What is hell? What does the Bible say about hell?

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We've all heard stories of people who have travelled to heaven and/or hell and back to tell the tale to the world. I, for one, am not one to believe such stories right away, but I do know that I don't need to be "toured" around hell to know enough to not want to go there.

In the New Testament alone, hell is referred to a total of 162 times. God has given us enough education about the torment that is in hell, the people who go there and how we can avoid the pits of it.

While, as Christians, we don't really focus on hell as much because we know that when we abide in Jesus it is not part of our destiny anymore, it is good to have a healthy view of hell for two reasons: to know what we must save our non-believing loved ones from and to further appreciate God's love and grace by knowing what Christ has saved us from.

What does the Bible tell us about hell?

Hell is not God's choice

Galatians 6:8 tells us "For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." God does not willingly throw people into hell just because He wants to, but because it is the choice of those who are destined to be there.

God has made it clear that we can either choose to live with Him now and forever, or be doomed to be separated from Him forever. Sadly, many people still choose to live lives separate from God, and there's no one else responsible for that choice except themselves.

Hell goes on forever

Hell will not last a thousand years or a million years. It will be for all eternity. It's daunting to know that we only have a hundred years or less to make a decision that will affect our eternity, but God makes it simple: We are only to believe in Him, period. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 says, "They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might."

Hell is not just physical torment, but spiritual torment

Although the Bible paints a picture of hell by narrating physical torment, the punishment of hell is far more painful than that. Matthew 10:28 tells us, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

Hell is where God's grace is absent

The greatest punishment is not the presence of pain and suffering, but the absence of God's love and mercy. Today, everyone still has a taste of that love and grace in one way or another, but those who will fall into eternal fire will no longer experience that love and grace one day.

John 3:36 says, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him."