Tuesday, January 11, 2005

From The Vindicator, August 1997 (a reprint from January 1980) Part III

Again the man shouts into the darkness. "Is there no one here to hear me? Am I the only one here? Please, will someone stop me from falling?"

The man is instantly startled as the voice of a demon replies, "Welcome to outer darkness, fellow-heir of damnation. Prepare to stay awhile." New fear grips the man at this new realization of sharing this oppressive blackness with unclean devils.

"Move away from me at once!" screams the man in a thunderous voice that echoed on and on through the darkness. The demon does not obey. The oppressive spirit of the demon clasps itself to the man like a hungry parasite.

"We are going to Hell together," whispers the demon. "It's a long journey, and we need each other."

I need you not," convulses the man, thrashing and kicking wildly. "I need Jesus Christ. O Lord, hear me now, and deliver me."

"How dare you mention His cursed name!" shrieks the demon in hysteria. "I hate it! I hate it! Don't let me hear you mention His name again, you hear?" The man convulses in pain as the demon twists his body and oppresses his soul.

"Free me, please!" pleads the man. "Have you no compassion?"

"Indeed so!" mocks the demon. "I am so greatly attracted to you. I want you with me always." The demon holds him closer.

The man fights for freedom, but he does not prevail. "Do you not remember the good times we had together on earth?" tantalizes the demon. "I really enjoyed filling you with pride and stubbornness. I had you believing you were the most self-sufficient man on earth. When your wife nearly convinced you to surrender your life to that wretched Son of God (the demon vibrates with fear and hate) I was afraid I'd lost you. How proud I was when I persuaded you to just pretend you believed! That was one baptism I thoroughly enjoyed."

"How dare you torment me in this way!" screams the man. "You are a low down, ugly, venomous beast!"
"And you are a fool, a stupid, ignorant fool," cackles the demon. "But I adore you so much." The man shudders in pain as the demon embraced his soul.

The demon has an excellent memory, and for what seems like days and days he brings to memory event after event of the man's life, always claiming victory. The man hears again in detail about all the inconsistent things he did in life: the displays of temper, the pride, the selfishness, the unconcern for others, the gossip, the dirty jokes, the foolishness, and the revelry. Even if it was something that only happened once in his life, the demon relates it over and over. He makes light of the good things the man had tried to do. He calls the man a myriad of vulgar names, but always assures him that he adores him.

All this while the man continued to fall in the dark, bottomless pit. He seems an infinity away from the remotest hope. For days and day he falls, then it seems like months, and then years, Surely God will deliver him soon. The wretched demon is unbearable; the man begs him to kill him, but the demon assures him that he loves him too much to ever do that.

After many days, to the man's relief, the demon is strangely quiet and detaches himself from the body. The man sees a dingy, flickering, dim light in the far distance. The light by no means relieves his oppression. As the man detects the first putrid smells of burning flesh, he recognizes the flickering light in the distance to be the sulfurous flames of the Lake of Fire. Frozen with terror, the man grits his teeth. What he hoped was almost enough punishment appears to be only the beginning. Heat waves blast against his face and sulfurous smoke fills his nostrils. The voice of wailing fills his ears, accompanied by hollow moans and sullen groans and shrieks of tortured ghosts. Worst of all is a loud, mysterious sound, something like a billion fingernails scraping across a giant blackboard.

"Isn't that a beautiful sound?" bellows the demon after a long silence. "That's the sound of gnashing teeth. Hold me tight, my beloved. We are approaching Hell."

The man is now unable to see because of the thick smoke. The heat is unbearable. Every muscle in his body is rigid. His fists are clenched. His flesh feels singed.

"This is unbearable," the man cries.

"You fool! Screams the demon, "We aren't even there yet."

Almost immediately this new terror is realized. The man shrieks with pain. The demon curses the Lord Jesus Christ with an oath truly fit for Hell. As the man plunges into Hell, surely a thousand swords must be slicing through every sinew of his body. The man kicks, shrieks, and convulses as every nerve and fiber is aflame but not consumed.

"Help! help! help! gasps the man. "I don't want to be in Hell! I hate Hell! I can't bear to be in Hell! I'll do anything to get out of this hell! Please, someone, help!"

"You'll get no help, you chief of fools," snorts the tortured demon. "Unless good Lucifer can find a way out of here, we'll get no help. So just enjoy it and quit crying for help. You should have cried for help while you were yet alive. Then maybe you, your family, and friends would not be here screaming your souls out, but then, what else could you expect, being under the influence of a master deceiver like myself?" At this even the demon cries out in pain.

All conversation is stopped. The man joins the multitude in Hell in weeping and wailing. The gnashing sounds of his own teeth seem louder than all the rest. He shouts and groans, twists and convulses in hope of some relief, but no relief comes. His throat is as dry as powder, raw with pain. "Oh, wouldn't those baptismal waters feel good now! Those peaceful, quiet church services in the cool grove of trees off the side of the road a little ways—wouldn't they be refreshing now! Oh, how beautiful would be that singing, even if some of it was slow, off key and out of time! Oh, what a pleasure it would be to be back home with all the children circled around, and the Bible and hymnal in hand! What a joy it would be to deny self and sing and teach and pray with the family in sincerity and truth! Oh, why was pride so important? Oh, why was self so big? Oh, why was earthly esteem of so much value? Oh, why did heavenly things seem so dry, unimportant, and insignificant? Why had he been so foolish to deny the glorious resurrection? Why had the name of Jesus seemed just like another name? Why had those church ordinances just seemed like something you're supposed to do at church, and forget about the next day? Why hadn't he studied more? Why hadn't he considered more? Why had he put so much emphasis on building projects, fund drives, and legal technicalities, and been so foolish as to forget faith, hope, and charity? The demon was right. He was indeed the chiefest of fools. Oh, why, why, why?"

The man cannot believe that God would leave someone in Hell so long. Surely no one was sinful enough to deserve to be in hell this long. Ages must have passed since those fiery flames pierced his body. The man has prayed over and over to be able to die and forget, but the demon reminded him that his was the second death.
The man suddenly shouts with all his might, "Oh, Lord, why do you punish us so long?"

"You miserable fool, " gasps the agonized, tortured demon, "We've only been her five minutes!"

"Five minutes? You're a liar!" screams the man.

"I lie not! Shrieks the demon.

"Then how much longer?" pants the man in final utter despair.

No answer; just the crackling horrors of a flaming hell.

"I say, how much longer?"

Quoth the demon, "Forevermore. . ."

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