I’ll say it up front, I take no pleasure in this subject. I very rarely teach on Hell and yet as a preacher called and equipped by the Holy Spirit, I can’t teach on the Love of God and the Light of Christ Jesus without also speaking about the consequences of rejecting God Almighty, His Love and His Light.
What prompts me today is not just the state of the world in which we live, which is becoming ever more blatantly wicked and evil, but some relatives, whom I dearly love, who were raised to know better, but who have made comments that they know they are headed for Hell but they will be in “good company” and will be with others.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. If God is Love AND Light, then Hell has got to be just the opposite. No love and no light, none what-so-ever! This is not vain speculation either. The old argument or debate as to whether God can create a boulder He can’t lift is an example of vain and pointless speculation, but the concept and reality of Hell and what it may be like is found throughout the WHOLE Bible and not just parts.
“He (Jesus) answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. “The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” – Matthew 13:37-42.
“Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.” – Revelation 19:20.
“The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” – Revelation 20:10-14.
Now we know that the Bible, inspired by the Holy Spirit, was still penned by men, under that inspiration. These men wrote according to what they could comprehend and one of the worst scenarios that they could describe was a lake burning with fire and brimstone, constantly. I won’t debate whether the Lake of Fire is actual fire or a description of the horrific pain and suffering that will take place for eternity. The Bible consistently describes the end, where Hell will actually go, to be a place of unspeakable pain and torment. I have no doubts as to the truth of that fact!
Hell, Gehenna, in the New Testament (Matthew 5:22, Matthew 25:41) is likened to the ancient valley of Hinnom from the Old Testament (Joshua 15:8, Jeremiah 19:2-6) where fires were constantly consuming the refuse outside of Jerusalem and worms fed on dead bodies disposed of there. It was a place that in the minds of those living around it that was representative of pain and torment.
But I want to give you another scenario to think on when considering Hell and the Lake of Fire as a real place of torment. Many of us can imagine being on fire and the intense, unrelenting pain that being burnt can cause. Many of us don’t get to adulthood without experiencing being burnt even in a minor way, whether it be from actual fire or a stove, etc..
When you think of God Whose very nature is Love AND Light, imagine a place, or try to imagine a place, created by God Almighty where His presence, His Love and His Light does not exist. This is extremely hard to imagine, because even in the world we live in today with the wickedness and evil becoming more blatantly open, we KNOW that God’s presence is still in the world giving Love and Light to and through His children! Whether they know it or not, the world and those who delight in evil are still getting the benefits AND blessings of those of us who have the Holy Spirit living within.
But again, try if you can to imagine total darkness, not even a flicker of light from ANY source, let alone God’s presence. It would be a darkness so total and so complete you couldn’t see the nose on your face in front of you and it would be thick. I can barely imagine it would be a smothering, claustrophobic situation. Now think if you can about a total lack of Godly Love. No joy, peace or any of the Spiritual Fruit that is derived from that Love. You are left alone with your intact memories, the possibilities AND the choices you made that made the present situation possible. How many people have ever been truly and wholly alone in this life? Let me tell you, Hell and the Lake of Fire will NOT be a place of evil congregating but a place of individual aloneness, wholly and totally for all eternity, for ever and ever.
People who flippantly admit they are heading for Hell and will be among “good company” have NEVER given the prospect any serious thought or even tried to imagine the torment. Even today as I’m writing this and try to envision the worst pain and suffering, it sends chills through me and fear for those who take it so flippantly!
Remember this and especially as you pray for the lost, whether you know them personally or just in a general way, God’s desire is that NONE, absolutely no one, would perish. But, He will NOT force His will on anyone. That is how great His love is for His creation, the individual! 2 Peter 3:9-10, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”
The only reason the “day of the Lord” has not arrived yet, is because of His unlimited love and patience with mankind and the hope that many will repent. But remember, His patience and longsuffering do have a limit and the reason is because of that unlimited love for His children, the co-heirs of Christ Jesus, our Savior!
Those that do end up in Hell and the Lake of Fire will do so not because it was God’s Will or desire, but rather because God, until the very end, the very last moment, will honor an individual’s desire and personal will. A person makes their own choice and each choice has a consequence not just in the natural that we see daily, but in the eternal as well.
Man has been created with a spirit that gives him life and a soul which portrays his personality. The spirit, because it was “God breathed” (Genesis 2:7) lives for all eternity, but, whether it lives in the presence of God, our Heavenly Father, or it lives outside His presence, His Love and Light, is total based on the choice the individual makes. God will honor to the very end, the willful choices that each individual makes, though it most likely pains Him deeply. He created man to love, not to cast off, but man has the ability to choose whether to accept or reject that Love that our Creator and Heavenly Father is willing to give.
It is not a flippant circumstance to reject God’s presence, but has consequences that will go on forever and ever according to the Scriptures. When Hell and all it’s inhabitants are cast into the Lake of Fire, the Bible calls this the second death. That death is forever outside the presence and nature of God, Himself. It is the final and eternal death. Don’t be fooled, it is death because of being separated from the Living God. You spirit will continue to live on in torment and pain. Wailing and gnashing of teeth as the Bible describes it. Today, that doesn’t go far enough to paint the utter and total despair that will be in the spirit of the individual who is suffering.
As born-again Christians, true followers and disciples of Christ Jesus with a personal relationship, we should be developing, if not already developed the same desire as our Heavenly Father that, “none should perish.” Some aspect of Godly love is missing in our nature and character if we don’t have that same desire evident in our lives. We know, because of what the Bible tells us, that many people shall take the broad way that leads to destruction, but just because we know it, we should be prompted all the more by that knowledge to fervently pray for the lost and especially those that we know on a personal basis. It is time for the Church, the True Church to wake up and recognize our responsibility to our fellow creation, to mankind. God truly does hear our fervent and sincere prayers and remember, as long as Christ Jesus is Lord of Lord, there is ALWAYS hope for our loved ones and as long as they are alive, there is a chance that our prayers for their salvation will be answered!
Revival, true revival starts in the heart of every person and revival will take place when we sincerely and fervently pray for the lost. The time is short; the season of the world indicates that, so that means the harvest is ripe and we need to be doing our part in that harvest!
Don’t for a moment think that Hell is not real, or some eternal vacation spot for the Bible is clear about one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt; it will be a place of eternal and utter torment unlike anything any of us can even begin to imagine. As precious and as joyful beyond imagination that the Kingdom of Heaven will be, Hell and the Lake of Fire will be every bit beyond imagining.
With such a serious topic, take joy in the knowledge that our Heavenly Father IS longsuffering, but He IS true to His Word. We have an awesome tool in our spiritual arsenal and that is prayer, communion with a loving Heavenly Father!