Tag Archive: hell

The gospel is something like this . . .

You have committed a capital offense. You are presently free on bond, but you know that you will soon be sentenced to death.

Your lawyer calls you and tells you that there has been a very unusual development in your case. A certain man is willing to pay a very high price in order that you be released to him. You will be his servant for seven years. During that time you will NOT go back to your former life. You will be trained in a new way of living, and you are guaranteed to be rehabilitated, if you are obedient to the training. All charges against you will then be dropped.

Now, TECHNICALLY someone COULD say that you will go to the electric chair if you do not accept his offer. (In the same way that people say you will go to hell if you do not accept Jesus Christ as your savior.)

But lets make this critical distinction: YOU FACING THE ELECTRIC CHAIR HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS MAN!! You are facing the death penalty, because of YOUR CRIME.

This man has graciously offered to INTERVENE on your behalf. It would be incorrect to say that if you reject his offer, the judge sentenced you to the death penalty BECAUSE YOU REJECTED HIS OFFER, right?

Likewise, we are all condemned to death–NOT FOR REJECTING JESUS–but for our SINS!!

(Don’t let unbelievers bait you into this trap, saying that the God you serve is cruel and egotistical. This distinction is CRITICAL in understanding the true nature of God, and Jesus’ role in salvation.)

‘For if ye FORGIVE men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also FORGIVE you: But if ye FORGIVE not men their trespasses, neither will your Father FORGIVE your trespasses.’ (Matthew 6:14-15)

The Bible is LITERAL . . . this is why Jesus included, as one of the things important enough to be in our DAILY prayers:

‘And FORGIVE us our debts, as we FORGIVE our debtors.’ (Matthew 6:12)

Let this really sink in. There will be no pleading with God on judgment day . . . no justifying why we did not obey, or did not forgive. To be forgiven, we MUST forgive.

‘That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye PUT ON THE NEW MAN, which after God is created in RIGHTEOUSNESS and TRUE HOLINESS.

Wherefore PUTTING AWAY LYING, SPEAK EVERY MAN TRUTH with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.’  (Eph. 4:22-25)

‘Putting on the new man’ is something that WE do–not something the Lord does TO us.  WE make the choices that define our character.  How do we put on the new man?  By reading God’s Word, which renews the spirit of our mind, giving us the ‘mind of Christ’.

One of those choices we must make NOW, is that we will put away lying.  Lying is an ABOMINATION to God.  Homosexuality is an abomination . . . abortion is an abomination . . . and TELLING LIES is an abomination!

‘These six [things] doth the LORD HATE: yea, seven [are] an abomination unto him: A proud look, A LYING TONGUE, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness [that] SPEAKETH LIES, and he that soweth discord among brethren.’  (Proverbs 6:16-19)

Do you see?  Lying makes this list of things that are an abomination to God, right alongside abortion . . . and lying makes the list TWICE!!

The seriousness of this matter is not an exaggeration on my part.  Look at this other list of heinous sins, and lying is right there with them:

‘But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and ALL LIARS, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.’  (Rev. 21:8)

It’s right up there with murder and sorcery this time.  Make no mistake, this verse is not symbolic.  If the Bible says all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire, you’d best believe it’s true.

‘If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God . . . ‘  (1 Peter 4:11)

When we open our mouth, it should be as though God Himself is speaking through us.  All it takes is ONE LIE, to destroy your credibility with someone who loves the truth.  As a Christian, that means your witness is destroyed–your ability to share the gospel with that person is lost.  (What if YOU are the very person God has ordained to reach them?)

We must strive to walk uprightly, as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God.  Salvation isn’t a bus ticket–it’s the beginning of a career.  Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, you get there by WALKING . . . it’s not a ‘ride’.

Do you know what will separate those who enter the Kingdom, from those who fall to the strong delusion and follow THE LIE of the Antichrist?  It is whether or not they LOVE TRUTH!

‘ . . . them THAT PERISH; BECAUSE THEY RECEIVED NOT THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH, that they might be saved. And for this cause GOD SHALL SEND them strong delusion, that they should BELIEVE A LIE: That they all might be damned WHO BELIEVED NOT THE TRUTH, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.’  (2 Thess. 2:10-12)

You cannot claim to love truth if you traffic in lies!

As a liar, you make a practice of overriding your ability to discern the truth from a lie.  As a liar, you come to love lies, because they tell you what you want to believe.  But the verses above show that you will have NO EXCUSE for being deceived, because God will only send the delusion to those who don’t love truth.

God is not mocked.  You love lies?  Then lies you shall have.  Those who sow lies, will reap destruction when they are ensnared in THE lie.

‘Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.  For without [are] dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and WHOSOEVER LOVETH AND MAKETH A LIE.’  (Revelation 22:14-15)

Just yesterday, I read a comment someone had made, suggesting that Ananias and Sapphira didn’t go to hell (their story is in Acts 5:1-11).  I didn’t give it another thought.  Today, as I was pondering something completely different, I believe God showed me the answer to that question.

Immediately after giving the children of Israel the Ten Commandments, the Lord called Moses up on Mount Sinai, to speak with Him.  While he was up on the mountain, the children of Israel made a golden calf and began to worship it.  God was so angry that He told Moses He would wipe them all out and begin again with him.

‘They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These [be] thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it [is] a stiffnecked people:  Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.’  (Exodus 32:8-10)

But Moses interceded for the people, and then he went down and did some purging.  First he destroyed the calf, ground it to powder, mixed it with water, and made the people drink it.  Then he took Aaron to task for what he had done.  After that, a lot of people died.

‘Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who [is] on the LORD’S side? [let him come] unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.

And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, [and] go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.

And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.’  (Exodus 32:26-28)

We have to understand, the people had JUST made a blood covenant with God . . .

‘And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. . . And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.   And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled [it] on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.’  (Exodus 24:3)

They had entered into The Covenant of their own free will.  Yet they broke the blood covenant they had sworn to uphold.  Surely after watching Moses destroy the golden calf, and being forced to drink the water that the powder was mixed with . . . and most likely hearing some choice words from Moses . . . they HAD to understand the gravity of what they had done.

And God gave them space to repent.  Before anyone was killed, Moses called on them to decide whether or not they were going to follow God.  This is where we see that very few had truly repented.  Very few chose to follow God.  The rest who had been involved were then put to death.

This was a very important lesson.  This was the first time, after receiving The Law and making The Covenant with God, that men had rebelled and broken The Covenant.  God HAD to demonstrate the seriousness of what they had done.  He was establishing a foundation for how the Israelites would view The Covenant.  Was it going to be a matter of utmost seriousness, or was God a pushover and the whole thing of little consequence?

Likewise, the rebellion and deception of Ananias and Sapphira was the first time that a ‘Christian’ had broken The NEW Covenant with God.  Again, God HAD to demonstrate the seriousness of what had been done, to establish a foundation for how Christians would view The New Covenant, that had been sealed with the blood of Christ.

Just as with the children of Israel in the wilderness, no one had twisted the arms of Ananias and Sapphira to get them to become Christians.  It was a covenant they entered into, based on their own free will.  Just as the children of Israel, Ananias and Sapphira were caught red-handed and confronted about their sin.  They were also given space to repent yet, like most of the children of Israel who had worshiped the golden calf, their hearts were hard and they didn’t repent.

At this point, it is important to understand that God still expects us to keep His Commandments.  If you believe the ‘easy grace gospel’, you’re not going to grasp the rest of this.  Ananias and Sapphira were Jews.  They had been raised with the Law of God.  They understood the Ten Commandments.  They knew that it was wrong to lie.  They knew that it violated the Commandments of God.

Ananias and Sapphira sinned.  Peter cut right to the heart of the matter, when he confronted them about their sin . . .

‘But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back [part] of the price of the land?   Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.’  (Acts 5:3-4)

As Peter explained, their sin was not that they had not given all the money from the sale of their land, as they had vowed . . . they had the right to change their minds.  Their sin was that they had lied, and not just lied, but lied to God!  This was a VERY serious matter–and the fact that it was going to set a precedent for The Church meant that it had to be dealt with correctly.

Surely, if everything were only about grace, this would have been the perfect time for Peter to give a little lecture about how we shouldn’t insult the Spirit of grace.  But that’s NOT how he dealt with it.  Knowing that they already knew God’s righteous commandments and what was expected of them, he dealt with them as people who had WILLFULLY sinned.  Peter confronted each of them separately.  Each of them had the opportunity to repent.  But neither of them did.  And then God struck them dead.

I believe what Paul wrote in Hebrews 10 was written with these precedent-setting events firmly in mind . . .

‘For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.  [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’  (Hebrews 10:26-31)

Ananias and Sapphira lied to God–wilfully, knowing that they were violating God’s Commandments–then they refused to confess, and died without ever repenting of their sins.  If God was merely going to take them home to heaven, what would have been the point?  It would have set the precedent that God rewards defiance, and the willful sin of those who claim to be His children–and that repentance is not necessary for salvation!

(Which IS the gospel that many are preaching today.)

But, of course, that isn’t true!

Until today, I really didn’t know whether or not Ananias and Sapphira went to hell.  But now, I am certain they did.

‘And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that [is] wisdom; and to depart from evil [is] understanding.’  (Job 28:28)

We need to remember that our lives here on Earth are just ‘boot camp’. We were not intended to make our home here on Earth yet. We can understand how important this one brief life on Earth is for those who don’t have a place set apart for them, an eternal home, in God’s kingdom. But for those of us who have that promise–we need to keep things in perspective!! We can’t let panic over losing this Earthly life cloud our judgment!

Jesus has promised us that we will be persecuted–and that in these last days, many will die for their faith in Christ and their obedience to His word. We must CHOOSE not to be afraid, because we have His promise that He will always be with us.

For those of you who are afraid for others, who feel an overwhelming responsibility to try to save those on Earth from their sins: IT’S NOT YOUR JOB!! I too have loved ones that are not walking with God–people I would give my life for! Often (and maybe especially so these days) it is best that we step aside and let God work in a person’s heart. We in America are so strong willed and independent, that most of us resist any attempts to control us. It may be, that the more we say, the more we drive people away from Christ!

Wow, those are really radical things to believe . . . Let me explain. Jesus gave us the ‘Great Commission’ of teaching the gospel and making disciples throughout the whole world. The way I see it, with regards to all I know about God and His Word, having been a Christian for almost 30 years–we are to present the gospel, live the gospel, and LEAVE THE CHOICE UP TO THEM!

Am I so callous that I don’t care if most of the world chooses to go to Hell? No, and I want to address that in a couple of ways. Let me start with the one that’s going to matter the most to you: my belief is that people do not burn in hell for all eternity. If I am wrong, may God have mercy on my soul. (This is something you should study for yourself.)

Without Jesus, people do not have eternal life. People without Jesus will be judged by their works and thrown into the Lake of Fire. The Lake of Fire is the end of the road. Nothing that goes into it comes back out. It burns forever. But man, being ‘made from dust’, is consumed by the fire, once, forever. Without Jesus, people do not have eternal life.

What about Revelation 14: 9-11, where the Bible says that the ‘smoke of their torment’ goes up forever and ever? Clearly, the smoke being visible forever is to serve as a remembrance to all who see it. We see, elsewhere in the Book of Revelation, that prayers–made in the physical realm–manifest as incense to be burned, before God, in the spiritual realm (creating smoke). I believe the smoke spoken of here is symbolic as well.

Although in the physical realm it may be necessary, it doesn’t necessarily follow that in the spirit realm the burning must continue forever and ever for the smoke to go up forever and ever. In fact, when Babylon falls, it is said that ‘the smoke from her goes up for ever and ever’. Babylon is a physical city on planet Earth, which we know cannot possible burn forever.

We see, later in Revelation, that the beast, the false prophet, and later the devil, are thrown into the lake of fire. We are told that they will be tormented forever and ever.

No mention is made of smoke. They do not have physical bodies that would create smoke if they were burned. Nor is it likely that they will be sending up any kind of prayers that would manifest as smoke. They are thoroughly corrupt and are not able to repent.

It also makes sense that they would be tormented ‘forever and ever’ because they are eternal beings. Even fire does not destroy them.

In the same passage in Revelation (14: 9-11), it says that if anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand:

1. He will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath
2. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb
3. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name

(This proclamation goes out near the end of The Tribulation, before the seventh ‘trumpet judgment’ has occurred–I believe that the ‘seven bowls of God’s wrath’ ARE the seventh trumpet judgment.)

The seven bowls of God’s wrath follow this proclamation, fulfilling #1.

The first bowl of God’s wrath, is that ugly and painful sores break out on the people who have the mark of the beast and worship his image. This likely fulfills #3, that there is no rest for those who worship the beast and/or receive the mark.

#2 is not fulfilled by any of the bowls. It could be that it is fulfilled by the final judgment, in the Lake of Fire, but I believe it is more likely fulfilled by the sixth trumpet judgment:

‘Four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was 200,000 . . . the heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur.’

One thing that is important to understand about the book of Revelation, is that things do not take place in the exact order in which they are told. There is a chronological order in the prophecy, but many of the visions serve as parenthetical statements–they go back to the beginning of a subject and get you caught up to where they were just spoken of in the prophecy.

This is much like watching a movie, when you see a subtitle ‘2 weeks earlier’, and then what follows is what happened 2 weeks earlier. (You may even follow it all the way up to the last event you saw in the main story.) Then you return to the main story and continue to go forward chronologically. Revelation does this repeatedly, as well as repeating certain events from different perspectives.

Back to the question, of whether I am so callous that I don’t care if most of the world chooses to go to Hell . . . stop and think about this: if someone hates God and what He represents–wouldn’t spending all eternity in Heaven, with God and Christians, be a hellish punishment for him?

Our character, likes and dislikes, are formed here on Earth. We will be fundamentally the same people in Heaven as we are here on Earth. This is why God works so diligently to form the proper character in us while we are here!

Our understanding of evangelism and eternal life has become really warped. We often, unintentionally, evangelize people by presenting the gospel as though God is desperately trying to meet His own needs by getting people to love and worship Him–or we try to blackmail them ‘into the kingdom’ by telling them they will suffer and burn in hell for all eternity if they don’t accept Jesus!

God wants people who CHOOSE to love Him and who value the qualities that He embodies! He is all about free choice. Understanding His respect of our free choice, can provide the answers to most of our questions about why He allows things to happen on Earth, rather than intervene. It seems to me, that He considers our free choice as something sacred!

There is a passage in Revelation (which means it is relevant for us today) that says:

‘Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.’

The way I understand it is like this:

Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.’

You aren’t going to change anybody. Present them the truth and let them decide. If they accept Jesus–make them a disciple! Otherwise . . . ‘Next!’ (move on).

Similarly, Jesus tells us

‘Do not give dogs what is sacred, do not throw your pearls to pigs.  If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.’

If someone is not interested in the gospel, shake the dust off your feet and move on, do not continue giving them more and more!  God’s Word and truth are priceless.  They are free to all who willingly receive them, but not to be wasted on those who don’t.

In I Corinthians 7 Paul says:

‘ . . . And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him . . . But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband?’

I know from experience, that when you are married to an unbeliever, there is no peace in your heart when you believe that your spouse is going to suffer great torment in hell for all eternity. Nor does constantly bringing up the subject promote peace–yet how can you not? But, according to Paul, if your unbelieving spouse wants to stay married, it is possible to live peaceably together. The only way that can be accomplished is by respecting their free will.

This bears witness to my statement that it is not your responsibility to save anyone from their sins, not even your spouse!

Also, notice a couple of things.

1. No command is made to the unbeliever. The unbeliever has not submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ, and therefore receives no commands from the Lord.
2. The respect of the unbeliever’s free choice is so important that it even trumps the marriage vows, in that they may choose to divorce a believing spouse if they wish.

That may not mean much these days, but consider that God hates divorce. His command is that believers not divorce. (Moses had made a concession for those whose spouse is unfaithful–but Jesus said it was a concession, because of the hardness of their hearts; He would rather they forgive.) That should underscore how much respect God has for the free will of unbelievers*. He makes the rules, but He doesn’t make the decisions.

We don’t get ‘brownie points’ for converting people!! Present the gospel, live the gospel, and leave the choice up to them!!

Remember, Jesus has promised us that we will be persecuted–and that in these last days, many will die for their faith in Christ and their obedience to His word. CHOOSE not to be afraid! You have His promise that He will always be with you!!

*(Believers: your free will is to be submitted to God’s will.)

It’s Time To ‘Shake The Dust Off’
God Wants Us To Go To War!!
The God Factor

Here’s The Deal . . .

The Deal is that man & woman (Adam & Eve) were created good, and pure.  They were allowed to live, protected, in a perfect environment & were given free will.

CENTRAL to God’s plan for people is their FREE WILL!

God set before them a choice-to have a relationship with Him, on His terms, or to follow their own desires. They chose the latter, thereby severing the relationship with God and choosing, ultimately, death.

But God loved them and knew the horrible fate to which they would be consigned-and all of their descendants as well.  I believe His heart was grieved for all of mankind that would follow, already sentenced to death and cut off from relationship with Him.  (Since Adam’s choice, all people are born with a ‘sin nature’ and each will ultimately commit sin him/herself.  Once a person knowingly sins, they are cut off from relationship with God.)

He had known, sadly, when He created them that this is the path they would take and so, when He created them He already had in mind a plan to bring about good for them, in spite of the choice they would make.  Although angry with Adam & Eve, He still loved them and His heart overflowed with forgiveness.

In order for mankind to be reconciled to Him, He would have to come to earth, live a sinless life in a human body of His own, and pay for the sins of all mankind by surrendering Himself to death and hell.

So, He chose a virgin and, by His Spirit, conceived a child within her. The Son, (part of God, who is a triune being–Father, Son and Holy Spirit) who had lived in Heaven, now came to earth in a body of flesh.  He lived a sinless life so that His death could pay the price for the sins of all mankind and so that they could be set free-if they choose.

He surrendered His body and spirit and paid the price for the sins of EVERY person that ever had lived, or ever would live.   He spent 3 days in the grave,  triumphed over Satan, and was resurrected.  He spent a short time on the earth with his disciples after His resurrection, and then ascended into heaven.

To be reconciled to God you

  • admit and repent of your sins (be sorry about them, confess them, and ask forgiveness for them, and make up your mind not to live that way anymore)
  • believe that Jesus  is God, that He came to earth, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and died to pay for your sins
  • be baptized in Jesus’ name
  • continue in obedience to His Commandments

It’s that simple.  You could compare it to someone buying you an all expenses paid vacation to the Bahamas.  But you won’t wake up on the beach unless you accept their gift, take the ticket, pack your bags and get on the plane.  Although the price has paid, you still have to make the choice and do your part.

When we repent, confess, and are baptized in Jesus’ name, we receive the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit leads us in righteousness, opens our understanding of the Bible, and empowers us to live right.  However, God never takes away our free will.  We still have to choose, daily, to do the right things.  We must resist the devil and choose not to sin.  (The longer we do this, the less difficult it will be.)  The Holy Spirit gives us the power to do so.

We must endure to the end to be saved.  For this reason it is vital that we pray often, and read the Bible to understand what God expects of us.  It is through the reading and study of the Bible that our minds are transformed and we grow spiritually.  Ask Him to connect you with other true Christians for friendship and spiritual support (compare their actions to Galatians 5:22-24 to see if they are TRUE Christians that will be a good example to you).  Be faithful to God.  CHOOSE to obey Him, and ‘say no’ to sin.  Without holiness, no one will see God.  Love God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself–and be sure to share the gospel message with others!

‘The Mark Of The Beast’: Characteristics

A ‘Sleeper’ Doctrine?