Is there a real, eternal, burning hell? In Philippians 3:18-21, Paul describes only two options for our final destination: destruction and heaven. How foolish it is for us to make our natural appetites—the temporary pleasures of food, drink, and creature comforts—the altar of our worship! We, as future citizens of the New Jerusalem, are only passing through this world. Paul, well aware of this truth, said this knowledge caused him to “strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven” (Philippians 3:14). What other goal is worthy of pursuing?
The tragic opposite of the heavenward call is the downward pull of hell. Isaiah said (and Jesus later quoted in Mark 9:48) that for those in hell “the worms that devour them will never die, and the fire that burns them will never go out” (Isaiah 66:24).
Hell is an eternal lake of fire. It is a fixed, immovable torment where death is not an option. Once a person is in hell, it is impossible for him to ever escape. The rich man, suffering the anguish of hell’s flames, begged Lazarus simply to dip his finger in water to cool his parched tongue (Luke 16:24), but it was not possible (v. 26).
Hell is indeed an awful place, but heaven is wonderful beyond measure. I have set my sights on heaven. How about you?