Hell in Matthew
In the Sermon on the Mount, often known for its emphasis on love and the kingdom, Jesus teaches the reality and nature of hell (5:20–30; 7:13–27). In Matthew 5:20–30, Jesus contrasts hell with the kingdom of heaven and warns that hell is a real danger to unrepentant sinners. The fire of hell, the justice of hell, and the extreme suffering in hell are particularly stressed. The unrepentant are warned to use extreme measures to avoid being cast into it by God.
As Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount, He contrasts the kingdom of heaven with the horrors of hell (7:13– 27). Jesus cautions that hell is a place of destruction, depicted as the end of a broad road. Hell awaits everyone who does not enter the kingdom of heaven— even those who profess to know Christ but continue in sin. Jesus is Judge and King who personally excludes the wicked from His presence and the kingdom of heaven (“Depart from me,” 7:23). Indeed, those who fail to follow Jesus are like a house built on the sand that ultimately comes crashing down.
Matthew also recounts Jesus’ surprising warning that Jews devoid of faith are in danger of hell, which is portrayed as outside, darkness, and a place of intense suffering (8:10–12). Jesus addresses hell when He commissions His disciples not to fear humans but God alone, “who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (10:28). In Jesus’ parables of the weeds (13:36–43) and the net (vv. 47–50), hell is seen as exclusion/ separation from the kingdom of God, described in terms of fire and is a place of suffering. Jesus later describes hell as a place of “eternal fire” (18:8) and even warns the scribes and Pharisees of hell, characterizing it as inescapable for the unrepentant (23:33).