Revelation 20:15… “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (KJV). The doctrine of hell is one of the most neglected truths of present-day preaching. In 1975 I gave a message from Luke 16:19-31 entitled “Seven Things the Rich Man Understood In Hell.” Afterwards a born-again Spirit-filled lady came to me and said, “I’ve never even heard about hell. What’s it all about?” Preaching about hell and the wrath of God has been shoved to one side. It is considered as old-fashioned, as politically incorrect. People hate the idea of being held accountable to a holy God. The carnal mind, in both the redeemed and unredeemed, throws up objection after objection because it does not want to face the reality of hell. The word “hell” in the New Testament refers to the future place of punishment of the lost and a place of torment of the wicked. It is real. The Bible warns us that there is a “wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10, KJV).
The word “hell” (geenna, Gehenna) is “a place underneath the earth, a place of punishment for evil” (Strong’s G1067), or hell. The dictionary meaning of the word “hell” basically means “the abode of condemned souls and devils in some religions; the place of eternal punishment for the wicked after death; a state of separation from God.” The New Testament gives us a variety of images of hell, such as unquenchable fire, outer darkness, furnace of fire, fire and brimstone, the smoke of their torment, the lake of fire, eternal fire, everlasting fire, “where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not be quenched” (Mark 9:48, KJV; see also Matthew 3:12, Revelation 14:11, 19:20, 20:14). Jesus Himself used these terms, and He is no liar or deceiver.
Why write and why preach about the terrors of hell? David writes in Psalm 55:4-5, “My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me” (KJV). Hearing about the horrors of hell may shock the conscience of some people to awaken them out of a false security. Hearing about the terrors of hell and about the wrath of God may deter people from sin and bring them to repentance. Proverbs 16:6 says, “By the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”
A few scriptures about the terrors of hell:
Revelation 20:15… “And whosoever was not written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (KJV; see also Revelation 19:20, 20:10). Matthew 10:28… “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Luke 12:5… “But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Consider 2 Peter 2:4-9.) Revelation 1:18… “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Matthew 13:40-42… “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 18:8-9… “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having to eyes to be cast into hell fire.” Matthew 25:41… “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.” Mark 9:43-44… “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”
Luke 16:19-31… A picture of life in hell, or the seven things the rich man understood in hell (brief truths from the message I preached): As we read these verses we will find at least seven things the rich man had the ability to do in hell, yet most Christians are not able to do today. The rich man presents a pattern of what we need to get ahold of today, and quickly. As we list these seven things, get a glimpse of what hell is like.
1. Verse 23… “And in hell he lifted up his eyes” (KJV). The rich man had the ability to lift up his eyes and see. He saw Lazarus. He knew that there is a separation between heaven and hell. Your understanding does not leave you when you are in hell. Your vision is intact; you are not blinded. The fire does not burn you to ashes. You are alive in the fire. God is trying to reveal to the believers today that they need to lift up their eyes into the realm of the Spirit. Open your eyes here on this earth, while you are yet alive. Now is the time to get understanding. In hell it’s too late. When you are in present torments and trials, lift your eyes up to God, now. Today.
2. Verse 24… “Father.” In hell he had the ability to cry, “Father, have mercy on me.” In hell the rich man knew about relationship with God and about being right with God. It’s today that people need to learn about praying to God and to know about the Father. In hell it’s too late. Today is the day of salvation and deliverance. Today is the day for mercy and forgiveness. In hell it’s too late. In hell he wanted water to quench his thirst and torment of a dry mouth, but there was none. There is no water in hell. Notice, he was tormented in the flame.
3. Verse 25… “Son, remember” (KJV). In hell he knew about good things and evil things, about comfort and about torment. Memory is very active in eternity. It can be activated for good or for evil, for hate or for love, for humility or for pride. Our memory is a place of warfare. It is the mind that we choose life through Jesus Christ or rejection of Jesus Christ. In hell the rich man knew about good and evil. He knew about the great gulf between heaven and hell. But it was too late for him to do anything about it. Use your memory in this life. Remember the word of God that was taught you.
4. Verse 27… “I pray thee therefore, father” (KJV)… In hell he had the ability to pray. Why wait until hell to pray? It’s too late then. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father now (John 16:23-27). The Father loves you now, here in this life. You can ask of Him the things you need. It’s now that we need to learn about releasing our faith. There is power in prayer. In hell there is no power in prayer. All prayer goes unanswered in hell. It’s too late to pray in hell.
5. Verse 27… “Send [word] to my father’s house” (KJV)… In hell he wanted to send a message, to witness. He wanted a believer from heaven to take a message to the living. But in hell it’s too late. Now is the time to send out the message of the gospel. Now is the time for outreach. Now is the time for saving grace. Now is the time for missionary zeal. It’s here on earth and while we are alive that we need to make known the purposes of God for the world. Send out the word now. In hell it’s too late.
6. Verse 28… “For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment” (KJV). In hell he knew about testimony. He knew he was in a place of everlasting torment. But he was too late. Every believer needs to know the power of testimony. Every believer has a testimony. Your faith in Christ should be contagious now. In the hereafter it’s too late. Tell people now that hell is real.
7. Verse 30… “But if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent” (KJV). In hell the rich man knew about repentance, but it was too late. It is today that people need to know about repentance and about forgiveness and mercy. It is now that people need to acknowledge wrongdoing and sin. The man in hell knew about repentance more than a lot of Christians today. Mark 1:15 says, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Now is the time to repent and believe the gospel that Jesus died for the sins of the world. Romans 10:9-10 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” In hell it’s too late to repent. Hell has its terrors. Believe me, you don’t want to go there.
There is a life after death. It’s heaven or hell. God will not force you to choose. It’s your choice. Jesus Christ died to save you from hell and from the wrath to come. Romans 1:18 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness” (KJV). There is more to hell than what I have talked about in this lesson, but this message has been burning in my spirit to write. Somebody needs it real soon.
Pastor George Belobaba
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