Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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“I tell you, my friends, don’t fear those who kill the body,
but after that have nothing more they can do. But I will warn you whom you should fear.
Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into Gehenna.
Oh, I tell you, fear Him! ”
Jesus, in Luke 12:4-5
The verse above poses a particularly difficult challenge to the notion, held by many, that there is no hell. If there is no hell, if the wicked simply disappear and no longer exist, then what is it that Jesus is warning us that God can do to the wicked after they die? If the wicked have no life after they die, then God can do no more to the wicked than men can do to them. If there is no hell awaiting the wicked, then all that anybody in heaven or earth can do to them is kill them, and that is contrary to what Jesus taught.
The Jehovah Witness sect, among others, teach that hell is simply the grave, and that the wicked, once dead, just vanish into non-existence. The official Jehovah’s Witness web site states that “Since the dead have no conscious existence, hell cannot be a fiery place of torment where the wicked suffer after death. . . . The Bible hell, then, is the common grave of mankind where good people as well as bad ones go.” But if that were true, if hell is the just the grave, then men, contrary to what Jesus said, do have the power to cast dead people into hell. Why, they do it all the time, and they are paid for their labor by families of the deceased. It is called “burying people”.
The grave is not what hell is. Jesus warned his friends that God has power to cast dead people into a place that is beyond the power of men to cast them. And when God casts the wicked into hell, He is not burying the wicked dead; He is damning them.