Is Hell real or allegoric?
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: I am finishing a seminary paper on the subject of Heaven and Hell and am struggling with how to present Hell. My professor warned me to be careful what I write and that it would be better to present the subject matter as Heaven being real but Hell being allegoric, claiming that I would be a fool to present it any other way. – H.H.
A: In all earnestness of soul, the same Bible that tells us about the love of God and the beauties of Heaven also tells us about Hell.
Some people say that they are willing to live by the Sermon on the Mount because Jesus preached, “Blessed are the merciful, blessed are the peacemakers,” etc., in Matthew 5, but in that same sermon Jesus says, “Whoever says [to his brother], ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:22).
The most unpopular subject to preach about is Hell. Yet the Bible has almost as much to say about it as any other subject. The world may doubt its existence, but Hell is as real as Heaven. Just listen to people who use the word in thousands of conversations in hundreds of different ways. Some use it as a swear word. Others use it to describe their lives.
In church, the doctrine of Hell is not only unpopular, it is almost forgotten. But one cannot read the Word of God without direct references and descriptions of this place, made by Jesus Christ Himself.
Hell has been cloaked in folklore and disguised in fiction for so long; many people deny the reality of such a place. But many wise teachers and scholars know the truth about this foreboding place and a seminary professor told his students, “Never preach about Hell without tears in your eyes.” Not one word about Hell in the Bible would ever make a person want to go there.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
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