As scary as hell?

No. There is nothing as scary as hell. I just finished a novel in which one of the main characters had a near-death experience of going to hell; the author created a terrifying imaginary scene. Jesus and his apostles said hell is a real place of endless regret, darkness, burning, and pain; we do not need a fictional account to be very afraid of it. Bible phrases to describe hell include: “the lake of fire”, “the fire is not quenched”, “eternal fire”, “outer darkness”, and “in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

Humans cannot fully understand God or his attributes whether his love, mercy, and kindness or his justice and wrath. We all deserve God’s wrath, because we all have sinned, but as Christians we have made peace with God through our faith in Jesus Christ, but those who never come to believe in Jesus will feel the full weight of God’s wrath in hell, and it is unimaginably awful. Hell is not a place God intended for humanity rather it was designed for the devil and his angels, yet many of us who disbelieve in Jesus unwittingly choose hell. My hope is that those who do not believe would take a close look at the life, character, and words of Jesus, and then become his followers before it is too late.

The story Jesus told in Luke 16:19-31 about the rich man and Lazarus brings home several truths. In the story we are told that the rich man lived luxuriously every day and Lazarus was extremely sick and poor longing for a few crumbs from the rich man’s table. We know that the rich man and Lazarus knew each other and that the rich man did nothing to help Lazarus. We are not told about anything else these two men did while living whether good or bad, both men die and angels carry Lazarus to a place of comfort called Abraham’s bosom. The rich man goes to a place of torment called hell in some translations and Hades in other translations. The rich man looks up and sees Lazarus and Abraham, and he asks Abraham to send Lazarus to bring him some cool water for a little relief from the flames. Abraham tells him it is impossible cross the chasm set between them. Then the rich man asks that Lazarus return from death to life so he can warn his five brothers who are still alive so they don’t come to the place of suffering. This request is also denied, Abraham says if his brothers will not listen to things written in the scriptures they will also not listen even if someone rises from the dead. We can conclude that hell involves burning in flames, there is no relief, the people in hell are conscious and well aware of their suffering, and that saving faith must be based on trusting the word of God, the Bible and not on miracles.

Finally, here is a scripture in which Jesus helps us understand what is at stake and to see what we really ought to fear.

Luke 12:4-7

4 “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. 5 “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! 6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. NASU

We are very valuable to God; he wants to save us so we should not be afraid to come to him. However, we need to be clear that Jesus is the one with the authority to cast us into hell, so we should be afraid to reject him.

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