FOUR HOURS INTERVIEW IN HELL

by Yemi Bankole
Thus, it is obviously of particular importance that you meditate on what you read here and pay a great deal of attention to your relationship with God. It is from this you can judge whether your years so far on the planet Earth, have been a time usefully spent before God or you have only succeeded in doing those things that will warrant your joining the awful abode of the lost in the end….

CHAPTER 1

One sunday evening in July 1974, Dare Matins, who was pursuing grade 2 certificate in the teachers’ training college was visited by his friend – Allen Bamgbose, a young Naval officer. By rule of thumb, these two friends were not less than thirty years of age as at that time. Allen Bamgbose shared two different tribes. His father was a yoruba man, who died during the Nigerian civil war and his mother an igbo, who was living in Lagos as at that time. Dare Matins on his own a typical yoruba man. As usual, when two friends meet, the events of the past are always recalled. That is why Dare and Allen talked about the past happenings in their country – Nigeria, After dinner that evening. Kunle and taiwo who were Dare’s roommates were not left out as well. Each of them narrated the most tragic occurrence he had witnessed in life. Dare’s story was the horror of the Nigerian civil war of some few years back. Taiwo spoke of one plane crash that claimed about seven lives instantly. Kunle talked about a fear-inflicting earth tremor witnessed somewhere in the western world. Allen on his own lucidly narrated his dream about hell which he had some years back. The story sounded as real when Allen told it that night to others as when he had it.

This is the story, hear from the horse’s mouth.”Friends, life is full of experience and what we call a story today was our yesterday’s experience. My story is about my four – hour experience beside the bank of hell. I saw this tragic vision seven years ago. Please, I don’t want to sound proud, but in every which way and in any place ever, I always leave sorrows and tears in the faces of the creams of my listeners anytime this story is told. To a considerable extent, I’m still afraid of what I saw in hell and the people I found sharing their experiences with me for good four hours. To many people in the horror of hell, it is a story of “Had I known”.

I came to a conclusion years after this vision that, God had revealed this to me, one, because he wanted those that hear the story to give up sinning and give in to Jesus- the bright and the Morning Star. Two, to warn all men of the reality of hell, which though, is a widely controversial issue, but which at the same time has a far reaching consequence on all human races.

I was born into a christian home and my parents attended Corner Stone Mission in the Eastern part of Nigeria. When I was a little bit above the age of accountability, my parents told me to accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord, and that is by confessing and forsaking one’s sins, which I did. But one afternoon in 1967, I was sleeping in my room in the Naval Staff Quarters when I was caught up to heaven.

I found myself in a glorious body and was marching towards a glittering gate. I felt more athletic in that new body than I do in this mortal one. Looming large on me that the end had come; I wanted to increase my pace; cover a long distance; cross the blissful river some metres ahead of me and enter the city of Heaven. But quite unlike in our World, where the industrialist who commissions the factory, or the individual who orders a bungalow is financially entitled to make his choice of building, I found it pretty difficult to increase or decrease the speed limit on this beautiful river that was gently flowing with the divine scent and peaceful bliss. A glimpse at the gate of heaven validates the truth of the whole Biblical accounts of heavenly Jerusalem as contained in the book of revelation. If the gate of the City alone is such a blend of fiery opals, sapphires, costly stones of great price and sparkling diamonds, it is therefore certain that the architectural design of the city is the most splendidly fantastic one, such as is never witnessed in the Earth.

While I was drawing close to this awesome river, one tall beautiful angel, attired in a shinning and whitest garment, appeared to me from nowhere. The sight of whose, in no doubt, imported great fear in my spine. Surprisingly, however, the angel spoke purely in my dialect and his voice was as deep as the rumbling of thunder. At his back were two wings conjuring an incomparably beautiful scene. I quickly pleaded with fair he should help me in crossing the river…. ” Don’t be afraid, Allen, I have been sent because of you,” he said. I became courageous on hearing this. ” I love the song I’m hearing afar, with this solemn and peaceful atmosphere,” I declared. ” That is the song of the heavenly angels and the redeemed of God who have completed their assignments in the world and are resting till the morning of resurrection, ” he answered. ” Allow me to join them please. I have not heard such a melodious song like this in the World,” I pleaded. ” Allen, you can’t join them now, you still have so much to do for God. You’re going back; you haven’t completed your assignment in the world”, he declared. As I felt bad by the remark to go back to the world, he said ” come and see, why you must go back and tell the world the message more passionately.

As he held my hand, within a couple of seconds we were on another road. This other road was in sharp contrast to the former one, in that, it was broad and many people who were there were moving fast without taking time to talk to anybody or greet one another.

Who are these?” I asked. “They are those who didn’t have time for repentance in their lifetime, ” he replied. ” But permit me to tell them about Jesus before its too late,” I pleaded. ” Allen, it’s late already. No preaching is done in heaven or there in hell. To everything, there’s time. If anybody fails to repent in the world, no matter how he pleads here, his time of opportunity is gone. People don’t repent in heaven or hell,” he disclosed. “Bute many religious leaders maintained that a soul would escape judgement and have a triumphal procession form the gate of heaven to the throne of God if he was a renown devotee of his religion. Some preachers even confirmed that, in no way should any mortal man expect freedom from sin, that is was not possible, unless after death. Some scholars and theologians as well argued against the existence of hell….” I said. “You will understand better very soon. I will answer your questions when we reach the end of this road, ” he replied.

CHAPTER 2

I was eager to be at the place the angel was to take me. Meanwhile, so many people were hurriedly journeying down the valley and the road became darker and darker as we moved down. After a comparatively seven-minute journey ahead, a dull grey bank of cloud began to pile up in our front and there was no light enough to see the people on the track. “After this door you will see the abode of the the lost souls. These are the souls of those who were careless about their final end when they were in the world,” said the angel. “But I’m hearing some horrible noise of crying down the dale already”, I questioned. “Yes, that is where I’m taking you to, ” replied the angel.

When I heard this, I became afraid again. “Some people you don’t expect are there. The abyss has become considerably enlarged in more recent times, that in every split of second, hundreds of sould rush into it,” he added. “But, not so many people in the world get as much awakened to this truth as they are conscious of the driving force of the trends of civilisation,” I confirmed. “Yes, you are right Allen. This is so because, at presenteighty percent of the preachers in the world are doing their preaching for profit making and for gain of money. Pitifully enough, they’ve so much spread their materialistic gospel in every city of the world to such a large extent that, millions of people now have the feeling that materialism is synonymous with salvation and godliness. They are kin to find more bible references to defend the preaching of prosperity with less effort to put the lost rich on the narrow way”, he answered.

As we advanced, the big iron gate before us opened on its own accord and we passed. We entered this large space where the Hell is. Hell fire is vast and restless. As it emits heat beyond measures, so its victims roll up and down, gnashing their teeth in the brutal flame. To see the other end of hell from the entrance gate is impossible. The noise of horror and the scream of pain from the people who are more than the world population is continual. For in no earthly empire was so large a population subject to a single emperor and a body of law as the people in hell are subject to the flame of fire and the dos and don”ts of the fallen angels inside it. “So hell is as terrible as this? Who can tell?” I exclaimed with trembling. ”That’s why you must go back and tell everybody to repent and avoid, ” replied the angel. ” Whatever is revealed to you here, take it, go back to the world and tell it, ” he emphasised.

After this statement, the angel disappeared and I became stationary in that point. Friends, the human limitation will, in no doubt, hinder me from being able to describe hell as vividly as I saw it, no matter how I try. The fire of hell was as thick as a heavy cloud and rolled on its crest like a raging sea from its unknown depth to its immeasurable height. Hidden away in its flame were people of different races and languages, whose sins escaped discovery in the world but became open scandals in the record above. There was neither class distinction nor racial prejudice in hell, because, teenagers, young people and the aged were packed together inside it. The terror of the furnace was against them for anger. As the fire kept rolling from its far depth, their cry of sorrow and call for help reached crescendo. As they came up in its troublous tide, so they sank down thousand feet deep again, that for the next thirty or forty minutes they were buried under this heavy flame. Darkness, instead of ray of hope, hung on their brows. They gnashed their teeth in absolute extremities. Friends, no mortal man can explain the horror of eternal burning and the hopeless state of the lost. Not even in a token, but rather in large extent, is the theme of struggle prominent in hell. This is unlike the struggle for freedom an apprentice daily dreams of, nor the other a democrat counts as being the best for humanity. It it the struggle for escape. This is what I mean.

In one of the scenes I witnessed, I saw one of the fallen angels some metres away, who presumably appeared to have been assigned the most callous and cruel duty. His visage was of angry look. His voice was husky. His command was masterful. His fury was ignited whenever the abyss happened to quake such that veinous network of his forehead did budge out and his countenance wore mercilessness and vengeance. The index of his many years of heartless service in that region of hell was reflective not only in his skin but in the whole of his teeth that had turned black completely. Besides, his two feet up to somewhere above his ankles were buried away in the heap of sooth that had gradually fallen off his skin and wings over the years, like when a tree sheds off her leaves in autumn. I couldn’t view him beyond his knees, neither know the number of his toes. But in one of the glances I cast on his upper region, I discovered that there were more than five fingers in each of his hands. One finger was like a chewing stick in length and as thick as a graduation scroll while each of his arms was weaved around by a bundle of muscles, such as is never in possession by any world heavy weight lifter in histiry. He stood rigidly in a point and was duty-bound to pierce the new comers with a sharp and hot iron dagger in his immortal mark of welcome into the lasting sorrow on every new person just arriving. From this sight, the victims strove and struggled violently to escape, panting and shivering before the pointed edge that sank deeply into the realm of veins and inflicted unspeakable pain that lasted for months. I started when I saw the back of some of these victims. While some were carrying unhealed peppering sores that oozed blood right inside the fire, hissing like pine trees in agony. But with sweating unreserved in his duty, not lending a sympathetic ear to these precious but lost souls.

In one of his mocking utterances, the angel addressed a lady in utter despair, who was learned to have died as a petrol station attendant. ” If in life you spurned ‘ strive to enter at the strait gate….’, should you here again say no to the command of the master whose part you followed in life; whose interest you shared until death?” After that statement, in rage he gripped his dagger and with thick biceps thrust clean the pointed edge into the ribs of the lady. Just as the iron was withdrawn as if it were a plug, her blood gushed out. Being in the state of coma, her screaming began to die away gradually as she helplessly sank into the flame.

Among several other things I heard the angel said was ” Two possibilities exist in life. There abide good and bad; truth and error; past and present; life and death; reward and punishment. Two men strive to win a man, to rule a man: the son of the Most High and our master. Two lifestyles are possible for embracing by man: living for the Holy one or living in opposite direction of the light. Be that as it may, no man is free, no son of man is without a ruling power: either the dark one or the immaculate. But with us is the majority. To man the truth is bitter and the narrow road is rugged. Men tend to seek for ease, many can’t endure. Such are those who bath my feet with tears. Though they plead, they only plead with the colony that can’t be forgiven and neither forgives any. Once here is forever here. Once in celestial city is forever there, but only few have the courage it takes to go there and the whiteness of heart the city demands.”

Since the departure of the angel that brought me, thousands of people had entered throughout the same and trotted down into hell, but the place remained as spacious as ever. While I was yet trapped down by this awful scene, I discovered that one of the hell inmates was drawing a lit bit closer to the bank. She crawled like a fly near the bound set between hell bank and the land. ” A-ll-en, A-ll-en,” shouted the lady. I was shocked to the root to hear my name in hell. I didn’t recognise on the time who the person was, because the face was marred and disfigured by the fire; the skin was blackened by the flame and littered by sores. “Who? Who? Who are you?” I asked with great inquisitiveness?” She shouted again: “A-ll-en Bamgbose, I am Rita; your hostel mate in the Grammar school. O-o-oh I’m hungry, p-l-e-a-s-e help m-e-e…” I was flabbergasted at seeing Rita in hell. Rita in hell? No! It must be a dream. But Rita died a good Christian! I soliloquised all these questions right on the same spot. To cut a long story short, human feelings gripped me and I thought I could help her out of that predicament. Thus, I took a step to move to her, but my legs were too heavy for me to lift.

I looked around for my friendly angel again, he was nowhere to be found. “Rita, why are you here? You are a child of God, why did you miss heaven? We organised concerts, carol and quiz competitions in our school fellowship and you didn’t disappoint God. You were very good at sword drill and impromptu speech. “Why?” “How?” I sobbed out these statements.

Yes, I did all that in the Grammar school, Allen,” she replied “but later in life and two months to my graduation in the university, I yielded to a sinful affair with a boy at home during a short break. I thought of repenting in the campus chapel when the school resumed. But on returning from home, I had a motor accident. The next thing I discovered was that I found myself in the gate over there and an angel asked me to go to the left road which ends in this place,” she revealed. ” O-o-oh Rita, why did you allow this, after all the evangelism in the boarding house, choruses and prayer meetings? What were you doing till your flesh inflicted this temptation on you and conquered?” I asked with lament.

While I was lamenting over this tragic scene, the fire as red as it were erupted like a volcano around the place she was, immediately, she sank. I was afraid of God right there. I didn’t see Rita again throughout my vision. For over thirty minutes, I was recapitulating the exploit we did in our secondary school days. I considered the heroic effort of Rita Udoh in the school christian programmes. This was an exceptionally talented sister in song and extraordinary gifted lady in leadership and organisation. The concert-goers of those days used to comment that Rita’s voice made our concerts rent in accelerando and rallentando like cherub-choir’s in Heaven. She could motivate a lot. I reflected on her exercised influence both to soften the hearts of the hardened students and polish the character of the immature ones. When I considered the incalculable mass of suffering from her parents and persecution from out teachers she independently went through, I cried. It loomed large on me, that the race is not to the swift.

CHAPTER 3

In a moment of time, a girl reared her head yet in this same horror. I was shocked seeing such a teenager of about thirteen in hell. “What is her offence?” I asked my self. I beckoned her to come. She waded and waded until she came nearer. “Young girl why are you here,” I asked.

Sir, please give me water, water is my dire need now. I’ve been thirsty since 1932when I came in here. Please just a small quantity. O-o-oh, o-o-oh”, she sobbed out her suffering. I know God is ever faithful in his judgement, yet I was curious to know what offence had that young soul that warranted her sentence to that horrible place. “Why are you here?” I asked again.

It was my mother. She initiated me into witchcraft at six. But before I reached twelve and died, I had killed seven hundred and twenty people and had become a registered witch in the spirit world”, she explained. “But a companion,” she continued, “who has been here since 1620 told me that the punishment here is eternal and the condition is permanent. Is that true?” She asked. I pitied her condition. I couldn’t answer yes or no than to say: “she must be right” “r-i-i-i-ght?” She screamed. As she screamed thus, the flame was hard on her again and she began to sink down gradually. I looked and looked at her again until she vanished from my sight. I was sore afraid at this.

In a couple of minutes again, I saw another person; a late deaconess of my church, who died of arthritis when I was sixteen. I began to feel that I might soon find my self in hell too, if that woman of high reputation could be there. I remember that when late Mrs Emily Adeyombo died, my church Corner Stone mission did all within her capacity to appreciate the charity so nobly and constantly practised by this woman. By the masses, she was regarded as an incarnation of virtue and paradigm of philanthropy. She responded to needs of friends and foes. As if I had never cried in my life, tears rolled down my check with the question who can be saved?

Mum. Why did you come here, did you miss your way?” I sobbingly asked. “A-ll-en, thus is what unforgiving spirit has for me as a reward,” she replied. “Unforgiving spirit?” . “But you were a deaconess! You mean you didn’t forgive somebody inside or outside the church?” I asked. ” It was discovered in the book of record that all my life was pleasant to God except the misunderstanding that happened between the choir master and me. By and large, I was older than he and as such I was expecting him to come and apologize, at least courtesy demands for that. I was in this malice when death struck that same month,” she explained. The fire became hotter than before as she was talking. “A-a-ah, o-o-o-o-oh , a-ll-en, please help me plead. I have forgiven him in my heart”, she pleaded. I never knew when I began to cry too. My two eyes were shut in sorrow.

I couldn’t behold the woman on whose tombstone we wrote the epitah: Late Madam Emily Adeyombo (Nee beatrice) a loyal christian soldier, who courageously fought for the holy course; carried her cross and kept the sword unsheathed. Your gentle spirit broke the bond of death when you were called home to rest in perfect peace till the morning of resurrection. Her remains weren’t taken to the mission cemetery on the left side while entering our town, but was buried in the churchyard in honour of her unalloyed christian commitment. In the churchyard that friday evening of her burial ceremony, the minister in charge read 1 corinthians chapter 15 verses 39-57 with resounding farewell words, “Good mother, good bye till we meet again beside the river of life”. We waved our hands to her remains and solemnly sang the first two stanzas of the heart-touching hymn of Late j.montgomery (1771-1854) for her interment: for ever with the lord! Amen; so let it be; life from the dead is in that word; tis immortality. Here in the body pent, absent from him roam yet nightly pitch my moving tent a day’s march nearer home, my father’s house on high, home of my soul , how near At times to faith’s foreseeing eye thy golden gates appear! Ah, then my spirit faints to reach the land I love, the bright inheritance of saints, Jerusalem above.

But friends, instead of the river of life, she’s in hunger, peril and untold pain. I dropped down and strove to pray. But, I couldn’t actually say a word. To my awful amazement before I opened my eyes, Madam Emily was gone. The tide of hell had rolled on her and “swallowed” her up like Rita. ” Madam Emily, ah…where are you,” I shouted. The “savage master” had swept her away from my sight. Fourteen years have passed in hunger and thirst and no remembrance was given to her religious activities. It became glaring to me that moment, that a sin can qualify one for hell.

Friends, while madam Emily is in torment, thirst and hunger in the other side, here in the world my church is busy marking her remembrance year by year. It is a pity.

CHAPTER 4

When I had spent about eight minutes beside the horrible place called hell, I couldn’t cry again. I became so weak that I was seeking for release from my bondage of immobility. Suddenly, I sighted a horrible scene in a distance of some metres away. A young man of about thirty years of age was struggling with an angel of torment. The angel kept on torturing him while he cried and screamed. He was stricken whenever he wept, received a blow if he sobbed. His tears despised, his supplication vain. At last he waded to a closer range where he could hear my voice.

Mr man who are you and why are you tormented more than others?” I asked. “I’m Ossai Michael. Some years ago, a book told the story of hell with indelible precision and substantiated reality. But my feeble mind doubted it, my frailty called it foolishness…”. “But by your name, I guess you were born into a christian home,” I interrupted. “Yes, I was,” he answered. ” Weren’t you told in your church about hell,” I asked. “I heard about it once or twice in the church sermons, but our pastor didn’t disclose that little sins will be taken serious here, not until I had fire accident in my third year in the university in the U.S. And my name was found in the book of judgement at the gate of examination,” he replied.

Ossai, how unfortunate to have doubted the reality of hell,” I lamented. “I thought I was okay because of my Church activities. I thus struggled with the angels at the gate and called all the suits filed against me as false accusations. Later, a book was opened and everything I ever did was found written there. My evil of stealing a walkie-talkie belonging to the porters in the hall of residence in my university campus is there. The evil of putting sleeping drug inside the drink given to a guest at one birthday party, which he unknowingly drank and slept off and I went away with his bag and money is recorded there. In the book my lies are noted; cheating of varying degrees recorded and gambling games read to my hearing, which I had once thought to be little sins. Since I got here I have no minute to rest day and night,” he explained regretfully.

Before I could say a single word again, another rumbling eruption emerged from the depth of hell and the valley was stirred once again. Michael gnashed his teeth and sank down.

In my description of hell at first, I forgot to mention that, the fire of hell, its hundred times hotter than the domestic fire. Sometimes it turns black completely, at another time its as red as oven. The scientific theory of ”we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide” doesn’t exist in hell. Restlessness is its feature, crying is of its victims.

Still in the realm of this dream, I saw one man making the fifth person I interviewed. He was struggling with some pugnacious officer angels in the fire. I didn’t know the cause of the combat in the first instance, until I had a dialogue with the man. The angels were forcing him to bow and worship them, but he was saying no to submission. Eventually he struggled nearer, breathing helplessly.

You are a Yoruba man?” I asked. “Who are you? What is your mission beside this horrible place?” He asked. “An agel brought me here. But since I came in, I have been sorrowful because of the pitiful condition of the people here, especially when I saw you afar being beaten with a hot iron some couple of minutes ago,” I responded.

This place is a terrible colony and is hard to live in. If a man were given a second chance of life, all his days would be used to warn not only his friends but his greatest enemy about here and the gap to keep to sin should be the distance of heaven to earth. Those angels you saw were making mockery of my religion. I died a muslim and it’s our way of worship to bow when praying. When I came in here, I was informed that I owe the angels of torments a debt of worship, that, it is a must for any religious person who misses heaven and comes here to worship the devil and his angels exactly the way his religion is worshipping God in the world, ” he disclosed.

Yet, in my quest to know what occasioned his sentence to hell I asked him thus again: “sir, but, as a man with an appreciable level of devotion to his religion, why are you here again in hell?

I was found guilty for certain reasons; I obtained a loan of one hundred thousand naira {N 100,000} from the government to plant five acres of rice. Before the harvesting period of that year, another government took over power from the government which was on seat when the loan was granted. I went to my brother who is a lawyer to help in drafting a letter that there was a fire outbreak in the farm and that everything I planted in the farm was burnt. The new government believed my report and in pity of my plight said I shouldn’t refund the money. But, it was all a lie. With this in my record, along with many utterances and deeds as were found displeasing to the all-knowing God, I was pointed this terrible place. After much pleading, the angel in charge with a second look at my record, disclosed that I was not far from forgiveness before I died, but my utter unbelief in the man’s only way of redemption disallowed the removal of my sins and the issuance of pardon from the throne”.

I was more than shocked, when I heard the ordeal of this man. My eyes were opened that the slogan government money is a national cake’ is all a lie. That, even to the last kobo of government money a civil servant will give account in heaven. Gathered from what happened here, it is an inferential proof that unless Jesus is believed and accepted, getting to heaven is far from possibility.

At that height of agony, with his tearful eyes, he pleaded: “please friend, kindly render any help within your reach. The thirst here is too much and the pain of fire is unbearable.

But, listeners, what could I do? No water around! Even if there were, how do I get to him when my legs were “glued” to the ground? “I am concerned too, friend, but it’s not within the power of any man to rescue his fellow man or a bosom friend who is in hell,” I answered. No sooner I said this, than the ugly angels appeared again and dragged this young man into the bottom of hell.

I cried and cried again, for the man had a great pain.

CHAPTER 5

…..As unequivocal as it is, though it’s often doubted, that children born in the lap of roses often live longer than those born into poverty, so it is agreed, though controversial too, that the educated are an Island to themselves; impenetrable to the illiterate. But death has ranked both as being equal of status and judgement has warded off every class inequality. This is why the hell that inhabits a farmer offered a medical doctor accommodation too…

While I was yet on my knees being dog-tired, I saw a lady who came there not quite long. I didn’t know her anywhere in the world, hut she was suffering an excruciating pain of hell. “Lady, sorry, I pity the condition here,” I blared. “Mr. Man, are you sent for our rescue?” She asked. “Ah, it’s difficult to cross over to where you are. Please who are you?” I asked. “I’m Joyce Ben from Canada”. “Joyce?”. “Yes,” she replied. “Why are you here?” What did you do?

I worked in a private hospital as a medical practitioner. My work had to do with elimination of unwanted pregnancies through abortion as a measure used to avoid ridicule by young ladies who put in by mistake, and to cut down the number of issues for families who could no longer cope. But I was found guilty by the book of records for shedding innocent blood and terminating lives, “she disclosed. “Were you aware the exercise was sinful, Joyce?” I asked. “Sincerely yes. One student of medical laboratory on housemanship once preached to me and said that abortion is a murder,” she replied. “But, did you confess your sin of murder to God?” I asked her again.

You see, I thought I was still young and to give in for religion at that age, much more as a young medical doctor, might mean a betrayal of personality and hence affect my status. I held a belief that a civilized man should be highly selective and at endless variance with a primitive intellect or an exposed individual needn’t be worried to believe a thing, after all he knows the right thing. I never knew this is where all my belief would land me, ” she answered. She seemed to be favoured somehow because the tide didn’t drag her back so soon…. “But I’m ready to carry my bible now,” she concluded.

I felt sorry for this young lady who was ready rather too late to repent; whose days of opportunity were over before taking up the cudgels for serving her creator. Eventually, she was overpowered by the forceful hand of the fire. She screamed and sank down at once. That was the end, I didn’t see Joyce to come up again since she went down.

On the subject of abortion I’m still flummoxed by what sorrowful end many medical practitioners may have, for as this ubiquitous phenomenon has turned some doctors to professional abortionists, it has as well created market for the private practice of the same. Friends, it was at the bank of hell it became certainly clear to me that without a life that conquers sin, the claim of religion as the qualification for seeing God is a facile assumption and the splendour of bearing a religious name as hopeless identity. Joyce is a good christian name. Joyce Ben had the name but not the life.

In the passage of time, weariness visited me. I never knew, when in pity, I began to render a sort of poem to hell while it was in the highest degree of raging, this was me rendition:

Roll away,

ocean of hell,

Please roll!

Millions of souls in thee cry for pain,

Faces are painted with sorrow,_

Beauty burnt by smoke and by heat waned.

Your torture holds great men in unspeakable groan.

Your tide swallows common people and many a captain.

Oh hell, that detains the old, oh hell the eternal sorrow, the eternal chain.

Inside you are men and women, crying in sorrow.

Asking mercy to replace their pain.

Why are you ceaseless oh abyss, in claiming the never-dying souls?

Oh you concerned men, how ready are you to explain?

Who will a sinner’s hand hold? And patiently like the saviour say,

“ye must be born again”.

As I was busy rendering this poem out of heaviness of mind after Joyce’s departure, the troubled hell calmed down a bit. Every eye was red like a live coal and their voice gained volume for help. It was at that moment I saw a young girl whom I had met in the world, but I never knew she had died before then. She was exhausted. She reeled and staggered. This girl was a house help in the city of lagos, Nigeria, before she died in a motor accident in the year 1965.” Ranti, why are you here?” I screamed.

A-a-ah… Uncle allen, I am l-o-s-t, p-l-e-a-se, help me. Please …. Water… Help…help,” she cried. I became upset at this juncture.

This girl used to sell soft drinks for us in the naval staff quarters in her life time. She was between twelve and fourteen then she used to be at the gate from the noon till around five o’clock in the evening. Sometimes, I sent her on errand to buy me newspapers from the vendors, she was quite responsible. “But, I once told you to give your life to Jesus,” I said.

Yes, uncle Allen, you did. But fear of torture made me lie at home; hunger forced me to steal. I was hard starved. I went throught cold for lack of proper clothing. None of my efforts at home met my reward of kindness from my mistress. For all mistakes our mistress used horse whip day after day, so that my body was covered with wounds. Having no one to whom I could turn for help, I began to steal, abuse, curse and wish our mistress evil. I never knew her cruelty had an end but sorrow and torment here is eternal. Just some days to christmas time in 1965, as we ran up and down for more sales beside the road, I was knocked down by a taxi cab. This led to my death,” she explained. ” Ah what do I do?” I asked myslef. “Uncle, can you plead for me?” She asked. “Ranti, I’m sorry, I didn’t know that this place will be as terrible as this when I was preaching to you that day. I would have explained better than I did. But it’s too late now,” I replied.

A-a-ah Uncle Allen, you mean I will be here forever?”.

Friends, this I heard and burst into crying again, I couldn’t say yes or no. So, death could remember a househelp too, make no discrimination between the child and the maid? It’s terrible.

CHAPTER 6

Experience has definitely shown that some reasons for holding a belief are much likely to be justified by event than others. It might naturally be supposed, for instance, that the best of all reasons for a belief is a strong conviction of certainty accompanying the belief. By crucial test of experiment, the rich man in the Book of St. Luke attests to the existence of hell. The Book of Revelation of the Holy Bible has said more and its assertion being an effective enough means of catching the picture of hell. Friends, hell is real, though some on hearing this may forthwith burst into a violent fit of laughter. But the Bible and the human experience similar to mine have considerably built a consistently satisfactory foundation for this reality.

Back to my interview, the place remained as tensed as usual, as hopeless for the hell inmates as when I came in with the angel and no reduction whatever was noted in the number of those trotting inside in minute by minute. In that hopeless state, many abandoned themselves in frantic grief, wandering about in terrible flame, wringing their heads and uttering groans and lamentations; others called upon God for succour and many sat down in silent and sullen despair while years were elapsing upon their ungranted pleas for mercy and tears coursed down their cheeks day by day. The environment was devoid of every exigency of everyday life. The craving of hunger and thirst was unend.

While in this peak of sorrow, I saw a man making eight, whose identity I will be silent about as much as possible. I’m talking about an overseer of a church and an acclaimed “Minister of God”, who contributed much to the early missionary activities in Nigeria and in other African states. Before his death, he was the overseer of his church when the founder died in the early fifties. Up till today, whenever some of his church members speak with me, they still allude to his heroic effort in the gospel, while on earth. Whereas, he’s suffering bitterly in hell. What a terrible scene is this? How managed? What happened? The servant of God in the abyss? All these questions ran through my heart. This is not unconnected with the miracles and healing wrought by this man which gave everybody a marked impression that he had gone to the bosom of the Father. But it’s a pity!

Gradually, as I saw him in the vision, he drew near the bank. “Sir, what happened?” I reverently asked. ” Friend, from where? Do you know me?” he asked. ” It seems so sir! I think you were Reverend so and so,” I replied with heaviness of mind. “Yes, you’re right,” he confirmed. ” I pity the tragic condition of this place, upon all the struggling for preaching of those years,” I continued.

Dear, I never dreamt of coming to a place like here too. My waking thought was heaven while on earth, but, for a lesson learned too late my hope became a mirage. Friend, this is what happened. I preached for thirty-two years in the world. I preached salvation by grace; hell fire as a reality and the imminent coming of Christ called the rapture. Presently in heaven, are good number of those who heard these good teachings from me. But, two years before death struck. I took part of the church money meant for church building to conduct a wedding ceremony for my grand daughter. And this being unknown to anybody, I let it go. At the end of the year, I wrote the financial report revealing that the whole amount contributed was spent for the project. After a sermon one sunday evening, I took ill which ended in my death. Before I got to the main gate I was basking in joy that I had made it at last, not until I was diverted here. I doubted it, until the book of record was opened which carried all my good christian services. But underneath all the rendered services it is written ” Not to be remembered, because he took a holy thing”. The angel in charge further disclosed that the church money which I took was contributed out of sweat by the church members and that faithfulness demands for a just and true account. He added that my report was not in conformity with the gospel standard of stewardship and that the act betrayed my office as a minister,” he explained. “But sir, did you plead for mercy?” I asked. ” I did, but the angel replied that forgiveness is possible only in the world, but reward or judgement is determined there at the gate,” he answered.

In less than five minutes after his last utterance, the hell quaked terribly, the tide rose to a high crest in anger; the fire unleashed its flame again, and with gnashing of teeth this reverend fell backward and sank down. I shook my head and mourned for long.

That was the last person I saw and I woke up in my room at five minutes to six o’clock. I trembled, I became greatly afraid. Without wasting time I called my friends around and narrated what I saw to them.

Friends, this is the picture of eternal sorrow and the scene of people in the abyss. Those over there waded through soft earth and wet mud; blissful life and bleak world. Some, before death came were victims of misfortunes and others were opportunists, some of gentle demeanour and some were very opinionated. A whole lot bided the world farewell as drunks, cheats, rich prostitutes, simple-minded liars, divorcees, and polygamous while others slept with their philosophy ” no time for repentance now” but they had time to ask for water in hell. They paid the nature their debt and the whole world did pay them their last respect. Dear listeners, beholding the ages of the people in hell it’s surprising that some young, unachieved teenagers are there, leaving their parents behind. Orphans too, are not exempted, joining their late parents, spinsters and bachelors without spouse, without issues also went to the region of silence while no refusal was given to married ones with fleet of children. When I saw all these I forgot my past achievement and my heart melted in compassion. When I remembered that great day when all shall stand before the judge of mankind, I trembled.

Before we sleep tonight, Dare and my friends; kunle and martins, I want you all to turn to Jesus Christ, by confessing your sins and turning away from. Death is inevitable, but God up till now, is still in the exercise of writing the name of repentant sinners in the Book of Life. Disallow all delay! That was my story, let’s pray before going to bed. It’s half past eleven already.”

Dear reader that was Allen Bamgbose narrating his Hour- hour experience beside hell fire. The audience of Mr. Bamgbose on hearing so tragic enough a story, went on their knees with a humble spirit, confessed to God everything they considered might hinder them from seeing Him. They accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour that night. The big question before us is, who will be the next to experience the suffering so unbearable, and the punishment so severe in hell, after reading all this? I plead with you, dear reader, to accept Jesus Christ this day and this hour. Jesus has everlasting life to offer your soul now, but sin and satan have everlasting shame and the torment of eternity to offer all unsaved souls. Choose life everlasting.

Do not be late! The offer is yours now, tomorrow is not certain.

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4 responses to “FOUR HOURS INTERVIEW IN HELL

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