In the excellent booklet Is Hell for Real or Does Everyone Go to Heaven? (2011), editors Christopher Morgan and Robert Peterson provide the most easily accessible introduction to the Biblical revelation of Hell. Chapters 2 and 3 especially provide every significant Biblical passage on Hell. It may be surprising to find at first, that Jesus Christ is the primary source for our visions of Hell: such as fire, worms, destruction of the soul and body, and eternal punishment. If anyone believed in a real Hell, it was Jesus. What I intend to accomplish in this article, is to list all of the most significant Biblical passages on Hell presented in these chapters. Seeing that this book is a condensed version of Hell Under Fire (2004), it seems that the verses they have reiterated for this booklet must be seen as essential, otherwise they would have left them out. However, if you want to go more in-depth in searching the Scriptures for passages on Hell, then see the “Scripture Index” on page 245 in Hell Under Fire and also the “Appendix A: Scripture Index” on page 137 in Bill Wiese’s 23 Minutes in Hell (2006). I will mainly use the NKJV:
OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES
Deuteronomy 32:35-36: “‘Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them.’ For the Lord will judge His people and have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their power is gone, and there is no one remaining, bond or free.” [Note: this was the opening text of Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, 1741].
Isaiah 66:24: “They shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched. They
shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
Daniel 12:2: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the Earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
THE WORDS OF CHRIST
Matthew 5:22: “Whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of Hell fire.”
Matthew 5:28-30: “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Hell.”
Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Matthew 10:28: “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.”
Matthew 18:8-9: “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into Hell fire.”
Matthew 23:15: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of Hell as yourselves!”
Matthew 25:46: “These will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” [The NIV says “eternal punishment”].
Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to Hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched–where
“Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.”
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into Hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched–where
“Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.”
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into Hell fire–where
“Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.”
For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.
Luke 16:19-31, NIV:
The Rich Man and Lazarus
There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.” But Abraham replied, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.” He answered, “Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them listen to them.” “No, father Abraham,” he said, “but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.” He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” [Note: this passage of Scripture is so important to the traditional vision of Hell that John Bunyan’s Sighs from Hell is based on it; see also Dr. Don Kistler’s sermon: “The Torments of the Damned in Hell” – July 25, 2010].
John 3:36: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
John 5:28-29: “The hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”
THE WORDS OF THE APOSTLES
2 Thessalonians 1:6-9: “It is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us 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 from the glory of His power.”
Hebrews 6:1-3: “Leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.”
Hebrews 10:26-31: “If we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
James 5:1-5: “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the Earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.”
2 Peter 2:1-17:
False Teaching and False Teachers
1But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
Doom of False Teachers
4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to Hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8(for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)–9then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the Day of Judgment, 10and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 11whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.
Depravity of False Teachers
12But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. 15They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet. 17These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
Maintain Your Life with God
1 Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,
To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:
2Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
Contend for the Faith
3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Old and New Apostates
5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
8Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. 9Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. 11Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
Apostates Depraved and Doomed
12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; 13raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
14Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
16 These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. 17But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
Maintain Your Life with God
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.
Glory to God
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
25To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
Revelation 14:9-11: “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Revelation 20:10-15: “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. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who 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, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and [Hell] delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and [Hell] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Baxter, Mary K. A Divine Revelation of Hell. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 1993.
Bunyan, John. Sighs from Hell. Edited by Don Kistler. Orlando, FL: The Northampton Press, 2011.
Edwards, Jonathan. The Wrath of Almighty God: Jonathan Edwards on God’s Judgment Against Sinners. Edited by Don Kistler. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1996. Sermons on Hell.
——–. The Torments of Hell: Jonathan Edwards on Eternal Damnation. Edited by William Nichols. Ames, IA: International Outreach, 2006. Sermons on Hell.
Gerstner, John. Jonathan Edwards on Heaven and Hell. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1980.
Morgan, Christopher W., and Robert A. Peterson, eds. Hell Under Fire. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.
——–. Is Hell for Real or Does Everyone Go to Heaven? Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011.
Shedd, W. G. T. The Doctrine of Endless Punishment. Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990.
Stoddard, Solomon. The Fear of Hell Restrains Men From Sin. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2003.
Strachan, Owen, and Doug Sweeney. Jonathan Edwards on Heaven and Hell. Chicago: Moody Press, 2010.
Vincent, Thomas. Fire and Brimstone. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1999.
Wiese, Bill. 23 Minutes in Hell. Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2006.