The Pain of Hell

JESUS SPEAKING

                “Therefore as the tares are gathered together and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.  The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness.  And will cast them in to the furnace of fire; where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Mathew 13: 40-42.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Tares are weeds that disguise themselves as wheat in the early stages of growth.  These parasitic imposters infected the wheat fields of many 1st century Judean farmers.  They unknowingly cultivated tares with their wheat.  When the tares had matured enough to be identified they could no longer be removed (the roots were inseparable.)  Tearing up the weeds would damage the surrounding crops.  The farmers had no choice but to allow them to grow together until the harvest.  During the reaping season the farmers cut the stalks and collected and stored the wheat; the weeds were uprooted and burned.  In this world, the wicked and the just live side by side; but the harvest day approaches; a day of judgment dawns on the horizon.  In that day God will separate the evil from the good; those who have obeyed His commands will live forever with Him in paradise.  Those who have denied Him and practiced evil will be gathered together and burned in hell.  Hell is a place where “there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”  Very few things can produce enough pain to cause a person to gnash their teeth (un-medicated amputation; stomach trauma; compound fractures; large kidney stones, etc.)  Gnashing is a symptom of extreme suffering; the brain, overwhelmed by pain, flexes the jaw muscles, forcing the teeth together.  Only those who have experienced gnashing can truly comprehend the level of misery that awaits those who deny God.    

                June 28th, 2011, was a day I will never forget.  Early in the day, I began to feel a slight gnawing pain in one of my teeth.  I finished my shift in the church office and began picking up friends for a Tuesday night bible study I taught in my backyard.  Before arriving home, I stopped off to pick up some oral anesthetic.  Although it initially relieved the pain, it did not stop its progression.  I was able to teach the study, stopping from time to time to put more gel on my tooth.  After concluding the message, we began the sharing portion of our discussion.  The pain had become so great I excused myself briefly and headed inside.  I pulled ice from the freezer and put it to my jaw (no relief.)  Desperate, I held an ice cube directly against the afflicted tooth (no reprieve; the pain continued to increase.)  I stammered back and forth in my living room, slobbering, drooling, and wincing in pain; I didn’t want the men outside to know just how bad my pain truly was [for an instant I remember thinking back to all of the movies I’ve seen where a spy facing torture had said something like, “No matter what you do to me, I won’t talk.”  In that moment I knew how ridiculous such a claim was […] I was experiencing a level of pain that would open the lips of any spy.]  The pain overwhelmed me, and I staggered to the backyard, unable to hold my posture or composer; I announced that I was going to the emergency room.  A friend recognized that I couldn’t drive, and offered to take me.  As we raced to the hospital every red light made my heart sink.  My muscles were clinched and my body contorted.  I drooled, and moaned, and my legs began to shake.  I imagined getting to the ER, storming past the nurses’ station, and demanding that someone, anyone, give me something to stop the pain (Thankfully when we arrived, God gave me the grace to act properly.)  When I was taken to the back I was given something for the pain, and I returned home.  Much to my delight, the very next day the dentist cleaned out my infected tooth.  Throughout my ordeal, I had done quite a bit of “wailing and gnashing of teeth.”  The suffering had been so great that the idea of running out in front of a bus had actually crossed my mind.  The hope of relief and the knowledge that the pain would end is what allowed me to hang on; I’m not sure what I would have done without medical attention.  Unfortunately, the same or greater pain awaits those who enter hell.  They will wail and gnash their teeth without hope; there will be no escape from their pain; no redemption; no death; no one to save them from their unending misery.

                Eternal suffering is not a popular discussion topic (but it is an essential one.)  Hell is a very real place, created by a very real God; it cannot be avoided by denying that it exists.  Embracing, acknowledging, and fearing the pain of eternal torment arouses fear of the Eternal God.  Do you fear Him today?  Do you fear Him enough to obey Him?  Show me an unmarried couple going to church and sleeping together, and I’ll show you two people who have lost the fear of God.  Show me an atheist, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t know his true destination.  Show me someone who entices other people to deny God, or to fall in to sin, and I’ll show you someone who has no understanding of the terror and misery that eagerly awaits.

                “Lord Heavenly Father we fear You.  We desperately desire to avoid the agony and pain of hell.  By the power of Your Holy Spirit, help us to serve You, to obey You, and produce fruit for You.  We want to do Your will, and Your good works in this place; but without You we cannot.  Give us the strength, the desire, and the ability to do good and not evil, and to enter in to Your eternal kingdom.  We love You Father, we praise You, we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.  

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