Don Stewart is a prominent Christian apologist and Bible teacher. He regularly speaks on current events in respect of Bible prophecy. He also hosts a daily news update called Breaking News which is hosted on HisChannel. He recently launched a new website for the ministry Educating Our World where he has made a library of books available at absolutely no cost. He encourages everyone to download and share these books as often and far as possible.
Below is a excerpt from the website:
Don is now a full-time missionary with GoinChrist Ministries. His website educatingourworld.com provides free resources for those wanting to know what Christians believe, as well as why we believe. Currently there are 59 books on the site in PDF form, totaling about 13,000 pages of material while answering over 1,900 questions. Eventually we hope to record all the books, as well as translating the material in other languages.
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During one of my recent Sunday School lessons, one of my students asked me whether hell was a real place or not. He also wanted to know if there was any way of getting out of hell, should a person end up in it. In an attempt to provide a thoughtful and Scriptural answer, I decided the thoroughly investigate this topic. The following paragraphs will deal with my findings from a Scriptural point of view.
The first thing you need to understand is that there are four different words used for “hell” in the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of Scripture. These words are :
A Hebrew word used in the Old Testament only. This word occurs 65 times in the original text. When translated into the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, it is used 31 times as grave, 31 times as hell and, 3 times as pit.
Definition / description: “Sheol is the abode of the dead, a place of degradation, the locality or condition of those who have died or have been destroyed. It is implied that although, so far as the world is concerned, they have perished, yet they are still in a state of existence and are within God’s cognizance”.
A Greek word used in the New Testament only. This word occurs 11 times in the original text. When translated into the KJV of the Bible, it is used 10 times as hell and once as grave.
Definition / description: “Hades is the region of the departed spirits of the lost (but including the blessed dead in periods preceding the ascension of Christ)”. “It corresponds to Sheol in Old Testament”.
A Greek word used in the New Testament only. This word occurs 12 times in the original text. When translated into the KJV of the Bible, it is used 9 times as hell and once as hell fire.
Definition / description: This is an actual place in Jerusalem, ” a valley of (the son of) Hinnom (or Ge-Hinnom)”. This word is only used by Jesus himself in the New Testament. It is a word that describes a place where there is “a state of everlasting punishment”.
A Greek word used only once in the New Testament. It was translated as cast down to hell in the KJV of the Bible.
Definition / description: “The deepest abyss of Hades”. “To incarcerate in eternal torment”.
I have listed the four different words used for hell in the original text, but it does not automatically illuminate how these terms differ from one another, if at all. Of course the best way to illuminate this ‘grey’ picture, is to shed the light of the Word on it.
The one word that does not directly impact us as human beings, is Tartarŏs. The only Scriptural passage that mentions this place, as well as provide any explanation to it, is 2 Peter 2:4. It seems to be a temporary place where God placed the angels who sinned until the day of judgement. This may be an interesting topic to study further, however, as it does not form part of the scope of the question, I will not deal with it further in this article.
2 Peter 2:4: “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to Tartarŏs and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.”
Jesus, in Luke 16:19-31, gives a true account of a certain rich man and beggar, called Lazarus. In this account Jesus tells about a certain rich man dying and going to Hades. The rich man was conscious, but ended up in a place of torment. He was, even in this place, somehow conscious and could see the saints in Abraham’s bosom. From this passage, together with the passages corresponding to the words Sheol and Hades in Scripture, we understand that before Jesus’ death (at the time this account was given), the souls of everyone who died went to Hades. We are told in prophecy that Hades is not the final destination of souls, but that everyone will rather be resurrected; either to eternal life or eternal damnation. At the time before Jesus’ ascension into Heaven, it seems that Hades were divided into at least two sections namely, the place of torment and Abraham’s bosom. There is some that believe Tartarŏs was also part of Hades, but I cannot clearly see this from Scripture. From the account of Jesus about the rich man and Lazarus, we learn that:
In the place of torment there is an agonizing pain caused by fire (Luke 16:24).
In Abraham’s bosom the souls were being comforted (Luke 16:25).
There was and is no way to cross over or travel between the place of torment and Abraham’s bosom.
The temporary dwelling place of souls of the dead have changed slightly since the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus into Heaven. People who now die in this period without accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour still temporarily resides in Sheol / Hades. On the other hand, born again Christians now immediately go into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. The following Scripture passages provide support of this view.
Luke 23:43: And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Philippians 1:23: For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
2 Corinthians 5:8: We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
The previous sections dealt with our temporary abodes when we die, however, the Bible also speaks about our final destination. Note that the temporary dwelling places mentioned in the above passages refers only to the location of our souls; where our body has perished and our soul remains. There will however be a day when we will be bodily resurrected:
1 Thessalonians 4:14: For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 4:16: For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
From these passages in the Bible, it is plainly stated that we will one day be bodily resurrected. It is further stated that born again believers will rise first. Now you may ask, raised for what? Once again, Scripture provides the best explanation.
Daniel 12:2: And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
John 5:28-29: Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
Acts 24:15: I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.
This means both believers and unbelievers alike will be bodily resurrected. When will this happen? In the revelation of things to come, given to the apostle John by Jesus Christ, Jesus explains the two types of resurrections, together with the different timings. The resurrection of believers will occur in two stages. Firstly, as seen in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-54, all believers in Christ will be raised at the rapture of the Bride of Christ (the Church). If you believe in the pre-tribulation rapture of believers, this resurrection spoken of will take place before (or at the start of) the 7 year tribulation period.
1 Thessalonians 4:16: For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
1 Corinthians 15: 51-54: Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
There will be another group of believers that will be resurrected after the period of the great tribulation. This group of people are known as the tribulation saints.
Revelation 20:4-6: And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
For those who endure and who are faithful to Jesus Christ, this is excellent news. However, for those who did not accept Jesus as their personal Lord and savior while alive on Earth, the resurrection of the unbelievers is described in Scripture, as seen in the below passage:
Revelation 20:11-15: Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
The lake of fire described here corresponds with Gehenna which Jesus spoke and warned about. Unfortunately, there is no escaping Gehenna either. In Matthew 25:41 Jesus talks about the “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels”.
The good news for everyone is that God provided us with a way to escape hell, whether we are speaking about Sheol/Hades or Gehenna. Scripture explains how we can escape everlasting damnation and be brought into everlasting life.
Romans 10:9-10: If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
When you confess Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour and truly believe that God raised him from the dead, the promise (from God) is that you will be saved. When you are saved, you are born again of the Spirit of God. Jesus explained this to Nicodemus in John 3:3:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
As you have learnt in this article, the Bible clearly teaches eternal life; either eternal life in Heaven or eternal life in Gehenna (hell). I encourage you to therefore carefully consider your eternal position. The gift of eternal life is a free gift, available to everyone and anyone.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
One of my favourite quotes of Chuck Missler (1934 – 2018), which is also one on which his ministry (Koinonia House) was based, is about the Bible being an integrated message system from outside our 4 dimensional physical domain, which we experience.
“The Bible is 66 books written by 40 authors, written between 1446 B.C. & 90 A.D. But, now we discover that it is an integrated message system from outside our time and space domain.”
Chuck Missler (1934 – 2018)
I share his belief that the entire Bible, including all the small details such as numbers, names and locations are included by the Holy Spirit’s intervention and design. The more you discover these hidden gems in Scripture, the stronger your faith will become in the fact that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God. This is turn should increase your faith in Jesus Christ, since He is equated to the Word in John 1:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
John 1:1-3 (NKJV)
For the most part, when we get to the sections of Scripture that list genealogies, we generally skip past it or superficially read over it. One such genealogy is given in Genesis Chapter 5, named the “book of the generations of Adam” (Genesis 5:1). At a first glance this Chapter offers very little apart from historical facts regarding the family line from Adam through to Noah. However, if you do a little homework, you will be amazed to find a Messianicprophecy hidden within this specific genealogy; more specific, the names. For the most part, the meanings of the names are readily available in a good Bible concordance, such as The Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, or Bible software that use such concordances or Hebrew dictionaries, such as e-Sword.
Now, let’s have a look at these names with their corresponding meanings in the order given in the text.
If we look at this grouping of names individually, we may rewrite the genealogy in an English list as below:
Placed (or Appointed)
Praise of God (or Blessed of God)
Descend or come down
Train-up (or teach)
His death shall bring forth
Peace or rest.
Finally, let’s rewrite this list considering this grouping of names systemically:
Mankind was appointed mortal sorrow, but the blessed of God shall come down teaching that His death shall bring forth, for the despairing, rest (peace).
Here, in the beginning of the Old Testament, before Israel was founded, before Jesus walked on the Earth, long before the New Testament was penned, lies an example of how the Holy Spirit influenced history in such a way as to authenticate His Word through a prophecy within a genealogy. This specific prophecy, we now know, points to Jesus Christ. This is but one example of how God knows the end from the beginning.
Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Isaiah 46:10 (KJV)
God knows the end from the beginning, because His existence falls outside of time and space; He created time and space, therefore He far transcends our understanding.
This example should excite and inspire any Bible believing Christian. It should also give us hope and faith in God’s yet future promises in Scripture. For those who have not yet made a decision to follow Jesus, I encourage you to ask the difficult questions and search the Bible for answers.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
“As it is written:
There is none righteous, no, not one;” (Romans 3:10 NKJV)
This means no one is perfect.
Is there any
“… for all have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God,…” (Romans 3:23 NKJV)
None of us meet God’s holy standard.
Where did sin come
“Therefore, just as
through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and thus
death spread to all men, because all sinned…” (Romans 5:12 NKJV)
Adam, the first person created by God, sinned and passed sin
on to every human being.
What do we deserve
for our sins?
“For the wages of sin
is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans
Because of our sins, we are supposed to die.
Who paid the price?
“But God demonstrates
His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for
us.” (Romans 5:8 NKJV)
What is the way out?
“… that if you confess
with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised
him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto
righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the
scripture says, “ Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.” (Romans
For “whoever calls on
the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13 NKJV)
Jesus is the only way out.
How can I get out?
By Salvation, which is as simple as A…B…C…
A – Admit you are a sinner,
B – Believe in your heart that Jesus died and rose from the
C – Confess with your mouth that God raised Jesus from the
dead, and that you accept Christ as the Lord of your life.
Today, in 2019, we are living in a predominantly non-Christian society. This may seem a strong statement, especially when you live in a country that has freedom of religion and freedom of speech. This may seem even a stranger statement when you have a look at the global religious landscape, where statistical estimates place Christianity as the largest religious group in the World, with an estimated 2.4 billion adherents (33% of the global population). However, these statistics are based on individuals that identify with the Christian religion and who are not necessarily born again Christians. Let us explore what the Word of God says about this.
Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus told us:
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the
way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and
there are few who find it.”
Jesus provides us with a prophetic Word to warn us that not many will follow
the narrow way (or the road to
heaven), but rather most will follow the broad way (the road to hell). Here the
broad way refers to the secular world that denies Christ as Lord and Saviour. Jesus
revealed something even bolder to Nicodemus in John 3:3:
“Most assuredly, I say to
you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
goes on to explain that you have to be born twice to see the kingdom of God (in
other words, heaven), once
of water, which refers to our physical birth, and once of Spirit, which
refers to being born again by the Holy Spirit.
How then are we saved or born again? In Romans 10: 9 -13 Paul gives us this answer.
… if you
confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has
raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes
unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For
the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For
there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is
rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall
By virtue of the above pre-requisites, I believe the number of Bible believing, born again believers globally to be significantly lower than the 2.4 billion number. But say there’s only half a billion born again believers on Earth, then why is it not more evident in society? These days, for most cases, it’s difficult to distinguish between Christians and the secular world. More and more Christians, and even entire church communities, are trying to blend in with the secular world to be viewed as ‘cool’ or as to not offend anyone.
In my opinion, unfortunately for the most part, Christians in nations where they enjoy the right to exercise freedom of religion, have become as the Laodicean church mentioned in the book of Revelation (3: 14-22).
“And to the angel of
the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the
Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I
know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold
or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will
vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy,
and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable,
poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to
buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments,
that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed;
and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.
Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold,
I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I
will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I
will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My
Father on His throne.
Life has become so comfortable for us in this age of
convenience, that many have ignored the Great Commission personally given by
Jesus Christ (Matthew 28: 18-20) to his disciples (this includes born again
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
As Christians, we need to be involved in the Great Commission, in one way, shape or form. God has laid this issue on my heart over the last couple of months. Physically, every person has been blessed with different abilities and talents. Spiritually, every believer has been blessed with different spiritual gifts in order for the believers in church to complement each other and the body of Christ to be complete and healthy (1 Corinthians 12: 12- 31).
Just as a body, though one, has many parts,
but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one
Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and
we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not
belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.And if the ear should say, “Because I am not
an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being
part of the body.If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing
be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?But in fact God has placed the parts in
the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.If they were all one part, where would the body be?As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head
cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”On the contrary, those parts of the body that
seem to be weaker are indispensable,and the parts that we think are less
honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are
treated with special modesty,while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has
put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,so that there should be no division in the
body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.If one part suffers, every part suffers with
it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part
of it.And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second
prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of
helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work
miracles?Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in
tongues? Do all interpret?Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
In this day and age we also have excess of everything; from food to material possessions. As disciples of Jesus Christ, who are supposed to look forward to the return of our Lord and Saviour and be heavenly minded, we need to be focused on carrying out, or at least supporting people who are carrying out, the Great commission. Matthew 6: 19 – 21 Jesus tells us to rather focus on heavenly treasures, than earthly riches.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
It is time for born again, Bible believing Christians to
Unite for our Messiah; the same Messiah whose return we should eagerly await.
Let’s be found busy on the day that Christ returns. How glorious will the day
be when we get to see our treasures that were stored up in heaven?
In this ministry I will therefore endeavour to connect believers, resources and ministries, with the goal of furthering the Kingdom of God on Earth, and fulfilling God’s Great Commission. I therefore encourage every born again believer to get involved within a ministry if you are not already part of one. If God has called you to start a ministry, be obedient and trust in Him.
Please subscribe to this blog if you found it fruitful. Feel free to share it on social media platforms, websites or email. We need to build a network of born again, Bible believing Christians that are willing to take a stand for Jesus Christ in this day and age to make a real impact for the sake of the Kingdom of God.