By R.B. Jones
In the agony of Jesus, then, we have a graphic indication of the nature of the torment of hell. If He was there in my stead, as my representative, doing business for me, then, the agony that He endured in the substitutionary process is the agony that I must endure in hell, if I refuse to allow Him to substitute for me. His pains, His shriek of loneliness, His agonizing question from the cross, are, after all, the prophetic manifestations of what awaits doomed sinners in the everlasting condemnation of their unforsaken guilt. . .
The physical suffering of the cross was only the symbol of something worse. The darkness may have been sent to hide this in order that no one might get the mistaken idea that this physical suffering was all there is to the agony of the sin-punishment.
Mental torment is far more serious than physical agony. . .
Forsaken is the saddest word in any language. In the Greek, it is made up of three words: to leave, meaning to abandon; down, suggesting defeat and helplessness; and in, referring to place or circumstance. "The total meaning of the word is that of forsaking someone in a state of defeat or helplessness in the midst of hostile circumstances" (Wuest).
All during His ministry Jesus had known what it meant to be forsaken. Early the members of His family forsook Him. Nazareth, His home town, forsook Him. The nation that He came to save forsook Him. At the cross, His disciples forsook Him. In every such instance He could always steal away to the tender, healing fellowship of His heavenly Father. In every such instance--until now! Now, God turns from Him. He withdraws the sunlight. He withholds the loving counsel. He denies Him His presence. Don't ask us to explain it. We cannot. It is a mystery.
. . . This condition of forsakenness is the worst agony the condemned will ever know. Forsaken of God; separated from all that is good; given over to an existence which is no concern of the God of the universe. No light, for God is light! No love, for God is love! No life, for God is life! Deprived of all but death, the disintegrating principle that is allowed to endure forever. And from pain, sorrow, disappointment, frustration, despair--name all the brood of hell's pests, there is no escape. One such suffer may storm the heavens for a million years and God will not answer back even with a drop of cool water for the parched tongue. That is hell. That is what every one who refuses God chooses to endure.
And this is the agony of every soul without Christ. All whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life will be cast into this outer darkness of forsakenness. That is the destiny of cultured, refined, and sensitive unbelievers as well as the destiny of drunkards, harlots and gangsters. There is no distinctions there; the Son of God, in representing sinful humanity, finds Himself the companions of thieves! And all the restraints are withdrawn.