Saturday, 30 June 2018

Eternity in the Bible

I first read Gerry Beauchemin's book about 6 or 7 years ago and it confirmed in my spirit what my heavenly Father had been trying to show me. The internal contradiction of a loving heavenly Father who threatens us with eternal rejection if we do not obey Him had been bringing me into a pit of depression and anger, mixed with self accusation and self loathing...turning to despair. Gerry's book-Hope Beyond Hell is one that God gifted me with in those dark days and set me free!  The other is The Savior of the World series by Preston Eby.




Further Study Links (Below)


From “Hope Beyond Hell” Chapter 1 pages 21-31


By Gerry Beauchemin- Hope Beyond Hell

Aion


The Greek word “aion” (and its adjective “aionian”) is mostly translated “eternal,” “everlasting,” and for “ever” in the King James Version. However, some translations read “age-abiding,” “age-during,” or “eon,” as noted below. “Robert Young, author of the highly respected Young’s Analytical Concordance, in his literal translation of the Bible, always translates them as ‘age’ and never once as ‘everlasting,’ or ‘eternal.’”1

Old Testament (Greek Septuagint)

In History of Opinions on the Scriptural Doctrine of Retribution, Edward Beecher, D.D., pointed out:

The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Old Testament and was the Bible of the early church. The word aion occurs in it about four hundred times in every variety of combination. The adjective aionios derived from it, is used over one hundred times.…Aion denoted an age, great or small, so the adjective aionios expressed the idea pertaining to or belonging to the aion, whether great or small. But in every case this adjective derives its character and duration from the aion to which it refers.2

In the Septuagint the Greek word, aion, is used to translate the Hebrew word olam. Thus, if we want to get a sense of the N.T. meaning of aion, we need to understand the meaning of olam in the O.T. Numerous passages referring to olam show clearly it cannot mean “never-ending” in those texts. Note these few:

¨ Jonah was in the fish forever [olam]. But only until he left three days later (Jon. 1:17; 2:6).

¨ Sodom’s fiery judgment is eternal [olam]. But only until God returns them to their former state (Ez. 16:53-55; Ju. 7).

¨ A Moabite is forbidden to enter the Lord’s congregation forever [olam]. But only until the 10th generation. (De. 23:3).

¨ Hills are everlasting [olam]. But only until made low and the earth is burned up (Ge. 49:26; De. 33:15; Is. 40:4; 2Pe. 3:10).

¨ Mountains are everlasting [olam]. But only until they are scattered (Hab. 3:6).

¨ A slave serves his master forever [olam]. But only until death ends his servitude (Ex. 21:6).

¨ The Mosaic covenant is everlasting [olam]. But only until it vanishes away (Le. 24:8; He. 8:7-13).

¨ The Aaronic priesthood is everlasting [olam]. But only until the likeness of Melchizedek arises (Ex. 40:15; Nu. 25:13; He. 7:14-22).

¨ These “stones” are to be a memorial forever [olam]. Where are they now (Jos. 4:7)?

¨ The leprosy of Naaman shall cling forever [olam]. But only until his death, of course (2K. 5:27).

¨ God dwells in Solomon’s temple forever [olam]. But only until it is destroyed (2Ch. 7:16; 1K 8:13; 9:3).

¨ Animal sacrifices were to be offered forever [olam]. But only until ended by the work of Christ (2Ch. 2:4; He. 7:11-10:18).

¨ Circumcision was an everlasting [olam] covenant. But only until the new covenant (Ge. 17:9-13; 1Co. 7:19; Ga. 5:6).

¨ Israel’s judgment lasts forever [olam]. But only until the Spirit is poured out and God restores it (Is. 32:13-15).

¨ I will make you an eternal [olam] excellence. But only until many generations (Is. 60:15).

As we can see, olam does not mean “eternal” though it can last a very long time. Also, “forever and ever” is not an accurate translation. How can you add “ever” to “forever?” The literal translation is “for the eon [olam] and further.” This makes sense. The Concordant Version Old Testament is consistent here. Consider two examples:

¨ He [David] asked life from You; You will give it to him: Length of days for an eon [olam] and further (Ps. 21:4 CVOT).

¨ He has founded the earth on its bases. It shall never slip for

the eon [olam] and further (Ps. 104:5 CVOT).

Even passages that do not use the word olam, but signify unchanging, are not so when God is involved. Nothing can deter Him from achieving His purposes. For example:

¨ Israel’s affliction is incurable. But only until the Lord restores health and heals her wounds (Jer. 30:12, 17).

¨ Samaria’s wounds are incurable. But only until the Lord brings them back and restores them (Mic. 1:9; Ez. 16:53).

¨ Egypt and Elam will rise no more. But only until the Lord brings back their captives (Jer. 25:27; 49:39; Ez. 29:14).

¨ Moab is destroyed. But only until the Lord brings back the captives of Moab (Jer. 48:4, 42, 47).

New Testament

Consider the N. T. use of aion. Does “eternity” make any sense in the following passages? To make my point unmistakable, I have translated the Greek word aion with the English word “eternity.”

¨ What will be the sign…of the end of the eternity (Mt. 24:3)?

¨ I am with you…to the end of the eternity (Mt. 28:20).

¨ The sons of this eternity are more shrewd (Lu. 16:8).

¨ The sons of this eternity marry (Lu. 20:34).

¨ Worthy to attain that eternity (Lu. 20:35).

¨ Since the eternity began (Jn. 9:32; Ac. 3:21).

¨ Conformed to this eternity (Ro. 12:2).

¨ Mystery kept secret since the eternity began but now made manifest (Ro. 16:25-26).

¨ Where is the disputer of this eternity (1Co. 1:20)?

¨ Wisdom of this eternity, nor of the rulers of this eternityordained before the eternitieswhich none of the rulers of this eternity (1Co. 2:6-8)

¨ Wise in this eternity (1Co. 3:18).

¨ Upon whom the ends of the eternities have come.
(1Co. 10:11)

¨ God of this eternity has blinded (2Co. 4:4).

¨ Deliver us from this present evil eternity (Ga. 1:4).

¨ Not only in this eternity but also in that which is to come (Ep. 1:21).

¨ Walked according to the eternity of this world (Ep. 2:2).

¨ In the eternities to come (Ep. 2:7).

¨ From the beginnings of the eternities (Ep. 3:9).

¨ Hidden from eternities…but now…revealed (Col. 1:26).

¨ Loved this present eternity (2Ti. 4:10).

¨ Receive him for eternity (Ph.1:15). Does this mean forever or only until Onesimus dies?

¨ Powers of the eternity to come (He. 6:5).

¨ At the end of the eternities (He. 9:26).

¨ We understand the eternities have been prepared by a saying of God (He. 11:3).

How can we say…

¨ “Before eternity” or “eternity began”? Eternity has no beginning (Jn. 9:32; Ac. 3:21; 1Co. 2:7; Ep. 3:9).

¨ “Present eternity,” “eternity to come,” and “end of eternity?” Eternity transcends time. Only God is eternal (Mt. 24:3; 28:20; 1Co. 10:11; 2Ti. 4:10; He. 6:5; 9:26).

¨ “This eternity,” “that eternity,” or “eternities”? There is only one eternity (Lu. 16:8; 20:34-35; Ro. 12:2; 1Co. 1:20; 2:6-8; 3:18; 10:11; 2Co. 4:4; Ga. 1:4; Ep. 1:21; 2:2, 7; 3:9; Col. 1:26; 2Ti. 4:10; He. 11:3).

¨ “Eternal secret” if the secret is revealed? (Ro. 16:25-26; Col. 1:26). It is no longer a “secret” at that point.

¨ Onesimus will be Philemon’s slave for eternity? Is he still his slave (Phil. 1:15)?

Scores of passages demonstrate that aion is of limited duration. In his book God’s Methods with Man, G. Campbell Morgan (scholar, associate of D.L. Moody, and a highly respected expositor of Scripture), said:

Let me say to Bible students that we must be very careful how we use the word “eternity.” We have fallen into great error in our constant use of that word. There is no word in the whole Book of God corresponding with our “eternal,” which, as commonly used among us, means absolutely without end. The strongest Scripture word used with reference to the existence of God, is—“unto the ages of the ages,” which does not literally mean eternally.3

In his Word Studies in the New Testament, Marvin Vincent, D.D., Baldwin Professor of Sacred Literature at Union Theological Seminary, New York, explained:

Aion, transliterated aeon, is a period of longer or shorter duration, having a beginning and an end, and complete in itself. Aristotle (peri ouravou, i. 9, 15) said, “The period which includes the whole time of one’s life is called the aeon of each one.” Hence, it often means the life of a man, as in Homer, where one’s life (aion) is said to leave him or to consume away (Il v.685; Od v.160). It is not, however, limited to human life. It signifies any period in the course of the millennium, the mythological period before the beginnings of history. The word has not “a stationary and mechanical value” (De Quincey). It does not mean a period of a fixed length for all cases. There are as many aeons as entities, the respective durations of which are fixed by the normal conditions of the several entities. There is one aeon of a human life, another of the life of a nation, another of a crow’s life, another of an oak’s life. The length of the aeon depends on the subject to which it is attached.…The adjective aionious in like manner carries the idea of time. Neither the noun nor the adjective, in themselves, carry the sense of endless or everlasting. They may acquire that sense by their connotation….Aionios means “enduring through” or “pertaining to a period of time.” Both the noun and the adjective are applied to limited periods….Out of the 150 instances in LXX, [Greek Old Testament] four-fifths imply limited duration. For a few instances, see Gen. xlviii. 4; Num. x. 8; xv. 15; Prov. xxii. 28; Jonah ii.6; Hab. iii. 6; Isa lxi. 17.4

So what if the Greek word aion has been erroneously translated “eternal” instead of “age”? What does that have to do with everlasting punishment? It has everything to do with it, since one of the key texts used in defense of the Augustinian view of hell is Mt. 25:46: “And these will go away into everlasting [aionian] punishment.” If this passage as translated here is accurate, then I would have to admit the Bible teaches that punishment is forever. But what if it is not? What if aion does not mean “everlasting”? What would that do to the “biblical support” of an infinite hell? It would negate the use of any verses resting on the word aion used in its defense.

Consider how the following translations word this phrase:

¨ Young’s Literal Translation: “punishment age-during.”

¨ Rotherham Translation: “age-abiding correction.”

¨ Weymouth Translation: “punishment of the ages.”

¨ Concordant Literal Translation: “chastening eonian.”

These reputable translations use the word “age” and not “eternal.” These two concepts are diametrically opposed to one another. They are not the same by any means. An age has a beginning and an end; eternity does not.

Augustine raised the argument that since aionios in Mt. 25:46 referred to both life and punishment, it had to carry the same duration in both cases.5 However, he failed to consider that the duration of aionios is determined by the subject to which it refers. For example, when aionios referred to the duration of Jonah’s entrapment in the fish, it was limited to three days. To a slave, aionios referred to his life span. To the Aaronic priesthood, it referred to the generation preceding the Melchizedek priesthood. To Solomon’s temple, it referred to 400 years. To God it encompasses and transcends time altogether.

Thus, the word cannot have a set value. It is a relative term and its duration depends upon that with which it is associated. It is similar to what “tall” is to height. The size of a tall building can be 300 feet, a tall man six feet, and a tall dog three feet. Black Beauty was a great horse, Abraham Lincoln a great man, and Yahweh the GREAT God. Though God is called “great,” the word “great” is neither eternal nor divine. The horse is still a horse. An adjective relates to the noun it modifies. In relation to God, “great” becomes GREAT only because of who and what God is. This silences the contention that aion must always mean forever because it modifies God. God is described as the God of Israel and the God of Abraham. This does not mean He is not the God of Gentiles, or the God of you and me. Though He is called the God of the “ages,” He nonetheless remains the God who transcends the ages.

In addition, Augustine’s reasoning does not hold up in light of Ro. 16:25, 26 and Hab. 3:6. Here, in both cases, the same word is used twice—with God and with something temporal. “In accord with the revelation of a secret hushed in times eonian, yet manifested now…according to the injunction of the eonian God” (Ro. 16:25, 26 CLT). An eonian secret revealed at some point cannot be eternal even though it is revealed by the eonian God. Eonian does not make God eternal, but God makes eonian eternal. “And the everlasting mountains were scattered.…His ways are everlasting” (Hab. 3:6). Mountains are not eternal, though they will last a very long time. God’s ways however, are eternal, because He is eternal.

Matthew 25:46 contains an additional clue confirming the temporary nature of God’s judgment. The Greek word, translated “punishment,” is kolasis. William Barclay, world-renowned Greek scholar, translator, and author of the popular Bible commentary, The Daily Study Bible and New Testament Words, noted:

The Greek word for punishment here [Mt. 25:46] is kolasis, which was not originally an ethical word at all. It originally meant the pruning of trees to make them grow better. I think it is true to say that in all Greek secular literature kolasis is never used of anything but remedial punishment.6

Thomas Talbott, philosophy professor at Willamette University in Oregon and author of The Inescapable Love of God, explained:

According to Aristotle, there is a difference between revenge and punishment; the latter (kolasis) is inflicted in the interest of the sufferer, the former (timōria) in the interest of him who inflicts it, that he may obtain satisfaction. Plato also appealed to the established meaning of kolasis as support for his theory that virtue could be taught: “For if you will consider punishment (kolasis)…and what control it has over wrong-doers, the facts will inform you that men agree in regarding virtue as procured.” Even where a punishment may seem harsh and unforgiving, more like retribution than parental chastisement, this in no way excludes a corrective purpose. Check out the punishment that Paul prescribes in I Corinthians 5:5. One might never have guessed that, in prescribing such a punishment—that is, delivering a man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh—Paul had in mind a corrective purpose, had Paul not explicitly stated the corrective purpose himself (“that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus”). So as this text illustrates, even harsh punishment of a seemingly retributive kind can in fact serve a redemptive purpose.7-9

“And these will go away into everlasting [aionian] punishment [kolasis], but the righteous into eternal [aionian] life” (Mt. 25:46). Isn’t it ironic that the passage most often used to support everlasting punishment is in fact one strongly opposing it when accurately understood?

Dr. Helena Keizer is a trustworthy authority on the definition of aiōn in ancient Greek literature, including the Bible in the time of Christ. Keizer published a 315-page doctoral dissertation titled: “Life, Time, Entirety – A Study of Aiōn in Greek Literature and Philosophy, the Septuagint and Philo.” Presented on September 7, 1999 in Holland, at Amsterdam University. Keizer stated:

Olām and hence aiōn in the Biblical sense is time constituting the human temporal horizon.”29 “Our study has led to the conclusion that infinity is not an intrinsic or necessary connotation of aiōn, either in the Greek or in the Biblical usage (‘olām).”30 “To speak of ‘this aiōn’, its ‘end,’ and ‘the aiōn to come’ clearly lends to aiōn the meaning of a limited time.”31 “The following description of Gregory of Nyssa…makes a good finishing point for now: ‘Aeon designates temporality, that which occurs within time.’”32

I am pleased to say that Dr. Keizer has given me permission to share her book with others in electronic format.

Terms for Eternity is another scholarly work on aiōn by David Konstan and Ilaria Ramelli. Konstan is the John Rowe Workman Distinguished Professor of Classics and Professor of Comparative Literature, at Brown University in R.I. Ramelli is Assistant Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the Catholic University of Milan, Italy. They agree with the conclusions of Dr. Keizer. They wrote:

“Apart from the Platonic philosophical vocabulary, which is specific to few authors, aiónios does not mean “eternal”; it acquires this meaning only when it refers to God, and only because the notion of eternity was included in the conception of God: for the rest, it has a wide range of meanings and its possible renderings are multiple, but it does not mean “eternal.” In particular when it is associated with life or punishment, in the Bible and in Christian authors who keep themselves close to the Biblical usage, it denotes their belonging to the world to come.” (Page 238)

These scholarly works are important, as the key defense of eternal punishment depends on this word meaning absolute eternity. For more on the meaning of aiōn, see our website: HopeBeyondHell.net; Further Study; Eternity, and Church History.

Alternative Views

Aionian (eternal), when associated with God, may simply refer to that which comes forth from Him and relates to His purposes; a quality of essence rather than of duration. Is this not what our Lord intends in John 17:3: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You.” If this is so, perhaps the Matthew passage could be para­phrased this way: “And these will go away into the chastisement of God, but the righteous into the life of God.” Professor Talbott confirmed this:

When the letter of Jude describes the fire that consumed Sodom and Gomorrah as “eternal fire,” the point is not that the fire literally burns forever without consuming the cities; it is not that the fire continues to burn even today. The point is that the fire is a form of divine judgment upon those cities…that has its causal source in the eternal God himself. And similar for Jesus’ reference to “eternal fire” in Matthew 25:41 and to “eternal punishment” in Matthew 25:46. The fire to which he alludes is not eternal in the sense that it burns forever without consuming anything—without consuming, for example, that which is false within a person (see 1 Co. 3:15)—and neither is the punishment eternal in the sense that it continues forever without accomplishing its corrective purpose. Both the fire and the punishment are eternal in the sense that they have their causal source in the eternal God himself.10

Similarly, Barclay wrote:

The simplest way to put it is that aionios cannot be used properly of anyone but God; it is the word uniquely, as Plato saw it, of God. Eternal punishment is then literally that kind of remedial punishment which it befits God to give and which only God can give.11

Talbott continued:

The Gospel writers thought in terms of two ages, the present age and the age to come, and they associated the age to come with God himself; it was an age in which God’s presence would be fully manifested, his purposes fully realized, and his redemptive work eventually completed. They therefore came to employ the term, “αίώνίος,” [aionios] as an eschatological [doctrine of end times] term, one that functioned as a handy reference to the realities of the age to come. In this way, they managed to combine the more literal sense of “that which pertains to an age” with the more religious sense of “that which manifests the presence of God in a special way.” Eternal life, then, is not merely life that comes from God; it is also the mode of living associated with the age to come. And similarly for eternal punishment: It is not merely punishment that comes from God; it is also the form of punishment associated with the age to come. Now in none of this is there any implication that the life that comes from God and the punishment that comes from God are of an equal duration.”12

Likewise, Beecher demonstrated that in the days of the early church the idea was “punishment of the world to come.” The early Church establishes that fact through the ancient creeds. In fact, in none of its creeds did the early Church teach everlasting punishment.13

Arguing that eternal punishment must be of unending duration because it is contrasted with eternal life (Mt. 25:46), misses the point. It fails to recognize that eternal life is a quality of relationship with God (Jn. 17:3), and is an end in itself; while eternal punishment is God’s corrective discipline and a means to an end. In any case, whether aion means “age-abiding,” “of God,” or “of the world to come,” none of these expressions state, imply, or require that the punishment be never-ending.

So then, if aion does not strictly mean eternal, what word does? There are a number of Greek words that imply eternal. They are usually translated “indestructible,” “imperishable,” “unfading,” “immortality,” and “incorruptible.” See Ro. 1:23; 2:7; 1Co. 9:25; 15:42, 51-54; He. 7:15-16; 1Pe. 1:3-4; 5:4; 1Ti. 1:17; 6:16; 2Ti. 1:10.

Our hope of immortality does not reside in the word aion but in God’s very nature (unfailing love and unlimited power) and promises. (See Appendix I). So long as we have a flawed understanding of this four letter Greek word, we will remain blinded to the truth in relation to God’s judgments.

I recommend that you also read The History of Opinions on the Scriptural Doctrine of Retribution by Dr. Edward Beecher. I found his findings conclusive. You may read it on our website: HopeBeyondHell.net, Further Study, Church History.

Taken from chapter I of Hope Beyond Hell – Revised Edition (pages 21-31) Free book download: HopeBeyondHell.net

References:

1 Hurley, Loyal F. The Outcome of Infinite Grace. Santa Clarita, CA: Concordant Publishing Concern, n.d. 19.

2 Beecher, Edward. History of Opinions on the Scriptural Doctrine of Retribution. New York: Appleton, 1887. Chapter 17. Put into Electronic Format by Naomi Durkin, 2000.

3 Morgan, G. Campbell. God’s Methods with Man. New York: Revell, 1898.

4 Vincent, Marvin. Word Studies in the New Testament. 1887. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1973. 58-59.

5 Bonda, Jan. The One Purpose of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Publishing Co, 1998. 18.

6 Barclay, William. William Barclay: A Spiritual Autobiography. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1977. 65-67.

7Talbott, Thomas. “A Pauline Interpretation of Divine Judgment” in Robin Parry and Christopher Partridge (eds.) Universal Salvation? The Current Debate. Grand Rapids. MI: Eerdmans, 2003. 47. Note 27; In Rhetoric 1369b,13; Note 28; In Gorgias 477a.

8 Ibid. 51. Note 28; In Protagoras 324.

9 Talbott, Thomas. “Eternal Punishment.” Online posting. 2005. 2 May 2006. http://www.willamette.edu/~ttalbott/aionios.htm.

10 Talbott, Thomas. The Inescapable Love of God. Salem, Oregon: Universal, 2002. 87-88.

11 Barclay. Ibid.

12 Talbott. Ibid. 89-90

13 Beecher, Edward. History of Opinions on the Scriptural Doctrine of Retribution. New York: Appleton, 1887. Chapter 19. Put into Electronic Format by Naomi Durkin, 2000.

29 Keizer, Heleen M. Life, Time, Entirety – A Study of “AIŌN” in Greek Literature and Philosophy, the Septuagint and Philo; Doctoral dissertation University of Amsterdam. 1999. Slightly amended version 2005. Chapter VI, Sec. I. 241. Personal note from Dr. Keizer: “Dear Mr. Beauchemin…please use this electronic document as you would a paper copy in your possession or borrowed from a library.” Email us for more information.

30-32 Keizer. Ibid. 244. 31 Keizer. Ibid. Sec. II. 246. 32Keizer. Ibid. 247.

Eternity: Further Study Links 


Jeff A. Benner: Ancient Hebrew Word Meanings Eternity ~ olam
Dr. Marvin Vincent: The Greek Meaning of “Eternal Destruction”
Dr. John W. Hanson: The Meaning of the Greek “Aion” and “Aionios”
Dr. Edward Beecher: Church History Testifies to the Limited Nature of God’s Judgment






 


GO TO AUTHORS WEBSITE - HOPE BEYOND HELL

Gerry Beauchemin has served in missions since 1986 in Mexico, the Philippines, and Senegal, West Africa. He was a missionary with Youth With A Mission (Y.W.A.M.), The Luke Society, and Philippine Health Care Ministries. Since 2001, he has directed Dental Training For Missions in Brownsville Texas. He and his wife, Denise, (of 32 years), have three daughters and two granddaughters.
What qualifies Gerry to write on this theme? He has extensively reflected upon, read the works of others, and for many years wrestled with and studied the Scriptures on this topic. He has found solid Biblical evidence for his conclusion of hope. Having agonized for most of his life over hell he understands the contradictions it brings upon the Christian faith. Gerry thought, “Who am I to write such a book?” Then he recalled 1Co. 1:26-29, “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise…that no flesh should glory in his presence.” This along with Mt 10:27 and 11:25 spurred him on.
“Knowing Gerry as a close friend, I can say that he has wrestled with God and his conscience over the issues presented in this book. “Hope Beyond Hell” is the result of many years of introspection, Bible study, and prayer.  Gerry’s enthusiasm for what he has discovered is evident on every page. To read this book is to know the author.” Gary A. Fenwick, Missionary, Teacher, Mexico

Hell is all pervasive

One of the biggest tares in the modern church , for the last 1500 years is the wrong translation of a few key words in Hebrew and Greek. I can already feel the oppression on my head from offended brothers and sisters as they pray "for" me! Never mind that,  as a brother in Jesus Christ I will continue to share the good news in the hope that someone may hear.

It was St Augustine who reasoned that if we have been given eternal life then those who do not believe in Jesus must receive eternal death.


Is it as simple as that dualistic approach?

Believe it or not the Bible says very little about eternal life...and for that matter eternal death.

The hope of the saints living in  Old Covenant times was to be raised up or resurrected in the end times so as to enjoy the Life of the Age to come.

The hope of those who believed in Jesus was and is the same....Our hope is not to die and go to a faraway place called heaven...The hope clearly revealed by the Jesus and His Apostles is to be resurrected to immortality reigning with Him in the Age to come.

When Augustine presented his reasonings that we must have eternal life and so Hell must also of necessity be forever, it was adopted by the church council of the day and later stamped as official church dogma by the Emperor Justinian. What better way to control the masses than through the threat of eternal torture and punishment in a literal burning fire?

The Scriptures simply do not teach such a thing. You think they do because there has been 1500 years of compounded teaching along these lines and anyone who dares say differently is thought of as a heretic. The simple meaning of a heretic is one who causes division so in a sense I fit that bill because I am presenting the majority of people with something that will bring down the whole stack of cards.

Hell is all about controlling you and the masses of those like you. Hell is all pervasive and all over everything a Christian does. Without Hell what would a Christian do?

There will be a resurrection of all those chosen and faithful saints who shall receive immortality for reigning with Jesus Christ upon this earth. They shall also be able to go into the heavens with this new immortal body. These shall be called priests of God and they shall teach and preach upon the earth to the nations during the 1000 year reign of Jesus on this earth.

Those who died before that resurrection but who were not counted worthy to attain to that resurrection shall stay sleeping in the grave until the second resurrection at the end of the Age. We are told that that age lasts for a 1000 years. At the end of it, then ALL who sleep in the graves shall hear the voice of the son of man and shall be raised up to stand before Him. At that time they shall see Him who they pierced and shall believe upon Him and confess Him as their Lord and Saviour.

All their sins are forgiven and washed in the blood sacrifice of Jesus. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess Jesus as their Lord. Oh happy day!!

Then in the Ages to come they shall learn as we have been learning....they shall be put under authority and taught by the Holy Spirit....even as we have been. This is the Lake of Fire that burns age to age. The fire is the Holy Spirit as he deals with each one individually even as we have been immersed into His fire during our time. God chastens those whom He loves and He loves ALL PEOPLE. He chastens us all so that we may be sharers in His holiness and come to inherit as sons do.

The hope of the Gospel is that all shall be saved and all shall believe in Jesus until all His enemies are made His footstool...then God shall be all in all.

How big is your God? Will your God save all or will He only save a few?

Your view of all this has been influenced greatly by saints of old...even 1500 years ago.

Saint Augustine did not know Greek or Hebrew!!


Although Augustine had a good mind yet he never fully mastered the the Greek language, and he later had reason to regret this fact.

Contrary to the custom in Rome of his day, the classical schooling that Augustine received in colonial North Africa was conducted principally in Latin rather than in Greek. Augustine later wrote in his Confessions that his first Greek teacher was a brutal man who constantly beat his students. As a result, Augustine rebelled by vowing never to learn Greek.

"The after-effect of his having had in his childhood a teacher of Greek who was cruel to his students far outlasted the seventy-six years that Augustine spent on this earth. Because Augustine was such an influence on the thought and scholarship of the Church in the West during the Middle Ages, his dislike of Greek had lasting consequences. His low motivation towards the Greek language and his recourse to Greek texts less frequently than would otherwise have been the case unduly influenced subsequent Christian authors of the West."source

Augustine wrongly thought that the Hebrew word Olam meant forever and the Greek word Aionian the same. Yet he himself did not know Hebrew or Greek so had to rely upon men like Jerome the author of the Latin Vulgate version adopted by the Roman Catholic Church. Yet a close look at their usage in Scripture plainly reveals that these words do not mean forever but  an unknown length of TIME. Time and eternity are two different things altogether. Eternity is not a very long time. Eternity is nothing to do with time. Yet all these ideas have been hidden by Augustine and Jerome.

You may not have even heard of Augustine yet his thinking and doctrinal understanding has influenced you and all Christians since 500AD. A full 1000 years after Augustine's views of eternal punishment became official church dogma the King James Version team of translators got together. They were a product of the same Augustinian thought which majored on Latin understanding and not Hebrew or even the Greek version of the Old Testament. Is it any wonder that these men translated time words such as Olam and Aionios and aionian to mean forever and eternal?

As a result of the wrong translation of these time words to mean forever the Bible does not declare the Good News as fully as it should. Thankfully though, God is beginning to bind the Tares into bundles to burn them at the end of the Age. One of those tares is the eternal punishment dogma which has ruled over the minds of dear Christians for centuries and driven them to strive in the flesh in all that they do. This has worked to stunt fruit bearing for unless we abide in Jesus we cannot bring forth fruit. Fear of Hell keeps the Church from being able to rest in Jesus for long.

 

 
Here is the way it is. Israel wants to expand its borders in what they call The Greater Israel project. So the USA and its allies through training and funding various so called moderate rebel groups seeks to overthrow and destroy the existing order in the countries Israel has its eyes on. Check Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and next Iran. 

United States General Wesley Clark admitted that the plan was revealed to him way back, just after 911. That plan was for the USA to take out 7 countries in 5 years.



Of course all of those countries have huge oil reserves and whatever else....

But here's the thing ...what about the people in those lands? Too bad for them if they get in the way they die.

So now we have an immigration crisis as millions of people flee the middle east

Trying hard to be righteous?

 

The people of the world will tell you that being a good person is all that is needed. They may even quote Jesus and say, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and you shall surely be okay with God—right? Who needs to be a Christian!? Just do good to others and don’t play around with another man’s wife etc and all that? In fact many people in the world have some idea about what the Ten Commandments say and they sort of agree with them and are doing their best to keep them.
They fail on many counts of course, chiefly they break the First commandment by having other gods before the true and only God. They may have lied once or twice…ha ha maybe thousands of lies over many years….just little lies though…surely God understands? Right?
They may have never committed the act of adultery with another man’s wife…but instead they view pornography and fornicate with many strangers in a virtual imagined way which Jesus said is the exact same thing as committing adultery. The penalty for adultery is to be stoned to death!
Mat 5:27  “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.’ 
Mat 5:28  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart
Thus all those who think that it is good enough to try to please God by keeping the Law of God have failed terribly on many occasions to do so. I certainly have! What about you?
Jesus made it very plain to all the people striving hard to keep the Law that the law is even harder to keep than they had ever imagined.
Mat 5:20  For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Admit it. You are a sinner in need of a Saviour right? You might argue and say—I have never killed anyone! Never committed adultery…never lied(that’s a lie) never coveted anything that is my neighbours!(another lie)..go on…argue some more–God knows all things even if you have deceived yourself and convinced yourself that you are innocent of all charges.  As for me I admit it and confess my sin to God–I have failed to keep Your Law God..I deserve Your judgement and wrath! But I hope for Your MERCY and I need your LOVE!
For many Christians…life as a believer is this same sinning and failing –then repenting confessing and getting up and trying again to do better next time….only to repeat the whole thing again and again.
They are convinced that the Law of God must be kept in order to be righteous. They reason that now that they have Jesus they should be able to NOT SIN. Hmmmm? Let’s look at something together.

Your Righteousness versus God’s Righteousness

  Mat 5:20  For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
The LORD Jesus was bringing His listeners under the full weight of the Holy Law of God on purpose.  Jesus made the Law extremely hard or even impossible to keep to show all that they are sinners who break the Law. He spoke about YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS saying that UNLESS YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS EXCEEDS that of the scribes and Pharisees you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. What a statement!!
So poor little Christian reads Jesus words. She has no understanding of the New Covenant which was revealed by revelation to the perfect law keeper, Saul of Tarsus who became known as Paul the Apostle.
Jesus words hang over our heads pushing us to strive to keep the law, to please God otherwise we shall by no means enter the Kingdom of heaven!! And in most people’s theology that means we shall go to Hell and later the Lake of Fire forever and ever and ever. Unless our righteousness EXCEEDS that of the scribes and pharisees we shall end up in the fire!! Do you hear Jesus or not?!!!
Yet hang on a minute! Doesn’t the Bible say that all our righteousness is not enough?  Yes it does.
Isa 64:6  But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
Even if you were to be able to produce a righteousness that exceeds the Pharisees it would still NOT BE RIGHTEOUS ENOUGH to be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. It would still be YOUR righteousness. What am I saying?
There are two righteousness’ spoken of all through Scripture – YOURS AND GODS’.
Paul speaks of it in Romans.
Rom 10:1  Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
Rom 10:2  For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
Rom 10:3  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
Rom 10:4  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 
Their OWN righteousness was based upon trying to keep the law of Moses and all the other laws their rabbi’s had made as well.  Whereas God’s righteousness is CHRIST HIMSELF!
Don’t miss this. This is the heart of the Gospel right here. CHRIST JESUS IS THE END OR GOAL of the Law for righteousness to everyone who BELIEVES.
God’s righteousness does NOT DEPEND upon you doing anything other than BELIEVING that you ARE RIGHTEOUS by a gift from God. That gift is Jesus Christ given to you to be your very life and your very  righteousness.
Paul was a righteous law keeping Pharisee before coming to faith in Jesus. He said that all that righteousness was DUNG!! So he gladly let it all go and received Jesus Himself as his gift of righteousness from a loving Father.
Php 3:6 …….. concerning the righteousness which is in the law, (Paul was) blameless.
Php 3:7  But what things were gain to me(his own righteousness), these I have counted loss for Christ.
Php 3:8  Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
Php 3:9  and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness,which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith
If we seek to establish our own righteousness through trying to be a good Christian we are setting Jesus aside and saying to God….
“No God…keep your righteousness…I will prove to you that I am worthy of the Kingdom by doing my darndest to be like Jesus.
The result of that is that we fall again and again under the rule and power of sin. Then we have a choice to confess it and take Jesus as our only righteousness OR confess it and try harder next time to be good and not do bad. If we choose the latter–then the cycle shall continue UNTIL WE COME TO THE END OF ALL OUR TRYING!
This is the only purpose for the Law. TO SHOW US ALL THAT WE ARE UNABLE TO KEEP IT!! So why are you still trying to keep it? Do you like feeling condemned all the time? Do you enjoy pretending to others that you are some righteous person who does not sin? Come on!!?
Jesus Christ  is the end of all your trying to please God. Accept Him as your LIFE and as YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS TODAY and breath a sigh of relief.

Friday, 29 June 2018

What is the best way to fall into sin?

I do not mean to incite a brother or a sister to sin I ask the question to expose the truth which I hope will help those who are stuck in sinful patterns.
I write to born again Christians, those who love the Lord Jesus and have received His Spirit into their hearts. Yet even though they have come to the Lord still find that old patterns of sin sneak up on them and capture them again.
In those times the natural thing to do is to assume that you cannot be a true Christian if you have “sinned” again. But this is not the truth! You have been born again, you are a new creation in Christ Jesus, old things have passed away, all things have been made new! What happened that caused you to fall again? And this alludes to my provocative title above which asks the question- “What is the best way to fall into sin?
The simple answer is this: Try very hard not to sin.
Yes your eyes do not deceive you. Please do not leave this page just yet, let me explain.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Rome he spelled out exactly what I am sharing here because he too suffered like we all do. Paul wrote about his experience and battle with sin as a Christian believer in Jesus.
You see Paul had a big problem with coveting. We are not told what he coveted(LUSTED AFTER), it could have been anything or anyone as the Law of Moses suggests in Exodus 20.
Exo 20:17  “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” NASB
But try as he might Paul simply could not stop coveting! And he discovered that his trying was the problem.

You see, as a religious Pharisee Saul(Paul) was very zealous at keeping God’s law. In fact he was so zealous that he claimed that ‘according to the righteousness which is in Gods law he was blameless’.
Php 3:5 “…….as to the Law, a Pharisee;
Php 3:6  as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. NASB
The Law said ‘do this’ and ‘don’t do that’…why that’s easy isn’t it? Just obey it and don’t disobey it, right? Simple! Off you go then and try.
That was the Old Covenant way of living my friend. It depended upon you to keep your promise to live a holy life. It depended upon your will power. It depended upon your strength. And if you failed to keep the Law even in one little point, you were guilty of breaking the whole law.
Now there is nothing wrong with God’s Law, the problem is with us. We are mortals and are simply not able to fulfill the Law alone. Listen to Paul describe his struggle to stop coveting.
Rom 7:7  What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” 
Rom 7:8  But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 
Rom 7:9  I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; 
Rom 7:10  and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; 
Rom 7:11  for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. NASB
The commandment “Thou shalt not covet” appears to us to be shouting: “TRY HARD NOT TO COVET!!! DO NOT COVET!! DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN NOT TO COVET!!!”
It is this trying of ours to obey the Law that sin uses as an opportunity to rule over you and I once again. Sin produced in Paul coveting of every kind because he was trying hard to obey the Law. What!?? Yes it is so. Why is it so? Not because I say so, but because God said so.
Rom 7:9 my paraphrase: When the commandment came—when I begin to try to be good—when I begin to try   not to sin—sin becomes alive–revived–and I die!
That is why I say that the best way to fall into sin is to try hard not to sin.
Before Paul shared this wonderful struggle he had….he told us some great truths. He used the analogy of a marriage. The woman was married to Mr. Sin….but then Mr Sin died she was set free from union with him. Now she is free to marry Mr Jesus!! The Man with no sin!  
Rom 7:4  Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 
Rom 7:5  For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 
Rom 7:6  But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.
Trying to obey God seems noble, but until we come to discover who we are joined with and who we are no longer joined with we shall continue to have this up and down battle with sin. Believers in Jesus are not under any obligation to the Law of Moses because we died to it and it died to us.  We are set free from the Law so as to marry Jesus in a union of two people becoming one person!The moment we start to try to keep the Law we revive sin so that it will slay us yet again. When we try to not sin, we set aside the grace of God which is ONLY found by faith in the NEW PERSON that we have become in Jesus. And so we fall again into sin.
But get up and declare that you are the righteousness of God in Christ  Jesus because God has made it so. 2 Co 5:21
Declare that you died with Christ and have been raised up in Him and He in you. You no longer live but Jesus lives in you…and the life you now live in the flesh you live by the faith of Jesus who lives in you! If you rest in that revelation of who you are and who He is in you, you shall bear fruit unto Father. Stop trying and rest in His victory and His new creation that you have become.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Trying hard to be righteous?

The people of the world will tell you that being a good person is all that is needed. They may even quote Jesus and say, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and you shall surely be okay with God---right? Who needs to be a Christian!? Just do good to others and don't play around with another man's wife etc and all that? In fact many people in the world have some idea about what the Ten Commandments say and they sort of agree with them and are doing their best to keep them.

They fail on many counts of course, chiefly they break the First commandment by having other gods before the true and only God. They may have lied once or twice...ha ha maybe thousands of lies over many years....just little lies though...surely God understands? Right?

They may have never committed the act of adultery with another man's wife...but instead they view pornography and fornicate with many strangers in a virtual imagined way which Jesus said is the exact same thing as committing adultery. The penalty for adultery is to be stoned to death!
Mat 5:27  "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.' 
Mat 5:28  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart

Thus all those who think that it is good enough to try to please God by keeping the Law of God have failed terribly on many occasions to do so. I certainly have! What about you?

Jesus made it very plain to all the people striving hard to keep the Law that the law is even harder to keep than they had ever imagined.
Mat 5:20  For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Admit it. You are a sinner in need of a Saviour right? You might argue and say---I have never killed anyone! Never committed adultery...never lied(that's a lie) never coveted anything that is my neighbours!(another lie)..go on...argue some more--God knows all things even if you have deceived yourself and convinced yourself that you are innocent of all charges.  As for me I admit it and confess my sin to God--I have failed to keep Your Law God..I deserve Your judgement and wrath! But I hope for Your MERCY and I need your LOVE!

For many Christians...life as a believer is this same sinning and failing --then repenting confessing and getting up and trying again to do better next time....only to repeat the whole thing again and again.

They are convinced that the Law of God must be kept in order to be righteous. They reason that now that they have Jesus they should be able to NOT SIN. Hmmmm? Let's look at something together.

Your Righteousness versus God's Righteousness


  Mat 5:20  For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

The LORD Jesus was bringing His listeners under the full weight of the Holy Law of God on purpose.  Jesus made the Law extremely hard or even impossible to keep to show all that they are sinners who break the Law. He spoke about YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS saying that UNLESS YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS EXCEEDS that of the scribes and Pharisees you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. What a statement!!

So poor little Christian reads Jesus words. She has no understanding of the New Covenant which was revealed by revelation to the perfect law keeper, Saul of Tarsus who became known as Paul the Apostle.

Jesus words hang over our heads pushing us to strive to keep the law, to please God otherwise we shall by no means enter the Kingdom of heaven!! And in most people's theology that means we shall go to Hell and later the Lake of Fire forever and ever and ever. Unless our righteousness EXCEEDS that of the scribes and pharisees we shall end up in the fire!! Do you hear Jesus or not?!!!

Yet hang on a minute! Doesn't the Bible say that all our righteousness is not enough?  Yes it does.
Isa 64:6  But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

Even if you were to be able to produce a righteousness that exceeds the Pharisees it would still NOT BE RIGHTEOUS ENOUGH to be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. It would still be YOUR righteousness. What am I saying?

There are two righteousness' spoken of all through Scripture - YOURS AND GODS'.

Paul speaks of it in Romans.
Rom 10:1  Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 
Rom 10:2  For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge
Rom 10:3  For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God
Rom 10:4  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 

Their OWN righteousness was based upon trying to keep the law of Moses and all the other laws their rabi's had made as well.  Whereas God's righteousness is CHRIST HIMSELF!

Don't miss this. This is the heart of the Gospel right here. CHRIST JESUS IS THE END OR GOAL of the Law for righteousness to everyone who BELIEVES.

God's righteousness does NOT DEPEND upon you doing anything other than BELIEVING that you ARE RIGHTEOUS by a gift from God. That gift is Jesus Christ given to you to be your very life and your very  righteousness.

Paul was a righteous law keeping Pharisee before coming to faith in Jesus. He said that all that righteousness was DUNG!! So he gladly let it all go and received Jesus Himself as his gift of righteousness from a loving Father.
Php 3:6 ........ concerning the righteousness which is in the law, (Paul was) blameless. 
Php 3:7  But what things were gain to me(his own righteousness), these I have counted loss for Christ. 
Php 3:8  Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 
Php 3:9  and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness,which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith

If we seek to establish our own righteousness through trying to be a good Christian we are setting Jesus aside and saying to God....
"No God...keep your righteousness...I will prove to you that I am worthy of the Kingdom by doing my darndest to be like Jesus."

The result of that is that we fall again and again under the rule and power of sin. Then we have a choice to confess it and take Jesus as our only righteousness OR confess it and try harder next time to be good and not do bad. If we choose the latter--then the cycle shall continue UNTIL WE COME TO THE END OF ALL OUR TRYING!

This is the only purpose for the Law. TO SHOW US ALL THAT WE ARE UNABLE TO KEEP IT!! So why are you still trying to keep it? Do you like feeling condemned all the time? Do you enjoy pretending to others that you are some righteous person who does not sin? Come on!!?

Jesus Christ  is the end of all your trying to please God. Accept Him as your LIFE and as YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS TODAY and breath a sigh of relief.

 

What is the best way to fall into sin?

I do not mean to incite a brother or a sister to sin I ask the question to expose the truth which I hope will help those who are stuck in sinful patterns.

I write to born again Christians, those who love the Lord Jesus and have received His Spirit into their hearts. Yet even though they have come to the Lord still find that old patterns of sin sneak up on them and capture them again.

In those times the natural thing to do is to assume that you cannot be a true Christian if you have "sinned" again. But this is not the truth! You have been born again, you are a new creation in Christ Jesus, old things have passed away, all things have been made new! What happened that caused you to fall again? And this alludes to my provocative title above which asks the question- "What is the best way to fall into sin?"

The simple answer is this: Try very hard not to sin.

Yes your eyes do not deceive you. Please do not leave this page just yet, let me explain.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Rome he spelled out exactly what I am sharing here because he too suffered like we all do. Paul wrote about his experience and battle with sin as a Christian believer in Jesus.

You see Paul had a big problem with coveting. We are not told what he coveted(LUSTED AFTER), it could have been anything or anyone as the Law of Moses suggests in Exodus 20.
Exo 20:17  "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor." NASB

But try as he might Paul simply could not stop coveting! And he discovered that his trying was the problem.


You see, as a religious Pharisee Saul(Paul) was very zealous at keeping God's law. In fact he was so zealous that he claimed that 'according to the righteousness which is in Gods law he was blameless'.
Php 3:5 ".......as to the Law, a Pharisee; 
Php 3:6  as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. NASB

The Law said 'do this' and 'don't do that'...why that's easy isn't it? Just obey it and don't disobey it, right? Simple! Off you go then and try.

That was the Old Covenant way of living my friend. It depended upon you to keep your promise to live a holy life. It depended upon your will power. It depended upon your strength. And if you failed to keep the Law even in one little point, you were guilty of breaking the whole law.

Now there is nothing wrong with God's Law, the problem is with us. We are mortals and are simply not able to fulfill the Law alone. Listen to Paul describe his struggle to stop coveting.
Rom 7:7  What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET." 
Rom 7:8  But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 
Rom 7:9  I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; 
Rom 7:10  and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; 
Rom 7:11  for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. NASB

The commandment "Thou shalt not covet" appears to us to be shouting: "TRY HARD NOT TO COVET!!! DO NOT COVET!! DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN NOT TO COVET!!!"

It is this trying of ours to obey the Law that sin uses as an opportunity to rule over you and I once again. Sin produced in Paul coveting of every kind because he was trying hard to obey the Law. What!?? Yes it is so. Why is it so? Not because I say so, but because God said so.

Rom 7:9 my paraphrase: When the commandment came---when I begin to try to be good---when I begin to try   not to sin---sin becomes alive--revived--and I die!

That is why I say that the best way to fall into sin is to try hard not to sin.

Before Paul shared this wonderful struggle he had....he told us some great truths. He used the analogy of a marriage. The woman was married to Mr. Sin....but then Mr Sin died she was set free from union with him. Now she is free to marry Mr Jesus!! The Man with no sin!  
Rom 7:4  Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 
Rom 7:5  For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 
Rom 7:6  But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

Trying to obey God seems noble, but until we come to discover who we are joined with and who we are no longer joined with we shall continue to have this up and down battle with sin. Believers in Jesus are not under any obligation to the Law of Moses because we died to it and it died to us.  We are set free from the Law so as to marry Jesus in a union of two people becoming one person!The moment we start to try to keep the Law we revive sin so that it will slay us yet again. When we try to not sin, we set aside the grace of God which is ONLY found by faith in the NEW PERSON that we have become in Jesus. And so we fall again into sin.

But get up and declare that you are the righteousness of God in Christ  Jesus because God has made it so. 2 Co 5:21

Declare that you died with Christ and have been raised up in Him and He in you. You no longer live but Jesus lives in you...and the life you now live in the flesh you live by the faith of Jesus who lives in you! If you rest in that revelation of who you are and who He is in you, you shall bear fruit unto Father. Stop trying and rest in His victory and His new creation that you have become.

Monday, 25 June 2018

An immortal soul?

Traditions in the Church work against the truth of God keeping us in blindness and error. We all have them. One such tradition is the teaching of the immortal soul. A Biblical understanding of the make up of man is essential to understand salvation and how it is accomplished and in what order it occurs.

Man must have an immortal soul if he is to experience the punishment of Hell as many suppose. Likewise man must have an immortal soul to experience the bliss of heaven when he dies. Yet scripture tells us that when we die the soul dies along with the body. It is the spirit of man that is immortal for it came from God. Immortality for our soul is the end goal of God's salvation in Jesus Christ.

Paul prayed that our whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless.
1Th 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Th 5:24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

Man is created in the image of God: Spirit, soul and body or in Greek Pneuma, psuchē and sōma.

Scripture tells us that
Gen_2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.(nephesh)

Man is made from the same elements as the earth. We are natural beings that inherit our soulish traits from our genetic parents. We might be a serious type like our grandfather or a lazy easy going type like our great grandfather. The soul is connected to the natural body. Animals have a soul as well, they have personality. It is not immortal in either man or animals but natural and is subject to death. Man became a living soul only after God breathed into us of His Spirit. Without the spirit man dies. In other words without the spirit the soul and body dies.
"Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Eze_18:4

It is the soul that dies. When someone was guilty of breaking God's law the ultimate punishment was to be put to death. The soul or life was given as payment for their debt of sin in the case of murder for instance.

And also speaking of physical death
"Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." Ecc 12:7 

"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." Gen 3:19

We see here that upon dying a person's body begins to return to it's original composition. The body decomposes back to dust or is burned leaving only the dust of ashes. The soul being a part of, and intimately connected with the body dies and is buried with the body. But the spirit of a man returns to God who gave it. The human spirit is from God, and even is a part of God Himself. 

When we look at Scripture we see that when someone died they were said to rest with their fathers.
1Ki_14:31  So Rehoboam rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David. His mother's name was Naamah, an Ammonitess. Then Abijam his son reigned in his place.
1Ki_15:24  So Asa rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David his father. Then Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place.
1Ki_22:50  And Jehoshaphat rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David his father. Then Jehoram his son reigned in his place.
2Ki_8:24  So Joram rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David. Then Ahaziah his son reigned in his place.
2Ki_15:38  So Jotham rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David his father. Then Ahaz his son reigned in his place.
2Ki_16:20  So Ahaz rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David. Then Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.
2Ch_21:1  And Jehoshaphat rested with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the City of David. Then Jehoram his son reigned in his place.

It cannot be said that their spirit was in the ground resting. It is the soul that dies and is buried with the body. It is the person(or soul) that we all knew when they were alive, whether they were a good person(soul) or an evil person(soul) that is buried in the grave.

They(their soul and body) have been laid to rest in Sheol or the grave.
Num 16:32  and the earth openeth her mouth, and swalloweth them, and their houses, and all the men who are for Korah, and all the goods,
Num 16:33  and they go down, they, and all that they have, alive to Sheol, and the earth closeth over them, and they perish from the midst of the assembly;
Num 16:34  and all Israel who are round about them have fled at their voice, for they said, `Lest the earth swallow us;'

Here we see that Korah and those with him were swallowed up in a sinkhole, falling into it alive to their death. The earth opened up beneath them and they went into Sheol- the GRAVE. Their soul and body perished in the grave or pit or sheol...but not in any Hell.
1Sa_2:6  Jehovah putteth to death, and keepeth alive, He bringeth down to Sheol, and bringeth up.

Here we see that God puts the soul to death or he keeps a person (a soul) alive...He brings a person(a soul) down to the grave or to Sheol, and He is able to raise a soul from death or the grave as well as seen with Lazarus and Jesus Himself.

In the grave(or Sheol/Hades) the soul is not conscious but dead..or sleeping or resting in the grave.
Job_14:13  O that in Sheol Thou wouldest conceal me, Hide me till the turning of Thine anger, Set for me a limit, and remember me.

Job wants to be hidden from the dealings of God in Sheol. If Sheol were Hell then he would not want to go there. But Sheol is the Grave and nothing more. Death and the grave is the mercy of God for many to end their suffering. In the Grave or Sheol they (their souls) finally rest. You can see that Job knew and believed that Sheol was the grave where men are laid to rest.
Job 17:16  Will they go down to the gates of Sheol? Shall we have rest together in the dust?"

The wicked and the good went to the grave and were all said to be resting there. The soul of man dies---which Jesus said was sleep. The soul is not immortal, the spirit is.

New Testament


Joh 11:11  These things He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up."
Joh 11:12  Then His disciples said, "Lord, if he sleeps he will get well."
Joh 11:13  However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep.
Joh 11:14  Then Jesus said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead.

It is very obvious that Jesus thought in line with the Old Testament saints when it came to death, the soul and the grave. Lazarus died. That means his soul has been laid to rest in the grave. Jesus says, He "will wake him up" or rouse him out of sleep. Jesus calls Lazarus "our friend." It is the mortal soul known to them all as Lazarus, the one Jesus loved, that had died or fallen asleep. The spirit of Lazarus was not known to them being invisible and untouchable.

The picture is of a body wrapped in linen cloths dead four days. Jesus says he is dead and he says he is asleep. He calls with a loud voice Lazarus come forth. Lazarus comes back to life. Once Lazarus was dead his spirit left his body and returned to the Father from whence it had come. His soul was dead or asleep with his body. Jesus calls His spirit to return to his lifeless body and what was dead now lives again.

The spirit is the life source for the soul and body. Even in the case of unregenerated people. When a body gets sick and dies the spirit leaves the body and returns to God. [ read my correction further down in red text] The soul dies with the body and is laid to rest in Sheol or Hades.

Act 2:27  FOR YOU WILL NOT LEAVE MY SOUL IN HADES, NOR WILL YOU ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO SEE CORRUPTION.
Act 2:28  YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF JOY IN YOUR PRESENCE.'
Act 2:29  "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

David wrote those words quoted by Peter about Jesus in Psalm 16:9-11

But then Peter tells his listeners that David is both dead and buried and his tomb is with us to this day. Tradition tells us that David and all the believing saints are walking around on streets of gold in heaven. Peter disagrees and says that David IS DEAD AND BURIED. This was after the cross and after Pentecost. David is still considered to be dead and buried.

It is David's soul, his person and his body that is in the grave(Sheol/Hades)awaiting the resurrection from the dead at the end of the Age. His spirit returned to God when he died.

David


1Ki 2:1  Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying:
1Ki 2:2  "I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man.

What way is that? Death! His body and soul was going to return to the earth, but his spirit to God who gave it. (Ecc12:7) Before his death David wanted Solomon to dispense some justice to certain souls.

1Ki 2:9  Now therefore, do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man and know what you ought to do to him; but bring his gray hair down to the grave(Sheol) with blood."
1Ki 2:10  So David rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David.

David "went the way of all the earth" which was to his resting place in Sheol as did his enemies as well. But the spirit of each type of man returned to God who gave it.

He had written about the Christ that God would "not leave his soul in Sheol"(Greek Equivalent Hades) Ps 16
Psa 16:10  For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

Jesus' body and soul died and was laid to rest in Sheol (the grave) but God would not allow him to stay dead long enough for his body to return to dust-corruption. Just like Lazarus, Jesus' S/pirit returned to his lifeless body and He was a living soul(nephesh/psuche) again.

But unlike Lazarus' experience Jesus ascended to heaven after his sacrifice and returned changed forever in a glorified physical body. It is said of Jesus that he alone possesses immortality. But the church does not believe the word of God.
1Ti 6:16  who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

The immortality Jesus possesses is pertaining to His soul. He(his soul) is alive forever more. But the souls of all those who have died since Adam are dead, ie, resting in the grave or in Sheol.

Their spirits have returned to God who gave them. At the resurrection their spirit will be reunited with their soul and body at the Great White Throne.

We have been saved in our spirit but our soul is being saved. It is no use to anyone else around us if the salvation in our spirit does not manifest through our soul and body. It would be like God only sending the Holy Spirit to earth to live amongst us on the outside. He can not be seen or touched and cannot touch us. But God came as a Man filled with the Spirit who tasted fully of our humanity and was subject to all our weaknesses.

The salvation of God was seen in Jesus by His life, His behaviour and His words. Jesus is love personified, Spirit, soul and body working in complete harmony demonstrating God to all around. That is what we are to be as well. The power of that perfect Life is in our spirit and our soul is transformed by obeying the leading of our S/spirit. We(our soul)begin to think like Him and talk like Him and be Him in this world so that all who meet us meet with Him.

If we die not having come to this completion, then we wait for the resurrection so that the process of transformation continues on in the Age to come. Eph 2:7

There are some who have come to completion this side of death, these ones shall rule with Jesus in the Age that is coming. They shall rule and reign with Him teaching and discipling the rest of us who are alive when the Lord returns.

Apostle Peter wrote about the salvation of our souls connected with this discipling process I am talking about.
1Pe 1:8  whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
1Pe 1:9  receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

1Pe 1:13  Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1Pe 1:14  as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
1Pe 1:15  but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
1Pe 1:16  because it is written, "BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY."

The whole end game, the end result of this salvation that has begun in our spirit is the salvation of our soul and the redemption of our body. Peter urges us to "gird up our minds" and "not conform ourselves to the former lusts as in our ignorance."  The salvation of the soul is none other than complete conformity to Jesus Christ, so that if they see us they see Jesus. We are destined to be like Him in every way, except for His firstborn status as THE Son of God. That can never be bettered or taken from Him. He is eternally the preeminent One.

We are to conform ourselves to Jesus Christ through the obedience of faith. It is not about trying to be like Jesus, but about recognising and acknowledging that in our spirit we are ONE with Jesus already. "It is no longer I that live but Christ that lives in me, and the life I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave His life for me." Gal 2:20

When we see the truth of who we are in the S/spirit already, we begin to speak by faith (2Cor 4:13) who we are to ourselves and back to the Father.
2Co 3:16  Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
2Co 3:17  Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
2Co 3:18  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

I know it is hard to receive what I have shared here from Scripture because many preachers and teachers of the word for hundreds of years have said the opposite. The word of God is clear that the soul dies and is in the grave resting or sleeping. It is not in any imagined Hell burning or suffering in torment. Instead the souls of men shall all be raised to life again at the resurrection of all the dead. At that time they shall all bow the knee and confess and declare that Jesus Christ is their personal Lord and Saviour. (Phil 2:10)

There are no souls being tormented right now in any imagined Hell in the centre of the earth. There are instead billions of souls dead or resting in the graves awaiting the sound of the Trumpet of God. Equally true from Scripture as we saw in David's case, there are millions of souls that believed in Jesus who are asleep or dead in the grave. This grave is Sheol or the nearest equivalent that they could find in Greek- Hades. Sheol is not the Hell that Dante wrote about or Jonathan Edwards preached about or Spurgeon...it is simply the grave.

The souls that are in the grave shall be emptied out of that condition when the Trump of God sounds. No one will be asleep on that day.  Hades is the grave and Jesus has the key to unlock the grave and set the prisoners free.
Rev 1:18  I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

Rev 20:11  Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.
Rev 20:12  And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
Rev 20:13  The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.
Rev 20:14  Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Rev 20:15  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

John sees all the DEAD SOULS ...that is all those who have died and who have been in the grave (Hades) in a state of death--that is asleep. These billions of souls are delivered up from the grave to hear His voice just as He said they would.

Joh 5:28  Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
Joh 5:29  and come forth— those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

Now this highlights another tradition of blindness in the Church since Augustine's day - that of the eternal destiny of sinners and believers. I shall look at that next. Just remember God is The Story teller and His story has a happy ending for all mankind. That is why the angel declared
  "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10,11

Jesus is indeed the Saviour of all !! Hallelujah!

I see YOU

 I guess that outward beauty with it's power to allure has never been more in your face than it is in our time. Men living in western culture are bombarded daily with the sensuality of a woman's physicality.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Sheol is the grave and that is all it is

This is the fifth part in a series: The destructive effects of Hell teachings by Dennis Rhodes.

It's about time the church of Jesus Christ stood up and said enough to the blasphemous message of eternal punishment in a literal burning fire. Those who call God Father yet imagine that  this loving Father created a special place to roast his creatures in forever and ever and ever while everyone who somehow chose Jesus of their own will celebrates His love and mercy just across the chasm while still being able to see their lost loved ones and to hear their pleas for help. Come on church think!! Come on...can't you see the contradiction?

In this part we shall look at Sheol because as we saw at the end of the last study that Hades spoken by Jesus in Matthew is the counterpart of Sheol. Both are translated as Hell but what are they really?

The Hebrew word she'ôl appears 65 times in the Old Testament. Hades in the New Testament is said to be the closest Greek equivalent word.

James Strong who lived in the 18th century A.D says that Sheol means:

H7585
שְׁאֹל שְׁאוֹל
she'ôl    she'ôl
sheh-ole', sheh-ole'
From H7592; hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranian retreat), including its accessories and inmates: - grave, hell, pit.
Total KJV occurrences: 65

I WANT TO SHOUT OUT TO YOU my dear friend that Strong is repeating propaganda which he was taught all his life by parents and church who were also propagandised like he was.

Look at his entry again.

It says: she'ôl  From H7592;!!!

He skips right over the actual root meaning of Sheol and tells us the supposed , figurative meaning of the word. That figurative meaning was handed down to him from way back but not from the BIBLE!!

What word is she'ôl from which Strong failed to use in his definition? H7592(Strong assigned numbers to each word in the King James Version, the H stands for Hebrew)

Hebrew 7592 is 
שָׁאֵל    שָׁאַל
shâ'al    shâ'êl
shaw-al', shaw-ale'
A primitive root; to inquire; by implication to request; by extension to demand: - ask (counsel, on), beg, borrow, lay to charge, consult, demand, desire, X earnestly, enquire, + greet, obtain leave, lend, pray, request, require, + salute, X straitly, X surely, wish.
Total KJV occurrences: 172

So from Strong we learn that Sheol may be a place where the dead go and it has in its meaning a questioning.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????


If you have lost a loved one you will have experienced this questioning. Little children are the first to ask their parents--

WHERE HAS DADDY GONE? (if their daddy has died) What has happened to him?

There is a questioning....this is a part of what she'ôl means.

But the King James Translators and others have decided for everyone that Sheol means a place of torment and punishment.

Sheol appears in the KJV 65 times and the translators were confused and when it suited them they interpreted Sheol as Hell or grave or pit.




she'ôl
Total KJV Occurrences: 65

hell, 31
Deu 32:22, 2Sa 22:6, Job 11:8, Job 26:6, Psa 9:17, Psa 16:10, Psa 18:5, Psa 55:15, Psa 86:13, Psa 116:3, Psa 139:8, Pro 5:5, Pro 7:27, Pro 9:18, Pro 15:11, Pro 15:24, Pro 23:14, Pro 27:20, Isa 5:14, Isa 14:9, Isa 28:15 (2), Isa 28:18, Isa 57:9, Eze 31:16-17 (2), Eze 32:21, Eze 32:27, Jon 2:2 (2), Hab 2:5

grave, 30

Gen 37:35, Gen 42:38, Gen 44:29, Gen 44:31, 1Ki 2:6 (2), 1Ki 2:9, Job 7:9, Job 21:13 (3), Job 24:19, Psa 6:5, Psa 30:3, Psa 31:17, Psa 49:14-15 (3), Psa 88:3, Psa 89:48, Pro 1:12, Pro 30:16, Ecc 9:10, Son 8:6, Isa 14:11, Isa 38:10, Isa 38:18, Eze 31:15, Hos 13:14 (2)

pit, 3
Num 16:30, Num 16:33, Job 17:16

grave’s, 1
Psa 141:7




We are supposed to trust these men to choose the right meaning for Hebrew words. Sheol according to James Strong means "hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranian retreat), including its accessories and inmates: - grave, hell, pit"

Think of that ...see those little commas there above in between grave, hell, pit?

Those commas mean that Strong thinks every time a person is lowered into the grave he has gone to Hell.

The translators were just as confused as Strong, which to me shows that the whole Hell teaching is suspect.

What is it to be?...sheol is Hell 31 times ...but then it is the grave 30 times...oh and sometimes(3) it means pit

I am of the opinion --because I think I am every bit as filled with God's Spirit as those translators were, that Sheol should be translated EVERY TIME AS GRAVE or leave it every time as the Hebrew word Sheol and do not put your propaganda word(Hell) in its place!




An example to conclude with


Job 17:16  They shall go down to the bars of the pit,(sheol) when our rest together is in the dust.


Job was considered to be a righteous believer. The King James says that when Job goes down to Sheol he shall rest together with others in the dust.

What shall rest? Job shall rest in the dust.

His body shall rot away to dust...but we know that we are more than a body.
1Th 5:23  Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The body returns to the dust for from it it was made.

The soul dies and is said to rest in sheol --the grave..or hell if you follow Strong's logic. Yes, rest in Hell!
Gen 3:19  In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return."

The spirit returns to God who gave it.
Ecc 12:7  Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.

The prophet Daniel clears it all up and points to the same hope Job had--the resurrection of the dead.
Job 19:25  For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; 
Job 19:26  And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, 
Job 19:27  Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! 

Dan 12:2  And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt

The Grave is not the end....nor is hell the end of the story for anyone. There will be a resurrection of the dead.

I shall explore this more next time.

Love and grace!

 

 

 

 

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