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A person asked me the question to know if this passage from the Bible could mean that hell has different levels.
Many biblical comments point in this direction, unfortunately that is not what this passage says.
Some major Christian denominations sometimes mention this passage to justify that purgatory is real, and that we receive punishment according to our works on earth.

The passage is this one:
Luke 12: 45-48 But if this servant says in himself: My master is slow to come; if he begins to beat the servants, to eat, to drink and to get drunk, the master of this servant will come on the day when he does not expect it and at the hour he does not know it, he will tear it to pieces, and give him his share with the unbelievers. The servant who, having known the will of his master, has not prepared anything and has not acted according to his will, will be beaten with a great number of blows. But he who has not known her, but has done things worthy of punishment, will be beaten with few blows. Much will be asked of those to whom much has been given, and more will be asked of those to whom much has been entrusted.

If we take this passage in its literal sense, we can therefore think that there could be intermediate solutions to the condemnation of sin. Some people who would be reluctant to enter the new birth may mistakenly think that after all, things will not be that bad.
Sometimes people who have not understood the value of Jesus' offer on the cross say to themselves that they will continue their lifestyle on earth outside the Gospel. Then after their death, they think they will go to a place that is not really perfect, but not so bad either.
This quick teaching is given to put an end to this pernicious myth.

This passage is very interesting.
One might think when reading it quickly that hell has several levels, or that God gives different levels of punishment among those who have not accepted Christ.
But that is not the case.

If we proceed by steps, we know that hell does not have multiple different places. There is only one place of turmoil, with no compartments or different levels of suffering. Hell is pure and simple destruction for those who will unfortunately be sent there.
Beware, hell is not to be confused with Sheol, which has two distinct places, and which is mentioned in the passage where we can see Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:20). Sheol is a place of waiting for God's judgment, which will be done for all humanity at once, just as salvation on the cross was done at one time. Those who are born again as well as those who are not, are in Sheol awaiting this judgment. It is impossible, and the Bible does not mention it, that one can pass from one place to another while in Sheol.

When the judgment is finished, Sheol will be thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. It's the second death, the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:15 Whoever was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 21:8 But for the cowards, the unbelievers, the abominable, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

In the light of these passages, all those who have refused Christ will ultimately have exactly the same destiny, that is a fact.

Now let us have a look at verse 47 of Luke's passage that we quote in reference:

Verse 47 (the PVV translation is clearer at this stage). The servant who knows perfectly well what his master wants from him, but who has not even tried to act according to this will and has not prepared anything, should expect to be severely punished.

Here the servant corresponds to a person who is not born again but knows perfectly well what God wants from him (God's will is that all be saved 1 Tim 2:4). Despite having heard salvation in Christ, he does not want to receive it in his life, but on top of that he takes advantage of people's ignorance to lead them into false ways. This person will be destroyed (torn to pieces).
This is the same servant mentioned in verse 46:
Luke 12: 46 One day, his master will come back unexpectedly and surprise him. It will be the day when the servant will not expect it, and at a time completely unexpected. Then the master will punish him very severely. He will treat him as unfaithful slaves are treated.

This verse establishes the fact that a person who knows the Gospel but who refuses it throughout his life and knowingly deceives others, must expect to be punished eternally without possible return (hell).

Then the second servant is mentioned in verse 48:
He is a person who does not know the Gospel. The Bible shows that someone who has never heard the Gospel will be judged on his conscience, his faith.

Romans 2:14-16 When the Gentiles, who do not have the law, naturally do what the law prescribes, they are, they who do not have the law, a law for themselves; they show that the work of the law is written in their hearts, their conscience by giving testimony, and their thoughts accusing or defending themselves in turn. This is what will appear on the day when, according to my Gospel, God will judge through Jesus Christ the secret actions of men.

This word of Paul shows us that a person who has never heard of Jesus and who comes to die thus, will be judged upon his conscience. In other words, if this person has the same thoughts as those of the Gospel, then he will be saved.

In this case, this second servant who has had a life of evil around him, etc.... will have a less severe judgment because it will be based on the criteria of his conscience and his line of conduct, and not on whether or not he accepted Jesus, according to what God says in Romans 2:2.

If we take for example a person who knows the Gospel, he will be judged upon what he knows (in this case, what the Bible calls the truth, Romans 2:2). He will therefore be judged according to the Gospel, which says that if we accept Jesus we are saved, if we do not accept him we are lost.

Then if we take the case of a person who does not know the Gospel and who has never heard of Jesus, he will also be judged upon the truth (upon what he knows), that is, his conscience.
In this case the criteria will be much less strict, because he can be saved without ever having literally accepted Jesus, because he did not know him. He can be saved by his conscience which is in line with the Gospel, the law of God's grace.
But on the other hand, God judges him upon his way of thinking, on his conscience. In this case, the judgment is less severe in the criteria only.
But in both cases, God's final judgment remains the same. Whether one refuses Christ's offer on the cross, or has a conscience turned towards evil, the fate remains the same. The criteria for judging in these two cases are different. It is in this regard that we can read that servants are beaten more or less.

In one case, it's white or black: You accept the cross in your life or not.
In the other case, the criteria are a little broader because we are judged upon our way of thinking: the final judgment is based on the mindset, the way of thinking, and of course the actions and attitudes that result from it in the person's life.

In the passage of Luke 12, these two servants did not both go through the new birth.
Each of them will therefore have different criteria for their entry into hell, which is how the Bible images the fact of receiving "more beats, or fewer beats".

Then we could ask ourselves why Jesus said all this?
Jesus is explaining the purpose of His coming to His apostles: He came to establish messengers, and to light a fire on the earth. To speak in a less imaginative way, Jesus came to light a fire, that is, to spread the good news of salvation. For this reason God establishes a different plan for each human being (servant).
In this parable, Jesus explains that there are two possibilities that can intervene for a person who would not be saved.

- He can refuse salvation in full knowledge of it, having heard the Gospel.
- He can access salvation by being judged on his own conscience (in the example of the passage it is not found in this person a conscience in conformity with the thought of God).

Jesus reminds us that in both cases, the finality is hell, but the criteria for judgment to enter it are different. But also that it is much easier to go through the new birth by hearing the Gospel, rather than through God's assessment of our own conscience.

These texts allow us to remember, among other things, that two options are possible to access, or not, salvation.

Bye for now.