I was standing in the grocery store checkout line when I saw Snookie on the cover of some national magazine. Snookie, a/k/a Nicole Polizzi, is a 24 year old cast member of the MTV reality show, Jersey Shore. She's in that strange celebrity category of being famous because she's famous. Like Paris Hilton.
Snookie is well known for her partying prowess, ability to tolerate vast quantities of hard liquor, her leather-like overly tanned skin, clown-like makeup and a mouth that could offend a sailor. The kind of girl you pray your son never meets. Anyway, the magazine cover showed her standing, cupping her pregnant belly with the joyful announcement: "It's a boy!" *sigh*
Lord have mercy, how far we've fallen! We're actually celebrating and glorifying a pregnant, unwed mother carrying a bastard son. Only thirty or forty years ago, this young 'lady' would have been shipped off in shame to a distant 'aunts' home for the duration of the pregnancy. Her baby would be adopted by an eager, upstanding married couple of the opposite sex, and she would have come home, kept her head down for a while and resumed her life.
No more! What happened to this country? The beginning of the end was when we took prayer out of schools and public life. We banish the Creator of the universe, but embrace some girl of questionable intellect whose moral compass is so skewed its needle is missing! And this is what we celebrate. Someone whose soul is completely lost, just like the vast majority of her fans.
What will eventually happen to the billions of people who refuse to accept the pardon from sin that Jesus Christ died to purchase for them?
Well, there are those who believe in heaven and think they'll go there after they die because they are 'a good person.' Then there are some who simply cannot believe a loving God would create hell, a horrible place of eternal torment, and send people there. How unfair! How mean! 'No, the God I believe in would never do that!' Or would He?
I'm sadly amused at the ignorant arrogance of that attitude, as if we puny mortals, formed out of the elements of the earth have any say over the decisions of the Creator. So what's the deal with hell? Does it exist? Is it as bad as church folks make it out to be? Is there really fire and little demons with pointy tails, jumping around, poking people with their red hot pitchforks? Well,yes and no.
Let me tell you two different stories of men who visited hell and returned to describe it. Although it's my opinion both testimonies are safe to believe, I know for a FACT that one of these eyewitness accounts is true! Stay tuned and I'll explain later.
On November 23, 1998, a Southern California man named, Bill Wiese went to bed, woke up at 3am and inexplicably found himself in hell. He was directed by Christ to write a book about his experience which is called, 23 Minutes in Hell, and I'll use some of his own words to describe what he saw and felt during that nightmarish experience.
He awoke to the sensation of falling and landed in a dimly lit, prison cell type of room, with walls of rough-hewn stone and a door of thick metal bars. Isaiah 24:22 "And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison."
By then, he was fully awake and noticed he was naked but otherwise, his body looked normal. However, one of the first things he felt was the heat; it was so unbearably hot that he was shocked his skin didn't disintegrate off his body.
The heat seemingly sapped his energy physically, mentally and emotionally. He was completely confused, trying to figure out where he was and how he had gotten there, when he realized he was not alone in the cell. Lifting his head, he saw two huge, horrifying beasts that were approximately 13 feet tall and were like nothing he had ever seen before!
He instinctively knew they were a physical manifestation of pure 'evil' and 'terror', both of who were staring at him with a hatred he had never imagined existed. They were bizarre creatures who looked like reptiles but in human form, having scales, gigantic teeth, long claws and razor sharp fin-like protrusions.
He could hear them conversing in a language he'd never heard; even so, he was able to understand the fantastically blasphemous words that spewed from their mouths, expressing extreme hatred for God. Suddenly, their attention turned towards him and he knew he was going to be the target of their hostility and rage.
He wanted to get up and run but was so weak he could hardly move, as if the weight of the world was pressing down on him and he somehow understood there would never be a moment of recuperation or respite from this condition. Psalm 88:4 "I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength."
All of a sudden, the dim light that had illuminated the cell vanished, leaving him in a darkness so profound he could literally feel its suffocating grip. Exodus 10:21 speaks of "darkness which may even be felt."
One of the creatures picked him up easily, as if he were a mere ragdoll. He was thrown up against the stone wall and crumpled to the floor, feeling like every bone in his body was broken. Strange thing was, he knew the pain should have been much worse and he wondered why he had not experienced the full brunt of the agony. He understood death would never be an option to escape the torture.
The second beast then grabbed him from behind in a bear hug and pressed his naked body into its chest, its sharp fins cutting into his back. It then sunk its claws deep into his chest and ripped the flesh downward into ribbons, dropping him onto the floor.
He realized they derived great pleasure from torturing him and his pleas for mercy only seemed to increase their desire to inflict maximum pain. Micah 3:2 "You who hate good and love evil, who strip their skin from my people and the flesh from their bones"
The mental anguish and fear of being trapped in complete darkness with these demonic beings was indescribable. They emitted an unnatural stench so foul, so putrid and toxic it made him nauseous. He was then dumbfounded to realize his terrible wounds were not bleeding at all!
Somehow, he managed to crawl to the doorway, which was cracked, and got out of the cell. For some reason, the creatures allowed him to leave. It took all his strength to stand and once on his feet, thoroughly exhausted, the fear, darkness, pain and heat continued to amaze him. It was then he began to hear the deafening screams of a multitude of people, crying out in torment.
As the noise seemed to penetrate his body, it was then he knew where he was. He thought to himself, "I'm in hell! This is a real place, and I'm actually here!" He could not comprehend why he would be in such a place since he'd always felt he was a good person. The fact that he was a Christian and knew God was temporarily kept from his mind so he would be able to experience the full horror of his circumstances.
The utter hopelessness and despair he felt was overwhelming because he knew he would never escape. As he looked off to his right, he could see flames in the distance, glowing like a dimly lit skyline. He automatically knew it was a gigantic fire, coming from a pit about a mile in diameter which was approximately ten miles away.
Even from that far away, the air was smoky and had a dirty, deathly, decaying smell and it seemed all the oxygen was being sucked up by the distant flames. He could hardly breathe, which exhausted him all the more. However, one of the very worst sensations he suffered was an insatiable thirst.
There was no water or even humidity in the air and he longed for just one drop of water! Nothing but complete dryness everywhere. Luke 16:24 "Send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame."
He desperately wanted to find someone, anyone to talk to but there was no one to turn to. He was alone in his misery. Ecclesiastes 9:10 "For there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave."
He states in his book, "All the memories of what a wonderful life I had enjoyed were now a world apart, just a thing of the past. There was no work, no goals, no wisdom and no opportunity to speak to anyone or solve any problem. All life was over, and a useless 'wasting away' permeated my being." He ached with longing for his beloved wife and mourned he would never see or talk to her again.
He continues, "However, to entertain such memories was futile and would only lead to bitter disappointment and total frustration. How could I accept the reality I was now faced with? It was a reality filled with an endless eternity of pain, loss, loneliness and dooma most miserable existence."
In an instant, he found himself next to that enormous pit of fire with raging flames that climbed high into a huge, open cavern. The heat was beyond unbearable and through the flames, he could see the outlines of millions of people. "The screams from the condemned souls were deafening and relentless. There was no safe place, no safe moment, and no temporary relief of any kind."
Revelation 14:11 "And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night."
These people were contained in a massive pit whose perimeter was lined with demonic creatures, preventing any hope of escaping the flames. He writes, "Without the ability to help even one defenseless, tormented soul, I felt the hopelessness deepen. To witness people in terror, in desperation and in unending torment was more than I could bear."
"Any form of rest is completely nonexistent. There is never any peace of mind. No rest from the torments, the screams, the fear, the thirst, the lack of breath, no sleep, the stench, the heat, the hopelessness and the isolation from people. I desperately wanted to talk to a human being, but I knew I would never get the chance."
He added, "You are kept from any kind of fellowship, conversation or human interaction. The innate, human desire to communicate, ask questions and relate with someone who shares in your suffering will never be fulfilled in hell." So much for partying with your friends
He was aware there were different levels and varying degrees of punishment but all areas were horrible and held no place of relief or comfort. Wiese states, "Any level, area, or degree of torment was much worse than any concept a mind can conceive."
Hebrews 10:28-29 "Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot?"
Very soon after this, he was met by Christ who restored his strength and rescued him from the pit. He was instantly aware that he did, in fact, know Jesus as his savior and would never experience that nightmarish existence again. He wondered to himself, "Why did You send me to this awful place?"
Jesus replied, "Because many people do not believe that hell truly exists. Even some of My own people do not believe that hell is real." Bill understood that it was, "out of His great love for mankind that He wanted them to know this place exists, so they could instead choose life with Him."
The last words Jesus said to Bill Wiese before he was returned unharmed to his home were these: "TELL THEM I AM COMING VERY, VERY SOON!"
Folks, hell is much more than a mere expletive or the subject of jokes. Unfortunately, it is a real, physical place with real, physical creatures and real physical, emotional and mental torment far beyond anything a movie producer or fiction author could produce. It is a subject only a complete fool would laugh off, and the opportunity to avoid it is quickly coming to a close.
This is only the first glimpse of hell I wanted to share with you. I'll tell you about the second encounter, the one I know for a fact is true, in A Glimpse of Hell: Part II
Donna Wasson is all of the following: Married. Mom. Hospice RN. Avid reader. Animal lover. Needing to spread the Gospel while there is still time.
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