What Is Hell?

When I am asked to describe hell, my most pervasive thought is “a sense of the absolute absence of God’s presence.” Often, we hear people refer to earthly conditions stemming from war, disease, strife, or even small unpleasantries as “hell.” But is anything on earth truly an accurate description of hell, or are unpleasant situations just God’s compassionate forewarning of much worse things to come? The big difference between the horrors here on earth and the hell in the afterlife—is—after your body dies, there is no respite from the misery.

Christians often avoid talking about hell because it makes people uncomfortable. But, my friend, I know that if I were blindly driving to my death over a cliff, you would do all in your power to warn me and save my life! We need to demonstrate a passion for Christ by not just telling people about the great gift of salvation, but also by helping people understand the DIRE and permanent consequences of rejecting Christ.  After this body dies, there are no second chances to avoid the terrors of hell. We need to share the reality of hell with others so that they understand the urgency to know Christ. We are not promised one more minute. For those who are not born again, the Gospel is the most important message they will ever hear because it is the power of God to bring them to salvation!

If hell is the SENSE of the ABSENCE of God’s presence, what does the absence of God’s presence look like according to the Bible? 

Well, the scriptural descriptions of hell emphasize torment and suffering. Possibly the most terrifying aspect of hell is its duration: ETERNAL suffering. 

“…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 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. These shall be punished with EVERLASTING DESTRUCTION from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power…” ‬‬ 

‭‭II Thessalonians‬ ‭1‬:‭7‬-‭9

“But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be WEEPING and gnashing of teeth.” ‬‬ 

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭8‬:‭12

“The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be TORMENTED day and night forever and ever. And ANYONE not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” ‭‭‬‬ 

Revelation‬ ‭20‬:‭10‬,‭15

The verse in Thessalonians is a real eye-opener as it references punishment as being banned from the presence of God and the glory of His power. You see, as long as we have physical life, we are the beneficiaries of the blessings of God’s presence and power. All of the beauty we see and enjoy right now is because of Him. The air we breathe is because of Him. Everything that is going right for you right now is because of Him. He created life and sustains it. Without Him, there would be the same void of nothingness that preexisted creation (Genesis 1). Can you imagine what your life would be like without nature, the presence of other people, animals, AND devoid of the experience of—joy, love, and peace—just to name a few?

For as long as we experience physical life, God:

“makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” ‭‭‬ ‬‬ 

Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭45

God’s presence is responsible for ALL the GOOD things we experience!

Hell is the absence of God’s presence for eternity AND that includes ALL of the manifestations of His goodness! We were born with the knowledge that we need His presence. Our anxiety is an accurate measure of our need. Like a fish out of water, the longer we go without God, the more desperate we become. Our video on anxiety explains that without God’s presence, we must pacify our need for God by using the good things He provides to lessen our anxiety. Some escape to nature or get lost in a new relationship. Others begin a new workout plan or hobby. Or, yet others abuse God’s good gifts by becoming addicted to harmful substances to help escape the anxiety. But none of these fixes last long. 

However, if you die without being reconciled to God, the anxiety will last forever and ever with—zero relief!

Can you imagine being tortured with loneliness, fear, anger, sadness, regret, hate, dissatisfaction, emptiness, meaninglessness, and every negative emotion imaginable…for eternity? What about being in physical pain with absolutely no relief? Can you imagine knowing you will never see another sunrise, smell another spring rain, snuggle with a loved one, enjoy the company of your pet, hear the sound of laughter, taste your favorite food, or be able to lie down and have a good night’s rest? This is hell…plus what I’m sure are other unimaginable terrors from which there will be NO respite or escape. 

Jesus provides the only rescue plan to save us from hell. 

Today is the day of salvation. If you are already born again, you are entrusted with the life-saving Gospel. I don’t want anyone to leave this earth without knowing that they know Jesus—do you? Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. ‭‭

Revelation‬ ‭21‬:‭1‬, ‭3‬-‭4‬

We would love to hear your thoughts about this devotional. Did God speak to you or challenge your daily walk with him? Or is there a topic that you would like Kimberly to cover or expound on? Please share with us in the comments below.

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15 Responses

  1. Hello kim,

    Your post provides a profound perspective on the concept of hell. It’s indeed described in the Bible as a place of eternal suffering and separation from God (Matthew 13:50, Revelation 21:8).

    These earthly experiences of pain, while severe, serve as reminders of how much we need God’s presence and grace. As you highlighted, they cannot fully encapsulate the direness of eternal separation from God.

    The avoidance of discussions around hell does a disservice, as it’s an integral part of understanding the Christian faith and the urgent need for salvation. Indeed, like a friend warning of imminent danger, we should not hesitate to share the full truth of the Gospel, including its warnings.

    The absence of God’s presence, as described in the Bible, can be likened to a state of eternal darkness and despair (2 Thessalonians 1:9). But it is crucial to remember that, according to Christian belief, we have been offered a way to avoid this fate through faith in Christ (John 3:16).

    Your post serves as a powerful reminder that time is fleeting, and the importance of sharing the Gospel can’t be overstated. Thanks for your courage in addressing this challenging topic.

    1. Amen brother! I appreciate your strong testimony of God’s grace! Thank you for your insights.

  2. Great reminder of Gods Grace and Mercy ..but we are not guaranteed another day to accept this great gift of salvation..don’t play Russian roulette with your eternal is the day of salvation!!

  3. The absence of GOD for eternity is a horrific experience nobody should ever experience . Those verses in Revelations quoted in this email; I had the experience of reading recently. Those verses hit the spot of a life without GOD. I pray for many people I never see and countries overseas like Ukraine and Israel. Please pray for others for their futures in Heaven.

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