Revelation 21:27, “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s Book of life”
Our theme – after an almost certain death, every man and woman will ultimately spend an eternity in the real place of Heaven or the actual place of Hell.
The one fact that remains throughout history is that death brings an unacceptable and sudden interruption to one’s work, plans, and relationships. Though the inscription on many tombstones often reads, “Rest in Peace,” the truth of the matter is most people do not welcome the peaceful rest of the grave. They would rather be alive and productive. Thus, it is not surprising that the subject of death and the afterlife always has been a matter of intense concern and speculation. After all, each of us at the appointed time will face the grim reality of death.
We are living in a death-denying culture where in people live as if death doesn’t even exist. Even at the end of life, we tend to deny the reality of death by embalming the dead and using cosmetics to restore the corpse to a natural, healthy look. We dress the dead in suits and dresses as if they were going to a party instead of returning to dust. In recent years, courses on death and dying have been introduced in many colleges and high schools.
Some colleges and universities have also offered courses on the occult and other phenomena such as near-death experiences which allegedly offer scientific evidence for life beyond death. All of these trends suggest there is a renewed interest today to unravel the mystery of death and to gain reassurance about some form of life after death and exactly where we will go. Some of the great questions of life would be:
(1) What happens when we die?
(2) Do we go to a place of everlasting reward?
(3) Or to a place of eternal torment?
(4) Is death the end of human existence and consciousness?
(5) Or do we continue in some other place or state of being?
(6) Are we destined to be reincarnated, coming to life again in a different body in a seemingly endless cycle of living and dying?
(7) Is there some place we can go to find the answers to these important questions? Yes, there is. They can only be found in God’s Eternal and Precious Word!
In spite of centuries of research, science cannot tell us when, where or how life began. There is only one source that tells us how life began and for what purpose, and we should go to that only source to understand the mystery of death? The Bible tells us exactly how life began and what happens after death. The Bible tells us what happens to those who have done right and wrong and reveals the fate of the billions of people who have never trusted Jesus Christ as Savior or known God and His way of life, which He has for all people.
The concept of the destiny of an individual draws interest at several levels. First, one thinks about their destiny in this life. Is the person to be great or ordinary? Famous or unknown, rich or poor? What is the person supposed to accomplish with his or her life? However, beyond this the impending destiny of death hangs over each individual every day. Quite naturally what follows an almost certain death should grasp the attention of every thinking person.
If you were to ask people where do you expect to be in 100 years you would get answers such as Heaven, don’t know, Hell, or don’t care. Why should people ask this question? Take for example, the following illustrations entitled – Make Your Reservation”. 1 Peter 1:4 tells us that, “An inheritance incorruptible and undefiled is reserved in heaven for you”.
As early as 1995, reservations were being made in fashionable hotels and resorts for celebrating New Year’s Eve 1999. According to writer Calvin McDowell in the New York Times, the London Savoy had by then been twice overbooked. Although the charge for the evening was $1,000, the Rainbow Room in New York City had a waiting list. So did the Waldorf-Astoria. Reservations were hard to get.
For many people, the end of the 1900s and the dawning of a new millennium brings with it the hope that life will be different. Yet, one doesn’t have to be endowed with the gift of prophecy to know that life is destined to continue as it was in the last millennium. For example, we can be sure that death will continue to be inescapable. We know that no one in the world today will live to see the year 3000. Because death is unavoidable, we must answer this very thought-provoking and personal question. Have we made sure of our heavenly reservation?
Evangelist D. L. Moody told a story about a minister who was preparing a sermon on the urgency of receiving Christ without delay. After studying for some time, the preacher fell asleep in his chair and had a strange dream in which he overheard a conversation among several demons. They were huddled together, trying to devise a scheme for leading people on earth into hell.
One of the evil spirits said, “Let’s tell people that the Bible is not the Word of God and that it can’t be trusted.” The others responded, “That isn’t enough.” Another spoke up, “let’s tell them that God doesn’t exist, that Jesus was only a good man, and that there really is no heaven or hell.” Again the others responded negatively. Finally, a third demon said, “Let’s tell people there is a God, a Savior, and a heaven, and a hell. But let’s assure them that they’ve got all the time in the world to be saved, and encourage them to put off the decision.” “ That’s it!” the others shouted joyfully.
I. Purpose & Meaning in this Life
A. Unbelievers can have significance. Every individual, even those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as savior, is made in God’s image. People who are not born again can do great things such as:
(1) Write good novels,
(2) Find cures for diseases,
(3) Fight valiantly in war to protect their families,
(4) Lead nations through the conflicts of our time,
(5) Help others to overcome difficulties in life.
B. Believers in Christ do have an advantage. The Bible teaches that born again believers in Jesus Christ have an advantage, especially when it comes to spiritual life.
(1) They have made peace with their Creator and have greater meaning and purpose in this life. While God generally hears all prayers and sometimes graciously answers, a level of personal communion in prayer is available only for those who know Him personally and pray in His name (John 15:16). Jesus has promised a productive, joyously, and abundant life to those who know Him and abide in His Word and His ways (John 15:1-11; Psalm 1:1-3; Joshua 1:8)
This part of a believer’s life relates to the concept of sanctification; the idea of being set apart. Although all believers have been set apart from sin for God in a positional sense, each one can grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and be further separated from evil and its ways (2 Peter 3:18). God intends this destiny for all believers although some willfully rebel and go astray (1 Corinthians 11:30).
(2) Purpose and meaning in this life are special for the believer because of the fellowship and communion with God. The church is more than a religious organization; it is a living body or organism that can provide a level of fellowship unmatched anywhere in the world. It is truly sad when people believe that bars and pubs are a better place to go to find such deep and lasting relationships.
However, within the church body, God uniquely and graciously grants spiritual gifts to each person without exception. Every believer possesses value. Spiritual gifts are produced by the work of the Spirit. They include such needed ministries as teaching and encouragement to assist the work of the Lord through the church (Romans 12:3-16; 1 Corinthians 12-14). The exercise of these precious gifts constitutes part of the design of the believer’s destiny in this life.
(3) Finally, the believer has the opportunity to share the gospel message with those in need of salvation. We can understand that God has called each one to do this job. Just as God gave Adam a job to tend the Garden of Eden (Geneses 2:15), He gave a special calling to every believer: the Great Commission. God’s heart has always longed for men, women and children to turn to Him. He uses those who have made peace with Him to be the ones who turn others to Him as well.
II. The Certainty of Death
Living in the present world means knowing that death awaits each one of us at an uncertain time of our life. The Bible teaches that to understand this aspect of death, one must understand the following concepts in that God promises death as a consequence of rebellion; death constitutes a divine appointment; and death does not apply to all, since God has allowed some exceptions.
A. Divine promise
A man who lived in northern Michigan went for a walk in a densely forested area. When darkness began to settle in, he decided it was time to head for home. He was familiar with hiking in the woods and felt he had a keen sense of direction, so he didn’t bother to look at his compass. After walking for a long time, though, he decided he’d better check it. He was surprised to see that the compass indicated he was going west, not east, as he had thought.
However, he was so sure of his own sense of direction that he concluded there must be something wrong with the compass. He was about to throw it away in disgust when this thought came to him: My compass has never lied to me yet, maybe I should believe it. He chose to follow its direction and soon found his way out of the woods and back home.
There is only One true Godwho will never lead us astray. His instructions are always trustworthy and what He promises, He will perform. In 1 Kings 8:56, Solomon told the congregation of Israel that not “one word of all His good promise” had failed. If we think so highly of our own judgment that we refuse to rely on God’s Word, we are asking for trouble and will only become more confused. His words have never failed, and they never will. You can count on it!
The Bible is full of God’s promises, some of which are: Genesis 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”; 1 Kings 3:14 says, “If you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments … then I will lengthen your days.”
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your thy paths.” and lastly in Revelation 20:15 says, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
When God gave Adam the commandment not to eat of the tree of good and evil, He immediately told him the consequences, a divine promise as it were, of disobedience. The death in this passage is both physical and spiritual. Adam’s spiritual death caused by his disobedience brought immediate separation from God. The process of Adam’s physical death began on the first day of his disobedience. The consequence for the entire world was revealed shortly in history when Cain, the firstborn son of Adam, killed his brother Abel and gave the world its first taste of human death.
B. Divine appointment “Life’s Final Deadline” – Proverbs 27:1 tells us, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” and in Luke, Chapter 12, Jesus told a parable of a rich man who planned to build bigger barns to store all his earthly goods so that he could live out his days in pleasure and ease. But God unexpectedly announced, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you.” His ultimate deadline had arrived.
We’re all confronted with deadlines! Bills must be paid, licenses renewed, tax returns filed – the list goes on and on. However, one deadline we all face is of supreme importance. The Bible says, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Except for believers who are living with Jesus returns, everyone will die. And all people from the beginning of history will stand before God in judgment. How foolish to neglect the preparation necessary for this unavoidable appointment!
Thousands of people are like the college student who wrote, “I don’t think about things until they happen. Death is still a long way away.” No matter what our age, we need to be thinking about the end of life now. The apostle Paul emphasized the urgency of this when he wrote, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, the normal course of human life is for death to follow life. Every human person believer or unbeliever awaits the destiny of death as a general rule of life. Death is not merely some happenstance; it is a divine appointment. God had ordained the fallen world to operate in this way. Throughout the ages, people have tried to reverse aging by finding the fountain of youth. Modern technology has tried to preserve humans who die so that future science may be able to revive them and correct the problem. However, the Bible is clear; God has established the divine appointment of death.
C. Divine exceptions
In His providence and mercy, God has decided to make some exceptions to the divine appointment of death. In the Old Testament Enoch walked with God and was no more, while others died (Genesis 5:24). The general understanding of the passage is that Enoch went to Heaven to be with God without suffering death. The same is true for Elijah, who went up in a chariot of fire without suffering the fate, or destiny, of physical death (2 Kings 2:11). Those believers who are alive when Jesus comes to rapture the church will be caught up to be with God without dying (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Those who come to God during the tribulation period and are alive when Jesus returns to earth will also escape physical death.
III. Reality of Heaven
The mention of the word heaven raises at once a number of questions such as – Is there really such a place? If so, where is it? What is heaven like? Will everyone go there, or just a certain privileged few? For many people these questions are not relevant because they scoff at the idea of life after death, and ridicule belief in a heaven of eternal bliss, and a hell of everlasting punishment. They are convinced that man’s existence ends at the grave. However, believers in Christ do believe in a beautiful place called heaven, and they look forward to eternal life within its gates. Based on their faith in God’s Word, they anticipate the joys that await them in their eternal home.
A. Heaven is a real place
1. According to the Bible, the word heaven in its singular and plural forms occur more than 600 times in Scripture. Heaven is not just a state of mind; it is a real place, just as real as New York, London, or Sydney. Actually, the Bible talks about three heavens. The first heaven is the atmosphere surrounding planet Earth (Psalm 147:8). When the Scripture uses the word “heaven” in that context, it simply refers to the sky. The second heaven is the place beyond the sky where the stars shine. The world today would call this place “outer space.” The third heaven, however, is the abode of God, the place where God calls home. This is where He has chosen to localize His presence even though He is everywhere all the time (2 Corinthians 12:2).
While certain people think that Heaven is a state of mind or some kind of abstract or spiritual reality, Jesus taught otherwise. After Jesus told His disciples at the Last Supper He was going away, He tried to encourage them with several wonderful promises. These promises were prefaced with the words, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). Jesus began His encouragement with one of the sweetest promises in the bible. This promise, which has encouraged believers for almost two thousand years, says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also”
(John 14:2, 3)
Please note in this passage that Jesus spoke of Heaven as the Father’s house, or the place where the Father lives. The language of the passage suggests that Heaven is a real place of many mansions. The word “mansions” implies a special home for every believer. Heaven is a real place that requires preparation. The fact that Jesus will come back in His physical body to take resurrected believers to our new Home reinforces the fact that Heaven is a real, physical place.
The Highway to Heaven – Under the headline Car Lover Buried in Corvette, the newspaper column opened with: “If there is a highway to heaven, George Swanson may get to the Pearly Gates in style. He was buried in his white Corvette.” His wife Carolyn said, “A lot of people say they want to take it with them. Well, he took it with him.” Yes, there’s a highway to heaven, but you can’t travel it in a Corvette after you die. You must get on this highway while you are alive, and you get on it by placing your trust in Jesus Christ.
In Romans 10:1-13, Paul declared that the road to heaven is not difficult to find nor to access. It is right in front of us in the Word of God. Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He died for our sins, broke the power of death by His resurrection, lives in heaven as our Advocate and Intercessor, and places on the highway to heaven all that trust Him as their Savior and Lord.
Whether or not you’re buried in a Corvette makes no difference. The highway to heaven starts on this side of death, and the entrance is easy to find. The Bible says, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Are you on the right road? To get to heaven, you must go by the way of the Cross.
B. The Physical Description of Heaven
The city will possess twelve gates with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel (Revelation 21:12, 13), and each gate will be made of one pearl (Revelation 21:21). The walls around the city will have twelve foundation stones engraved with the names of the twelve apostles (Revelation 21:14). John gave the measurements of the city as 12,000 furlongs, or approximately 1,500 miles long, wide, and high (Revelation 21:15, 16). The wall around the city will be made of pure jasper and will stand 144 cubits (over 200 feet). It is not clear if the measurement for the wall is describing the wall’s width or height. In either case, the statement clearly shows the magnificence of the wall for the city.
The city itself will be made of pure gold, but the Bible specifically mentions the transparent street of gold (Revelation 21:17, 18, 21). The foundations of the wall surrounding the city will be made of twelve different precious gems (Revelation 21:19, 20). A pure river with the water of life will come out of the throne of God. There will be no need for the sun or moon. God’s light will be sufficient. While some scholars believe that this entire description of Heaven is symbolic, it is not necessary to believe so. God is preparing a glorious and majestic place for His people. Although Heaven might be more than what John recorded, it will not be less.
IV. The Reality of Hell
Countless people today seem obsessed with the subject of hell. They speak of certainties as being “sure as hell,” or impossibilities as occurring when “hell freezes over” or they talk about “going to hell and back” for something they love. Additionally, bad experiences are said to “hurt like hell.” Many otherwise polite people regularly inject color, emotion, and profanity into their conversation by adding a casual or angry reference of hell to almost any combination of words.
Yet ironically, the more hell shows up in casual conversation, the less it is actually thought about — even in religious circles. The more a word is used in an aggressive, profane way, the less threatening it seems to the user. Accordingly, the subject of hell has become as present in street talk as it is absent in Sunday sermons. However, the Bible repeatedly appeals to its readers to choose the way of life rather than the path of death and judgment. Repeatedly, Jesus Himself urged His listeners to make wise choices. The 8th Chapter of Mark, verses 36 and 37 puts it this way, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? I submit to you an individual known as Mr. Unselfish:
Mr. Unselfish lived a most productive life;
He had the honor of his children and the esteem of his wife.
Everywhere he went he spread good deeds;
He loved to see people happy, he loved to meet their needs.
Mr. Unselfish felt good inside whenever they would smile;
It made his day to take their hand and walk an extra mile.
Around the town, his name was known–respect he had earned;
His charming way, his charity, kept every head turned.
Mr. Unselfish liked to serve soup to the poor;
New compassion projects saw him leading the first tour.
When he learned of hurting families, he quickly made some calls,
then followed up with resources, to help rebuild the walls.
Mr. Unselfish tried to live each day for others, selflessly;
“Love your neighbor as yourself,” he thought of endlessly.
Out of every dollar that he earned, more than 10% he’d give;
He lived a life of sacrifice that few will ever live.
Mr. Unselfish wrote down many goals he did pursue;
He crossed them off one by one and added more to do.
Many goals he set were for the welfare of others;
Freely he opened his heart to strangers he called brothers.
Mr. Unselfish had some friends that he held very close;
He loved to spend time with them, to share the joys and woes.
With every card he wrote, or phone call that he made,
he lifted his friends’ spirits as kindness he displayed.
Mr. Unselfish lived a most productive life;
But one day he closed his eyes and bid farewell to his dear wife.
And when his heart stopped beating, he left a life lived well,
for an eternal destination apart from God, in hell.
Beyond Death’s Door
Several years ago a book entitled “Beyond Death’s Door” was published by Dr. Maurice Rawlings. Dr. Rawlings, a specialist in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease, resuscitated many people who had been clinically dead. Dr. Rawlings, a devout atheist, “considered all religion “hocus-pocus” and death nothing more than a painless extinction.” However, something happened to him in 1977 that brought a dramatic change in his life! Dr. Rawlings was resuscitating a man, terrified and screaming — descending down into the flames of hell:
“Each time he regained heartbeat and respiration, the patient screamed, “I am in hell!” He was terrified and pleaded with me to help him. I was scared to death. . . Then I noticed a genuinely alarmed look on his face. He had a terrified look worse than the expression seen in death! This patient had a grotesque grimace expressing sheer horror! His pupils were dilated, and he was perspiring and trembling — he looked as if his hair was “on end.”
Then still another strange thing happened. He said, “Don’t you understand? I am in hell. . . Don’t let me go back there!” . . . the man was serious, and it finally occurred to me that he was indeed in trouble. He was in a panic like I had never seen before.” (Maurice Rawlings, Beyond Death’s Door, (Thomas Nelson Inc., 1979) page 3). Dr. Rawlings said, no one, who could have heard his screams and saw the look of terror on his face and in his eyes could doubt for a single minute that he was actually in a place called hell!
My beloved “God’s Eternal Word” continually warns us of that place. There are over 162 references in the New Testament alone which warns of hell. And over 70 of these references were uttered by the Lord Jesus Christ! Yet the same Bible also reminds us that most people will risk their eternal souls rather than feel indebted or beholden to the love and mercy of God. In some cases, this stubborn independence is easy to see. Some will even tell you that if there really is a heaven and a hell they would rather go to the place below because that’s where their friends will be. Others say that heaven and God and eternal goodness sound boring. Still others are so angry with God for the pain and rejection that He has allowed them to experience that they have literally challenged Him to send them to the devil and his place.
Most people, however, are merely ignoring the long-term possibilities of their own choices. They are either counting on the hope that God is too loving to send them to hell, or they are assuming they aren’t bad enough to be sent there. Many are so preoccupied with trying to survive day-to-day struggles that they have chosen not to worry about the future. In the process, these individuals make personal choices for which they will be held accountable. Certainly they fail to understand the full weight of their choices. They fail to realize that just as the first man and woman made choices that resulted in enormous loss, so also we who are made in the image of God continue to be held accountable for the choices we make.
A. Hell is a real place – Matthew 10:28, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”
Why did someone as good and loving as Christ spend so much time warning us about “the fire that shall never be quenched” — a place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth”? Why did He talk more about the fires of hell than about the joys of heaven? The subject of hell is so sobering that many are more comfortable ignoring it. However, there is no subject more deserving of our honest concern.
Even though it’s one of the most-used words in the English language, it is one of the least talked about. It’s used as an exclamation, an interjection, and a noun. Hell. It’s significant that the pollsters show that many of the people who use the word hell don’t believe in it. While 90 percent of Americans believe in heaven and as few as 25 percent believe that there really is a factual place called hell.
B. Hell is an terrible place
Hell appears to be an awful place of eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46) and outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30). The punishment is associated with the torments of fire and burning. The image of the Lake of Fire as the final destiny of unbelievers cements the eternal torment that is involved. Hell lasts forever
Hells environment for those who are sent there are:
(1) Outside (Matthew 8:12) and shut out from the presence of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
(2) It is a place of darkness (Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 25:30) or, more specifically, blackest darkness (2 Peter 2:17; Jude 1:13).
(3) No doubt, there is smoke in hell (Revelation 14:11), because it is a place of fire (Matthew 5:22; Matthew 18:8-9; Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:43; Luke 16:24; Jude 1:7, 23) or
Blazing fire (Daniel 7:11),
Consuming fire (Isaiah 33:14),
Unquenchable fire (Isaiah 1:31; Matthew 3:12), to be exact.
(4) Hell is known as the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15), the fiery lake (Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10; Revelation 21:8), and the fiery furnace (Matthew 13:42, 50).
(5) Hell is a place of burning sulfur (Revelation 14:10; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10; Revelation 21:8).
(6) It is described as gloomy dungeons (2 Peter 2:4), the pit (Job 33:16-30; Psalm 28:1; Psalm 30:3, 9; Psalm 69:15; Psalm 88:4; Psalm 103:4; Psalm 143:7; Proverbs 1:12; Isaiah 14:15, 19; Isaiah 38:17-18; Ezekiel 26:20; Ezekiel 28:8; Ezekiel 31:14, 16; Ezekiel 32:18-30), and the depths (Psalm 63:9; Psalm 71:20; Psalm 86:13; Proverbs 9:18; Isaiah 14:15; Lamentations 3:55; Ezekiel 32:23; Matthew 11:23; Luke 10:15), and it contains dead bodies (Isaiah 66:24).
C. Condition of those in hell are:
(1) Twice dead (Jude 1:12); they have died the second death (Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8).
(2) They are punished (Matthew 25:46; Jude 1:7).
(3) They are condemned (Matthew 23:33; Mark 16:16; John 3:18; John 5:24, 29; Galatians 1:8-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:12; James 5:12) to destruction (Matthew 7:13; John 17:12; Romans 9:22; Galatians 6:8; Philippians 3:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 6:9; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Peter 3:7, 16; Revelation 17:8, 11); (1 Timothy 6:9).
(4) Those in hell suffer shame (Isaiah 1:29; Daniel 12:2), disgrace (Isaiah 1:29), and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2), because God’s wrath remains on them (John 3:36).
(5) They are in agony (Luke 16:24-25) and torment (Luke 16:23, 28; Revelation 14:10-11; Revelation 20:10).
(6) In hell, everyone is salted with fire (Mark 9:49) and is burning (Isaiah 1:31; Isaiah 33:14). They are cut to pieces (Matthew 24:51).
(7) Both body and soul are destroyed in hell (Matthew 10:28).
(8) There is no rest day or night (Revelation 14:11). It is certainly no wonder that there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12; Matthew 13:42, 50; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 24:51; Matthew 25:30; Luke 13:28).
D. The Duration of Hell. As horrible as hell and its suffering is, it gets worse. For once one goes to hell; there is no end to it.
(1) In hell, the worm does not die (Isaiah 66:24; Mark 9:48).
(2) The fire never goes out (Mark 9:43); indeed, it is not quenched (Isaiah 66:24; Mark 9:48).
(3) The horrors of hell last day and night (Revelation 20:10), forever (2 Peter 2:17; Jude 1:13), and ever and ever (Revelation 14:11; Revelation 20:10).
(4) Hell is eternal (Matthew 18:8; Matthew 25:41, 46; Jude 1:7) and everlasting (Isaiah 33:14; Daniel 12:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:9).
E.. Jesus gives us some very serious warnings about avoiding hell.
(1) He tells us it would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone around the neck than to risk being sent to hell (Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2).
(2) Indeed, He warns us it would be better to forfeit parts of our bodies rather than to risk going to hell (Matthew 5:29-30; Matthew 18:8-9; Mark 9:43-47).
(3) We are warned not to fear others but to instead fear God, who has the power to throw into hell (Luke 12:5).
If we use all of these descriptions of hell to make a mental image of the eternal place of punishment, it is hard to imagine why anyone would risk going there. Why would anyone risk such endless torment when God has provided a way to avoid it-through the blood of His only Son, Jesus? Hell exists. It is a real place of agony and suffering. And once one is in hell, it is forever. I will close this study with the article entitled “Revelation and Response.”
I tried to tell James about my faith. He was polite, but he said he would rather not discuss religion. His goal in life was to be a decent person and to find as much enjoyment as he could. He had concluded that death ends everything. He said he was happy with his beliefs. Apparently James refused to think seriously about God’s revelation of Himself in nature (Job 38; Psalms 19:1-6; Romans 1:20) and within his own conscience (Romans 1:18-21; 2:14-16).
God has revealed Himself in the created world, in our inner nature, and in the Bible. All people are responsible for what they do with God’s self-disclosure. We can rationalize away His revelation in the created world. We can refuse the inner witness of our conscience and we can reject the Bible. However, those responses will lead a person to hell. The best and most appropriate response to God’s revelation is awe, acknowledgment of sin, and confession. This leads to forgiveness, inner peace, and everlasting life. If you’ve rejected God’s revelation of Himself, repent and turn to Him before it’s too late. If you’ve decided to open your heart to Jesus Christ, you can be sure you’ll be welcomed into His presence for all eternity.
I will end this study with the same question I started it with:
“Where Are You Headed after Death?” Will it be an eternity in Heaven or an eternity in Hell!