From the Desk

I used to think that Barnes and Noble was the best place to drink coffee a read a good book, until last semester. One late night, I discovered Wal-Mart’s book section.

Within seconds, a simple title caught my eye — “23 Minutes in Hell.” Thinking the book was fiction, I picked it up.

Flipping through, I noticed the author wrote a note at the beginning of his book, saying that his writing was based on truth. He claimed that his experience in Hell was real. Now, he really had me hooked.

I had heard of near death experiences before. It usually happens when people are pronounced dead in hospital rooms. They claim that they see white lights at the end of a tunnel. Then, they are told that their jobs on earth are not finished. They return from the tunnel and tell all their friends that Heaven is real.

Yet, I had never heard of someone claiming they had gone to Hell. The Bible mentions that Lazarus went to Hell, but this is almost never heard of in modern times.

Even more surprising is the fact that the author, Bill Wiese, said that he became saved in 1970, and he experienced his time in Hell almost 30 years later. Whoa. This is where I stopped and re-read that passage for a good five minutes.

Wiese’s website said that he “saw the searing flames of hell, experienced the putrid and rotting stench…(and) terrorizing demons.” Then, God brought him out of the pit of Hell, he said.

For centuries, people have pondered about life after death. The Bible is clear that the soul will separate from the human body, and it will spend eternity in either Heaven or Hell.

However, this is where most unsaved people have intellectual roadblocks to accepting Christianity. Reading about Wiese’s time in Hell, which was only 23 minutes, makes them cringe at the thought of spending an eternity there.

Many people object to the idea of Hell because they cannot comprehend how good people could be punished eternally. In addition, they wonder how a loving God could send his most treasured creation to Hell.

That is why some religions created places like purgatory and limbo. They believe that people need to be cleansed before entering Heaven. However, this is not biblical.

In life, men can choose to reject Jesus or accept Him.

Once people realize that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, they will hopefully accept his grace and forgivness.

Hell should not be the dominant factor in evangelism. Hell is frightening to people who do not understand how their “good” friends, colleagues and neighbors could be sent to such a horrid place. Rather, Jesus’ love and forgiveness should be presented first to the unsaved.

Next time you are in Wal-Mart, stop by the book section. Who knows, you might just find someone reading “23 Minutes in Hell.” Then, you can share your own testimony with him or her.

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