The Hottest Places in Eternity #2

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11 KJV).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire? Indeed!

Luke chapter 16 is the Lord Jesus describing Hell’s miseries: “[19] There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: [20] And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, [21] And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

“[22] And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; [23] And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. [24] And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. [25] But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. [26] And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

“[27] Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: [28] For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. [29] Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. [30] And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. [31] And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

What a horrible place….

The Hottest Places in Eternity #1

Monday, September 24, 2018

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city (Mark 6:11 KJV).

Are there degrees of punishment in Hell and the Lake of Fire? Indeed!

Eternal judgment is undoubtedly the least popular Bible topic. Yet, dear friends, we must not pretend the Scriptures are silent on the subject. There is a most (!) terrible (!), everlasting (!) doom (!) awaiting those who leave this world without knowing Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. As pleasant as Heaven is, is how dreadful Hell is. In abject agony, the souls of the hopelessly damned (even now!) let out their bloodcurdling screams, “Water! Water! We just want one drop of water! Tell our relatives and friends not to come here! This is a horrific place! What indescribable torment! Water! Water! One drop of water! Water! Water!” Throughout the endless ages to come, those chilling shrieks are heard loud and clear….

One frequent objection to the Bible doctrine of Hell and the Lake of Fire is that Almighty God simply cannot be fair in punishing everyone in the same place since some people lived worse than others. For instance, it is commonly asked, “How can a little, sweet grandmother wind up in the same place of torment as cruel dictators Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin?” Rather than God judging man (as it should be), man sits in judgment of God. Still, God already anticipated such complaints, and therefore provided answers in Scripture!

There are certainly degrees of eternal punishment. While it will all be “hot,” “flames,” “torment,” some temperatures will be much greater than others. Some damned souls arrive at a “warm” oven: here, it is “slightly uncomfortable” (comparatively speaking, of course). Other souls wake up in a scorching furnace: think of a sea of molten rock oozing from Earth’s interior or an enormous forest fire raging out of control. Whatever balminess, such suffering is totally unknown to us!

What factors determine the temperature of eternal judgment for a particular soul? The Bible says there are at least two issues that we must consider in this regard….

Words Precious

Sunday, September 23, 2018

He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD (Psalm 147:19,20 KJV).

“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Romans 3:1,2).

Ephesians 2:11-12 tells us: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:….”

In “time past,” the nation Israel had a special privilege. She had been given the words of the living and true God. Romans 9:4,5: “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”

Moses said to Israel in Deuteronomy 4:6-8: “Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?”

Israel, however, did not keep herself doctrinally pure. She threw aside the words of God in order to pick up the traditions of men. May we Gentiles learn from her mistake, and not repeat it! “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13). “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Translated Judgment #7

Saturday, September 22, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

First Corinthians chapter 14 outlines the six rules that regulated the gift of tongues (which gift the Corinthians were abusing). When the Holy Spirit was involved, these six principles were always in place. Any deviation, even slightly, meant that the experience was artificial and satanic. Someone was striving in his or her flesh to mimic or counterfeit God’s work.

Primarily, tongues served as a sign to the nation Israel (today’s Scripture). Secondly, twoor maximum, three—individuals were to speak in tongues during one meeting (verse 27). Thirdly, the speakers had to take turns, and not talk over each other (verse 27). Fourthly, the tongue had to be translated or the speaker was to remain silent (verses 27,28). Fifthly, only men spoke in tongues (verses 34,35). Lastly, there was to be decency, order, self-control (verse 40). These six rules describe the only type of speaking in tongues the Holy Spirit has ever (!) endorsed!

It was particularly important that tongues be translated. This interpretation allowed unsaved Jews to not only hear a foreign language (recognizing God’s judgment on their nation), but also learn God’s Word in their own native tongue (whatever it happened to be). An intelligible message, as opposed to gibberish, afforded them an opportunity to be convicted of their sin and converted to faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Now that that Acts transitional period is over, God dealing with Israel has passed, so the spiritual gifts have ceased (1 Corinthians 8:8-13). We have a completed Bible, total revelation from God, and thus temporary spiritual gifts and fragmentary revelation are unnecessary (2 Timothy 3:16,17; cf. Colossians 1:25-27).

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “Did Saul of Tarsus ever meet Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry?” and Did Paul just hear Jesus’ voice, or did he see Him, too?

Translated Judgment #6

Friday, September 21, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

Here are two simple Bible verses that will revolutionize the way you view God’s Word. “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:22). “Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48). Signs are Israel’s national heritage (see Psalm 74:9). When we come to today’s Scripture, we thus see that one of these “signs” is the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues: “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not….” The unbelievers during the Acts period were the nation Israel (Acts 9:23,24; Acts 13:45-48; Acts 17:5,13; Acts 18:6,12; et cetera).

In Isaiah’s day, Israel hearing foreign languages meant that her LORD God’s judgment had fallen on her for her unbelief and disobedience. Similarly, Israel hearing the gift of tongues working amongst Paul’s Gentile converts signified to Israel that her God was now operating in the world without her. It was a drastic change in program. God had taken the spiritual gifts—what had belonged to Israel—and given them over to the Gentiles. The gift of tongues operated amongst Paul’s Gentile converts so as to provoke to salvation in Christ the unsaved Jews scattered around the world.

The gift of tongues was not meant to be entertainment (as the Corinthians were using it—see 1 Corinthians chapter 14), but rather a clear testimony to Israel. It was important that the Corinthians correct their abuses of this most special spiritual gift. Today’s Body of Christ would do well to take heed to these verses, and address and fix their misunderstandings and misuses of spiritual gifts….

Bible Q&A #535: “Who are the ‘Grecians’ in the Bible?

Translated Judgment #5

Thursday, September 20, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

The spiritual gift of tongues, as the God of the Bible operated it, was the speaking of human dialects never formally learned. Rather than studying the language at school for years, those carried by the Spirit of God were automatically fluent in the foreign tongue. It was God reversing the language confusion He caused the idolatrous nations at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).

Zechariah 8:20-23 promises that God, one day, will enable the Jews to speak all the world’s languages so Israel can be His kingdom of priests. In the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, Israel will share God’s Word with the nations: “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.”

Acts chapter 2, the Day of Pentecost, was a reversal of the language confusion at Babel. Israel here saw the spiritual gift of tongues operating in her midst. Then, most strangely, in mid-Acts, it left Israel and began working among Paul’s Gentile converts…..

Translated Judgment #4

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

Acts 18:11 says Paul preached God’s Word in Corinth for 18 months (verse 18 indicates even longer). When he had first arrived, he preached to and converted Jews and Greeks in the synagogue (verses 1-5). Once unbelieving Israel opposed him, he pronounced God’s judgment on them (verse 6) and went next door to the house of Justus, a Gentile, to start a local assembly (verse 7). “And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized” (verse 8). Eventually, there is a second leader of the synagogue, Sosthenes, but he too becomes a convert of Paul (verse 17 cf. 1 Corinthians 1:1).

When we approach the Books of 1 and 2 Corinthians, we should keep the above background in mind. The Christians at Corinth met in a building that “joined hard” (Acts 18:7)—shared a common wall—with the Jewish synagogue. In other words, believers in Jesus Christ frequently met in close proximity to unsaved Israel! It was because of these lost Jews that the Holy Spirit through Paul wrote today’s Scripture. God had a special message for them: it was important that the Corinthian saints maintain a clear, influential testimony to enlighten and evangelize lost Israel.

In today’s Scripture, Paul quotes Isaiah’s prophecy to describe a similar situation occurring in the Book of Acts. (Remember, Paul wrote 1 Corinthians circa Acts chapters 19-20.) God is operating the spiritual gift of tongues among Paul’s Gentile converts, which is to signify something to Israel. Israel, knowing the Old Testament, is expected to make the connection and be converted to Christ….