A Vision of Hell

I was reading a back issue of a South African Christian magazine Prepare the Way“: Answering the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Issue No. 25) and came across this article by Greg Gordon (view the pdf file at this link) published at pages 10 and 11. To the Christian, may we all receive a vision of Hell from Almighty God to get us urgent about our Father’s business. And to the unbeliever, who has sinned against a Holy God and rejected His Son Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour of their life, may this be a warning!!!

SOMBER ACCOUNTS OF THE REALITY OF ETERNAL PUNISHMENT

This is the cry of the damned “send!” Are we numb to this cry from hell dear Christian? Right now you can hear it millions of damned souls crying out send someone, tell someone, you have your entire life before you. We need a vision of hell amongst our modern day, lazy, undisciplined Christianity. We have a “cloud of witnesses” that have gone before us that were fully convinced of this truth and warned men of the judgement to come. – Greg Gordon

THE CRY FROM HELL

Right now if we could put a megaphone into hell we would hear a resounded message “send!”. When a soul realizes that he cannot be freed from such torment his immediate plea is for his family, friends, neighbours to be warned of such a place. In Luke 16 we see the story of the Rich man and Lazarus and when the Rich man is in eternal torment he cry’s out: “I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house. For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” This is the cry of the damned “send!” Are we numb to this cry from hell dear Christian? Right now you can hear it millions of damned souls crying out send someone, tell someone, you have your entire life before you. We need a vision of hell amongst our modern day, lazy, undisciplined Christianity. We have a “cloud of witnesses” that have gone before us that were fully convinced of this truth and warned men of the judgement to come. Hear the words of Christ: “Then He shall say unto those on the left hand, “Depart from me, you cursed ones, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!” Oh does that not shake your soul? or are you deafened by selfishness? Deafened by worldliness? Deafened by materialism? Will you not today hear the cry from hell?

Thomas Boston three hundred years ago wrote of the misery of the damned: “They shall never more taste of His goodness and bounty, nor have the least glimpse of hope from Him. They will see His heart to be absolutely alienated from them, and that it cannot be favourable towards them; that they are the party against whom the Lord will have indignation forever. They shall be deprived of the glorious presence and enjoyment of God– they shall have no part in the beatific vision; nor see anything in God towards them but one wave of wrath rolling after another! This will bring upon them overwhelming floods of sorrow for evermore.” Oh! Hear the warning of J.C. Ryle in response to a everlasting hell: “What would you say of the man who saw his neighbour’s house in danger of being burned down, and never raised the cry of “fire?” What ought to be said of us as ministers if we call ourselves watchmen for souls, and yet see fires of hell raging in distance, and never give the alarm? Call it bad taste, if you like, to speak of hell. Call it charity to make things pleasant, and speak of smoothly, and soothe men with constant lullaby of peace. I have not read my Bible. My notion of charity is to warn men plainly of danger. My notion of taste in the ministerial office is to declare all the counsel of God.”

MILLIONS OF AGES

J.C. Ryle an non-conformist from the 18th century writes on hell: “The punishment of hell shall be most severe. There is no pain like that of burning. Put your finger in the candle for a moment if you doubt this, and try. Fire is the most destructive and devouring of all elements. Look into the mouth of a blast furnace, and think what it would be to be there. Fire is of all elements most opposed to life. Creatures can live in air, and earth, and water; but nothing can live in fire. Yet fire is the portion to which the Christ-less and unbelieving will come. They will be ‘cast into the lake of fire.’ The punishment of hell will be eternal. Millions of ages will pass away, and the fire will never burn low and become dim. The fuel of that fire will never waste away and be consumed. it is ‘unquenchable fire.’ O reader, these are the sad and painful things to speak of. I have no-pleasure in dwelling on them. I could rather say with the apostle Paul, “I have great sorrow.” But they are things written for our learning, and it is good to consider them. They are part of that Scripture which is all profitable, and they ought to be heard. Painful as the subject of hell is, it is one about which I dare not, cannot, and must not be silent.” What a fearful thought of an eternal hell! Millions and Millions of years but never relief or rest. Perpetual ongoing torment unceasing, never ending, eternity, eternity, eternity in hell!

C.H. Spurgeon spoke on hell much being faithful to warn the masses: “In hell there is no hope. They have not even the hope of dying–the hope of being annihilated. They are forever–forever–forever lost! On every chain in hell, there is written ‘forever’. In the fires there, blaze out the words, ‘forever’. Above their heads, they read, ‘forever’. Their eyes are galled and their hearts are pained with the thought that it is ‘forever’. Oh, if I could tell you tonight that hell would one day be burned out, and that those who were lost might be saved, there would be a jubilee in hell at the very thought of it. But it cannot be–it is ‘forever’ they are cast into the outer darkness.” Christopher Love uses an illustration to try and help us understand what eternity means: “Suppose all the mountains of the earth were mountains of sand, and many more mountains still added thereto, till they reached up to heaven, and a little bird should once in every thousand years take one (grain of) sand of this mountain, there would be an innumerable company of years pass over before that mass of sand would be consumed and taken away, and yet this time would have an end; and it would be happy for man, if hell were no longer than this time; but this is man’s misery in hell, he shall be in no more hope of coming out after he hath been there millions of years, then he was when he was first cast in there; for his torments shall be to eternity, without end, because the God that damns him is eternal.” Dear reader if you feel lacking in this vision of hell cry out to God for it, plead for it, Oh we need this burden again tears over the truth of hell. Leonard Ravenhill spoke of this burden-less condition: “You can tell how bankrupt a preacher is when he prays in the pulpit they say nothing, ‘Lord bless us today, amen.’ Forget it! A parrot could do better in some churches. I believe to quote Whitefield, if I am going to preach on heaven I should live there a week before I preach. If I am going to preach on Hell I should get soaked in hell for a week. Bring the atmosphere of heaven, bring the atmosphere of hell! When we do that the house of God will not be empty.”

LOST SOUL SPEAKS

John Bunyan the famous baptist preacher before his conversion attempted suicide and was given a vision of hell of which he recounts of a soul there speaking of hell: “Our miseries in this infernal dungeon are of two sorts; what we have lost, and what we undergo. And these I will name under their several heads. First then for what we have lost. Here we have likewise lost the company of saints and angels, and in their place have nothing but tormenting devils. Here we have lost heaven too. The seat of blessedness. There is a deep gulf betwixt us and heaven, so that we are shut out from thence forever. Those everlasting gates that let the blessed into happiness are now for ever shut against us here. To make our wretchedness far yet more wretched, we have lost the hope of ever being in a better state, which renders our condition truly hopeless. The most miserable man upon earth still has hope. And therefore, it is a common proverb there that were it not for hope, the heart would break. Well may our hearts break then since we are both without hope and help. This is what we have lost; which, but to think on, is enough to fear and rend and gnaw upon our miserable souls forever. Yet, oh, that his were all! But we have sense of pain as well as loss. And having showed you what we have lost, I am trying to show you what we undergo. And first, we undergo variety of torments: we are tormented here a thousand, nay, ten thousand different ways. They that are most afflicted upon earth have seldom any more than one malady at a time. But should they have the plague, the gout, the stone, and fever at a time, how miserable would they think themselves? Yet all those are but like the biting of a flea to those intolerable, pungent pains that we endure. Here we have all the loathed variety of hell to grapple with. Here is a fire that is unquenchable to burn us with; a lake of burning brimstone ever choking us; eternal chain to tie us; here is utter darkness to affright us, and a worm of conscience that gnaws upon us everlastingly. And any one of these is worse to bear than all the torments mankind ever felt on earth.”

“But as our torments here are various, so are they universal, too, afflicting each part of the body, tormenting the powers of the soul, which renders what we suffer most unsufferable. In those illnesses you men are seized with on earth, though some parts are afflicted, other parts are free. Although your body may be out of order, your head may yet be well; and though your head be ill, your vitals may be free; or though your vitals be affected, your arms and legs may still be clear. But here it is otherwise: each member of the soul and body is at once tormented. The eye is here tormented with the sight of the devil’s who do appear in all the horrid shapes and black appearances that sin can give them. The ear is continually tormented with the loud yellings and continual outcries of the damned. The nostrils smothered with sulphurous flames; the tongue with burning blisters; and the whole body rolled in flames of liquid fire. And all the powers and faculties of our souls are here tormented. The imagination, with the thoughts of the present pain; the memory lost with reflecting on what a heaven we have lost, and of those opportunities we had of being saved. Our minds are here tormented with considering how vainly we have spent our precious time, and how we have abused it. Our understanding is tormented in the thoughts of our past pleasures, present pains, and future sorrows, which are to last for ever. And our consciences are tormented with a continual gnawing worm.”

“Another thing that makes our misery awful is the extremity of our torments. The fire that burns us is so violent that all the water in the sea can never quench it. The pains we suffer here are so extreme that it is impossible they should be known by any one but those that feel them. Another part of our misery is the ceaselessness of our torments. As various, as universal, and as extremely violent as they are, they are continual, too. Nor have we the least rest from them. If there were any relaxation, it might be some allay. But this makes our condition so deplorable that there is no easing of our torments, but what we suffer now we must for ever suffer. The society or company we have here is another element in our misery. Tormenting devils and tormented souls are all our company; and dreadful shrieks and howlings, under the fierceness of our pain, and fearful oaths, is all our conversation. And here the torments of our fellow sufferers are so far from lessening our misery that they increase our pain. The place in which we suffer is another thing that increases our sufferings. It is the abstract of all misery, a prison, a dungeon, a bottomless pit, a lake of fire and brimstone, a furnace of fire that burns to eternity, the blackness of darkness for ever; and lastly, hell itself. And such a wretched place as this must needs increase our wretchedness. The cruelty of our tormentors is another thing that adds to our torments. Our tormentors are devils in whom there is no pity; but being tormented themselves, do yet take pleasure in tormenting us. All those particulars that I have reckoned up are very grievous; but that which makes them much more grievous is that they shall ever be so; and all our most intolerable sufferings shall last to all eternity. ‘Depart from Me ye cursed into everlasting fires’ is that which is perpetually sounding in my ears. Oh, that I could reverse that fatal sentence! Oh, that there was but a bare possibility of doing it! Thus have I showed you the miserable situation we are in, and shall be in forever.”

In the prophet Jeremiah God said to the hell bound nation of Moab “I will weep for thee.” Can we share God’s tears for those that are walking in the vanity of their minds and apart from God. Weep, Christian!

7 Responses

  1. I pray for everyone that are in the path of darkness and for myself to follow the Lord and not fall short of the Kingdom of God.

  2. I shudder when I read about hell and the Lake of Fire in the Bible as God’s righteous judgement on un-repented sinners. No description can present the awful reality of it. Let us keep on witnessing and preaching the Biblical Gospel and praying for God’s mercy on lost sinners.

  3. Why would God create man, taint him with a nature to sin, and then threaten him with the fires of Hell? Sin is in the nature of human beings, something we cannot control or hope to overcome, and it is cruel and malevolent to allow us mere mortals to be responsible for eternal consequences so dire. I am not denying that there is a Hell, but if there is one and anyone is sent there for eternity, that would suggest God is not just which, frankly, scares me.

    • Dear Chris

      Thank you for your comments. God did not create man and taint him – He created man in His own image (Genesis 1:27) to live a holy and righteous life before his Creator God and to have fellowship with Him, and God even blessed man (Genesis 1:28), but sadly man rebelled and sinned by disobeying one commandment God gave to His children Adam and Eve – Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). Every tree they could eat of, except this one tree. The tree of life was also in the Garden of Eden, and man had an oportunity to eat of it before falling – it was there – but man did not, so God brought a judgment by removing our first parents from the garden (Genesis 3:22, 23) lest they eat of it and live forever in a fallen state.

      God has set before every person life and death, and He gives us the answer to: “Choose life.” It is a choice. We read:

      Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

      This is how just and merciful God is. Man rebels and God gives answers to our sin problems. The heart of the problem is a problem of the heart:

      Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

      God does know, but sadly mankind is so caught up in his evil and wickedness he is blinded to the Truth.

      You are right when you say “Sin is in the nature of human beings” for Scripture confirms this in Romans 5:12-21:

      (12) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (13) (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. (15) But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. (16) And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. (17) For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) (18) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (20) Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

      We are unable to save ourselves from the wrath of God. In the Holy Bible God warns and speaks through His prophets and the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles speak often about Hell. Jesus gives a parable about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 that speaks of a real Heaven and a real Hell. Hell exists because God is Just. In Isaiah 33:22 we read:

      For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.

      And God is love (1 John 4:8). He commendeth His love towards us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). See the Just died for the unjust so that sinners can escape God’s wrath and the sentence to His prison – Hell for all eternity (a life sentence without parole).

      God’s Mercy and God’s Justice kissed on the Cross as Grace in the God-Man Jesus Christ. For we see God’s love throughout Scripture and especially in John 3:16-18, 36:

      (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (36) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

      You end off with the words “… frankly, this scares me.” All this makes perfect sense as you read further:

      Luke 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. [Jesus Christ’s warning]

      Psalm 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

      Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

      Proverbs 16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

      God is Love and God is Just. No sinner (criminal) will escape His Judgment. I do hope you will Repent and believe the True Gospel and turn to the One True God Jesus Christ the Righteous and receive God’s free gift of eternal life.

  4. Thanks for your time and your care. I am aware of the Christian story and I agree with it, in spirit, through-and-through, but I am still not convinced that a just God and an eternal Hell can coexist.

    If God created man in his image, why is it that man in this pure state was so inclined to disobey God? Yes, Adam and Eve gave in to temptation, but why am I, personally, being held responsible for a mistake which Adam and Eve were led to commit by one of God’s own creations thousands of years ago? Finally, what sin which can be committed in a finite lifetime is deserving of infinite punishment? Even the most evil human being cannot harm God or God’s plan, because God is all-powerful, nor can the most evil human being inflict more pain in his brief lifetime than God does by damning even one person to Hell. This does not seem fair, especially when we are brought into this world “designed to sin.”

    Even if redemption were as simple as repentance, some people – such as myself – are led to skepticism because it is a part of their nature to doubt. I, nor anyone else, can control their nature – so how can we be held responsible for it?

    • Dear Chris

      Thanks again for your comments. However, whilst you may say you are aware of the Christian story and you agree with it, you have in your opening statement contradicted yourself as to what you actually do believe. God reveals throughout His Word that He has created a Hell and therefore to truly know the God of His Word, you would understand that He DOES coexist with Hell for He created Hell.

      To say God cannot coexist with Hell is to make a false god to suit your view that He cannot coexist with Hell. If God’s Justice of sending the lawless to Hell does not exist, then there is no punishment to sin when Scripture warns that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Why would He then send His Son conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary into this world – The Word that became flesh (John 1:14) – to come and die on a cross to save sinners so that repentant sinners can receive the gift of God of eternal life? Why would there be a gift of eternal life (Heaven) and not wages of sin (Hell)? And in Revelation 20:14, 15 we read of the Great White Throne Judgment:

      (14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

      What you need to remember is that sin existed prior to the Garden of Eden. Lucifer (Satan) rebelled against his Creator and wanted to ascend the throne of God Almighty and for his lust and covetousness of wanting to dethrone God, he and about a third of the angels, who rebelled with Lucifer, were summarily kicked out of Heaven, as we read in Isaiah 14:12-15 ~

      (12) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (13) For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (15) Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

      And the Lord Jesus Christ also frequently spoke and warned about Hell. Lord Jesus Christ who is God Almighty (see John 1:1, 14; Hebrews 1:8-10; and throughout the Holy Bible) spoke about a real Hell like this portion of Scripture in Mark 9:41-50 ~

      (41) For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. (42) And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. (43) And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: (44) Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (45) And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: (46) Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (47) And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: (48) Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (49) For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. (50) Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.

      Although mankind has been born into the world with a sin nature, God has still given us a choice – and God has been so kind to even assist us by giving us the answer of choosing life. What more must our Creator do to warn us of the consequences of man’s evil and wicked sin? God has not created us to be robotic, but Glory to God will be shown in our obedience to Him. If God and Hell cannot exist according to your limited understanding, then we all can go about and rape and pillage, murder and carry on like madmen and we know that there are no consequences to our behaviours and there will be no real punishment once we die. It is so sad to see that this is exactly how mankind is living today, and have always lived since the fall. In fact this is an abomination before the LORD! As we have justice systems in primitive and advanced communities, so has our All-consuming Fire God Justice that will be executed upon the Day of Judgment; whether one believes it or not. In Hebrews 9:27 it says men will die once and after this comes the judgment.

      To go against God’s Word and what He has revealed to His creation is to call God a liar of what He has set in place. This is like the clay saying to the Potter: “Why have you made me such?” Calling or judging God a liar is nothing short of blasphemy. There are some things we will never know the answers to this side of eternity and so we should trust God at His eternal Word.

      Please also do remember there is one sin that is unpardonable – blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as it is written in Matthew 12:31 ~

      Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

      And in 2 Peter 1:21 it also reads:

      For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

      God’s Word says in Romans 3:4 ~

      God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

      • “If God’s Justice of sending the lawless to Hell does not exist, then there is no punishment to sin when Scripture warns that the wages of sin is death”

        This is not necessarily true. The necessity of punishment for sins does not imply that that punishment must be eternal for it to be just.

        I don’t feel like your statements do anything to address the conflict between the concept of a loving God and a god who tortures people.

        Instead of repeating my arguments, I recommend reading:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_Hell

        Atheists often accuse Christianity of being false because there are contradictions in the Bible and positive references to slavery and torture, killing, ect. which are inconsistent with both secular and Christian morality. I respond to them by saying that just because one passage may not be true does not imply that the who book is a lie. Even if the Bible was revealed to men by God, it was still written and gathered together by men – men who are capable of making errors or embellishing God’s word for their own purposes. As responsible Christians, it is our job to be humble and recognize that our feeble attempt to assemble the will of God into a bound book may be flawed.

        If eternal torture is so critical to your interpretation of the Christian faith, by all means carry on. We can certainly do nothing more than do what we think is right and pray that we are not wrong. However, remember that one of the reasons we see the world slipping away from religion is because people ask questions like “The Problem of Hell” and the Church responds with an irrational argument.

        I say rather than boldly asserting our superior interpretation of God’s will, we should be humble in the sight of the Lord – proclaim the good news that there is salvation, caution people that -if God wanted to- he could make your existence in this life or the next an unpleasant one, and when faced with tough questions, acknowledge that we may not have the complete story or enough information to answer the question. The rest we leave to God, who -if he is just- will find a way to both punish unrepentant sinners for the transgressions, but not in a way disproportional to their crime.

        With that, I leave you now.

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