Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Messenger - I

I would like to preface this next series of writings with an explanation. For several years I have from time to time been prompted by the Holy Spirit concerning a question that the Lord used in my own life as well as give a perspective on the Spiritual condition of His church. I do not claim to have any apostolic insight, nor do I claim, God forbid, to be anything special aside from the grace of God. But this is a serious fictional story based on Biblical truth but incorporating a hypothetical that I believe will impact those of us who dare to meditate on its implications.

Lk.16:30 - ...but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

In Luke 16 the Lord Jesus tells of a story about a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. Lazarus ends up in Abraham's bosom which we understand to mean heaven, and Lazarus winds up in a place of torment which we understand to mean hell. Now the rich man's desire and petition to Abraham was to send Lazarus to his house and witness to his five brothers so they would not wind up in hell. After Abraham tells him that his brothers have Moses and the prophets, the rich man despairs because his brothers obviously won't listen to them. The rich man then says something both prophetic and revealing, he tells Abraham that they would believe someone who resurrected from the dead, an obvious reference to the Risen Jesus. Abraham rightly explains that they won't even believe that witness.
Now I have wondered what would a person be like in this earth if he was allowed to come back from the dead. Take this vision a little further, what would someone be like if after he had spent 50 years in hell, God pulled him out and gave him another chance? And upon the first moment free from hell this person immediately placed his faith entirely on the Lord Jesus and became a follower of Christ, but he retained his memory of the place called hell. I want to explore the convicting possibilities about what this person would be like here on earth after being given a chance to escape hell after enduring it for 50 years not expecting to ever be released.
Think about what his life would consist of in light of the memory of this unimaginable place of torment. Would these relevant sermons that appeal to the fleshly desires of this life minister to him? How would he feel about the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? So consider this little fictional narrative as a sort of a parable surrounding the life of a man called Joseph.
It was July 19, 1956 and Joseph passed away at 9:18 P.M. due to a sudden and massive heart attack. Without a mental process and without any conscious transition, Joseph's awareness was instantaneously transferred from the natural to the world of eternity. Now without adequate correlating senses and experiences that are easily translated into human communication, his journey must be described with earthly terms, but let no one be misled, his 50 year passage to the second death was more real than anyone can go through on this earth. The instant Joseph opened his eyes after being separated from his body of flesh he instinctively recognized where he was - hell. It seemed he had unlimited recollection and recognition which far surpassed his capacity on earth and he quickly felt an unorganized myriad of emotions. Fear, hopelessness, helplessness, and a perfect sense of pain that kept him on the edge of unconsciousness yet he never could pass out. Writhing in a supernatural distress which brought about voluntary and involuntary screams, foreign to his memory but seemed native to this environment, but delivered absolutely no comfort and, in fact, those around him screeching out the same desperate howls only added to the entire atmosphere of tangible panic. Two thoughts intertwined his mind - this cannot go on forever - and - this will last forever. The ever present sense of falling kept him reaching out for something, anything to stabilize him, and yet it was absolutely black. Burning, burning, burning. How could he keep burning with such intensity without being consumed?
He could make out billions of different voices in the pitch black torment with each and every damned soul screaming with vibrating intensity no matter how timid they may have been in life. Some were yelling with remorse and some were calling for mercy. Some hollered that there must have been some mistake and some were calling on God. Many millions were cursing and blaspheming and billions called on Allah to save them while tormented demons laughed in wicked taunting. Millions cried out that they had a chance and others cursed their relatives who never warned them. He heard demons preaching mock sermons about a thousand different earthly subjects and then they would laugh and remind them where those sermons got them. "You all are great successes and very prosperous now, aren't you", yelled out Lucifer himself. All the while Joseph himself was in such pain and fear he could hardly remain attentive to what was happening because of the total panic and distress pulsating through this new cursed body he now had. And the overarching and inescapable reality that was present with him at every moment was that he was here FOREVER.
He wished a thousand times a second for his death but it only added to his hopelessness, and the futility of everything permeated every single moment as it did everyone else. Filled with the most unsatisfied and vicious hatred for everything he writhed inside and out. And after all these experiences and a million other horrors, he was excruciatingly teased by one demon who reminded him that "You've only been here five minutes!". Now this revolving cycle of torture, pain, and anguish continued unabated for fifty years. For fifty eternity filled years Joseph experienced the death bed of God's wrath and punishment - without dying. Relentless. Powerful. Damnable. The ever burning fires of God's wrath continually stoked to insure there was no vacillation in the intensity of the glorious retribution from the Everlasting Holiness of the Lawgiver and profoundly executed upon the "vessels of wrath".
Now after fifty years had passed with Joseph tormented beyond what could have ever been believable to men still in the world, God decide to allow this one man to have one more chance to place his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, be rescued from this awful place, and return to earth for ten more years as a witness before being taken to heaven forever. Of course, given the slightest opportunity, Joseph immediately placed his entire life upon the Lord Jesus Christ and he was born again. It is against this personal history that we now join Joseph as he is given ten more earthly years, born again now, but retaining the memory of the last fifty years in the place we know as hell but he once knew as home.



carla said...

Can't wait to see what's next...

luvvom said...

You gave a pretty good description of hell and to think that it's worse than that...beyond our imagination...I weep for my sister, Suzan. Please pray for her and her family.