"So it will be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth,
and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will cast them into
the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth"
The doctrine of hell is one of the most neglected doctrines in all of Scripture.
When hell is mentioned today, it is generally ridiculed, as if the whole
idea of hell were so old-fashioned that only the naive and ignorant would
really believe that such a place actually exists. This is not hard to understand.
Natural men hate the idea of being held accountable for their lives to a
holy God, because they love sin and do not wish to part with it. The carnal
mind throws up objection after objection to the idea of hell because it
does not want to face the reality of it. Men live their lives thinking that
maybe if they ignore a difficulty long enough, it will go away. Even conservative
religious leaders are now attacking hell. Let men do what they will, the
frivilous objections of the foolish will not do away with hell.
Amid the clamour to annihilate hell, those who believe the Bible to be true
must stand and speak. Your consideration of the terrors of hell may be one
of the most important things you can do in this life. "Then he who
hears the sound of the trumpet, and does not take warning, and a sword comes
and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head" (Ezekiel 33:4).
Please, I implore you, invest the time it takes to read this chapter and
book to the end.
Why should we be so concerned about hell? Why should we spend time reading
about hell? There are several reasons why it is profitable to do so:
1) Hearing about the terrors of hell may shock your conscience and awaken
you out of your false security.
2) Hearing about hell helps to deter men from committing sin. Both the godly
and the ungodly are persuaded not to sin as much when they are regularly
reminded of the terrors of hell.
3) Hearing about the terrors of hell may help to awaken those among us who
may think they are saved because they believe in Christ or the facts of
the gospel, but who are not really saved and are on their way to hell, but
don't know it.
4) Preaching the doctrine of hell is profitable to both the godly and the
ungodly alike, as will be demonstrated.
Why aren't people fearful of hell? There seems to be a real lack of fear
today of the reality of hell. This applies to both those who are in the
church and those who are in the world. People are not afraid of hell. Why?
You would not be afraid of a lion when it is only painted in a picture upon
a wall. Why is this? Because it is only a picture. You know that it is not
real. But if you were left alone in a jungle and came face to face with
a real lion that growled ferociously at you, you would be terrified. The
consciences of men are much like the man who only views the painted lion.
We hear of hell in the Bible. We know that the Lord Jesus spoke of hell.
In fact, Christ spoke more of hell than anyone else in the Scriptures. Why
do men not believe hell is real? Because they do not hear enough about it.
We don't study what the Scriptures say about hell. It is not just what we
hear which makes up what we believe, it is what we don't hear as well which
helps to form our belief system. Only the Spirit of God can present the
terrors of hell to our hearts in such a way as to see them alive before
us. The doctrine of hell has been used by God more often to the conversion
of sinners than any other doctrine in the Scriptures. Pray now that as you
read this chapter the Holy Spirit will set hell before you as real indeed.
THE NECESSITY OF HELL
Most who scoff at hell today probably do so for several reasons. Primary
among them is a desire to pursue their own paths of sin without having their
consciences troubled about the consequences of their actions. They do not
want to hear that what they are doing is wrong. They do not want to hear
that their sin will be punished. I can hear someone say, "But isn't
eternal torment in hell inconsistent with a merciful and loving God? How
could a good God punish people in hell forever?" A misunderstanding
of the character of God and the nature of sin can easily lead to such questions.
Why is hell necessary? Let us examine several reasons for the necessity
1) The Great Evil in Sin and the Holiness of God. The difficulty most people
have in understanding the necessity of hell is related to an incomplete
and inadequate understanding of both how awful sin is and how glorious God
is. We do not see what a great evil is in the least sin, nor do we understand
God's holiness, His justice, and His wrath. If we saw sin as the greatest
evil in the world and realized that every sin is a rejection of God's rule
over us, a sneering at Him, a shaking of our fist in His face, and a hurling
of dung at Him, we would begin to understand a small bit of what our sin
is like to God. Every time we sin, we either set ourselves, or a pet lust,
up in our hearts as a rival god. Sin rejects the Creator as God and sets
up the creature in His place.
If we could comprehend God's holiness and what it means to be holy, pure,
perfect, upright, and untainted by the least sin, we would have a better
idea of why God hates sin so much. Absolute holiness cannot tolerate the
least sin, "Thine eyes are too pure to approve evil, and Thou canst
not look on wickedness with favor" (Habakkuk 1:13). If we could understand
the glorious holiness and purity of God and also the abominable nature of
sin more, then we would have no problem with the absolute necessity of hell.
"The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick;
who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). The human heart is sick. The
human heart is wicked. The human heart is deceitful. The corruption in the
heart causes us to be deceived about the awfulness of sin as well as many
2) God's Infinite Nature. In understanding what our sin is really like,
we must view it through the eyes of God. God is an infinite, eternal being.
Every act of sin is committed against an infinite, holy God. In every act
of sin we dethrone God and set ourselves above God. In every sin this question
is the issue, "Whose will shall be done, God's will or man's? Now,
man by sin sets his own will above the Lord's, and so kicks God as filth
under his feet."1 A single act of sin committed against a holy, infinite
God deserves infinite punishment. It is an infinite evil to offend an infinite
God even once.
3) Divine Justice. Even one sin against God calls for God to vindicate His
name and His justice by punishing it as fully as it deserves. God can and
will vindicate His justice. He promises to do so in Romans 12:19 where it
says, "leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, `Vengence
is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'" One of the greatest preachers
that ever lived, Jonathan Edwards, wrote, "The glory of God is the
greatest good; it is that which is the chief end of creation; it is of greater
importance than anything else. But this is one way wherein God will glorify
Himself, as in the eternal destruction of ungodly men He will glorify His
justice. Therein He will appear as a just governor of the world. The vindictive
justice of God will appear strict, exact, awful, and terrible, and therefore
A DESCRIPTION OF HELL
Hell is a furnace of unquenchable fire, a place of everlasting punishment,
where its victims are tormented in both their bodies and their minds in
accordance with their sinful natures, their actual sins committed, and the
amount of spiritual light given to them, which they rejected. Hell is a
place from which God's mercy and goodness have been withdrawn, where God's
wrath is revealed as a terrifying, consuming fire, and men live with unfulfilled
lusts and desires in torment forever and ever.
In Matthew 13:47-50 the Lord Jesus tells a parable relating to the judgment.
In verses 49-50, the Lord describes the fate of the wicked: "So it
will be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth, and take out
the wicked from among the righteous, and will cast them into the furnace
of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
In examining these words of the Lord Jesus we should first notice that hell
is described as being a furnace of fire. Nebuchadnezzar's furnace was heated
seven times hotter than normal and is described as "a furnace of blazing
fire" (Daniel 3:23). John the Baptist spoke of "unquenchable fire"
and Revelation describes hell as "a lake of fire burning with brimstone"
(Revelation 19:20). Can we really imagine the horror of which these words
speak? Imagine every part of your body on fire at the same time, so that
every fiber of your being felt the intense torment of being burned. How
long could you endure such punishment? Christ tells us that "there
shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." The lost will wail and gnash
their teeth from having to endure the most intense pain and suffering they
have ever felt as the flames consume them and constantly burn every part
of their bodies. And there will be no relief.
Jonathan Edwards describes in graphic language what the fires of hell will
be like: "Some of you have seen buildings on fire; imagine therefore
with yourselves, what a poor hand you would make at fighting with the flames,
if you were in the midst of so great and fierce a fire. You have often seen
a spider or some other noisome insect, when thrown into the midst of a fierce
fire, and have observed how immediately it yields to the force of the flames.
There is no long struggle, no fighting against the fire, no strength exerted
to oppose the heat, or to fly from it; but it immediately stretches forth
and yields; and the fire takes possession of it, and at once it becomes
full of fire. Here is a little image of what you will be in hell, except
you repent and fly to Christ. To encourage yourselves that you will set
yourselves to bear hell-torments as well as you can, is just as if a worm,
that is about to be thrown into a glowing furnace, should swell and fortify
itself, and prepare itself to fight the flames."3
Hell is also described as a place of darkness. The Lord tells us of the
guest without wedding clothes who was cast "into outer darkness"
(Matthew 22:13). Jude writes of those in hell "for whom the black darkness
has been reserved forever" (Jude 13). Christopher Love says in his
work Hell's Terrors: "darkness is terrible, and men are more apt to
fear in the dark then light: hell is therefore set forth in so terrible
an expression, to make the hearts of men tremble; not only darkness, but
the blackness of darkness".4
Hell is compared to Tophet in Isaiah 30:33. Tophet was the place where the
idolatrous Jews sacrificed their children to the heathen god Molech by casting
them into the fire. Day and night shrieks and howls were heard in that place,
as day and night shrieks, howls, and wailing are heard in hell.
Isaiah speaks of "the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone"
setting hell ablaze. There is good evidence from the Scriptures that God
Himself will be the fire in hell. Hebrews 12:29 says, "Our God is a
consuming fire." The ungodly on earth ignorantly dance for joy when
they hear pastors speak about the love and mercy of God, but they will be
the beneficiaries of neither, unless they repent. To them God will be an
all consuming fire. Hebrews 10:30-31 warns: "For we know him who said,
`Vengence is Mine, I will repay,' And again, `The Lord will judge His people.'
It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
It is a fearful thing, it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of
the living God! You shall not escape hell, sinner. God will be your hell
and His wrath will consume you and be poured upon you as long as He exists.
"Who understands the power of Thine anger?" (Psalm 90:11). It
is because God Himself will be the fire in hell that words cannot possibly
express the terrors of the damned in hell. "There is no reason to suspect
that possibly ministers set forth this matter beyond what it really is,
that possibly it is not so dreadful and terrible as it is pretended, and
that ministers strain the description of it beyond just bounds...We have
rather reason to suppose that after we have said our utmost, all that we
have said or thought is but a faint shadow of reality."5
In Luke 16:19-26 Christ tells us of two men. One of them was rich (he has
traditionally been called Dives); the other man was poor (his name was Lazarus).
Both men died. The poor man was carried by angels to heaven and the rich
man went to hell. The rich man did not go to hell because he was rich, nor
did the poor man go to heaven simply because he was poor. The Lord shows
us through this contrast that our circumstances may change drastically when
we pass from time into eternity. We are not to be fooled that just because
God may not have dealt harshly with us here, that he will not do so after
death. The eternal abiding place of both men resulted from the condition
of their hearts before God, while they were on earth. Lazarus was a true
follower of God. Dives was not. We want to carefully note what the Scriptures
tell us about Dives and his condition, for from that we may learn much about
hell. Verses 23-24 indicate to us that Dives is "in torment."
What does it mean to be "in torment?" This torment refers to both
torment in body and torment in soul as well. As we have seen, men's bodies
will be tormented in a furnace of fire. Every part of the body will feel
the pain of that fire. Men with severe stomach pains can be in great agony
from that alone, but this pain will be far greater. Death from cancer is
sometimes said to cause extreme pain in the body, but the pain of hell will
be far worse. If your body were afflicted with many different and painful
diseases all at the same time, you still would not begin to approach the
pain of the damned in hell.
Men's consciences shall be in torment in hell as well. Conscience is the
worm that will not die which the Scriptures speak of (Mark 9:48; Isaiah
66:24). Dives is told to "remember that during your life." Men
will be tormented with extreme pain, but they will also be tormented by
their own memories. They will remember hearing of hell and scoffing at it.
They will remember being warned and told to repent or told that accepting
the blessings of heaven without submitting to Christ as Lord falls short
of salvation, but they took no heed to those warnings. They will be tormented
by seeing at a distance the glories of heaven (as Dives was able to do),
and knowing that for all eternity they will be damned. They will be tormented
by unfulfilled desires and unfulfilled lusts (Dives is not able to receive
even a drop of water to cool his tongue). They will be tormented by the
knowledge that they will never escape from hell (Dives is told that "neither
can you pass to us"). They will be tormented by the cries, shrieks,
and curses of the damned around them. The most extreme torments a man can
experience on earth will be like flea bites compared to the torments of
Jonathan Edwards speaks of men unable to find even a moment of relief in
hell in his sermon on The Future Punishment of the Wicked: "Nor will
they ever be able to find anything to relieve them in hell. They will never
find any resting place there; any secret corner, which will be cooler than
the rest, where they may have a little respite, a small abatement of the
extremity of their torment. They never will be able to find any cooling
stream or fountain, in any part of that world of torment; no, nor so much
as a drop of water to cool their tongues. They will find no company to give
them any comfort, or do them the least good. They will find no place, where
they can remain, and rest, and take breath for one minute: for they will
be tormented with fire and brimstone; and they will have no rest day nor
night forever and ever."6
The most terrifying aspect of all about hell is its length or duration.
Hell is eternal. Hell will last forever. Can you comprehend eternity? No
mathimatical equation or formula can explain it. Your mind cannot conceive
of eternity, but it is none the less real. This aspect of hell alone should
cause men to cry out in repentance. It is not surprising that skeptics of
all ages have attacked the eternal nature of hell, substituting doctrines
like the annihilation of the wicked in its place. Let us look at the Scriptures
to verify the eternal nature of hell and to try and understand eternity
better. Then we will explore why hell must be eternal.
"And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and
brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will
be tormented day and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20:10). This
verse clearly gives us the duration of hell. Hell is forever and ever. How
could a stronger, more certain expression be used? If the Spirit of God
wanted to communicate the eternal nature of hell to men what could communicate
it better than the expression "forever and ever?" The Scripture
has no higher expression which is used to denote eternity than "forever
and ever" for it is the very phrase used to tell us of the eternal
existence of God Himself, as in Revelation 4:9: "to him who sits on
the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever." Does anyone doubt that
God will live to all eternity? How then can you doubt that hell will not
last to all eternity when the same expression is used for both?
"We can conceive but little of the matter; but to help your conception,
imagine yourself to be cast into a fiery oven, or a great furnace, where
your pain would be as much greater than that occasioned by accidentally
touching a coal of fire, as the heat is greater. Imagine also that your
body were to lie there for a quarter of an hour, full of fire, and all the
while full of quick sense; what horror would you feel at the entrance of
such a furnace! and how long would that quarter of an hour seem to you!
And after you had endured it for one minute, how overbearing would it be
to you to think that you had to endure the other fourteen! But what would
be the effect on your soul, if you knew you must lie there enduring that
torment to the full for twenty-four hours...for a whole year...for a thousand
years! Oh, then, how would your hearts sink, if you knew, that you must
bear it forever and ever! that there would be no end! that after millions
of millions of ages, your torment would be no nearer to an end, and that
you never, never should be delivered! But your torment in hell will be immensely
greater than this illustration represents."7
Christ, describing the great day of judgment, tells of the separation of
the wicked and the righteous using these words: "And these will go
away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life"
(Matthew 25:46). Is there anyone who would deny that heaven exists eternally?
Will the lives of the blessed in heaven be brought to an end one day? Of
course not. But the same Greek word is used here in this verse to speak
of the eternal life of the righteous and the everlasting punishment of the
wicked. Hell will last as long as heaven does.
In hell there will be different degrees of torment appointed to men as indicated
by a number of Scriptures. Luke 12:47-48 says: "And that slave who
knew his master's will and die not get ready or act in accord with his will,
shall receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed
deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few." Christ says in Matthew
11:24: "Nevertheless I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for
the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you." The verses
in Matthew indicate that the people in Capernaum will receive a greater
punishment on judgment day than those who had lived in Sodom. The verses
in Luke speak of a differentiation in judgment based on the amount of light
received: some will receive many stripes and others will receive few.
Those who commit greater sins than others or more sins than others will
receive greater punishment in hell (John 19:11). Religious hypocrites, those
who profess Christianity but are not real Christians, will be punished more
severely than others (Matthew 23:14-15). The Lord said of Judas Iscariot,
"It would have been good for that man if he had not been born"
(Matthew 26:24). How could any of these things be said to be true if annihilation
were what awaited men after death? The presence of different degrees of
punishment only makes sense in light of the ability to sensibly feel the
torment. Could it be said that it would have been better for Judas if he
had never been born if annihilation was all that awaited him? Annihilation
is like no punishment at all.
Each time the unbeliever sins he is adding to his torment in hell. The person
who sins twice as much as another with similar light will receive twice
as much punishment. Every day that sinners continue to live and breathe
here on earth without repenting, they are adding to their torments in hell.
Romans 2:5 tells us: "But because of your stubborness and unrepentant
heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation
of the righteous judgment of God." The Lord Jesus encouraged the righteous
to lay up treasures in heaven rather than on earth. The wicked are increasing
their future wrath and torment in hell every day by their continued sinning.
They add to their punishment daily. In hell men will wish that they had
never been born.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon said: "In hell there is no hope. They have
not even the hope of dying--the hope of being annihilated. They are forever--forever--forever
lost! On every chain in hell, there is written "forever". In the
fires there, blaze out the words, "forever". Above their heads,
they read, "forever". Their eyes are galled and their hearts are
pained with the thought that it is "forever". Oh, if I could tell
you tonight that hell would one day be burned out, and that those who were
lost might be saved, there would be a jubilee in hell at the very thought
of it. But it cannot be--it is "forever" they are cast into the
Christopher Love uses an illustration to try and help us understand what
eternity means: "Suppose all the mountains of the earth were mountains
of sand, and many more mountains still added thereto, till they reached
up to heaven, and a little bird should once in every thousand years take
one (grain of) sand of this mountain, there would be an innumerable company
of years pass over before that mass of sand would be consumed and taken
away, and yet this time would have an end; and it would be happy for man,
if hell were no longer than this time; but this is man's misery in hell,
he shall be in no more hope of coming out after he hath been there millions
of years, then he was when he was first cast in there; for his torments
shall be to eternity, without end, because the God that damns him is eternal."9
Earlier we looked at the necessity of hell or why there must be a place
like hell. Now we will look at why hell must not only exist, but why it
must exist eternally. Why is it necessary that hell be eternal? There are
several answers to this which we shall explore briefly.
The first reason we will look at is the one mentioned by Christopher Love
in the passage just quoted. The God who damns men is an eternal God. "Ultimately
the eternality of hell is based upon the nature of God."10 Is God's
Word eternal? Is God's nature eternal? The Scripture tells us: "Jesus
Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
"His righteousness endures forever" (Psalm 111:3). "The Word
of the Lord abides forever" (I Peter 1:24). If God's Word is eternal,
if God's righteousness is eternal, if God Himself is eternal, then why shouldn't
His wrath be eternal as well? As eternally existent, all of God's attributes
are eternal and immutable; therefore, hell, as an expression of God's wrath,
must be eternal.
Hell must be eternal because God's justice could never be satisfied by the
punishment of sinners no matter how long it lasts. Christ makes this clear
when He speaks about settling with your accuser before you get to court,
otherwise you shall be cast into prison and "I tell thee, thou shalt
not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite" (Luke 12:59).
Man can do nothing to pay for his sins. No amount of punishment in hell,
no matter how long, can ever atone for sins. It is impossible; therefore,
hell must be eternal.
Thirdly, hell must be eternal because the Scriptures tell us that the worm
which gnaws the conscience of men in hell never dies. "For their worm
shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched" (Isaiah 66:24).
If the worm never dies, then those being tormented by the worm shall never
Lastly, hell will be eternal because men continue to sin in hell. They increase
and compound their guilt there. Hell is a place where tormented men curse
God, curse themselves, and scream and wail with blasphemous language at
their fellow men around them. Wicked men will increase each other's torments
as they accuse, blame, and condemn one another. Men will not repent in hell
because the character of sinners does not change. They remain sinners. Men
will sin to eternity, therefore, God will punish them eternally.
APPLICATION TO BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS
The Old Testament prophets warn us repeatedly of the dangers of hell: "Who
among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?" (Isaiah 33:14, KJV).
"Who can stand before His indignation? And who can endure the burning
of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire" (Nahum 1:6). Sinner,
are you so arrogant as to think you can bear the wrath of God poured out
in full measure upon you? You may think that hell is not so hot and that
you will be able to bear it quite well. If you believe that you are more
than a fool. The terrors of hell cause the devils to tremble and are you
so foolish as to be unmoved by them or make light of them?
Do not think that simply because you go to church, or believe in God, or
believe intellectually in the truths of Christianity that you will escape
hell. The majority of those who regularly attend churches every week, all
over the world, will go to hell. Thomas Shepard, pastor and founder of Harvard
University, wrote: "Formal professors and carnal gospelers have a thing
like faith, and like sorrow, and like true repentance, and like good desires,
but yet they be but pictures; they deceive others and themselves too...most
of them that live in the church shall perish."11
You who profess to be Christians, but do not read your Bible much and pray
little: how shall you escape the damnation of hell? You who are not especially
bothered by little sins or troubled by the vain and filthy thoughts which
you have: are you ready to go to hell? You who think the kingdom of God
consists in a verbal profession of Christ or intellectually believing that
Jesus died for your sins, but who are not concerned with living a holy,
godly life and give little or no thought to God during the week: are you
prepared to endure the torments of hell, day and night, forever and ever?
You had better be, because if these things are true of you, you are headed
straight for hell, unless you repent. Do not delude yourself! Christianity
does not consist in words, or pious statements, or mere intellectual belief,
but in a new heart and a new life dedicated to not sinning and living for
the glory of God. If your heart and life have not been changed by God, you
are still in your sins. If you are living in known disobedience to the word
of God and are unconcerned about it, you have no right to assume you are
going to heaven: you are on your way to hell! Repent of all your sins and
turn to Jesus Christ and surrender to Him as Lord. Listen to the words of
Christ: "If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and throw
it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than having
two eyes, to be cast into the fiery hell" (Matthew 18:9). "Nothing
short of the complete denying of self, the abandoning of the dearest idol,
the forsaking of the most cherished sinful course--figuratively represented
under the cutting off of a right hand and the plucking out of a right eye--is
what He claims from every one who would have true communion with Him."12
But remember, the difficulty involved in forsaking all for Christ is nothing
compared to spending eternity in hell.
I do not believe anyone can be scared into heaven, but I do believe they
can be scared away from hell, so that they might begin to seek God with
all their hearts, and to beg Christ to have mercy on them. Men stand on
the brink of the pit of hell and are ready to fall headlong into it and
yet they are completely unaware they are in any danger. If hearing about
hell can cause otherwise senseless men to consider eternal truths, then
preaching about hell is valuable indeed. It is better to view hell now,
while you are living, and be terrified by it, than to have to endure hell
forever when you die.
I would not have you to be more afraid of hell than of sin. Sin is your
real enemy. Sin is worse than hell because sin gave birth to hell. Would
you be willing to go to hell for all eternity for the enjoyment of a little
pleasure and lust here on earth? Flee from sin! Flee from living for self
and self-pleasing to Jesus Christ. When you die it will be to late. All
opportunity to repent ends at death.
This doctrine is useful to the godly as well as the ungodly. The doctrine
of hell should stir up within the righteous a fear of God. A godly fear
is useful in many ways. The one who has a fear of God in his heart has a
greater respect for the commandments of God. He who truly fears God will
not fear men and would rather displease men than God (Isaiah 8:12-13). This
doctrine should increase your faithfulness and joy in Christ that you have
been delivered from the torments of hell and should likewise increase your
love for Christ who endured the wrath of God upon the cross for you.
The doctrine of hell should stir up within you a fear of sin. It should
cause us to fear even little sins and be careful to confess and forsake
sins of the heart and thought life also. Let the doctrine of hell keep you
from the practice of sin.
The doctrine of hell should help the godly to be patient under all outward,
temporary afflictions which come to them. No matter how great your afflictions
are in this world, they are far less than the torments of hell from which
the Lord has freed the godly. You may have to undergo lessor torments while
on earth, but remember they are only temporary and you have been freed from
the greatest of all torments so you may rejoice even in a time of affliction.
This doctrine is useful to motivate you to tell others of the message of
Christ. Eryl Davies wrote in his book The Wrath of God: "The eternity
of hell's sufferings should make us the more zealous and eager to tell people
of the only One who is able to rescue them. Do we shrink from declaring
these solemn truths? Does the thought of hell displease us? Remember that
God will be glorified even through the eternal sufferings of unbelievers
in hell. His injured majesty will be vindicated...What is supreme in the
purpose of God in the election and reprobation of men is His own glory,
and hell also will glorify the justice, power, and wrath of God throughout
eternity. In the meantime it is our responsibility to pray and work for
the salvation of sinners before such awful punishment overtakes them."13
I cannot leave without one final word to those who think they are converted,
but are not; and also, to those who know themselves to be unconverted. Can
you conceive of eternity? Stop now and try to imagine being tormented unceasingly,
forever, without end. Does this not terrify you? Never a chance for a moment's
rest. Never a drop of water to cool your parched throat. Think again of
how long eternity is. Try to imagine it: day and night, forever and ever,
burned with fire like a spider in a furnace of flames. Shrieking, howling,
wailing, cursing the day you were born, and being cursed by the devils and
damned souls around you eternally. Remembering, forever remembering, how
you were warned on earth and how you ignored those warnings: self-satisfied
and self-deceived that all was well with your soul. Job's wife told him
to curse God and die. Unless you repent and flee to Jesus Christ, who is
your only hope, you shall curse God eternally and be tormented by Him in
His presence in the awful fullness of His wrath, and you shall never die.
You shall never die. You shall never die! Eternity is forever!