Tours of Hell
Now we turn our attention to less pleasant tours, those of Hell as distinct from the Prison section of Hades, although Hell may perhaps be viewed from the Prison under certain circumstances – most likely to act as a warning.
I know that the concept of God punishing people is an awful one. Hell is abhorrent to many, even if they believe that a person ‘deserved it’. There is a temptation to tone down or dispense with the unpopular Hell altogether, as many Christian churches appear to have done. The rationale is that a loving God would never punish people in this way regardless of what they have done. All NDErs who met with either God the Father or with Jesus felt the love and compassion that streamed out of them as fundamental to their divine nature.
Nevertheless, it appears that Hell as described in Scripture has been observed as a real place by reliable NDErs. It would be unwise to ignore this. In my opinion, it is more loving to warn people about it than to pretend it doesn’t exist simply because we don’t like the concept. After all, John, labelled the Apostle of Love, and Jesus Christ himself, both warned more forcefully and frequently in scripture about future punishment than did any others. It is hard not to assume that it is because of their great love that they try to warn people not to put themselves there – similar to yelling ‘watch out’ to a person staggering towards danger.
Are Children In Hell?
We would not expect to find young children either in the Prison section of Hades, nor ultimately in Hell. Those who have had visions of Hell or have visited there, such as the Apostle John, and modern observers such as Bill Wiese 14, have not reported seeing any children. This perplexed the researcher PMH Atwater 15, who observed: ‘Not one of the childhood experiencers I interviewed (of 277) ever mentioned anything fearful or Hell-like or threatening. Only the adults in my inquiry reported such stories. This puzzled me. Why would some adults describe the existence of a Hell when children never did?’
The answer seems to me that it is because they have died too young to be accountable and most have gone straight to the heavenly city.
Adult Descriptions of Hell
Thomas Welch 16 was 18 or 19 years old in 1924 when he tumbled down into the murky waters of a dam. It took 75 men an hour to find and retrieve his dead body and lay it out on the mill floor. Here is part of his description of his NDE.
I was standing near a shoreline of a great ocean of fire. It happened to be what the Bible says it is in Revelation 21:8 – ‘The lake that burned with fire and brimstone [sulphur – used to intensify and prolong heat]’. This is the most awesome sight one could ever see this side of the final Judgement…
I was standing some distance from this burning, turbulent, rolling mass of blue fire. As far as I could see, it was just the same – a Lake of Fire and brimstone. There was nobody in it. I was not in it.
I saw other people whom I had known that had died when I was thirteen. One was an uncle of mine who died of consumption when I was thirteen. Another was a boy I had gone to school with who had died from cancer of the jaw that had started with an infected tooth while he was just a young lad. He was two years older than I. We recognised each other, even though we did not speak. They, too, were looking and seemed to be perplexed and in deep thought, as though they could not believe what they saw. Their expressions were those of bewilderment and confusion…
I said to myself in an audible voice, ‘If I had known about this, I would have done anything that was required of me to escape coming to a place like this.’ But I had not known.
In his distress, Thomas records a feeling of hopelessness, of inescapable entrapment. How long would he remain there? Until Judgement? And would he then become one of those who would be cast into that grotesque Lake of Fire?
As these thoughts were racing through my mind, I saw another man coming by in front of us. I knew immediately who he was. He had a strong, kind, compassionate face, composed and unafraid, Master of all he saw. It was Jesus himself!
A great hope took hold of me and I knew the answer to my problem was this great and wonderful person who was moving by me in this Prison of lost, confused, Judgement-bound souls. I did not do anything to attract his attention. I said again to myself, ‘If he would only look my way and see me, he could rescue me from this place because he would know I never understood it was like this. He would know what to do.’
He passed on by, and it seemed as though he would not look my way, but just before he passed out of sight, he turned his head and looked directly at me. That was all it took. His look was enough. In seconds I was back entering my body again.
Tom was not a Christian at the time of this tour of Hell; he was in his own words ‘an infidel’ and a personal fan of the atheists Thomas Paine and Voltaire, but never afterwards doubted the reality of Hell. He emphasised the value of individual experience. ‘I know there is a Lake of Fire, because I have seen it. I know Jesus Christ is alive in eternity. I have seen him.’
His subsequent reading of the Bible helped Tom identify the Lake of Fire that he had witnessed. ‘This is the lake I saw, and I am certain of this one thing, that in the end of this age at the final Judgement every corrupt thing in this Universe will ultimately be cast into this lake and be forever destroyed.’
Tom was one of those few lucky NDErs who had a miracle of healing on return. His body had been terribly battered by his high fall at the sawmill, bouncing off wooden beams before dropping into the dam 55 feet below. Yet a few days following the accident, on the Friday, each broken rib bone immediately healed and he dismissed himself from hospital. He returned to work the next day to the complete astonishment of the men who had rescued him!
Another who apparently toured Hell during his NDE was Geo Godkin 17 of Canada in 1948. He described the heat and fire he experienced there.
My guiding angel said, ‘Come.’ I was then guided to the place in the spiritual world called Hell. This is a place of punishment for all those who reject Jesus Christ or who just forget God. I now had the horrible privilege of not only seeing Hell but also feeling the torment that all will experience that go there…
The breath from your nostrils as well as the air you breathe feels like a blast from a blast furnace. The exterior of your body feels as if it were encased within a white-hot stove. The interior of your body has a sensation of scorching hot air being forced through it.
The agony and loneliness of Hell cannot be expressed clearly enough for proper understanding to the human soul, it has to be experienced, but unfortunately the soul in Hell has reached the point of no return. The sad horrible fact is that the worst is yet to come, for there is a one-way road from Hell to the Lake of Fire.
Did he experience a foretaste of Hell itself? Most likely he did.
Once the tours are over, it is time for the NDEr to return to Earth. Unfortunately, for too many NDErs, ‘their troubles have only just begun’.
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