Hell on Radio Nottingham: 21 June

Radio Nottingham this week took an instant interest in The Lie of Hell. Following a Press Release sent on Tuesday evening, I was on the breakfast programme today, Thursday. This is a general programme, not religious, certainly not Christian. See www.bbc.co.uk/radionottingham  Go to Listen Again, Andy Whittaker 21/06/12. My interview is 1 hour 20 mins into the programme.

Andy Whittaker, the presenter, began with the definition of hell from Collins Dictionary making clear that hell has satan as its ruler. It is amazing that this is the opposite of what Jesus said when He talked of ‘the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels…’ In Jesus’ eternal fire, which He named Gehenna, the devil is the victim.

Andy had done his homework and asked me lively, serious, relevant questions.

‘What do you say hell is? It was great to be able to explain to a general audience that Jesus talked of 2 places, Hades and Gehenna. Andy later referred to me talking of the fire in which the wicked are burnt to a crisp. That’s a fair description of Gehenna. Andy also grasped that, before the fire, before the Final Judgement, there’s a nasty prison called Hades. He could see that what has happened is that the fire and the prison have been combined to form an eternal fiery prison. That’s the Big Mistake. Once we realise that when Jesus talked or Hades and Gehenna, He was talking about 2 different places, the truth follows.

Who put the two together? There’s a whole chapter on this in The Lie of Hell. Briefly, hell as eternal torment came from different philosophies and influences outside Christianity.

‘So at the Final Judgement, people could be released?’ asked Andy. ‘It’s better than that!’ I was delighted to reply. Jesus has the keys of Hades. He left it to us to work out what that means – that He has full right of access to Hades and can take people out of Hades well before the Final Judgement. This ‘second chance beyond death’ is most controversial to some Christians.

Does this take away a main point of becoming a Christian? There’s no hell so nothing to be saved from? All of us need Jesus to save us from Hades. The Church has exaggerated Hades into hell, but there is still a nasty fate from which Jesus can rescue us.  No sane person would want to be in Hades even half an hour.  After death, Christian souls live is Paradise / Heaven instead of in Hades.

Isn’t it about being a good person, not which religion we follow? Yes indeed! Jesus and the Bible are clear that we will all be judged on what we have done to others. We will then all need forgiveness and that forgiveness comes only from Jesus. Thank God that forgiveness is available now.

Andy Whittaker invited listeners to respond with their comments. Listeners proved that this is a subject of wide interest:

‘How do we know there is anything beyond death? Isn’t death just the end of everything? Isn’t heaven and hell different for different people? We know from Jesus, the most widely respected teacher in human history and across the world today. We know from people who have had ‘near-death experiences’ of both Paradise and Hades, of intense light and of horrendous darkness. These experiences have much in common across different cultures and beliefs.

For more detail on all these questions, and more, see The Lie of Hell – www.laddermedia.co.uk

Andy also invited listeners to make less serious comments: ‘Hell is ironing.’ ‘Hell would be waking up in a Derby County shirt.’ The weather forecaster also joined in – 12 hours of rain, on Midsummer’s Day, today, is ‘hellish.’

The main point, as I tried to explain, is that the God and Father of Jesus is more loving, kinder, than He has been made out to be.

Roger Harper


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