From the first, beginning at the Garden of Eden, the serpent lied, convincing that eating the forbidden fruit would not result in death. Yet, it is written that God had said, they could eat any fruit but the ‘apple’ tree. Disobedience would result in death. “…You shall surely die…”
Thus, we see with the first man, Adam that Sin entered into the world, and so too death.
Jesus warned of the power of the father in: Matthew 10:28 And 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. In this case, hell means the grave.
Whereas, it is often preached that the wicked are immediately taken off to hell and the good leap out to heaven, the bible does not teach this at all.
Proverbs explains that “…the dead know nothing.” Jesus himself, in his parable of the wheat and tares explains that on the last day angels will separate the good from the bad and throw the bad into the fire.
For the good, Paul explains that we lie asleep in our graves until called to be caught up in the air.
The point of this is: there is no eternal punishment that permits man to live forever: Paul maintains this insomuch as: “the wages of sin is death.” This does not suggest man living forever, even if torment.
A consuming fire forever at best means closure to what existed prior, for example as described with Sodom and Gomorrah. The bible speaks of the fire that struck those cities as being eternal, but clearly those fires are not burning today.
Even John the revelator spoke of hell, at the end as being thrown into the Lake of Fire, Hence, the end of hell.
Sheol also is described as the place of the dead (the grave), Gehenna, the burning pit in Jerusalem, continues to burn, and in general speak exists as a garbage heap where the worm never dies as they keep recycling over and over again. We have also the Tartarus pit of the underworld described by the Greeks. With it, we also are provided with Hades, where once again, it signifies the grave.
As profoundly explained by Paul, we had Adam as spoken above: through one man entered Sin and by one man entered Death.
In Jesus the greatest gift of all appeared: through this new Adam, we have the forgiveness of sins and He who also conquers death: thus, the pathway for eternal life.
The good news of the gospel lies not in the announcement of death, but in the glorious news of Christ’s gift to us of Eternal Life!
By all accounts of the gospel, this is where we place our faith: our faith rests on Jesus to defeat death and in one day reign as Lord and King. Jesus himself that God was not the God of the dead, but of the living. Believing in Jesus grants us the right to live on beyond the grave. Those in hell are simply dead. Consequently, I don’t preach on hell, but on the Gospel of Christ as the Son of the Living God. Because of Him, we too shall live.