WHAT IS HELL?
Hell is a very commonly used swear word. Many people pepper their conversations with it. Hearing the word used so often may be one of the reasons the horror of its meaning has worn off for so many in today’s society.
Hell is no joke. Hell is a reality of indescribable horror. It is definitely something to be very frightened about.
Hell is not a laughing matter. Jesus, the Son of God, didn’t speak of it as anything to be laughed at, He spoke of it as a place of torment.
Hell is not a myth. On TV, “intellectuals” lean back in their chairs, cross their legs, smile, and condescendingly declare that all the teachinqs of the Bible are myths. To them, Hell is just another myth. But to those who will be thrown into Hell after the Great White Throne Judgment, its existence will be horribly real. In agony of soul, they will discover very quickly that Hell is no myth. So, one must be careful to rely on God’s Word for the truth concerning such important matters.
Hell is not discussed much in Christian circles. When the subject is brought up, it usually causes uncomfortable embarrassment. It would seem that the Church has swept Hell under the rug. It isn’t preached about much anymore. Pulpits are almost silent on the subject, and most congregations don’t seem to notice or care. It could be that some of today’s “enlightened” clergy have helped erase it from the conscience of the Church.
Hell is a Biblical word. It is not a word thought up by Christians and fiery preachers, just to use as a scare tactic, it comes from Almighty God. The taunt, “Hell, fire and brimstone”, is often the glib response of many unbelievers when they are warned about Hell. It is sad to think that if they persist in their rebellious unbelief, they will have to suffer the consequences, for all eternity.
Hell is a definite place, as Heaven is. Like it or not, it is where God, Who is Holy and Just, will cast anyone who is “not written in the book of life”. (Revelation 20:15) Although it is beyond understanding, the Great Day of God’s Wrath and Judgment will come. (Revelation 6:17)
HOW IS HELL DESCRIBED IN THE BIBLE?
God gives stern and sufficient warning about Hell. There are many dreadful words used in the Bible to describe what is considered to be Hell. None of them give any hope, and they certainly are not the least bit encouraging.
The best description of what it is like comes from Jesus as He told of the rich man being in Hades. (Hades is as close to Hell as can be imagined and yet at the end of time, it, too, will be cast into Hell. Revelation 20:14) The man is in such great torment from the flame that he asks that Lazarus (whom he sees with Abraham across a great gulf) dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool his tongue. The request is denied. The place is of such great torment that the rich man doesn’t want his loved ones to ever come to it. He realizes that his loved ones need to repent or they will end up there, too, so he requests that someone be sent to warn them. This request is also denied. It is evident from the account that when condemned to this place, one can remember, see, look, hear, talk and understand what is going on. There is a great gulf fixed so that one can’t get out or move to more comfortable quarters. (Luke 16:19-31)
Hell fire and danger (Matthew 5:22) Outer darkness (Matthew 8:12) Weeping and gnashing of teeth (Luke 13:28) Place of torment (Luke 16:28) Lake of fire burning with brimstone (Revelation 19:20) Everlasting fire (Matthew 18:8) Damnation of Hell (Matthew 23:33) Fire that never shall be quenched (Mark 9:43) Where the worm doesn’t die (Mark 9:44) Everlasting destruction (II Thessalonians 1:9) Out from the presence of the lord (II Thessalonians 1:9)
GETTING A GOOD LOOK AT HELL?
There are those who have possibly had a very real look at Hell, either in a death bed or a near death experience. What they see is so horrifying that they do not want any more of it.
(The following three paragraphs are taken from the book, “To Hell and Back”, by Maurice Rawling, M.D.)
Those encountering the Hell experience have ex-pressed it in these words:
This is how one man described an experience that he considered to be Hell itself. “The darkness of Hell is so intense that it seems to have a pressure per square inch. It is an extremely black, dismal, desolate, heavy, pressurized type of darkness. It gives the individual a crushing, despondent feeling of loneliness. The heat is a dry, dehydrating type. Your eyeballs are so dry they feel like red hot coals in their sockets. Your tongue and lips are parched and cracked with the intense heat. The breath from your nostrils as well as the air you breathe feels like a blast from a furnace. The exterior of your body feels as though it were encased within a white hot stove. The interior of your body has a sensation of scorching hot air be-ing forced through it. The agony and loneliness of Hell cannot be expressed clearly enough for proper understanding to the human soul ….”.
“Fiery place of desolation without hope No way out - friends from the past screaming Crushing despondent feeling of loneliness Physical pressure by the inch from the darkness Crying - shrieking - feeling horrible Isolated - frightened - black - desolate Dismal - heavy - icy shudders Feeling torment - horror so great it chokes Kicking off creatures Blood curdling screams Seeing faces of the damned Under severe penalty from an unseen force Hell, Hell, all I see is Hell”
Another man “…. stared horribly surprised and frightened into the vacancy before him …. as if he beheld the king of terrors in all of his merciless wrath …. his wife screamed .… the dying man continued to stare in dreadful astonishment, his mouth wide open, and his eyes protruding …. until he died”.
A WAY TO ESCAPE HELL
THE GREAT SALVATION
There is a penalty for sin and unbelief, and that penalty is damnation and Hell. Hell is just beyond death’s door. These gloomy and terrible hell experiences are most likely a good description of what unbelievers will have to endure, once there.
Is there a way to escape Hell? Yes, thankfully there is. God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son, to be the one and only way of escape and salvation. Sinless Jesus Christ was sacrificed to redeem sinners. To obtain this great salvation, one cannot neglect it, but must believe and obey its Author. (John 3:16-17, Titus 2:14, I Thessalonians 5:9, Hebrews 5:9) (”…. without shedding of blood is no remission” of sin. Hebrews 9:22 “…. Him …. that washed us from our sins in His own blood”. Revelation 1:5 “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ….” Hebrews 2:3)
It is worthwhile to repeat that Jesus is the one and only way of escape and salvation, God’s Word is very clear about this. John 1:29 says that when John saw Jesus, he said “…. Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world.” John 14:6 says, “Jesus said …. I am the way .… no man comes to the Father, but by Me”. Acts 4:12, speaking of Jesus, says, “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved”. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord”.
The unbeliever should give serious thought to the Biblical teachings concerning Jesus Christ, salvation, Heaven and Hell. Such matters are very important to one’s eternal destiny and should not be put off. Where one is going to spend a very long eternity, should he taken care of now. Life promises no tomorrows. It is much too easy to think that spiritual issues aren’t real or relevant. One must not leave it all to chance, hoping that somehow everything will turn out all right, “out there”, some day, It is possible for an unbeliever to be so involved in the day to day struggles or pleasures of life, that any thought or desire to be concerned with eternal matters, is erased.
God has an awesome power over life and death. One needs to enter a saving and uplifting relationship with Him before it is too late. The cut-off date for an opportunity to do this, is the moment of death. God is faithful to all His promises and will save anyone who believes and trusts in them. For those who are saved, it will be a marvel to spend eternity in Heaven with God, and not out of His presence, in Hell. Not only that, it is also a privilege and joy to have Christ live in one’s heart by faith, here and now. (Ephesians 3:17) It is amazing, a believer can be filled from day to day with the fullness of God and experience His power working within. (Ephesians 3:19,20)
THE GREAT SALVATION EXPERIENCE
Each person’s experience of salvation is unique. Many true stories can be told. One man came to Christ through what he experienced in nightmarish dreams. For several rights in a row, in stress filled dreams, he experienced the agonizing pain and agony of grinding (gnashing) his teeth down to the gums. Upon waking in the morning he would feel the guilt of his sin and the horror of the Hell to come if he didn’t repent and get saved. He remembered the verses in the Gospel describing Hell as being a place where there was gnashing (grinding) of teeth. He decided that dreams of grinding his teeth down to the gums were enough, he didn’t want to experience it throughout a long agonizing eter-nity, so he came to repentance, salvation and a new life in Christ. His life has changed. He has turned his back on the life of sin he used to pursue, and strives, with God’s help, to be obedient to his Lord, Jesus Christ.
Another story is about a 15 year old girl. When she was listening to the Gospel, she would feel guilt, fear God and dread Hell. (“…. Fear Him Who .… has power to cast into Hell ....” Luke 12:5) She understood enough to know that she wanted to spend eternity in Heaven, not Hell. She also knew that the only One Who could forgive her and secure her entry there, was Jesus Christ, the Crucified One. It was with great relief and thankfulness that she turned to Him, confessed her sins and believed His promises to forgive, have mercy and save. On the night of her baptism, when she publicly affirmed her belief in Jesus Christ as her Savior, she was flooded with a feeling of peace that she had never experienced before. Her feeling of quilt was gone! She knew that she was forgiven! Eternity in Heaven with Christ was the promise of her future. She was then very amazed to realize that, until then, she was invited to have a day to day, personal and spiritual relationship with Him.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Will you experience salvation? What will it be like for you?
God loves you and He “is full of compassion and tender mercy”. (James 5:11 NIV)
Jesus says:Will you come? Will you repent? Will you confess Jesus Christ? Will you believe in Him? Will you experience a new birth?
“Come unto Me”. (Matthew 11:28) “Except you repent”. (Luke 13:3) “Confess Me before men”. (Luke 12:8) “Believe in Me”. (John 14:1) “You must be born again”. (John 3:7)
WHERE WILL YOURS BE?
Hopefully, when your time comes to die, you will experience the Presence of Jesus. May you be able to say, as one believer did, “I see Him! He is here! See His Hands! See the heavenly hosts! He has come for me! Majesty and glory unutterable!” May you be one of the multitude who will spend eternity with Him.
Published by: STAP MINISTRIES - USA
1995 Edition - All rights reserved.
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