Monday, August 26, 2013

HELL – Does It Really Exist and Why Would a Loving God Send Anyone There?

The place we normally think of as “Hell” is described in the Book of Revelation as the “Lake of Fire.”  From the standpoint of what we are told, the first two beings that will be cast into the Lake of Fire are the Beast and the False Prophet.  Thereafter, Satan and all those who rejected God will be cast in as further described in the Book of Revelation:

And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on
behalf of the beast—miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast
and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive
into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

           Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur,
joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever
and ever.  And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled
from his presence, but they found no place to hide.  I saw the dead, both great and small,
standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And
the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The
sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged
according to their deeds.  Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This
lake of fire is the second death.   And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the
Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.
             Revelation 19:20 and 20:10-15 New Living Translation

Monday, August 19, 2013

HELL – Does It Really Exist and Why Would a Loving God Send Anyone There?

Is Anyone in Hell Now?

Granted we are temporal beings bound by time, but from the description we are given in the Bible, the answer appears to be, “No one is in Hell at this time.”  However, some clarification is necessary.  The Old Testament describes a place known as “Sheol,” which is referred to in the New Testament by the word “Hades.”   For the person who rejects God’s offer of forgiveness, there is nothing pleasant about this place.  For the unbeliever, it is best described as a “holding place” until the final judgment takes place (the Great White Throne of Judgment described in the Book of Revelation). More will follow on Hades in the next section.

Sheol / Hades should not be thought of as Purgatory, a teaching held by some that further punishment / payment for your sins will be required before you can enter Heaven.  This view is not supported by any passages of the Bible and has more to do with the history of the Catholic Church and the building of the Vatican City.  Fortunately, there is reform going on within the Catholic Church with greater emphasis on obeying the teachings of the Bible, rather than the traditions of the church.

Monday, August 12, 2013

HELL – Does It Really Exist and Why Would a Loving God Send Anyone There?

Like God we have many attributes and we share some common attributes with God.  In Genesis 1:27 we, like Adam & Eve, are described as being created in God’s image, and two of the ways all of us are like Him involve free-will and eternality.  Simply put, God’s love for us is so great that He will not force anyone to accept Jesus and the forgiveness of sins that is freely offered to all through faith in Him.  But make no mistake; God is very clear on faith in Jesus Christ as the only way to Heaven.  Unfortunately, there are individuals who have no interest in going to Heaven and they boast about being bound for Hell.  Next time we'll take a closer look at what the Bible tells us about Hell.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

HELL – Does It Really Exist and Why Would a Loving God Send Anyone There?

So now that we've considered there is more to God than just His attribute of love let's look further.  Here are some of the descriptions in the Bible made directly by God or someone (Moses) who had encountered Him:

            “He (God) passed in front of Moses and said, “I am the LORD, I am the Lord, the merciful
and gracious God. I am slow to anger and rich in unfailing love and faithfulness.  I show
             this unfailing love to many thousands by forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion.  Even so
             I do not leave sin unpunished…”       Exodus 34:6-7a  New Living Translation

            “Say this to the entire community of Israel: You must be holy because I, the Lord your
            God, am holy.    Leviticus 19:2  New Living Translation

            “I will proclaim the name of the Lord; how glorious is our God!  He is the Rock; His work is
perfect.  Everything He does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how
just and upright He is!  But they have acted corruptly toward Him; when they act  like that
are they really His children?”     Deuteronomy 32:3-5  New Living Translation

In just these couple of verses look at what we need to further understand:

  • God is holy (completely set apart from sin). 
  • God is perfect (flawless, complete, lacking or needing nothing). 
  • God is fair and just (He cannot judge with partiality or leave sin unpunished).
What follows is by no means a complete picture / description of God, but it helps to illustrate that all attributes of God must be considered:
            Love                                       Holy
            Merciful                                  Just
            Gracious                                Perfect
            Righteous                              Jealous – He will have no other “gods” before Him
            Compassionate                      Wrath – on those who reject Him
            Eternal                                   Unchanging
            Omniscient                            Omnipresent