Posts Tagged ‘ Hell ’

Don’t Fear the Reaper

I am doing a short series! We are going through some of the sayings of Jesus that can be … confusing … difficult … misapplied … whatever!

What does this mean? I will look at passages that I have personally heard misapplied, misunderstood, or simply confusion expressed over what Jesus meant.

Also, one of these should be appearing on The Domain for Truth later this month to help out SlimJim with some coverage of his blog while he travels. (No worries. I will share it here on this blog when it happens!)

Two weeks we looked at blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Last week we looked at Jesus saying Christians should be perfect.

Now, what is our next passage? (Maybe you already have an idea based on the title.)

Fear the One Who Gives a Damn

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 10:24-28, ESV

Firstly, thank you in advance for your forgiveness for my play on words, but it is appropriate. Because we are discussing the one who literally damns people to Hell.

Secondly, if you search the simple man of God posts, you will find strong evidence that I am a big fan of – not so much Blue Oyster Cult who sings “Don’t Fear the Reaper”, though I do appreciate their talent – Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. That is the source of my quote for the title of this post.

Why do I like those movies?

I am a huge sci-fi nerd, and I also like making connections with the gospel. And, if you click on the titles of the movies up above you will see how I did that with these movies.

The connection today, though, is that our society has a tendency to misconstrue our fear of death.

Whether it is the personification of Death as the Grim Reaper or some other source, we are often told to have a fear of what is to come after this life if we are apart from Christ.

And the biggest source of fear that even many churches have preached?

Satan.

The Devil.

Lucifer.

Beelzebub.

Choose your name/title.

Perhaps you have heard people speaking of watching out that the Devil could drag you to Hell, or maybe that (like in Bogus Journey) the Grim Reaper will lead you either to Heaven or Hell.

Well, guess what. Neither of those are true in the least.

Firstly, we have two concepts of Hell that we need to deal with:

  1. The idea we have of a malevolent being taking us to a fiery (or frigid) place to be tormented comes largely from Norse mythology. We got a slight glimpse of this from Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok a couple of years ago, when Thor’s half-sister Hela appeared. This was a twisting of the original mythology, because Hel was really the one who was half dead/half alive (look it up, if you can stomach it) who was a trickster and liked to torment people in a place of rivers and fire.
  2. Christianity does have something that we expect to see that is similar yet also quite different:

    2 Peter 2:4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;
    Jude 1:6And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day.

    When Peter said “hell” it was the Greek word “Hades”. The Hebrew equivalent is “Sheol”. So the current place we think of as Hell is a prison for fallen angels. (Think back to Genesis 6, those few verses before Noah is mentioned.)

    And secondly: Revelation 20:7-15 discusses that Satan, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, Death, and Hades are all thrown into the Lake of Fire, the place of eternal torment. Oh, and it finishes with all those who are not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life being thrown in, as well.

What does this mean?

Notice, the Devil is not dragging people into Hell. He, and many others, are thrown in. Either they are in chains now, or they are in the burning lake of fire in eternity.

Who does the throwing?

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 10:29-33

The Lord Himself casts those who rebel against Him into eternal torment.

Therefore, when Proverbs says repeatedly something along the lines of “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge,” it is very literal.

We should begin with a fear (yes, a dread) of God, because we are sinners in need of forgiveness.

Then, our fear can turn to that respect and awe when we realize the Christ was sacrificed so that we could have that needed forgiveness. All we must do is repent (change our entire way of thinking) and believe. (And the Holy Spirit helps with these, too!)

Don’t fear the reaper. Or the Devil. Or anyone else.

Only fear God.

And I pray that fear leads to the knowledge of the Son of God and His work on the cross for your salvation.

VerseD: Matthew 7:13-14

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Matthew 7:13‭-‬14, ESV

We should not be surprised that “the world is going to hell in a handbasket,” for we have been warned by Jesus. It does not mean we should like it.

We should strive to make sure we are on the narrow path and bringing as many along for the ride as we can.

VerseD: Matthew 5:44

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Matthew 5:44, ESV

We are not to get vengeance. We are not to seek retribution.

We are to help fellow sinners get free from God’s wrath. If we refuse to love them, their trip to Hell may be on our own heads.

You want vengeance for their sin? Lead them to repentance through prayer and the Gospel.

VerseD: Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
Isaiah 43:2, ESV

Whether literal waters or fire, or the symbolic waters of humanity (see the sea in Revelation) or fires of controversy and problems, or even of salvation from the hell of God’s wrath, it is faith in God’s faithfulness and mercy that protects us.

VerseD: Psalm 91:1

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1, NASB

Life can be hell. Just as relief from the hot sun can come from standing in the shade, so too can resting in God comfort us from the burning torment in this life and the life to come.

Imagine There’s No Heaven – It’s Easy If You Try

First, I ask that you please pray this week, as we are with our youth in Colorado Springs, CO, for the Desperation Youth Conference!

Second, make sure to read David’s thoughts today and the rest of ours every day over at Proverbial Thought!

John Lennon offered this atheistic approach to life in the song “Imagine” that there is no Heaven … nor Hell, for that matter.

I am going to argue why he was right and wrong!

For starters, I must put this disclaimer: no one living on Earth truly understands Heaven and Hell.

I would even argue that most people on this planet are almost completely wrong on their beliefs on Heaven and Hell, including pastors, priests, and other clergy.

I am not going to get into a long list that dives deep into all of the theology of Heaven and Hell.

Why John was wrong

For starters, there indeed is a spiritual realm. For anyone who believes as an atheist, at the very least you have to acknowledge that there is a realm of reality which we cannot see and we know has an effect on our universe. We just argue that the spiritual realm is such a place.

Again, this is not where I dive into the deeply theological parts of this. Though, here are a few places in which we know something else exists:

Why John was right

We hear many Christians talking about spending eternity in Heaven or Hell.

Quite honestly, as they seem to be understood in at least our Western culture, I do not think so.

If you go with the definition of Heaven as “with God” and Hell as “not with God,” then I concede and concur with you.

However, many Christians see Heaven as the place we go to be with God when we die if we believed in Him, and Hell is the place we go to not be with God when we die if we did not or refused to believe in Him. Most Christians agree that eventually God will ultimately judge all the people, the living and the dead, at some point in what we call the future.

(Disclaimer: I hold to the Revelation of John being a prophecy that, while some things may have come true, has largely yet to take place. If you disagree, we can have that conversation later!)

Here is the thing: God will one day make His home among His people on a renewed Earth, and all those who reject Him will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20).

As it stands, nothing as it is will exist:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Revelation 21:1-5

Perhaps you can understand now why I say John Lennon can be right.

I am not an Universalist, and I am not claiming to be an Annihilationist, but I do not believe everyone will be in “Hell” for eternity. Again, what this really means is for another discussion. However, the places we tend to call Heaven and Hell, as evidenced in the Scripture above, will no longer be.

Are there any thoughts on this?

Weekend Words and Sunday Stanzas – 06/26/2011

It has been rather hot out here in Arizona this week. That is rather fitting considering the topic of this blog! Therefore, in honor of these, I present a rather tongue-in-cheek plea to follow Christ. God bless!

hot
daniel m  klem

you might want to
call Jesus Lord
and think about
all of His Word
because if not
you will not see
Heaven prepared
for you and me
you will go to
the place real bad
the real hot place
satan calls his pad

Taken from simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 118.