"Abstract Hell"

Today: Psalms 38:13-22; Luke 8:1-18; Numbers 27:12-23; Numbers 28; Numbers 29:1-11

Luke 8 – Demoniac of Gerasenes

After Jesus rebuked the storm and it became calm, the disciples “were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?'” (v.25) Even after witnessing so many of Jesus’ miracles, the disciples still did not understand who Jesus was. If they had known that God Himself was sleeping in their boat, perhaps they wouldn’t have been so afraid of the storm.

On the other hand, the legion of demons, who possessed the man from Gerasenes, knew exactly who Jesus was. “What business¬† do you have with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” they screamed at Him. They had a completely valid reason to fear. Demons are rightly terrified of God. He is the only one who can banish them into hell (“the abyss”). Hell is so bad that even the demons don’t want to go there. They begged Him to let them enter a herd of pigs instead.

There is a movement among some Christian circles today that denies the existence of hell. Even some theological seminaries today teach that hell is not real. I dabbled with this denial for a time myself. I didn’t want to believe such a terrible place could exist. But I had an epiphany several years ago when reading this passage in Luke 8…

Jesus believed in hell.

Jesus believed in demons and in Satan. He talked to them and about them. He talked about hell. Jesus definitely believed in hell.

If I was going to believe and follow Jesus, then I had to acknowledge that hell is real.

And here’s something else… there are people who, even when confronted by God face to face, even when they completely understand the truth of heaven and hell, will STILL CHOOSE hell instead of spending eternity in God’s presence. I can’t comprehend how it is possible. But it is. Satan did it. Satan knew exactly who God was. He knew the truth yet He still chose to reject God. I don’t believe that God SENDS anyone to hell. They choose to go there by rejecting God.

I doubt that hell is full of little red devils running around poking people with pitchforks. Jesus described it as a “furnace of fire” (Matt. 13:50) where the “worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:48) That does not sound like a pleasant place. I cannot say exactly what hell is like but I can tell you that I believe hell is real.