Exodus 10-12, Psalm 20
We spend so much time concerning ourselves with our earthly tents which are temporary and fading rather than with our souls which are eternal. In James 4:14, we read, "whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." Many prefer not thinking about eternity because the reality of it is too scary. Jesus not wanting anyone to go there, spoke 3 times more about hell than heaven in the gospel accounts. While most everyone asked, believe both they and all their loved ones will wind up in heaven, Jesus said otherwise. We read in Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Though some who live in a flagrantly sinful lifestyle like to joke about hell as a place which might be a little uncomfortable but they will enjoy it with their buddies, drinking it up, etc. I would rather trust Jesus' description in Matthew 8:12, "But the sons of the kingdom will be cast into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
As we continue through the ten plagues brought upon the Egyptians, notice they are becoming increasingly severe. This shows the loving patience of God who could have just annihilated the Egyptians but slowly gave them the opportunity to repent and see Him for who He is. The ninth plague is the plague of darkness. We read of it in Exodus 10:21-23, "Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt." So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. They did not see one another...". They say that there is nothing worse than utter darkness. Since God is light, without God we are in darkness. Most feel that hell will be a place of eternal torment in utter darkness. We see a similar judgment brought upon the earth in the fifth bowl judgment in a Revelation 16:10-11. We read as is the case of Pharoah in Exodus, that those in the Great Tribulation in Revelation 16:11, "They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pain and sores, and did not repent of their deeds." One other picture of hell is given in Revelation 9:5-6 in the fifth trumpet judgment when the locusts from the bottomless pit are released. We read, "And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man. In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them." They say a scorpion strike makes ones body feel like it is on fire. God is showing those who refuse to repent what hell will be like: utter darkness, loneliness, tormented in pain, like being on fire with no hope for escape. There is a reason why He gives this as the last judgment before the Passover and before Jesus' second coming. He is giving one last opportunity for people to repent, showing them what their fate will otherwise be.
As we continue in our walk in this life, we can choose to ignore eternity or take it as seriously as the Father did in Exodus and as Jesus did in the gospels. Jesus was a great teacher, performed miracles, etc. But the real reason He was sent, was to offer salvation to any who would simply repent and accept His free offer. The alternative is clearly presented, so to claim ignorance is unwarranted. To believe there are other alternatives or to believe that it won't really be that bad is not based in Scripture. For us, who have accepted Christ's offer, this should make our commission and marching orders clear. We must reach out with all of our energy and resources to a world that desperately needs to hear the gospel message before the fate outlined above becomes their reality.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: