Friday, September 12, 2014

Heaven is for Real: Hell is for Real!

My two cousins back in the hills in 1893 were in the barn when the sheriff was shot to death.They were arrested for suspicion of murder.  Since one of the two had a "reputation" for ignoble deeds, their guilt was assumed. The friendly (sic) folks in this country town went to the jail, procured the two brothers and hung them on the hanging tree. (This was early justice much as in Ferguson, Missouri recently). Sixty-five years later on her death bed the real murderer confessed. The brothers were innocent, yet they were dead! This was "country justice".

The lynch mob was led by a prominent citizen and politician. My dad told me of this man and his death. It appears that when he died, he cried that he was on fire! He had those waiting hang a blanket between him and the fireplace thinking that sheltering himself from the heat would ease his agony. He screamed that he was in hell, and dad said, for those watching, he was really in hell!

In this day and age "Positive Christianity" is taught. No mention is made of punishment nor hell. Many theologians consider the concept of heaven and hell to be mythology, but many others cling to heaven for the hope it provides, but dismiss hell as a fiction of those who believe in a demiurge; an evil God who made the material world.  As I've written before, Joel Osteen is of this persuasion. Many believe what he says because they only hear about reward. Unfortunately, the disobedient don't get the reward!

When we dedicate our lives to Jesus, we are "saved". The important thing to ask is "Saved from what?
Mark 16:16 "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
Saved from condemnation is the answer, which is hell! Here, it's clear that there are two eternal choices: salvation and condemnation. Osteen preaches only one of these. It's half a gospel! The concept of heaven has been examined earlier and hell will be done later. The point for this discussion is that "Hell is for Real" and it's the gospel truth!
Revelation 20:11 "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
The English Standard Version uses "Hades" for "Hell". Different people have different concepts about hell and Hades, but it appears that those in hell or Hades have the same destination: "the lake of fire". A lake of fire by any other name is still a "lake of fire" and semantics will never save anyone!  These passages among many, show that "Hell is for Real"! They ought to make a movie about that!

These passages are called "The Great White Throne Judgment". I'm sorry to inform the Osteenites that someday everyone will be judged and  "narrow is the gate". Hence, most people will be taking their pilgrim journey to hell or by whatever name you chose to call "the lake of fire".  Speaking of the "lake" is not positive. We shouldn't do that should we? Because a person fails to believe truth doesn't make truth false! Every person should consider that one sentence. It's imperative to having the soul saved from destruction!

Hell is real! It's a "lake of fire". Shadrack, Meshack and Ebednego were in a fiery furnace that's symbolic of hell and it is seven times hotter than fire. The rich man who saw Lazuras in Abraham's Bosom wanted one dropof water to drink. He could not go to Lazuras because a "chasm" lied in between those condemned and those saved. A chasm is a wide rift or impassable space between two lands. For the rich man it was symbolic of eternal slavery and the inability to escape! "Hell is for Real" and Hell is eternal! For Osteen hell is no more than a gimmick to intimidate the unbeliever, and if one is a Christian, hell is of no importance.

In my own situation the thought of eternal damnation in hell, frankly, scared the hell out of me! To avoid what I deserved, I submitted to God and put my trust in him. At that point I still didn't love God, but was grateful for sparing me from my deserved punishment. As I contemplated his love for me by sacrificing his only Son, I grew to love God; not in a emotional sense, but by the realization that an innocent man died in my place and he was the Son of God! My emotions didn't drive my mind, but my mind made me emotional. I learned to cry!

If a person doesn't believe in hell and it doesn't exist, there is no prize. Lying in a grave (Sheol) isn't much better! If a person doesn't believe in hell and it does exist, it's likely that the unbeliever will find that to be his eternal home.

If a person believes in hell and it doesn't exist, he too lies in the grave for eternity. However, here's the kicker, if hell does exist that leads to salvation and the believer is "saved" from an eternity in Hell!

For the unbeliever there is no hope. For the believer there is hope! If the faith of the believer is firm, then the possibility of them even considering that hell doesn't exist is remote, and hope is the reward!

What are you, reader, saved from? You're saved from hell! Where lies your hope? That the death of Jesus saved you from knowing that "Hell is for Real"!

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