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Lesson Seventeen • Judgement and Hell

Dr. Randy T. Johnson

Hell and Heaven are real, actual places of eternity. A description is probably not necessary as people regularly use the words. The word “Hell” is spoken by people who do not even believe in God: hotter than Hell, it will be a cold day in Hell, come Hell or high water, not a chance in Hell, it hurts like Hell, give them Hell, and go to Hell! Hell is the epitome of negative, horrible, abominable, grotesque, appalling, and awful.

1. What other phrases have you heard for Hell?

Everyone will end up in either Hell or Heaven forever.

The next study guide will discuss Heaven. This study guide will focus on Hell. However, before looking into either of these topics it is important to realize there is a judgment. In 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, we read, “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” Those who have placed their trust in Christ will appear before Christ in what is known as the Bema Seat Judgment. This is a moment of rewards or crowns that we should hope to have to place at His feet (2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10; 3:11). We are able to be there because of the work of Christ.

Unbelievers appear before Christ based on their own works or deeds. Revelation 20:11-15 describes this Great White Throne Judgment, “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” This passage is describing the Great White Throne Judgment.

2. What “book” is described here?

3. What happens to someone whose name is in the “book of life” and those whose name is not in the “book of life”?

4. What happens to “Death and Hades”?

5. What images come to mind when you envision the “lake of fire”?

Scripture is very clear there is a Hell (lake of fire). It is a literal place. Jerry Falwell said, “I think hell’s a real place where real people spend a real eternity.” Charles Spurgeon adds an interesting perspective, “There is no injustice in the grace of God. God is as just when He forgives a believer as when He casts a sinner into hell.”

6. Do you agree or disagree with these quotes?

Revelation 21:8 says, “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

7. How is Hell described?

Revelation 14:10-11 adds further insight, “He also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

8. What descriptions are given of Hell?

Billy Graham knew the importance of understanding there is a Hell, “If we had more hell in the pulpit, we would have less hell in the pew.”

9. Do you think Hell is discussed too much or not enough?

Matthew 25:46 adds, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

10. How long is each destination?

I love R.A. Torrey’s perspective, “I would rather go to heaven alone than go to hell in company.”

11. How would you reply to the person who says, “I do not care where I go because I will have friends in both places”?

“Gehenna” is a Greek word translated as Hell. Charles C. Ryrie wrote that it is referencing a “refuse dump and a place of perpetual fire and loathsomeness, and the valley in Jerusalem illustrates the fire and awfulness of the lake of fire.”

12. As a summary, how would you describe Hell?

“[Jesus spoke] twice as often of hell as of heaven.” D.A. Carson

“[Jesus] spoke more often about hell than he did about heaven. We cannot get around this fact.” Leon Morris

“Jesus talked more about hell than He did about heaven in order to warn men of its reality.” John MacArthur