03 Apr What does Scripture teach about hell? Part 2
Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. –Jude 7
The Bible’s portrait of hell is nothing like the mocking cartoon caricatures drawn by Matt Groening or Gary Larson.
Likewise, hell is not a fun place where sinners get to live out their sinful pleasures, as if Satan rules over hell and sin can be pursued without inhibition. This erroneous view of Satan ruling in hell comes not from Scripture but from Puritan John Milton’s Paradise Lost, which has the Devil arrogantly declaring, “Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n.”101 But Satan will not reign there. Hell is a place of punishment that God prepared for the Devil and his angels.102 It is where the beast and the false prophet and those who worship them 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.103
At the end of the age, the Devil will be “thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”104 Hell will be ruled by Jesus, and human and demon alike, including Satan, will be tormented there continually.
Hell is real and terrible. It is eternal. There is no possibility of amnesty or reprieve. Daniel says that some of the dead will be resurrected “to shame and everlasting contempt.”105 Jesus says, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. . . . And these will go away into eternal punishment.”106 Paul tells us:
God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.107
What do you think eternity would look like if there was no justice from God to put an end to rebellion and sin?
101 John Milton, Paradise Lost, bk. 1, ln. 263.
102 Matt. 25:41.
103 Rev. 14:10–11.
104 Rev. 20:10.
105 Dan. 12:2.
106 Matt. 25:41, 46.
107 2 Thess. 1:6–9.