Why is there hell? God’s original intent and purpose for hell was for the devil and his angels, not for human beings. It’s in the Bible, Matthew 25:41, NKJV. "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels"
Are there wicked people burning in hell right now? No, God holds back until the day of judgment. It’s in the Bible, 2 Peter 2:9, NKJV. “then the Lord knows how to…reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment”
When will the wicked be destroyed in hellfire? At the end of this age. It’s in the Bible, Matthew 13:39-40, NKJV. “The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.”
What is the end result of sin? The wages of sin is death, not continual punishing. It’s in the Bible, Romans 6:23, NKJV. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The wicked have not yet been rewarded – not until Jesus comes again. It’s in the Bible, Revelation 22:12, NKJV. ‘“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
Those who do not believe in Christ perish. The opposite of everlasting life and existence is death, or ceasing to exist. It’s in the Bible, John 3:16, NKJV. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Does God burn sinners into the ceaseless ages? The wicked do not burn forever. It’s in the Bible, Psalm 37:20, NIV. "But the wicked will perish: The Lord's enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish—vanish like smoke."
The unchanging sinners will be burned up and nothing will remain, just ashes. It’s in the Bible, 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."
How does the Bible describe the destruction of the wicked? The Bible describes an utter and complete end. It’s in the Bible:
- Psalm 21:9, NKJV. “You shall make them as a fiery oven in the time of Your anger; the LORD shall swallow them up in His wrath, and the fire shall devour them.”
- Psalm 37:10, NKJV. “For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more.”
- Isaiah 1:28, KJV, “And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed”
- Obadiah 1:16, NKJV. “For as you drank on My holy mountain, so shall all the nations drink continually; yes, they shall drink, and swallow, and they shall be as though they had never been.”
The idea of people being tormented eternally contradicts God’s promise of putting a complete end to pain. It’s in the Bible, Nahum 1:9, KJV. “What do ye imagine against the LORD? He will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.”
Is the devil in charge of hell? No, he also will be cast into the fire as well. It’s in the Bible, Revelation 20:10, NKJV. “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
Hell is not a place in the center of the earth; it is an event on the face of the earth. It’s in the Bible, Revelation 20:9, NKJV. “They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.”
“Eternal fire” refers to the results that are eternal, not fire that is eternally burning. Sodom and Gomorrah suffered eternal fire but they are not burning today. It’s in the Bible, Jude 7, NIV. "In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire." It’s in the Bible, 2 Peter 2:6, NKJV. “and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly.”
The fire will be unquenchable, but when there is nothing left to burn it will go out. It’s in the Bible, Matthew 3:12, NKJV. "His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Jerusalem was destroyed with unquenchable fire, but it is not burning still. It’s in the Bible, Jeremiah 17:27, NIV. "But if you do not obey Me to keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying any load as you come through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume her fortresses."
The entire earth will be cleansed by fire. It’s in the Bible, 2 Peter 3:10, RSV. "And then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up."
The Bible describes God’s destruction of the wicked as being foreign and unusual of a God who is love. It’s in the Bible, Isaiah 28:21, KJV. For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do his work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act.”
God does not enjoy seeing anybody destroyed, and has done everything possible so that nobody would have to be. It’s in the Bible, Ezekiel 33:11,“Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?
God does not desire for anyone to perish and waits to give everyone time to change. It’s in the Bible, 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
But there is coming a time when God will rid the world of sin, of wickedness, fear, death, sorrow, and pain. It’s in the Bible, Revelation 21:4, NKJV. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
For more information see:
You may wish to learn more through the Discover Bible Lessons on our Bible studies section.