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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What Really Should Scare Us

Illustration by: digitalart

Halloween is around the corner, and kids (and adults) are scampering around to buy their costumes. Every year, it seems that the scary stuff gets scarier. When I was a kid, the spooks were wearing witch hats and skeleton costumes. I even saw a Casper-style ghost one year. Now, you have rotting flesh, the walking dead, and the aftermath of chain saw massacres. Masks are realistic and about as gross as it gets.

People love to get scared at this time of year. They watch horror films and go to “haunted houses,” just for laughs and screams. Some of it is fun and in fairly good taste, and some goes way overboard, but the idea is the same: scaring people.

Of course, the October world of haunted graveyards and spook houses is just silliness, and those who dress up do it for fun.* 

But, along with all the scary stuff, maybe we're missing what we should really be scared of:


It’s not a popular theme. A lot of people don’t even believe it exists. Probably most people in the world think it’s a myth. Others believe it’s an orgy that goes on and on and on. Some even joke, saying they want to go there--to be with all their friends! 

Some die smirking, and then they see it’s real.

The Bible tells of two men who lived and died. It’s a true story, not a parable. Jesus tells the story. It goes like this: There was a rich man who lived well and a beggar named Lazarus, who couldn’t walk and had sores, that begged at the rich man’s gate. The beggar died, and then the rich man died. The beggar went to heaven, and the rich man went to hell. The Bible says, And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

What did the rich man want? He wanted a drop of water to cool his tongue, because he was in torment in flames. He wasn’t having a party with his evil friends who had gone before. He wasn’t having pleasure in hell. He didn’t even mention seeing anyone around him. (Are people in hell alone for eternity? I don’t know.)

We continue the story. Abraham answered him, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

The rich man responded to Abraham, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

Abraham replied, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

But the man answered, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

Abraham then stated the sad fact: If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead (Luke 16:19-31).

Hell is real. It’s a place of flame and torment.

Jesus spoke of hell at least twenty-seven times.

The man in hell wanted to warn his brothers. He wanted to send the beggar to them. It's very interesting that Abraham told him his brothers wouldn’t listen even if someone rose from the dead.

That’s exactly what Jesus did! 

Jesus died on the cross to pay for the sins of mankind, so that no one would go to hell. Then, He rose from the grave. The Bible says, The Lord . . . not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

Jesus provided the way to salvation through His sacrifice on the cross. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him (Romans 5:8-9).

For the wages of sin is death (hell, separation from God); but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).

The Bible says that everyone has sinned. That’s why we all need a Savior. That’s why we all need Jesus.

Nobody really wants to go to hell!

 And fear not them which kill the body, 
but are not able to kill the soul: 
but rather fear him which is able to destroy
 both soul and body in hell.
(Matthew 10:28)

There’s hope in Jesus:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, 
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; 
but that the world through him might be saved. 
(John 3:16-17) 

* My personal thoughts on Halloween are here.

Some of the many Bible verses that describe hell: Matthew 7:13; 13:50; 23:33; 25:41; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 3:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:7, 13; Revelation 14:10-11; 19:20; 20:1-15; 21:8.

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