When was Hell created?  Was it always God’s intention to create Hell?  What does the Bible have to say about Hell?  Secular history traces the “concept of hell” all the way back to ancient Egypt and reasons that every religion since has not only borrowed but assimilated the idea of a hell into their own belief systems.  To them Hell, like Heaven, is an invention of the weak minded.  In an effort to coercively educate “the simple” they have come up with a strategy, make Hell politically incorrect.  Jonathan Edwards, forever one of America’s greatest preachers, was ahead of the curve on this one; he said that the reason we find Hell so offensive is because of our insensitivity to sin.  And sin is the reason Hell exists in the first place.  I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to live an existence where wrongs were never made right, where individuals are never held accountable and where lives never receive the regenerative power of Christ.  I think it is they who are the simple, they are the short sighted.  By the same one dimensional thinking it was believed the earth was flat and that just over the horizon it all ended.  How wrong “they” were!  And “they” will be again when they find out that while our bodies die, our existence does not.

            Man was made for the expressed purpose of “walking” with God.  But sin has gotten in the way of that.  As it turns out though, His plan is so finely tuned that what would normally be a setback has become a launching pad of epic proportions.  Heaven, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”  It is why God created within us a soul, a quality unique to Man.  It is indestructible, unquenchable and ever enduring; God wasn’t blindsided by sin, no what He created in us He created to walk eternally with Him.  All sin did was speed up the process; rather than live an indefinite amount of time on this earth, we can now graduate through death into Eternity.  God created us not only to be eternal but to be sinless; however, sin has become a common pursuit of ours and while its effect on us is observable, its effect on Eternity almost defies comprehension.  What we are about to talk about is an attempt to grasp “the deep things of God.”  It will stretch the imagination and at times sound like it couldn’t be more farfetched.  I’m not going to claim that everything we are going to talk about is true.  But if you have ever wondered where Hell started, what is it like, where some of the myths come from and what the Bible really has to say about it, then buckle up.

            “For the wages of sin is death”, Romans says; now, theoretically that means had Adam and Eve never sinned they would have lived forever.  But they did sin and that sin drove a wedge between Man and God that we could never remove.  In that is a multitude of problems but let’s focus on just two.  One, our sin has gotten us served with an eviction notice, effective so on the day of death’s choosing, from the very place that was built for us.  And two, that same sin now excludes us from Heaven.  But since our soul doesn’t die where do we go?  There is a dance that goes on between the first two verses of Genesis chapter one that you could read a lot into, if you wanted.  We’ll come back and answer that question but first we need to lay the ground work.  Genesis 1:1 & 2  “In the beginning God created the haven and the earth.”  Now, the focus of this is on the physical universe.  See that word “created”?  In it is implied a perfected state, a finished product, something God could be proud of.  But notice very closely that next verse goes on to say that “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”  It is argued that there is nothing perfected about that; that “darkness” is not only equivalent to chaos, it is spiritual language for the exact opposite of perfect.  Some propose that an undisclosed amount of time passes between those first two verses, a gap theory it’s called.  And that within this unspoken interval of time Satan’s rebellion in Heaven occurs.  Isaiah 14:12-15 & Revelation 12:7-9  We can’t be sure that is how the cookie crumbled but it does lead us to an answer to our question.  Where did the departed souls go after death?  Theory is they went to the same place Satan and his demons went, where the “darkness” was, the “deep”.  They were more or less confined there, while “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

            Let’s delve further by looking at the complete phrasing the Bible uses, “the face of the deep.”  That word “face” when used like that pertains to the surface of something.  But the “deep” of the ocean has no physical surface.  What if it is talking about something else, “the evidence of things not seen.”  God made the critical parts of His Word so simple a child could understand them.  If I were to ask you to point in the direction of Heaven, which way would you point?  You’d point up and not even have to think about it.  The same is true of Hell, almost instinctively if asked where it was, you’d point down.  The Bible repeatedly draws that distinction.  But is that just an old wives tale meant to frighten children into being good or could it mean more than just spiritual allegory?  Numerous verses suggest a directional correlation but a few go on to paint very vivid pictures of what Genesis means by “deep”.  Take Ezekiel, he speaks at length of “the low parts of the earth”, Ezekiel 26:20 & 31:16.  The “pit… places… nether parts”, what is he talking about?  Could it be the same thing Genesis is talking about?  And just like in Genesis he throws in a spiritual code word; in Genesis it is “darkness”, here it is that word “nether”.  It appears as though the Bible is saying that somewhere underneath the surface of the earth is a place that has been supernaturally partitioned off from the rest of the world.

            Now that we have established that the Bible does teach that Hell is beneath, what else does it have to say about it?  Deuteronomy 32:22 & Psalm 55:15 provide us with a leading question.  If Hell had a blueprint what would it look like?  I ask that because both of those verses more than imply that Hell has a structure.  In Deuteronomy it spoke of the “anger” of the Lord reaching “unto the lowest hell”.  If there is a “lowest hell” it only stands to reason that there are higher regions of Hell.  In Psalms, concerning the wicked who go to Hell, they are said to be in “dwellings”.  By that it means general locales, not housing.  How many locales or regions of Hell are there?  Well, to answer that question correctly you must first understand our Bible uses the term “hell” in two fundamentally different ways, there is the geographical reference then there is the pejorative.  Both David and Jonah speak of being in the geographical Hell upon death, Psalm 16:10 & Jonah 2:1-2.  The OT Hebrew word for that is Sheol.  It is theorized that is what the “deep” is back in Genesis.  Sheol, often times translated as just “hell”, is where departed souls go after death; the same is true in the NT with the use of Hades.  But then there is the pejorative use of the word “hell”, as seen more so in that verse in Psalm fifty-five, as well as in Luke 16:22-23.  By Jesus own words it would seem that geographical Hell does indeed have a blueprint.  On one side you have the “Abraham’s bosom” side of Hell and on the other the pejorative, actual “hell”.

            What other chambers of Hell might there be on this blueprint?  Well, your NT does give you some indication.  For example, other than Hades there are three other words used for used for Hell in the Greek, all in the pejorative sense.  If Hell does have chambers, or regions, or levels, they likely start in Gehenna.  Gehenna is a pejorative of Hell for a variety of reasons.  Most notably is how it would’ve translated to the Jews, “valley of Hinnom”.  It was a place that had a long soiled history.  It used to be an enemy stronghold.  It was at one time a city dump.  It was even a site of human sacrifice, for even the Jews themselves at one point in history.  That one earned it a nickname, “Tophet” or “Topheth”, the place of spiting.  Out of reproach for the things done there in the name of Molech, an idol, passersby would spit on the ground.  In ancient times Jerusalem’s trash was discarded and burned there; Jesus draws on this imagery in Mark 9:43-48.  The significance of this gets lost in translation but the “fire” would have brought to mind how the trash was dealt with, it was burnt.  That is done, of course, for sanitation proposes, for which the “worm” could easily have been a reference to; it as well doubles as a quote of Isaiah 66:23-24.  The ancient city of Jerusalem was surrounded by twelve gates, fittingly the valley of Hinnom was just off from the “dung gate”.  And that fittingly ties to some guy named “Judas Iscariot”.  Perhaps you’ve heard of him?  It is debated whatever happened him; Matthew 27:3-10 says one thing and Acts 1:16-18 seemingly says another.  But you know what?  It is clear that the Bible is not a minute by minute chronicle of events and in most cases if you take the time to think things out, maybe dig up a fact or two, the answer is usually pretty sensible.  These verses weave together with all the intricacy of a detective novel.  Judas hatches this plot with the “chief priests”, and he sees it come to fruition, and he has his blood money but it’s the sight of Jesus being “brought as a lamb to the slaughter” that he can’t stop thinking about.  It becomes this crushing weight on his conscience.  Matthew says Judas “repented himself”, by that he means Judas had buyer’s remorse.  Because when you are lost nothing really satisfies, lust is just a bottomless pit.  The short of it is, out of guilt over the things his own lust drove him to do Judas “went and hanged himself.”  The “chief priests”, never ones to turn down a payday, then took the money and laundered it essentially, by buying the “potter’s field”; so that non-Jews, of all things, could have a proper burial.  The hypocrites!  That is how Acts can say Judas “purchased a field with the reward of iniquity”.  And just guess where rumor has it that field is.  They place it just off of the dung gate, where the valley of Hinnom is.  Now, did he hang himself or did he fall “headlong” like Acts says?  Why couldn’t it be both?  Hinnom was down in the valley, valleys have cliffs and that field would have been situated somewhere along the edge.  Judas could easily have hung himself on a tree overlooking the edge of the cliff and if or when the branch eventually broke or he hung there till he rotted off, the result would have been him “falling headlong… burst asunder… all his bowels gushed out.”  You could say that Judas literally took his life on the edge of Hell.

            As ominous as Gehenna must be, it pales in comparison to the really “low parts of the earth”.  In the blueprint of Hell that the Bible gives us, what is downstairs is called Tartaroo.  The Greek terminology for this place only gets used once but from that we can infer a couple of things.  II Peter 2:4  Peter’s use of the word “hell” here is what draws our focus.  It would seem that this particular chamber, or level, or region of Hell is specifically “reserved” for “the angels that sinned”.  Jude speaks of this place as well, in exactly those terms.  It would also seem that there are no humans once you get this far into Hell or at least we never read that there are.  But a name does come up that might right some bells.

            The last word that our Bible uses to refer to Hell is the word Abussos, this is where the word abyss comes from and in our Bible it translates as “pit” or “bottomless pit”.  While it may not be the last room on Hell’s blueprint, it is the largest and deepest.  And it too is tied to “the deep” of Genesis chapter one.  It gets referred to nine times in the NT and in two of those instances it literally translates as “the deep”.  For instance, in the Lord’s encounter with “Legion”, Luke 8:30-31.  Jesus is about to do a work in this man’s life by casting the demons out but they ask Him specifically if “he would not command them to go out into the deep.”  Or that place that is “reserved” for “the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation”, abussos “the bottomless pit”.  You see it again over in Romans 10:7.  This goes back to those three days of death that Jesus endured after the cross.  One question that we only have partial answers to is, what happened to Jesus during those three days?  The Apostle Paul would seem to suggest He literally went to Hell.  Which would make sense, because if Jesus really paid it all, then He have had to have spent time in Hell because that was our sentence by law.  Earlier we said that a name comes up that might ring a few bells, it is here in the “pit” that Jesus might have bumped into someone He had seen before.  Do you remember that we said that this far down into Hell there no humans?  There might be one exception to that, Revelation 9:1-11.  Who is “Apollyon”?  Some say it is just another name for Satan or perhaps Antichrist but the best clue might just be the source language itself.  The key to translation is to know the word-parts, in the Greek the name Apollyon shares certain word-parts with the word “perdition” found it John 17:12.  In the Greek “perdition” is transliterated apoleia.  Now, who is the “son of perdition” here that Jesus is talking about?  The Lord is talking about Judas.  Could he be Apollyon, “the angel of the bottomless pit”? Jesus said in Mark, “good were it for that man if he had never been born.”  That implies that he has his own special place in Hell, something Acts 1:25 would appear to confirm.

            That gives us a glimpse at Hell from the beginning until our time now but a change is coming that will be felt down “unto the lowest hell” or as Moses placed it, “the foundations of the mountains.”  This change that is going to be felt starts with the Tribulation and builds up until the “great white throne”.  Over a thousand years will pass in that time.  Joel is the first of the Minor Prophets to broach the subject, Joel 2:28-32.  An interesting side note here is that in the Hebrew Bible these five verses are their own chapter; where in our Bible they are simply an extension of the second chapter.  So, there are two ways to look at it, either Joel is speaking of the end of the Tribulation going into the Millennial reign of Christ or that time just after when Heaven comes down to earth “wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat” and we all subsequently enter the eternal phase of Heaven.  The part I would like to focus on is that phrase “the great and the terrible day” because it reaches into both time periods.  Now, before we get to the point we are going to make, we must dispel the error certain denominations intentionally make with these verses.  The average Pentecostal and Charismatic levy the claim that this prophecy was fulfilled at “Pentecost” in Acts chapter two when the Apostle Peter quotes it.  There are numerous problems with that; starting with, Peter never said it was a fulfillment of prophecy.  You have to read the chapter to get the whole picture but the reason what Joel said even comes up is because of the “mocking” that some of the Jews in attendance there on the day of Pentecost were doing.  They were mocking because certain men “began to speak with other tongues”, which they of course were ignorant of, just like any of us are ignorant when it comes to speaking and understanding a foreign language.  “These men are full new wine”, they sarcastically scoff about these “devout men”.  But Peter compelled, “lifted up his voice” in rebuke.  He doesn’t say that what they are experiencing is the fulfillment of prophecy, just that it is a foreshadowing of things to come.  Dr. Luke is who God used to pen this book and seven times the Spirit led him to say when something was “fulfilled” and this was not one of them.  So, for them to use this as a justification for their practices is disingenuous.  But then there is the issue of who and why they were there in the first place.  First of all, there were no Gentiles here; we know this because “Pentecost” is the “feast of weeks” for the Jew.  That is why there were there to begin with.  What did that prophecy say again?  “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh”.  They estimate that the world’s population around the time of Christ was about two hundred million, we know that “the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls”, to say there might have been a thousand believers at that point is optimistic at best; all told there is no way that is the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, especially when you take into consideration all the promises that accompany it that other prophets speak of.

            While what they experienced in Acts was only a foretaste of Joel chapter two, Daniel 7:9-10 speaks of its culmination.  Daniel says that he saw “thrones… cast down”, you need the NT to complete the context of that.  From this you might conclude that kings are unseated ans kingdoms overthrown but you would be wrong.  Remember, after a thousand years of unprecedented peace and prosperity on the earth, after Satan’s unprecedented thousand year incarceration, for one last time the earth experiences upheaval; for one last time Satan rebels.  It says “cast” because the judgment is swift, God’s “longsuffering” has come to an end.  OT prophets knew that God was going to reach out to the Gentiles somehow, at some point, but the Church Age greatly exceeded any ideas they ever had.  We know that God has a throne in Heaven but it says “thrones” and this is why you need the NT to put it in the proper context.  In Revelation 4:1-4 John the Apostle sees the more completed picture.  Like John, Daniel was seeing the early stages of God’s impending judgment.  Daniel’s vision is of the audience at large, while John’s is more focused on the judgment bench itself.  Daniels says, “and the books were opened”; John witnessed this too in Revelation 20:11-12.  The Apostle says that the “dead” are going to be “judged out of those things which were written in the books”.  The saved get mercy but those that have rejected Christ or have never heard get justice.  But it is a justice based “according to their own works.”  Romans 1:20 & 2:14-16  Without Christ you become a material witness against yourself and it is your own “conscience” or lack thereof as well as your own “thoughts” that testify against you.

            If anything, the book of Revelation is a reference book to what Joel called “the great and the terrible day”.  Turn your attention back to that twentieth chapter of Revelation for a moment.  John says, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God”.  First, who are these people?  The twelfth verse just calls them the “small and great” but that next verse explains further.  Our first cue is “the sea”, which can literally be taken as the actual sea or if you hold to biblical symbolism is symbolic for the whole of humanity.  Aren’t “death and hell” the same thing?  Well, not everyone to be judged will be dead.  Hell here is Hades or taken generally where the dead go but those who are alive, who participate in Satan’s second failed rebellion, will have one thing in common placing them in death’s grip; they will have all rejected Christ.  So, all the people not covered by the blood from the Fall to the Crucifixion, from the Crucifixion to the Rapture, from the Rapture through the Tribulation and those alive at the end of the thousand years will “stand before God” to be judged.  The second thing that is important for all to see is just that, they “stand”.  This is not a trial, there are no acquittals here; they “stand” to be sentenced.  Many think they are just going to tell God “like it was” but when that day comes they will “stand” silent, in perfect agreement with God over their guilt.

            Before “the great and terrible day of the LORD come”, “the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption”.  Back in Revelation we were talking about the “great white throne” judgment but just before that event the change that God initiated close to a millennia prior to this takes full effect.  Revelation 20:9 & 11  A “fire came down from God out of heaven”, and “the earth and the heaven fled away” because of it.  I don’t think that there is any way that this couldn’t be the Shekinah glory of God in some manner.  I say that because when the air cleared all John saw was “a great white throne, and him that sat on it”.  That’s all he saw because “there was no place found for them.”  What does he mean by that?  Let’s let II Peter 3:10-12 fill in the blanks.  Peter says that the earth and “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat”; he goes on to say that “the heavens” themselves will be “on fire”.  You can imagine that for John to see this it must have been like watching the sun explode, times a million.  That kind of heat really will melt the elements.  Twice Peter says something that I think relates to OT prophecy of this time.  See that word “dissolved”?  He uses it in the sense that it gets used in the business world.  In business when you dissolve something you terminate it, it ceases to exist.  When that fire comes “down from God out of heaven” our universe and everything in it, along with Satan and his demonic horde will be “devoured”.  Isaiah foretold this same thing.  Isaiah 34:4  The “host of heaven” there is referring to the stars, they will simply cease to exist.  God’s wrath over Man’s persistent disobedience and Satan’s continuous rebellion is so great it snuffs out every star in the sky.  Is it any wonder Joel calls it “the great and the terrible day of the LORD”?

            While it is Satan and his fallen counterparts that are ultimately responsible for and will feel the full weight of this “day”, Man will not be allowed to simply skate on by.  Our bibles are emphatic on that.  How churches teach a “God is love” hippie like message is beyond me.  But that is exactly what more and more of them do.  Let me assure you, God is no hippie.  Even though Jesus gets portrayed as one on a daily basis, His words couldn’t be more contrary.  Matthew 23:14  That “damnation” He speaks of is the opposite of love, it is judgment.  But doesn’t that negate John 3:16-18?  No!  Yes, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Yes, “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world”.  But don’t stop there because if you do you miss the other half of it.  Yes, “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world”, the first time but that doesn’t hold true for the second.  The rest of that verse goes on to say “that the world through him might be saved.”  There are two things there.  One, the only reason the world would need to “saved” is if something was going to happen to it, that something is what we studied in Isaiah, II Peter and Revelation.  Two, Jesus said “might be saved”, He said that because He leaves the decision up to you.  Without you ever having to ask:  He left the riches of Heaven above, to come to the earth beneath, suffered, bled and died on the cross to pay the penalty of sin for you.  And all He asks in return is that you believe “in him” and what He did for you.  God isn't asking us to do the impossible, He isn't asking us to change the world or even change ourselves; all He desires is your faith in Him.  And once you begin to believe you'll find the most amazing things begin to happen:  the impossible becomes possible, the world you live in changes, you change.  “He that believeth on him is not condemned”, God the Son says in an over joyous expression of love.  But “he that believeth not is condemned already”.

            What might that condemnation look like?  In Matthew 11:20-24 Jesus gives us a sense.  You remember that we said that Judas just might have his very own special place in Hell?  Well, according to what Jesus just said, Judas might not be only one.  In Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus, if you remember, the rich man seemed to be isolated too.  But here that notion gets taken farther; here it would appear that there are going to be different levels of judgment or degrees of punishment for the wicked, based “according to their works”.  We can only surmise as to the details of such things but one thing is for certain; whatever levels or degrees of Hell there are, they won’t be pleasant.  Revelation 20:14-15  Here is a question.  Is “the lake of fire” in the OT?  A reference that certainly sounds close can be found back in Isaiah, Isaiah 34:8-10.  The word “pitch” refers to a thick, black, tarlike substance.  In the ancient world they used to set the stuff on fire and use it like our modern-day napalm.  It says that this “burning pitch… shall not be quenched” and that “the smoke thereof shall go up forever”.  It says there will be “streams” of the stuff.  You tell me what that sounds like.  It sounds like Isaiah is describing Revelation’s “lake of fire”.  Ancient Jews even had a theory as to where “the lake of fire” was going to be, the Dead Sea.  The Dead Sea sits on the Jordan Rift, a major fault line that runs down into Africa.  Fault lines are places of increased seismic and volcanic activity.  In our day activity around that area has been nominal but that hasn’t always been the case.  Reports of geothermal energy being released there go back for thousands of years.  With the Dead Sea being at an estimated 1,300 feet below sea level, plus another 1,300 feet at its deepest point, it is significantly closer to the molten layer of the earth.  As a result of that, naturally occurring asphalt, or bitumen, or “pitch” as it is called in the Bible floats to the surface from far beneath the earth.  Like Native Americans did with the oil that seeped out of the ground, inhabitants of the area found a variety of uses for the stuff.  For one, it would burn being in part petroleum.  In past eras, “pitch” regularly surfaced on the Dead Sea; so regularly in fact it became an industry.  One could imagine what would happen it lightning every struck.  The entire lake would have been set ablaze.  To the primitive inhabitants at this time in history, how terrifying it must have been to see a “lake which burneth with fire and brimstone”.  Perhaps this is something Isaiah himself had even seen.

            “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.”  And with that is the last mention in our Bible of “the great dragon… that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan”.  But is that all the Bible has to tell us about what happen to him “which deceiveth the whole world”?  As much destruction as he caused it would be nice to be let in on some of the details of his long awaited demise.  As it happens, two particular OT prophets deliver, Isaiah and Ezekiel.  We’ll start with Isaiah first.  Isaiah 14:12-15  The majority of this chapter is dedicated to the punishment Satan duly deserves but these particular verses include a detail that I think Ezekiel picks up on.  Satan wants to “be like the most High.”  But there is no being like God, by definition of the name and title of God is unequalled.  Satan’s desire was to “exalt my throne above the stars of God… ascend above the heights of the clouds”.  Why is it then that it says that when Satan is finally “brought down to hell” he’s not going to be put in the very bowels of the place, like you’d expect, but rather the “sides of the pit”?  I think it goes back to the idea that all those in Hell are going to have their own special place, their own unique Hell.  For Satan I think that means his Hell is going to be spent in a showcase of sorts.  You certainly get that idea when you read this chapter in its entirety.  But add what Ezekiel has to say to it and a disturbingly vivid picture begins to come into focus.  Look at Ezekiel 28:19.  God is speaking and the audience to which He speaks is very small, at times in this chapter it is clear that there is only one individual His words are directed towards.  He says, “thou shalt be a terror”; that’s the third time He has said that in as many chapters, going back to the twenty-sixth chapter.  What does God mean by that; is Satan just going to be allowed to be the king of Hell?  I believe that several verses prior to this God clues us in on some the details of what exactly is going to be Satan’s punishment.  Ezekiel 28:8-10  “Thou shalt die the deaths”, twice he says that and in the last use of it He throws in “of the uncircumcised”; that intimates that he will be afforded no dignity despite his once lauded position in Heaven.  But what does “die the deaths” mean?  Notice God’s first use of that phrase is accompanied by “of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.”  Do you remember what we said the “sea” was symbolic for in the Bible?  It is symbolic of the entire human race.  So, let’s put it together.  If Satan is going to “die the deaths” of the entire human race, might it mean that for eternity Satan will be cursed to suffer every disease, every disorder, endure every kind of injury, stomach every kind of unfulfilled lustful desire, all of which he is responsible for, and have an audience taunt him every step of the way?

            The revelation that there is a Hell brings out one of Man’s greatest flaws, his sense of self-worth.  You see it in our day more than any other time; to speak of Hell as a consequence of our actions is considered to be in poor taste.  After all, everyone deserves a trophy, regardless of just how much they put in to it.  Man has invented countless theologies to protect his delicate sense of self-worth.  The one that is most prevalent among world religions these days is something called “Universalism”.  Simply put universalism is the “All Dogs Go To Heaven” approach.  Some of us may get there a little quicker than others but we will all eventually make it.  Liberal Christian subscribers of this false doctrine site a whole slew of verses to lend weight to what they try and read into Scripture:  Romans 5:18, I Corinthians 15:22, Ephesians 1:10, Colossians 1:20.  The problem with those verses is the way they contextualize the word “all”.  Contrary to its use, “all” is not inclusive it is exclusive.  Meaning, “all” only applies to those who accept Christ.  In order for their argument to stand it must stand in “all” cases but let me give you just a few in which it doesn’t.  Matthew 3:5-6 & John 3:26, something tells me that if “all the region” had accepted Christ, then crucifixion day would have went down a little bit differently.  Another reason you can’t contextualize “all” the way a universalist does is in Luke 2:1.  While the Roman Empire was large, it hardly constituted “all the world”.  And then there is the issue of, if “all” eventually make it to Heaven then it must mean all eventually gets forgiven, the Bible never says that happens.  Are we to believe that Hell just burns out at some point?  There are certainly false theologies out there that teach it but what you are more likely to run into is something called “Annihilationism”.  The short explanation is that God’s final judgment, “the lake of fire”, will completely “destroy both soul and body”, Matthew 10:28.  Aside from the numerous verses that clearly say otherwise, the annihilationist’s view only holds up in this one verse and only in English.  In the original Greek that word “destroy” means to be put aside, separated.

            Spin it how you want; Hell is real, the Bible says so.  Let’s tackle one last topic.  What makes Hell, Hell?  Well, the answer to that question is tied into the answer to the next.  How is Heaven, Heaven, when God, the angles and everyone else there is aware of Hell?  The answer that entwines the two is given early on in Genesis.  Genesis 1:27  One of God’s greatest blessings on Charles Spurgeon was his mother.  She was a fundamental believer and unapologetically so.  Spurgeon once told the story of his mother’s witness to him; he said she told him “that if I perished in Hell, she would have to say Amen to my condemnation.”  Spurgeon himself said “it sounded awful” but he “knew it was true”.  Now, what is it exactly that she knew?  She knew what being “created… in the image of God” meant.  She knew that “there is none good but one, that is God”; that every “good gift… is from above”.  Being “created… in the image of God” means we share in that goodness.  “God is love”, we share in that.  So, how is it a mother could tell her child that if he went to Hell, not only would she be Okay with it, she’d agree with it?  Going to Hell means that a person has rejected any semblance of God in their life.  Not one to impose, God grants them total liberation from all things that tie them to Him, a complete separation.  But here is what that means, since God is love and that love is a “gift… from the Father of lights”, who they continuously denounce over the course of their lifetimes, God renounces all pursuit of them.  His “image” is withdrawn from them.  “God is” what again?  “God is love”.  Everything that was ever loved about them ceases to be.  That is what Spurgeon’s mother knew and how she could tell him that if he went to Hell she couldn’t feel sorry for him.  Just look at the parable of the rich and Lazarus; Abraham doesn’t exactly appear to a whole of sympathy towards the rich man.  What will make Hell, Hell?  For sure it will be the flame and the torment it brings but that just might be the least of it.  How about the thought that something like Heaven can go on but without you?  The feeling of not being included is one of the worst feelings there is.  99% of all acts of suicide trace back that right there.  I think it literally hurts to be without God.  To have part of your very being torn out; an injury from which you can never heal.  In all of Hell, I think that will be the most painful.