Heaven seems to be a pretty popular place nowadays. Books that tell the stories of those who have died, gone to Heaven, and come back to tell about it, fly off the shelves. The Heaven is For Real movie, based on the New York Times bestselling book of the same name, opened at number one at the box office when it was released. And, according to a Religion News Service article, 74% of Americans believe there is such a place as Heaven, and in another, recent survey, 62% of Americans say they are going there.
But what about Hell? Well, 59% of Americans believe Hell is for real and 1.5% of Americans say they are going to that place of torment after they die. Vassula Ryder, author of the best-selling book Heaven is Real but So is Hell, said, “The devil’s most powerful tool is convincing us that he — and hell — do not exist. He works subtly and silently, feeding our doubts and inadequacies, sowing dissension and creating chaos and confusion in our lives. Evil is real, and we have to know how to respond to it.”
Although we much prefer the pleasures and goodness of Heaven, we must accept that Hell, too, is for real. In fact, some authors have claimed that they have experienced Hell. In one book, A Day in Hell, the author writes, “Darkness enveloped me as if thick, black ink had been poured over my eyes… Reaching to my left and my right, up and down proved the black endlessness of my confines. Cold permeated my bones — an icy, water-type cold, in that it surrounded all of me, inside and out.”
In another book, 23 Minutes In Hell, the author said he was imprisoned in a tiny cell where demons viciously tore at his flesh. He said he experienced insatiable thirst while hearing “screams of an untold multitude of people crying out in torment.”
Perhaps because we do not like to be reminded of negative experiences, these books do not become as popular as books about Heaven. But that does not mean that Hell is any less real.
Another book, however — in fact, the bestselling book of all time — speaks extensively about Hell. Yes, the Bible tells us that Hell is a real place of eternal fire, eternal darkness, and eternal torment. In fact, it has often been observed that Jesus Christ, the loving, miracle-working Son of God, spoke more about Hell than any other Biblical figure. Listen to these words by Dr. Tim Keller: “Jesus speaks of ‘eternal fire and punishment’ as the final abode of the angels and human beings who have rejected God. He says that those who give into sin will be in danger of ‘hell fire’. The word Jesus uses for ‘hell’ is Gehenna, [which refers to] a valley in which piles of garbage were burned daily as well as the corpses of those without families who could bury them. In Mark 9:43, Jesus speaks of a person going to Hell where ‘their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ Jesus is referring to the maggots that live in the corpses on the garbage heap. When all the flesh is consumed, the maggots die. Jesus is saying, however, that the spiritual decomposition of Hell never ends, and that is why ‘their worm does not die.’ If Jesus, the Lord of Love and Author of Grace spoke about Hell more often, and in a more vivid, blood-curdling manner than anyone else, it must be a crucial truth.”
In light of this “crucial truth” — that Hell is for real — what will you do? Perhaps, you are one of those who has never taken discussion of Heaven or Hell very seriously. Well, now is the time to get serious. Now is the time for you to do what it takes to be certain that you are going to Heaven when you die.
It would be terrible to hear about the wonderful testimonies of others who have experienced Heaven, and never be sure that you are going there while you have a chance. Thankfully, God has made it simple for us to be sure that we are going to Heaven when we die. But, first, we must understand what keeps us out of Heaven and destines us for Hell. Our sins, the wrong things that we do, separate us from God, and without a relationship with God, we cannot go to Heaven. Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Revelation 21:8 says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake [in Hell] which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
However, because God loves us, He decided to make a way for us to not go to Hell for all eternity. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Jesus Christ came to earth, lived the perfect life that we could not live, and then went to the cross, dying a cruel death for our sins. While Jesus was on the cross, God poured out all of his wrath and punishment on His Son so He would not have to pour it out on us. As Romans 5:8 says, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
After Jesus’ death on the cross, he was buried, but three days later, he rose again from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead showed that he had been triumphant over Hell and death. Thus, if we place our faith and trust in Him, we can also triumph over Hell and death. If we place our faith and trust in Him, we are guaranteed a home in Heaven.
Columnist Kirsten Powers wrote, “If I took these tales seriously, as so many people seem to do, I wouldn’t limit my inquiry to only those that affirmed my hopes. After all, forever is a mighty long time.”
Please don’t waste this opportunity. Place your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today by believing that he died, was buried, and rose from the dead. Romans 10:9 & 13 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 whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you trust Jesus Christ for salvation, you will be saved from sin, spiritual death, and hell, and you will be guaranteed a place in Heaven. If this is your heart’s desire, you can pray a short prayer to let God know that you are making this decision today:
Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have sinned against you. For Jesus Christ’s sake, please forgive me of all of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again for me. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart, save my soul, change my life, and fill me with your Holy Spirit today and forever. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”.
Believe by faith. Share the faith. And keep the faith! God Bless You!