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All Christians believe in the existence of hell, and all believe that hell is the place designated for the wicked, since God is holy and righteous and cannot tolerate sin. But not all Christians believe that hell equals eternal torment. Rather it's the place that will destroy the souls of the wicked. This is the second death mentioned in Revelation 20:14,15. Yet God is love. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasurein the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from you evil ways; for why will ye die?" Ezekiel 33:11 To illustrate the fate awaiting the lost, the Bible points back to the Flood and to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. On the Flood, see Genesis 6-9 and 2 Peter 3:5-7. Concerning Sodom and Gomorrah, see Genesis 19:24-29, 2 Peter 2:6, and Jude 7. Also, in the Bible, eternal fire is a fire that destroys forever, as in Sodom and Gomorrah. See Jude 7; Matthew 25:41; Matthew 10:28. Brimstone is burning sulfur that suffocates and destroys. This imagery comes from the destruction of Sodom, which was incinerated without a trace. The Bible really means it when it says the wages of sin is death. See Genesis 19:24-25, 29; Deuteronomy 29:22-23; Psalms 11:6; Ezekiel 38:22; Revelation 14:10; Romans 6:23. Throughout the Bible, "gnashing of teeth" denotes not eternal torment, but extreme anger and hostility. See Job 16:9; Psalms 35:16; Psalms 37:12; Psalms 112:10; Lamentations 2:16; Acts 7:54; Matthew 13:43, 49-50; Matthew 22:13-14; Matthew 24:50-51; Matthew 25:30; Luke 13:28. When Scripture speaks of smoke rising "forever," it means irreversible destruction. See Isaiah 34:10-15; Revelation 14:11. The "worm" in the expression "worm that dies not" is a maggot that feeds on something dead until there is nothing left on which to feed. The idea of everlasting agony in torment originated with former pagan Greek philosophers who also thought human beings had a "soul" which will never die. Isaiah 66:24 read in context helps clear up the confusion. See also Mark 9:47-48. The expression "unquenchable fire" in the Bible always signifies fire which cannot be resisted and which therefore consumes entirely. See Isaiah 1:31; Jeremiah 4:4; Jeremiah 17:27; Ezekiel 20:47-48; Amos 5:5-6; Matthew 3:12. Contrast human fire which can be quenched or put out, mentioned in Hebrews 11:34. Long after Christ, some church fathers understood the doctrine of hell as a fire which burns forever but never burns up what is put in it. The Old Testament's final book describes the end of sinners as ashes under the soles of the feet of the righteous. See Malachi 4:1-3. Long after Malachi, the apocryphal book of Judith introduced the non-scriptural idea that God will put fire and worms in people's flesh so they will feel pain forever. Jesus compared the end of the wicked to someone burning chaff, dead trees or weeds; he also said it will be like a house destroyed by a hurricane or someone crushed under a falling rock. See Matthew 3:12; Matthew 7:19; Matthew 13:30, 40; Matthew 7:27; Luke 20:17-18. Jesus described Gehenna (hell) as a place where God can destroy both soul and body -- the entire person. See Matthew 10:28. By portraying hell's punishment as "eternal," the Bible indicates that this punishment takes place not in this life, but in the coming age; it also means that its results will be everlasting. See Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9. The context and lesson of the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus are about the urgency of responding to God while there is still time. The context of the parable has little if anything to do with what happens to the wicked after resurrection and judgment. See Luke 16:9-16 for the context, and Luke 16:31 for the lesson to be derived. The New Testament uses the adjective "immortal" to describe the resurrection bodies not of the lost, but of the saved. See 1 Corinthians 15:54-57; 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 John 5:11-13.
The bible does not teach the existence of a hell in which you will exist and burn forever. How can John 3:16 mean anything if you do not have to believe in Jesus, but you get to live for eternal life? If there is a hell in which you live forever, isn't that a contradiction to this text? This is not the only place in scripture that outlines exactly what hades is. Learn more about what the bible teaches about hell at http://www.helltruth.com/
All humans are sinners, not because of their personally committing sin, but because they are born to parents that are sinners. In Gen. 5:1 states that Adam was made in the likeness of God. Now this likeness is achieved by Adam by disobedience to God (Gen. 3:22). And the characteristics of the disobedient likeness of God is death (Gen. 2:17) which is spelled out in detail in Gen. 3:7-24. And how this characteristic is evidenced is spelled out in Genesis chs. 4-11, and also in the history of the Bible. Now the children born to Adam are not freshly made, but they share the condition Adam has fallen into (Gen. 5:3) by being born into Adam's family. The most profound tragedy of this condition is failure to relate with God in spirit. Their only means to convey with others is flesh with its five senses. It is impossible for them to relate to God, for God is Spirit and fallen human is flesh only. In this condition whether you sin small sin or big sin it has no bearing on your eternal destiny. To rescue this fallen humanity someone equal to God is needed. Someone who could cancel God's verdict "for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Gen. 2:17). Someone who could revive the spirit in fallen humanity. Someone who could clothe the fallen humanity with God's righteousness. Someone who could ensure eternal life for this fallen humanity. Jesus Christ our Lord is the Person. He is Son of God, the Word of God, the personification of Word of God in human flesh. He earned equality with God for us all by obedience (Phil. 2:6-11). Jesus' death on the cross achieved everything spelled out in the above paragraph. He became author of eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9), who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God (Heb. 9:14). Many a time people forget that Jn. 3:16 not only promises eternal life, but it also states that those who fail to have this receiving faith are already in state of perishing in eternal death. So eternal death is not that God is unjustly condemning anyone, but that each individual freely opts to reject God's offer of eternal life and freely opts to choose eternal death. Each individual has that spiritual monitor called conscience that repeatedly warns everyone. When its voice is not heeded repeatedly then that monitor becomes numbed and that person enjoys fleshly lifestyle (Rom. 1:18-32; 2:14-16).
Hell was not intended for man but for Satan and the fallen angels who rebelled against God. Matthew 25:41 "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." Fallen angels experienced heaven and the goodness of the Lord God, yet they rebelled and it seemed that they are incapable of repentance. They are spirit beings which cannot be annihilated. Because of this, God decided to punish them with eternal suffering in hell. Man is also a spirit being. Towards sinful man, God extended His grace by sending His Son to die on the cross for the forgiveness of man's sins; rebellion against God. Yet some people still reject this grace and choose to live as they please. Since God has done all He can do to satisfy justice and save man from the punishment of sin. He has no choice but to send the sinful man, who refuses His atoning grace, to the same punishment as "reserved for the devil and his angels."
When a person commits a crime, the punishment is based upon both the severity of the crime and the person whom the crime is against. For example, if I lie to my dog about taking him for a walk when I'm really taking him to the vet, we might even question if that lie was wrong since I was lying to a dog and not a person. A father who lies to his child will probably not go to jail, yet that same father lying to a judge very well may end up in jail. A person who kills his neighbors dog might be charged with animal cruelty. But if that person were to kill his neighbor instead, he would be charged with murder. Same crime, but different punishment because of the object the crime was committed against. So imagine then, if all sin is a crime against an eternal God. Sin is much more serious an offense than we like to think about. God is eternal and perfect. Our sin is a crime against Him. There could be no more a severe punishment for crime than crimes committed against an eternally perfect God. Hell, which will eventually be thrown into the eternally existing Lake of Fire was originally designed for Satan and the other fallen angels. But, when sin entered the world and mankind became sinners, those that are not covered by the blood of Christ will justly find themselves separated from God in that place. I would hope that would serve as a motivating factor to encourage all Christians to reach out to their neighbors and lovingly share the Truth of Christ with them.
No person will go to hell for punishment for their sin. We are all sinners. People will spend their eternity in hell for their rejection of Jesus Christ. Heaven is also going to be full of sinners, but they accepted Jesus Christ as their redeemer. God cannot look upon sin, therefore we as sinners have to be covered in the Blood of Jesus Christ to be clean before God. When God looks at us it is through the cleansing Blood of Jesus.
The wages of sin is death! Romans 6:23 Death without Christ is eternal, just as life in Christ is eternal. Without Christ you will not rise from death but remain eternal dead. But those who die in Christ will rise like Christ to live eternally with Him Death (hell) itself will be swallowed up by the lake of fire to be eternally gone. Eternal torment is completely against God's nature and is a lie of Satan, "You shall not surely die." Genesis 3:4 God wants your full and complete love, not your fear. 1 Cor 14:1 "Let Love be your greatest aim." 1 Cor 16:14 For without Love all we do is worthless. 1 John 4:16 & Mark 12:30-31 You shall love your Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. 1 Cor 13:13 Love is greater than even Faith. 1 Cor 13:2 Perfect knowledge, Perfect Faith, Prophesy and Power all worthless without love. Fear of eternal torment in hell will never permeate a person enough to fill their heart and mind with the kind of complete love God wants from us -- or how he wants us to love others -- but instead it causes a person to live their life looking in the rear view mirror. God wants you looking up to Him in love, not looking down in fear.
First: the question infers that God's judgement can be questioned. Second: Fair? What is the definition of fair? Why do you think that the Almighty God who created all this should be held to our standard of "fair", or be "fair" at all? Are you saying that fairness is a quality of righteousness, and that God may NOT be righteous? Third: What is eternity? Outside of this space/time bubble we are presently in how can you even define eternity? Is it possible that all men will bow the knee to Christ/ come to Him/ repent/ be saved after this bubble we are in is 'found no more'. I submit that the question is irrelevant. Believe and trust God.
I do believe that those who choose to reject Jesus and His free gift of eternal life (& all that that intells), will be destroyed "in the hell of fire". I do not however believe that this "everlasting fire" means that the person will be tortured forever. The effects will be for ever, as Malachi 4:1-3 says "it will leave them neither root nor branch" they will be "ashes under our feet". I know that because God is just, people will suffer according to there deeds, and some will suffer longer than others. But how can you say that a just God would allow Cain who killed one person to suffer, say 6000 years, more then Hitler who is responsible for over a million deaths? And how can a just God cause men to suffer torture FOREVER? " An eternally burning hell preached from the pulpit, and kept before the people, does injustice to the benevolent character of God. It presents Him as the veriest tyrant in the universe. This widespread dogma has turned thousands to universalism, infidelity, and atheism. The word of God is plain. It is a straight chain of truth, and will prove an anchor to those who are willing to receive it, even if they have to sacrifice their cherished fables. It will save them from the terrible delusions of these perilous times. Satan has led the minds of the ministers of different churches to cling tenaciously to their popular errors, as he led the Jews in their blindness to cling to their sacrifices, and crucify Christ. The rejection of light and truth leaves men captives, the subjects of Satan's deception." Testimonies for the Church. Volume 1, pg 344-345 One of the best things about God is the fact that He is just (fair). That is what makes the sacrifice of Christ so amazing! God made a way to "be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus"! Romans 3:26 Picture for a moment the dearest, most loved person in your life; maybe it's your son or daughter, maybe a spouse, mother or father. Now say this person never accepted Jesus and His atoning sacrifice for themselves, and was condemned to ETERNAL TORTURE at the second coming of Christ. Can you HONESTLY say that you would; A. Trust, love, think that He is fair or respect Him, wanting to be near Him for eternity? And, B. be happy and content, KNOWING that your son or daughter is suffering extreme anguish and pain, day in and day out for eternity! If you are very honest with yourself you will admit that this does NOT sit well with you. That makes it worth figuring out for your self, out of the Word. Please, if this scenario makes you uncomfortable, I urge you to take the time, and have the guts to question and get to the bottom of this issue. The reason this is so important of a subject, is because, like many other teachings this has a HUGE impact, consciously or sub-consciously, on how we view God. And how we view God in turn affect how we serve God. The only thing that we can do to obtain our salvation is to believe, or have faith in, Jesus and His sacrifice for us. But I strongly urge that the picture you have of this Jesus will determine if you truly believe and are "worshiping Him in spirit and truth" for "those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth" John 4:23,24 I propose that you cannot TRULY love, believe or worship a God that is capable of torturing your loved one forever! I couldn't. And i'm banking on the FACT that God is trustworthy, loving, compassionate and kind! While by no means clearing the guilty, so He is also just. "God IS love" "Perfect love casts out all fear" God wants us to truly love Him, as He loves us. I can love & trust a God that is loving, truly loving. And when God in the flesh was dying on the cross He did not say "I'll see to it that you burn in hell forever!" He said "...forgive them for they know not what they do"! That is the God of love, who's killing of the wicked is "a strange act". That is a God who I want to spend eternity with! One doctrine, huge ramifications! God bless you, Jason D
Everything said before stands and our duty is to preach Gods nessage to warn the lost. Period. That's our department. The following I feel is Gods department. Mercy comes into action after Judgement Jas 2:13. For God will not show mercy when he judges the person who has not been merciful; but mercy triumphs over judgment. The attributes of mercy and justice would seem to come in conflict, but mercy would prevail. Rom 9:18 So then, God has mercy on anyone he wishes, and he makes stubborn anyone he wishes. Rom 9:19 But one of you will say to me, "If this is so, how can God find fault with anyone? Who can resist God's will?" Rom 9:20 But who are you, my friend, to talk back to God? A clay pot does not ask the man who made it, "Why did you make me like this?" Rom 9:21 After all, the man who makes the pots has the right to use the clay as he wishes, and to make two pots from the same lump of clay, one for special occasions and the other for ordinary use. Psa_106:44 “Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry.”Notwithstanding all these provoking rebellions and detestable enormities the Lord still heard their prayer and pitied them. This is very wonderful, very godlike. One would have thought that the Lord would have shut out their prayer, seeing they had shut their ears against his admonitions; but no, he had a father's heart, and a sight of their sorrows touched his soul, the sound of their cries overcame his heart, and he looked upon them with compassion. His fiercest wrath towards his own people is only a temporary flame, but his love burns on forever like the light of his own immortality. Psa_106:45 “And he remembered for them his covenant.”The covenant is the sure foundation of mercy, and when the whole fabric of outward grace manifested in the saints lies in ruins this is the fundamental basis of love which is never moved, and upon it the Lord proceeds to build again a new structure of grace. Covenant mercy is sure as the throne of God. “And repented according to the multitude of his mercies.”He did not carry out the destruction which he had commenced. Speaking after the manner of men he changed his mind, and did not leave them to their enemies to be utterly cut off, because he saw that his covenant would in such a case have been broken. The Lord is so full of grace that he has not only mercy but mercies, yea a multitude of them, and these hive in the covenant. Harden not your heart for maybe no amount of MERCY will be able to help you. Heb 3:15 Then while it is [still] called Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion [in the desert, when the people provoked and irritated and embittered God against them]. [Psalms 95:7-8] Heb 3:15 This is what the scripture says: "If you hear God's voice today, do not be stubborn, as your ancestors were when they rebelled against God." Rev 2:21 'And I gave her time to repent; and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Rev 2:22 'Behold, I will cast her upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. Rev 3:19 'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent. Rev 9:20 And the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; Rev 9:21 and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts. Rev 16:9 People were severely burned scorched by the fiery heat, and they reviled and blasphemed the name of God, Who has control of these plagues, and they did not repent of their sins [felt no regret, contrition, and compunction for their waywardness, refusing to amend their ways] to give Him glory. Rev 16:10 Then the fifth [angel] emptied his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was [plunged] in darkness; and people gnawed their tongues for the torment [of their excruciating distress and severe pain] [Exodus 10:21] Rev 16:11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their anguish and their ulcers sores, and they did not deplore their wicked deeds or repent [for what they had done]. Gen 6 But the Lord declared that his Spirit should not thus strive with men always; he would leave them to be hardened in sin, and ripened for destruction.
Any body who goes to hell would have chosen to go there. Jesus died for all to be saved. He did everything possible except forcing you to love Him and be saved. Hell was suppose to be for the devil and his angels not human beings. Matt 25:41. Sadly in spite of all that God has done, some still choose to go to hell. Moreover, don't let the word eternity confuse you into thinking that a sinner will burn forever, instead the opposite is true. Those who burn in hell will be burned to ashes. Mal.4:4; 2 Pet. 3:9-11 Hell will be a fair punishment for sin and the sinner because heaven will be hell for the sinner that don't want to be there. And a loving God loves even the sinner so much that He will not want them to spend eternity with someone they don't love, but rather do the next best thing, destroy them with the sin they so choose to love.
Its simplicity again. A person goes to hell because they reject the Lord’s Christ, no other reason but that. So I ask you, what would be the price that someone could repay you for the death of a child via a drunken driver, or a careless truck driver that fell asleep behind the wheel that killed your love one, or perhaps a senseless drive by shooting on one of your love ones. Fileting a person’s skin would not be enough. A jail sentence of 20 people’s natural lives wouldn’t suffice. We make the rules and unfortunately prison time is all that can be rendered and the Lord abides by our rules and regulations. God sent his Son to redeem us; the cost was his Sons heinous death by crucifixion. It’s a cold sentence however fair in God’s eyes. Let us make sure that hell is not our reward by not accepting the Christ
Having read the bible a lot, I have not come across the geography of heaven that inludes "hell". In short I submit that hell is a concept created to distort how God deals with sin to finality. When I was growing up I trembled at the thought of burning for eternity with the devil carrying a huge fork busy turning you around to inflict the most painful of tortures! I promised myself that I was not going to sin because burning in hell and creaming for eternity out of pain, the thought was just too much for me. When I was a little older I wanted to be a Christian just in case this whole hell thing was true! I am now a mature Christian if I can call myself that and God has blessed me with more understanding of the bible and this has I rejoice in this freedom! I now worship God not because I fear burning in hell but because I love Him. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free! Back to the concept of hell more specifically, the parable of the richman and Lazarus was just that a parable. There is nothing to me that says we should take it literally. The concept of an eternally burning hell, implies that God will enjoy the eternal burning of his creatures in a lake of fire somewhere in the universe. Presumably there will be a section of the universe (probably at the rear somewhere) where this lake is located and there will be eternal suffering. I believe there is nothing further from the truth. The bible talks about the 2nd death in revelation. That is when all those that refused to accept His mercy will forever perish no more to be resurrected. That to me is hell. They are dead for eternity.
Gene Speight a born again believer God knows all things before and after. He is eternal God! In one sense, from our perspective, eternal hell is outrageous. Yet, people live day to day knowing - if they are mentally capable - that actions have consequences. Scripture, as many have stated in this blog, is clear. God sends no one to hell, literally. It is a choice man makes every moment of every day. It just so happens God is honest with us. He says, hell, and what all that means, will be the absence of His love, mercy and grace. I for one do not want to even consider the horror of what that means. It is beyond our rational thinking. The fact we breathe, experience joy, make friends and have a family - if we are so blessed - are all gifts of God's love for us. Just think, without God's love there is no hope! Fire and brimstone, burning forever! All of these torments do not and cannot match not having the love, grace and mercy of God. All men, lost and saved alike enjoy these blessings. However, only those who repent, believe in and receive Jesus and His atoning work for sin can experience the blessings of God's gifts now, to some degree, but in all the fullness of His presence when that day arrives. Don't debate a truth to death. Just accept the truth for what it is. God is life! Without Him no one can function. I grew up under hell fire and damnation preaching and was baptized several times out of fear and/or not wanting to feel rejected by my peers. But it was only when I came to the end of my "proverbial rope" and realized I had no hope that I reached out to Jesus and He met me where I was and changed my life without a preacher - though I had heard preachers before. Believe me, God is our life whether we realize it or not. "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being…" (See Acts 17:28) No, I did not know Jesus that well, but I cried out to God in a drunken state (Jesus is God you know.) and the God I knew intuitively existed - just as all mentally capable people do - and Jesus delivered me out of fear, guilt and hopelessness and set me on a path of joy, peace and purpose for my life. He literally put His life within me by the power of the Holy Spirit! Every day I learn a little more about Jesus and He is the greatest friend and Savior you will ever encounter. No I am not perfect. I sin in some manner every day. It is not that I desire or plan to do so. It happens because I am in the process of being saved from sin. I used to have one nature. Now I have two. And the old sin nature is very real and desires to be active. (See further notes on this below.) But the penalty of hopelessness - hell or separation from God, the Source of life - is gone forever and I am on the "road" to living in His presence for all eternity. Ain't that great! Eternity - whatever that means - with Jesus Christ! Know this: Salvation is an initial act or justified or made right with God through faith in Christ and a process of being saved, or sanctification, from the power of sin which is ongoing growth process and a consummation when Christians will be glorified or made complete in Christ after death or at His coming again. The key to avoiding hell and all its horrors is to come to that place where you realize your hopeless condition, and all men are hopeless if they would only admit the truth. But pride gets in the way. Don't allow your pride send you to hell. Sin has its pleasures for a day. But it doesn't last and no one can provide for you what God your Creator can provide. Call out to Jesus while you can. One day it will be too late! Only then will you fully understand hell. God has tried in every way possible to warn us about this horror. Do you want to experience it personally before you accept the facts?
I look at it like this, which is in line with previous answers, is that when Adam and Eve sinned, their actions set up events that God gave us grace over. Just think, for a God that knew no sin, when Adam and Eve sinned! Our whole existence should've been blotted out for forever. But God gave us grace, placed us in what we today understand as "time" and afforded us an opportunity to gain forgiveness and have appropriation for our sins. In other words, instead of us, and the rest of the humanity receiving instant death upon our sins, he allowed for us "time" for us to make amends before our fates are realized with...this is why Jesus is so important to this whole mix. Its accordance to the Lord's law where he implicitly states he is not the author of evil,and how it cannot exist in His presence. This, at the end of the day, it's God that even allowed for is to even be here, and in that, there are gifts he presents us to be holy before him. And with that choice, he also allows you the choice to reject this as well. But at the same time, you know the stakes at hand with our lives and where we end up in the end. Either accept Jesus and avoid the pit at the end of life,mor have everlasting life through the sacrifice of his son.
Lot's of answers...but none of them really give the answer from the Bible as to why punishment in Hell is fair. First of all, lets straighten one thing out. Hell is temporary--it is Lake of Fire that is the place of eternal punishment, as we find in the following verse: " And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Rev 20:14-21:8 KJV) Second, the answer to "is it fair?" God has given us the answer, in Romans 9. " 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. 19 You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?" (Rom 9:17-21 ESV) So, the answer of God to man, regarding the questions like "is it fair?"? The answer is, "Who are you to reply against God." Take a look at the last part of the book of Job. Job is basically saying that what happened to him wasn't fair, and was questioning God's justice. The answer was the same: "Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, 2 "Who is this that darkens counsel By words without knowledge? 3 "Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! 4 "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, 5 Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it?" (Job 38:1-5 NAU) Many have written big books on how God is (or is not) "fair" in sending people to Hell then the Lake of Fire for eternity. But, as this passage teaches us, in the final analysis, God is not answerable to our ideas of fairness. Rather, WE are answerable to HIS righteous commands! But you can see his justice, mercy, kindness, and perfection, demonstrated in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And he teaches us justice and equity in our dealing here on earth throughout the Scripture. And he gives us various reasons for various things (like he does for the headcovering, in 1 Cor 11, where he gives about 10 reasons women should cover their heads and men should not). But when it comes to this matter of God's punishment of disobedient mankind in relationship to his control over all things, the answer is: "Who are you, o man". Let's believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, flee from the wrath to come, obey his commands, and walk in all his ways!
There is no eternity in hellfire for anyone. There is a Lake of Fire into which those whose names are not written in the book of life are caste into and destroyed. Immortality is given to those whose names are written in the book of life and to no others. Also, you don't go to heaven when you die, your wait for the resurrection to be with Jesus ruling on this earth as he said: The meek shall inherit the earth.... we will do so when he comes to take his place on the throne of David at Zion. Read the 14th chapter of Zechariah and find see how the nations will come up to Zion to keep the feast of Tabernacles and pay homage to the Lord and Messiah Jesus.
We were created " in the image of God" & one thing that means is we are eternal beings because God is eternal. So yes, this means that our souls will live forever, either in the presence of God or in a place that Jesus talked far more about than He did heaven- that place is hell. It is our choice, not Gods, where we choose to spend eternity. God did everything He possibly could to save us from going to everlasting torment. Now it is up to us if we choose to take or receive His free gift of salvation. If there is no place of eternal torment why did Jesus die such a brutal & agonizing & humilating death? Why did He even leave the Throne of Heaven to lower Himself to the status of lowly man? He did all of this to pay for & become the propitiation for each & every one of us- its our choice to make. There are countless things that I dont understand - there is no way for us to know the mind & the "whys" of God Almighty. He has told us very plainly in fact exactly what He wants us to know. We can't just change things God says He will do just because it doesn't fit our definition of " being fair " or " being mean & vengeful". We accept by faith that God is God & is Righteous & Holy in ALL He has chosen to do. As Mike Garner asked, do I understand it all? No, I do not. I do know each & every person has a choice to make & God said if you are not for me you are against me. We cant get around the fact that we were created to be eternal - in the image of God - our bodies will reunite with our souls at the resurrection. Different times for believers than those who died unbelievers. But, at some point we will get our bodies back after death & because you are an eternal being you will live eternally- where? That's up to you! May God bless & keep us all for time is short. I sure dont want any doubts about where I will spend eternity. Do you?
Fair is a very subjective word. Every human being will have a different idea about what is fair. The word fair only appears 4 times in the New Testament (NIV) and none of which relate to the character of God. However, the word “just” appears 210 times in the New Testament. Our God is a just God. He punishes every sin, considering the frequency, severity and damaging effects. Sin is punished eternally because God is holy and he will not dwell in the presence of sin. No human being can live with God in the new earth unless they are completely sinless, holy just like he is. How could any human be removed from hell and placed on the new earth unless all their sin had been removed. There is only one way that this can happen, only one plan of salvation. Jesus Christ must take all of our sin upon himself so the penalty is paid. Then we must accept him as our personal saviour, so he can impart to us the righteousness of God. Jesus sends to each believer his Holy Spirit to breath life into our dead spirits so we are born again and receive the gift of eternal life (the right to spend eternity, living on the new earth in the presence of God). How is it fair that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became a human being, lived a perfect life, suffered and died on a cross to pay the penalty for all the sin of every human being. It certainly doesn’t seem fair, but it is just. All we have to do to avoid spending eternity in hell is BELIEVE that Jesus died for us. Now that definitely doesn’t seem fair, but it is LOVE!
It's important to note that the Bible doesn't represent Lazarus as being in Heaven. Jesus told one of the thieves who died with him that, "today shalt thou be with me in Paradise." And yet after he was crucified Jesus said that he had not yet ascended into Heaven. The Bible also points out that after he died, Jesus went and preached to those who were in prison. "Paradise" appears to have been a part of Hades that was created to hold those who followed God. But since Christ had not yet died for their sins, they could not go to Heaven. Thus they resided in a prison called "Paradise", but a prison nevertheless...until the time when Jesus came and preached to them that he was the Messiah, the one they had been waiting for. Also, the account of the rich man and Lazarus mentions Abraham by name. If it were just a parable, then that would mean that Abraham never said the things that Jesus said that he said. And that would therefore make Jesus to be a liar. It would seem that the story is true, as much as I might would prefer it not to be. And that means the rich man is still in torment, awaiting his time of judgement. Is it fair? Yes, for as the article points out, even the rich man didn't question that. Do I understand it? No.
The "eternal fire" of hell is one hot topic! It has been misunderstood by the majority of people for many centuries. Here are examples and scripture to show its true meaning. "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:" (Matt 25:41) It is not the fire itself but its effects that are everlasting as in Jude 7: "Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."(Jude 7) Note that "everlasting fire" (Matt 25:41) and "eternal fire" (Jude 7) are from the same original words. Of course, Sodom and Gomorrah are not still burning yet they "are set forth for an example" of the results of a sinful course. "And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;" (2Pet 2:6) The wicked will be burned up not burning forever in an eternal fire. "And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts." (Mal 4:3) "But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away." (Psa 37:20) The punishment is everlasting destruction: "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power" (2 Thess 1:9) It is the destruction, not the process that is forever. The Bible's use of terms like eternal and everlasting can be understood better by some examples. Further examples of forever to show its meaning "And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever." (Exo 21:5-6) In this case, the slave is opting to stay with his master and serve him for as long as he lives and it is termed forever. "But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever." (1 Sam 1:22) Of course, Samuel only abided there for a limited period of time. "I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God." (Jon 2:6) In Jonah's case forever was only a few days although it may have seemed like an eternity. By one count, "forever" is used 56 times in the Bible to describe things that have ended
Why is it fair? Because of the cost. It took a holy God coming in the likeness of sinful man. To pay a cost He did not have to pay. The cost was death on the cross. He gave it all so we can live. And rejecting that is deserving of hell.
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