The Wrath of Hell

Have we done something to make our God angry? Do we find Him described in His Word as poised with sword in hand, ready to destroy us? Is He seen as one taking His vengeance on a traitorous community by casting them into a fiery pit of darkness? Is hell the place of His wrath and judgement?

Or, as some suggest today, is there no eternal place of torment awaiting the enemies of God? If not, what do we make of these points…?

1. The Bible arguably speaks of such a place at least two hundred and forty-four times.

2. Jesus teaches on this topic more than He teaches on heaven or even the love of God.

When Jesus teaches on this topic, He uses terms that seem to suggest there is no end to the punishment for the corrupt. An example can be found in Matthew’s account of the gospel (13:47). There, a great fishing net is described as catching everything in its path. Then, the good fish are placed in containers, and the bad fish are disposed of. To leave no room for misinterpretation, Jesus explains the meaning of this parable. He describes the wicked as being separated from the just and then cast into the furnace of fire. He describes those in this furnace as in immense pain and agony.

The reader is given a picture of God that scarcely resembles our favorite words of description for Him, such as love, mercy, and grace…

Jesus also describes this furnace as a place where worms don’t die (Mark 9:44). Worms eat… and they eat until there is no more food. If they never die, it seems their food source is never exhausted. Is this a picture of the eternality of the wicked ever being consumed, but ever remaining? Can this same picture be seen in a fire that is never quenched?

His words also seem to negate the popular teaching that “God doesn’t send anyone to hell, they choose to go there.” The wicked are seen as being cast into the pit.

Personally, I believe that all of this awaits the sinful, but to a greater degree than the human mind can grasp. I believe it’s worse than the picture we gain from analogies and metaphors that are meant to merely give us a glimpse of this horror. Why do I say this?

Because this is the very wrath and anger that Jesus endured on the cross. This is the punishment that caused the Son of God to plead with His Father to find another way! His preparation to face God’s judgement brought blood from His sweat glands and required the sustaining ministry of angels.

It was more than the gruesome punishment of the crucifixion. Jesus knew His Father, and He knew what must be done. On the cross, God unleashed the full measure of His anger upon His Son! Jesus was punished with the horrors of hell.

But if you want to hear what’s truly amazing in this story… He endured this for me. His enemy! He also did this for you! God angrily and mercilessly poured His full measure of punishment on His Son, so that Jesus became God’s enemy in our place and we could become His children.

This is why God doesn’t ask people to come to Him. He commands that all people repent and respond to His good news! The gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t something that would be nice for people to hear. It isn’t something good people add to their already good lives. It’s the only means to life!

Outside of Christ’s work through the power of the gospel, every single human kneels condemned as an enemy of their God and about to be destroyed by His wrath! The gospel is good news because it is the only means of escaping the wrath to come!

But it gives us so much more! For those who have the ability to simply believe that Jesus’ payment was sufficient, forgiveness and mercy are available at the cross. The believer becomes a new creation in Christ, no longer an enemy, but a friend and child of God.

The doctrine of hell helps us understand what our Lord did for us. It helps us understand what Jesus accomplished at Calvary. The power of the gospel gives strength and victory. It gives life where once there was only fear, guilt, and death. The gospel avails a life surrendered to the Savior!

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About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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19 Responses to The Wrath of Hell

  1. Jeff says:

    That was a great post and a great treatment of the doctrine of hell. To think on the fact that Jesus took on this wrath on the cross gives me that much more appreciation for that grace in which I stand.

  2. writinggomer says:

    Great post Mike, and the comments are really good as well. I think this subject should be talked about more often then it is. To many outright deny the very existence of hell or eternal punishment. To believe in God but not in Satan, or in eternal punishment is foolish as this all comes right out of the Word. I would never advocate “hitting” people over the head with hell as a way of evangelizing but people do need to know the reality of the situation. Know God, no hell as you will be with Him in heaven. No God, know hell when you pass from this life. You have two choices given you by God, heaven or hell. God will place you in hell if you do not accept Him and call Jesus Savior, but you in rejecting God first, left God with no other choice but to send you into hell on the day of judgement. Sounds terrible, but lets remember that God the Father enforces what He says He will do. One needs to always remember that God Himself paid the price for our sins, my sins…Jesus died for OUR benefit. Yes God = heaven, No God = hell.

  3. lambskinny says:

    Reblogged this on obsecrations and commented:
    Thinking about hell after reading M.T. Sweat’s THE WRATH OF HELL re-blogged here on Obsecrations.
    What is hell? Most obviously, hell is separation from God — a separation that lasts eternally. I’ve always believed that people who do not know the Lord are already in hell, a spiritual wasteland.
    Is hell a physical punishment? Is heaven a physical reward? The answer to the second question ought to settle the answer to the first question.

  4. lambskinny says:

    Michael, one more thing — Jesus speaks of separating the bad fish from the good fish; first the parable has the fishermen collecting the good fish first; later Jesus speaks of the angels separating the wicked from the righteous, throwing the evil ones into the fire … in another parable, the chaff is collected first, then the wheat is left for harvest. I’ve always thought it interesting that God allows the goats and sheep to rise together — intermingling until the Day of Judgment; then He will separate out the goats, literally driving them out and into His wrath. The sheep then will be ready to follow and live forever with the Great Shepherd. Thanks again, Carley

  5. lambskinny says:

    Only 1 word comes to my mind, Michael — I bet you know it. A-M-E-N. Thanks, Carley

  6. Lady Deidre says:

    Praise God! Great Post, Mike! Hard subject, but it’s important that we all grasp the truth!
    God Bless You!
    Dei

  7. This is a message we don’t hear often enough. I think of the words of an old hymn:
    “What He endured no tongue can tell
    To save our souls from death and hell”

    While I know the physical torture of the crucifixion is possibly the worst pain possible, I also know that the spiritual pain, that is, the pain of Jesus (sinless, perect) actually becoming SIN and bearing the wrath of His Father for that sin – [the same wrath as those who reject Him will have to endure for eternity] – was far, far, greater and beyond comprehension.
    I cannot imagine the heart of the Father as He did this. No wonder the earth was darkened! Why would He do it? Because He loved me!

    What an awesome Saviour!
    What an awesome God!

  8. granbee says:

    Ordinarily, I do not support much use of hellfire to frighten people down to the altar! However, in light of the present election season ads and debates in the U.S. , I think these Biblical admonitions are well advised!

  9. cc says:

    “His words also seem to negate the popular teaching that “God doesn’t send anyone to hell, they choose to go there.” The wicked are seen as being cast into the pit.”
    Hmmmm…interesting…but His words also said that Hell was prepared for “the devils and his angels”, not for humanity. Peter tells us that God is “NOT wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” The choice is that they choose to go there by not choosing the Lord…to not choose the Lord is a choice. C.S. Lewis gives his view of how the two coincide in his book The Great Divorce, ”There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it.”
    That Jesus would experience my hell, to give me the opportunity to choose to not experience it, is an unfathomably deep expression of love. O, what a Savior! Thank you for reminding me to celebrate Him again, and again, and again….

    • mtsweat says:

      Thanks Mrs. C. Good take and catch on the choice issue. The messages I’m listening to that prompted this post should have led me to finish the original author’s point. His statement went something like this. “No one stands on the bank of the lake of fire and jumps in willingly. Man does not choose hell, he chooses to sin. Therefore he is cast into hell for his sin. He is cast into hell because he chooses to be an enemy of his God.” Technically, you and CS are correct by the process of chain reaction, but still, as in the parable, and as we’ll hear this evening from Rev. 14, God is perfectly righteous and just to cast His image-bearers into a hell made for Satan… because in our fallen state, we are his children (we do his work, we sin).

      Praise the Lord my post presented the message that was intended. To proclaim the work of Christ on our behalf. You are so right! What a Savior!

  10. Great post Mike! Not too many people want to post on hell. Reading this post makes me GLAD Jesus is my Savior and Lord because at one time, I was surely headed there. You have been on a roll lately with some great posts.

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