Advent and Hell
And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
- Revelation 20:7 – 10
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
- Romans 1:20 – 25
It wouldn’t be honest to spend a week reflecting on the coming judgment of Jesus without considering the reality of hell. So today we turn to consider the most sobering reality of Jesus as judge.
As we reflect on hell, I do not want to get hung up on whether the Biblical passages are literal or figurative. I want us to focus on the reality that hell is real. It is talked about often in the Bible. Jesus himself mentioned hell more than anyone else in the Bible, and whenever it is mentioned, hell is never a place or domain or state of mind that anyone wants to visit. Hell is separation from God. It is the sphere where wickedness continues to grow. It is a place where there is no hope, beauty, peace or joy. Above all, there is no love in hell.
The people in hell are miserable and suffering. In hell, humility is stripped away and pride runs rampant. Think for a moment about the worst things about life: pain, self-absorption, bitterness, anger, grumbling, deception, blaming, lust, greed. Now imagine that those things are allowed to grow unchecked and unhindered in your heart for eternity. That is hell.
When we think about hell, it is important to remember that the people who experience it are there because they want to be there. In other words, all Jesus does in the end is give people what they most want, including freedom from himself. This is the point of Romans 1:24 – 25. In this passage we don’t see Jesus handing over to sin people who are crying out, “I am sorry. I was wrong. I want to love you.” No. The people Jesus hands over to sin exchange truth for a lie. In other words, they choose hell.
C.S. Lewis put it well with these words: There are only two kinds of people – those who say, ‘Thy will be done’ to God or those whom God in the end says, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in hell choose it. Without that self-choice it wouldn’t be hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.
A Moment to Reflect
Is there any truth about God that you are suppressing for a lie? If so, cast that lie into the pit of hell and live in light of God’s truth.
 The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis