“What the Hell?” “Go to Hell?” “I’d rather be in hell.” “This is a living hell.”. “Mommy, he said H.E.Double-Hockey-sticks!” As slang, as cuss, as a destination, as eternal punishment, the language of hell is found around us and found all through the teaching of Jesus. It’s used as a directive: “Straighten up or you will end up in hell.” It is used as a warning - “Flee from the coming wrath!” It is used as if nothing.
In the ministry of Jesus, He talked about hell plenty, graphically, but in a way that was surprising as well. Looking at hell can cause us to appreciate heaven and the character of God. So, what have you believed? What do you believe? How are you choosing to live that belief?
The real question is not what we believe happens when people die, even though this is an important question, for what we believe does not make reality. There is an eternity about heaven and hell throughout Biblical teaching. We don’t have to like that for it to be true. But the real question is “What is happening now while people are alive?” Are you living life or in a living hell? Heaven or Hell are found on earth before we encounter whatever they might look like in eternity
As far as the eternity, in my life, I have experienced immense evil of the demonic type. This type of evil, also experienced through people, has convinced me that evil is a real thing. It is personal, powerful and not something to trifle with.
Jesus’ language about hell, while turning popular belief on its head also was language that says, there is something to this that is yet true. I believe that there is punishment, a Day of Judgment as the Old and New Testaments teach. I don’t know how long “eternal judgment” is or what it is, exactly, nor how it works, but there is a means by which God will show recompense for gross evil -- the murder of innocents, the destruction of lives, the obliteration of hope, the annihilation of identity. God will judge. “‘Vengeance is Mine,’ declares the Lord.”
I think that we are too quick to judge others and throw them into hell in our thinking, just as the people of Jesus’ day. Truly if Jesus is the judge and King of such matters, only He can do so rightly.
Then that leaves us with the action of God in the book of Jonah -- sending his prophet to pronounce judgement in order to assist the people with entering repentance and grace and the love of God. Jonah hated this, as we sometimes do as well, but this is the character of God -- not wanting that any should perish but all come to repentance. So, for people, this is what God desires. And this is where we find our own calling to continue to preach and teach and call people to repentance and to meeting the Savior.