It saddens and provokes me to hear people take the name of the place, hell, “in vain.” To use the term hell as an exclamation is to profane the meaning and reality of the place. Those who can speak so lightly about hell demonstrate that they do not really believe in its existence and torment. To believe in hell is to respect it and to be so impressed with its horrors as to see nothing humorous about it. One who knows he has terminal cancer does not joke about being able to “cheat death,” and he who is on death row does not joke about the effects of the electric chair! And why? Because they are truly conscious of the reality and the sober end of such things.
During the 90+ degrees summer days someone often exclaims, “It’s hotter than ___ !” Such a one does not realize how “hot” hell really is. Jesus described hell as a place “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48). Whether or not there will be literal fire as we know it in hell is unimportant. The term is meant to convey the idea of agony and destruction. The story of a certain rich man and Lazarus should make us think soberly about the torment of hell (Luke 16:19-21). Although speaking of the place of torment in hades it uses the same kind of language as describes hell.
And in hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment,…and cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue; for I am in agony in this flame.’” Anyone who believes in hell would gladly endure the sweltering heat of summer, even year-round, than to experience what is described as “the lake of fire.” “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).
Perhaps you have seen a pickup truck with a sticker proclaiming, “Hellbound!” If the owner truly believed he was headed for hell he would not so arrogantly brag about it. What in fact he would do is everything in his power to warn anyone who would listen not to follow him there.
The same rich man of the story wanted Abraham to send Lazarus back to his father’s house for he had five brothers that he wanted to warn “lest they also come to this place of torment.”
The thought of being bound for hell should be powerful enough to make this truck owner give up the risk of driving completely lest he die in an accident and his “wish” comes true! May he come to his senses and to a knowledge of the truth.
Friends, hell is no laughing matter. Jesus taught, “Fear not those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt. 10:28). When someone jokes about hell the joke is on him, and the only one laughing is the Devil. – By Tim Reeves