My subject tonight is Hell. I do not care to picture hell to you, but I do want to talk in such a way tonight that you will find out what God says about hell; what the Bible teaches about hell.
Hell is not a question of my opinion nor any other man’s opinion. It is all revealed through the Scriptures. God speaks of it plainly in His Word.
I want you to go into the Bible with me tonight, and see if we cannot get some light on this awful subject.
In the 15th chapter of First Corinthians, 45th verse, you will find these important words:
“And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul’ the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”
These words tell us what we must recognize first of all, and that is this: that God has made man a living soul. He is not to become annihilated at his death (at what we call death); for he is a LIVING SOUL. Listen to me: SOMEWHERE YOU WILL LIVE FOREVER. Pin that in your heart, and in your brain—SOMEWHERE YOU WILL LIVE FOREVER.
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils,” says God’s account in Genesis 2:7, “the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” We call the separation of the soul from the body death, but God calls death the awful things that must happen to both soul and body because of sin. God cannot take sin into heaven, and the result of sin, the wages of sin, is death, and its end is Hell.
Other Living Creations
Let us look in this connection at others of God’s living creations that have sinned, and I think we will find that although they have been created much higher than we, yet they are not to escape their doom. Each order is held by God in a separate place of waiting, until the judgment, when the final Hell shall be opened to receive them. There is a place where human souls are held awaiting their final judgment, a different place for fallen angels and another place still for demons, and these are never mixed. There are different places of waiting for the saved and the unsaved souls of men.
I am going through this tonight so as to show you that future existence is not a misty affair in God’s Word, but is outlined plainly. You will see that closing your eyes in death does not get you out of God’s hands, but only ushers you into a specific and well-described state and place more circumscribed than ever. The devil is a higher order of creation than we, also his demons who rebelled with him. After death the human souls of the unsaved are not immediately mixed with these demons, as popular literature would have us believe. God would not allow the angels to speak evil of dignitaries. He makes all orders of creation respect the higher.
“Michael the Archangel, when contending with the devil, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said ‘The Lord rebuke thee’” (Jude 9).
Some men contend that humanity are too magnificent in their creation, in their intellect, culture and refinement, to be damned. I want to show you what God’s Word says of the magnificence of the devil when he was created; and he is to be damned. An archangel could not rebuke him and yet he is to be cast into hell fire, because of his rebellion and sin. Then what plea has man because of his arts and culture an intellect?
Read what God says of Satan.
Ezekiel 28:11-17 “Thus saith the Lord God: Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God: every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes were prepared in thee in the day that thou was created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so; thou was upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee…Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness; I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.”
Isaiah 14:12-15 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning? How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations? For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will set also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
Devil Not too Magnificent to Be Damned
You see that even the devil, mighty creation that he is, is to be cursed and brought down to the pit. The devil’s sin is the sin of mankind. He became “stuck” on his own beauty, ability and power and said: “I will be as God.”
Oh, the awful sin of men today, in their cry for a natural religion, something that glorifies the work of man; in the pride of their own acts, their refusal to bow at the foot of the cross. They laugh at faith in and obedience to God, and give their cheers and medals for art, culture, intellectuality: all man efforts.
The cry of the intellectualism of our time is, “Away with the super-natural—we are gods ourselves.” But “if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved into judgment…the Lord knoweth how to reserve the wicked unto the day of judgment to be punished” (2 Peter 2:4, 9).
Examine Original Words Translated Hell
Now we’ll examine the word “hell” as it is used in the Bible. If you take your concordance, like Strong’s and look up the verse we just used in 2 Peter, you will see that the word here translated “hell” is the Greek word “Tartarus,” in chains of darkness, awaiting the judgment. You will see that the reading of this verse shows that they are not in a place of punishment, but in Tartarus awaiting judgment and punishment.
We see then that this place called by the translators “hell,” is not hell, but a place where fallen angels are held awaiting judgment and final hell. You will find if you follow this word “Tartarus” in the Scriptures that it is never used except as the place where fallen angels are held.
If there is a separate place for fallen angels, there surely is a separate place for the souls of fallen men, and this Scripture strengthens the clue by saying, “The Lord knoweth how to RESERVE THE WICKED unto the day of judgment to be punished.” There must be a place also, then, where wicked souls are reserved and maybe it is translated “hell” also.
We find by investigating that the translators have used the word “hell” to translate the names of places or states for human souls after the grave, and in some places even translated the word for grave itself, “hell.”
This has caused much misunderstanding about the Bible teaching concerning hell. If we take all the passages where the translators use the word “hell” and try to understand hell by what these passages say, we find we are mixed up, but when we take the passages and investigate the original words translated “hell,” we find great clearness, even splendid distinctions. We find many waiting places which should not be called hell, but we find one final place of punishment of fire and torment, and this is very clearly spoken of and we call it hell. Into it, after judgment, all living sinning creatures go.
The Grave Does Not End All
Now let us see some of these distinctions. Let us start with “grave.” The Bible uses two words for this place: first, the Hebrew word (qeber), and second, the Greek word (mnemeion), and these two words are only used when the Bible wishes to speak of a place where a dead body is put: a tomb, a grave. It is never used in connection with a human soul; just a place for a dead body. This is important to know, because one of the popular NO-HELLISMS of our day in scattering its so-called literature around the country makes a picture of a graveyard and calls that the Bible hell. They would not even take the time to use a help such as Strong’s Concordance to see the original words of the Bible or consult the margins.
I say this about the concordance because I am not posing as a scholar in my sermon tonight. We are only doing what anybody can do who tries. You can find just want I have found if you do not know a word of Hebrew or Greek, just by looking up all the original words where the word “hell” is used in our common translation.
Now we do this same with the word grave, and we make the discovery that the Spirit uses these two words when He means a tomb, a grave, and entirely different words when He speaks of the place where a soul goes.
Now let us look at a passage using “grave” and you’ll see it plainly. This passage we use is from the speech of Jacob when they showed him Joseph’s coat dipped in blood. It is in Genesis 37:35: “But he refused to be comforted and said, For I will go down into the GRAVE unto my son mourning.”
You see the translators used the word grave, but the original word used is not the word for grave at all, but the Hebrew word (sheol) meaning the world of dead souls. So we see that while it seems the translation shows that he spoke of the grave as his end, he really spoke of a place where his soul would go mourning.
In every such passage used in argument (that the grave ends all) you will find that the passage in the original does not use the word for grave (qeber, mnemeion), but uses this word (sheol, hades), meaning the place where souls take up their abode at death. The only exception to this is in one favorite passage used by the no-hell cult in argument. It is Ecclesiastes 9:10. But as Dr. Scofield says, this passage is quoted and set down in the Word as the pure reasonings of man and not as God’s statement, “just as the words of Satan are set down. But that life, and consciousness continue between death and resurrection is directly affirmed in Scripture.”
The abode of the soul when it left the body is always spoken of as (sheol) and it is down. Take your concordance and look for yourself; there is always the word “down” before the word “sheol.” All souls before Christ died went down into sheol at death; good and bad alike. There was no taking up unless by special intervention of God as in the case of Enoch, Elijah, Moses. All the rest of the souls went down to sheol. “Hades” is the Greek word for this Hebrew word “sheol.” And means the same place. The Old Testament talks about sheol and the New Testament about Hades, but they are the same place.
Christ’s Picture of Sheol and Hades
Now let us read the perfect pictures that Jesus gives us of this place Hades.
Luke 16:19-31: “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day; and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table; moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores.
“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom; the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lifted 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, besides 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 wouldst 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.
“Abraham said unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
“And he said, Nay, Father Abraham; but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
“And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
Now the word translated “hell” in this passage is “hades.” You see the rich man and Lazarus both go to this place, but they go to different divisions and there is “a great gulf fixed” between the two divisions. One side is called Abraham’s bosom, where all go who died in the faith of a slain lamb, the type of Jesus as “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world,” even to Abel, who was a martyr for this faith.
There seems to be plenty of sense and understanding and ability to feel and suffer and argue and recognize each other in this place, doesn’t there?
Oh, if I could wake you up to the awful fact that somewhere you live forever, wake you up to the seriousness of your soul’s destiny, wake you up to eternity! Some of you think you can get out of all trouble by blowing your brains out, but you can’t. You’ll get into more of it. David said, “If I make my bed in sheol, thou art there.”
Jesus had not died when He gave this pictures of Hades or sheol, and until He died all souls at death went down to this place.
“We Were Sold Under Sin”
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Remember that the head of this poor race of ours had fallen and become a willing subject of the devil, and that God’s pronouncement and law that the wages of sin was death had to hold good until some one could pay the penalty of that broken law. No sinner could come into His presence until the guilt was put away, and only the death of His Holy Son could pay that penalty.
ONLY when He had come into a body like Adam’s, and in that human body met all the devil’s devices and temptations and conquered them; ONLY when He had suffered, being “tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin,” and conquered the flesh and the calls of the world, and refused to accept anything that this world had to offer outside of the perfect will of God; ONLY when all this perfect obedience had been gone through with; ONLY when He had done the Father’s will by suffering death for every soul and paying the full price of sin by offering His own precious sinless body and soul in death; ONLY when He had dropped His head and said, “It is finished,” was the price paid that would set the captives of death, bound in Hades free, and the living souls who trust Him.
God could not receive a sinner into His presence until the blood of Jesus was shed and the debt was paid and the sinner was made righteous. Then the devil had to stand back. Hades had lost its hold. The captives must be loosed.
The thief on the cross did not go down to Hades. Jesus said, “This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” And Jesus’ death that day let the captives loose and Paradise was ready to receive them, and received the thief.
Paul says he himself was caught up into this place and saw things unlawful, or rather almost impossible, to utter. But he lets the cat out of the bag about the whole matter of where the Christian goes at death, because he says “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Hallelujah for Christ’s victory over Hades! All the Abraham’s bosom side of it went up to Paradise, and sine Jesus’ death any soul dying in the faith goes up, praise God: Up! Hear me—victorious in Jesus—and not down. Paul says (1 Corinthians 15:55) “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” and here again the word translated “grave” is really “Hades.” You see the grave has had a victory over Paul’s body, but death hath no sting, for Hades has never been victor over Paul’s soul. “Oh Hades, where is thy victory?”
So Jesus broke open Hades and left only those souls that are reserved for punishment. Only the side across the gulf He left, where the rich man cried to Abraham, and from this awful waiting place they will pour forth to judgment some dark, terrible day, as it says in Revelation 20:13, “and death and hell delivered up the dead.” Here again the word translated “hell” is the word “Hades.” That side is left and will not be emptied until the judgment day.
Next a Place for Demons
You remember when Jesus cast the legion of devils out of that fellow who could snap his chains. What did the demons say to Him when He said “come out of him?” Was it not: “You have come to torment us before our time, and besought Him that they would not be sent into the deep.” “Deep” means the abyss (bottomless pit). They cry “Do not shut us up in that abyss now.” Most of the folks think as they read casually that they meant “Do not send us out into the deep”—meaning the lake close by.
God has a place where these demons must go—The Abyss—a place for imps and imps alone. They are not mixed with fallen angels nor with human souls, but in the abyss, their own place. While Jesus Christ is reigning as king on the Earth during the Millennium He is going to take the devil and bind him. Where will He put him—in Tartarus? In Hades? No sir, in the place God made to bind him. He is bound in the abyss for a thousand years, while Jesus as His master and Jesus as His conqueror reigns for a thousand years on this Earth; and the devil and every one of his imps is bound in the abyss.
Notice in Revelation as the imps come on the Earth they come from the abyss.
Then God says that after the Millennium the devil comes forth for a little while. God lets him have one more chance to see if folks want to follow him; then He comes down with fire from heaven upon him and all the rebels. God takes him and puts him into Gehenna—Fire.
Gehenna (Greek), Tophet (Hebrew), The Bible Hell
Now we are coming to what the Bible calls hell. Now we are coming to the place of everlasting punishment, the Bible place of Hell, where God is going to wrap up this thing of sin and the lovers of sin and get rid of it, and He calls it Gehenna in the Greek and Tophet in the Old Testament Hebrew. In other translations God calls it a Lake of Fire, a place of everlasting punishment. The Anti-Christ and the false prophet at the end of the tribulation are the first living creatures to enter the final hell. No living thing is in it now.
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, when the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).
“And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20).
Now listen: God’s plan in Christ Jesus has made a provision for the salvation of human souls—every one of you. God had a place to hold human souls there in Hades, but He didn’t have a place to put them for eternal punishment that had their name over it and their sign over it, for He has prepared a Lamb slain from the foundation of the world for men; He has provided a way out. And men have refused Him and His way out.
Now God says human souls will have to take a place prepared for something else: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire—prepared” (not originally for human souls but you will have to take it because “we have turned everyone to his own way”) but it was “prepared for the devil and his angels.” Now you will see the mixture; now Hades, Tartarus and the Abyss yield their all to Gehenna—GEHENNA FIRE—THIS IS HELL—THIS IS HELL—and into it forever goes every living thing that has followed the devil; they will have to go with the devil; God says “that is the god you have served, and you will have to go with your god the devil.”
“Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7).
“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:10-11).
“Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable” (Luke 3:17).
“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” (Mark 9:43-44).
“And death and hell”—“death and Hades”—“were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:14-15).
Man, woman, tonight, whom do you serve? Thank God, I have been delivered from the power of the devil; I follow Jesus, my Saviour. I do not give one rap what any man, woman or child says; thank God it has been decided I will go with Jesus, where He wants me I will go. The rebel stuff has all been conquered. He has paid the price. I am His, His!
Where are you going: with the “god of this world”—The Devil? If you turn Jesus down tonight for the one whom Jesus calls “the god of this world”—if you choose your shows, the world, and your dirty, filthy sin, you own goodness, then you will have to take your eternity with the god you are serving—Self and Satan. God says there is nothing else left but to put all kinds of rebellion down forever and together.
Now, friends, I have delivered what God says in His book. God says when the judgment throne is set, He will say, “Depart from me, ye cursed.” Friends, you may have your judgment tonight. How? By saying to God now, “I will plead guilty as a sinner. I am a rebel; I wanted my own way; but I find out tonight that you, Son of God, loved me so much that you came to break through the ranks of the devil, put down his power, conquer death, and come after my soul. Jesus, I take the work that you did on Calvary to blot out my sin, to give me access to God’s presence and heaven. I take the work that you did with death for mine; you swallowed it up and conquered it and rose again to give me life. I will follow you, Jesus; I will follow you and you take me as I am. Lost and undone, but your work on the cross has saved me. I take you—you take me.” Do this and your judgment is over forever!
Oh, what a Jesus, what a Saviour! What a Christ! He could have stayed up there in His palaces of light and let us go on with the devil we loved; but He says, “I love you, and there is a way to save you; I will take your guilt and death and give you My righteousness and everlasting life. He led us to build this tabernacle and keep this place open night after night, just to tell folks who are on their way to Hell that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” so the men that believe on Him shall not perish, perish, perish in Hell, but have everlasting life.
Who is your God? Who is your God? There is no other help for a sinner under the yoke of Satan but Jesus.
Old Jimmy Simms was on the saloon floor one night, writhing in drunkenness, the foam coming out of his mouth; the D.T.’s had him. He staggered up, walked out on the sidewalk, and somebody was singing in the mission:
“O, how my soul delights to hear
The charming name of Jesus.
His name dispels my guilt and fear:
No other name but Jesus.
Sweetest note in seraph song,
Sweetest name on mortal tongue,
Sweetest carol ever sung—
Jesus, blessed Jesus.”
Jimmy staggered in and listened. He sat on the back seat, and one of the men walked back and put his arm around him, and says, “Slip over; been having a hard time?”
“You look pretty bad.”
“I feel kind of bad,” Jimmy says. His face was dirty, and old Pete, beside him, who had been a drunk himself, says, “Wait: I will be back in a minute. You have a scar there on your face, haven’t you?” he whispered.
When he returned, he had taken his old handkerchief and saturated it with cold water; he put it on Jimmy’s face and wiped it all off tenderly.
“That felt good, didn’t it?” Pete inquired.
“Yes, that feels nice.”
“Wait, I’ll get another.” Peter washed his face over again, and then held the handkerchief over his eye where it hurt. “Feel better?”
“Oh,” he sais, “I am such an awful drunk; I am such a devil.”
“Are you a devil?”
“I tell you, I feel like it. I saw hell tonight, and the demons—I did—don’t you tell me I didn’t. Oh, man, it is awful; it is terrible. Say, fellow, but it is awful; don’t you ever drink, will you?”
And Pete says, “Say, I used to have them, too—but no more; never have them now.”
“You had them?”
“How did you get rid of them? Show me the dope.”
“No dope,” Pete says. “It’s a person.”
“Who is he?”
“Did that water feel good?”
“The person I know just put the handkerchief on the inside of me like, and washed me, all on the inside, and took all that stuff out of me. I just stuck with Jesus and it never touched me again. Hallelujah!”
Of course Jimmy wanted it. They kneeled down there; he didn’t quite get hold of it that night, but the next night he got hold of it; he got hold of Jesus as his Saviour and Keeper. And tonight if you were to go down to a little bit of a humble place near the depot in the same place where Jimmy found Jesus, you would find him there. He is the door-keeper, and he always has a nice handkerchief ready so he can use it on the next one that comes in, as it was used on him. He is delivered from the power of the devil in this world, by the marvelous work of Jesus, and throughout eternity will be delivered from death and hell.
Oh, Jesus is here tonight, to save souls! Friends, who is your God? Who are you serving? Who has you? I don’t care if you belong to all the churches in Chicago, if you are minding the devil you belong to the devil. My Jesus breaks every getter and sets every prisoner free. Come and have His salvation from hell and death! How do you get it? Trust Him! Turn around and say to the devil, “I am going to trust Jesus.”
What would you give tonight for all the devil ever gave you? If what he gave you is no good, how do you ever expect to get anything that is any better? Drop him like the poison that he is tonight. O, come to Jesus tonight! Out from under the power and the clutch of the devil tear yourself away, and Jesus will save you. Man, woman, you who are here, bound to the devil and the sins of the world and slaves to fear and folly, won’t you break, break tonight with the old life? Let Jesus do the work for you. All you have to do is to come to Him. He is already victor over the world, the flesh and the devil. Believe it, and come to Him. Trust His great accomplished victory over hell and death.
Jesus is victor—the heavens shall ring.
Dread king of terrors, oh where is thy sting?
Jesus is victor! We’ll shout o’er the grave.
Glory to God! He is mighty to save.
Jesus is victor! The battle is won’
We can do nothing, for all has been done.
Jesus is victor! The foe from the dust
Never can rise again, if we but trust.