This is an excerpt from evangelist Mark Cahill’s book, “One Thing You Can’t Do in Heaven,” concerning a conversation that he had with Darryl, the brother of basketball star, Charles Barkley.
When Charles went into another room, Darryl told me, “You know, I had a heart attack a couple of months ago.” Then he added, “I saw something.”
You have probably heard about near-death experiences, where some people who briefly died reportedly saw a tunnel and a white light. But many people see other things, and Darryl did not have the typical experience. He told me that when his heart stopped, his spirit rose up out of his body, and he could look down and see his body on the operating table. He explained that his spirit took off on a journey. Suddenly he saw trees burning, the ground smoldering around the trees, and a lake of fire in front of him. I asked, “What did you see?”
“I saw Hell.”
“You saw Hell? Darryl, if you would have died, where would you have gone?”
He said confidently, “I would have gone to Hell.”
“Do you want to go to Heaven?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Darryl,” I prompted, “do you know what it takes to get to Heaven?”
“Yes, I do.”
“What does it take?”
He stated, “Committing my heart and my life to Jesus Christ.”
“Darryl, now that you know that you are going to die and go to Hell, are you ready to commit your heart and your life to Jesus Christ?”
What do you think he said? He answered, “No”.
I asked, “Why not?”
He gave the same answer most people give: “I like the things of the world more than I like the things of God.” He would rather live in sin than live for the God of this universe.
I tried to stress the seriousness of his decision by asking, “Do you realize that you will have no excuse when you stand in front of God on Judgment Day?”
“Yes,” he replied, “I know.”
That was one of the saddest conversations I have ever had. He knows what he needs to do to avoid an eternity in Hell, but the cares of the world are more important at this point in his life. He told me that what he saw was no dream, but was the most vivid, real thing he has ever seen. It was more real that the book you are reading or the chair on which you are sitting.
As he told me the story, I watched his eyes growing larger as he relived that experience. Believe it or not, his story is just one of the many I have heard from people who have seen Hell instead of a tunnel and white light. Some have reported seeing people standing in pits of fire, their skin melting off their bodies, then coming back on and melting off again. These stories sound amazing, but our Bible does tell us about a lake of fire for those who experience the second death.
I have a question for you. If one of your friends died today, would they see a lake of fire for eternity? If you are like most people, your answer would be “yes.” The question now is, what are you going to do about it? Are you really going to let your friends die and go to Hell for all or eternity? You can’t let them go there. Jesus did His part two thousand years ago, and now it is time for you to do yours.