Here are five truly horrifying moments from the Bible.
What was at first horrifying became glorifying for God through Jesus Christ at Calvary (Isaiah 53). No event in human history has been declared to be more unjust and cruel than Jesus’ scourging and death on the cross, because He was totally innocent and unworthy of such a horrible, agonizing death. The shame, scorn, ridicule, and rejection Jesus suffered on our behalf was the most horrifying of all biblical moments, but one that made possible our salvation (John 3:16), because God uses evil for good (Gen 50:20).
Slaughter of Children
King Herod has gone down in history as one of the most evil kings of all, even though he was only a puppet king of the Romans. When he discovered that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem, “he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men” (Matt 2:16). This horrific event fulfilled Jeremiah the Prophet’s prophecy of, “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation. Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more” (Matt 2:18), which was a quote of Jeremiah 31:15.
In Daniel chapter five, King Belshazzar was having a great banquet for a thousand of his royal guests, and during their drinking binges, the king ordered the sacred vessels that his father, King Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from the temple and King Belshazzar wanted to used these gold and silver goblets to give to his wives and concubines so that they might drink out of them. Then, Belshazzar saw something horrible. It was a finger writing something on the wall. All of a sudden there was no more fun and games. Daniel the Prophet interpreted “Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin [and] this is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians” (Dan 5:25-28). In other words, it was the end for Belshazzar and his kingdom.
Sulfur and Fire
One of the most horrific events that happened in the Bible was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Thankfully, God sent two angels to save Sodom and his family, but Lot still lingered, so “the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city” (Gen 19:16), and “Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground” (Gen 19:24-25). Today we know there is sufficient archeological evidence that just such an event took place there.
I’m not sure which was worse; the great flood that destroyed all but Noah and his family or the evil wickedness that had come to dominate humanity. That’s because “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5), meaning evil is all they thought about. They probably had contests to see who could come up with something new and evil, so “God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Gen 6:12-13).
The most horrific thing any person could ever do is reject Jesus Christ and saving faith in Him and then dies in that state. If this happens, a person’s fate is sealed forever (Rev 21:8). There is no repentance in hell…only eternal regret and remorse. Please tell any family member, friend, co-worker, or neighbor that unless they repent and believe, they cannot be saved (Mark 1:15; John 3:36; Acts 4:12). For those who trust in Christ, they are saved from the wrath of God and eternal damnation, and will be in the presence of the Lord for time without end.