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"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).

"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life..." (Deut. 30:19).

To choose or to make a choice is to make a decision. In life, you will make many choices, because you have options. For example, you have two options concerning where you will spend eternity. You can choose to have life eternal, or you can choose to have death that is also eternal.

I want to help you from the Word of God to make the right choice.

Not Choosing Is Still A Choice
As I said, choosing means that you have to make a decision. Whether you make a conscious, determinate decision about a particular thing or not, you still make a choice, because not to choose is also a choice!

Christians get excited, and rightly so, about what God's Word says about the victory that has been provided for them. They get excited that God's Word says they can be prosperous and receive physical healing in their body.

God's Word teaches that we can win in life at what we do. Thank God for what His Word says! But, sometimes, we as believers get so focused on believing God for something that we forget what this life is really all about.

God has provided blessings for us in this life because He loves us. However, even if you live to be 150 years old, which would be a long time, it is not "a spit in the ocean" compared to how long eternity is.

Two Different Eternities
Just as there is eternal life, there is also eternal death. Both exist, and whether you live to be 150 years old or only 25, whether you get healed or don't get healed, and whether you prosper or don't prosper, it is really immaterial over the long haul. This life is just a short breath compared to eternity.

In a manner of speaking, this earth is an "audition stage." You are "auditioning" for Heaven or hell. You will win a part. You will be selected for one or the other, but the selection will be determined by what you choose.
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom....
(Luke 16:19-22)
We read here in Luke that when Lazarus died, the angels carried him into Abraham's bosom. And if you are in right standing with God, and you die physically, the angels of God will be your "taxicab" to Heaven, too!

When I say "angel of God," I'm talking about someone who is strong and mighty and who has been before the very throne of God. When an individual who is born again and is in right standing with God leaves his or her earthly body, the angels of God take that person to the gate of Heaven and usher him or her into the very Presence and glory of God!

The angels of God carried Lazarus to Abraham's bosom, which is (of course) now empty. It became empty when Jesus rose from the dead. Those Old Testament saints who were there in Abraham's bosom have now been taken to Heaven and shown a more perfect way.

Let's continue reading in Luke 16:
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
(vv. 16:22-24)
In verse 23, the word "torment" means agony, anguish, and pain. This rich man who lived long ago is still living in hell. He's still in torment. He is still in agony, anguish, and pain. He is still there right now!

The Bible says the rich man lifted up his eyes in hell in torment. Hell is a real place. But, thank God, so is Heaven! If you want to see what Heaven is like—its design—picture the earth without decay or sin.

I realize that even the beauty of the earth is not in the same league or class as Heaven, yet it is in God's taste, because He created it.

I've been to numerous places in the world, and I've seen some of the beauty of the earth. I've seen the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and some of the beauty of the Caribbean.

Even in their decayed state, there are places in this earth right now, such as the sun coming up over the horizon of the Atlantic Ocean, that make you say, "Man, this is beautiful! I know there's a God."

You can look at some places in Hawaii and say, "I know this didn't happen by accident. Somebody planned this."

Well, that is the earth in its decayed form. Everything we see exists after sin came into play.

Keeping in mind that earth is designed after Heaven, let's think about Heaven. As I said, Heaven is a real place where people really live. There are buildings, rivers, trees, and other blessed things there that are far better than the best vacation we could ever take here.

But just as real as Heaven is, hell is also real. Heaven is more wonderful than you could ever imagine, and hell is more terrible than you could ever imagine.

Heaven and hell are both real, and whether you go to Heaven or hell is determined by you—by the choice you choose. Your destination is determined by your choice!

We read in Luke 16:23 that the rich man lifted up his eyes in torment—in agony, anguish, and pain. He saw Abraham afar off, with Lazarus in his bosom, and the rich man cried, "...Father Abraham, have mercy on me..." (Luke 16:24).

The Power of Recognition In Hell
First of all, I want you to notice that the rich man had the power of recognition in hell. He still had the ability to recognize people even though he was in hell. He recognized Abraham and Lazarus.

If you go to hell, you will not be blotted out so that you won't know what's going on. You will have memory, and you will be able to see. You will see other people in hell whom you knew, and, I guarantee you, you aren't going to be down there having a party. There isn't going to be any partying in hell.

Eternal Fire
The people who say, "I'll see you in hell" don't know what they're talking about! There isn't going to be any party in hell. There isn't going to be any dancing in hell, and there isn't going to be any getting drunk in hell.

In hell, there is nothing but constant weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth (Matt. 8:12; 13:42,50; 22:13), because hell is eternal.

It never stops.

Source: Hell by Bishop Keith A. Butler
Excerpt permission granted by Word Of Faith Publishing

Author Biography

Keith Butler
Web site: Word of Faith International Christian Center
Bishop Keith A. Butler is the senior pastor of Word of Faith International Christian Center. Keith Butler is the founder and president of Keith Butler Ministries (KBM), an international organization established to take the life-changing message of the Gospel to "the uttermost parts of the earth." Through Live Your Faith Seminars and the establishment of our PISTIS School of Ministry in various locations, Keith Butler provides teaching of the Word of God on a variety of subjects such as how to live the life of faith, how to fulfill the call of God for your life, how to receive your healing, the importance of walking in love and many more topics. PISTIS is specifically designed to train ministers so that they are equipped to go out into their world and teach and preach Jesus effectively.

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