Post Number: 8
|Posted on Monday, January 18, 2016 - 8:06 pm: || |
Hi, again, Taluur.
In Matt 25:41 The word in the Greek for "everlasting" is "aiónios" meaning age long or eternal". This word in Roman times was used to describe the Emperor. It was in reference to the nature of their tenure. They held the office for "life," but that was mortal life; not forever everlasting life.
In Jude 7 Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by an "ETERNAL fire" (verse 7).
Question: Is Sodom and Gomorrah still burning today?
No debating. Just some things to consider for folk who are adamant that humans possess an everlasting spirit.
Post Number: 32
|Posted on Monday, January 18, 2016 - 8:39 pm: || |
Walt, you have an over-realized eschatology. The second death is not like the first death. It is more than that. The nature of the eternal state may not be directly compared to life as we currently know it, by definition. The Greek adjective aiónios frequently describes attributes of God which are necessarily eternal in duration. Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah are to be taken as an example of what is to come, not an actual copy.
Post Number: 73
|Posted on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 8:15 am: || |
If "aionios" is redefined to mean temporary, then the eternal life Jesus gives to those He has saved would really be temporary life. This runs counter to and in violation of the context of what Jesus taught in Matthew 25:41,46.
Efforts to negate this passage with other verses notwithstanding, the fact remains that both the life received by the saved and the punishment of the unsaved are experiences described as being eternal in length, not temporary.
Post Number: 9
|Posted on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 6:17 pm: || |
"The fact remains that...the punishment of the unsaved are experiences described as being eternal in length, not temporary."
We must ask ourselves this question:
Why would a God of love and great compassion cause the lost to experience eternal torment, writhing in fire forever,.... After a few brief years of sin in this fallen world?
This is a doctrine of demons.
Post Number: 10
|Posted on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 6:24 pm: || |
"Sodom and Gomorrah are to be taken as an example of what is to come, not an actual copy."
But the Greek word "aiónios" is translated in Jude 7:7 as eternal/ everlasting fire in Sodom & Gomorrah. That fire is not still burning is it? Is it?
Aionios is the same Greek word from Matthew 25:41, where Jesus peaks of "everlasting fire."
We can't side step this fact.
Aionios does not mean everlasting.
Post Number: 75
|Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 6:22 am: || |
If it is your view that eternal punishment is a doctrine of demons, then it would have to follow that Jesus taught a doctrine of demons because He taught eternal punishment so clearly in Matthew 25 and elsewhere. Of course, He did not teach a doctrine of demons. It is simply a truth of God's universe that this is the penalty for sin against Him. It is His universe and His rules. God is under no obligation to submit to your or anyone else's ideas of fairness. Passages like Job 40:1-5 and Romans 9 attest to that.
By the way, if "aionios" is redefined to mean it is not eternal, then you would have to also affirm that life for the saved is also not eternal. Changing the meaning of words mid-passage distorts the context of Jesus' teaching in Matthew 25:41,46.
If you unlawfully physically strike your neighbor, you will suffer a criminal penalty for that crime. If the person you struck was a police officer, the penalty significantly increases in severity. The penalty increases exponentially if the person is the president of the United States.
God is infinite, and when we sin we offend an infinite God. What makes sin so horrible, resulting in an eternally horrible penalty, is whom it is against: in infinitely holy and righteous God.
God shows His great love by providing the way of escape from His penalty against sin. Trust in the Lord Jesus alone; receive His complete payment for sin on the cross.
(Message edited by taluur on January 20, 2016)
Post Number: 11
|Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 10:19 am: || |
"aionios pyr" can not mean both total destruction and everlasting fire. It has to be one or the other.
We can't say that "aionios pyr" only means total destruction of Sodom & Gommorah, in Jude 1:7, and then have "aionios pyr" mean everlasting fire in Matthew 25:41.
On Monday, Lettlander posted that "Sodom and Gomorrah are to be taken as an example of what is to come, not an actual copy." Jesus didn't say Sodom & Gomorrah were only an example. He used the word, "Likewise.".....
Luke 17:28, 29
"Likewise also, as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
"But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed [aionios] them all."
At the very minimum, I believe a Christian view of how God disposes of the lost, should be "we're not sure," because there is quite a weighty amount of scripture that indicates "ashes under the souls of your feet."
And how could it be said by God, in Revelation 21, that there will be no more pain, and at the same time, have some immaterial spirits off somewhere shrieking in pain?
It doesn't make sense.
Post Number: 12
|Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 11:19 am: || |
"Sodom and Gomorrah are to be taken as an example of what is to come, not an actual copy."
But will still have Jude 1:7 clearly stating that Sodom & Gomorrah suffered the vengeance of eternal fire (aionios pyr), when it was NOT eternal. We can't fancifully skirt this. It was not eternal, but instantaneous evisceration. THAT would be an "example" of the end of the wicked.
"aionios pyr" are the same two words Jesus spoke in Matt 25:41, when He said the lost would depart from Him into "aionios pyr"
Since Sodom and Gomorrah are no longer burning in "aionios pyr", we can safely say that neither will be 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"
Post Number: 76
|Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 11:45 am: || |
Again, aionios modifies life for the saved and punishment for the unsaved. One cannot consistently say aionios means eternal for one and then change the meaning of the word mid-sentence to mean temporary. That is a distortion of Jesus' teaching.
Also, the point of Luke 17:28-29 is that the second coming of Jesus will catch many unawares as they pursue the activities of life. I do not think aionios is used in this passage, so adding it imposes a meaning that is not in the text.
It is my understanding that if truth is something we are really pursuing, then I think we should draw from what is actually in the text of Scripture instead of inserting words, or changing the meaning of words, to promote our own preferred preconceived ideas.
Post Number: 13
|Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 6:59 pm: || |
Based on what I see in scripture; the WHOLE of scripture, I can not believe that a God of love and compassion would ETERNALLY torture people, who had led such brief lives on earth.
I seriously wonder about people who have hook, line, and sinker, bought into this heinous teaching. Is it because of unforgiveness in the heart? Actually wanting "immaterial" spirits to suffer throughout eternity, and that after a lifetime of suffering on earth?
It is repugnant and a deterrent to the preaching of the "good news" of the gospel.
Post Number: 15319
|Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 9:50 pm: || |
Walt, it is a straw-man argument to say a God of love and compassion would not torture people.
First: we are unable to define "love and compassion" adequately from our human perspective. We are creatures. We have absolutely no ability to understand God's incommunicable attributes such as omnipotence and omniscience. When we talk about love and compassion, we use our human framework as our gauge. That is incorrect. We cannot know the full picture of reality; we simply have no way to ascertain what "compassion" and "love" look like from an all-seeing, all-knowing perspective.
We do not see the dreadfulness of sin. God does not judge people to hell for their sins committed in this life. Oh, those do figure into the degree or intensity of punishment, but we are ALL born condemned to eternal death...not because of deeds done in the flesh but because we are born dead. Ephesians 2:1-3 is explicit that we are all dead in our sins, under the authority of the prince of the air...Satan...and BY NATURE (that is who we are, how we are born) children of wrath.
We are born spiritually dead. Sin is not primarily physical acts. It is spiritual death, and "spirit" is not a metaphor. It is a real thing. Spirit is what died the day Adam and Eve ate the fruit. God said they would die the day they ate it, and they did. They suddenly knew shame, and they blamed and hid. They were disconnected from the life and communion of God. THAT spiritual death is what we inherited from Adam.
1 Cor. 5:21 -22 says that in Adam all die. Romans 5 further explains that by one man, Adam, all died. We didn't just inherit a predisposition to sin; we were born DEAD. This fact is what makes salvation so amazing and necessary. We cannot come to life and be reconciled to God apart from receiving the forgiveness of our debt through repentance and accepting the gift of Jesus' blood. His blood is the way we are reconciled to God, and that reconciliation is the way we receive life.
Without receiving Jesus' blood payment for sin, we remain dead, condemned already, as John 3:18 says. But when we receive Jesus' blood payment through belief in His finished work on our behalf, we pass from death to life (Jn. 5:24).
All of this only makes "sense" when we understand that we are dealing with spirits that are alive or dead. Otherwise, it's just so much metaphorical talk. But it's REAL.
When we realize that sin literally removed LIFE from the human race, eternal life and eternal death look different. We are born doomed to die eternally. It doesn't depend upon anything we did or didn't do. We are born condemned...not just prone to sin, but sinners. We sin because we are sinners. We do NOT become sinners by sinning.
When we lack God's eternal life in our bodies, we are dead, even though our bodies are alive. This death its hopeless and eternal, unending. We need Jesus to give us life.
Moreover, we are not saved or lost on the basis of our sins. Yes, our sins condemn us, but our eternal destiny is determined on the basis of our belief or unbelief in Jesus. Abraham was our "prototype"; he believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Throughout all of human history, people are saved on the basis of their belief in God's promises. Before the NT, people were saved by looking forward to the promised redeemer. Since Jesus, we are saved by looking back at the cross, but the means of salvation is still the same: we pass from death to life when we BELIEVE.
When we understand that sin is our natural condition, that sin severs us from the life of God, we see that sin against an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent sovereign God is extremely serious. God cannot casually "restore" us if we have no life and if we refuse to believe in the Sin-Bearer who gives us life. Moreover, He has given us everything we need for life and godliness in the Lord Jesus and His word. If we refuse to admit the true nature of our own sin and refuse to believe in the Lord Jesus, this refusal is an eternal sentence because we have refused the only way we can have LIFE restored to us.
God does not give us the option of believing we are only bodies with no immaterial spirit. In fact, Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4) that there is no more holy "place" (or time!) for worship. God is spirit, He told her, and true worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.
Jesus equated the essence of God with the essence of humans: we are spirit-beings. God is spirit without a body; humans, by God's sovereign design, are spirits housed in bodies (see 2 Cor. 5:1-5). In order to be a complete human, our spirits and our bodies must be united. The wicked who do not believe have their bodies united with dead (but not non-existent) spirits; the believers have their bodies united with living spirits.
It is significant that God resurrects the believers for eternal life, but He resurrects the wicked for eternal punishment. In other words, He brings back their bodies to be reunited with their dead spirits...for eternal punishment. There is no greater eternal punishment that to be forever unable to have fellowship with the Source of Life. Hell is not fully revealed to us; it is described both as fire and as "black darkness" (2 Peter 2:17). Being separated from the life of God leaves humans utterly depraved and destructive, but it does not mean they cease to exist.
Walt, appealing to "the WHOLE of Scripture" will not yield a clear case for annihilation. It is not good exegesis to use proof texts to make a case for annihilation. In fact, the context of the entire New Testament, studied verse-by-verse and chapter by chapter and book by book, will clarify the truth about eternal punishment and eternal life. While there are some unanswered questions, the whole issue begins to look very different when we begin to understand that "sin" is not primarily wrong doing. Sin is the natural condition of fallen man. It is spiritual, and it is death.
We are not condemned to eternal punishment for 80 years of sinful behavior. We are born condemned to eternal death because Adam plunged us all into death. Refusing the HUGE gift of life from the Lord Jesus is an egregious, infinite sin against our infinite God who crushed His Son (Is. 53:10) so that His rebellious human creatures could be restored to life. Refusing the Sin Bearer is an eternal sin of infinite consequence.
God is the One who has established the terms of life, death, and eternity. We cannot explain eternal truth on the basis of our limited, mortal perspective.
Post Number: 14
|Posted on Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 10:10 am: || |
Thanks for taking the time and effort to post all that.
Colleen, a couple things immediately jumped off the page as I read your post. And I agree with them. Here I am numbering the 3 comments, and adding my responses....
1) "we are ALL born condemned to eternal death."
-- eternal [2nd death] is what I see in the preponderance of Scripture on the subject. Not "everlasting fire."
2) "Spirit is what died the day Adam and Eve ate the fruit."
-- and so, the "gift" of eternal life through Jesus makes the new birth possible in the believer. But not the unbeliever. The unbeliever's spirit remains dead through the inherited sinful nature, in trespasses and sin. There is therefore no spirit within the unbeliever to burn.
3) "we pass from death to life when we BELIEVE"
-- Yes, this is what I believe.
Post Number: 15325
|Posted on Friday, January 22, 2016 - 6:54 pm: || |
Walt , dead spirits exist. They just exist apart from God's life. Satan and all the angels are spirits (Heb. 1:14). They do not have bodies, yet God throws Satan into the Lake of fire for eternal punishment at the end of Rev 20.
Moroever, God resurrects the wicked, putting bodies to their dead spirits, before the final judgment.
Post Number: 16
|Posted on Monday, January 25, 2016 - 8:16 am: || |
I heard someone say something quite startling the other day, and it made a lot of sense.
They said that if everlasting flames are the punishment for sin, then Jesus would still be burning.
And I also think about what the Apostle John heard, in vision, on the Isle of Patmos: "there shall be no more pain."
If there will be no more pain, then how could there then exist a place of torture in everlasting flames?
Post Number: 77
|Posted on Monday, January 25, 2016 - 6:52 pm: || |
Not necessarily. Even in the Bible the punishment for a crime does not always follow a one to one ratio to the crime itself. For example, if a man stole an ox or a sheep then slaughtered or sold it, he had to pay five oxen for the ox (not one) and four sheep for the sheep (not one). (Exodus 22:1) The way God set things up, the blood of Jesus shed on the cross is what He considers sufficient payment for sin, for those who trust in Jesus alone. That does not make it necessary for Jesus to experience the eternal punishment that the unsaved not covered by His blood by faith will experience. Assuming a one to one ratio between crime and punishment is unwarranted in light of the context Scripture.
As far as there being no more pain, context is important. To whom does this apply? To the redeemed (Revelation 21:2-4), not to the unsaved. (Mark 9:43-48; Revelation 14:11, 20:10)
Post Number: 17
|Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 11:38 am: || |
When I hear the Lord say "There will be no more pain," I don't hear Him qualifying that by saying, except for the wicked.
Here is what I read in Rev 21: "There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
"And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful." True & faithful.
Many churches have a doctrine of hell that insists mortals have an indestructible, immaterial spirit, that will burn throughout eternity. This so called doctrine crept into not the Apostolic Church, but the later early Catholic church, and is based on Greek and Roman pagan beliefs of the immortality of the soul. It has since crept into Protestant churches that erroneously seek to support it by isolated "proof texts" from scripture, taken out of context, ...or misunderstood parables of Jesus.
As I had pointed out earlier, In Jude 1:7 we find it written that Sodom and Gomorrah experienced "everlasting fire." The Greek word used there for everlasting is aionios, which happens to be the same exact Greek word translated "everlasting fire" in Matthew 25:41, where Jesus states "depart from me into everlasting (aionios) fire."
If Jude 1:7 tells us that Sodom and Gomorrah were burned with everlasting (aionios)fire, are they still burning?
And will the saints sit on the walls of the New Jerusalem, eating pop corn, as they are entertained by watching people writhing in pain, burning forever?
Post Number: 79
|Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 4:18 pm: || |
Well, Walt. I think Colleen, I, and others have more than adequately dealt with your objections to the Biblical teaching on eternal punishment. Even the objections you make here have been dealt with already. So to respond further to them would be repetitious.
In the end, if eternal punishment does not mean what it says, then neither does eternal life. It is that simple. Changing the definitions of words mid-sentence, wresting verses out of context, and snide comments do not alter that truth.
Post Number: 18
|Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 6:46 pm: || |
Well, then, let us move on. Jesus, and His parable of the Rich Man & Lazarus
Jesus actually does say that the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus is indeed a parable, for it comes right on the heels of Luke 15, where at the end of that chapter, there is the parable of the Prodigal Son.
Chapter divisions were not a part of the original writings of the New Testament, but were added centuries later--perhaps after the invention of Gutenberg's press. So, Luke 16, according to correct exegetical methods of bringing meaning FROM scripture (in opposition to Isogesis, which is imposing bias ON scripture), is a direct uninterrupted continuation of Jesus's words at the end of Luke 15. There is no getting around that. The Rich Man & Lazarus is as much a parable as is the parable of the Prodigal Son. For Jesus first word in Luke 16 is "And,....." Indicating He was still giving illustrations and parables of teachings.
What was the teaching in the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus? It was not at all about hell or what it is. It was instead, simply this: Don't be so concerned with accumulating material things and pleasures, otherwise, the 1st will be last and the last first.
Post Number: 1845
|Posted on Thursday, January 28, 2016 - 8:25 am: || |
While not dealing directly with with subject of eternal separation from Christ, here's something I wrote awhile back about the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. We shouldn't simply dismiss the elements that Jesus chose to relate in His narrative.
I once went to see the Oscar winning film Gladiator with a SDA friend of mine. Near the beginning of the film we find out that the hero, Maximus, dreams of leaving the wars and returning to the life he loves of raising crops with his wife and son. Unfortunately, before he is able to return to the fields that he loves so much, his wife and son are murdered and he is made a gladiator slave. In the final scene, as Maximus lays dying in the Coliseum, we see an image of him walking through a field of ripe grain with his wife and son before him in the sunlight……fade to black………
I was very impressed with Ridley Scott’s film which later won best picture. On the way out of the theater I remarked to my SDA friend how much I enjoyed the movie. His comment to me was, “I liked it right up until the point where it got into all that spiritualism. I couldn’t recommend it because of the spiritualism.” I was stunned. A well crafted film that managed to combine epic story-telling, action, and breath taking cinematography had just been dismissed out of hand because of one beautifully artistic scene near the end. The entire movie was worthless because it promoted “spiritualism”.
Had my friend said he disagreed with the idea that a polytheistic Roman who died apart from Christ would be in Heaven, then I could have heartily agreed with him. But that wasn’t why my friend was so offended. He was offended by the portrayal of conscious existence at death. I have run into this same attitude with close family members as well. Any art that so much as hints at conscious existence at death is written off as being either “spiritualism”, or more often, “satanic”.
Perhaps I should not be surprised by this as I grew up believing that the idea of conscious existence at death was the first lie Satan ever told. So therefore any teacher, preacher, movie, song, TV show, or book that suggested a conscious existence at death must be satanic in so far as they were promoting Satan’s lie. But if conscious existence at death is Satan’s lie and those who teach it are false teachers, what does that say about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Jesus tells a very interesting story in Luke, chapter 16.
Luke 16:19-31 (NASB)
19 "Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.
20 "And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores,
21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.
22 "Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.
23 "In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw* Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 "And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.'
25 "But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.
26 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'
27 "And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house—
28 for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'
29 "But Abraham said*, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.'
30 "But he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!'
31 "But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.' "
Now I have heard some try to dismiss this passage by saying, “Well, it’s only a parable and the main point isn’t the state of the dead.” This may very well only be a parable, but if it is, then it is the only recorded parable of Jesus where he uses a name for one of the characters. Because of this, many commentators believe that Jesus is recounting actual events involving people some in the crowd would have known. However, I’m fine with assuming that this is a parable. I also agree completely that the main point isn’t the state of the dead.
However, neither of those points allows us to dismiss the significance of the illustration Jesus is using here. Assuming this is a parable, then we can say that Jesus’ parables ALWAYS made use of something TRUE from life to illustrate an even greater spiritual TRUTH. It just doesn’t work to say that Jesus was illustrating a truth by using a falsehood. Can you imagine Jesus saying, “You know that point I was making? Well, it was a true point, but the way I went about making it was absolutely false. In fact, I was using an illustration that is a satanic lie to make my point. My illustration is dangerous spiritualism, but the point is still valid.”? Why would Jesus say something that was completely false and thereby mislead generations of Christians? Why would he wait until the 1840s to raise up a group to correct the misconception he started over 1800 year’s before? That’s a long time to leave Christians confused and misled by a satanic illustration.
It almost feels like blasphemy to write the paragraph I did above, and yet that’s essentially what those who try to explain away this passage are saying when you peel away all their layers of double talk. We’re talking about God in the flesh. We’re talking about the greatest teacher, preacher, and prophet to ever walk among us. This is the illustration He chose and the people in His illustration are conscious and communicative at death. If we accuse other teachers and preachers of spiritualism and promoting the lies of Satan when they say such things, should we accuse Jesus of the same thing? Well, I guess one might if they were consistent, but it would be a grave mistake.
This isn’t “spiritualism”. It reflects a spiritual reality that Christ knew to be true and the rest of the Bible confirms. Although I would not want to make a passage like this the primary source of my doctrine, Jesus’ illustration fits perfectly with the rest of His teaching and the didactic teaching of His apostles so I can accept this story as representing spiritual reality. I don’t need or want to explain it away and dismiss it.
I believe we have been guilty of falsely accusing some of our Christian brothers and sisters of spiritualism for preaching and teaching things that the Bible itself preaches and teaches. I know I have to personally repent of such accusations that I have made. My accusations and judgments were made out of my own ignorance, but I bear the responsibility for that ignorance.
Now that I know what the Bible teaches on this subject, I can now watch films that depict a conscious existence at death without becoming angry and agitated. I may not agree with every theological implication in the way it is presented, but I can at least enjoy the story for its artistic merit without fearing a satanic deception. But much more importantly, now that I know what the bible teaches on this subject I am now much more comfortable fellowshipping with Christians who believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
Based upon much prayer and Bible study, I now believe that at death I will be consciously with the Lord awaiting the resurrection of my perfect imperishable body. I don’t know exactly this means or what it will be like, but perhaps it will be just a little like Ridley Scott’s vision of walking through a beautiful field of ripened grain, surrounded by sunlight and loved ones.
Post Number: 92
|Posted on Thursday, January 28, 2016 - 1:18 pm: || |
Good stuff, Chris!
I am always amazed when my SDA wife and I watch a movie and there is a scene depicting consciousness af death. Her whole focus shifts to the satanic expression in Hollywood. Sigh.
I loved the film "Faith Like Potatoes." She thought it was more satanic infiltration into Hollywood because of one dream depiction where a father is reunited in heaven with his son.
Great read, though. Thanks.