Heaven, Hell & In-Between!
IS THERE REALLY A HELL OR IS HADES A MYTH?
Dr. GEORGE RITCHIE SAW HADES!
An excerpt of a Near Death Experience of 1943, during World War II.
CROWDED WITH VISIBLE LIVING &
THE INVISIBLE DEAD
(On a spirit trip through the Earth with Jesus)
With a start I noticed that we were moving. I hadn't been aware
of leaving the hospital, but now it was nowhere in sight. The living events
of my life which had crowded round us, had vanished too: instead we seemed
to be high above the earth, speeding together toward a distant pin-prick
wasn't like the out-of-the-body travel I'd experienced earlier. Then,
my own thoughts had obsessed me. Then I'd seemed almost to skim the surface
of the earth. Now we were higher, moving faster; and with my eyes on Him,
as He commanded, this mode of movement no longer seemed strange or alarming.
The distant pinprick resolved itself into a large city toward which we
seemed to be descending. It was still nighttime but smoke poured from
factory chimneys and many buildings had lights burning on every floor.
There was an ocean or a large lake beyond the lights; it could have been
Boston, Detroit, Toronto, certainly no place I had ever been, but obviously
I thought as we came close
enough to see the crowded streets, one where war industries were
operating around the clock. [1943 during World War
In fact the streets were impossibly crowded. Just below us two
men bore down on the same section of sidewalk and an instant later had
simply passed through each other. It was the same inside the humming
factories and office buildings--where I could see as easily as I could
see the streets--too many people at the machines and desks.
DEAD STALKING THE LIVING
In one room a gray-haired man was sitting in an armchair dictating a letter
onto a rotating cylinder. Standing behind him, not an inch away, another
man, maybe ten years older, kept snatching repeatedly at the speaking
tube as though he would tear it from the seated man's hand.
"No!" he was saying, "if you order a hundred gross they'll
charge more. Take a thousand gross at a time. Pierce would have given
you a better deal. Why did you send Bill on that Treadwell job?"
On and on he went, correcting, giving orders, while the man in the chair
appeared neither to see nor hear him.
I noticed this phenomenon repeatedly, people unaware of others right beside
them. I saw a group of assembly-line workers gathered around a coffee
canteen. One of the women asked another for a cigarette, begged her in
fact, as though she wanted it more than anything in the world. But the
other one, chatting with her friends, ignored her. She took a pack of
cigarettes from her overalls, and without ever offering it to the woman
who reached for it so eagerly, took one out and lit it. Fast as a striking
snake the woman who had been refused snatched at the lighted cigarette
in the other one's mouth. Again she grabbed at it. And again... With a
little chill of recognition I saw that she was unable to grip it.
I thought of that guy wire on the telephone pole. The sheet on the hospital
bed. I remembered myself yelling at a man who never turned to look at
me. And then I recalled the people here in this town trying
in vain to attract attention, walking along a sidewalk without
occupying space. Clearly these individuals were in the same substance-less
predicament I myself was in. Like me, in fact, they
But--it was so very different from the way I had always imagined death.
I watched one woman of maybe fifty following a man of about the same age
down the street. She seemed very much alive, agitated and tearful, except
that the man to whom she was addressing her emphatic words was oblivious
to her existence.
"You're not getting enough sleep. Marjorie makes too many demands
on you. You know you've never been strong. Why aren't you wearing a scarf?
You should never have married a woman who thinks only of herself."
There was more, much more, and from some of it I gathered that she was
his mother, in spite of the fact that they appeared so nearly the same
age. How long had she been following him this way? Was
this what death was like--to be permanently
invisible to the living. yet permanently
wrapped up in their affairs?
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth! For where your treasure
is, there will your heart be also!" I'd never been any good at memorizing
Scripture, but those words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount sprang
into my mind now like an electric shock. Perhaps these insubstantial people--the
businessman, the woman begging cigarettes, this mother--although they
could no longer contact the earth still had their hearts there. Did I?
With a kind of terror I thought of that Eagle Scout badge. Being a Phi
Gam. Getting into med school. Was my heart, the focus of my being, fixed
on things like these?
Keep your eyes on Me, Jesus had
told me as we set out on this extraordinary journey. And when I did, whenever
I looked at Him, the terror vanished, although the dreadful question remained.
Without Him before me, in fact, I could not have endured the things He
was showing me. As fast as thought, we traveled from city to city, seemingly
on the familiar earth, even the part of the earth-the United States and
possibly Canada--that I'd always known, except for the thousands of non-physical
beings that I now observed also inhabiting this "normal"
In one house a younger man followed an older one from room to room. "I'm
sorry, Pa!" he kept saying. 'I didn't know what it would do
to Mama! I didn't understand."
But though I could hear him clearly, it was obvious that the man he was
speaking to could not. The old man was carrying a tray into a room where
an elderly woman sat in bed. "--I'm sorry, Pa," the young
man said again. "I'm sorry, Mama." Endlessly,
over and over, to ears that could not hear.
In bafflement I turned to the Brightness beside me. But though I felt
His compassion flow like a torrent into the room before us, no understanding
lighted my mind.
Several times we paused before similar scenes. A boy trailing a teenaged
girl through the corridors of a school. "I'm sorry, Nancy!"
A middle-aged woman begging a gray-haired man to forgive her.
"What are they so sorry for, Jesus?" I pleaded. "'Why do
they keep talking to people who can't hear them?"
Then from the Light beside me came the thought: They are suicides, chained
to every consequence of their act.
The idea stunned me, yet I knew it came from Him, not me, for I saw no
more scenes like these, as though the truth He was teaching had been learned.
SPIRIT-SHELLS OF THE LIVING
Gradually I began to notice something else. All of the living people we
were watching were surrounded by a faint luminous glow, almost like an
electrical field over the surface of their bodies. This luminosity moved
as they moved, like a second skin made out of pale, scarcely visible light.
At first I thought it must be reflected brighness from the Person at my
side. But the buildings we entered gave off no reflection, neither did
inanimate objects. And then I realized that the non-physical beings didn't
either. My own un--solid body, I now saw, was without this glowing sheath.
At this point the light drew me inside a dingy bar and grill, near what
looked like a large naval base. A crowd of people, many of them sailors,
lined the bar three deep, while others jammed wooden booths along the
wall. Though a few were drinking beer, most of them seemed to be belting
whiskeys as fast as the two perspiring bartenders could pour them.
WAITING TO JUMP INTO THE LIVING BODIES -- POSSESSION
I noticed a striking thing. A number of the
men standing at the bar seemed unable to lift their drinks to their lips.
Over and over I watched them clutch at their shot glasses, hands passing
through the solid tumblers, through
the heavy wooden counter top, through the
very arms and bodies of the drinkers around them.
And these men, every one of them, lacked
the aureole of light that surrounded the others.
Then, the cocoon of light must be a property of physical bodies only.
The dead, we who had lost our solidness, had lost this "second skin"
as well. And it was obvious that these living people, the light-surrounded
ones, the ones actually drinking, talking, jostling each other, could
neither see the desperately thirsty disembodied beings among them, nor
feel their frantic pushing to get at those glasses. (Though it was also
clear to me, watching, that the non-solid
people could both see and hear each other. Furious quarrels were constantly
breaking out among them over glasses that none could actually get to his
I thought I had seen heavy drinking at fraternity parties in Richmond,
but the way civilians and servicemen at this bar were going at it beat
everything. I watched one young sailor rise unsteadily from a stool, take
two or three steps, and sag heavily to the floor. Two of his buddies stooped
down and started dragging him away from the crush.
But that was not what I was looking at. I was staring in amazement as
the bright cocoon around the unconscious sailor simply opened up. It parted
at the very crown of his head and began peeling away from his head, his
shoulders. Instantly, quicker than I'd ever seen anyone move, one of the
insubstantial beings who had been standing near him at the bar was on
top of him. He had been hovering like a thirsty shadow at the sailor's
side, greedily following every swallow the young man made. Now he seemed
to spring at him like a beast of prey.
the next instant, to my utter mystification, the springing figure had
vanished. It all happened even before the two men had dragged their unconscious
load from under the feet of those at the bar. One minute I'd distinctly
seen two individuals; by the time they propped the sailor against the
wall, there was only one.
Twice more, as I stared, stupefied, the identical scene was repeated.
A man passed out, a crack swiftly opened in the aureole round him, one
of the non-solid people vanished as he hurled himself at that opening,
almost as if he had scrambled inside the other man.
Was that covering of light some kind of shield, then? Was it a protection
against... against disembodied beings like myself? Presumably these substance-less
creatures had once had solid bodies, as I myself had had. Suppose that
when they had been in these bodies they had developed a dependence on
alcohol that went beyond the physical. That became mental. Spiritual,
even. Then when they lost that body, except when
they could briefly take possession of another one, they would be
cut off for all eternity from the thing they could never stop craving.
A LEVEL OF HELL ON EARTH -- HADES, THE UNSEEN
An eternity like that--the thought sent a chill shuddering through me--surely
that would be a form of hell. I had always thought of hell, when I thought
of it at all, as a fiery place somewhere beneath the earth where evil
men like Hitler would burn forever. But what if
one level of hell existed right here on the surface--unseen and
unsuspected by the living people occupying the same space. What if it
meant remaining on earth but never again able to make contact with it.
I thought of that mother whose son couldn't hear her. The woman who wanted
that cigarette. I thought of myself, caring only about getting to Richmond,
unable to make anyone see me or help me. To want most, to burn with most
desire, where you were most powerless--that would be hell indeed.
Nor "would be," I realized with a start. Was! This was hell:
And I was as much a part of it as these other dis-carnate creatures. I
had died. I had lost my physical body. I existed now in a realm that would
not respond to me in any way...
But if this was hell, if there was no hope, then why was He here beside
me? Why did my heart leap for joy each time I turned to Him? For He was
overwhelmingly the chief impression of the journey. All the sights and
shocks assailing me were nothing compared to the main thing that was going
on. Which was, quite simply, falling in love with the Person beside me.
Whichever way I looked, He remained the real focus of my attention. Whatever
else I saw, nothing compared with Him.
And that was another of the things baffling me. If I could see Him, why
couldn't everyone else? He was too bright for living eyes to look at--that
I had realized right away. But surely the living people we passed must
somehow sense the love streaming out to them like heat from a mighty fire!
And these others, the ones like me who no longer had physical eyes that
could be destroyed, how could they help but see the burning Love and Compassion
in their midst? How could they miss Someone closer, more brilliant than
the noonday sun? Unless...
SALVATION WAS HIS PROTECTION
the first time it occurred to me to wonder whether something infinitely
more important than I ever believed could have happened that day when
at age eleven I walked forward to the altar of a church. Was it possible
that I, in some real way, had actually been "born again," as
the preacher said--given new eyes, whether I understood any of it or not?
Or, could these others see Him now too, if their attention was not all
caught up in the physical world they had lost? "Where your heart
is......" As long as my heart had been set on getting to Richmond
by a certain date, I hadn't been able to see Jesus either. Maybe whenever
our center of attention was on anything else, we could block out... even
EARTH'S DESERTS ARE PLAINS OF SIN
We were moving again. We had left the Navy base with its circumference
of seedy streets and bars, and were now standing, in this dimension where
travel seemed to take no time at all, on the edge of a wide, flat plain.
So far in our journeying we had visited places where the living and the
dead existed side by side: indeed where disembodied
beings, completely unsuspected by the living, hovered right on
top of the physical things and people, where their desire was focused.
Now, however, although we were apparently still somewhere on the surface
of the earth, I could see no living man or woman. The plain was crowded,
even jammed with hordes of ghostly discarnate beings; nowhere was there
a solid, light-surrounded person to be seen. All of these thousands of
people were apparently no more substantial than I myself. And they were
the most frustrated, the angriest, the most completely
rniserable beings I had ever laid eyes on.
"Lord Jesus!" I cried. "Where are we?"
At first I thought we were looking at some great battle-field: everywhere
people were locked in what looked like fights to
the death, writhing, punching, gouging. It couldn't be a present
day war because there were no tanks or guns. No weapons of any sort, I
saw, as I looked closer, only bare hands and feet and teeth. And then
I noticed that no one was apparently being injured. There was no blood,
no bodies strewed the ground; a blow that ought to have eliminated an
opponent would leave him exactly as before.
Although they appeared to be literally on top of each other, it was as
though each man was boxing the air; at last I realized that of course,
having no substance, they could not actually touch
one another. They could not kill, though they clearly wanted to,
because their intended victims were already dead, and so they hurled themselves
at each other in a frenzy of impotent rage.
If I suspected before that I was seeing hell,
now I was sure of it. Up to this moment the misery I had watched consisted
in being chained to a physical world of which we were no longer part.
Now I saw that there were other kinds of chains. Here were no solid objects
or people to enthrall the soul. These creatures
seemed locked into habits of mind and emotion, into hatred, lust, destructive
Even more hideous than the bites and kicks they exchanged, were the sexual
abuses many were performing in feverish pantomime. Perversions I had never
dreamed of were being vainly attempted all around us. It was impossible
to tell if the howls of frustration which
reached us were actual sounds or only the transference of despairing thoughts.
Indeed in this disembodied world it didn't seem to matter. Whatever
anyone thought, however fleetingly or unwillingly, was instantly apparent
to all around him, more completely than words could have expressed it,
faster than sound waves could have carried it.
And the thoughts most frequently communicated had to do with the superior
knowledge, or abilities, or background of the thinker. "I told you
so!" "I always knew!" "Didn't I warn you!" were
shrieked into the echoing air over and over. With a feeling of sick familiarity
I recognized here my own thinking. This was me, my very tone of voice--the
righteous one, the award-winner, the churchgoer. At age twenty I hadn't
yet developed any truly chaining physical habits, not like the beings
I'd seen scrabbling to get close to that bar. But in these yelps of envy
and wounded self-importance I heard myself all too well.
Once again, however, no condemnation came from the Presence at my side,
only a compassion for these unhappy creatures that
was breaking His heart. Clearly it was not His will that any one
of them should be in this place.
PRIVACY IN HELL!
Then--what was keeping them here? Why didn't each one just get up and
leave? I could see no reason why the person being screamed at by that
man with the contorted face didn't simply walk away. Or why that young
woman didn't put a thousand miles between herself and the other one who
was so furiously beating her with insubstantial fists? They couldn't actually
hold onto their victims, any of these insanely angry beings. There were
no fences. Nothing apparently prevented them from simply going off alone.
Unless... unless there was no "alone"
in this realm of disembodied spirits No private corners in a universe
where there were no walls. No place that was not inhabited by other beings
to whom one was totally exposed at all times. What was it going
to be like, I thought with sudden panic, to live forever where my most
private thoughts were not private at all? No disguising them, no covering
them up, no way to pretend I was anything but what I actually was.
OF A FEATHER... SOCIETY OF THE DAMNED.
How unbearable. Unless of course everyone around me had the
same kind of thoughts. . . . Unless there was a kind of consolation
in finding others as loathsome as one's self,
even if all we could do was hurl our venom at each other. Perhaps this
was the explanation for this hideous plain. Perhaps in the course of eons
or of seconds, each creature here had sought out the company of others
as pride-and-hate-filled as himself, until together they formed this society
of the damned.
Perhaps it was not Jesus who had abandoned them, but they
who had fled from the Light that showed up their darkness- Or...
were they as alone as at first it appeared? Gradually I was becoming aware
that there was something else on that plain of grappling forms. Almost
from the beginning I had sensed it, but for a long time I could not locate
it. When I did it was with a shock that left me stunned.
That entire unhappy plain was hovered over by beings seemingly made of
light. It was their very size and blinding brightness that had prevented
me at first from seeing them. Now that I had, now that I adjusted my eyes
to take them--, I could see that these immense presences were bending
over the little creatures on the plain. Perhaps even conversing with them.
Were these bright beings, angels? Was the Light beside me also an angel?
But the thought which had pressed itself so undeniably on my mind in that
little hospital room had been: "You are in the presence of the Son
of God." Could it be that each of these other human wraiths, wretched
and unworthy like me, was also in His presence? In a realm where space
and time no longer followed any rules I knew, could He be standing with
each of them as He was with me?
I didn't know. All I clearly saw was that not one of these bickering beings
on the plain had been abandoned. They were being attended, watched over,
ministered to. And the equally observable fact was that not one of them
If Jesus or His angels were speaking to them,
they certainly did not hear. There was no pause in the stream of rancor
coming from their own hearts; their eyes sought only some nearby figure
to humiliate. It would have seemed to me impossible not to be aware of
what were the hugest and most striking features of that whole landscape,
except that I myself had stared at them unseeing.
In fact, now that I had become aware of these bright presences, I realized
with bewilderment that I'd been seeing them all along, without ever consciously
registering the fact, as though Jesus could show me at any moment only
so much as I was ready to see. Angels had crowded the living cities and
towns we had visited. They had been present in the streets, the factories,
the homes, even in that raucous bar, where nobody had been any more conscious
of their existence than I myself had.
And suddenly I realized that there was a common denominator to all these
scenes so far. It was the failure to see Jesus.
Whether it was a physical appetite, an earthly concern, an absorption
with self--whatever got in the way of His Light, created the separation
into which we stepped at death.
We were moving again. Or rather, the scene in front of us was--changing
somehow. Opening up. It was the quality of light that was different, as
though the air had suddenly become more transparent, enabling me to see
what had apparently been there all along
Again, it was as if Jesus could reveal only as much as my mind could grasp.
First He had shown me a hellish realm, filled with beings trapped in some
form of self-attention. Now behind, beyond, through all this I began to
perceive a whole new realm! Enormous buildings stood in a beautiful sunny
park and there was a relationship between the various structures, a pattern
to the way they were arranged, that reminded me somewhat of a well-planned
Except that to compare what I was now seeing with anything on earth was
ridiculous. It was more as if all the schools and colleges in the world
were only piecemeal reproductions of this reality.
We seemed suddenly to have entered an altogether different dimension,
almost another kind of existence. After the clamor of the wartime cities
and the shrieking voices of the plain, here was an all-prevailing peace.
As we entered one of the buildings and started down a high-ceilinged corridor
lined with tall doorways, the air was so hushed that I was actually startled
to see people in the passageway.
I could not tell if they were men or women, old or young, for all were
covered from head to foot in loose-flowing hooded cloaks which made me
think vaguely of monks. But the atmosphere of the place was not at all
-- I imagined a monastery. It was more like some tremendous study center,
humming with the excitement of great discovery. Everyone we passed in
the wide halls and on the curving staircases seemed caught up in some
all-engrossing activity; not many words were exchanged among them. And
yet I sensed no unfriendliness between these beings, rather an aloofness
of total concentration.
Whatever else these people might be, they appeared utterly and supremely--If
forgetful--absorbed in some vast purpose beyond themselves. Through open
doors I glimpsed enormous rooms filled with complex equipment. In several
of the rooms hooded figures bent over intricate charts and diagrams, or
sat at the controls of elaborate consoles flickering with lights. I'd
prided myself a little on the beginnings of a scientific education; at
the university I had majored in chemistry, minored in biology. studied
physics and calculus. But if these were scientific activities of some
kind, they were so far beyond anything I knew, that I couldn't even guess
what field they were in. Somehow I felt that some vast experiment was
being pursued, perhaps dozens and dozens of such experiments.
"What are they doing, Jesus?" I asked.
But although Knowing flamed from Him like fire--though in fact I sensed
that every activity on this mighty "campus" had its source in
God--no explanation lighted my mind. What was communicated, as before,
was love: compassion for my ignorance, understanding that encompassed
all my non-understanding.
And something more... In spite of His obvious delight in the beings around
us, I sensed that even this was not the ultimate, that He had far greater
things to show me if only I could see.
And so I followed Him into other buildings of this domain of thought.
We entered a studio where music of a complexity, I couldn't begin to follow
was being composed and performed. There were complicated rhythms, tones
not on any scale I knew. "Why," I found myself thinking, "Bach
is only the beginning!"
Next we walked through a library the size of the whole University of Richmond.
I gazed into rooms lined floor to ceiling with documents on parchment,
clay, leather, metal, paper. "Here," the thought occurred to
me, "are assembled the important books of the universe."
Immediately I knew--this was impossible. How could books be written somewhere
beyond the earth! But the thought persisted. although my mind rejected
it. "The key works of the universe," the phrase kept recurring
as we roamed the domed reading rooms crowded with silent scholars. Then
abruptly, at the door to one of the smaller rooms, almost an annex: "Here
is the central thought of this earth."
Out we moved again into the hushed and expectant park Then into a building
crowded with technological machinery-. Into a strange sphere-shaped structure
where a catwalk led us over a tank of what appeared to be ordinary water.
Into what looked like huge laboratories and into what might have been
some kind of space observatory. And as we went my sense of mystification
"Is this... heaven, Lord Jesus?" I ventured. The calm, the brightness,
they were surely heaven-like! So was the absence of self, of clamoring
ego. "When these people were on earth did they grow beyond selfish
They grew, and they have kept on growing. The answer shone like sunlight
in that intent and eager atmosphere. But if growth could continue, then
this was not all. Then there must be something even these serene beings
lacked. And suddenly I wondered if it was the same thing missing in the
"lower realm." Were these selfless, seeking creatures also failing
in some degree to see Jesus? Or perhaps, to see Him for Himself? Bits
and hints of Him they surely had; obviously it was the truth they were
so single-mindedly pursuing. But what if even a thirst for truth could
distract from the Truth Himself, standing here in their midst while they
searched for Him in books and test tubes....
I didn't know. And next to His unutterable love, my own bewilderment,
all the questions I wanted to ask, seemed incidental. Perhaps, I concluded
at last, He cannot tell me more than I can see: perhaps there is nothing
in me yet that could understand an explanation.
IS HEAVEN &
The central fact, the all-adequate one, remained this Personality at my
side. Whatever additional facts He was showing me, He remained every moment
the real focus of my attention.
Which is why, perhaps, I was not aware of the precise moment when we left
the surface of the earth...
Up until this point I had had the impression that we were traveling--though
in what manner I could not imagine-- upon the earth itself. Even what
I had come to think of as a "higher plane" of deep thoughts
and learning, was obviously nor far distant from the "physical plane"
where body-less beings were still bound to a solid world.
Now however, we seemed to have left the earth behind.
I could no longer see it. Instead we appeared to be in an immense void,
except that I had always thought of that as a frightening word, and this
was not. Some unnamable promise seemed to vibrate through that vast emptiness.
GOLDEN CITY OF LIGHT
And then I saw, infinitely far off, far too distant to be visible with
any kind of sight I knew of ... a city. A glowing, seemingly endless city,
bright enough to be seen over all the unimaginable distance between. The
brightness seemed to shine from the very walls and streets of this place,
and from beings which I could now discern moving about within it. In fact,
the city and everything in it seemed to be made of light, even as the
Figure at my side was made of light.
At this time I had not yet read the Book of Revelation. I could only gape
in awe at this faraway spectacle, wonder-ing how bright each building,
each inhabitant, must be to be seen over so many light-years of distance.
Could these radiant beings, I wondered, amazed, be those who had indeed
kept Jesus the focus of their lives? Was I seeing at last ones, who had
looked for Him in everything? Looked so well and so closely that they
had been changed into His very likeness? - - - Even as I asked the question,
two of the bright figures seemed to detach themselves from the city and
start toward us, hurling themselves across that infinity with the speed
But as fast as they came toward us, we drew away still faster. The distance
increased, the vision faded. Even as I cried out with loss, I knew that
my imperfect sight could not now sustain more than an instant's glimpse
of this real, this ultimate heaven. He had shown me all He could; now
we were speeding far away.
Walls closed around us. Walls so narrow and box-like, that it was several
seconds before I recognized the little hospital room we had left what
seemed a lifetime ago.
TO LIFE! BACK IN MY BODY!
Jesus still stood beside me, otherwise consciousness could not have sustained
the transition from infinite space to the dimensions of this cell-like
room. The glorious city still sparkled and glowed in my thoughts, beckoning,
calling. With total indifference I noticed that there was a figure lying
beneath the sheet on the bed -which nearly filled the minuscule room.
But incredibly Jesus was telling me that I belonged somehow with that
sheeted form, that His purpose for me involved that lump-like thing as
well. I was moving nearer to it. It was filling my field of vision, shutting
off the Light. Desperately I cried out to Him not to leave me, to make
me ready for that shining city, not to abandon me in this dark and narrow
As in a long-ago half-forgotten story I remembered myself combing the
halls and wards of this very hospital, wanting desperately to find the
figure on this bed. From that loneliest moment of my existence I had leapt
into the most perfect
belonging-- I had ever known. 'The Light of Jesus had entered my life
and filled it completely, and the idea of being separated from Him was
more than I could bear,
Even as I pleaded I felt consciousness slipping from me. My mind began
to blur. -- I no longer knew what I was struggling for. My throat was
on fire and the weight on my chest was crashing me.
I opened my eyes but there was something in front of my face. I groped
about the blankets trying to find what was covering me, but moving my
arms was tike trying to lift lead bars. At last my fingers closed upon
each other. With my right hand I touched a circular band with an oval
stone on the ring finger of my left hand. Slowly I twisted it round and
round, as blackness closed over me.
HOW TO ESCAPE
HADES & HELL
And what about the people who never heard about Salvation?
Christians, we know that we are not saved by our own good deeds and righteous
works, but by the Love and mercy of God. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ,
to die on the cross to suffer for our sins; and if we believe on Jesus
and accept Him into our hearts, we are forgiven.--And, as John 3:36 promises,
"He that believes on the Son of God has (NOW posseses) EVERLASTING
can understand how someone who has HEARD the Good News of God's Love in
Jesus, yet who wilfully and rebelliously hardens their heart and completely
REJECTS the Lord's mercy and Salvation, is worthy of Hell! Jesus said,
"He that REJECTS Me and receives not My Word has one that judges
him: The WORD that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the Last
Day!"--John 12: 48. But the question that has troubled many sincere
Christians and students of the Word of God down through the ages has been
what about the people who NEVER heard the Gospel?--The poor, ignorant
heathen who never even HEARD the name of Jesus? How could a God of Love
send them into everlasting torment in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone when
they never even had a CHANCE to HEAR the Gospel or know HOW to get saved?
what about the untold millions of people of different religions who are
fairly righteous and are trying to do the best they know how, living up
to whatever light they have? How could God send them to HELL just because
no one ever preached the Gospel to them and showed them the Love of God
so that they would WANT to get SAVED? Are they going to be sent to eternal
TORMENT in the flames of Hell, even if they were kind, sweet people who
tried their best to worship and please God, even though they never really
knew Him or His Word and Truth?"
thank God, He is NOT going to send them to Hell! They may not all go to
HEAVEN--that wonderful Celestial City reserved only for the SAVED (Revelation
21:24,27)-but they are certainly NOT all going to HELL! I am personally
convinced, from a thorough study of the Scriptures, that God has made
some OTHER provision for the ignorant, un-evangelised unsaved, those who
never heard the true Gospel of Jesus Christ!
is going to have MERCY on them and give them their chance! If they never
even had a CHANCE to hear and believe the Gospel in THIS life, then the
Lord will see to it that they get their FIRST chance in the NEXT life!
You may ask, "But how could they believe the Gospel in HELL?"
The answer to that is that by far the vast MAJORITY of the hundreds of
millions of unsaved do NOT go to Hell when they die, contrary to what
certain churches may have led you to believe.
we think of HELL, what do we think of? We immediately think of the Lake
of Fire, "GEHENNA", burning with fire and brimstone, "where
their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched".--The place where
the wicked and damned Christ-rejectors suffer torment.--Mark 9:43-44 and
Revelation 21:8, 14:9-11. Most preachers tell us that ALL those who do
not believe in Jesus, upon the moment of death, are immediately tossed
into this terrible Lake of Fire!
such a Hell exists, there can be no doubt! And there can be no doubt that
WICKED people such as Hitler, the Antichrist and some of the other monsters
of history definitely DESERVE to go to such a place of punishment! But
what about the millions upon millions of ignorant heathen and peoples
of other religions?--Or even good, moral people who are nominally Christians
but never knew Jesus personally and never were saved! Do THEY deserve
to go to such a place of tor ment? Obviously, NO!
might surprise you to learn that of the 22 times the word "Hell"
is mentioned in the New Testament, only 11 times is it the original Greek
word "Gehenna", the Lake of Fire. The OTHER 11 times, the original
word used was "HADES" which literally means "THE UNSEEN
STATE" or "THE UNSEEN WORLD".--It does NOT refer to the
Lake of Fire! In the Hebrew of the Old Testament, the word invariably
translated as "Hell" does NOT refer to a fiery Hell either;
the original Hebrew word used, "SHEOL", ALSO means "the
unseen state", or the SPIRIT WORLD. t
important point is regarding the word "GRAVE" which appears
65 TIMES in the English Old Testament! Of the 34 times it appears, it
DOES literally mean a grave where the dead are buried, but 31 times, when
the Bible talks about people "going down to the grave", the
original Hebrew word was "SHEOL"--"the unseen WORLD"
IS "THE UNSEEN WORLD", mistakenly translated as "Hell"
and "the grave"? Obviously, it is the unseen SPIRIT World, the
World where the spirits of the departed dead live! So--unless they were
horribly wicked--where do the spirits of the unsaved go when they die?
They go into HADES, the UNSEEN state. They don't get thrown immediately
into Hellfire--neither are they just stuck in a grave, a hole in the ground--but
they pass on into the invisible, unseen World of the Spirit.
it is given unto men once to die, and AFTER this the Judgement"--Hebrews
9:27. But WHEN does this Judgement occur? At the moment of one's death,
as many preachers insist? No! Revelation 2O:5,11-15 clearly states that
the UNSAVED DEAD are NOT raised and judged until the END of the 1,OOO-year
MILLENNIUM!--Which hasn't even BEGUN yet! So where are the unsaved dead
waiting UNTIL then? Revelation 2O:12-13 gives us the answer: "And
the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and DEATH and HADES delivered
up the DEAD which were in THEM. And the dead were JUDGED according to
then, the Spirit World, is a WAITING STATE where the spirits of the unsaved
dead wait to be judged and sent to their final destination.--And this
will NOT occur until the "GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT" at the
end of the Millennium! Why did the churches never TELL us this when it's
so clearly in the Bible? Why did they never want to admit that there's
some other place to go besides Heaven and Hell? WHY? Many an unsaved person
or potential believer has been turned away by this false doctrine of the
churches, and just couldn't believe in a God Who would send everybody,
including ignorant babies and children, into a fiery Hell! It's terrible
what some churches are guilty of! Think how they've offended so many people's
understanding of the justice and grace and Love and mercy of God by their
doctrines!--That "if you don't believe just the way WE believe, you
are going straight to HELLFIRE, period!--No alternative, no in-between!"--When
the Scripture makes it clear that there IS an IN-BETWEEN!
then is the next question: If those who NEVER heard the Gospel are awaiting
their final judgement in the Spirit World, can they believe on Jesus THERE,
AFTER they have died, receive His forgiveness of sins and be SAVED and
liberated? It may surprise you to know that the answer is YES! If EVER
anyone would believe, it would be when they wake up in the next World
and find out they were very WRONG and that Jesus IS the Truth!--THEN they
would be SURE to believe if someone would only TELL them! But some people
insist that once a poor lost sinner has died, his "moment of grace"
is over and he can no longer believe the Truth and be saved!--Even if
he WANTS to!
if this is really the case, then why did JESUS HIMSELF, while spending
three days and nights in the heart of the Earth between His crucifixion
and His resurrection, spend His time "PREACHING unto the SPIRITS
in PRISON" there if there was no HOPE of their SALVATION? 1Peter
3:18-2O says, "Christ suffered for our sins, the just for the unjust,
that He might bring us to GOD. For which cause He ALSO went and PREACHED
to the SPIRITS IN PRISON; Which long ago were disobedient, when once God
waited patiently in the days of Noah."
4:5-6 goes on to say, "God is ready to judge the living and the dead.
For this cause was the GOSPEL preached ALSO to them that are DEAD, that
they might be judged just like men (living) in the FLESH, but live according
to GOD in the SPIRIT!" Think of it! Jesus spent three days in the
belly of the Earth, down where the disobedient spirits of the unsaved
dead were IMPRISONED, and He "preached the GOSPEL to them"!
"Gospel" means "GOOD NEWS"--the Good News of SALVATION!
it isn't possible for the departed dead to believe and be saved, WHY did
the Son of God Himself PREACH to them? Why did He preach the GOSPEL to
them and tell them HOW to get saved if it wasn't possible for them to
repent and be sorry for their sins and to receive forgiveness, salvation,
and to be DELIVERED from their imprisonment? There would have been no
point to it, and Jesus would have been wasting His time!
did He preach them the Gospel? Just as a matter of information so they
could be all the more miserable for the rest of Eternity in an everlasting
spiritual prison? Do you honestly think that Jesus went down there and
preached the Gospel, the Good News of Salvation, to the prisoners just
to make them feel even worse by not giving them any hope at all?
TRUTH of the matter is, according to the Scripture, the Word of God, Jesus
preached to them the GOSPEL, and I am convinced that if they BELIEVED
it they were RELEASED! Remember, some of them had been waiting there since
the days of Noah, for thousands of years! All the millions of people who
lived before Jesus came and never before knew how to be saved, received
an opportunity to hear the Gospel from Jesus Himself! And if they RECEIVED
it and BELIEVED it, they were FORGIVEN for their sins and RELEASED from
only did the spirits in prison and the spirits awaiting in the Spirit
World get a chance to hear the Gospel THEN, but they are probably hearing
it right NOW as well!--And God's Word indicates that they will have the
opportunity to receive the Truth right up until the Final Great White
Throne Judgement of the unsaved itself! As Revelation 2O:12,15 say: "And
I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were
opened: And ANOTHER Book was opened, which is the BOOK OF LIFE. And IF
any man was NOT found written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the
Lake of Fire." (And remember, the Great White Throne Judgement is
ONLY for those who were not saved in THIS life. Those who received Jesus
in this life will have already been raptured and taken to Heaven at the
Second Coming of Christ 1,000 years before this final Judgement.)
says if they were NOT found written in the Book of Life, they were cast
into Hell! So obviously, SOME people WERE found written in it at that
final Judgement. If there weren't ANY people in the Book of Life, why
even bring it out at this time? Why not throw them all straight into Hell-fire?
WHY is it brought out? Just to "make one last check, just to be CERTAIN
that none of the people there are saved"? No!
there are TWO groups of people resurrected to face the Final Judgement:
Those whose names ARE written in the Book of Life, and those who are NOT.
Those whose names are written in the Book of Life must be those who died
unsaved, but repented of their sins and came to the Lord in the SPIRIT
WORLD. Of course, the utter reprobates, the unrepentant defiant wicked
who have no intention of repenting and receiving the Truth, will be damned
to HELL! That is clear. But what about those who at this Great White Throne
Judgement ARE found writ ten in the Book of Life? Where do THEY go?
21st and 22nd Chapters of Revelation tell us that only the SAVED who believe
in Jesus by faith live INSIDE New Jerusalem, the Eternal Heavenly City
of the blessed; but it tells us that there are ALSO people living OUTSIDE
the City on the beautiful NEW EARTH! It says, "the kings of the EARTH
do bring their glory and honour INTO it (the City)."--Revelation
21:24. Who ARE these "kings of the Earth" if--according to the
churches--the only people around are either those who got saved in THIS
life, who will therefore be enjoying the HEAVENLY CITY, or those who did
NOT get saved in this life, who will therefore be damned to HELL? 23.
Revelation 22:2 says that in the City is "the Tree of Life...and
the leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the NATIONS." WHAT
nations will NEED to be healed? None of the resurrected saved in their
immortal bodies are going to need healing, because Revelation 21:4 promises
that for us "there shall be no more pain nor death nor sickness,
sorrow or crying".--So WHO ARE these nations that NEED HEALING?
obviously refers to the UNSAVED people OUTSIDE the City! These kings and
nations outside the City are a class of people who were not BAD ENOUGH
to go to HELL, the Lake of Fire, nor are they yet the BORN AGAIN, believing
BRIDE of Christ, those who have the right to enter and enjoy the Heavenly
City! "The kings" and their "nations" are the people
who apparently have not yet received Jesus and His free gift of Salvation,
but whom God has mercifully spared from Hell, and given them the opportunity
to learn about Him and His Love on the beautiful New Earth.
outside the Heavenly City it's going to be a literal PARADISE like the
Garden of Eden, and those who end up there are going to think it's Heaven
on Earth for sure, and be very thankful to God for His mercy! They may
have had to wait a long time in the Spirit World first, but they will
finally be released and be thankful for the Lord's Love and mercy, as
we, God's saved children from within the City, minister the healing leaves
of the Tree of Life to them. Eventually they too will come to a full knowledge
of God and His Salvation, and thus be able to enter and enjoy the wonderful
Heavenly City where God Himself dwells! Doesn't that fit your idea of
a loving, merciful, all-wise God, much better than the churches' cruel
and unscriptural doctrine of a hateful Hell forever for all who were never
even offered the opportunity to or the knowledge of how to receive Jesus
in THIS life?
IS such a place as Hell, the Lake of Fire, a place of spiritual damnation,
but it is just for the WORST, the most rebellious and defiant and disobedient
and wicked and cruel and horrible people, monsters like Hitler, the Antichrist,
the Devil and his fallen angels! THEY'LL all go to the Lake of Fire, you
can be sure of that! The Bible makes it quite clear that the most wicked
"shall have their part in the Lake which burneth with Fire and Brimstone:
which is the Second Death!"--Revelation 21:8.
Lake of fire is punishment only for the very WORST! To be cast into the
Lake of Fire you've got to be a pretty wicked sinner who has been really
DEFIANT of God, rejecting every opportunity He has given you to repent!--A
proud, rebellious sinner who REFUSES to yield to God's Love, and who,
like the Devil himself, defiantly cries, in the words of the infamous
poem, "Invictus": "My head is bloody but unbowed! I am
the master of my OWN fate!"
me tell you, for those who finally DO end up in Hell, the Lake of Fire,
it will be because they FOUGHT their way there every step of the way over
everything God could possibly do to keep them OUT of Hell! They will have
INSISTED on going to Hell and will have fought their way into the Pit
of Hell itself!--DETERMINED to go to Hell despite every merciful, loving
opportunity God gave them to be saved and repent!
about YOU? Have YOU received the love and forgiveness of God through His
Son Jesus Christ? If so, you're saved and bound for Heaven when you die!
But if you HAVEN'T received Jesus, believe on Him and receive His Spirit
into your heart NOW! Don't decide too late and have to wait a thousand
years in the Spirit World for your final fate to be decided! Why end up
in Hell, or end up only being allowed to live on the New Earth surrounding
the Heavenly City? Wouldn't you rather be one of the SAVED who lives WITH
God Himself IN the indescribably beautiful Heavenly City, the NEW Jerusalem,
enjoying all of its wonderful pleasures of Paradise? You CAN be! Receive
Jesus NOW!--Revelation 21:3; 22:14. God bless you with His ETERNAL Salvation!--In
Jesus' name, amen!
by David Brandt Berg © Copyright
1989 The Family Missions Int.
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