EXPLORING HELL [111c]

Hell is a nasty subject, we don’t really want to know about it, but if we understand it better, it can give us an insight into what Christianity is.

Previously, for the sake of presenting a clearer perspective on other doctrines, I have slotted “hell” into a position of the more simplistic description of “destruction”, rather than the traditional “torture” aspect. This was to oppose the traditional understanding of a hell where people are tortured for eternity, which went along with teachings of a vindictive God who demanded satisfaction, and which somehow meant that people were to be tortured forever and ever.

Those who have rebelled against such teaching, and whom often are numbered amongst the “sects”, have perhaps gone too far in glossing over the realities or otherwise of “hell”.

Certainly there is cause to explain that the word “hell” is not in the original languages, and is a generic? term used for different words in scripture, although “Hades” may be evident in N.T. versions. The words from which are derived the word hell, are Hades (replaced the word Sheol, Abbadon, the grave, pit, the place of the dead). Gehenna, in some explanations given as a place of fire outside Jerusalem, but see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gehenna  and there is also Tartarus from Greek mythology.

It is commonly put forward by more deviant ideas, that hell is more a place of destruction, and the torture aspect is devalued in favour of a destruction approach, because Gehenna was supposedly a place of burning rubbish outside of Jerusalem, and its fires ‘never went out’. Also it is said that ‘your enemies will be ashes under your feet’ and etc.

However, if we look at the words of Jesus, we get the more conventional picture that there is indeed, not necessarily a “place”, possibly more of a state or condition, where people are placed into extreme stress, duress, and anguish, to the point of “gnashing their teeth”.

In the parable about Lazarus and the rich man, the rich man says “let me go and warn my brothers, lest they also end up in this place of torment”[?] And he previously said that he was “in anguish in this flame”[?].

Jesus in a parable talked about the servant not forgiving another’s debt, after he himself had been forgiven a very large debt. He said that the man was to be thrown into prison and delivered to the torturers, and he would never get out “until he had paid the last penny”.

This indeed seems to represent the kind of hell that exists in popular understanding. Although it is just a parable or story, it cannot be dismissed by simply saying that it is not literal, which it obviously isn’t. The story presents a picture of reality, which is the whole point of telling it, that we might understand what it is communicating.

Now what is the point of all this? This “ending up in flame” is a picture of Christ’s return, because he is coming in fire with the angels, to burn the chaff and purify believers and burn up unbelievers. It also represents the action of the Holy Spirit as it burns in the conscience of the guilty, so they might recognise their guilt. Specifically it also points to the cross, and the anguish Jesus experienced there. We have to assume that he was literally “in hell” [as we discover what that means] and experiencing anguish and torment as spoken of by himself about others, and now as he takes upon and within himself, that “punishment” that is due them.

Now firstly, it is not punishment, but simply the result of their sin, I.E. cause and effect. We can equate what Jesus experienced in “taking our place”, as that same anguish that we are destined for, if we do not allow his action to provoke reconcilliation with God through his sacrifice, through his love, for us. Because we were made “in his image”, we cannot simply benefit from these things by accepting them in logical fashion, [but it is a good start] but rather, encounter them as personal and emotional, and with all the human like reactions that accompany troubled relationship issues.

Because it was a broken relationship that started it all, and man was hiding from God, he feared the God of love, he feared his love because he believed that his love would prove detrimental to him, because he understood that he, man, was now different to God, and he feared that difference, and he could feel the tension within himself of these two states. His conscience was troubled, and he himself was corrupted in his nature, even if his conscience was so far degenerated as for it to not be easily recognised even by himself. [the fully aware conscience cries “wretched man that I am”..]

What we see on the cross is this problem being dealt with. Because Jesus came to earth as the son of God, he carried the holy stamp of God as he progressed through life, keeping at bay his human defects by always following the leading of the Spirit. At the right time, in the garden and on the cross, he submitted himself to the onslaught of his inner human nature and confronted it in all its corruptive and death dealing form. He was aware of the inner guilt and possibly also was torn within by the burden of the collateral damage caused by the tragedy of a “creation gone wrong”.

Within himself, he absorbed all these human nature aspects, and destroyed the corruption of his body, so it was restored to its original design, and in this state, he was justified in being resurrected, having met unrighteousness with righteousness, and resolved the issue. [he became a life giving spirit]. He experienced the separation from God that we experience, and the anguish of this reality caused by the confrontation between corruption and Spirit, righteousness and unrighteousness, holiness and unholiness, [life and death]. It was the “great gap” of the “rich man” parable.

So where is hell? It lies in the unresolved issues. It lies in the hiding from truth. It lies in the non confession of truth. It lies in living in the lie. And when God in his purity meets us in our impurity, we are met with fire that is burning up the impurity within. If this occurs in the context and reality of Christianity and is caused by the Holy Spirit, then there will be “purification” through the process of belief and ongoing submission to the Spirit. The consciousness of sin and its effects are dealt with. But if this is not the case, and we leave sin unresolved, not allowing God’s love as displayed through the sacrifice of his son to be of value to us, then our consciousness will at some stage be brought to know the full consequences of our refusal to submit to his greater creative plan, and we will know guilt, anguish, torment, which will continue for whatever time or assigned value it takes for the Spirit to burn us up.

We in any case could not be saved without his love demonstrably being seen to deal with sin, and his powerful presence demonstrably being seen to be given as the Spirit at Pentecost. As we accept this new life giving Spirit and live in him, we become the recipients of his legacy of life. His bearing of our death reveals his love and its power to heal. By faith we accept forgiveness from the hell which is the result of our sins.

“Our God is a consuming fire”. By faith he will bring his burning of sin that he achieved on the cross to us now, that joins with us, that saves us and frees us; or then, when it is irreversible, and destroys us. Our choice.

THE TRUTH – His words say we have been set free and believing him brings us life.  THE LIE – Our words can deny him, and our unbelief, our non confession of the truth, holds us in its death.

God is either God or he is Father. The one expresses death, the other life. The one is non relational, abstract, remote, fearful. The other is relational, close, warm, loving.

[Just to give vent to a thought, the tearing of the veil may also indicate the combining of the two natures in Christ, the overcoming by confrontation, of mans inner death]

 

 

THOUGHT FOR TODAY [436]

We have life because of the abolishment of death.

There is a kingdom where death has been abolished. All its subjects were there because they had believed in the abolishment of death which the King had ordered. The kingdoms outside of this kingdom still believed in death, and so death reigned there. The kingdom where death had been deposed, flourished; because they were free to live according to the essence of life which the King had sent forth into the kingdom.

[ CKingdom Cbanishment Cresurrection Cabolish Cdeath Clife ][2 Timothy 1-10]

SUBSTITUTIONARY ATONEMENT [435]

I can’t help but think that those who deny this aspect of the atonement are preventing their people from understanding the true nature of the love of God. After all, the very aspect of one dying for the other is surely a statement of a substitutionary death. All the words used are aimed at giving this impression.

One died for all, therefore all died” This is not saying that therefore now all must attend to this death, but is saying that the “all” did indeed die* for the intended purpose.  Also the fact that this was sin being condemned in the flesh means that this death took care of sin for us, in according to the purpose. There is great weight of clarity to be gained by giving consideration to what the purpose, the intention, was behind this action.

But the true message of the “substitution” atonement lies in that it is GOD who is suffering this absorbing of sin for us. That it is substitution because if he had not done it, it would not have been done, and the IT is the suffering that love undergoes for no other reason than that it IS love.  If God does not forgive, we are dead. And we cannot earn his forgiveness, it is the gift of his love.

So God substituted HIS comfort if you like, by substituting what was going to be OUR discomfort for his own. The suffering that God and his son Jesus underwent would have been needless and unnecessary if the creation had been perfect, but because it wasn’t, it had to be compensated for by the action of the creator, and he suffered loss because of it.

Certainly this process may have involved the perfecting of Jesus as well, but that does not detract from the fact that it was all done for us. Yes people will not benefit if they do not believe, they will remain “dead”, but that does not take away the reality that he stepped in and acted on behalf of all mankind and suffered the same penalty (hell) which all who refuse release from death will experience.

If Jesus experienced what we who believe will then no longer experience because of his experience of it for us, I would call that substitution. It simply means that not everybody will take advantage of that substitution. The substitution was there, but they denied it.

*[this is forgiveness]

SOME CLARIFICATION OF REVELATION [434]

I prefer not to go where I am not led, but sometimes one seems to fall into certain subjects. I recently commented on a post re Revelation but went outside my comfort zone in some respects.

Revelation to me is a bit like Romans 6,7 and 8, in that it does not appear to be in sequential order, and Revelation does not appear to be chronologically ordered. I found Revelation to be a series of events which are repeated in seeming parallel versions of the same story, if this makes any sense.

Out of Revelation I gained insight into “The one who takes part in the first resurrection will not be harmed by the second death” issue, and out of this came my understanding that the matter of end times would be according to the “Amillennial” view as opposed to other popular ideas.

Along with this it appeared obvious that the “falling of satan from heaven” etc. was actually the occasion of the cross, whereby all accusation was stopped by the sacrifice of Christ. Also there was the episode of the disciples returning and Jesus saying about “I saw satan fall like lighting…”

So I do not agree with the 1000 year reign, or with much of the popular interpretation of Revelation, or of pre-millennial versus other ideas or rapture timings. I do see that to hold some of these popular views is leaving oneself open to deception if the “antichrist” were to pop up and say “I’m back”..  When Christ returns it will be all finished and no second chances.

Interestingly I just had a conversation with a friend who detailed two UFO sightings which he described as quite startling occurrences.  So if some silver craft lands in Jerusalem and a white clothed being emerges, many of the “Christian” world would flock to whatever agenda was put forward, and true believers would fall victim to the followers of this supposed Christ.

 

BOOK RECOMMENDATION [327w]

I highly recommend the book “Present Tense Realities”  Freedom from the religious struggle. By  TR Holloway.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/tr-holloway/present-tense-realities-freedom-from-the-religious-struggle/paperback/product-17355288.html

Also available at Amazon and LuLu

Unrelated music VIDEO   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARPLwBo6QEk

Extensive THEOLOGICAL resource   https://mjthompsons.wordpress.com (except for Romans 7)

  GOOGLE BOOKS SAMPLE of “Present Tense Realities” TEXT – use the link below.

https://books.google.com.au/books/about/Present_Tense_Realities_Freedom_from_the.html?id=hZVRAwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

HOW TO SEARCH THIS BLOG.

At the bottom of the page, in the black area, there is a search box.

All the posts are numbered from 1 to 435 so you can search for the required number. This will bring up all the posts of that number, because some have been repeated at different times with a suffix of a,b,c, etc.

To select the single original post, enclose the number in the brackets  E.G. [???]

The search bar can be used to find words*, primarily title words, but will find any word or letter string  anywhere in the blog except the comments.

So subject matter can be searched for in this way*, but with varying results, because there is a large spread of similar words throughout all posts. Using a number of different words will increasingly disqualify posts not using those words. Creative searching may yield results.

(INDEX) CATEGORY – I have begun indexing the posts by category – In the search box below, just add the letter c to the beginning of a word that describes a subject of interest. EG c?????. Won’t be exhaustive, and don’t know when or if I will finish this, but there are some popular words already available so far.

Cbook Cpresent tense realities Cpaladino Csilvie Csearch Creview

EVERY MAN IS TEMPTED WHEN? [433]

If this question were asked of anybody, be they Christian or not, the given answer would be something like “when the devil comes and whispers in your ear” or something similar. One could also throw in that the devil put it into one’s heart or mind.

So the devil is to blame for everything, all the wrong things and the evil actions that happen. He is the instigator of it all, and all the evil that springs forth from man is totally his doing and his fault and his responsibility.

So we are let off the hook? It is not my fault, the devil made me do it. Now God does not see it this way. And I didn’t mention all the evil spirits, demons, angels, dragon, satan, serpent and all that, either.

When scripture speaks of these matters, once you break through the external shell, you find that all these problems come out of man because man not only allowed them, but conceived of, instigated and originated them. [from his “evil” heart]

But back to the original question.

The scriptural answer is James 1-14  “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his*own lust“. [Every man is tempted when from within, by his own desire, he is tempted and led]. And brings forth sin. There is no mention of the devil at all. We also see in Romans 7 that sin is in charge and doing its own will and producing its own works.

Out of the flesh (the works of the flesh) comes… EVIL

Out of the (wicked)(stony heart of “the flesh”) heart comes… EVIL

Paul in Romans 7 spends the whole chapter talking about the power of the flesh but not once does he mention the devil or satan or any such thing. He says that his “I” was powerless to do good, and did only bad. This bad that he “does” is the works of the flesh, all the bad stuff. If there was an instigator it was the law which provoked him to sin, sin being the outcome of such provocation. [So God given law instigated sin from the beginning in the form of a commandment to Adam]. Just as Adam was in charge of himself (after he took charge) and sinned, so too do we, especially after provocation by law, do the same.

But you say, what about Jesus, he was perfect and the imperfect being (the devil) came to him and tempted him. Well there is a problem there. The same trinity understanding which gave rise to the catholic “mother of God” doctrine, gets that from the idea that Jesus is God in the flesh, and that his flesh, along with the rest of him, is also perfect.

This is probably one of the greatest lies ever. Not the idea of the devil not being the creature of popular acceptance, but the idea that Jesus was perfect in every respect. If that were true, he could not represent us as a sample of humanity. He could not be the perfect sacrifice if he was indeed, perfect, because God would be a part of it but we would be excluded from relevance. His victory would be hollow if it were not victorious over the same problems that we also experience.

“The devil” had to be represented also. Jesus took part in our humanity, not just by being here, but by being subject to the same weaknesses as us. During his stay on earth, he did not sin but rejected the advances of the tempter. When he underwent his “passion” and went to the cross, he actually engaged the enemy within, the nature of his and our “faulty flesh”. [This flesh that is fine if not provoked, but which is immature and given to violence if not left alone in its “happy place” (“heaven”).] This is a little different to the basic old covenant sacrifice of a lamb. While Jesus himself, his spirit, was perfect, (without spot or blemish), he took upon himself the nature of man, and was tempted in all points as we are. So the notion of the perfect Jesus (remember it also said that he learned obedience, and was made perfect by what he suffered) is wrong, it also says that He had to be made in all points as his brethren. (Heb. 2-17)

So either he was or he wasn’t. Either he was perfect in all respects and was tempted externally, or he was like us and experienced the same temptation FROM WITHIN this basic fleshly human nature. If he was God in the flesh but it was not like our flesh that we have to overcome, what would be the point? Even the fact that he would be “God” would nullify his action in regard to suffering our suffering. And the principle of incarnation would be lost, both in him and in us. His and ours has to be the same.

The victory, the overcoming that we are meant to achieve and experience, is fundamentally the same as his, other than that he had the power to overcome and we did not, but now we do, on the basis of his expression of the gift of life towards us as a free gift, which we are to claim regardless of opposition to that end result.

Just as FLESH is the description of the vehicle we call the body, so too was this very same FLESH the vehicle which Jesus occupied on earth. The flesh we experience is subject to all manner of problems, not “just” exclusively temptation. He became one of us in order to overcome the earthly condition, to literally overcome flesh by healing and restoring it, by destroying within it (by the fire of His Spirit) those basic elements which work against the body becoming that perfect creation as always intended.

The creation then, was always going to be a “work” of God which occurs against opposition, the spiritual gain in Jesus was instant, while in us it is held in promise, empowered by his word.

James 1 -13 Says God does not tempt us. Would this not then be the appropriate place to say that it is the devil who tempts us, in the very place where temptation is addressed? But it doesn’t happen. And in Romans 7 where sin in the flesh is addressed, there is no mention of him either. (And elsewhere it says “why have you CONCEIVED this in your heart).

The immaturity in the identity of the flesh automatically gives rise to the propensity to sinfulness, which in us we all failed to contain or curtail, but which Jesus successfully contained and curtailed at all times, until the time came to confront it and perfect the human condition, by which He was then immortalised and subsequently resurrected.

*[Rom.6-12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts][after having been taken captive by him to do his will][for when you were slaves to sin][setting the captives free][slavery to corruption][2 cor 11-3 serpent but no devil][2 cor 10-4 warfare but no devil][gal. 4-3,7,9,10 gal 5-19 [heb 2-14,15,17][the devil had the power of death, but we see it is the flesh that exerts the power of death through sin and guilt.][slaves to sin by the accusation of the law][for the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin (death) is the law][devil=accusation][the accusing spirit][diabolos to pierce through with accusation] the accuser. The law empowered the accusation of guilt. To destroy the works of the devil.

CAN DEMONS BE DROWNED? [432]

In the story, The demons were sent into a herd of pigs and then into the sea where they drowned. Are we to really believe that this was the end of the demons? Would not the typification of the demon situation be that they returned to hell where they came from?

By “entering into the pigs” there could be seen the apparent transfer of the demented manic influence, from the man into the pigs, where the pigs now supposedly deranged with the same mental disability that the man had, ran wildly into the sea and were destroyed.

Mark 5-15 has the man sitting, clothed, and in his right mind.

Many primitive societies believe in evil spirits, which seem to get the blame for everything. It is common amongst certain tribes etc. The Jews were not into superstition like many groups were. It was not until other influences entered that a lot of superstition started to gain acceptance such as is seen in the N.T.

[The demons implored him but we have already seen that it was the man who was doing the imploring]

WHAT IS SIN [431]

Sin in the AV is said to be “the transgression of the law”. Believers though, are not under the law, (nor are gentiles) so they can’t “transgress it”. Later translations say that sin is “lawlessness”, as being without law. Without law really means without control or standards. To be of natural origin without modification.

When people are placed under obligation to perform to a standard which they then fail, they become aware of that failure, if they knew they were under that obligation. Then it becomes a matter of how authoritative was the source of this required standard, as to how much trouble you are in. The Mosaic law had severe penalties for some things.

Sin though, may best be described as guilt? Or consciousness of guilt? After all, if you are unaware of your guilt it will have no effect on you until and if someone else hits you with a penalty. (speeding fine?). Even if the particular law had little or no authority, just the fact of you being aware of it places you in a state of stress or tension over whether there will be a penalty, how bad it may be and just when it may hit you. [Some cultures may have laws that are morally wrong yet still carry penalties and guilt].

This is why it says where there is no law there is no transgression, not that there IS necessarily no law, but just that if you did not know about it you were not considered guilty of it in terms of penalty for it. Then again some people may have an exaggerated sense of their guilt for various reasons.

Sin tends to be indefinable once you get to the believer stage. Believers are said “not to sin” (John) [which contradicts the “if we say we have no sin…” but context there may suggest pre-Christianity. It also says “but if they DO sin…” they have an advocate. The Spirit is said to be grieved, rather than pointing to some specific legal transgression. The obliteration of guilt through the body of Jesus on the cross then places one inside a relationship where any supposed sin and guilt exist as hypothetical stresses in an otherwise perfect love relationship.

Legalistic interpretation of transgression or sin would be that which goes against, or is outside of, God, his being, purpose and action. Which simply means something less than love. For God’s purposes, any retention of the guilt which he removed by the cross, for you, amounts to sin.

[God’s conscience should be your conscience] [And then again, all sin was borne by Jesus]