|Volume 24 Number 9 September 2022
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” (Revelation 14:9-11 NKJV)
The idea that Hell is the devil’s kingdom and that he rules is plain make-believe. First, Satan did not create Hell. God did (Matthew 25:41). Next, Hell is designed to be Satan’s punishment and prison – forever (Revelation 20:10). Finally, it is not the devil who rules or is in control of eternity. It is Jesus Christ (Revelation 14:10; 20:11-21:8).
Many fail to understand the righteousness of Hell. “How dare we be punished in such a way!” However, the facts are that Hell makes justice real. It also demonstrates that those who suffered at the hands of the wicked here for Jesus’ sake chose well; those who rejected Christ did not. Further, to be made for God’s presence for eternity, and then to reject that purpose, puts one in the unenviable position of existing forever without the possibility of fulfilling the reason for one’s existence.
On the other hand, God is satisfied because He demonstrated His love and glory over His enemies; it is always by one’s own designs that anyone will end up in Hell (Isaiah 59:1-2, 18).
So, who rules over Hell? The Lord, of course (Psalm 103:19; Acts 10:36).
Explain “Take Up His
Cross and Follow Jesus”
Garland M. Robinson
Mark 8:34 reads, “…Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (KJV). Jesus here bade all to follow Him but acknowledged there is a price to be paid. Because most are unwilling to pay the price, they choose to follow their own way and be lost. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
“His cross” here is not the Lord’s cross, but rather, it is our own cross! It involves a denial of self. The most important thing in the world after becoming a Christian is no longer oneself but God’s will. We practice self-discipline. Romans 12:1-2 declares, “I beseech you… that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Included here are both inner and outer struggles pertaining to living the Christian life. Whatever burdens, trials or hardships come our way as a consequence of following Christ are to be patiently borne. Second Timothy 3:12 tells us, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” When we endure whatever crosses we must bear, Jesus said, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10).
Christians neither look for hardships and tribulations in life, nor do they create them, but they patiently endure them when they come. Throughout all personal adversities they continue to live faithfully unto the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58) and seek to please Him instead of themselves. “For even Christ pleased not himself” (Romans 15:3).
There is much to do in God’s service, and as a follower of Christ, we are to take the initiative and go to work for the Lord. There will be some pain along the way, but the reward is out of this world! Won’t you take up your own cross today and follow Jesus? He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).