Is hell literally a place of fire and brimstone?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
By raining down fire and brimstone upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, God not only demonstrated how He felt about overt sin, but He also launched an enduring metaphor. After the events of Genes...

July 01 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Carl Naitram
To me it is quite interesting that the only person who speaks descriptively of hell is the Lord Jesus.  John in Revelation mentions the lake of fire.  I am wondering if somehow we are misinterpreting the words of the Lord Jesus since in all of the Old Testament there is no clear teaching about eternal torment. It does not even tell us what is hell.  Then in the New Testament the writers from Acts to Jude does not warn anyone about going to hell nor describes hell.  Jude uses words like the blackness of darkness but he does not tell us that is hell.

The Apostle Peter whom many of us perceive  he was a hellfire and brimstone preacher never uses the word hades or Gehenna nor does the Apostle Paul except  in 1Cor 15:55 where he uses hades though most translations  translate it grave. The word is not found in John's gospel nor epistles. James uses once.  I find it difficult to understand why these the closest followers of the Lord and who were undoubtedly inspired by the Holy Spirit does not warn people about going to hell or challenges believers to witness in order to stop people from going there. 

This is making me think that possibly what the Lord tells us about hell is nit what we have been told.  It is obvious that there is a difference between the Greek words Gehenna and Hades which unfortunately have been translated as hell.  It is also said that The Lord mentioned Hell at least 11 times. However The word hell never came from His mouth. He said hades and Gehenna. The actual times He used Gehenna trans as hell is fewer than 11 since Mark and Luke refers to some of the same statements that Matthew did.  

He used the word Hades 4 times in the Gospels and 2 times in Revelation. 
It is to this place Hades that He went to when He died. Possibly that is where He went to preach to the spirits in prison as Peter tells us. 

It is obvious from scripture that there is going to be an awful judgment. However I do find it strange that if it is going to be as we say how is it that there is no warning about it in the Old Testament and that Acts and the Epistles are silent about the Hell we preach about.  May God help us to know the truth.

July 17 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Fanny 035 Fanny Essamuah
in Luke 16:19-31 Jesus tells the story of a certain rich man and Lazarus.  in verse 24 KJV- And he cried and said, 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.
I think flame always means fire.  This to me means that hells has fire.

July 25 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Ezra King Ezra King
Mat_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. 
Rev_20:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 
Does that sound like a real place?

July 25 2013 8 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Joseph Luna
We must never allow our opinions to prevent us from believing what God says in His word. 

None of us are qualified to differ from what the scriptures really teach because it won't matter either way whether we believe in it or not. 

God's word tells us that hell is real, (Mat 5:22; 10:28; 23:33)

Point 1 Hell is not a place, nor is it located somewhere. 

Point 2 Hell is a state of being that was created for the devil and his angels (Mat 25:41) 

Point 3 God made His angels eternal because He is eternal. At the same token, He man in His image and likeness, therefore man is also eternal. 

Point 4 God is love (eternal, un-beginning and never ending) 1 Jn 4:16, 19 declares who God is. 

Point 5 Any sin against an eternal God done by an eternal creature must have eternal consequences. 

Point 6 The sufferings of the cross of Jesus, who is God the Son, makes it plain that the price for the redemption of man cost God everything. This is why God made a way for men to be pardoned, justified and glorified through Jesus Christ. 

Point 7 The question of all question is, "what is hell"? 

Number one, hell is the cosmic garbage dumpster of all creation. It is where the garbage goes. It is also a spiritual and an eternal state of being where all the blessings that God gave to man are removed forever. Man is then left to deal with himself, his guilt, his shame, his brokenness and will be filled with his own tormenting and selfish thoughts forever. 

The torment that man will experience forever (Lk 16:23; Rev 14:11) is not caused by God, but by man himself who willfully chose to set himself up against the only one who loved him and made a way for his redemption. 

Finally, the devil and his angels will be thrown into the Lake of fire and they will be tormented forever and ever. Those who joined him in his rebellion will wind up in the dumpster. 

On the other hand, those who joined Lord by faith in Him and through the eternal covenant, will inherit all the promises of God and will spend eternity in His glorious presence. They will also reign with Christ over His entire creation.

August 30 2017 1 response Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Is the fire spoken of literal fire? It is an accepted law of language that a figure of speech is less intense than the reality. If “fire” is merely a figurative expression, it must stand for some great reality, and if the reality is more intense than the figure, what an awful thing the punishment symbolized by fire must be. –Wm Evans

I suspect they are symbols, but I find no relief in that. We must not think of them as being merely symbols. It is probably that the sinner in hell would prefer a literal lake of fire as his eternal abode to the reality of hell represented in the lake of fire image. If these images are indeed symbols, then we must conclude that the reality is worse than the symbol suggests. The function of symbols is to point beyond themselves to a higher or more intense state of actuality than the symbol itself can contain. The fact that Jesus used the most awful symbols imaginable to describe hell is no comfort to those who see them simply as symbols.

“Fire is evidently the only word in human language which can
suggest the anguish of perdition. It is the only word in the parable of the
wheat and the tares which our Lord did not interpret (Matt. 13:36-43)...The only reasonable explanation is that fire is not a symbol. It perfectly describes the reality of the eternal burnings. 
As we paid nothing for God’s eternal love and nothing for the
Son of His love, and nothing for His Spirit and our grace and faith, and
nothing for our eternal rest...What an astonishing thought it will be to think of the unmeasurable difference between our deservings and our receivings. 
O, how free was all this love, and how free is this enjoyed
glory...So then let “Deserved” be written on the floor of hell but on the door of heaven and life, “The Free Gift”.

April 16 2019 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Anonymous
Who says that Jesus went to hell? That's preposterous to even think that the creator had to go to  hell to accomplish our salvation. Wasn't the cross sufficient to take our place and as us redeem us from eternal judgement?

The grave is not hell either because no one ceases to exist when he dies. Hell was created for the devil and his angels as a place where the devil will be tormented for all the evil he did throughout history.

However, God does not do the tormenting. Guilt does a good job by itself, especially when he will realize all the good he missed by rebelling against the One who loved him.

August 22 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20160825 6966 rhyaou John Matthews Retired Professional Singer, Conductor and Seeker
There is much discussion about whether or not there is a hell, sheol, purgatory, etc. As far as an actual place, I don't believe there is an actual place, as far as we can possibly comprehend it to be. Just as heaven is not an actual place, it is a presence with the Almighty.

I do believe there are two outcomes after death. One is with God and the other is without God. One is love and light and the other is void of everything; no conscious awareness, by our mortal standards, on either plane of existence. 

Scripture describes the absence of God in many ways, fire, pain, darkness, an abyss, etc. Suffice it to say that not being with God after death is an outcome we want to experience.

Many have died and returned to this existence and talked about "the light." They speak of a deep sense of peace, serenity and love - a.k.a. "God's presence." 

Sounds pretty good to me, and, pretty simple. If we all try to live up to the example of Jesus, we will be with God for eternity.

August 28 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Add your Answer

All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.

What makes a good answer? ▼

A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.

  1. Adhere to the eBible Statement of Faith.
  2. Your answer should be complete and stand-alone.
  3. Include supporting arguments, and scripture references if possible. Seek to answer the "why".
  4. Adhere to a proper tone and spirit of love and understanding.
  5. For more info see The Complete Guide to eBible
  1. 4000 characters remaining