“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.
The Old Testament makes it clear that God will judge the souls of the righteous and unrighteous at a future time and that they will not share the same eternal reward.
“At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:1-3
We know from Old and New Testament prophecy that Israel will go through a time of great tribulation. Everyone who is found “written in the book” will be delivered. Question is, what book?
The first time we read about being written in God’s “book” is in Exodus 32.
“Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, ‘Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.’ And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.” Exodus 32:31-33
Did you know that God has a book with people’s names written in it? Did you know that God can “blot” people’s names out of the book? It’s true. Moses knew about the “book” and asked God to blot his name of out of His book if He would not forgive the great sin of God’s people. God responded, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.” God then told Moses He would “visit punishment” upon the people who sinned against Him.
The Old Testament mentions many books – Book of the Law of Moses, Book of Jasher, Book of the Acts of Solomon, Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel, Book of the Chronicle of the Kings of Judah, Book of Samuel the Seer, Book of Nathan the Prophet, Book of Gad the Seer, Book of Shemaiah the Prophet, Book of Jeremiah the Prophet – but all of those books were written by men. There is another book that is written by God. In fact, God called it “My book.”
Daniel spoke of people who were “found written in the book.” That would be God’s “My book.” “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth” is another way of saying those who had died. What is their future? “Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
God revealed to Daniel, and Daniel to the world, that those who “awake” (Hebrew – qiys) from death go to “everlasting life” (Hebrew – hay olam) or to “shame and everlasting contempt” (Hebrew – dera’on olam herpah).
Notice the Hebrew word olam. It translates into English as “eternity, forever, forevermore, ancient, endless, long time, always, old, distant past, distant future” depending on the context. The word in Daniel is in the future tense. The concept of the “afterlife” for many Jews is called Olam Ha-Ba (The World to Come). The first stage is known as sheol – the world of souls – and is concurrent with Olam Hazeh (this present age). The second stage is known as Olam Ha-techiah (The World of Resurrection).
Dera’on appears only twice in the Old Testament – Daniel 12:2 and Isaiah 66:24. The context of Isaiah 66 is the end of days when God will defeat His enemies on earth and establish “the new heavens and the new earth” (Isaiah 66:22). In that context, God speaks of those who transgressed against Him – “And they shall go forth and look Upon the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, And their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” (Isaiah 66:24) The English word “abhorrence” expresses the idea of the Hebrew word along with “a thrusting away.” That thrusting away (taab – to abhor) is a rejection of something or someone based on “loathing.”
Herpah means “shame, disgrace, reproach, scorn, contempt, insult, mocked,” and is used more than 70 times in the Old Testament.
Daniel’s prophecy says that some of the dead at the end of time will awake to “everlasting life,” while others will awake to “shame and everlasting contempt.” Those who awake to everlasting life are the wise who will “shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.” This is consistent with a God Who is Loving, Merciful, Forgiving, Righteous, Holy, and Just. He rewards those who are faithful and obedient and punishes those who are faithless and disobedient.
If you and I were to go in front of a judge with the hope that our case would be treated fairly and justly, what kind of judge would you want? Don’t think only like a defendant who wants only mercy, also think like a victim who desires justice. What kind of judge would you want? We should rejoice that our God is the Perfect Judge and will deal with righteous and unrighteous souls in the way that meets all of the criteria that flows from His Attributes and Character.
Question: If Hell is real, why don’t the Jews, many who know the Old Testament better than most Christians, not believe in the modern Christian concept of Hell? They say they don’t believe it because it is not in their Scriptures. Most scholars today can not find Hell in the Old Testament. Most leading Bible translations no longer contain the word Hell in the entire Old Testament.” (The Hell Test)
Answer: This is another trick of the “Christian” universalists to get true Christians to question their understanding of the Old Testament. If Jews who know the Old Testament so much better than Christians don’t believe in eternal punishment for the wicked, then it must not be true. Think about that for a minute. Most of the Jews who saw Jesus heal the sick, perform miracles, and teach the oracles of God did not repent of their sins and follow Him as their Messiah. Most Jews to this day do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, so why would you think they would understand the Old Testament better than Christians? The Apostle Paul, a Hebrew scholar and expert in the Law of Moses, taught that the Old Testament is a “schoolmaster” that leads to the Christ of the New Testament (Galatians 3:24-25). Don’t let “Christian” universalists mislead you with their trickery. Christians have a unique insight into the Old Testament because of the “keys” Christ has given us to understand spiritual things.
The only way to answer questions about the future of the wicked dead and finish testing The Hell Test is to hear from the greatest Expert on The Old Testament and the future judgment of human souls – the Judge Himself – Jesus Christ. Join us for that amazing adventure in the next installment of our special study.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Building Confidence Through Evidence
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”