"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)
It has been dawning on me lately that there are many within the confessing church who have already forsaken the biblical teaching on hellfire, and Divine judgment. The heavy message of a God of wrath, who utterly hates all that is evil, false, and degraded doesn't fit the new "kinder and gentler" humanistic church-growth model adopted by so many.
The popularity of recent heretical books such as Love Wins, by Rob Bell, as well as the rarity of actual teaching on the fate of the wicked even among many evangelical churches have convinced me that this defection is real.
It is almost as though the idea of Divine wrath that underlies the traditional christian teaching on perdition, is seen as a primitive throwback, and somehow beneath the more evolved modern concept of God.
The new and improved evangelicals,(some calling themselves "emergents") are not only rejecting Hell, but they are repudiating some of the very attributes of the God of the Bible.
This is precisely the meaning of the second commandment's prohibition against forming our own preferred image of God, rather than worshipping God as He has revealed himself to be. People don't really reject Hell, they reject God as He has revealed himself to be; Holy, Sovereign, Majestic, Righteous, a a God of wrath against sin as well as a God of mercy.
But most of what we know that is biblical and accurate about hell and judgment comes from the teaching of Jesus himself! He is the one who warns humanity in the starkest terms of the wrath that is coming. More than Peter, Paul, James,Jude or any one else, Jesus warns us of the danger of Hell fire.
How fitting that it is the Saviour and the only Mediator who should be entrusted with this revelation from God.
After all, Peter, Paul, James, Jude, as well as you and I, all fully deserve to go to hell. Jesus alone lived a fully God honoring human life, as the Son of Man. And at the prime of his life He made the offering to God that makes it possible for us all to avoid it.
Furthermore, Jesus, is the one who will actually decide the eternal fate of every human being. Therefore it seems apt that to him also is committed the fullest revelation of the reality and liability of perdition. In scripture we behold him compassionately pleading to all who will listen not to go to hell!
To Jesus, "trivial" sins such as anger, name calling, and mental adultery are so terrible that it would be better (if possible) to maim oneself to avoid them than to indulge them all the way to hell!
"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." (Matthew 5:29-30)
Obviously self-mutilation is not the cure of sin, but Jesus is teaching a complete and radical resistance towards indwelling sin, particularly of thought(Eye), deed(Hand), and direction(feet).Those who escape Hell, are at war with indwelling sin!
Jesus also speaks in stark terms about the horrifying level of regret and remorse experienced by those cast out into outer darkness;
"But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:12)
Notice too his constant warning to the "children of the Kingdom", in other words the ones who assume they are sure to go to heaven, as though it were some kind of birthright, rather than an indescribable privilege, a precious gift of mercy.
Once again it is Jesus who warned that the end of the age would see a great judgment, a separation of "wheat and tares" and that the Hell would be as a "furnace of fire";
"As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:40-42)
One of the most frightening images is that of Hell being the place where the "worm dieth not, and the fire is never quenched",
"And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 8:47-48)
Notice the urgency of Jesus! His concern that we seriously resist evil, as if all or any of us are in danger of hell fire! I believe that Jesus is the faithful witness to the Truth, the only sure account of eternal reality, He warned more of Hell than he spoke of heaven!
To hear modern preachers and theologians speak of it, you would almost think Jesus didn't believe in hell. But look at this small sampling from the gospels! This isn't Dante's inferno, or some angry fundamentalist, or a medieval monk, these are the words of the Son of God!
It is Jesus who tells us that Hell wasn't really intended for people, it was made for the devil and his angels...
"Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:" (Matthew 25:41)
But we shouldn't assume people won't be going there, because in this context Jesus himself is the one sending people there, no doubt sadly, but surely. Though Hell was made for the Devil and his angels, those who side with the Devil in his rebellion against God, must go there.
Jesus again is the one who specifically warned us of the ultimate disaster, that any should "die in his sin";
"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8:24)
The worst thing that could happen to anyone, is that the should die in their sin! To die unforgiven, is to face the full liability for a life of unbroken resistance to God, the Infinite,Holy,Personal King of the universe.
Keith Green the psalmist/evangelist once wrote a song called "Alter Call" which said,
Most people don't find out till
It's too late,
That someone has to pay the price.
You can pay it yourself (hah) or
Let someone else,
But who would be that nice,
To pay a debt that isn't his, oh I
Know someone like that,
And he's your best friend, he
Really is, he really loves you.
Most people don't find out till
Their half dead, that they need another life.
You say you've heard everything
That's ever been said
About The Way, The Truth, The
You say you've heard lot of
Preaching all before, so many times,
But did you ever open up your
Door, give Him a chance to prove Himself?
Well He's real you know!
I hope you find out before it's
Too late, that there's nobody else
You know it's breaking His heart,
The longer you wait,
Cause you've only been lying to
Cause no one believes a thing you
Say - NOT EVEN YOU!
You know you're gonna find out
That He's the way,
No matter which way you choose,
But I pray you find out by His
Love for you.
Jesus is the one who spoke more on Hell than anyone else, and who did what needed to be dome to save us from Hell, by giving his life to Gd as an offering, a substitute who bore the penalty due us, that God's wrath might be satisfied. Jesus loves you, flee the wrath to come! Come to him for forgiveness and new life before its too late!
By: Jamie Northrup (4 Oct 2010)
Many Americans look back at the 1972 Munich Olympics (38 Years ago this month) as the games that Mark Spitz shocked the world by winning 7 Gold medals in swimming, and the games that Dan Gable shocked the world by winning a Gold Medal in wrestling while not giving up a single point.
Another event occurred at the 72’ Olympics that shocked the world and still leaves many unanswered questions. One night during the games, 11 Israeli athletes, mostly wrestlers, were kidnapped and killed by Islamic Terrorists. Many of the young heroes died trying to save their fellow teammates. Ironically, the very same terrorists responsible for orchestrating the massacre have been leading the current Middle East peace negotiations (I.E. Yassar Arafat, and Mahmoud Abbas, current President of the Palestine National Authority). Arafat even received a Nobel Peace Prize while in the midst of orchestrating terror attacks!? (before his death) Of course, none of the surviving terrorists have ever apologized for the atrocity.
As we remember the fallen heroes of the Munich Massacre (as it is called), let's consider the event from a Biblical lens. Over 2000 years ago, Bible prophets like Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, and others wrote of a day when the God of the Bible would bring the Jewish people back to the land of Israel after having been scattered over the face of the earth. Jeremiah 30:3 says the following:
"For behold, days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel and Judah.' The LORD says, 'I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it."
The prophet goes on to say in Jeremiah 30:6-7:
"...why do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale? 7 'Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob's [Israel's] distress, But he will be saved from it."
The verses above tell us that the return of the Jews to their homeland would not be peaceful. Rather, it would be dangerous, troublesome, and contested by the nations round about, and even the whole world. Thinking rationally for a moment, can Israel really negotiate peace with people that continue to orchestrate terror attacks against it? Can peace be made with people who are forever committed to its destruction? In this scenario, peace would only be achieved when all Jews are dead! In spite of this, the Bible says in Jeremiah 30:7 that the Jews will be "saved" because of this trouble.
In Luke 21, Jesus spoke to the people telling them what the last days would be like before his return. In the laundry list of signs he gave, (including false teachers, wars, famines, earthquakes, pestilences, and violence) Israel, the Jews, and Jerusalem were at the center of His prophecy. Most other prophesies in the Bible are similar.
Zechariah 12:2-3 "Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. 3 "It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.”
These amazing fulfilled Bible Prophecies are on continual, daily display in world news reports. The world would do well to take note. Recently however, some prominent evangelical pastors like Rick Warren have told churches to avoid Bible Prophecy. They say that Bible Prophecy is controversial, divisive, and not necessary. Contrast this with what Jesus, Paul, Peter, and all of the Apostles said concerning Bible prophecy. They exhorted all to "watch and pray" concerning the signs of the times; to never be left "unaware". A whopping 1/3rd of the Bible is prophecy. Should Christians truly ignore 33% of the Bible? I think I will follow Jesus, not Rick Warren.
God says in Isaiah 46 that the reason he gave us prophecy is so we will know that He is the true and living God; Not Allah, Krishna, Buddha, or other:
Isaiah 46:9-10 - "9...for I am God, and there is no one else; I am God, and there is none like me,10. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done..."
Back to the unanswered question; why were the Israeli wrestlers murdered by Islamic Terrorists? Because to the Islamic world the rebirth of Israel stands as a portent of what is coming. Israel, and all the nations that support Israel, hasten this portent. What is coming? A world without false religion, terrorism, and hatred. A world without false teachers, deceit, and violence. A world without sin, injustice, wars, or famines. A world of peace with Jesus Christ at the helm!
The thought of the return of Jesus was so distressing to the great Islamic Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, that in 1541 after conquering Jerusalem and hearing that Jesus would come back some day through the East Gate of Jerusalem, commanded his officers to forever block the gate preventing Jesus’ return. It remains blocked to this day…but not for long. Jesus is coming back as he said. The rebirth of Israel is a huge sign confirming His promise.
Pastors who do not educate, equip, and prepare their congregations to understand these unfolding signs are not true shepherds. They are what the Bible calls hirelings; merely there to collect a pay check. When the wolf comes, and they always come, the hireling leaves the flock to fend for itself while the wolf comes to scatter and devour the flock. By not equipping their flocks to watch, pray, and be aware of these events, hirelings encourage their flocks to focus on the cares of this life which are passing away.
May we never forget 1972. May the events of 1972, 9/11, 7/7, and all other terror events remind us to keep our eyes continually on Jesus through His Word. May we always hold to Jesus’ promise to us in Luke 21:28:
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh.”
"Therefore brothers, be steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for we know that our labor in the Lord is not in vain."