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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Orthobox Christianity prematurely declares Adam's victory over Jesus

Copyright Wes Fahlenkamp

Orthobox Christianity (OC) has a tiny god box. But that's OK, for them, because OC's tiny god and tiny Jesus fit comfortably into their flimsy, wet box. Did I mention it was tiny? Good.

OC will tell you that Jesus is obviously greater than Adam (who would dare say anything different?). But their words are proven to be as flimsy as their box. When pushed on the issue (and you should push them—hard), they will admit that Adam's sin condemns all, but Jesus' sacrifice saves only a small fraction of that same all. The rest of the all? Well, according to OC, they are either tormented forever, or annihilated by the "Savior" and "God" that failed to overcome Adam and Satan.

Romans 5 reveals to us the power of Adam's disobedience, the results of which we see every day. But it also reveals to us the overpowering power of Jesus' obedience, the full results of which we can't currently see. We must believe in the surpassing work of Christ by faith, while it takes no faith to observe the condemnation that resulted from Adam.

Thus, OC proves itself to be faithless, as it looks at the scoreboard, with eons remaining on God's clock, and prematurely declares Adam the winner. And, in turn, they unwittingly give Satan a great everlasting victory over their tiny Jesus.

But, the contest is not over, and God and Christ (the real Ones, the full-sized Ones) are still working. And just as the condemnation brought by Adam is now visible everywhere, the full victory of Christ will be visible everywhere, in God's time.

Oh, in that little Trump vs. Biden contest, you got to vote. In the Adam vs. Jesus contest, you get no vote. You were condemned in Adam without your permission, and, in Jesus, you will be saved from that condemnation without your permission.

Please read, and understand, the full scope of Adam's and Jesus' work. Romans 5:12–21,

Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death, and thus death passed through into all mankind, on which all sinned --
13 for until law sin was in the world, yet sin is not being taken into account when there is no law;
14 nevertheless death reigns from Adam unto Moses, over those also who do not sin in the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him Who is about to be.
15 But not as the offense, thus also the grace. For if, by the offense of the one, the many died, much rather the grace of God and the gratuity in grace, which is of the One Man, Jesus Christ, to the many superabounds.
16 And not as through one act of sinning is the gratuity. For, indeed, the judgment is out of one into condemnation, yet the grace is out of many offenses into a just award.
17 For if, by the offense of the one, death reigns through the one, much rather, those obtaining the superabundance of grace and the gratuity of righteousness shall be reigning in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
18 Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just award for all mankind for life's justifying.
19 For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted just.
20 Yet law came in by the way, that the offense should be increasing. Yet where sin increases, grace superexceeds,
21 that, even as Sin reigns in death, thus Grace also should be reigning through righteousness, for life eonian, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
And, believe by faith now the future full manifestation of Christ's victory. 1 Corinthians 15:20–28,

Yet now Christ has been roused from among the dead, the Firstfruit of those who are reposing.
21 For since, in fact, through a man came death, through a Man, also, comes the resurrection of the dead.
22 For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified.
23 Yet each in his own class: the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are Christ's in His presence;
24 thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father, whenever He should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power.
25 For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet.
26 The last enemy is being abolished: death.
27 For He subjects all under His feet. Now whenever He may be saying that all is subject, it is evident that it is outside of Him Who subjects all to Him.
28 Now, whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him, that God may be All in all.

I recommend the following for a deeper dive into Christ's victory for all over Adam.

Substitution or Inclusion by A. E. Knoch

Monday, September 7, 2020

The ends of the 4 Christian hells, Part 4 (short version)

The final Christian hell we are going to look at is not translated as hell in any bible that I'm aware of. Despite this, much of Christianity says the lake of fire is hell ... and hades/sheol is hell ... and Gehenna is hell ... and Tartarus is hell. That's 4 distinct places said to be hell by Christianity. And that's a mess. But Christianity is not concerned with how messy, and unscriptural, their teachings and traditions of hell are.

The lake of fire/second death is the last "hell" standing. And it will stand for a length of time, playing its part in God's plans, until its part is no longer needed.

The lake of fire is mentioned six times in the Scriptures. From the Concordant Literal New Testament (CLNT),
Revelation 19:20
And the wild beast is arrested, and with it the false prophet who does the signs in its sight, by which he deceives those getting the emblem of the wild beast, and those worshiping its image. Living, the two were cast into the lake of fire burning with sulphur.
Revelation 20:10–15
And the Adversary who is deceiving them was cast into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the wild beast and where the false prophet are also. And they shall be tormented day and night for the eons of the eons. 11 And I perceived a great white throne, and Him Who is sitting upon it, from Whose face earth and heaven fled, and no place was found for them. 12 And I perceived the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. And scrolls were opened. And another scroll was opened which is the scroll of life. And the dead were judged by that which is written in the scrolls in accord with their acts. 13 And the sea gives up the dead in it, and death and the unseen give up the dead in them. And they were condemned, each in accord with their acts. 14 And death and the unseen were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death-the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone was not found written in the scroll of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 21:8
Yet the timid, and unbelievers, and the abominable, and murderers, and paramours, and enchanters, and idolaters, and all the false-their part is in the lake burning with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.

The second death


There are two more verses teaching us about the second death. Revelation 2:11, "Who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit is saying to the ecclesias. 'The one who is conquering may under no circumstances be injured by the second death.'"

And Revelation 20:6, "Happy and holy is he who is having part in the former resurrection! Over these the second death has no jurisdiction, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will be reigning with Him the thousand years."
 

"Surely, the lake of fire is the end for the baddies."


If you've read this series, you've seen that hades/sheol is not the end for the dead. Gehenna is also not their end. And Tartarus is not the end of the sinning messengers. But surely, Shirley, the lake of fire is the end of the road for unbelievers. Right?

The last thing we read about the lake of fire/second death in the last book in our bibles, Revelation, is this,
Yet the timid, and unbelievers, and the abominable, and murderers, and paramours, and enchanters, and idolaters, and all the false-their part is in the lake burning with fire and sulphur, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
One would think this will be their final end if one thinks the book of Revelation is the end of God's eonian story. And one would be wrong.

The last people to ever die (meaning the death event, not the process of dying) will be those cast into the lake of fire. They will be killed by the second death. Annihilationists and eternal tormentists say those cast into the lake of fire will be dead forever. The annihilationists say they will be the dead-dead, while the eternal tormentists say they will be the living-dead. Thus, according to their demonic teachings, death operates forever as it holds the dead in the death state. According to them, since death is no longer killing people, is has been abolished by Christ, thus fulfilling 1 Corinthians 15:26, "The last enemy is being abolished: death." But how can that be true if the second death holds people forever? It can't. They give death a great victory over Christ and "the living God, Who is the Saviour of all mankind, especially of believers" (1 Timothy 4:10). They "are deceived, not being acquainted with the scriptures, nor yet with the power of God" (Matthew 22:29). 

God, our phenomenally creative genius Creator, tucked the end of the eonian story inside the guts of His book. It's better than anything you've ever read. And it's found in 1 Corinthians 15:20–28.   


"When will the second death be abolished?"


That is a great question. Here's the great answer, provided by God.

In 1 Corinthians 15:20–28, God reveals to us events that will occur long after those revealed in the book of Revelation. In this passage He gives us many key indicators that will signal the successful completion of Christ's reign, which includes the abolition of death. Christianity misses this by a mile, or, shall I say, by an eon.

Yet now Christ has been roused from among the dead, the Firstfruit of those who are reposing. 21 For since, in fact, through a man came death, through a Man, also, comes the resurrection of the dead. 22 For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified. 23 Yet each in his own class: the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are Christ's in His presence; 24 thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father, whenever He should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power. 25 For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy is being abolished: death.
27 For He subjects all under His feet. Now whenever He may be saying that all is subject, it is evident that it is outside of Him Who subjects all to Him. 28 Now, whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him, that God may be All in all.

This whole passage is key. Within this key passage is the key verse 22, "For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified." Christianity does not believe, or teach, this simple, tradition-shattering truth that God caused Paul to write to bless the socks and shoes off of humanity. In fact, they hate it because it is so simple and true, and they have a hell of a time trying to squeeze this big truth into their teeny-tiny god box. This simple truth tells us that all who are dying because of Adam (that's every single human) will be vivified because of Christ. I don't know how God could have made this truth simpler and clearer. Don't screw with it. Just believe it.

Vivified means made alive. But it is not the making alive to mortality, as some were raised by Jesus during His time on earth. It is the making alive to immortality, which is exactly what happened to Christ, the Firstfruit. He is the living definition of vivification.

There are three vivification events. 1. "the Firstfruit, Christ" (v.23), 2. "those who are Christ's in His presence" (when He returns at the end of this present wicked eon, v.23), and 3. "thereafter the consummation" (v.24). Vivifications 2 and 3 will include all humanity. This leads us to the logical question, "When is the consummation?"

Following are the events of the consummation, which include the final vivification of humanity, which coincides with the abolition of death.

  • whenever [Christ] may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father (v.24)
  • whenever [Christ] should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power (v.24)
  • For [Christ] must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet (v.25)
  • The last enemy is being abolished: death (v.26)
  • He subjects all (except God) under His feet (v.27)
  • whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him (v.28)
  • God may be All in all (v.28)

So, the answer to the question, "When will the second death be abolished?" is "at the consummation." The events of the consummation we just bulleted will occur at the end of eon 5, the new heaven and new earth eon. See The Eonian Times Chart.
 
Though we are enduring wickedness in this current wicked eon, we are all in God's hands. And, at the consummation of the eons, and beyond, we will all still be in His hands. He will be "All in all," and none will be damned to any of the mythical Christian hells.
 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

The ends of the 4 Christian hells, Part 4 (long version)

The final Christian hell we are going to look at is not translated as hell in any bible that I'm aware of. Despite this, much of Christianity says the lake of fire is hell ... and hades/sheol is hell ... and Gehenna is hell ... and Tartarus is hell. That's 4 distinct places said to be hell by Christianity. And that's a mess. But Christianity is not concerned with how messy, and unscriptural, their teachings and traditions of hell are.

Because people see the word hell in their crappy bibles, and hear it preached regularly from pulpits, it is understandable why they believe in the traditional hell. I get it. I believed it, and taught it, for a long time myself. It's one of the first things people are taught in Christianity. And Christianity presents a somewhat believable scenario based on mistranslated bibles. The charade is pretty convincing until their tradition is challenged. Proverbs 18:17 from the Amplified Bible (AMP), "The first one to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and cross-examines him."

For about 17 years I believed the first teachings I heard concerning hell and judgment. I was not aware of any alternatives to the traditional teachings, and I jumped on the bandwagon, where I whooped and hollered with my wagon mates. Then God led me to people who had cross-examined the traditional teachings of Christianity, and the deceptions were exposed. Hopefully, through this series, you're seeing the truth about hell and judgment and the bigger truth of the salvation of all through the work of Christ.


Recap of Part 3 - Tartarus


Peter utilizes the Tartarus of Greek mythology to teach us what God did with some naughty immortals. Tartarus is the place where immortal sinning messengers are held until their judgment (2 Peter 2:4). The mortal dead are currently held by death in hades/sheol. Tartarus will no longer exist after the current heaven and earth are done away with. Thus Tartarus, like hades/sheol and Gehenna, will end. Three hells down, one to go. The lake of fire/second death is the last hell standing. And it will operate for a length of time, playing its part in God's plans, until its part is no longer needed.


A lake of fire?


When I think "lake," I think "liquid." When I think "fire," I don't think "liquid." The closest thing I can think of as liquid fire is flowing lava. But, God's creation goes far beyond what we can now see and experience. And He will continue to create new things as His creation moves along (Revelation 21:1, 5). The unique lake of fire may currently exist, or it will come into existence when needed for God's purposes.

Gehenna was the focus of Part 2 of this series. In it we saw that Christianity throws around the idea "Gehenna is the lake of fire" as if it's an undeniable fact. But you will not find that "fact" in the Scriptures. You will find it in old, bad tradition. Gehenna is a valley. The lake of fire is a lake. Valley. Lake. Lake. Valley.

The lake of fire is mentioned six times in the Scriptures. From the Concordant Literal New Testament (CLNT),
Revelation 19:20
And the wild beast is arrested, and with it the false prophet who does the signs in its sight, by which he deceives those getting the emblem of the wild beast, and those worshiping its image. Living, the two were cast into the lake of fire burning with sulphur.
Revelation 20:10–15
And the Adversary who is deceiving them was cast into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the wild beast and where the false prophet are also. And they shall be tormented day and night for the eons of the eons. 11 And I perceived a great white throne, and Him Who is sitting upon it, from Whose face earth and heaven fled, and no place was found for them. 12 And I perceived the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. And scrolls were opened. And another scroll was opened which is the scroll of life. And the dead were judged by that which is written in the scrolls in accord with their acts. 13 And the sea gives up the dead in it, and death and the unseen give up the dead in them. And they were condemned, each in accord with their acts. 14 And death and the unseen were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death-the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone was not found written in the scroll of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 21:8
Yet the timid, and unbelievers, and the abominable, and murderers, and paramours, and enchanters, and idolaters, and all the false-their part is in the lake burning with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.

The second death


There are two more verses teaching us about the second death. Revelation 2:11, "Who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit is saying to the ecclesias. 'The one who is conquering may under no circumstances be injured by the second death.'"

And Revelation 20:6, "Happy and holy is he who is having part in the former resurrection! Over these the second death has no jurisdiction, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will be reigning with Him the thousand years."


Where is the lake of fire?


We are not told in the Scriptures where the lake of fire is located. I don't believe it is on the earth for the following reasons:

  • although the lake of fire may not currently exist, it will exist while this current earth exists (Revelation 19:20 and 20:10)
  • the lake of fire endures the fleeing of the current heaven and earth (Revelation 20:11)
  • the lake of fire exists in the interval between the current heaven and earth and the new heaven and earth, during the great white throne judgment era (Revelation 20:11–15)
  • the lake of fire exists during the new heaven and earth eon (Revelation 21:8)

Because the lake of fire survives the monumental change from the 4th to the 5th eon, I think it is not on the earth. Someday we will see it and know God's power as He employs it for His purposes.


"This is the second death—the lake of fire."


In Part 3 we saw that God currently uses two distinct locations for holding mortals and immortals. Tartarus is the jail where God holds the immortal sinning messengers. And hades/sheol is where he holds the mortal dead in death. Satan will be jailed in the submerged chaos during the millennium (Revelation 20:1–3). But, after Tartarus and hades/sheol are gone, God will use the lake of fire for both mortals and immortals. For the mortals the lake of fire is their second death (Revelation 20:14–15). For the immortals it is a place of torment day and night "for the eons of the eons" (Revelation 20:10). The "eons of the eons" are not eternity, and they are not forever, or everlasting. The "eons of the eons" are the final two eons, the eons in which Christ reigns. See The Eonian Times Chart.

We are not told in the Scriptures where the immortal sinning messengers will go after their judgment. The Scriptures only tell us specifically that the Adversary, the wild beast, and the false prophet will be tormented in the lake of fire for the eons of the eons. Will the sinning messengers be there also? I believe they will be, because there is no other place mentioned for the baddies to go. But, I can't provide chapter and verse to prove my belief. Yes, I sometimes speculate.


"Surely, the lake of fire is the end for the baddies."


If you've read this series, you've seen that hades/sheol is not the end for the dead. Gehenna is also not their end. And Tartarus is not the end of the sinning messengers. But surely, Shirley, the lake of fire is the end of the road for unbelievers. Right?

The last thing we read about the lake of fire/second death in the last book in our bibles, Revelation, is this,
Yet the timid, and unbelievers, and the abominable, and murderers, and paramours, and enchanters, and idolaters, and all the false-their part is in the lake burning with fire and sulphur, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
One would think this will be their final end if one thinks the book of Revelation is the end of God's eonian story. And one would be wrong.

The last people to ever die (meaning the death event, not the process of dying) will be those cast into the lake of fire. They will be killed by the second death. Annihilationists and eternal tormentists say those cast into the lake of fire will be dead forever. The annihilationists say they will be the dead-dead, while the eternal tormentists say they will be the living-dead. Thus, according to their demonic teachings, death operates forever as it holds the dead in the death state. According to them, since death is no longer killing people, is has been abolished by Christ, thus fulfilling 1 Corinthians 15:26, "The last enemy is being abolished: death." But how can that be true if the second death holds people forever? It can't. They give death a great victory over Christ and "the living God, Who is the Saviour of all mankind, especially of believers" (1 Timothy 4:10). They "are deceived, not being acquainted with the scriptures, nor yet with the power of God" (Matthew 22:29). 

God, our phenomenally creative genius Creator, tucked the end of the eonian story inside the guts of His book. It's better than anything you've ever read. And it's found in 1 Corinthians 15:20–28.


"When will the second death be abolished?"


That is a great question. Here's the great answer, provided by God.

In 1 Corinthians 15:20–28, God reveals to us events that will occur long after those revealed in the book of Revelation. In this passage He gives us many key indicators that will signal the successful completion of Christ's reign, which includes the abolition of death. Christianity misses this by a mile, or, shall I say, by an eon.

Yet now Christ has been roused from among the dead, the Firstfruit of those who are reposing. 21 For since, in fact, through a man came death, through a Man, also, comes the resurrection of the dead. 22 For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified. 23 Yet each in his own class: the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are Christ's in His presence; 24 thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father, whenever He should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power. 25 For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy is being abolished: death.
27 For He subjects all under His feet. Now whenever He may be saying that all is subject, it is evident that it is outside of Him Who subjects all to Him. 28 Now, whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him, that God may be All in all.

This whole passage is key. Within this key passage is the key verse 22, "For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified." Christianity does not believe, or teach, this simple, tradition-shattering truth that God caused Paul to write to bless the socks and shoes off of humanity. In fact, they hate it because it is so simple and true, and they have a hell of a time trying to squeeze this big truth into their teeny-tiny god box. This simple truth tells us that all who are dying because of Adam (that's every single human) will be vivified because of Christ. I don't know how God could have made this truth simpler and clearer. Don't screw with it. Just believe it.

Vivified means made alive. But it is not the making alive to mortality, as some were raised by Jesus during His time on earth. It is the making alive to immortality, which is exactly what happened to Christ, the Firstfruit. He is the living definition of vivification.

There are three vivification events. 1. "the Firstfruit, Christ" (v.23), 2. "those who are Christ's in His presence" (when He returns at the end of this present wicked eon, v.23), and 3. "thereafter the consummation" (v.24). Vivifications 2 and 3 will include all humanity. This leads us to the logical question, "When is the consummation?"

Following are the events of the consummation, which include the final vivification of humanity, which coincides with the abolition of death.

  • whenever [Christ] may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father (v.24)
  • whenever [Christ] should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power (v.24)
  • For [Christ] must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet (v.25)
  • The last enemy is being abolished: death (v.26)
  • He subjects all (except God) under His feet (v.27)
  • whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him (v.28)
  • God may be All in all (v.28)

So, the answer to the question, "When will the second death be abolished?" is "at the consummation." The events of the consummation we just bulleted will occur at the end of eon 5, the new heaven and new earth eon. 


Annihilation and eternal torment


Annihilationists and eternal tormentists teach various timings of the abolition of death. Some say it will be abolished at the end of this current wicked eon when Christ returns. This is silly, because people will die during the millennium and after the great white throne judgment. Death is abolished at the end of this current wicked eon, but only for those in the second class of the vivified (v.23). Others teach that death is abolished after the lot are cast into the lake of fire, because this is the final death event for humanity. This, too, is silly because none of the bulleted events above occur at that time. And, as we saw earlier, death holds the dead long after those not written in the scroll of life are cast into the lake of fire. How can death be abolished if it is still holding the dead? It can't be. It is still operating.

The abolition of the second death will occur at the consummation of the final eon when Christ vivifies the third class (the remaining mortals of humanity) after He causes the second death to give up the dead in it, just as He did with the first death, hades/sheol, and the sea (Revelation 20:13). Then, the second death—"the last enemy"—will be no more.


The length of Christ's reign


Gabriel's words to the virgin, Miriam (aka Mary), in Luke 1:31–33 help us with God's timing.
And lo! you shall be conceiving and be pregnant and be bringing forth a Son, and you shall be calling His name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and Son of the Most High shall He be called. And the Lord God shall be giving Him the throne of David, 33 His father, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for the eons. And of His kingdom there shall be no consummation.
Just as 1 Corinthians 15:25 says "He must be reigning until," Luke 1:33 says "He shall reign over the house of Jacob for the eons." Just as the "until" limits the length of Christ's reign, so too does "for the eons" (see also Revelation 11:15). His reign over the house of Jacob begins with His return at the end of this current wicked eon. And it will last through the next two eons, which include the millennium and the new heaven and earth. Ephesians 2:7 verifies for us the plurality of eons to come, "in the oncoming eons, He should be displaying the transcendent riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus."

Though Christ's reign ends, the perfect kingdom He establishes will not end, "of His kingdom there shall be no consummation" (Luke 1:33). At the consummation He will be "giving up the kingdom to His God and Father" (1 Corinthians 15:24), and God will be "All in all." Christ's reign will end in complete victory and success. It's like a Master Builder who completes the building of a fantastic palace, then hands the keys to the owner who will enjoy it forever with his people.


Christ abolishes all three aspects of death


We meager mortals are subject to 3 aspects of death:
  1. the dying process, which affects a living mortal
  2. the death event, when death ends the life of a mortal
  3. the death state, where a dead mortal is held after the death event
In some way, shape and form, for us mortals, death is ever-present ... for now. This is part God's plan ... for now.

The first death has killed people from the the time of Adam, "Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death, and thus death passed through into all mankind, on which all sinned" (Romans 5:12). And it will continue to kill people until just after the millennium in the next eon. We read of the last people to be killed by the first death in Revelation 20:7–9,
And whenever the thousand years should be finished, Satan will be loosed out of his jail. 8 And he will be coming out to deceive all the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to be mobilizing them for battle, their number being as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up over the breadth of the earth, and surround the citadel of the saints and the beloved city. And fire descended from God out of heaven and devoured them.
But the first death will remain operative after this as it holds the dead until we read in Revelation 20:13, "And the sea gives up the dead in it, and death and the unseen give up the dead in them." It is only at this point that the sea, death and the unseen (hades/sheol) are rendered inoperative as holders of the dead. Then we see what will happen to these three, "And death and the unseen were cast into the lake of fire," and, "And I perceived a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth pass away, and the sea is no more" (Revelation 20:14 and 21:1). Thus, the three mortal-holders are emptied by Christ, rendered completely inoperative, and done away with.

The second death will follow the pattern of the three previous mortal-holders, despite what Christianity teaches. Man, Christianity really, I mean really, I mean really and royally screws this up. Christianity does properly teach that Christ ends the number 1 and number 2 aspects of death. They agree with the truth that eventually, in God's time, there will be no more mortals subject to the dying process and the dying event. But, they erroneously leave billions of people subject to the death state forever. Yes, that's the same forever that is never-ending and everlasting. The mighty Meat Loaf was content with a 2-out-of-3 scenario, are you?

The Scriptures speak of one large event where those not written in the scroll of life are cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). This is the last time any mortals will die. And Christ will abolish the number 2 aspect of death. This is referred to in Revelation 21:4,
And He will be brushing away every tear from their eyes. And death will be no more, nor mourning, nor clamor, nor misery; they will be no more, for the former things passed away.
But the number 1 aspect of death, the dying process, is a little trickier. Let me explain.

Those resurrected at the great white throne will be raised mortal, not immortal. There are three vivification events according to 1 Corinthians 15:22–24: 1. Christ, the Firstfruit; 2. those who are Christ's when He returns; and 3. the consummation. The resurrection at the great white throne is not a vivification event. However, I do believe that some who are raised then will be found written in the scroll of life. They will not be cast into the lake of fire, but will live on, as mortals, on the new earth. Some of these people will be those who will be born during the millennium and will be granted belief by God during the millennium (Philippians 1:29). Some of these mortal believers will die during the millennium. They will be born too late to be part of the second vivification when Christ returns, just before the millennium commences. At the great white throne, there could also be others whose names are in the scroll of life who were born in the eons before the millennium, but were not granted belief by God at that time. Because any who will be found written in the scroll of life at the great white throne will go onto the new earth in the 5th eon as mortals, the dying process (aspect 1) will be active in them. But, it will be completely counteracted by their access to "the spring of the water of life," and the log of life with its fruits and leaves (Revelation 21:6 and 22:1–2). These mortals will live through the entirety of eon 5 and be vivified at the consummation. It's at the consummation that Christ will render completely inoperative the 1st aspect of death and check this task off of His to-do list.  


"But what about all of the dead in the lake of fire!?"


That's a valid question, Jan.

Christianity teaches, erroneously, that the lake of fire lasts forever. The ECT camp says unbelievers are tormented forever there. Stop. Think about that for more than one second—tormented forever. There is zero scriptural justification for this teaching that makes such a horrible claim about our God, "the living God, Who is the Saviour of all mankind" (1 Timothy 4:10).

Christianity does not realize, and therefore cannot teach, the full scope of Christ's work in the salvation of all. And they do not realize, and therefore cannot teach, the full scope of His abolishing of death, "The last enemy is being abolished: death" (1 Corinthians 15:26).

Paul taunts death in 1 Corinthians 15:53–57,
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality. 54 Now, whenever this corruptible should be putting on incorruption and this mortal should be putting on immortality, then shall come to pass the word which is written, Swallowed up was Death by Victory. 55 Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting? 56 Now the sting of Death is sin, yet the power of sin is the law. 57 Now thanks be to God, Who is giving us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul is speaking about the second vivification that will take place at the return of Christ. And, at that time, there is victory for those who are immortalized through the victory of Christ over death. But he also has the larger victory of Christ in view—the complete and total victory over death for all humanity. Paul's taunt in verse 55 is meaningless if death, whether the first or second death, does, in fact, gain victory over billions of people forever. If death gains victory over humanity to any degree, how is that a victory for Christ? How is that, in any sense, Death being "Swallowed up ... by Victory" (v. 54)?

Verses 22 and 26 of 1 Corinthians 15 work together to reveal the complete victory of Christ over death.

  • For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified. (v.22)
  • The last enemy is being abolished: death. (v.26)

When the dead in the lake of fire, and the living mortals on the new earth, are vivified at the consummation, death will be rendered completely inoperative in all aspects by Christ. Take that, Christian tradition! When all are immortalized, there will remain no potential victims for death. The death state will be finished.

The 4th so-called Christian "hell," the lake of fire, will be rendered completely inoperative. And Christ's victory will go beyond defeat of the second death for mortals. Even the lake of fire's hold on the immortals—Satan, the wild beast, the false prophet, and any others—is limited to "the eons of the eons" (Revelation 20:10). Believe it or not, God's goal is to be "All in all," not torment His enemies forever.

I used this quote from A.E. Knoch in part 2 of this series. And it's appropriate here also (italics in original),
Judgment is God's strange work. He uses it on the way. Men make it the end. No matter how an unbeliever is dealt with, whether he dies as a result of sin, or by the direct intervention of God, whether he be cast into outer darkness or into Gehenna, this is not his end. All who do not belong to Christ will be roused from the dead and judged before the great white throne. ... [Those] cast into the lake of fire, ... suffer the second death. Even this is not their end. God does not reach His goal in any of His disciplinary measures. These only prepare His creatures for it. Let us not confuse the going with the goal.
Unsearchable Riches V65P2 p.258

Bonus Stuff!


Following are a few bonus tidbits from my notes on this study concerning the 4th Christian hell, the lake of fire.

Satan undone?


Satan has been naughty. 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, "the god of this eon [Satan] blinds the apprehensions of the unbelieving so that the illumination of the evangel of the glory of Christ, Who is the Image of the invisible God, does not irradiate them." This is not good. The Adversary's nefarious acts have really messed things up. But, this is only a temporary dilemma.

1 John 3:8 gives us this big truth, "For this was the Son of God manifested, that He should be annulling the acts of the Adversary." The word annulling (Greek - lyse) means to loose, release, dissolve. Satan ties people up and binds them in many ways. Being bound in death is the result of the Adversary's acts. Remember, it was his act in the garden that led to Adam's sin that brought death to all mankind (Romans 5:12).

Those who will be cast into the lake of fire go there as a result of the Adversary's acts. But, since Jesus came to annul the Adversary's acts, the undoing of the second death is right up Christ's alley. It is true that 1 John 3:8 doesn't say Christ will annul all of the Adversary's acts. Does it have to? If you don't believe He will annul all of Satan's acts, please tell me which ones He will not annul. I'm dead serious. This is a big deal. Put your answers in the comments below.

If Christ leaves all of the dead in the lake of fire forever, can we say that He has truly fulfilled His mission to undo the Adversary's acts? No.

This is just another line of evidence to prove the complete victory of Christ, "the Savior of the world" (1 John 4:14).


From zero to life in less than 2 seconds


Christianity has really messed with our heads concerning the condition of the dead. They have brainwashed us into believing that the dead are actually the living-dead who are being tormented beneath us while we prepare our spots of tea. And, they say, dead believers are playing checkers with Jesus on Cloud #9. No. This is not death. Death is death. Death is the opposite of life, and, therefore involves no life. Revelation 20:5 says, "... the dead do not live ... ." Ecclesiastes 9:5 tells us, "For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know nothing whatsoever ... ." Nothing whatsoever? How can they know torment, or bliss, if they know nothing whatsoever?

The mortals cast into the lake of fire will die instantly. They will be the dead-dead. Then eon 5—the new heaven and new earth eon—will begin and roll on. For how long? We are not told. We who will live during that greatest of eons will experience the passage of time. But, at the consummation of that final eon, those killed in the lake of fire will be raised to immortality as part of the third class of the vivified.

Observe the mercy of God in this.

Those killed by the lake of fire experience no passage of time while they are dead—they "know nothing whatsoever." They die instantly in the lake of fire, they know nothing while they are dead, including the passage of time, and they are vivified when the second death is rendered completely inoperative at the end of the eon. Their experience is an instant transition from death to life.


The Great White Throne


No one knows the duration of the great white throne era. It begins after the millennium. It occurs after heaven and earth have fled, and before the new heaven and new earth arrive. It is obvious that a massive judgment will occur during this time. Jesus called it "a resurrection of judging" (John 5:29).

But, contrary to much traditional Christian teaching, judgment occurs only while the judged are alive. Orthodoxy has taught for too long that unbelievers who die go to "hell" where they undergo suffering and torment before their appointment with the Judge at the great white throne. This travesty of justice makes death a form of life in which the unbeliever suffers, possibly for thousands of years, before any sentence is handed down during in the scheduled judgment.

Those who are cast into the lake of fire have been judged. The lake is not their judgment, but is the result of their name not being found in the scroll of life, and the fact that they are still "in Adam."

Romans 2:5–10 reveals to us some details of the great white throne judgment,
Yet, in accord with your hardness and unrepentant heart you are hoarding for yourself indignation in the day of indignation and revelation of the just judgment of God, 6 Who will be paying each one in accord with his acts: 7 to those, indeed, who by endurance in good acts are seeking glory and honor and incorruption, life eonian; 8 yet to those of faction and stubborn, indeed, as to the truth, yet persuaded to injustice, indignation and fury, 9 affliction and distress, on every human soul which is effecting evil, both of the Jew first and of the Greek, 10 yet glory and honor and peace to every worker of good, both to the Jew first, and to the Greek.
God's judgments always includes a beneficial purpose for the judged. We must remember that the indignation, fury, affliction and distress are coming from God, not a human enemy. David realized the difference and said this when God gave him three options of judgment for his sin, "David replied to Gad [the prophet], 'Utter distress is mine. Let us fall, I pray, into the hand of Yahweh, for His compassions are abundant; but let me not fall into the hand of humanity'" (2 Samuel 24:14).

Though we are enduring wickedness in this current wicked eon, we are all in God's hands. And, at the consummation of the eons, and beyond, we will all still be in His hands. He will be "All in all," and none will be damned to any of the mythical Christian hells.

____________________
Images
Pahoeoe fountain By J.D. Griggs; Public Domain, Link
Meat Loaf Last at Bat Newcastle 2013 Bat Out of Hell by TubularWorld / CC BY-SA
talk bubble and text added; cropped 

Monday, August 24, 2020

Satan: God's Bulldozer

God created Satan, as he is, to play a part in His plans. Orthodox Christianity tells us Satan is a rebellious fallen angel operating outside of God's plans.

Jesus tells us something different.

Satan, like a bulldozer, is tearing stuff up in the early phases of God's construction project. Then Satan, like a bulldozer, will be removed from the site when his job is finished. Jesus will continue the project to its completion.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The ends of the 4 Christian hells, Part 3

File:Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem - The Fall of the Titans - Google Art Project.jpg
The Fall of the Titans
An ancient Church Lady, who is a good friend of mine, read my book, Jesus and Hitler shortly after I released it. She didn't agree with the main fact of the book—the salvation of all through Christ. She said, "You should have written more about hell." I did write quite a bit about judgment, because the Scriptures have a lot to say about judgment. But hell? The Scriptures say nothing about the traditional beliefs on hell, which are still very popular (and based on mistranslated bibles, with all of their eternals and everlastings). The topic of judgment is not nearly as tantalizing as the topic of hell. "Hell" is an attention grabber, no doubt. Why do you think I've use the word hell in the titles of this series of posts?

There is a site on the www called Rethinking Hell that is operated by spouters of annihilationism (aka conditional immortality). They utilize a lot of fire-filled images to set the mood. They do "rethink hell" a little bit, in that they oppose the false traditional Christian teaching of eternal conscious torment (ECT) for unbelievers. But, when all is said and done, they offer to the world the same tiny Jesus as ECT, but on a different colored plate. Instead of eternal conscious torment for billions of unbelievers, the annihilationists offer up eternal death for the same billions. Different? Yes. Better? Hell no. Both are false doctrines proclaiming that Jesus saves only a minority fraction of humanity. What they need to do is spend their time "Rethinking Jesus," not "Hell." Stay far away from them.


Recap of Part 2 - Gehenna


In Part 2 we looked at the second Christian hell, Gehenna (Greek geenna). It is one of three, yes, three (3), different locations translated as hell in the Authorized King James Version (AKJV). The other two are sheol/hades, and today's guest, Tartarus. "I'd like you to meet my son, George, my other son, George, and my daughter, George." Yeah, right.

Gehenna is a valley just outside of Jerusalem. It has been, and will be, a location that is used as a dumping ground for the dead bodies of those who rebel against God. It will be kindled during the millennium and used by Christ as He and His earthly government rule with an iron club from Jerusalem. There will be worms. There will be fire. However, we saw that Gehenna's duration is not everlasting. The valley, with all of its putrid sights and smells, ends when the current earth is done away with just before the great white throne judgment. The new earth will have no need for Gehenna, since, after the great white throne judgment, all of the dead are held in the lake of fire/the second death during the final eon. They will be there until the victorious Christ finally annuls death and vivifies all (1 Corinthians 15:20–28).


Christian Hell #3: Tartarus


For some reason, whenever I see and hear the word Tartarus I crave a fish sandwich. I like fish sandwiches.

Anyway.

We read of Tartarus only one time in the Scriptures. The apostle Peter lays down some heavy-duty teaching in 2 Peter 2:1–9 concerning judgment (not hell),
Yet there came to be false prophets also among the people, as among you also there will be false teachers who will be smuggling in destructive sects, even disowning the Owner Who buys them, bringing on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will be following out their wantonness, because of whom the glory of the truth will be calumniated, 3 and in greed, with suave words, they will traffic in you, whose judgment of old is not idling, and their destruction is not nodding. 4 For if God spares not sinning messengers, but thrusting them into the gloomy caverns of Tartarus, gives them up to be kept for chastening judging; 5 and spares not the ancient world, but guards Noah, an eighth, a herald of righteousness, bringing a deluge on the world of the irreverent; 6 and condemns the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, reducing them to cinders by an overthrow, having placed them as an example for those about to be irreverent: 7 and rescues the just man, Lot, harried by the behavior of the dissolute in their wantonness 8 (for the just man dwelling among them, in observing and hearing from day to day, tormented his just soul by their lawless acts), 9 the Lord is acquainted with the rescue of the devout out of trial, yet is keeping the unjust for chastening in the day of judging

Peter used a subject that was well-known in his time to get his point across—Tartarus. But he didn't use the noun Tartarus. He used the verb form—tartarōsas. The CLNT translates this one word as "thrusting them into ... Tartarus" (in yellow above). The sinning messengers were tartarused.

Peter tells us in this passage,
  • in the past there were false prophets among the people (v.1)
  • destructive false teachers will be coming in among you, even disowning Christ (v.1–3)
  • these false teachers will be judged and destroyed (v.3)
  • Peter gives us three examples of God proving that He is willing and able to judge and destroy:
  1. the sinning messengers (Greek angelon) (v.4)
  2. the flooding of the entire ancient world of Noah (v.5)
  3. Sodom and Gomorrah (v.6)
  •  The Lord is "keeping the unjust for chastening in the day of judging" (v.9) in two ways:
      1. The mortal are kept in death in hades/sheol
      2. the immortal sinning messengers are kept in Tartarus
We have many scriptural details about judgments 2 and 3 concerning Noah and Sodom. But God gives us very little concerning His dealing with the sinning messengers. (You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit.)


Jude and Peter jive on Tartarus


In Jude 4–7, he lays out some of the same truths as Peter did,
For some men slip in who long ago have been written beforehand for this judgment; irreverent, bartering the grace of our God for wantonness, and disowning our only Owner and Lord, Jesus Christ. 5 Now I am intending to remind you, you who once are aware of all, that the Lord, when saving the people out of the land of Egypt, secondly destroys those who believe not. 6 Besides, messengers who keep not their own sovereignty, but leave their own habitation, He has kept in imperceptible bonds under gloom for the judging of the great day. 7 As Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them in like manner to these committing ultra-prostitution, and coming away after other flesh, are lying before us, a specimen, experiencing the justice of fire eonian. (CLNT)

And these sinning messengers were visited by Christ Himself after He was vivified. 1 Peter 3:18–20,

seeing that Christ also, for our sakes, once died concerning sins, the just for the sake of the unjust, that He may be leading us to God; being put to death, indeed, in flesh, yet vivified in spirit, 19 in which, being gone to the spirits in jail also, 20 He heralds to those once stubborn, when the patience of God awaited in the days of Noah while the ark was being constructed, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were brought safely through water

Put the puzzle together


Understanding the Scriptures as a whole is like putting a puzzle together. After all the individual facts are laid out in front of us, usually from different parts of Scripture, we can then piece them together to see the fuller image. Let's lock together the details of the scriptural Tartarus.
    2 Peter 2:4
    • God didn't spare (treat leniently) the sinning messengers (Greek angelon)
    • He thrust them into Tartarus
    • There are gloomy caverns in Tartarus
    • They are kept in Tartarus for chastening judging
    Jude 6
    • The messengers kept not their own sovereignty
    • They left their own habitation
    • The Lord keeps them in imperceptible bonds under gloom
    • They are kept for the judging of the great day
    1 Peter 3:18–20
    • Christ, after being vivified, went to the spirits in jail
    • Christ heralded to those who were once stubborn

    Truths within the myth


    Without getting too deep into Greek mythology because ... mythology ... we should try to understand why Peter is using the verb tartarōsas in the God-inspired Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16). By doing this, is he condoning every aspect of the Greek myths? No.

    Peter says in 2 Peter 1:16, "For not by following wisely made myths do we make known to you the power and presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ, but by becoming spectators of His magnificence." Peter assures us that he is getting his information firsthand from Christ, not from any myths, no matter how wisely woven they be.

    In the Greek myths there are a lot of varying details about Tartarus. There is a place called Tartarus, and there is a god called Tartarus. Titans/gods are held in Tartarus. If you're curious, you can sift through the www to find all kinds of information on Tartarus.

    We've just seen the details of the scriptural Tartarus. And Peter uses the familiarity of the well-known myth to get his point across. It's as if Peter is saying to his readers, "Hey, you've heard of the Greek myth of Tartarus. Well, the Lord is dealing with the sinning messengers like that. Let me give you a few facts about that place."

    According to the Greeks, Tartarus is a dark, deep abyss located far below hades. We can see two points of agreement here between the Scriptures and the myth. 1. The Greeks say Tartarus is dark, the Scriptures say it is gloomy. 2. The Greeks, like the Scriptures, say that hades and Tartarus are two distinct places. But, sadly, the AKJV, and other bad bible versions, translate hades and Tartarus as hell, and blurr this key distinction. This leads to false ideas about hades, Tartarus and hell. (Have you met the 3 Georges?)

    We are so used to mortality and death that it's hard for us to imagine immortality and no death. God has created mortals and immortals, thus He needs ways to deal with each kind when they've been naughty. This brings us to a third point of similarity between the myth and the Scriptures. 3. In the Greek myth, Tartarus was a type of jail for supernatural, immortal beings. This also is the teaching of the Scriptures. As we already saw, God holds mortal baddies in death until their judgment. Tartarus is the place where He holds the immortal baddies until their judgment.

    And, while we're on the subject of myths, let's be clear that Tartarus is in no way hell. Any teacher or bible translation that promotes the equation Tartarus = hell is irresponsible, and has altered God's words.


    God's prisons


    God has an elaborate prison system during the eons while sin and death are still operating. There is Tartarus. In Revelation 20:13, at the great white throne judgment, the sea, death (the first death) and hades/sheol all "give up the dead" in them. Satan will be bound in the submerged chaos for the thousand years, then released (Revelation 20:1–3; see also Revelation 9, 11:7, 17:8 and Luke 8:27–33). The lake of fire will hold both mortals and immortals—the immortals for torment, and the mortals in death (the second death) (Revelation 19:20, 20:10–15).

    Let's note that not all immortal baddies are currently in jail. Satan has not been tartarused. He is moving around doing what he was created to do—bad stuff. He is not part of the group that left their habitation. He is not a fallen angel, as Christianity teaches. And there are demons running amok. God tartarused the sinning messengers (and maybe only one particular group of sinning messengers), not Satan or demons.


    The judging of the great day


    The sinning messengers are kept in Tartarus for "chastening judging ... of the great day" (2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6). In 2 Peter 2:4–8 Peter tells us about the sinning messengers, the flood victims, and Sodom. In verse 9 he says the Lord, "is keeping the unjust for chastening in the day of judging." Peter places all three groups in the same day of judging. Since the Scriptures are clear that the judging of the mortal baddies takes place at the great white throne, it seems that this is when the sinning messengers are also judged (Revelation 20:11–15).

    In 1 Corinthians 6:2–3, Paul tells the believers,
    Or are you not aware that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world is being judged by you, are you unworthy of the least tribunals? 3 Are you not aware that we shall be judging messengers, not to mention life's affairs? 
    The saints of God—those set apart by Him—will work with Christ in the judging of the world and the judging of messengers (Greek angelous).


    The results of the judging


    All of God's judgings are on the road to the goal. None of His judgings are the goal, despite what eternal tormentists and annihilationists teach. (Please, do not listen to those people.)

    So, what about these sinning messengers? What is their end? Let's look at some of God's goals. Colossians 1:15–20,
    [Christ Jesus] is the Image of the invisible God, Firstborn of every creature, 16 for in Him is all created, that in the heavens and that on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or sovereignties, or authorities, all is created through Him and for Him, 17 and He is before all, and all has its cohesion in Him. 18 And He is the Head of the body, the ecclesia, Who is Sovereign, Firstborn from among the dead, that in all He may be becoming first, 19 for in Him the entire complement delights to dwell, 20 and through Him to reconcile all to Him (making peace through the blood of His cross), through Him, whether those on the earth or those in the heavens.
    And Philippians 2:9–11,
    Wherefore, also, God highly exalts [Christ], and graces Him with the name that is above every name, 10 that in the name of Jesus every knee should be bowing, celestial and terrestrial and subterranean, 11 and every tongue should be acclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God, the Father.
    And 1 Corinthians 15:20–28,
    Yet now Christ has been roused from among the dead, the Firstfruit of those who are reposing. 21 For since, in fact, through a man came death, through a Man, also, comes the resurrection of the dead. 22 For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified. 23 Yet each in his own class: the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are Christ's in His presence; 24 thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father, whenever He should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power. 25 For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy is being abolished: death. 27 For He subjects all under His feet. Now whenever He may be saying that all is subject, it is evident that it is outside of Him Who subjects all to Him. 28 Now, whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him, that God may be All in all.
    These three passages are all-encompassing. Christ's victory is all-encompassing. Who, tell me, is left out? Satan has deceived those in Christianity so thoroughly that they can read these passages and still proclaim a puny Jesus who just can't get the job done, try as He might. Their Jesus is a failure.

    Believe the Scriptures, not tradition. Not the ancient Church Lady. Not those who say they believe, but believe only in another, teeny-weeny Jesus.

    Even Satan, our prickly Adversary, is included in Christ's victory. His judgment in the lake of fire is not everlasting. Revelation 20:10,
    And the Adversary who is deceiving them was cast into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the wild beast and where the false prophet are also. And they shall be tormented day and night for the eons of the eons. (CLNT)
    The words "for the eons of the eons" are nowhere near everlasting. Satan will be in the lake of fire only during the latter part of the next eon (which includes the millennium), and the new heaven and earth eon. These are the final two eons—"the eons of the eons"—the greatest eons. These are the eons when Christ reigns. It is at the consummation of these when Christ annuls death and subjects all, including Himself, to God (see 1 Corinthians 15 above). You can learn more about the eons here.


    The end of Tartarus, the 3rd Christian hell


    After the sinning messengers are taken from Tartarus to the judgment, there will be no need for the jail holding the immortals. Just as the sea, hades and the first death are done away with after they give up the dead they hold (Revelation 20:11–21:1), so will Tartarus be done away with after it is emptied.

    No one can say for sure where Tartarus is. If Tartarus is on, or in, the earth, it will be destroyed when the current earth is destroyed. If it is somewhere in the heavens, they too, will be destroyed to make room for the new, in which righteousness is dwelling (2 Peter 3:7–13).

    Bye-bye Tartarus (aka Christian hell #3)!

    Wednesday, August 5, 2020

    The ends of the 4 Christian hells, Part 2 (short version)

    Jesus warned about Gehenna, worms and fire in Mark 9:43–48,
    And if your hand should ever be snaring you, strike it off. It is ideal for you to be entering into life maimed, rather than, having two hands, to come away into Gehenna, into the unextinguished fire 44 where their worm is not deceasing and the fire is not going out. 45 And if your foot should be snaring you, strike it off. For it is ideal for you to be entering into life maimed or lame, rather than, having two feet, to be cast into Gehenna, into the unextinguished fire, 46 where their worm is not deceasing and the fire is not going out. 47 And if your eye should be snaring you, cast it out. It is ideal for you to be entering into the kingdom of God one-eyed, rather than, having two eyes, to be cast into the Gehenna of fire, 48 where their worm is not deceasing and the fire is not going out.
    Christianity says that the valley of Gehenna is hell and the lake of fire, and that the judgment of Gehenna/hell/lake of fire is everlasting. But this miraculous morphing of the valley of Gehenna into hell and the lake of fire cannot be found in the Scriptures. And not one single judgment in the Scriptures is everlasting. Even Satan's time in the lake of fire is limited to "the eons of the eons" (Revelation 20:10)

    They err, greatly.

    Gehenna, an actual valley outside of Jerusalem, will end when this current earth ends. This takes place at the end of the next eon, after the millennium,
    And I perceived a great white throne, and Him Who is sitting upon it, from Whose face earth and heaven fled, and no place was found for them.

    Revelation 20:11 - CLNT
    The apostle Peter gives us more details concerning this event,
    Earth, in the future
    Yet the heavens now, and the earth, by the same word, are stored with fire, being kept for the day of the judging and destruction of irreverent men. 8 Now of this one thing you are not to be oblivious, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not tardy as to the promise, as some are deeming tardiness, but is patient because of you, not intending any to perish, but all to make room for repentance. 10 Now the day of the Lord will be arriving as a thief, in which the heavens shall be passing by with a booming noise, yet the elements shall be dissolved by combustion, and the earth and the works in it shall be found. 11 At these all, then, dissolving, to what manner of men must you belong in holy behavior and devoutness, 12 hoping for and hurrying the presence of God's day, because of which the heavens, being on fire, will be dissolved, and the elements decompose by combustion! 13 Yet we, according to His promises, are hoping for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness is dwelling.

    2 Peter 3:7–13 - CLNT
    So, there it is, the end of Gehenna, the second Christian "hell."
    __________________
    Image: Melting earth on Pikist 

    Sunday, August 2, 2020

    The ends of the 4 Christian hells, Part 2 (long version)

    Dante and Virgil wager on vampire pro wrestling in hell
    "Hell's bells, Mary!"

    "Hell if I know!"

    "What the bloody 'ell is goin' on in 'ere?"

    "We had one hell of a time in Vegas!" 

    The word hell is woven into our language in rather creative and unexplainable ways. Why the hell do we use the word hell so often, even when we're not talking about hell? "Hell if I know." But there it is, right on the tip of our tongues, ready for duty to infuse a little spice and fire into our communication.

    But, the word hell is also used when hell is the topic of discussion. When this happens, what thoughts of hell invade your head? Are they clear? Foggy? Any visions of nude vampire wrestling? When someone blasts you with, "Rot in hell, muleface!" do you get a distinct vision of the destination?

    Where did your concept(s) of hell come from? My concepts of hell used to come from a mix of the bible (a poorly translated bible), various religions, tradition, art, Hollywood, hell-fire preachers, etc. The biggest influences on me were the visuals of Hollywood and art. Who can forget the sight of Pinhead from the Hellraiser movie franchise? And Spawn? Remember Spawn? These ideas scared the crud out of me. I had horrible visions of my dead loved ones being tormented forever in these depictions of hell. And I was tormented simply by imagining their torment. Ever had that?

    But now (thank God for now), after realizing the truth through the Scriptures (thank God for the Scriptures), I have no tormenting thoughts of hell. None. "Why do thoughts of hell no longer torment you?" you may ask. I reply, "Because I now realize that hell, as commonly known and taught by religion, whether Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or any other sect or person, is a myth." Because of God, my mind is now fixed on reality, not unicorns and hell.

    Try to imagine if use of the word hell was outlawed, and we were forced to use the actual words from the Scriptures (you know, the ones that were good enough for God to use): "Gehenna's bells, Mary!" "We had a sheol of a time in Vegas." "Hades if I know!" That'd take some getting used to. But fun would be had by all. Yes, the truth is fun.


    Recap of Part 1: the helling of hell


    In Part 1 of this series we looked at hades/sheol, which is the unseen. It's where the souls of the dead go. While there, they are the dead-dead, not the living-dead. That means the dead are not experiencing anything; no torment for the baddies, and no bliss for the goodies (Ecclesiastes 9:5).

    At the point of death, the spirit returns to God, and the soul goes down to hades/sheol. The body returns to the earth, usually after a V.I.P. tour through the morgue and a going-away party chuck-full of ham sandwiches (Psalm 104:29; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59). "Hey mister, there's nothing in those verses about ham sandwiches!" Right. The fusion of a body and the spirit results in a living soul. This is similar to a proper blend of hydrogen and oxygen resulting in water. The soul dies and descends to hades/sheol at the tearing apart of the body and the spirit.

    The most influential bible of all time, the Authorized King James Version (AKJV), translates hades/sheol as hell. And it translates geenna (Gehenna) as hell. And it translates tartarosas (Tartarus) as hell.
    (apply British accent now)

    Scribe, "Master Scholar, is it right to use one word to translate three very different words and places? Will not the reader be confused?"

    Master Scholar, "The ignorant masses will never notice. Just do your job, scribe. Asking questions is not your job."
    Alrighty, then.


    Hell: then and now


    The Old English hel, or helle, basically meant covered/concealed, which is near to the meaning of hades/sheol, the unseen. The old phrase helling potatoes meant to put them in the ground, a pit or a cellar for keeping—the spuds were concealed/covered. If the world currently used the word hell in this fashion, we might all be a bit more joyful.

    We don't even need to use the word hell, unless we're describing our most recent trip to Vegas. Why don't we just use the words God used to communicate through the Scriptures. Are we too good for them? Sheol and hades are perfectly good words. Gehenna is actually fun to say. Using them just minimizes confusion. But Satan was created to confuse. And confuse, he does.

    Alas, I don't think the word hell is going anywhere any time soon.

    One true aspect of the mythical hell is that it is unseen, hidden from the eyes of the living, just like the tater pit. Oh, but it's so much more than that. The hell of Christianity and other religions are jacked up on Satanic steroids.

    A very simple and truthful equation is:
    hell = concealed
     "That's it? That lame equation would never make it in the pro wrestling world of WWE, or in the world of religion. Get that crap off the stage!"

    Leave it alone. It works. Enjoy the simple truth of hell. The apostle Paul told us to "have a pattern of sound words" (2 Timothy 1:13). Let's give it a go, eh?

    Ahh, but Satan wasn't created by God to leave well-enough alone, now was he? The simple, old-timey truth of hell meaning simply unseen/concealed/covered is nearly lost as Satan pours vats of lies over it and blends a concoction of confusion. The truth is there in the blend, but its flavor is overpowered by the strength of the sugary-sweet lies. The blend Satan devises contains enough WWE appeal that Vince McMahon has a popular annual event called Hell in a Cell because, bottom line, "Hell sells!"

    Satan's attention-grabbing (and profitable) equation is this:
    Hell = concealed + everlasting fire + worms + torture + suffering + torment + destruction + weeping + pain + any other bad thing imaginable
    That's an equation for a Monday night winner. And Christianity (along with other religions) drinks the concoction down to the dregs.

    Hell, the concealed, has been helled.

    The current understanding of hell is false. It is now, and has been for centuries, an unsound word. Yet, it is proclaimed, with much authority, as the final, everlasting destination of unbelievers. Hell currently defies an exact definition, partly because it has been used in poorly translated bibles for three very distinct places—hades/sheol, Gehenna, and Tartarus. That's like naming your three children George (including your daughter).

    Understanding the original meaning of the word hell helps us see how it has mutated over time. Centuries of misuse have caused it to be far removed from its original simplicity.

    Thank God Orthodox Christianity only has 4 hells (that I'm aware of). I'm not sure I would make it through a series on all of the Buddhist or Hindu hells.

    Let's get on with it.


    Christian Hell #2: Gehenna


    Here are some words by A.E. Knoch from Unsearchable Riches, V65P2, page 258 (italics in original). He provides us with a thought that is very helpful to keep in mind as we progress.
    Judgment is God's strange work. He uses it on the way. Men make it the end. No matter how an unbeliever is dealt with, whether he dies as a result of sin, or by the direct intervention of God, whether he be cast into outer darkness or into Gehenna, this is not his end. All who do not belong to Christ will be roused from the dead and judged before the great white throne. ... [Those] cast into the lake of fire, ... suffer the second death. Even this is not their end. God does not reach His goal in any of His disciplinary measures. These only prepare His creatures for it. Let us not confuse the going with the goal.
    Christianity has confused the going with the goal, big time. Christianity's end has billions of people in everlasting conscious suffering. And the annihilationists within Christianity are no better, as they have the same billions dead forever. Their tiny Jesus is a massive failure (2 Corinthians 11:1–4).

    But, in just 9 verses (1 Corinthians 15:20-28), God reveals to us clearly the thorough victory of His amazing Son. And what does Christianity do? It protests His victory. It protests His victory! It protests His victory! IT PROTESTS HIS VICTORY! The religion that uses the word Christ in its name—Christianity—denies Christ. They take His Name and title, but in vain. Talk about confusion. This is disrespect (aka blasphemy) on the highest level.


    What the hell is Gehenna?


    One of the keys to understanding Gehenna is its location. It is a valley near the great city of Jerusalem, to the south and west (green on map). It is there today. This locale does not change, and will remain as long as this present earth remains.


    In contrast to hades/sheol, which is the unseen, Gehenna is very much the seen. It is not beneath, like hades/sheol; it is on the surface of the earth. The corpses that will be in Gehenna will be a visible warning sign to the living. It's a tangible deterrent. Hades/sheol swallows all of the dead—the baddies and the goodies. Gehenna is a place for dead unburied and unentombed criminals/sinners—baddies only. With these obvious differences in view, how the hell could the AKJV writers use hell for both hades/sheol and Gehenna? Liars.

    (Side Note: When discussing the topic of hell, especially with a bible-thumper, it's a good idea to politely ask them to clarify which hell they are referring to.)

    Jesus talked about Gehenna using horrible, vivid images. Since many bibles have used hell for Gehenna, the images Jesus presented to us of Gehenna make up a large part of our concept of hell. Jesus said there is fire in Gehenna. When Christianity sees fire, it instinctively thinks of hell.

    Let's keep in mind that Jesus was sent to the house of Israel (Matthew 15:22–28; Romans 15:8). His teachings in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John must be understood in this light. If we confuse the things He taught specifically to Israel with the things in the New Testament that are for the nations, we are headed for the ditch filled with demonic doctrines.

    PikiWiki Israel 33018 Valley of HinnomThe full scope of Jesus' beneficial mission, and victory, does include all of creation. But this is revealed to us through Paul, the apostle to the nations (Romans 8:18–25; Colossians 1:15–20). It's very interesting that Paul never mentions Gehenna. Yep. Part of the reason is because Gehenna is linked tightly to Jerusalem and Israel, and God's mission for Paul went far beyond this limited area and people. Other apostles were tasked with bringing the truth to Israel (Galatians 2:7–9).

    People can currently walk or drive through the valley. It is not now operating as the Gehenna Jesus spoke of because His kingdom has not yet manifested on the earth.

    I'll admit, I wish God would give us more to go on concerning many subjects, including Gehenna. But we have to be content with what He gives us in the Scriptures. We can't be so led by our hunger for more knowledge that we begin to swallow information from sources outside of the Scriptures just because it supports our particular view. I see people try to promote lies based on non-scriptural sources. If any information we encounter outside of the Scriptures jives with the Scriptures, fine, believe it. But if it doesn't, we must realize that this information is not scriptural, and should always be kept in its proper place. Be on your guard.



    Gehenna in the Old Testament


    The valley of Gehenna has had various names over time. And though it has been used in many different ways, it has always been the valley to the south and west of Jerusalem.

    The Valley of the Son of Hinnom


    Throughout the Old Testament, Gehenna is called the valley of the Son of Hinnom (Joshua 15:8, 18:16, etc.) and the valley of Hinnom. Topheth (or Tophet) was a location within the valley and was often mentioned with it. Some details of the valley:

    • it is part of the boundary between the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 15:8, 18:16)
    • it is one of the three main valleys near Jerusalem, the others being the Kidron Valley and the Tyropoeon Valley (Valley of the Cheesemakers or Tyrians)
    • it became a place of idol worship (Baal, Molech) where wayward Jews sacrificed their sons and daughters in fire (2 Chronicles 28:3)
    • the sons of Judah built the high places of Topheth, which was in the valley, to sacrifice their children (Jeremiah 7:31)
    • King Josiah broke down the child sacrifice altars of Topheth (2 Kings 23:10)
    • God says in Jeremiah 7:32–33, "Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares Yahweh, when it will no more be called Topheth, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter; for they will bury in Topheth, because there is no room elsewhere. 33 And the carcasses of this people shall be food for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall frighten them away."
    • In Jeremiah 19:11–13, he prophesies against Jerusalem saying, "Thus says Yahweh of hosts, 'As in this way I shall break this people and this city just as one breaks a potter’s vessel which cannot be mended again. And they shall entomb in Topheth until there is no place to entomb 12 So shall I do to this place, averring is Yahweh, and to its dwellers, so as to make this city like Topheth. 13 The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will become unclean like the place Topheth ... .'"

    God's words against Judah in Jeremiah 7 and 19 came to pass when the Babylonians, under King Nebuchadnezzar, destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C. (2 Kings 24–25 and Jeremiah 52). This is key to our understanding of Jesus' upcoming words concerning Gehenna.

    Jesus' Jewish audience knew full well what God had done to the the rebellious Jews in the past. They knew that God's bark was followed by a ferocious bite. They knew that the valley of the Son of Hinnom had a very dark history due to the sinfulness of the Jews. They knew God transformed "the valley of the Son of Hinnom" into "the valley of slaughter" and filled it with rebellious Jews.


    Gehenna in the New Testament


    Because of the valley's past, avoiding any kind of judgment related to that valley was high on a Jew's priority list. Jesus revealed to them the thin line between life and Gehenna as He made it clear that future judgments were also linked to the valley.

    It is debated as to whether the valley Gehenna was Jerusalem's garbage dump during the time of Christ. Many say garbage and unburied/unentombed criminals ended up in the valley to be consumed by an army of worms and fire. If Gehenna was the city dump where garbage and criminals ended up, then those who heard Jesus had the powerful real-life visual to reinforce His threats. If it wasn't, the dark history of the valley was enough for them get the picture He was painting.

    The Hebrew phrase hinnom (“ravine of Hinnom”) became geenna in the New Testament, which became Gehenna in English.

    Gehenna occurs 12 times in the New Testament. 11 of these are from Jesus' lips and the other from James, who wrote specifically to the 12 tribes of Israel (James 1:1). Jesus' focus during this time was Israel (Matthew 15:24). He was "the Servant of the Circumcision" (Romans 15:8).

    The judgments of the valley are related to the transgression of God's law that was given to Moses. As we see from Matthew 5:22 there are various levels of judgment. Not all transgressors "shall be liable to the Gehenna of fire." But some are. When Christ reigns on the earth, the law and its consequences will be clear to the earth's inhabitants. Loopholes will not exist under His reign.

     The following quotes are from the Concordant Literal New Testament (CLNT):

    • Matthew 5:22: "Yet I am saying to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to the judging. Yet whoever may be saying to his brother, 'Raka!' shall be liable to the Sanhedrin. Yet whoever may be saying, 'Stupid!' shall be liable to the Gehenna of fire."
    • Matthew 5:29: "Now, if your right eye is snaring you, wrench it out and cast it from you, for it is expedient for you that one of your members should perish and not your whole body be cast into Gehenna."
    • Matthew 5:30: "And if your right hand is snaring you, strike it off and cast it from you, for it is expedient for you that one of your members should perish and not your whole body pass away into Gehenna."
    • Matthew 10:28: "And do not fear those who are killing the body, yet are not able to kill the soul. Yet be fearing Him, rather, Who is able to destroy the soul as well as the body in Gehenna."
    • Matthew 18:9: "And if your eye is snaring you, wrench it out and cast it from you. Is it ideal for you to be entering into life one-eyed, or, having two eyes, to be cast into the Gehenna of fire?"
    • Matthew 23:15: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are going about the sea and the dry land to make one proselyte, and whenever he may be becoming one, you are making him more than double a son of Gehenna than you are."
    • Matthew 23:33: "Serpents! Progeny of vipers! How may you be fleeing from the judging of Gehenna?"
    • Mark 9:43–48: "And if your hand should ever be snaring you, strike it off. It is ideal for you to be entering into life maimed, rather than, having two hands, to come away into Gehenna, into the unextinguished fire 44 where their worm is not deceasing and the fire is not going out. 45 And if your foot should be snaring you, strike it off. For it is ideal for you to be entering into life maimed or lame, rather than, having two feet, to be cast into Gehenna, into the unextinguished fire, 46 where their worm is not deceasing and the fire is not going out. 47 And if your eye should be snaring you, cast it out. It is ideal for you to be entering into the kingdom of God one-eyed, rather than, having two eyes, to be cast into the Gehenna of fire, 48 where their worm is not deceasing and the fire is not going out."
    • Luke 12:4–5: "Now I am saying to you, My friends, be not afraid of those who are killing the body and after this do not have anything more excessive that they can do. 5 Now I shall be intimating to you of Whom you may be afraid: Be afraid of Him Who, after killing, has authority to be casting into Gehenna. Yea, I am saying to you, of this One be afraid!"
    • James 3:6: "And the tongue is a fire, a world of injustice. The tongue is constituted among our members that which is spotting the whole body, and setting the wheel of our lineage aflame, and is set aflame by Gehenna."

    Check your bible against this list. Many popular bible versions use hell in these verses where God clearly used geenna (Gehenna). Why do they make this massive leap from Gehenna to hell? Remember, Gehenna is seen, and hell, in its true sense, means concealed. The reasons for this great leap are various, and none are legitimate. Satan's fingerprints are all over this crime scene.

    In The Wars of the Jews, first-century Jewish historian Josephus writes about the Jewish revolt against the Roman empire in 66–74 AD. The inhabitants of Jerusalem were dying of starvation as the Romans surrounded the city. The dead multiplied within the city to the point that, according to Josephus, "they had them cast down from the walls into the valleys beneath" (Book 5, Ch.12.3). Jesus knew this was going to happen. Was this scene in His mind as He spoke to His audience concerning Gehenna? I can't say for sure. But Josephus' words show us how the scenes in the valley can change drastically and quickly.


    The SKILSAW surgeon


    The Scriptures make it clear when Jesus is speaking in parables, and when He's not. His warnings of Gehenna are no parable. He was telling the Jews to get rid of things in their lives that would keep them from life. He used the extreme, symbolic example of lopping off and gouging out body parts to illustrate this. To literally do this would be foolish.
    File:Skil 5500 loaded.jpg
    Weapon of spiritual warfare?

    And it happened.

    I read a newspaper story years ago about a man on a construction site who used a power saw to cut off his hand. He based his extreme act on Jesus' warnings concerning Gehenna. Apparently his hand had been a naughty boy. But this was foolish. Do you think this man ceased to sin after he cut his hand off? His other hand probably took advantage of the situation when it saw the competition was gone.

    Sin in a man doesn't originate in the hand, the foot, or the eye. The heart is the culprit, as Jesus said in Matthew 15:18–19 (CLNT),
    Now those things going out of the mouth, out of the heart are coming, and those things are contaminating a man. 19 For out of the heart are coming wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, prostitutions, thefts, false testimonies, calumnies.
    The hands, eyes, feet and other body parts are simply tools used by a wicked heart to bring the sinful desire to the level of sinful experience. The Scriptures teach that the heart is the thing that needs to be made new. Ezekiel 18:31,
    Fling away from you all your transgressions by which you transgressed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit; why should you die, house of Israel?

    Concordant Version of the Old Testament - CVOT
    And later in Ezekiel 36:26 God says to Israel,
    I will give you a new heart, And a new spirit will I bestow within you, And I will take away the heart of stone from your flesh, And I will give you a heart of flesh. (CVOT)
    God is the only One who can give a new heart. If Jesus truly wanted people to remove body parts to be right with Him, they'd have to get rid of the heart also. And there wouldn't be much living after that.

    Is the literal removal of body parts a work that is required to enter life? What happened to salvation being the work of Christ alone, by grace alone? The guy who lops off body parts to gain life would then have reason to boast before God, "Look at me God! It's Phineas. Down here. The blind, penis-less torso and head! It wasn't easy, but, here I am. Let me in!" This is a no-no (Ephesians 2:8–10). I'm thinking that somewhere out there in the vast world is a religious group in which the lopping off of body parts is proof of spirituality (similar to those idiotic snake-handlers).


    Jesus and Isaiah at the worm buffet


    So we see "the valley of the Son of Hinnom" in the Old Testament, and "Gehenna" in the New Testament. They are linked together by Isaiah 66, Mark 9, worms and fire.


    In Mark 9:43–48 (see above) Jesus mentions undying worms and undying fire. Isaiah first refers to these two corpse eaters working together in 66:23–24,
    And it will come to be, as often as the new moon comes in its monthly time, And as often as the sabbath comes in its sabbath cycle, All flesh shall come to worship before Me, says Yahweh. 24 And they will go forth and see the corpses of the mortals.who transgressed against Me, For their worm shall not die, And their fire shall not be quenched, And they will become a repulsion to all flesh. (CVOT)
    Zechariah 14:16 tells us of people coming to Jerusalem during the millennium (which is in the next eon),
    And it will come to be that everyone left of all the nations coming against Jerusalem, they will also go up, as often as year by year, to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, and to celebrate the festival of booths. (CVOT)
    These pilgrims will witness the result of the judgment of transgressors in Gehenna. I believe this will be a great deterrent and tangible proof that you don't mess with the Son of God, Who will wield an iron club during the millennium.


    The unquenchable fire; unstoppable birds and beasts


    Jesus says "the fire is not going out," and Isaiah says the fire "shall not be quenched." Does this mean it will burn forever and ever and ever ... ? No. It simply means no one will be able to put it out while it is completing the task God has assigned to it. God's words in Jeremiah 17:27,
    Yet if you do not hearken to Me to hallow the sabbath day so as not to bear a load or come with it through the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day, then I will ravage its gates with fire, and it will devour the citadels of Jerusalem and shall not be quenched.  (CVOT)
    2 Chronicles 36:19 and Jeremiah 52:13 describe the fire that God promised would come on Jerusalem for continued rebellion. Is that fire still burning today? No. Then it was a quenchable fire—quenchable by God—and in no way everlasting.

    God starts all of His judgment fires with a purpose that is far beyond the judgment fires. He alone will quench His fires when the work is complete.

    We see another fire in Leviticus 6:12–13 that "shall not be quenched,"
    Yet the fire on the altar shall be kept glowing on it; it shall not be quenched. The priest will make wood consume on it morning by morning and arrange the ascent offering on it and cause the fat portions of the peace offerings to fume on it. 13 The fire, it shall be kept glowing continually on the altar; it shall not be quenched. (CVOT)
    The altar and the fire are both long-gone.

    We see another instance of bodies thrown into Gehenna where fire and worms are not the primary corpse eaters. Jeremiah 7:32–33,
    Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares Yahweh, when it will no more be called Topheth, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter; for they will bury in Topheth, because there is no room elsewhere. 33 And the carcasses of this people shall be food for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall frighten them away.
    The birds and the beasts were also unstoppable devourers, but not everlasting eaters. They feasted boldly until their godly mission was accomplished. There will be an event similar to this when Christ returns to the earth and slays the kings of the earth and their armies (Revelation 19:17–21). Birds will be called to "the great dinner of God" to feast on the flesh of those killed. They will eat until the plate is clean.


    Gehenna is a temporary eonian fire


    Following is an example of a false definition of geenna, from BibleHub.com. This concoction is the result of false assumptions and bad traditions blended with demon juice,
    (italics are in the original, I supplied the pretty colors)
    HELPS Word-studies
    1067 géenna (a transliteration of the Hebrew term, Gêhinnōm, "the valley of Hinnom") – Gehenna, i.e. hell (also referred to as the "lake of fire" in Revelation).
    Gehenna ("hell"), the place of post-resurrection torment (judgment), refers strictly to the everlasting abode of the unredeemed where they experience divine judgment in their individual resurrection-bodies. Each of the unredeemed receives one at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11–15), i.e. a body that "matches" their capacity for torment relating to their (unique) judgment.
    That's a sloppy pile of hot crap, with a little truth on top (the green). It's like beautiful frosting on a cake made of manure, yes, manure.

    "HELPS" is very unhelpful when they go off the rails in the yellow into the deep ditch of false Christian tradition. There is zero scriptural support for the ideas above in the yellow. Satan's many concoctions, like this one, consist of various blends of truth and lies.

    Notice this false definition states "Gehenna ... refers strictly to the everlasting abode of the unredeemed ... ." But this is contradicted by Jesus' words in Matthew 18:8–9,
    Now, if your hand or your foot is snaring you, strike it off and cast it from you. Is it ideal for you to be entering into life maimed or lame, or, having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the fire eonian? 9 And if your eye is snaring you, wrench it out and cast it from you. Is it ideal for you to be entering into life one-eyed, or, having two eyes, to be cast into the Gehenna of fire? (CLNT)
    Here Jesus gives us a valuable clue concerning Gehenna when He uses "fire eonian" in verse 8 as a parallel to "Gehenna of fire" in verse 9. Gehenna is a fire eonian.

    Eonian is the CLNT translation of the Greek adjective aionion in verse 8. Every time God uses aionion, or its near relatives, He is describing something that is concerned with one or all of the aions (CLNT - eons). It never denotes endless or everlasting. (See The Eonian Times Chart, and a more in-depth look at aion and aionios.)

    God has used "fire eonian" in the past. Jude 7,
    As Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them in like manner to these committing ultra-prostitution, and coming away after other flesh, are lying before us, a specimen, experiencing the justice of fire eonian. (CLNT)
    Most bible translations call the fire in this verse eternal instead of eonian (the Greek is aioniou). Over the years, many have sought to pinpoint the location of Sodom and Gomorrah. If the fire that God used to destroy them is eternal, they should be able to see the still-burning eternal fire and easily proclaim, "Sodom and Gomorrah are right there, dummy." But no such fire exists today, because God didn't use eternal fire, He used eonian fire. It was temp-o-rar-y.

    So we see from the example of Sodom and Gomorrah that fire eonian is temporary, not in any way eternal or everlasting. Thus, Matthew 18:8–9 reveals to us that Gehenna is a fire eonian, not an eternal fire or everlasting fire, as taught by Christianity. Is this a game-changer? Oh, boy!


    Is Gehenna the lake of fire?


    No one in their right mind would say that the valley of the Son of Hinnom in the Old testament was hell or the lake of fire. Yet, a miraculous transformation takes place when we enter the New Testament. Now the valley does mutate into hell and the lake of fire. Why? What changed?

    Nothing.

    Let's look at some evidence that differentiates the lake of fire from Gehenna.

    • The most obvious difference is that Gehenna is a valley, and the lake of fire is a lake. God knows the difference, so should we.
    • Gehenna is a geographical location near Jerusalem. It's on the earth. We are not told where the lake of fire is located. The lake of fire does exist during the time of this current earth (Revelation 19:20, 20:10). But we don't see it currently on the earth. The lake of fire exists after this current earth is gone (Revelation 20:11–15), which leads me to believe it is not on the earth. And it exists during the time of the new earth (Revelation 21:1,8). Thus, it is probable that the lake of fire is not a geographical location on the earth, since the current earth will be completely consumed by fire, and the lake of fire survives this transition.
    • The worms and fires in the valley of Gehenna will devour corpses slowly as compared to the quick consumption that takes place when the living are cast into the lake of fire after the great white throne judgment.
    • The dead are cast into Gehenna, the living into the lake of fire, where they instantly die.
    • Gehenna is a relatively small valley, with a relatively small capacity for corpses. Jesus said "many" enter destruction, while "few" enter life (Matthew 7:13–14). Is the valley of Gehenna large enough to handle the billions who die a second time? I don't think so. It seems the valley was filled to capacity during the very small local judgment in Jeremiah 19:11. The lake of fire, on the other hand, will have the capacity, partly due to the speed of consumption of those cast into it.
    • The lake of fire is the second death. Those cast into Gehenna during the millennial reign of Christ will have experienced only one death.
    • The lake of fire is the second death and the cause of the second death. Those cast into Gehenna are already dead—Gehenna is not the cause of their death, but their destination after they are killed (Luke 12:5).
    • The beast and the false prophet are alive in the lake of fire during the millennium (Revelation 19:20, 20:10). Dead transgressors are in Gehenna during the millennium.
    • No human is cast into the lake of fire until after the millennium and the great white throne judgment. Gehenna is gone before the great white throne judgment commences, as it will flee with the earth right before the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11).
    • The dead rebels thrown into Gehenna during the millennium will be raised at the great white throne then cast into the lake of fire. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

    We must keep distinct that which God has made distinct. Trust me, He'll sort it all out in the end.


    A sneak-peak of Jesus' millennial justice


    During the millennium, and beyond, the law-and-order aspect of Christ's reign will be right and swift because those who rule and reign will be operating on a superior spiritual level. They will be immortals. They will have the full measure of God's spirit. They will know and see the truth and judge accordingly.
    File:Jan Steen - The Death of Ananias - Mathiesen Gallery.jpg
    We can see previews of His reign in a couple of instances from the book of Acts. The all-knowing holy spirit and an angelic messenger dispense cans of whoop-ass on the guilty.

    The story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1–11 is quite shocking. The apostles knew nothing of the couple's deception apart from the spirit. The couple sold some property and gave the money to the apostles. But they lied about the full amount of the sale, and they kept some of the money for themselves. Peter confronted Ananias with his crime in verse 4, "You do not lie to men, but to God." He was dealt with right then and there, falling down and giving up the soul (v.5). And great fear came on all who heard of it. His wife received the same judgment about three hours later. The apostles didn't even have to lay a hand on them. Yet both fell dead by supernatural means for their serious crimes.

    In Acts 12:19–23, Herod gave a speech that awed the crowd. The kiss-ass audience praised him as a god. He accepted this unworthy praise instead of glorifying the true God. So a messenger of the Lord struck him dead.

    Though we can't know for sure how every transgression will be dealt with during Christ's reign, we can know that it will be far superior to man's current inept rule.

    But, as always, God's judgments have a purpose that is higher than the the judgment itself. Isaiah 26:9, "For [only] when Your judgments are experienced on the earth will the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness" (Amplified Bible - AMP). The learning of righteousness, and living according to that learning, are the goals of God for humanity, not the judgments. The judgments are part of the going, and are not the end.

    Isaiah 2:2–3 tells of Christ's rule from Jerusalem during the millennium,
    And it will come to pass in the latter days, The Mount of the House of Yahweh shall be established on the summit of the mountains, And it shall be lifted up above the hills, And all the nations will stream unto it. 3 Many peoples will come and say: "Come, and let us ascend to the Mount of Yahweh, To the house of the Elohim of Jacob; And He shall direct us out of His ways, So that we may indeed walk in His paths." For from Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem. (CVOT)
    The coming millennial kingdom will be marked by tremendous blessings. Swift and efficient judgment will be one of those great blessings. The judgment of Gehenna will be one of Christ's methods for dealing with sin.

    One of the biggest troubling aspects of man's current ruling over other men is injustice. People are wrongly accused and sentenced for crimes they did not commit. On the flip-side, many criminals get away with their wicked acts. This will not be the case when Christ and His kings rule the earth.


    The millennium is not paradise restored


    No, the millennium will not be perfect, meaning sin and death and rebellion will remain. Satan will be bound for the 1000 years and will not be actively deceiving the nations (Revelation 20:1–3). But those in the goat nations who enter the millennium will transport some bad stuff into the new eon (see Matthew 25:31–46).

    However, those who will live during the millennium will see astounding, world-wide changes as Christ assumes His rightful place as King of kings and Lord of lords. "The kingdom of this world became our Lord's and His Christ's, and He shall be reigning for the eons of the eons! Amen!" (Revelation 11:15). There will still be much work to do, and He'll do it, along with His people.

    He and His government will rule with an iron club (Revelation 2:27, 12:5, 19:15). The iron club is a necessity because sin and death have not been completely annulled during this time. I'm not at all happy with God's timetable with this whole thing. I wish we could just fast-forward to the successful end of Christ's reign when sin and death will be done with forever. I don't like it, but I trust Him. God will complete His plans according to His schedule, not mine. What choice do I really have but to live with it and rest in His love and goodness?

    Psalm 2:7–9 speaks of Christ's reign,
    Do let me recount the statute of Yahweh: He has said to Me, "My Son are You; I, today, have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I shall give the nations as Your allotment, and as Your holding, the limits of the earth. 9 You shall smash them with a club of iron; like a vessel of a potter, You shall shatter them."
    Zechariah 14:16–19 gives us another glimpse into the millennial reign,
    And it will come to be that everyone left of all the nations coming against Jerusalem, they will also go up, as often as year by year, to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, and to celebrate the festival of booths. 17 And it will come, whoever shall not go up from the families of the earth, to Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh of hosts, then the downpour shall not come on them.18 And if a family of Egypt shall not go up, and will not come, then it will not be on them; there shall come the stroke with which Yahweh shall strike the nations which will not go up to celebrate the festival of booths.19 This shall be the sin of Egypt, and the sin of all the nations which will not go up to celebrate the festival of booths.
    The rebellious nations will be chastened throughout the next eon, just as Jesus foretold in His judging of the nations in Matthew 25:46, "And these shall be coming away into chastening eonian, yet the just into life eonian."

    Isaiah 60:12,
    For the nation and the kingdom that shall not serve you shall perish, And those nations shall be wasted, yea wasted.
    Acts 17:30–31,
    Indeed, then, condoning the times of ignorance, God is now charging mankind that all everywhere are to repent, 31 forasmuch as He assigns a day in which He is about to be judging the inhabited earth in righteousness by the Man Whom He specifies, tendering faith to all, raising Him from among the dead --
    There will be those who experience judgment by exclusion during the millennium. Matthew 8:11–12,
    Now I am saying to you that many from the east and the west shall be arriving and reclining with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of the heavens, 12 yet the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness. There shall be lamentation and gnashing of teeth.
    Those cast into outer darkness will actually see the patriarchs and the prophets enjoying the blessings of the kingdom, but will be excluded (Luke 13:28).


    God's gonna blow stuff up


    There are so many future events that we cannot wrap our minds around. These events are solidly set on God's calendar and will reveal to our eyeballs the true awesomeness of our Creator. And they will literally transform His (and our) universe.

    Revelation 20:11 tells us, "And I perceived a great white throne, and Him Who is sitting upon it, from Whose face earth and heaven fled, and no place was found for them." Gehenna, the earthbound valley outside of Jerusalem, flees from God's face with the earth. I'm sure Hollywood could come up with some cool scenes of this powerful event. But the actual event will be far more impressive than what anyone can envision.

    After the incredible events at the great white throne play out (Revelation 20:12–15), we read this in Revelation 21:1–2,
    And I perceived a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth pass away, and the sea is no more. 2 And I perceived the holy city, new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
    The present earth is gone. The present heaven is gone. The sea is no more. Old Jerusalem is gone. The new Jerusalem arrives. Peter gives us additional details of these events in 2 Peter 3:7–13,
    Earth, in the future
    Yet the heavens now, and the earth, by the same word, are stored with fire, being kept for the day of the judging and destruction of irreverent men. 8 Now of this one thing you are not to be oblivious, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not tardy as to the promise, as some are deeming tardiness, but is patient because of you, not intending any to perish, but all to make room for repentance. 10 Now the day of the Lord will be arriving as a thief, in which the heavens shall be passing by with a booming noise, yet the elements shall be dissolved by combustion, and the earth and the works in it shall be found. 11 At these all, then, dissolving, to what manner of men must you belong in holy behavior and devoutness, 12 hoping for and hurrying the presence of God's day, because of which the heavens, being on fire, will be dissolved, and the elements decompose by combustion! 13 Yet we, according to His promises, are hoping for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness is dwelling.
    This supernatural destruction of the current heaven and earth is not the end of God's work, but a transition into new things, better things.

    Just as Christ's appearing at the end of this eon ushers in "the day of the Lord" (v.10), so too the destructive events at the end of the day of the Lord in verse 10 usher creation into "God's day" (v.12). God's day contains the new heavens and new earth. Emerging out of such catastrophic destruction in the Lord's day is something better in God's day. Only God can do this on such an immense scale. It ... will ... be ... AWESOME!

    Christ will lay down the iron club that He wielded throughout the Lord's day as we enter the final eon of God's eonian times. Christ and the saints still reign, but God's day will be marked by righteousness (v.13).


    The end of Gehenna, the 2nd Christian "hell"


    Gehenna is a "fire eonian" that pertains to the eons. It is not everlasting. In fact, the valley of the son of Hinnom does not survive the great combustion that Peter wrote about. Gehenna ends when the current earth ends. It will have served God's eonian purpose for it, and it will be removed.

    The putrid sights and smells of Gehenna will have no place on the new earth. Gehenna is not mentioned in relation to the new heaven and new earth. Those raised at the great white throne who are not found written in the scroll of life will be sent to their second death in the lake of fire, not Gehenna.

    Those cast into the lake of fire/second death after the great white throne judgment will be the last humans to experience the event called death. Those who thirst in God's day will be given the water of life freely by God (Revelation 21:6).

    God will be making all things new. Life and work go on through the final eon. But peace and righteousness reign in the lasting newness.

    Hades/sheol and the first death will have been cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). During God's day, the lake of fire is the holder the dead. No hades/sheol, no Gehenna, no first death, no sea. We will look at the lake of fire in more detail at the end of this series.

    So, there it is. The end of Gehenna, the 2nd Christian "hell." Two down, two to go. In Part 3 we will look at Tartarus.
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