When I was younger I used to walk to school. It took around 25-30 minutes, but this could be made considerably shorter by cutting through what we called a snicket, or a ginnel, or an alley, or whatever you call the narrow connecting passageway that joins two roads but is only wide enough for a person. If it was dark in the morning when I left (as it was for a few months a year), there were some snickets that I would not dare go through unless I was with my friends…peer pressure can really cut time off the walk to school…no, I’m not scared, are you, good, let’s go…
Anyway, along with the snickets, there was also the possibility of garden-hopping. This involved, basically, cutting through someone’s garden to cut a big chunk off the walk. However, in my mind that was not a good thing to do, what if they came out and there I was strolling through their lovely manicured lawn? So the garden was a no-go zone, somewhere that was very real, it existed, but was out of bounds for me because I chose not to go there.
Today, we read of the ultimate no-go zone;
19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.
20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.
21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.
The Antichrist and the kings of the earth gather with their armies to make war on Jesus and the army of saints He has with Him. However, it doesn’t even get started, the beast was captured, also the false prophet. Then, the no-go zone – These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.
The Bible translates differen words as ‘hell’ (sheol, hades, tartaros, gehanna), but it is clear here that the Antichrist and the false prophet are sent to hell, the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. They are sent before the great judgement before the great white throne of 20.11-15, and they receive special treatment, so to speak, in that they are sent there before the judgement. They are joined in the next chapter by Satan, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. No annihilation, no disappearing, no “I’m dead and that’s the end of it”, that’s now how we are made.
Friends, we need to be doing everything we can to avoid this no-go zone. I once heard a wise man and good friend give a speech to around 300 young people and they asked him for his one golden piece of life advice. This is what he said, and this is where we need to begin and constantly circle back to in our earthly efforts to avoid the no-go zone that is the very real place of hell and eternal separation from God, he said;
25And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27And he answered,
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
28And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”