Who Really Goes To Hell?
Kent Heaton

Nobody likes to talk about death, taxes and that place called hell. Fear of death, hatred of taxes and just plain having no desire to talk about the "lake of fire" (Revelation 20:14-15) will top any list of undesirable topics. A lot of people have an opinion about death, everyone has a view on taxes but very few know much about what the Bible says about hell. The knowledge of hell comes only from the Bible. That is because its Creator is the same one that created the "heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).

Jesus believed in Hell. He taught a lot of lessons on Hell. "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell" (Matthew 5:29). "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels'" (Matthew 25:41).

In the Saturday, January 8, 2011 edition of The Gainesville Sun (p5D), a question was posed about who really goes to hell. A grandfather discusses his grandson's fear of hell by telling him that "very few people are going to hell." He goes on to say, "Most people who do bad things are actually going to heaven because they don't realize they're making mistakes." The grandfather concludes for his grandson that God is so loving that He could not possibly punish people in hell or that would make Him "an infinitely horrendous ogre." His question was answered by a rabbi named Marc Gellman that applauded the answers given to the young boy. Gellman concluded that "hell is the place where truly evil people receive the punishment they deserve . for Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin and every unrepentant murderer, torturer or purveyor of cruelty."

You have to be a really, really bad person to go to hell? You can be a bad person and go to Heaven but hell is for the worse kinds of evil people? Is that what the Bible teaches? Jesus told those in judgment to "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41) and the only thing they did was to do nothing for others (see Matthew 25:41-46). Paul described the following who would be condemned to hell: "fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

When the Lord returns He will come "in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Jesus declared that even "religious people" will be cast into hell (Matthew 7:21-23). The rich man was in a place of "torments" (Luke 16:23). The parable of the tares (Matthew 13:24-30) concludes with "all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 13:40-42). There is a lake of fire (Revelation 20:10,14,15; 21:8) and it will be filled with all those who reject God's will.

The horrendous manner of Christ's death bears testimony to the magnitude of what is at stake. Jesus died to give man a choice: Heaven or hell. The grandfather and the rabbi neglected to consult with the one who knows about hell. It is real, it is reserved, it will happen. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). He is real!