A Real Place Called Hell 2: A Guided Tour

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And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.-Revelation 20:15

(God) is a being of infinite greatness, majesty, and glory; and therefore he is infinitely honourable...for he is infinitely worthy to be obeyed himself, and we have an absolute, universal, and infinite dependence upon him. So that sin against God, being a violation of infinite obligations, must be a crime infinitely heinous, and so deserving of infinite punishment.-Jonathan Edwards (1)

"Hellfire and brimstone." To many people, this phrase evokes some of the worst stereotypes of "Fundamentalist" Christianity. After all, isn't it outmoded to appeal to fear in order to get people to respond to the Gospel? No, it is not. Without a holy, reverential fear of God, we will never begin to know true wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). There can be no love of God apart from His justice and His holiness. They go hand-in-hand. Ultimately, we cannot call ourselves Bible believers or followers of Jesus Christ unless we are willing to accept the whole of their teaching, including the "unpleasant" parts.

In Part 1 of our study, we looked at the Bible doctrine of Hell and saw conclusively that the Bible does teach the eternal punishment for the wicked. We also examined what Jesus taught about this crucial doctrine, and how God's judgement and justice are not at all in violation to His love. Furthermore, we saw that Jesus described Hell as a real, tangible place, not as an allegory or a metaphor. In His vivid teaching about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), we see that in Hell, the rich man was the same person he was on earth. He could see (v. 23). He could talk (v.24). He remembered his life on earth (v.25) and he feared for his brothers (v.27-28).

This gives us a sobering look at the characteristics that survive death. Once the limitations of mortality are removed, our ability to feel, think and remember will remain. The saving work of Jesus applies to the whole person, spirit, soul and body. Consequentially, a person who rejects that precious gift will suffer the consequences with every part of their being. A person who dies of a horrible disease will continue to suffer the agony of that disease for all eternity. After all, they rejected their healer. The alcoholic and the drug addict will continue to experience the ravages of their addictions but with nothing to satisfy them. They rejected their deliverer.

When we think of Hell, we think of fire, and that is certainly a part of it. However, that is only one facet of the horrors that will be found in that place of torment. One quip that is commonly heard when witnessing to the unsaved is that they would rather be in Hell with their friends than in Heaven. Well, the Bible actually does speak on this topic in the Book of Psalms: "Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness (Psalm 88:18, KJV)." When compared with the New Testament's references to "outer darkness", it appears as though the lost person in Hell will never be aware of the existance of any other person, ever again. Man, by nature and design, is a social being, and no graver punishment can be imagined than depriving him of any form of fellowship. A person in Hell will experience total, desperate isolation and loneliness...forever. Imagine a world totally cut off from everything which is good. No love, no joy, and absolutely no hope. In the words of D. James Kennedy:

When you have been in Hell a hundred billion, trillion eons of centuries, you will not have one less second to be there-to be lost forever. You will be in utter darkness, fleeing this way and that with never another mortal soul to converse with...lost, lost, shrieking out, lost, forever and ever...Immortal soul, lost in infinite darkness...(3)

Hell is, in fact, made up of numerous sections or compartments, each of which serves its own unique purpose (2). With this in mind, we will proceed with what we will call a "Guided Tour" of the infernal world.

What is the purpose behind all of this? As with all other aspects of God's dealings with man, the ultimate end is God's own glory. He will be glorified in the damnation of the lost just as surely as He will be in the eternal praises of the redeemed. God's holiness will never, ever be compromised. His laws and commandments reflect His holiness, just like our failure to obey them reflects our sinfulness (4). For example, most of us are familiar with the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), which are a summary of God's law. On the surface, it is easy to overlook them thinking "I've never committed adultery, stolen anything, or killed anyone. You see? I'm not so bad!"

Unfortunately, this sort of attitude overlooks the main reason for God's law: To reveal to us exactly how sinful and separated from God we really are (Galatians 3:24)! You see, God looks not only at our outward actions, but on our hearts. This includes every thought and every motive. Have you ever had an immoral sexual thought? Then, in Jesus' own words, that makes you an adulterer (Matthew 5:28). Have you ever withheld your tithes and offerings from God? Then in God's eyes, that makes you a robber and a thief (Malachi 3:8-10). Have you ever hated anyone? Then that makes you a murderer (1 John 3:15). If we will be honest with ourselves, none of us can argue with the words of Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." For all who die in their sins, Hell will be your home (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:8 ).

The good news is that no one has to go there!

"For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He (even) gave up His only begotten (unique) Son so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life." (John 3:16, Amplified Bible)

In His death on the cross, Jesus paid the penalty for every sin we have ever committed, and offers salvation to us, right now, as a free gift (5)! If you would like to recieve it, here is what you must do:

This is what our entire human existance is all about. The Bible compares our earthly existance to a vapor (James 4:14). No matter how many years we may have on this earth, our time here is only a tiny "blip" on the radar screen of eternity. This is why being prepared for this eternity is the most important decision any person will ever make (6). Hell is real, it is horrible and it is forever. As the prophet Amos warned us long ago, "Prepare to meet thy God" (Amos 4:12).

2006 DIP, JHB

1-From Jonathan Edwards' sermon, The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners .

2-For a chart illustrating this, see http://www.dake.com/poa.zip. While it is a zipped file, it will prove very helpful in our study.

3-Kennedy, D. James. Why I Believe 1980, Word, Inc. Dallas, London, Vancouver, Melbourne. p. 77.

4-For more about God's Law and how we have broken it, see First, the Bad News at http://www.james-dave.com/badnews.html.

5-Read more about this in The Cross: Violent Grace, The Cross: Violent Grace, http://www.james-dave.com/violentgrace.html.

6-If you need more information on a relationship with Jesus, see How to be Born Again,http://www.james-dave.com/born.html. If you would like to talk to someone one-on-one about your decision, call toll free 1-888-NEED-HIM (633-3446).

Comments and feedback are always welcome. E-mail us at: rhema6@juno.com

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