Monday, August 8 2022 - 5:12 PM
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What About Hell?

Contrary to popular opinion, God does not use hell to try and scare people into heaven. Fear is never an effective motivator. We know that God makes love the centerpiece of His relationship with humanity; “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16).

But everyone does not choose to follow God’s way, and because of this, our planet is on a downward spiral to the grave. If left to ourselves, we would destroy one another and the earth. Thankfully, God cares. According to scripture, He will salvage humanity and restore the earth to its original pristine state.

“Then I saw a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was someone like the Son of Man. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came from the Temple and shouted to the one sitting on the cloud, ‘Swing the sickle, for the time of harvest has come; the crop on earth is ripe.’ So the one sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the whole earth was harvested” (Revelation 14:14-15, NLT).

“But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment” (2 Peter 3:10, NLT).

Hell Will End

Hell is not a place as much as it is an event. When Jesus comes, the righteous will be taken up into the heavens (removed from the earth), as God’s purifying fires destroy the earth and its wicked inhabitants. This is hell. How long will it last? We don’t know. But we know that when the last embers finally fade, the age of sin, suffering, and death will end. Sin and hell will be no more. At that point, the earth will be restored and repopulated with people who have embraced love as a way of life.

But, you may say, “I thought hell is an eternal thing, where evil people burn forever and ever.” Notice Malachi 4:1-3, NKJV.

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” says the Lord of hosts, ‘That will leave them neither root nor branch.’”

“You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this,” says the Lord of hosts.

According to this, the fires of hell will be so hot that those who persist in rejecting God’s way will be consumed and completely burned up. The effects of hell are eternal but not hell itself. The fires of hell are “everlasting” because their consequences are lasting. A good example is in Jude 1:7, where the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah have suffered the vengeance of “eternal fire.” These cities are not burning today, but the effects of the fires are still with us.

No Pleasure in Death

Hell is not about making people suffer for their sins. However, those who find themselves there will experience anguish and unimaginable pain. Neither is hell about God taking delight in the destruction of evil people.

“Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign Lord. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live” (Ezekiel 18:23, NKJV).

“As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live” (Ezekiel 33:11, NKJV).

Hell is about getting rid of sin, suffering, and death once and for all.

Throughout Christendom, the general understanding of hell is an interpretation that pleases no one but the devil. Many have turned their backs on God and Christianity because they were mistakenly told that God will burn wicked people forever and ever if they don’t confess the name of Jesus. Such teaching is part of the devil’s diabolical scheme to paint God as a hideous monster who takes delight in seeing His creatures suffer.

The good news is that God has a plan to eradicate sin and death and has paved the way for you to experience a wonderful life. The best part is that it’s yours for the asking.

Rich DuBose writes from Southern California.

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About Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference.

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