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It Ain't Over Til It's Over

According to work by social psychologist Tom Gilovich (and backed up by a great deal of research on motivated reasoning), when people want to believe something, they ask themselves “can I believe it,” and the answer is nearly always yes. You can always find SOME evidence to support any conclusion, even if the preponderance of evidence points the other way. But when they don’t want to believe, they ask, “MUST I believe it,” and the answer is nearly always no.” (Source: Yesterday I wrote about hell. I knew I was taking a chance. One thing I learned a long time ago, you should never discuss politics and religion. And for good reason, most of the time. Chances are you will never sway me or change my mind. I have my mind made up. Chances are I will never sway you or change your mind. You have your mind made up. Yesterday, a wonderful Christian woman challenged my beliefs on the topic of hell. (Read yesterday’s writing for more on what I believe.) She quoted Revelation 20:10 which seems to speak of everlasting torment. “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Let’s take a look at three things. More of three questions. First, where is hell? I don't believe God has a hell fire burning right now somewhere. 2 Peter 2:9 "The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment until the day of judgment." I believe the lake of fire that will take place at the end of the thousand years, will take place right here on earth. 2 Peter 3:7 "The present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for THE DAY OF JUDGMENT and destruction of ungodly men." I believe the Bible is teaching the day will not happen until the end. Matthew 13:39-42 “The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” It will be a cleansing, purifying fire, that will eventually go out, here, on earth. Malachi 4:1,3. “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” says the Lord of hosts, that will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this,” says the Lord of hosts.”

Second, I would ask, are humans, immortal? I believe the Bible teaches we are mortal. Job 4:17 “Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker?” 1 Timothy 6: 16 “who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.” If we never die, (either with Christ for eternity, or burning in hell for eternity) that would make us immortal, right? Lucifer’s first recorded lie was “thou shalt not surely die.” I believe the Bible teaches that immortality is a gift from Jesus and something we will not receive until He comes in the clouds of glory. “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 I have no doubt there will be gnashing of teeth. I cannot begin to image the horror of realizing what you gave up! Matthew 13:50 “and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Oh Mercy. There will certainly be torment and there will be screaming and pain, and they will be judged according to their works. Will some burn longer? I don’t know, but I don’t believe the sinner will burn forever; eventually it will be nothing but ash. “You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this,” says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 4:3 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.” Isaiah 65:17 Third, I would ask, is sin going to be eradicated, or contained in a corner of the universe somewhere? I believe the Bible teaches that sin, sinners and the father of sin will be totally and completely eradicated. “Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.” Revelation 20:7-9 Devour = destroy completely. With that being said, when we look at verbiage such as in Revelation 20:10 which says, “…tormented day and night forever and ever”, should we also look at it in the same context as we do the verbiage, say in the story of Lot? Sodom and Gomorrah, and surrounding cities, were destroyed with eternal fire, and yet they are not burning today. “as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Jude 7 This is what I believe the Bible is saying: For the wages of sin is death…Romans 6:23…not eternal torment. The soul that sins shall die…Ezekiel 18:20…not burn forever. The story of the judgment and punishment is a huge one and obviously this is not everything. I have only scratched the surface here. We are told to study here a little and there a little. Do not make the mistake at looking at one or two verses and drawing a conclusion. The Bible is like a mine. You must search for those hidden gems. “For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” Isaiah 28:10 ESV by Jeanette Stark – Friday, October 21, 2022

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