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Is Hell just separation from God or a place of horrendous eternal punishment as the Bible states?

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Today we have two predominant Christian viewpoints on hell. One is the horrendous traditional Biblical view and the other a modern more merciful form of Hell. Which one is correct? The Traditional one is that Hell (Gehenna) is the second death and a place of fiery torment and weeping and gnashing of teeth. Ten thousand centuries will come and go, and not one day in Hell will have ended. In the amount of time it takes a new universe to expand and collapse, not a single evening in the furnace of Hell will have gone by.

In Hell, you’ll have nothing to do, and nothing to think about except your rebellious past and how you rejected your Creator, Lord and Saviour. In addition to all the unceasing and unspeakable pain you’ll be feeling, you will have the added despair of knowing that the life you lived in the flesh was completely in vain. You will be fully conscious and awake to experience a nightmare above any nightmare you ever experienced while alive. And just when you think you can’t take anymore, an eternity of suffering awaits you still.

Revelation 21:8 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death.”

Matthew 13:50 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Mark 9:43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.

Jude 1:7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

Matthew 25:41 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Revelation 19:20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur.

In the future, when God judges the wicked angels along with evil humanity, then hell, (Gehenna) will become inhabited. At the moment Hell is empty. Of course for obvious reason this view is losing out in popularity. You can attend some churches for thirty years and not hear a peep about Hell. People are ashamed of this merciless idea. They are ready for something new, for what modern theologians think is a better take on Hell. They are championing the acceptance of what they consider to be a more merciful form of Gehenna, one that is more easily seen as being in tune with a warm and loving Jesus with outstretched arms of comfort and care.


We are being told by the new Christians to just forget what every unrefined Roman Catholic, Baptist, or Pentecostal preacher ever told you about Hell. Hell is not the polar opposite of heaven. It is just absence from God. The fires of Hell are figurative, and so is the actual suffering experienced. They are not really real. The suffering experienced in hell is just suffering in the mind (in the spirit mind) of a deceased unbeliever. As he passed into eternity, his body died while his spirit (and therefore consciousness) lived on, but now his soul was separated from God into the “blackness of darkness” of the absence of the Almighty (Jude 1:13).


It is as if Christians today are embarrassed about biblical hell.
 
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Well -- the belief seems to be that a loving God would Not send Anyone to a place as bad as hell supposedly Is. And God's Word says that 'He' would that No one would end up there. But He Also knows who Will and who will Not accept His only way Of salvation From eternal hell.

But God does Not 'send' anyone To hell. In fact, He's told us about how to Avoid hell and be able to Be in heaven.

And there Are those who think that Just absence From God's presence really might not be all That bad. But they Don't seem to realize that 'this' light we Do enjoy is From God. He created the sun, moon and stars to provide us with light during both day and night. Its Also true that daylight gives Far more light than the moon / stars. But the point Being that without God's presence -- there will be Total Darkness. If a person has ever experienced Total darkness --I have -- a couple of times -- can't see your hand in front of your face. Not fun.

In Most situations -- our eyes Do gradually adjust to darkness and we Can see some outlines of stuff around us. And gradually there does come sunlight. But Scripture says it won't be like that. Total darkness -- nashing of teeth takes place. And worse, yet. All of a sudden we'll realize that satan DECEIVED us. Satan wants us to think that without God to bother sinners -- they will all be together having a good old time. All the partying they want. Will 'they' even realize that satan is also there? Suffering right along with them?

And it has been suggested that there will be degrees of hell. The really horrible people will be suffering Most. While those who only have told a white lie or two --maybe the agnostic -- the Nicer non-acceptors won't have it too bad. So - instead of accepting Jesus Christ' salvation -- they'll simply survive hell for eternity. But, it's probably Better to Not wait until a person Finds themselves there and Not be able to 'get out' and wishes they Had listened to those 'pesky' Christians who Tried to warn them. And decide To listen NOW.

And, yes, pastors are being Paid By congregations who don't want to hear about something as unpleasant as hell. so -- what Does a person Do?! We get bold and share the Gospel unto Salvation. And Hopefully, 'they' will see our good attitudes and love and compassion and will be attracted to Christ / God through Us. And that's really how it's Supposed to be, isn't it?!
 
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Well -- the belief seems to be that a loving God would Not send Anyone to a place as bad as hell supposedly Is. And God's Word says that 'He' would that No one would end up there. But He Also knows who Will and who will Not accept His only way Of salvation From eternal hell.

But God does Not 'send' anyone To hell. In fact, He's told us about how to Avoid hell and be able to Be in heaven.

And there Are those who think that Just absence From God's presence really might not be all That bad. But they Don't seem to realize that 'this' light we Do enjoy is From God. He created the sun, moon and stars to provide us with light during both day and night. Its Also true that daylight gives Far more light than the moon / stars. But the point Being that without God's presence -- there will be Total Darkness. If a person has ever experienced Total darkness --I have -- a couple of times -- can't see your hand in front of your face. Not fun.

In Most situations -- our eyes Do gradually adjust to darkness and we Can see some outlines of stuff around us. And gradually there does come sunlight. But Scripture says it won't be like that. Total darkness -- nashing of teeth takes place. And worse, yet. All of a sudden we'll realize that satan DECEIVED us. Satan wants us to think that without God to bother sinners -- they will all be together having a good old time. All the partying they want. Will 'they' even realize that satan is also there? Suffering right along with them?

And it has been suggested that there will be degrees of hell. The really horrible people will be suffering Most. While those who only have told a white lie or two --maybe the agnostic -- the Nicer non-acceptors won't have it too bad. So - instead of accepting Jesus Christ' salvation -- they'll simply survive hell for eternity. But, it's probably Better to Not wait until a person Finds themselves there and Not be able to 'get out' and wishes they Had listened to those 'pesky' Christians who Tried to warn them. And decide To listen NOW.

And, yes, pastors are being Paid By congregations who don't want to hear about something as unpleasant as hell. so -- what Does a person Do?! We get bold and share the Gospel unto Salvation. And Hopefully, 'they' will see our good attitudes and love and compassion and will be attracted to Christ / God through Us. And that's really how it's Supposed to be, isn't it?!
Billy Graham didn't mince words about hell, but always sandwiched that with the love of God for all sinners, but not tolerant of their sin. I was just re-reading some of his books since his funeral, Most humans do live a whole life devoid of God. No Christ for them anywhere if Jesus isn't introduced to them. I got from that there's a world of people being conditioned to realize, once they enter hell, that they have been there all along in "degrees" of suffering, and will know what all God did to divert them.

Many pastors rarely have anyone in the congregation they think are not born again, so don't feed them chaos. Now if a new son-in-law is visiting, that's maybe a time to revive hellfire and damnation sermons.

It appears rare these days that street ministers have to do the "God is Coming, with HELL for U" poster thing, as most hearing already know Christianity mostly seems to proclaim to the lost according to that sentence upon unbelievers. What crowds are not used to is a Christian loving them regardless of appearance, race, or behavior. They are accustomed to being judged, but not to being loved.

The lost are already separated, but have opportunity to be reconciled.

Reconcile them with the gospel of reconciliation in Christ Jesus. They are not yet in the physical Hell, so do what you can to divert them to the Kingdom of God now while they can decide.

Good OP!
 
Active
I'm all for taking the Biblical view seriously. But the descriptions in the OP do not match the scriptures quoted. Much more careful work needs to be done before proclaiming something as the 'biblical' view.
 
Active
I've never sensed the Church is "embarrassed" over the reality of Hell. It is what the Bible declares it is. ASnythihng else is an abuse of the imagination of man, which if not anchored to truth, is folly. It is no less a terrible place than scriptures describe, so bad a literal take of the scriptures can't fully reveal it's horror. We do know the mouth of hell is being enlarged for a troubling influx of reservations set by future occupants.
 
Active
Dovegiven --and How would 'we' know that. Specifically your very last sentence.

God has given us His Scripture so we Can know enough about hell to want to avoid it's horror. For those who take God's Word seriously.
 
Loyal
Isa 5:14; Therefore Sheol has enlarged its throat and opened its mouth without measure; And Jerusalem's splendor, her multitude, her din of revelry and the jubilant within her, descend into it.

Generally this passage is taken to mean hell is getting bigger. But not everyone takes it that way.
 
Active
Dovegiven --and How would 'we' know that. Specifically your very last sentence.

God has given us His Scripture so we Can know enough about hell to want to avoid it's horror. For those who take God's Word seriously.
Isa 5:14; Therefore Sheol has enlarged its throat and opened its mouth without measure; And Jerusalem's splendor, her multitude, her din of revelry and the jubilant within her, descend into it.

Generally this passage is taken to mean hell is getting bigger. But not everyone takes it that way.
Another view is that while Hell is not likely to change in width, height, or depth, (like how the New Jerusalem city is finite by particular measure, able to take in however many will accept the invitation), the place of punishment will have to swallow up far more people than necessary. It willl apparently be more crowded than mankind would suspect. I see it as how a large rattlesnake can expand it's jaws to swallow a squirrel. Once swallowed, the snake's head returns to normal. That was God's chosen nation!

A little more (a prophecy) on Hell:
[COLOR=rgb(41, 105, 176)]Isaiah 5:11-21 (KJV)
11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!
12 And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands.
13 Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.
14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.
15 And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:
16 But the LORD of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness.
17 Then shall the lambs feed after their manner, and the waste places of the fat ones shall strangers eat.
18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope:
19 That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!
20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! [/COLOR]
 
Loyal
The New Jerusalem does indeed have physical measurements...

Rev 21:10; And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
Rev 21:11; having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.
Rev 21:12; It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.
Rev 21:13; There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.
Rev 21:14; And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Rev 21:15; The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall.
Rev 21:16; The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and [COLOR=orange] he measured the city with the rod,[/COLOR] fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal.
Rev 21:17; And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, [COLOR=orange] according to human measurements, [/COLOR] which are also angelic measurements.

However given how much of the earth's surface is covered with water currently, and the height of the New Jerusalem ( approx 1,450 miles) or about 3,375,000,000 cubic miles.

All of the continents together (not counting Antartica) would be around 55,000,000 square miles.
 
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The first century rabbinic view of Gehenna seems similar to the later Catholic doctrine of Purgatory:
(a) The ancient Jewish sages apply a saying of rabbi Jose ben Johanan of Jerusalem from the 2nd century BC to a postmortem Gehenna (M. Aboth 1:5).
(b) Rabbi Akiba began his rabbinic studies around 75 AD and was born prior the Jewish revolt in 66-70 AD: He teaches that Gehenna is a postmortem Hell to which the unrighteous are confined for 12 months: “The judgment of the unrighteous in Gehenna shall endure 12 months (M. Eduyoth 2:10).”

Jesus' view of Gehenna is also similar to Purgatory because His view of Gehenna must be understood as akin to a debtor's prison, from which it is possible to gain release. In His parable of the 2 debtors, Jesus uses a prison as an image of Hell, as is common is the Judaism of late antiquity: "Then in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured UNTIL HE WOULD PAY ALL HIS DEBT (Matthew 18:34)." The implication is that the debt of sin can potentially be either expiated through suffering or paid through subjection to a purifying fire. Thus, Jesus uses finite imagery to depict a limited sojourn in Gehenna for many: "The servant who did not know [any better], but did what deserved a beating shall be beaten with few stripes. "For rom everyone to whom much has been given much will be required (Luke 12:48).." The image of "few stripes" implies a limited duration and hence ultimate release.
Jesus' use of "aionios" (generally translated "eternal") to depict the duration of postmortem punishment is the major obstacle to my claim that Jesus basically embraces a rabbinic-like view of Gehenna. But this obstacle loses its force once it is recognized that both in Greek (aionios) and Hebrew (olam) often translated "eternal" om fact need only mean "for a long time."
 
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Isa 5:14; Therefore Sheol has enlarged its throat and opened its mouth without measure; And Jerusalem's splendor, her multitude, her din of revelry and the jubilant within her, descend into it.

Generally this passage is taken to mean hell is getting bigger. But not everyone takes it that way.
Sheol should not be translated 'hell'. It is a shadowy dark place after death for both the righteous and wicked.

A better way to render this phrase would be 'the grave has opened her mouth wide' - lots of people will die.
 
Loyal
Sheol should not be translated 'hell'. It is a shadowy dark place after death for both the righteous and wicked.
This has been a subject of much debate here on TJ by some. Do the righteous still go to Sheol? (Paradise/Abaraham's Bosom)

Also I think the title of this thread is slightly wrong :smile: Hell is a temporary place. Not where people are tortured eternally.
But eventually hell (the people within) get thrown into the Lake of Fire. The Lake of Fire is the place where the "eternal" torment happens.
(This isn't to say hell is a country club)

Rev 20:14; Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
Rev 20:15; And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
 
Active
This has been a subject of much debate here on TJ by some. Do the righteous still go to Sheol? (Paradise/Abaraham's Bosom)
That could be a nice quick debate: in Genesis 37:35 Jacob expects to be in Sheol with Joseph. Yes, the righteous and unrighteous go to Sheol. I can't think of anyone who expected anything different.
 
Active
But He Also knows who Will and who will Not accept His only way Of salvation From eternal hell.
No He does not. He gives us free will. You don't believe in free will? Bring some scripture and evidence please. More then the cherry picked line of '''God is omniscient''. You can't define God with one word especially when that word points to wickedness / partiality / cherry picking people for heaven and hell. Wicked wicked wicked.
But God does Not 'send' anyone To hell. In fact, He's told us about how to Avoid hell and be able to Be in heaven.
Your two line are so contradictory.
 
Active
Is Hell just separation from God or a place of horrendous eternal punishment as the Bible states?
Hell will be a place of 1. an initial punishment according to your sin and then 2. a punishment of eternal separation because you are sold out to sin.

1. God's does not change Mal 3:6. His judgement on the wicked will at worst return to what it was under the Mosaic law. Exo 21:23-25 [COLOR=rgb(243, 121, 52)]But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.[/COLOR]

We know that punishments will differ from person to person. Many verses speak to this. One popular example is in Matt 10:14-15 [COLOR=rgb(243, 121, 52)]And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city[/COLOR].

2. Eternal separation Dan 12:2 [COLOR=rgb(243, 121, 52)]Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.[/COLOR]
 
Loyal
Top Poster Of Month
Hell will be a place of 1. an initial punishment according to your sin and then 2. a punishment of eternal separation because you are sold out to sin.

1. God's does not change Mal 3:6. His judgement on the wicked will at worst return to what it was under the Mosaic law. Exo 21:23-25 [COLOR=rgb(243, 121, 52)]But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.[/COLOR]

We know that punishments will differ from person to person. Many verses speak to this. One popular example is in Matt 10:14-15 [COLOR=rgb(243, 121, 52)]And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city[/COLOR].

2. Eternal separation Dan 12:2 [COLOR=rgb(243, 121, 52)]Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.[/COLOR]
So you're saying that hell is simply separation from God? I'm sorry I find this post a bit vague...Could be I'm just too busy between my ears right now....
 
Active
Today we have two predominant Christian viewpoints on hell. One is the horrendous traditional Biblical view and the other a modern more merciful form of Hell. Which one is correct? The Traditional one is that Hell (Gehenna) is the second death and a place of fiery torment and weeping and gnashing of teeth. Ten thousand centuries will come and go, and not one day in Hell will have ended. In the amount of time it takes a new universe to expand and collapse, not a single evening in the furnace of Hell will have gone by.
I am going to defend the second position as I truly have no clue as to how and why so many have gotten away with miss-representing a God who so clearly defines Himself in scripture. 1 John 1:5 [COLOR=rgb(243, 121, 52)]The message we have heard from the beginning is that God is light with no darkness in Him at all[/COLOR]. God is good Psalm 136:1. We are wicked John 3:19.

In Hell, you’ll have nothing to do,
Many scriptures point to God giving the wicked something to do.

and nothing to think about except your rebellious past and how you rejected your Creator, Lord and Saviour.
Scripture does say we won't see through a glass darkly. So yes, they will grasp. But I don't think that will sadden them. A Pedophile can live with who he is. It would sadden the person who has to live with him.

Saddened / weeping because they rejected God is interesting. On one hand they wanted that. They loved what is wicked and dark more then the light John 3:19. Yet I guess they will be sad as they look up and see how good God is. How selfless those in heaven are to one-another. Wicked people do currently not fully grasp their state as they are woken up to a beautiful day the Lord has made, everyday. Kids everywhere. Good people. I guess when this is all gone it will be quite a knock for them. A harsh reality. Something like not waking up to kids and good people will cause me to weep and gnash my teeth. Will cause me to see my environment as a place of suffering for all eternity.

Luke 13:28 [COLOR=rgb(243, 121, 52)]There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.[/COLOR]

It is as if Christians today are embarrassed about biblical hell.
That is not true. Biblical hell has been miss-preached. People stopped believing in a Dante inferno type hell when they started reading the bible for themselves and grasped how good God is.

At the same time, nobody can say an eternal separation from God is a good place. That is an equally big lie. People go to hell because they hate God. God makes it eternal as He knows they have reached a point where they will never repent sincerely and want change. People in hell will know that they are to blame. I feel for them all. As does God. But what other choice does God have??
 
Active
So you're saying that hell is simply separation from God? I'm sorry I find this post a bit vague...Could be I'm just too busy between my ears right now....
There will be an initial punishment for your sin. We arrive at this from applying rational thought to many scriptures. Then after that is done, it is only a punishment of eternal separation.

Think on how people '''weep and gnash their teeth, because they look up''...Luke 13:28 [COLOR=rgb(243, 121, 52)]There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out[/COLOR].

I just want to make it crystal clear that eternal separation from God and the saints, is NOT a nice position to be in. It will be a hell. Many push no hell or a sweet hell. That is an equal heresy to teaching eternal burning in literal fire.
 
Loyal
Top Poster Of Month
There will be an initial punishment for your sin. We arrive at this from applying rational thought to many scriptures. Then after that is done, it is only a punishment of eternal separation.

Think on how people '''weep and gnash their teeth, because they look up''...Luke 13:28 [COLOR=rgb(243, 121, 52)]There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out[/COLOR].

I just want to make it crystal clear that eternal separation from God and the saints, is NOT a nice position to be in. It will be a hell. Many push no hell or a sweet hell. That is an equal heresy to teaching eternal burning in literal fire.
Ok...So how does this heretical teaching line up with;
Revelation 19:20
And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Revelation 20:10
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Revelation 20:14
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Revelation 20:15
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Where does the Bible indicate that this is just figurative?
 
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