It seems as each year passes, it becomes more popular to reject the idea of hell. When an atheist reporter alleged in March that Pope Francis denied hell’s existence, the internet flew into a frenzy, all sides blaring their opinions.
The Vatican was quick to reaffirm the pope’s and the church’s belief in hell, but that doesn’t negate that many in the Western church are beginning to hold the doctrine of hell in question. After all, they ask, why would a loving God make people suffer for eternity?
But Bill Wiese—author of the Charisma House best-selling book 23 Minutes in Hell—can’t deny that hell is, indeed, a very real place. God showed Wiese in a vision what hell was like, and the picture is frightening for every unbeliever.
In some ways, I’m the one who discovered Wiese. When I heard his message on a CD, I reached out to him and persuaded him to write his book with us. I thought it might sell 25,000 copies at most, but the results surprised me. 23 Minutes in Hell sold over a million copies—proof that many people are curious about what hell is like. Wiese’s story provides credible insight into this mysterious topic, and many have come to Christ on account of his vision.
Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of interviewing Wiese. He shared with me how his revelation from God unfolded. It all started when he woke up one night at 3 a.m. to get a glass of water. Suddenly, Wiese says, he was pulled out of his body in a vision and fell through a long tunnel into a large, open cavern. He landed in a prison cell filled with demons, whose assignment was to torment him in grotesque ways. He saw thousands of people burning in a lake of fire a mile wide.
One thing I really like about Wiese is that he points his readers and listeners back to the Scriptures. He makes it clear that it doesn’t matter if people believe his experience; what matters is that people believe what the Bible says.
“So I point out the Scriptures so that people can know that there really is a hell,” Wiese told me in our interview. “It’s far more severe than they have ever imagined. But the Good News is not one person has to go there. God suffered a horrible death on the cross—Jesus did—to keep us out. But He gives man a free will to choose.”
For the last 11 years, Wiese has been traveling around the world, speaking at churches about his vision of hell and the way of escape God has provided. Everywhere he goes, people come to him with questions: What about the aborigine in the jungle who has never heard about Jesus? How could God let a good person go to hell?
Listen to my podcast below to hear how Wiese answers those tough questions and describes what hell is really like.