Faith & Self Defense

Building Confidence Through Evidence

Archive for the tag “God’s Judgment”

The Hell Test – Tested (Final Part)

But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” Revelation 21:22-27

We saw in our last test of The Hell Test  that “anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15) While that seems to be a statement of finality, there are still two chapters left in The Revelation of Jesus Christ. Maybe it will be there that we discover something missing in the argument of “Christian Universalism;” that God will one day redeem every human being ever born, no matter what they believed or what they did during their lifetime, and welcome them into the eternity of Heaven. Let’s see.

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The Hell Test – Tested (Part 16)

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15

In our last testing of The Hell Test, we saw that Jesus Christ revealed Himself to the Apostle John and the seven churches of Asia Minor as the Great Judge of the earth. In Revelation 20 we see Jesus sitting on His “great white throne” and the earth and the heaven disappearing from His “face.” We also see the dead, “small and great,” standing before Him. Books were opened and the dead were judged according to their works, “by the things which were written in the books.” Another book was opened, “which is the Book of Life.” Anyone not found “written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Could God have been any clearer about His intent to judge the dead and to “cast” those not found written in the Book of Life “into the lake of fire”? Well, maybe not. So-called “Christian Universalists” believe God has something else in mind for that lake of fire.

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The Hell Test – Tested (Part 13)

“You might want to reconsider the argument in your post. No serious scholar thinks this story is about hell.”

That is one of the written responses I received after posting The Hell Test – Tested (Part 12). First, the premise cannot be proven because the term “serious scholar” is not defined and only known to the mind of the writer. Second, when described by a scholarly definition – “thoughtful and sober learned person who has done advanced study in a special field” (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary) – we will find many “serious scholars” who would agree that Luke 16:19-31 is about hell. Third, what does it matter whether anyone agrees with what you believe if what you believe is clearly stated in Scripture?

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The Prophet’s Voice (Final Part)

What do we see when we read through the prophets in the Old Testament? Hope? Yes. Warning? Yes. God offers hope to His people even as He warns them. Why is that? Why does God present the possibility of a bright future at the same time He tells His people how bleak things look? Why? Because that’s reality. Look at how it started:

“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:15-17

Even as God was showing Adam what an amazing life he had to live, the Lord also warned Adam that he would die if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Hope and warning at the same time. It is a theme of both Old and New Testament prophets.

As we bring our study about The Prophet’s Voice to a close, let’s look at how we might present hope and warning for our present situation.

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The Hell Test – Tested (Part 9)

“If Hell was real, does that mean Jesus raised the wicked from an unconscious state, make them alive only to be endlessly tortured? Wouldn’t it be more merciful to just leave them eternally unconscious (which some believe)? (Ecc. 9:5; John 11:11)” (The Hell Test)

The author of The Hell Test is using the “straw man” technique to throw people off the trail of the truth – “If hell was real” … “Jesus raised the wicked from an unconscious state” … “make them alive only to be endlessly tortured” … “Wouldn’t it be more merciful” …

The “straw man” argument is a type of informal fallacy that misrepresents the position of people who believe in Christ’s eternal judgment of the wicked and creates the illusion that they have effectively refuted the position. The author of The Hell Test fails in his attempt to persuade because of the weakness of his argument.

The “straw man” argument is often used with highly-charged emotional issues where logic and facts are lacking on the side of those who build the straw man. It’s a process of moving attention away from the facts and toward the emotions (e.g. fear, pity, anger). The subject of Christ’s final judgment of the wicked deserves more and better than this.

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The Hell Test – Tested (Part 8)

“If Hell doesn’t exist in the Old Testament, how could Jesus and his disciples teach that salvation was deliverance from a place that is not even found in their Scriptures? (There was only the Old Testament at that time.) Would that not make Him appear like a false teacher? Or could it be that Jesus never taught such a concept in the first place? Could it be that this concept has been added to the church and SOME Bibles through “traditions of men?” (The Hell Test)

Here’s another trick of the so-called “Christian” universalists: state a theory as if it is fact and attack anyone who disagrees. As we’ve shown in previous studies, the God of the Old Testament will judge the wicked. That’s clear from the many Hebrew Scriptures we quoted during our test of The Hell Test. The question is how and how long?

Here’s what “Christian” universalists believe about the eternal future of unbelievers:

“We believe in the ultimate triumph of divine mercy and grace: that no being ever created will be condemned or allowed to suffer forever, but God has arranged through a benevolent plan of learning and growth for all souls to attain salvation, reconciliation, restoration, and reunion with the Source of All Being, in the fullness of the ages.” (Christian Universalist Association, What We Believe – #4)

The universalists question how Jesus and His disciples could possibly teach that salvation was deliverance from a place that is not even found in the Hebrew Scriptures. They make thinking that even more terrible by suggesting that anyone who believes such a thing would be making Jesus to “appear like a false teacher.” They go even further to claim that what Jesus said about His judgment – “has been added to the church and SOME Bibles through ‘traditions of men.”

Jesus was certainly not a false teacher, so whatever He said about the future of the unbelieving would be the final answer. As for the Words of Christ concerning His coming Judgment being “added to the church and SOME Bibles,” it’s ridiculous to say that in light of the thousands of ancient copies of the New Testament that can be investigated. If something had been “added” to Church doctrine and “SOME” Bibles, we would see that clearly and easily in the ancient records of the Church.

The reason we’re testing The Hell Test is because the author of The Hell Test asked us to saying it is “a test every pastor, Bible teacher and seminary professor should be required to take before being allowed to teach.”  That’s another trick of the universalists: to present themselves as having full knowledge (gnostic) and everyone else needing to learn at their feet.  

“Give a copy of this test to those to whom you have submitted yourself. See whether they know their subject. If salvation is indeed deliverance from a Hell of everlasting punishment, then the answers to these questions are vital to your well being.” (The Hell Test) 

We agree. The answers to God’s Test are vital to everyone’s well-being. Are you ready to put The Hell Test to the test again? So are we.

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The Hell Test – Tested (Part 7)

One of my favorite TV shows during the late 1960s and early ’70s was Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. I especially liked Gary Owens since we both had radio shows at the time. Laugh-In was well known for its short and funny skits. One of them starred entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. where he played the part of a comical judge who ended each of his segments prancing off stage saying – “Here come da judge! Here come da judge! Here come da judge!”

At the time I didn’t realize how prophetic those words were. I first heard them as an atheist, then later as a theist. What I learned as a theist was that an important role God plays in His universe is as the final Judge.

  • Job in his discourse on the wicked asked – “Can anyone teach God knowledge, Since He judges those on high?” (Job 21:22)
  • Israel’s King David reminded the people of Israel that “God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.” (Psalm 7:11)
  • David’s son King Solomon wrote, “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work” (Ecclesiastes 3:17) and “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
  • God spoke through His prophets to remind Israel that He was their Judge – “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,’ says the Lord God. ‘Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.” (Ezekiel 18:30)

That theme of God judging the wicked and His people continues in the New Testament, but with an extraordinary twist – Jesus Christ is the Heavenly Judge -

“For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” (John 5:22-23)

How can it be that the God of the Old Testament said He would judge the wicked and Israel, but that Jesus says in the New Testament that the Father had committed all judgment to Him? What does that have to do with The Hell Test? If God the Father committed all judgment to His Son Jesus Christ, then what Jesus says about future judgment is what we must accept as the will of God for the wicked and the righteous.

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