Monday, March 18, 2013

What is Hell really like?


Has anyone ever told you to go die in hell? My guess is that they were not being as mean as they intended to be...one only wishes they could die in hell; it's torment is eternal. I recently saw a bumper sticker that said, "The party in hell has been cancelled due to the fire". I know a lot of people that are going to be disappointed! Without giving it much thought, we mortals assume that if hell even exists, it is worth going to so that we can have fun while still 'alive'. Many of us believe in heaven but refuse to believe in hell. That's like believing that the Ravens did indeed win the Superbowl, but that the 49ers did not necessarily lose. What keeps many souls from buying into the whole idea of hell is that they cannot believe that our loving God would be so cruel. With so much at stake, I say we ask God about it Himself, by opening his word. (Opening the word of God is opening his mouth!)

Could God be so cruel?
Why would our God, who is love, prepare such a place of torment for us? Actually, he didn't. It was prepared for the devil and his angels. "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:" - Matthew 25:41 Then, once sin entered into the hearts of man, our death became certain. "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." - Genesis 2:17 Since we are all born in the image of Adam, we are all born into sin and death, and all sin is always directed toward God. Since God is pure holiness and righteousness, He cannot tolerate sin. It is the very wrath of God that burns against the wicked and disobedient that is hell. "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;" 
- 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9

Jesus warns us of hell
"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." 
-Matthew 10:28

"So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." 
- Matthew 13:49-50

"And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. - Mark 9:43-48 (Note here that Jesus is quoting scripture, from the prophet Isaiah, spoken 700 years prior. "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh." - Isaiah 66:24)

God does not want a one of us to suffer
Fortunately for us, it is not God's will that any of us should suffer. "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." - 2 Peter 3:9 In fact, He pardons us abundantly! "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." - Isaiah 55:7 What about the people who have never heard of our loving God? He wouldn't send them to hell, right?  "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." - Romans 1:19-21 God will show Himself to everyone! 

As hard as it is to think about hell, it weighs much more heavily on my heart the fact that God sent his only begotten son to it in our place. "Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?" - Ephesians 4:9  Not only did Jesus endure hell while never having sinned a day in His life, He actually became our sin for us. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." - 2 Corinthians 5:21 The only thing worse than letting Jesus take the fall for us, is letting Him do it for nothing. Right now, Jesus is preparing a very, very special place for us, and it is ours for the asking! "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." - John 14:2 It truly is your choice; you can choose to spend eternity wailing and gnashing your teeth where your worm dieth not in flames, or you can choose to live in the mansion Jesus prepared for you.  Can we call this a no-brainer?! Determine your eternity today by praying this prayer, and meaning it with all your heart:

Heavenly Father, 
I know that I am a sinner, 
and unless I accept your gift of salvation, 
I am lost forever. 
I thank you for sending your son to die for me 
and save me from an eternity in hell.  
I now receive Jesus as my Savior. 
In His holy name, I pray.

Or, if you're in a hurry - 

"Jesus save me!" 

Sidenote: Before you go digging into your bible, it is important to know that the word 'hell' is found in the Authorized King James Version 54 times. All the new translations have it much fewer times. In fact, many have taken it the hell out. 
  New King James Version….......32 times
  New International Version…....…14 times
  New American Standard Bible…13 times
  American Standard Version….…13 times
  New Living Translation………….13 times
  Revised Standard Version…......12 times
  New American Bible………......…0 times!
Although you can learn from any bible, it is in many bible scholar's opinions (and my beginner's mind) that the words in the Authorized King James Version of 1611 are God's preserved words. "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." - Psalms 12:6-7 

Please remember, BIBLE BAIT is written by a novice Bible study student, not a Bible scholar. If something doesn't look quite right to you, dig into God's word. The one thing I promise you is that you won't get bored! Many thanks to my friend Renee Driscoll, who helps me keep Bible Bait Biblically correct.

Blogger B.D. Baker said...
Another great blog entry. I was always taught that God doesn't send us to Hell, but that we send ourselves by rejecting HIM. You have a gift for making the seemingly complex easy to understand.

 



1 comment:

B.D. Baker said...

Another great blog entry. I was always taught that God doesn't send us to Hell, but that we send ourselves by rejecting HIM. You have a gift for making the seemingly complex easy to understand.

I've been slacking in the department of keeping up with your blog entries... if you've been linking all of these to facebook, I have not seen them.