Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Grim Reality of Hell

I want to take a moment today to talk about Hell.  Perhaps you are thinking that the Christmas season is not really the right time to talk about Hell, but I think it is the perfect time.  Today I want to talk about what our grim reality would be were it not for Christmas.  Today I want to talk about our fate should Jesus have never come.  I think really understanding eternity without Christmas will help us all to know just a little bit more how amazing it was that night so long ago when Jesus was born into this world to die for our sins. 

Until someone who has not received Jesus as Lord and Savior stands before Jesus for final judgment, they are in sort of a holding area before ultimately being cast into the lake of fire.  This area is decribed by Jesus as he shares a sad story of someone dying under judgment.
"There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'" Luke 19:29-24 NKJV
This is not a pleasant experience, and this is not even final judgment.  In the end, all of Hades is cast into the lake of fire.   We see in this passage that the rich was in constant torment and in a place where he is being burned by flames.  There is no relief and the flame does not seem to injure him and they certainly do not kill him.  They are flames that merely hurt him, they hurt him badly and they hurt him perpetually yet there is not even the relief of death.  What is also interesting is that we do not hear about Lazarus speaking with anyone around him or even being able to perceive of anyone else around him. In that we also see that Hades is lonely.  There may be countless people in Hades, but God does not seem to allow them to be aware of each other.  The only person he sees is Lazarus being comforted, which I am sure only serves to add to his torment.

Beyond Hades, there is final jugment.  Let us see what Jesus had to say about that.
"So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 13:49-50 NKJV
"And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire— where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.'" Mark 9:47-48 NKJV
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. "And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." Revelation 14:9-11 NKJV
That is the reality for those who do not accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.  As is Hades was not bad enough, even Hades itself is cast into the Lake of Fire.  If you think Hades was bad, just wait, it gets so much worse.  Hell is a place of eternal pain and torment.  That torment is described as worms eating your flesh or being perpetually on fire.  Only in the case of Hell, you are not eaten or burned but remains perpetually and eternally feeling as though it that was happening to you.  There is no death, no parole, no relief date, no better or worse days, not even a brief reprieve from your constant torment.  There is no rest, day or night.  There is never an end.  You exist under eternal perpetual severe miserable pain. 

And all of this is what we deserve.  That is our due punishment for our sin.  But praise God Jesus came to pay that penalty for us.  In a couple of days, we celebrate that momentous evening when Jesus was born into this world.  He came so that the Hell he teached about did not have to be our reality. He came to rescue us from Hell and lead us into an eternity in paradise.  As we celebrate the birth of our Lord, think about the Hell he came to rescue us from.  Think that each day when you go to sleep, tens and tens of thousands of people left this earth on an irreversible course leading for the Lake of Fire.  Jesus came and gave his life for that not to be our reality, what are you willing to give so that others may be saved as well?
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  John 3:16 NKJV

1 comment:

  1. I know that you said that this is not really a Christmas message, but hell is REAL..and THAT is why God had to come to earth! That is the Christmas love!

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