If You Think It's Hot Now .... Part 2
The Bible exhausts human language in describing heaven and hell. The former is more glorious, and the latter more terrible, than language can express.
But Hollywood is not the only one to blame when it comes to desensitizing the subject of hell. Religion has played a role in this as well! Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia says concerning hell:
The modern Western understanding of hell derives from the latest period in ancient Israel's history, and it was more fully developed by early Christianity. The place reserved for the wicked dead was called Gehenna by Jews. Early references depict it as a place of temporary punishment, similar to the Roman Catholic purgatory. By the time Christianity was established, it had become a permanent abode. The torments inflicted there were largely imaginative projections of the worst tortures devised in this world. Eternal fire is the most common punishment, though perpetual cold also has been accepted.
There is no fully developed teaching about hell in the New Testament, though there are frequent mentions of it. Only in the course of later church history was it elaborated into official church doctrine. Today the New Testament statements and their later explanations are taken literally by some Christians, regarded as allegory or myth by some, and denied altogether by others.
Islam has no consistent teaching on hell. It is regarded as permanent in some passages of the Koran and temporary in others. In Hinduism, hell is accepted, but it has no permanent significance. It is but a stage in the long career of the soul. For most Buddhist schools, as well, hell is a transitory phase where sins are purged.
There is more to this article than is presented here, but we wanted to be brief.
Today, churches have abandoned preaching about hell as a place of torment. They may preach on “going through hell” which is not to be taken lightly, but “going through hell” and hell the place, are separate entities. Ask yourself this question; “When is the last time I heard a sermon on hell being a place of torment for unbelievers?” Most churches stick to “feel good” messages that are guaranteed to bring in the tithes and offerings! Please do not misunderstand. I am not attacking the principle of tithes and offerings, this is a mandate which was set up by God and should be obeyed.
As a child of God, you are not going to spend eternity in hell, but there are millions who have either haven’t heard, haven’t responded, or chosen to reject the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s up to us to make sure they hear and have the chance to respond. We must not go out there and “beat them upside the head with the book,” but we must tell them! When you made Jesus your Lord and Savior, your name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. But perhaps you are reading this, and you have not made Jesus your Lord and Savior. Let’s look at Revelation chapter 20 and see what awaits you if you continue in that condition:
1And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. 4And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 7And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. “
(to be continued)
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I just discovered a very critical accidental ommission i made in this article when I posted it. Sometimes when I am typing, a word will be in my head but it won't make it to the keyboard. This was the case in the sentence which SHOULD HAVE READ (and has now been corrected) "We must not go out there and "beat them upside the head with the book" but we must tell them. Please accept my deepest apology if you read that line before I made this discovery and misunderstood what I was saying there.