These are questions that I’ve heard a lot. And in fact, the why serve in Heaven when you can rule in Hell, I even asked myself before I became a Christian.
And I want to apologize right up front, because there’s going to be a lot of Scripture today, a lot more than normal. But I want to make sure to get this right Biblically, even though I have some personal things about it. Before I became a Christian, it was really a thought of mine. Heaven sounded really boring. You see on TV where they’re strumming on harps, everybody’s sitting on clouds doing nothing; where down in Hell, there’s always a party.
And it is not Biblically accurate at all. It does have such a grounding though, that when I lived on the streets there was a time where I was walking by this posh restaurant in downtown Seattle. And I’m looking in the window and everybody was laughing, eating, and having a great time.
I was watching as this one person kind of throws a plate of food at a waiter because the food wasn’t right. You could tell that he was not happy with it and that he wanted them to redo it. And I rushed around to the back, because that meant that that food was going to be thrown out.
And that meant the possibility of me having a meal that night. And when I saw it the people in the restaurant, at first I thought wow, that must be what Heaven is like. But it’s not. Because I can guarantee you most of the people in that restaurant weren’t really happy: They were all drinking, which means they were trying to drown their sorrows.
So to me, that’s more what Hell is like. And I’ll get into that a little bit more later. And maybe that’s not necessarily what Hell is like, but they were trying to not think about how bad their lives were. And I know that because when I got off the streets, I was still an alcoholic for a long time. And that was one of the main reasons why I drank was so I would not think about how bad my life was.
Now, my life wasn’t bad, but the alcohol helped make me think it was. Anyway, back to Heaven and Hell. I’m going to read some scripture, because I want to make sure that we get a Biblical view of what Heaven is. And I read from the English Standard Version (ESV), but you can read from whatever version you like. I like the English Standard Version, because it seems to be a little bit more accurate than some of the other versions while still being readable.
I personally don’t think the King James Version is very readable. Some people like it, and that’s great. Read the version that works for you. In fact, if you’re a beginning Christian, I highly recommend the Message version. It’s not exactly word for word accurate, but it does a really good job of conveying the message of the Bible, which is why they call it the Message version.
Back to the scripture on Heaven. I’m going to start with
Matthew 25:34 “…come you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
I know the blessings that God gives me. They give me joy, peace, feelings of just rightness inside of me. I won’t say rightness in the world, but rightness inside of me. So if God’s going to give me these feelings of joy and peace, how could Heaven, which is supposed to be way better than this world, be boring?
Revelation 21:1-2: “I saw a new Heaven and a new Earth, for the first Heaven and the first Earth had passed away and the sea was no more. And I saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
What do you think of when you hear bride? Party? Cake? Champagne? The greatest celebrations that we have are generally weddings. And now, the Bible itself is saying that New Jerusalem is going to be like a bride, like a wedding. It’s going to be a wondrous time for all of us.
So think about it. The Bible tells us that Heaven is going to be a place of joy, a place where we are blessed a place of a bride and a wedding. So it doesn’t sound like a boring place to me.
Let’s talk about Hell for a little bit. And I’m going to use more Bible verses, I really want to get this Biblically accurate. If this is the first episode that you you have heard, I try to be as Biblically accurate as I can.
Who rules in Hell? I asked the question: Why serve in Heaven when you can rule in Hell? Why does God allow Satan to rule Hell?
Well, 1 Peter 5:8 says: “Be sober minded, be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.”
And 2 Corinthians 11:14 says: “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
If Satan was in Hell, he wouldn’t need to disguise himself. He disguises himself to deceive us, which means he’s right here on Earth.
He’s not in Hell, he’s not ruling Hell at all. Well, if if he’s not ruling Hell, who is? Is Hell just a place of complete chaos?
Revelation 1 tells us (this is when john had a vision of Jesus): And Jesus said, I died. And behold, I am alive forever. And I have the keys of death, and Hades.
Which means Jesus rules in Hell. You might ask, how could Jesus rule in Hell and allow people to go there? Give me just a bit, I’m going to talk about that. Satan doesn’t rule in Hell, Jesus does. And I, personally, I believe that Jesus rules in Hell to make sure that it doesn’t get too bad. And maybe there’s even a way for people to repent once they go to Hell. I don’t know. The Bible isn’t real specific about that. So I’m not going to get into that because the Bible doesn’t. However, Christianity Today has a good article on whether a person will be in Hell forever. Read it here.
Matthew 25:41 says: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
That really got me. that passage means that Hell was not originally a part of creation: Hell was added on later, after Satan fell. So Satan and his followers fell from Heaven after God created humans, because they were so jealous of us. Because God loves us so much, they became very jealous about us: They fell from God’s Grace, and they’re trying to push us away from God. So God created Hell for the devil and his followers, including their human followers.
Romans 2:8 says: “For those who are self seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”
That’s what Hell is going to be about, wrath and fury. There are other parts in the Bible where it talks about Hell being a torment and gnashing of teeth. Think about it, why would you gnash your teeth? The times that I would think about doing that might be when I realize that a belief that I had was so completely and utterly wrong, and now there’s nothing I can do about it. To me, I’d be gnashing my teeth then.
They say that even if you’re not a Christ follower, and forgive me if this isn’t Biblically accurate, but the Spirit of God lives within us. And I think that we humans feel that Spirit a little bit, even if we’re not Christ followers. In one part of the Bible, it says Hell is a place where God is absent, which to me means that we feel him at least a little bit no matter what we believe here on earth because once we reach Hell, that is gone. And we suddenly realize that we were feeling it while we were on Earth. Now we lost it, and we can’t get it back. To me that would be a real Hell.
Revelation 20:10: “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 there they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
Think about it, our bodies aren’t going to be tormented. This lake of fire is a burning of the soul. And unfortunately,
Revelation 20:15 says: And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire as well (but the Bible does not add “eternally” in this passage like it does in Revelation 20:10).
Which means anyone that doesn’t follow Jesus and God is going to Hell. That tells me that it’s not Jesus’ decision whether or not we go to Hell: It’s our decision.
Do we follow God? Do we follow the right path? If not, then yeah, we’re going to Hell. So why would God really subject to anyone to Hell?
Think about this: Let’s say you and I know each other, and I hate you. I mean, I can’t stand you. We’ve known each other all of our lives and I just hate your guts. You’ve gotten all the breaks all of our lives, and I’ve never gotten any of them. You have a better wife, my wife is terrible. You have a better job, you’re my superior and I should be yours.
Basically, the total victim mentality. You’ve gotten everything that I should have and I don’t like you because of it. So I go around telling everybody that I know what a terrible person you are. I lie and tell them how you sleep around on your wife, and how you got your job by stabbing other people in the back and doing despicable things. I might even occasionally tell people that you’re dead, that you’re not even alive anymore.
And I don’t blame you for that. But here’s the question: Why should God be any different? We often talk bad about God, we talk bad about Jesus. We say things like, why serve in Heaven when we can rule in Hell. We even deny God’s existence. And then, when we die, we knock on the gates of Heaven and we say we want to live there.
You have the chance, if you’re not a Christian, to change that right now. Go to a local church; talk to a pastor. If the pastor isn’t nice and accommodating with you, then please remember that’s on the pastor, not on you (and not on God). Listen to my episode on the Separation of God and Church. Find a church that understands what you’re going through, churches that don’t understand what you’re going through aren’t the right church for you.
Don’t blame God for what goes on in a church. There are a lot of churches that aren’t the right church. But there is aright church for you out there and I hope that you will go, and you will find it.
Get online and start listening to churches. There are a lot of great churches out there. Joseph Prince is one that is an amazing pastor. I love him. Keith Moore ministries is good. But there’s a lot of them out there that you can listen to.
But I really want you to get to a local church if you’re not a Christian right now, because Hell is not a party; Hell is a place of torment. It’s a place where you realize that everything you may have thought about Heaven and Hell is completely wrong.
Heaven is where the party is. And Hell is a is an eternity without God, no matter what else might be going on in there, it’s an eternity without God. And I wouldn’t want that for my worst enemy.
I wonder if there was a person that I know that was an enemy of mine when I was a child, what would I do today? If he did come to my door, I’d like to hope that I would rise above my my pettiness. I don’t know if I would or not Actually, no I would definitely talk to him because it’s been a long time, it’s not fresh anymore.
But I know that God, at any moment… you just apologize. Say “God, I’m so sorry. I want to start following your path.” he’ll accept you. He will accept you and erase your sins and your past will be completely forgotten. And that is Biblical. Your past will be completely forgotten by him. Your sins get washed by the blood of Jesus. I know that sounds weird for beginning Christians, but it is so true.
Jesus’ sacrifice brought us closer to God. I just pray that you continue down that road. And click here to contact me. Contact me if there’s anything that I can do to help.
This is Dr. Ty, you take care. Thank you for listening to this episode, and I’ll talk to you next time.