Monday, September 23, 2013

HELL – Does It Really Exist and Why Would a Loving God Send Anyone There?

Continuing our consideration of the Lake of Fire / Hell:

Hell, like Heaven, is difficult for us to fully grasp now, because any comparison to what we know and experience in this life is incapable of preparing us to fully understand what will be eternal.  However, we are given some indications:

  • In Jesus’ own words, NOT the choice you want to make:
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one
hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands.  If your foot causes
you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one foot than to be thrown
into hell with two feet.  And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter
 the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 
where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out.’ Mark 9:43-48 New Living Translation

“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into
the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.  For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed
 me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink.  I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me
into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and
you didn’t visit me.’   “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ “And he will answer, ‘I tell you
 the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were
 refusing to help me.’  And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will
go into eternal life.”           Matthew 25:41-46 New Living Translation

What impression are you left with when you hear “fire, maggots and         eternal punishment?”

  • Revelation 19:20 (previously cited) “thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”
Sulfur becomes molten at 200° Celsius / 392° Fahrenheit and the smell has been          likened to “rotten eggs.”   Does this sound like a place where you want to be?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

HELL – Does It Really Exist and Why Would a Loving God Send Anyone There?

What Will Hell be Like?

To get an idea of what Hell will be like, consider the story Jesus told of two men – one described as the unnamed “rich man” and a poor man named “Lazarus.” 

            19"Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously
living in splendor every day.  20"And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate,
covered with sores, 21and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the
rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.  22"Now the
poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich
man also died and was buried.  23"In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and
saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. 24"And he cried out and said, 'Father
Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger
in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.'

 25"But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good
things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you
are in agony. 26'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed,
so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none
may cross over from there to us.'

27"And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house - 28for
I have five brothers - in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come
to this place of torment.'  29"But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets;
let them hear them.'  30"But he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them
from the dead, they will repent!'  31"But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and
the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'"

Luke 16:19-31 New American Standard Version

Here is what we can observe about Hades that will give us impressions of Hell:

  • After death, the rich man is in torment v23
  • He asked for relief v24
  • He was not given relief, but remained in agony v25
  • He was not given any hope of changing his situation v26  (i.e., no Purgatory)
  • He expressed concern for his brothers who were still living – he did not want them to suffer the same fate he had v27-28
  • He was told his brothers had Moses and the Prophets (i.e., the Old Testament) just as he had for guidance v30
  • He pleads that if someone (Lazarus) came back from the dead, that his brothers would repent v30
  • He is told if they will not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead v31.   The truth of this statement was confirmed in the fact that even after Jesus’ resurrection, most refused to believe.