My Personal Christian Blog

Thanks for sliding into my blog site. This blog bog is a spin-off from my website at Call me a Night Owl, as my full-time mission and hobby are jabbering from midnight until 8 a.m.ish with chatter bugs across the world. Hoot, hoot! Being a retired newspaper guy and a Curious George, I've written and assembled a whack of stuff that I hope you'll find interesting and thought-provoking. Check out the Stories bar on the right side, below, for all my articles - from my web site and this blog.

August 25, 2014

What Did Jesus Say or Teach About Hell?

Is Hell a real place?

*If it is real, how can a loving God send people there?

*Is there ever an escape from Hell for people who have committed relatively minor sins?

These questions can be answered in the Bible. We’ll address them at the bottom of this article.

The Bible says Hell is a very real place. It is described as eternal separation from God. It is explained as everlasting punishment for our sin.

The Old Testament alludes to Hell, but it is really the teaching of Jesus in the New Testament that gives us a clearer picture of its reality.

Actually, when Jesus taught on earth He taught more about Hell than Heaven. That shows that the Lord is vitally concerned that we choose Heaven and avoid the Lake of Fire.

Hell is a Fiery Furnace

Matthew 13:41-42, 49-50 say, “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace.

“In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Mark 9:43, 48-49 say, “And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire…where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. For everyone will be salted with fire.”

Hell is described as being like a fiery furnace where there will be weeping with anger and eternal regret. This weeping and gnashing of teeth is mentioned twice so as to emphasize the reality of hell.

Jesus also said it is a place not where “the” worm never dies but a place where “their” worm does not die.  The worm means that it is their own personal gnawing of their conscience for their lifetime of rejecting Christ and this worm never dies, just like the Gehenna fire, which was a trash dump outside the walls of Jerusalem. 

That was a place where trash was continually dumped and maggots or worms never died off because there was always something thrown onto it so the worms or maggots had a constant supply of food.

Hell is a Place of Outer Darkness

Matthew 22:13 says, “Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Matthew 8:12 says, “…while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Since Jesus is the light of the world and God is light (John 1) then naturally the absence of God is the absence of light.  Remember at Calvary when the Father withdrew during Jesus’ death on the cross? 

There were three hours of darkness because for the first time in all eternity, God the Father had to withdraw from Jesus as God cannot look upon sin and when the darkness came, it revealed that God had withdrawn. 

This is why Jesus felt forsaken at the cross and said when the darkness came from the sixth hour (noon) until the ninth hour (3 p.m.) “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matt 27:45-46)  The answer of course was because Jesus had become sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Hell Lasts Forever

Matthew 25:46 says, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Revelation 14:9-11; 19:3 say, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name. The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”

Since the Book of Revelation is the revelation of Jesus Christ and not really of the Apostle John (Rev 1:1), we can take the words of Revelation as Jesus’ own words.

Jesus said that “the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night” so this torment is not until they pay for their sins or until they are burned up but it goes on forever and ever (ages without end, literally) and they will have “no rest, day or night,” forever and ever.

Jesus’ death and resurrection “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim 1:10) .Immortality is not a temporary life but it is a life without end.

Hell is a Place of Torment

Luke 16:23 says, “Being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.”

Revelation 14:10-11 says, “He also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

The torment goes on for all time and even the smoke of their torment is forever and ever and “goes up” and this torment takes place “with fire and sulfur” so it is a tangible, real event in time and space where all five senses are involved. 

Remember the account in Luke 16:24-26 of the rich man and Lazarus where the rich man begged Abraham to bring even a tiny drop of water to bring him some relief from his vicious thirst by saying,

“Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.

“But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.

“And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us'.”

All the senses were still being felt; thirst, a feeling of heat, the memories remain intact so that all of the memories of a lifetime of rejecting the gospel were recalled. Maybe this is why there is so much “weeping and gnashing (grinding) of teeth.”

Fear God and Live

Luke 12:5 says, “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!”

The conclusion of the matter is to fear God and live. The surprising thing is not that only some go to Heaven (Matt 7:13-14) but that anyone goes to Heaven.

We all deserve the wrath of God because of our sin, but God extends to anyone who would believe in the Son of God His grace and mercy.

Today may be your day of salvation if you have not yet been saved.

Some say they don’t believe in Hell but not believing in something doesn’t mean it isn’t real. 

Response to Questions

In response to the first question above, some say that a good God would not send anyone to Hell. They have created a god that fits their mold without biblical support.

We must remember that the Bible warns, “Fear him.” If we reject the Son of God, the Father will reject us.

Noted author and preacher Charles Spurgeon implores those who have accepted Christ to share the message of the risen Savior with the unsaved.

He writes, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”

God will forgive any and all who repent of their sins and believe in their heart that Christ is the Son of God who paid for all our sins when He died on the cross and rose again from the dead.
Pray something like this:

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
Lord, I admit that I am a sinner. Others have committed bigger sins than I have, but I am still a sinner.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
Lord, I believe that Jesus died and shed His blood for my sins. I believe this in my heart and not just my head.

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)
Lord, I call on You to save me from my sins. I confess and repent of my sins. I know that your Son Jesus paid my debt on the cross—a debt I could never pay despite all my good works—and I thankfully accept your gift of eternal life in Heaven that His death made possible.

August 19, 2014

Why we're living through the greatest period in history

An acquaintance recently sent me an article titled, "50 Reasons We're Living Through the Greatest Period in World History."  Here are some items on the list that stand out.

*In 1949, Popular Mechanics made the bold prediction that someday a computer could weigh less than one ton. Today, an iPad weighs under three quarts of a pound.

*U.S. life expectancy at birth has increased from 39 years in 1800 to 79 years today.

*The average American retires at age 62. One hundred years ago, the average American died at age 51.

*Despite a surge in airline travel, half as many people died in plane accidents in 2012 as in 1960.

*In 1952, 38,000 people contracted polio in the U.S. In 2012, there were fewer than 300 cases in the entire world.

*Median household income adjusted for inflation is nearly double what it was in the 1950s.

*Crime has fallen dramatically from 1991 to 2010. Rape is down by a third, robbery is down more than half, and there were nearly four million fewer property crimes in 2010 than in 1991. All of this while the U.S. population grew by 60 million during this period.

*Almost no homes had a refrigerator in 1900. Today, you can get one in a car.

*The average new home now has more bathrooms than occupants.

*High school graduation rates are at a 40-year high.

*The average American work week has declined from 66 hours in 1850, to 51 hours in 1909, to 34.8 today.

*Relative to wages, the price of food has dropped 90 percent since the 19th century.

*In 1965, more than 40 per cent of American adults smoked; in 2011, 19 per cent did.

*The number of Americans with a college degree or higher has risen from five per cent in 1940 to more than 30 per cent in 2012.

*From 1920 to 1980, an average of 395 people per 100,000 died from famine worldwide each decade. During the 2000s, that number fell to three per 100,000.

*A three-minute phone call from New York City to San Francisco cost $341 in 1915. Today, many providers allow you to make such a call for free.

*In 1950, nearly 40 per cent of Americans didn't have a telephone. Today, there are 500 million Internet-connected devices in the U.S., averaging 5.7 per household.

While technology is changing our lives, human nature remains the same.  You and I still share the same hopes, fears, joys and sorrows as our first ancestors.  

As a result, the Bible is as relevant today as when it was first inspired.  Technology is improving our lives, but Scripture improves our souls.


August 11, 2014

If we willfully sin, do we lose our salvation?

God does not always make things as clear in the Bible as some of us would like.

It seems God wants us to dig, search, and consider. Even then, we still may not get a clear understanding.

For example, the meaning of these two verses is debatable.                 

Hebrews 10:26-27 (KJV) says, “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  

But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”

Some suggest these verses may be referring to Old Testament animal sacrifices. When the animals for sacrifices are used up, there is no more blood offerings left. But God would not allow that to happen.

Another view is that these verses mean that if we reject Christ the Savior, there is no other way we can be saved. This interruption makes sense.

These verses cannot be referring to backslidden Christians, but the unsaved. They have knowledge of the truth, only. In the second verse, you will note their are called
adversaries or enemies of Christ, not mere backsliders.
They are professors, not possessors.

August 3, 2014

Why are Christians so divided on so many topics?

 By Jack Kinsella

Question: How can a person, who claims to be a Christian, filled with the Holy Spirit (who is supposed to guide us into all truth), be a Preterist?  How could a person who has the same Holy Spirit as I do, be so utterly wrong and yet still be a Christian? Why are we so divided on so many topics?

About the only Christian doctrine upon which there is more or less universal agreement is that we are saved by grace through faith in the shed blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

That is the only doctrine, in the final analysis, which really and truly bears eternal consequences.

(Preterism is a Christian view that interprets prophecies of the Bible as events which have already happened.)

Preterists who trust Jesus for their salvation will meet up in Heaven with futurists who trusted Jesus who will fellowship with pre-tribbers, mid-tribbers and post-tribbers who will fellowship with Calvinists and Arminians together.

The Bible says if we trust Jesus Christ for our salvation we will go to Heaven.

That is the central message of the Gospel. The rest is the product of our longing to know God, and know the things of God while blinded by the limitations imposed on us by our earthly perspective.

As the Apostle Paul put it, we know see the things of God 'through a glass darkly. Not everything about God is spelled out, or revealed crystal clear.

Paul says we know only 'in part' but the part that we all agree on is the only part that really counts. Salvation is by faith and not by faith plus works
In the story of the Tower of Babel, God explains how the various ethnic nations came to be. Geneses 11:6-7 say, "And the LORD said, ‘Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech’."

By scattering man 'among the nations' and removing the common bond of language and ethnicity, God ensured that no one man could ever again rule all men, as Nimrod did until the construction of the Tower of Babel.

It prevented any one culture or worldview to dominate all mankind. That diversity is what allowed Christianity to flourish at the point when it was introduced into history.

The reason is because Christianity is a personal relationship with Christ, rather than a commonly-accepted cultural duty. God built that same diversity into the Church, which accounts for how and why sincere Christians can read the same Scriptures and come up with such widely divergent doctrines as preterist, historicism, and pre-tribulation futurism.

It prevents any one teacher from becoming the only accepted source of information of the things of God. If everybody agreed on every point of doctrine, then the guy who articulates it the best becomes the Great Oracle of God. (And what if he was wrong?)
*So we have diversity of understanding, but the same Scripture.                     

*And we have diversity of teachings, but share the same salvation by grace through faith.*               

*And we are equally sincere, because we share the same awesome responsibility of accountability before the Lord.                                                                   
In the end, we will be judged by how we used the doctrine God delivered to us to lead others to salvation in Christ.

The necessity of diversity of understanding in the Church Age is adequately demonstrated by a peek across the divide into the coming 'Time of Jacob's Trouble' after the Church Age is concluded. 

During the Tribulation, that diversity of understanding is replaced by a universal religion imposed by the false prophet and directed toward the worship of antichrist.

Response from preacher Peter Zein
July 15, 2014

Interesting question that is difficult to understand much less explain.

Although the article explains why, I don't know if is necessarily true that God desires all these different views. Whether it was implied in the article, that is the sense I got from reading it.

As far as salvation goes, that is a good explanation.

In Philippians, the disciples were concerned there were people sharing the gospel on their own and Paul told them to let them be. However, Paul always encouraged a correct interpretation of Scripture.

He warned against false teachers and clarified error often. Peter did as well. Preterism, I believe, is a pretty serious error and can be proven wrong by Scripture.

Other subjects may not be as clear. Where you fellowship is what your likely going to believe, which is why a one-man ministry is dangerous and the plurality of Biblical elders is important to balance doctrinal viewpoints.

A single Bible teacher at an assembly of believers whose teachings and doctrines are off course biblically is dangerous and can cause division in the church. And those who argue without Biblical support should be stopped.

God does take seriously when believers cause division. The question is why Godly people, who are led by the Holy Spirit, can be so far apart on Bible truth and interpretation.

Man's pride and sin interferes with truth of the Word. One day, when our old, sinful bodies are gone, we will get it right.