Are There Different Degrees of Hell?

Every now and then someone will ask if I believe there are different degrees of hell. The answer is simple: yes, there are. We see this in many places, in various ways. It all boils down to the fact that different sins have different degrees of offense to God, that God’s judgments are true and just, and He punishes all sin according to the degree of offense.

1. Degrees Of Sin

John 15:22-24  22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.

John 19:11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

2. Appropriateness in Judgment

Exod 21:23-25  23 But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Deut 25:2  2 then if the guilty man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall cause him to lie down and be beaten in his presence with a number of stripes in proportion to his offense.

Job 34:10-12  10 ​​​​​​​​“Therefore, hear me, you men of understanding: ​​​​​​​far be it from God that he should do wickedness, ​​​​​​​and from the Almighty that he should do wrong. ​​​ 11 ​​​​​​​​For according to the work of a man he will repay him, ​​​​​​​and according to his ways he will make it befall him. ​​​ 12 ​​​​​​​​Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, ​​​​​​​and the Almighty will not pervert justice. ​​​

Ps 28:4 ​​​​​​​​Give to them according to their work ​​​​​​​and according to the evil of their deeds; ​​​​​​​give to them according to the work of their hands; ​​​​​​​render them their due reward. ​​​

Prov 24:12 ​​​​​​​​If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” ​​​​​​​does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? ​​​​​​​Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, ​​​​​​​and will he not repay man according to his work? ​​​

Isa 3:9-11  9 ​​​​​​​​For the look on their faces bears witness against them; ​​​​​​​they proclaim their sin like Sodom; ​​​​​​​they do not hide it. ​​​​​​​Woe to them! ​​​​​​​For they have brought evil on themselves. ​​​ 10 ​​​​​​​​Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, ​​​​​​​for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. ​​​ 11 ​​​​​​​​Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, ​​​​​​​for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him. ​​​

Jer 17:10 ​​​​​​​​“I the Lord search the heart ​​​​​​​and test the mind, ​​​​​​​to give every man according to his ways, ​​​​​​​according to the fruit of his deeds.” ​​​

Jer 32:18-19  18 You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts, 19 great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds.

Ezek 7:27 The king mourns, the prince is wrapped in despair, and the hands of the people of the land are paralyzed by terror. According to their way I will do to them, and according to their judgments I will judge them, and they shall know that I am the Lord.”

Matt 10:41 The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.

Matt 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

Rom 2:6-11  6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

2Cor 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Eph 6:8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.

1Pet 1:17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,

Rev 2:23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.

Rev 22:12-15  12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

3. Degrees of Judgment

Matt 10:14-15  14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15 Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

Matt 11:20-24  20 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

Matt 23:14 [“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You devour widows’ houses and make long prayers just for show. This is why you will receive a harsher punishment. ]

Luke 10:10-12  10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Luke 10:13-15  13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.

Luke 12:48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

Jas 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

These passages paint a consistent picture about God’s day of Judgment: not all sins are equal, and all sins get punished according to their offense. On the day that we are judged before a holy God, His righteousness will see to it that we get what we deserve.

Prepare now.


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