In my last post, I shared the true-life story of the man who had a phone call from hell in his dreams. This article is a follow up to that story. Now, when I finished hearing this story from the man’s mouth, I praised the Almighty God who still reaches out to men one way or the other to shine his light on their path and compel them to a decision for Christ. I felt strongly that this man and his young son will follow Jesus unswervingly from that day forward. I thought that the fear of the terrors of hell, and the realities of that dream will force them to take God seriously and become devoted and committed Christians. To my greatest amazement, it was not so!
In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man while in hell begged Father Abraham to send Lazarus to come back from the land of the dead and speak to his brothers who are still alive on the earth so that they will not come to the place of torment. However, father Abraham responded by saying, “Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.”
However, the rich man insisted that if someone rises from the dead to speak to them, the argument will be so compelling that they would have no choice but to listen.
Then Father Abraham made a very serious comment, “If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.” See Luke 16 vs. 19-31.
The argument of Father Abraham sounds highly unbecoming and impossible. How can a man be so daft as not to believe when one rises from the dead to speak to him? As mere men, we tend to think that every soul is waiting for a mighty encounter, and that once God Almighty gives that one an encounter like showing him hell, or heaven, or appearing to him and all that, then such a one will forever follow Jesus till the end. But this is not necessarily true. A man can have great revelations of hell and still spit on the Almighty after all. It is one of the ironies of life. If a man will not listen to the laws and the prophets, then he will not listen even if a mighty manifestation or revelation is given to him.
This is one thing I learnt from the life of the man and his son. It is quite ironic to see men who merely heard God’s word from our mouth, and yet they began following Jesus radically and to the best of their ability; yet this one who had a phone call from hell was being pushed, coerced and encouraged to take God seriously. In fact, after the first time we saw him in discipleship class, we never saw him again. It was one excuse after the other. Even after his brother was finally laid to rest on February, it continued to be one excuse after another till today.
It is not mighty visions and manifestations of heaven, hell and other such things that really changes men. If I ask you to drop your salvation testimony, you may not have seen any vision or heard any strange voice. You simply heard the Gospel preached and you responded. This is many years from thence, and you have faithfully followed Jesus till now.
It is not revelations from hell that changes men. One can even have great manifestations of God and yet backslide to his sins. It is the Gospel of Jesus believed and worked out that saves men. It is the ability of men to tremble before the word of God written or proclaimed that changes people. Not revelations, not dreams.
So many Christians and Christian ministries have become peddlers of near-death or after-death experiences. Everywhere they go, they carry tracts and booklets of people who went to heaven and hell and saw this or that. While that is not bad, be not deceived, it does not change men. It may cause them to tremble at the moment and adjust their lives accordingly, but that is temporary. When the whole thing wears out, the dog will return to its vomit.
So, if you are a preacher of the Gospel (as all Christians should be), I charge you, PREACH THE WORD. Don’t preach many strange things, don’t complicate the word of God, don’t try to breathe fire and brimstone, sharing all manner of hell fire testimonies. Just preach the word and pray. Anyone who believes will be saved, but he who does not believe will be damned.
Finally, for all those who are waiting for a special revelation or dream from God before they believe Him or take His word seriously, you will wait a long time. The Laws and the Prophets are being propagated; can you not hear them, or can you not read them? The Almighty does not have your time. He may show great favours to a Muslim man who have not had opportunity to really hear the Gospel. and then appear to him. But to you who is hearing it everyday and you remained adamant, not even a phone call from hell will convince you, so God will not bother. Just get ready for eternal judgement in no distant time.
To all who await the Lord’s coming, may He keep you faithful and strong till the day of our final salvation. Amen.
In hope of eternal life,
J. M. OBODOZIE