"For the time when their foot shall slip." The most historically significant fire and brimstone sermon ever preached was derived from this verse found in Deuteronomy 32:35. Jonathan Edwards would most likely be seen as extremist in the Western culture of tolerance. However, if we jettison Hell we are denying Jesus Christ and all that He has done for us. A proper understanding of sin and its penalty is absolutely imperative for eternal life. A desire to be saved from the torments of Hell is not faith and will not save you, but it may be enough to make you think about what really matters.

We read in the Bible about a place called Ghenna, which means valley of Hinnom. Ghenna is translated Hell in most if not all English translations. In Matthew 10:28 it says, "do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." When most of us hear the word Hell we think of place of eternal torment, how is it that Jesus could bring up the same sentiment during his time with only mention of a valley? Many people have said that during the Roman empire Ghenna was the city garbage dump where there were always fires burning the garbage as well as corpses. It is supposed to bring to mind the smell and the filth of it. Although this could be possible, the most likely understanding of Hell would be from the Old Testament. Ghenna was a place characterized by death where child sacrifice was performed and the worm never dies (2 Chron. 28:3, Isaiah 66:24, Mark 9:47-48). In revelation, we see Hell compared to the Lake of fire, where all of those who do not believe in Jesus are tormented day and night.

The Bible tells us that Hell will be a place of torment due to the wrath of God, but it does not tell us how it will be a place of torment. Perhaps those in Hell will be tormented by the fact that they never turned to God. The Apostle Paul said, "I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." Too much speculation on this subject is not helpful, but we need to truthfully proclaim what life will be like under the wrath of God. To deny God's wrath is to deny the character of God and belittle the sacrifice of Jesus, as well as to deny what we deserve.

"Vengeance is mine," says the Lord. How much is a human life worth? Is a life for a life fair? These questions are unanswerable and make it hard for us to be just in our judgments. It is far better that God be the one who ensures justice will be done. It is one thing to criticize God for the perceived injustice of His love, it is another thing to think of something that would be more just. In the end God has demonstrated His character to us in sending His Son to die in our stead. Those who reject Jesus will reap what they sow, and those who believe in Him will be shown the glory of God.


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