vacations include an itinerary. You have an
idea what you will see and do before you arrive
at your destination. The Bible has enough information
to project an itinerary for those whose destination
is hell. Let's look at the first 6 days.
trip originates at the gate of death. Since
departures are made daily, you are called upon
to begin your trip on short notice. Since the
journey is only one way, there is no need to
concern yourself with return plans.
initial point of departure may prove more than
a little frightening, as you suddenly realize
the finality of your destination. The trip
itself will leave you with little time to contemplate
you pass through the doorway of death, you
will notice almost immediately that your direction
is taking you away from the light toward what
appears to be complete and utter darkness.
With each passing moment the darkness becomes
more intense. At first the absence of light
is only annoying, but you feel it becoming
more ominous and threatening.
intensity of the darkness is only matched by
the absence of any joyful sounds-no music,
no laughter, no sounds of merriment. As you
move farther, faint sounds of moaning and wailing
become detectable. They seem to be coming through
the darkness from every direction. You become
aware of a faint light. it flickers like a
flame, yet thick clouds of black smoke dance
all around it, keeping the flame from casting
off any real hope of light.
you find yourself obsessed to know what day
and hour it is. Already it feels like you've
been here for an eternity ... and it's only
continuing darkness is stifling. It's as if
something is lurking in the veil of night that
surrounds you. You yell, you threaten, you
even plead, but to no avail. Whatever it is
just stays there, producing fear like you've
never known before.
your eyes struggle to adjust to the dark, you
become aware of a new sensation. The heat.
It's right at the edge of unbearable. Hot,
searing, intolerable heat. Your body craves
water. You'd give anything for a drink, and
you try unsuccessfully to push that desire
out of your mind.
air is thick, choking, miserable ... and it's
just Day 2.
least you think it's Day 3. It seems like it
has already been forever. You've not been able
still can't believe you're here. Where are
the friends you thought you would see? The
knowledge that they would be here too had brought
you some comfort in your lifetime. Where is
the fun you thought you would have? It isn't
at all like what you were led to believe.
stumble upon a group of others. You pour out
a litany of questions. As they open their mouths,
no words come out ... only the sounds of weeping
and wailing. Some in the group don't even try
to respond. They gnash their teeth, as if in
some invisible pain.
wonder when this nightmare will end. You wonder
why somebody can't make it stop ... and it's
only Day 3.
you wish you could send a message to those
you left behind. You'd warn them about this
place. You'd tell them what it's really like,
so they'd never come. The thought of your loved
ones coming to a place like this is unbearable.
You can't help but think back upon that day
when you made your decision to come here. You
understood that your rejection of Jesus meant
that you would spend eternity in hell but it
didn't seem real or important then.
back, you think how foolish you were to reject
God's offer of salvation. You wish you could
find yourself hoping that your loved ones will
choose differently, even though you realize
such a choice means you'll never see them again
... never touch them ... never speak to them.
What a horrible realization ... and it's only
become acutely aware of the absence of any
good in this place. There's no love, for God
is love. There's no joy or peace or goodness,
because all of these come from God too. There's
nothing sacred, nothing holy, nothing of God
anywhere to be found. You're amazed at how
evil evil can be.
the first time since your arrival, you begin
to sense the great gulf that is fixed between
where you are and where God is. The span is
beyond your comprehension as you try to realize
the degree of distance that will separate you
from God and those who chose to serve Him.
God is on the other side of that gulf. Loved
ones in Christ are on the other side of that
gulf. What a lonely realization ... and it's
only Day 5.
the darkness you saw a new face today. A new
arrival. He stopped to speak with you. You
could see the terror in his eyes. He asked
questions that you had been asking only days
before. You opened your mouth to reply, but
all that would come out was the sound of weeping
just spent your first 6 days in hell. Unfortunately,
an unholy, unhappy eternity stretches out before
you ... and all because you rejected Jesus.
wait. The fact you're reading this says you
still have a chance. In His mercy, God is giving
you an opportunity right now to change your
eternal itinerary. "Whosoever shall call
on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts
friend, do it now ... before it's too late.
scenario is based upon verses found in Revelation
20:14,15; Luke 16:20-31; Mark 9:43; Matthew
article is used by permission. D.E. Rabineau
is pastor of Evangel Chapel (Assemblies of
God) in Bridgewater, New Jersey. This article
originally appeared in the PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL,
MAY 4, 1997.