Forty-Eight Hours In Hell

John N. Reynolds

One of the most interesting cases of resuscitation that ever came to my knowledge was that of George Lennox, a notorious horse thief of Jefferson County. He was serving his second term. Sedgwick county sent him to the prison the first time for a similar offense-stealing horses.

During the winter of 1887 and 1888 he worked in the coal mines. The place where he was laboring seemed dangerous to him. He reported the fact to the officer in charge, who made an examination, and deciding that the room was safe, ordered Lennox back to his work. The convict, obeying, had not continued his work more than an hour, when the roof fell in and completely buried him. He remained in this condition fully two hours.

Missed at dinner time, a search was instituted for the missing convict, and he was found under this heap of rubbish. Life seemed extinct. He was taken to the top, and on examination by the prison physician, was pronounced dead. His remains were carried to the hospital where he was washed and dressed, preparatory for interment. His coffin was made and brought to the hospital. The chaplain had arrived to perform the last sad rites preparatory to burial. A couple of prisoners were ordered by the hospital steward to lift the corpse from the boards and carry it across the room and place it in the coffin. They obeyed, one at the head, the other at the feet and were about half way across the room when the one who was at the head accidentally stumbled over a cuspidor, lost his balance, and dropped the corpse. The head of the dead man struck the floor, and to the utter surprise and astonishment of all present, a deep groan was heard. Soon the eyes opened, and other appearances of life were manifested. The physician was immediately sent for, and by the time he arrived, some thirty minutes later, the dead man had called for a cup of water, and was in the act of drinking when the physician arrived.

The coffin was at once removed and later on was used to bury another convict in. His burial robes were also taken from him, and the prison garb substituted. On an examination he was found to have one of his legs broken in two places, and was otherwise bruised. He remained in the hospital some six months, and again went to work.

I learned of his peculiar experience while apparently dead soon after, from a fellow miner. Prompted by curiosity, I longed for an acquaintance with Lennox to get his experience from his own lips. This opportunity was not offered for several months. At last it came. After being removed from the mines I was detailed to one of the prison offices to make out some annual reports. The subject of this man’s return to life was being discussed one day, when he happened to pass by the office door and was pointed out to me. It was not long until I had a note in his hand, and asked him to come where I was at work. He did so, and here I got well acquainted with him, and from his own lips received his wonderful story. He is a young man, probably not over thirty years of age. He had been a hardened criminal; is possessed of a very good education, and naturally very bright.

Complete text of: Forty-Eight Hours In Hell

The most wonderful part of his story occurred during the time he was dead. Being a shorthand reporter, I took his story from dictation.

Said he: “I had a presentiment all the morning that something terrible was going to happen. I was uneasy on account of my feelings that I went to my mining boss Mr. Grason, and told him how I felt, and asked him if he would not come and examine my coal room, the place where I was digging coal. He came and seemed to make a thorough examination, and ordered me back to work, saying there was no danger, and that he thought I was going ‘cranky.’ I returned to my work, and had been digging away for something like an hour, when all of a sudden, it grew very dark. Then it seemed as if a great iron door swung open and I passed through it. The thought then came to my mind that I was dead and in another world. I could see no one, nor hear any sound of any kind. From some cause unknown to myself, I started to move away from the doorway, and had traveled some distance when I came to the banks of a broad river. It was not dark, neither was it light. There was about as much light as on a bright, starlit night. I had not remained on the banks of this river very long until I could hear the sound of oars in the water, and soon a person in a boat rowed up to where I was standing.

“I was speechless. He looked at me for a moment, and then said that he had come for me, and told me to get into the boat and row across to the other side. I obeyed. Not a word was spoken. I longed to ask him who he was, and where I was. My tongue seemed to cling to the roof of my mouth. I could not say a word. Finally, we reached the opposite shore. I got out of the boat, and the boatman vanished out of sight.

“Thus left alone, I knew not what to do. Looking out before me, I saw two roads which led through a dark valley. One of these was a broad road and seemed to be well traveled. The other was a narrow path and led off in another direction. I instinctively followed the well-beaten road. I had not gone far when it seemed to grow darker. Ever and anon, however a light would flash up from the distance, and in this manner I was lighted on my journey.

“Presently I was met by a being that is utterly impossible for me to describe. I can only give you a faint idea of his dreadful appearance. He resembled a man somewhat, but was much larger than any human being I ever saw. He must have been at least ten feet high. He had great wings on his back. He was black as the coal I had been digging, and in a perfectly nude condition. He had a spear in his hand, the handle of which must have been fully fifteen feet in length. His eyes shown like balls of fire. His teeth, white as pearl, seemed fully an inch long. His nose, if you could call it a nose, was very large, broad, and flat. His hair was very coarse, heavy and long. It hung down upon his massive shoulders. His voice sounded more like the growls of a lion in a menagerie than anything I can recall.

“It was during one of the flashes of light that I first saw him. I trembled like an aspen leaf at the sight. He had his spear raised as if to send it flying through me. I suddenly stopped. With that terrible voice I seem to hear yet, he bade me follow him; that he had been sent to guide me on my journey. I followed. What else could I do? After he had gone some distance a large mountain appeared to rise up before us. The part facing us seemed perpendicular, just as if a mountain had been cut in two and one part had been taken away. On this perpendicular wall I could distinctly see these words, ‘This is Hell.’ My guide approached this perpendicular wall, and with his spear handle gave three loud raps. A large massive door swung back and we passed in. I was then conducted on through what appeared to be a passage through this mountain.

“For some time we traveled in Egyptian darkness. I could hear the heavy footfalls of my guide and thus could follow him. All the way along I could hear deep groans as of someone dying. Further on, these groans increased, and I could distinctly hear the cry water, water, water. Coming now to another gateway, and passing through, I could hear, it seemed, a million voices in the distance, and the cry was for water, water.  Presently another large door opened at the knock of my guide, and I found that we had passed through the mountain, and now a broad plain lay before me.

“At this place my guide left me to direct other lost spirits to the same destination. I remained in this open plain for a time, when a being somewhat similar to the first one came to me; but instead of a spear he had a huge sword. He came to tell me of my future doom. He spoke with a voice that struck horror to my soul. ‘Thou art in hell,’ he said: ‘for thee all hope is fled. As thou passed through the mountain on thy way hither, thou didst hear the groans and shrieks of the lost as they called for water to cool their parched tongues. Along that passage there is a door that opens into the lake of fire. This is soon to be thy doom. Before thou art conducted to this place of torment never more to emerge-for there is no hope for those who enter there-thou shalt be permitted to remain in this open plain, where it is granted to all the lost to behold what they might have enjoyed instead of what they must suffer.’

“With this I was left alone. Whether the result of the terrible fright through which I had passed I know not, but now I became stupefied. A dull languor took full possession of my frame. My strength departed from me. My limbs refused to support my body longer. Overcome, I now sank down a helpless mass. Drowsiness now took control of me. Half awake, half asleep, I seemed to dream. Far above me, and in the distance, I saw the Beautiful City of which we read in the Bible. How wonderfully beautiful were its walls of jasper. Stretching out and away in the distance, I saw vast plains covered with beautiful flowers. I, too, beheld the river of life and the sea of glass. Vast multitudes of angels would pass in and out through the gates of the city, singing, oh, such beautiful songs. Among the number I saw my dear old mother, who died a few years ago of a broken heart because of my wickedness. She looked toward me and seemed to beckon me to her, but I could not move. There appeared to be a great weight upon me that held me down. Now a gentle breeze wafted the fragrance of those lovely flowers toward me, and I could now more plainly than ever, hear the sweet melody of angel voices, and I said, ‘Oh, that I could be one of them.’

“As I was drinking from this cup of bliss it was suddenly dashed from my lips. I was aroused from my slumbers. I was brought back from happy dreamland by an inmate of my dark abode, who said that it was now time to enter upon my future career. He bade me follow him.  Retracing my steps I again entered the dark passageway, and followed my guide for a time, when we came to a door that opened in the side of the passage, and going along this, we finally found ourselves passing through another door, and lo! I beheld the lake of fire.

“Just before me I could see, as far as the eye could reach, that literal lake of fire and brimstone. Huge billows of fire would roll over each other, and great waves of fiery flame would dash against each other and leap high in the air like the waves of the sea during a violent storm. On the crest of the waves I could see human beings rise, but soon to be carried down again to the lowest depths of this awful lake of fire. When borne on the crest of these awful billows for a time their curses against a just God would be appalling, and their pitiful cries for water would be heart-rending. This vast region of fire echoed and re-echoed with the wails of these lost spirits.

“Presently I turned my eyes to the door through which I had a few moments before entered, and I read these awful words, ‘This is thy doom; eternity never ends.’ Shortly I began to feel the earth give way under my feet, and I found myself sinking down into the lake of fire. An indescribable thirst for water now seized upon me. And calling for water my eyes opened in the hospital prison.

“I have never told this experience of mine before for fear the prison officials would get hold of it, think me insane and lock me in the crank house. I passed through all of this, and I am as well satisfied as I am that I live, that there is a Heaven and there is a Hell, and a regular old-fashioned Hell, the kind the Bible tells about. But there is one thing certain, I am never going to that place any more.

“As soon as I opened my eyes in the hospital and found that I was alive and on earth once more, I immediately gave my heart to God and I am going to live and die a Christian. While the terrible sights of Hell can never be banished from my memory, neither can the beautiful things of Heaven I saw. I am going to meet my dear old mother after awhile. To be permitted to sit down on the banks of that beautiful river, to wander with those angels across the plains, through the vales and over the hills carpeted with fragrant flowers, the beauty of which far surpasses anything that mortal can imagine; to listen to the songs of the saved-all this will more than compensate me for living the life of a Christian here on earth, even if I have to forego many sensual pleasures in which I indulged before coming to prison. I have abandoned my companions in crime, and am going to associate with good people when I am once more a free man.”

We give the account to the reader just as we received it from Lennox. We recognize the inability of the human mind to describe heaven or hell. Therefore the account of Mr. Lennox may not be an accurate description of hell but rather a glimpse into eternity. May God bless this experience to the awakening of many lost souls.

How can men doubt the real existence of a literal burning hell? We have the Bible, the Word of God, and revelations like Mr. Lennox’s that teach a literal hell. Men and women, stop! Face the facts! Your life is going on record. God wants to save you and will forgive you when you are willing to admit that you are a sinner. The only way to salvation is to be cleansed from sin, by accepting the blood of Jesus Christ as the sacrifice for your sins. When you accept this forgiveness from God, He will give you a peace and rest in your heart. You can be free-free in this life and much more, free to experience the bliss of heaven instead of the reality of not only forty-eight hours, but an eternity in hell.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

(Luke 16:19-31)

“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: 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. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot: neither can they pass to us that would come from thence.

“Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

Additional Scripture Reading: Revelation 21:7-8; Revelation 20:10, 12, 13; 2 Peter 3:10-12.

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Are You Safe?

In the heart of every person there is a desire to be safe and secure. Little children are often afraid of being left alone. They also may fear the dark, or the unknown. Children crave the security of being held in the loving embrace of their parents. There they feel confident and protected. As we mature, the desire to be safe and secure never leaves us. This inborn desire was given to us by our Creator. While some men act fearless, in their hearts they may fear the unknown, suffering, accident, or sickness. They may also have an uneasy feeling about what might happen to them after death.

God is the creator of heaven and earth. Making man was the crowning act of His creation. He placed Adam and his wife Eve in a paradise home called the Garden of Eden. They were secure, happy, and free. Then Satan appeared in the form of a serpent and deceived them. Because of their disobedience to God, they fell out of fellowship with Him and were driven from Eden. (Genesis 3)

What a drastic change! Before, Adam and Eve had been safe and without fear. They were at peace with their Creator, enjoying His presence. Now, instead of inner peace, there was unrest, guilt, and fear. They were even afraid of God and hid from Him! They had experienced spiritual death, which is separation from God. When fellowship with Him was broken through disobedience, there was deep distress in their hearts. Only fellowship with the living God can satisfy the soul.

Man’s inner conflict has also caused all manner of outward conflict, often resulting in murder or war. There has always been much strife on earth; one tribe quarrels with another, one nation strives to bring another nation under its rule. In these conflicts, one nation has always emerged victorious, only to weaken later and become subject to another nation. The prophet Daniel says, “that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will” (Dan. 4:17), and “He removeth kings, and setteth up kings” (Dan. 2:21).

The numerous, brazen acts of terrorism around the world have shaken the security of many people. These events have brought fear into many hearts and an uncertainty about the future.

Complete text of: Are You Safe?

We all hope that we can continue to live in safety and security. The success of a nation depends on God’s blessings. If men repent of their sinful lives and fear Him, He may choose to lengthen the days of that nation’s tranquility (Dan. 4:27). William Wilberforce (1759-1833), a member of the British Parliament, said that his hope for Britain depended “not so much on her navies and armies, nor on the wisdom of her rulers, as on the persuasion that she still contains many who love and obey the gospel of Christ, that their prayers may prevail.” The safety of a nation depends less upon its military might and more upon the prevalence of righteousness and the fear of God among its people.

Our personal safety is a separate matter. We can have an inner security that no earthly nation can offer. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). The kingdoms of this world are in God’s hands and will not endure forever. Our personal relationship with God is of a different dimension. When we are in God’s kingdom, we are in a kingdom that is not subject to the success or failure of any earthly nation. His kingdom is much more secure than any superpower. There we are safe, regardless of what happens to any nation. Kingdoms rise and fall, but Jesus promised that no man is able to pluck His children out of His Father’s hand. (John 10:29)

According to Bible prophecy, “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse” (2 Tim. 3:13). The future offers no security. The strife and turmoil around the world may grow worse as eternity approaches. There is a day coming in which God has determined “that there should be time no longer” (Rev.10:6). In 2 Peter 3:10 we read, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” The Holy Scriptures say that every knee shall bow, and that all men will be gathered before the throne of the almighty Judge. On that great Judgment Day, when “heaven and earth shall pass away” (Mat. 24:35), no earthly power will be able to give us safety. All people shall bow before the great King and be judged. No caves or fortresses will be able to protect those who seek refuge in them. All means of transportation will come to a halt. Manmade weapons will be useless. There will be no reassuring wail of sirens; no emergency or law-enforcement personnel rushing to our rescue. You and I will face the great Judge all alone. At that point, our only safety will be if our name is written in the Book of Life in heaven (Luke 10:20). Our names are written in this book when we repent of our sins and believe in Jesus Christ. He then forgives us and we are cleansed through His precious blood, which was shed on the cross that the whole world could be saved. We are then accepted as children of God.

God’s children are not exempt from sickness or suffering. They may even lose their lives, but they need not fear because they are safe in the arms of Jesus. Regardless of what happens to them, they can trust that even suffering is for their good. (Rom. 8:28)

Do you long for security? Do you have deep inner yearnings that you cannot satisfy? Although the soul longs for God, the sinful nature of man reaches for fleshly desires. Without the peace of God, a sinner is “like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isa. 57:20). In this conflict, too many people follow the path of least resistance and make a decision by indecision. Finally, they slip from life into death and face a long eternity.

Real and lasting peace can only be found when we surrender mind, body, and spirit to the One who has made us and loves us. He is not only the Master of the world, but He knows our lives from the beginning to the end. He came into this world “to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79). He suffered and shed His precious blood so that we can have peace and security.

Do you feel the weight of sin in your heart? Do you worry about the future, or do you try to block it out of your mind? Are you burdened with more than you can bear? Do you desire to be safe and secure? Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Mat. 7:7). The Lord has a remedy for your sins. He is the great burden-bearer, and nothing is too difficult for Him. Acts 3:19 urges “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” God, speaking through the prophet Jeremiah, promised, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end…And ye shall seek for me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:11, 13).

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The Seed of Sin

Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God, all people are born with a seed of sin. I have it. You have it. We all have it. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

As a child, I am happy. I am free. The blood of Jesus covers my sins. As I grow older, I don't feel so free anymore. This seed is producing sinful thoughts and actions in me. I begin to feel uneasy. Sometimes I am confused or afraid.

Now What?

I am helpless to remove this seed. It is ugly. It grows fast. I am under Satan's control. Satan is the father of this ugly seed. Now he is my master. What can I do? I am torn. Part of me likes it; part of me doesn't. I can't control myself and my desires. Satan tells me I am free. He tells me about an exciting life just ahead. He says don't worry; have fun! Sometimes I believe him, but late at night when I am all alone, I know better. Unless I change, I fear I am headed for destruction.

Jesus is calling me. I pray to Him. Others pray for me. I confess my sins until I am weary. I try every way I can think of, but I can't change myself. My heart is sinful. I'm on the road to hell.

I'm at the End of My Rope

I’m at the end of my rope. Swinging, swaying, clinging, praying—I admit I am helpless. I need forgiveness. I ask God to forgive my sins. In my total helplessness, I let go and fall into the loving Savior’s arms. “Jesus, I give You my sinful heart, my efforts to reform, my past, my future.” Immediately He is there. What a sweet and tender presence! I can feel his gentle, nail-scarred hands as He washes my sinful heart clean. I am forgiven. No more fears or shadows. The warm sun shines on me as it did when I was a child. Now I am a happy child of God. Satan no longer has control over me. This kind Jesus who stands beside me is now in control of my life. I enter into the joy of salvation. What a beautiful, peaceful walk. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

But What Is This?

Complete text of: The Seed of Sin

Oh, wretched me! I have sinned again. I still have the seed of sin in me. But there is a way. The quiet voice of Jesus tells me how to deal with sin. I remember what Satan used to tell me when I was caught in the trap of sin. He told me that I was a failure. How could I do such a thing? There is no hope for me now! I have sinned again. What can I do? I can try to reform, but that doesn’t work. I can excuse myself—it was because of my parents, my job, my nature, or another person. These thoughts are a delight to Satan. He wants to keep me from the remedy. Jesus is my only hope. He says, “Come!”

The Walk of Faith

So I come to Him. I admit I have sinned. I make no excuses. I do not try to make myself look better than I am. I tell him I have sinned. I plead for his forgiveness. I stand helpless before Him. I cannot wash myself. He gladly forgives and washes me. By faith, I know I am a child of God. I know his promises are true. In my heart, I accept that I am forgiven. This is the walk of faith. When I realize this, I praise God from a grateful heart. I was helpless. He set me free. Praise God!

I need to remember that Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sin. He delights in my need of Him. When I stay near to Jesus, Satan loses his power over me. Jesus promises, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

A life of faith gives me power to overcome the seed of sin. I thank God for his mercy and grace. I pray to Him and listen for his quiet voice. I find comfort and instruction in reading his Word, the Bible. I obey Him because I love Him. As I am obedient and faithful, Christian life is rewarding and fulfilling. Heaven will be my home.

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