Is There A Real And Literal Hell – Spiritual Reading.
There is to be a literal Hell.
The Bible says so, Jesus says in Matt. 5:22, “But I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger [of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire.”
In the 29th verse of the same chapter the Lord Jesus says: “And if thy right eye causeth thee to stumble pluck it out, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”
And in the 30th verse He says: “And if thy right hand causeth thee to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”
We read again what our Lord Jesus said in Mark 9:45-48, “and if thy foot causeth thee to stumble, cut it off; it is good for thee to enter into life halt, rather than having thy two feet to be cast into hell. And if thine eye causeth thee to stumble, cast it out; it is good for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”
Some one may say that these words of our Lord are figurative. There is not the slightest suggestion that they are figurative. The whole context is against their being taken figuratively. It is indeed wrong to interpret figurative language as if it were literal, but it is just as unwarranted and just as wrong to interpret literal language as if it were figurative.
Of course, the word “Gehenna,” which is translated “Hell” is derived from the valley of Hinnom, where in ancient times human sacrifices were offered, but the use of the word is literal throughout the New Testament, though its derivation is figurative.
Many words that are figurative in their derivation are literal in their use, and the meaning of words is never determined by derivation, but by usage. For example, our word “eclipse” is a figure of speech. According to the figure it is a leaving or failing or fainting of the moon or sun, whichever it may be that is eclipsed. But though it is figurative in its derivation, the ordinary usage of it is literal.
The universal use in the New Testament of “Gehenna” or “Hell” is literal. The word here translated “Hell” is found twelve times in the New Testament, eleven of these twelve times it is used by our Lord Jesus Himself, and He uniformly uses it, as in the passages which I have just read, of a literal hell. If there is no literal hell, then our Lord Jesus was either a fool or a fraud. He certainly meant to convey the impression that there was a literal hell.
There can be no doubt of that, if we go to His words to find out what is the natural meaning of them. If there is no literal hell then either Jesus thought there was one when there was not, in which case He was a fool; or else He knew that there was not, but tried to make men think that there was, in which case He was a fraud.
There is no other alternative but either to believe that there is a literal hell or else to believe that Jesus of Nazareth, our Lord and Saviour, was a fool or a fraud. I know that Jesus was not a fool. I know that He was the only begotten Son of God, that in Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, that He and the Father are one, that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father.
I know that He spoke the very words of God, therefore I know that there is a literal hell, for He said so. It is worthy of note, furthermore, that most of these words about hell that I have read you to-night are taken from the Sermon on the Mount, the one part of the Bible that pretty much all men claim to believe.
There are many who say they do not know about the Bible as a whole, but they do accept the Sermon on the Mount. Well, these passages are for the most part from the Sermon on the Mount. Either accept this part of the Sermon on the Mount or else throw the whole thing overboard as the utterance of a fool or a fraud. There is no other ground possible for any man who is willing to think things through.
Excerpt From – The Fundamental Doctrines Of The Christian Faith By Reuben Archer Torrey.
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