THE DOCTRINE OF ETERNAL DAMNATION
(Lesson 25 on Bible Doctrines)
MATTHEW 7:13, 14, 21-23
- According to
the Barna Research Group, nearly three quarters of Americans believe in heaven
and hell, but just one half of one percent think they're headed there. By
contrast, almost two thirds are confident they're headed for heaven.
- This means
that one-third do not know where they are going.
many people are in for quite a shock (cf. Matt. 7:22, 23).
- The poll
revealed that 76 % of Americans believe in heaven and 71 % believe in hell.
- If these
figures are accurate, this would mean that approximately 87 million Americans do
not believe in hell (based on a population of 300,000,000) – which means they do
not believe the Bible.
- The Barna
study found that there are still many Americans who hold conventional views
about hell. Thirty-nine percent, or almost four in 10, called hell “a state of
eternal separation from God's presence” and another third, 32 %,
described it as an actual place of torment and suffering where people's
souls go after death. (Of course,
it is both.)
- One in eight
(or 13 per cent) said hell is actually only a symbol of an “unknown bad
outcome after death.”
survey also turned up contradictions. One of 10 self-described born-again
Christians, for example, expressed a belief in reincarnation, a view that
contradicts the Bible.
half of those calling themselves atheists or agnostics stated that everyone has
a soul and agreed that an afterlife is a reality, along with heaven and
- This is quite amazing. There
are atheists and agnostics who believe the Bible, and then there are some
so-called born again Christians who do not!
- It is obvious that churches are no longer preaching about hell, and that
is why the vast majority of sinners do not worry about going there.
- To think that less than 1% of Americans are concerned about going to hell
is incredible. In my opinion,
probably about 90% of Americans are heading for hell.
THE O.T. DOCTRINE OF HELL
THE N.T. DOCTRINE OF HELL
OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO WARN SINNERS OF HELL
THE O.T. DOCTRINE OF HELL
In fact in this same chapter (Deut. 32) it says in
verse 35, “To me belongeth vengeance and recompence; their foot shall
slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand.” This was Jonathan
Edwards’ text for his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry
God.” We need more preaching like
that, instead of this “seeker-friendly, purpose-driven”
Now let us look at Genesis 37:35; 42:38; 44:29,
31. Apparently this was an
_expression used often by Jacob, and he obviously was not referring to hell, but
So the next time a JW tries to tell you that there
is no hell, and that Sheol refers to the grave, you can refute his
error. Yes, sometimes Sheol
does mean the grave but oftentimes it means “hell,” the place of
punishment for impenitent sinners.
By the way, this
is one of the many reasons why you should stick with the KJV. Many of these new versions have removed
- The OT term for the future abode of the wicked is
Sheol. This word corresponds
with our NT word Hades.
The Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT) translates Sheol as
has two significations. False
teachers, especially religious cults, have confused people over these two
significations, but they are not difficult to
can refer to either the place of future punishment or it can refer simply to the
grave. We need to look at the
- The Authorized Version (KJV) translates Sheol
as “hell” when it refers to the place of eternal punishment. Sheol is
translated as “the grave” when it simply means the place of burial.
- In other words, the context determines the
meaning. For example, Psalm 9:17
says, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that
- Here the KJ translators translated Sheol as
“hell” because the context demanded it.
Hell is where the wicked go when they leave this world; the
wicked shall be punished for their sins, etc.
- Deuteronomy 32:22 says, “For a fire is kindled in
mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest
context demonstrates that this is eternal retribution.
the word “hell.” I am convinced
the devil is behind these new Bible (mis)translations.
THE N.T. DOCTRINE OF HELL
- There is virtually no difference, except that the NT
expands upon the doctrine of hell and gives us more
- In the OT, hell is always the Hebrew
Sheol. But in the NT, there
are three different Greek words translated “hell.”
- I have already referred to Hades, which is
similar to the OT Sheol.
Most references to Hades refer to eternal torment. For example, in Luke 16:23, the Bible
says this about the rich man, “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being
- The whole story of Lazarus and the rich man would
make no sense if Hades simply meant the grave.
- The second word translated “hell” is
Gehenna refers to the valley of Hinnom, just outside the city of Jerusalem where
human sacrifices were offered (cf. II Chron. 33:6; Jer. 7:31).
- King Josiah converted the place into a garbage dump,
where fires were kept
burning to consume the refuse and keep down the stench. It was also the location
where bodies of executed criminals, or individuals denied a proper burial, would
- Hence Gehenna served as a symbol for an abominable
place of stench and continual fire, and in His preaching, our Lord used it as a
vivid picture of hell. Scofield
says our Lord spoke of Gehenna as the “most solemn warning of the consequences
of sin. He describes it as the
place where ‘their’ worm never dies and of fire never to be
- In the NT, Gehenna always refers to a
literal, hot burning hell.
- In Matt. 5:22, our Lord
warned of the “danger of hell fire.”
- In Matt. 5:29 and 30,
our Lord warned of sinners being “cast into
- In Matt. 10:28, our
Lord warned of being destroyed in hell.
- In Matthew 23:33, our
Lord said to the Pharisees, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye
escape the damnation of hell?”
His listeners knew exactly what He meant by those
- The third word translated “hell” in the NT is
Concordance refers to Tartaros as a place of “eternal torment” and “the
deepest abyss of Hades” (cf. II Peter 2:4).
RESPONSIBILITY TO WARN SINNERS OF HELL
- A preacher may be a great orator. He may be a great theologian. He may be highly educated and
articulate. He may be able to quote
hundreds of Bible verses. He may
have a photographic memory and can preach for an hour without notes.
- He can do all this and more but if he does not
preach about hell he is derelict in his duties and will have to give an account
- Preachers today avoid the doctrine of hell because
they realize it is very unpopular.
But let me emphasize that the rejection (or even the avoidance) of the
doctrine of hell cuts the ground from under the Gospel (Mark 16:15, 16).
- Salvation supposes a prior damnation. Are you
saved? Saved from what? Saved from hell! Saved from eternal damnation!
Saved from the lake of fire!
- Some people like to think that they are saved and
yet they deny what the Bible says about hell. I tell you they are deceived and
- He who denies that he deserves eternal punishment
cannot be saved from it as long as he persists in his denial.
- He who denies the doctrine of eternal punishment is
calling our blessed Saviour a liar.
Consider these words of our Lord.
- “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” (Matt.
- “And cast ye the
unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and
gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25:30).
- “Then shall he say also
unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting
fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt.
- “And these shall go
away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal”
- “The Son of man 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” (Matt. 13:41,
- “So shall it be at the
end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from
among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there
shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Jesus saith unto them, Have ye
understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord” (Matt.
- “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off:
it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go
into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where
their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot
offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than
having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall
be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not
quenched. And if thine eye
offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of
God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where
their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark
- “The rich man also
died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in
torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 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. 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. 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. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest
send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may
testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment” (Luke
- Other Scriptures could
be quoted, but these are sufficient to prove that our Lord preached often about
hell, and He described it as a place of eternal
- In Matthew 3:12, John
the Baptist described Jesus with these words: “Whose fan is in his hand, and he
will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he
will burn up the chaff with unquenchable
- Our Lord spoke far more about hell than He did about
heaven. Our Lord spoke far more
about hell than any other preacher in the Bible. We need more preachers like
- There is not a hint in the Bible about purgatory or
any intermediate state between heaven and hell (cf. II Thess.
- There is
no hint in the Bible about reincarnation.
Hebrews 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but
after this the judgment.” It is
either heaven or hell (John 3:36).
doctrine of annihilation is unscriptural.
Jude 7 says the ungodly suffer “the vengeance of eternal
fire.” In Matthew 25:41, our Lord
said hell is everlasting fire; and in Matthew 25:46 He said hell is
- Annihilation is a false doctrine taught by religious
- Hell is
not remedial; hell is punitive.
Hell is not temporary; hell is eternal.
reason people reject the doctrine of eternal damnation is they have a false
concept of God. Their god is some
sort of Santa Claus who winks at sin and does not demand
to these words from the great evangelist R. A. Torrey, written over 100 years
ago: “Any view of the punishment of sin that leaves out the thought of its being
an _expression of God’s holy hatred of sin, is not only unbiblical, but shallow
and dishonoring to God. God is
holy, infinitely holy, and infinitely hates sin. We get glimpses at times of what God’s
hatred of sin must be, in our own burning indignation at some enormous iniquity,
but God is infinitely holy and God’s wrath at the smallest sin is infinitely
greater than ours at the greatest enormity. God is love, it is true, but this love
is not of the sentimental sort that sends costly bouquets and tender missives to
moral monsters, as some of our Universalist theologians would have us
- Back in
Torrey’s day, fundamental preachers warned of the errors of Universalism. They saw how the Universalists had
destroyed many churches, and most of the great schools such as Harvard and
Yale. The Universalism denomination
is very small today, but the Universalist doctrine is widespread. It has taken over the RCC, most
Protestant churches, and even many Baptist
Bible-believing Christians, we have a solemn responsibility to warn lost sinners
to repent. We must warn them that
(despite what they have been told) the Bible teaches hell is real (cf. Rev.
14:9-11; 20:10, 15; 21:8).
Pastor James Barker
- There was a wicked infidel
named Robert Ingersoll who was friendly with a preacher named Phillips Brooks
(the author of “O Little Town of Bethlehem”).
- There was a time when Dr.
Brooks was very sick and would not see any visitors but he did allow Ingersoll
to see him when he called.
- “I appreciate this very
much,” said Mr. Ingersoll, “but why do you see me when you deny yourself to all
- “It’s this way,” replied
Phillips Brooks. “I feel
confident of seeing my other friends up in heaven, but this may be my last
chance to see you.”
- Unsaved friend, think about
what the Bible has to say about this important subject!
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