January 16, 2018

The Biblical Teaching of Hell (Part One)

Jerry Sivnksty

FrontLine • September/October 2009 29

The preaching of death and Hell has always been a means of bringing many individuals to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. However, many preachers have been scorned for their message of Hell-fire and damnation. Multitudes of the unsaved have voiced that preachers are trying to scare them into becoming Christians. But the preaching of death and Hell is not a scare tactic—it is the solemn teaching of Scripture. We dare not be silent in our preaching about this place called Hell.

The greatest Preacher and Teacher about Hell was our Lord Jesus Christ. He said in Matthew 5:22, “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 fire.” Again the Lord taught in Matthew 5:29, 30, “And 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.”

Many years ago I was witnessing to a young man in the city of Chicago. I asked him, “If you would die today, do you know where you would go?” He said, “Yes, I would go to Hell.” I said, “Do you know what Hell is like?” “No, I don’t,” he sneered, “but you don’t either.” I noticed that he had a box of matches in his shirt pocket. I asked him, “May I teach you something right now?” He said, “Sure.” I asked him to first of all give me his box of matches. When he gave them to me, I said to him, “Stick out your finger.” He cooperated by holding out his index finger. Then I lit a match and started toward his finger with it. The young man said, “What are you going to do?” I answered, “To teach you this lesson, I must first burn your finger.” He quickly pulled his hand back and said, “Don’t you think it would be foolish for me to stand here and let you burn my finger?” I blew out the match and said to him, “Don’t you think it would be foolish for you to die and burn in the fires of Hell?”

Second Thessalonians 1:8, 9 says, “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 from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” Hell is a literal place of fire! I urge those of you who are saved to contemplate the destination of those without Christ. Psalm 9:17 says, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” We as God’s people need to sound the alarm of this Biblical teaching. We keep our mouths shut when it comes to telling the lost about this literal place of fire; however, we are quick to yell at the top of our lungs when we see a physical fire that may cause great damage to someone.

When I was a senior in college, I delivered newspapers in downtown Greenville, South Carolina. One very early morning as I was walking down a street, I suddenly saw a new car dealership whose building was on fire; flames were billowing from the roof. I panicked—I didn’t know what to do since it was so early and no one was around. I glanced across the street and saw a fire station. I couldn’t believe it! I ran there as quickly as I could and began to beat on the doors. A fireman came sliding down a pole, and I called out, “There’s a fire right across the street at that car dealership!” The fireman sounded the alarm, more men came down the pole, and soon fire engines were at the dealership. I probably woke up most of the people in that vicinity of Greenville, but you know what? I didn’t care! The place was on fire, and I wanted to sound the alarm regardless of how many people I disturbed. Now, do you think the owner of that dealership thought I was a nut because I caused such a ruckus? No, he was probably very grateful. By the way, to this day that owner doesn’t know that I was the one who helped save his business. I didn’t do that to get a reward; I did it because I knew if I didn’t sound an alarm his property would be destroyed by the fire.

Just as I was determined to alert someone about that physical fire, so all of us need to be determined to take action about warning the unsaved of their certain fate in Hell apart from salvation in Jesus Christ.

Evangelist Jerry Sivnksty may be contacted at PO Box 141, Starr, SC 29684 or via e-mail at

(Originally published in FrontLine • September/October 2009. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.)

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