Fire is a destructive force. In many ways it can be tamed and put to use for good but when it flares out of control it can carve out a path of destruction like nothing else can. In the last few years the world has seen some of the worst fires in recorded history.
The recent Australian bushfires were some of the worst in the world. Close to 200 thousand square kms, 20 million hectares, were burnt out. That’s nearly the combined size of all of England and Scotland. 3 billion animals were killed or displaced. Over three thousand houses were destroyed and 34 people lost their lives.
What the fire left behind in its wake was charred ruins of what had once been thriving bushland, farms and towns. That’s the thing about fire, it burns up everything in its path leaving nothing but ashes. The Bible has a lot to say about fire, especially in relation to hell and the destruction of sin.
But, perhaps, the most important question in relation to this topic is; will the fires of hell burn forever? Or like any other fire here on earth will it simply consume whatever lies in its path leaving behind nothing but ash? Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about Hell. Here are 10 important Bible facts about hell.
Fact number 1. Hellfire comes down from God out of heaven.
The Bible says: “For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:29.
“And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.” Revelation 20:9.
Fact number 2. The fires of hell will completely destroy sin and unrepentant sinners.
The Bible says: “’For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘that will leave them neither root nor branch … You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet.’” Malachi 4:1-3.
Fact number 3. God calls the destruction of the wicked everlasting punishment.
The Bible says: “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:46
Fact number 4. The Bible compares hellfire to Sodom and Gomorroah.
The Bible says: “As Sodom and Gomorrah … are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Jude 7.
Fact number 5. Sodom and Gomorrah were completely consumed until only ashes remained.
The Bible says: “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly.” 2 Peter 2:6.
Fact number 6. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He wants everyone to be saved and escape the destruction of sin.
The Bible says: The Lord is… longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
“’For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,’ says the Lord God. ‘Therefore turn and live!’” Ezekiel 18:32.
Fact number 7. Hell was originally prepared for Satan and his angels.
The Bible says: “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)
Fact number 8. The final fires of hell will burn on the earth.
The Bible says: “They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.” (Revelation 20:9)
Fact number 9. Immediately after the destruction of the wicked God will recreate the earth.
The Bible says: Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” (Revelation 21:1)
And finally, fact number 10. Sin will never rise up again.
The Bible says: What do you conspire against the Lord? He will make an utter end of it. Affliction will not rise up a second time.” Nahum 1:9.
So, there they are – 10 important facts about hell.
1. Hellfire comes down from God out of heaven.
2. The fires of hell will completely destroy sin and unrepentant sinners.
3. God calls the destruction of the wicked everlasting punishment.
4. The Bible compares hellfire to Sodom and Gomorrah.
5. Sodom and Gomorrah were completely consumed until only ashes remained.
6. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
7. Hell was originally prepared for Satan and his angels.
8. The final fires of hell will burn on the earth.
9. Immediately after the destruction of the wicked God will recreate the earth.
10. Sin will never rise up again.
In the beginning, God created a perfect world, but sin came in and brought pain, suffering and death. God wants to get rid of sin once and for all, because sin is destroying people. God wants to restore planet earth to its original perfect condition. However, He faces a serious problem, because sin not only wrecked the physical world, it also infected people that God loves.
God’s dilemma is this: How to eliminate the sin and yet not destroy all the people infected by sin. His solution was to take all the sin of the world in His own body and allow sin to destroy Him at the cross. Because Jesus took our sins and paid the penalty for them when He died on the cross, we don’t need to pay the penalty if we accept Jesus as our Saviour.
Because Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, the Bible says: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9).
So now we have a choice. We can cling to our sins and face the consequences – be destroyed along with them, or, we can accept Jesus and have our sins cleaned away and have eternal life. The alternatives facing us are very clear: eternal destruction by fire or eternal life in heaven. Ultimately the choice is ours. Where would we rather spend eternity? As ash underfoot or as the child of God in heaven? Each of us needs to make our own choice. What will yours be?