Faith: The Bible speaks of Hell as realPublished 11:59am Monday, October 11, 2010
If anyone’s name was not found within the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)
Hell…the final frontier…the last stop on the voyage of the ship Humanity…the fiery melting pot of broken dreams, shattered hopes and seething rebellion. Here’s one of the most important questions you could ever be asked: how do you picture hell?
Do you imagine it as a party atmosphere with sex, drugs and rock-n-roll? Or perhaps you have in mind a place of surreal mental anguish? Do you think of hell as having an almost cartoonish atmosphere where horned demons prod the inhabitants with pointy pitchforks? You might want to think again folks, because the Bible speaks of hell as a very different place than you might imagine. In the twelve times that hell is mentioned in the New Testament, Jesus mentions eleven. He paints a picture of hell with fire and brimstone, pain and torture. It is described as a very real place with very real torment.
The Bible also describes hell as being eternal. Speaking of its inhabitants, the Apostle John wrote:
“And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night…” (Revelation 14:11)
Notice the words “for ever and ever.” Hell is an eternal torture chamber for those who refuse Christ. There is no bail, no parole, and no ‘get out of hell free’ card.
Stop right now and think of someone you know who hasn’t trusted in Christ. Imagine them never hearing the gospel message. Picture them in the midst of the lake of fire, drenched in flame, immersed in despair, surrounded by hopelessness “for ever and ever.”
Am I trying to scare you? Absolutely. There are some things we should be intensely afraid of, and hell is one of them. It represents the holy side of God’s character, and the eternal destiny of those who rejected Him. Hell burns forever because God’s absolute hatred of sin burns forever. I believe that it is easy to forget that the same God who fashioned the paradise of heaven also created an inescapable hell.
The biblical writer Jude (the half brother of Jesus) reminds us to “snatch others from the fire and save them…” You and I are on a life saving mission from God to grab people from the precipice of hell and bring them safely to the gate of heaven. Sound difficult? Not really. All we need to do is share with them the message of the cross, and the rest is up to them.
Remember, God is so holy that He made an eternal hell to pour out His righteous anger on those who sin. God is so loving that He sent His only Son to the earth to die on the cross and absorb His holy anger for our sin. God is so compassionate that He made us ambassadors of hope to a hell-bound world. Will you dare to share that message to your hell-bound friends? If not now, then when?