How many of you know what “holy” means? You probably have a basic idea, but lack a full understanding of the word. But yet, the word has wormed its way thoroughly into the average American’s vocabulary – not in a good way.
So you may now grasp the intention I have in writing this article, people need to know the significance of the “H” words:
Definition according to the dictionary (answers.com):
1. Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred
2. Regard with worthy of worship or veneration; revered: a holy book
3. Living according to strict or highly moral religious or spiritual system; saintly: a holy person
4. Solemnly undertaken; sacrosanct: a holy pledge
5. Regarded as deserving special respect or reverence
Now think back to the last time you heard the word being used. Unless you have just returned from church, it was probably being spoken as flippantly as Batman’s sidekick Robin (warning: link may be offensive to some viewers, including myself). In fact, the last time I saw the word it was being used inappropriately as a marketing scheme for a gluten free cereal.
Something that is holy is something that is sacred, something that is worthy of respect. This being said, nothing is as worthy of respect or as holy as God.
The word “holy” is a positive word and should be associated with only that is truly good in the world. I don’t feel that I have to remind you that the word seems to be used in exactly the opposite way.
I find that when people use vulgar language, they tend to search for the words that are the most sacred, and then desecrate them by using them in a derogatory manner. Out of all of the examples that come to mind the one that bothers me the most is when people say “oh my God.” Not only is the speaker breaking a commandment, but they probably aren’t even bothered by it.
The world is so used to hearing and using these terms that they add them to their vocabulary without any concern. I know in reading this you may be among those who use “holy” and “God” in unfitting ways, and I hope in becoming more aware of the gravity of the words that you would start to practice some more restraint in speaking them.
When this word is used as a curse word, I’m not as bothered as when someone uses the aforementioned words. That is because I, too, associate the word “Hell,” with something negative.
I’m going to use the definition off my iPod dictionary this time. Call me biased but it’s shorter than the definition on answers.com and it better suits my purposes.
1. Noun – noisy and unrestrained mischief
2. Noun – violent and excited activity
3. Noun – a cause of difficulty and suffering
4. Noun – any place of pain and turmoil
This definition of lowercase hell only scratches the surface of the word that I wish to explore: uppercase Hell (which my iPod kindly supplied me with a separate definition for).
1. Noun – (religion) the world of the dead
2. Noun – (Christianity) the abode of Satan and the forces of evil.
Even this definition doesn’t grant the reader a significant true understanding.
What do you think of when you hear the word hell?
Here is a list of things that Hell IS NOT:
- A metaphor – Hell is a real place
- Ruled by the devil – Hell was originally created as punishment for Satan and his followers. Remove from your mind the pictures of little red demons/imps with their pointy tails and pitchforks with which they pester the bad humans to find themselves there. The truth is Lucifer and his gang of fallen angels will be in too much agony to be able to bother humans (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10). Jesus is God, and ruler of everything and everywhere and since Hell is a place Jesus is ruler of it as well.
- A place where naughty people can party hard with their naughty friends – I’m not sure where the notion that one may do anything considered pleasurable in hell came from, for it is a ridiculous one.
- A temporary time-out – Hell is eternal/everlasting/forever (Daniel 12:2).
- Lake of burning sulphur/ Lake of fire
- Destination for any nonChristian (Revelation 20:15, John 3:36)
- Generally very nasty (Isaiah 66:24)
Now I’m going to be honest for a bit here and confess that the whole concept of Hell I hate, and “hate” is an “h” word that I don’t throw around often or frivolously. To me, Hell seems too harsh a punishment. I mean, we are humans, born into sin. We are incredibly stupid creatures, as we are imperfect and always making mistakes; getting it wrong is in our very nature (click here to see my answer to why Hell was necessary as punishment for our sins).
I’m not trying to deny or belittle the fact that one’s shortcomings are one’s own responsibility: everyone is given free will, everyone is given a conscience, and everyone has the choice to do what is right.
Hell is something that I hate, but my opinion of something doesn’t change its reality.
God is perfect, and just like light and darkness cannot coexist, so neither can a perfect God with an imperfect person. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, his blood cleanses us of our imperfections, and we are able to live with Him. However, anyone who says “no” to this free gift is going to Hell. Plain and simple.
But really, when one is faced with a choice between Heaven and Hell, who in their right mind would choose Hell anyway? Perhaps if one is enlightened in the truth about heaven, it will encourage them to choose the obviously smarter option.
What comes to your mind when you think about Heaven?
It should come as no surprise to you when I tell you that Heaven doesn’t consist of you getting a pair of wings and being assigned to a cloud and a harp.
Here is a list of things that will give you a small taste of Heaven’s majesty:
- As lovely as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband (Revelation 21:1) – not something that I can relate to (yet) but that sounds incredibly appealing
- Death, mourning, and pain will be non-existent (Revelation 21:4)
- Shining with the glory of God
- Foundations of the city decorated with every kind of precious stone (including jasper, sapphire, and emerald)
- The gates made out of a single pearl each.
- Pure gold street
- Lit by the glory of God (Revelation 21:23)
- Perfect (Revelation 21:27)
Sounds great, doesn’t it? But there’s a bit more. The last chapter of the bible explains how we will reign forever with God. We get to be with Jesus, and we’ll have perfect bodies.
Now the choice is set before you. Heaven or Hell? Both are very real destinations – your decision should be an easy one.