What And Where Is Hell?

Two perspectives
  23 minutes in hell - a description of a literal hell today from someone who went there. 
B. An adventist perspective of hell

23 Minutes in Hell  by Bill Weise

At these two websites you will find many testimonies from people who were either taken to hell by Jesus to return and tell us about hell or who nearly died but were resuscitated and came back to tell about it.  These sites support the concept of a hell today,  www.spiritlessons.com  and www.bibleprobe.com/nde.htm  covering near death experiences. If you can read this following abbreviated testimony and still feel you do not have to put on the parachute before jumping out of the plane (accepting the salvation of Jesus as your Savior before you die to keep you out of hell) then you simply are playing ostrich or haven’t done your homework.

Transcribed from a convention in Kansas City, KS called “Kansas City for America”. The experience in Hell happened on November 23, 1998.  For the most complete story, please purchase his book!

(Introduction by Announcer)

A couple months ago, Mike Bickle, whom I work with at the International House of Prayer, asked me to teach on the subject of Hell.  While studying that subject I was handed a tape by a friend named Steve Carpenter.  On that tape was the message you're going to hear by Bill Wiese and his wife Annette.  His message rocked my world.  And it permanently altered the way I engage my family, my friends, and even people I don't know.  It's permanently altered. I'm not exaggerating, so please don't think I'm speaking in hyperboles here.  It has permanently altered the way I look at the few remaining years I have on this earth.  It's my prayer that God will do that in you today.  I can not exaggerate the importance of this message.  Bill is a Christian.  He surrendered his life to Christ at age 16.  He has known the Lord for 32 years.  He moved to California in 1976 and spent 10 years under the ministry of Pastor Chuck Smith in Costa Mesa, California.  Bill is a Realtor, as is his wife.  For the last 15 years, Bill has been in the congregation and in the leadership during different seasons of Eagles Nest, under the Pastorate of Dr. Gary Greenwald, there in Orange County, California.  A Pastor there at Eagles Nest named Pastor Raul came to Bill and said several months ago, "Bill, God's going to do a work of revival.  He's going to begin in Kansas City for America.  He's going to send you there, and you should go”.   Bill and Annette have never been to Kansas City in their whole life.  The next day, I called Bill and said, "Would you consider coming to Kansas City?  I've seen your video and I think you're supposed to come."  I believe they are here at God's command. 

You're going to hear the vision of Hell, but even more important, you're going to hear a vision of intimacy with Jesus Christ and the love He has for this whole world.  Bill was in Hell.  He wasn't a casual observer, as so many people have been in legitimate visions, but He experienced the torments of Hell for about a half an hour with absolutely no hope of ever escaping.  Bill and his wife are deeply devoted to Jesus Christ, and to the work of God, and to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  You're going to like him also.  Please welcome Bill and Annette Wiese.

(Bill Wiese speaking)
It is an honor to be here.  This whole trip has been such a blessing to us.  Like Hal said, we are in the Real estate business.  We don't do this for a living.  We don't do this for money.  We just know that God has told us to go and tell the world about His love for people and the place He doesn't want any of His creation to go to.  So that's why we're here.  So, for the sake of time, I'm going to shorten this testimony and just get right into it.

But first I want to address a couple things, questions that might be in your mind.  The first question that would be in mine, if I was listening to me, would be, "How do you know it wasn't just a dream that you had?  A Bad dream?"  A couple points to make, first of all, I had left my body.  I saw my body when I returned, lying on the floor.  So I know for sure it was an out of body experience.  Some Christians have said, "Oh a Christian can't leave his body."  But that's not true, In 2 Corinthians 12:2, when Paul was caught up into the third heaven, He said, "whether in the body, or out of the body I do not know."  So if he didn't know that must mean it's possible.  And also he said in verse 1 that it was a vision, so I believe this comes under the classification of a vision. 

In Job 7:14 it says, "thou scarest me with dreams and terrifieth me with visions."  So this is definitely what the Lord did, terrified me through a vision.  Also in returning from this, it took me a year to calm down, and become like a normal person again.  I was so upset and traumatized from the fear that it's changed my whole viewpoint on how to witness and how much to appreciate what God saved us from. 

I asked my wife to come up for a minute so that she could just share with you what happened when she found me in the living room, because I don't remember that part.  So I want her to say a few words.  Thank you. 

(Bill's wife Annette speaking)
It was about 3:23 in the morning when I woke up.  I just remember that because I looked at our digital clock, and I noticed Bill was not next to me, and I heard screaming coming from our living room.  I proceeded to go down the hallway.  I found my husband in a way I'd never seen him before.  If anyone gets to know Bill, he's very conservative by nature, very calm, and a professional man.  He's just not the type to get excited or get real emotional over anything, unless it's God at times.  But, anyway, I saw him there traumatized, literally traumatized holding his skull, holding his head between his hands and crying out and screaming.  He was in a fetal position on our living room floor.  I didn't know what to do. I thought he was having a heart attack.  I just started to pray and he cried out and said, "Pray that the Lord would take this out of my mind!  The Lord took me to Hell.  I feel like my body is dying, I can't handle this."  So I proceeded to pray over him, and in about ten to twenty minutes he began to calm down.  He was literally in a traumatized state, like someone who went to Vietnam and has a reoccurrence, or a horrible car accident where they're reliving it.  It was not just someone who had a bad dream and woke up.  So I just wanted to testify to that. 

(Bill Wiese speaking)
I'm so blessed with a good women.  I'm really grateful to God.  I've been married for four years, and have known her for six, and it's been the best six years of my life, I have to say, so praise God. 

I wanted to find out when got back from this experience, if there's any body in the Bible who has ever experienced Hell.  So I began research.  I listen to Chuck Missler a lot. He's a Bible teacher across the nation, a real scholar and he had said that Jonah had experienced Hell.  In Jonah 2:2 it says, "in Hell he cried out."  And In Jonah 2:6 it says, "the earth with her bars was about me forever, yet thou has brought up my life from corruption."  So at least there was somebody in the Bible that experienced Hell, Jonah. 

I also wanted to find out, because I was raised in the early days of Calvary Chapel, that any spiritual experience that you would go through should already be in the Word of God.  So I knew that if what I experienced was true, it would already be there in the words.  So I began to research and I found over 400 scriptures that depicted everything I saw, heard, felt, everything to do with Hell.  It's already in the Bible, so whatever I'm telling you it's already there.  I'll make reference to some of the scriptures as we go.  I can't quote all 400, but I will for some of them.  I also found out there were about 14 other people that had experienced some portion of Hell.  Most of them were near death experiences, people in the hospital dying and were brought back.

So to get right into it, quickly: My wife and I were at the Sunday night prayer meeting that we always attend with our pastors.  And we went home like any other normal night and went to bed.  About 3:00 o'clock in the morning I was taken.  I did not know how I got there until I returned. Then the Lord explained. But I was just dropped into a prison cell, just like a regular prison cell, like you imagine, with rough huge stone walls and bars on the door.  I didn't know where I was yet. All I knew was that it was extremely hot, terribly hot.  It was so hot, I couldn't believe, that I was alive. I felt like I should have disintegrated with this heat, but I was still alive.  It was light in the room for a little while, and I believe the Lord's presence was there for me to see the scenery better, but then it got dark after about a minute. 

In Isaiah 24:22 it says: "And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison...."
Proverbs 7:27 "they shall go down to Hell in the chambers of death"
By "Chambers" it means rooms.  So part of Hell has prisons cells, chambers, pits of fire, and big areas of fire, so I was just in a prison cell at this time.

Also in Jonah 2:6, "the earth with her bars was about me for ever...."
And Job 17:16 "They shall go down to the bars of the pit..."
So again, everything I saw was in The Word.  Stones are talked about in Isaiah 14:19. 

I found myself in the cell, and these 4 creatures were in the cell with me.  I didn't know they were demons at the time, because I went there as an unsaved person.  God took it out of my mind that I was a Christian.  I didn't understand why, but He explained it to me on the way back.  These creatures, I didn't realize that they were demons, but they were enormous.  They were about 12 or 13 feet tall, one you will see in the video.  One of the people that gives their testimony, he saw the same demon that I did.  So you will see what one actually looks like.  There is a really good picture of it in the video where one guy was drug up to the bars of Hell.  It's Kenneth Hagan's testimony. 

Anyway, it was all scaly.  This one had scales all over its body, giant jaws with huge teeth, and claws sticking out, along with sunken-in eyes.  They were just enormous.  And the other one didn't looked like this at all, but it had razor sharp fins all over with one long arm and out of proportion feet.  Everything was deformed and twisted and out of proportion, out of symmetry, no symmetry, one arm longer and one shorter and just odd looking creatures, horrible, horrible looking things. 

And they were blaspheming God. The whole time they were cursing God.   I wondered, "Why are they cursing God? Why are they hating God so much?"  And then they turned their attention to me, and I felt the same hatred they had for God, they had for me also, and again I thought: "Why do they hate me?  I haven't done anything to them."  But they hated me with a hatred that I have never experienced on earth; way beyond what man has the ability to hate with.  They absolutely hated me, and I knew they were assigned to torture me.

There were things that I am going to say, that I don't know how I knew.  In Hell your senses are keener, you are just aware of more than our physical bodies are.  I was aware of distances, I was aware of time, and so forth, much more than you are here.  I knew these things were assigned to me, to torture me forever in this place.

DemonI was lying on the floor in this cell and I had absolutely no strength in my body.  I wondered, "Why can I hardly move, what is wrong with me?"  I was just aware of no strength, and I was helplessly lying there.  One Demon just grabbed me and picked me up, and threw me into the wall like a glass.  He just picked me up like a glass. That was how light I was, or how strong he was.  And threw me into the wall, and every bone in my body just broke.  And I felt pain!  I just began to lie on the floor there, crying out for mercy, but these creatures don't have any mercy at all, absolutely no mercy. 

The one picked me up, and the other one, with his razor-sharp claws; he just shredded my flesh right off.  He just tore it off, and had absolutely no care what so ever for this body that God so wonderfully made.  It had a hatred that was so intense against me.  I wondered, "Why am I alive, why am I living through this?  I don't understand why am I not dead."  My flesh just hung there in ribbons.  And there was no blood, just flesh hanging, because life is in the blood, and there is no life in Hell.  And there is no water in Hell. 

In Isaiah 14:9-10 it says

Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.  All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we?  Art thou become like unto us? 

Psalms 88:4

I am counted with those who go down to the pit; I am like a man who has no strength,

And we know that the devil does have strength, in the scriptures were there was a demon-man running through the graveyard, it says:
Mark 5:1-4

Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.  And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains.  And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.

They couldn't bind him; he had broken the chains into pieces.  And that was just a man with a demonic strength.  I understood these demons had about 1000 times the strength of a man.  So even if I had my natural strength, I could not have fought them off anyway.  So I was absolutely at their mercy, which they don't have any mercy.  The Demons run your life in Hell. 

The smell of these demons and the smell in Hell were so atrocious; I can't even describe it to you.  There was a smell of burning flesh, of sulfur.   The smell of these demons was like an open sewer, putrid, rotten meat, bad eggs, sour milk and everything you can imagine.  Take it in, times 1000, and put it up to your nose.   And you just breathe it in.  It was so toxic, that it would kill you, if you were here in this body, you would die.  And I wondered, "Why am I living through this smell, it is so horrendous?"  But again you don't die, you have to endure it.

The profanities, that they were cursing at God is mentioned in Ezekiel 22-26 "I am profaned among them"

Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.

Profaning, degraded vulgar language and blasphemies.

The torment they were doing on me was mentioned in Deuteronomy 32:22-24

For a fire is kindled in My anger, And shall burn to the lowest Hell; It shall consume the earth with her increase,  And set on fire the foundations of the mountains.  ‘I will heap disasters on them; I will spend My arrows on them.  They shall be wasted with hunger, Devoured by pestilence and bitter destruction;  I will also send against them the teeth of beasts, With the poison of serpents of the dust.

So there are teeth of beasts upon you.

2 Samuel 22:6 states:

The sorrows of Hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;

And in Micah 3:2 there is an interesting scripture where the Philistines, who hate the Israelites says:

You who hate good and love evil; Who strip the skin from My people, And the flesh from their bones;

That was what they did to the Jewish people.  That was in the natural, but where did they get that idea from?  That comes from Hell. That is what the Demons do,
and the mercy?  There is only mercy in Heaven.  Mercy comes from God, and the devil has no knowledge of any kind of mercy, he is totally against that.  Psalms 36:5

"Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds."

 It is defiantly not in Hell.  And in Psalms 74:20 it says:

Have respect to the covenant; For the dark places of the earth are full of the haunts of cruelty.

It is just a cruel, miserable, horrible place that you have to endure.  You have to endure all these things. 

God has made mankind the highest form of creation, and these demons are the lowest form of creation.   As men we work hard to get ahead in life, we better ourselves, we study.  But in Hell, your life is run by demons.  These creatures have a zero IQ, absolute ignorant creatures.  All they know is hatred for God, hatred for you and torture.  And they run your life, and you can't do anything about it. 

There are scriptures about the humiliation you have to endure.  "This thing is going to run my life, I can't stop it!"  In Isaiah 5:14-15

Therefore my people have gone into captivity, Because they have no knowledge; Their honorable men are famished, And their multitude dried up with thirst.  Therefore the grave enlarges its appetite and opens its mouth without limit; into it will descend their nobles and masses with all their brawlers and revelers.  So man will be brought low and mankind humbled, the eyes of the arrogant humbled.

Isaiah 57:9-16

You went to Molech with olive oil and increased your perfumes.  You sent your ambassadors far away; you descended to the grave itself!  You were wearied by all your ways, but you would not say, 'It is hopeless.' You found renewal of your strength, and so you did not faint.  "Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have been false to me, and have neither remembered me nor pondered this in your hearts?  Is it not because I have long been silent that you do not fear me?  I will expose your righteousness and your works, and they will not benefit you.  When you cry out for help, let your collection of idols save you!  The wind will carry all of them off, a mere breath will blow them away.  But the man who makes me his refuge will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain."  And it will be said: "Build up, build up, prepare the road!  Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people."  For this is what the high and lofty One says—He who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.  I will not accuse forever, nor will I always be angry, for then the spirit of man would grow faint before me— the breath of man that I have created.

Ezekiel 32:24

There is Elam and all her multitude, All around her grave, All of them slain, fallen by the sword, Who have gone down uncircumcised to the lower parts of the earth, Who caused their terror in the land of the living; Now they bear their shame with those who go down to the Pit. 

On and on it goes.  That was a horrible thing, to have your life run by these creatures, that have no mercy for you whatsoever.

(The darkness and screaming in Hell)
I was lying in the cell and it went dark, pitch, pitch black.  I mean a darkness I have never ever felt before.  And I have been down in caves, way down in iron mines in Arizona.  There was a blackness that you couldn't even imagine.  I managed to crawl out, somehow I was able to crawl and they let me apparently.  I remembered where the door was so I crawled towards it and I felt my way, and I got outside the cell.  I looked one direction, all black, and all I heard was screams, billions of people screaming in this place.  I knew there were billions, and it was so loud.  If you have ever heard someone scream before, it is so annoying.  Well if you hear billions of people screaming, you can't imagine how it affects your mind.  You just can't stand it. You hold your ears because it is so loud and penetrating.  You can't get away from the screams.

And the fear that overcomes you is unbelievable.  Everything is dominated by fear.  There is no presence of God in this place, so you have to endure the fear and the torment and the blackness.   You can't see anything. You can't even see what is coming up against you.  Scripture talks about this darkness in Psalms 88:6

You have laid me in the lowest pit, In darkness, in the depths.

Revelation 16:10

Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain.

Jude 1:13

Raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. 

And there is a darkness which may be felt, as shown in Exodus 10:21

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt—darkness that can be felt."

You can feel this darkness. 

(The fear in Hell)
The fear, I got a tell you, was so powerful.  It grips you.  If you have ever seen some scary movie, where the fear jumps up in your throat, if you can take that  and multiply it by at least a thousand, and hold it there, that is how you stay all the time!  And I know something about fear.  When I was young, I use to surf.  When I was really young we were in Coco Florida surfing and there was a school (group) of sharks coming around me.  And a 9 foot Tiger shark came up and bit my board right in a half.  And it grabbed me by the leg and pulled me down.  So my leg was in the mouth of this giant shark.  I wasn't a Christian then; it was before I was even saved.  And all the sudden, it let me go.  I know God opened that shark's mouth.  But for a few moments, the fear that comes into you is absolute overwhelming.  If anybody ever saw JAWS, that fear was NOTHING compared to actually going through it.  The fear was terrifying.  The guy next to me was just a couple of feet away, and a shark ripped his leg right off!  And they dragged him up on the beach, with blood everywhere.  He was screaming and had no leg.  So I understand fear, but that fear was nothing, absolute nothing compared to the fear I felt in Hell, no comparison at all.  I think the fear I felt from the shark attack was one of the greatest fears we could experience on earth.

So these are some of the things we have to endure in Hell.  In Isaiah 24:17 it says:

Fear and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth.  And it shall be that he who flees from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit, and he who comes up from the midst of the pit shall be caught in the snare; for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth are shaken.

Ted Koppel, during a presentation he did on "Night Line" a year and a half ago, visited some of the prisons in our country and spent the night there.  He couldn't believe how loud it was, that he couldn't sleep, everybody screaming at the top of their lungs.  He said on TV that he was shocked by how people just scream and whining all night long.  So even in our earthly prisons, people are screaming, how much more in Hell.  In Job 18:14 it says that the wicked ways of a man, a persons who rejects the Lord...

He is torn from the security of his tent and marched off to the king of terrors.

The devil is certainly the King of terrors. 

(Desolate in Hell)
I was now outside the cell and I looked this direction and as I looked this way I could see there was flames of fire, about 10 miles away from me.  I knew it was 10 miles.  And a pit of fire, about 3 miles across, had flames that lit up the skyline enough to see the landscape of Hell just a little bit.

The darkness was so heavy; it just eats up any light.  But there was enough to just see some of the skyline.  It was all brown and desolate!  I mean absolutely not one green leaf, not anything of life of any kind, just stone, dirt and black sky, and smog in the skylight.  The flames were really high, so I could see it.  There was a scripture in Deuteronomy 29:23

The whole land is brimstone, salt, and burning; it is not sown, nor does it bear, nor does any grass grow there, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger and His wrath.

There is no life whatsoever in Hell.  It is so strange to be in a world where there is no life.  Here we enjoy trees and fresh air, but there it is absolutely all dead.

The heat was so intense, you can even describe it.  It says in Deuteronomy 32:24

They shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.

Jude 1:7

as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. 

Psalm 11:6

Upon the wicked He will rain coals; Fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup. 

That's what is going on in Hell, it is so hot.  All these things should kill you, but you don't die!  You had to keep enduring all these things.  I wanted peace of mind, to get away from the screams and to get out of there.  It's like when you want to go home at night, when you had a rough day, you just want peace of mind.  But there you endured all the screaming and all the torment.  And you never ever get away from it, ever.  In Isaiah 57:21 it says:

"There is no peace,"  Says my God, “for the wicked.”

You are also naked in Hell.  It is just another thing to have to endure.  Shame!  In Ezekiel 32:24 it talks about shame in the pit.

There is Elam and all her multitude, all around her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who have gone down uncircumcised to the lower parts of the earth, who caused their terror in the land of the living; Now they bear their shame with those who go down to the Pit.

And in Job 26:6

Sheol is naked before Him, and Destruction has no covering.

That means God can see into Hell, so it is observable to Him.  But also you are naked in Hell, just another thing you have to go through.

There is no water in Hell, at all, no water.  There's no humidity in the air and no water of any kind.  It is so dry; you are desperate for a drop of water, just one.  Just like the scripture says in Luke 16:23-24,

And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  “Then 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.’

Abraham said, "Son remember", and then he went on to talk about his brothers.  He wanted him to just dip the tip of his finger in water, just to get one drop.  That would have been precious, one drop, but you never, ever get a drop.  It's hard to imaging how dry your mouth is.  If you can imagine doing a marathon run through Death Valley and having cotton in your mouth and staying there for days, and it just continues like that, just dry, absolute, desperate for a drop of water. 

Another thing this scripture revealed to me was we knew there was a great gulf fixed between them, in Hell; between Paradise and Hades.  And the rich man saw Abraham far off.  In the natural, how could he recognize Lazarus and Abraham?  First of all he never met Abraham and then to see someone that far away, you wouldn't really know who they were.  But there are just certain things you know in Hell.  You understand, like I was saying, the depths, how far away and so forth.

Then one of the demons grabbed me, and drug me back into the cell and began all these torments again, which I really hate to talk about, because I don't like to have to re-live the torment.  They began to crush my skull.  One demon grabbed me and tried to crush my head.  I was screaming and begging for mercy, but no mercy!  About this time they each grabbed an arm and a leg and were about to tear off my legs and my arms.  I thought, "I can't endure this, I can't endure this!" 

(Next to the Pit)
And all of a sudden, something grabbed me and pulled me out of this cell.  I know it was the Lord, but then I didn't know that.  I was there as an unsaved person, so I didn't know these things.  I just went there as if I had never accepted the Lord.  I was placed over next to the fire that I had seen.  I was standing along side that pit.  I was beneath a cavern, like a giant cave, with a tunnel going up. 

Along side the fire I could see through the flames, just enough to see bodies, people in the fire screaming, screaming for mercy, burning in this place!  And I knew I didn't want to go in there.  The pain I'd endured already was bad enough, but the heat from that flame I knew was worse.  These people were begging to get out.

There were these big creatures lined all around the edge of this Pit, and as the people crawled up trying to get out, they would be shoved back in to the fire and not allowed out.  I thought, "Oh, this place is so horrible, so horrible and horrendous.

All this is going on at the same time.  You're thirsty, you're hungry, and you're exhausted.  You don't get to sleep in Hell either.  You need sleep just as you do now.  Your body needs sleep.  Rev 14:11 says,

And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night,...

You never get to sleep.  You can imagine how that is, never sleeping. 

Regarding the water, in Zechariah 9:11,

...I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.

Absolutely no water in Hell. 

I knew that Hell's location is in the center of the earth.  That's were it's at, in the center of the earth.  I understood that I was about 3700 miles deep in the earth.  We know that the earth's diameter is 8000 miles.  Half way would be about 4000.  I was about 3700 miles down.  In Ephesians 4:9 it says that Jesus descended into the lower parts of the earth. 

In Numbers 16:32 says,

and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods.

That's were Hell is right now.  Later Hell and Death will be cast into the Lake of Fire and then cast into Outer Darkness.  That's after Judgment Day, but right now it is in the earth. 

I was along side this pit of fire and I saw all these demons all lined up along the walls, all sizes and shapes of every kind, deformed, ugly creatures, you can imagine.  They were twisted, deformed creatures, huge ones, small ones.  There were giant spiders, huge spiders this big. (5 feet tall)  Rats, snakes and worms, because the Bible talks about worms that cover thee (Isaiah 14:11).  There are all kinds of abominable creatures everywhere and they seemed to be chained to the walls.  I wondered "Why are these things chained to the walls".  I didn't understand that, but there's a scripture on that in Jude 1:6 says,

"And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;"

And so maybe that's what I saw, I don't know, but that is what it appeared to be.  I was glad because I didn't want them to get to me.  They all hated me with a passion!  That was another thing I didn't understand, they weren't just creatures, they had hatred towards mankind.  So I was glad they were chained to the walls.

I began to ascend up this pit in this tunnel, and to leave the flames.  Soon it got darker, but I could see all these demons along the walls and they had such awesome power.  I thought, "Who could fight off these creatures.  No one could fight these things."  But yet, that fear was so overwhelming, I just couldn't even stand the tolerating this fear. 

(No Hope)
The worse thing in Hell, the worse thing, worse than all the torments, was I understood that, first of all, that there was life going on up here on the earth.  And that people up here, most people, had no idea that this world even existed down here!  They don't even know this is a real world down here and there's billions of people suffering and begging for one chance, if they had an opportunity to get out.  But they never get a chance to get out, and being mad at themselves for not taking the opportunity to have received Jesus, that they are stuck there forever. 

This is the worse thing about Hell, that there was absolutely no hope of ever getting out.  I understood that.  I grasped eternity.  I could understand eternity.  Here on earth, we can't quite, can't get a hold of it.  But there I understood it.  I knew I would be there forever and ever, and had no hope of getting out.  I thought about my wife.  I could never get to my wife!  I've always told her that if we were ever separated by any kind of earthquake or something horrible, I said "I'll get to you.  I will find you.  I'll get to you if we're ever apart."  But here I couldn't get to her.  I could never see her again.  She would never have any idea were I was, and I just could never ever talk to her again.  That thought just absolutely bothered me terribly!  To not be able to talk to her, get to her, and for her not to know where I was, and have no hope to ever get out!  You understand, you never get out of here, ever!  See on earth there's always hope.  Even people in concentration camps had a hope of getting out, or dying at least, to get out of it.  But we've never experienced a totally hopeless situation.  In Isaiah 38:18 it says,

"Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth."

No hope, and the truth is Jesus.  He is the truth. 

(Jesus appears)
About this time, I'm going up this tunnel, and I'm just in absolute fear, hopelessly lost, and fearing these demons.  All of the sudden, just all of the sudden, Jesus showed up!  "Praise you Lord", Jesus showed up.  This bright light lit up the place.  I only saw His outline, the outline of a man.  I couldn't see his face, it was so bright.  I just looked into this light and saw His outline.  And I just fell on my knees and collapsed.  I couldn't do anything but worship Him.  I was so grateful.  One second ago I was lost forever, and now all of the sudden I'm out of this place, because I had already known Jesus.  Those people can't get out, but I could because I was already saved.  I knew and understood that there was no way out of this place, only by Jesus.  He is the only way to keep from going to this place. 

In Rev 1:6 it says John, when he went to heaven, he saw Jesus, that His countenance was as the sun shining in its strength.  And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet as a dead man.  That's just how I did.  I fell at His feet like a dead man.  Now you would think that I had a million questions to ask him, but when you're there, all you can do is worship Him and praise His Holy Name, and thank Him for what He saved us from. 

When I got my composure, at least enough to start forming thoughts, I thought about saying to the Lord, I don't even think I asked Him out loud, I just thought it and He answered me.  I said, "Lord why did You send me to this place?  Why did you send me here?"  He said to me "Because people do not believe that this place exists."  He said "Even some of my own people do not believe this place is real."  I was shocked at that statement.  I thought every Christian has got to believe in Hell.  But not everyone believes in a literal burning Hell.  I said Lord "why did you pick me?"  But He didn't answer me on that question.

I have no idea why He picked me to go there.  I'm the least likely to go to this place.  My wife and I hate evil movies.  We hate anything bad.  I don't even like the summer time, much less heat.   It's filthy.  There's no order.  It's all chaos and disorder and disgusting.  And I love everything orderly and excellent.  He didn't answer me on that question.  He said to me, "Go tell them that I hate this place, that it's not my desire for one of my creation to go to this place, not one!  I never made this for man.  This was made for the devil and his angels.  You have to go and tell them!  I've given you a mouth, you go and tell them.

I thought to myself, "but Lord, they're not going to believe me.  They're going to think I'm crazy or had a bad dream."  I mean wouldn't you think that?  As I thought this the Lord answered me and He said, "It's not your job to convince them.  It's the Holy Spirit’s job!  You just go and tell them!"  And it was just inside, "Yes Sir!"  Absolutely, I have to go and tell them."  You can't worry and fear what man is going to think of you, you just have to go and do it and let God do the rest.  Amen?  And I said, "Lord, why did they hate me so much?"  "Why did these creatures hate me?"  He said, "Because you're made in my image, and they hate me."  You know the devil can't do anything against God.  He can't hurt God, per say, but he can hurt His creation.  That's why the devil hates mankind, and deceives him into taking him into Hell.  And he inflicts diseases upon him, anything he can do to hurt God's creation.

(The Peace of God)
And then God flooded me with His thoughts.  He let me touch a piece of His heart, of how much He loves mankind.  Unbelievable, I couldn't even take it.  It was so overbearing.  The love He has for man, you can't take it in this body.  You know how much we love our wives and our children?  Well the love we have can't even be compared to the love God has for us.  His love is infinitely greater than our love and our ability to love.  It's just the same as it says in Eph 3:19, ”...to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge...”  It goes so far past knowledge, you can't even grasp it.  I couldn't believe how much He loved mankind, that He would die for just one person to not go to this place.  And it hurts Him so much to see one of His creation going to this place.  It pains the Lord, He weeps to see one person going.  And I felt so bad for the Lord. 

I felt His heart, He let me just touch a piece of His heart. He felt such sadness for His creation going there.  And I thought "I've got to go out and witness and take every last breath I have and go tell the world about Jesus, How good He is."  I mean, we have the gospel.  It's good news.  It's good news, and the world doesn't know.  They have to be told!  You know, we have to share this knowledge.  People just have a lack of knowledge in this area.  God wants us to share with them how good He is, and how He hates this place.

He said to me also, "Tell them I am coming very, very soon."  And He said it again, "Tell them I'm coming very, very soon."  Now I think, why didn't I say to him, "What do you mean Lord?  What's 'soon' to you?"  That's how we think.  But I didn't ask.  You just don't think to ask those things then.  You just want to worship Him so much.  The peace of God that comes over you being next to Him is unexplainable.  I've been in anointed services, but there is no comparison to the love and the peace of God you feel being next to Him. 

And then I looked up and I saw those demons on the wall, that were so ferocious, they looked like ants on the wall!  They just looked like ants!  They were still big, but with the power of God next to you, all of God's creative power, they looked like ants on the wall.  I couldn't get over it.  I thought, "Lord they're just ants!"  And He said, "You just have to bind them and cast them out in my name."  I thought "boy, the power He's given the church."  These things that were so ferocious, we were no match for a devil without Jesus, none.  They're ferocious, but with Him, they are nothing!   A boldness rose up in me right then, when I saw these creatures I felt like saying, "you creatures were the ones torturing me, wanting to tear me apart?  Come on!  Come on now!"  Maybe a little bit of my flesh rose up or something, you know, I thought,”Jesus get 'em." 

(Leaving Hell)
As we left, we went up above the earth’s surface.  We went above, because we were still in a tunnel.  Soon I couldn't see it any more, but it was like a whirlwind, a giant whirlwind we were in.  We kept going up.  We had to go up, to get out of it apparently.  When we got to the top of it, I looked down at the earth and it was about this high.  The curve of the earth was like that.  It's awesome to look back at the earth!  I know God allowed that for me.  He could have left that tunnel any which way He wanted.  He knew in my heart, as a kid I always wanted to see what the earth looked like from space.  Maybe I watched too much Star Trek or something, you know?  I just thought it would be really neat to see the earth, and to see it hung on nothing.  Like the Bible says.  It says in Job 26:7,

He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.

As you look, you think, "What's holding this thing up?  What's making it turn so perfectly?"  God is in such control.  The power of God that flooded me, that He has, it's awesome.  He has so much power.  Every single thing is in His control.  Not a hair on your head falls to the ground that He doesn't know about.  Not a bird hits the ground that He doesn't know about.  I was flooded with these thoughts.  God has so much power.  It overwhelmed me.  There's scripture in Isaiah 40:22 that says the Lord sits upon the circle of the earth.  There I was upon the circle of the earth.  I even thought, "Lord, how come before Christopher Columbus they could have read that scripture and known the earth was round."  You know?  People wondered, they thought it was flat? 

Anyway, as we came back down we passed through the shields; I knew we were passing through the heat shield that was around the earth.  I just knew it.  I even thought stupid thought, here I am with God, and I thought, "I wonder how He's going to go through that shield?"   You know how in space they have to penetrate it at just the perfect angle.  We went through it with no problem what so ever.  No surprise!   I'm sure the Lord must have rolled His eyes and said 'I can handle that one'.  There is a scripture is Psalm 47:9 that says,

...For the shields of the earth belong to God...

He is in control of everything, everything.  I just didn't want Him to leave.  I just wanted to be in His presence.  We were coming up fast on California.  Just coming real fast, we were moving so quick, and came up to our house.  And I looked and I could see right through the roof of our house.  And I could see myself lying on the floor.  This really hit me strong, right here because I saw my body lying there and I thought, "That can't be me, I'm here, this is me!"  You know, you've never seen two of yourself.  Here I was laying there and I thought, "That's not really me."  And that scripture that Paul says, were we are just in a tent (2 Corinthians 5:1), that hit me so strong.  I thought "that's just a tent, that's nothing.  That's temporary.  This is the real me."  This is what eternity is all about.  That life that we worry about, it also hit me that we're a vapor, that life is just a vapor as in James 4:14 it talks about and how short this life is.  It's short.  A hundred years if you live, it's nothing!  It goes up like a vapor.  And I thought, "We’ve got to live for God."  What we do now, here, counts for eternity.  We've got to witness.  We've got to get out there and save the lost.  We can't worry about all these little petty things that we all get so tied up in and hung up on.  We need to really get out there and preach the gospel and the good news, because this is over real quick.

But I saw my body lying there and I thought it was just as if you got out of your car and looked back at your car.  That's not you, it's your car.  It just gets you around.  That's how it looked to me.  It just gets me around here on the earth, but this is the real me.  And I thought, "Lord don't leave, don't leave".  I just want to stay with You for a while. But He left.  I came up to my body, and something pulled me back into my body, like I was sucked back into my nose or my mouth. 

Right then, when He left, that's when all the fear, the torture, and the torment came back into my mind!  Because it says in the Bible (1 John 4:18), "Perfect love casts off fear."  So I was next to perfect love all that time, so that left me, and when He left, all of the sudden all of the fear and the horrors of Hell entered my mind.  I couldn't stand it, I couldn't stand it!  I was screaming.  I was in agony.  I couldn't live with it.  I knew that this body was not capable of withstanding that kind of fear.  You can't hold up under that kind of pressure.  Your body isn't strong enough.  So that's when I prayed and I was able to pray, "Take it out of my mind!"

In the natural, you would have to go through all kinds of counseling to get through this kind of trauma, but God took it out, instantly took it out, the trauma.  He left the memory, but took the trauma and the fear out.  I was so grateful. 

Anyway, after this, so many things happened, I wish we had time to go into all that God confirmed would happened to me. 

If there's someone here tonight, that doesn't know the Lord; you have to ask yourself a question.  You have to say, "Do I believe these people, that what they saw is real, all these people and myself?”  But more importantly, what the Word of God says about Hell.  Do you want to take that chance and say, "No I don't believe it, I don't believe that's real."  You have to throw out all the Word of God, and all of us trying to tell you.  Are you willing to take that chance with your whole eternity?  That would seem pretty foolish to me.  You can't let the devil deceive you.  That big creature in the end there, that was laughing. (shown in the video)  That's how the devil would be when you got to Hell.  He would laugh, because you had an opportunity to receive the Lord and you missed it.  But once you're there, there is no turning back.  There's absolutely no turning back.  You would be there lost for ever.

You might be saying to yourself.  "I'm pretty good.  I'm a pretty good person. I don't deserve that place."  And you probably are pretty good, compared to most people.  But that's not what you need to compare yourself to.  We need to compare ourselves to God's standard.  His standard is so much higher than ours.  He says in the Word that if you lie once, just once in your whole life, that makes you a liar.  If you've stole one thing in your life, a paper clip, a couple minutes of your boss's time, anything, just once.  That makes you a thief.  If you were angry without cause, if you didn't forgive someone that did something wrong against you, if you lusted after a women, any of these things, if you just did it one time, that makes you a sinner, and you can't make it to heaven.  So you see all of us come short.  We all fall short and can't get there on our own works.  Titus 3:5 says,

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us...

Amen, so it depends on how you compare.  It's like a woman that saw a flock of sheep on a hill, and they were all so white and beautiful against this hill.  She said, "Look at those white sheep, look how beautiful they look, so white."  She went to bed and overnight it snowed.  She looked up the next morning and saw the sheep and they all looked dull, dingy and gray compared to the white snow.  So we need to compare ourselves to God.  His standard is way higher than ours.  So we have need of a Savior.  We can't get there on our own.  God made it a free gift.  He said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man come unto the Father but by Me."  He's the only way out of this place. 

So if there's anyone here who doesn't know the Lord, anyone here who really has never asked Jesus to be Lord and Savior of your life.  You never really came to that point where you really had to voice it out your own mouth and ask Him to come into your life, would you stand up?  If there's anybody here would you stand up now, for Jesus?  Don't let the devil, that creature laugh at you.  Stand up now, when you have the chance, cause you don't know how much time we have.  You don't know that you might die tomorrow, and end up in that place. 

Let me tell you, that place, just the heat alone would be horrible to endure.  Those people that we saw jump out of the New York towers.  They held hands and jumped.  How horrible that must have been.  You know if you've ever been up high and looked down, to jump would be unthinkable.  But they had to face that heat.  And that was only for about five seconds, it would have incinerated them and that was about two thousand degrees.  Scientists say that in the center of the earth is about twelve thousand degrees.  So you have to endure that for eternity.  If you're willing to go through that, that would be awfully foolish.  Now is the time....

(announcer speaking)
The Bible is real plain, we are all sinners, and whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.  Jesus said if you will confess me before men, publicly, then I will in turn; confess your name before my heavenly Father and the Holy angels.  But if you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father.  I want to ask you to do something.  If you've never publicly, in front of other people, if you've never publicly declared Jesus Christ as your Savior, and made Him the Lord of your life, or if you're unsure whether heaven is your eternal home, remember Jesus hung naked on a cross, in a market place, he hung there for you, He endured your shame.

If you'll pray this prayer from the depths of your heart, God will save your soul, and He'll give you an opportunity in the not to distant future for you to make it public.  Pray with us, especially those who are in the congregation and know you should.  "God I believe in You.  You are my Creator.  I am a sinner.  I sinned in many points, willfully, and unconsciously.  I've fallen short.  I've missed the mark.  I'm stained with sin.  Jesus I believe in You.  You are the eternal Son of God.  You're the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, who takes away my sin.  I believe You died on a cross.  Shedding Your innocent blood for my guilty soul.  I believe You were buried and on the third day You arose.  You are alive forever more.  I call You my Lord.  I call You my Savior.  I give You my life.  I will love You, serve you for the rest of my days.  I belong to You, the good parts, the bad parts, the sinful parts, all my plans, all my dreams, I give everything to you.  Thy will be done in me.  I believe I'm saved.  Not by good works, but by faith, by trusting in You.  In Jesus I pray.  Amen."


That response is perfectly appropriate.  The Bible says heaven has no greater joy than when one sinner repents.  And we only know a pale example of what goes on in heaven when it witnesses what you've done today.  I want to address the rest of you, and then I'm going to drop out of this.  I want to give an alter call for those of us who've witnessed this.  We're really most fortunate to hear brother Bill tell what he experienced.  I'm going to issue a challenge to you and I really would warn you, don't accept this unless you're ready for some activity of the Spirit in your lives.  I'm not trying to be flippant, I'm just saying don't make this your confession unless you really mean it, and here's what it is.  It's got two parts.  One, I will no longer fear the face of man.  The biggest single inhibitor to us acting like you really know there's a Heaven and there's a Hell.  I will no longer fear the face of man.  Two, I will talk to everyone I know, the rest of my life about Jesus, and Heaven, and Hell.  That is a huge commitment.  Every person I know who reached people for Christ came to these two points of commitment.  Why else have a relationship with anyone, if not to share with them the glorious good news that saves their soul from Hell.  It's a felony in the Spirit to know someone, to converse with them, to entertain yourselves with them, to enjoy their presence, and never tell them that, without Christ, they are going to Hell.  Every relationship is to be a doorway to communicate the truth that you've witnessed today.  That's logical.  If you're not ready to do that, I understand.  But if you're ready to make those two commitments, if you agree, say this to God, "God I believe in You.  I believe in Jesus Your Son, Your precious Holy Spirit.  I receive the challenge of the hour.  I declare of myself, this is my confession.  I will no longer fear the face of man.  I will not concern myself with the opinion of man.  My reputation is of no importance.  I hate the fear of man.  I will tell everyone I know for the rest of my life about You Lord Jesus.  About Heaven and a place called Hell.  I step over the line.  I will no longer be indifferent, preoccupied, not caring.  I accept Your word.  I will not fear, and I will speak up.  This is my confession to Almighty God."  Raise up Your army God, all over this city, nation, and world, a people who have rightly discerned the times in which they live.  A people who have come to understand eternity is the next moment away, to see with clarity into the glory of Heaven and the horrors of Hell, and order their priorities to obey God.  Now, we ask for grace.  They've made a bold confession God.  Without Your grace, it will not come to past.  We believe Your grace is sufficient to do what the word of God tells us to do.  Grace, Grace, Grace upon Your people here, in JESUS name.

B. An adventist perspective of hell
This is probably the best explanation of hell you will find anywhere from the other side of the fence.  This perspective is shared by other churches also; but I no longer buy into it. There is now too much evidence of a literal dark, pungent, burning hell that exists today. Use www.justbible.com to check the references. The following is part of the "Discover the Bible" series found at  http://www.net98.org/discover , a free online 26 lesson series with very good information to get you headed in the right direction. 

In July of 1976 Gary Gilmore walked into a gas-station and shot the attendant, a student at Brigham Young University.

The next evening he forced a young motel clerk at gun-point to hand over some cash. Then Gilmore asked his victim to kneel and shot him in the back of the head.

Most Americans thought this was one man who deserved to die for his cold-blooded murders. But when a Utah judge sentenced him to death by firing squad, the whole nation plunged into controversy. Because of a Supreme Court ruling, no one had been executed in the U.S. for almost a decade. The gas chambers and electric chairs had been idle and the prospect of reactivating them bothered a lot of people.

Right-to-life lawyers tried desperately to find grounds for a stay of Gilmore's execution, even though Gilmore said he wanted to die. Groups against the death penalty protested loudly, calling it an inhumane "paganistic ritual." Others affirmed the value of the death penalty as a deterrent to individuals who might kill in cold blood. A few men actually phoned the Utah state prison warden, asking to join the firing squad.

And so the debate raged on. Was it right for the state to kill Gary Gilmore? Was he beyond redemption? What was the most humane way of executing condemned criminals? Some thought an injection with a lethal drug would be the most painless. Others maintained that life would end more quickly by hanging.

But in all this discussion, in all this passionate debate over the death penalty, there was one option no one considered. No one suggested that Gilmore be tortured to death. The man had a long criminal record. He had cruelly ended two lives. He seemed hopelessly pathological. But still, no one even among the most vocal supporters of the death penalty proposed that Gilmore pay for his crimes with physical agony. No one, for example, insisted he slowly burn to death.

But many sincere Christians assume that our Heavenly Father will do worse than that. The wicked, they say, must be tortured in order to pay for their sins. And what's more, they picture God's execution grounds as a place of endless torment, a place where the agonies of the damned continue forever.

Just what does happen to the wicked in hell? And how does their final fate fit in with God's love and justice? Let's look for biblical answers in this Discover guide.

The following is an Adventist view of hell although it is supported by other churches also. As of today, I do not buy into this version of hell. There is too much evidence that a literal hell exists today and is receiving occupants today. But I post this for your perusal in fairness to showing both sides of the issue.
If you spend some time at www.spiritlessons.com and read the stories of people who went to hell and came back to tell about it; it will leave you with grave doubts about this version of hell. In fact at the bottom of this version
  here  I will post for you a short sermon version of the book "23 minutes in hell" which may be much closer to the truth than what is presented here. 

1. Jesus' Final Heartbreak

For 6,000 years God has been pleading with men and women to turn toward him and be rescued from sin. The prophet Ezekiel conveys a typical appeal:

"As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live."-Ezekiel 33:11. (Unless otherwise noted, all Scriptural texts in the DISCOVER guides are from the New International Version of the Bible [NIV].)

Jesus continued the same appeal during His ministry on earth:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened [by sin], and I will give you rest."-Matthew 11:28.

When Jesus cried out on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing," He laid bare His aching heart (Luke 23:34). Then He added, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). Soon afterward Jesus yielded up His life and died of a broken heart (John 19:30 and 34). The cross revealed how much God wants to rescue fallen humanity.

But even with this powerful demonstration of divine love, many individuals will still not turn to Jesus. And those who persist in holding on to sin will eventually be destroyed by fire. That will be a heartbreaking time for Jesus as He sees the fire consuming the ones He died to save.

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, NOT WANTING ANYONE TO PERISH, but everyone to come to repentance."-2 Peter 3:9.

Jesus wants all to be saved and escape the destruction awaiting the sin-polluted earth.

"The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and THE EARTH AND EVERYTHING IN IT WILL BE BURNED UP [margin]. . . . But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness."-2 Peter 3:10, 13.

As long as sin rules in this world, it will continue to multiply human misery. So sin has to be completely destroyed. If people refuse to let go of their sins, they will be consumed with them in "the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:14-15). Christ's final heartbreak comes when He must finally cleanse the universe of evil, put an end to sin, and destroy those who hold on to their sin, those for whom he died and longed to save.

2. Where and When Will Hell Burn?

Contrary to some popular conceptions, God doesn't have a fire burning now in some place termed "hell" where sinners go at death. Hell happens when this earth is turned into a lake of fire (2 Peter 3:9-13). The wicked don't somehow plummet into hell at the moment of death. God waits to carry out His sentence on the day of final judgment at the end of the 1,000 years (Revelation 20:9-15).

"The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment until the day of judgment."-2 Peter 2:9, margin.

He also subjects our planet to the purifying fire.

"The present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for THE DAY OF JUDGMENT and destruction of ungodly men."-2 Peter 3:7.

God never planned for any human being to end his or her life in the fires of hell. But when people refuse to break with Satan and hold on to their sins, they must finally receive the consequences of their choices.

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire PREPARED FOR THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS.'"-Matthew 25:41.

According to Jesus, when will hell burn?

"The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be AT THE END OF THE AGE [WORLD, KJV]. The Son of Man will send out his ANGELS, and they will WEED OUT of his kingdom EVERYTHING THAT CAUSES SIN AND ALL WHO DO EVIL. THEY WILL THROW THEM INTO THE FIERY FURNACE, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father."-Matthew 13:39-43.

The weeds, the evil-doers, aren't burned until the end of the world. Before this sentence is carried out, the whole universe must be assured that God has been fair in his dealings with every human being. In the great controversy going on between Christ and Satan, Satan has been attempting to prove to the universe that the way of sin is the better way; Jesus has been demonstrating that the way of obedience is the key to a more satisfying life. This demonstration will culminate in the judgment of Satan, his angels, and the wicked "at the end of the world."

At the close of the 1,000 years, after the angels have opened the records to reveal the part that each person has played in this great drama, God will throw Satan, death, and hell, along with everyone whose name "was not found written in the book of life . . . was thrown into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:15).

According to the next verse, Revelation 21:1, after God cleanses the earth from sin with fire, He creates "a new heaven and a new earth."

3. How Long Will Hell Burn?

Many believers have assumed that the fires of hell last forever, resulting in eternal torment. Take, for example, the picture of hell once painted by Jonathan Edwards:

"Hell is now a place of torment where Almighty God blows the flames of fire through you forever. You cry for mercy and jingle the chains of your misery, but God sits defiant, grim and wrathful upon His throne, His jaw set, enjoying the torture of the damned."

Few believers today take much comfort in this gruesome depiction of a wrathful God. But many still accept the idea of an eternal hell because they've been told that's what the Bible teaches. Let's look carefully at texts which describe God's treatment of sin and sinners.

"He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be PUNISHED WITH EVERLASTING DESTRUCTION and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power."-2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9.

Please note that "everlasting destruction" is not the same as "everlasting torment." It simply means, a destruction that lasts forever, an eternal death. The effect of everlasting destruction is everlasting death. Look at what Jesus Himself said about hell:

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."-Matthew 10:28.

According to Jesus, both soul and body are killed, destroyed in hell. In His Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus talked about the fate of humanity at the end of the age, He spoke of the narrow gate "that leads to life," and the broad road "that leads to destruction" (Matthew 7:13,14).

In the most well-known text in the Bible, John 3:16, Jesus explains that God "gave His one and only Son," that those who believe might not "perish, but have everlasting life." Two fates are contrasted: everlasting life and perishing.

From these passages of Scripture, we must conclude that hell results in the death of the wicked. That is, in fact, what clear statements throughout Scripture tell us. "The wicked will be cut off" (Psalm 37:28), they "will perish" (2 Peter 2:12), "they will vanish-vanish like smoke" (Psalm 37:20), they "will be completely cut off from among his people" (Acts 3:23).

The apostle Peter spoke of the day of judgment and the "destruction of ungodly men" (2 Peter 3:7). The apostle Paul said of those who'd become enemies of Christ: "Their destiny is destruction" (Philippians 3:19). Scholars tell us that the Greek word translated "destruction," is the strongest word that could be used to mean utter loss of existence.

The purpose of the final punishment, the lake of fire, is to rid the universe of sin, not to preserve sin forever. It is extremely hard to imagine that the Christ who wept over the fate of stubborn Jerusalem and who forgave those who put Him to death, would be able to spend eternity watching over the agonies of the damned. The Bible assures us that hell definitely has an ending:

"Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and EVERY EVILDOER will be stubble, and that day that is coming WILL SET THEM ON FIRE, . . . THEY WILL BE ASHES UNDER THE SOLES OF YOUR FEET."-Malachi 4:1, 2.

The wicked will not burn throughout eternity. The fire will reduce them to ashes, resulting in eternal separation from God. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23), not eternal life in hell-fire.

At the end of the 1,000 years, every sinner, inspired by the devil, makes one last determined effort to defeat God and capture the New Jerusalem (Revelation 20:7-10). It's then that God rains fire down from the skies and eliminates Satan, sin, and those who persist in holding on to their sins.

"Fire came down from heaven and DEVOURED them."-Revelation 20:9.

Some imagine that descriptions such as: "their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:48), indicate that the fire goes on tormenting and the worm of conscience keeps gnawing away at the damned forever. But Jesus' words in Mark are a quotation from Isaiah 66:24. Isaiah was picturing a gruesome scene where worms or maggots were eating the flesh of corpses and fire consuming the bodies. The point is utter, complete destruction. The worm doesn't die, the fire is not quenched-until they have done their work and nothing is left. According to Jesus, this fire is "unquenchable" (Matthew 3:12). No fire brigade will be able to put it out until it has done its work of complete destruction.

 God promises that, out of this cleansing fire, a purified new earth will emerge as the home of the saved:
"The past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my eyes. 'Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. . . . I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.'"-Isaiah 65:16-19.

What a day that will be! Every cause for heartache will have vanished. God will erase the wounds of sin from every heart and "the former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind." Our happiness will be complete, and Jesus' heart can again expand with joy over His people.

4. "Forever" In Scripture

Now let's turn to several texts which, to some, seem to suggest an eternally-burning hell. Many believers find the idea of endless torment abhorrent, but see no way around it because of the way certain texts have been interpreted.

We have already seen that the "eternal punishment" Jesus speaks of in Matthew 25:46 is not unending burning, but "everlasting destruction" (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The punishment and its effect are indeed "everlasting"-they result in everlasting death.

Another scripture that troubles people is Matthew 25:41 where Jesus speaks of "the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." Doesn't "eternal" here suggest hell is forever? Well, let's examine the same phrase in other passages.

Jude 7 presents Sodom and Gomorrah "as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire." Obviously those cities aren't still burning. But the fire WAS eternal in the sense that it resulted in permanent destruction. 2 Peter 2:6 clearly points out that the Eternal God "condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly." The ungodly of Sodom and Gomorrah are not still in agony over in the Holy Land. The cities and their inhabitants were reduced to ashes long ago. And yet the fire that burned them is "eternal" in its consequences-permanent destruction. Remember the distinction: eternal means permanent punishment, not punishing.

Because the book of Revelation uses such vivid, symbolic language, some of its passages have been misunderstood. For example, Revelation 14:11 says of the lost, "the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever." This certainly sounds like endless suffering. But, again, let's let Scripture interpret Scripture.

The prophet Isaiah used the same language in speaking of God's judgment against wicked Edom. He said, "Her land will become blazing pitch! It will not be quenched night and day; its smoke will rise forever" (Isaiah 34:9,10). The land of Edom is not still burning today. The fire went out a long time ago. God was using poetic language to emphasize the thoroughness, the utter destruction, involved in this judgment.

Exodus 21:6 in the KJV speaks of a servant's having his ear drilled through as a sign that he was to serve his master "forever." In this case "forever" would be as long as the servant's life would last, so the NIV translates the word "forever" as "for life." Jonah, who spent three days and three nights in the belly of the whale (Matthew 12:40), reports that he was there "forever" (Jonah 2:6). No doubt three days in the slimy darkness did seem like forever.

So we must be careful to understand how and when Scripture uses symbolic, poetic language. The smoke ascending forever from the lake of fire is a vivid way of expressing eternal destruction. Revelation 21:8 tells us plainly that the lake which burns with fire and brimstone "is the second death." Hell has an ending. The wicked are consumed; they die; they perish; they are destroyed.

5. Why Must There Be a Hell At All?

In the beginning God created a perfect world. But sin came in and brought disaster, decay, and death. If you returned home some evening and found your house ransacked and wrecked, would you leave it that way forever? Of course not. You would sweep out the dirt and rubbish, clean the place from top to bottom, and throw away furniture ruined beyond repair. God will do the same. He will take care of the wreckage and pollution of sin once and for all, creating a new earth in its place.

But God faces a serious problem because sin not only wrecked the physical world, it also infected people. Sin damaged our relationship with Him and with each other. Humanity continues to be plagued by child abuse, terrorism, pornography, and a thousand other cancers of the soul. God must someday destroy sin, because sin is destroying people. God's dilemma is this: how to eliminate the deadly virus of sin from the world and yet not destroy all the people infected by it? His solution was to take on the virus in His own body; He allowed the cancer of sin to destroy Him at the cross. As a result:

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and PURIFY US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS."-1 John 1:9.

God offers His solution to the sin problem freely to everyone. But the sad fact is, some won't take the cure. Some insist on clinging to the disease of sin and remain riddled by it. And God will not force people to choose His way of eternal life. Those who reject His solution will finally be consumed by the disease. The real reason for hell is this:

"For I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. You did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me."--Isaiah 65:12.

Cut off from Jesus, the Source of Life, by their own choices, the wicked will discover that the only alternative is eternal death.

6. What Will It Cost To Be Lost?

Even though the Scriptures do not teach that the fire of hell results in endless suffering, it does give us a glimpse of what a terrible experience it is to be lost.

"God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled. . . . This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. THEY WILL BE punished with everlasting destruction and SHUT OUT FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD."-2 Thessalonians 1:6-9.

The wicked are going to miss out. They're going to miss out on eternal life, "shut out from the presence of the Lord." That's why there is such "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 22:13). What a horror it will be to realize that the joy of eternal life with God has slipped through your hands, that you'll never, ever experience the bliss of perfect, loving relationships throughout the ages.

When Christ hung on the cross with the world's sins separating Him from the Father, He felt the agony of the eternally lost. As the wicked look into the black void ahead of them, they see only eternal destruction. They must die with no hope of a second resurrection. At the same time they see how they repeatedly pushed Christ away when He came near with overtures of love. In the end they fall to their knees and acknowledge God's justice and His love (Revelation 15:4; Philippians 2:10, 11).

No wonder Bible writers urgently press on us the weight of our choices and the claims of Christ.

"We urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For he says, 'In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.' I tell you, NOW is the time of God's favor, NOW is the day of salvation."-2 Corinthians 6:1-2.

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."-John 3:17.

I can think of no greater tragedy than someone wasting the priceless sacrifice of Jesus by choosing to be lost. No wonder Jesus said,

"I tell you that . . . there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."-Luke 15:7.

The alternatives facing us are starkly clear: eternal destruction-an eternity excluded from the presence of God, or an eternal friendship with Christ that fulfills our deepest longings. Which do you choose for yourself? Why not discover your destiny in Christ today?

Dear Father of mercy, love, and justice: I am so thankful Jesus loves me and gave His life for me. Help me just now to place myself on the side of salvation and life everlasting, and not on the side of eternal death. Prepare me to be one of those who kneel in adoration at the feet of Jesus when He is crowned King of kings and Lord of lords. Make me true to You and obedient to Your Word and to all Your commandments. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

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