Last night, I awoke with a moment of clarity from the Lord. It was awful. This may sound odd, but He allowed me to grasp, in my mind, the permanence of Hell. It is a place where people will go FOREVER. An image, kind of like a short video, played before me of someone I know and care about, stuck down there, with no way to leave & not happy at all.
It is a terrible place, where once people are, they are there for ever, for eternity, they will NEVER leave. Yes, theologically, I know this to be true. I have read Jesus teaching on this for several years now, but it really never clicked before. Maybe it was too big of a thought for me to comprehend. Whatever the case, it came into perspective for me last night, thanks to God. I cannot explain the feeling of how terrible I felt, considering that people, people I care about, may be stuck down there for eternity, in conscious misery. All I can say is that it took God opening my mind to help me begin to understand this.
So a few thoughts from it:
1. Why did God create Hell? And is Hell populated now?
2. What is Hell like?
3. Why send people there?
4. Are people aware?
5. How do you keep from going there?
1. Why did God create Hell? God created Hell for Satan and his angelic army (possibly millions of evil spirits/demons) (Matthew 25:41), as a place of eternal punishment for their wickedness. Is Hell populated now? Hell is NOT populated now. It will not be until the Great White Throne Judgment of Jesus.
2. What is Hell like? Well, there are books on this. It is a place of great weeping, of misery, of pain and suffering (Matthew 8:12). It is a place of outer darkness (away from the Light)(Matthew 8:12). It is an eternal habitat (Mark 9:44-48). It is a place where those there are conscious (Revelation 20:10). It is called the Lake of Fire (don't know if that is literally fire or judgment) (Revelation 20:14-15). Contrary to popular belief, it is not run by Satan. It is a place where their is no relief, because God, who brings relief, has removed His hand of blessing from those there (Luke 16- is not even Hell yet-Hell is worse).
3. Why send people there? Because it is what most people want; life without God bothering them. God, in Romans 1-2 gives people over to what they want. His desire is that they would have eternal life & dwell with Him for eternity, through faith in Jesus. But if people don't want this, God will not make them choose this. It is up to each person to decide whether they want eternal life or Hell. It is their choice. (more on choice later)
4. Are people aware? Yes (Revelation 20:10, 14:9-11, Luke 16)
5. How do you keep from going there? You already know. And it has nothing to do with doing a bunch of works. That is animism. If you want to know for sure, read John 3:16-18, Ephesians 2:8-10, John 14:6 if you would like to see what God's word teaches. As I said in question #3, it is your choice. Hopefully you will choose wisely. Hopefully you won't be too stubborn or prideful to choose well.