Are there literal gates of hell? What does the Bible say about this? What did Jesus say about the gates of hell?
Where are you Headed?
I heard the late Adrian Rogers once describe a young man that was trying to find a bar in Chicago. It was literally called The Gates of Hell. Yes, there was an actually bar called The Gates of Hell. I am not sure if it is still there or not but the literal gates of hell are. This certainly does not sound like a place you would want to visit but a young man had asked someone on the street where it was at. The man happened to be a pastor. He understood what the place was like that the young man had asked him about. He simply told him where it was. He didn’t try to share the gospel with him; he didn’t try to tell him about a literal place called hell even though he perceived that the young man was not saved. He simply told the man how to get to this bar called The Gates of Hell. The young man probably didn’t know that the man giving him directions was a pastor and it seems certain that the young man didn’t realize he was asking a pastor for directions there. He simply told this young man how to get to The Gates of Hell. Here is how he described it. Listen to the irony in giving this man the directions to The Gates of Hell:
“You’re already pretty close to it. Go down this street and turn right and go past Calvary. Once you go past Calvary, you can’t miss it. Just walk down this street and turn the corner and you will find it half way down the block.” The church at the corner was called Calvary Baptist Church and the young man was told, “If you want to get to The Gates of Hell, just walk right past Calvary and you will find it.”
The Gates of Hell
No one knows if this man went to The Gates of Hell or not but anyone who goes past Calvary and refuses to repent and rejects putting their trust in Christ is headed there. Rob Bell aside, there are only two destinations for people to go; heaven or hell. The way to get to the real gates of hell is to walk right past Calvary, but instead, if you go to Calvary and bend your knee, humble yourself, confess your sins, repent of them, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the gates of heaven are where you are headed. Then, nothing can prevent you from being snatched from the Father’s hands or from Christ’s hands (John 10:28-29). You see, Christ went to hell for you on the cross. He suffered in agony for hours and took upon Himself your sins and all of the sins of those who have or ever will repent and trust in Him as their Savior. The wrath of God that was due us (John 3:36b) was placed on Jesus Christ and it was “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21) and “he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5-6).
Passing by Calvary
We cannot pass by Calvary without making a choice. You may refuse to repent and trust in Christ or you can choose to believe in Christ and be saved but to make no choice is still to choose to reject the only way you can be saved (Acts 4:12). We must stop at the foot of the cross. We must see that our only hope of eternal life with God is through the atonement that was provided at Calvary. Pass by Calvary and you pass by your only way out of the gates of hell. There is not a person alive today that does not have an appointment with death (Heb 9:27) and after this death, there is the final judgment (Rev 20:11-15). The more times people reject the message of hope in the gospel, the more the likelihood of them not receiving the message because “it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (Heb 6:4-6). The author or authors of Hebrews was “confident of better things concerning” (Heb 6:9) the Jewish Christians but like in any church today, there is a mixture of the saved and the lost…the wheat and the tares…the sheep and the goats and someday Jesus will come to separate them (Matt 25:32).
Every day believers have placed before them divine opportunities to tell people that if they step out of this life without Christ they face a Christ-less eternity. They will be forever separated from God with no chance at reconciliation. Contrary to what some believe and some cults teach, there are not second chances. There is no plan B. We must tell people that today must be their day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2) and today, if they do not harden their hearts to this only message of hope (Heb 3:15, 4:7), they can be saved. No one even knows if tomorrow will come. We must be in the business of snatching people out of the path to destruction. I pray I would have been faithful enough to have witnessed to this young man although I cannot say with certainty I would have been. That young man wanted to know where The Gates of Hell was at. I hope it is not too late for him but I know it is not too late for you to come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Then you will never again have to be afraid that your final destination is The Gates of Hell.
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon