June 28, 2007 Turned Into Hell Kathleen Maples
Psa 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
I've been meditating on what hell actually means lately. In the Hebrew (H7585) used here, the word is "sheol." It means the grave, Hades-- the underworld abode of the dead. After consulting various translations on this verse above, some of the renderings were troubling. Many take the threat of eternal torment right out of the verse by rewording it in such a way as to make it sound as if they just die and are buried. Well, so will all be who meet their appointment with death. But, those who die in Christ will have a different future than those who die in their sins, because death is only the beginning of eternity. The condition you die IN is of vital importance. Many religions don't believe in an actual hell of burning fire and brimstone and eternal suffering and torment. From US News and World Report, Jan 31, 2000: "With fire and brimstone out of fashion, modern thinking says the netherworld isn't so hot after all. The latest round of revisionism was touched off last summer by a surprising editorial in La Civilta Cattolica, an influential Jesuit magazine with close ties to the Vatican. Hell, the magazine declared, "is not a 'place' but a 'state,' a person's 'state of being,' in which a person suffers from the deprivation of God." A few days later, Pope John Paul II told an audience at the Vatican that "rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God." To describe this Godforsaken condition, the pontiff said, the Bible "uses a symbolical language" that "figuratively portrays in a 'pool of fire' those who exclude themselves from the book of life, thus meeting with a 'second death.' " Jesus said if a man gain the whole world and lose his soul, what would he give for it? The implication is all the wealth of the world would not be able to buy back one soul. How valuable the soul must be. One of Satan's most vicious lies is to convince people they either do not have one, or it's not very important. As children of God, we need to have a burden for the lost. We need to understand what they will endure for all eternity if they die without Jesus Christ because we failed to yield our lives to the Master for His use so He could reach out to them. One translation of Psa_9:17 says "Death is the destiny of all the wicked, of all those who reject God." Another says "Wicked people, all the nations who forget God will return to the grave." Some call it the nether-world. Some substitute "Hades" or "the grave" for the word "Hell." Still another translation says of this same verse, "The wicked bought a one way ticked to hell." HELL is a word I don't think should be changed-to change it is to soften it, diminish the message, which God told His people not to do. (Deu_4:2) So what exactly does "wicked" mean? Who are the wicked? All you have to do be wicked is refuse the offer and gift of salvation and eternal life God offers. Just as a human being could not walk into the core of a nuclear reactor without protective clothing and gear, no human being can stand in
the presence of God safely without the covering of the blood of Jesus Christ, His Beloved Son. If you take a moment and think about what the Word is saying here, all you really have to do is forget, neglect or just don't think about God, and live your life unmindful of God, and when you stand before Him, you will be turned away and sent to hell.
Pro 15:24 The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
If you read John 14:6, Jesus Christ plainly tells us HE is the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by Him. The way of life is be heavenly minded, (Col 3:2) not earthly minded. The way is the road to get there-the path. To know what kind of place hell is, you have to go exploring the Word of God and slowly read what He says. In Luke 16 the Lord gives an illustration, recounting the deaths of two individuals. One was a poor and very sick beggar, named Lazarus; the other was a rich man whose name is not given. One lived a life of luxury on earth, pleasing his own flesh without thought for the poor outside. The beggar was full of sores, and someone, probably poor and unable to help this beggar thought he might find help at the rich man's house so he laid him at the rich man's gate. That means he was lying near the door or entrance of this rich man's house. Every time this rich man walked in or out of his home, this beggar was there, asking for crumbs, obviously in desperate need and very sick, and this rich man ignored the pleas for help. The dogs had more compassion on Lazarus, licking his sores. The saliva in a dog's mouth has a natural germicide that promotes healing and kills bacteria. I saw this in action once, because I was babysitting an infant, and I was sitting outside on my back porch steps, with Alyssa in her bouncy seat. She was only about four months old. A bee was buzzing around my head, and flew off and then come back, and somehow managed to fly directly into Alyssa's little hand. Her fingers, like most little babies do, clenched up and she was stung. She let out this awful scream, and I pulled the stinger out of her finger. My huge Rottweiler, Cujo, came running over, and I could tell he was distressed. I always tried to keep him from licking on her, or any child, but this time, he was quick, and before I could pull her from the bouncy seat to hold and comfort her, he licked the EXACT SPOT where she was stung by the honey bee. Almost immediately the ear splitting shrieking stopped. She looked at him, and she whined, and cried a little, but she stopped screaming. It's a sad testimony to the life of the rich man that God placed an opportunity to help this poor beggar right in his face but the rich man was so selfish, and refused to get his hands dirty. This man was blessed with much and he could have chosen to share it but he did not. He was like the rich man who instead of sharing the blessings and harvest God had given him, he built bigger barns to hold it all and keep it for himself. This beggar dies, and angels come for him and carry him to Abraham's Bosom. Now, what is Abraham's Bosom? What does that mean? I found this on BibleHistory.com:
"Abraham's bosom" was an expression in the oral traditions of the Jewish Rabbi's for the state of bliss after death. The phrase "to be in one's bosom" applies to the person who so reclines at the table that his head
is brought almost into the bosom of the one sitting next above him. To be in Abraham's bosom signified to occupy the seat next to Abraham. Jesus, accommodating His speech to the Jews, describes the condition of Lazarus after death by this figure (Luke 16:22-23). Father Abraham was, to the Israelites, in the corrupt times of their later superstitions, almost what the virgin Mary is to the Roman church. He was constantly invoked as though he could hear the prayers of his descendants, wherever they were; and he was pictured standing at the gate of paradise to receive and embrace his children as they entered, and the whole family of his faithful descendants was gathered to his arms.
I also found this confirmed in other places, and Bible Dictionaries. "Abraham's Bosom" was a phrase the people used to indicate paradise. The Lord was well aware of the Jewish custom of low to the floor tables, and how people reclined on pillows around the table, so their head would almost be in the bosom of the person next to them. He used this illustration because it was what they were familiar with, so they could understand He was telling them Lazarus went to heaven, and there the Lord has a table spread..oh, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord if you are HIS! So, Lazarus dies, and it's well with him. The rich man dies, too, is buried, and things are very different. So, is the word for Hell used here. It's the Greek Word, Hades. (G86), meaning 'unseen' place of departed souls. What kind of environment is this place? Consider your lost loved ones as you read this. For it is appointed unto man once to die and after this, the judgment. (Heb_9:27)
Luk 16:23 And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Luk 16:24 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.
A brief note here: I heard Leonard Ravenhill use this example, it's worth sharing: "We know heaven is light, and hell is dark. If you are in your house at night, and the lights are on, those in the darkness outside can see you in there, but you can't see them." Good point, wouldn't you say? In hell, he could see. He could hear, he could talk, he could remember, he could hurt, and feel pain. He could see into a place of happiness and rest, and provision. There was a table where Lazarus was reclined, and being cared for. In the Greek, the word "torments" means the rack or instrument by which one is forced to tell the truth, enduring torture, and acute pain. What the rich man had, he lost and now sees in reality that Lazarus has everything he, the rich man needs, and COULD have had, if he'd made the right decision with his life. He cries out for compassion and relief, because his sorrow and grief is tremendous in his suffering, blazing fire. He is burning, but not being consumed. He is burning, but he can talk, he can cry for mercy, he can see those who are not suffering, and that is an additional torment. He sees what he lost, what he could have had. Imagine if you go to heaven, and someone you love, doesn't. They will see you there, and be tormented even more. They will remember whether or not you tried to tell them truth. The rich man is reminded when he lived, he had good things, and Lazarus worthless, and bad things, and now things were reversed. THEY HAD TURNED. The rich man had been turned into hell. He was turned away from paradise and into hell.
Abraham doesn't rail on him. He speaks and even calls the rich man, son. Abraham means 'father of a multitude.' Could this also be an illustration of GOD and how He will respond to the lost who cry out from hell? I know what Jesus is saying, He's saying this is Abraham talking. But He was talking to a bunch of Jews who thought being descended from Abraham would save them. How many times did the Jews throw Abraham up at Jesus, like being his descendants meant something? He also says there is a great gulf fixed, so that they could not leave hell and go to heaven. They can't cross the yawning chasm that separates the two places.
Luk 16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: Luk 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Today, in Christian and secular bookstores, and places like Walmart, you see books being promoted and marketed by people who claim to have went to hell and come back with a warning. I don't buy it. If they had actually encountered the Almighty like they say, they would be the most humble people on the face of this earth and making a buck off their testimony would be the last thing on their mind. (Consider how Isaiah, and John, and Daniel, Moses and Ezekiel and Job all reacted to encountering God). If they had actually experienced hell, the reality of knowing they will have in hell, they would be more interested in getting people saved, and seeking the face of God to be used against the powers of darkness, and liberate lost souls. Tell me, do you think God would send these people out to make merchandise of His people, with the same bread day in and day out to feed them? What do people do when they read these books? They might think about hell for a moment, or while they read the book, but it's soon on to the next "hip" thing emerging in the Christian community, whether it's "purpose driven," or whatever. Christian marketing has made Christian celebrities, but God has none. The only ONE is His Son. He gave us authority to use His name to cast out devils, heal the sick, and open blinded eyes, comfort the weak and the poor and needy with help, but NOWHERE can I find we have been given permission to MARKET His Name! I'm not saying God doesn't have children who are well known, but those who are do not exalt themselves. They are humble, broken for the lost, they seek God, and speak the truth in love. And their Word is from God and it's anointed.
Luk 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. Luk 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. Luk 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
Jesus said it, I didn't. But there are people out there in direct contradiction to this Word, saying the Lord sent them or took them to hell, and brought them back with a word from the dead. Be careful, take heed that ye be not deceived. If it contradicts this BOOK, it is a lie, no matter how slick the packaging. He clearly says His Word is forever settled in heaven (Psa_119:89) and He does not change (Heb_13:8). If He wouldn't do it for the rich man, why would he do if for someone
else? I am not saying people don't sometimes have experiences, or that God won't let you have dreams about hell. But that would be to individuals He knew He could trust not to abuse the information. GOD is to be our source and provision, not our testimony. If this was of God, there would be results. People's lives would be transformed and Christ would be glorified, ok? I don't know how, but when you hear about the man or woman so much and their book, instead of GOD, who is being exalted here? Jesus came in the form of a servant and HE made of Himself NO reputation and HE helped create hell, so He should know.
Mat 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. Mat 13:38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; Mat 13:39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. Mat 13:40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. Mat 13:41 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; Mat 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
The word wicked used here is not the same as the one in Psalms 9:17, it is poneros. It means evil, malicious, the devil. The adversary scattered false grain (weeds) which resembles wheat except the grains are black and he scatters it among the wheat that God has planted in this world and in the church. There will come a time when the Lord Jesus Christ will send His angels forth, and they will collect the things that offend-in the Greek it is skandalon, where we get the word 'scandal' as well as those who have broken the law and are guilty of sin. He identifies two groups of people here. Those who have caused others to fall or stumble, by their behavior, by refusing to yield their members to righteousness, and let flesh control them and have not repented. This causes others to get caught in the snare, which could be bitterness resulting from injury offense caused by another. It doesn't sound like He's just talking about gathering the ungodly and sinners. I'm reminded of 1Pe_4:17, where He says Judgment shall begin at my house, first.
Mat 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Mat 13:48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. Mat 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, Mat 13:50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
There is none good but God, according to Jesus Christ, so the good vessels must have the Spirit of God in them to be considered good. Just as we throw rotten fruit and vegetables away, so will God throw away vessels who would not let Him make something good in and out of them. Those who exalt themselves with the pride of
Lucifer to think they do not need God and will reject God's salvation will end up here. Jesus says the goats and sheep will be separated, and the goats, which are rebellious and refuse instruction will be cast into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. So hell was not originally intended for man. (Mat_25:41) This fire will burn forever, and ever. The word 'angel' I should note, also means messenger. It can apply to a pastor, a preacher, anyone who carries a false gospel and a false Jesus. Their punishment will be forever. (Mat_25:46) He doesn't say they will burn up and be consumed. He says everlasting punishment. It never stops. They will burn and not be consumed. It could be your lost loved ones, mine. What are we doing to spare them? Are we on our faces before God, fasting and praying and interceding for their souls and praying the Word of God against the darkness that covers the lost and blinds their eyes to truth? Did we pray a little prayer, and say, I believe God heard me and He promised in His Word if I believe on Jesus He'd save my house (Acts 16:31)?
Jas 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
They believe, but they are not saved. In Acts 16:31, the word believe is have faith and confidence in your soul being placed in Christ's hands and care.
Jas 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.
Faith is what you do about what you know. It's knowing God said it, He means it and will do it. Faith is reacting to that truth. If we really believe this, it will move us to action, to militant praying. If we don't know how to pray about needs, we must ask the Holy Ghost to pray through us, and stay before Him, come before Him as much and often as possible, knowing He will fill us. Saying I believe will not save you. Believing it enough to act on it, will. If someone yells, "Get out, the house is on fire!" and you say, "I hear you, and I believe," but you don't move, you will die. Faith demands a reaction. We need to let God open our eyes to the reality of hell and break our hearts for those He died for, and not just our own, but for the whole world,
Joh 3:16 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.