Thursday, 23 January 2020

Why Hell is Like a jail

I've written before about the purpose of hell as a quarantine centre for sin. This is because sin is like a communicable disease. But hell has another use, namely as a jail.

We can understand this from Hebrews 9:27 (BBE) which says, "And because by God's law death comes to men once, and after that they are judged;" Therefore those who die are sent to hell until the day of judgement.

God has arranged a future mass-trial of sinners which we call the Judgement Day. John tells us in Revelation 20:11 and 12 (BBE), "And I saw a great white seat, and him who was seated on it, before whose face the earth and the heaven went in flight; and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, taking their places before the high seat; and the books were open, and another book was open, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged by the things which were in the books, even by their works."

This begs the question of what these works are. I believe the answer is found in John 6:28 and 29 (BBE). "Then they said to him, (Jesus) 'How may we do the works of God?' Jesus, answering, said to them, 'This is to do the work of God: to have faith in him whom God has sent."

Obedience to God's command to believe is what saves people from eternal punishment. In fact, the gospel itself is a command. As we read in 2 Thessalonians 1:7 and 8 BBE), "And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus comes from heaven with the angels of his power in flames of fire, To give punishment to those who have no knowledge of God, and to those who do not give ear to the good news of our Lord Jesus:"

God himself gave approval of his son. When Jesus allowed Peter, James, and John to see his glory, Matthew 17:5 and 6 (BBE) reports, "While he was still talking, a bright cloud came over them: and a voice out of the cloud, saying, 'This is my dearly loved Son, with whom I am well pleased; give ear to him'".

Is it any wonder then that God takes the dismissive or rebellious attitude of sinners toward Christ as a gross offense? I plan on emphasizing the importance of obeying the gospel in my next book, You Think You're Going to Heaven? What we do in respect to Christ is the factor which determines our eternal destiny.

On Saturday, I hope to post about a song referencing Christ's crucifixion.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Is Hell Fair?

One chief objection atheists give for their unbelief in God is that hell is unfair. How, they ask, can a good God send people to hell who never heard of him? I'm sure this question bothers many sincere seekers as well.

Though many people never heard of God, Romans 1:20 (BBE) shows that they still know of him through creation. "For from the first making of the world, those things of God which the eye is unable to see, that is, his eternal power and existence, are fully made clear, he having given the knowledge of them through the things which he has made, so that men have no reason for wrongdoing:"

And if that isn't enough, the next verse shows that the various people groups throughout history rejected the Lord. Romans 1:21 (BBE) declares, "Because, having the knowledge of God, they did not give glory to God as God, and did not give praise, but their minds were full of foolish things, and their hearts, being without sense, were made dark."

There's also the thorny matter of God's sovereignty over whom he's chosen. The human mind rebels against this, yet it's true. Ponder what God said through the Apostle Paul in Romans 9:19 and 20 (BBE). "But you will say to me, 'Why does he still make us responsible? who is able to go against his purpose?' But, O man, who are you, to make answer against God? May the thing which is made say to him who made it, 'Why did you make me so?'"

The truth is that God is sovereign and everything was made by him. As Paul continues in Romans 9:22-24, (BBE), "What if God, desiring to let his wrath and his power be seen, for a long time put up with the vessels of wrath which were ready for destruction: And to make clear the wealth of his glory to vessels of mercy, which he had before made ready for glory, Even us, who were marked out by him, not only from the Jews, but from the Gentiles?"

But this view isn't Paul's alone. Isaiah 64:8 (BBE) expressly states, "But now, O Lord, you are our father; we are the earth, and you are our maker; and we are all the work of your hand."

God also told Jeremiah to go to the potter's house and watch him work. The man made a pot but something went wrong with it. So he reshaped the clay into another pot which pleased him. We read in Jeremiah 18:6 (BBE) that God said, "'O Israel, am I not able to do with you as this potter does?' says the Lord. 'See, like earth in the potter's hand are you in my hands, O Israel.'"

So those folks who criticize God are in the wrong and need to repent of their gross sin. This is one thing I must point out in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Puny humanity feels entitled to murmur against the Lord but all they'll receive in the end is a one-way trip to hell.

On Thursday, I plan on posting about how hell is a sort of jail where sinners await their final sentence.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Saturday Song: The COLLECTORS "I Must Have Been Blind"

This song is about somebody leaving the country and the simple life and finding that living in the city wasn't where it's at. I'm sure we can all relate to the lyrics.

In a way, I did the same thing. My family lived in a town but I moved to the city of Edmonton when I was a teenager. I lived there for thirty years until the noise and churlish people drove me mad. Then I moved to a tiny hamlet where it's wonderfully quiet.

Listen to The Collectors song here.

Many folks do the same thing spiritually. They're raised as Christians but they wander away as teens. After years of feeling unfulfilled and running into many difficulties, they return to the faith. This time though, they own their own beliefs.

Jesus gave a good example of this in one of his most famous parables. A father's son wanted his share of the estate right away. That prodigal went to a far land and blew all his money on riotous living. When his cash ran out, so did his friends. He finally took a job feeding pigs but nobody fed him. Luke 15:17 (KJV) says, "And when he came to himself, he said, 'How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!'"

We know the rest of the story. And just like that young man, people can return to Christ and be warmly received with open arms. John 6:37 (KJV) quotes Jesus as saying, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

What do you think of this song and what I've written? I hope you'll leave me a comment.

On Monday, I hope to post about if hell is fair.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Why Hell Glorifies God

This might sound strange but hell actually glorifies God. If he gave every sinner a pass and let them all be with him, it would show that he's unjust and foolish. But since he is just as well as merciful, sending recalcitrant spirits to a place where they won't have to endure his magnanimous blessings shows his wisdom.

Throughout history, people have turned away from the truth to worship idols of wood, metal,  and stone. But God calls out to all who will listen to him so they may be saved from hell. Isaiah 45:21 and 22 (BBE) proclaims, "Give the word, put forward your cause, let us have a discussion together: who has given news of this in the past? who made it clear in early times? did not I, the Lord? and there is no God but me; a true God and a saviour; there is no other. Let your hearts be turned to me, so that you may have salvation, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is no other."

Though some folks claim that the Lord is cruel to send people to hell, the truth is that people volunteer to go there. How? By refusing the salvation purchased by Christ on the cross. As John 3:16 (BBE) quotes Christ, "For God had such love for the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever has faith in him may not come to destruction but have eternal life."

We also see that humanity has chosen to disobey, even though they knew the truth from the beginning. Romans 1:20 (BBE) explains, "For from the first making of the world, those things of God which the eye is unable to see, that is, his eternal power and existence, are fully made clear, he having given the knowledge of them through the things which he has made, so that men have no reason for wrongdoing:"

Since the Lord wants people to love him, he didn't make us like animals who do things according to their instincts. That's why he said in Deuteronomy 6:5 (BBE), "And the Lord your God is to be loved with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."

Love must be voluntary or it's mere coercion. Only a willing person can truly love. That's why God gave humanity a choice and a saviour to rescue us from our sinful condition.

This is one subject I'll tackle in my next book, You Think You're Going to Heaven? Many people reject God because they think he's cruel and capricious. I hope I can show them that he's graciously given us a choice. God could have exterminated Adam and Eve and made a new couple. Instead, he gave humanity the freedom to choose.

On Saturday, I'll post about a man in a song who left his home and then regretted it.

Monday, 13 January 2020

Why God Used Metaphors

Unlike similes, metaphors are sometimes harder to understand. We can grasp that a cowardly person could be called a chicken because we know that chickens aren't brave birds. But the Bible often uses metaphors to express inexpressible concepts.

The subject of hell is one which deals with unimaginable pain and anguish. Words fail to describe the utter horror and hopelessness of that eternal destination. Therefore, the writers of Holy Scripture had to use examples of terrifying situations which they knew from their own experiences.

Darkness is one which we all understand. Referring  to wicked teachers, Jude 1:13 (BBE) describes their fate as, "Violent waves of the sea, streaming with their shame, wandering stars for whom the darkest night is kept in store for ever."

Fire is another metaphor used to express the extreme pain which a soul in hell feels. John the Baptist spoke of Christ's final judgement on the wicked, using an agricultural example. He said of Jesus in Matthew 3:12 (BBE), "In whose hand is the instrument with which he will make clean his grain; he will put the good grain in his store, but the waste will be burned up in the fire which will never be put out."

Jesus also spoke often of hell and warned his hearers about it. Mark 9:42 and 43 (BBE) says, "And whoever is a cause of trouble to one of these little ones who have faith in me, it would be better for him if a great stone was put round his neck and he was dropped into the sea. And if your hand is a cause of trouble to you, let it be cut off; it is better for you to go into life with one hand than to have two hands and go into hell, into the eternal fire."

Hell is such a frightening place that even demons feared being consigned there forever. Matthew 8:28 and 29 (BBE) shows just how panicked they were at the Lord's presence. "And when he had come to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, there came out to him from the place of the dead, two who had evil spirits, so violent that no man was able to go that way. And they gave a loud cry, saying, 'What have we to do with you, you Son of God? Have you come here to give us punishment before the time?'"

Metaphors are why non Christians stumble when they try to understand our valid and legitimate concern about people headed for eternal conscious torment. That too is why I'm writing my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? So many individuals risk an excruciating eternity because they suppose they'll go to heaven. May this book steer them to the only one who can save them.

On Thursday, I hope to post about why hell glorifies God.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Saturday Song: The 49th Parallel, "Labourer"

I must admit that for most folks, work is a four-letter word. It takes a huge slice out of our day but without it we'd starve. Even so, is work really a curse or a blessing?

A Canadian band called The 49th Parallel sang about how the rich envy the simple life of a worker in their song "Labourer."

Listen to it here:

Before the fall, God gave Adam a job. Genesis 2:15 (BBE) tells us, "And the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to do work in it and take care of it."

In the next chapter, we read of the fall and how God cursed the land, making working it hard. Genesis 3:17 (BBE) tells us how it happened. "And to Adam he said, 'Because you gave ear to the voice of your wife and took of the fruit of the tree which I said you were not to take, the earth is cursed on your account; in pain you will get your food from it all your life."

Though this is so, the Bible has much to say about the good aspects of work. First, it should satisfy our basic needs. Psalms 28:2 )BBE) reads, "You will have the fruit of the work of your hands: happy will you be, and all will be well for you."

Secondly, there is nothing wrong in profit if it's earned legally. Proverbs 14:23 (BBE) reminds us, "In all hard work there is profit, but talk only makes a man poor."

We also see that the Father has given us work which can emotionally satisfy us. Ecclesiastes 2:24 (BBE) says, "There is nothing better for a man than taking meat and drink, and having delight in his work. This again I saw was from the hand of God."

When we have enough and to spare, we can help our siblings in Christ who lack basic sustenance. Hebrews 6:10 (BBE) declares, "For God is true, and will not put away from him the memory of your work and of your love for his name, in the help which you gave and still give to the saints."

Though we might not enjoy getting up early and toiling all day, work is a way to help out others and ourselves.

On Monday, I'll post about why God used metaphors.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Why Did God Create Hell?

In the past few posts, I explained about what hell is and who belongs in it. Since some folks might wonder why the Lord created hell in the first place, I'll attempt to answer that question.

Though God is merciful, he's also just. As Isaiah 13:11 (BBE) points out, "And I will send punishment on the world for its evil, and on the sinners for their wrongdoing; and I will put an end to all pride, and will make low the power of the cruel."

Since this is so, there must be a place of incarceration for those who rebel against the Lord. As Jeremiah 23:5 (BBE) explains about Christ, "See, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will give to David a true Branch, and he will be ruling as king, acting wisely, doing what is right, and judging uprightly in the land."

Jesus is that king and being king, he has power and authority over humanity. As he said in Matthew 28:18 (BBE), "And Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.'"

Furthermore, nobody escapes from God's justice. Luke 12:5 (BBE)record's Christ's warning about whom we must fear. "But I will make clear to you of whom you are to be in fear: of him who after death has power to send you to hell; yes, truly I say, Have fear of him."

Being religious won't save people from eternal torment either. Matthew 23:33 (BBE) was Christ's warning to the Pharisees but it applies to all self-righteous folks. "You snakes, offspring of snakes, how will you be kept from the punishment of hell?"

Furthermore, hell is unlimited in its dimensions. As Israel's people were warned about their sinfulness in Isaiah 5:14 (BBE), "For this cause the underworld has made wide its throat, opening its mouth without limit: and her glory, and the noise of her masses, and her loud-voiced feasters, will go down into it."

So we conclude that justice demands punishment and incarceration. Hell is that place where rebellious angels and humans are consigned. I'll emphasize this in my next book, You Think You're Going to Heaven? People wrongly condemn God for supposedly sending "innocent" people to hell. I'll show from Scripture that it isn't so.

If all goes well, I hope to feature a song on Saturday by a Canadian band regarding the downside of wealth.