All around Seth were faces of those he had seen moments earlier in those horrible flames—HELL—where torment was all they had known. Oh, such relief to be freed from the flames! Then, his mouth opened wide as he saw Someone seated on a huge, white Throne. The horrible realization struck him, It is God himself on that Throne. “I’m doomed!” Seth wailed. “How foolish I was—I have no chance left! I’ll be back in the flames for ETERNITY!”
Ashes that had been scattered across the ocean all swooped together to form bodies of sinners small and great. All the dead came to life in the presence of God who sat on the Great White Throne. Seth’s sobs blended with the howl from the mobs of murderers, liars, adulterers, sorcerers—everyone who had committed a big or little sin. They were all awaiting the final wrath of God.
Names echoed across the vast throng of sinners. Each was called to present himself at the Judgment Seat to be judged by God Almighty. The words and deeds done by each one also echoed through space, filling the ears of the whole universe.
“SETH MICHAEL THOMPSON,” the Voice of the Great Judge thundered.
Seth looked at God on the Throne and thought how pure He was. He felt so filthy and full of sin. How could he stand in God’s presence? As he fell prostrate before God, Seth thought, I’m lost! Any good I ever did is worth nothing. Why didn’t I pray?
He thought of the time at youth camp when his friends had asked him to pray. Why, oh, why had he shrugged them off as if it didn’t matter? He thought of services at the church camp meetings when he had been so convicted his knees shook. Why had he been so stubborn? The horror of his situation closed in on Seth like a cage. There was no escape whatsoever!
“Your name is not written in My Book of Life,” the Voice boomed out. “On the contrary, I see recorded here in My Book of Deeds that you cheated in school. You told lies to your parents. You stole money from your mother’s purse. You discouraged your friends from going to pray at church . . .” The list went on and on as the Judge publicized each of Seth’s sins for everyone to hear, concluding, “You refused to repent and believe.”
Seth felt as if he were entangled in a giant spider web—a feeling that he was trapped and could never be saved. “Such doom!” he sobbed.
Then Seth heard the dreadful proclamation, “Seth Michael Thompson has chosen everlasting punishment rather than Heaven. For him, all hope is gone.” From somewhere in his past, a verse of Scripture blazed into Seth’s tormented thoughts.
“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire . . . And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Suddenly, Seth felt himself falling. He could feel the unbearable heat of the flames intensify as he fell. A wail exploded from his soul, “Lost! Lost! Lost for eternity!” He knew he would never again feel peace or relief from this torment.
Seth looked up toward Heaven. How beautiful it was! Everyone was so happy. There he could see Dad and Mom and Logan. As they walked along, Seth saw them pick some fruit from the Tree of Life. They seemed to float over the streets of gold.
What an unspeakable contrast to where he was! The flames—so hot his body felt blistered all over. If he could have just a few drops of water on his lips. But there was no water here. Relief was unobtainable. And Seth knew it would be that way forever. Why, why, why had he not prayed when he was on earth?
Like a motion picture, Seth’s life came up before him. He remembered the night Logan had been saved. Dad had asked Seth if he wanted to pray too. But Seth had said, “Some other time.”
Seth thought again of the youth camp when some of his buddies had been saved. His counselor had asked him to pray, and Seth had really considered it. He could see the scene in his mind perfectly. As he stood by the bench he had almost gone to pray, but then he’d been afraid the kids at school would laugh. Oh, I wish I had one more chance!
The “motion picture” continued in Seth’s mind. He saw himself with Logan in the sporting goods store the day of the earthquake. He remembered how the glass flew and how scared he’d been. Logan had told him earthquakes were one of the signs of the Lord’s coming. Seth saw the scene he’d had with his dad later that night, when Dad had mentioned the same thing. Seth remembered how he’d stormed out of the room, shouting, “Oh, Dad, you’re always preaching!”
When Logan came into their bedroom that night, he’d talked more to Seth. Seth remembered thinking, I’m going to get saved someday, but I’m just not ready yet.
I’m just not ready yet . . . not ready yet . . . The words were a singsong in his head. And the panorama started up again—showing every chance he had ever had to pray. In a blinding flash, he realized this is what eternity would be like—hot, hot darkness, incredible torment, and that motion picture repeating his life over and over.
It was going to last forever . . . and ever . . . and ever . . .