Summary: No, this is not a reference to Hell, it is referring to the period of intense anarchy during Armageddon that will cause great suffering and destroy all evilness on Earth in preparation for Christ’s righteous reign on Earth.
Discussion: Matthew 13:40-44 (KJV), "As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Evilness vexes true Christians. Jesus said the gospel would cause fire symbolizing great suffering and even death. “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! … 51 Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.”- Luke 12:49, 51 NKJV History records that believers were tortured, starved, and whole cities massacred during the Dark Ages. Truly, “… men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. – John 3:19 KJV
Believers must suffer to learn obedience, as did Jesus. “…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” – Hebrews 5:8 (NKJV)
Jesus said in Mark 9:49, “For every one shall be salted with fire…” This verse explains that all Christians need to be purified through fiery trials. Our consecration vows entail some serious sacrifices to show the depth of our consecration. (See also 1 Corinthians 3:13.) Lastly, Peter 1:7 NKJV, “…your faith, …though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ”.
However, Matthew 13:42 is referring to the final suffering and destruction at the end of the present evil world (Galatians 1:4). Daniel prophesied, “And at that time shall Michael stand up,…and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time…" – Daniel 12:1 KJV Jesus also said, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be…”. – Matthew 24:21-22 NKJV
Mankind long’s for justice, righteousness, and peace. The purpose of the fiery suffering is to humble men’s hearts. Then Christ will step in and establish His righteous reign. “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea”. – Isaiah 11:9 NKJV
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