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Thursday, May 14, 2020

The ends of the 4 Christian hells, Part 1 (short version)

The most influential bible version of all time, the Authorized King James Version, calls sheol and hades "hell." Sheol is in the Old Testament; hades in the New Testament. Sheol is the same as hades.

Sheol/hades is the first of four Christian "hells."

But, in Revelation 20:13–14 we read,
And the sea gives up the dead in it, and death and the unseen [hades] give up the dead in them. And they were condemned, each in accord with their acts. 14 And death and the unseen [hades] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death-the lake of fire.
Orthodox Christianity has been telling humanity for centuries that "hell" is unescapable and everlasting. But we see clearly from what we just read that hades/sheol (aka "the unseen") "give up the dead" and is then "cast into the lake of fire."

This is the end of the first Christian "hell." There are three more that will end. And, when Christ successfully completes His mission, no "hell" will remain.

Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The ends of the 4 Christian hells, Part 1 (long version)

Bon Scott was, in my opinion, the cleverest and funniest songwriter of all time—Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Big Balls, It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock'n'Roll), T.N.T., etc, etc. AC/DC's former frontman could deliver a song.

♪ "Highway to Hell" ♪♪

And there's the classic Highway to Hell. Some say Bon was simply writing about life on the road in a rock'n'roll band. Others say it was the nickname for Canning Highway that he traveled in Australia. Maybe it was both. We do know Bon liked livin' easy and livin' free, and that his friends were gonna be with him at the end of the road. Bon didn't want anything to slow him down—no stop signs or speed limits—and he reached the end of his road quicker than most at the age of 33.

The concept of a "Highway to Hell" that ends at a specific destination got me to thinking on this sunny Saturday. It got me to thinking because Orthodox Christianity presents us with 4 different hells. So, the next time a preacher tells me,"You're going to hell," I want to know which hell he's referring to. I'm a planner. I'll need to make proper travel arrangements and know which clothes to pack.

I seems as though anytime Orthodox Christianity sees fire in the Scriptures, they think it's referring to their beloved "hell." But God uses precise words in the Scriptures to make distinctions that we need to keep clear. Let's bring into focus what Orthodoxy has blurred.

The King's writers confuse

"You sayin' they named a bible after me?"
King James (the one from Scotland and England, not LeBron) put his stamp of approval on the famous 1611 bible version that came to be known as the Authorized King James Version - AKJV. Should we be concerned when a politician sticks his influence into any project? Yes.

Many bible readers say the AKJV is the only bible version that can be trusted. Others claim the version contains thousands of errors. Regardless, it must be acknowledged by all as the most influential bible version of all time.

I'll refer to the AKJV's 47 translators as "writers" because they were not faithful to translate all of God's words clearly from Hebrew and Greek into English. They have twisted God's words into a tale of fiction. Thus, they've caused great confusion for centuries and led readers down the wrong blurry road. Their abuse of the word hell is one of the most glaring perversions of language in bible version history. (Some other words they abused are eternal and everlasting and forever. You can read about those here.)

The AKJV uses the single word hell to translate 3 Greek words: hades, geenna, tartaroo; and 1 Hebrew word: sheol.  

Christian Hell #1: sheol/hades

The Greek word hades is synonymous with the Hebrew word sheol. We know this because of the Septuagint. The Septuagint is a translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek that was finished before Jesus arrived on the scene. Hades is the word the translators used nearly every time for sheol, so sheol=hades.

An example from the Scriptures of sheol=hades can be found in Psalm 16:10 and Acts 2:27, which speak of Jesus. David pens in the psalm (Hebrew in the original), "For You shall not forsake my soul in the unseen [sheol]; You shall not allow Your benign one to see corruption" (Concordant Version of the Old Testament - CVOT). This is referenced in Acts (Greek in the original), "For Thou wilt not be forsaking my soul in the unseen [hades], Nor wilt Thou be giving Thy Benign One to be acquainted with decay." (Concordant Literal New Testament - CLNT). Note the consistency of the CVOT and the CLNT in using unseen for sheol and hades. Yes, Elsie, there are good, consistent bible versions available.

We can only see and know what God reveals to us

The Scriptures are God's original words before they are perverted by Satan, demons and men and put into "holy" bibles. The Scriptures will usually define its own words by direct statements and/or by the usage of the word throughout the Scriptures. But, oftentimes, we are left wishing God had given us more details about a certain subject. We can only see and know what He chooses to reveal to us. "It is the glory of Elohim to conceal a matter, and the glory of kings to investigate a matter" (Proverbs 25:2). Let's be kings and dig into this matter.

The meaning of sheol eludes the complete grasping of our minds because our minds aren't meant by God to completely grasp it (at least not currently). Jeff Benner writes,
The Ancient Hebrews did not know where, or even what, she'ol was. To them it was an "unknown" place, hence its relationship to sha'al meaning "unknown." Ancient Hebrews never speculated on something unknown—to them it was simply "unknown" and left at that. But one with a Greek mindset always desires to know the unknown. It is our Greco-Roman western mindset that needs to know where and what she'ol is.
Yes, Jeff, I want to know. But if I can't know anything beyond what God has chosen to reveal, why beat my head against a wall that He erected? We need to be content with not knowing some things, even some very important things. This is where faith and trust in God lives, in the unknown. But we will bring our heads right up against God's wall of concealment. There will be no beating.

The Greek word hades doesn't help our understanding much. It simply means unseen. So we're dealing with something we desire to know about that is unseen and unknown. While being content with what God has revealed to us, it is good to explore all that He has chosen to reveal.

The baddies and the goodies

Throughout the Old Testament, sheol carries a negative vibe due to its inseparable association with our old enemy death. That makes sense. But this negative vibe is multiplied by the fact that the AKJV calls sheol "hell" 31 times. This leads us to think that only wicked people go to sheol. But that's not the case. Sheol is where all the dead go—believers and unbelievers, the godly and the ungodly, the baddies and the goodies. Sheol is like death in that its appetite is never satisfied, so it's not picky about whom it consumes.

"The unseen widens its greedy soul" - Isaiah 5:14
The King's writers used the word hell a total of 54 times throughout their bible (according to All 31 times they used hell  in the Old Testament, it was used for the Hebrew word sheol. And that sounds pretty good: 1 Hebrew word translated into 1 English word. Nice and neat. But here's the problem: sheol occurs over 60 times. The King's writers also used grave (30 times) and pit (3 times) to convey sheol into English. And they used grave and pit to convey other Hebrew words besides sheol into English. The King's "scholars" created a word orgy.

Cue the confusion.

Why did they use grave and hell to do work for sheol in English? Sheol was the only available place in the Old Testament that they could convert into hell, the place where they could send the baddies forever. And since they couldn't put the goodies in hell forever, they used grave when sheol was used in relation to the goodies. It's a classic cover-up. Baddies go to hell; goodies to the grave. But it's the same place! Some of the goodies they tried to protect are Jacob/Israel, Joseph, Job, David, the Messiah, and King Hezekiah.

Let's play along with the AKJV authors and imagine that sheol is hell. But we'll imagine it is hell in every instance.

Playtime with bible scholars: Jacob, 2 places at once?

Let's look at the example of Jacob/Israel and Joseph (the technicolor dreamcoat kid). Joseph's jealous brothers sold him into slavery. Then they lied to their father, Jacob, and made it seem as if Joseph was the victim of an evil wild beast. Jacob's children tried to comfort him, but he wouldn't have it. Jacob's words in Genesis 37:35 from the AKJV,
For I will go down into the grave [sheol] unto my son mourning.
Jacob knew that his death would propel him into sheol, where he believed Joseph had already gone. Now, if the King's writers were consistent in their use of hell, here's what Jacob would have said,
For I will go down into hell unto my son mourning.
This would cause a mild disturbance at an orthodox bible scholars conference. Coffee would be spilled and spat cross-table. A consistent translation of sheol into hell would place Joseph in hell (at least in Jacob's mind, since he thought his son was dead). And Jacob was to follow. This lands one of the three Hebrew patriarchs, Jacob, and one of the clearest types of Christ in the Old Testament, Joseph, in hell. That creates a sizable problem for Orthodox Christianity, which says hell is inescapable and everlasting (whether it is eternal torment or annihilation). They could not stomach that end for Joseph and Jacob. So the King's writers used multiple words for sheol, and readers are deceived.

Jacob being sentenced to unending and inescapable hell would flatly contradict Jesus' words concerning Jacob in Matthew 8:11 (CLNT),
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 ... .
If hell holds its captives forever, how the hell will Jacob escape it and end up in the kingdom of the heavens? But we see from the example of Jacob that sheol ("hell") is temporary and able to be exited by the power of God through resurrection. Orthodox Christianity has painted itself into an inescapable corner of confusion. Sheol is not hell, and it is not the grave or pit. Sheol is sheol. Leaving the word alone to speak for itself would have been best. Now we have a huge demonic word orgy to clean up.

God brings people up from hell?

Another example. In 1 Samuel 2:6 Hannah is praying to God. And she says these facts about God, (from the AKJV),
The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave [sheol], and bringeth up.
But, if the King's writers were consistent, we'd read this,
The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to hell, and bringeth up.
The Lord bringeth people up from hell? Again, spilt and spat conference coffee. If you have a pastor in a Christian church, ask him to explain to you this example and the Jacob one. I have no idea what he'd say, but please let me know in the comments if you can get an answer out of him.

God destroys hell?

Alright, one more (I can't help myself, this is too easy and kinda fun). One more example of the King's writers confusing their readers is in Hosea 13:14, from the AKJV,
I [God] will ransom them [Ephraim: Joseph's son and a wayward tribe of Israel] from the power of the grave [sheol]; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave [sheol], I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
If the King's "scholars" were consistent, and ethical, we'd have,
I will ransom them from the power of hell; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O hell, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
But this would smash all to hell Orthodoxy's teaching on hell. "How dare God go against our doctrines by ransoming people from hell, and then destroying our most beloved destination for our enemies!" Well, God's not going to ransom people from your fictitious "hell." But He will ransom them from sheol. He's not going to destroy your fictitious everlasting prison of torture, He's going to destroy sheol.

The truth will set you free from hell

Can you imagine the liberation in humanity that would come from the teaching that "hell" is only temporary? Non-Pentacostals would dance. Fringe-riding Baptists would discover the tastiness of theatre popcorn.

Orthodox Christianity simply neglected to consult their Maker on this issue of sheol and hell. They have contradicted, denied and twisted His perfect words. Whoa! And, woe!

Imagine, if you can, the King's writers were consistent in their treatment of sheol. If they had only used grave to do duty for sheol in the English, we would have no hell in the Old Testament. "Perish the thought!" exclaims the Church Lady. If they had only used hell for sheol, oh boy, would our understanding of hell be completely different than what Orthodoxy has proclaimed for centuries. 

People don't crack open their bibles thinking, "My bible's going to feed me demonic lies." They are trusting that their bibles are telling them the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It's a serious mistake to think that all bibles are created equal. Satan has no obligation to tell you the truth. In fact, his job is to do just the opposite. Religion and "holy" writings are two of his greatest weapons for deception. Reader beware!

God reveals bits of sheol

God is not completely silent on the topic of sheol. The Scriptures provide us the following bits of info. Keep in mind that some are literal and some are symbolic.

  • sheol is down, below, beneath (Deuteronomy 32:22)
  • sheol is secluded (Job 14:13)
  • in sheol there is no remembrance or acclaiming of God (Psalm 6:5; Isaiah 38:18)
  • in sheol people are still (Psalm 31:17)
  • sheol is a residence (Psalm 49:14)
  • sheol has "hands," as if holding the dead (Psalm 49:15, 89:48)
  • sheol has a grip on its residents—the dead (Hosea 13:14)
  • God will ransom people from the grip of sheol (Hosea 13:14)
  • sheol has a "mouth" (Psalm 141:7)
  • sheol swallows people (Proverbs 1:12)
  • sheol is never satisfied (Proverbs 27:20, 30:15–16)
  • there is no doing, or devising, or knowledge, or wisdom in sheol (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
  • sheol has "gates" (Isaiah 38:10)
  • there is no looking forward to God's faithfulness in sheol (Isaiah 38:18)
  • God brings people up from sheol (1 Samuel 2:6)
  • sheol has cables that surround a man (2 Samuel 22:6)
  • sheol is not as deep as God (Job 11:8)
  • sheol was/is naked in front of God (Job 26:6)
  • the wicked and the nations that forget God are there (Psalm 9:17)
  • David's and Christ's soul shall not be forsaken in sheol (Psalm 16:10)
  • sheol has constrictions that converge on the living (Psalm 116:3)
  • God is there (Psalm 139:8)
  • sheol is where the dead go (Proverbs 7:27)
  • sheol lies open in front of Yahweh (Proverbs 15:11)
  • the Rephaim are there, along with the he-goats of the earth and all the kings of the nations (Isaiah 14:9)
  • pomp is brought down to sheol (Isaiah 14:11) 
  • sheol is used by Jonah to describe the belly of the fish (Jonah 2:2),
  • people in sheol are said to be doing things (Isaiah 14:9; Ezekiel 32:21,27)
  • souls are in sheol, or headed for sheol, not spirits (Psalm 16:10, 30:3, 49:15, 86:13, 89:48; Proverbs 23:14)

I want to expand on that last bullet point a tad. The souls of the dead are is in sheol, not their spirits. At death the spirit returns to God (Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59; Ecclesiastes 12:7), and the body returns to the earth. The soul is living when the body and spirit are joined. When body and spirit are separated, there is no life.

An apparent contradiction I see on this list is that some verses say people are doing things in sheol, and some say people are doing nothing in sheol. When a man's spirit returns to God when he dies, that man becomes as lifeless as Adam was before God breathed into him the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). Adam was not a living soul until the breath of life from God entered him. The verses above that speak of activity in sheol are symbolic. Taking them literally would not make sense. Taking them literally would make death another form of life. Death is not another form of life. Death really is death. This simple truth is unbelieved by much of humanity (including Orthodox Christianity). Sorry, Bon, there will be no party time in sheol.

Hades: the confusion continues

Let's move on to the New Testament, where the King's writers continue their hellish confusion.

The word hell is used 23 times in the AKJV in the New Testament. It is used for hades 10 times, geena 12 times, and tartaroo once (tartaroo is actually a verb). That's like having 3 friends in your circle named Phil. If you don't make a clear distinction among the three Phils when you're gossiping, the wrong Phil might get castrated by his wife for an adulterous act he didn't commit.

Remember our equation: sheol=hades. So let's just build upon what we've already seen concerning sheol in the Old Testament.

Hades is a 2-part word made up of the negative prefix a (alpha). When it is used as a prefix it means no, not, un, without. The second part is eido, which means see. The parts joined together give us un-seen. Both sheol and hades are rendered consistently as unseen in the CVOT and CLNT.

"Jesus talked about hell more than he talked about heaven."

I've read statements like the previous subtitle over the years. Did our Savior really talk about hell more than heaven? Well, no. He talked about hades and geena (Gehenna). More than heaven? Does it matter? No. Here's what the Scriptures say about hades in the New Testament,

  • the city of Capernaum will go down to hades (Matthew 11:23; Luke 10:15)
  • the gates of hades shall not be prevailing against Jesus' called-out people (Matthew 16:18)
  • in the parable (yes, it's a parable) of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31), the rich man, in hades, is tormented and pained in the flame
  • Christ is not forsaken in hades, He is resurrected (Acts 2:27, 31)  
  • Christ has the keys of death and hades (Revelation 1:18)
  • Hades follows Death, who is riding the 4th horse, which is greenish in color (Revelation 6:8)
  • death and hades will give up the dead in them (Revelation 20:13)
  • death and hades will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14)

Please, please remember Who has the keys of death and hades/sheol. It's not Satan, it's not demons, it's not the hellfire preachers, it's not the Republican'ts. It's Christ Jesus, the Savior of the world (John 3:17; 1 John 4:14, etc., etc.).

So, if hades is hell, as the AKJV tells us, and hades gives up the dead in it (Revelation 20:13), we have the complete emptying of one of Orthodox Christianity's hells. Did they teach you that in Sunday School? Hades' power is removed as Christ unlocks its gates. And all of the dead are released. Just as Christ exited sheol/hades via resurrection, so too will the rest of humanity. That's great news.

So what happens to all the dead who are rescued from hades/sheol? This vital question, and more, will be answered in upcoming parts. Stay tuned.

The end of the first Christian hell

Sheol/hades currently serves a purpose in God's plans. Otherwise, it wouldn't exist. The bulldozer doesn't remain as a permanent yard ornament in front of the newly finished home. The foreman trucks it in, uses it to do a job, then trucks it away.

Sheol/hades exits stage left forever when it is cast in to the lake of fire in Revelation 20:14. It will not be missed. God says it will happen. Believe it or not.

Many see hades as hell. And many see the lake of fire as hell. So, if both are true, then in Revalation 20:14 we have hell being cast into hell. But such nonsense we will not tolerate. We will ask the proponents of hell to be clear in their writings and speech. If they refuse, they can go to Hell (I heard there's a great saloon there).

We see clearly that God will empty and destroy the first Christian hell. And orthodoxy quickly pulls another hell from behind its back and says, "Not so fast, Christ believer!"

In Part 2 we will investigate the dreaded geenna (Gehenna).

In the meantime, here's a good read:
Dear Mr. Hell
"Ode to Bon" by Ian Ransley is licensed under CC BY 2.0
LeBron James - Caricature by DonkeyHotey is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (cropped)
"Open Wide" by Wes Fahlenkamp
Hell, Michigan map by Google (screenshot)

Sunday, November 24, 2019

"Why I quit going to church." (and R.E.M.'s misunderstood lyrics)

I quit going to church in the fall of 2009. It was a beautiful day.

Heathen? Heretic? Unbeliever? Backslider? Nope. Nope. Nope. And, nope. Just the opposite—Frontslider.

I quit going to church because God was sliding me forward in my relationship with Him. He slid me to a place that was exterior to the local Christian meeting hall, and out of orthodox, or rather, orthobox Christianity. Yes, I like to make up words if they make sense to me. But what I don't like to do is make up, or promote, false teachings about my heavenly Father and my Savior, Christ Jesus.

I loved Orthodox Christianity (OC; The Box) when I was in it. I had a lot of friends in that tiny box. All I knew about God and Jesus came from orthobox teaching. I was content in there, only able to see what I could see from inside The Box. Because of OC's limited teachings, I believed with all my heart that most of the people who Christ died for would end up tormented forever in a very hot and very unpleasant place called "hell." One of my life's missions was to rescue people from this horrible end, as I had been rescued.

Rescued from The Box

But, after about 17 years in The Box, I began to see things in the Scriptures that directly contradicted OC. God was bringing teachers across my path with messages that were very different from what I believed at the time. Radically different. Heretically different (at least from the viewpoint of orthoboxy).

But the new teachings I encountered were Scriptural, unlike my long-held beliefs. The teachings I had gotten in The Box were, in reality, just the teachings of men which were devoid of power to help, but filled with power to deceive. Jesus spoke about these kinds of false teachings in Mark 7,
6 Yet [Jesus], answering, said to [the Pharisees and scribes] that "Ideally prophesies Isaiah concerning you hypocrites, as it is written, that 'This people with their lips is honoring Me, Yet their heart is away at a distance from Me.7 Yet in vain are they revering Me, teaching for teachings the directions of men.' 8 For, leaving the precept of God, you are holding the tradition of men ... ."
These people Jesus confronted did honor and revere God ... with their lips. But all of their honoring and revering was empty because they left the true teachings of God for the worthless teachings of men.

Because the new teachings I was encountering were so radically different from what I had believed for so long, I examined the Scriptures as never before to see if these amazing teachings were true. Through this process, God was sharpening my Scripture-studying skills. And He was opening my eyes to see simple, life-changing truths right in the Scriptures. I had read past these truths dozens of times before, but with Satanic blinders on.

It seemed I now had an important choice to make: continue in Orthobox Christianity (where my wife and I and our kids had been for so long), or get out and continue to search for the truth of God outside of The Box. I knew leaving The Box would mean leaving friends also. This was a big decision that would immediately impact me and my family, probably for the rest of our lives.

Even though it was a big decision, it was not a hard decision.

Why it was an easy decision to leave The Box

I knew that teachers in The Box were saying things about my heavenly Father and Savior that were flat out lies. Regrettably, I had spouted these same demonic lies for many years from pulpits, in bible studies, and in Sunday School classes. My biggest regret is teaching these lies to young kids, including my own.

Here's the question I asked myself that made leaving The Box an easy decision: "Why would I want to stick around in, and participate in, a system where people are telling horrible lies about my Father?" I had no good answer to this "Why?". "God, strap a rocket to my back and get me the hell out of here!"

I have ZERO regrets about leaving.

Imagine what you would do in the following scenario: You're part of a social club that is loving and kind. And the people in the club are helpful to you. But, using a PA system, they continually tell damaging lies about your earthly father, who, in fact, is a great guy. Would you continue to hang around and be a part of that club? Would the good things they do, even for you personally, outweigh the fact that they are lying about your good father?

"Do you even hear their words?"

I like good music. I didn't think that this habit of mine was odd, but I actually listen to the words in songs. The words are the heart of the song—the message the writer wants to get across. The music is just the clothing. Though not everyone listens closely to the words of songs, everyone listens to the music. The music is what hooks you.

The other day I was singing some words along with a song on the radio to my wife. It was a song that was popular and had been on the radio for quite a while. My wife said she didn't know that those were the words in the song. The music had hooked her, but she hadn't grasped the meaning of the song.

Some words in some very popular songs are quite disturbing. But you'll often find humans dancing to these songs. The catchy music hooks us. And we're often not aware of the dark message we're grooving to.

I'm a huge fan of the band R.E.M. Years ago they had a hit called The One I Love. Lead singer and writer Michael Stipe called the song "real violent and awful" in Rolling Stone magazine. He said later in Mojo, "I didn't like the song to begin with. It was too brutal. ... But people misunderstood it, so it was fine. Now it's a love song, so that's fine." I recall stories of Stipe being on stage singing this song, looking out at couples embracing and singing along, clueless to the true awfulness of the song's lyrics.

The title of the song, "The One I Love," and its opening line, "This one goes out to the one I love," led people to believe that this was a true love song. But they didn't listen to the whole song. If you're a lovebird, try crooning some of these lines from the song to your lover (be prepared to duck),
♪♫"This one goes out to the one I've left behind
A simple prop to occupy my time"♫♪
Love song, my ass!

It's the same with Orthodox Christianity. People fall in love with the music, the fellowship, and some of their good deeds. But they fail to hear the God-damning and Savior-denying words streaming from OC's multiple avenues of teaching. Satan truly is the Master Distractor. If you're in The Box, I encourage you to listen closely to the entire message they are proclaiming. Ask your Pastor or leaders what they truly believe. Words matter. Beliefs matter. God and Jesus matter.

A few questions to ask your Pastor

Do you really know what your church believes and teaches? Most churches today have websites that tell you exactly what they believe about God and Jesus. Check the sites out. Some of their teachings may be obvious, but some you may have to dig a little bit to find.

Or, you could just ask your leaders what they believe. It's OK to ask your pastor questions. In fact, your pastor should welcome your questions. But be prepared, he might not welcome inquiring minds. His reaction will  have a lot to do with the questions you ask.

I've been in churches that don't preach from the pulpit what they truly believe about God because they know it makes Him look bad. The teaching that God torments unbelievers forever in hell is the main teaching some shy away from publicly proclaiming. They don't like bringing their listener's (and tithe-payer's) attention to the dark side of their twisted version of the "good news."

If you choose to remain in The Box, I think you should at least know what your Box's beliefs are.

The main issues concerning any church's beliefs are their teachings about God and His Son. If the church you meet with is teaching errors about God and Jesus, do you really want to hang with them?

A few questions you can ask:

  • Did Jesus save all people when He died on the cross?
  • Does God offer us salvation, or does He simply save us with zero assistance from us?
  • Will Jesus undo all of Satan's works? If they say "No," ask them which of the Adversary's works will remain forever.
  • Will Jesus undo all the condemnation that came through Adam's sin? (see Romans 5, especially verse 18)
  • If God is love, and He loves His enemies, how is it loving for Him to torment His unbelieving enemies forever?

And there may be more questions you've had for a long time, but haven't yet asked. Go ahead and ask them. What've you got to lose?

Big Truths you won't hear in The Box

Here's a quick list of Scriptural truths that OC denies. Maybe some of these will spark questions you can ask your leaders if you're in The Box:

  • God is the only being that has free will
  • God is the only being that has, or will ever have, eternal life (life with no beginning or end)
  • God will pour out the fullness of His love and grace on all people
  • God will use His power, sovereignty and love to accomplish all of His will (1 Timothy 2:4; Acts 13:22–23)
  • Christ justified all people through His death and resurrection (Romans 5:18)
  • God will reconcile all things to Himself through Christ's work (Colossians 1:16–20)
  • Christ will completely undo all of Satan's works (1 John 3:8)
  • The Lamb of God removed the sin of the world on the cross (John 1:29)
  • Jesus saved (past tense) the world (John 3:17)
  • God is the Savior of all mankind (1 Timothy 4:10)
  • The resurrected Christ's message through Paul is bigger than His message to Israel through Peter and the other apostles
  • The dead are truly dead (they're not currently alive in any form) 
  • Jesus will rescue all people from death (1 Corinthians 15:26)
  • Jesus' death and resurrection undoes all the effects of Adam's sin (Romans 5:18)
  • God's mission for Christ will be accomplished through time periods called eons (Greek: aion)
  • The eons will end when Christ successfully finishes all of God's will and God is All in all (1 Corinthians 15:20–28)

If you choose to remain in The Box ...

I have enough trouble living my own life, so I will never tell you how to live yours. But, if you believe the big truths about God that are denied in The Box, please be honest with yourself about why you choose to remain bound in The Box.

God's words through Paul come to mind. 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1,
Do not become diversely yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness? Or what communion has light with darkness? 15 Now what agreement has Christ with Belial? Or what part a believer with an unbeliever? 16 Now what concurrence has a temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God, according as God said, that I will be making My home and will be walking in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 17 Wherefore, Come out of their midst and be severed, the Lord is saying. And touch not the unclean, and I will admit you, 18 and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty. 7:1 Having, then, these promises, beloved, we should be cleansing ourselves from every pollution of flesh and spirit, completing holiness in the fear of God.
Are you going to continue to fellowship in a system that blasphemes your Father? Will you hang in a system that paints a false, weak image of your Savior to the world?

How to quit church without quitting God friend, Martin  Zender, wrote a great book on the subject of a believer quitting church. I read this book long after God rescued me out of The Box. Yes, it's true, a believer can quit church without quitting God. In fact, when a believer quits church, and continues to grow with God, their growth is no longer limited by The Box.

You might fear feeling alone if you quit church. And you may very well feel alone if you quit your church. But you're never truly alone. Jesus won't leave you. God won't leave you. And there are many people who've left The Box that have found unique ways to fellowship.

Following are some links where you can get encouragement, fellowship and learnin' that you'll not hear in The Box:

  • Subscribe to new posts from The Biggest Jesus (see the right-side column ➔➔)
  • Comment at the bottom of this post. I'll be notified, and we can start a discussion.
  • decades of solid, humorous, and deep teaching about God. Books, essays, newsletters, video and audio. There's so much on Martin's site that you'll need to take drinks often or you'll choke.
  • Martin Zender's fat YouTube playlists: over 1400 videos and growing
  • MortalFury YouTube channel: 2 buddies, Chris and Dean, spittin' truth
  • properly translated Scriptures that you can read online. 100+ years of solid Scripture teaching that is too big for The Box.
  • Riches: Published continuously since 1909, this is one of my go-to study tools. Download the digital version and search just about every Scripture topic imaginable.

Grow in grace and in the knowledge of God and Jesus.
"Huge Blinders" by Emilio Labrador; CC BY 2.0
"Man and Woman Dancing";; Creative Commons 0 - CC0 voice bubble and words added
"How to Quit Church Without Quitting God"; Martin Zender;

Monday, September 9, 2019

"Why I no longer believe the second death is figurative."

God tells us through the apostle Peter, "Yet be growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18 - Concordant Literal New Testament - CLNT). And those are my goals—growing and knowing.

Growing is sometimes painful, especially when I'm growing out of error and into truth. This entails admitting that I was wrong about something. Who likes to admit that?

I was wrong about the second death. This was due, in part, to errors I picked up while trudging through orthodox Christianity for 17 years. I liken these errors to ticks that affixed to my body in hidden places, slyly sucking precious life from me. But God, Who sees and knows all my affixed ticks by name, has plucked these parasites from me and set me free from many errors.

Having believed the error, and then been set free from it, makes me appreciate the truth that much more. The experiencing of both error and truth helps me relate better to people who are still in error. And freedom is more precious to a former slave than to someone who's never been shackled.

"What happens to those who are cast into the lake of fire?"

Revelation 20:14 tells us, "This is the second death-the lake of fire" (CLNT). When I was in orthodox Christianity I believed billions of people will be tormented alive forever in the lake of fire/second death. (Reading that last sentence makes me feel foolish for what I actually believed.)

The great white throne judgment and the second death are coming. They are on God's timetable and will arrive as scheduled. They are part of His grand plan, but not the end of His plan.

Revelation 20:15 says, "And if anyone was not found written in the scroll of life, he was cast into the lake of fire." So, if those cast into the lake of fire aren't tormented forever, what will happen to them? They will die. Period. End of chapter (but not the end of their book). You can go home now. There's no more to see here. Move along people, move along.

Not convinced?

I know, I know. The simple truths from God, like "This is the second death–the lake of fire," need unsimple explanations. This is because we are constantly having to untwist the Adversary's knotting of the Scriptures before we can see the simple truths. Every time God has moved me from error to truth, it has been delivery from a complex lie to the simple truth.

According to Hebrews 6:1–2, the teachings about resurrection and judgment are basic, and we should move past them to more mature subjects. But the Satanic and religious muddying of these basic truths takes time to clean up. And there are constantly waves of new people arriving on shore who need to be delivered from traditional lies to the truth.
Here's my conversion story concerning the lake of fire/second death. Maybe it will help you see the truth of this part of God's plan.

Tied up in naughty knots

I believed for many years that the second death will be figurative. This means I believed people would be physically alive, but also in a form of death (or oblivion) mentally and spiritually. I believed this for several years, even after realizing that Jesus did indeed save all people on the cross. Even after realizing eternal torment and annihilation are demonic lies.

A few years ago, I was set free from this lie by God, His Scriptures, A.E. Knoch, and Martin Zender. I'm deeply thankful for this.

One passage I used to support my belief in a figurative second death was the parable of the prodigal son. In Luke 15:24, the loving father says of his returned wayward son, "for this my son was dead and revives; he was lost and was found." The son was not literally dead, but figuratively dead. He was oblivious to how good his life truly was with his father. Then he came to his senses and figuratively revived from his figurative state of death. I took this obvious figurative usage of death and illegally used it to support my belief in a figurative second death. I used it to reinforce the idea that dead people in the lake of fire will be alive while dead. I saw the lake of fire/second death as a sort of reform school of ultra-hard knocks that will bring people to their senses, like the prodigal son. I made the mistake of mixing the literal with the figurative. We must not mix what God has kept separate. And remember this rule for understanding the Scriptures: literal if possible.

Resurrection and vivification

My error was also largely based on a misunderstanding of the resurrections taught in the Scriptures.

There are two types of resurrections in the Scriptures. But most bible versions don't make a clear distinction between them. The Concordant Literal New Testament does.

Resurrection, in its lowest form, is a raising from the dead, but not to immortality. Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, was raised from the dead, but not made immortal (John 11:1–46). Even in its lowest form, resurrection is awesome. Imagine your dearest departed loved one in your arms again. See what I mean? Holding them again is worth having to eventually pay for their second funeral. But the highest form of resurrection is to immortality. Vivifiy is the word used by the CLNT to describe God's powerful work to give immortality to all.

We see the vivification of all in 1 Corinthians 15:22, "For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified." The CLNT maintains the clear distinction between resurrection (Greek: anastasin) and vivified (Greek: zōopoiēthēsontai).

Christ was not the first person to be resurrected. He raised several people from the dead prior to His own resurrection. But He is called "the Firstfruit" of resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:20–23. If He wasn't the first to be resurrected, how can He be the Firstfruit? Here's how: He is the first One raised from the dead to experience vivification. And He is the only One, so far, Who has been vivified. 1 Timothy 6:16 clarifies for us what vivification is when it says of Christ "Who alone has immortality." He alone currently has immortality through vivification. Two classes of people will follow Him in like manner—"in Christ, shall all be vivified."

The following two verses hint at a distinction between resurrection and vivification,
John 11:25,

Jesus said to her, "I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who is believing in Me, even if he should be dying, shall be living."
John 5:21,

For even as the Father is rousing the dead and vivifying, thus the Son also is vivifying whom He will.
And Jesus' mind-blowing words in John 5:28–29,
Marvel not at this, for coming is the hour in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, 29 and those who do good shall go out into a resurrection of life, yet those who commit bad things, into a resurrection of judging. 
The phrase resurrection of life also hints at something more than resurrection (Greek: anastasin). The word resurrection means restoration to life from death–to stand up. But why add of life to resurrection? Because God is pointing us to something more than a return to mortal life from the death state. He is pointing us toward true life—immortality. And this is what occurs in the resurrection of life. Thus, the resurrection of judging, even though it also gives life to the dead, lacks the level of life included in the resurrection of life.

I took Jesus' words literally when He spoke of these two distinct resurrections in John 5:28–29. But, when I was in error concerning the second death, I mentally added a non-existent limitation to what He said. I assumed there would be only these two resurrections in the future. I was ignorant of another resurrection—the final vivification. I thought Jesus was going to fire all of His bullets at death in these two resurrections. He will destroy the first death at the time of the great white throne judgment, "And death and the unseen were cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:14). But the second death would still exist. In my ignorance, I had to find a way for Him to overcome the second death with these two spectacular resurrections. So I had to somehow work immortality into the resurrection of judging.

The resurrection of life and the resurrection of judging

The resurrection of life is spoken of in the following passages,
Revelation 20:4–6,

And I perceived thrones, and they are seated on them, and judgment was granted to them. And the souls of those executed because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who do not worship the wild beast or its image, and did not get the emblem on their forehead and on their hand - they also live and reign with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead do not live until the thousand years should be finished.) This is the former resurrection. 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.
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18,

Now we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are reposing, lest you may sorrow according as the rest, also, who have no expectation. 14 For, if we are believing that Jesus died and rose, thus also, those who are put to repose, will God, through Jesus, lead forth together with Him. 15 For this we are saying to you by the word of the Lord, that we, the living, who are surviving to the presence of the Lord, should by no means outstrip those who are put to repose, 16 for the Lord Himself will be descending from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the Chief Messenger, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall be rising first.17 Thereupon we, the living who are surviving, shall at the same time be snatched away together with them in clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And thus shall we always be together with the Lord. 18 So that, console one another with these words. 
Luke 20:35–36,

Yet those deemed worthy to happen upon that eon and the resurrection from among the dead are neither marrying nor taking out in marriage. 36 For neither can they still be dying, for they are equal to messengers, and are the sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
The resurrection of judging is found in Revelation 20:11–15,
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. 
I had a dilemma.

I believed Jesus is the Savior of the world—1 Timothy 2:4-6 & 4:10. By this I mean He already saved all people on the cross. "But," I wondered, "how can those cast into the lake of fire be saved if they are killed, and God has used up all of His resurrections?" Remember, in my error, I thought God only had two resurrections left. So I reasoned that those raised at the great white throne have to be made immortal if all will be saved.

Image result for lake blobSo I pieced together a way, using (or rather, abusing) the Scriptures, to grant immortality to all who will be raised at the great white throne. It was a lot of work putting Scriptural puzzle pieces together that didn't really fit. But I was so proud of the result! I had to do this. God had no more resurrections left. He needed my help.

In my misunderstanding, those raised at the great white throne will be made immortal prior to being launched into the lake. Their immortality will enable them to survive the second death. They will live through this figurative death, just like the prodigal son lived through his "death." When they come to their senses in the lake of fire, they will be delivered from it. Eventually, everyone will come to their senses, be freed from the second death, and death would have no more purpose. It will be rendered inoperative because all will be immortal (1 Corinthians 15:26).

The truth is, I later learned, those raised at the great white throne are not included in the three classes of 1 Corinthians 15 who are vivified. Many raised at the great white throne will be subject to the second death (meaning they literally die), thus they will not be immortal. Those raised at the great white throne who do not go into the second death are mortal and will enter onto the new earth. They will not be cast into the lake of fire because their names will be found in the scroll of life (Revelation 20:15), and they will have access to the new Jerusalem to be physically sustained by the fruit and leaves from the log of life (Revelation 21:22–22:2).

The end of the Bible is NOT the end of the story

Obviously we can't in reality limit God. Jesus is going to accomplish all of His Father's will (Acts 13:22–23; Hebrews 10:7–9; 1 Corinthians 15:20–28). But we can artificially limit God in our mind and in the minds of those we talk to. This artificial limiting does in reality affect us negatively. Our false ideas about God will never limit Him, but they will limit us.

Jesus' powerful revelation of the two resurrections in John 5:28–29 is true. But it is not the end of God's revelation on the subject of resurrection and vivification.

God, through the apostle Paul, cracks open wider the door to the future for us to see His plan for all humanity. This plan includes the vivification (immortality) of all humanity. I knew this was His goal. But I didn't see for a long time how He was going to get there.

Only by coming to understand the vivifications in 1 Corinthians 15 was I set free from the need to illegally immortalize all those raised at the great white throne. God has one more card to play. And it's a doozy.

Like most people bound by orthodox Christianity's false teachings, I thought the book of Revelation was the end of God's dealings with man in the Scriptures. I logically thought this because Revelation is the last book in our Bibles.

But God, in His wisdom and creativity, tucked the end of the story into the middle of the new testament. Has any author ever done something like that? Not that I know of. But God is the Author of authors. And He does what He does without needing anyone's permission. And that's awesome.

1 Corinthians 15 reveals to us the vivification of all (v.22), the end of death (v.26), the complete victory of Christ (vs.24–27), and God's ultimate goal for all people (v.28).
20 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.
There it is, the vivification of all in verse 22 (also 1 Timothy 6:13, "... God, Who is vivifying all ... "). I see it so clearly now. But when you're tied up in an erroneous knot, clear things are often muddied or completely unseen. And we can only see truth when God opens our eyes (Luke 24:13–35; Acts 16:14; Philippians 1:29).

All of us, whether we are a believer or an unbeliever, will die the first death because of our relationship to Adam. Some will die in the second death as a result of their absence from the scroll of life (Revelation 20:12–15). But Death (the first and the second) will be abolished and have absolutely no victory. 1 Corinthians 15:54–55,
Swallowed up was Death by Victory. 55 Where, O Death, is your victory?
Death will have zero response to Paul's taunting question. Death will have no victory in the end when all are vivified and put beyond its reach. Death will be totally inoperative. That is an almost unimaginable scenario for us, given the fact that death currently reigns over all humanity. Have faith in Christ. He will gain total victory over Death!

The 3 vivified classes

Paul tells us there are 3 classes vivified in 1 Corinthians 15. The first is Christ, the Firtsfruit. The second and third classes will follow Him in vivification. What's true of Him will be true of us. The second class is "those who are Christ's in His presence." This is the resurrection of life for those who are granted belief in this life. The third class will be at the consummation (not the great white throne). This is the consummation of the eons when Christ successfully accomplishes all of God's will. The spectacular events at the consummation are detailed for us in 1 Corinthians 15:24–28 (read above). The Israelite jubilee was a time when all were set free (see Leviticus 25). The jubilee is a type of the consummation of the eons. There will be freedom for all through Christ.

Eternal tormentists and annihilationists proclaim everlasting death

Orthodox Christianity teaches the world that death is unending (whether it be eternal torment or annihilation). They obviously contradict God's version of the final, glorious events of the consummation of the eons. They ignorantly diminish Jesus' work and blaspheme Him while giving death and Satan great victory over a mass of humanity. They say Jesus didn't save the world on the cross. They say that Adam's sin has a greater scope of impact than Christ's work. And an unwitting world believes their lies and sees a grotesque distortion of God and His Son. And the world is depressed thinking everlasting death (whether literal or figurative) is the fate of most of humanity. Don't believe their lies. I did for a long time. The truth of Jesus set me free. Despite what orthodox Christianity teaches, Jesus is the Successful Savior (1 Timothy 2:4-6, 4:10; 1 John 2:2, 4:14; John 1:29).

Believe Him.

Tree Image by 12272790 from Pixabay
Knots: Christian Mercat [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Second Childhood by anoldent (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Monday, July 15, 2019

Rat-poison Bible versions

mashed potatoes, mushrooms, salisbury steak
Jim loved Beth. And he loved Beth's homemade mashed potatoes and beef gravy. (They do look delicious.)

Beth hated Jim. But she loved money, especially the money she couldn't collect until Jim was dead. Beth's biggest problem? Jim was young and as healthy as a healthy horse.

Beth knew she could use Jim's weakness for her award-winning cooking. So she increased the frequency of the dish at suppertime, with just a pinch of one new ingredient sprinkled in for a little extra zing. Jim gobbled up every plateful Beth set before him, unaware of the addition to the killer recipe.

Jim slowly became less healthy than a horse. Beth realized her plan to end him was working. She was willing to be patient and didn't mind seeing him suffer on the way to his grave.

After eight months Jim finally arrived at the cemetery. Beth is now wealthy, young, and single.

Killing us softly, slowly, and surely

Mortality by itself is hard enough on us. We carry the weight of death every day. Our ongoing struggle against death will end with its inevitable victory. Additional poisoning elements that compound our suffering on our journey to the cemetery don't help.

One possible source of hope and joy in our lives—the Bible—could actually be slowly, consistently poisoning us. Even if you don't read the Bible, you're not immune. The poison has been spewed for centuries from the pens and mouths of preachers and writers and infected humanity. The poison is dispersed, sometimes subtly, sometimes blatantly, through movies, TV shows and music. Pay attention, you'll see it.

99.995% safe

If you were told that something was 99.995% safe, you probably wouldn't think twice about eating, drinking, snorting or injecting it, let alone reading it.

The rodent-ridding brand d-CON® rat poison contains .005% active killing ingredient. The other 99.995% is inert. d-CON® was initially promoted as "undetectable (odorless and tasteless) by rats and does not produce bait shyness."

The poison in most English Bible versions is undetectable (odorless and tasteless) and does not produce Bible shyness. Millions of people continue to open their poisonous Bibles everyday and consume the toxins, unaware.

The poison is intentional mistranslation. I say "intentional" because the scholars who translate the Bibles should know better, having been trained in the original Hebrew and Greek languages of the Scriptures. But their tradition, and position in the club—The International Order of Bad Theologians (TIOoBT)—are more important to them than the truth. So they hide pellets of death within the lines of their self-proclaimed "Holy" Bible versions.

How to test your Bible for poison

Is your beloved Bible is poisoning you? Here's a simple test. Open your Bible to 2 Thessalonians 1:9. This is one of 12 verses (by my count) that speak of the duration of destruction for unbelievers. Here it is in three versions,
Authorized King James Version (AKJV)
who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
English Standard Version (ESV)
They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,
International Children's Bible (ICB)
Those people will be punished with a destruction that continues forever. They will not be allowed to be with the Lord, and they will be kept away from his great power.
The bold red word in each version is the interpretation of the Greek adjective aionion. I call it an interpretation, and not a translation, because translation is the unbiased use of words from one language to accurately convey the meaning of words from another language. An interpretation happens when a translator goes rogue, alters the meaning, and biases his "translation" to fit his personal theology. This muddies, and sometimes completely conceals, God's intended message to humanity through His sacred Scriptures. Thus we have unholy Bibles masquerading as holy Bibles. There's the .005%. It only takes one twisted word out of the 700,000+ words in the Bible to spoil the whole book. Throwing a bunch of seminary degrees and a very profitable pricetag into a Bible version doesn't make it holy. God's intended message remaining intact makes a version holy.

(And yes, you saw that correctly, they are even poisoning children through the ICB.)

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 fits nicely here,
For such are false apostles, fraudulent workers, being transfigured into apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel, for Satan himself is being transfigured into a messenger of light. 15 It is no great thing, then, if his servants also are being transfigured as dispensers of righteousness -- whose consummation shall be according to their acts. 
Satan's servants produce works, including unholy Bible versions, that appear to dispense righteousness. Don't be fooled by their supernaturally-white teeth and glossy seminary certificates. You might pose a common protest, "So you're telling me that all those theologians and scholars who translate Bibles are wrong?" Yes, Mary, that's exactly what I'm saying. If they distort God's words, they are absolutely wrong.

Here's 2 Thessalonians 1:9 properly translated,
Concordant Literal New Testament (CLNT)
who shall incur the justice of eonian extermination from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of His strength --
Young's Literal Translation (YLT)
who shall suffer justice -- destruction age-during -- from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of his strength,
God will judge unbelievers. This fact I am not disputing. But attempting to stretch His righteous eonian/age-during judgment of them into an unrighteous everlasting/eternal/forever judgment is wrong. Trying to squeeze God into a man-made religious tradition will land the scholarly interpreters in the bullseye of His judgment. They've added to His words. They've twisted something that is limited to the eons into something that never ends. But even their judgment will be limited.

This simple chart of the limited eonian times shows an overview of God's plans (Ephesians 1:9-12; 3:1-11). Look it over and check the Scripture references.

Note that the eonian times as a whole have a beginning and an end (red lines). And each single eon has a beginning and an end. Jesus' successful reign, which includes all judgment of unbelievers, will come to God's desired end. The details are found in 1 Corinthians 15:22-28,
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.)
All are vivified (made immortal). All are subjected (including the Son). Death is abolished. God is All in all.

"Bill's a great guy, except for that child-molesting thing."

Bill is a great guy. And he doesn't molest children. But the rumor was started and advanced by trusted pillars in the community (all with seminary degrees). It spread like wildfire. Bill's life and reputation were marred by this one lie. 

False interpretations by theologians and scholars deform God's character in the eyes of those who swallow the .005% poison that is mixed into their trusted Bibles. Christianity, for the most part, seems to have no clue how their horrible teaching of everlasting destruction makes God look. Some, understanding that it does make Him look bad, never mention it. But if you probe them with alien-like skill, they'll spill the beans, and tell you that they do, in fact, believe in a forever-destroying god (intentional small "g").

This one horrible demonic doctrine permeates all of Christianity's systems. And the world says, "God's a great Guy, except for that everlasting-destruction thing."

The false idea of everlasting destruction, if it is believed, depresses anyone who has half a heart for their fellow man. I've known people who are nearly paralyzed at the thought of themself, or their unbelieving loved one(s), suffering at the hand of God forever. But it's a rat-poison lie. Don't believe it. Stop eating Beth's delicious mashed potatoes and beef gravy. You remember what happened to Jim, right?

I urge you to replace your poisonous Bible(s) with a health-inducing one. I don't care if you love your poisonous Bible and have had it since you were in diapers. If it's tainted (even if it's only .005%) and tells lies about God, it's J-U-N-K. I recommend the Concordant Literal New Testament. You can read it online or buy a copy. You can also get a copy of the Concordant Version of the Old Testament or download it.

Once you grasp the true meaning of aion and aionios, you will see God in a new light. And you will have hope, joy, and peace in anticipation of Him completing His plan for all mankind.

  • Go here for several more versions of 2 Thessalonians 1:9 (most are rat poison).

Mashed-potatoes-mushrooms-salisbury-steak, Robert Loescher
"D-CON KILLS MICE AND RATS!!!!" by Chris (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0); cropped
Holy Bible by Derrick Alexander from Pixabay; "UN" added 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Jesus settles egg debate: "Eggs are good!"

On Tuesday, Cheddar News interviews a scrawny dietician who says "Eggs are good for you. Eat at least an 18-pack every week, and you'll live to be a healthy 105." Two days later on CNN, an obese researcher contradicts her, "Eggs are going to plant you into a deep, cold, early grave."

What do us poor simpletons do in such a contrasting dilemma? I, my fellow simpletons, turn to God. He understands His own creations better than anyone else (except, of course, theologians).

I want to enjoy all of God's gracious gifts. And I count the mighty egg as one of His greatest blessings. If I listened to Dr. Death on CNN, instead of Jesus (and scrawny girl), my breakfasts would be ho-hum. I dislike ho-hum breakfasts.

Jesus' word on this issue is the last I need to hear. He said to His disciples in Luke 11:11–13,
Now of some father of you a son will be requesting bread. No stone will he be handing him! Or a fish, also. Not, instead of a fish, a serpent will he be handing him! 12 Or he will also be requesting an egg. He will not be handing him a scorpion! 13 If you, then, being inherently wicked, are aware how to give good gifts to your children, how much rather will the Father Who is out of heaven, be giving holy spirit to those requesting Him!
—Concordant Literal New Testament (CLNT)
Eggs are good. Scorpions? No. Now you know.

He skimmed the love letter

The point of this post isn't your physical diet, but your spiritual diet (which definitely can affect you physically). My goal in this post is to encourage you to read through the entirety of the Scriptures so that you don't miss anything that God has for you, like the glorious truth of the egg.

The Scriptures are a gold mine of truth and encouragement. When a gold prospector finds a hot spot, he keeps going back to get the goods. As I regularly read through the Scriptures and learn and grow and get to know Jesus better, it keeps me coming back for more. This is the hot spot for truth—truth directly from God. Some days yield better results that others. But I've experienced the benefits of consistently seeking God through His word.

Following are two reasons why I think you should read the entire Scriptures. This is not a law, only a suggestion for your benefit.

Matthew 4:4, CLNT,
Yet [Jesus], answering, said [to Satan], "It is written, 'Not on bread alone shall man be living, but on every declaration going out through the mouth of God.'"
And the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16–17, CLNT,
All scripture is inspired by God, and is beneficial for teaching, for exposure, for correction, for discipline in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be equipped, fitted out for every good act.
Everything that God communicates to us through the Scriptures is important and beneficial.

Jim the skimmer could have benefited from the advice to read thoroughly.
Jim received an email from Beth, his newest girlfriend. She had been overseas on business for many months. The letter was extremely long, so Jim skimmed over it like it was Facebook's Terms and Conditions agreement. Then he got back to his life's many demands.
Later that week on Friday, Jim arrived home from work in the darkness of evening. The rain was pouring down. As he approached his house, he could see a figure standing outside with no umbrella, surrounded by suitcases. As Jim pulled into the driveway, he realized it was Beth, soaking wet and furious. Before Jim could get out of the car to help her, Beth rushed at him, pulled out her Smith & Wesson Bodyguard-38 and shot Jim four times in the head. Jim died.
Sadly for Jim, he didn't see the part in the email where Beth said she was coming to see him this Friday. (Did I mention Beth was psycho?) Now you know.
Though the true living God is not a psycho, I hope this little story shows you the importance of reading all of God's words. The Scriptures are a letter to you from your heavenly Father. There are amazing truths to be found on the lesser traveled roads of Scripture. Explore. I have no idea how God will use His words to speak directly to you in your unique life. But He will.

But please realize this important fact: although we can learn from everything God has given us in the Scriptures, it's not all written to us. For example, God gave the law to Moses who in turn gave it to Israel. He didn't give it to the nations outside of Israel. God never requires the nations to do what He required of Israel. If you take the commands He gave to Israel onto yourself, you'll end up miserable, because attempting to keep the law is not the way to freedom. Believing in Jesus is the way to freedom.

Most people will say that if you're new to the Scriptures, start reading in the book of John. I, along with others, suggest starting in the book of Romans. This is the apostle Paul's letter that lays out foundational truths that will solidify your faith in God.

God's revelation of Himself to mankind is progressive, and Paul's letters reveal God's most up-to-date dealings with mankind. Having a solid foundation in Romans will help you understand as you read the rest of the Scriptures. Martin Zender has an excellent series on Romans that can help you as you read through the Scriptures.

Jesus used the Scriptures to defeat Satan (so can you)

Take a look at how Jesus uses Scripture to fend off Satan's temptations in Matthew 4:1–11,
Then Jesus was led up into the wilderness by the spirit to be tried by the Adversary. 2 And, fasting forty days and forty nights, subsequently He hungers. 3 And, approaching, the trier said to Him, "If you are God's Son, say that these stones may be becoming cakes of bread." 4 Yet He, answering, said, "It is written, 'Not on bread alone shall man be living, but on every declaration going out through the mouth of God.'" 5 Then the Adversary is taking Him along into the holy city, and stands Him on the wing of the sanctuary. 6 And he is saying to Him. "If you are God's Son, cast yourself down, for it is written that 'His messengers shall be directed concerning Thee' and 'On their hands shall they be lifting Thee, Lest at some time Thou shouldst be dashing Thy foot against a stone.'" 7 Jesus averred to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not be putting on trial the Lord your God.'" 8 Again the Adversary takes Him along into a very high mountain, and is showing Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, "All these to you will I be giving, if ever, falling down, you should be worshiping me." 10 Then Jesus is saying to him, "Go away, Satan, for it is written, The Lord your God shall you be worshiping, And to Him only shall you be offering divine service." 11 Then the Adversary is leaving Him. And lo! messengers approached and waited on Him. 
Arming yourself with the truth in the Scriptures enables us to stand against the Adversary. Ephesians 6:11–17 shows us,
Put on the panoply [suit of armor] of God, to enable you to stand up to the stratagems of the Adversary, 12 for it is not ours to wrestle with blood and flesh, but with the sovereignties, with the authorities, with the world-mights of this darkness, with the spiritual forces of wickedness among the celestials. 13 Therefore take up the panoply of God that you may be enabled to withstand in the wicked day, and having effected all, to stand. 14 Stand, then, girded about your loins with truth, with the cuirass of righteousness put on, 15 and your feet sandaled with the readiness of the evangel of peace; 16 with all taking up the large shield of faith, by which you will be able to extinguish all the fiery arrows of the wicked one. 17 And receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is a declaration of God.
God has equipped us to stand against our true enemies—Satan and the spiritual forces of darkness and wickedness. They are relentless. Prepare yourself for battle.

"Did you see this?"

So many beneficial revelations can be found throughout the Scriptures. Don't miss out on these and the blessings that come with knowing them. Keep in mind that the main reason God gave us the words in the Scriptures is so we can know Him. The Bible is the almighty, loving, invisible God revealing Himself to us. Apart from this revelation, we could not know Him.

The opening chapters in Genesis show us the beginning of our human race, and they unveil much about our Creator. Read them.

We learn great things about God in the midst of His dealing with Israel as He talks with His friend Moses on Mount Sinai,
And Jehovah comes down in a cloud, and stations Himself with [Moses] there, and calls in the Name of Jehovah, 6 and Jehovah passes over before his face, and calls: "Jehovah, Jehovah God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in kindness and truth, 7 keeping kindness for thousands, taking away iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and not entirely acquitting, charging iniquity of fathers on children, and on children's children, on a third [generation], and on a fourth."
—Exodus 34:5–7 Young's Literal Translation (YLT)
In 1 Kings 22:19–23, and in the first two chapters of Job, God gives us front-row access to events in His throne room in heaven. Enjoy the show.

Wisdom can be found throughout the Scriptures. Proverbs 22:7 says, " ... the borrower is slave to the lender." This has caused me to be mindful of the pitfalls of financial debt in my life. Who wants to be slave to a banker or Visa?

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Jeremiah 32:27. God said to Jeremiah, "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?" What is your answer to God's question? Mainstream Christianity teaches that saving all people is too hard for God. Who are you going to believe? The Scriptures will cause us to think about what we really believe. God's words will affect us.

Paul wrote in Romans 5:18, "Consequently, then, as it was through [Adam's] one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through [Jesus'] one just award for all mankind for life's justifying" (CLNT). All mankind was condemned by Adam's offense. All mankind was justified by Jesus' work. And in Romans 11:32 he wrote these mind-blowing words, "For God locks up all together in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to all" (CLNT). God will be merciful to all! Does that give you hope?

I could go on and on. Read the Scriptures for yourself. Putting your eyes on God's words will benefit you.

Spoiler alert

I have many pet peeves.
Here are two. I'm peeved by people who talk through movies (not the actors, but those who are watching with me). I'm equally peeved when someone tells me what's coming next in the movie.

Well, I'm about to point you to the end of Scripture's story and all the awe-inspiring details. I know, that makes me a hypocrite, but I can't stop myself. It's just so good!

The last book of the Bible—the book of Revelation—is not the end of the story. It is not the most distant point in the future that God reveals to us.

Here are the most distant events that God has unveiled for us. They are given to us by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:20–28.
20 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.
How encouraging is that? God will be "All in all!"

Is there anything there that you've never seen before? Or maybe never noticed in the way you just did? I'm regularly seeing new details in Scriptures that I have previously read several times before.

Hopefully reading this passage encourages you to dive into all of God's words. The truth of eggs can benefit our taste buds and stomachs. God's words can also benefit our minds and emotions by giving us love, faith, knowledge, hope, peace, contentment, joy and so much more.

Learn from faithful teachers

The Scriptures aren't always easy to understand. Searching them is an ongoing endeavor that will reward your effort. Keep in mind that the ultimate purpose of the Scriptures is to show you God and His Son so you can know Them better.

Read from a good translation of the Scriptures. I strongly suggest the Concordant Literal New Testament, and the Concordant Version of the Old Testament.

God has provided people to teach us. Two of my most trusted teachers are A.E. Knoch and Martin Zender. I've learned a great deal from these faithful men, and you can too.

I encourage you to download Unsearchable Riches. It's a publication that's been going since 1909 and contains articles by A.E. Knoch and other good teachers.
Photo credits:
- "Egg in a metal spiral egg cup." © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 2.5
- "Reagans in the White House theater" By Unknown - Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library, Public Domain, (words added)