Thursday, November 1, 2018


In his chapter on Interrogations, Alexsandr I. Solzhenitsyn described dozens of simple methods the communists would use in the Gulag to break a person. Some were psychological, some physical. Some would leave no mark on a person's body. And then there is number 23, the bedbug-infested box.
In the dark closet made of wooden planks, there were hundreds, maybe even thousands, of bedbugs, which had been allowed to multiply. The guards removed the prisoner's jacket or field shirt, and immediately the hungry bedbugs assaulted him, crawling onto him from the walls or falling off the ceiling. At first he waged war with them strenuously, crushing them on his body and on the walls, suffocated by their stink. But after several hours he weakened and let them drink his blood without a murmur.
Solzhenitsyn, Alexsandr. The Gulag Archipelago. Harper and Row, 1973. Page 113.

This reminds me of Jesus' description of hell: “Where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:43-48). He used that phrase three times in a row which is a method of extreme reinforcement in the Scriptures.

Scripture teaches us, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). At the other end of the spectrum, I know of nowhere in the Scriptures that tell us we can't imagine what hell is like. Hell is described vividly as a lake of fire (Revelation 20:9-10,14-15).

If we want elaboration on what the worms in the lake of fire are like, the bedbugs of the Gulag provide an insightful preview—and that was just after a few hours. The worms of hell persist for eternity.

If you can go to bed without concern for bedbugs, be grateful to God.

If you're not sure you can rest for eternity without the “worm that does not die,” the answer is to trust in Jesus for salvation.

If you know others who have not trusted Jesus, it is good to warn them about the danger they're in without Jesus (Ezekiel 33:1-9; Colossians 1:28).

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