by Robert Flores
“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And 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. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, 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. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” (Luke 16:19-31)
• People Send Themselves to Hell
I would like to propose that God doesn’t send people to hell. People send themselves to hell. Hell is separation from God. He gives them exactly what they want. In fact, heaven, for someone who does not love God, would be hell. God is actually more “merciful” in sending someone to hell, than forcing them into heaven.
• If I paid someone $1 Billion to go to hell for eternity, would they do it? I highly doubt it. But everyday people go there and willingly pay a much higher price: their soul.
• Rejecting Christ’s Sacrifice
The sinners who reject Jesus’ sacrifice reject the fact of it and the reason for it. It’s a fact that He died for the sins of the world. They can accept it or reject it, but it still remains a fact (and your eternity is based on your belief in that fact). The unregenerate send themselves to hell every day that they don’t accept Jesus’ gift.
• Perfect Perfection
God expects 100% perfection 100% of the time. If you committed 3,000 sins in your lifetime, you’re destined for hell. If you committed 3, you’re destined for hell. Now, what if God decided to wipe out your sin debt to Him. Would you take it? Jesus did just that for each of us.
• The World is Desperate
The world so needs Jesus Christ, but it isn’t going to ask us for Him. We need to share Him freely. When we are ridiculed, we must show Jesus; when we are judged unfairly we must show Jesus. When we become martyrs we mush show Jesus. How easy it is to let these people go to hell; how easy it is to ignore their desperation. But “they” used to be “us”. What if someone hadn’t reached out to us? We’d be the ones hell-bound. We would be the ones scattered. We need to pull up the shades and let our light shine through.
• Goodbye To Everything
It actually grieves God’s heart to allow sin to continue, and yet He is so patient with us. He is not willing that any should perish. But there is coming a Day when God will do away with sin. Yes, He will send unbelievers to hell, where they can practice their sins in solitude. For God will actually remove His omnipresence from that place, so His heart won’t be grieved anymore and He won’t know what is going on there. He won’t have to, because there will be no chance of escaping. Maybe that’s what it means when Death and Hades are thrown into the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:14-15). It doesn’t mean that they are destroyed, but hell is a place of the “second death”, a continual death everyday. And, sin and death go together. So, you think unbelievers will be having a happy little time without God? No way! They are going to be sinning, but all by themselves. God won’t even know what they are doing anymore. I think He will actually limit His omnipresence from the Lake of Fire, because He Life cannot exist in a place of death. And, death is a place without God. God and death are mutually exclusive. When He says “Goodbye you workers of iniquity”, He really means it. When He says “Goodbye”, you say “Goodbye” to everything good in the universe, including what it means to feel love. The sins of the unbelievers won’t affect anyone else either. They will be in their farthest dark corner of the universe, 10 Quintillion light years away.
Have you ever tried thinking if God didn’t exist? There wouldn’t just be no universe. There would be nothing–not even God, not even an intelligence . . . Let me try and paint the picture for you: there would be no earth, you wouldn’t have a family, or a car, or a job or friends, in fact you wouldn’t even exist. There would be no planets, no stars, no sun, no light of any kind. There would just be a void where the universe would be, except in all directions. Nothing. No existence of any kind, but no one would care because there wouldn’t be anyone. No life. No existence. A hopeless void of nothingness that goes on infinitely. No time. No space. No dimensions of any kind. That picture is exactly what was here before creation, except for one exception: God existed in eternity past, and He “created the heavens and the earth”. He made something (universe, planets, sun, stars, earth, humans) out of nothing. Then we sinned against God (Rom 5:12) But He redeemed us back by the precious blood of His only begotten Son.
• Those Who Don’t Want Forgiveness
For those who don’t want forgiveness, eternal life, peace, joy and love, He will judge them and give them the nothingness we already talked about at the beginning of this essay. “And I saw the deaf, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works . . . And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:12, 15)
• Heaven Would Be Hell
Heaven would actually be “hell” for those who do not want to love God, so He will give them exactly what they want and deserve: an eternity away from Him. That’s right, God will actually remove His omnipresence and His omnipotence from that place called hell (wherever that might be in this vast universe) and really will not know nor care what is going on there (”And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind.” Romans 1:28). Actually, He will put that place out of His mind altogether. “Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels . . . And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25:41, 46) It’ll be the void of nothingness, except you’ll be the only one there (I surmise that your closest neighbor will be light years away, so for all intents and purposes you are there all alone). There won’t be any friendships or revolts or love; anything resembling God’s attributes will be taken away like joy, peace, love, hope, because He won’t be there. He is the Giver of those gifts, yea the epitome of those gifts, and gives them freely now . . . but not forever to those who do not want them. (How can one reject God and still think they can keep the good things He has created and given to them?)
• Practice Your Sins For Eternity
Hell will be left to the eons of eternity, forgotten by God, men and angels. God doesn’t want to look at sin for eternity. He’s absolutely holy and He hates sin. He wants to spend His Life and time with those who love Him, not hate Him. Heaven has to be heaven for Him, too, you know. “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.” (Revelation 21:27) Hell will be a place where you can practice your sins in private, literally (just not with anyone else). No, God won’t destroy you, He wants you to live the life you’ve chosen for yourself. Your own sins will be a constant death for you for the rest of eternity. It’s God’s gift to you for He gave you what you wanted—separation from Him, a sin-laden existence, no rules or regulations, FREEDOM! Freedom from what though? You have to wonder. . . freedom from your Creator, love, forgiveness, friends, peace. If that’s what freedom is, I don’t want it. Ah, but there is another freedom: freedom in Christ.
• Another Option
God has chosen to give me a different eternity: heaven. He’s given that opportunity for us to take, because Jesus already experienced hell (i.e. separation from God) on that cross for us. I have heaven to look forward to now, I hope you do, too. If you accept Christ as your Savior, you will have Him for eternity, and will avoid that void of nothingness. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) Ever wonder why there is no crime in a ghost town? That’s because everyone alive is a sinner by nature. Jesus said you must be born again. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31)
• Hell and Justice
Hell and justice go together. Likewise, Heaven and love go hand in hand. If there is no hell, there is no justice. If there is no heaven, there is no love. Ah, but God IS Justice and He IS Love. Therefore Hell and Heaven Do exist. People want ultimate justice without a Hell (and that is just not feasible).
• The highest mountain in hell won’t even come close to the deepest valley in heaven.
• If you don’t want to love God, you really don’t have to. Guess what? He will give you exactly what you want: an eternity separated from Him (in hell).
• Not Fearing Hell
Isn’t it interesting? Atheists claim they have no hell to fear, because they deny its existence. Christians have no fear of hell because God is their Savior. Two different solutions to the same problem. Too bad only one of them will work.
• Satisfied Justice
God must punish sin. God doesn’t send good people to hell. He sends sinners to hell. His justice must be satisfied. Satan’s iniquity was punished and so will humanity’s. What He did for one He will do for the other. Sin is sin in His book: it doesn’t matter who commits it, only that the punishment must be paid. Blood must be spilled. It will either be your blood or the blood of Another.
• The surface temperature of the sun is about 5500°Celsius. Rest assured, hell is a much hotter place.
• Boring Heaven?
Satan has misconstrued the idea of heaven. He says it will boring, uninteresting, with nothing to do. It will be totally exciting—things that we can’t even imagine. That is why Satan confuses people with the concept of heaven. The concept of hell he also confuses. He just lies that it doesn’t exist.
• Hell is For Real
I do believe it hell is real and that it is a real place of eternal torment. But it is not so much a punishment that God pronounces on someone than it is a pronouncement that they have made for themselves. People who hate God couldn’t stand heaven! In other words, it is more merciful of God to send people who hate Him to hell than to force them to be in heaven with God. Heaven would literally be hell for those people. As far as if hell has worms, darkness and a lake of fire all at the same time, well, is anything impossible for God? I’ve heard it said that the “parable” of the rich man and Lazarus may have not been a parable at all, but a real event. It’s the only one where a person’s name is used. The ideas of “soul sleep” (where people in hell are just unconscious) or “annihilation” (where God just destroys people) doesn’t really have any basis in Scripture. God didn’t create people to have them be unconscious or to be annihilated. Hopefully I don’t sound pretentious in this, but if Muslims or practicing Jews were truly following the truth they already have and were truly seeking righteousness, they would realize they are sinners, ditch their religion and come to Christ. It is tough. Justice is not an easy thing to talk about. But it’s God’s universe. If it is any consolation, the Bible does seem to indicate degrees of hell. (See Luke 12:46-48) Revelation 20:14 states that both death and hell are cast into the lake of fire. This is where there is some confusion. Hell is never described as a place of flames; just the lake of fire is. People get those two confused. But the Lake of Fire never goes away. That’s where people spend eternity if they don’t have a Savior in Jesus Christ. Eternal death, as I define it, is “existence apart from God” not the absence of life. People will be living for all eternity, just like the Devil and the False Prophet. But is their living really living if they are separated from God? That’s where the torment is. Separate yourself from the Source of life and all you have is “existence with yourself”. That’s torture. For all the Christians in heaven, I believe that when God says He will “wipe away every tear from their eye” that that means he will simply wipe their remembrance of their family and friends from their mind. Sad, but true. My loyalty is to God first; family second. The Lake of Fire is a real place. That’s the reality of it and the urgency of us needing to tell the world.
• If you destroy the enemy’s weapon, you render your enemy harmless. That’s what Jesus did “… that through death he might destroy him that the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb 2:14c.)
• Put your fears (OCD) to good use and start fearing God. Anything else that you fear is your god. Fear the One who can cast body and soul into hell.
• Not Knowing Christ
Psalm 28:1 says, “Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.“ Did you notice the that the Psalmist links God’s “silent to me“ to them that “go down to the pit“? God the Father turned His love from Jesus, while on the cross. He turned His face, so to speak, from knowing Jesus. That was the worst punishment the Father could pronounce on the Sin-Bearer: turn away from Him. That shows that knowing God is also the greatest thing to have, if it was the greatest thing taken away. God is precious. And not knowing Him or being known by Him IS death. That’s what hell is. Forget the fire and brimstone for a few seconds: not knowing Christ is the eternal punishment for living a life of sin. As you grow in Christ’s love, you will realize how deadly it is to not be in Christ’s love–to not know God. And, you’ll realize what unbelievers will experience for eternity. And, you’ll realize what joy Jesus gave up to be made sin for us. He stood in the gap for us, so we wouldn’t have to know that pain above all pains.
• His Sacrifice, My Sacrifice
Lord, you are worth more than all the suffering I could ever give you. You suffered for me more than I can ever suffer for you. If my life is to be ended by men because of my love for you, so be it. If my end is to be at the guillotine, firing squad, gas chamber or concentration camp, all I can say is, “I fear the One who can cast body and soul into hell more than I fear the ones who can just kill the body.” My death for you, God, is my final act of obedience. I pray that you give me the strength to endure it.
• Unconditional Justice
How can God send people to hell? Because God is unconditional love AND unconditional justice. We deserve both: love because God created us (how could we expect less?) and justice because we have turned away from His love and sinned against Him. In another sense, we don’t deserve both: love because His love saved us (after we ran away from Him) and justice (because now we are in Christ after we ran away from Him).
• The City Dump
“Gehenna” translated “hell” in the KJV, was the word Jesus used to describe the place of punishment for those who reject his salvation. Gehenna was the city dump on the outside of the walls of Jerusalem. It had a continual, burning fire that consumed trash 24 hours a day. So, when Jesus mentions that Gehenna is a possibility for someone if they don’t repent, he is saying that person will end up burning like a piece of trash. If someone isn’t loving God, that person is useless to God and will send that person to Gehenna. But, he won’t give that person Gehenna to hurt that person, He will give Gehenna to that person because that is what that person wanted all along: an eternity away from God.
• Perfect Payment On Calvary
If I didn’t believe Justice hadn’t already been done to my sins, I would deal the justice to myself. I would deserve a life of guilt and misery and depression. BUT the just punishment for my sins has already been paid by Jesus. The Father did do Justice on Robert, and it fell on Jesus. Jesus covered him and took the wrath of the Father. Now he is a new creature, free from his sin debt. He lives freely in Christ now. He has been shown grace. So, I can’t do justice to a crime that has already been paid for. Someone had to pay for my sins and Jesus did. If Jesus’ payment didn’t save me then I am in a lot of trouble–we all are. His payment for our sins is complete. No one has ever had to take a punishment as great as Jesus did–ever. It was the worst punishment EVER pronounced on ANYONE. It was the worst pain anyone has ever had to go through. But, it is also the most satisfying payment of all time. Justice was satisfied. The Father’s wrath was quenched perfectly. To say Jesus payment of our sins was inadequate is blasphemy. In fact, it was MORE than adequate! He bled his very last drop of blood for us. He took his last breath for us. He went above and beyond what we needed. It was a perfect payment. Untarnished. Mint-condition–for what? Our sins. He bought us back. Now we will love Him for the rest of eternity.
• No Crushing Except Jesus
For a sinful human, there is no crushing that will allow you to absorb all of God’s eternal justice and wrath. There is only one way to take God’s wrath. It’s called “dying for ever”. It’s called “eternal separation from God forever”. It’s called “you are stuck with your own sinful self forever with no one else around”. However, you don’t have to deal with that. Jesus did all of that for you already. Jesus’ blood absorbed ALL of God’s wrath towards you.
• It’s not just sins that send you to hell; it’s “not loving God” that sends you to hell.
• The Deeper Problem
The fact that the phrase, “eternal separation from God” does not strike fear in most people is evidence of even a deeper problem of people’s hearts. Its alarming as to how much men don’t fear God. What is it in a creature not to fear its maker? That is a serious default in the creature–but it’s not the Maker’s fault.
• Hell is an Onion
Hell is like an onion: for each layer someone will think is the worst and final layer, but, in reality, there is another layer to peel away after it. Each layer will be exponentially more painful and more terrifyingly evil. Each year will seem like an eternity of fear and sin and torment. But all that fear, sin and torment only come from yourself. Your earthly life was spent in rebellion to God and now, you are completely imprisoned by yourself. No one else is around, because even “having neighbors” is considered a good thing. In hell, there is no good thing. It is the absence of every good thing. It is the absence of God. It is the absence of His rule, law, love and gifts. There will be no end to a life without God, just as there will be no end to a life with God. Please turn from your wicked ways. It’s not worth it in the long run.
• God’s Fair Judgment
Hell and judgment are not over-the top judgments. It’s not an extreme call. God’s judgment will be complete, exact and fair. Completely fair. Complete payment for all sins committed in one’s life. God is fair. He doesn’t dish out what is not needed. He is loving and he knows all the facts. That fact should scare you, because he knows the exact punishment each of us deserves. However, none of us can pay punishment (nor should we want to try to pay it with our own blood). But He offers each of us payment in full: Jesus Christ’s blood. Only His blood was enough to pay for our disgusting sins. Don’t try to make payment on your own terms. Take his free gift. Otherwise, His fair, exact and just judgment will be yours for eternity.
• Fears, Disappointments and Failures Come Alive
Everything you fear in life–being alone, not being accepted, never being understood, never satisfied–are simply descriptions of hell. Hell is the place where all your fears come true. It is the place where your fears come alive. Basically, everything that is not of God will be alive there: your fears, disappointments and failures. Hell is the place where all is lost, where even the thought of having hope doesn’t exist. It is a place of no love; only pride. No successes; only failures. It is a place of utter despair and loneliness. It is a desolate wasteland with a population of one: you. The breath of life is not found within its borders. In every direction are the footprints of death–your footprints. You spend your days wandering for peace and joy where it can never be found. You search for someone else to share your pain but that person doesn’t exist. You search for satisfaction only to find more need. Your heart grows deeper and deeper in darkness. The weight of your guilt is too much to bear. You look for an escape, but there is none; for death can never commit suicide. You wear horror and anguish like a garment. You experience the absence of family and friends, the absence of loving and being loved, the absence of the One who created you. This is the place where those who don’t bow the knee to Jesus reside. This is the future for those who don’t have a sacrifice for their sins. This is the end for those who offer nothing to a Righteous Judge.
• You Don’t Know What you Have
“You don’t know what you have until you lose it,” is a popular motto. No one ever says, “You don’t know what you don’t have until you don’t have it.” Why? Because we always have something. We take for granted that there is something called the universe. There used to not be a universe. You don’t know what you have (the universe) until its taken away. There will be a day when the heavens will be rolled up like a scroll. All that will be left will be God and those souls in Him. You don’t know what you have (life) until it is taken away. We are all one heart attack away from eternity. Every second in this life is one step off the precipice into forever. You don’t know what you have (God) until He is taken away. If you don’t want to love God here on earth, He won’t force you to love Him in eternity. All that is good–the universe, life, relationships, God–are all here right now. Appreciate the things while you have them because one day they will all be taken away from you if you don’t want to follow Christ.
• Hell and Mercy
God's mercy is even shown in the existence of hell. I know that descriptions of hell are usually painful, dark, with fire that singes your soul for eternity, but I want to look at it from another perspective. God is so merciful, even to those who hate Him, to send them away from His presence. Hell is a form of mercy because He is not forcing anyone to live with Him for eternity. The eternal fire of souls burning is to be preferred by billions than to be forced to submit to the King of the universe. It is painful; it is lonely and hurtful for eternity. . . but not as much as it would be singing praises and dwelling in God's home for eternity (to people who don’t love God). The condemned souls in hell should be thankful that even in their eternal punishment, God has allowed their free will to be free not to love Him.
• Outer Darkness
Outer darkness as a concept–what does that mean? It means the absence of light because light is something God created. Hell will be the place where neither God’s presence nor any of His creations will exist. It will only be one person: you. A person who hated God can enjoy an eternity without Him (but along with that comes an eternity without any of His designs/creations/enjoyments/pleasures). Unlike here on earth where you can take all of God’s pleasures and ignore God, hell won’t even have those attractions. And, why should it? God is the One that makes all those attractions work anyway. Take away God and you take away everything He is sustaining. Hell will be like a very, very, very long camping trip, except with no trees and lakes and skies and moon and campfires and sleeping bags and birds and bears. And, except you won’t have any place to go home to.
• Everlasting Fire
Some people may have a hard time reconciling “outer darkness” with “everlasting fire”. Or, they may have a hard time relating to the fact that none of God’s creation will exist in hell. I, too, have questions about hell, like how will the fire burn without fuel? What is the fuel? Where is this place where God doesn’t dwell? How can God not dwell there and yet people’s souls are held together? Although I don’t have the answers to these questions, that fact doesn’t take away my belief in hell. The Bible says hell is a place of everlasting torment. Whether Jesus was using descriptors of the environment or of the pain, I really don’t want to find out personally. He already found out what hell is like and went there for us. He has offered a way out of hell if we just trust in His sacrifice.
• Death has to concede to Jesus. Death bows to Jesus. Death pays tribute to Jesus. Jesus rules over death. Death is subject to Christ’s rule.
• Death is What We Pay
Death is the price we must all pay because of the sin we have committed in life. It isn’t natural and yet it is. It isn’t fair, and yet it is. It’s a fair payment for our rebellion against God. There is no way to get out of it. God is a just God and death is our just reward. We all must meet our Maker someday, some sooner than others. Through death, though we can see what Jesus went through for our redemption. He, who never had to die, chose to die for us rebels.
• Death, Our Enemy
People have to laugh at death or else they will cry. A lot of people make fun of death, ugly things, horrific things. But when they are facing death of a loved one or themselves, suddenly death doesn’t seem funny anymore. Death isn’t a joke. If it was, then things like cancer and disease should be the funniest things on the planet. But they aren’t. Death is an enemy that can’t be defeated on our own. Only Jesus defeated this unconquerable enemy. Rather than laughing or crying at death, why don’t you worship the One who conquered it?
• Is Death Powerful?
If death is so powerful then why is anything alive? The fact that both death and life exist is cause to at least ask, “What is more powerful?” The way a person lives is a good indication of which is more powerful. Some people fear and loathe death (and live in the moment or live in a constant state of depression). Some people fear and loathe life (and despise every moment). Death is powerful. The band, The Blue Oyster Cult, sang a song, “Don’t fear the reaper”. That is one way of dealing with death: “just ignore it!” But death is something to be feared? Why? Because it can’t be controlled. It’s stealthy, it’s evil. It puts out the light of life and continues on its way. It’s way is darkness. Death lives in the shadows because it created them. Everything is vanity as Solomon said (Ecclesiastes 1:2). He also is right. We should live life in misery and depressed because one day our breath will be taken away from us. Life is but a vapor. (James 4:14) How are we to live? Or, how are we to view death? Death is the unconquerable enemy that we fear and loathe everyday. We fight against Death with our exercise and food in our stomachs and organic foods and medicine and healthcare. We can put our faith in creation to save us from Death, or we can put our faith in the One who conquered Death. There is One Person who walked out of their own tomb in all of history. That is the Person we should be following.
• Deal With It Later
“I’ll just deal with that later,” the unbeliever says. Unfortunately, later never comes. God comes and takes an unbeliever’s soul away whenever He wants. The unbeliever wants to just take all of the good in life (sex, drink, food, etc.) and leave God in the dust. But what about God? “I’ll deal with Him later, too”, he says. He lives by his own rules; not God’s. Have you ever tried driving on the highway with your own rules? Or flying a plane by your own rules? Or passing a math exam by your own rules? Rules exist. Sure, you may be able to “wing it” for a while on the highway, but eventually your own rules will kill you. Likewise your own rules won’t work in life either for any extended amount of time. Unbelievers don’t think about tomorrow; only about grabbing what they can for today. And then tomorrow they have nothing and are judged by God. It’s sad. Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today. Turn to God today lest your heart is too hardened to turn to him tomorrow. Don’t keep drinking from the well of grace. It will end someday and then it will be too late.