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Almost all Christians believe in something they call "Hell", but there are many different views about what exactly Hell is. As with all beliefs, what we believe about Hell should not be based on what we have seen on TV, or on what we have heard others say, but rather on what God has said, and we have the privilege of reading what God has said in the Bible.

The following paragraphs describe a few of the different views Christians have about Hell. Please remember a person can be a Christian and believe absolutely anything about Hell, It is a  faith in Jesus that is most important.

The Annihilationist View (“annihilation” means to be completely destroyed)
Christians that hold this view believe that believers will go to heaven and the rest of mankind will be wiped out of existence. Hell is just a temporary place were dead souls go to rest until they are brought back alive on judgement day, a day when Hell and all the people in Hell will be thrown into the lake of fire which will destroy them, and they will no longer exist.

Favourite Bible verses of Annihilationists: “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;” (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)

The Eternal Damnationist View (The word “damnation” is related to word “damned”, "eternal" generally  means forever or  without end)
This view says that only believers will go to Heaven, the rest will suffer never ending punishment and torment in Hell, and they will be there forever without any hope of escape.

A favourite Bible verse of Damnationists: “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25:46)

The Christian Universalist View (The word “universal” is related to the word “universe” which means the entire world)
Christian Universalists believe that God loves all people, and will not cause or allow anybody to suffer never ending torment, they believe Jesus died for all people, and through Him everybody will eventually be at peace with God and have never ending life. They believe Hell is a place where unbelievers go to until judgement day, when "death and hell" will deliver up the dead, which are in them, then hell will be thrown in the lake of fire, as well as those whose name is not in the book of life (Revelations 20:13-15). The Universalist believes the lake of fire is not a place of eternal punishment, or an event that will completely destroy some, but rather a means by which some are purified of everything evil, and made suitable for life in a perfect world.

Christian Universalists accept the most important fact of Christianity that God, out of his great love of lost people, came to earth in the person of Jesus to seek and to save that which was lost, and it is only through Jesus that people can come to God. Christian Universalists do not believe all religions lead to God.

According to this view people that accepted Jesus during their lifetime will not go to Hell, or the lake of fire, but will go directly to be with God when they die, they will enjoy a special position in eternity as the bride of Jesus, and with Him they will co-rule the entire world and its inhabitants.

A favourite Bible verse of Universalists: “For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10)

People ask many questions about Hell such as: "What is it?", "Where is it?", "How hot is it?", "Who will go to there?", "How long will it last?", and many other questions. The most important question we need an answer to is "How can hell be avoided, whatever and wherever it is?". Generally all Christians agree that humans can only be connected to God through a relationship with Jesus, and true Christians will be with God in Heaven when they die. Christians also agree that God is perfect, loving and fair, therefore He knows what the right thing to do is, and He will do it. While we may not know what the future holds, we can know Him who holds the future in His hands, and if we have an intimate knowledge of the greatness of God's love and power, we will not worry about future things, for we can trust Him.
Brought to you by Terje Ronneberg
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