Eternal Retribution:
Suppose It's True After All?
by Pastor Art Kohl
updated January 31, 2005


Hell is a big joke today. Any night on TV you can hear it used as a slang word profanely. It has become commonplace to kids with friends saying, "Go to hell!" Rock singers boldly declare hell as a desirable place to inhabit.

The world is not the only sector of society belittling the doctrine of hell. The clergy has watered this down and denied it. The laity doubts and live as though there were no such place. In 1984, 92.7% of seminary graduates going into the ministry denied the existence of hell. Four years ago, 9 denominations merged together for unity sake. All 9 agreed they must do away with any teaching on hell if they were going to get along. Many cults teach annihilation or soul sleep. Other cults have been started by well meaning men who feared the thought of a hell and so made up their own religion, excluding it from their teaching.

1. What Does God Say About It?

God's main characteristic is Holiness, (not Love, as some teach). God is HOLY! Holy means "separate from sin" God will ALWAYS be separate from sin, or He will cease to be holy!

God is righteous. He always does right. It is right to punish sin. Society agrees with this. Righteous judges are elected to punish criminals and clear innocent people. Society would be chaos without the judicial system. It is essential to our existence.

If our government is right and justified in punishing those that are guilty, is it wrong for God to act the same way? Or, as the Apostle Paul asked in Romans 3:5, "Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance?"

God spoke plainly of judgment and hell. If these 2 subjects were cut out of the Bible, only 1/3 of the Bible would be left. The main message of the Old Testament prophets was that of judgment. God has said, "The wicked shall be turned into hell..." in Psalms 9:17, and "Let death seize upon them and let them go down quickly into hell." in Psalms 55:15. The Lord used the prophet Isaiah to speak of a place where "their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched." (In Isaiah 66:24)

The New Testament introduces the second death in Revelation 20:10-15. It explains the first death is physical, the 2nd spiritual. Verse 10 speaks of this place as a lake of fire where there is torment day and night forever.

2. What Did Jesus Preach?

One title Jesus holds is that of a prophet. No prophet spoke more about hell than Jesus Christ! Study his words;

Matthew 5:22 "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

Matthew 10:28 "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

Matthew 11:23 "And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day."

Matthew 13:40-42 "As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

Matthew 13:49-50 "So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

Matthew 18:8-9 "Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire."

Matthew 22:13 "Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Matthew 25:41 "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"

Matthew 25:46 "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."

Notice He uses such phrases as "hell fire," "soul and body," "furnace of fire," "wailing and gnashing of teeth," "everlasting fire," "damnation," "outer darkness," "everlasting punishment," etc.! That's just in one book of the Bible! 1 Peter 2:22 says of Christ: "Who did no sin, neither was GUILE found in his mouth." GUILE means "to decoy, trick, deceive or wile." Jesus never used GUILE in his preaching. HE JUST TOLD THE TRUTH! He did not decoy (fake) us out or trick us concerning his teaching on hell.

3. The Sufferings of Christ

If there is no hell and we are all going to end up in heaven someday, then why did Christ willingly suffer so horribly?

The paintings, pictures and crucifixes that we see DO NOT depict the way He really suffered on the cross! Isaiah 50:6 says that they pulled the beard off of his face. Isaiah 52:14 tells us that his face and body were marred beyond recognition. He was scourged with a Roman type cat-o-nine-tails whip relentlessly. Psalm 22 mentions that all of his bones were out of joint and that his tongue clave to his jaws. Spikes were driven through his hands and feet. His side was run through with a spear.

There is no scriptural evidence that Christ had any clothes on his body, but rather that he hung naked and in shame as Roman soldiers gambled for his venture and divided his garments among them. Psalm 22:18, "They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture."

Why would Christ suffer so if all are going to heaven anyways? No, he knew that we're all headed for a real hell, that a Holy, righteous God is perfectly justified in sending us to. For we have all willingly sinned, Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." and chosen to violate God's laws and reject His words!

Hell was created for the devil and his angels, not for man. However, man has chosen to follow the devil in rebellion against the word of God. Despite us, God loves us and sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins, Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." and He suffered our hell. Acts 2:27 "Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." Acts 2:31 "He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption."

4. Suppose It's True After All!

Some scoff at this idea saying, "This life is hell!" or "All my friends will be there." Others deny and insist, "I don't believe in it." But... SUPPOSE IT'S TRUE AFTER ALL! If deniers are right and there is no hell, I have nothing to lose by believing in it. However, if I am right and there is a hell, then deniers and unbelievers will suffer eternally for their unbelief. The safest thing to do is to take God at His word! Life is short and uncertain. It's not what man says or argues, BUT WHAT HATH GOD SAID! Are you willing to stake your eternal soul on what you believe?

5. God Wants No One In Hell!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world TO CONDEMN the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:16-17

God sends no one to hell. Man CONDEMNS himself by rejecting Jesus Christ as his Savior. We are not robots. God gives you a free will today to accept Jesus Christ or to reject him. Your decision either saves you or condemns you!

Consider John 3:36 "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."

If you are trying to save yourself (by your good works) you are not trusting Christ! Stop trying and start trusting. Titus 3:5 says, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he hath saved us..."

Have you obeyed the gospel? Please consider the penalty if you have not: "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." II Thessalonians 1:8

Christ died, was buried and rose again for you! Would you give up trying to earn your way into heaven and start trusting in what Christ has already done for you?

Right where you are now, will you ask Jesus Christ to be your Saviour for your sins? Ask Him to come into your life and heart and save you today! Choose heaven! Call on the Lord TODAY.