Heaven’s Opinion of Hell

What do people in heaven think of people in hell?

Can people in heaven see people in hell and vice-versa?

While many within conservative Christianity prefer not to think about the question (and who can blame them?), the Bible actually addresses this question with some consistency. Here are a few passages worth considering.

On one hand…

I cannot find any passage anywhere that says that people in heaven will mourn for those in hell. There are two that I’ve heard used before to support this idea, but the context doesn’t say anything about their tears being for people in hell.

Rev 7:16-17
Rev 21:4

Indeed, the context of the first seems to be more about the personal suffering they’ve endured on earth.
I’ve heard preachers say that the occupants of heaven won’t know anything about people in hell because “the old things have passed away”. This assumes quite a bit from the text (and directly contradicts other passages), but .. that doesn’t stop people from saying it.

On the other hand…

(Here are a few passages that touch on the subject. There are more.)

Is 25:6-12
God’s people feasting and rejoicing while their enemies are being destroyed by God. The language seems to be metaphorical language of earthly victory, but the context is definitely Millennial (v6-8)

Isaiah 30:32-33
Someone is rejoicing with tamborines while the Lord is burning them. Angels? Humans?
(Some might insist that this is metaphorical language for an earthly judgment and not the hellfires of eternal judgment.)

Isaiah 63:1-7
God’s people rejoicing to see their salvation.

Isaiah 66:22-24
The scene is the New Heavens and New Earth. The occupants of the NHNE can see those destroyed by God, languishing in a pile of fire and undying worms. They find them abhorrent.

(There are actually quite a few passages in Isaiah that describe this scene (like chapters 33, 35, 40, etc), but many of them are metaphorical and not immediately clear, so I’ll leave them aside for now.)

Deut 32:43 (but read all of 1-43)
God’s people rejoicing to see His vengeance on His adversaries. While this can sound like earthly judgment, I would insist this is about hell and final judgment because that’s the way the NT authors quote this passage (Rom 12:19 and Heb 10:30).

Ps 23:5-6
God’s people feasting in the house of the Lord while His enemies are shut out, but able to observe the activities. This doesn’t sound like it’s about hell or judgment, but follow the pattern throughout the rest of the Bible (especially when you see Jesus talking about this) and see if the pattern doesn’t match.

Daniel 12:1-2
We need to figure out what this “everlasting contempt” is. Whatever it is, it’s
1) post-resurrection (v1),
2)their names are not “written in the book” (v1),
3) it is the opposite of “everlasting life” and “shine like the brightness of the heavens” and “righteousness” (v1,3).

Matt 8:11-12
God’s people feasting with Abraham (Jews and Gentiles together, if you read the context), while God’s enemies thrown out to weeping and gnashing of teeth. (now go back and read the Is 25 passage)

Luke 13:24-30
In a different story and setting, Jesus describes the same scene as Matt 8. However, this passage is a bit more explicit in that the occupants of hell can see the occupants of heaven (v28), while they’re being thrown into hell.

Luke 16:19-31
Note that the blessed are enjoying paradise with Abraham, showing absolutely no pity or sympathy for the man in “torment” in Hades. His plea for mercy (v24) is rebuffed with indifference and a reprimand that he is getting precisely what he deserves. When the man “in anguish” pleads for his family, he is told that “they have Moses and the Prophets. Let them hear them.” (Hmm. Good advice, I bet)

2 Thess 1:5-12
God’s people “glorifying” and “marveling” to see the Day when Jesus comes to destroy His enemies with the flaming fires of eternal destruction (v9)

Rev 18:20-24
The saints of heaven are told to rejoice to see the wicked on the earth are given God’s final judgment.

Rev 19:1-5 (which continues immediately from the previous passage)
The occupants of heaven sing out in praise to God for judging, avenging and destroying His enemies in everlasting smoke.

Not pleasant! But Biblical.

We’re obligated to end on this note: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved from the judgment to come.

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