Through me; the way to the eternal city.
Through me; the way to eternal sadness.
Through me; the way to lost people.
Justice moved my supreme maker:
I was shaped by divine power,
By highest wisdom, and by primal love.
Before me, nothing was created
That is not eternal: and eternally I endure.
Abandon all hope, you that enter here.
The Divine Comedy
by Dante Alighieri
Inferno: canto 3, v.1-9
Life After Death Hell's Obituaries The Great Equalizer
Jonah, Dead or Alive Multiple Murders Animal Hell
New Testament Hell Hell At Funerals Hellian Vitality
Hell's Pop Clock Justice Absolute Indifference
Hell's Amenities Stuck With Hell Justice Overdone
Sudden Hell The God Of Hell Lorena Bobbitt, et al
Hell By Judas Goat Hell of The Dead Carnal Insanity
Screaming To Hell In Hell With Me Taking It With You
Death by Hell Deliberate Hell Heart To Heart
Overcrowding Peace Game Over
Scared Out Of Hell Hell's Genealogy Hell As A Parable
Hell By Default That Lonesome Valley The Wrath Of God
Memories Departures & Arrivals Reincarnation
Tales Beyond The Crypt Recriminations Roads To The Top
No More Secrets Hell By Choice Reconciliation's Limits
Feral Pigs And Wild Dogs Image And Likeness Of God A Tale Of Two Hells
Life After Death
There are basically two main camps of interpretation within Christianity concerning the afterlife. One holds the traditional view that human beings continue to exist after the death of their physical body. The second opinion promotes extinction: the complete cessation of existence.
The Watchtower Society has convinced its Jehovah's Witnesses that there is no conscious existence after people die. Some of their proofs are taken from the book of Ecclesiastes; and below are two of their favorite passages.
● Eccl 9:5 . . For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing
● Eccl 9:10 . .Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to sheol there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom
However, when consulting Ecclesiastes, it is well to take into consideration that Christ's wisdom overrules Solomon's.
● Matt 12:42 . .The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
It's remarkable the number of people who shamefully attempt to interpret and/or refute Christ's afterlife teachings by quoting Solomon when Solomon mused from the perspective of a man under the sun; while Christ spoke with authority from the perspective of a man from heaven.
● John 3:31 . . He who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.
● John 3:34-35 . . For he is sent by God. He speaks God's words; for God's Spirit is upon him without measure or limit.
Ecclesiastes not only opposes Christ; but its proof texts related to the afterlife are inadmissible; and the reason is very simple. Ecclesiastes isn't a book of divine revelation, but rather, a book of worldly philosophy; and though a holy man wrote Ecclesiastes, and was no doubt inspired to do so; he didn't record his observations from the perspective of an enlightened man who's privy to knowledge beyond the scope of empirical evidence— whose mind has been enlightened by divine revelation in order to see and understand the things that cannot be observed in the natural world. In other words: Solomon recorded his observations from the perspective of a man under the sun whose perception of reality is moderated by empirical evidence— what he can see going on around him in the physical universe rather than what he cannot see going on around him in the non-physical: and that's why Bible students find so much material in Ecclesiastes contrary to the doctrines of traditional Christianity.
Ecclesiastes is a wisdom book alright; but it's scarcely a book of supernatural wisdom. Ecclesiastes is chock full of worldly philosophy, and it's very pessimistic. You get the feeling that life is a futile exercise ended by a death that's hardly any different than a dog's; which would make people really no better off than one. In that respect, even a mangy hyena that's still alive is superior to the corpse of a majestic Lion king. To the worldly man, to the pragmatic agnostic man— a man like Ernest Hemingway for example —death ends it all; and for people like that, suicide is a sensible option.
Here's another of the Watch Tower Society's favorites; this time from an anonymous author.
● Ps 146:3-4 . . Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
The Hebrew word for "thoughts" is `eshtonah (esh-to-naw') which means: thinking. Unfortunately, Ps 146:4 is the only place in the entire Old Testament where `eshtonah appears so we can't compare its uses in other contexts. However, according to Webster's; "thinking" has quite a variety of meanings to choose from; including, but not limited to: concerns, anticipations, conceptions, opinions, imaginations, visualizations, ideas, epiphanies, plans, schemes, fantasies, arguments, deliberations, and the like.
Viz: in a moment whatever people having going through their minds in life instantly becomes totally insignificant when they pass on. Consider all those people who perished in the World Trade Center, in the Japan and Indonesia tsunamis, and the Haiti earthquake. None of them woke that day planning on their deaths. No, on the contrary; they had people to see, places to go, and things to do: but before the day ended; whatever was on their minds lost its importance: their priorities went right out the window and became no more significant than green cheese on the moon. All their plans, their dreams, their schedules, their schemes, their problems, their ambitions, their lusts, their appetites, and their aspirations went right down the tubes as they were suddenly confronted with a whole new reality to cope with.
Solomon isn't necessarily totally wrong just because his is a humanistic point of view, nor is he necessarily totally correct just because his views contain a kernel of truth. No, the danger is that Solomon's philosophy, like most all philosophy, contains just enough truth to make it misleading. Caveat Lector.
● Col 2:8 . . Beware lest anyone seduce you through philosophy
Philosophers are often skilled at sophistry; which is one of the very reasons why Jesus has gone out of his way to empower a number of his followers to see things according to God's way of thinking; and to pass that thinking on to Christ's sheep.
● Eph 4:11-15 . . He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ, until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in Christ, measuring up to the full stature of Christ. Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth.
People who insist that Solomon spoke with more authority about the afterlife than Christ fall into the category of clever liars who make untrue things sound true.
Jonah: Dead or Alive?
It's very easy to prove that Jonah was alive inside the fish at some point.
● Jon 2:1-2 . . Jonah prayed to Yhvh his God from the fish's belly.
But it's just as easy to prove he was dead at some point too.
● Jon 2:6 . . I went down to the moorings of the mountains; the earth with its bars closed behind me forever.
Mountains aren't moored in the bellies of fishes; rather: they're moored in the earth's crust; which is exactly why Jonah said the "earth" with its bars was closed behind him rather than the lips of a fish's mouth.
So; we have a man praying from two locations:
● Jon 2:1 . . Jonah prayed to Yhvh his God from the fish's belly.
● Jon 2:2 . . Out of the belly of sheol I cried
In other words: Jonah prayed from two bellies: the belly of a fish, and the belly of sheol. Since the record shows Jonah in only two places— and one of them is clearly the belly of a fish — then by default the belly of sheol is located in the vicinity of the moorings of the mountains; viz: the earth's crust.
But how is it possible for Jonah to be inside the fish while at the same time inside the earth? Well; the answer is pretty easy if we but simply allow that people exist beyond the demise of their organic bodies. In other words: while Jonah was dead; his corpse was interred in the fish; and his soul was interred in the netherworld.
According to Acts 2:25-31 Christ, while dead, was in two places at once too: in a grave, and in haides; which is the Greek equivalent of the belly of sheol; which, according to Mr. Jonah, is located in the vicinity of the moorings of the mountains. Within three days and nights Christ's soul was re-united with his corpse to become a whole man again; just as Jonah was.
● Matt 12:39-41 . . For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Christ wasn't buried in the heart of the earth. In point of fact, he wasn't even buried in the earth's soil. No, he was buried in a rock tomb on the surface of the earth. How then was he in the heart of the earth? Well; the same as Jonah. While Christ's corpse was interred in the rock, his soul was interred in the netherworld.
● Ps 16:10 . . For you will not leave my soul in sheol, nor allow your holy one to see corruption.
Certain Christian religions (e.g. Jehovah's Witness and Christadelphians; et al) insists that when a human being dies, it goes completely out of conscious existence. Their resurrection doctrine therefore is not a resurrection according to the traditional meaning of the word, but rather; a re-creation: which essentially implies that when Christ died on the cross, he ceased to exist; viz: for three days and three nights, there was no Christ— neither in this life nor in the next. So in order to "raise" Christ from the dead, it was necessary for God to create his previous existence back to existence. In other words: according to the beliefs of some religions; the current Christ is a second Christ; viz: a redux.
That belief of course assumes that Christ's soul died on the cross right along with his body; which of course it didn't because assassins can't kill souls.
● Matt 10:28 . . Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.
In other words: the soul doesn't perish along with the demise of one's body. Not that it's impossible; it's just that only God can pull off something like that.
● Matt 10:28 . . but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
But let's assume for a moment that one's soul does pass away along with the passing of one's body. Well; even if that were true it wouldn't apply to Christ because he has eternal life.
● John 5:26 . . As the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself.
What kind of life does the Father have in Himself? Answer: eternal life, of course; what else?
● 1John 1:2 . .The life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us.
The koine Greek word for "eternal" is aionios (ahee-o'-nee-os) which means: perpetual. In other words: eternal life is continuous; viz: without either interruption or intermission.
Eternal life is very interesting. The Father had no beginning, nor will He ever have an ending; viz: from the vanishing point in the past to the vanishing point in the future, the Father has always been and He will always be; ergo: eternal life is impervious to death.
So then, when Christ's body expired on the cross, he didn't go out of existence because eternal life cannot be terminated by the mere passing of a frail organism; otherwise eternal life wouldn't really be eternal; and God himself would be in constant peril of extinction.
According to Acts 2:25-32 Christ went to haides —the Greek equivalent of sheol; which, according to Mr. Jonah, is lo+cated in the vicinity of the moorings of the mountains; viz: the earth's crust; and within three days and nights Christ was re-united with his corpse to become a whole man again.
Some translations render sheol as the grave; a place to inter a corpse. But rendering sheol as "grave" is arbitrary rather than precise. The correct Hebrew word for grave is qibrah (kib-raw'), which means grave, burying place, and/or sepulcher (e.g. Gen 23:4). Qibrah is the equivalent of the New Testament Greek word mnemeion (mnay-mi'-on) which means: a remembrance, i.e. cenotaph (place of interment); viz: grave, sepulcher, tomb (e.g. Matt 27:60). So then, qibrah houses dead bodies, while sheol houses the souls of the people who at one time occupied those dead bodies.
Sheol is a controversial word. Not every version of the Bible translates it into an English word. Some just let it go as is and leave it to the reader to decide for themselves what they think it might mean. But one thing about the word sheol that has to be accepted is that it is not specifically a burning Hell; no, it is just a word indicating the netherworld in general.
● Mark 9:47-48 . . If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It is better to enter the kingdom of God half blind than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell; where the worm never dies and the fire never goes out.
Christ's caution and warning about the fire and worms didn't reveal anything new. He simply reiterated information that had already been released by an Old Testament prophet roughly 700 years before Jesus was born.
● Isa 66:22-24 . . From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me: says the Lord. And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.
The dead's remains, with their fire and worms, will apparently be open to the public sort of like the skeletons of prehistoric beasts on display in the La Brea Tar Pits museum in Los Angeles.
Q: The human body is organic. So then, how can it survive in eternal flame as perpetual nourishment for those worms?
A: The resurrection of the dead depicted at Rev 20:11-15 is a bit of a mystery in that the chemistry of their bodies isn't revealed. They won't be immortal, that much is for sure. But although the dead's bodies won't be impervious to death, they will apparently will be made of a fire resistant material of some kind in order to provide nourishment for the worms.
FYI: A worm that thrives in flame is pretty amazing, but not unreasonable. The 4-inch Pompeii worm lives in sea water temperatures of 176° Fahrenheit: hot enough to kill salmonella and sanitize an egg. So I guess if God could create a worm like the Pompeii, it shouldn't be too difficult for Him to create worms that like it even warmer.
Hell's Population Clock
I often receive criticism from professing Christians for discussing a depressing topic like eternal suffering at Christmas time. But those professing Christians seem to forget that afterlife suffering is an essential component of the New Testament's gospel, and the very reason why its Jesus came into the world to die.
The Bible's hell is not a place you want to be. If people in there could step on somebody right now to get out; I guarantee you a good number of them wouldn't hesitate to climb up out of there on the bodies of their own children. People up here on the surface just don't appreciate how bad it is down there or they would flock to Jesus for safety— bellowing, yelping, shouldering, shrieking, and stepping all over each other —like an insane crowd of holiday shoppers stampeding through the doors of Macy's when they open for business on Black Friday; they would trample everybody in their way just for a chance to grab Christ's garment and beg for mercy.
● Matt 16:18 . . I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Maybe the gates of hell won't prevail against Christ's church; but they'll certainly prevail against everybody else if the Bible's hell is for real, and the situation appears a lots worse than many of us ever dreamed. Let me show you what I mean.
An expert witness can be defined as: A witness, who by virtue of education, training, skill, or experience, is believed to have knowledge in a particular subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially (and legally) rely upon the witness's specialized (scientific, technical or other) opinion about an evidence or fact issue within the scope of their expertise, referred to as the "expert opinion" as an assistance to the fact-finder.
According to Christ's testimony as an expert witness in all matters pertaining to the afterlife; the majority haven't been making it to safety when they cross over to the other side.
● Luke 13:22-24 . . And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto him, master, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them: Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
● Matt 7:13-14 . . Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
● Matt 22:14 . . For many are called, but few are chosen.
Webster's defines "many" as consisting of, or amounting to, a large but indefinite number; while "few" is defined as consisting of, or amounting to, only a small number; viz: relative to many, few is the lesser. Bear with me while I flesh this out.
According to the US Census Bureau: as of Apr 12, 2012 @ 11:21 pm New York time, the resident population in the United States was approximately 313,353,038 with a death rate of approximately one every 13 seconds; which translates to an average of 6,646 American deaths of all ages, races, and genders during just one 24-hour calendar day.
According to 2009 US Census data; roughly 27.3% of America's daily deaths are under the age of 19, which would indicate that approximately 4,832 of the current daily death rate of 6,646 per 24 hours are adults. Giving the "many" the benefit of the doubt by setting their maximum percentage at 51%, would indicate a minimum of 2,464 American adults transferring to perdition every day: which translates to roughly 103 per hour.
That's a very conservative estimate as Christ didn't really specify exact percentages to represent the quantities of "few" and "many". But just think: by the time CBS completes its half-hour evening news report, a bare-bones minimum of 51 Americans become new arrivals.
Using the ratio of 2,464 condemned souls per 313,353,038 population: computing the number of condemned souls worldwide from a currently estimated global population of 7,006,673,612 people, would suggest something like 55,096 new arrivals in hell every 24 hours; which translates to 2,296 souls every sixty minutes on the clock.
That rate would fill the 51,800 seats of the new Yankee Stadium to capacity in roughly 22 hours and 33 minutes. In other words: if the world's condemned souls started filing into the stadium at 06:00 am this morning, then by 04:33 am tomorrow, the stadium would be full to capacity.
Christmas and New Year's are even worse. A study done of 26 years of death certificates shows that coronary fatalities are, on average, 11.9% higher on those days than any other days of the year; with non-heart deaths spiking to 12.2% higher; and believe me folks, the Bible's God makes no exceptions for those holidays; no, none at all.
If Christ is a credible witness; then it's apparent that souls never stop cascading into the dungeons of hell in an endless stream like the unbelievable millions of poultry broilers passing annually through a Tyson chicken-processing plant on their way to Wendy's, McDonalds, Carl's Junior, Jack in the Box, Burger King, In-n-Out Burger, KFC, A&W, Arby's, Dairy Queen, Taco Bell, et al; and to supermarkets and restaurants all over the USA and wherever else Tyson vends its meats.
Some have proposed that Matt 7:13-14 and Matt 22:14 apply only to the Jews of the first century; but a close examination of the language and syntax easily shows that those passages apply to everyone.
Matt 7:13-14 is embedded in the so-called Sermon On The Mount which begins at Matt 5:1 and ends at Matt 7:27 with these words:
● Matt 7:24-27 . .Therefore whoever who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But whoever who hears these words of mine and doesn't put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
I think it's quite rational to conclude that the pronoun "whoever" includes not just Jews, but also Gentiles; viz: everybody on earth regardless of age, race, gender, and/or ethnic identity.
Matt 22:14 concludes the so-called parable of the wedding feast.
The wedding was originally intended for the Jews, but due to their disinterest, was opened to the Gentiles.
● Matt 22:8-10 . .Then he said to his servants: The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anybody you find. So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
However, though every Gentile is invited to the wedding; only a relatively small portion of the Gentiles will be permitted to attend.
● Matt 22:11-14 . . But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. Friend; he asked, how did you get in here without wedding clothes? The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants: Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are invited, but few are chosen.
That evicted guest was wearing clothing of his own choice rather than clothing the King preferred. Can the wedding clothing be identified? Yes, quite easily. It's the righteousness of God as opposed to one's own righteousness.
● Rom 10:3 . . For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and busy establishing their own righteousness, haven't submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.
● Rom 3:21-25 . . But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which The Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe— there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God —and are adjudged innocent for free by His kindness and generosity through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God offered him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.
What that's saying is that though no man can duplicate God's degree of righteousness, He, through the cross, is at liberty to account a sinner just as righteous as Himself because Christ's crucifixion satisfies the justice due the sinner who believes in the cross as a 100% fail-safe, God-proof, commandments-proof, sin-proof, Devil-proof ransom from the wrath of God. (cf. John 3:14-18)
The Hell of Memories
● Luke 16:25-26 . . Abraham said to him: Son, remember
I should think that one of the negative aspects of hell is memory. How people down there retain their memories sans the brain cells they left behind with their corpse, I don't know; but they do, just as the rich man in that story is able to experience thirst sans a flesh and blood tongue.
The older one gets, the more memories they accumulate, and many of those memories haunt us with terrible regret. However, people in hell not only have to cope with their bad memories, but also the good ones too, and I should think it's remembering the good things they enjoyed in life that makes their situation only worse in the heat.
If everybody was born and raised in hell; and never once ventured out; that would be the only life they've ever known, so they wouldn't have a clue what it's like to really live. For them the old saw "Ignorance is bliss" would certainly hold true.
Tales Beyond The Crypt
Creeping up the blind side, shinning up the wall,
stealing through the dark of the night.
Climbing through a window, stepping to the floor
checking to the left and the right.
Picking up the pieces, putting them away;
something doesn't feel quite right.
Help me someone, let me out of here.
Then out of the dark was suddenly heard:
Welcome to the Home by the Sea
Coming out the woodwork, through the open door,
pushing from above and below.
Shadows with no substance, in the shape of men;
round and down and sideways they go.
Adrift without direction, eyes that hold despair
then as one they sigh and they moan:
Help us someone, let us out of here.
Living here so long undisturbed,
dreaming of the time we were free
so many years ago
before the time when we first heard:
Welcome to the Home by the Sea
Sit down . . Sit down
As we relive our lives in what we tell you
Images of sorrow, pictures of delight
things that go to make up a life.
Endless days of summer, longer nights of gloom
waiting for the morning light.
Scenes of unimportance, photos in a frame
things that go to make up a life.
Sit down . . Sit down
Cause you won't get away,
no with us you will stay
for the rest of your days.
So sit down as we relive our lives in what we tell you.
Let us relive our lives in what we tell you.
Home By The Sea
Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford
The lyrics of that song are so sad because it depicts how the only thing people have to do down in the netherworld to help pass the time is tell each other about their previous lives. There is, of course, nothing to tell about their lives in hades since the colloquialism "get a life" is a non sequitur in that place. Nobody has a life down there; nor any hope of getting one.
● Ecc 9:10 . . Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in sheol where you are going.
Hell's Collateral Damages
● Rev 21:3-4 . . Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
The tears, the death, the mourning, the crying, and the pain are related to the great white throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15, which will be a public spectacle. In other words, people will have to watch as friends, family, associates, and loved ones are literally pale with terror, lips trembling, mouths too dry to speak, shrieking, sobbing, screaming, weeping, yelping, and bellowing like wounded dogs as their eyes dart about in sheer white-knuckled panic, desperately looking for someone, anyone, to help them as powerful celestial beings drag them off to death akin to a foundry worker falling into a vat of molten iron.
Paul said the greatest of all gifts is love (1Cor 13:13). But let me tell you something: Love is inconvenient. Sensitive folk cannot sit through a scene like the one described above and not be moved by it. The effect will be so overwhelming that nothing less than the power of God will suffice to get them over it.
● Matt 13:42 . . there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
I was baptized an infant into the Roman Catholic Church; and was eventually enrolled in catechism where I completed First Holy Communion and Confirmation. Although catechism did a good job of instilling within me the reality of hell's eternal fires; it wasn't until I saw a painting by Gustave Doré depicting a scene from Dante Alighieri's Inferno that I realized the degree of despair gripping the minds and hearts of people in hell.
People down there know it's permanent; that's what makes hell so much worse than any other source of misery one can possibly imagine. If only they could see a light at the end of the tunnel; but that's just it: there is no end of the tunnel; it's like a Gerbil exercise wheel; within which the little rodents get nowhere.
They say hope springs eternal in the human heart. Well; not down there. No; down there hope is futile. The fires are bad enough; but it's the permanence of hell that I would imagine hurts the most.
I sometimes wish there were tour buses to hell so people could see what's in store for them down there; and not only the degree of suffering that people can expect in the next life, but also hell's impact upon the human mind.
People have been filtering into perdition not only since the time of Christ, but since before the Step Pyramid of Djoser, and even before the Flood. I won't speculate how many years that might be, but homo sapiens is thought by some to have achieved full behavioral modernity something like 50,000 years ago. Whether that extends clear on back to Adam and Eve I have no clue; but just think: if it does, then Cain and others from his era have been down in the netherworld all this time.
It's difficult for the human mind to appreciate 50,000 years. I've been on the Earth for just 70, and I've noticed that my childhood is so far in the past to me now as to seem more like a fantasy than a memory. But you know; when you're talking about eternity, 50,000 years isn't even a drop in the bucket. If it were a drop in the bucket, it would be a bucket with no bottom; which is roughly akin to the futility of a gnat attempting to drink up the Atlantic ocean. It would also be akin to Forrest Gump thinking he could fill a sieve with water faster by dipping it into a bucket instead of using the tap.
But just think: time stands still in hell: it's for the now; it's an existence. People who arrived there yesterday didn't begin doing time in jail like Lindsay Lohan expecting to get out some day; nor is perdition a temporary tour of duty like shipping out to Afghanistan. No, people in hell are in it as perpetual residents; they're in a rut.
They go year, after year, after year, after year, with no relief from the pain and discomfort: no vacations, no recreation, no reading materials, and no hobbies— there's absolutely nothing to do but reminisce and writhe in fire. The mental atrophy, and the boredom that must result from that kind of mindless existence is beyond estimation.
In life, everybody enjoys God's blessings; even the really bad people. We're all breathing fresh air, basking in sunshine, drinking cool water, savoring tasty foods, listening to birds chirp, star gazing at night, throwing snow balls at each other in winter, river rafting, fishing, snow skiing, tending gardens, pruning shrubs, greeting friends during the holidays, spending days with grandkids; and all that sort of thing. In the Bible's hell, there are no blessings of any kind at all: only perpetual sadness, vexation, despair, and want.
In hell's unruly society; it's reasonable to expect quarrels, bickering, hard feelings, vendettas, rivalry, selfishness, insensitivity, irritation, aggravation, and ugly words exchanged between people. Is there really any good reason to be courteous and/or respect your fellow man's human rights in the Bible's hell; or to be kind, forgiving, affable, genial, courteous, cordial, charitable, altruistic, tolerant, generous, and patient? I was once discussing the netherworld with a co-worker and he remarked: "Hell won't be so bad; I'll have plenty of friends down there". No he won't.
And the din: think of the volume of noise down there with all the wailing and sobbing, and the screams, shrieks, yelps, howls, and gnashing teeth. Conditions are really bad, and everyone is sad, blue, and lonely. After a few years of the conditions I'm describing, I should think most folks break, and go mad from the stress.
But just imagine bringing with you a craving for tobacco with none available. Or longing for a cocktail with no liquor in sight. A desire for music, with no way to produce it. A skill for writing, with no pen and paper. Yearning for a walk out in nature, with no world to do it in.
People in the Bible's hell will never again smell a sea breeze, sit in the shade of a tree, take deep breaths of mountain-fresh air, play at sports, hear a bird chirp, see a sunset, watch a lunar eclipse, jog in the park, strum a guitar, enjoy a Christmas dinner with loved ones; nor make little pigs of themselves gobbling barbecued spare ribs and corn on the 4th of July.
Sports and recreation are gone: no more World Series, no more Super Bowl, no more Olympics, no more Las Vegas, no more Indian casinos, no more lottery, no more Lego World, no more Sea World, no more NASCAR, no more golf, no more surfing, et al.
No baths, no showers, no sleep, no TV, no radio, no iPods, no computers, no Twitter, no texting, no FaceBook, no YouTube, no MySpace, no internet, no clean sheets, no breakfast, no lunch, and no dinner. No snacks, no gum, no candy, no flowers, no parks, no rivers, no snow, no seasons, no picnics, no malls, no fast food, no trades, no careers, no trendy fashions, no jewelry, no cosmetics, no concerts, no operas, and no hobbies; absolutely nothing of this world that brings people the pleasures and the satisfactions of just being alive.
No pets are allowed in the Bible's hell and no flowers or vegetation of any kind. The absence of birds, fish, and animals of course precludes the citizens of hell ever again spending a day at the zoo. The one advantage of the lack of pets and vegetation in hell is the absence of fleas, mosquitoes, and allergies. I suppose you could say that's at least one good thing about it. There's a bright side to everything I guess; even to that place.
Lightening, though sometimes expected, typically catches people by surprise anyway because it's so sudden.
Death often catches people like that. We all know we're going to eventually die some day, but we don't usually get up in the morning expecting that today is that day.
169,752 killed, and 127,294 listed as missing, in more than eleven countries by the tsunami of 2004, were taken by surprise, and given no warning it was to be their last day on earth.
The 2,829 people who perished in a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and the 189 who died in the Pentagon, didn't go in to work expecting their lives to end before lunch that day.
Tuesday, Jan 12, 2010, a 7.0 earthquake struck Port au Prince Haiti right out of the blue subsequently causing the loss of more than 200,000 lives. A similar act of nature on March 11, 2011, left 25,000 dead and/or missing in Japan.
Okeechobee woman Dawn Johnston, 38, was killed Wednesday June 30, 2010 after part of a portable toilet crashed through her car's windshield. Dawn was driving south on SR 15 shortly after 11 a.m. when two portable toilets fell from the trailer of a pickup truck traveling north. The portable toilets shattered when they hit the road, and a piece of one of them crashed through the woman's windshield, striking her. Johnston's car then veered off the road and collided with a tree.
A rain-saturated hillside above the Stillaguamish River on the outskirts of the rural town of Oso in the State of Washington gave way March 22, 2014 leaving behind a current death toll of 41 souls. The landslide happened to suddenly and so rapidly that nobody saw it coming and/or had the slightest chance of getting out of the way. Listed among the dead and missing was a four-month old infant.
Friday, September 25, 2015 my favorite nephew got up that day feeling a little under the weather. His roommate found him later that morning dead on the floor. My nephew never guessed that day's sunrise was the last he'd ever see. He was only 51.
Saturday, June 27, 2010, a 6-month-old baby girl was killed and her mother seriously injured when the pair were struck by a falling tree branch in New York City's Central Park Zoo. The girl's father was taking their picture near the sea lion exhibit when a branch above them suddenly snapped off and fell.
On Tuesday, July 3, 2007; nineteen year-old Ramiro Gonzalez was returning home to Nyssa Oregon from a week-end honeymoon in northern California with his bride Idalia asleep in the back seat when their 1997 Pontiac Grand Am hit a cow twenty miles east of Burns. The Pontiac went off the road, through a fence, and burst into flames. Idalia escaped with only minor injuries, but Ramiro died at the Ste. Charles Medical Center in Bend the very next day.
March 20, 2008; fifty-seven year old Judy Kay Zagorski, of Pigeon, Michigan, was sitting in the front seat of her father's boat going 25 knots on the Atlantic Ocean side of Vaca Key in Florida, when a Spotted Eagle Ray, with a wingspan of 5 to 6 feet; leaped up out of the water-- for who knows what reason --and collided with Zagorski, knocking her backwards onto the deck of the boat. She died from the impact. Judy's sister, standing next to her, was not injured.
On a November morning in 1998, Alan Pakula climbed into his Volvo station wagon and began the 100-mile drive from Manhattan to his Long Island house. The acclaimed movie director of Sophie's Choice, All The President's Men, and The Pelican Brief, had made that trip countless times with no incident.
As the 70 year-old Pakula neared exit 49 on the Long Island Expressway just before noon, the tires of a vehicle ahead of him flipped a 7-foot piece of steel rod into the air. Within seconds, the rod shot through Pakula's windshield, smashing into his forehead, killing him almost instantly.
Sudden death and freak incidents like those listed above can happen to anybody in the form of a stray bullet from a drive-by, an act of nature, gas explosion, choking on a piece of meat, electrocution, a drunk driver, a fall in the bath tub; bricks dropped from an overpass, or any number of out-of-the-blue surprises like the big truck that mowed down a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in France July 14, 2016
People need to start thinking about the afterlife now, while they have the chance; rather then risk being caught off guard by sudden death where there will be no time to think; and they find themselves suddenly thrust into the afterlife a lot sooner than they ever expected when a car accident, train wreck, plane crash, crime, heart attack, or stroke puts an abrupt end to every plan they ever made. And people who have neglected to work out their salvation as per Rome's interpretation of Php 2:12 abruptly come to the end of their opportunity.
● Luke 13:4-5 . . And what about the eighteen men who died when a tower of Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will likewise perish.
The koiné Greek word for "tower" in that passage is purgos (poor'-gos) which is an ambiguous word that can mean not only an isolated structure like a skyscraper; but also a special battlement which protrudes from the face of a castle's curtain wall-- consisting of crenellations, merlons, and machicolations --providing occupants a tactical advantage for observing and defending the curtain wall's exterior face. Sometimes though, purgos were simply architectural facades that made otherwise insipid stone walls aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
In the days prior to steel reinforcing bar and structural steel beams, purgos (which were often constructed of either stones or bricks or wood) weren't all that stable, and sometimes crumbled; thus detaching themselves from the curtain wall like an old swallow's nest; resulting in pieces raining down on whoever happened to be standing below. The tower depicted in Luke was possibly a decorative part of an architectural enclosure surrounding the pool of Siloam. (cf. John 9:7)
The people who were killed when that tower collapsed, weren't killed by the hand of God. No, they were just simply in the wrong place at the perfect time; viz: it was just dumb luck. It's like when people plan all month for a camping trip in the mountains. Upon arrival, they set up camp; and after lunch, walk a hiking trail. Just then, a tree limb, that's been silently growing in the forest for who knows how many years, suddenly decides to snap off and fall to earth right then; subsequently killing one of the campers just as they walk under it.
One minute earlier and it would have missed. One minute later and it would have missed. But no, the limb falls right on cue as if the forces of nature conspired to hold that tree limb in place till just the right moment; waiting for that one specific person to walk under it.
Christ preceded the statement recorded in Luke 13:4-5 with another like it.
● Luke 13:1-3 . .There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them: Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
The record doesn't explain why Pilate executed those men in particular; nor even where the executions took place. But just for brevity's sake, I'll assume for now that those particular men were known insurrectionists, and the executions took place on the grounds of the Temple compound in Jerusalem while the men were there to worship. In other words: the men were pounced upon in a place they would never suspect; and Pilate's soldiers sprung on the Galileans so suddenly and so efficiently that the men had no chance to either escape or to defend themselves.
I was taught in catechism that repentance always means sorrow and regret for one's sins; but I don't think that's what Christ was getting at.
The koiné Greek word for "repent" in Christ's statement is metanoeo (met-an-o-eh'-o) which means: to think differently; viz: to reconsider-- in other words: to change one's mind and/or change one's direction.
When death comes out of the blue-- sort of catching you with your pants down --it's at a time like that when your religion of choice, and the manner in which you practice it, had better be right because you'll have neither time nor opportunity to reconsider and switch to another.
● Ecc 9:10-12 . . For the time of mischance comes to all. And a man cannot even know his time. As fishes are enmeshed in a fatal net, and as birds are trapped in a snare, so men are caught at the time of calamity, when it comes upon them without warning.
BTW: An incident similar to Luke 13:4-5 happened on Friday, Feb 19, 2010 when a centuries-old Mosque minaret in Meknes Morocco collapsed and fell into a crowd of worshippers during prayer time, killing 41.
Hell by Judas Goat
Judas goats are trained for use in slaughterhouses and herd control. In stockyards, they lead sheep to slaughter; and are also used to lead other animals to specific pens and on to trucks. The term is a reference to the biblical traitor Judas Iscariot.
The phrase has also been used to describe goats utilized to locate feral goats targeted for eradication. They're usually outfitted with a transmitter, painted in red and then released. The goats then locate the remaining herds of feral goats, allowing hunters with tracking devices to find and exterminate them. The red paint marks the goat with the transmitter so the hunters know which one not to shoot.
You know what can be even worse than going to hell? Your own children following you there: and they trusted you.
Here's a sort of cute story I heard once. I don't know if it's true but I guess it sure is pertinent.
A thirsty farmer went out to his barn in the dead of night after a snowfall to sneak a pull from a hidden liquor bottle. Just as he got to the barn door he heard something behind him. Turning, the farmer recognized his little boy coming towards him. In amazement he asked the little guy how he ever managed to find his way out to the barn in the dark. His son replied: It was easy; I walked in your footsteps.
Can you just imagine the anguish that parents feel in the netherworld knowing their children walked in their ideological footsteps right down to hell? How do those parents cope with something like that on their conscience?
● Luke 16:27-29 . . Then he said: I beg you therefore, father [Abraham] that you would send [Lazarus] to my father's house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.
That poor man had no way to contact his surviving kin and let them know his whereabouts; but his biggest fear was that he knew them all well enough to know that all five were coming down where he was-- there was nothing he could do to prevent it. It was like the survivors of the Titanic watching their loved ones go to Davy Jones and helpless to do anything about it. (I'm speaking in the past tense because that man's kin have all joined him by now.)
For some families, the only thing they have to look forward to in the afterlife is a sad reunion in fire and despair.
Screaming to Hell
● Num 16:25-34 . . Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. He warned the assembly: Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins. So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents.
. . . And Moses said: By this you shall know that Yhvh hath sent me to do all things that you see, and that I have not forged them of my own head: If these men die the common death of men, and if they be visited with a plague, wherewith others also are wont to be visited, Yhvh did not send me. But if Yhvh do a new thing, and the earth opening her mouth swallow them down, and all things that belong to them, and they go down alive into the netherworld, you shall know that they have blasphemed Yhvh.
. . . And immediately as he had made an end of speaking, the earth broke asunder under their feet: and opening her mouth, devoured them with their tents and all their substance. And they went down alive into the netherworld, the ground closing upon them, and they perished from among the people. But all Israel, that was standing round about, fled at the shrieks of them that were perishing: saying: Lest perhaps the earth swallow us up also.
When that earth fissure closed over those families, the rumble it made signaled a terrifying finality. You just knew they weren't coming back. That horrific scene would have to rate high on the list of your worst nightmares. According to Num 16:27, the earth swallowed minor children alive too.
Bible passages like that one are very handy for setting people straight about the kindness and love of God. Scores of children drowned in the Flood, more children were incinerated in Sodom and Gomorrah, something like 120,000 minors would have perished in Nineveh had not the adults responded to Jonah's preaching; and vast numbers of children will die by the future calamities in the book of Revelation. I'm not saying children go to hell; nor that the children in Num 16:25-34 went to hell. All I'm saying is, the justice of God is not only thorough; but also thoroughly terrifying.
But someone will surely ask: Why did God kill the little ones pertaining to Korah, Dathan and Abiram? What did they do to deserve such a fate? Well; the sad fact of the matter is: they didn't do anything. It was just their dumb luck to be in the families of those blasphemers when God set about to exterminate not only the men; but also everything that pertained to them— homes, clothing, shoes, mementoes, furniture, foodstuffs, wives, toys, cribs, tools, dinnerware, sheets and blankets, and all their offspring. When God was done, there was nothing left. Those men were so cleanly wiped off the face of the earth that you couldn't even tell they had ever existed: they left nothing behind; not even posterity— same with the antediluvians and same with Sodom and Gomorrah: all gone.
God's brand of justice is very difficult for the human mind to comprehend; but that's no surprise considering that the human mind's sense of right and wrong is produced by a three-pound lump of flabby organic tissue housed within man's bony little skull; and not even all three of those pounds are devoted to cognitive processes. When you get right down to it: the average man is little more than human wildlife; just a beast— a creature with the heart and soul of a herd animal.
That's really tragic considering that in the beginning, man was manufactured in the image of God. But being in the image of God isn't the same as thinking like God. No; that's quite a bit different; and due to the forbidden tree incident; man now thinks like himself.
● Gen 3:22 . .Yhvh God said: The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.
In other words: man became his own god with his own sense of right and wrong; viz: man's three pound-lump of flabby organic tissue sufficing for a moral compass is his deity; making homo sapiens a rather unique idolater— he worships and serves the human brain.
A Tale Of Two Hells
There are two hells revealed in the New Testament— one is called haides (hah'-dace) e.g. Luke 16:23-24, and the other is called geena (gheh' en-nah) e.g. Luke 12:5.
Not everyone in haides is suffering because the word simply indicates the netherworld where everyone was sent prior to Christ's resurrection— both the good and the bad, the young and the old. Though Luke 16:23-24 describes haides as a place of conscious suffering in heat and dehydration; that's only half of haides. According to Luke 16:25, Luke 23:43, and Acts 2:29-32, the other half of haides is quite pleasant.
The fires of geena are somewhat worse than the fires of haides. Nobody is sentenced to die in the fires of haides whereas according to Mtt 10:28, people are sent to geena for the express purpose of executing both their bodies and their souls.
Geena likely corresponds to the reservoir of flaming sulfur (a.k.a. the second death) depicted at Rev 20:10-15. The vapors emitted by flaming sulfur are very toxic; so that the reservoir will suffice for both a gas chamber and a crematorium where the corpses of the dead will be preserved intact as perpetual nourishment for a curious species of fire-proof worm as per Isa 66:23-24 and Mark 9:47-48.
Matt 10:28 reveals another rather grim detail. The permanent hell is capable of destroying bodies and souls; however, its fire isn't formulated to destroy spirits. I know that's true because the Devil is a spirit, and according to Rev 20:10 he will suffer in the final hell; but not die there. What I'm saying is: though people's bodies and souls will die in the reservoir, they will continue to exist because humans consist of not just body and soul, but also spirit (1Ths 5:23, Heb 4:12). In point of fact, 1Pet 3:18-20 speaks of deceased antediluvians existing in the afterlife as spirits.
The final hell is the last word in criminal justice. But before people are sent there, they must first stand trial at the Great White Throne of Rev 20:11-15; and it is going to be a spectacle of horror beyond words.
In my opinion, it's a fool who would take their chances in court with the Bible's God. The process is very thorough; with no plea bargaining nor leniency for first time offenders; no mitigating circumstances; no time off for good behavior nor possibility of parole— the scales of justice have to balance: eye for eye, tooth for tooth, bone for bone, skin for skin, injustice for injustice, abuse for abuse, burning for burning, bruise for bruise, dollar for dollar, curse for curse, etc: even every thoughtless word that men speak will be weighed in the balances; not just their serious words.
● Matt 12:36-37 . .But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every idle word they have spoken. If you cannot be adjudged innocent by your words, then by your words you will be condemned.
The Bible sometimes labels justice as recompense; which Webster's defines as: an equivalent, or a return, for something done, suffered, or given; viz: compensation.
People will even be recompensed for all the things they did in private when they thought no one was looking.
● Heb 4:12-13 . .For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Every transgression will receive a fair and equitable amount of retribution.
●Heb 2:1-3 . .We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?
Let me give you a rough idea of just how bad it's really going to be.
Supposing the penalty for a lie is 5 lashes and the accused has 200 counts of lying against them. That means that each count will receive 5 lashes, adding up to 1,000 lashes for those 200 lies. But that's only the beginning.
Suppose the penalty for using God's name in profanity is 30 lashes, and that same offender's lifetime accumulation is 500 counts of blasphemy; which isn't an unreasonable number of counts for someone who lived to be sixty or seventy. They would be given 30 lashes for each of those 500 counts; adding up to 15,000 lashes on top of the 1,000 they already received for 200 lies.
But then supposing the penalty for defamation of character is 15 lashes and that same offender, over the years— via gossip, demeaning comments, arbitrary accusations, rumor mongering, kangaroo-court convictions, and thoughtless remarks —impugned innocent reputations a total of 85 times. They would receive 15 lashes for each count, adding up to a total of 1,275 lashes. So then, for just those three crimes alone, that one offender would be given a grand total of 17,275 lashes.
It gets worse. Offenders who knew at the time that what they were doing was wrong, will be punished much more severely than those who did so uninformed.
● Luke 12:47-48 . . And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.
In reality then, long life can be a curse rather than a blessing, and for some people, it would have been far better if they had died as a child than to face God as a senior citizen. By the time the condemned are carried out of the Bible God's courtroom to be discarded still alive into the reservoir of flaming liquid spoken of in Rev 20:11-15, they will look as though they were dragged through a field of concertina wire and then dropped into a cotton gin.
It's very likely then that many will not only have their flesh flayed open; but suffer a number of broken bones, paralysis, blindness, deafness, and loss of their capacity to speak intelligibly; because for some offenses, it takes way more than a whipping to set things right. Earthly justice demands eye for eye and tooth for tooth. Heaven only knows what Divine justice demands.
For example, lies generate repercussions, which will be taken into consideration during the punishment phase of the liar's trial; so that they will not only be punished for the act of telling lies, but also for the effects of those lies.
Same with defamation of character. One's reputation— their good name —once tarnished, effects their quality of life for years to come. That can't be ignored and swept under the rug.
And blaspheme too. Denigrating the Bible God's name in profanity has an influence upon those who hear it; perhaps even egging them on to take up the habit of blaspheme themselves when normally they wouldn't if left on their own. Many a parent is going to pay for teaching their own children how to cuss.
How Dark The Night Christ Passed Through
There were three hours of inky darkness during Christ's crucifixion. What do you suppose went on in there? Well; I'll tell you what went on. God brutally thrashed the stuffings out of His own son.
● Isa 52:14-15 . . there were many who were appalled at him— his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness —thus will he sprinkle many nations
The Romans whipped Christ to within an inch of his life, slapped him around, crowned him with thorns, and drove nails into his palms and his feet. But that was child's play compared to what God did. By the time those hours of darkness lifted; Christ's own mother would have trouble recognizing him.
● Luke 23:48 . .When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.
Yes, of course they beat their breasts; you know why? Because they were having trouble catching their breath. The extent of that man's injuries were so horrific that they could scarcely tell he was the same man.
My question is: If the Bible's God would do that to a child of His, think what He has in store for outsiders who poo-poo the importance of what took place there that day and mock His son and make remarks about him?
● Heb 10:29-30 . .Think how much more terrible the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God and have treated the blood of the covenant as if it were common and unholy. Such people have insulted and enraged the Holy Spirit who brings God's mercy to his people. For we know the one who said: I will take vengeance. I will repay those who deserve it.
Well . . their punishment isn't all that hard to guess is it? Fair's fair. At the very least, they will be beaten and bloodied beyond recognition, same as he was.
I have had people ask if the walker on water, the controller of weather, mender of paralysis and withered limbs, maker of wine from water; and raiser of the dead; felt any pain during his ordeal. Yes.
● Isa 53:10 . . It was Yhvh's will to crush him and cause him to suffer (some versions say: put him to grief)
I should think that the word "suffer" says it all.
● Acts 1:3 . . He showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs
The Greek word for "passion" is pascho (pas'-kho) which means: to experience a sensation or impression (usually painful)
The below is an impassioned plea heard from the cross.
● Matt 27:46 . . My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Here it is again; this time with some parts that were missing.
● Ps 22:1 . . My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
The Hebrew word for "roaring" is sheagah (sheh-aw-gaw') which means: a rumbling or moan.
In other words: people standing around the cross that day during those three hours of inky dark couldn't see anything, but they could sure hear: and what they heard were the dreadful cries of a man in extreme discomfort.
The ordeal that Christ endured on the cross was so brief that it looks like child's play in comparison to the misery of souls in hell. His suffering barely lasted six hours (cf. Mark 15:25, Matt 27:46-50) not even one whole day. People in hell go day, after day, after day, after day, after day, infinitum.
Q: But if Christ suffered only six hours, how can he possibly atone for people facing an eternity in Hell?
A: It wasn't his torture that atoned for humanity's sins; it was the loss of his life that did the trick. Christ didn't have to go to the flames himself in order to rescue people from flames; no, he only had to die in accordance with the law of sin and death.
● Rom 6:23 . .The wages of sin is death
Individual human lives are of such low value that the most that anybody could hope to die for is just one sin. In most cases; that leaves a pretty large balance to atone for. In contrast; the value of the life of God's son is such that his death can atone for an infinite number of everybody's sins.
● 1Pet 1:18-20 . . For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.
Peter called the blood of Christ two things: a ransom and precious, meaning it's like rare jewels and metals; very pricey. Nobody else's life is nearly as valuable as Christ's life. Peter would never call regular human life rare and pricey. Ordinary human lives are wholesale: they're cheap as the grass (Isa 40:6-7, 1Pet 1:24) just a dime a dozen and quite useless for redemption purposes. Christ's life is the only life God will accept for multiple sins: and the alternative is infinite punishment because no amount of limited punishment can ever equal the value of Christ's blood because not only is a life like Christ's rare, but his is the only one like it in existence. (cf. Rom 3:9-20, Heb 4:15, 1Pet 2:22, 1John 3:9)
Serial sinners are up a creek with no paddle because they have but two lives to forfeit for sin— the life they have now, and the one they'll have later at their resurrection; but unfortunately, one of those lives is ear-marked for Adam's sin so they can't use it to atone for any of their own sins.
And when they're resurrected to stand trial at the Great White Throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15; that'll be their last life because according to Dan 12:2 and John 5:28-29 there's only one resurrection allotted per person. And since the Bible's ratio is one life per one sin, then serial sinners will come up short and never have sufficient lives to atone for a lifetime's accumulation of sins.
The dungeons of hell can be compared to a debtor's prison.
● Matt 5:25-26 . .Come to terms quickly with your adversary before it is too late and you are dragged into court, handed over to an officer, and thrown in jail. I assure you that you won't be free again until you have paid the last penny.
The reason that hell is a debtor's prison is because the only payment for one's sins that God will accept is death. Well; it's death for each sin. So if somebody has say, 200 sins to answer for, they'll only be able to pay for one because according to Dan 12:2 & John 5:28-29 there is but one resurrection allotted per person; not 200.
If absolute justice could be satisfied with torture, then hell's inmates could look forward to a release date. But alas; such isn't to happen because the only "coinage" the Bible's God is in a position to accept in lieu of their own lives is His son's life.
Bottom line: Christ's crucifixion is the final option. Those who refuse to take advantage of it, will cross over to the other side in poverty; with literally no way in hell to pay their debts to God; thus they'll be stuck there.
Death by Hell
● Matt 10:28 . . Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Q: If somebody is already dead, then how can hell kill their body?
A: The current hell doesn't kill the human body because for now when people die, their bodies stay here rather than going there. But out ahead in the future; people in the current hell will be resurrected to face justice at the Great White Throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15. It is then when people's bodies will be terminated by yet another hell; and since there is but one resurrection allotted per person (Dan 12:2, John 5:28-29) then nobody is ever coming back from that hell.
OBJECTION: The final hell is depicted as a lake of fire (Rev 20:11-15). Sorry; but it's impossible to liquefy flame
RESPONSE: It's also impossible to inundate the entire planet with a global flood. However, according to Rev 20:10 and Rev 21:8, the lake consists of not only fire; but also a substance called brimstone; which Webster's defines as sulfur.
Sulfur melts at 232.36º F and boils at 832.28º F. If sulfur's temperature is maintained in that range; it could easily suffice for an impoundment consisting of both flame and liquid.
Q: What's to prevent the lake's fire from consuming the sulfur?
A: The presence of fire doesn't always indicate combustion; for example the flames in Moses' bush didn't need fuel to keep them going.
● Ex 3:1-3 . . Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of The Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought: I will go over and see this strange sight-- why the bush does not burn up.
Here's another example of fire that needs no fuel to keep it going.
● Gen 3:24 . . At the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
The feral man of Mark 5:1-13 and Luke 8:26-33 was possessed by a community of evil spirits who labeled themselves Legion. Webster's defines a legion as the principal unit of the Roman army comprising 3,000 to 6,000 foot soldiers with cavalry. The spirits that Christ exorcised from the man went out and possessed a herd of about 2,000 swine, so that's a pretty good example of how spirits take up no room in the physical world; nor do they crowd each other. All 3,000-6,000 of those spirits managed to fit inside the bodily cargo area of just that one man.
Just exactly how big demons are can't be known for certain. They could be no bigger than a moth; or even as large as the Jolly Green Giant-- but the point is, spirits take up no room in the physical world.
According to 1Pet 3:18-20, people are interred in hades as spirits; which tells me that hades need not be a void. To begin with: hades is a spirit world; and as such people can exist down there in solid rock because spirits don't need space, they just need a place.
Scared Out of Hell
Q: Do you not know it is the kindness of God that leads men to repentance rather than threats of justice? (Rom 2:4)
A: If the Bible's God weren't so kind, then He wouldn't bother with giving His creatures advance notice of the horror in store for them in the afterlife.
● Luke 12:4-5 . . And I say unto you my friends; Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear Him, which after He hath killed hath power to cast into Hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him.
Was Christ wrong to instill a fear of God within people's hearts? No; I think he was 110% justified. For example: when I was working as a professional welder for the US Army Corps of Engineers, we had weekly and monthly safety meetings wherein we were shown some grisly photographs of real life industrial accidents involving burns, chain saws, punctured eyes, explosions, falls, crane collapses, suffocation, crushing, and the like. Let me tell you something: those safety meetings got our attention, and really made a sharp distinction between the fool and the wise.
● Prv 22:3 . . A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
The kindness of God has given the world fair and adequate notice of what to expect in the afterlife. Those who don't care about it one way or the other would be well advised to use what time they have remaining to begin mentally preparing themselves for the worst when they cross over to the other side.
Hell By Default
I heard of a preacher who was asked by a member of his congregation what he would have to do in order to deserve going to hell. The preacher answered: Nothing at all; just bide your time and you'll get there because hell is the default.
COMMON OBJECTION : Well that seems hardly fair. I mean; what about people who've never heard of either the Ten Commandments nor the so-called gospel? Hell is their default too?
People who've never heard, nor heard of, the commandments or the gospel, will be judged in accordance with faithfulness to their own intuitive moral compass.
● Rom 2:12-16 . . All who sin apart from the Law will also perish apart from the Law, and all who sin under the Law will be judged by the Law. For it is not those who hear the Law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the Law who will be declared righteous.
. . . Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the Law, do by nature things required by the Law, they are a law unto themselves, even though they do not have the Law, since they show that the requirements of the Law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them, and sometimes excusing them.
In other words: it's actually hell-worthy to ignore the guidance of your own conscience, which is why hell is the default; because nobody, no matter how sincerely they wish to be, is ever 100% true to themselves. Sooner or later they will do something about which can be said they knew better.
QUESTION: How many times does somebody have to oppose their own conscience in order to deserve going to hell?
QUESTION: Why only once?
ANSWER: Because the wages of sin is death. (Rom 6:23)
QUESTION: So when I die; that will settle my obligations?
QUESTION: Why not?
ANSWER: It's just simple arithmetic. According to Rom 5:12, Rom 5:15, and Rom 5:17-18 everybody's first death is already ear-marked to atone for Adam's sin. So then, in order to satisfy justice for one of your own sins; it's necessary to die all over again; and for that you have a couple of options. You can choose to die on the cross with Christ; or choose to die on your own in the reservoir of liquefied flame depicted at Rev 20:11-15.
The only problem with the reservoir is that according to Dan 12:2, and John 5:28-29 there is but one resurrection allotted per person; which means that nobody is coming back from that reservoir because they will have used up their one allotted resurrection in order to face justice at the Great White Throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15. Instead, their bodies will become perpetual nourishment for a curious species of fire-proof worm; depicted at Isa 66:23-24 and Mark 9:47-48.
I highly recommend looking into the cross and finding out how to die on it with Christ; because if you choose that means of death instead of the reservoir, you'll get to come back with a clean bill of health, and in absolutely no danger of either the reservoir or those frightful worms. (Rom 6:6-11)
Hell By Choice
I often encounter rational people who have logically concluded that God has set the bar too high; that He's made it humanly impossible to attain the kingdom of God; so what's the point of even trying.
And there are others who have decided that as bad as hell might be, it would be even worse to squander this life in self denial and quite possibly end up going to hell anyway. Those people have decided that it's better to live a life of pleasure here and a life of no pleasure there, rather than run the risk of having no pleasure either place. I have to agree: that would be sad.
A third classification of folk are in a clash of wills with God. In other words: they are so determined not to give in to God's demands that they would rather be cremated alive than do so. In their minds: giving in means God wins; which for them is not only unacceptable; but thoroughly intolerable.
Those people are tough; just as tough as the anti-commie crowd who proudly announce: Better dead than Red, and/or the pro-gun people who defiantly announce: If you want my guns; you'll have to pry them loose from my cold, dead fingers.
I'm not saying it's bad to be anti-commie, nor bad to be pro-gun. I'm just using those people's attitude to illustrate the bitter impasse going on between God and those who would rather run wild in hell than be slaves in the kingdom.
Then there are people who have chosen hell over the kingdom of God because they'll be more at home in hell— they'll fit in; but in the kingdom they'd never fit in.
And like they say: birds of a feather flock together; viz: some prefer the company of certain kinds of rather unsavory folk; and people in the kingdom will be so heavenly minded that they'd be no fun at all.
In addition; people in hell are free to speak their minds, and use all the purple epithets, double entendres, colorful metaphors, thoughtless remarks, and F-bombs that they want; but in the kingdom, people have to be careful with their choice of words.
So you see; for some folk hell is the better choice; and were they to end up in the kingdom of God instead; I think they would actually be very disappointed.
You really have to kind of envy people who've made hell their choice rather than their luck. At least they know where they're going when they pass on and have mentally prepared themselves for the worst; but the approximately 1.2 billion Catholics currently working towards their salvation as per Rome's interpretation of Php 2:12 —and the approximately 8.2 million Jehovah's Witnesses doing the same— haven't a clue where they're headed. They're hoping for the best; while in the back of their minds dreading the worst because for people working towards their salvation, the kingdom of God is never a sure thing. In point of fact, the Roman catechism prohibits Catholics from taking the kingdom for granted.
Council of Trent Session 6, Chapter 16, Canon 16: If anyone says that he will for certain, with an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance even to the end, unless he shall have learned this by a special revelation, let him be anathema.
Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses who fail to adequately work towards their salvation will be cruelly heckled without mercy in hell by the very people that they at one time condemned as unfit to inherit the kingdom of God. The mockers will taunt and sing: "Yo believer! how about give us the gospel ay? Tell us about the glories of the kingdom of God." Awww-Haw-Haw-Haw Hawwww!
It's easy to assume that only really bad people are in hell. But according to Matt 7:23-27, John 3:3-8, John 3:14-20, John 3:36, and Rev 20:11-15, anybody can be there; both the good, the bad, and the not so bad— bikers, bakers, lawyers, welders, actors and actresses, housewives, bankers, heavy equipment operators, loggers, convicts, celebrities, homeless bums, clergy, prostitutes, drug lords, postmen, Presidents, Kings, statesmen, astronauts, school teachers, scientists, nurses, doctors, chemists, machinists, carpenters, waiters, hotel managers, cops, judges, nuns, priests, Popes, deacons, salesmen, Miss Americas, news anchors, weathermen, and birdwatchers, et al —people from every walk, every career, every religion, every culture, every language, every ethnic, every craft, and every status: they're all down there.
Because when you strip away their gender, their titles, their distinctions, their privileges, and their entitlements; and stand them before God naked; people are only flesh and blood creatures— naked apes, just human beings; and human beings are intrinsically sinful beings.
● Gen 8:21 . . Man's thoughts and actions are bent toward evil from childhood.
● Ps 58:3 . . Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.
● Eph 2:3 . .We were by nature objects of wrath.
OBJECTION : For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. (Col 1:19-20)
RESPONSE: Not all translations agree with the grammar of the NLT. For example; the NLT renders the tense of "reconciled" in verse 20 in the past tense; while the KJV, NKJV, NIV, ASV, NASV, Young's Literal, and the Catholic Bible don't.
According to the overwhelming majority of common translations, the sense is that Christ has been designated a reconciling agent; but that doesn't eo ipso indicate that everything will be.
OBJECTION : We trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe. (1Tim 4:10)
RESPONSE: God as the savior of all people won't eo ipiso result in all people being saved. All it's saying is that the Bible's God is mankind's only hope of rescue from His own wrath.
● John 4:22 . . Salvation is of the Jews.
● Acts 4:12 . . Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
OBJECTION: I believe that those who enter the lake of fire return after they are purged, cleansed and healed of their wickedness, evil desires and rebellion.
RESPONSE: With all due respect for that objection's personal convictions; the reservoir of liquefied flame depicted at Rev 20:11-15 is labeled the second death. So then, since there is but one resurrection allotted per person (Dan 12:2, John 5:28-29) then nobody is coming back from that reservoir because they will have used up their one resurrection in order to appear in court at the Great White Throne event; viz: the dead's incarceration in the reservoir will be permanent; and according to Isa 66:22-24, and Mark 9:47-48; their corpses will be preserved as perpetual nourishment for a rather curious species of fire-proof worm.
OBJECTION: Nobody is going to a hell. Christ promised in John 3:16 that he would save "the world"
RESPONSE: That objection is obviously referring to a Lord that is absolutely foreign to the Bible because according to the New Testament Jesus' testimony as an expert witness on matters pertaining to the afterlife, the majority of the human race has not been making it to safety.
● Matt 7:13-14 . . Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
● Matt 22:14 . . For many are invited, but few are chosen.
● Luke 13:22-24 . . And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto him, master, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them: Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
The apostle John was given a glimpse of the future, and in the glimpse he actually saw people whom he labeled as "the dead" being thrown alive into a reservoir of liquid flame.
● Rev 20:14-15 . .The lake of fire is the second death. Whoever's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Yes, The Bible's Jesus came into the world to rescue it from the wrath of God. But not everybody in the world is going to be rescued because according to the very passage my opponent quoted, their lack of belief will cause them to miss out. According to the Bible's Lord, only the people who accept Christ's message benefit from his crucifixion. The rest abide in a condition of death; and can only look forward to a day in court.
● John 5:24 . . I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
Within the context of John 3:14-18, anybody who has yet to fully depend upon Jesus' crucifixion to protect themselves from the wrath of God is an unbeliever; ergo: they're already condemned, no delay, and no waiting period.
● John 3:16-18 . . For God was so concerned for the world that He donated His one and only son, that whoever relies upon him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to rescue the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only son.
● John 3:36 . .Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him.
OBJECTION: Christ is compassionate and would never run an eternal torture mill for his lost sheep.
RESPONSE: Yes, that's true. Christ's sheep are perfectly safe.
● John 10:27-28 . . My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
However; only Christ's believing followers are accounted as his sheep.
● Eph 1:13 . . And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit
The rest of the world has its neck in a noose.
● John 3:18 . . He who believes in him is not condemned; but he who disbelieves is condemned already
OBJECTION: Christ's sheep aren't, as you say "perfectly safe", no; not when they can pluck themselves out of his hand.
RESPONSE: I should think that the words "any man" in John 10:28 would preclude that possibility. And anyway, an objection like the one above casts a vote of no-confidence in Christ's competence as a shepherd; and would indeed downgrade him from the status of a good shepherd to that of an ordinary shepherd and/or a pretty good shepherd, but not really a wholly good shepherd; one that the owner of the sheep can fully count on to keep safe and sound.
● John 17:6 . . I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me.
If there is one thing that all sheep need from a shepherd it's protection from their own stupidity. If Christ cannot protect his sheep from the destructive weaknesses of their own human nature, then he doesn't deserve to be put in charge of the sheep that his Father entrusted to his care. He needs to be fired and replaced by someone just a tad more dependable.
But in order for Christ's sheep to extract themselves from his care; they would first have to be strong enough to overpower their shepherd, and afterwards strong enough to overpower God; which is not likely to happen.
● John 10:28-30 . . No one shall snatch them out of my hand— my Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
Absolute justice requires that the scales balance.
● Ex 21:24-25 . . Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
● Lev 24:19-20 . . If anyone injures his neighbor, whatever he has done must be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. As he has injured the other, so he is to be injured.
I'm very curious as to how God is going to even the score with serial killers like Ted Bundy, the Zodiac killer, the Boston Strangler, Jack the Ripper, and highway prostitute Aileen Wuornos.
And then there's cold-blooded mass murderers like the ones who flew airliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and others who kill volumes of people at random with suicide bombs and whatnot; and also the instigators of political purging and genocide.
Those people have to pay; but I can only guess as to how God might go about that. I mean, giving somebody consecutive life sentences in hell would be a joke since they're not coming out of there anyway regardless of their crimes. Capital punishment? Well how might God go about executing those people for each of their murders when according to Dan 12:2, and John 5:29 there is but one resurrection allotted per person?
There's a sector in hell called tartaros (2Pet 2:4) which is defined as the deepest abyss of hades. But hades isn't the final hell. In point of fact hades and its prisoners are scheduled to be transferred to the reservoir of liquefied flame depicted at Rev 20:10-15. So tartaros won't do for the kind of justice we're talking about.
Although there is but one resurrection allotted per person, there is apparently no limit to the number of resuscitations that people might undergo. Take for example the people that Christ restored to life, including his friend Lazarus. Technically, those incidents weren't resurrections because according to 1Cor 15:23 and Col 1:18; Christ's resurrection was the first to take place.
So then, a possible scenario, and one that appeals to my sense of justice, is that serial killers and mass murderers will be raised from the dead at "the resurrection" and forced to undergo a cycle of deaths and resuscitations as many times as it takes to even the score. And since the law of God requires that they be terminated in the very same manner as they terminated their victims; the day in court for mass murderers and serial killers will quite possibly be a very grisly scene to behold; and noisy too with all their shrieks, and screams, and weeping, and yelping, and bellowing like wounded dogs.
Hell at Funerals
I know of the Protestant pastor who was asked by Audie Murphy's widow Pamela to speak at her husband's funeral. Audie Murphy, as you may already know, was a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason and a Shriner; but he wasn't a Christian.
In amazement, the pastor asked Mrs. Murphy why she chose a Christian to speak at her husband's funeral. Though Audie himself wasn't a Christian, his widow was; and she explained that the Hollywood crowd would be there the day of his funeral, and having hob-nobbed with them during her husband's acting career, she was fully aware that many of them rarely listened to something on the afterlife related to Jesus' crucifixion. Well . . that day they did, and were very annoyed because they were expecting the usual sappy, feel-good platitudes to which pampered celebrities are accustomed.
Some may feel that hell isn't an appropriate topic at a funeral. But I think that, other than Xmas and Easter, you couldn't pick a better time to bring it up, especially since Christ said that the majority is headed in that direction. (Matt 7:13-14, Matt 22:14, Luke 13:22-24)
According to the Bible; not many great people are called. If that's true, then we have to expect that the majority of the world's best and brightest achievers— the really big names in finance, sports, science, law, medicine, politics, technology, business, industry, religion, exploration, entertainment, and education, etc —don't, and won't, make it to safety when they pass on. (1Cor 1:26)
As I watched some of the splendor and pomp of President Gerald Ford's funeral back in January of 2007, I couldn't help but wonder if he was in a position to really appreciate it; as I suspect people in Hell would certainly no longer really care anymore whether they were given an unknown pauper's disposal in a City incinerator, or reverently placed in a grand tomb in the National Cemetery with world-wide television coverage.
● Ecc 7:2 . . It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of gaiety, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this seriously.
Stuck With Hell
QUESTION : Why was Jesus' crucifixion a must? Surely the Bible's God is powerful enough that He could just pardon everyone instead of putting His son through all that grief and/or locking people away in a useless penal colony.
It's a little more complicated than that. For one thing, a pardoned sinner is still a sinner and he'll go right on sinning same as before he was pardoned because it's intrinsic within human nature to be bad.
● Gen 6:5 . .Yhvh saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
● Gen 8:21 . . Man's thoughts and actions are bent toward evil from childhood.
● Jer 13:23 . . Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.
● Eph 2:3 . .We were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
So then; before people can be allowed in heaven, they must first undergo an operation to amputate their human nature. One is available but it's performed supernaturally rather than by human hands.
● Col 2:11-12 . . In Christ you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
That circumcision wouldn't be possible were it not for Christ's crucifixion. So I guess you probably kind of know where that leaves unbelievers; right? Yes; stuck with their human nature; and consequently barred from ever visiting heaven.
COMMON COMPLAINT: I do not see the justice in infinite punishment for finite mistakes.
The first thing that most of us think of when we hear the word "hell" is everlasting torture. But the reservoir of burning sulfur depicted at Rev 20:11-15 is actually not so much a rack as it is a gallows. The reservoir is primarily depicted as an instrument for carrying out death sentences rather than life sentences.
A death sentence— although a sentence with lasting effects —isn't perpetual; it's momentary. In other words; criminals are subjected to execution only long enough to end their lives. The primary reason we call the second death "eternal" is because it's permanent; viz: according to Dan 12:2 and John 5:28-29 there's only one resurrection allotted per person. Therefore nobody is coming back from the second death because they will have used up their one resurrection in order to face justice at the Great White throne event.
According to Luke 16;19-31, there are people imprisoned in a tortuous hell for now, but it's only temporary. According to Rev 20:14, their prison is scheduled to be destroyed in the reservoir too; so that hell as we know it today; won't exist anymore after the conclusion of the Great White Throne event.
According to Matt 10:28, not only people's bodies will be destroyed in the reservoir, but also their souls; which leaves the third element of their existence to consider seeing as how human life consists of body, soul, and spirit (1Ths 5:23, Heb 4:12). The Bible is vague in regards to the fate of human spirits. However; it's logical to assume they will continue to exist in the reservoir along with the Devil and his minions as per Matt 25:41 and Rev 20:10; and of course the question is: How is that fair?
Well; one of the problems associated with that question is the human mind's limitations. It's sense of justice is a product of the 3-pound lump of flabby organic tissue housed in a bony little skull; and not even all three of those pounds are utilized for cognitive processes. In that respect, the human mind has no more sense of justice in comparison to God's sense of justice than the wisdom of Solomon compared to the natural instincts of a wild bunny rabbit.
The source of a law is what gives it a measure of dignity. Take for instance a group of boys who build a tree house for a boys' club. They elect officers from among themselves, and draw up a charter of rules that members of the club have to observe in order to remain in good standing as honorable club members. Would their charter stand up in an adult court of law? No, of course not. Their charter would merit very little respect in the adult world because the source of their rules was just a posse of kids.
The principle of "source" can be extended out into the world of municipal law, state law, and federal law. At each level, the law's dignity increases, and breaking it at each succeeding level becomes that much more serious. Heaven's law is the ultimate charter; and it's rules, regulations, statutes, directives, precedents, and mandates demand far more respect than a tree house, or a municipality, or a state, or a federal government because the source of heaven's law is Almighty God— the creator of heaven and earth —whose dignity far exceeds that of His creations, and that's why it's so serious to go against Him.
In reality then, hell vindicates God's dignity. You see, it's one thing to be hauled before a judge for spitting on John Q. Citizen's car; but it's quite another to be hauled before a judge for spitting on the judge's car.
Seen from that angle; hell isn't retribution enough for people who defy God because there just isn't any other way for them to personally make amends for their contempt except by paying for it forever since the degree of God's dignity is off the scale, and far beyond the limits of time and distance. The only substitute God will accept in lieu of eternal suffering is the life's blood of Christ (1Pet 1:18-19). People who reject that as a means of atoning for their "mistakes" simply have no alternative but the unthinkable.
COMMON ATTITUDE: I'm special; God understands me and He knows I'm only human. Although God probably may not let others off; I'm sure He will make an exception for me because I'm not like other people; I'm different.
RESPONSE: Unfortunately, the Bible's God can't do that. If He were to make exceptions, God would be neither equitable, nor honest— and worse, it would go against His grain, compromise His integrity, sin against His conscience; and cause Him to lose the world's respect. No, God doesn't grade on a curve: everyone is treated equally in God's courtroom. In a system of divine absolutes; there is neither a curve nor an exception: nobody gets any favors, and nobody is special.
● Deut 10:17 . . Yhvh shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.
● Acts 10:34 . .Then Peter began to speak: I now realize how true it is that God is impartial.
● Rom 2:5-11 . . For there is coming a day of judgment when God, the just judge of all the world, will judge all people according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who persist in doing what is good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth; and practice evil deeds.
. . .There will be anguish and calamity for everyone who practices evil— for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all practice good —for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.
NOTE: The reason it says "for the Jew first" is because of their privileged position.
● Amos 3:1-2 . . Hearken to this word which the Lord spoke about you, O children of Israel, about the entire family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying: Only you did I love above all the families of the earth; therefore, I will visit upon you all your iniquities.
The God of Hell
One of the lines in the version of the Apostles' Creed that I was taught in catechism when I was a young lad said that Christ descended into hell.
But according to Acts 2:24-32 he actually went to haides (a.k.a. hades) which is an ambiguous koiné Greek word for the netherworld— an afterlife sphere where everybody goes when they pass on; both the good and the bad and the young and the old. Although haides can imply fiery suffering in the afterlife (e.g. Luke 16:23) the specific koiné word for fiery suffering is geena (gheh'-en-nah) for example Matt 5:22, Matt 5:29-30, Matt 23:15, Matt 23:33, and Luke 12:5.
The afterlife location to which Christ departed was actually a pleasant situation rather than an incinerator.
● Luke 23:39-43 . . One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed: So you're the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself— and us, too, while you're at it! But the other criminal protested: Aren't you afraid of God? not even when you're dying? We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn't done anything wrong. Then he said: Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom. And Jesus replied: I assure you; today you will be with me in paradise.
The koiné Greek word for "paradise" is paradeisos (par-ad'-i-sos) which means: a park; which Webster's defines as: 1) a tract of land that often includes lawns, woodland, and pasture attached to a country house and is used as a game preserve and for recreation, and/or 2) a piece of ground in or near a city or town kept for ornament and recreation, and/or 3) an area maintained in its natural state as a public property.
FAQ : Doesn't Isa 33:10-18 teach that even the righteous are in Hell?
● Isa 33:14-17 . .The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: "Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?"
. . . He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil— this is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him. Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar.
The "consuming fire" and the "everlasting burning" in that passage don't refer to Hell, but rather, they describe an aspect of the personal presence of God; and nowhere is that more graphically depicted than Ezk 1:1-28 (cf. Ex 19:16-18, 1Cor 3:13-15, Heb 12:29, and Jude 1:7).
FAQ : Doesn't Rom 8:38-39 indicate that God never really abandons anybody?
Within the context of the 8th of Romans, the pronoun "us" is restricted to the author and an exclusive category of Christians described as "in Christ".
The "in Christ" category is very privileged in that it has immunity from prosecution.
● Rom 8:1 . . There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
Getting one's self into Christ is not as simple as taking up a hobby or a career or a religious philosophy like for instance so and so is into skate boarding, or so and so is into glass blowing, or so and so is into Buddhism, or so and so is in the stock market. No, it's different than that; but if you can understand what it means to be in Adam, then you've got a pretty good start on what it means to be in Christ.
What we're looking at here are two distinct human races: a natural race and a supernatural race. Natural birth brings people into the world in Adam's race; so in order to get into Christ's race, it's necessary to undergo another birth— this time born of heaven instead of born of the earth because there is nothing to be gained by being born of the earth all over again.
The birth I'm talking about here isn't optional; no, it's a must if one is to have any hope at all of making it to safety when they cross over to the other side.
● John 3:3 . . I tell you the truth; no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
● John 3:7 . . You should not be puzzled at my saying you must be born again.
Hell Of The Dead
The human race is divided into two distinctly different categories: the Living, and the Dead (Acts 10:42, 2Tim 4:1, 1Pet 4:5) and their respective judgments take place at two distinctly different times and locations. Below is a description of the Dead's judgment; and I should point out that what you are about to read is not a prediction. No, John actually saw this horrific event with his own eyes; like viewing a live video feed from the future.
● Rev 20:11-15 . . And I saw a Great White Throne, and I saw the one who was sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the Dead, both great and small, standing before God's throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the Dead were judged according to the things written in the books, according to what they had done.
. . .The sea gave up the Dead in it, and death and the netherworld gave up the Dead in them. They were all judged according to their deeds. And death and the netherworld were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death— the lake of fire. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the reservoir of flaming liquid.
The Dead are mentioned four times in that scene; the Living aren't mentioned at all. The reason is; the Living won't stand trial at the Great White Throne because their judgment takes place on Calvary.
● Rom 6:3 . . Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
● Rom 6:6 . . Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him
● Gal 2:20 . . I am crucified with Christ
● Col 3:1-4 . . For you died when Christ died
The Living have the distinction of being the only people on earth who are in the right-now possession of eternal life and will never again be in danger of the Great White Throne.
● John 5:24 . . I assure you, those who listen to my message and trust in God who sent me, have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from Death into Life.
So then: it goes without saying that the book of life of Rev 20:15 is a registry of the Living; while those whose names are not in the book of life are the Dead. Ergo: no one who stands trial at the Great White Throne goes to Heaven; no, not even one.
Two distinctly separate Greek words are used regarding the Dead in Rev 20:11-15. One is nekros (nek-ros'); which can either refer to a corpse, and/or to something that is intrinsically dead; e.g. a burned out light bulb or a withered tree. The other is thanatos (than'-at-os); which means death as a noun adjective.
The words nekros and thanatos are used in interesting combinations. John saw the sea give up its dead, and death and the netherworld give up their dead. In this event, I think it's safe to assume "sea" is not the ocean, but rather, represents the masses of non deceased humanity who are still alive when the Throne is set, and "death and the netherworld" refer to the people who are deceased at the time the Throne is set. Curiously, both the deceased and the non deceased are classified as "dead" and that's because neither group has eternal life; no, they have only human life; which is a kind of life subject to mortality— it's neither impervious to death, nor perpetually vigorous like the life of God.
FAQ: Since people are to exist in hell forever, does that mean they have eternal life?
ANSWER: No; people in hell exist there with human life. If they had eternal life; they wouldn't be in hell.
● John 5:24 . . I assure you, those who heed my message, and believe in God who sent me, have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already transferred from death into life.
FAQ: Well then if eternal life has little or nothing to do with the duration of one's existence; then what is it?
ANSWER: It's a nature.
In other words: all forms of life think, feel, and behave according to the ways of their respective species because they have the nature of that particular species. For example; fruit bats think, feel, and behave like fruit bats because they have the nature of a fruit bat. Hyenas think, feel, and behave like hyenas because they have the nature of a hyena. Humans think, feel, and behave like humans because they have human nature, and God thinks, feels, and behaves like God because He has divine nature. So then, just as humans quite naturally think, feel, and behave like humans, so God quite naturally thinks, feels, and behaves like God.
What it boils down to is: people with the potential to quite naturally think, feel, and behave like God belong in heaven; not in hell. People in hell can only be themselves; while people with eternal life can only be like God.
● 1John 3:9 . .Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
● 1John 5:18 . .We know that no one who is born of God sins
To Hell With Your Me
As if hell isn't bad enough, people are in it as their selves; viz: they are never going to be free from their own personalities— their phobias, their hang-ups, their inner conflicts, their memories, their anger, their hostility, their rivalries, their prejudice, their bias, their angst, their gender issues, their resentments, their regrets, their disappointments, their bitterness, their animosity, their passions, and their appetites.
Hell is even more of a hell than you might think because, having missed out on the regeneration about which Christ spoke at John 3:3-8, people take who they are right along with them down there. Thus; suicide is not a good way to relieve depression. Depressed people and/or despondent people, take that low state of mind right along with them to the other side; and their sorrow will be even more intensified in fire when they realize that as bad as things were up here on the surface, their situation up here wasn't nearly as bad as their situation down below.
You can escape poor health via death, you can escape credit card debt, you can escape an abusive spouse, you can escape taxes, you can escape a physical handicap, you can escape pimples, you can escape a ruined reputation, you can escape a blighted life, you can escape a bully, you can escape despots and tyrants, you can escape a life of neither promise nor future, you can escape prison, you can escape grinding poverty, and you can escape the Mafioso; but you cannot escape you.
● Heb 10:26-28 . . If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
If you know the Bible, then you're aware that lies are sins. Yet you continue to lie; don't you? Every time you lie, you commit a deliberate sin because you know full well that lies are sins.
You've probably been taught that sexual fantasies are sins. Yet you continue to have them don't you? Every time you indulge in a sexual fantasy, you commit a deliberate sin because you were taught that sexual fantasies are acts of mental immorality.
If you know the Bible, then you know from Matt 12:36 that thoughtless remarks are sin, yet you continue to make thoughtless remarks.
How about traffic laws? When you deliberately speed, fail to come to a complete stop at stop signs, run red lights, pass illegally, and/or J-walk; you are committing deliberate sins because you know from Rom 13:1-7, and 1Pet 2:13-15 it is a sin to break traffic laws; yet you continue to break those laws anyway.
Therefore, performance-oriented Christians who believe there is no acquittal of any kind available for deliberate sins; are going to hell. They have to go there because it is their belief that there is no acquittal for deliberate sinners.
But I am willing to bet money that none of them who believe that way really and truly worry about going to hell. I would like to ask them: Where's your panic? Where's your terror? Where's your anxiety? No, they don't believe their own beliefs; because if they did, they would feel terror, anxiety, worry, and panic; because hell is something to be feared; and it is feared by everybody who truly believes in it.
● Luke 12:4-5 . . Dear friends, don't be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill the body; they cannot do any more to you. But I'll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill people and then throw them into hell.
If the beliefs of performance-oriented Christians were true— that there is no acquittal available for intentional sins under either the old or the new covenant —then let me ask them another question: just what advantage (if any) does your version of Christianity have over Judaism, and what advantage would the new covenant have over the old one if neither Christianity nor Judaism offered an acquittal for intentional sins? There would be no advantage whatsoever; and the Gospel wouldn't be good news, but rather, it would be old news— in point of fact, Christianity would be so redundant as to not even be worth the bother.
If, as some interpret Heb 10:26-28, there is no acquittal of any kind available for deliberate sin, then David, one of the holiest men in the Bible, should have gone to hell because he committed adultery and premeditated murder, knowing full well that both of those acts are sins, and knowing full well that the covenant that Yhvh's people agreed upon with God as per Deut 29:9-15 mandates the death penalty for both offenses (Ex 21:12-14, Lev 20:10) and also provides no absolution whatsoever for scofflaws. (Num 15:30-31)
Performance-oriented Christians believe in a version of Christianity that nobody can possibly live up to, not even they, because there is not a day goes by that even performance-oriented Christians themselves commit at least one act, think at least one thought, or speak at least one word, that they know in advance is wrong, yet go ahead anyway. I suspect that a fair number of them are fully aware they have no hope of success; and have given up and resigned themselves to hell and eternal suffering because it's just too difficult to qualify for the other place.
Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous
According to Jude 1:7, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the towns in their vicinity, gave themselves over to fornication and went after strange flesh.
The word for "fornication" in that reference is ekporneuo (ek-porn-yoo'-o) which means: to be utterly unchaste.
The word for "strange" is heteros (het'-er-os) which is usually translated other and/or another. Within context, heteros doesn't mean the opposite sex as in heterosexual. That would relate to the same flesh rather than other flesh. I think what Jude is actually talking about is bestiality.
Speaking of chastity: back in the decade of the 1950's, my sister, while in high school, got herself knocked-up out of wedlock. So our parents whisked her off to an out-of-state aunt until her baby was born; after which she gave it up for adoption. You see, in those days pre-marital conception was a disgrace; but nowadays celebrities go on talk shows to boast about their illegitimate children; even babies conceived with other people before their divorces are final; which is a double whammy of adultery and shame; but audiences applaud and cheer as if those celebrities' lifestyles are perfectly normal; when in reality God regards them as perverse, sick, and condemned to hell.
● 2Pet 2:6 . . He turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes— condemned them to destruction —making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly.
Peace is actually one of the negative aspects of heaven. Things like discord, hatred, factions, cliques, mistrust, prejudice, bias, caste systems, double standards, partiality, favoritism, deceit, surmising, dishonesty, gossip, slander, sarcasm, cynicism, ridicule, envy, rivalry, resentment, avarice, greed, gossip, character assassination, kangaroo courts, complaining, tattling, meddling, confrontations, activism, quarrels, assertiveness, chafing, trickery, grudging, stonewalling, bitterness, silent treatments,
. . . revenge, stubbornness, cold shouldering, snobbery, egotism, dominance, demeaning comments, insults, rebellion, arrogance, attitudes, subterfuge, treachery, betrayal, suspicion, conceit, vanity, superiority complexes, depression, melancholy, panic attacks, bi-polar disorders, antisocial behaviors, sociopaths, crime, war, despotism, oppression, injustice, human rights abuses, character assassination, etc, etc, et al and ad nausea don't exist there. That could be a problem for people who thrive in a society where those things are the norm.
I once heard a minister tell the story of a busload of hell's people who were given a 30-day furlough for some R&R in heaven. They all came back the first night because heaven was such a bore.
There were no wild parties, no clothing-optional beaches, no bars, no night clubs, no porn, no gambling, no pigging-out at buffets, no fights, no profanity, no ribaldry, no free sex, no vulgar late-night comedy, no exotic dancers, no X-rated movies, no junk food, no tobacco, no marijuana, no meth, no ecstasy, no LSD, no hunting for sport, no fishing for sport, and no vices like gambling and prostitution. And they couldn't see anything. The light in heaven is so bright that were normal people to visit heaven, they'd have to protect their eyes and the skin on their faces with leather jackets and electric arc welding hoods.
And the hellsters didn't particularly care for the isolation. None of the good folk in heaven wanted to associate with them: they were ostracized, they were segregated, and they were quarantined.
Heaven is a pleasant utopia. It's etiquette, its dress code, and its rules of conduct and civility; were way too strict for the hellsters. Especially suffocating is the mandatory self control everyone has to exercise in their choice of words to avoid hurting people's feelings.
In other words: heaven is a place prepared for a prepared people. Normal people would quite naturally find heaven disagreeable— they just wouldn't fit in —especially with its lack of privacy, its 24-7 Big Brother oversight, and its strict codes of conduct. Take for example Wall Street barracudas. Do you really think they'd be happy in heaven? No. Or sweat shop operators? No. Or influence peddlers? No. Or cruel despots like Robert Mugabe and Kim Jong Un? No. Or adulterers and fornicators? No.
Or lobbyists? No. Or J-walking pedestrians? No. Or LGBT? No. Or greedy businessmen like Phil Knight, Donald Trump, and Bill Gates? Or unscrupulous social networking moguls like Mark Zuckerberg? No. Or bookies? Or activists? Or demonstrators and protestors? No. No. No. You see many of the things that hell's people do are unacceptable in heaven; and in point of fact, none of heaven's people even have an interest in many of the things that interest hell's people.
You know what else is lacking in heaven? Religious tolerance. There is only one religion in heaven. What's that tell you? Well; it tells me that the establishment clause of the US Constitution's first amendment doesn't fly in heaven. The government in heaven insists upon dictating everyone's religious preference.
In other words: Heaven's utopian society, coupled with its 24/7 Big Brother oversight, was just simply too much to ask in exchange for some time off.
Q: What sane father would condemn His own children, the work of His creation, to eternal punishment simply because they don't agree with him?
A: According to Matt 5:9, people who quarrel with God, and/or argue and debate with Him, do not qualify to identify themselves as His own children. They're identity thieves.
FYI: While true that the God of Genesis created everybody, that does not eo ipso make everybody His children. For example: just because Eli Whitney is the father of the cotton gin, and Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak are the fathers of the Apple II computer doesn't, make those machines their progeny.
In other words: the God of Genesis is everybody's creator, yes; but He is not everybody's parent. No; by default, everybody is merely an organic creature constructed from dust to become members of Adam's family rather than God's.
It's necessary to undergo a special birth in order to get in God's family. All other claimants are frauds, and have no right whatsoever to say God is their father.
● John 1:12-13 . .To all who accepted him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- children not born of natural descent, nor of human decision, nor of a husband's passion, but born of God.
Bottom line: God doesn't condemn His own children to eternal punishment; but He won't hesitate to condemn yours if they neglect to follow Christ's instructions.
● John 3:3 . . I assure you: unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God.
● John 3:6 . . Don't be surprised at my statement that you must be born again.
Departures & Arrivals
Q: Ever consider the fact that the Bible nowhere mentions that people go to heaven or hell at the moment of death?
A: I am unaware of that "fact" which in reality, is not a fact at all, but rather, simply a deficiency in someone's own personal knowledge of the Bible.
Paul was confident that at his departure, he would be with Christ.
● Php 1:23 . . I desire to depart and be with Christ
To "be with Christ" is to be in heaven because according to Acts 2:32-36, Acts 7:55, Col 3:1, and 1Pet 3:22, etc; that is where Christ currently resides at his Father's right hand.
For believers such as myself, to be absent from the body; is to be present with Christ.
● 2Cor 5:6-8 . .Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from Christ. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with Christ.
When the rich man and the beggar Lazarus died in Luke 16:19-31, the angels carried Lazarus to Abraham's section of the netherworld.
● Luke 16:22 . .The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side.
It's obvious from the text that Abraham wasn't in the fiery section of the netherworld at the time. It could be argued he wasn't in heaven at the time either; but that would certainly not be true today. If Paul expected to be with Christ at his passing; then I have no doubt Abraham and Lazarus are now with Christ too.
Christ gave a fellow prisoner his word that they would both enter a paradise the very day of their crucifixions.
● Luke 23:43 . . Jesus answered him; I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.
If Christ and his fellow prisoner went to a paradise the very day of their deaths, then can there be any doubt that the rich man went to the fiery section of the netherworld the very day of his own death, and Lazarus went to Abraham's section on the very day of his death?
Upon comparing texts, it becomes clear that nobody went to heaven prior to Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. Old Testament saints went to comfortable accommodations in the netherworld where Abraham was at the time of the events narrated in Luke 16:19-31. And the damned went to you know where; and they are still there to this very day yearning for a damp swab to soothe their parched tongues.
"Right Back Atcha"
I once heard President Obama reply to criticism with almost those exact same words; viz: he didn't deny the truth of the criticism, but instead employed the age-old tactic of accusing his critic of the very same things; which, I guess in his mind; somehow mitigated his own culpability; but the honorable response would have been for him to man-up and admit his conduct was unbecoming rather than stoop to recriminations.
It's very common for people to respond to criticism the same way Mr. Obama did. It's all the same as saying: Who are you to talk? Well; regardless of who someone is to talk, if the criticism is true; then it stands; viz: recriminations are futile. All they do is pull someone down with you so you don't go down alone.
I predict there's going to be a quite a bit of resentment and indignation at the great white throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15 when the dead see people in white who they know to be guilty of the very same things for which they will be sentenced to the reservoir of flaming sulfur.
Human nature is funny. If I criticize a tree, it doesn't react. If I criticize a spider; it doesn't react. If I criticize a Guinea pig, it doesn't react. If I criticize a parakeet, it doesn't react. But if I criticize an h.sapiens; it bristles and becomes defensive. It's a curious behavior.
So; how might I describe human nature? I think I could accurately describe it as both judgmental and defensive.
● Rom 2:15 . .Their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.
Hell; The Great Equalizer
● Isa 14:12-17 . . For you said to yourself; I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God's stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.
. . . But instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths. Everyone there will stare at you and ask; Can this be the one who shook the earth and the kingdoms of the world? Is this the one who destroyed the land and made it into a wilderness? Is this the king who demolished the world's greatest cities and had no mercy on his captives?
In context; that passage targets an ancient Babylonian king, but serves to illustrate an important point: hell is a level field. Look around you at the celebrities, the socialites, the news anchors, the politicians, the stock brokers, the Warren Buffets, the Donald Trumps, the empire builders, the financial giants, the television moguls, the movie-makers, the civic leaders, the entrepreneurs, the fashion leaders, the intellectuals, the best-sellers, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers,
. . . the Olympic stars and professional athletes, the Lewis & Clarks, the Charles Lindberghs, the Nobel Prize winners, the shuttle astronauts, the Hillary Clintons, the Barak Obamas, the Steve Jobs, the Mark Zuckerbergs, the Regis Philbins, the Oprah Winfrys, Congress, Supreme Court justices, the winners of Oscar and Tony and Grammy awards. In the Bible's hell, those kinds of people are just one more skull in an ever-growing population of losers.
● Luke 16:19-23 . .There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
. . .The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance, with Lazarus by his side.
Can you just imagine that rich man's chagrin to see that homeless bum, who at one time dumpster-dived his own garbage, now in comfort while he himself is in misery? Isn't it interesting that the bum's name is given, but the rich man's isn't. You know why? Because he's now a forgotten man who no longer matters.
● Ps 73:2-17 . . I came so close to the edge! My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. They seem to live such a painless life; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They aren't troubled like other people or plagued with problems like everyone else. They wear conceit like a jeweled necklace, and their clothing is woven of cruelty.
. . .These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! They scoff and speak only evil; in their arrogance they seek to crush others. They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth . . Look at these arrogant people— enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply . .Then one day I went into your sanctuary, O God; and I understood their destiny.
● Ps 37:10-11 . . For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
NOTE: people aren't eo ipso wicked because they're successful. It's success to the exclusion of God that's wicked. Compare Luke 12:15-21 where a successful man is depicted as totally focused on his enterprises while not giving a single thought to his association with God and the hereafter.
Lorena Bobbitt, et al
Of all the comments I've ever composed about hell over the years, this one is perhaps the most disturbing; so if there are impressionable young children present, you might want to shoo them out of the room before continuing.
Lorena Bobbitt made news in 1993 by amputating her husband's manhood with a carving knife while he was asleep. She was later acquitted by reason of insanity. Lorena's conduct was by no means ground-breaking. Wikipedia lists a number of such cases involving women mutilating men.
Lorena's conduct was excusable under law because of her mental state; but there are perfectly rational, sane women out and about who would be overjoyed with ecstasy to mutilate a man; for example:
On August 01, 2009, four angry women— Therese A. Ziemann, 47, Wendy L. Sewell, 44, Michelle M. Belliveau, 43, and Tracy M. Hood-Davis, 30 —were charged in Stockbridge Wisconsin for luring a married man to a motel room where they tied him up and blindfolded him, slapped him around for a while; then removed his knickers and used super glue to attach his private to his stomach in retaliation for two-timing them. I really have to wonder what in God's name is going on inside those women's heads.
According to the Beatitudes (Matt 5:3-11) heaven is a place of peace. Women whose imaginations are laced with wicked thoughts, having hearts infected with a brutal desire to injure men, simply can't go there. They would hate heaven anyway because they couldn't be themselves there and would never fit in. They would not only be prevented from assaulting men, but they wouldn't even be permitted the cruel enjoyment of chafing men with fault-finding and demeaning comments.
The disturbing scene depicted at Rev 20:11-15 will be presided over by none other than the sweet little babe away in a manger.
● John 5:21-23 . . Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son
● Acts 17:31 . . He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.
You unbelieving women out there in cyberspace need to keep something in mind. At the great white throne event, you are going to be judged solely on the basis of your life rather than the basis of your looks. Christ will be neither influenced nor impressed by the silkiness of your thighs nor the size of your bosoms; no, in point of fact; he will be quite determined to disfigure them.
● Rev 20:15 . . And whosoever's name was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
In the end, it will be the sweet, gentle, turn-the-other-cheek Jesus who subjects unbelieving women to a death akin to a foundry worker falling into a vat of molten iron and permanently ruin any chances they might have had for happiness in the future. For all eternity, condemned misandrist females will grind their teeth with hot tears and white-knuckled fury that they ultimately lost out on everything because of one lone male's obsessive control over their lives; and I have no doubt whatsoever they will entertain years of happy-thoughts dreaming of mutilating Christ should they perchance ever manage to get their hands on him.
NOTE: There will no doubt be some bent noses over this post and see it as denigrating to women (while conveniently ignoring that it's a double standard to think it's okay to denigrate men). Well, I have to ask, since when did women become a protected species? Women are not a protected species. There are just as many, if not more, women idling away the time in hell as men because God is not influenced by sexual discrimination.
● Rom 2:9-11. .There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: For God does not show favoritism.
● Jude 1:7 . . Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, gave themselves over to fornication and gone after strange flesh
The koiné Greek word for "fornication" in Jude's statement is ekporneuo (ek porn-yoo'-o) which means: to be utterly unchaste.
A lack of chastity is exemplified by a broad spectrum of unholy carnality including, but not limited to adultery, incest, living together, casual sex, swinger sex, wife swapping, sex between consenting adults, sex between consenting minors, sex between teachers and consenting students, sex with a sex toy, sex with a mannequin and/or sex with an inflatable doll, etc. To be "utterly" unchaste implies not just a preference for those kinds of sexual behaviors, but an addiction to them.
The word for "strange" is heteros (het'-er-os) which means: other or different. That could be taken to indicate bestiality but I think what it really refers to is unnatural sex; in other words: men sleeping with women, and vice versa, isn't strange but rather quite the norm. But men sleeping with men, and/or women sleeping with women is rather strange; viz: queer; which Webster's defines as: unconventional; in other words out of the ordinary.
Now; maybe the men of Sodom weren't gay; but their preference for the males instead of the females under Lot's roof indicate that they were at the least Bi. Since one is just as unconventional as the other then I really see no significant difference between the two. A man, or a woman, need not be psychologically LGBT to fall under the condemnation of going after strange flesh just so long as they go after it.
Mr. Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty got himself in hot water for taking a stand against certain kinds of sexual conduct. Though his comments were politically unacceptable, Mr. Robertson is on good solid Christian ground because LGBT are depicted in the Bible as shameful, indecent, and unnatural.
● Rom 1:26-27 . . God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men.
Now, there are folk who would love nothing better than to construe those remarks as hate speech; but if they do, I should hope they have better sense than to come after me because I'm not the bad guy: the author of Romans is their bad guy. I'm the author of neither the Bible nor of Christianity; and if some people aren't adult enough to discuss Christianity on a biblical level, then maybe they shouldn't be on a forum where Christianity is out in the open.
I've seen people on the internet attempt to tone down Rom 1:26-27 by construing it to be speaking of cult prostitution. Well; that doesn't fly. The language and grammar of that entire section from Rom 1:18 down to, and including Rom 2:1 is a per se indictment against the entire human race. In other words: though someone may not be LGBT, nevertheless they'll find themselves accused of something somewhere in that indictment right along with the LGBT.
You know; I am really curious how in the world LGBT obtained so much respectability. I mean; for centuries their manner of life was deemed extremely inappropriate, and now all of a sudden it has Federal protections as if LGBTs are on some sort of endangered species list.
Speaking of chastity: back in the decade of the 1950's, my sister, while in high school, got herself knocked-up out of wedlock. So our parents whisked her off to an out-of-state aunt until her baby was born; after which she gave it up for adoption. You see, in those days pre-marital conception was a disgrace; but nowadays celebrities go on talk shows to boast about their illegitimate children; even babies conceived with other people before their divorces are final; which is a double whammy of adultery and shame.
But according to biblical Christianity, there's a reckoning coming when all manner of scripturally unapproved carnal behaviors will finally be put in a right perspective.
● 2Pet 2:6 . . He turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes— condemned them to destruction —making them an example to those who afterward would live impiously.
FAQ : Do you consider animals to be unbelievers? And if so, will they go to Hell?
Yes, animals are unbelievers. However, animals are not registered in The Bible as sinful beings, nor were they created in the image and likeness of the Bible's God, nor does there exist a biblical record of the Bible's God forbidding the animal kingdom from eating the forbidden fruit. It's very likely that Eve saw that the fruit was good for food (Gen 3:6) by observing birds and animals foraging it with no apparent ill side effects.
The animal kingdom is a much, much lower order of sentient life than human beings so their accountability is not on the same scale as human beings. The one exception is in cases where an animal has taken a human life (Gen 9:4-6, Ex 21:8). But even then, the animal is in no danger of eternal suffering for it's "crime". And it's well to remember that the death penalty is not an eo ipso guarantee the offender will go to Hell afterwards.
The Greek word for a burning Hell in the New Testament is geena. Of the twelve times it's used, eleven were by the New Testament's Jesus. In not one of those eleven instances did he ever threaten animals with geena; only his fellow men.
There is a principle in the Old Testament regarding kinsman redeemers (e.g. Boaz of the book of Ruth). The kinsman principle applies to the overall plan of salvation (Heb 2:16-18). In order for the animals to be rescued from the wrath of God (if indeed they were in danger of it) it would be necessary for one of their own kind to give its life for the others of its own kind because the Bible's Christ gave his life for his fellow human beings; not for animal beings. Do you know how many different species of animal life there are; not counting birds and fish? Me neither, but it's a lot; and would require a very large number of crosses to accommodate them.
When Jesus spoke the words below, his target audience was human beings; not animal beings.
●John 3:16-18 . .For God was so concerned for the world that He donated His one and only son, that whoever relies upon him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to rescue the world through him. Whoever relies upon him is not condemned, but whoever does not stands condemned already because he has not relied upon the name of God's one and only son.
When people exist in a state of unbelief by reason of the fact that they have yet to hear the Gospel and make an informed decision; they have no excuse. They are at a disadvantage, yes, I fully agree, nevertheless, they still exist in a condition of unbelief and an already-condemned status just as surely as the snake-bitten Jews who died before being given an opportunity to look to the metallic viper Moses was ordered to construct in Num 21:5-9.
●John 3:14-15 . .As Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who relies upon him may have eternal life.
The judicial aspects of Bible Christianity are terrifying and that's why the New Testament Greek word for save means to rescue. People are already on their way to Hell prior to an exposure to the Gospel because that's everyone's default destiny. The Bible's Christ is the only option.
So when people leave this life before being given an opportunity to hear about Christ, all I can say is: that's just the way the cookie crumbles— so thank, and praise, and kiss the Bible God's feet and toes that the Judeo/Christian scriptures are readily available in practically every bookstore throughout the free world.
That Lonesome Valley
Many years ago— when I was a young single guy in my early twenties, living alone in a cheap rental —as I was listening to a radio preacher talk about hell, something in my mind took over; and I had the strangest sensation of falling off the earth into an abyss and nobody cared, nor did anybody miss me, nor did my disappearance cause any alarm nor make any difference.
The freeways remained busy with frustrated drivers and honking horns, people still got up to go to work, shoppers crowded the supermarkets and department stores, kids caught their buses to school, birds kept right on chirping, grass kept on growing, ocean waves went on rolling onto the beach, trains kept running, airlines kept flying, clouds moved across the sky; and all that.
My absence changed nothing nor disturbed anyone nor anything. The world kept right on turning, clocks went on ticking; and nature and man went right on with their business as usual without the slightest hiccup. At that moment I realized just how alone and how obscure people must feel when they exhale their final breath and cross over to the other side.
Back in March of 2015, Andrew Getty, an heir to J. Paul Getty's oil fortune, died at the age of 47. In life, Andrew had many friends. You know how many accompanied him on his journey across the river Styx? Not a one.
You gotta walk that lonesome valley,
You gotta walk it by yourself,
Nobody here can walk it for you,
You gotta walk it by yourself.
The Gates Of Hell
● Matt 16:18 ... I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
There's a couple of koiné Greek words translated "hell" in the New Testament. One is geena (gheh'-en-nah) which always, and without exception, identifies a place of fire.
The other word for "hell" is haides (hah'-dace) which does not always, and without exception, identify a place of fire. It simply identifies an afterlife place and/or state of deceased people.
The word for "hell" in Matt 16:18 is haides; which IMO simply indicates the afterlife where everyone, both the good and the bad, exist as disembodied spirits. So, it seems to me that Matt 16:18 is speaking of resurrection.
● Job 14:14a . . If a man dies, will he live again?
Yes, and the proof of that is Christ's own resurrection.
Jesus went to haides when he expired (Acts 2:22-32). But the zone in haides where he went was pretty comfy (Luke 23:43). Point being: haides couldn't hold Jesus as a disembodied spirit. Within three days, Christ was restored to his body. Job looked forward to the same thing.
● Job 14:14b . . All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come.
And Christ's followers look forward to the same thing too.
● Rom 8:23-25 . .We ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Well; that patience has its reward seeing as how Jesus gave his word in Matt 16:18 that haides will not be able to restrain his followers as disembodied spirits. There's coming a day when they will leave that place as whole men never to face death again: for just as Jesus was raised from the dead immortal; so will they.
● Rom 6:9 . . Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over him.
● Phlp 3:20-21 . .Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, Christ Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Now, in contrast: it's commonly believed that Buddhism's final destination is nirvana. But that isn't so. The nirvana that Siddhartha Gautama taught isn't a destination: it's a state of mind. In other words: Gautama believed that Buddhists who achieve nirvana live it here as mortals; not somewhere else as immortals. Siddhartha believed that when Buddhists who achieve nirvana die their next time; it's final; viz: no more samsara, no more reincarnations, no more anything; viz: they go dark— they go entirely out of existence.
Here's a very interesting statement:
● Phlp 2:10 . . At the name of Jesus every knee should bow— of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.
Now watch what's missing in this next statement:
● Col 1:20 . . Having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
The missing element is "things under the earth". In other words; according to Col 1:20, God has no intention of reconciling with hell's inmates. It's game over for those poor slobs. They crossed a line; and now there's no going back.
Feral Pigs And Wild Dogs
Christ's followers are commanded to shun certain types of individuals whom he depicted as beasts.
● Matt 7:6 . . 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.
The fault-finders, the obtuse, the skeptics, the mockers, the critics, those who make it their mission in life to discredit and/or invalidate the Bible, and those who amuse themselves by fishing for a reaction from the Christians; fall into the beast category.
Dogs especially are barred from the future holy city.
● Rev 22:14-15 . . Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Dogs apparently hung around crucifixion sites lapping up the blood of condemned men.
● Ps 22:16 . . For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
Dogs don't need to be provoked. They will come at you out of just sheer ferocity. They are shameless, unsanitary, territorial, impudent, malignant, snarling, dissatisfied, and contentious. Dogs tend to form packs, and in that situation can be very dangerous to human life. There are dogs on internet forums who would love nothing more than to scatter Christ's sheep, and drag them down to hell.
● Phlp 3:2 . . Beware of dogs
NOTE: I didn't quote all of Phlp 3:2 because it groups certain kinds of Jews with dogs; which some folks might find offensive.
● 2Tim 3:8 . . Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved minds, rejected as regards the faith.
The Image And Likeness Of God
Q: If humanity was created in the image and likeness of God as per Gen 1:26-27; then why did Jesus tell Nicodemus that another birth as per John 3:3-8 is a must instead of an option? I should think that the image and likeness of God is about as good as it gets; so then why the necessity of a do-over?
A: Because the Bible says that Christ saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And Christ was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. (Gen 6:5-6)
Q: God loathes His own image and likeness?
A: At the conclusion of six days; the inventor, architect, engineer, and manufacturer of the cosmos— with all of its forms of life, matter, and energy —graded it not just good, but very good (Gen 1:31). So I would have to say that the wickedness of man didn't become great in the earth, nor every imagination of the thoughts of his heart become only evil continually; until after the forbidden fruit incident.
In other words: though humanity was originally manufactured in the image and likeness of God, it lost that image and likeness as the result of disobeying a direct order. Consequently; post-Eden humanity now bears its own image and likeness. (Gen 3:22, Gen 5:3).
So then the thoughts and imaginations of those whose hearts are only evil continually, are not wicked because humanity's manufacturer made them that way. No; they're wicked because Adam and his wife defied God and tasted that fruit knowing full well that it was off-limits; viz: they were informed of both the ban, and the consequence of ignoring the ban. So their disobedience wasn't an innocent mistake. No, it was an act of willful defiance; and from thence they, and their posterity, have had to live with it ever since.
● John 3:3 . .Truly, truly, I say to you: unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
● John 3:7 . . Do not be astonished that I said to you: You must be born again.
Heart To Heart
● Gen 6:5 . . God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
The thoughts of the heart are somewhat different than the thoughts that go through the mind; and are often blocked out, viz: repressed; defined as a mental process by which distressing thoughts, memories, or impulses that may give rise to anxiety are excluded from consciousness and left to operate in the unconscious, i.e. the subconscious which, in Freud's opinion, is a repository for socially unacceptable ideas, wishes or desires, traumatic memories, and painful emotions.
● Matt 15:19 . . Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts
So then, it's not how your mind works that defines you, no, it's how your heart works that really defines you; and a man's heart is easily capable of hoodwinking his own consciousness.
● Jer 17:9 . .The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?
God is able to peer into the heart's contents. That means He will be confronting people with things about themselves that they have kept under wraps all their lives; and that's why I sometimes say only a fool would take their chances with God. They have no clue the extent of the psychological tsunami they're walking into.
Taking It With You
● Luke 12:15-20 . . A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. And he told them this parable:
. . .The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself: What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops. Then he said: This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself; You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.
. . . But God said to him: You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?
That is one of the futilities of success in this world. Everybody knows it, but moguls like J. Paul Getty and Andrew Carnegie never seem to take it to heart until they've got one foot in the grave.
I once heard a story about a very wealthy man who died. His surviving relatives were all called to the reading of the man's will while the media waited outside. When the reading was over, the media asked the man's kin how much he left. They replied: He left it all.
Yes, of course he left it all; even the clothing he wore to his own funeral. The paintings of Gustave Doré, illustrating portions of Dante's Inferno, depict lost souls 100% stark naked— with nary a stitch —as they should be because no doubt they are.
The Beetles once complained in song: Money can't buy me love. Well; it couldn't buy them time either— at the time of this writing; John was gone, and so was George.
● Ecc 2:14-16 . .The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both.
. . .Then I thought in my heart: The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise? For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered; in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die
When God is ignored; people should expect Him to reciprocate.
● Prv 1:24-33 . . I called you so often, but you didn't come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered. So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you— when calamity overcomes you like a storm, when you are engulfed by trouble, and when anguish and distress overwhelm you.
. . . I will not answer when they cry for help. Even though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me. For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear God. They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. That is why they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way. They must experience the full terror of the path they have chosen. For they are simpletons who turn away from me— to death. They are fools, and their own complacency will destroy them. But all who listen to me will live in peace and safety, unafraid of harm.
Case in point is Jacob's brother.
"Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears." (Heb 12:16-17)
The koiné Greek word for "repentance" is metanoia (met-an'-oy-ah) which essentially means to change one's mind; viz: to reconsider.
Esau was an okay guy, but he was secular to the bone. He "got religion" right quick when he saw his way of life costing him the blessing; but alas, the poor slob was a day late and a dollar short; so to speak.
Lesson to be learned: The time for people to believe in hell is not when they get there, but before they get there.
Hell As A Parable
Many of Christ's parables are so life-like, and depict such a variety of human experiences, that I used to wonder how a young man who never went to school, and lived in the same small town all his life prior to going on the road as an itinerant preacher, could have such a volume of realistic short stories all prepared and ready to go.
Well, one day it hit me. Duh! Christ was a prophet: a holy man micro-managed by a higher power. He neither authored nor composed a single one of the parables: they were his master's handiwork thru and thru.
● John 3:34 . . He speaks God's words, for God's Spirit is upon him without measure or limit.
● John 8:26 . . He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
● John 8:28 . . I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
● John 12:49 . . For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
● John 12:50 . . Whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
● John 14:10 . .The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
I am fully persuaded by Titus 1:2 that Christ's Father always tells the truth. In other words; I sincerely believe Jesus' master drew His parables from the archive of records that He's been keeping on every soul who ever lived— everything they've ever done and said in public, and everything they've ever done and said in private —for thousands of years beginning with the first man Adam right on down to the last man today. Christ's Father knows all, He sees all, He hears all; and He remembers all: even people's secret thoughts.
Can you think of even one of the Father's parables that could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be a true story? No; there's nothing out of the ordinary in His parables. They're all true to life— farmers sowing seed, women losing coins, sons leaving home, wineskins bursting, tares among the wheat, leavened bread, barren fig trees, the blind leading the blind, et al. They're all 110% believable. None of them come across as fantasy with no basis in reality.
So why did I make such an issue out of the origin of Christ's parables? Answer: because anti hell people insist that the disturbing narrative at Luke 16:19-31 is a fantasy with no basis in reality whatsoever. But the Father's impeccable character is what makes that narrative all the more terrifying. Unless somebody can prove, beyond a shadow of sensible doubt, that Christ's Father is a tale-spinner; I pretty much have to assume the narrative was drawn from real-life archives.
Another thing: the narrative quotes Abraham saying certain things. Well; if Abraham really didn't say those things then both Christ and his Father are false witnesses. If so; then nobody's reputation is safe in His hands.
I highly recommend accepting Luke 16:19-31 as a true story rather than risk the shame of insinuating that Christ's Father is a dishonest person of questionable integrity who can't be trusted to tell the truth about people.
● 1John 5:10 . . Anyone who disbelieves God has made Him out to be a liar
The Wrath Of God
● Eph 2:3 . .We were by nature objects of wrath.
The wrath of God is interesting. For example:
● Isa 13:9 . . Behold, the day of Christ comes— cruel; with both wrath and fierce anger
The Hebrew word for "wrath" in that statement is 'ebrah (eb-raw') which indicates an outburst of passion. In other words: the wrath of God won't be weeping big wet crocodile tears while it's slamming the dead at the Great White Throne event depicted at Rev 20:11-15; no, they will be terminated with extreme prejudice; viz: their judgment will be administered with choler. (cf. Isa 63:1-6, Rev 19:15)
Webster's defines "fierce" as a behavior exhibited by humans and animals that inspires terror because of the wild and menacing aspect of fury in attack. There's neither sportsmanship nor sympathy in ferocity; only sheer terror, brutality, and blood lust.
"cruel" is defined as: disposed to inflict pain or suffering; viz: devoid of humane feelings
● Heb 10:27 . . A certain fearful expectation of . . . fiery indignation
"fiery indignation" is quite a bit more severe than ordinary indignation. It speaks of someone who is seriously ticked off; and so angry that they're actually red in the face.
There are people out there warming pews all around the world who have been so coddled by sappy versions of Christianity that they have no concept of the magnitude of the lethal tsunami of rage and violence coming their way to get them.
According to Siddhartha Gautama, the inventor of Buddhism, there is no personal "soul" that continues to exist beyond the demise of one's organic body; ergo: one's original self no longer exists after death.
So then in Buddhist rebirth; what is reborn if not the person? Answer: Buddhist rebirth is not a resurrection, rather, reincarnation; viz: a rearrangement of the karmic matter that was once a particular individual. The complete teaching is a bit complex but in a nutshell, Buddhists can expect to return as either gods, asuras, hungry ghosts, hell beings, animals, and/or humans.
In addition: reincarnation doesn't stop with one event; but is potentially a never-ending cycle of birth, misery, and death called samsara.
Unlike reincarnation's potentially never-ending cycle of birth, misery, and death; Christianity allots but one resurrection per person (Dan 12:2, John 5:29, Rev 20:5-6). So then, those who undergo a second death in the reservoir of brimstone depicted at Rev 20:10-15 won't be coming back in another form because they will have used up their one allotted resurrection in order to face justice at the Great White Throne.
Unlike reincarnation's potentially never-ending cycle of birth, misery, and death; Christianity allots but one resurrection per person (Dan 12:2, John 5:29, Rev 20:5-6). So then, those who undergo a second death in the reservoir of liquefied flame depicted at Rev 20:10-15 won't be coming back in another form because they will have used up their one allotted resurrection in order to face justice at the Great White Throne.
Roads To The Top
Heaven is sometimes depicted as a mountain with many roads around the base heading towards the top. Well; traditional Christianity accepts only one of those roads reaches the top; viz: the rest are dead-ends, loops, terraces, circles, and cul-de-sacs, i.e. no outlets and nowhere to go except back down the mountain.
Now picture hell as a huge pit, deep and wide, with many roads around the rim heading towards the bottom. Well; Christianity accepts that every one of those roads eventually merge into one big super expressway to the bottom.
● Matt 7:13-14 . . Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
How many people does the quantity "many" represent? Well, according to my sources there are approximately:
15 million Mormons
8.2 million Jehovah's Witnesses
7.8 million Baha'i
515.9 million Buddhists
451.3 million Chinese Folk Religionists
8.4 million Confucianists
258.5 million Ethnic Religionists
974.6 million Hindus
5.6 million Jains
1.7 billion Muslims
14.1 million Jews
64.2 million New Religionists
2.8 million Shintoists
24.9 million Sikhs
14.2 million Spiritists
8.7 million Taoists
1.1 billion Atheists/Agnostics
The grand total of just those categories is 5,174,700,000
If those figures are in the ball park, and if traditional Christianity is the truth; then at the least 70% of the earth's current population of 7.43 billion people is on a road to hell; and no doubt some of those are people we know: our friends, our relatives, and our associates.
● Matt 22:14 . . For many are called, but few are chosen.
NOTE: Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons are Christians, yes, but not in the traditional sense.
Joseph Smith's movement is a cult; in other words: there's some Christianity in Mormonism, but Christianity comprises only a portion of Mormonism. The rest of it is extreme, to say the least.
Neither do Jehovah's Witnesses qualify as Christians in the traditional sense. Charles Taze Russell's movement is a cult. There's some Christianity in the Watchtower Society's doctrines, but Christianity comprises only a portion of Russell's doctrines; and his slant on it is very peculiar.
Q: Since God created us the way we are; then He is ultimately responsible for our conduct; right?
A: Some years ago I went into a music store in San Diego and noticed that one of the store's glass display cases contained a rather large variety of curious bottles. So I asked the clerk what they were. He said they were bongs. You mean for smoking dope? I asked. He replied: Yes; that is their purpose. So I responded: But isn't dope illegal? He replied: Yes, dope is illegal, however we don't sell dope; we only sell the means to smoke it. You see; the responsibility for smoking dope was on the end-users of bongs rather than upon the sellers of bongs.
In a similar incident, I went into an electronics store to purchase a mobile CB radio and noticed an array of devices in the display case that I didn't recognize. The clerk told me they were linear amplifiers; which, he said, are devices for boosting a standard 5-watt CB's signal strength. I asked the clerk if that was legal. He said no, it isn't legal to boost the standard signal. However, he said, it isn't illegal to own equipment with the capability to do so. In other words; the law placed the responsibility for boosting CB signals on the end-user of linear amplifiers rather than the sellers of linear amplifiers.
What I'm getting at is: God created humanity with the capability to make bad choices. But at the same time, He created humanity with the capability to make good choices too. In the incident involving the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; Adam chose poorly. Does it make sense to blame God for Adam's choice? No. Adam knew the risk going in; but proceeded anyay.
But you see: so-called "product liability" is a convenient way of blaming others for our own failings. In other words: product liability's proponents insist that the availability of things like forbidden fruit, bongs, and linear amplifiers constitutes enablement. So these days instead of saying "The devil made me do it; therefore my conduct is his fault" now people say "I was provided the means to do it; therefore my conduct is the provider's fault."
Many of the products under sinks and out in garages are toxic; so manufacturers put warning labels on them. They do the same thing with electrical equipment, power tools, and mechanical devices so people can operate them safely and avoid injury. Now; placing those products for sale to the public constitutes enablement, but they're assuming end-users are intelligent enough to read warning labels and/or user's manuals. If users ignore warning labels and the cautions printed in manuals; it's their own fault for being stupid.
No More Secrets
● Heb 4:13 . . Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Back in 1968 I was a young 24 year-old welder just starting out in the metals trades. One of the first real welding jobs I landed was with a manufacturer located in one of the buildings that were at one time used for knocking together liberty ships in the old WW2 Kaiser shipyard on a waterfront of the Columbia River in the State of Washington.
One day the manufacturer's layout man was strolling through the shop. He stopped where I was and casually asked me, right out of the blue: "Cliff are you ready for Christ's return?"
Well, the only information I had up to that point as regards Christ was what I learned from nuns in catechism. They had never mentioned Christ's return; so the layout man's question made no sense to me whatsoever. But to the point: my initial reaction was fear. And my secondary reaction was anger. So I asked the layout man, in a rather indignant tone: "Why would Christ want to come back?"
You see; I was in no hurry to meet Christ because I instinctively knew the interview would not be pleasant. Even at only 24 years-old I already had a lot to answer for; and I especially did not want to be confronted with my behavior in private when I thought nobody was looking.
Dead Silence (There's no music in Hell)