Faith & Self Defense

Building Confidence Through Evidence

Archive for the tag “Hell”

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.

Read more…

The Hell Test – Tested (Part 15)

“And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:15

That’s an ominous statement concerning the human race, but I’m ahead of myself. Let’s go to the beginning to see how and why this will happen.

Read more…

The Hell Test – Tested (Part 14)

It’s interesting to me that people who call themselves Christians and present themselves as students of the Bible don’t believe in God’s judgment. Even as a brand new Christian, just saved from atheism, I knew that God was the Eternal Judge Who ruled from Heaven. Why did I believe that? Because as I asked Christians questions about the existence and nature of God, they presented His position as Judge of angels and humans to me clearly. And, I might add, nothing I’ve read, heard, or seen since that day more than 40 years ago has changed that fact.

In the last part of our test of The Hell Test we looked at what the Old Testament taught about Messianic Judgment. Jesus, Who the New Testament identifies as the promised Messiah, explained in detail who He would judge, why He would judge them, how He would judge them, where He would judge them, when He would judge them, and what sentence they would receive. So, let’s get started.

Read more…

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?

Read more…

The Hell Test – Tested (Part 12)

“And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” Luke 16:23

In our last study we saw Jesus declaring to the Pharisees the result of serving riches instead of God. It happened when the Pharisees heard Jesus telling His disciples the parable of the unjust steward. Jesus hit the Pharisees where it hurts – in their pride and pocket book.

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.’ Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” Luke 16:13-15

It was after those words that Jesus told the Pharisees about the rich man, Lazarus and Abraham. The story included the use of the word hade (hades).

Read more…

The Hell Test – Tested (Part 11)

“If the Rich Man and Lazarus story (Luke chapter 16) is real and NOT a parable, then we will be able to converse with our loves ones who did not make it into heaven. Would heaven really be paradise if this were true?” (The Hell Test)

The short answer to The Hell Test’s question about whether the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is real or a parable is – it’s real. Check out our previous post for a background about parables in the ancient world.

Parables are about real-life issues, but not real-life people. When you see a story with the names of real people used in it (e.g. Lazarus, Abraham), you know the story is real and not a parable. Another clue is when the writer identifies a story as a parable.

To help us see that the story of the rich man, Lazarus and Abraham is real and not a parable, let’s first look at examples of Christ’s parables in the Gospel of Luke.

Read more…

The Hell Test – Tested (Part 10)

“If there is a Hell and according to most denominations of Christianity the majority of mankind will go there, could you really enjoy heaven knowing your mother or father or children or best friend are suffering everlasting tortures the likes of which would make the Holocaust seem like a picnic? If the Rich Man and Lazarus story (Luke chapter 16) is real and NOT a parable, then we will be able to converse with our loves ones who did not make it into heaven. Would heaven really be paradise if this were true?” (The Hell Test)

These are typical questions by universalists. How could we “enjoy” Heaven if our loved ones are suffering everlasting torture? Notice the emphasis on “our” enjoyment, not God’s justice and glory. Then there’s the question about whether the story in Luke 16 about the rich man and Lazarus is “real” or a “parable.” That’s an important question since truth is always the key to faith. Jesus told the story about Lazarus and the rich man for a reason. We need to know why He told it and how it impacts our life and the lives of the people we know and love.

It’s interesting to see the universalist’s question about whether Heaven could really be paradise if hell was true. That’s not an honest way to approach truth. We cannot and should not base our acceptance of what’s true on whether we like it or not. If we trust God, then His truth will always be the right thing.

With that being said, let’s put The Hell Test to the test.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

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.

Read more…

The Hell Test – Tested (Part 6)

“When contemplating on these questions, let us remember that ‘unless we become as little children we shall not enter the kingdom of God.’ (Matt. 18:3) Could children really love a god who created a place in which his parents, brothers and sisters or friends would be endlessly tortured? Could you truly sit on Hitler’s or Charles Manson’s lap and love them unconditionally? If not, what makes you think you can honestly love a God who is endlessly torturing almost all of mankind? Can a human being honestly love a being who planned to endlessly torture almost all of mankind which MAY include his parents, children AND if honest with him or herself, possible themselves? Can one REALLY love such a god IN THEIR HEARTS? or do they do what Jesus said they do: ?Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ?These people draw near to Me with their mouths, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me and in vain they worship Me teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'” (The Hell Test)

The author of The Hell Test and other “Christian” universalists would have us believe that we could not really love a God who is endlessly torturing almost all of mankind. The author paints a picture of someone sitting on the lap of Hitler or Charles Manson and loving them unconditionally in the same light as sitting on the lap of God Who would send people to eternal hellfire and loving Him unconditionally. As we’ve seen in previous studies, the author of The Hell Test attempts to prove that God sent the souls of all dead people to the same place during Old Testament times (sheol) and that there is no difference in how He will behave toward them in the future – they will all be saved and enjoy the rewards of Heaven.

I strongly disagree. In our last study we looked at the importance of seeing God as He sees Himself. He is Loving, Merciful, and Forgiving. God is also Holy, Righteous, and Just. God expresses His anger and wrath toward wickedness and unrighteousness in the Old Testament and will deal severely with those who disobey Him. Here is a powerful example of that from the Old Testament.

Read more…

The Hell Test – Tested (Part 5)

“If Hell is real and if good people go to heaven and bad people go to Hell, why does EVERYONE, good or bad, go to the same place in the Old Testament? They ALL go to Sheol which the King James Version translated “Hell” thirty-0ne times, “grave” thirty-one times and “pit” three times? Are we all destined to go to Hell or did the King’s translators make some gross translation errors?” (The Hell Test)

We’ve seen that the Hebrew word translated “hell” in the King James Version is sheol. We’ve also seen that the souls of the righteous and unrighteous dead in Old Testament times went to sheol. So, is it correct to say that they all went to “hell?” No, it’s correct to say that they all went to sheol. So, does that mean, as so-called “Christian universalists” believe, that God will eventually open Heaven and the gift of eternal life to all souls in sheol - righteous and unrighteous? I think not – and here’s why.

Read more…

The Hell Test – Tested (Part 4)

We’re continuing to answer this question from The Hell Test: “If Hell is real and if good people go to heaven and bad people go to Hell, why does EVERYONE, good or bad, go to the same place in the Old Testament? They ALL go to Sheol which the King James Version translated ‘Hell’ thirty-0ne times, ‘grave’ thirty-one times and ‘pit’ three times? Are we all destined to go to Hell or did the King’s translators make some gross translation errors?” (The Hell Test)

Did everyone who died during the Old Testament times go to sheol? If so, what was it like?

Read more…

The Hell Test – Tested (Part 2)

Why are we testing The Hell Test? Because The Hell Test asked to be tested – and because it should be tested. The author of The Hell Test says he is an expert on the subject of universal salvation. He doesn’t believe in hell and eternal punishment for unbelievers. He believes they will eventually be saved and go to Heaven.

“We believe that all men (and women) will eventually be saved ONLY because of the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, not because of any other way. We do NOT believe all religions lead to heaven. The way into Heaven is through Jesus Christ alone.” (tentmaker.org)

It is true that Jesus is the only Way to eternal life in Heaven (John 14:6), but will everyone get there no matter what they believe before death? No matter what sins they commit? No matter whether they repent or ask God’s forgiveness before death? No matter whether they “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31) or not before they die? Whether they believe the Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16-17) or not before their death?

Read more…

The Hell Test – Tested (Part 3)

Question: If Hell is real and if good people go to heaven and bad people go to Hell, why does EVERYONE, good or bad, go to the same place in the Old Testament? They ALL go to Sheol which the King James Version translated ‘Hell’ thirty-0ne times, ‘grave’ thirty-one times and ‘pit’ three times? Are we all destined to go to Hell or did the King’s translators make some gross translation errors? (The Hell Test)

Answer: The question begins poorly because it is based on a false premise. The author asks “if Hell is real” and combines that with “and if good people go to heaven and bad people go to Hell …” The problem with using that as a statement of fact is that Heaven is not for “good people” and Hell is not for “bad people.” All people are bad and “hell” was not made for people.

Read more…

The Hell Test – Tested (Part 1)

A parent of one of our martial arts students recently asked me to read an online article called “The Hell Test.” What she saw there concerned her, so she asked me to look at it. The Hell Test is made up of dozens of questions, most presented in short, rapid fire methodology. I say “methodology” because The Hell Test is a method of attacking what people believe about hell. In martial arts we call it “sensory overload” – causing the body pain as quickly as possible in as many parts of the body as possible. It’s a process of dominating someone physically through “pain control.” When the body’s senses are overloaded with pain, the brain shuts down a physical response until the pain stops or becomes tolerable. Bullies know how to use sensory overload to dominate and control their victims. What we teach in self defense is how to effectively respond to bullies and take back control of our response mechanisms.

The same is true in spiritual warfare. Questions about what you believe come at you so rapidly that your mind shuts down any effective spiritual response until the pain stops or becomes spiritually tolerable. One way Christians respond to those kinds of spiritual attacks is to back down from their beliefs that lead to pain. They believe it is easier and less painful to get along with everyone and not cause problems. However, in faith defense we learn methods and techniques to effectively respond to difficult challenges until we can take back the control. Our purpose in testing The Hell Test is to do just that – take back control of our spiritual beliefs.

Read more…

Post Navigation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,364 other followers

%d bloggers like this: