Hell — A Personal Testimony

An Amazing Facts worker, Shemeka, shares how she discovered the Bible truth about hell.

I’ve never been much into horror films—or anything scary for that matter—but I do remember as a kid watching a docudrama about the Son of Sam late one night.

Son of Sam* was the name that serial killer David Berkowitz used when committing his crimes. He is infamous for a killing spree that terrorized New York City in the mid- to late 1970s. When he was finally captured and questioned, he confessed to the killings. He claimed that he was part of a satanic cult and that he had been instructed by a demon to carry out the killings.

That night, thinking about what I had just seen, I couldn’t sleep. David Berkowitz was a sinner, and so was I. Granted, my sins were not of the same variety as his, but I was a sinner nonetheless. How many times had I disobeyed my parents? Fought with my sister? Lied? Coveted? The list went on and on. I was terrified of being lost and burning in the flames of hell forever.

You see, I had been raised in a church that staunchly taught that God was going to send sinners to hell after death to burn them throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.

I remember praying that night, with more earnestness than I had ever prayed before, that God would save me from hellfire. With this picture of God in my mind, He was not someone who I loved. I just thought that I needed to be good—and do more good deeds than bad ones so that I might escape hell. The eternal fires of hell made God someone to be feared and appeased, and certainly not someone who I truly felt that I could love.

The truth shall set you free
Fast-forward several years. I was sitting in a church next to my father listening to a minister preach from the book of Revelation about hellfire. He was saying that hellfire does not burn eternally, that it will simply cleanse the earth and go out. I was astounded. Could the beliefs that I had held all those years have been wrong? This new information was too clear from Scripture to brush aside as nonsense. Shortly after hearing this, I remember being alone in my room musing over what I had learned when something happened that I will never forget.

A presence seemed to enter my room, and it was not a heavenly one. I sensed the following words, which were not audible: “So now you know the truth. It’s true; hell does not burn forever. But think about what that means. You can do whatever you want, live life however you please, and at the end you just burn up.” I stood there with that thought, that temptation, hanging in my mind. As a young person, the prospect of doing whatever I wanted with little thought of consequences was very tempting. As I stood there in deep thought over this, I heard myself quietly say, “That may be true, but I think I’m going to try Jesus.” At that declaration, the presence left.

Today I can truly say that my heavenly Father is my best and dearest friend. I truly love Him. Can you believe it? I love the God whom years ago I had no real desire to love! The Scriptures say it so well: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Now, before you go off thinking that I’m a universalist who believes that God is too loving to deal with sin and sinners, please keep reading.

Exodus 21:24 says, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” Most people think this verse is saying that it’s OK to take revenge, but the context of the chapter is not revenge, but crime and punishment. “Eye for eye” simply means that the punishment must fit the crime. Please tell me what crime merits the punishment of burning alive for endless eons? Where in all of Scripture does such a teaching correspond with the character of a loving God? God will indeed deal with sin, but He will do it justly.

HellTruth.com — A Trusted Bible Website Just Got Better
Amazing Facts has recently redesigned and updated our website dealing with this topic, and it is now accessible on your phone and other devices. If you want to know the truth of what Scripture teaches about hell, please visit helltruth.com.

This comprehensive site contains historical perspectives on hell and its sister doctrine of the immortal soul, a library of articles and audio and video messages on the topic, real questions and real answers that explain misunderstood Bible passages, such as the rich man and Lazarus, and even a way for you to get a personal answer to your questions about hellfire and the afterlife.

Helltruth.com. Bookmark it, like it, tweet it, post it, share it far and wide! People need to know Bible truth about this subject, because people need to know who God really is!

Shemeka works in the IT department at Amazing Facts

*Son of Sam is now known as the "Son of Hope." David Berkowitz reportedly accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior in 1987 and is running an outreach ministry to other prisoners.

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