Hell;...is it literally fire or a eternal holding place

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Hell;...is it literally fire or a eternal holding place

#1

Post by Poetic_Soul » Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:34 am

There is a difference between torture and torment. So many people get so caught up with the fire and brimstone bit. Are they really being inflamed and feeling the heat or are they in toment , being pushed away from Gods love. What do you think?

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#2

Post by Anonymous » Sun Feb 20, 2005 11:00 pm

Maybe being pushed away from God feels like being inflamed.

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#3

Post by Poetic_Soul » Mon Feb 21, 2005 2:02 am

I believe that our desires become never fulfilled. A burning desire that is never satisfied. Like lust, greed and pride. To top it off, I believe after being judged that you feel the presense of Gods love and then thrown away into the outer darkness. Aplace where there is no quenching or fulfillment of your desire. Most of all; never to taste the love of God ever again. This is where the wailing and gnashing of the teeth come into play.
This is just my theory.

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#4

Post by hermitville101 » Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:46 pm

Is it possible they are both tortured and tormented?

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#5

Post by Poetic_Soul » Tue Feb 22, 2005 5:24 pm

Herm;....you do have a point. I just don't believe that it's an actual fire where people are being burned alive. Tortured by the agony of not being in Gods presence and tormented to not have your desires fulfilled.

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#6

Post by August » Tue Feb 22, 2005 5:37 pm

http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... ight=#1830

The topic of my very first post here... :lol:

Anyway, a pretty good discussion with some similarities.
Acts 17:24-25 (NIV)
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. [25] And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."

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#7

Post by Mastermind » Tue Feb 22, 2005 5:46 pm

I personally believe Satan and whatever angels still align themselves with him punish the souls of humans who are not in God's presence. Obviously it isn't physical punishment, but I doubt they just get to wander around the universe.

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#8

Post by Poetic_Soul » Tue Feb 22, 2005 6:37 pm

Mastermind;....why do you believe that Satan will have the power to torment the lost? He's in the same boat as they. He as well has to deal with his desires unmet and his own suffering. I doubt if he'll have time to even realise the presense of those that followed him.

Remember;....EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW AND CLAIM CHRIST IS LORD. Satans agony starts from that point on.

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#9

Post by Joel Freeman » Wed Feb 23, 2005 11:57 pm

Mat 10:28 And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy* both soul and body in hell.

*From Strongs dictionary:

G622

apollumi
ap-ol'-loo-mee
From G575 and the base of G3639; to destroy fully (reflexively to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively: - destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.

So do we lose our souls, or does God really destroy them? Or does it mean it figuratively, in which case, what would it mean to figuratively destroy somebody's soul?

Also, the bible talks about being hungry and thirsty for God.

Mat 5:6 Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

It also says that He is the bread of life.

Joh 6:35 Jesus said unto them. I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

I don't know about you guys, but I hate being really hungry, or really thirsty. So my guess is that since "every knee shall bow and claim Christ is Lord," we will know what it feels like to be completely in God's presense, and then that will be taken away from those who didn't accept Jesus into their hearts. I think that it will be somewhat like hungering and thirsting for God, and not being able to ever have that.

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#10

Post by bizzt » Thu Feb 24, 2005 10:17 am

Joel Freeman wrote: I don't know about you guys, but I hate being really hungry, or really thirsty. So my guess is that since "every knee shall bow and claim Christ is Lord," we will know what it feels like to be completely in God's presense, and then that will be taken away from those who didn't accept Jesus into their hearts. I think that it will be somewhat like hungering and thirsting for God, and not being able to ever have that.
I think you are on to something. If one comes into the Presence of God and then feels what it is like to know your creator and then stripped away and in wanting then that too me is HELL!

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#11

Post by Poetic_Soul » Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:39 pm

Joel and bizzt;.....you guys have some good insight on my question. I personnally don't believe in the fire and brimestone theory. I believe people use this as a scare tactic. But I do believe that there is such a place called hell. And to be turned away from a loving and forgiving God and not feel His presense anymore is very scary and a hell all by itself.

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#12

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Feb 25, 2005 12:51 pm

I can understand why someone would want to get away from the concept of a "fire and brimstone" hell . . . for a good period of time I rejected the notion myself. However, after studying the concept, I've concluded that the "traditional" view of hell (better, Gehena) is accurate.

Before we can really deal with this question, though, we have to recognize that there are two very distinct "hells" in the Bible. The first is Sheol (Hebrew) or "Hades" (Greek). Both can broadly be translated as "the abode of the dead." Considering these briefly:
The ISBE wrote:Sheol is a place of darkness (Job_10:21, Job_10:22; Psa_143:3), of silence (Psa_94:17; Psa_115:17), of forgetfulness (Psa_88:12; Ecc_9:5, Ecc_9:6, Ecc_9:10). It is without remembrance or praise of God (Psa_6:5), or knowledge of what transpires on earth (Job_14:21). Even this language is not to be pressed too literally. Part of it is the expression of a depressed or despairing (compare Isa_38:10) or temporarily skeptical (thus in Ecclesiastes; compare Ecc_12:7, Ecc_12:13, Ecc_12:14) mood; all of it is relative, emphasizing the contrast with the brightness, joy and activity of the earthly life (compare Job_10:22, “where the light is as midnight” - comparative). Elsewhere it is recognized that consciousness remains; in Isa_14:9 the shades . . . of once mighty kings are stirred up to meet the descending king of Babylon (compare Eze_32:21). If Sheol is sometimes described as “destruction” (Job_26:6 margin; Job_28:22; Pro_15:11 margin) and “the pit” (Psa_30:9; Psa_55:23), at other times, in contrast with the weariness and trouble of life, it is figured and longed for as a place of “rest” and “sleep” (Job_3:17; Job_14:12, Job_14:13). Always, however, as with other peoples, existence in Sheol is represented as feeble, inert, shadowy, devoid of living interests and aims, a true state of the dead. (ISBE, Old Testament Eschatology)
We must not miss the penal aspect of Sheol either. While it was considered a place of slumber, darkness, and half-consciousness for the dead, there was still a strong sense that the godly and wicked would have different experiences of it. Verses like Psalms 9:17, Deu. 32:22, etc. clearly indicate a negative connotation for the wicked there (the latter verse even describes “the lowest Sheol”). Against this, Psalms 37:37 and Isaiah 57:2 clearly declare peace for the godly dead (c.f. Isaiah 57:21. There, it is expressly stated the wicked have no peace).

When you move over to the NT and start looking at Hades (without question the same as Sheol), we find more on the subject. The word hades is used in two distinct senses. The first, and most common, is not so much the place of death as it is the state of death (this is extremely important in understanding Peter's use of the term in Acts). In only two instances, the word refers to it as the place where the dead are gathered (Luke 16:23; Rev. 20:13).

Luke 16:23:

As the notes on the Hebrew sheol above indicated, there was an implicit teaching that it was a place of torment for the wicked who had died. Jesus, speaking in this passage, makes the claim explicit. He says, “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.” (NASB) As the NASB study notes state, there are four distinct principles found in this verse:

1) the conscious existence after death,
2) the reality and torment of hell,
3) no second chance after death, and
4) the impossibility of the dead communicating with the living (v. 26)

A fifth principal is also implicitly stated, namely, that Hades is a place of torment reserved for unbelievers. Thus, it is seen that believers have a different faith after death while awaiting their resurrection. This debunks the Greek idea of Hades as having two distinct regions. This understanding, as revelation, can be read back into the concept of Sheol very easily.

Rev. 20:13:

Depending on one's eschatology, this verse either refers to the land of the dead in general (including both the believer's and unbeliever's place) or, better, the specific place of torment mentioned above. If one does not accept the doctrine of a full rapture, then one must accept the former position (on the basis of Rev. 20:5). If one's does not, then the latter position must be accepted. Given Christ's own words on the subject, it seems prudent (in addition to other evidence) to accept a full rapture and maintain a fuller unity of the text.

Thus, it is made clear that Hades is the destination of the wicked dead where they will stay until the general resurrection of judgment as described by Re. 20:11-15.

We then turn our attention to the second "hell" found in Scripture, and that is Gehenna.

This is the place of final torment for the unbeliever . . . it is equated with the Lake of Fire. (See previous notes from the Revelation). Now, as we look through Scripture, we find several descriptions of this place of final judgement place and the experiences of its inhabitants:

Fire and brimstone, burning wind, fiery oven, flames of fire, judgment by fire unquenchable fire, furnace of fire, eternal fire, eternal punishment, fiery hell, pits of darkness, lake of fire, smoke of their torment, no rest day and night, weeping and gnashing of teeth, tormented, death, their worm does not die, destruction, etc. (see What will Hell be like? from this site).

One could, of course, argue that these descriptions are symbolic, but it seems clear to me that the wicked are being tormented as a judgement, not in some sad realization of what they have lost. In other words, the above descriptions seem to indicate an external, rather than an internal, torment.

So, we know these two things:

1) The wicked with be resurrected in a bodily form. It is in this form that they will be punished.
2) The punishment is described in language that implies an external, rather than internal, source of torment. This fits well with the overall theme of punishment throughout the Bible.

My conclusion, then, is that while it may ease the "pain" to avoid thinking of Hell as a place of literal fire, it stretches the text to force it into any other of meaning. The literal, obvious, "common sense" way of reading the text seems to teach that hell is a place of literal, external torment. Regardless to all this, annialationism must be firmly rejected. Therefore, if the wicked is to suffer bodily for eternity, it may be unimportant to argue of the method of suffering. The simple, undeniable fact is that there will be suffering . . .

As an aside, it should also be obvious that the non-believer suffers the same damnation as Satan. Are we to assume that he will be upset over "missing out"?
Last edited by Jac3510 on Fri Feb 25, 2005 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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#13

Post by Poetic_Soul » Fri Feb 25, 2005 1:18 pm

Very deep Jac3510. We could go even further to say that has the rightoeus receive their level of rewards in heaven; the wicked will also receive their levels of rewards in hell.

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It's A Hell of A Topic , Hell Is

#14

Post by Dale Tooley » Sat Feb 26, 2005 11:28 am

Probably the busiest Christian website in NZ is http://www.Christianity.co.nz
run by Richard Tripp who is a Christian evangelical writer on opologetic subjects . He has this item on the subject of Hell. I'm not convinced of the total truth of it but I hold it as a hope (preferred doctrine) because it certainly looks biblical and makes a great deal of sense:

The future of unbelievers Richard Tripp

Some background to the discussion

Here we come to a subject that is unpopular in today's modern world. Our
unease with the subject is demonstrated by that fact that we either joke
about it or avoid it altogether. However, to be faithful to the teaching of
Jesus, and those he himself taught and commissioned to teach in his name, we cannot avoid it without giving a false picture of the nature of reality.

I am among those who believe the Bible is God's inspired revelation of
himself to us humans. The Holy Spirit, working through chosen persons, and using their own individual gifts and perceptions, gave us truth that can be relied on. Though the Bible is our final authority; indeed our only
authority on matters such as this that are beyond our experience, it is up
to us to attempt to interpret accurately what is written there. We do well
to do so with much prayer and humility, recognising our own limitations of
understanding, and proneness to conditioning and prejudice. After all, God
does know a little more than we do, and he does not
always choose to reveal everything. "The secret things belong to the Lord
our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever,
that we may follow all the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 29:29). The
purpose of Scripture is to bring us into an obedient relationship with
himself, not to give us material for idle speculation.

The traditional view, held by most of the church fathers, the medieval
theologians, the Reformers, and probably by most Evangelical leaders today, is that those who have refused Christ in this life will be condemned to eternal separation from God in continued conscious torment. It is not that Christians want to believe this (though the way some have preached it, one may be forgiven for thinking that, at least in some cases, this may be the case!). It is just that there seems no other way to interpret some of the passages dealing with the subject in the New Testament.

There is certainly much in the New Testament concerning the suffering of
those who reject Christ's offer of forgiveness and reconciliation in this
life. I will look at the terms used for this a little further on. The
argument that this suffering is forever is based
largely on the repeated use of the word "eternal" in connection with the
fate of the unrepentant, particularly its use in Matthew 25:46 where
"eternal punishment" is contrasted with "eternal life". There is also the
statement in Revelation 14:11 that "the smoke of their torment rises up for
ever and ever."

There is a third view which has been raised as a possible interpretation of
relevant New Testament passages which has been variously spoken of as
"conditional immortality' or Innihilationism". There is a slight difference
between the two. According to the former, nobody survives death except those to whom God gives life. The Scripture declares that God "alone is immortal"
(1 Timothy 6:16). We, however, are offered immortality through the gospel (2 Timothy 1: 10). Or, as Paul puts it, if we have accepted Christ, what is mortal will be "clothed ... with immortality " (1 Corinthians 15:54).
It is something we are given by grace and is not ours by nature. In this view, though the unrepentant may or may not survive death, eventually they will cease to exist because God has not given them eternal life.

The view of annihilationism is that everybody survives death and will
eventually be resurrected, but the unrepentant will finally be destroyed.
With either conditional immortality or annihilationism, those without Christ
will not suffer forever. They will cease to exist. This is a view that has
been put forward as a legitimate interpretation of the New Testament
evidence by respected biblical scholars such as Alan Bernstein, John Stott,
Michael Green, Frank Guillebaud, Clark Pinnock, Edward Fudge, Philip Hughes, William Crockett, Steven Travis, and John Wenham.

Interpreting the Biblical evidence

Because this view is the one that people are least familiar with, and
because it is one that I believe can legitimately be argued from Scripture,
I will explore this in some detail.
In his book Essentials, which he co-authored with David Edwards,' John Stott summarises the arguments which tend to support this option. Stott, one of the most influential Christian leaders of the last generation, is not only a top New Testament scholar, but is also a remarkably clear and logical thinker. The views that I give here are dealt with more fully in this book and I commend it as a good, concise starting point for those who wish to explore the matter further.

First, there is the question of the use of language and the meaning of the
terms used. Frequent terminology used in relation to the
final state of the lost is that relating to "destruction'. The commonest
Greek words used are the verb apollumi ( to destroy) and the
noun apbleia (destruction). When the verb is active and transitive it means to "kill".
It is used in this sense when Herod wanted to kill the baby Jesus and when the Jewish leaders plotted to have him executed (Matthew 2:13; 12:14; 27:20). It is used at least twenty-two times in this plain sense.
Jesus used this word when he talked of God destroying "both soul and body in hell" 'Matthew 10.28;
cf. James 4:12). Stott comments, "If to kills----to deprive the body of
life, hell would seem to be the deprivation of both physical and spiritual life, that is, an extinction of being."

When this verb is used in the middle and intransitive tense, then it means
to be destroyed and so to "perish". It is used often of perishing physically
(e.g. Luke 15:17; 1 Corinthians 10:9), but also, in about nine instances, of
those who perish spiritually. Unbelievers are spoken of as "those who are
perishing" (1 Corinthians 1: 18; 2 Corinthians 2:15; 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:10). The word used in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 and 2 Thessalonians 1:9 is
olethros, which also means "ruin" or "destruction". John Stott comments on
the use of these terms:

It would seem strange, therefore, if people who are said to
suffer destruction are in fact not destroyed; and .. it is difficult to
imagine a perpetually inconclusive process of perishing. It cannot, I think,
be replied that it is impossible to destroy human beings because they are
immortal for the immortality---and therefore indestructibility--of the soul
is a Greek not a biblical concept.

Some would be more dogmatic than this. R.F. Weymouth, who
translated the New Testament into English (first published in 1903) directly
from the Greek, after many years of intensive study of textual criticism,
wrote:
My mind falls to conceive a grosser misinterpretation of language than when the five or six strongest words which the Greek tongue possesses,
signifying 'destroy', or 'destruction', are explained to mean maintaining an
everlasting but wretched existence. To translate black as white is nothing
to this.

Another matter for debate is the meaning and use of the word "eternal",
which keeps popping up in the context of both the future destiny of both the saved and the lost.
As regards its use at the end of the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats
where "eternal punishment " is contrasted with "eternal life" (Matthew 25:46), Stott comments:

What Jesus said is that both the life and the punishment would be eternal
but he did not in that passage define the nature of either. Because he
elsewhere spoke of eternal life as a conscious enjoyment of God (John 17.3), it does not follow that eternal punishment must be a conscious experience of pain at the hand of God. On the contrary, although declaring both to be eternal Jesus is contrasting the two destinies.. the more unlike they are, the better.

The issue at stake is whether the word "eternal" refers to the
punishment, or merely to the irreversible nature of the punishment,
whatever that punishment might include. There is nothing here that might necessarily preclude the second option.

The second area of debate concerns the symbolic imagery used in Scripture to characterize hell, particularly that of fire. The most common expression that Jesus used of hell was gehenna, a transliteration from the hebrew ge hinnom. It occurs eleven times in the gospels.
Hinnom was a valley south of Jerusalem where, under the kings Ahaz
and Manasseh, children were sacrificed in the fire to the god Molech (2
Kings 16:3; 21:6; 2 Chronicles 28:3; 33:6). The prophets borrowed the term as a symbol of judgement (Jeremiah 7:31, 32; 19:6). In Jesus' day, the valley was used as a burial place for criminals and for burning garbage.
Closely associated with this imagery is the concept of fire, which is
mentioned about twenty times in connection with the final judgement. We read such terms function of a, "hell fire" (literally: "gehenna of fire"-Matthew 5:22), "everlasting fire " (Matthew 18:8), the place "where the fire never goes out" (Mark 9:43) and "the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:15). God himself, in a passage that speaks of final judgement , is spoken of as "a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). We may well accept that the "fire" is to be taken figuratively and not literally, as is term 'outer darkness' which is used on several occasions. Anyway , fire and darkness would appear to exclude each other if taken literally. However the images that are used are meant to mean something.

Stott aptly comments :

It is doubtless because we have all had experience of the acute
pain of being burned, that fire is associated in our minds with
conscious torment. But the main function of fire is not to
cause pain, but to secure destruction, as all the world incinerators bear witness. Hence the biblical expression "A consuming fire" and John the Baptists picture of the judge 'burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire ' (Matthew 3:120; cf. Luke 3:17)
The fire itself is termed eternal and unquenchable, but it would be very
odd if what is thrown into it proves indestructible.

Our expectation would be the opposite: it would be consumed forever, not
tormented forever. Hence it is the smoke ( evidence that fire has done its
work) which rises for ever and ever (Revelation 14:11; cf 19:3) .

There are other passages where fire is mentioned that are much debated, such as the torment experienced by the rich man in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), and the statement that some will be tormented in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb ... And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever." (Revelation 14: 10, 11).
We must be careful in interpreting a parable, which the story in Luke appears to be, rather than a real-life instance. However, Stott's comment also seems appropriate here:

These two states were experienced immediately after Dives [the rich man] died (verses 22, 23). The natural interpretation would be that Jesus was referring to the so-called 'intermediate (or interim) state 'between death and resur rection. I myself believe that this will be a time , if indeed
we shall be aware of the passage of time) when the lost will come to the unimaginably painful realisation of their fate.
This is not incompatible, however, with their final annihilation. Similarly the 'torment of Revelation 14.10 , because it will be experienced in the presence of the holy angels and of thelamb, seems to refer to the moment of judgement , not to the eternal state. it is not the torment itself but its 'smoke' (symbol of the complete burning) which will be forever and ever.'

It is also significant that the statement that the smoke rises "for ever and
ever" seems to be an echo of almost identical words in Isaiah 34.10 where the prophet foretells God's judgement on Edom.
In Isaiah, these words are a immediately followed by the statement that,
"none shall pass through it for ever and ever.".In other words , it will be
completely devoid of human life.

A third word, the use of which is much debated, is the word "all" when it is
used in passages that look forward to Christ's universal reign. Jesus said
that he would "draw all [people] to himself' (John 12:32). The time is
coming when God will "bring all things in heaven and earth together under
one head, even Christ" (Ephesians 1: 10). Similarly, "at the name of Jesus
everyone will bow down, those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. And to the glory of God the Father everyone will openly agree, 'Jesus Christ is Lord!" (Philippians 2: 10, 11). In the end, God will be "all in all (NIV) or "mean everything to everyone. "
(See also Romans 5:18; 11:32; 14:11; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 1:20.)

These texts ... lead me to ask how God can in any meaningful sense be called 'everything to everybody' while an unspecified number of people still continue in rebellion against him and under his judgement. It would be easier to hold together the awful reality of hell and the universal reign of God if hell means destruction and the impenitent are no more.

A third area of debate concerns the biblical vision of justice, which has its roots in the eternal nature of God, is a major theme of both the Old and New Testaments. It is one of the strongest arguments supporting the idea of a final judgement. One of the songs resounding in heaven when this final event does take place will be, "Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgements" (Revelation 19:1, 2. The
New Testament also indicates that the penalties will be commensurate with the evil done. This being the case, would it be compatible with divine justice to punish for all eternity sins consciously committed in time, however serious those sins might be ?

There are questions here that only God can answer, and one day we will no doubt know those answers. However, at least from the human perspective, annihilation would seem a more just decision than eternal conscience torment.

I think it is appropriate to give the final statement on this issue also to
John Stott. In a personal statement which he prepared in reply to a number of correspondents who questioned him on these issues, which Timothy Dudley-Smith records in the second volume of his magnificent biography of Stott's life, John Stott.. A Global Ministry,' he says:
There is no knockdown argument on either side which effectively settles this issue; both sides are faced with difficult texts.
I am disturbed by the excessive dogmatism of those who claim that only one view is biblical. I plead for greater humility of judgement . We evangelical people need to give one another the liberty in areas in which scripture is not absolutely plain. . F F Bruce wrote to me in 1989 that "'annihilation' is certainly an acceptable interpretation of the relevant New Testament passages. " He added, "For myself . I remain agnostic on this matter."

There are two things that are very clear from the New Testament. First, that there are but two possible destinies, either with God or without him. There is no middle ground. A brief skim through the teaching of Jesus in the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) will confirm this, quite apart from the rest of the New Testament. There is nothing there that would lend weight to any other view.

Following the sinking of the Titanic, the White Star office in Liverpool,
England, placed a large board on either side of the main entrance. On one
they printed in large letters, "KNOWN TO BE SAVED", and on the other, "KNOWN To Be LOST". When the Titanic's voyage began there were three classes of passengers, but when it ended the number was reduced to only two, those who were saved by the rescue boats and those who were lost in the deep waters.
Similarly, when our eternal destiny is at stake, I don't see how you can
interpret the New Testament passages on the subject in any other way.

God longs that all should accept his offer of reconciliation, purchased at
infinite cost through the atoning death of Jesus. "He is patient with you,
not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). However, in his loving purposes he has given us the freedom to choose. Those who choose not to recognise their need and submit to him, of necessity exclude themselves from all he longs to give us.

It will be a most awful thing to hear those words, recorded in the Sermon on the Mount, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers" (Matthew 7:23; cf Luke 13:27). One of the clearest passages, emphasising this separation from the presence of God, is in 2 Thessalonians: "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ who will be punished with ever-lasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from his majesty when he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed. (2 Thessalonians1:8-10) ).
It is significant the number of times the idea of being "outside" keeps
cropping up. Sadly those who by choice exclude themselves from God's presence also exclude themselves from the presence of his family.
As I have mentioned earlier , God is a God who exists in a community of
loving relationships, and his whole purpose in creating this universe
was to enlarge that community).
As mentioned above, one of the terms Jesus used to emphasise the horror of being outside that community is "outer darkness". whereas the imagery of fire points to destruction. That of darkness speaks of the loss of all relationships, loneliness,separation, alienation and moral blindness.

To be seperated from God is to be separated from the one who is the
ultimate source of all goodness and truth.
The second point is the finality of the sentence. It is hard to avoid the
full effect of the word "eternal " when applied to the future of the
unrepentant, as well as to the future of those who are welcomed into God's
kingdom. It does appear to refer to the final consequences of that choice,
even if not necessarily to one's continual existence.
Though scholars debate the prime significance of its meaning, it seems
to include the thought of 'irreversible' .
James Barr says in his book Biblical words for time, "The cases of ainonios (eternal) refer fairly uniformly to the -
being of God or to plans and realities which,once established by him, are
perpetual or unchanging."
Of particular significance in this regard is Jesus' description of
"blasphemy against the Holy Spirit " as an "eternal sin" (Mark 3:29). In
a similar passage in Matthew's Gospel, Jesus enlarges on what is meant by an "eternal sin'. "Anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be
forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come " (Matthew 12:32). It is
the Holy Spirit who seeks to show us our need of forgiveness and who points us to Christ as the answer to that need. My understanding of this "sin against the Holy Spirit"is that we so resist his e fforts to impress us with the truth that we become immune to his pleadings to submit our' lives to Christ.
The religious leaders that Jesus was speaking to on this occasion were in
danger of doing this as they were attributing his sheer goodness to the work of Satan. It is pertinent to ask if Jesus would have said, as he did of Judas," that man would be better off if he had never been born" (Matthew 26:24), if ultimately Judas was to end up in heaven? It is also significant that the writer of Hebrews lists'eternal judgement ' as one of the
"elementary teachings about Christ" (chapter 6, verse 2).

Imagery that Jesus used which would strongly support this is that of the
"shut door". In the parable of The Wise and Foolish Virgins, those who were unprepared for the bridegroom's return turn up for the celebrations and find the door shut. "'Sir! Sir,!' they said. 'Open the door for us!' But he
replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.' Therefore keep watch,
because you do not know the day or the hour" (Matthew 25:11-13). On one occasion he was asked the question, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" His reply is worth noting in full: "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.' But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.' Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.' But he will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!' There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets and yourselves thrown out.

People will come from cast and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and the first who will be last" (Luke 13:23-30).

(It is to me significant that the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth is not stated as caused by eternal flame but by the realisation of missing God's gift of eternal life. It would appear that all the glories and joy of eternal life will be known to the unsaved but then denied them . - Dale )
Last edited by Dale Tooley on Sun Feb 27, 2005 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

Poetic_Soul
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#15

Post by Poetic_Soul » Sat Feb 26, 2005 1:20 pm

Dale;..what you just described was hitting the nail on the head. :wink:

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