Jesus Christ characterized both Heaven and Hell as eternal abodes for the soul, and he spoke extensively about them as though they were genuine, literal, physical places. Furthermore, Jesus taught that everyone has a choice in this life and that their decision has everlasting consequences.
Despite the lack of an exact visual depiction of Hell, Jesus’ words make up for it. Jesus spoke about Hell more than everyone else in God’s word, and in doing so, he provided enough knowledge for our understanding and issued clear warnings about its perils.
What Did Jesus Say About Hell?
For insights on this matter, seeking guidance from Jesus himself proves most prudent. His words carry an unmatched weight of authority, surpassing even the wisdom of Old Testament authors. Several important times in the New Testament, Jesus talked about hell.
The portrayals of a realm engulfed in an inextinguishable inferno (Matthew 5:22), enveloped in utter darkness (Matthew 22:13), and enduring ceaseless, relentless anguish (Revelation 14:10–11) within the Bible are truly nightmarish, transcending the limits of human comprehension.
No matter how one views these descriptions, the reality of hell far exceeds our darkest fears because we understand that it is the final resting place for those who reject God. In the Book of Revelation, Abaddon personifies the terror of hell, reigning over an abyss of despair and destruction.
While Jesus indeed recognizes the dreadfulness of hell, he remains reticent about the duration of one’s sojourn there. In the poignant words of Matthew 5:29, Jesus imparts, “If your right eye becomes a stumbling block, pluck it out and cast it away. It is a superior choice to relinquish a singular aspect of your being than to witness your entire self cast into the abyss of hell.”
In Matthew 7:13–14, the Lord said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Eternal life or eternal destruction are the only two options, then. Destroying something is to degrade it to the point that it can no longer exist. While Jesus mentioned hell just three times in the book of the Apostle Mark, in that section, he issued a stern warning about the torment of the hereafter.
Another account of hell is described in Jesus’ parable in Luke 12:47–48: “The servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things worthy of punishment will be beaten with few blows.” It appears that “blows” refers to the duration of the punishment rather than its severity.
Luke 16 gives a picture of hell from the perspective of the sinner. In this chapter, Luke describes the scene by describing a rich man dressed in purple and fine linen who lived in luxury every day. Outside his home was a beggar named Lazarus, whose body was so ridden with sores that even the dogs came to lick it.
The story continues by saying that this beggar and rich man died at the same time. The beggar’s soul was carried to heaven, but the rich man was subjected to hell. One day, out of desperation, the rich man beseeches Abraham to allow Lazarus to feed him even a drop of water, as he is “in agony in this fire.”
What Did Jesus Do In Hell?
One passage often referenced is 1 Peter 3:18–20, which states: “For Christ once paid the price for our sins in order to reconcile you to God. He was killed in the flesh but raised to life in the spirit. He proceeded and made an announcement to the imprisoned spirits—to those who had disobeyed in the distant past when God had waited patiently in the days of Noah as the ark was being constructed—after being made alive.”
This passage suggests that Jesus, after his death, made a proclamation to imprisoned spirits who were disobedient during the time of Noah. This is seen by some as God’s Son entering hell to preach or declare his victory over sin and death to those who had previously disregarded God’s message.
Ephesians 4:8–10 is another scripture that is occasionally linked to Jesus’ entry into hell. This text is frequently read as Jesus rising to the kingdom of God before falling to the lower realms, which are usually considered to be hell. It is believed that during this descent, Jesus accomplished some form of victory over evil powers or rescued captives.
What Did Jesus Teach About Hell?
Jesus used vivid imagery to convey the seriousness of the matter and to urge people to turn away from sin and seek salvation. His teachings about hell serve as a warning and an invitation to choose a life in accordance with God’s will and experience the eternal joy of being in his presence.
It’s A Real Place
“Don’t fear those who kill people,” Jesus said. “Instead, fear the one who can destroy your soul and human flesh in hellfire” (Matthew 10:28; see also 5:29–30; 23:15,33; Luke 10:15; 16:23).
John Broadus said this about Jesus’ teaching about eternal punishment: “It is to the last degree improbable that the Great Teacher would have used an expression so inevitably suggesting a great doctrine he did not mean to teach.”
Judgment Takes Place Here
Jesus taught the last judgment and the subsequent division of the righteous and the unrighteous in a series of clear and powerful parables. Weeping and gnashing of teeth will accompany the ungodly as they are condemned to a realm of scorching fire and complete darkness (see Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43, 47–50; 22:1–14; 25:14–46).
According to Jesus, this location is “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). Contrary to popular belief, individuals who reject God will not be tormented by the devil but rather will share the same destiny as the devil and his demons. The final judgment is delivered there.
It Lasts For All Of Eternity
In Matthew 25:41, Jesus said, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angel.” The everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angelic companions will blaze ceaselessly, even though this passage does not explicitly declare that humanity will burn forever in torment within its flames.
It Is Far Worse Than Any Of Us Could Ever Imagine
In Matthew 25:14–30, Jesus also refers to hell as “outer darkness” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Every time it is used to describe an endless torment, “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is also used to describe fire in a location of “outer darkness.”
If hell isn’t real fire and darkness, it’s far worse than anything we could ever fathom or explain. Just as our limited minds cannot fathom how glorious paradise is, so can they fathom how terrible hell must be.
What Are We To Do With Jesus’ Teaching About Hell?
For Christians, the existence of hell serves as a driving force in evangelism and mission work, serving as a constant reminder of the stakes involved in sharing the gospel message.
Praise God, “there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1), but may we as Christians feel the pressing need to share the truth.
Jesus conveyed a profound lesson, emphasizing the gravity of sin as a perilous path that severs our spiritual connection with God, ultimately leading to spiritual demise. He fervently cautioned against the ruinous effects of sin and its far-reaching repercussions, illuminating the imperative of penitence and a transformative departure from sinful ways.
In his teachings, Jesus not only sounded the solemn note of hell’s existence but also extended a luminous beacon of hope, promising salvation and a profound reunion with the divine. His mission was a quest to rescue the lost souls, bestowing upon them the gifts of pardon, boundless grace, and eternal life, contingent upon their faith in him.