NameEmail When Mary-Ellen was asked why she was a practicing witch, the answer she gave surprised the questioner. She said, “As a child, I was raised in a hellfire and brimstone-spitting church. I was told God would burn people—even old people and little children—for as long as time should last. I decided that if that’s what God is like, I’d be better off without Him!” Mary-Ellen wrestled with a commonly-asked question: “Would God really do that?”What is God really like? God is ___________. life creation joy loveHintAlthough it might not be always possible to understand the providence of God, the Bible clearly states that God is love.What is God’s desire for the entire human family? The Lord is . . . not willing that any should perish but that all should come to _______________________. an end close repentance lifeHintWhile it is evident that not everyone will repent, God’s wish is that all people would find salvation in Him. Jesus invited all who labor and are heavy laden to come to Him (Matthew 11:28), while whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)Is there really a hell? Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in ____________. hell heaven lifeHintJesus certainly believed there was a hell! HintAccording to Jesus, hellfire will not start burning until the “end of this age,” which means there is presently no one burning in hell! HintJesus spoke about two resurrections. One—the resurrection of life—would take place at His Second Coming, while the other—the resurrection of condemnation—would not occur until the end of Revelation’s 1,000 years, a whole millennium after the Second Coming of Jesus. Based on the teachings of Jesus, no one will be subjected to hellfire until after the millennium. [See It Is Written Bible Study Guide #11, “Revelation’s 1,000 Years.”] HintThe Bible teaches that hellfire takes place on the earth. While it has been common for people to teach that hell is located in the center of the earth, such an idea is clearly a fallacy—a modern myth. Hellfire consumes the entire planet. HintPeople who find themselves in the fires of hell die in hell. The most well-known verse in the Bible says that anyone who believes in Jesus “will not perish.” The Bible does not teach that people will suffer in hell throughout eternity. HintThe Bible is unambiguous when discussing the fate of the lost in hell. Hellfire destroys the wicked. It is not God’s intention that the wicked should exist forever. In fact, it is not possible that the wicked could exist forever. Eternal life is a gift given to those who have faith in Christ. The lost are lost because they do not have faith in Jesus. God will not grant immortality to those who have not chosen to love Him. As 1 John 5:12 says, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” The lost do not have the Son, and therefore cannot live forever—even in hell!What effect does hell have on the devil? Therefore I brought fire from your midst; it devoured you, and I turned you to _____________ upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you. coals embers ashesHintEven the devil is reduced to ashes by the fires of hell. Satan and his angels will not be given authority to torture the lost in hell. Satan himself—along with every fallen angel—will be blotted out of existence in the fires of hell. Hell exists to cleanse the world—to rid the planet and the universe of every last trace of sin. God has no interest in reserving a small corner of the universe as an eternal cesspool where people enduring indescribable torment suffer for all eternity. As He did in the days of Noah, God will cleanse the world once again, but this time “affliction will not rise up a second time.” (Nahum 1:9) Sin and sinners will be gone forever! HintAs we have already seen, the Bible teaches that Satan will be reduced to ashes in the fires of hell. It isn’t possible for the devil to be reduced to ashes and to burn forever and ever at the same time! HintNotice: Hannah says her child will live in the temple “forever.” Then she says that he will be in the temple for “as long as he lives.” In this case, "forever” means “for as long as Samuel lives.” HintJonah said that he was in the sea “forever,” yet the Bible explains it as being a time period of “three days and three nights.” As with Samuel at the temple, “forever” did not mean “forever” in the sense of an event lasting eternally. If “forever” meant “eternal,” we could still expect to find Samuel in the temple today, and Jonah still in the belly of the fish. While on two occasions the Bible refers to hellfire as lasting “forever,” it uses the phrase “forever” in the same way it does on dozens of other occasions where “forever” refers to “as long as an event should last.” Many times the Bible uses the phrase “forever” in conjunction with an event that has long expired. HintThe Bible states clearly that the experience of Sodom and Gomorrah was an example of the “eternal” fires of hell. Clearly, “eternal” does not mean that the fires of hell will burn eternally. Sodom and Gomorrah are not still burning today. While the effects of hellfire are eternal, sinners in hellfire will be—as Sodom and Gomorrah were—reduced to ashes. HintHell was conceived of as a means of ridding the universe of sin and the arch- sinner, Satan. In Ezekiel 33:11, God says, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” Those who choose the service of Satan over the service of God will be destroyed along with Satan and the fallen angels in what Matthew 25:41 calls “everlasting fire.” As Jude 7 makes clear, it is not the fire itself that is everlasting, but its effects. Anything or anyone destroyed in hellfire will be totally destroyed—forever.Why does the Bible mention “unquenchable fire” if the fires of hell will eventually burn out? The chaff He will burn with _____________________________ fire. never-ending hell buring undquenchableHintIn Jeremiah 17:27, God discusses a fire that shall not be “quenched.” This fire is referred to in 2 Chronicles 36:19–21, and took place when Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon. Jerusalem is not still burning today! God is clarifying a very solemn point: nothing will be able to in any way lessen the seriousness of hellfire. Hell will burn until it has done its work. Nothing will be able to escape the seriousness of hell. It will completely annihilate everything it touches.What will God do after hellfire has burned? I saw a new heaven and a __________ earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. new remade old freshHintAfter the fires of hell have gone out, God will re-create the earth. Every last trace of sin will be gone. Our eternal home will be a place of beauty and perfection, where God will dwell with His people. (Revelation 21:3) Hellfire reveals the love of a gracious God. After doing everything He can to save every last person for all eternity, God ultimately destroys the earth and rids it of every trace of sin. Those who choose not to receive everlasting life will not be caused to suffer for eternity; they will be blotted out of existence. Sin and sinners will be no more. The saved will be free to enjoy eternity without the presence of sin!Are you willing to accept the gift of salvation from Jesus today, and are you looking forward to eternity in a world without sin and sadness?