If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
What is Hell like? Just like Heaven, Hell is a physical location. The word “topos,” meaning geographical location, is used to describe Heaven. It’s not a state of mind; it’s an actual location. The same is true about Hell. Hell has an address. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Hell is described as being “far away” and separated from Heaven by a “great chasm” (Luke 16:23, 26).
There are three horrific descriptions of Hell that we find in the Bible. First of all, Hell is a place of eternal physical torment. In Luke 16:24, the rich man cries out, “I am in agony in this flame.” After the judgment of the unsaved, all of the residents of Hell will be cast into the Lake of Fire, Gehenna. Revelation 20:15 says, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Some theologians cannot believe that God would torment people forever and ever, so they say that when God throws people into the Lake of Fire, they are instantly destroyed. This is the doctrine of annihilationism. But that is not what Scripture says. The Bible says the punishment of Hell is eternal. For example, in Revelation 20:10, after the final rebellion against God, “the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Underline that word “are.” The beast and the false prophet were thrown into the Lake of Fire a thousand years earlier, but when Satan is finally cast into the Lake of Fire, it does not say where the beast and the false prophet “were”; it says where they “are.” In other words, they are continuing to suffer. And “they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” The word translated “forever and ever” is “aionios.” Interestingly, that word “aionios” is also used to describe the eternality of Heaven. The same word that describes the eternality of Heaven is used to describe the eternality of Hell.
Second, the Bible teaches that Hell is a place of indescribable loneliness. I hear people say, “Hell cannot be that bad. I will go there and party with all my friends.” Trust me: there are no parties in Hell. Jesus said in Luke 13:28 that Hell will be a place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Even if your friends are there, you will not know it because it is a place of complete darkness, according to Matthew 8:12. All you will be able to hear are the laments of those who are confined to that place of eternal punishment.
Third, Hell is a place of no return. That is perhaps the worst truth about Hell: no one escapes. Again, Abraham says to the rich man, “Those who wish to come over from here [Heaven] to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us” (Luke 16:26). In Hell, everybody will become a believer, but it will be too late. Hell is a place of no return.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Do People In Heaven Know What Is Happening On Earth?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.lockman.org)