GLMX #207: Heaven is Real and Hell is Real Too

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Heaven seems to be a pretty popular place nowadays. Books that tell the stories of those who have died, gone to Heaven, and come back to tell about it, fly off the shelves. The Heaven is For Real movie, based on the New York Times bestselling book of the same name, opened at number one at the box office when it was released. And, according to a Religion News Service article, 74% of Americans believe there is such a place as Heaven, and in another, recent survey, 62% of Americans say they are going there.

But what about Hell? Well, 59% of Americans believe Hell is for real and 1.5% of Americans say they are going to that place of torment after they die. Vassula Ryder, author of the best-selling book Heaven is Real but So is Hell, said, “The devil’s most powerful tool is convincing us that he — and hell — do not exist. He works subtly and silently, feeding our doubts and inadequacies, sowing dissension and creating chaos and confusion in our lives. Evil is real, and we have to know how to respond to it.”

Although we much prefer the pleasures and goodness of Heaven, we must accept that Hell, too, is for real. In fact, some authors have claimed that they have experienced Hell. In one book, A Day in Hell, the author writes, “Darkness enveloped me as if thick, black ink had been poured over my eyes… Reaching to my left and my right, up and down proved the black endlessness of my confines. Cold permeated my bones — an icy, water-type cold, in that it surrounded all of me, inside and out.”

In another book, 23 Minutes In Hell, the author said he was imprisoned in a tiny cell where demons viciously tore at his flesh. He said he experienced insatiable thirst while hearing “screams of an untold multitude of people crying out in torment.”

Perhaps because we do not like to be reminded of negative experiences, these books do not become as popular as books about Heaven. But that does not mean that Hell is any less real.

Another book, however — in fact, the bestselling book of all time — speaks extensively about Hell. Yes, the Bible tells us that Hell is a real place of eternal fire, eternal darkness, and eternal torment. In fact, it has often been observed that Jesus Christ, the loving, miracle-working Son of God, spoke more about Hell than any other Biblical figure. Listen to these words by Dr. Tim Keller: “Jesus speaks of ‘eternal fire and punishment’ as the final abode of the angels and human beings who have rejected God. He says that those who give into sin will be in danger of ‘hell fire’. The word Jesus uses for ‘hell’ is Gehenna, [which refers to] a valley in which piles of garbage were burned daily as well as the corpses of those without families who could bury them. In Mark 9:43, Jesus speaks of a person going to Hell where ‘their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ Jesus is referring to the maggots that live in the corpses on the garbage heap. When all the flesh is consumed, the maggots die. Jesus is saying, however, that the spiritual decomposition of Hell never ends, and that is why ‘their worm does not die.’ If Jesus, the Lord of Love and Author of Grace spoke about Hell more often, and in a more vivid, blood-curdling manner than anyone else, it must be a crucial truth.”

In light of this “crucial truth” — that Hell is for real — what will you do? Perhaps, you are one of those who has never taken discussion of Heaven or Hell very seriously. Well, now is the time to get serious. Now is the time for you to do what it takes to be certain that you are going to Heaven when you die.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Jesus is Lord” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

Kirsten Powers: How a Liberal Democrat and Former Atheist Came to Know Jesus Christ as her Savior (Gospel Light Minute #101)

Kirsten Powers
Kirsten Powers

She is a political analyst, blogger, columnist and commentator. She is a Democrat who regularly contributes to USA Today, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal among other publications. She formerly served under the Clinton administration from 1993-1998 and was appointed Deputy Assistant U.S Trade Representative for Public Affairs.

In an interview with Focus on the Family, she shares how she converted from atheism to Christianity. She said: “I was not looking to be a Christian. The last thing in the world I wanted to be was a Christian. I had grown up as an Episcopalian, but not evangelical, born again, or any of those kinds of things. It was very high church, kind of mainline, protestant, episcopalian. I did believe in God, but it wasn’t anywhere near what would come to happen to me later in life.

“When I went away to college, whatever little faith I had, I lost. I ended up graduating from college. I worked in the Clinton administration. All my friends were secular liberals. At this point, I really got even more deeply into an incredibly secular world because now, all my friends were basically atheists, or if they had any kind of spirituality, they were very hostile towards religion, Christianity in particular. So, I really didn’t have any interest in it.

“I started dating someone who went to Tim Keller’s church, Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City. Out of curiosity, I went with him. But I told him upfront that I would never become a Christian; that it’s never going to happen. After about six or seven months, I began to think that the weight of history is more on the side of what [I was hearing at this church] than not. Tim Keller had made such a strong case, that I began to think it’s not even smart to reject this. It just doesn’t seem like a good intellectual decision.

“Really, it was like God sort of invaded my life. It was very unwelcome. I didn’t like it. Obviously, I started having a lot of different experiences where I felt God was doing a lot of things in my life. It’s kind of hard to describe, but I did have this moment where the scales just fell off of my eyes, where I was saying, ‘this is just totally true, I don’t even have any doubt.’ …I don’t really feel like I had any courage when I became a Christian, I just gave in. I wasn’t courageous; I didn’t have any choice. I kept trying to not believe but I just couldn’t avoid [accepting Christ]. If I could have avoided it, I would have. There is nothing convenient about it in my life or in the world I live in. It’s not like living in the South where everybody is a Christian. I live in a world where nobody is a believer. But God pursued me.”

Her name is Kirsten Powers.