Hell Is A Real Place (repost)

[I'm still here.  I haven't disappeared.  But I've been staying away from the computer as much as possible.  The news is just bad.  Too bad.  All bad.  All the time.  And I need a break.  I'm just too exhausted.  Too mentally overwhelmed.  Call it that "crisis fatigue" that everyone is getting.  I am just too tired to do more than exist each day.  (It'll be emotional enough to go through the five boxes of my mom's stuff today that a friend just dropped off at my house.  This friend was holding it for my mom, but she's moving and can't store it anymore.  And since I don't think my mom will ever get out of prison - it's still so surreal and weird to say that! - I don't think she'll ever need this stuff again.  And so I have to go through it and figure out what to donate and what to store.  Not fun - sifting through these things that look like her, that smell like her, that will never be reclaimed by her.  Not fun.)  I don't even want to read my own writing right now.  And so that's why I am not posting anything lately.  

Deep down, I hope Jesus is on His way back really soon, and so I won't have to get back into the swing of things.  But ... until that happens ... I'm just taking it easy.  Simplifying everything that can be simplified.  Staying away from the news.  And just trying to get through each day with my eyes on the Lord.  

(I've been rereading Just Give Me Jesus by Anne Graham Lotz.  I highly recommend it to anyone looking for simple messages of hope.  And I am reading the Lord of the Rings series for fun.  It's been so nice to get lost in Middle-earth for awhile each day.  And I find a lot of encouragement in this sweet woman's testimony - her writing and new YouTube videos - at Our Healing Moments.  And yesterday, for church, we watched this sermon from Tony Evans: A Challenge to Prioritize Your Priorities.  It's not about the crisis the world is going through right now, but it's still good and timely.  Especially if we are headed into the end times.  Getting back to what matters most.  Returning to our "first love."  A message we could all use right now.  And the only thing that will help us get back on track and withstand the chaos all around us these troublesome, discouraging days.)  

But even if I can't write anything new, I'll still add the reposts of the series I'm working on, such as this "end times" one.  And so here it is, the next post in the line-up: "Hell Is A Real Place."  

Of course, right now the world feels like hell on earth.  And I think we are getting a tiny glimpse of what hell might be like - no goodness, no love, no peace, no hope.  

But as bad as this is, the Lord hasn't yet removed His presence, His people, or His Holy Spirit.  So imagine how much worse things will be when He does - after the rapture, during the tribulation on earth.  

As bad as all this is ... you ain't seen nothing yet!  

In fact, I imagine that hell itself will be a lot like what's going on right now - the violence, the chaos, the hatred, the fear.  But ... on top of all that ... it will be eternal.  You can never get away from it.  Things will never change.  It's only hopelessness and hatred and fear.  All day.  Every day.  

And if that doesn't scare the hell out of you, literally - if it doesn't make you seek the Lord while there is still time, for help and answers and hope and salvation from eternal suffering in hell - then I fear that nothing will.  

I'm just sayin'.

Oh, and one bit of good news: My neighbor that I was praying for became a believer very recently.  Because of all that's going on.  Because she sees how it all confirms the Bible and where we're headed.  And that's the best bit of news I've heard in a very long time.  Thank You, Lord!  

"... there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."  (Luke 15:10)

And now I'm praying for her husband.]




Two reposts about hell:


#1:   So Hell Isn't Real?


So there's this popular preacher who says that hell isn't real, that it's a fantasy.

It's no wonder he's popular.

Do you know who wasn't popular?

Jesus and those who were faithful to Him!

Because people don't like being told the truth when it infringes on their lifestyle, their feelings, and the things they want to believe.

The Truth is offensive to those who don't want to hear it.

But it's the Truth that saves!

(If, as a Christian, you're popular with the world, with those who are perishing, then it would be wise to take it as a possible warning, to ask yourself "Why," and to ask God to search your heart and reveal if there's anything in you that is offensive to Him.  If certain people like you and what you teach, it might be a sign you're totally off-track biblically.)


I wonder what Bible that preacher is reading.  

Because it's not the one I have.  

Want to know what mine says about hell?

Matthew 10:28:  "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

Matthew 25:41, 46:  "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.' ... Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9:  "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord ..."

Matthew 13:49-50:  "This is how it will be at the end of the age.  The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Jude 7:  "In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion.  They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire."

Revelation 20:15:  "If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

Revelation 21:8:  "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars - their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  This is the second death."

Romans 6:23:  "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life."

John 3:16-18:  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."

You might not like the idea of hell.  You might not want to believe in the idea of hell.  But your feelings and opinions will not change the reality of hell!

Denying that there's a hell doesn't make it less real; it just ruins your chance of being saved from it.  Because if you don't believe in it, you'll see no reason to seek the Lord and the salvation He offers.

If you don't recognize and admit that you're drowning, you'll never reach for the Life Preserver!



The thing is ... God doesn't threaten us with hell, as in "If you're not good enough, you're gonna go to hell."  

He warns us of hell, as in "This is where you're headed if you don't accept My help getting off that path.  Please take My hand, the salvation I offer.  I don't want you to perish!"

To correct a huge, detrimental misconception: Heaven is not our default destination.  Hell is.  We aren't born destined for heaven, and as long as we're "good enough," we'll stay on that path.  No!  We're born destined for hell, separated from God.  And that's the path we'll stay on if we refuse the offer of salvation He gives us all, the sacrificial death Jesus died in our place.

So with all these warnings in the Bible, Jesus is trying to rescue us from hell (from the path we're already on, our default destination).  He's not threatening to send us there if we mess up too much.

And that's a big, big difference!



And #2:  "Yes! Jesus Did Talk About Hell!"

If someone says that Jesus never talked about hell or that He never talked about it being an eternal condition, they are not being true to the Bible.

Jesus did indeed talk about hell.  And He talked about hell being an eternal place of punishment.

But He didn't talk about hell to scare us or threaten us.  He talked about hell to warn us, to save us, to rescue us from the fire.

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."  (Matthew 10:28)

"As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.  The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.  They will throw them in the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."  (Matthew 13:40-42)

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'... Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."  (Matthew 25:41,46)

In Matthew 5, Jesus tells of various things that could land someone "in hell."  (People who continue to do these things with an unrepentant heart show that they are not true followers of Jesus, and therefore they will eventually find themselves in hell.)  And in the concordance, this use of "hell" means "a state of everlasting punishment."

In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells a story of two men.  Upon their deaths, one went to "Abraham's side" and the other went to hell.  And between those two men "a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us" (verse 26).  Once those men died, their fate was sealed.  One went to heaven and the other to hell, with no chance of crossing over.  No second chance to change their minds.  
            [This contradicts those who say that we can still make a decision about Jesus after we die.  But even if you wanted to believe that death isn't the "deadline," why take the chance of being wrong?  When the Bible doesn't clearly say anything about being able to make a choice after we die?  The consequence of being wrong is far too great!  If you're wrong and there is no chance to change your mind, you pay for your procrastination with your eternal soul!]


Jesus most definitely talked about hell, about it being an eternal place of punishment.  But He didn't talk about it to threaten us or scare us into "being good."  He was warning us of the reality of it, of our need to accept His help getting of the path to hell.  The path that we are born on.  (For more on this, see "Starting Your Own Relationship With Jesus".)

Jesus warned us about hell and He told us how to keep out of it.  With His death, He paid for our ticket out of hell.  But we have to accept it.

"Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."  (John 3:15-18)

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."  (John 5:24)

Don't let anyone convince you that Jesus never talked about hell or never said it was a permanent place.  And don't let anyone tell you that He was using hell as a threat to keep people in line.

Warning us of hell and paying the price for our sins to get us out of hell are the greatest acts of love ever done!

One of my all-time-favorite, gospel-in-a-nutshell songs: Oh, What Love by The City Harmonic  (And I watch this video when I need a little encouragement, to be reminded that God's still holding onto us, even in the midst of pain and chaos: I AM by Crowder.)


Previous "end times" post:  Where There is Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

Next "end times" post:  A Pre-Trib Rapture is the Most Merciful Option.

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