be with him and the others he cast away, even into a furnace of fire.
Eternal separation from God his seen also in his Olivet Discourse as he speaks of the last of the last days;
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:
Depart from me…Depart from me. When you hear these words, they are permanent They are an eternal departure from Christ. Banishment, never to be altered, eternal.
Sadly, and tragically, the same is said of many who actually think they belong to Christ but have never been born again in the most frightening passage in the entire Bible in Matthew 7:21
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity
Punishment stresses the active side of Hell, but banishment shows the horror of eternal separation.
That banishment is not one of fellowship with others banished.
Never does the Bible present fellowship in hell, but solitude and darkness, even outer darkness.
Whereas heaven is identified by the light of Christ, hell is highlighted by its absence of light.
People have asked me how there can be fire in hell if there is no light. Does not the fire illuminate hell?
Simple answer, No.
The fires of hell cannot be equated to fires on earth. Hell was not created for man but for the devil and his angels. Angels can walk on the fires of the earth and be unharmed, but not the fires of hell. These fires torment the devils in hell and will burn into the souls of those whose “worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched”(Mark 9:44, 9:46, 9:48)
Hell is perfect eternal solitude and perfect absence of light.
In the Bible. Hell is everything heaven is not. The Glory of heaven stands in diametrical contrast to hell.
An interesting consideration is that all those who know the Lord will dwell with him where he dwells. He is the one who inhabiteth eternity. The references we have to heaven give no indication of time.
Not so hell.
There is both day and night there (yet not light see also Genesis ‘evening and morning’ prior to the creation of the sun).
There is evening and morning there.
There is time indicated when Satan is cast into the lake of fire after one thousand years in Revelation where the beast and false prophet still are. (Rev 20:10)
Though I cannot confirm it, it seems evident that hell is time bound while heaven is in eternity.
We have dealt with three fundamental elements of the place of hell. And it is certainly presented in the Bible as a place and not a frame of mind or a state of heart or anything ridiculous like it.
Hell is literal, geographical and physical.
It is set in contrast to heaven.
We cannot on the one hand recognize the Bible plainly teaching that heaven is literal, eternal, glorious while, because we all despise the concept of hell, teach that it is allegorical, temporal and tolerable.
We have seen hell as a place of;
Not as one, then the other and then the other. These three elements of hell are a unified whole.
God does not first banish, then punish and then destroy in hell, they are described unilaterally.
When Jesus preached his Olivet Discourse from Matthew 24:45-25
:46 all three pictures of hell stood together and appear in the same passages.
The wicked servant is cut asunder, banished with the hypocrites and his destruction evident in his weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The wicked servant that buried the talent had punishment of the confiscation of goods, banished into outer darkenss and again destruction evident in the weeping and gnashing of teeth.
But more than this beloved.
The three pictures of hell have a facinating correlation with those FIVE other Doctrines of the Bible I mentioned at the beginning.
The three pictures of hell note three characteristics of The doctrines of God, of Sin, of the Atonement, Salvation and heaven.
- Hell as Punishment: depicts God as the Judge who sentences the wicked.
- Hell as Destruction: portrays God as the Victor who defeats his enemies.
- Hell as Banishment: sees God as the King who allows only his citizens into his kingdom.
- Hell as punishment: recognizes sin as a Crime.
- Hell as Destruction: sees sin as spiritual death.
- Hell as Banishment: sees sin and that alienation from God.
When considering the Atonement:
- Hell as Punishment: sees Christ on the Cross taking the cup of Gods wrath.
- Hell as Destruction: sees the death of Christ as an offering for sin.
- Hell as Banishment: sees Christ separated from God in that famous cry “my God, my God why has thou forsaken me”.
In Salvation also we see it;
- Hell as Punishment: awaits those NOT justified by faith.
- Hell as Destruction: awaits those who will not receive the New Life in Christ.
- Hell as Banishment: awaits those who have not desired fellowship with Christ.
Lastly we see it correspond with Heaven.
- Hell as Punishment: stands Opposed to heavens reward.
- Hell as everlasting Destruction: Counterpoints heavens eternal life
- Hell as Banishment: stands in complete contrast to the glorious communion of the saints in fellowship with God and the Holy Angles.
All the effort to deny the truth of hell by so many in the world, when salvation from the experiential reality of is the least effort of all.
Jesus Died to save man from the penalty of sin.
All who believe in their heart that Jesus died for their sin, that God rose him from the dead can have newness of life, justified by his blood and the forgiveness of sin.
ALL SIN cast as far as the east is from the west.
King David wrote: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered(Ps 32:1)
It is also written; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. (Rom 4:8)
Hell cannot be ignored, but it can be avoided
 “Paul On Hell” Pg 105 Douglas Moo
 Is Hell For Real or does everyone God to heaven. Pg 44