Tim Challies explains what he’d had to deny to deny hell. I in turn will take a little peek at Scripture:
Let’s start with Jesus’ good advise:
Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. (Matthew 7:1-2)
– Whenever you’d like someone to go to hell you better humble yourself. It’s your feelings that’s all.
It’s God’s call:
What then are we to say? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” (Romans 9:14-15)
– We don’t get to say what’s gonna happen to ourselves, our friends or our enemies. God has a lot of mercy in store – more than we can imagine.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
– The word mostly translated as “Hell” is the Hebrew Sheol. It is a place where the deceased live – not a bad place place really and nothing going on there really.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption. (Acts 2:27)
– Hades is the Greek NT word for what the OT knows as Sheol. Nothing new here.
If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell (Mark 9:43.45.47)
– Now Jesus finally gets hell burning! A scary place with fire and everything. Images of Dante Alighieri‘s ‘Inferno’ come to mind or South Park’s Satan. Now where is Jesus’ hell actually located?
then the boundary goes up by the valley of the son of Hinnom at the southern slope of the Jebusites (that is, Jerusalem); and the boundary goes up to the top of the mountain that lies over against the valley of Hinnom, on the west, at the northern end of the valley of Rephaim; (Joshua 15:8)
– The Valley of Hinnom is located in Jerusalem. Everybody including Jesus and all who heard him knew that place and its history.
Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign; he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord, as his ancestor David had done, but he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel. He even made cast images for the Baals; and he made offerings in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and made his sons pass through fire, according to the abominable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. (2 Chronicles 28:1-3)
– Gehenna was a dump and it was mostly on fire – almost like a tire fire – a very sanitary way of disposing of hazardous material. Not really scary, more like live-saving.
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; (Revelation 20:14)
– So who is going to Hell? – That would be Death and one aspect of “Hell” itself. These two are being disposed of for good. Hell goes to Hell – that’s the gospel in a nutshell!