The following is a long blog thread that I had with S.H. as a response to his on-line video teaching about hell.
If God is love and honors our free will, then He cannot force us to worship, obey, or turn towards Him. Even though He is long-suffering that ALL should come to repentance, those that are recalcitrant in the rejection of His forgiveness and power to overcome sin will eventually seal their own doom. This principle is illustrated in the Psalms when “the wicked fall into the pit they have dug.” The following texts also clarify this point by telling us that God’s wrath really is giving sinners up to their own ways and has to remove His protection:
2 Chronicles 30:6-8 “And do not be like your fathers and your brethren, who trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to desolation, as you see.”
Ezekiel 20: 24-26 ““Therefore I also gave them up to statutes that were not good, and judgments by which they could not live; …”
Acts 7:41-43 “Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets: ‘ Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness house of Israel?”
Romans 1:18-32 “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, …”; “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. …”; “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, …”
Psalm 81:11-13 “But My people would not heed My voice, and Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels. Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways!”
Job 4:8 “Even as I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble, reap the same”.
Galatians 6:7,8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
Ezekiel 33:11 “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
What more can God do in saving sinners than getting their attention any way possible and begging them to follow His ways?
However, it is NOT true that the soul or spirit is immortal! Only God has immortality. Any immortality that humans will possess in the future (1 Corinthians 15:50-57) is derived from the life-giver. In fact, the very first lie in the Bible is “You will not surely die.” But God had said “Dying you will die.” [In Hebrew, you will be truly dead.]
Many men have died for others and for great causes, but only one has died as sinners will die in hell. God brought the second death forward in time so that ALL could see what it means to be eternally separated from the source of life. Christ was made to be sin for us. He was lifted up just as Moses lifted up the serpent. Christ died on the cross bearing ALL the sins of ALL humanity and was even treated as if He was the adversary – the one who started the rebellion in heaven and continues it here on earth. Christ cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” God the father did NOT kill His son, but rather “gave up” His son showing to all mankind and the universe the depth of His love to sinners!
Our God of love will NOT burn sinners for all eternity! How could a God of love and free will give the message “Love me or I will burn you”? We certainly did not win, nor do we keep our spouses using that strategy! And how could a God of love burn you or I (if we ultimately reject His love) for all eternity, right next to the devil who started it all, deceived 1/3 of the heavenly host, and has been causing the whole world to sin for at least 6,000 years?
Would God who said “You shall not kill”, then kill the wicked? Isn’t this the message “love me or I’ll torture you”? No, The righteous proclaim at Christ’s 2nd Coming, “This is our God, we have waited for Him, and He will save us.”; while the wicked cry for the rocks and mountains to cover them. The righteous show that their consciences are free from the guilt of sin; while the wicked cannot bear to look upon His glory.
The final “hell fire” will be when God fully reveals His love to all. That glory, which is described as a “consuming fire” throughout the Bible, will not harm the righteous; but it will destroy the sin that sinners have clung to. They will burn until there is nothing more to burn. Then will be true the texts:
1 Corinthians 15:55 “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Revelation 20:14 “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”
Malachi 4:1-3 “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. 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.”
Even death itself will be burned up! Heaven itself would become a hell if I knew that God was burning my friends and/or relatives for eternity. This is the concept and character of God that the devil has portrayed, and most of the world believes the lie!
Revelation 21:4 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
As per my videos, I would have to disagree with you wholeheartedly regarding a God of love sending people to an eternal Hell and that the soul is not eternal. God in Genesis 2 breathed life into Adam. The Ruach of God (The Spirit of God) was breathed on him and Adam had life. The blast of His breath is our spirit, different from the Holy Spirit, but it comes from the Holy Spirit. God is Spirit, and He is eternal. If His Spirit is eternal and His Spirit breathed life into us and we had a soul (as well as a now defunct, dead, or buried spirit – until we are born again anyway), then what came from Him must also be eternal.
Please actually watch the videos and then comment on them so I don’t have to go over everything again, especially pertaining to an eternal Hell.
To fully know God is to fully know every part of Him, including His ultimate justice, and to even love the parts of Him we don’t fully understand or even like. We look at His love from a finite understanding and ask the question, “How could a God of love do such a thing?” I believe the answer is easy, but that’s spoken about in the video
It is written that ONLY God has immortality (1 Timothy 6:16). All of His creation only has immortality as they rely on Him for that gift. Just as at the Tree of Life, Adam and Eve needed to periodically eat of that tree in order to partake of God’s immortality. When they chose a different tree, they were driven out of the garden so that they could NOT eat of the tree of life any longer and thereby perpetuate sin forever (Genesis 3:22-24). No – God made VERY sure that humans would NOT be immortal as sinners!!!
God washed all the disciples’ feet, including Judas who He knew would betray Him in just hours. God treated them ALL the same, but what was inside them would determine their outcome. When Jesus looked at Peter after the cock crowed, it broke Peter’s heart to repentance. Jesus looked at Judas in exactly the same way that He looked at Peter; but Judas’ response was to go out and hang himself.
Calvary is the ultimate example of what the final punishment will be. God “gave up” His Son, while the Son cried “Why have You forsaken me?” (Why have You given me up?).
All of God’s creatures (angels and humans) are His children. Even the devil (formerly Lucifer the light bearer) is His child. God has told us how He will punish the wicked. In Hosea 11:8 God says, “How can I give you up, how shall I deliver you?”. He doesn’t want to give them up, but they refuse to turn to Him, and He has to allow them to reap the natural consequences of sin Romans 1 (God’s wrath = giving them up to the natural results of their rebellion). They refuse to connect with the life-giver, and by so doing, they will die (cease to exist) – just as he said in Genesis 2 & 3.
At some point in the past, God created the universe filled with intelligent angels who were given the freedom the love Him; and also gave them the freedom to turn away from Him. Lucifer ultimately decided to turn away and in a perfect universe and perfect angels, he enticed 1/3 of the angels to turn from God and follow him. Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28; Revelation 12.
The word “hell” in the Bible refers to the grave. This is why in Revelation 20 even death and hell are cast into the lake of fire and consumed. The early church and popular culture have taken pagan concepts about punishment and created hell and purgatory in order to control the masses. But a perfect universe in the past will be free in the future of ALL pain, suffering, death Revelation 21:4; for “Death is swallowed up in victory” and “The last enemy (death) will also die” (1 Corinthians 15:26 & 51-57). God will NOT have a special little corner in the universe where the redeemed can go and watch the eternal pain and suffering of their friends and relatives who did not accept his love and grace. This is the character of the Devil. This is how the Devil would operate things if he were in charge. In fact the history of this earth is a very real demonstration of how he would conduct the universe if given the chance. He is a crafty deceiver and a liar from the very beginning. He implied that God was the liar and that Eve would NOT really die. But in order to prove the Devil actually was the liar, God Himself, in the person of Jesus came and showed the entire universe and all men what the results of sin really are – separation from the life-giver, which results in non-existence.
For sure the wicked WILL suffer for their sins, because Jesus Himself said that “God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not PERISH, but have everlasting life”. Malachi 4 describes this perishing of the wicked:
“For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
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.
How does He do this? The same glory that He reveals at the 2nd coming shines on ALL the earth. The righteous rejoice at the sight of their God, but the wicked call the rocks and mountains to fall on themselves. God’s glory – His love and perfection – will consume the wicked, but is a source of life to the righteous.
God’s perfect universe, as originally created before the great rebellion; will be in the future as it was before. Nothing will hurt or destroy in His holy mountain.
Dennis: [NOTE: you might recognize where this came from, but I did not give a citation.]
God has bound our hearts to Him by unnumbered tokens in heaven and in earth. Through the things of nature, and the deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know, He has sought to reveal Himself to us. Yet these but imperfectly represent His love. Though all these evidences have been given, the enemy of good blinded the minds of men, so that they looked upon God with fear; they thought of Him as severe and unforgiving. Satan led men to conceive of God as a being whose chief attribute is stern justice,–one who is a severe judge, a harsh, exacting creditor. He pictured the Creator as a being who is watching with jealous eye to discern the errors and mistakes of men, that He may visit judgments upon them. It was to remove this dark shadow, by revealing to the world the infinite love of God, that Jesus came to live among men.
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 vilest tyrant in the universe. This widespread dogma has turned thousands to universalism, infidelity, and atheism. Satan has ascribed to God all the evils to which the flesh is heir. He has represented Him as a God who delights in the sufferings of His creatures, who is revengeful and implacable. It was Satan who originated the doctrine of eternal torment as a punishment for sin, because in this way he could lead men into infidelity and rebellion, distract souls, and dethrone human reason.
Heaven, looking down, and seeing the delusions into which men were led, knew that a divine Instructor must come to earth. Men in ignorance and moral darkness must have light, spiritual light; for the world knew not God, and He must be revealed to their understanding. Truth looked down from heaven, and saw not the reflection of her image; for dense clouds of moral darkness and gloom enveloped the world, and the Lord Jesus alone was able to roll back the clouds; for He was the light of the world. By His presence He could dissipate the gloomy shadow that Satan had cast between man and God. Darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people. Through the accumulated misrepresentations of the enemy, many were so deceived that they worshiped a false god, clothed with the attributes of the satanic character.
Satan told his angels to make a special effort to spread the deception and lie first repeated to Eve in Eden, Thou shalt not surely die. [Genesis 3:4] And as the error was received by the people, and they believed that man was immortal, Satan led them still further to believe that the sinner would live in eternal misery. Then the way was prepared for Satan to work through his representatives, and hold up God before the people as a revengeful tyrant; that those who do not please him, he will plunge into hell, and cause them ever to feel his wrath; and that they will suffer unutterable anguish, while he will look down upon them with satisfaction, as they writhe in horrible sufferings and eternal flames. Satan knew that if this error should be received, God would be dreaded and hated by very many, instead of being loved and admired; and that many would be led to believe that the threatenings of God’s word would not be literally fulfilled; for it would be against his character of benevolence and love, to plunge beings whom he had created into eternal torments.
Satan has led them to another extreme, to entirely overlook the justice of God, and the threatenings in his Word, and represent Him as being all mercy, and that not one will perish, but all, both saint and sinner, will at last be saved in his kingdom. [Universalism] In consequence of the popular error of the immortality of the soul, and endless misery,
Satan takes advantage of another class, and leads them on to regard the Bible as an uninspired book. They think it teaches many good things; but they cannot rely upon it and love it; because they have been taught that it declares the doctrine of eternal misery.
Satan takes advantage of others, and leads them still further to deny the existence of God. [Atheism] They can see no consistency in the character of the God of the Bible, if he will torment a portion of the human family to all eternity in horrible tortures; and they deny the Bible and its Author, and regard death as an eternal sleep.
Then Satan leads another class who are fearful and timid to commit sin; and after they have sinned, he holds up before them that the wages of sin is (not death, but) an eternal life in horrible torments, to be endured through the endless ages of eternity. Satan improves the opportunity, and magnifies before their feeble minds the horrors of an endless hell, and takes charge of their minds, and they lose their reason. Then Satan and his angels exult, and the infidel and atheist join in casting reproach upon Christianity. They regard these evil consequences of the reception of popular heresy, as the natural results of believing in the Bible and its Author.
It is beyond the power of the human mind to estimate the evil which has been wrought by the heresy of eternal torment. The religion of the Bible, full of love and goodness, and abounding in compassion, is darkened by superstition and clothed with terror. When we consider in what false colors Satan has painted the character of God, can we wonder that our merciful Creator is feared, dreaded, and even hated? The appalling views of God which have spread over the world from the teachings of the pulpit have made thousands, yes, millions, of skeptics and infidels.
How repugnant to every emotion of love and mercy, and even to our sense of justice, is the doctrine that the wicked dead are tormented with fire and brimstone in an eternally burning hell; that for the sins of a brief earthly life they are to suffer torture as long as God shall live… “Where, in the pages of God’s word, is such teaching to be found? Will the redeemed in heaven be lost to all emotions of pity and compassion, and even to feelings of common humanity? Are these to be exchanged for the indifference of the stoic or the cruelty of the savage? No, no; such is not the teaching of the Book of God.
Though God is strict to mark iniquity and to punish transgression, He takes no delight in vengeance. The work of destruction is a `strange work’ [Isaiah 28:21] to Him who is infinite in love.
Multitudes have a wrong conception of God and His attributes, and are as truly serving a false god as were the worshipers of Baal.
The theory of eternal torment is one of the false doctrines that constitute the wine of the
abomination of Babylon, of which she makes all nations drink. Revelation 14:8; 17:2.
Jeremiah 25:31-33. “`…The Lord has a case against the nations. He will bring all people to trial and put the wicked to death. The Lord has spoken.’ The Lord Almighty says that disaster is coming on one nation after another, and a great storm is gathering at the far ends of the earth. On that day the bodies of those whom the Lord has killed will lie scattered from one end of the earth to the other. No one will mourn for them, and they will not be taken away and buried. They will lie on the ground like piles of manure.” (GNB)
God’s goodness and long forbearance, His patience and mercy exercised to His subjects, will not hinder Him from punishing the sinner who refused to be obedient to His requirements. It is not for a man–a criminal against God’s holy law, pardoned only through the great sacrifice He made in giving His Son to die for the guilty because His law was changeless–to dictate to God. After all this effort on the part of God to preserve the sacred and exalted character of His law, if men, through the sophistry of the devil, turn the mercy and condescension of God into a curse, they must suffer the penalty.
With many the history of the humiliation and sacrifice of our divine Lord does not stir the soul and affect the life any more, nor awaken deeper interest, than to read of the death of the martyrs of Jesus. Many have suffered death by slow tortures. Others have suffered death by crucifixion. In what does the death of God’s dear Son differ from these? It is true he died upon the cross a most cruel death; yet others for his dear sake have suffered equally, as far as bodily torture is concerned. Why, then, was the suffering of Christ more dreadful than that of other persons who have yielded their lives for his sake? If the sufferings of Christ consisted in physical pain alone, then his death was no more painful than that of some of the martyrs.
Christ felt much as sinners will feel when the vials of God’s wrath shall be poured out upon them. Black despair like a pall of death will gather about their guilty souls, and then they will realize to the fullest extent the sinfulness of sin.
Some have limited views of the atonement. They think that Christ suffered only a small portion of the penalty of the law of God, and that while the wrath of God was felt by his dear Son, they suppose that he had, through all his painful sufferings, the evidence of his Father’s love and acceptance, and that the portals of the tomb before him were illuminated with bright hope. Here is a great mistake. Christ’s keenest anguish was a sense of his Father’s displeasure. His mental agony because of this was of such intensity that man can have but faint conception of it.
The love of a holy God is an amazing principle, which can stir the universe in our behalf during the hours of our probation and trial. But after the season of our probation, if we are found transgressors of God’s law, the God of love will be found a minister of vengeance. God makes no compromise with sin. The disobedient will be punished. The wrath of God fell upon his beloved Son as Christ hung upon the cross of Calvary in the transgressor’s place…To the same degree that the penitent and obedient are shielded by God’s love, the impenitent and disobedient will be left to the result of their own ignorance and hardness of heart, because they receive not the love of the truth that they may be saved. “For God so loved the world that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life”. John 3:16
God in Christ is the Life Giver. It is only through dependence, faith, trust, and belief in Him that we obtain eternal life. To NOT have Christ is to NOT have life eternal. 1 John 3:15 tells us that murderers do not have eternal life. John 4:14 tells us that if we drink of the “water of Christ” we have everlasting life. Obviously, those that do not partake of this water, do NOT have everlasting life. Similarly, in John 6:54, Jesus tells us that if we eat His “flesh” and drink His “blood” we have eternal life and will be raised up at the last day. Again, those that do not partake of Him do NOT have eternal life.
This is why Jesus, in his discussion with Nicodemus, made the explicit comparison between “perish” and “everlasting life”. These two concepts are diametrically opposed to each other, as far as the east is from the west. When Jesus himself spoke of everlasting life and contrasted that with perish, I have to believe that when the wicked “perish”, they will NOT be everlastingly perishing. The wicked, by removing themselves from the Life Giver, cut themselves off from the source of everlasting life.
I have listened to all three sections of your video and cannot agree that our loving, gracious, and merciful God will torment the wicked in flames and eternal punishment for only a lifetime of sin and rebellion. Certainly the punishment will fit the crime and they WILL suffer torment, just as Abraham asked the pre-incarnate Christ, “Surely the Lord will do what is right”, when referring to the doomed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Peter and Jude both refer to Sodom as an example of what will happen to the wicked at the very end of time. “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, 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 1:7; “…and turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly. … The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” Peter 2:6 & 9
There is NO doubt that the wicked will be punished and will burn in the presence of the God of love. His glory will finally be revealed in its fullness, at the same time, to every individual that ever lived on this planet. His love and glory is a source of comfort and everlasting life to the righteous; while the same love and glory destroys everything that has marred God’s universe. God’s glory is to the wicked a consuming fire and is described as fire and brimstone falling upon them. Lucifer, in his perfection “walked among the stones of fire.” Ezekiel 28:14 & 16. The truth is that the redeemed will “burn” for eternity in the presence of the stones of fire, but God has promised that Satan, his angels, and all the wicked will be burned up “root and branch”, and the righteous will walk upon their ashes. Malachi 4:1-3.
Please remember that ALL the word of God is true and our beliefs MUST be based on ALL the relevant scriptures, not just the few that refer to eternal torment. Revelation 20 is a good example. Here we read the following phrases: “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power.”; “fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”; “shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”; “there was found no place for them.”; “and another book was opened, which is the book of life.”; “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.” Revelation 21:8 says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Obviously the Bible refers to the Lake of Fire as the second DEATH (not eternal torments). So does “for ever and ever” mean eternal torment, or will it be as the example of Sodom where the wicked will burn until there is nothing more to burn? If even hell and death are thrown into the lake of fire, certainly this indicates the end of ALL death, pain, and suffering. The universe will be made clean and there will be NOTHING in God’s universe that will cause the redeemed pain, tears, or heartbreak. Revelation 22 says, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” If the old is passed away, then the righteous will certainly be walking upon the ashes of the wicked!!! “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
Eternal life is not available to humanity without the Life Giver. In the book of Genesis God said that if we sin we will die, but the devil called God a liar and said “you will not surely die”. Who is right?
Wow, your comments are longer than my posts.
I have said what I said and stand on it fully. There is a hell, it is eternal, and the ungodly and sinners who die without Christ will go there, having the full wrath of God poured out on them.
Jesus, who gave Himself for mankind, by His love and mercy, laid down His life for all of these people.
To know God, means to know the parts we don’t fully understand, such as His justice and the punishment of evil doers.
The focus is not hell, but His grace to save us from hell!
Once there was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the property that will come to me when you die.’ When the older son heard of what his younger brother wanted, he said to the father, “That is just not fair or right!” Since the older son had complained and the father was still alive so that the estate could not be turned into cash, he decided to give only 20% of his property value to the younger son. A few days later, the younger son collected all his belongings and went off to a foreign land, where he started to spend his wealth by having wild and extravagant parties for his new friends. After several years, when he had spent all his money, his friends disappeared. Even his girlfriend who said she truly loved him left. In order to eat, he sold the last of his fancy clothes and jewelry until all he had to wear was an old robe with holes. It was then that a terrible famine came upon that country. Since he had nothing to eat, no income, and no marketable skills; he went and begged the owner of the largest farm in the area to let him feed the pigs. No one gave him anything to eat and he was so hungry that even the garbage and food scrapes given to the pigs looked good. So he started eating the pig food to stay alive. It tasted horrible, but after a few days he got used to it and actually started to like it.
Since he was getting paid about 10 cents per day, it was enough for him to go to town every few weeks and get a drink at the bar. The first six months was the hardest to get used to, but he reasoned that living like this was really not so bad since he didn’t pay any rent to live in the pig shelter, his food was free, and no one bothered him. Even his boss only came out once a week to give him his pay. The only thing he didn’t like was when he went to town. On his second trip into town he saw all his old friends, the very ones he had given gifts and parties for. They stood across the street, held their noses, and pointed at him while laughing and whispering to each other. The very next time he went to town, he passed his old girl friend on the sidewalk. She was walking arm-in-arm with her new boyfriend and pretended not to see him. Just as she passed, she spit on him. He went on to the bar for his monthly drink and on the way out of town his old friends stopped him. They said, “You were a worthless friend who didn’t have enough money to keep us happy and drunk.” They then slapped his face several times, beat him up, and then threw an old beat up purple robe over him. Every trip to town after that, his old friends would mock him, spit on him, slap him around, and generally make his life miserable.
After three years tending pigs, he caught pneumonia and couldn’t even stand up. In order to get any water he had to crawl to the nearest puddle of liquid and drink that. Several days after he started drinking from the puddles, he breathed his last breath and died.
Well, the pig owner was very upset at loosing such a good pig tender and started advertising for a new employee, explaining that his former hired servant had died and even told his name. It wasn’t long then until the father of the two sons heard the news. Said He, “What a rotten son I had. I am going to go get him so that he can be properly punished.” So the father traveled to the far country, dug up the son’s bones, put them in a gunny sack, and brought them home. As soon as he got home, he called the older, wiser, and faithful son saying, “Come and see your brother who has come home. See what a worthless boy he really was? Watch what I am going to do now!” So the father dumped the bones out on the trash heap behind the beautiful estate, arranged wood sticks and branches, poured pitch on it all, and lit the fire.
Then the older and wiser son said, “This is the most fun I have had since my worthless brother left! I think I will dance with joy around him as he burns.” The father said, “I wish we could have burned him while he was alive, but I think I will dance with you. We both are finally rid of him forever.”
This is how the Devil would treat us if he were in charge of the universe.
Do you think God can hardly wait to punish all the sinners of the world? Can He rejoice in their punishment and when they are finally destroyed? Hosea 11:1-9
“When Israel was only a child, I loved him. I called out, ‘My son!’—called him out of Egypt.
But when others called him, he ran off and left me.
He worshiped the popular sex gods, he played at religion with toy gods.
Still, I stuck with him. I led Ephraim. I rescued him from human bondage,
But he never acknowledged my help, never admitted that I was the one pulling his wagon, That I lifted him, like a baby, to my cheek, that I bent down to feed him.
Now he wants to go back to Egypt or go over to Assyria—anything but return to me! That’s why his cities are unsafe—the murder rate skyrockets and every plan to improve things falls to pieces.
My people are bent on leaving me. They pray to god Baal for help. He doesn’t lift a finger to help them. But how can I give up on you, Ephraim? How can I turn you loose, Israel? …I can’t bear to even think such thoughts. My insides churn in protest.
Does God rejoice at the death of the wicked? Ezekiel 33:11
Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
“This is how the Devil would treat us if he were in charge of the universe.
Do you think God can hardly wait to punish all the sinners of the world? Can He rejoice in their punishment and when they are finally destroyed? Hosea 11:1-9″
No I don’t think God wants to punish all the sinners in the world. In fact, He hates doing it so much that He made a way for them to never need His wrath poured out on them.
He doesn’t want to do it, but He has to! God is holy and sin cannot be in His presence. His Law is so holy and perfect that all must be held account to it, and He must hold people account to it. If not the Law for the Jews then the Law of the conscience for Gentiles (Romans 1).
A good judge will uphold his law. And God is not only good, but He is also a Good and just Judge, therefore He must punish according to His Law.
I don’t believe people truly understand the love of God. They look at love from a human point of view, not with spiritual eyes. Therefore it is more about emotion than an action. God loves people so much that He is willing to hold to account all those who hurt other people, including in thought, not just deed.
True love is this…. that God saw the plight of man, gave man chance after chance after chance. And when everything failed He made a better way, a better covenant with the people by sending His one and only Son to the earth so that He might share in their pain and suffering and at the end of HIs life give it up willingly to die for mankind that the wrath of God would be quenched by putting the full force of His fury on one person… Jesus!
He became sin for us, and God’s punishment of sin was put on Him. He died that we might live. God loved us so much that He killed HIs own Son, instead of us. And all we have to do is repent of our sin and put our faith and trust in Him.
John says it so well when He says in John 3:18-20. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”
People choose rather to live in sin than to be cleansed for their sin. Not because of anything other than they love their sin. And what’s not to love about it? But when you meet the pure and Holy One, you want to stop sinning.
The unrighteous will be condemned because of sin and their choice to live in it. God has made a way out, and we are the ones who take this way out to them so they can receive Christ and live forever!
We are not that far apart in our thinking! I really like your quote from John 3:18-20. I often have wondered why people only quote John 3:16. Why don’t they at least include vs. 17 as well. I also agree with your statement about wanting to stop sinning. When we are so in love with God, His Word, and what He has done for us, we will ask Him daily to change us-our very nature, desires, and wants-into His likeness, His character. Doctor Jesus can heal ALL the damage if we only come to Him regularly and “take the medicine”.
I believe that some of the terms we are using may mean something different.
1. God’s Wrath
Here is how I base my definition of God’s wrath, which was placed upon His Son as an example of what will happen to sinners in the lake of fire? Romans 4:25 says, “Because of our sins he was given over to die, and he was raised to life in order to put us right with God”. As I have contemplated this, I see that God gave up or offered up His Son to take the punishment of eternal separation from God. When Christ said, “Why have you forsaken me?” He realized that God was pulling away from Him (hiding His face). But it is also true that the Son also gave Himself up to be sacrificed! Just as Isaac could have easily run away from Abraham if he wanted to. Instead Isaac stayed and willingly offered himself to be placed on the altar! (Abraham seems to get mentioned a lot in the New Testament about this story, but Isaac seems to get very little recognition.)
The Wrath of God has been defined and given examples by Paul in the same book; Romans 1:18,24,26, & 28 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness… Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves… For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men… And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting. (See my first posting at the top.)
I am not prepared to state as you said, “God loved us so much that He killed His own Son”. Yes, I believe that God has a part to play in the final elimination of sin and all its effects. There will be fire, God will somehow be involved in it, and the wicked will be tormented and burned. But God will be Just and Merciful as well (Psalm 85:10). So God gives up the ungodly just as He gave up His Son who was taking upon Himself the sins of the whole world, even those who turn away from the Life-giver. True love can only make an appeal, it cannot manipulate, command, or force love, obedience, trust, or any other Fruits of the Spirit He wants to give us.
Maybe it is just a matter of semantics and definitions, but somehow I view the nature of sin as; when we participate in sin, it obviously separates us from the Life-giver and we reap the natural consequences of cutting ourselves off from Him. When we sin, we receive the wages, reward, or payment of sin – death. This is a theme running throughout Scripture; we reap what we sow.
What is death? Is it the opposite of life? Is it something half-way between? Is death not really death, only another form of life? I believe this question is foundational to how we view the character of God. When God said, “If you eat of it, you will surely die.” what did He mean? We have the words of the deceiver saying, “You will not surely die.” what did he mean? Where is the truth here in early history, before any philosophers could put their spin on it? In some sense when Adam and Eve took the fruit, they immediately started dying. I believe it is also true that the provision for reconciliation and putting it all right again, was made by God before the earth was even created. So the only reason Adam and Eve continued to exist, was through the promise that Christ would come to put it right again. Yet they still died believing in the promise of the resurrection. After all, the Bible plainly states that there are 2 deaths and 2 resurrections.
The Bible constantly contrasts two states of humanity, as in the following, “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.” Deuteronomy 30:15; “But Ittai answered the king, …surely in whatever place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also your servant will be.” 2 Samuel 15:21; “As righteousness leads to life, So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.” Proverbs 11:19; “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death”. Proverbs 14:27; “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit”. Proverbs 18:21; “…Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.” Jeremiah 21:8; “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:10; “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17
And yet all humanity dies and continues to die. But Christians know that ONLY One has ever died the death of eternal separation from God. The example of how God will treat sinners was time-warped forward so that all can have a clearer concept of how this all works. Even though Christ had the promises of the prophecies that He would rise the 3rd day, His heart-wrenching call to God, “Why have you forsaken me?” indicates that He had NO reassurance that His sacrifice would be accepted; therefore, eternal separation from His Father the Life-giver. He had to rely totally on the promises in the Word of God and commit His life into the hands of the Father.
It is interesting to note that ALL the sacrifices in the tabernacle/temple service were a BURNT offering to the Lord, totally burned up and destroyed by fire. The symbolism here is obvious, sinners will burn, but eventually they will be consumed. Jesus Himself said, “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:11,12