Home > Commentary, Questions > Going to Hell as the Watchmen Sleep

Going to Hell as the Watchmen Sleep

The end of chapter 20 in Revelations details how the dead in Christ will one day stand before the Great White Throne in judgment.  The books will be laid out and the details of the lives of those who lived a life apart from Christ will be used to pronounce a sentence that is hard to fathom.

I began the class I was teaching with this question:

Do you believe in a literal heaven and a literal hell as detailed in the bible?

There were about 20 adults in attendance and everyone of them said, “Yes”.

Chapter 21 of the same book begins with a description of the new heaven and earth that those alive in Christ will enter.  I don’t think its an accident that those two different views are juxtaposed so closely together.  As believers we can sit and daydream about what heaven will be like and know with a certainty that our expectations aren’t even a hint of the beauty and perfection that we will witness one day.  We will be in the presence of God, the provider of everything Good.  There will be no more sorrow, tears, or pain.  We will have gained everything.

But before those set of verses that bring us such joy are those verses that detail how the souls of the lost will be cast into the lake of fire.  We can’t soften it or philosophize it away.  Eternal suffering instead of eternal joy awaits those who have rejected Christ.  They will never experience anything good again…. EVER.   They will spend eternity dying in the misery of knowing that they missed eternal joy.  I believe that they will also dwell on the pain of standing before a righteous and holy God with no excuse for the sins committed in their lives.  As much as we cannot fathom the perfection of heaven, I don’t believe we can fathom the complete and utter horror of standing before God in that moment knowing the wretchedness of our sins.

I also don’t think we can fathom the hopelessness that hell will be.

Christ had this to say about believers:

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ “

How many people that we claim friendship with or are family to, are walking the path that leads to eternal damnation?  Their futures are on a collision course with fire and we have the ability to impact them because we contain ‘rivers of living water’.

Are our hearts broken before God for those we love?  Or those we meet on a day-to-day basis?  Truly, are we justly moved to action by a factual belief of what awaits those who will face God guilty in their own sins?

Are you?

Here is the thing, our motivation is not about helping people escape the fires of hell, though that is a great blessing,  nor is it about gaining the splendors of heaven. Revelations chapter 21 verse 7 says this:

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Do we live like we believe that we hold rivers of living water that lead to an inheritance of all things?  Do we reflect the joy that should envelop us when we consider that last phrase, ‘and I will be his God, and he shall be my son’?

We can offer everything, through Christ, to those who have nothing.

  1. June 9, 2009 at 1:05 am

    John Bevere’s Driven By Eternity opened by eyes to the reality of just how void hell is. I would always have answered “yes” to the literal heaven/hell question, but I hadn’t considered it as closely as I did after that study.

    And this is a great summary of that truth – we can truly offer everything through Christ. Wow.

    • June 10, 2009 at 2:46 pm

      So why are we so afraid to offer everything to people who have nothing?

      • June 10, 2009 at 2:53 pm

        I know – I just don’t get it.

        We must be so full of ourselves, so deceived by Satan’s lies, so scared of making a fool of ourselves, or something, that the free gift of life eternal just isn’t enough to overcome our self-absorption.

        Just typing that makes me sad. How can we say that we have surrendered ourselves to Jesus, made Him Lord of our lives, and yet not do the most basic of things He asks of us??

      • June 10, 2009 at 3:34 pm

        Here is a scarier thought.

        What if its not really about any of those things that you mentioned and its really that we just don’t truly believe. What if we equate the whole faith thing to nothing more than the same space that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny take in our lives.

        No one lives differently when underneath they believe it to be a fairy tale.

  2. June 10, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    I think I just didn’t want to write that………

    Though I think the root of the unbelief is due to the lies of Satan anyway. I could be wrong about that of course.

  3. June 11, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Or to put those comments ‘another’ way…

    “What’s dis ‘WE’, Honkey”?? 😯


  4. June 11, 2009 at 8:33 am

    here’s another thought from yet another perspective…

    Instead of being so ‘damn’ sure we’re gonna get the reward of eternal life in Heaven when we finally kick the bucket and make half-hearted attempts at believing we have Faith…

    How about we all act like we’re certain we are all doomed to hell and do whatever it takes to try to dig our way outta that place and ‘deserve’ a second chance and finally wait in uncertain Hope that we made it come That Day, when He, and NOT we, get to decide who’s IN and who’s OUT!?

    or does that not make us feel all that good about ourselves either?


    • June 15, 2009 at 6:03 pm

      I don’t know that there is a biblical precedent for living a life of indeterminate eternity as Peter instructs us to give a reason for the Hope that we have. I don’t think that Hope is a wishful type of thinking but one of being assure in the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I think we miss that point…. the work of the Holy Spirit.

      That doesn’t mean that we are to sit back on our laurels and just let things fall as they will because we have our ticket. In fact, those of us who believe we have that assurance of the Holy Spirit should feel more compelled to impact other people’s lives around us in the hopes that they too can know that assurance of the Hope that we have.

  5. June 16, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    i agree with the assurance of our Hope…

    i don’t agree we should act like that guarantees us a place IN because many people have their hope in the wrong place and they can’t see it.

    Hope is not the same as Certainty Certainty denies Hope as it implies a guaranteed outcome without the need for any ‘hope’. What, i wonder, exactly is ‘Certain Hope’??

    Sometimes being certain you’re the one who is right is the biggest sin of all.

    Particularly, if in meeting others WE make them ‘wrong’ (or even make them feel like they are somehow in the wrong) because they are not doing what we are, the way we are.


  6. June 16, 2009 at 3:18 pm


    I believe, like you, that there is a huge difference in our assurance of salvation and our certainty of doctrine. The mere fact that we walk around with questions should be enough of an indicator that we don’t have it all figured out yet and that what we think we have figured out may be off-base.

    That is even more of a reason for person-to-person grace AND a commitment to be studying scripture. I don’t believe that there is one way to DO church… I do believe that there is only one church that has a sole hope in the one savior.

    Paul was wise in his describing the church like a body… a thumb will never conduct its purpose like the heart. Both are important to the overall health of the organism. I understand that a body can survive much, much longer without its thumbs than it can without its heart but things go easier when the thumbs are attached. Its also worth mentioning that an infection in the thumb, left untreated, can cause sickness in the whole body.

    As to making people feel wrong, that was never our job, but the Holy Spirit’s leading in understanding of scripture. However, that doesn’t mean that believers should sit quietly on the sidelines if something is occurring which is purposed to be glorifying to God but goes against biblical teaching that is easily understood. In those cases, it is not the person who is condemning the situation but the word of God. I know that is a ‘landmine’ statement because people can take up the banner that all they are doing is speaking for God.

    So there has to be love in the message which speaks to the intent and the approach taken when dealing with matters that fall into this category.

    It ain’t easy.

  7. June 17, 2009 at 6:39 am

    ‘It ain’t easy.’

    i could not agree more! 🙂

    while we do agree in many areas that you mention in the comments, i guess what i was getting at most was the whole ‘is it me or is it the world (or both?)’ that is what we need to do the most ‘work’ on so as to bring ‘our’ world closer to Him.

    i’m saying it is mostly ‘us’ that is largely the one ‘in the wrong’ and because of how ‘wrong’ we are ( in our own understanding) that largely determines how wrong we see the World out there (and other people) as being.

    That can make it extremely difficult to lead people to His Truth sometimes when most (other) people see the person and not the God.

    We are the light of this world.

    and why do we easily see the speck in our brother’s eye before removing the beam from our own?

    have i wandered a little from the original post’s track/pathway? 🙂


    • June 17, 2009 at 1:48 pm

      No.. I think your responses are good because they call attention to things that may keep us from being effective in our ability to pour forth living waters. When we are busy trying to build dams in our lives it can be difficult to do that.

      Matt Chandler’s church just had an podcast on church discipline and why it is good and necessary. My belief is that we confuse church discipline with personal condemnation and lose the benefit of the first. We must be careful how we conduct ourselves so that it is not us wishing to make the change in another person but the Holy Spirit.

      Again, it ain’t easy.

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