And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abrahamís bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my fatherís house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. Luke 16:22-31;
Itís not impossible to find people who have chosen to believe that hell does not exist. The rich man spoken about in the above passage had probably held that belief also until he gave up the ghost and found himself in hell! Unfortunately, it was too late to change anything! If it were possible, the rich man would gladly have done anything required to be done not to make him spend one second in that place of indescribable agony, but unfortunately, it was too late! He had no choice but to spend the rest of eternity in torments, unbearable pains and anguish. Hell is real!
It is foolish for anyone to doubt the accounts of Godís word about existence of hell and life after death. The bible is full of many prophecies and predictions (as some call them), which have been accurately fulfilled right under our noses in the current generation and also in generations past. Godís word had long foretold many things about the earth we live in, nations of the world and humanity in general, which unarguably have been fulfilled and are still being fulfilled at their appropriate times. Why then should anyone think or conclude that the Bibleís position on existence of hell and eternal damnation for sinners must be untrue? It is therefore self deceit of the highest order for anyone to think that hell does not exist when Godís word clearly says it does.
Hell is a place of agony originally prepared for Satan (formerly Lucifer, an Archangel of God) following his expulsion from heaven as direct consequence of his rebellion and treasonable move against the Almighty God. Godís intention was to make man His masterpiece, a being He would be proud of and trust to give Him pleasure always. Godís objective for creating man was demonstrated when He made him in His own glorious image and likeness; God never prepared hell for man whom he made in His own image, but following Adamís rebellion and disobedience against God, God was left with no choice than to make man suffer the same fate with Satan and his fallen angels Ėthe originators of sin. Sin and rebellion against the Almighty God, whether of man or of angels, has the same consequence, and that is deathĖ eternal separation from God! As a result of sin and rebellion, man became bound to suffer the same fate with Satan and his fallen angels. Notwithstanding, God, out of love, has made provision for man to be freed from immediate and eternal consequences of sin. Itís interesting to know that when angels sinned against God, they were not given second chance or opportunity to repent, God met their rebellion with instant judgment. However, when man sinned, God out of love offered him the opportunity of repentance. Through the atoning blood of Jesus, whosoever will, can obtain forgiveness of sin and receive the power of the Holy Spirit to live a victorious life of freedom from sin and its consequences - immediate or eternal.
Physical death does not put permanent end to the story of man, itís only the beginning of his journey to endless eternity. This was clearly revealed in the story of the rich man according to Luke 16. When the earthly part of the rich manís story ended at death, eternal part of the story began. Unfortunately many people bother so much about the first part of their story in this transient world that they completely neglect the most vital part of endless eternity. The rich man lived a life of luxury and comfort but neglected the most essential part of his story. He found himself in hell, not because God had anything against his being rich, but because he lived all his life pleasing self and not God. The self-centered life the rich man lived was partly revealed in the way and manner he neglected Lazarus who was placed at his gate, probably to catch his attention to the dire need of the poor and helpless man. The rich man was not in any way bothered about Lazarus but left him to rot away; the rich man missed the very essence of life, which is to live for God and others! God placed at his door step an ample opportunity to fulfill divine purpose, but the self-centeredness of the rich man would not let him recognize that opportunity.
No experience or amount of enjoyment in life can be sufficient to comfort a man for a second in hell! The rich manís life of opulence and pleasures was completely forgotten in a moment as soon as he arrived in hell. All the happiness, pleasures, laughter, convenience, luxuries and fulfillment life has to offer can never amount to anything or provide comfort for a second in hell! This obviously was the case of the rich man when all he wanted for comfort was just a finger tip drop of water to cool his tongue! No word will be sufficient to describe the agony of hell.
The decision not to spend eternity in hell is a decision you can only make now that you are alive. Once death comes knocking at your door, itís impossible to change anything! It must be emphasized that itís only in life man has the opportunity to change things, state of things do not change once eternity sets in! If the rich man were to have the opportunity to live his life all over again, he would doubtless live to please and serve God diligently; he would place great emphasis on eternal life above all gains of life, he would not live for self and himself alone; he would seek and fulfill Godís purpose for his life, he would live to bring smiles to the faces of as many as possible; he wouldÖ. and would spend his life on things that count in eternity. But unfortunately, these were only wishes, endless wishes! Wishes are never granted in hell, prayers are never answered in hell!
Part of the rich manís earnest prayers in hell was that a preacher be sent to five of his brethren, who most likely were members of his immediate family, to warn them of impending danger that was awaiting them. Itís obvious the man remembered the kind of life his immediate family members were living and that if they continued that way, they would certainly find themselves in the same situation and suffer the same fate with him. The rich manís singular request was that a testifier be sent to preach to his five brethren, this time, not the messages of prosperity, financial and material breakthroughs, healing, miracles, success or motivation, but a message of solemn warning of imminent danger of hell awaiting all sinners! Unfortunately, messages of solemn warning of dangers of hell and eternal damnation awaiting sinners are fading off our pulpits these days. Preachers in the end time church do not appear to lay emphasis anymore or place much importance on the weighty matter of repentance from sin, and eternal damnation awaiting all unrepentant sinners in hell, but spend so much time and energy on other things, which are important though, but not as important as issue of eternity. All preachers of the gospel should realize that they will not do their congregations any good whatsoever, if they feed and grow them in things which matter only in this temporary world, but fail to repeatedly warn them of impending dangers awaiting all sinners in eternity. It is hi time we took the issue of repentance from sin seriously in our messages to the world and stopped avoiding the subject of hell. Our messages are not complete each time until we drop warnings of dangers of hell to men. Our messages do not necessarily be judgmental, but we must not cease to warn sinners of dangers of hell.
Thereís no single soul in hell who does not sincerely wish no one else (even their enemies) comes to join them! Unfortunately, despite free access to messages of righteousness from all quarters, the souls of multitudes of unrepentant sinners have not ceased to flood the gates of hell every minute that passes! A great responsibility lies on all believers in Christ, first of all to save ourselves from dangers of hell by hating and renouncing every work of sin and darkness, and also to deliver others from eternal damnation. The book of Jude verse 23 says ĎAnd others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the fleshí. We must not spare any ground to issue out this warning to everyone and anyone, because they may be closer to hell than they realize!