Not only does hell exist, but the Bible reveals that there are two of them. I give a detailed treatment of this subject in my short book, The Two Hells. This is not to say that there are two different hells occupied at the same time. Only one is in use at the moment. It is quite crowded, and becoming fuller all the time, as the prophet Isaiah has told us: Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure….
From all Biblical accounts, the first hell is actually physically located in the center of the earth. It is known as Hades (in Greek) or Sheol (in Hebrew). Hades is a waiting area, very similar in nature to a county jail where criminals await their court date. All the occupants of Hades will get their day in court. None of their cases look promising.
The “court date” is described in the book of Revelation and is known as the Great White Throne Judgment. This is the real judgment day, where the rebellious (who have chosen to reject God and His plan of redemption for sinners) will receive final sentencing. Hades will be emptied out, because the entire earth is about to be destroyed and replaced. This event will take place in a little more than 1,007 years from now, according to scripture.
The rebellious will be sentenced to Gehenna (Greek) which is described as an eternal lake of fire. It has also been referenced by Jesus as outer darkness. For that reason, it will likely be located very far out in space, beyond the light of all the stars of the universe. The people who go there will be permanent residents, as the Bible tells us the smoke of their torment rises forever. Now if you ask me, that doesn’t seem like such a great way to spend eternity – especially when the alternative is paradise. For some reason, though, most people insist on going to the eternal lake of fire instead.
The word hell is commonly used to refer to either place, or perhaps can be a reference to the total experience (first going to Hades and then later going to the eternal lake of fire). Because most people are going to hell, I must assume there is a decent chance that anyone who is reading this right now is among them. You should know that God does not want you to go there! He is trying to stop you, even right now, this very moment. Ultimately, however, He respects your free will and will let you do what you want.
If you are one who of those who insists on going to hell, and would like to know how you can secure your ticket, the good news is you already have it. All humans are born with that ticket. We are all headed towards hell, and each of us will end up there unless we pull our head out of our rear end and decide not to follow all those other idiots over the cliff. In John 8:24 Jesus tells us:
“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” – NASB
If you don’t want to go to hell, Jesus has just given you an alternative. You can trade your ticket to hell for a ticket to paradise, right now, by deciding to believe in Jesus. Jesus is your ticket. He paid your fare with his own blood. The Jews didn’t kill him; you and I did. Something had to be done about our sin, and Jesus willingly received the punishment for it upon himself, so that you and I don’t have to. The price for our sin has been paid in full!
Jesus, the Son of God, died for our sins. Think about that. You don’t have to go to hell now, unless of course you really want to.
The glorious news of Easter is that Jesus didn’t stay dead. Man cannot kill God. Jesus rose from the dead, in physical form, and showed himself to many witnesses. He now sits next to the Father, in Heaven, waiting for you to decide to not go to hell. Waiting for the day when God says enough is enough, and sends his Son back to take control of the earth he purchased with his blood.
Understand that you cannot ignore this issue. There is no neutrality. You were born on your way to hell. To stay neutral is to stay on the path you are on. To secure you ticket to hell, simply do nothing. If you would rather go to paradise forever instead, repent of your sin now and receive Jesus. Say this three word prayer right now, and mean it from your heart: Jesus, forgive me.