Monday, February 15, 2010

18 Passages From The Bible That Say Hell Is Real and Sinners Go There.

Below are eighteen passages that talk about Hell as if it is a real place that sinners are sent to.
Mark 9:43-44, If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire,

Matthew 10:28, And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 13:41-42, The Son of man (Jesus) shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 18:8, 9 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 feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Matthew 22:13, ...Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25:41 (Jesus speaking to people at final judgment), ...Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

Matthew 25:46, And these shall go away into EVERLASTING punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Luke 12:5, 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.

A parable told by the Jesus in Luke 16:19-31:
19. There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 
20. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

21. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: 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.

29. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

30. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

31. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

II Thessalonians 1:9 Who shall be punished with EVERLASTING destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

Revelation 14:11, And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night...

Revelation 20:12, 15, And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life...And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:8, 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.

Isaiah 66:24, And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be abhorring unto all flesh.

Isaiah 14:9-15 (referring to Lucifer), Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee...all they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee...thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Jude 7, Sodom and Gomorrha...are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Psalm 9:17, The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

Daniel 12:2, 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.


Matt K said...

(I am also posting this over at Reflective Faith because it ended up being a rather lengthy response, as you can see from the fact that I had to break it into two comments:-))

When we look at passages in the Bible dealing with hell, we need to be careful because so much of our mental imagery of hell owes more to popular culture and Dante than to anything found in the Bible. We need to be careful not to take these passages out of context and meaning (something that Christians have probably been more guilty of than any other).

The Old Testament word that sometimes get rendered "hell" is "Sheol" which is sometimes rendered "Hades" which is simply the place of the dead. The Old Testament is largely silent on what this is like and often implies that is the destination of everyone, good or wicked.

The New Testament word rendered hell is "gehenna" and this refers to an actual physical location: the valley of Hinnom. To take the entry from Funk and Wagnall's New World Encyclopedia:

"GEHENNA (Gr. Geenna; Heb. Ge Hinnom), Valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem, where Solomon, king of Israel, built “an high place,” or place of worship, for the gods Chemosh and Moloch, according to 1 Kings 11:7. Because some of the Israelites are supposed to have sacrificed their children to Moloch there (see 2 Kings 23:10), the valley came to be regarded as a place of abomination. In a later period it was made a refuse dump, and perpetual fires were maintained there to prevent pestilence. Thus, in the New Testament, Gehenna became synonymous with hell."

Also, a similar summary can be found in the Wikipedia entry on Gehenna which also contains a helpful list of the occurrences of this word in the New Testament (12 times total, and only once outside of the Synoptic Gospels).

N.T. Wright has some interesting thoughts in his recent book Surprised by Hope on Gehenna/hell that bear quoting at length:

"The point is that when Jesus was warning his hearers about Gehenna, he was not as a general rule, telling that them unless they repented in this life they would burn in the next one. As with God's kingdom, so with its opposite: it is on earth that things matter, not somewhere else. His message to his contemporaries was stark and (as we would say today) political. Unless they turned back from their hopeless and rebellious dreams of establishing God's kingdom in their own terms, not least through armed revolt against Rome, then the Roman juggernaut would do what large, greedy, and ruthless empires have always done to smaller countries . . . It is there only by extension, and with difficulty that we can extrapolate from the many gospel sayings that articulate this urgent, immediate warning to a deeper question of a warning about what may happen after death. The two parables that appear to address this question directly are, we should remember, parables, not actual descriptions of the afterlife. They use stock imagery from ancient Judaism, such as "Abraham's bosom," not to teach about what happens after death but to insist on justice and mercy within the present life. This is not to say that Jesus would have dissented from their implied picture of postmortem realities. It is, rather, to point out that to take the scene of Abraham, the Rich Man, and Lazarus literally is about as sensible as trying to find out the name of the Prodigal Son." (176-177).

Matt K said...

As Wright alludes to, it is interesting to note that most of Jesus' sayings involving Gehenna are when he is talking with his disciples. If hell was such a pressing matter, then one would think Jesus might have included it more often in his more public teachings. The centrality of the kingdom of God to Jesus' mission and message should never be forgotten when we consider the words of Jesus.

This does not mean that there is no judgment or consequences for those who choose to live in wickedness through their dehumanizing behavior. I think there is much to C.S. Lewis' famous observation that if the doors of hell are locked, it is from the inside. However, we need to realize how little focus on hell (or heaven for that matter) Jesus provides in his teachings, and the danger of trying to read too much of anything into the passages. The word "hell" is full of all sorts of connotations and implications, and it takes some work to try to peel these accretions away and go back once more to the world of Sheol and Gehenna.

Rick Lannoye said...

Actually, there are only 2 passages (which each use the Greek word HADES twice) that were translated by the King James Version into "Hell," placing it on Jesus' lips.

But to say "Hell is in the Bible" is NOT the same as saying "Jesus said there is a Hell." The fact is that Jesus' original teachings make it impossible for Hell to exist! So, not surprisingly, those who latch onto the "Hell" passages take everything else Jesus taught and twist their meanings inside out. To put it another way, if you believe in Hell, you have to reject Jesus!

I've actually written an entire book on this topic--Hell? No! Why You Can Be Certain There's No Such Place As Hell, (for anyone interested, you can get a free ecopy of Did Jesus Believe in Hell?, one of the most compelling chapters in my book at, but if I may, let me share one of the many points I make in it to explain why.

If one is willing to look, there's substantial evidence contained in the gospels to show that Jesus opposed the idea of Hell. For example, in Luke 9:51-56, is a story about his great disappointment with his disciples when they actually suggested imploring God to rain FIRE on a village just because they had rejected him. His response: "You don't know what spirit is inspiring this kind of talk!" Presumably, it was NOT the Holy Spirit. He went on, trying to explain how he had come to save, heal and relieve suffering, not be the CAUSE of it.

So it only stands to reason that this same Jesus, who was appalled at the very idea of burning a few people, for a few horrific minutes until they were dead, could never, ever burn BILLIONS of people for an ETERNITY!

True, there are a few statements that made their way into the copies of copies of copies of the gospel texts which place “Hell” on Jesus’ lips, but these adulterations came along many decades after his death, most likely due to the Church filling up with Greeks who imported their belief in Hades with them when they converted.

Bear in mind that the historical Protestant doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures applies only to the original autographs, not the copies. But sadly, the interpolations that made their way into those copies have provided a convenient excuse for a lot of people to get around following Jesus’ real message.

Logan Cres said...

Hi rick,
glad you could join us and I hope you'll stick around to contribute.

You evidently agree with Matt that Hell isn't real.
But in my view, a layperson, picking up the bible and just simply reading it, would never get the impression that hell isn't real.
would you agree?

Logan Cres said...

One more thing Rick, how are you qualified to overturn so much previous scholarship on the reality of hell?
The Catholic Encyclopedia has nice article on hell but it is a bit ambiguous on the "lake of fire" bits.

Logan Cres said...

After a review in the context of Gehenna being a place south of jerusalem,
some of the passages, such as this one

"Matthew 18:8, 9 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 feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire."

doesn't seem to make any sense.

Matt K said...

Rick, I'm a little concerned about the absence of any citations in your sample chapter. I'd like to know how you arrived at your conclusions.


I think Jesus is using Gehenna (the place) as a metaphor for judgment. I am not saying that there is not necessarily such a place/thing/state of being as "hell." My point is that whatever such a thing may be, it is hard to discern much about from the New Testament and the words of Jesus. It would be difficult to deny that the Bible denies some form of judgment. I am just trying to show that it isn't necessarily 'hell' as it is popularly conceived as a place of fire, torment, torture, etc.

Logan Cres said...

but isn't there a strong correlation between the passages I listed and popular culture?

wouldn't it be reasonable to infer that popular culture got its conception from those passages?