Vol. 5, No. 4
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Apparently, some outside the Lord's church as well as some brethren must desire the benefits of hell. It is also much easier to travel the broad way through the broad gate to hell than it is to travel the narrow way through the narrow gate to heaven (Matthew 7:13-14). Further, most or all of some people's friends will be in hell, and to be with them eternally, they will have to go there, too. There is no restrictive law filled with prohibitions by which one must order his life on earth in order to arrive in hell someday. In addition, note some of the benefits of hell.
There will be no preaching in hell. For some folk, even Christians, no preaching in hell will be a definite advantage. Often mankind considers Bible preaching as mere foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18-21). Non-Christians and Christians alike sometimes consider distasteful biblical doctrines as merely the opinions of men (1 Thessalonians 2:13). However, God's preachers must preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27; 2 Timothy 4:1-2). Yet, many consider preaching as meddlesome in their personal lives, too tedious and boring and unnecessarily long (Matthew 14:1-12; Acts 6:8-7:60; 20:7; Ephesians 4:15).
Though there will be no preaching in hell, there will be preachers in hell. Many false prophets, preachers and teachers will be in hell (Revelation 20:10; 1 John 4:1; Romans 16:17-18; James 3:1). The rich man of Luke 16:19, in the part of Hades that is a foretaste of hell, illustrates that the inhabitants of hell will desire to hear preaching with the subsequent opportunity to respond, but there will be no preaching and no further opportunities to respond to it.
There will be no praying in hell. Prayer seems to occupy a very low priority for many today and is dismissed by still others, despite the regularity and urgency with which the Bible teaches man ought to pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17; James 5:16). Those who absent themselves from the appointed assemblies also forgo the public prayers that occur there (1 Corinthians 14:15). Jesus also instructed his followers to pray privately (Matthew 6:6). However, one does not have to pray privately or publicly, if his eternal goal is hell.
However, once in hell, should a soul decide to pray, it will be far too late. The rich man of Luke 16 made petitions that could not be fulfilled since he had already passed from life. God does not acknowledge the prayers of sinners while alive, and obviously neither will he hearken to the prayers of departed sinners (John 9:31; Proverbs 28:9).
There will be no paying in hell. Some Christians find it distasteful to regularly support the church and its labors for Christ. The church seems to want money all the time (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Preaching that announces the Christian has financial responsibilities regarding the church and its work irritate some of the children of God (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Surely, they will be delighted that there will be no collections in hell!
It is also true, though, that no one will possess anything in hell from which one could give. This earth and everything on it will be melted (2 Peter 3:10). It is obvious from the parable of the rich farmer that no one can take this earth's goods into the afterlife (Luke 12:16-21). The only treasures in eternity will be those laid up in heaven ahead of time (Matthew 6:19-21).
There will be no programs or projects in hell. Church work, programs or projects require the investment of time, which many Christians covetously reserve for themselves. There will be no Bible classes, Gospel meetings, lectureships, evangelistic programs and other special functions in hell to irritate the reluctant disciple of Christ. God did not create any no talent people and everyone really has the same number of hours in a day (Matthew 25:14-30).
There will be no programs in hell. Any good that needs to be accomplished can only be done in this life (Ecclesiastes 9:10; John 9:4). Hence, we must use the time now prudently and wisely (Ephesians 5:15-16; Colossians 4:5).
There will be no pious people in hell. Many people in the world and sometimes brethren do not prefer the company of godly souls (Romans 12:10; 1 Peter 2:17). Often the world calls Christians names, such as "squeaky clean," "goody-goody" or some other derision to hurt our feelings. Therefore, many in the world and some Christians prefer the corrupting influence of ungodly people to the blessing of company with faithful Christians (1 Corinthians 15:33; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
All the future inhabitants of hell will be sinners. Luke 16:19-31 indicates that the lost and the saved will not be allowed to commune with each other. The various lists of sins throughout the New Testament reveal the type of souls who will inhabit hell for eternity (Romans 1:19-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:8).
There will be no prohibitions in hell. Many souls today feel anguish and pain whenever they are required to submit to authority (Matthew 28:18). They feel burdened with "Thou shalts" and "Thou shalt nots." The Gospel of Christ, however, is also the law of God (James 1:25; 2:12).
There will be no consolation in hell to be free from law. The inhabitants of eternal hell will be in the company of others just like them who disregarded the laws of God while they were alive. The rich man of Luke 16:19-31 desperately wanted his family to obey the laws of God to avoid arriving in hell.
On balance, the disadvantages far outweigh the benefits of hell. Hell is a place ...
… of flaming fire (Luke 16:24; Revelation 20:10-15; Matthew 13:41-42, 50; 25:41).
… of unquenchable thirst (Luke 16:24).
… that will be populated with the most deeply depraved of mankind and angelic beings (Revelation 21:8; 22:15; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Matthew 25:41).
… "afar off" from God (Luke 16:23; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
… of "outer darkness" (Matthew 25:30).
… of unrelieved pain (Luke 16:23-25, 28; Revelation 20:10; 14:10-11).
… of unending punishment (Matthew 25:46; Hebrews 10:27-29).
… of sad memories (Luke 16:25).
… of eternal regret (Luke 16:27-28).
… where heavenly happiness can only be viewed from far off (Luke 16:23; Revelation 14:10).
… where prayers are not answered (Luke 16:24-31).
… where men plead for mercy and receive none (Luke 16:24).
… men will want to leave, but it is inescapable (Luke 16:26; Revelation 20:10; Matthew 25:41, 46).
There will be no leisure times, recreation, rest periods, recess, passes, graduations, retirements, vacations or paroles -- hell is forever! Hell was not prepared for man, but for the devil (Matthew 25:41). God does not want anyone to spend eternity in hell (2 Peter 3:9). No one has to spend forever in hell if he will follow the narrow road, through the narrow gate of the city of life (Matthew 7:13-14). Every soul can choose life and live with God forever (Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15; Philippians 2:12; Romans 6:16-18). Jesus Christ came into the world for the purpose of saving souls from a devil's hell (John 3:16; Luke 19:10).
No one in his right mind, knowing the awfulness and eternality of hell, could possible want to spend forever in hell. However, Christians must be faithful practitioners of all the counsel of God to avoid hell and arrive in heaven at time's end (James 4:17; Revelation 2:10; 1 John 1:7, 9). Unbaptized believers must repent of their sins and submit to immersion in water for the remission of sins to avoid hell and begin the Christian walk, the end of which if faithfully pursued is heaven with God (Acts 2:38). We have considered the benefits of hell to encourage conscious avoidance of hell, by becoming Christians, continuing to be faithful Christians and more enthusiastically embracing Christian worship and Christian service.