(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Am I On the Wrong Flight?
By Zebulon Hill
When you think of airports, what comes to mind? Long lines? Anxiety? Stress? Crowds? Confusion? The hustle and bustle of an airport can foster a variety of emotions when traveling to your desired destination. In order to get where you want to go, you have to make sure you book the right flight, the itinerary matches your flight number and ensure you get to the right gate on time. You have to find a ride to the airport and trust that the airline employees will put your bags on the right plane. If you do not pay attention to the important details every step of the way, you can easily board the wrong flight and end up where you do not want to be.
Similarly, in relation to the lives we live, the misinformation we have in our minds could put us on the wrong flight in life – leading us to the wrong destination. Just as we benefit from intentionally reviewing our flight itinerary, the same would benefit us in reviewing the itinerary of our lives.
The Bible lays out the perfect path for us to arrive at our desired destination for all of eternity. Of course, Heaven is the destination we long for, but at the same time, many of us do not believe in the reality of hell. Many people today question if hell is real and wonder why God would send someone there. I would like to answer a few common questions regarding hell according to the Word of God. My hope is that after reading this article, you will receive clarity on what hell is and why people go there.
Is hell real? Yes, hell is a very real place. It is described in the Bible through several scriptures as “eternal fire” (Matthew 25:41), “unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12), “shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2), “a place where fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44-49), “a place of torment and fire” (Luke 16:23-24), “everlasting destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9), “a place where the smoke of torment rises forever and ever” (Revelation 14:10-11), “and a lake of burning sulfur where the wicked are tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).
Why would God send someone there? The truth is, God does not send us there; we actually send ourselves there by choosing to reject His offer of salvation and inheritance among those who have been sanctified through repentance and faith in Him. He wants to rescue us “from the dominion of darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18). According to 2 Peter 3:9, God is “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life,” (John 3:16). God created hell for Satan and the fallen angels for rebellion against Him not for human beings.
Why do people go to hell? People go to hell because of original sin in the Garden of Eden, also known as “the fall of man”. We are born into sin and must be born again through Jesus Christ in order to be restored to righteousness, which is right standing with God. God has made a way for us. He gives us the choice to either accept or reject His love offer of redemption and restoration back to Him through repentance and belief of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, while pursuing holiness and yielding to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
What type of destination is hell, and why don’t I want to be there in the next life? Hell is a destination where there is eternal darkness and separation from God. A literal place of torment where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:51). Death is separation from God and although our bodies will perish, our soul will live eternally somewhere. When we die, we won’t just cease to exist, our soul will live on forever and it is our choice where we want to spend eternity. Can you imagine being in a place where it is utter and complete darkness? A place where your soul spends all of eternity in torment? Why would you want to go there? I would rather believe in God and be wrong about hell, than to not believe and God and be wrong about hell.
Ultimately, we have an opportunity to change the flight we are currently on by coming to a saving faith in a relationship with Jesus Christ. In the natural sense, we are unable to change flights in mid-air once the plane takes off. However, in a spiritual reality, God has given us an invitation in Jesus Christ to be able to re-direct our flight, change our itinerary and spend eternity with the One Who loves us the most. The question is, will you accept the invitation and change your destination?