What is Hell Like?

Maybe you've heard naive people around the water cooler talking flippantly like this: "Oh I don't know, hell can't be all that bad. There's probably a big room where everybody can get together and have a beer, maybe a sandwich or two, and talk with old friends who didn't quite live a pious life.

Hell is real, and it shouldn't be taken lightly. Here's what the Bible has to say on the subject:

Fire: Hell is an eternal lake of fire.

Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.  Revelation 20:14-15

Condemnation: Hell is eternal condemnation.

You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Matthew 23:33

Torment: Hell is eternal torment and agony.

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. Luke 16:19-25

Separation: Hell is eternal separation from God.

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.' Luke 16:26-28

Ignorance: Unbelievers neither understand nor fear hell.

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.' Luke 16:29-31

Unhappiness: Hell is eternal unhappiness and gloom.

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; 2 Peter 2:4

Fear: Hell is something to be feared.

But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Luke 12:5

Loss: Hell is worse than losing a hand, a foot, or an eye forever.

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. Mark 9:43

And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. Mark 9:45

If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Matthew 5:29


Besides being eternal condemnation, torment, agony, and separation from God, hell is an eternal lake of fire. Have you ever burned yourself on a hot stove? Maybe you've even heard your flesh sizzle for a split second until your brain reacted and you jerked your hand away. If the burn wasn't too bad, it probably healed and stopped hurting after a couple of days. However, can you remember what the pain felt like for the split second while your finger was enduring intense heat, before you jerked it away in fear? Do you remember the agony that followed: the throbbing in your finger that kept you awake at nights? That was a minute taste of hell, except that same pain lasts forever in hell.

Owen Weber 2009