Skip to comments.An Appointment You Will Keep....Regardless
Posted on 09/26/2011 8:26:15 AM PDT by bkaycee
"It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the JUDGMENT" Hebrews 9:27
You may do all in your power to put the thought of death away from you. However, you cannot escape the fact that you must die. You KNOW that you must die and face God. Maybe the reason you are reluctant to think about death is that you also know that judgment follows death as surely as night follows day. I an seriousness, could I possibly press a more sensible or important question upon you than this -- What is going to happen to you when you die?
Conscience, common sense, and the Bible all declare to you that there is an eternity that you must face. As you read these lines, you know I speak the truth. You know the above text of Scripture is as true as can be. If you and I were talking over a cup of coffee, you might grin and say, "Ah com on John, you are just trying to scare me." However, as you think about the words DEATH...JUDGMENT...ALL MEN, your "heart of hearts" deep inside of you is saying to you this very moment, "Sure, man, he's telling it like it really is. I must die and face God my Creator."
Honestly now, what is so fanatical about earnestly considering the most definite appointment you will ever keep? Is IS appointed unto YOU to DIE< and it is just as certain that judgment before Almighty God will follow -- AND YOU KNOW IT! I fail to see anything either funny or stupid about honestly facing such awesome facts. If you refuse to face them or to think about them, it is you who are playing the part fof the fool.
Did you ever ask, "Why is death inevitable? Why must men die? Where did death come from" The Bible teaches us that death is the penalty of sin. "The wages of sin is death..."(Romans 6:23) Our sin earns "wages" and God is honest -- HE pays those wages. "...in the day thou eatest therof thou shalt surely die" was no empty threat by a God either unwilling or unable to carry out His oath. The very existence of death itself is proof that God will keep every one of His curses as well as every promise. The fact that you are personally certain to die establishes your personal guilt. You have been disobedient to God your Creator and Lawgiver. God's law justly demands perfection or punishment. Law without any penalty, or without the enforcement of the penalty is not really law, it is merely advice. God's law is not just "good advice." It is the voice of authority from our sovereign Creator and Judge. By disregarding, despising, yes, and deliberately disobeying God's Law, you and I have earned God's curse. God is no liar. He is holy and just -- He will execute judgment where it is earned and deserved. Physical death, followed by eternal death or damnation, is the "earned wages" of every man. Death and judgment are certain, and you know I am not 'putting you on.'You know I am telling God's truth.
There is Another Person's death that you ought to think about. I has already taken place. It was also by Divine appointment and was a direct result of the just and holy judgment of God. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was 'delivered (bound over to die) by the determinate counsel... of God...' The death of Jesus Christ was no 'tragic accident' of history , nore was its real cause in man. It was God Himself Who appointed and delivered Christ up to death as a victim of justice and judgment, and it was God Himself Who adminstered that awful judgment upon the head of His own beloved Son. Hear what the early Apostles said 'For a truth against they holy Child Jesus whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsover THY hand and THY counsel DETERMINED before to be done.'(Acts chapter 4:27,28)
Now that is really amazing! The very Son of God not only died, but He died under the wrath and curse of His Father Whom He loved and Who also loved Him. Why did the Holy Father so deliver up His Son to such awful treatment, and why did the Son wo willingly give Himself up to such a sacrificial death! The answer, my friend, is the very gospel itself. Jesus died under the Father's curse so that guilty sinners like you and me might be righteously forgive. The just judgment of God fell upon Jesus Christ in order that the holy love of God might righteously fall on poor lost sinners like us. Yes, that is the gospel message. That is what 'Christ died for our sins' means. Christ, the Just One, was judged and condemned so that we, the guilty ones, might be delivered from the judgment we have earned and be accepted as God's own sons. The Apostle Peter put it this way: 'For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God...' (1 Peter 3:18) God completely forgives and fully accepts every guilty sinner who turns from sin and believes the gospel promises. God is 'rich unto all that call upon Him...,' and He turns none away who seek Him with their whole heart.
We cannot escape death. It is an appointment we must keep, and we will keep it whether we are ready or not. However, by God's grace and power, we escape our just judgment and condemnation. How? By bowing to the Lord Jesus Christ, in true repentance and faith. I urg you to read the gospel of John and the book of Romans. PRAY that God will open their pages to your heart and bring God' grace and forgiveness to you.
May God the Holy Spirit be pleased to bring you to understand and believe the gospel as set for by Isaac Watts in his great hymn.
Alas! and did my Savior bleed?IF this little tract and Isaac Watt's hymn are not true, then how do you explain Jesus Christ? How do you understand His death and resurrection? What do you suppose will happen to you after death, and what authority gives you assurance that Christ and the New Testament lie, while your 'ideas' about death and judgment are the real truth? However, if this tract is the truth, and in your 'heart of hearts' you know it is, why have you not sought the forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ and received Him as your Lord and Savior? May the God of grace and power bring you this very moment to call upon His Name in true repentance and genuine faith.
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?
Was it for crimes that I have done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
Well might the sun in darkness hide,
And shut his Glories in,
When Christ, the Mighty Maker, died
For man the creature's sin.
But drops of grief can ne'er repay
The debo of love I owe;
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
'Tis all that I can do.
Another story related to me was almost the same scenario except the guy wound up kicking the end of the bed to pieces yelling "They're coming for me" - those were his last words.
There's something out there.
Jesus is coming. Look busy.
I definitely believe it, too! My Mom worked as a nurse and told us stories about dying patients that talked about their long-passed spouse coming for them. One older lady that was dying swore that her dead husband came, talked to her and promised he would be back for her in the evening. The woman was very excited since it had been years since she saw him. Needless to say, she passed that evening and Mom always felt comforted that the two were together again.
I just can’t get into the “turn or burn” message. I believe the message of Christ was the good news as hinted at in the OT, preached in the hew testament and, specifically, the Gospels.
My take on acceptance of Christ is: Dont’ do it because you fear what will happen otherwise. Do it because you desire an eternity in His presence. IOW, choose your husband because you love him and want to please him, not because you think he will beat you endlessly if you don’t. The latter is not based on love.
‘Course, I’m more into the concept of “anihilation” rather than eternal suffering after one is not found written in the book of life. I believe those who do not accept the attoning blood of our savior will be simply “ended” at the second death much as animals and insects are in this world. They will, of course, be “eternally ended”, never to awake again.
I’m not married to this belief about eternal damnation, but it is the best I can come up with based on the personality of God as I understand it coupled with what is written in His Word.
My wife’s sister, when she was about 5, woke up one morning and came to the kitchen, where the family was gathered, and asked “where is grandpa?” They told her that he lives in California and he was not there (they were in Chicago). She was sure that he went into her bedroom that night and had said goodbye to her. She was very insistant to the point that they called grandpa to show her he was there.
Turned out Grandma was going to call them to let them know that Grandpa had died that night.
Of all the “Wonders of the World”, life itself is the absolute grandest.
I like to think that he said good-bye. Okay... people can laugh but so many times... people at the end of their life will dream of a person (deceased) or “visit” with them before the end. My Mom was a very comforting person and wouldn’t disregard what people would say. One day, she heard a conversation going on in a room and a woman was talking/laughing/etc.. so she waited until later to get vitals. Mom asked her, “who was visiting with you?” She said, “My son, John... I haven’t seen him since he was very young”. Mom figured that maybe he flew from out of town etc.. Later, the woman died and the family came in to say good-bye. Mom approached them, offered her sympathies and asked one to let John know. The only “John” in the family had been the woman’s son (who died in Viet Nam).
There’s a book titled “Famous Last Words” I think you’ll find interesting. Also, do an on-line search on those words. I firmly believe there’s something after. I told one elderly lady that the reason people die in their sleep is because what they’re experiencing there is better than what they experience in real life and they decide to stay.
Wow, bkayce. I read John’s article back in the 1970s. I still have it my stacks of S&T, I think.
—Jesus is coming. Look busy.—
I confess that is one of my favorite bumper stickers. My absolute favorite is: The voices told me to stay home today and clean the guns.
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
-from William Shakespeare’s As You Like It
Certainly, Jesus demonstrates His love for us in dying to save us. He is perfect Love and Mercy, and Perfect Justice. To show His love and mercy He perfectly satisfied God's Justice in our place.
I really liked it after reading it a year ago!
—People who no longer exist probably find it hard to engage in weeping and gnashing of teeth, whose worm never dies, suffering everlasting punishment.—
Well, I do believe that the punishment, death, is everlasting. But it brings up the concept of the passage of time in eternity. I like to say that “time” is a current that flows in an ocean called “eternity”.
I think the Mark verses are basically saying that their punishment is death and they STAY dead.
I have a Sunday school student, an adult, who believes just the way you do. We have been going through Revelation 19 and 20 and it’s been an ordeal with him. I mean, he can believe whatever he wants, but I don’t understand his coming to a Southern Baptist Sunday school and argue with everybody! Last time I quoted something I had read in J.V. McGee’s commentary: I’d rather live like eternal literal hell is real and die to find out I was wrong, than live like it is not real (or not literal, or not eternal) and then find out that I was wrong! He glared at me, but for the first time didn’t have anything to say.
Your student sounds a bit like me. 8->
I’ve ben a student of Revelation for a couple of decades now, though. There is a great site that covers how I feel about this to the point that I just post it here as how I interpret scripture regarding Hell:
His link to the interpretation of Lazarus and the Rich Man is also very good.
BTW, regarding this: “Id rather live like eternal literal hell is real and die to find out I was wrong...”
I’d rather live like Jesus died for my sins and I accept Him as my personal savior. The Hell thing becomes pretty irrelevant for me.
Regarding all scripture about eternity, I very much consider it the equivalent of trying to explain the color “red” to someone who only sees in black and white. It is a study in our willingness to apply strange phrases to our understanding of reality. That is why I use the river/ocean analogy. I also use a “slaughterhouse” analogy regarding the lake of fire. If the fire is never quenched, but it is ineternity - outside of “time” - then what does that really mean? And if it IS in time, then it is like a slaughterhouse that exists for a hundred years. If you say a steer was slaughtered in a slautherhouse that existed for 100 years, it does not mean the first steer was slaughtered for that long. The steer did “stay slaughtered” though, for at least that long. ;->
BTW, I’m in the land of a thousand “Babdis” churches myself. 8->
He stretched his arms a little then a little bit more.
Then He stretched even more till his arms reached both sides of the cross.
This is how he loves us.
Good Post! Thanks for sharing!
Id rather live like Jesus died for my sins and I accept Him as my personal savior. The Hell thing becomes pretty irrelevant for me
That's the way it should be... but it is not the way everybody sees it. Imagine someone is driving down the road, past a "wrong way" sign, towards the proverbial bridge that is down. You are saying that, unless I stop them because they ignored the "wrong way" sign, I have no business stopping them! If I stopped them because they are going to fall in the river, I am guilty of fearmongering, right? Yes, if they had obeyed the traffic sign they bridge down would be irrelevant... but the fact is they didn't and if I don't stop them they are going to get killed. I'll stop them first, then I might point out the traffic sign. Same here, if someone comes to Jesus out of fear from hell, there's plenty of time for that person to later on understand what Jesus did and follow Him out of love! But I won't stop hollering "the bridge is down" or "hell is eternal" for as long as people are heading to their doom.
If you say a steer was slaughtered in a slautherhouse that existed for 100 years, it does not mean the first steer was slaughtered for that long. The steer did stay slaughtered though, for at least that long. ;->
Maybe that's your problem, you are trying to understand God! Do you remember Isa 55:8-9? For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts."
—Maybe that’s your problem, you are trying to understand God!—
Well, thats not really the case here. I am trying to understand what he is communicating to us in His Word. And since He made the effort, I figure there is something He is trying to tell me.
Also, I am a VERY black and white thinker. I believe that issues are like black and white newspaper photographs. EVERYTHING is black and white. Even the “gray areas”, for if you look at them through a magnifying glass you will see that they are made up of individual black and white dots (actually black dots on white). So if I see an area as “gray”, it means I need to break it down further to its black and white components.
And likewise with the slaughterhouse analogy. I am saying that people infer things from God’s Word that are really not there. If I say I paint a fence blue for all eternity do I mean I spend eternity painting it blue, or that I paint it once and it “stays blue” for all eternity. I think that is actually what is being said about Hell and the lake of fire. People (in whatever post “first ressurection” form they take) are thrown into the lake of fire, to be destroyed and they stay destroyed, never to be heard from again.
But those who accept Jesus death and resurrection as the complete and perfect sacrifice as a covering for their sins will enjoy eternal LIFE in the presence of the Lord for all eternity.
One is called death and the other is called life. Those words have very “black and white” meaning. Death is an ending. A ceasing to exist. It is not “eternal life” in suffering. It is the opposite of life. And I don’t get into Pat Robertson’s twisting of the meaning of words by calling something a “form of death”. Death is death, within the context of the subject.
For mankind, post this life, there are two possibilities. It is black and white: 1. Eternal life in the presence of the Lord. 2. Eternal punishment - death. Ceasing to exist in any form whatsoever. The body dies when you go to the grave, whether Christian or not. What is left dies in the lake of fire if your sins are not covered via the blood of Christ.
Sorry. I didn’t mean to get so wordy. It just sort of flowed...
And to clarify, everything above is offered in the spirit of “opinion”. With further study, it is possible that some of that opinion could change. It is where I am now, though.
—You are saying that, unless I stop them because they ignored the “wrong way” sign, I have no business stopping them! If I stopped them because they are going to fall in the river, I am guilty of fearmongering, right?—
I admit it does sound like that is what I am saying, but it is really not. Yes, I think people should be warned of the outcome of their life as they are currently living it. But the way I see it is that I can warn them of the impending disaster and offer them a better way. But, to expand the analogy, it is not merely to tell them to turn around. Rather it is to tell them that there is a better road - one that takes them to a relationship with their creator - or they can continue on the road that they are on and come to an end. There is no “turning around” as I see it. There is merely taking a fork in the road before you get to the bridge.
I like to use Ecclesiastes to explain this to people that are not Christian, but open to its teachings. Eccleistes is actually my favorit OT book and reminds me a bi of the movie “The Sixth Sense” in that the twist at the end causes the reader to see the whole book from a completely different perspective than when they were first reading.
The book of Ecclesiastes basically says people eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor. And, without Christ, they then die. IOW, they are like animals. And I sometimes wonder if that is what is meant when we are referred to as the “natural” man.
And that, coupled with the message of Christ sums up what I like to share with non-believers.
Only regret is that I haven't always lived with that goal in mind.
—I have a terminal illness. Changed how I live my life each day. I want to me the Master with a clean and pure heart.
Only regret is that I haven’t always lived with that goal in mind.—
I infer from your post that your motive is not to avoid Hell, but a desire to be with the Father. Am I correct?
I will confess that although I do not have a terminal illness, as I get older and in a very real sense face my own mortality, I am experiencing a shadow of what you probably are. I think it is changing both of our lives in the same way, being Christians. I think it also changes the life of the agnostic, but can, for obvious reasons, go either way. They either cling to the only thing they have - this life - with every breath, or they search for their Creator and a relationship with Him.
—You are over analyzing. The scriptures are very clear regarding Heaven and Hell.—
It is funny you say that, because that is what I said to someone regarding their position about eternal suffering. I told him it is really not there. That he is inferring it through over-analyzing.
I agree that the Bible is as clear as God is willing to be about Heaven and Hell, but we seem to mess it up pretty well in our interpretation of the meaning of the words. Maybe that issue is why there are so many different churches. We all over-analyze stuff. I mean, the bible is very clear that a baptism is dunkin in water, and yet there are plenty of churches that just sprinkle water on people. Go figure. ;->
No, you are denying what is written in scripture. Look at the chapters in Revelation to see what happens to those who are not written in the lambs book of life. Thrown into the pit is not simply ended.
Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
What happens to a piece of paper that is cast into a lake of fire? For that matter, what happens to a human body that is cast into a lake of fire?
Or a pit?
What does the word “death” mean to you? Christians are offered “eternal life”. What of those that do not spend eternity with Christ. Are they offered “eternal life in death”? That sounds a bit like an oxymoron when you understand the meaning of the individual words in the sentence. And Pat Robertson notwithstanding, it is not a “type of death”.
Read this and let me know what you think. It discusses the points you make:
I read 3 things here:
(1)The beast (Anti Christ) and the false prophet have been in the Lake of Fire since Rev. 19:21, one thousand years earlier. They have not burned yet!
(2) They will be tormented forever and ever. This is the same Greek word used to describe the eternal blessings of the redeemed and the eternal nature of God. If it means eternal, and forever and ever in one case, it sure means the same in the other.
(3)Those who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior will be cast in the same lake of fire. Since Anti Christ and the false prophet are men, I must assume that it is possible for all men to be tormented forever and ever.
You sound like one who spiritualizes Revelation, e.g. "tormented" doesn't really mean tormented, and the flames of hell are just a symbol. Let's assume that's right. All symbols are poor representations of a larger reality, so if the flames/eternity of hell are symbolic, you know the "real thing" would be much worse.
Worst case, join a Seven Day Adventist Church. You'll be surrounded by people who think like you do. But I hope you never have a reason to remember this discussion!
I heard one guy on the radio discussing the “eternal fire”. Long story short - he came to the conclusion that this “fire” is the presence of God. He had some special word for the shining “energy” mentioned in the Old Testement but I forget what it was. But the same thing that Moses protected his eyes from, the pillar of fire, etc. The idea that in the end - God’s total power and total holiness will be shining everywhere.
And that is good for those that believe and love God. Not so much if you hate God - to be in the total, overwhelming presence of something/someone that you hate.
Seems to me that there are some problems with this idea. But I thought it was an interesting take on it.
There are two Greek words in the New Testament translated death. Thanatos - General word for "death" or meaning the separation of the soul from the body and Nekros - Refers to dead body, corpse. Death has also been referred to as separation as in Eph. 4:18;
Eph. 4:18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
So death does not mean the annihilation.
>> For that matter, what happens to a human body that is cast into a lake of fire?<<
At the resurrection people are not given this physical body, they are given immortal bodies.
Matt 25:46"These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Here is a quote from the site you suggested.
How can one imagine for a moment that the God who gave his Son to die for sinners because of his great love for them would install a torture chamber somewhere in the new creation in order to subject those who reject him to everlasting pain?"
That is the humanistic base for trying to deny the existence of an eternal place of torment. There hope is that if you dont accept Christ as savior you dont get eternal life with Him but you arent punished forever. Your punishment only takes a short time and then its just over and your gone. No long term suffering. Its a mechanizm to protect from the horror of envisioning those who they know didnt believe and in case they dont make it that it wont be as bad as some say.
You say that God wouldnt punish someone for eternity. If you say you are a Christian then you already believe that God will punish for eternity. God is goint to eternally torment the Devil and all the angels that followed him.
Rev 20:10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. So unless you deny scripture you already believe that God will torment day and night forever and ever. Remember that the angels are also created by God just as we are. By this you must agree that your premise that God would not do that is wrong.
Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
There again, even you claim that those are only the people who took the mark of the best, is evidence that there is torment forever and ever.
Mt 25:46 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Jude 1:13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
Christians are promised eternal life those who deny Christ are promised eternal torment or death (separation from God).
—You sound like one who spiritualizes Revelation, e.g. “tormented” doesn’t really mean tormented, and the flames of hell are just a symbol—
That would be incorrect. I do believe there is symbolism, to be sure, but I tend to be a literalist. But Revelation is a very unique book, as any shcolar who teaches on the subject will tell you. There is clearly a LOT of symbolism there compared to most of the bible.
Regarding the three things:
—(1)The beast (Anti Christ) and the false prophet have been in the Lake of Fire since Rev. 19:21, one thousand years earlier. They have not burned yet! —
The wording there is sketchy (strongs G928). There is a question about the tense of the text regarding their presence there. Also, regarding their “not burned yet”, see my notes on eternity in the next part.
—(2) They will be tormented forever and ever. This is the same Greek word used to describe the eternal blessings of the redeemed and the eternal nature of God. If it means eternal, and forever and ever in one case, it sure means the same in the other.—
A couple of things here. First, we are talking about “eternal” or “eternity” and what that actually means. I’ve used the phrase “Time is a current that flows in an ocean called “eternity”. When I look at the description of eternity in its various uses in the Bible, it sounds almost like a place “outside of time” as we know time. Again, the bible’s discussion of it is a bit like talking about the color “red” to people who only see in black and white. Second, Satan is very different from man, as you pointed out
—(3)Those who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior will be cast in the same lake of fire. Since Anti Christ and the false prophet are men, I must assume that it is possible for all men to be tormented forever and ever.—
I think one could make that assumption. I also think one could assume that when they are thrown into the lake of fire they would be consumed.
Thing is, I don’t think any position on a major tenet of Christianity should be placed on a single verse, and I also confess that when discussing end times prophesy and eternity that I can not claim to have the only correct understanding of it. But when taken with the context of what I understand of God’s personality and what the words “death” and “life” mean, I don’t see how those that do not receive eternal life will remain alive. They will be, well, dead.
Did you read the article to which I posted?
I agree with CynicalBear that denying the existence of an eternal place of torment gives hope that you "won't be punished forever". And that tells me who does that theory come from... the great deceiver, Satan himself! It is to his advantage to get people to believe that hell does not exist, or is not a literal place of torment, or at the very least does not last forever. Many will be deceived and will find out how wrong they were when it's too late for them!
Who are they? They are Satan, AntiChrist and the false prophet. The last 2 ones are men, yet they are tormented forever and ever.
Revelation is a very unique book, as any shcolar who teaches on the subject will tell you. There is clearly a LOT of symbolism there
Stick with the golden rule for interpreting prophecy: "'Take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the context indicate otherwise.' There's no reason in Rev. 20 to assume that the lake of fire is anything else than just that, a lake of fire!
Given that scenario, now what would be the consequences of the penalty for breaking any law all being the same? You get the same punishment for speeding, jaywalking, bank robbery, or murder.
Don’t complain to me... you need to address the One who gave the law!
There was no complaint, just an invitation to explore the consequences of the the analogy.
The reaction was interesting, though.
I think you introduced me to him...
In the highest sense, the spiritual sense, the eternal sense, the only thing that really matters is souls. People are the only thing coming out of this creation.
Politics, government, business, all pale in comparison, although that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay due regard to the care of our fellow men, or to the interests of posterity. Quite the contrary.
Those with the best view of heavenly things are the ones we should look to for the wisdom we need to properly provide for the things of this earth.
—There’s no reason in Rev. 20 to assume that the lake of fire is anything else than just that, a lake of fire!—
OK. And what happens to a person when they are put into a lake of fire?
What is punishment? What is its purpose?
—I agree with CynicalBear that denying the existence of an eternal place of torment gives hope that you “won’t be punished forever”.—
Well, if you are annihilated, you are, in fact punished forever, just as a convicted murderer is punished for all time when he is executed.
—I agree with CynicalBear that denying the existence of an eternal place of torment gives hope that you “won’t be punished forever”.—
Well, if you are annihilated, you are, in fact punished forever, just as a convicted murderer is punished for all time when he is executed.
—or at the very least does not last forever.—
what does that even mean? Is it time never ending, or is it something outside of time? And what is with this belief in a “torture” beyond what any man can even comprehend?
What of folks like Pharaoh, who’s heart God hardened. Is he going to suffer and suffer and suffer for all eternity? What exactly is the purpose of that? Do you really think those of us that are saved are going to take pleasure in watching others suffer?
There is a LOT of scripture that talks of eternity, hell, lake of fire and eternal life. If you don’t have eternal life, you are not alive. And those in the lake of fire do not have eternal life. They have, literally, eternal death. One who is not alive cannot feel pain, torture, etc. The natural man, without the spiritual man, merely ceases to exist. At least, that is what scripture says. And throwing one into a “lake of fire” is gonna end their body pretty darned fast.
And what happens to a person when they are put into a lake of fire?
A person with a mortal body would be incinerated, but what kind of body will the resurrected unsaved people have? I don't know, but if the Bible tells me that they can remain alive in a lake of fire, just like Anti Christ who is a man will remain alive during the 1000-year reign of Christ, I believe it.
You like to emphasize that annihilation IS eternal punishment. Really? I mean, once a person is annihilated, when that person does not exist any longer, how can that person be punished? I think you mean that those people are "not rewarded" eternally. That's not necessarily the same thing than punished. I think of my son, he gets rewarded when he gets As in his report card, punished if he gets an F... but what about other grades? he's neither rewarded nor punished. That's what you are suggesting for the unsaved. And that is NOT what the Bible says.
I must confess that your idea is nice, kind of makes sense in a human way of thinking. But, what does Prv. 16:25 say? There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
I can tell you are NOT going to change your mind... and neither am I. I just hope you don't send someone to hell based on a false sense of security.
—A person with a mortal body would be incinerated, but what kind of body will the resurrected unsaved people have?—
That is the important question upon which all positions on this rest. The bible says that Christians are “natural man” and “Spiritual Man”. It also says that men who are not Christs are not “spiritual men”. So what exactly is thrown into the lake of fire in their case? I dunno. It is why I think the “lake of fire” thing is like “wheels within wheels” and Locusts with the faces of men and the hair of women. Heck, it could be the surface of the sun. 8->
But the thing that I keep focusing on is that the bible strongly implies that what we interpret as the passage of time is merely a part of the creation in which we live. It is not part of eternity. So the whole concept of “frying in a big vat of fire for ever and ever “in eternity” is not something we can really comprehend. And I do not consider God to be a vindictive God. Rather, It is as if he treats the non believers and tares, weeds, chaff, to be thrown out.
That is huge to me. It represents an attitude. They are not actively punished by God any more than you “punish” the weeds you pull out of your garden. Rather, it is a simple removal from your presence and your world, like so much dust you sweep up and toss outside or into the bin.
And another important thing to notice is that the difference between those that are written in the book of life (there’s that word again) and those thrown into the lake of fire is not how good they were. Rather, it is that each person in each group CHOSE to accept the atoning blood of Jesus or not accept it. The whole “feeling the punishment every day for eon after eon” thing just doesn’t “seem right”. I use those words because TWICE Solomon says, “There is a way that seems right to a man but its end is death.”
Doesn’t mean I’m wrong here, but it does mean I need to search the scriptures and pray and meditate on it. And that is what I have done. Once I dropped the turn or burn thinking God remained just as just as he ever was in my mind, but also more “true” to his nature as I read scripture.
And I base that last sentence on what God did to his enemies in the OT. He did allow them to suffer as he tried to turn them to him, but when he was done, he simply had them wiped out. I see that as a sort of symbol of what happens to the non believer if they die in their sins. They are simply cast out. And without the presence of God, life cannot exist in any form.
—I think of my son, he gets rewarded when he gets As in his report card, punished if he gets an F... but what about other grades? he’s neither rewarded nor punished. That’s what you are suggesting for the unsaved. And that is NOT what the Bible says.—
No. That is not what I am saying. I’m not even thinking on that plane. It is all black and white to me. It is binary. You are either Christs or you are not Christs. That’s it.
And people can get all A’s and not be Christs or they can be continually flunking and be Christ’s. Although faith without works is dead, it is not the works that save you. It is the faith. Faith in Christ.
but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to Gods law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
I truly want to be with Him for eternity. I really do fall into the “hate this world” camp. I can appreciate it as much as the next guy, but only as a college student gets through those four years and onto “real life” or a baby in the womb, preparing for birth. Life is a mist. To me, man’s lifespan is one day - today.
And then eternity with Christ, or a casting out as garbage.
If you read Ecclesiastes cover to cover, you get a hint of how I feel about the fate of non-Christians. And the twist at the end hints of the fate of Christians.
—I can tell you are NOT going to change your mind... and neither am I.—
Not true. I did change my mind. I used to believe in the eternal damnation suffering for all time and all that. It is what I got in countless sermons and always thought that it was a foregone conclusion and everybody “knew” that.
Until I actually studied it. That is when I changed my mind.
It has happened with a lot of things, but most far more subtle.
I was a pre-tribulationist when I first became a Christian. I went to an AG church so what do you expect? ;-P
But the more I studied it, the more problems I had with the teaching. I eventually became a “mid-tribulationist” or, more precisely post-tribulation, pre-wrath. This happened in the mid-1980’s. I came across a web site about five years ago that sums up my position really well. It is here:
In a nutshell, Pre-tribulationists see Revelation 4 as the rapture while I see it in Revelation 7, beginning at verse 9.
And this is a little off topic, but I compare the bible to a hologram on glass vs a picture on glass. If you break the picture, each piece contains a piece of the picture. If you break the hologram, each peice contains the entire picture, but from a specific angle.
Every verse in the bible is a view of God from a particular perspective. As one reads the word and adds up the pieces, many of the mysteries and confusing scripture becomes more clear. Sometimes a verse makes no sense because the reader is trying to get it to fit into their own view of what Christianity is rather than trying to learn more about God. And sometimes it “seems right” because it actually IS right.
And as a pastor friend of me mentioned last year, Most Christians spend the first couple of years studying the bible and come up with a specific belief system and then they spend the rest of their life reading the bible to defend that belief system, often ignoring clear evidence that they have picked up some incorrect beliefs. Try arguing the “ever virgin Mary” concept with some catholics and you’ll see what I mean. They have to believe it or many of their other beliefs collaps.