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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

The Best Commentary On The Bible Is The Bible Itself
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
 
The Reflections Newsletter

Monday, March 24, 2008

**In This Issue**

  1. In Speaking of Real Places, What about Hell?
  2. What Does the Bible Say About...?
     

Welcome to the Reflections Newsletter from Reflect His Glory.  RHG is a co-ministry with Creation Science Ministries.  Feel free to send this to your relatives and friends.
 


In Speaking of Real Places, What About Hell?

Are you uncomfortable yet?  The subject of Hell is not something that many people want to discuss, or even think about very often.  Taking this thought just a bit further, the prospect of unsaved people being tormented in outer darkness, or as I equate it, living in eternal separation from God forever, is not a pleasant thought.   I am sure that many people are hoping that Hell is just an allegory, or that unsaved souls simply cease to exist after death.  Doesn't that sound better?

Well, according to an October 21, 2003 Barna Group article entitled Americans Describe Their Views About Life After Death,  81 percent of the Americans who were surveyed believe in some form of afterlife.  71 percent of those surveyed say that they believe in Hell.  But how the 71 percent defined "Hell" varied from person to person.  According to Barna, only one-third of Americans believe that Hell is an actual place of punishment.  The survey explained:

While there is no dominant view of Hell, two particular perspectives are popular.  Four out of ten adults believe that Hell is "a state of eternal separation from Godís presence" (39%) and one-third (32%) says it is "an actual place of torment and suffering where peopleís souls go after death."  A third perspective that one in eight adults believe is that "Hell is just a symbol of an unknown bad outcome after death" (13%).  Other respondents were "not sure" or said they that they do not believe in an afterlife (16%).

So, armed with all of this information, where do we go from here?

What does the Bible say about Hell?
The Bible describes a place of punishment for those who die in their sins (Ps. 9:17).   Three different words are translated "Hell" in the King James: 

Sheol is the grave or pit; the place of the dead: (Job 24:19; Ps. 31:17).  Sheol is described as deep (Job 11:8), dark (Job 10:21,22), and having bars (Job 17:16).  The dead "go down" to it (Num 16:30,33; Eze 31:15,16,17).

Hades is the home of disembodied spirits.  Hades refers to the abode of the unsaved dead prior to the great white throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15).  Hades is a prison (1 Pet 3:19) with gates, bars and locks (Matt 16:18; Rev 1:18); and Hades is also referred as "down to" (Matt 11:23 Luke 10:15).

Gehenna was the name of the trash heap outside Jerusalem in the time of Christ Jesus:  This is where the dead bodies of animals, criminals, and all kinds of filth, were cast and consumed by fire.  It was always kept burning.  Because of this, through the process of time, Gehenna became the idiom for the place of everlasting destruction.  Jesus used it in this way 8 times (Matt 10:28 18:9; 23:15,33; Mark 9:43,45,47; Luke 12:5).

The Rich Man and Lazarus:
The most agonizing description of Hell is Jesus' story of the rich man and Lazarus found in Luke 16:19-31, where the wicked rich man ended up in torment in Hades by flame, while Lazarus was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom.  The rich man was quite conscious of his situation, and longed for just a drop of water to soothe his tongue, "for I am tormented in this flame."  Jesus frames this as a true story and not as a parable.

Why Did God Create Hell?
Hell was not created for humans, but for Satan and his angels (Matt 25:41).  God gave His Son, to die for mankind so that all who believe in him can have eternal life (John 3:16), and He does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9).  But, those who reject the sacrifice of the Lamb of God will be subject to the punishment their sins deserve (Rev. 21:8). Another way of saying this is, we can live and be judged by the law, or can believe on Him, live, and be judged under grace.  God is merciful and patient and full of love, but He is also perfectly holy and perfectly just, and nothing that defiles can be allowed into Heaven (Rev. 21:27).

Unfortunately many Christians say, "Yes, I do believe in Hell," however, we often do not act like it.  If we truly recognized that the unsaved people in our lives might die tomorrow and end up in eternal punishment, we might better appreciate the necessity of sharing with them the good news of the Gospel.  Hell is neither a scare tactic, nor should it be used as one. Hell is a real danger that every one of us faces.  The great gift of our loving God is freedom from that punishment, and eternity with Him in Paradise.  No longer under the law, but under His grace.

Two Scriptures verses for which I am grateful are:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
John 3:16 KJVER

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.   Acts 2:21 KJVER

I would also remind everyone of what we are directed to do in 1 Peter 3:15:

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:    KJVER


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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory


What Does the Bible Say About...?

 
   

In this section of the Reflections Newsletter we answer questions that have been asked.  If you have a question that you would like ask, and do not mind having printed in the newsletter, (your name will not be mentioned), feel free to send your question in an email to me at biblequestions@reflecthisglory.org.  Of course, you may call me anytime by phone at 801.302-1111.

The question for this issue is, "Were the guards watching Jesus' tomb Jews or Romans?  How else was the tomb secured?"

The first method of securing Christ Jesus' tomb was the rolling of a large stone across the doorway (entrance) to the tomb.  Evidently, this was not enough of an impediment so satisfy the Jewish leaders since Matthew 27:60 indicates that Joseph of Arimathaea rolled it himself, or authorized a group of men to do it.  Now, if a small group of men could move the stone into position, it stands to reason that a similar number of men could remove it.  Because of this possibility, the Jewish leadership was concerned that Jesus' disciples could steal His body and claim that He rose from the dead.

This is why they went to Pontius Pilate asking for an additional guard to watch the tomb.  The fact that they made this request of Pilate leans toward the belief that force guarding the tomb was Roman.  If the Jewish leaders drew on their own Temple guard for this contingent of men, in all likelihood would not have had to go to Pilate and seek permission for an additional guard.  As it says in Matthew 27:65-66, the Roman governor acceded to their request:

Pilate said to them, You have a watch; go your way, make it as sure as you can.  So they went , and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.  KJVER

The seal spoken of in this passage was an official Roman seal, which, if broken, would give evidence of the opening of the tomb.  Evidently, the Romans were somewhat concerned about the care given to human remains.  One ancient tablet found in the Middle East, known as the Diatagma Kaisaros, that dates back to the approximate time of Christ Jesus' earthly ministry, threatens grave robbers with capital punishment.

Matthew Chapter 28 tells us that at Jesus' resurrection, the stone was rolled away, breaking the seal, and that the guards were overpowered.  When the Jewish leaders heard this, they bribed the guards into telling a story that the body of Christ Jesus had been stolen.:

"... they gave much money to the soldiers, Saying, Say you , His disciples came by night, and stole Him away while we slept.  And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you,"   Matthew 28:12-14  KJVER

It must have been "much money," for the death penalty was in force for Roman guards who fell asleep while on duty.  These guards must have been aware of the possibility that Pilate might not be persuaded by the arguments of those who were subject to him, as influential as they might have believed themselves to be, in their own eyes.  Nevertheless, those who are familiar with the Scriptures know the real story: That Jesus rose from the dead, just as He had predicted He would.  The Apostle Paul enumerated the witnesses of this great event when he says of Jesus:

And He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve.  After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to this present time, but some are fallen asleep.  After that, He was seen of James; then, of all the apostles.  And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time,   1 Cor. 15:5-8  KJVER


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**MEMORY VERSE OF THE MONTH**

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

John 3:14  KJV ER

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

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"Then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him,
"
If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed;
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free
."

John 8:31-32

  
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory