“When Hell Freezes Over”
By: Brian A. Yeager
If we wanted to have a study of stupid sayings there certainly would be many we could talk about (Proverbs 15:2, Proverbs 15:14, Proverbs 18:6-7, Ecclesiastes 10:12, and Ecclesiastes 10:14). There is one statement that we have all likely heard in our lifetime. IGNORANT people stress how they believe something is not likely to occur by using the phrase, “when Hell freezes over”. That ignorant statement is just like someone saying, “when pigs fly” or that something has “a snowball’s chance in Hell” (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/when_Hell_freezes_over).
Though I am certainly not an English scholar (I ain’t no English teacher either), I understand that “when Hell freezes over” is a hyperbole. The word “hyperbole” is defined as: “exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally” (New Oxford American Dictionary). This article is not intended to suggest that all hyperboles are foolish talk. In fact, Jesus used this method of speech when He said: “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel” (Matthew 23:24). The Pharisees used this manner of speech also: “The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him” (John 12:19). We know that no one can swallow a camel and we know that the whole world did not literally follow Jesus (Luke 13:23-24).
The problem with someone saying, “when Hell freezes over” is a bit deeper than it just being an exaggerated statement. Hell is nothing to joke about. Hell is so bad that Jesus said it’d be better to cut off a body part or pluck out your eye than to end up in Hell (Matthew 5:29-30). Such a serious subject should not be talked about so carelessly. Thus, let’s start off with an obvious point and then move on to a more thought provoking study. Let’s start with establishing that there really is no chance of Hell freezing over.
Hell Won’t Freeze
We know that Hell is a lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15 and Revelation 21:8). The question then arises as to whether or not the fires of Hell will burn forever. If you read what Jesus said concerning Hell, you cannot deny that Hell is eternal fire. Notice: “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels… And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal… And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Matthew 25:41, Matthew 25:46, Mark 9:43-48).
We have just seen that Hell is a place of everlasting fire. Thus, we know there is no chance that Hell will freeze. Again, I understand that the statement, “when Hell freezes over” acknowledges this truth. People who use that hyperbole are acknowledging that they too have some level of understanding concerning the eternal existence of Hell fire. This is what is most troubling to me.
There Is More Embedded In This Ignorant Phrase
People of the world make this statement we are talking about in this article. These are the very people who will experience the eternal fires of Hell (II Thessalonians 1:7-9). This is the point wherein I begin to be a bit perplexed. If someone realizes that Hell will never end (or freeze), why won’t they do something to keep themselves from the eternal fires of Hell?
I am not alone when I stand back and wonder why people know about eternal damnation, at least to some degree, and yet choose to disobey the Lord. Notice the words of our Lord Himself: “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye… Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel” (Ezekiel 18:31-32 and Ezekiel 33:10-11)?
God has set the choice of eternal life and eternal damnation before all of us (Deuteronomy 30:15-20). Our actions will dictate whether or not we enter into Heaven or Hell for eternity (John 5:28-29). With this knowledge, people will still choose to deny the truth and judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life (Acts 13:44-46). It doesn’t make sense. Most people know that Hell is eternal fire. Yet, that provides them little motivation for change. We can show these folks that unless they repent (Luke 13:3, Acts 26:18-20, and Acts 3:19) and obey the Lord they will perish (Matthew 7:21-23, Mark 16:15-16, and Colossians 1:23). Yet, people will still choose to do wrong. Brethren, we need to consider this point ourselves. Since we can see people choosing Hell, with some knowledge of what Hell is, what could that mean of us?
Those who choose to sin wrong their own souls (Proverbs 8:36). Knowledge of the eternal existence of Hell does not mean that a person will obey God to avoid it. The question therefore must move away from those ignorant people of the world and move on to us. Thus, I will leave you with this truth to ponder: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (I Peter 4:17-19).
Volume 12 – Issue 39 - June 17th, 2012