Another point to consider is that, according to Jesus, punishment for many will be effective. That is, some will be punished like in our human penitentiaries, and the punishment will reform them, and they will turn out good citizens. This statement is certainly not dogmatic. That is, it is bound to raise questions. One man is given few stripes. What, then, is he to be kept in Hell forever, even though is punishment has ended? Would it be right to continue to whip him if he deserved only a few stripes? There is an inference in the Bible that good will eventually triumph. Such passages as, “He shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied.” “I will draw all men unto Myself.” “He wills all to be saved.” God never is vindictive in His punishment. he doesn’t punish just to be punishing. Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews, says, “He chastens for our profit that we may be partakers of His holiness.”
Some may remember the scripture lesson about a live, conscious, burning, tormenting Hell. Isn’t that sufficient? Remember, that this was told to us in a Parable, a method of teaching Jesus used to teach a great truth by use of a common example. Jesus shows us a man on the other side crying for water to quench his thirst. Let us not look for the external fire that was burning this man. Rather, the flame and the thirst were the anguish in his soul. No fire burned there, but what he had kindled himself. He had stifled his soul on earth by feeding it with good clothes, fine food and rich living. He was like a man taking drugs… he felt fine when he was on it, but was in Hell when he couldn’t get it. And that brings us to the final point… Where does death fit into this picture?
We said that Hell begins on earth. The pangs of Hell are deadened by the drugs we give our soul in this world. We start our Hell, and die, and continue to harvest what we have sewed. We live there like we lived here, but with one exception. On the other side, the artificial coverings of our soul are cleared away, and we live in reality. Retribution begins here on earth, but many do not recognize it because our souls are drugged. When the spirit is freed from its partnership with the flesh, the awakening comes and then the fire rages, the fire that could have been quenched by drinking the true water.
Here are a few questions to think about.
Do you still believe in Hell? Do you believe that it is possible to leave Hell?