Is Hell real?
This was the question a dear sister was wrestling with the other day. She had gone through an extensive study on this some years ago. The study apparently analyzed key words in various scriptures, seeking their meaning in the original ancient texts.
According to my friend, the leaders of this study had concluded, “No. Hell is not real.” Those who reject You, Lord, simply die. Period. End of story.
My spiritual antenna went up.
Especially because of the effect this study had on my friend.
She lost her “passion” for reaching out to the Lost. After all, if the study’s conclusion was true, the Lost wouldn’t be suffering for eternity. They would be dead, without any consciousness or sensation at all. Separated from You, Lord… but not suffering.
And her sense of urgency had gone right out the window.
Until a couple of days before we spoke.
When You spoke to her, just before dawn… and asked a question that pierced her heart.
“Are you a fisher of men?”
In one sense, it doesn’t matter if Hell exists or not. Because You want those You love to be with You forever… not in a place of torment nor in a place of nothingness. Clearly, Your Hope and Your Commission to all of us is to bring those within our spheres of influence Home to You.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19)
I have never been attracted to the “fire and brimstone” approach to evangelism. I know from my own walk with You, Lord, that You want us to fall in love with You… not just “go through the motions” in the hope that we can get good Fire Insurance.
But the question remains: Is Hell real? And, if so, what difference might knowing this make to anyone considering their long-term future?
At my friend’s request, we are both going to do our own study of this question. We will be as thorough as we are able to be, given the fact that we are not experts in (or even students of) the ancient languages in which the Bible was originally written.
But even as the question was placed before me, Lord, Your Words were filling my thoughts. Words that would have no meaning if Hell was not real. Words about the rich man and Lazarus.
“In Hades, where [the rich man] was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire…” And later: “I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family… Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” (Luke 16:18-31)
Clearly, Abraham, Lazarus and the rich man are all dead. The rich man is in Hades — a real place of fire, where he is in agony and torment. He knows full well where he is and what his future holds. He is not without consciousness or sensation.
Sounds like suffering to me. Am I missing something, Lord?
In the span on five minutes, You directed me to several other passages with a similar message. Describing Hell as a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Clearly, You want to ignite a passion in Your people for the lost.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)
Who would want to turn Your people’s passion into indifference by convincing them there is no Hell?
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10)
I’m ready to be a student, Lord. So I know The Teacher will appear.
“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
Good. I can hardly wait!
Cracking The Book,