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That Hideous Doctrine

Goal:

To help us understand the nature of eternal punishment .

Activity

Take everyone in class outside and have them stand (not sit) against a wall which is in the direct sun. Separate everyone and allow no conversation or interaction. This works best on a hot summer day.

Students Teach Students

Actually there are 3 places that are refereed to in the Bible as Hell. Pass out scripture references below and see what we learn about them.

The 1st place is called Hades (or Sheol) in the O.T. We find the story of Lazurus . in Luke 16:22-26. Here we see a man after death in a place torment and heat. A spirit yet having memories, awareness and physical pain. It is characterized a a place on the other side of a great chasm that no one can cross. It has elements of darkness, emptiness, loneliness, heat and torment.

( Matt 8:11-12 and 13:42-43 Weeping and gnashing of teeth .. lots of physical attributes contrast with concepts of soul annihilation found in some sects like Jehovah's Witnesses today)

The 2nd place we find is called the Abyss. In Luke 8:29-32 we find that demons didn't want to go to the Abyss .. they new about it ! And in Rev 9:1-6 the Abyss is likened a gigantic furnace and demons are already there and in 2 Peter 2:4 angels who sinned are sent their also. In Rev 20: 1-3 the Abyss is used for keeping Satan temporarily.

The 3rd place we find described as Hell is found in Rev 20:10, 13-14. Here God casts Satan, Death, Hades and everyone whose names are not written in the Lambs Book of Life into the Lake of Fire - final place of torment. Rev 14:11 tells us that this is the place torment is forever.

Imagine for a minute a non-Christian friend who has just been killed in car accident and just awakened in Hell. Immediately a series of physical pains washes over him. He screams in terror and agony. He twist and turns to make it stop yet it continues. Nothing he does seems to help. The pain continues unrelenting. After just a few minutes, it seems like hours.
After a while longer despite the pain, our un-believing friend once again is able to think. It is not that the pain has subsided but in some way his mind has been enlarged to not only comprehend the pain but also his condition. He begins to notice that he hanging alone in some dark place almost as though he is weightless. He yells this time specifically for help, yet for some reason he cannot hear his own voice. No matter how loud he screams, his voice is lost into the inky darkness.
Finally he tires of screaming and decides to assess his situation. Now in life when he was faced with darkness he always used his hands to guide him, so he begins to stretch out his arms and legs to find some solid surface, something to acts as a reference, a path, sometime to hold on to. But he finds nothing and the pain continues unabated. Once again he lunges, twists and screams for help ….. yet he still cannot hear his voice..
After a time, our friend begins to think some more. This time he thinks back.. He remembers what he was doing just before the pain started. Yes, he was driving home. He was driving down that familiar road to get home. He remembers the the traffic light and timing it as it almost turned green and … wait ! that flash .. was it a another car ? … oh my God, he exclaims, I've been in an accident. An then it dawns on him. "I've died and this .. this must be …. hell".
In less than 2 seconds he recalls the things he was taught by his church going friends. He remembers the stories of heaven, the warnings of hell yet for some reason he canít seem to remember what it was that made the difference. After a time of searching his mind, he gives up and tries to find something else to hope in. This time he recalls that many others like him are probably in hell too. If he could just find them and join up with them, maybe they could all find a solution to this together of at least comfort each other. But no matter how he strives to pierce that darkness all he sees is nothing, all he hears is nothing, and all he can feel is his own pain.
As he continues to search his mind for some hope, he suddenly gasps in terror. He has suddenly recalled one other thing he was taught about Hell. As he contemplates it, the thought begins to grow and grow until it seems to tower over him. Now his mind begins to labor almost with a pain of its own. His breath now comes in gasps, his teeth begin to gnash. You see the truth has now becomes clear to him. "This is forever", he whispers. "This is forever .. and when I have put in 10,000 years like this not only will I have not have accomplished one thing, but I will not have one less day to spend here" and with these last words he begins to wail once more.

Conclusion

- make 2 points ..

  1. God really hates sin and we really deserve to be punished forever. You see God is not only a loving god but a just one.
  2. Jesus has Keys to death and Hades (Rev 1:18) . People need to know about Hell and what they will face. They need to believe in Jesus to avoid it.

Most of us remember John 3:16 -

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)

but do we remember what John says 20 verses later -

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." John 3:36 (NIV)