HOW CAN YE ESCAPE THE DAMNATION OF HELL
By John C. Carpenter
Jesus said to the multitudes and His disciples, regarding the
leaders of the Jewish church, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and
have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other
undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make
clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first
that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all
uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you,
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say,
If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be
witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise
men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute
them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto
the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall
come upon this generation (Mat 23:23-36). In verse 33 above, the word damnation is translated from the Greek word krisis, which means
a tribunal, justice stemming from divine law, or condemnation. In verse 33 above, the word hell is translated from the Greek wordgeenna, which means a valley or gorge, due to its lofty sides. Geenna also refer to and symbolizes a place or state of everlasting
punishment. Damnation of hell, therefore, refers to, due to divine law, being judged and determined guilty, and therefore being sentenced
to everlasting punishment. In the new testament, as we shall see, the English word hell is sometimes translated from a second Greek
word, hades, which means unseen, a place or state of departed souls, or the grave. Most biblical scholars consider hades to be a temporary
place, or holding tank, containing the souls of the damned who will later be sent to geenna, the place of inescapable, eternal punishment
and suffering. Since some individuals shall be sentenced and damned by God to hell and eternal punishment, we should ask then, does
hell really exist, what is it like, and why does hell exist?
DOES A PLACE CALLED HELL REALLY EXIST?
The concept of hell
is mentioned throughout the new testament scriptures, and, if we believe the scriptures, we must conclude that hell does exist. Christ,
Himself, taught others that hell was a real place. The Lord said to His own disciples, Ye have heard that it was said by them of old
time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry
with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger
of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell [geenna] fire (Mat 5:21-22). This is the first mention
of geenna, or hell, in the new testament, but the idea of hell is mentioned many other times. For example, just a few verses later,
the Lord mentions hell again to His disciples: if thy right eye offend thee, 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 if thy right hand offend
thee, 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 (Mat 5:29-30).
Talking directly to Peter, the Lord said, I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell [Greek is hades] shall not prevail against it (Mat 16:18). In our
subject verses above, the Lord chastened the leaders of the Jewish church, Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escapethe damnation of hell [geenna]? In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus again mentions hell to His disciples: There was a
certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named
Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover
the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom:
the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell [hades] he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and
Lazarus in his bosom (Luke 16:19-23).
Encouraging His disciples to fear God rather than men, the Lord taught, I say unto you
my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye
shall fear: Fear him [God], which after he hath killed hath power to cast [throw into, subject one] into hell [geenna]; yea, I say
unto you, Fear him (Luke 12:4-5). While warning the apostle John about the dangers of sin, Christ mentioned hell three times in just
seven verses. The Lord said to John, whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that
a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee
to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell [geenna], into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their
worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life,
than having two feet to be cast into hell [geenna], into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the
fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one
eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell [geenna] fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:42-48).
Peter, speaking to those of like precious faith, referred to angels being sent to hell when he wrote, God spared not the angels that
sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment (2 Peter 2:4). The biblical
evidence indicates that hell clearly exists, and it is a reality that we should not and cannot ignore.
WHY WAS HELL ORIGINALLY
Hell was not a part of the original creation, probably because it was not necessary at the time, since satan, the evil
spirits of satan, and mankind had not yet disobediently fallen away from God. As we read in the book of Genesis, In the beginning
God created the heaven and the earth (Gen 1:1), but no mention of hell. Christ, in fact, tells us why hell was created. It was aneverlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (Mat 25:41), and an everlasting punishment... (Mat 25:46). Originally, the
place referred to as hell was not intended for nor created for mankind. It was reserved for Satan and his rebellious angels, or evil
spirits. Satan fell from the presence of God due to his selfishness, ambition, and pride. Isaiah instructs us with his words of prophecy:How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon
the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Yet thou [Lucifer, Satan] shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit (Isa 14:12-15). Regarding those rebellious and prideful
angels who became the companions of Satan, the apostle Peter teaches us that God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them
down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment (2 Peter 2:4). Although originally planned
only for satan and his rebellious angels, some humans will eventually end up there. Since hell is real, and Satan and his evil cohorts,
as well as the unrighteous, shall eventually be sent there, we should ask, what are the purposes of hell? What is God the Father attempting
to accomplish with hell?
WHAT ARE THE PURPOSES OF HELL?
First of all, one purpose of hell is God the Father's retribution
and punishment of evil. Christ tells us that every man shall be rewarded according to his or her works: For the Son of man shall come
in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works (Mat 16:27). Christ also explained
to Peter that He would reward all stewards, the good steward as well as the bad steward: the Lord said, Who then is that faithful
and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is
that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that
he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens,
and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when
he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his
lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not,
and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much
required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more (Luke 12:42-48). The Lord cometh with ten thousands of
his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have
ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him (Jude 1:15). Simply put, hell is designed
as a punishment for the faithless, evil, and unrighteous.
Second, hell also has the purpose of providing an outlet for the expression
of God's wrath concerning evil, as well as the purpose of establishing the state and value of righteousness and goodness. Paul wrote
the Romans, Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto [God's] wrath [regarding sin and evil]: for it is written,Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so
doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:19-21). Paul instructed
believers in the Corinthian church, Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all
appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done,
whether it be good or bad (2 Cor 5:9-10). God's wrath shall eventually come upon those who reject Christ: He that believeth on the
Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36).
The unbelieving and unrighteous shall one day drink the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup
of his indignation (Rev 14:10).
Third, hell is designed to provide a place for the punishment of offenses and sin: Woe unto the
world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! (Mat 18:7). All
iniquity shall also be eventually punished (Lam 4:6). God specifically warned Israel, if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your
soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you;
I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and
ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your
enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken
unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins (Lev 26:15-18). Christ will eventually execute judgment for all sin:For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute
judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall
hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto
the resurrection of damnation [to hell] (John 5:26-29). Peter instructs us that [the unrighteous] shall receive the reward of unrighteousness,
as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings
while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have
exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam
the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness (2 Peter 2:13-15). Hell shall become the reward for the unrighteous.
IS HELL LOCATED?
Hell exists, and shall become the reward of the unbelieving, the unrighteous, and the sinner. So, where will
the sinner end up? Where is hell located? Scriptures instruct us, For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly;
so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in [hell which is in] the heart of the earth (Mat 12:40). In God's revelation
to him, John referred to the bottomless pit [hole, cistern, well, abyss]; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of
a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit (Rev 9:2). The apostle Paul told the Ephesian
church where hell is located: I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye
are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of
the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one
faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given
grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and
gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that
descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) (Eph 4:1-10). Isaiah referred toHell from beneath... (Isa 14:9), and to being brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit (Isa 14:15).
Moses also refers to
the location of hell. Regarding the eventual disposition of the wicked, Moses tells us that the earth [shall) open her mouth, and
swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have
provoked the LORD. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was
under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah,
and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they
perished from among the congregation (Numbers 16:30-33).
Hell is described as being found within the earth or ground, beneath
the earth, down within the earth, in the lower parts of the earth, or in the heart of the earth. It is occasionally referred to as
an abyss. According to the biblical records, hell appears to be deep within the earth. So, now that we know where hell is, we should
ask the question, what are the characteristics of hell?
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HELL?
The place referred to in the
scriptures as hell has multiple characteristics - all undesirable, and to be avoided at all cost. One characteristic of hell is that
it consists of flames of fire. Jesus tells some Pharisees, and us, a story in which a beggar who went to hell said, I am tormented
in this flame (Luke 16:24). Regarding hell, the prophet Isaiah referred to a devouring fire and eternal burning: The sinners in Zion
are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell
with everlasting burnings? (Isaiah 33:14). Paul adds that God shall, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and
that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess 1:8).
Jesus, Himself, instructs us that the wicked in hell will encounter
a furnace of fire, will be surrounded by a strange darkness, and suffer to the extent that they grind their own teeth. Christ tells
us this in the parable of the kingdom of heaven: the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered
of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them
into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing [loud sobbing, weeping from pain and suffering] and gnashing [to grate the teeth
due to pain and rage] of teeth (Mat 13:47-50). Jesus elsewhere instructs us that those in hell shall experience what is referred to
as outer darkness: the unprofitable servant [shall be cast] into outer [exterior, strange] darkness [shadiness, obscurity, or error]...(Mat 25:30). Christ elsewhere says the occupants of hell will experience wailing, or lamentation, weeping, and sobbing (Mat 8:12,
Mat 13:42). The extent of the suffering in hell shall be so great that those there will beg for mercy to anyone who will listen (Luke
John prophesies that the wicked, like those who worship the beast, shall be tormented [tortured, suffer pain, be vexed] with
fire and brimstone [sulphuric, hot, burning flames] in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb (Rev 14:10),
and, as Satan, will be in what they consider to be a prison, and therefore unable to escape (Rev 20:7). The punishment of hell will
also be everlasting and unending. For example, at the final judgment, Christ shall order the wicked and damned, Depart from me, ye
cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (Mat 25:41). Those who end up in hell will be fully conscious
and aware of their sufferings moment by moment (Luke 16:22-31). Hell's occupants will also suffer torment continually, day and night:the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be
tormented day and night for ever and ever (Rev 20:10).
In the parable of the field, Christ described hell as being a ...furnace of
fire: [where] there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Mat 13:42). Furnace is translated from the Greek word kaminos, which refers
to being set on fire, kindled, or consumed with heat and fire. Scriptures also describe hell as a lake of fire. John instructs us,And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received
the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone (Rev
19:20; see also Rev 20:14-15), as well as, But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers,
and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the
second death (Rev 21:8), Where their [those in the lake of fire] worm [lowly, painful, suffering, state] dieth not, and the fire is
not quenched [extinguished, goes out, ceases] (Mar 9:46).
Hell is also described as a bottomless pit. Scriptures instruct us
that the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless [unlimited] pit [hole,
cistern, well, abyss]. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace;
and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit (Rev 9:2), where the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for
ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night... (Rev 14:11). Those in hell experience extreme unsatisfied needs and desires,
and an overwhelming sense of helplessness and hopelessness (Luke 16:19-31). Hell is also sometimes described as a prison, or prison-like.
Christ taught the multitudes and His disciples, Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any
time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison [guarded, caged,
watched, continually, held with no possible opportunity of escape] (Mat 5:25). Hell is a place of indescribable sorrow: The sorrows
of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me (2 Sam 22:6).
There will also be a form of destruction in hell that
shall last forever. Paul wrote the Thessalonian church these words: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation
to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty
angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall
be punished with everlasting destruction [ruin, death, punishment] from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power (2
Thess 1:6-9). It is interesting to note here that destruction primarily refers to removal or absence from the presence of the Lord.
WILL GO TO HELL?
Despite the awful characteristics of hell being known, some humans will continue to deny God and Christ, and
eventually end up there. But who are these folks that will make hell their eternal destination? The scriptures give us several clues.
of all, individuals who believe that their good works can earn them eternal life with God will, with great shock, end up in hell.
Holy scriptures clearly teach that salvation from eternal damnation is available only through faith in Christ, and not through our
own works or efforts at keeping the Jewish law. Paul clarified this to the believers in Ephesus when he wrote, by grace are ye saved
through faith [in Christ]; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works [efforts at fully keeping the Jewish law],
lest any man should boast (Eph 2:8-9).
Second, hell will be full of individuals who continue to put off faith and salvation until
it is too late (2 Cor 2). As God told Israel, Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation
have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit
the desolate heritages (Isa 49:8). Not all times will be acceptable with God the Father. God told Israel, Thus saith the LORD, In
an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a
covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages (Isa 49:8). Peter explains that the acceptable
time is these last times, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten
us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and
that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed [disclosed,
revelation of, manifestation of, light] in the last [farthest, latter, end] time (1 Peter 1:3-5). The last time refers not to the
period of time just prior to the end of the world as we know it, but to the period of time since the revelation of salvation, that
is, the appearance of Christ some 2000 years ago. Referring to Himself, Jesus said, … I am the light of [the one made visible unto] the
world..., who was the light [revelation to the world] of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:6),
who was Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with [revealed to] us (Mat 1:23).
Third, hell will be full of those who do
not know about hell, or those who know about hell, but continue to refuse to believe God would send them there for eternity. Years
ago I mentioned the concept of hell to a family member, who promptly and angrily chastened me, and said that God does not ever send
anyone to hell. The belief of this family member immediately reminded me of the lie which Satan told Eve: Now the serpent was more
subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of
every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit
of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. Andthe serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die [and be sent to hell] (Gen 3:1-4). Within the new testament, the apostle
John informs us what Christ said: I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye
shall die in your sins (Joh 8:24).
Fourth, lack of faith in Jesus Christ will land you to hell. Christ specifically instructed
some leaders of the Jewish church: And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of
this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die [and be sent
to hell and the lake of fire] in your sins. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I
said unto you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world
those things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye
have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he [the Son of Man, the Christ, the Messiah, am sent by my Father in heaven],
and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things (John 8:23-28).
Fifth, hell will be populated
by the unrighteous. The apostle John instructs us that murderers shall not inherit eternal life, but hell: Marvel not, my brethren,
if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother
abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him (1 John
3:13-15). The apostle Paul likewise instructs us, Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived:
neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous,
nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6: 9-10).
Sixth, the author of the book
of Hebrews instructs us that prostitutes and adulterers will inherit hell, as well: Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled:
but whoremongers [Greek pornos, to sell sex, a male prostitute, a fornicator, a libertine] and adulterers [an apostate] God will judge [resulting
in damnation to hell] (Heb 13:4). Jesus Christ adds to the list of those who will inherit hell with these words: I am Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall
inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable [the disgusting
who God detests and abhors], and murderers [who commit intentional homicide], and whoremongers, and sorcerers [a magician, one who
poisons], and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second
death (Rev 21:6-8).
Seventh, all who are hypocritical, that is, they appear righteous on the outside, but inside all full of
corruption, shall also inherit everlasting hell. As Christ warned, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like
unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even
so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (Mat 23:27-28). Christ concluded
His rebuke of the hypocritical Pharisees with these words: Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye [and therefore, because
of your inner hypocrisy and iniquity, you will not] escape the damnation of hell? (Mat 23:33, Matt 23:1-15). Christ also warned that
the hypocrisy of the Jewish leader would lead others to hell, as well. Christ pronounced, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves (Mat
Eighth, those who refuse to help the needy shall suffer eternal damnation and everlasting fire. Christ, Himself, warns
us, Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand [those who have refused to help the needy], Depart from me, ye cursed, into
everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave
me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then
shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison,
and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the
least of these, ye did it not to me. And these [who have refused to help the needy] shall go away into everlasting punishment: but
the righteous into life eternal (Mat 25:41-46).
Ninth, those who do not control their tongue, or speech, shall suffer eternal
punishment. The apostle James writes the twelve tribes scattered abroad, For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in
word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may
obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds,
yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth
great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among
our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell (James 3:2-6).
if our name is not written in the book of life at the great white thrown judgment, we will not inherit the kingdom of God, but hell.
In the revelation given to him, John explains, And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and
the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books
were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written
in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which
were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is
the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:11-15).
CAN YE ESCAPE THE DAMNATION OF HELL?
The scriptures clearly establish that hell exists, and is a place of eternal punishment
and suffering. At this point, we should attempt to answer Christ's original question as posed in our subject verses: How can ye escape
the damnation of hell? If hell is the final expression of God's wrath [and it is], and we desire [or should desire] to be saved from
God's wrath and the eternal sufferings that follow there, how can we escape? What needs to take place in our lives? Christ's own disciples
asked the same question: Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into
the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how
hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,
than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who [and how] then
can [we] be saved? (Mar 10:23-26).
In his letter to the church in Rome, the apostle Paul gives us the clear answer. Paul wrote,God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by
his blood, we shall be saved from [God he Father's] wrath through [faith in] him [Christ]. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled
to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God
through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement [reconciliation, restoration to divine favor] (Rom 5:8-11).
To be saved from Gods wrath, an individual must come to faith in Christ, or, as the scriptures describe, be born again.
Christ spoke to a Jewish leader named Nicodemus, he gave Nicodemus, and us, the answer. We must experience a second, a new, a spiritual
birth. Scriptures instruct us, There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night,
and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except
God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot [avoid hell
and] see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his
mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water [physically] and of the
Spirit [spiritually], he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of
the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest
the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit (John 3:1-8).
and believing the scriptures will not save us. Christ explained this to some Jews who wanted to kill Him: Search the scriptures; for
in them ye [mistakingly] think ye have eternal life [because you know and keep the law of the scriptures]: and [but] they [the scriptures
do not bring salvation and life, but] are they which testify of me [Christ, in whom salvation is available] (John 5:39). Salvation
is available to one who calls upon the Lord. David knew what it took: And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the
day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul: And he said, The LORD is my rock,
and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high
tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be
saved from mine enemies [including the enemies of death and hell] (2 Samuel 22:1-4).
Faith in Jesus Christ is essential. It is
the only way of coming to the God who freely offers salvation. Christ instructs us there is no other way to God: I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6). As John clearly taught, He that believeth on the Son hath
everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36). Paul wrote
the church in Rome, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;
to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from [the Jewish] faith to [Greek, i.e.,
the Gentile] faith: as it is written, The just [Jew and Gentile both] shall live by faith [in Christ] (Rom 1:16-17). The gospel of
Christ is the power of God resulting in salvation to both the Jew and the Gentile. Speaking of Himself, Christ said, I am the door:
by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture (John 10:9).
The apostle Paul clearly
outlines the requirements for salvation. Paul wrote the believers in Rome, if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and
shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom 10:10). Filled with the Holy Ghost, and referring to Jesus Christ, the apostle
Peter said, Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified,
whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of
you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under
heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:10-12).
Paul wrote Titus, For the grace of God that bringeth salvation
hath appeared [through the manifestation of Jesus Christ] to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we
should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the
great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (Titus 2:12-13). Speaking of Christ, the author of the book of Hebrews writes, And being made
perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec(Heb 5:9-10). The author later warned, How shall we escape [the wrath of God and the punishment of hell], if we neglect so great salvation;
which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him (Heb 2:3). The scriptures tell
us that while baptizing in the river Jordan, John the Baptist saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said
unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath [indignation and vengeance of God] to come [upon the
unsaved]? (Mat 3:7). In exhorting, and warning, the sanctified and called to salvation, Jude wrote, Beloved, when I gave all diligence
to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend
for the faith [of salvation from God's wrath] which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares,
who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the
only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:3-4).
Faith in Jesus Christ is the only acceptable response to God's condemnation
of us. The Lord lovingly exhorts us, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me [Christ]. In my Father's
house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place
for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:1-3). Paul clearly teaches
us That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,
thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For
the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for
the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever Jew or Gentile] shall call upon the name of the Lord shall
be saved (Rom 10:9-13). The apostle John tells us, And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are
not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing
ye might [avoid damnation and the punishment of eternal hell, and ] have life through his name (John 20:30-31). Paul explains to Roman
believers the one remedy for our condemnation: There is therefore now no condemnation [adverse sentence, legal judgment against] to
them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending
his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh (Rom 8:1-3). Our own righteousness is manifested
only through our faith in Christ. Referring to Israel, Paul adds, For they [the Jews] being ignorant of God's righteousness,
and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God [available only
through Christ]. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth (Rom 10:3-4).
consequences of never knowing God the Father, why would we not want to call upon the name of the Lord? Scriptures warn us that there
is a price to be paid for neglecting God's offer of salvation: Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which
we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and
disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape [God's wrath and eternal hell], if we neglect so great salvation;
which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him (Heb 2:1-3). Regarding the consequences
of neglecting salvation, look at what the psalmist said would be the consequence: The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the
nations that forget God (Psalms 9:17).
We must not only come to God, but diligently seek Him, for God will reward our pursuit
of Him: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things
which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous,
God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and
was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without
faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently
seek him (Heb 11:1-6). Part of our reward is that we can avoid hell. If we want to avoid hell, we all, Jew and Gentile alike, must
come to God, believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. AMEN.