A Very
Short Story
. . . with Long Lasting Implications

 Clyde Nigel drove fast, fighting to stay awake at the wheel.   Twenty minutes
    earlier, he was sound asleep when a phone call from his close friend and
colleague had woken him.   The friend, half-panicked, blared something about a
horrendous discovery, and requested Clyde's presence immediately.
   When Clyde finally arrived, he found his friend anxiously waiting at the front
door.   "Professor!   What has happened?   I came as fast as I could."
   "Come in, come in please."   Professor Winston quickly closed the door and,
mentally preoccupied, began to pace about.   Clyde was forced to hang his own coat.
   "Professor, I. . ."
   "Quickly, what do you know about the oracles of God?"
   "The oracles of. . . ?"
   Professor Winston stopped pacing long enough to wring his hands, "Yes.   Yes, man!
The Bible."

   "Well. . . I suppose. . . one could consider its historical. . ."
   "Have you ever studied it for yourself?"
   "Professor Winston, really, it is well past my normal bedtime and I have come in
good faith at your urgent request.   Now, unless you. . . ."

   Winston proceeded into his study, motioning Clyde to follow him.   Both men came
to the professor's rumpled desk, sprinkled with various notes and opened books.
Winston grabbed one of the books and handed it to Clyde.
   "Do you know what that is?"
   Clyde studied the cover.   "It says, CONCORDANCE OF THE KING JAMES VERSION."
   "Right!   My daughter sent it as a gift.   It allows one to find any verse containing a
desired word."

   Clyde looked up at Winston, hoping the book was not the sole reason for being
summoned.   The professor resumed pacing as he continued.
   "At first I thought the gift was a waste, another permanent edition to my library.
But then I considered the possibilities.   Clyde, have you ever pondered something for
years and then suddenly had the opportunity to resolve it?"

   Clyde paused to think, but Winston was not about to wait for a rhetorical answer.
   "Clyde, I've always pondered the dichotomy of Heaven and Hell.   The fact that
anyone could enjoy Heaven while knowing that a loved-one is simultaneously
suffering the torments of Hell has always seemed absurd to me."

   "But Professor, that is but one reason why the Bible is not to be taken seriously.
You have sighted one of the many contradictions that. . . ."

   Winston sharply raised a trembling hand.   "My fine man, you are hasty in
suggesting a contradiction.   For I have found what I believe to be a solution to the
dichotomy.   And I must say, it is most unsettling indeed."

   "Professor, are you sure you would rather not rest. . . ?"
   "Nonsense!   And don't look at me as if I've fallen out of a tree.   I am bloody well
within my senses, and if you care to, please allow me to demonstrate what I have

   Clyde looked at his watch.   He was no longer sleepy and, by now, quite intrigued.
Looking at his friend with a sympathetic smile he said, "Very well Professor,

   Winston gathered various notes from his desk and led Clyde to a large dining
room table where both men sat across from each other.
   "I'll begin," Winston said.   "With the first word I looked up, which naturally was
the word: Hell."
  Winston handed him one of the notes.
   "That is a listing of all of the verses containing that word.   It occurs 54 times
beginning in Deuteronomy 32:22 and ending in Revelation 20:14."

   Clyde studied it while the professor continued.
   "As I read each verse I made an unexpected discovery; 15 of those 54 were
uttered by Jesus Christ Himself."

   Clyde looked up from the list.
   "I know what you're thinking," the professor said.   "Jesus; a pacifist, a man
incapable of hurting a fly, talk about Hell?   You can begin to see why my curiosity
was tweaked.   In any case, I have here one example of such a verse.   Read it for

   Clyde read it: ‘And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it
is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to
be cast into hell fire.’
  (Mat. 18:9)   "Quite strong words," Clyde remarked.
   "Yes, yes indeed.   But while I was astonished at Jesus' remarks I was even more
surprised at how seldom the word Hell appeared.   After all, 54 verses out of a total
of 31,173 are really not very many.   So I proceeded to look up other words that
might be used within the context of Hell.   As I did. . ."
  The professor paused and
wrung his hands again.   ". . . I came across something very unsettling."
   "Professor, really, we can continue this tomorrow.   You must. . ."
   "No, no, I'm quite all right."   The professor got up to pace.   "It's just that. . . . oh,
I'm sorry, how rude of me, would you like something to drink?"

   "Some coffee would be welcomed.   Thank you."
   "Very well, I will be right back."
   Left alone, Clyde sifted through the other notes containing verses: ‘The Son of
man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all
things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a
furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth’
(Mat. 13:41-42); ‘But
I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath

power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him’ (Luke 12:5); ‘If a man abide
not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them,
and cast them into the fire, and they are burned’
(John 15:6); ‘Then shall he say
also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire,
prepared for the devil and his angels’
(Mat. 25:41). . .
   As Clyde read on, disturbing thoughts ran across his mind.   By now the professor
was returning.
   "Professor Winston, I notice that Christ tends to mention fire quite a bit.   Is it the
idea of a burning Hell that has unsettled you?"

   Winston began to shake as he poured coffee into Clyde's cup.   "Yes.   But, in my
opinion, there is one other torment in Hell equal to that of the merciless flames."

   Clyde raised his eyes brows, wiping the perspiration off his upper lip.   "But what
could possibly be as torturous as burning forever?"

   Winston sat down and took a deep breath, "I shall show you."   He reached for the
Bible itself and paged toward its final chapter.   "As I said, I began using other key
words, such as fire. . ."
  Winston paused, trying to steady himself, ". . .each word led
me closer to the verses I am about to show you."
  Winston turned the Bible around
and slid it toward Clyde.   "Read Revelation 21 Verses 1 through 4."
   Clyde read them.   "Professor, I'm sorry, I don't quite. . ."
   "The dichotomy of Heaven and Hell, remember?   Those verses explain it."
   "But. . ."
   Winston stared blindly just above Clyde's right shoulder.   "In satisfying my idle
curiosity I discovered, what I consider to be, the worst part about Hell - no one in
Heaven will remember Hell's inhabitants.   All of one's accomplishments: wealth, fame
and charitable marks on society, will be erased from the minds of those that are not
part of Hell's horrendous existence."

   Clyde's breathing intensified as he read Verse 4 again: ‘And God shall wipe away
all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow,
nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are
passed a way

   Professor Winston broke his blind stare, focusing again on Clyde.   "Don't
you see?   No one in Hell will be able to find comfort in knowing that they left some
mark upon the world.   No such assurance will be available upon which they can
pathetically fool themselves into thinking it was all worth eternity in Hell.   No one
can say, At least someone up there remembers that I once existed."

   Winston reached for something much stronger than coffee, but before the
trembling glass touched his lips, he looked at Clyde and said, "Needless to say my
dear friend, the next word I plan to look up is the word - salvation."

IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven?
  The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).

BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps
you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God,"
Isa. 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;"
Rom. 3:23.
And Jesus, referring to sinners, said that He:
"shall send forth his angels, and they shall
gather out of his kingdom all things that offend,
and them which do iniquity
And shall cast them into
a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing
and gnashing of teeth."
  Mat. 13:41-42

SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the
gift of God: Not of works, lest any man
should boast."
  Eph. 2:8-9   Baptism, good deeds,
church membership, self-righteousness are all
examples of good works that cannot save you,
because: "Not by works of
which we have done, but
according to his mercy he
[Christ] saved
Titus 3:5.

THE ONLY WAY you can get saved
is through Jesus Christ.   He said: "I am the
, the truth, and the life: no man
unto the Father, but by me."

(John 14:6)   THAT'S WHY: "...while we were
yet sinners, Christ died for us."

(Rom. 5:8-9)   THEREFORE: You must REPENT
(change your mind); admit that you are a Hell
deserving sinner and can't save yourself.   And
call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you.
"if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord
[REPENT], and shalt believe in thine
[TRUST] that God hath raised him
from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
  Rom. 10:9

P.O. Box 815
Fargo, ND 58107

[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]