FAQ'S ABOUT RELIGION
IS THERE A HELL?
“The gates of hell shall not prevail…the gates of hell shall not prevail…” These were the words of a prayer that Kasey heard when she had an out-of-body experience she later reported to Dr. Mark Sheehan, her Cardiologist. The strong male voice she heard was uttered by one of many fellow church members praying for her and who told her he had indeed prayed those words… but silently! The words obviously came from Jesus’ conversation with His dear friend and follower, the Apostle Peter…“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades (hell) will not overcome it (Matthew 16:18 NIV). The words “Go to Hell” that we hear in heated arguments and on some TV shows, are some of most severe curses anyone can wish upon another. It not only conveys a wish for the person to die but to go eternally into a place of darkness and pain and lostness without the presence of God but rather in the presence of Satan and his minions. How can anyone wish that upon another person, even an enemy? So, why does such a place exist?
WHY HELL? We have previously established that the Bible is a reliable and authentic resource (see “Is the Bible Authentic” on this web site). According to the book “Four Views on Hell” by authors Walvoord, Hayes and Pinnock, ZONDERVAN Books,1992, “The Bible speaks of the reality of hell in the same terms as the reality of heaven (Revelation 20:14-15; 21:1-2). The authors also say…”In short, the Bible tells us only what being in hell is ‘like;’ it does not explicitly say what hell is or how exactly it functions... What the Bible does make clear is that hell is real, eternal, and to be avoided at all costs (Matthew 5:29-30). Let’s now review the facts established in the Bible about the character of God. He is the Creator of all things, the universe including our planet Earth, all of us (His children), the Heavens and Hell (Genesis 1:1). God is a righteous God, the ONE and ONLY true God. His standard is PERFECTION. He does not grade on the curve. He cannot tolerate ANY sin, that is, anything unrighteous such as worshipping idols. Yes, we worship idols which are worldly things that take our hearts and minds away from Him such as lust and love of money; things such as beautiful cars, clothes, jewelry, best schools, best houses, inflated egos, superior attitudes and so on. Now you’re thinking…if this is all true and I know I’ve done these unrighteous things, I must be condemned…I have no hope, right? WRONG! God Himself has provided a means by which even we sinful children can be deemed PERFECT because God became man through Jesus Christ and died of crucifixion on the cross, taking our sins, past, present and future upon his perfect body IN OUR PLACE. Therefore, if we accept His gift by surrendering to Him as our Lord and Savior, repent our sins (admit them and walk in a new direction by worshipping Him) then God will look at our record in the “Book of Life” and see Jesus’ perfect record instead of our sordid and sorry record and thus see perfection. Can we believe it? Praise God whose love for us is beyond belief.
WHAT DOES JESUS SAY? Jesus talked more about hell than He did about Heaven. For example, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7: 13-14). He also said in Matthew 5:29b “It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for the whole body to be thrown into hell.” And again, He said “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One (God) who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28). Another time, He said “He who is not with me is against me…” (Matthew 12:30) and in John 14:6b, He said “No one comes to the Father (God) except through me…” So, God created Hell because of Satan.
WHO OR WHAT IS SATAN? He was originally a Cherub Angel created by God. The poem in Ezekiel 28:12-19, a lament against the king of Tyre, a wicked city, is thought by Theologians to be a description of Satan who was “behind” and directing the king of Tyre, and describes the “fall” of Satan from Heaven because he became proud of his beauty and desire to supplant God as the “Most High.” Parts of the poem say…“You (Satan) were in Eden, the garden of God…You were anointed as a guardian Cherub…You were on the Holy Mount of God…till wickedness was found in you…you were filled with violence and you sinned. So, I (God) drove you in disgrace from the Mount of God and I expelled you…so I threw you to the earth.” Another poem, written by Isaiah in chapter 14: 12-15 describes Satan’s fall from heaven also, i.e., “How you (Satan) have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven, I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.” Not only Satan but some of the Angels who followed him were also cast out of Heaven as described in Jude 1:6 “And the Angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home…those He has kept in darkness (hell), bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the Great Day.” Also, 2 Peter 2:14 says “For if God did not spare Angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment…” Some believe that Revelation 12:4 describes how the tail of the “red dragon” (another name for Satan) swept a third of the stars (a name used for angels) from the sky and flung them to the earth.
WARNINGS: Our society has greatly softened the subjects of SIN, RIGHTEOUSNESS and JUDGMENT. Many church pulpits rarely speak of sin and hell because it makes people uncomfortable. So, it’s not surprising that some statistics support the effect of that “softening”, put forth by Pastor Bill Foote of Grace Springs Bible Church, Irvine, California. He says that less than 1 percent of Americans believe they are going to hell and surprisingly, 25 percent of professing Christians don’t believe in an actual hell! These numbers support what Jesus, who cannot lie, said above in Matthew chapters 5, 7 and 10. Again, the authors of “Four Views of Hell” (ibid) advise …“Despite the Bible’s clear teaching of both heaven and hell, it is not unusual for people to believe in the reality of heaven while rejecting the reality of hell, in part, this is due to wishful thinking… Many people are eschewing a relationship with God and walking with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and thus placing their eternal lives in great jeopardy. Reader, this is an URGENT matter for revival of our hearts and turning to God. The time is NOW to surrender our hearts and souls to Jesus. There are some who claim near-death experiences who found themselves in hell rather than Heaven. One such example was Bill Wiese who wrote in the Acknowledgments of his book “23 minutes in hell”, Charisma House, Lake Mary, Florida, 2006, “My deepest appreciation to The Lord Jesus Christ, who saved me from the pit of hell, for which I am eternally grateful…” Angie Fenimore, a young mother took her own life and was entering hell when she was confronted by God and became aware that Jesus was her advocate for another chance which successfully restored her to life. She writes…“Hell is real and far, far more terrifying than we can comprehend”, in her book “Beyond the Darkness,” Bantam Books, 1995.
Dear, dear Reader, if you have yet to surrender your life to Jesus Christ, we plead with you to pray earnestly for the gift of salvation; to invite Him into your heart and devote yourself to living a righteous life of hope and expectation of living eternally with our Lord in a place unimaginably beautiful, full of the light of The Almighty, doing responsible and delightful good works under the gracious and wondrous love and care of the Creator God. Amen