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There is a real Hell Fire!

A leading Protestant theologian recently said,
"It is doubtful whether many educated Protestants today believe in 'heaven' and 'hell' as literal physical places. . ."
Yet to many millions hell is frighteningly real!
Is there a real hell, a real fire, a real torment — what does the Bible say?


ADMITTED — the modernist, the agnostic and the atheist do not believe in a real hell — but then, they don't believe in the Bible or the plain statements of Scripture either!

Even among theologians who claim to recognize the final authority of God's Written Word there is much disagreement about hell.

Most agree that hell and its fire are for the punishment of sin. Yet beyond this point they differ — sometimes violently!


Some quote scriptures as proof that God uses hell for the purpose of inflicting never-ending torture on the damned; while others also quote scriptures as proof that hell is the, instrument God uses to destroy the wicked, body and soul!


Do These Scriptures Contradict?

Does one scripture contradict another? No! God's Word plainly says, scripture cannot be broken!" (John 10:35) How can one set of scriptures be used to "knock in the head" another set of scriptures then? The answer is, it CANNOT BE DONE — honestly!

Unfortunately millions have been deceived! Some scoff, and shrug off the whole idea of hell. Some say the very idea of a loving God making people suffer the torment of fire eternally is not logical. Yet others say God will punish sin forever, that the sinner well deserves every pain of hell and more!

It is the habit of those who quote scriptures on the subject, to use only PART of the verses pertaining to the subject — they read a false meaning into them. By subtle half-truths, by vivid pictures, by peddling popular — not Biblical — teachings, they shackle Christendom to unreasoning fear or insult the intelligence of the educated into complete disbelief!

We must not read our inherited or desired meaning into any particular passage of scripture — "no prophecy of the scripture is on any private interpretation," (II Peter 1:20) — but each passage is interpreted by, and in the light of, other texts! The only way to get the TRUTH ABOUT HELL is to understand ALL THE SCRIPTURES on the subject — straight from God's Word, not distorted by popular, but unproved belief, for "Thy word is truth!" (John 17:17)


Common Concept of Hell

First, let's read what is the generally accepted common belief in our Western world about hell. Here is the terse and brief summation of this popular belief, quoted from the Encyclopedia Americana:

` . . . As generally understood, hell is the abode of evil spirits; the infernal regions . . . whither lost and condemned souls go after death to suffer indescribable torments and eternal punishment. . . Some have thought of it as the place created by the Deity, where He punishes with inconceivable severity, and through all eternity, the souls of those who through unbelief or through the worship of false gods have angered Him. It is the place of divine revenge, untempered, never ending."

Did this idea of hell come from the Bible? Did Jesus teach that lost souls are going to suffer eternally in hell's fires?

What about the verse, which some quote that reads: "And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet?" (Mal. 4:3) And what about the scripture, quoted by some, saying, "the soul that sinneth, it shall die"? (Ezek. 18:4)

How do you reconcile these verses with Jesus' statement, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire"? (Mat. 25:41)

You need to know the answers to these questions! Don't kid yourself! There is a real hell fire! Let's look into a few of the most commonly used scriptures on this subject, and UNDERSTAND THEM in the clear light of God's Own Word — let's see what they REALLY SAY!


What About Lazarus and the Rich Man?

The 16th chapter of Luke has been used universally by those who believe in an eternally-torturing hell.

If you will carefully read the chapter beginning in verse 19 and reading through to verse 31 — the entire parable of Lazarus and the rich man — you will notice there is no mention of time in the entire description!

Since this is so universally misunderstood, and there is not the space here to cover the background needed to thoroughly discuss the subject because of the need to answer many other questions, I will put down here a brief excerpt from the very core of a booklet we have on the subject. This booklet goes thoroughly into this particular subject of Lazarus and the rich man — you may have the entire booklet FREE, upon request, just write and ask for the booklet, "Lazarus and the Rich Man." The following is an excerpt, only part of what is contained in the entire booklet covering the subject thoroughly:


The Fate of the Rich Man

Now let's see what happened to the rich man — and when!

Jesus said of him: ". . . the rich man also died, and was buried" (Luke 16:22). Jesus did not say the rich man was taken immediately at that time to an eternally burning hell. He did not say the body was buried but that the rich man himself was plunged immediately into a burning hell. He said the rich man died — and the rich man, himself, was buried.

Now, one would hardly say of one being put into the burning caldron luridly described as the imaginary hell that the act of throwing one into that burning region was a BURYING of the person, would he? One is not buried unless he is covered up.

People are buried in a grave, and covered with earth. But the imaginary hell that was invented by Dante Alighieri accepted by the Roman Catholic Church and later by most Protestants is never pictured as a place of BURIAL! But this rich man died and was buried! He, himself, was buried — not a "house" he had lived in. JESUS SAID so — read it in your Bible! The rich MAN was buried!


What Kind of Hell?

In the next verse, Jesus said, "And in hell he lifted up his eyes" (v. 23).

So the rich man was in a place called "hell," after all, wasn't he? And in this hell he "lifted up his eyes." His eyes had been closed, in death, and now there came a time when they opened — he "lifted up his eyes!"

What kind of "hell" is this?

Startling though it may be, the rich man was buried in the same kind of "hell" Jesus was buried in! Yes, Jesus died and was buried — and in "hell!"

In the first inspired sermon preached by Peter on the day the New Testament Church started, Peter said: "He [David] seeing this before spake of the RESURRECTION of Christ, that His soul was not left IN HELL, neither his flesh did see corruption" (Acts 2: 31).

Jesus, too, died and was buried. And in "hell" He, too, lifted up His eyes — WHEN HE WAS RESURRECTED!

Now let me explain that, and make it plain!

The New Testament was written in the Greek language. Your Bible is a translation in the English language. In the English language your Bible probably reads "And in hell he lifted up his eyes." However, in the original Greek in which the New Testament was written there are three different Greek words, each having a totally different meaning, but all three of which were translated into the "King James" and Catholic translations by the English word "hell."

One of the Greek words is "tartaros," which refers only to the present condition of darkness, or perversion, and of restraint, of the fallen angels, or demons. Another is "gehenna," a place at the bottom of a high ledge at the south end of Jerusalem, where garbage, refuse, and bodies of dead animals and the worst criminals were dumped over the ledge to be burned up. Down below, the fires were kept continually burning. They burned up, or consumed — totally destroyed the bodies and refuse dumped there. This is the word Jesus used when He spoke of being finally DESTROYED IN "HELL FIRE."

But this rich man was not buried in that "hell." He was not in "gehenna." The third, and most commonly used Greek word was written here by Luke — "hades." And "hades" means THE GRAVE — a place of BURIAL in the ground!

When the King James translation of the Bible was made, Englishmen spoke commonly of "putting their potatoes in hell for the winter." They buried them in the ground!

This is the "hell" Jesus was buried in — the "hell" His soul was not left in — the grave, or tomb, from which He was RESURRECTED! And this, hades, was also the "hell" in which the rich man was BURIED! . . .


What Is This Flame?

But when he is resurrected, he sees a flame which torments him. What is this?

Now Jesus did, on other occasions, speak of perishing and being destroyed in "gehenna FIRE." What is this? It is described in Rev. 20:14-15, as a "lake of fire."

"Scripture everywhere describes the final fate of the wicked as being burned up by fire. It is this "lake of fire," which is "the second death," from which there shall be no resurrection! The PUNISHMENT is death by fire! They remain forever DEAD! This death is for ALL ETERNITY — ETERNAL PUNISHMENT — but it is not eternal punishing!

Now, opening his eyes in his grave, this rich man SEES Abraham, and Lazarus in his "bosom" — his embrace! Yes, Jesus told the Pharisees that they would SEE Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom and they themselves thrust out! This rich man sees them! He also sees this awful flame of fire — this LAKE OF FIRE which is about to destroy him forever! He is TERRIFIED!

What happens when one is suddenly so horrified with fear? His mouth goes dry. His tongue sticks to his mouth and throat!

The rich man cries out in this mental agony: "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."

Now if the rich man were in the kind of "hell" most people seem to believe, his whole body would be on fire — you would think he would have called for at least a bucket of water to put out the fire, wouldn't you?

Look at this!

How much water did he call for? He said to Abraham: ". . . send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water." Just a couple of drops — that's all the water he requested! Doesn't that strike you as strange?

Why did he call for water? To put out the fires of all "hell"? — The kind of hell people would have you believe he was in? Ah, no! He only wanted a mere couple of drops of water on Lazarus' finger — WHY? — "to COOL MY TONGUE!" That's what the rich man said! Open your own Bible again, and read it!

The flame, he said, was tormenting him. This word "tormented," used in verses 24 and 25 is translated from the original Greek word "odunasai." This is defined in Liddell & Scott's Greek-English Lexicon as "to cause pain, to pain, distress: — From ODUNE — pain of body, but also, 2, of mind, grief, distress."

Why, of course! This rich man opens his eyes in his grave in a resurrection. He is resurrected MORTAL, just as he was before he died — not immortal like Lazarus! He sees this lake of fire. Now he knows the frightful, the AWFUL doom he is to be thrust into — to be burned up — destroyed! He is suffering mental anguish such as he never experienced in his lifetime. HIS TONGUE IS DRY. He breaks out in cold sweat. He cries for a little water on the tip of Lazarus' finger TO COOL HIS TONGUE! He is in a condition of WEEPING and GNASHING OF TEETH!