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The Agony of Hell

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
July 23, 2021 8:00 am

The Agony of Hell

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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July 23, 2021 8:00 am

Only two options are waiting for us when we die, and in this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans will give us a biblical description of the one nobody wants to talk about. Join him as he takes a sobering look at what hell is and isn’t and explains why people have to make a deliberate choice to wind up there.

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Now a lot of folks think hell is a party.

And if I go to hell, all my posse's gonna be there, and we gonna party. Dr. Tony Evans says going to hell is a choice, and for those who make it, the party's over. But if you choose your sin over God's salvation, He gives you the desires of your heart.

But the desire of your heart means you're removed from Him. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. The only thing many people know about hell is that it's a place they don't want to go. Well today, Dr. Evans gives us the scriptural reasons to feel that way, and advice on avoiding the chance of personally finding out what hell is like.

Let's join him. When you and I die, there are only two options. The option we all love to talk about, are excited to talk about, the heavenly option. Nobody has a problem believing that heaven exists, because Jesus said it does.

I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go, I will come back and receive you unto myself in my Father's house of many mansions. We love that verse, and we take Jesus at His word. But here in Mark chapter 9, it's that same Jesus talking. And that same Jesus, who gets us excited about a future in heaven, talks about a reality called hell. Jesus makes it clear that this place called hell, which He speaks about over and over again in this passage, is to be avoided at all costs.

But what does He mean by the term hell? The Greek word is gehenna. It means the Valley of Henon. Gehenna is the Valley of Henon.

So let me tell you about the valley. Gehenna, or the Valley of Henon, was the garbage dump outside of the city of Jerusalem. So the garbage would be taken out and thrown in the valley, and there would be a fire to burn up the garbage, just like it's done today. This fire would never go out.

It would be unquenchable. Now the reason that the fire would be unquenchable is that garbage kept being dumped in it. So if it started to die down, it would reignite, because garbage would be thrown into it.

So it would never die out, because there would always be garbage. So when Jesus speaks about the unquenchable fire, He's talking about a garbage dump that keeps garbage coming its way. Why was hell created? Matthew 25 41 says, Hell was prepared for Satan and his angels. Satan rebelled against God, took one third of the angels with him. When Satan rebelled against God and took one third of the angels with him, there was a council in heaven.

He was found guilty of treason, and he was sentenced to this newly created realm called hell. Hell was not prepared for human beings. It was prepared for spirit beings, Matthew 25 41 says. So if it wasn't prepared for people, how do people go there? The only way to go to hell is to choose it.

Follow me. Hell is the answer to the sinner's prayer. Well, you say, I don't know anybody who prays to go to hell. Well, no, what you have to say is, I don't want to come to God on his terms.

God says, you don't have to. Hell releases the sinner to live with his sin. If you choose your sin, rather than Christ's sacrifice, that God will say because you choose your sin, rather than Christ's sacrifice, you can have your sin forever. So it's not that God seeks to throw people in hell, wants to throw people in hell. In fact, the scripture makes it clear, God desires all men to be saved. Not only does he desire it, he's provided for it by the universal atonement of Jesus Christ. But if you choose your sin over God's salvation, he gives you the desires of your heart. But the desire of your heart means you're removed from him. Now let's look a little closer at Jesus's words.

I'm going to read something and then I'm going to ask you a question. He says in verse 44, where the worm does not die. He says in verse 46, the worm does not die. He says in verse 48, the worm does not die.

What did I just say wrong? Yeah, I said the worm does not die. That's not what it says. It says their worm does not die. The word worm is singular, not plural, not their worms, but their worm.

So you got your own worm. Oftentimes, the bodies of criminals and evil people would be cast outside of the city of Jerusalem to the Valley of Henan, to Gehenna, to rot. Well, obviously, if you got a body rotten, you're attracting maggots. So the Greek word for worm is the word maggot.

Maggots eat on corpses, and they gnaw away at them. He says in the Valley of Gehenna, hell, your worm does not die in a fire that does not quench. Jesus didn't make this up. He took this from the Old Testament. Specifically, Isaiah chapter 66 verse 24. He says in Isaiah 66 verse 24, then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against me, for their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched and they will be an abhorrent to all mankind.

So he took that from Isaiah 66. To understand what he means by the worm, and he even brings in the fire, he says they will be an abhorrent to all mankind. In other words, if you were to look at Gehenna or the Valley of Henan and you would see a body being eaten up by a worm, you would go, ooh! You'd say, that's nasty. You would go, ooh! You see the flesh being eaten, you would abhorrent.

You would shy away from it like the garbage in your house. I don't want to deal with that. So when he talks about your worm eating you up, he's talking about you being an abhorrence. What does that mean?

Let me state it another way. The torment of hell is you getting to live with you at your worst. It is you abhorring you.

It's you looking at you and going, ooh! Because you choose to hold on to your sin, you get to live with your sinfulness. Like a worm eating a corpse, you become a person of abhorrence. But not only you to you, but you to others and others to you. I'll explain a little bit more of that in a moment. But what you need to understand, let's let David help us out a little bit more. David helps us out in Psalm 22 verses 6 and 7. But I am a worm and not a man, a reproach of men and despised by the people, all who see me sneer at me.

They separate with the lip. They wag the head. In other words, they look at me and go, I am a reproach. Daniel chapter 12 verse 2 talks about men who go to hell being in contempt.

In other words, you'll see one sinful man and that sinful man will see you. And it will be an abhorrence because you will be you at your worst. Why?

Because the environment will call for it. You see, you right now are not at your worst. There's some parts of you that may be at your worst, but all of you, you're not at your worst. You try to do better. Maybe you try to get an education.

Maybe you took some lessons on how to be more civil. I mean, sometimes you're mad and sometimes you're glad. You are not now 24-7 at your worst. But the torment of hell is you living with you and you living with everybody else and everybody is at their worst all the time.

What makes hell hell is the worm does not die. The gnawing, the reprehensible-ness continues to magnify itself without there being any relief or release. The drunken will desire alcohol but never get a drink. The person who lives for lust will desire to be sexually gratified with nobody to be compatible with.

The angry person will be mad 24-7 with nobody to take it out on except themselves. You at your worst will have to live with you at your worst forever. Because you chose your sin over God's salvation, so God will answer your prayer and let you live with you at your worst. If you are a Christian here today, the only hell you will ever experience is the hell you have here. If you are not a Christian today, the only heaven you will experience is the pieces of it you get here. Because once you go into eternity, it's all one way.

There is no earth where you rotate seasonally. It's all one direction and it is contempt and abhorrence, the Scripture says. So what can we do before we find ourselves in eternity? Dr. Evans will talk about that when he returns in a moment to finish up this final lesson in his two-volume, 12-part series, Prophecy and Our World. It's a comprehensive study that will help you gain a deeper understanding of terms like the rapture, the tribulation, the second coming, and many more. There are also messages on what happens when we die and what it's really like in heaven, or as we've been hearing about today, in hell.

But here's the good part. If you contact us today, you can get all 12 messages in Volumes 1 and 2 of this powerful series as our thank-you gift when you make a contribution to help support Tony's ministry. And as an added bonus, we'll also include a copy of his powerful book, Prayers for Victory in Spiritual Warfare. In it, Dr. Evans explains why we need to turn to God for help winning the invisible spiritual battle going on around us. It includes specific prayers for people fighting against substance abuse, sexual or emotional problems, relational issues, and more.

This special keepsake edition even includes a luxury cover that looks and feels like leather. This is the final day for this special offer, so contact us right away and request your copy of Prophecy and Our World and Prayers for Victory in Spiritual Warfare. Visit or call our resource request line at 1-800-800-3222, where team members are standing by to help with your request. That's 1-800-800-3222. Right now, let's pick up where we left off in today's message.

Here's Dr. Evans. Let's carry you back to Luke 16. Let me make some observations about this destiny. Verse 23 of chapter 16. The rich man in Hades, he lifted up his eyes. Now remember, Hades is not hell. Hades is being held in a temporary jail until you get the federal prison. It's the place where you go when you die waiting for hell, because the Bible says Hades will be cast into the lake of fire.

I'll explain that in a moment. But I want to look at this man who is not—he's not in federal prison yet. He's not in hell. He's only in Hades. He's in the preparation for hell. So this is prep. The first thing, if he lifts up his eyes, verse 23, being in torment and saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom. So this is prep.

This is not even the permanent thing yet. But it gives you a down payment, like the New Jerusalem gives us a down payment of heaven, Hades gives you a down payment of hell. The first thing you need to know about hell is spiritual suffering.

Why? Because you are separated from the goodness of God. Every good and perfect gift, the Scripture says in James 1, comes from above. Anything good in your life, God gave it.

Okay? Anything that's good, beneficial in your life is a gift of God, whether you recognize it or not, praise Him for it or not. It's still a good—the Bible says it rains on the just and unjust, so it is a gift of God. Hell means the goodness of God has been removed. And all you see is His wrath.

So it's spiritual suffering. Now you know what made his suffering really bad? He got to see heaven but couldn't go there. It says he saw Lazarus afar off. He saw him, but he couldn't go there.

How bad is it to know where you want to be and not be able to get to it, but watch everybody else enjoying it? That's spiritual suffering. Secondly, it's not only spiritual suffering, it was mental suffering. Notice what he says in verse 25. Abraham said, Child, remember during your life. No Alzheimer's in hell or in the prep for hell Hades. He says, Remember, those of you here today who have not come to Jesus Christ will remember today. And every other time you have the opportunity to receive Christ, be forgiven of your sins, and be given the gift of eternal life, you will spend forever remembering when I sat in church, I had the opportunity, God was telling me to respond, and I ignore it, and you get to remember. So there is intellect in hell. It's not non-existence, because this is after he's died. There is the mental recognition and the suffering associated with it, the gnawing that he can't get rid of. There is relational suffering.

You notice what he says. He says, verse 27, I beg you, Father, that you send him, Lazarus, to my father's house, for I have five brothers, in order that they may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment. Tell my brothers, Don't come here. Now, a lot of folks think hell is a party.

Okay? I've had people tell me that. Well, if I go to hell, all my posse gonna be there, and we gonna party, you know? We gonna party. Hell is a party.

No, no, no, no, no. The man said, Tell the folk I know and love they don't wanna show up here. They don't wanna show up here. Tell any friends who you run into like that, who think it's a party, tell them, Go sit on their gas stove and party at the same time.

Tell them, Try it. There's no companionship, because everybody is abhorring everybody else. You got folk in your life, you don't wanna be around, that you have to be around.

Maybe you're married to them, you know, folk in your life, you're around them, you have to be around them, and you don't have a child, you got parents, you're around them, but you don't have to be around them, because you can't go anywhere. Well, it's not a place where people come together for fun and fellowship. It's a place where you look at all the differences, sins being fully manifested, including your own, and you don't wanna be around them, and they don't wanna be around you, but there's no place to go. So it's a place of relational suffering.

You said, Tell my brothers, I don't need their companionship that bad. It's a place of unfulfilled desires. I've said that already, Revelation 22, verse 11. He says, The sinner will be sinful continuously, without fulfillment. No fulfillment.

Ah, it's an environmental suffering. Heaven will be full day, all day. Hell will be full night, all night. Jude calls it a place of darkness.

Why? Because God is light. God's goodness is removed. So it's living in darkness. In other words, the environment fits. When you say something is dark, or some people are dark, you're talking about the environment that they operate in. It is an environmental darkness. It's like living in the Sahara Desert at night with no daylight coming.

It's just the nature of the location. Finally, it is eternal suffering, the worst part of all, because your soul was made to be eternal. So you can't die. You can't kill your soul. You can kill your body, but you can't kill your soul. So your soul must live forever because it's designed that way. You choose where, but it's designed to live forever.

And I ought to give you pause. We make career decisions based on what the future, what we want the future to be. Look, there is no greater issue of the future than eternity, because nothing else lasts that long. People go to hell to reject God's offer of salvation. John 3 verse 18 says, he says, it's your choice. And then it says Hades will be cast into the lake of fire.

Let me explain again. In San Francisco Bay is Alcatraz. It was closed in 1963. It was a place of incarceration for criminals. Alcatraz was known because of the impossibility of escaping it. You couldn't get out. And one of the reasons is even if you broke out of the cell, you couldn't get to the mainland of San Francisco because it's in the San Francisco Bay, which was shark-infested. So even if you broke out of the cell, if you got in that water, you were going to be eaten alive because it was shark-infested water. So it's like you didn't want to break out because there was no place to go.

The bad part of Alcatraz is that you could be on Alcatraz and see the lights of San Francisco, because it's that close and yet that far. Hades, the place of incarceration, is going to be dumped into the middle of a lake, but the lake will not be surrounded with water. It will be surrounded with fire. So even if you could break out of Hades, there's no place to go, because the lake is aflame and a place you can't escape from unless you escape now.

If you are a believer here today and you believe Jesus, the same one who promised heaven, is not lying about hell, if you are here today and you're not absolutely certain of your eternal destiny, then I don't know about you, but I would run to the cross where God offers free of charge. He says, Come, all who are thirsty, and I will give you water to drink. He that cometh to me I will no wise cast out.

Him that places faith alone in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life, He makes the promise to provide you eternal salvation at no cost to you, because Jesus has already picked up the tab. Dr. Evans will be back in a moment to wrap up today's lesson and our current series with a final story that will help you get a handle on how long eternity really is. First though, I encourage you not to miss out on the last chance to get that special double offer mentioned earlier, the two-volume 12-part audio collection about the Bible and the unfolding of time called Prophecy in Our World, along with the popular keepsake edition of Tony's book, Prayers for Victory in Spiritual Warfare. Both of these helpful resources are yours with our thanks when you make a contribution toward Tony's ministry, but only if we hear from you today.

Make the arrangements at or get some help by calling our resource request line at 1-800-800-3222 day or night. That's 1-800-800-3222. What's in a name? Well, everything when that name is God's.

And there are several of them that we'll be looking at as Dr. Evans kicks off a series on Monday titled Knowing God's Names. Right now though, he's back with his final illustration for us to think about. Oh, by the way, maybe we need to be reminded how long eternity is. If you take and empty the Pacific Ocean, the largest body of water in the world, and you took away all the water and you filled it with sand, and you made the sand pile as high as Mount Everest, which is the highest mountain in the world, you would have a humongous sand pile. If you took a bird and the bird took away one grain of sand every 100 quad zillion years, just one grain, how long would it take that bird to empty that sand pile? We can't even calculate that high. One grain of sand every 100 quad zillion years. When the bird took the last grain of sand, you will have been in eternity your first second. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-20 11:32:45 / 2023-09-20 11:41:25 / 9

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