It is fairly common today for many Bible believing people and organizations to deny the existence of hell in the sense of eternal conscious torment. One such group is the Watchtower Society of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They simply claim that when a person dies they cease to exist and there is no afterlife of any kind. The scary thing is these groups claim to believe in what the Bible teaches, and how they are able to ignore what the Bible has to say about the true nature of hell is amazing. We will examine a few of the most obvious verses which teach that hell is a real place.
In Luke chapter 16 we read the parable of a rich man who died and was buried. In verse 23 we read: “In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.” Now it can surely be argued that this may be a parable, but to attempt to say that everything in this parable has symbolic value is taking things extremely far. In fact, this is the only parable where Jesus uses names of actual people. In fact we know for certain that Abraham was a real person from the Old Testament. Even after we recognize this we must also recognize that all of the parables that Jesus told applied to real life. They used real life scenarios to teach something true.
Next we look to Matthew 10:28 which states: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” If it were true that after death you cease to exist, then we certainly should fear those who can kill the body. But this is not the case, and therefore the Bible tells us not to fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill our soul. This is one of the most straightforward verses in the Bible telling us that physical death is not the end of things.
In addition to all the many verses teaching us about hell, there is also a common misunderstanding about the difference between Hell and the Lake of fire. Hell is a temporary place of torment for dead souls until the final judgment and resurrection by which these souls will receive their bodies and be cast into the lake of fire. From that point forward, they will spend an eternity in the lake of fire along with the Devil and his angels where the smoke of their torment will ascend in the presence of the lamb forever and ever.
Do not be fooled by people who try to dismiss the existence of hell as some sort of scare tactic cooked up by people who want to use religion to control people. God is a holy and just god and he will surely not let wicked people go unpunished. Sin against and an eternal God must be punished by an eternal punishment, and you surely do not want to suffer this fate. The only way to receive forgiveness of sins to believe in Jesus Christ and his sacrifice. By believing in Him we receive his righteousness in our place and we surely shall not perish but instead receive eternal life.