Awaken Biblical Prophecy Commentary – “All My Friends Will Be There”

Have you ever had a conversation about the Gospel with an unbeliever, and you’ve gotten to the point of telling them about the consequences of sin and of rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior, then you come to the punchline?  What are those consequences?  The person who denies Christ, denies God the Father who mercifully sent His Son to shed His blood on the cross and die for us.  And when this happens and the person dies, he or she goes to hell.




Have you ever had a conversation about the Gospel with an unbeliever, and you’ve gotten to the point of telling them about the consequences of sin and of rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior, then you come to the punchline?  What are those consequences?  The person who denies Christ, denies God the Father who mercifully sent His Son to shed His blood on the cross and die for us.  And when this happens and the person dies, he or she goes to hell.

That’s a terrible ending, but have you ever had such a person tell you that they don’t want to be saved because all their friends will be in hell, and they’d rather be there with them?  Have you ever had a family member rebuke you in this manner?

I don’t know if we can change such a person’s mind through words alone, even if they’re words that tell of such an awful conclusion to one’s life.  The Holy Spirit must convict our friend or loved one of their sin, and their desperate need for a Savior.  Arguments or apologetics are only a gateway to this.

I’ve always liked Ray Comfort’s approach in The Way of the Master.  Watch the hundreds of videos that have been filmed with Ray interacting with unbelievers.  They’re a great way to learn his approach to witnessing.  One of the aspects of them that has given me such a kick and a blessing is what we see in the eyes of someone with whom the Holy Spirit is working.  They change.  It’s very cool.

If the person we’re discussing the Gospel with expresses curiosity about hell, and why it’s not a vacation destination, what can we tell them?

The true incident Jesus relates in Matthew 16:19-31 concerning the beggar Lazarus and the rich man may be a good place to begin.  We know the story and that it actually happened because – unlike in parables – Lazarus is named.

Lazarus was a miserable man, however he ended up that way.  He was poor and covered with sores.  Maybe no one would hire him because they were afraid of contracting his disease.  Regardless, all he could do was beg for daily sustenance.  Outside the rich man’s gate, a few measly crumbs were thrown his way.  Could the rich man have done more so as to act compassionately?  He certainly had the means, but hardened his heart against helping this wretched creature.

Despite his abject existence, Lazarus believed in God and placed his faith in Him as his only hope.  The Lord rewarded his faithfulness when he died by sending him to the good and blessed part of Hades where he resided with Abraham and other righteous men and women.

The rich man on the other hand received his just reward.  What he had in life was all that was coming to him since he wasn’t righteous.  As a result, he ended up in the bad, cursed part of Hades.  These two locations of blessed and cursed were separated by a vast chasm that couldn’t be crossed.  However, interestingly enough, there could be communication between these two very different places.

Although the locations were technically considered hell, the place where Abraham resided was paradise in some manner.  Those who went there were comfortable in all that was provided for them, and they had peace.  In contrast, where the rich man went was a place of torment.  Continually in anguish, he pleaded for even a drop of water for his tongue to relieve his suffering.  There was no relief coming.  He had made his choices in life, and this end was the consequence.

Would our friend or loved one understand the severity in this account?  Would he or she realize that a decision to spurn the sacrificial gift of Jesus Christ for salvation brings an eternity of misery?  There are no friends in such a place.  Hell is not a party destination.  We’re even told elsewhere that it’s a place of darkness and separation from all we know or care about.  Why would this be an attractive option once our life here on earth ends?

But, there’s an even worse beginning to this final “resting place.”  That comes about if our friend or loved one is left behind when we who truly believe in Jesus as Savior, Lord, and God are Raptured, snatched away from this world prior to the terrible days of the 7-year Tribulation.

Assuming they aren’t quickly killed by the world wars that consume the planet, or die of hunger in the ensuing famine, or perish from the deadly plagues that will be unleashed just in the initial Seal Judgments, then they have all sorts of horrific, additional suffering to live through, if they can.

You may have seen the recent video of the deranged man who set himself on fire.  He doused himself with gasoline, lit the accelerant, and his entire body was engulfed in flames.  For such a man, that was only the start of his horrors.  The pain he experienced in that self-immolation became an entry point for everlasting torment in hell.  This is a case of literally going from the frying pan into the fire.

What are some of the other awful Judgments a person will experience in the Tribulation for however long he lives?

He can expect terrible upheaval in the earth with unending natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanos, and boulder-size hail raining down, and poisoned water throughout the earth.  Then things really begin to get lively.  A couple different sets of demons from hell are released to torment all unbelievers.  Being stung by any of these creatures causes terrible pain for many months or an awful death.

But we’re not done.  Live this long and you’ll find yourself covered in sores and boils that bring such discomfort you’ll wish you were dead.  Next you’ll find that water is nonexistent on the planet.  The only liquid available to drink is blood.  Add to this a scorching sun that never quits, followed by a blackout so deep that you’ll gnaw your tongue in anguish.

Keep going through all this and maybe you’ll end up in Israel on the plains of Armageddon for the final battle against this God you’ve hated and rejected.  When Jesus comes to engage this army, well, you won’t have much of a chance.  Your eyes will melt in their sockets, and your flesh will disintegrate at just a Word from the Lord.  You’ll turn on the person next to you as he does to you, and you’ll probably hack each other to pieces with your knives.

If for some reason, you actually turned your life over to God during these seven years, there’s a good chance you’ll be hunted down and martyred, probably tortured horribly before they cut off your head.

Once you’ve undergone all these Judgments in unbelief, then you get to stand before God in the final Judgment, whereby He will cast you into the Lake of Fire forever.  You thought the cursed part of Sheol was bad?  Wait until you must endure this tortuous place of isolation and agony forever.

Would all this be enough to help change the mind of an unbeliever thinking she’ll enjoy hell with all her friends?  It’s possible, but in these last days it’s becoming more improbable.  People’s hearts are hardened; they’re full of themselves, deceived by Satan’s lies, and reveling in their sins.

The end of a person who rejects the gracious offer of God to join with Him in eternity is ignominious and beyond imagining as to how terrible it will be.  Our only hope and prayer is that by opening our mouths, the Holy Spirit will use our willingness as the means to save some.

But never forget, those loved ones and friends who say no, are making their own bed.  They’ll have to lie in it.  Actions have consequences.  The choices we make are for better or worse.  We can grieve at the foolishness of such a person who disdains God and the life He offers, but short of prayer and having done our part, it’s not useful for us to get hung up on it.

As painful as it is, sometimes we just have to knock the dust off our feet and move on, even if that means doing this with someone close to us.

Don’t be anxious for tomorrow.  Give it to the Lord.

5 Responses to “Awaken Biblical Prophecy Commentary – “All My Friends Will Be There””

  1. Reply Robin McCann

    Gary, this is why I need much prayer for many members of my family that I can’t even reach. Between the rapture and Tribulation, there will be plenty of time for people to come to faith in Christ. During the Tribulation, no matter how long someone lives, they still have time to come to Christ. I’m worried that any of my family will be among untold millions who will die at the time of our rapture because of unmanned machines. They won’t get the chance to say, ‘Hey, mom and dad were right, my daughter/son was right.’ I beg God daily to wake them up before rapture. I trust God in all things. Why can’t I shake this fear?

    • Reply Gary Ritter

      It’s a real concern, and one that every single one of us has who is awake to what’s coming. The only thing I know and can assure you of is that God knows our hearts and our efforts. We have to please Him in our obedience then put the results in His hands. In a sense it feels undone, but I guess that’s where faith and trust come in. At the same time we have to kind of compartmentalize simply because some of these things can be so overwhelming, whether it’s concern for a loved one’s salvation, anger at what America is doing to Israel, or just coping with the amount of senseless lawlessness that abounds. i think the situation brings to life what Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 4:15: “that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord.” There’s a sort of endurance necessary that is implied here. Isn’t that what it feels like sometimes – last man (woman) standing?

  2. Reply Donna Thomas

    Thank you for the timely words. This is exactly what I am going through now. I just left a wonderful job with an amazing company that I was with for 23 years. I so deeply cared for my coworkers and my boss and shared the Gospel with them, as the Lord would lead, many times over the course of those many years.
    My boss, in particular, and I had many very deep conversations about the Bible,etc. Many times I would look out on the sales floor and feel grief in my heart thinking that many of my fellow workers would probably not make it, but be damned. But God is so good. He has been reminding me to do, just as you have concluded in this article. We are to share the Gospel, pray, love, be an example, and leave the people we care for in his hands, and keep on moving forward in the Lord. That’s all we can do.
    We may just be surprised at who we see in Heaven. It may be a few of those same people we cared for along the way, who didn’t seem interested in what we shared, but later on they came to the Lord because God didn’t stop working on them.
    Praise his name!

    • Reply Gary Ritter

      Donna, You’re welcome. It’s like I said earlier to Robin in these comments, we can only do so much. Arguments or brow-beating others aren’t great strategies. We do our job as God gives it to us and let Him be God. It’s hard to let go but that may be part of not digging in so deep that when Jesus Raptures us, He’s got a hard time prying our fingernails out of the dirt. “Whew! That Gary was holding on so hard I had to break some of his fingers to lift him in the air.”

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