Video #4 The Judgement of God
Reading: Mark 9:42-48
(1) Hell is real.
(2) What Hell is not.
Not a party with the Devil (Matt 25:30, 46)!
Nor a place or state of everlasting and conscious suffering.
(3) Why not everlasting suffering?
- This idea is a discredit to the whole Christian faith. Out of all proportion to the sin of even the worst sinner, and therfore unjust, not what our sin deserves (Rom 1:32). It is because of the assumption that this is what the Bible means by Hell, that God and his judgement are no longer taken seriously, by and large, even by many Christians.
- This is not what the Bible teaches.
(4) What Hell is.
In the Bible, hell stands for final rejection by God and final, literal, total destruction.
Jesus indicates 2 ways: “Life” and “destruction” (Matt 7:13-14). This corresponds to Biblical teaching throughout: “Life and Death” (Deut. 30:19, Gen 2 and 3). “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23; Ezek. 18:4,13,18,20,24; Rev. 20:14).
No doubt that “destruction” is meant literally.
Some 6 Hebrew words are used: all directly imply obliteration. The most common is ‘abad. Isa. 41:11-12 is clear: “Those who strive against God’s people shall be as nothing and shall perish (‘abad). Those who war against you shall be as nothing at all”. So is Psa. 37:20: “But the wicked perish (‘abad) … they vanish – like smoke they vanish away”. Compare Obadiah 15-16, Malachi 4:1.
The words used in the N.T., likewise, naturally imply this. In Mat. 7:13, the word is apoleeia ; “ruin, destruction, annihiliation” (Greek-Engllsh Lexicon of the N. T., edited by Arndt, Gingrich, Bauer and Danker, Chicago, 1977). See 2 Pet 3:7-13 (parallel to “dissolved”).
See Mat. 10:28: what happens to the body at death will happen to the whole person in hell!
This punishment is “eternal” (Matt 25:46, 2 Thess 1:9) in that it is final, eternal in it’s effects (compare Mark 3:29; Heb 6:2,12). “They are doomed to destruction forever” (Psa. 92:7).
Mark 9:48 emphasises the finality and totality of destruction: compare Is 66:24, where the worm and the fire are clearly agents in the destruction of dead bodies.
(5) Facing up
Hell is not a meaningless threat that can be ignored, but a just judgement which must be faced.
But Christ has already undergone, in our place, rejection and death.
We must trust in the mercy and power of God.